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Author: The Rational Heathen

Understanding the Runes

Understanding the Runes

I’ve been meaning to write about rune castings and rune readings, as well as understanding the runes, but I’ve had no time. Or less than no time. Because of this, I’ve been sort of remiss in my duties as The Rational Heathen, as it provides good content. Nevertheless, I’m going to start off talking about the runes and try to get at least one rune covered every other post.  That’s my intent. I’ll see if I can really talk about the 24 runes and how they came about. Let’s begin.

The Story of Odin Hanging Himself on Yggdrasil

If you haven’t read the Havamal where Odin sacrifices himself to himself to gain the knowledge of the runes, here’s the translation:

137.
I trow I hung on that windy Tree
nine whole days and nights,
stabbed with a spear, offered to Odin,
myself to mine own self given,
high on that Tree of which none hath heard
from what roots it rises to heaven.


138.
None refreshed me ever with food or drink,
I peered right down in the deep;
crying aloud I lifted the Runes
then back I fell from thence.

Wow, pretty powerful stuff there. You might even notice the similarity to Christ’s crucifixion. I’ll touch on that another time, perhaps. TElder futharkhe story, if you haven’t gleaned it from the Havamal is that Odin hung himself on Yggdrasil for nine days and nine nights to get the runes. He offered himself to himself as a sacrifice. When he finally saw the runes, he took them and brought them to the gods and us humans.  Pretty cool, right?

What Scholars Think

The Elder Futhark is the oldest version of our runes (there are other sets, and I will talk about them later) dating somewhere to the first or second century CE or AD. I’ve written about their origin here. It’s believed that the Germanic peoples based their runes on the Italian alphabets, most likely either the Northern Etruscan or Raetic alphabets. They may have been based Venetic Raetic Camunic Lepontic alphabetson the Latin alphabet, but given Raetic has several rune-like characters, it’s likely the Germanic peoples adopted the alphabet and then made it their own, sometime even before the Roman Empire was in full swing.  The similarities between our Latin alphabet and the runic one  is too hard to ignore, so despite the verses in the Havamal explaining how Odin won the runes, we think it was more an assimilation of an alphabet created by someone else. The Etruscans and the Raeticians may have gotten their alphabet from the Greeks and Phoenicians, so it’s all good. Basically we’re dealing with an ancient alphabet founded on an even more ancient alphabet, and so on.

Where’s the Magic in a Derived Alphabet? (Or Understanding the Runes)

At this point, you may be wondering how we could possibly get magic out of a derived alphabet. Understanding the runes requires understanding their origin and what they actual do. The runes are considered sacred not only because of the myth that they were given to us by Odin but also because of what they do. They convey our thoughts and words, allowing us to talk not just to others around us but also to generations to come long after we’re gone. They have a special power to convey ideas across time and space. If that’s not magic, I don’t know what is.

So, what happens when you do a rune casting? I think it is something that connects with your subconscious and gives you advice when you cast them. I also get the feeling that the gods also give advice through the runes. I’ve seen it before, so even though it’s Unverified Personal Gnosis time, I truly believe this. I also know others have had a similar experience.

Casting Runes

You can cast runes anywhere, but it really helps if you have someplace quiet to do it.  You can cast it on anything, but I like using a special cloth–in this case, a bandana with wolves printed across it–to cast on. There are several different spreads to cast on, the most notably being the one rune, three rune, Teiwas shoat, nine rune, and the tarot cast. All work okay, but for simplicity sake, I use the three rune combined with one rune.  I’ll go through that later. The choice of rune casts are really up to you. Just make sure you understand the cast positions and what they mean. before doing the cast. For example: I can never remember what the positions mean in the Teiwas shoat, having not cast it enough. I gives me answers, but not necessarily clear answers because it’s muddled in my brain. That doesn’t mean it won’t work for you. (But you’d think a follower of Tyr would have better luck with it.) It’s better to go with something you know well, if you’re doing a formal cast. Just my opinion; your mileage may vary; not valid in all states; yada, yada, yada.

Stay Tuned Next Week: Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel…

I’ll start in on the runes and tell you both the common interpretations and my own insights. So, hang in there. (Heh! Pun intended, Odin!)

