Threads: Musings of a Wodenic Cunning Woman

A twisting (and sometimes twisted) exploration of devotion, seership, hearth witchery, and spirit work.

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Beth Wodandis

Beth Wodandis

I am a godpouse and full time artist and spirit worker who lives and works in Eugene, Oregon in a household shared with gods, spirits and animal companions both living and dead. My business, Beth Wodandis Designs, offers artisan pagan jewelry and devotional tools hand crafted with intent, meticulous attention to detail, and a heaping wallop of energy. I am the author of Odhroerir: Nine Devotional Tales of Odin's Journeys, and Water from the Well and Other Wyrd Tales of Odin, both of which are available in my Etsy shop in PDF format, as well as on Amazon, and my work has also appeared in Idunna, Hex, and the now-defunct newWitch.

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My Odin, and Other People's Odins

I’ve gone on record in the past as speculating that we all might very well get our own individual version of a particular deity—that my Odin, the Odin I’m married to, may literally not be the same Odin another wife of His is married to (or that another devotee of His is involved with in whatever capacity). This is a complicated and thorny topic, and can very easily spark misunderstandings. So let me start out by saying point-blank that I am NOT saying my Odin is necessarily THE Odin (as in, the One True Odin). There is simply no way I (or any of His other spouses or lovers) can know that with absolute certainty, so any argument one way or another is pointless. But I recently came up with yet another way to think about this.

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  • Eilidh nic Sidheag
    Eilidh nic Sidheag says #
    I've come across a similar concept in Vodou, where everyone has an "escort" of spirits that take an interest in them. Its exact co
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Reminds me of the song Personal Jesus by Depeche Mode. I like the version by Johnny Cash best, I think it's more tuneful and easy

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The Strange Tale of Loki's Cat Children

It all started back in 2004. We were still living in Philadelphia at the time, in a not-so-great inner city neighborhood. Jo had recently moved into my house, and my now-ex was still living there but we were estranged; I had been married to Odin for two years. It was July and I was doing something outside (at this point I don’t remember what) when a redheaded boy with light mocha skin (and when I say redheaded, I mean neon-bright) came up to me from out of nowhere. I had never seen this boy in the neighborhood before that day, and I never saw him again afterwards; this alone was kind of strange, because in the inner city most people can be seen hanging out on the street outside their houses, especially in the summer. But then, we have since come to believe that the boy wasn’t human; he was Loki.

He had two black kittens—about 4-6 months old, one long-haired and one short—cradled under his arms. He approached me and asked if I wanted them.

Now, for me, asking me if I want kittens is a little like asking if I want chocolate; if there isn’t a pressing reason to refuse I’m going to say yes. At that time, there wasn’t a pressing reason; we only had one cat (my Maine Coon, Sassy—now deceased) and I owned the house. There was no one to tell me I couldn’t have them (I didn’t really care what my now-ex thought, and I doubted Jo would be upset) and they looked healthy enough. So (even though I sensed eye-rollage from Odin in the background) I said yes, and the boy handed the kittens over and quickly vanished whence he had appeared.

In retrospect, I can easily suss out all of the things Loki did not actually voice at the time: “This was an experiment; I know I shouldn’t have, but I really couldn’t help myself—you should have seen the cat, he was gorgeous! They might not be completely right; they might even come with expiration dates. But I know no one will love them like you will.”

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Appealing to your ancestors

In a recent reading I did for a client regarding a problematic spirit relationship, one of the potential solutions that came up for dealing with her situation was to appeal to her ancestors and the gods of her bloodline for assistance. Since she had questions about this, I’m thinking other people out there might, too.

Yes, I know the topic of ancestor work can be a controversial one in the pagan community, because so many of us have deceased family members we wouldn’t call on if it was the last option open to us. For example, if your late Uncle Mort was a child molester, chances are you don’t really want to be inviting him into your home. Also, as many of us are first generation pagans in monotheistic families, we might feel alienated by some of our immediate ancestors, feeling that they can’t possibly share very much with us and unsure why they would want to help with our relationships with pagan deities, demons, spirits, or what have you.

