The Elder Futhark: Naudhiz

The Elder Futhark: Naudhiz

The tenth, and second rune of Heimdallr’s ætt, is Naudhiz, which corresponds to the “N” sound in the Latin alphabet (the alphabet we use).  This is a another one of the most negative runes you can get, whenever it comes up. It does occasionally have positive sides, but I’ll talk about that later. It is the rune of restriction, need, and scarcity. Naudhiz doesn’t really have any good meanings, so if you pull up this rune, you’re going to be in for a difficult time, unless it is talking about something in the past.


In Anglo-Saxon, Naudhiz is spelled Nyd, and in Old Norse it is Nauðr .  Nauðr is the rune of need, constraint, and famine.  It speaks of times when need fires were created to burn away famine or diseases.

Our ancestors were no strangers to nature’s destructive forces. That included failed crops, famine, and disease. This was a time when people did without. Naudhiz is the rune of “not,” and it meant that people would most likely suffer when this rune was cast.

Divination with Naudhiz

When you get this rune in a casting, it informs you that what you desire is unlikely to come about, or maybe, there are constrains regarding the outcome. If your life is in need, that is, you’ve lost your job, you’re out of money, or maybe your relationships aren’t working, and you get Naudhiz in the present position, or the matter being considered, chances are it’s just a reflection of your life or plans at the present moment. People who pull Naudhiz in the present or past position have been feeling like their lives have been constrained or lacking something. If you get Naudhiz in the future position, it suggests your plans and life are going to constrained in some way.  Naudhiz often means no.

Naudhiz doesn’t seem to have a positive side to it, and in many cases it doesn’t. But at the same time, maybe it’s like the Rolling Stones song which says “You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometime, you just might find, you just might find, you get what you need.”  Like all runes, the context of the constraint depends on its position and the runes surrounding it. The runes feed off of each other, creating a broader picture for the caster.

Should you get this rune in your castings, you may think it means you’ll never get what you’re working toward. Well, maybe. The runes don’t differentiate between big and little. It’s up to you to determine whether you get disappointed because your lottery ticket didn’t win, or you didn’t get that promotion you were expecting, or if you lose your job. Naudhiz can mean all those things, so you need (see what I did there?) to be very specific, and even then, the runes may address something else in your life, and not what you were asking for.

Some Final Thoughts on Naudhiz

When Naudhiz appears in a spread, you may panic. Don’t. Sometimes it may be addressing something that you are needy in and need to work on improving. Maybe in the future spot it is serving as a warning, rather than an actual future. Remember, you can change your path. That’s one of the awesome parts of weaving our own Wyrd.

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5 Ways Heathens Can Celebrate the Summer Solstice

5 Ways Heathens Can Celebrate the Summer Solstice

Ah, it’s already June again, which means we’re almost at Summer Solstice.  Saturday, June 20th is the solstice, which marks the longest day of the year. This is the time when we celebrate the spring and summer gods and goddesses such as Freyr, Freyja, Baldr, Thor, and Sif, as well as Sunna. Here are five ways you can enjoy the solstice, even though you may still have to be careful with COVID-19.

Get Up and Greet the Sunrise

Okay, this is for those early birds who can get up and greet the new day. Or, for those of us who are night owls, who stay up long enough to see dawn break.  The rest of you mere mortals will probably be a bit bleary-eyed for this. Even so, prepare a blot and offer it to Sunna, the wights, the ancestors, and to the gods and goddesses of summer.

Leave Summer Solstice Offerings to the Gods and Wights at Your Outdoor Altar

Thank the gods and goddesses for another year, and leave them offerings for good harvests and health. Don’t forget the wights and the ancestors either, especially when it comes to good harvests on the summer solstice. The local wights are said to make the difference between a good harvest and a bad one. So, even if you’re agnostic about wights, like I am, err on the part of superstition and offer them something. Don’t have an outdoor altar? Use this day to make one now! Follow this link for how to create an easy-to-make outdoor altar.

