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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in thunderer

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 

 

Incredible as it may seem, there's a carving of Perun, the Slavic God of Thunder, in the Catholic cathedral in “St.” Paul.

I can't remember why a priestess friend and I had decided to go across the River to attend a service at the cathedral that night. (It must have seemed like a good idea at the time.) After the ritual—the church had otherwise emptied out quickly—the two of us wandered around playing tourist.

In the apse behind the altar are the so-called Chapels of Nations, each one dedicated to the patron saint of one of the constituent demographic groups that originally settled the city formerly known as Pig's Eye. (How the city got its first name is a funny, and very pagan, story. Remind me to tell you some time.) It's above the altar dedicated to the brothers Cyril and Methodius, missionaries to the Slavs, that you'll find the carving of Perun.

In 988, Prince Vladimir of Kiev decided to cement his political alliance with the Byzantine emperor by accepting baptism. In a move reminiscent of the mass Moonie weddings of the 80s, he had the entire population of Kiev herded down to the River Dnieper to undergo forcible assembly-line style mass baptism.

In an act of blatant hypocrisy, Vladimir also had his soldiers throw down the sacred god-poles of the city's main sanctuary, images which he himself had caused to be raised some years before.

Pro forma baptism notwithstanding, the people of Kiev were distraught to see the images of their old gods cast down. When Perun's image was pitched into the waters of the Dnieper—it had golden mustaches and a silver beard, a chronicler remembers—the people lined the riverbank.

“Swim, Perun, swim!” they cried.

And he did. The place downstream where He came to shore is still called Perun's Landing.

In the “St.” Paul carving, Perun lies on his side: cast down, but not yet drowned. It's a fine likeness, crisply rendered, based on the four-faced figure of the god Svantovit discovered at Zbruch in Poland in 1848. In His right hand—liquor-loving god that He is—He holds a drinking horn. It seems a telling touch, intimate.

Well, we're pagans, and pagans don't go to see a god empty-handed. Unfortunately, until that moment unaware of Perun's presence, neither of us had thought to bring a proper offering.

So I keep watch while my friend “liberates” some flowers from another altar, and Perun, giver of rain to pagan and non-pagan alike, receives His offering.

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 

 

What the names of the gods to themselves may be, we do not know.

We, their children, know them by their relational names.

 

Long ago, I learned from Tony Kelly of the Pagan Movement in Britain and Ireland the relational love-names of Earth and Sun: Mabh and Pahh, respectively. By these names I know them to this day.

But what of Thunder, Earth's other husband?

 

Two she loved in the days of her youth: Sun and Thunder, and how to choose between them?

In the end, she understood that the choice was in truth no choice at all, and she took them both to husband.

For this I have two hands, she said.

 

The old Pagan Movement did not number Thunder, Earth's left-hand husband, among those that they honored, so they knew no name for him; but as me, I do. How, then, to Name him?

Last modified on
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Even Disney gets it right sometimes.
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    On Disney's The Owl House there is a girl named Willow with two fathers. I think she calls them Poppy and Dada, but I'm not certa

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 Some Showers Overnight

 

Rain on Down

A Prayer for Rain

 

Mighty Thunder, Lord of Lightning

Rain on down

Fecundator, Ejaculator

Rain on down

Sky Water, Sky Fire

Rain on down

Bull of Heaven

Rain on down

 

Meat smoke, incense smoke

Rain on down

Good, smoky whiskey

Rain on down

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 

Image result for lightning striking capitol

 

How do you say “damn” in Pagan?

It's always best to swear by one's own gods, which can leave pagans at a decided disadvantage when it comes to the Profanity Olympics.

Unlike some, pagans don't believe in eternal damnation, and pagan gods don't damn. So what's a poor pagan to say instead?

For my money, I'll take “blast.”

Though not immediately obvious as such, “blast” is actually a prayer, the invocation of a very specific pagan deity.

“Blast it!” you cry. You're calling on Thunder, bidding him destroy something (or someone) by lightning-strike. Not eternal damnation, perhaps, but still pretty nasty.

As a pagan curse word, “blast” (or its derivative adjectival form, “blasted”) has a lot of advantages.

  • It's pan-pagan: just about everyone honors the Thunderer.
  • While not exactly common in English swearing, it's not sufficiently uncommon to call undue attention to itself.
  • You've really got to admire the concision of a one-word prayer.

In sum, “blast” fits nicely with the way that pagans see the world. Wishing sudden destruction by violent divine intervention on someone (or something) is bad, but with us, it's as far as things go.

For pagans, death pays all debts.

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mr. Posch, Little Stewie from "Family Guy" wasn't wrong. "Blast!" is a great curse word. The HBO TV series, "Rome" also had som
  • Katie
    Katie says #
    So more it be!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Thunder Cakes

Let me ask you a theological question.

It really is true that you can find just about anything on the internet. What I was fortunate enough to find was a cookie cutter in the shape of what witches call the Melner: Mjöllnir, Þór's Thunder Hammer.

Clearly—now that the Summer heat seems to be over, at least for the time being—it's time to bake some Thunder cakes.

So here's my question:

What kind of cookies would the Thunderer like best?

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Katie
    Katie says #
    I’m thinking... thunder comes with rain, so something warm. Thunder comes with lightning, so something with a bite. I’d say, reall
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Thor is married to Sif so anything made of wheat. Like literally anything made of wheat lol.
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Not rye?
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Any grain really, and my gnosis is she enjoys corn, but the story about her hair is a metaphor for wheat harvest so wheat specific
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Lightning is known to strike oak trees a lot, so I'm guessing something with nuts in it. Homemade pecan sandies to start with, th

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Sometimes an Omen is Only an Omen

At exactly 12 midnight last night, the wire broke on the Thunder icon that has hung over my bed for the last 25 years, and the whole heavy panel of painted wood slid down the wall to where I lay sleeping below.

If it had clobbered me on the head, it would have been painful, at very least, if not downright injurious. Instead it wedged neatly between the edge of the futon and the wall, and I woke to the sound of rattling bed-slats.

To the best of my knowledge, that's the first time I've ever woken up with a god in the bed.

All's well that ends well: I'm fine, the painting's fine. I put things right, read for a while, and go back to sleep.

Moral of the story:

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mr. Posch, That is indeed why one of Apollon's epithets is, "Loxias"... "The Oblique". Glad the Deathless Ones saw fit to spare
Santeria Envy, or: What Do You Say When You Hear Thunder?

Sometimes you can't help but be jealous.

Guillermo was born in Havana, so naturally our conversation eventually turned to Santeria. Like most New Pagans, I've got a pretty pronounced case of Santeria envy.

Guillermo grew up surrounded by the Way of the Saints but doesn't really practice it any more.

“I still find myself saying Eparreí Changó whenever I hear thunder, though,” he said, laughing. “Some things you never lose.”

Oh, those fortunate intact cultures.

What do you say when you hear that first peal (or rumble, or crash) of Thunder in a storm? Certainly it calls for some sort of response. When someone you love and respect calls to you from across the room, do you ignore it and say nothing? Probably not.

In the old days, pretty much all cultures had a healthy respect for the Thunderer. It's hard not to. He's big, he's loud, he's powerful, and we couldn't get along without him. 1400 years ago, the Anglo-Saxon Hwicce—the original Tribe of Witches—called Him Þunor.

We call Him Thunder today. When I first hear His voice, I've taken to greeting Him by Name, along with a vocable: a word without literal meaning that signifies nonetheless.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Ian Phanes
    Ian Phanes says #
    I say: "Hail, Taranis!"
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Honestly my usual response is: "was that thunder, or did someone crash their truck?"

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