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Creating an Outdoor Altar

Creating an Outdoor Altar

I stumbled on this post on creating rock altars and I thought it was a good idea. Not only can you create an outdoor altar easily, but it’s low cost or free to do so. The fact that a rock altar is mentioned in the Eddas, it gives us precedence. Although I would highly dissuade you from having them steeped in the blood of your enemies — pesky laws, you know– you can easily make a rock cairn to the gods outside. I’ll look at those plus other thoughts for putting together an outdoor altar. (Yes, I know the god posts here are of Perun–get over it.)

Where to Put Your Outdoor Altar

Some of you don’t have the luxury of having acres of land. I get that. If you’re wishing to set up an outdoor altar, I’d highly recommend looking over the space you do have. If you live in an apartment, chances are, it’s going to have to be on your porch or in a place you can legitimately place your altar without trespassing or violating the laws. (Remember, I’m a follower of Tyr, so you’re going to get that from me.) If you are lucky enough to own a home with greenery to it, I suggest looking around and seeing if any place might be fitting for an outdoor altar. Maybe under a tree? Maybe in a corner where your neighbors can’t spy on you?

Anyway, wherever you choose, make sure it feels right. If necessary, ask the local wights to help you find the right place. You can get good feelings and bad feelings from places, so let that guide you toward your altar spot.

Perform a Salt Ritual on Your New Outdoor Altar Space

Once you have the spot in mind, clear the area and perform a salt purification ritual on it. The idea behind a salt purification ritual is to get rid of negative influences and wights who would try to cause harm to you and yours. Salt is a natural antibacterial agent. It kills bacteria by absorbing the water out of it. While a lot of the ritual is symbolic, you may feel better doing this ritual, even if you’re a skeptic like I am. I’ve found doing the ritual is incredibly soothing and makes me feel better. The space feels more positive. I suspect it is something in my mind, but hey, sometimes you’ve just got to take what you’re given.

Plan Your Altar

At this point, you need to have an idea how to plan your outside altar. Are you going to make a rock cairn, decorated with images and runes where you can pour your offerings on? Are you buying or creating god posts, that is, images of the gods in a wooden post you stick in the ground? Or are you planning an actual wooden, stone, or metal altar that you can put images of our gods on? All of these things are good.

My Plans for a Rock Altar

Seeing the piece about a rock altar got me thinking. I’ve been looking for smooth stone that has been worn by the elements even though I live in the mountains. The stones would come from a long dried up stream bed or maybe a glacier. I’ve been slowly collecting my stones for the cairn so I can add runes and paint them. My plan is to keep them on the porch, even though I have acres. The reason is simple: I want to be able to see it and access it even when the snows come. It requires less upkeep and lets me see the stones, reminding me of the gods and wights.

 

How to Create Your Own Runes on a Budget

How to Create Your Own Runes on a Budget

One thing that makes Heathens…well, Heathens, is the use of runes and runecasting. If you’re crazy like me, you probably have several sets of runes that you cast from. However, if you’re new to Heathenry, can’t afford to buy those awesome runes made from semi-precious stones, or just want to create your own runes, I have some ideas for you. Many of these ideas won’t break the bank, and don’t require expensive tools or materials to produce. Let’s get right to it, shall we?

Materials to Use

When you create your runes, you’re probably thinking you want them to last a while. And this is perfectly acceptable. Materials that will work for you include:


You can also choose paper, such as index cards or cardboard cutouts, although they won’t last as long as something made of stone, glass, wood, or leather. The positive side is that you can create your cards similar to Tarot cards and go that route. They are handy to carry around, while at the same time, you can illustrate them however you would like, even if it is only with the rune, itself. Popsicle sticks work awesomely as well, and you only have to mark the rune on the stick with a permanent marker.

Where to Get Your Materials to Create Your Own Runes

Obviously I’ve given some affiliate links here if you don’t want to scavenge your own materials. That being said, if you’re flat broke, or if you simply want to gather your own materials to create your own runes, you can do it easily.

Stones

Stones are…well, dirt cheap to free. Walk down any road, path, or in any forest, and I guarantee, you’ll find a rock somewhere. Probably rocks, plural. You can get picky and choosy if you want, or you can just take 24 of the best rocks you find in one outing.

Wood

If you have a hand saw, cut a branch off a dead tree that has the same width as the runes you want. Just don’t trespass, cut a live tree, or do something against the law. No, it is not cool to cut a branch off a tree in a local park. Don’t do it. Buy some cut wood online like the one I recommend.