Do Something Outdoorsy

The best way to celebrate the summer solstice is to get outdoors and do something that helps you enjoy the long daylight. This includes simple things like taking a walk, going hiking, going fishing, or doing some type of activity that involves getting outdoors. With COVID-19, remember to keep your distance from people who are not in your household, and to wear masks if you’re heading somewhere people are present.

Sorry to be a killjoy about it, but we’re still in the midst of a pandemic. So, go outside, but do so responsibly.

Hold a Pork Feast for Your Family

Plan on preparing pork for your dinner on the summer solstice, whether it is pork chops, a pork roast, or even a ham. Pigs are special to Freyr, so having pork is a good way to celebrate the god.  So, crack open that bottle of mead and offer a toast to the gods, along with those who live with you to Sunna, Baldr, Freyja, and Freyr.

Tend to Your Garden

You do have a garden, don’t you? Even if it’s only a few herb pots or flowers, give them extra care today. Summer solstice is the longest day of the year when photosynthesis is at its peak due to all that sun. Even if it’s cloudy, the daylight provides extra time for growth.

I hope I’ve given you some cool ideas for this solstice. Let me know what you’re planning on doing for the summer solstice in the comments.

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Creating Your Own Altars

Creating Your Own Altars

Thanks to the requests of my patrons, I’ve got plenty to write about! Sheta Kay was kind enough to give me an idea for this next post. I’ve covered altars in the past, but probably not as much as I should. So, let’s talk about altars and how to construct one.

What were Altars Like in the Past?

Because of Christianity, we really don’t have much information to go on when it comes to Heathen altars.. We can assume they set altars in the corner of the house. Most likely, they had small statues and other objects that they considered holy.  Maybe they were significant to the wights of the area and the gods. Offerings were left at the indoor altar to the gods and local wights. and it was a place to reflect and pray.
Outdoor altars were typically made of stones in a cairn-like formation, or as wooden staves with the gods’ and wights’ faces carved into the pole. The Northern people drove these staves into the ground in sacred places. People probably left offerings and performed blots there.

What Did People Consider Holy Ground?

We’ve all heard of holy ground—certainly in vampire movies and other stories. But the concept of holy ground was not just confined to Christianity. As a matter of fact, our ancestors understood thresholds very well. As a result, they ringed their hofs (temples) with fences made from stone or wood. The inside yard, Heathens called a hörgr, and everything within it was considered holy.
The interesting part about the hof and hörgr was that they weren’t always used as a place of worship. The people held town meetings and thing within a hof. The hörgr might have merchants and temporary shops in an open-air market set up for people to trade and buy things.

Hof and Hörgr

Nowadays, most of us Heathens are a scattered bunch, and with COVID-19, we may be scattered even more for some time. It’s unlikely that having a hof and hörgr in most communities will happen for some time, since Heathenism is a small religion, when compared with Christianity, or even Wicca.

Creating Your Own Indoor Altar

Creating your indoor altar is relatively easy. Choose a piece of furniture, or even a shelf on a book case, and add your statues and images of the gods and wights as you see fit. You may not have the money to purchase those statues, so if you’re artistically inclined, draw or paint your own. Or maybe bring in things that remind you of the certain gods. For example, I have wolves for Tyr and Skadi, a fox for Loki, horses for Freyr and Odin, Mjolnir for Thor, and a cat for Freyja. I also have stones, feathers, and elder branches for the wights.