But we all have bloodlines that go back more than just the few generations we might know about. Whether you know it or not, whether you can trace it objectively or not, you have a bloodline that reaches back into the pagan past, into the depths of antiquity. Depending on what country your ancestors came from, what ethnicity you are, you have ancestors who worshiped Odin, or Cerridwen, or Isis, or Ogun. Some of our ancestors, granted, return to the “primordial soup” that provides a source for new souls at the birth of children. Of those who qualify as Mighty Dead—those who managed to distinguish themselves in life in some way—some may be reborn as themselves (with their individual spirit intact), in a new body; some may choose to dwell in the spirit realms and join groups of spirits such as the Wild Hunt. But every bloodline has one or two who qualify to be ranked among the Mighty Dead and who choose to remain attached to their own blood lineage, to watch over their descendants. These are the people to turn to when you get yourself into a sticky situation with a god, demon, or other entity who you seem to be stuck in an abusive relationship with (assuming you have tried to work things out directly with that entity and it has failed, or it isn’t possible or advisable to deal directly with them for whatever reason).

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  • kayly
    kayly says #
    Thank you for this post. It offers good insight into what a person might expect when they begin to work with ancestors and how to
My Personal Religious Calendar (The Pagan Experience)

(This post was written as part of The Pagan Experience, a community blogging project. You can find more information on the project and how to join in yourself here.)

I’ve been meaning to write this post for two or three weeks now, but unfortunately, the letter “C” came up in the posting prompts around the same time as my doctor changed my pain maintenance meds, which put me in withdrawal for two weeks. In that state, I ranged between low-grade fevers with chills, periods of complete exhaustion, and extreme mood swings, and while making stuff was okay, writing an actual content post was probably ill-advised, if even possible.

I wonder what my doctor would say if she knew that it was a Norse god who had mandated the change. My memory and critical thinking skills had been getting progressively worse over the past several years while taking Gabapentin, during the past year especially. I had become incredibly accident prone; I concussed myself pretty badly once, and overdosed the dog on his heart pills twice, but it wasn’t until I forgot that Pyrex gets hot in the microwave and ended up with first degree burns over a good portion of my right hand that Odin finally said “Enough, I want you OFF of that already, before you do irreparable damage to yourself.” My new doctor had already been saying that she didn’t know how I was even walking around with the dosage my old doctor had put me on. Going down from three pills a day to one came with pain and withdrawal as a trade-off, which a low-dose Prozac in the morning has helped to counter, and two weeks later I’m finally starting to feel better—more like myself, actually, than I have in years. (There is still some fibro fog, but the Gabapentin was making it much, much worse than it needed to be.)

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So, last week I skipped my Pagan Experience post. Partly because I was in full production mode over at FiberWytch (still am, in fact), which tends to make me feel overwhelmed; as I still work at an outside job part time, and I have invisible illnesses, multitasking can be a challenge. I also have a tendency to become nonverbal when working full steam ahead on crafting projects. But if I’m going to be honest, a bigger reason I skipped it was that my reaction on reading the prompt was more or less “meh.” Because as a godspouse and spirit worker, I’m a spirit-centered pagan, not an earth-centered one. Or so I told myself.

Well then. A day or two later (while I was in the shower, as it happens), Odin set me straight on this notion. “Not earth-centered, is it? What about the Making? What about all of the plant oils and herbs you work with? Those plant spirits have a home, you know, and it isn’t out in the ether somewhere.”

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Godspouse? Say What?

(February Week 1 prompt for The Pagan Experience - Humanity)

What is your contribution to the collective space of humanity? How does your spiritual path support this definition and contributions?

Hi, I'm Beth, and I'm a godspouse! I live in the (urban) wilds of Oregon with another godpouse, in what can best be described as a DIY nunnery situation; we both work outside the home, and I work on my business AT home in addition to that. (As I am disabled, I'm trying very hard to morph my business into being my primary, or even only, job.) But other than that, we lead a semi-secluded, more-or-less monastic lifestyle with our respective gods and a houseful of animals (both living and dead).