Sticks

I’ve heard of people doing readings throwing sticks and bones. Basically, you have 24 sticks and you throw them down. You then read the pattern of the runes the sticks make. I’m thinking that sticks that are somewhere 3 to 5 inches long will probably work for this. The plus side is that you can get sticks nearly anywhere there are trees. Again, don’t be a wanker and cut branches from a live tree. There are usually plenty of sticks lying around trees.

Marking Your Runes

In most cases, you’re going to want to mark your runes on one side when you create your own runes. If you have material such as wood and you want to mark it permanently, you might consider using a wood burning pen. If you don’t have and can’t afford a wood burning pen, use a permanent marker and plan on varnishing or using clear coat on your runes. Stone requires paint or permanent markers and varnishing or using a clear coat on your artwork.

When it comes to sticks, if you want to keep them around for a while, clear coat or varnish will also preserve them.

So, what materials have you used? Let me know in the comments.

Disclaimer: This post links to affiliate sites where The Rational Heathen gets a small portion of the proceeds that will help keep this site running. I highly encourage you to use my links for your purchases to support this site.

How to Create an Altar without Breaking the Bank

How to Create an Altar without Breaking the Bank

One of my readers asked me to cover how to create an altar. It surprised me a bit, because while I do have an altar, you don’t have to have an altar. I tend to use my altar for offerings and to hold objects I deem sacred to me and to the gods.  Many Heathens, myself included, have done just fine without an altar for a long time. That being said, many Heathens have altars so that they may have a place to leave offerings, to pray, and to keep things sacred to them, such as their runes.

Your altar doesn’t have to break the bank — you can go elaborate or not. And you can choose what belongs on your altar. If the primary purpose for your altar is to honor the gods, that’s great. If you honor the wights on the altar, fantastic. Honoring the ancestors is good too. And, if you honor all three or a combination of the three, that’s perfectly acceptable.

Where to Put Your Altar

Your altar can be anywhere in your house where you are. Most people clear off a shelf or a small table to put their sacred objects on. Some people use a shelf or two in one of their bookcases, which is also very useful. Whatever you do, be sure to use that space only for your altar and nothing else. Sure, if you have a bookcase, you can have other shelves filled with books or whatever, but the altar should be considered a sacred space.

If you don’t have something that will work for an altar, you might need to buy an end table, coffee table, or bookshelf. If you’re strapped for cash, consider going to secondhand stores and yard sales. Get on freecycle and ask someone to donate a small table or bookcase for your needs. Where I live, entertainment centers that housed tubed TVs are no long in fashion since flat-screen TVs and are available dirt cheap or even free. Do some looking around and you’ll probably be able to score one. Those entertainment centers are just the ticket for an altar.

What to Put on Your Altar

A lot of people put statues of their gods, Mjolnir, and other symbols which remind them of their gods. If you’re honoring certain ancestors, you probably want to include photographs of the person you want to honor, if you have one. If not, maybe a certain thing they gave you, or maybe something that reminds you of them. Honor the wights in your area, by including a small rock, dried leaf, or even a pine cone or piece of a branch can symbolize the wight or wights you wish to honor.

If you can’t afford statues of the gods, or you haven’t found a statue that suits you, you can always create your own drawings, or if you’re not that artistically inclined, pick up things that remind you of the god. For example, you may want to have an image of a horse for Odin (Sleipnir)

You should definitely put your runes there as well as the cloth that you cast them on. You will also want to have bowls on the altar to put offerings in.

Creating Your Own Runes

If you don’t have runes, they’re pretty easy to make. You can make some easily by choosing interesting pebbles or small rocks and mark or paint the runes on each of them. You’ll need 24 for the Elder Futhark runes. If you do go this route, buy some varnish or clear coat to ensure that the markings stay on them. Since you’re using permanent markers, you can get pretty wild with the colors, including metallic ones. If you’re more craftsy than I am, you can make your own wood runes out of a tree branch that has been cut into 24 pieces. Burn the runes into the wood and shellac or clear coat them to preserve them. I’ll cover more rune ideas in a later post.

A Note on Gods, Jotunn, Wights, Ancestors

The reader who asked me to cover creating an altar told me about how a group of so-called Heathens told him that he wasn’t Heathen unless he only honored the ancestors. Baloney. Heathens honor the gods,–including the gods who are most special to them–the wights, and even the Jotunn. While many Heathens find help directly from their ancestors and wights, many other Heathens honor the gods, especially those gods who have aided them. If you’re new to Heathenry and you’re not sure which gods you should honor, go with those gods whom you relate to best. For example, Odin, Thor, Heimdallr, and Freyja may have piqued your interest. If so, plan on adding something to your altar that will remind you of them. Maybe you found a Christmas ornament in the shape of red skis. That could work for Skadhi or Ullr. I have a green stone with a golden fox on it. I have that for Loki, since foxes are known as tricksters.