Outside Altars

I have instructions for creating your own outdoor altar HERE. The instructions are for a cairn, but you can also create your own outdoor altar by creating or buying staves and putting them in a special spot in your yard. I’ve heard of people using sticks, or even tongue depressors and drawing the pictures of the gods on them using permanent markers. You can also write the names of the gods you wish to honor on the stick in runes and use them that way.
I hope I’ve given you some ideas when it comes to creating your own altar. Tell me how you did in the comments and add a photo of your altar! I’d love to see it.
I’m giving a shout out to my patron, Sarah Keene, for her support on Patreon. Her donation, along with all my other patron supporters, is the reason why I’m able to continue this blog. Thank you for your support!
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A Heathen’s View, For What It’s Worth: George Floyd and Riots

A Heathen’s View, For What It’s Worth: George Floyd and Riots

“There’s battle lines being drawn
Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong
Young people speaking their minds
Getting so much resistance from behind

It’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down”

For What It’s Worth, Buffalo Springfield, Lyrics by Stephen Stills

George Floyd’s Death Was Wrong

If you even pay attention to the news in a small way, you know the current riots have been precipitated by the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a police officer knelt on his neck for minutes even after he gasped, “I can’t breathe.” This post has to address that incident before I can get to the issue that also needs addressing: riots. I’ll say right out that cops have some of the most thankless jobs, and most are good people. There are black cops, Hispanic cops, and cops of various minorities. But, there are bad cops too. The police force is made up of people. Some people are good; others bad. It’s just what it is.

That being said, what those Minneapolis police officers did was wrong. Floyd may have resisted arrest that warranted him being in restraints, but there was absolutely no reason the officer in question should have put his knee and body weight into the Floyd’s neck, especially after he stop resisting. The neck, as anyone with medical, or even martial arts, experience can tell you, is particularly delicate and harbors the trachea and critical blood vessels. Take out the windpipe and there’s a good chance for asphyxiation. Block off the carotid and jugular, and you can cause brain damage or death.

You can argue that the drugs in Floyd’s system may have contributed to his death. Granted. But cops restrain people who have done drugs all the time without resorting to kneeling on their necks. Yes, we haven’t seen what led up to the arrest, but seriously? The end shows us the guy’s final minutes of life where he wasn’t struggling. There was no excuse for killing Floyd. Period.

Peaceful Demonstrations Versus Riots

Naturally, there have been protests. But there have also been riots. A lot of them even in cities where there are black mayors and black police chiefs. The peaceful protests, I get. Really. It’s our Constitutional right to protest peacefully. It’s the riots that have me scratching my head.

While I can’t say with certainty that there are two different groups at play here, it does seem like it. There are the peaceful protesters who march during the day, and the rioting and looting people at night. Now, I get that people are angry. I’m angry too. But destroying one’s neighborhoods and the your neighbors’ businesses have always been counterproductive. We’ve seen that in the 60s and 70s. It solved nothing except bring anarchy. More people get injured and killed. More tensions. The question that I have to ask is, what’s the end game here? Justice? How will more death bring about that?

Why Do We Have to Go Through this Again?

I grew up when the nightly news was filled with race riots and protests over Vietnam. By the late 70s, early 80s, I thought that people had finally accepted that people of different color were entitled to the same treatment. I made the (stupid) assumption that because I harbored no ill will towards minorities, very few other people harbored ill will. Apparently, I was naive and wrong in my early adulthood. I apologize for my gross assumption.

At the same time, I have to ask myself why the fuck do we have to go through this yet again? Why are there people who insist that being prejudice is really the way to go? Do we really have to devolve to the point where we’re treating people according to the color of their skin? And why is it that people insist on rioting whenever there are protests? It really boggles the mind.

A Heathen Perspective

If you’re anywhere familiar with our gods, you know that the Aesir welcomed other so-called “races” into their pantheon. They accepted the Vanir after ending the war with them. They accepted the Jotun who were willing to join them. How many gods took Jotun consorts or were the result of a Jotun and Aesir coupling? We can look at the gods and goddesses and find tolerance even when it came to Loki (at least for a while). When someone in higher authority such as a police officer kills another human being under his control, does that anger you or make you fearful? It should. It shouldn’t matter whether the person is black, white, yellow, blue, or purple. Intentionally or not, it is murder. If you are white, and the roles were reversed, would you feel angry if a black cop did that to a white suspect? (If you aren’t as angry about Floyd’s death?)