Now, you can sneer at the “godspouse phenomenon” all you want—and plenty of people do—but it's not a fad, or at the very least not a new one; it's been going on for at least the twelve years I've been married to Odin. And although I am an old-timer at this particular gig, I think there were a handful of people doing it even before me. So, what is a “godpouse”? Basically, it is one the most common terms used to describe a person who self-identifies as the mortal consort of a god. (There are also spirit spouses—people married to spirits who may lack “official deity” status.)

One of the first things the skeptical ask when they learn that I'm a godspouse is “Why would the gods even want human spouses? They already have divine ones, don't they?” Yes, They do, and we are not a replacement for Them. But the notion that a god would not want a human woman for a wife when He already has a goddess-wife makes the assumption that the gods see humanity in the same way we do—as inherently lesser than They are—and I don't think that's true. Yes, without question They are bigger, and They have more power—and, of course, there's that fringe benefit of not being mortal. (Although, some of the gods do manage to die even despite this; witness Balder, as one example.) But my experiences and interactions with Odin, as well as His teachings, have led me to see all of u/Us—humans, gods, spirits, ancestors, and other races of beings such as Alfar, Duergar, Jotnar, etc.--simply as spirits in different stages of our own personal journeys towards self-actualization (or, towards our own personal “Great Work,” if you prefer). Clearly, some of us are further along in that journey than others; Odin, for example, is much further along than I am, but He recognizes in me a kindred spirit who, rather than being inherently inferior to Him, simply has different challenges to deal with in this current phase of my existence. It has become something of a cliché to say “I am not a body that has a spirit, but a spirit that has a body”--however, that's more or less it, in a nutshell. In my own philosophy (which—with a nod to my friend Nornoriel Lokason—is decidedly a Left Handed one), some of us began our soul's journeys with incarnations as beings other-than-human (as giants or elves, for example, or even as what we would now call “gods”), and some of us will end them as other-than-human.

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  • m
    m says #
    “Why would the gods even want human spouses? Well....... the Fallen Angels wanted them too.
B is for Bestla (The Pagan Experience week 4)

Not so long ago, at the height of December’s retail busy season—which also happened to be the height of Wild Hunt season—I had a dream. Okay, let’s call it what it was: a nightmare. In it, I was asleep in our bedroom and thought I heard Jo talking in her sleep from her own bed. Then I realized it was actually my mother—who used to talk in her sleep a fair amount and who has been dead for twenty years (although that detail didn’t occur to me in the dream). I called out something about trying to sleep, but she kept talking.

And then I realized that it wasn’t my mother speaking at all; the voice was harder, unfamiliar, while still female. I realized she was telling a story, in a somewhat sing-song voice, a horrible story that I was certain I didn’t want to hear the end of. (No, I don’t remember what the story was—although in retrospect, I have my suspicions, of which I won’t speak.) As she neared the end of it, she rose from her bed and approached mine, not asleep at all. I wanted to move or scream but was utterly paralyzed. I tried to call for help—from Odin, from the Hunt—but no help appeared. The woman—a farm wife in dress and apron–smiled down at me with her hard face and glittering, hard eyes, smiling into my eyes as she spoke the final words of the story. And then she reached into my mouth and down my throat and into my chest—just rammed her entire hand and arm in.

I awoke. I rose and went to my shrine, lit a candle, not wanting to go back to sleep. I’m not sure I slept any more that night at all. I had an ache in the general area of my heart chakra for the next several days.

Only the next day did I being to realize who the dream-woman had been. The clues were simple: 1) she had been menacing, but had not actually harmed me (although she had done something—something that was Allowed, apparently; 2) neither Odin nor the Hunt had volunteered any help; thus, no matter how scary she had been, she didn’t actually intend any harm to me; 3) the warding Odin has placed on me and our house—which is quite thorough—did not keep her away, and 4) in the dream, I had at first identified her with my mother, then realized that was almost correct, but not quite. I struggled with what my intuition was telling me for hours before sheepishly asking Odin if I was right. He confirmed that I was.

My dream visitor was none other than my mother-in-law, the Queen Mother of Asgard: Bestla. And the next night when I saw Her in the Hunt, She flashed Her dream disguise at me briefly before transforming back into Her usual glamorous self, and winked.

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  • Miles Gerhardson
    Miles Gerhardson says #
    Interesting...

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