We are all human. At some point in our ancestors, we all had black ancestors.  The white coloring occurred to adapt to the less sun of the northern latitudes. A simple genetic adaptation to enhance our Vitamin D production has somehow made some people think they’re better than people who aren’t in their ethnicity. Ludicrous.

This is why we can’t allow folkish and prejudicial attitudes to stay in Heathenry. When you start segregating our one species into colors and deciding who is better by the arbitrary decision, we get what we see in Minneapolis.

Just something to think about.

Add Coronavirus and Mix

To make matters worse, we’re still in the middle of a pandemic. Which means we are probably going to see a resurgence of COVID-19 again. The virus doesn’t care about black or white—all it does is infect. I fear deeply that we aren’t dealing with the real enemy, which is one that doesn’t discriminate.

Back to the Riots

People are going to have their own opinions—and surprise! Some people you’re just not going to agree with. Just like you’re not going to agree with everyone. Hel, you may not agree with me. I won’t go and riot about it, if you don’t. The problem with the riots is I don’t think they’re the protesters. I think the rioters are people who have the most to gain from civil unrest. Namely the extremists on both the right and the left. When you watch what’s going on, keep this in mind. And in the immortal words of Buffalo Springfield, “It’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound. Everybody look what’s going down.”

Ch-ch-ch-changes!

Ch-ch-ch-changes!

“We fear change.” — Garth, Wayne’s World.

I’ve realized I’m at a juncture with The Rational Heathen. I’ve gone from a blog to a very popular blog. A popular blog with growing pains. Which means I need to start changing it a bit to keep it fresh and more popular.

Now, before you freak out, this isn’t going to be massive changes. These are changes that I believe are necessary to grow. I’ve done a lot of thinking, and a lot of consulting with my various deities. I’m pretty sure I know what direction it needs to continue in. And there is a necessity for doing so. The Rational Heathen is a great blog, and I want it to continue to be a great blog. So, these changes will just make it better for all of you.

Open for Submissions!

Don’t worry! The Rational Heathen isn’t going anywhere, and my focus and opinions aren’t changing. If anything, I’m coming up with plans to add more content, which means I’m looking to add a group of like-minded writers to the mix of my writing. So, if you’re a Heathen, and you like to WRITE and GET PAID, you need to message me on my Facebook Page (www.facebook.com/rationalheathen). I can’t promise a lot of money up front. Right now, I’m thinking $5 a blog piece, but that will increase if the site grows with more patrons.

Going to a Monthly Plan

First, let me say that there will be plenty of free content for readers. That hasn’t changed. That being said, I have to change around my Patreon plans. I’ve been meaning to do this for some time, but as wonderful as the per-piece Patreon plan for premium content has worked out, the uncertainty leaves many potential patrons at a loss as to how much they’re spending. Going to a month donation will keep it simple, and people can budget for it. As much as this first month is going to hurt me–because my patrons have been switched to a month-only plan–I think in the long run, this is the right step. Time will tell.

On a negative side, if you’re donating less than $5 a month, you won’t have access to patron-only content any longer. Sorry. Sign up for the $5 a month patron scale to get access to your freebies again. But, chances are you were already donating that amount or more each month, which makes the flat $5/month a real bargain.

BTW, if you mean to donate MORE money (and by the gods, I won’t discourage that!), sign up for one of the higher tier plans and you’ll get some nice goodies, too.

Become a Patron!

The Monthly Patreon Plans

$5/month plan — all posts, patron-only content, and patron-only forums.

$12/month plan — Everything above, plus a 3-Rune Reading (for entertainment purposes only). And a free sticker after 3 months.

$25/month plan — Everything above, plus shout-outs and a free month advertisement on The Rational Heathen. Plus a free mug after 3 months.

$50/month plan — Everything above, plus free Heathen artwork for your phone/computer background/screen saver. Plus a free t-shirt after three months.

All of the deliveries of the plans will be after the first billing, with the exception of the merch.

Trusting in the Process

This is a gigantic step for me. It will no doubt piss off some of my patrons, but you can probably see that this may actually SAVE you money in the long run. No more “am I getting billed $5 or $10 this month?” or “I can’t figure out how much she will actually produce, or how much it will cost.” Instead, a clear-cut figure. No guesswork.

I have to trust in the process and take the hits as they might happen. Yeah, the small amount to buy in was attractive, but it could be deceptive. So, I’m being more upfront on this.

Please feel free to let me know what you think of this. Oh, and while you’re at it, support this blog on my Patreon page! Become a Patron!

 

ETA: Changes in plans due to merchandise. Yes, it costs me money!

Foxfire and Ancestral Knowledge

Foxfire and Ancestral Knowledge

Disclaimer: The Foxfire books I show have links to Amazon when you click them, where you can buy them for a mere 99¢ each for the Kindle edition. These are affiliate links, and I would sincerely appreciate you use them to buy these books because a small portion of the sale goes to me, the Rational Heathen, to support this website and to keep me writing. Thank you in advance if you do make a purchase through my links because you’re supporting the Rational Heathen.

Today I thought I’d talk about ancestral knowledge and the Foxfire books. If you haven’t heard about them, or haven’t had a chance to read some of them, you’re in for a treat.

Like many of you, I’ve been staying around home, even more so than normal with the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. Even though my state is loosening up the orders, I’m determined to pretty much not go anywhere except for food and necessary items.  After all, the less I intermingle with the masses, the less I’m likely to contract—or spread—the contagion. Which means I’ve been trying to make money, plus research things. Which brings me to the Foxfire books.

What are the Foxfire Books? (And Why You Should Be Interested in Them)

Way back when I was a kid (oh gods, she’s starting with THAT again), I heard about a series of books that students in the Foxfire School at the Rabun County High School in Georgia published. These books contain the oral history, knowledge, and legends of people in southern Appalachia. These books were an attempt to talk to the “old timers” who had knowledge passed down to them. Their parents taught them; the grandparents taught the parents. And so on. It’s a rich history with legends and folklore.

The reason you should consider reading them is that because the Southern Appalachians were so isolated (until the mid-20th century), they kept their own culture and their own folklore that had been handed down to them from oral tradition from their ancestors. Some of it has certainly changed over time, but if you look hard enough, you’ll see medieval culture and traditions of common folk in these books. It’s worthwhile checking out.

Where the Ancestors of the Southern Appalachian Peoples Came From

“The early settlers were primarily Scotch-Irish Presbyterians from northern Ireland and Palatinate (west Rhine) Germans,” says the National Park Service in their publication, Mountaineers and Rangers. These people came to the region mostly between 1720 and 1760 to escape poverty and religious persecution. They originally settled in Pennsylvania, and then headed west and south as the newly fledged United States added states and territory to its holdings. Many of the people who traveled through the southern parts of the Appalachians didn’t stay. They moved west into the Ohio Valley, settling in places like Arkansas and Missouri. But there were a group of people who loved the mountains and decided to make their home in the Southern Appalachians.

I can’t help think that some of these people were in the same group that the Pennsylvanian Dutch come from. The Pennsylvanian Dutch settled in Pennsylvania between the late 1600s through the early 1800s. It’s just these people decided that, for whatever reason, Pennsylvania wasn’t home for them. So, we can safely assume that their culture was a mix of Irish, Scottish, and German.

Fast Reads and the Price is Right on Kindle

I have a confession to make: when the books came out oh-so-many-years ago, I had little desire to read them. Why? Well, I spent several years on the East Coast while growing up and country things were looked down on back then. In other words, if you weren’t with the hip crowd, you were redneck. Or hillbilly. Or whatever. In other words, I caved to peer pressure from idiots I couldn’t care less about. Plus I had enough to read and pay attention to during those years, which pretty much kept me from delving into one more interest. I had always meant to look up Foxfire on Kindle books, but again, time and the attention span of a gnat failed to get me to even enter the word “foxfire.” No, I was looking for some other books when Amazon had a bunch of recommended reading for me. And the Foxfire Americana books popped up. And the price? 99¢ each!

Okay, the Americana series is a shortened version of the full series, but the price was enticing.  So I bought one and became enamored with the information, that I bought several. And I’m reading them and enjoying them. But I am looking at it from a cultural perspective: where did this or that idea come from? Was it something that came from hard lessons learned, or was it something people did in Europe at that time with maybe a few changes? The clues are in the stories.

Granted, if you really want to read the full versions, they’re available, but they are expensive. The entire 14-book Foxfire Series will cost you around $245.50 USD, which is pricey. But hey, if you want to buy them, use the link I’ve provided.

But Foxfire isn’t Heathen! Or is it?

If you’re new to Heathenry—or new to the Rational Heathen—you might be thinking I’ve lost my mind on this. Well, you’d be right to say I’ve lost my mind, but not on this topic. You see, the Foxfire books are about preserving the knowledge of the past—or, of ancestors, if you prefer. Now, they may not have been my ancestors, or your ancestors, but they were people who were related to the Northern peoples of Europe. And while their lineage most likely didn’t come from nobility, but from common folk, their stories are no less important. And as the good Doctor says, “We are all stories in the end. Just make it a good one.” (There’s your Doctor Who reference for the day!)

Heathenry is about ancestors, as well as the Northern gods. On a basic level, we wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for our ancestors. We know from epigenetics that our ancestors’ experiences changed their DNA, which has changed ours as well. And our experiences will no doubt change our DNA for our descendants. By understanding the history and traditions of our ancestors, we learn how the lived their lives, and what was important to them.

PS: I’m thinking about writing reviews about these books. Let me know if that interests you in the comments.

 

5 Great Things to Heathens Can Do to Celebrate Eostre Anytime (and While Under Quarantine)

5 Great Things to Heathens Can Do to Celebrate Eostre Anytime (and While Under Quarantine)

Okay, by now you’re all probably sick and tired of the quarantines and stay-at-home directives. It’s no big thing for me because I’m a writer, and more importantly, an introvert. (Gosh, a writer with a scientific degree? An introvert? Unheard of!) Anyhow, while the Christians are bemoaning they can’t go to mass for Easter, we Heathens can still celebrate the month of Eostre. Even if you’re the sole Heathen among people of other faiths in your household, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy yourself during this time. Here are five ways you can celebrate the Feast of Eostre (whether or not you believe she is a goddess):

1. Dye Eostre Eggs with Your Own Natural Dyes

This one takes a little bit of work and some ingredients, but the colors are spectacular and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t try it at least once. Most of the ingredients are probably already in your refrigerator or pantry. Here are some links to recipes for dyeing your eggs with natural ingredients that are completely safe (unless you have an allergy to particular food ingredients):

  • Kitchn has some eggcellent recipes for dyeing your eggs colors such as blue, pink, lavender, yellow, and orange. They tell you what your eggs will look like if you use white eggs or brown eggs. (Hint: use both and have a host of cool colors!)
  • Good Housekeeping has similar recipes, but includes a way to make your eggs dark blue. I like their suggestions.

Dyeing eggs with your own colors is more fun than using tablets out of a package. And you’ll probably like the results better.

2. Eostre Egg Hunts for the Kids (and Pets)

This one doesn’t have to be for kids only, but if you’re alone or staying home with your significant other and no one else, this isn’t probably as fun as it could be. Naturally if you have a yard, hiding eggs becomes easier, but you can also hide eggs in a specific room. If you hide eggs inside, be sure to have an egg count, otherwise you may be in for a nasty surprise (and smell) in a couple of weeks. And while you’re at it, if you have a pet, you might want to hide some treats for them and show them the first few treats, so they might get the idea of searching for treats. Dogs can usually figure this out, but I’m not discounting cats.

3. Have a Feast in Honor of the Gods and Goddesses of Spring

Whether or not you believe that Eostre was the Anglo Saxon goddess (or Ostara, a Germanic goddess) of spring and fertility, we can always hold a feast in honor of the gods and goddesses of spring. Roast a pig or ham in honor of Freyr, and dedicate the feast in honor of him, Freyja, Thor, Gerdr, Sif, and Idunn, among any other gods and goddesses you’d like to include. Even if you’re a solitary Heathen, you can make yourself some pork and make an offering or blot to the gods.

4. Get Your Garden Planted

Whether you live on a farm, in the suburbs, or in the city, you can have your own garden, even if it is only a container garden. In most parts of America, it’s warm enough to start seedlings outdoors, and for those of us who live in the colder climates, we can start them indoors. Not sure what to plant? Start with herbs. Most are easy enough to grow, and you can dry them and use them in a number of recipes and in rituals. Container gardens are great for apartment dwellers because they take up very little room and they are portable.

5. Meditate Outdoors

It’s springtime, which means that you should probably enjoy the outdoors. But with the quarantine, you may be pressed to find a spot where you can enjoy yourself. With meditation, you don’t need a big place to get away: your balcony or backyard will do. Or, if you’re not under a strict stay-at-home order, find a quiet place in a park or forest where you can be away from people and simply meditate. Never meditated before? Check out Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics. Meditate on the season and the world around you. It will help ground you as a Heathen plus put you more in touch with the gods and goddesses of Heathenry.

Okay, so now you have some things to do for celebrating the Feast of Eostre. Go, and have fun. And stuff yourself with chocolate bunnies, because I said so. Next post, I’ll give you ideas for keeping yourself and the kids busy while indoors.

Disclaimer: This post contains links to affiliates that give The Rational Heathen a small stipend if you purchase from them. I would encourage you if you’re going to buy these products to purchase them here so you support this blog. Thanks!

Celebrating Spring with the Gods Despite the Coronavirus

Celebrating Spring with the Gods Despite the Coronavirus

It’s spring in the Northern Hemisphere (finally), even though in many parts of the world, we still have winter weather. During this time, our thoughts normally turn to the more pleasant weather and outdoor activities. This year may be a bit different, though. I’ve promised myself to not make every post about the 800-pound gorilla in the room (Coronavirus/ COVID-19), but talking about celebrating spring is going to be tempered with what we’re dealing with. So, if you’re looking for great things to do while still being mindful of the pandemic, I’ve got your ideas right here.

Enjoy the Weather

Just because everyone is distancing doesn’t mean you can’t do things. Just don’t plan on crowd activities or activities with anyone other than those who live with you. Instead, try getting out to wild places like National Forests and Wilderness areas. Try to go places where you know you won’t have to deal with other people. Can’t get away or too far to avoid other people? Have a picnic in your backyard or on your balcony.

Get Out and Hunt or Fish

If you hunt or fish, check out what season it is for hunting certain game, or fishing. You might want to try your hand at other types of hunting that you haven’t done in the past, largely because of other commitments. Who knows? You might find a new type of hunting you enjoy?

While you’re at it, offer blots to Skadi and Ullr, because they are the goddess and god of hunting. And if you’re into fishing, a blot to Ran and Njord might work well.

Offer Blots to the Gods and the Local Wights

Eir is the goddess of healing, and a Valkyrie. Making offerings for healing both humans and the world is not a bad idea at this time. Give offerings to the gods and goddesses of spring. Include Freyja, Freyr, Eostre, Sif, Gerdr, and Thor in your blots for a prosperous and healthy spring. Be sure to include animals and new plantings so that there are good harvests in the fall. I talk about making an outdoor altar HERE.

Don’t forget the local wights. Although I am agnostic when it comes to them, I admit that I offer the local landvaettir something to ensure they are happy. They can make a difference between positive experiences and negative ones.

Get Your (Container) Garden Planted

I’ve talked a lot about getting closer to your Heathen roots by planting gardens, even if it’s a container garden. Now is the time to do it, if you have good weather. Even apartment dwellers can plant container gardens and enjoy them. I recommend planting seeds for vegetables and herbs because they’re useful and you can use them in cooking, but you can choose whatever you’d like. Maybe some flowers that will make your place look beautiful?

Read Those Books You’ve Been Meaning To

If you’re like me, you have a gazillion books on the shelves that you haven’t read. Time to dust them off and start reading them. Or if you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber like I am, you can read as many books as you care to for $9.99 a month with Kindle Unlimited.

Do Some Spring Cleaning

Frigga and Frau Holle will be delighted if you decide to do some spring cleaning. Anyway, you should be disinfecting things because of the virus, but this gives you an excuse to finally get all those dirty dishes out of your sink.

 

Just Have a of Coffee or Tea, and Enjoy the Weather

Okay, if you can’t get to your favorite coffee shop, brew up some coffee or tea and sit on the porch or on the balcony and just enjoy the weather. Don’t get too enamored with the Internet, because yes, it will rot your brain. Okay, I don’t have any proof of that, but seriously staying online all the time isn’t good for you. Sit and enjoy the weather and the coffee (or tea). Meditate. Thank the gods you’re not sick, or if you are, do what you can for a speedy recovery.

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The Month of Gói or Women’s Month

The Month of Gói or Women’s Month

Sorry I dropped off writing about the months. I’ll pick up now with the month of Gói, which is the fifth winter month in the Norse calendar. We don’t know a lot about the traditions of this particular month, except that the Norse named it after the daughter of Þorri, or Thorri. The month of Þorri precedes Gói, and is most known for its Thorrablot. Thorri is a winter spirit, akin to our own Jack Frost. Farmers held a blot to Gói in this month to welcome her. Tradition states that this month was the month where men took care of their women more. I can totally get behind that.

Weather During the Month of Gói

Gói runs somewhere between mid-February to mid-March, so there’s no doubt that even if the Spring Equinox is just around the corner, the weather during Gói was daunting during Viking times. The temperature in Norway was probably high 20s to low 40s Fahrenheit during the month, with occasional drops below zero. Sure, there were thaws, but the weather was too cold to consider planting, given that you could have some pretty nasty freezes. I suspect that farmers welcomes Gói because of the signs of an upcoming spring (even though they had only two seasons: winter and summer). Maybe Gói was considered a herald for summer when the farmers could plant their crops? Regardless, it’s unlikely anyone farmed during this time.

What Did People do with All that Winter?

At this point, you’re probably wondering how people didn’t go stir-crazy with all that winter. There were plenty of things to do during winter, especially crafting and repairs. People had to keep their livestock alive, which meant proper care for them in the winter so they would have wool, fiber, meat, and milk for the rest of the year. There was hunting, if you wanted fresh meat. They also played games, sang, told stories, and prepared their tools and weapons for the upcoming summer. And they had skis and ice skates to get around on the snow and lakes.

Food was what they preserved over the summer and fall. The cold, dry air allowed them to dry fish and other meats using a brine to help preserve them. The only fresh food was the meat they could hunt and catch, and perhaps milk, if their cows or goats started to calve or kid.  As a side note, you know all about the Christmas fruitcake, made from dried fruit and nuts. Well, I suspect these cakes come from earlier times as a way to provide a treat with fruit, even when the fresh fruit was out of season.

New Life

About this time, the livestock would start giving birth to their offspring. I know, because that’s how my goats are, if I breed them. The Viking farmers would’ve kept their calves, kids, and lambs inside with the other livestock, possibly in a birthing pen so the little ones could stick around their mom and not get trampled by the rest of the herd. They would’ve taken the extra milk to make cheese or use in cooking after the young ones had eaten their fill.

So, the month of Gói was largely spent in preparation for summer. In a few weeks, I’ll talk about the next month, Einmánuður.

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