There are plenty of ways to come up with something that will work for you, even if you are on a tight budget. With a little ingenuity, you can come up with an altar that will work for you.

Do I Have to Join Sex Rites as a Heathen?

Do I Have to Join Sex Rites as a Heathen?

Oh boy! The Rational Heathen gets to weigh in when it comes to sex rites. Look, before we get started, if you’re all for sex rites, orgies, and kink in your life, this post isn’t for you. You can merrily go about your business and have fun.  No, this is for those folks who are a bit on the uncomfortable side when it comes to joining in a sex rite that is purportedly Heathen.

A little bit of background: I’ve been doing research on Aleister Crowley, the occultist and sexual deviant who started his own religion, Thelema. His…ahem…antics, are somewhat legendary. So, I thought this is one area I haven’t really touched on (pardon the pun) and I figure it’s something you probably would enjoy reading about.

Let’s Talk Sex

My topic for today’s discussion is no doubt going to get some panties in a wad. I expect that. Everyone has their own comfort level with sex–heterosexual, bisexual, and homosexual. Some folks are closer to celibate and some are swingers. Some are into BDSM. What you do in your bedroom and is between consenting adults is pretty much your business. A large number of heathens are gay and lesbian, according to interesting polls. That being said, let me reiterate: what you do in your bedroom and is between consenting adults is pretty much your business. I’m not talking about you. No, I’m talking about coerced sex rights. I’m talking about people who claim you can only know a god or goddess if you perform sex with them or their members.

Anyone Can Communicate with Our Gods

Before we get any further on the sex thing, let me explain. Our gods are not the institutionalized gods of the Judaeo-Christian beliefs.  We don’t need priests, pastors, priestesses, gothi, gythia, or whatever to communicate with our gods. Our gods are listening. They are present, but not omnipresent. We do have to make an effort to communicate with them. But they don’t exclusively talk to the local priest or priestess. They may have more conversations with the gods due to their work, but a lay person can establish a relationship with gods, goddesses, and wights. No sex required.

My Own Experience

I’m not a prude, nor am I celibate. That being said, I had an interesting experience once when I was first getting into Heathenry. Tyr had contacted me some time before and I was going on the Internet in search of information. Eventually I landed on a site of a rather well-known Heathen. This Heathen had a website which looked pretty decent. Suddenly, I felt Tyr’s presence and he said flatly, “That person is full of shit. Stay away from them.”

I honestly couldn’t see the problem. The information looked decent enough, but I trust Tyr. It was a couple of years later when Tyr’s words proved spot on. I ran across several conversations how this person used their students for sex rites. Now, I don’t know the entire situation, but when a mentor starts using students for sex, it is a violation of trust.  Sure, they might be willing, in the hopes of gaining more knowledge or favors from the fertility and sex gods, but seriously? It is taking advantage of another person.  And that, my friend, is where I have a huge issue with it.

And I will call them a charlatan, because if they can’t teach without fucking, they’re not looking to teach you anything other than how they get their rocks off or how wet you make them. Remember: they don’t have the exclusive direct line to the gods and goddesses. In fact, I would state they don’t have a line to the Heathen gods because if they expect something from you that is freely given from the gods, they aren’t in this for teaching people. They’re in it to use and abuse people.

But What About Freyr and Freyja?

Ah, so what about Freyr and Freyja? Aren’t they sex gods? Well, yeah. And yeah, they do show up when you have sex.  But they don’t need you to fuck a gothi or gythia — your significant other or boyfriend or girlfriend whom I would imagine you feel something towards works just as nicely. And celibates can communicate with both of them just as easily as well. (I’ll leave that to your imagination.) And both of the Vanir are pretty receptive outside of sex, too.

The tl:dr Upshot

I suspect if you got this far, you did read this piece. That being said, if you feel uncomfortable running around naked (aka sky-clad), having sex with a gothi or gythia, having sex with someone you don’t know or barely know, having sex as a ritual, or having forms of sex you don’t want (BDSM, homosexual, heterosexual, or any sex that might be considered deviant), you should not ever have to do that. The gods and goddesses will hear you just fine and they don’t require sex rites. Anything else is coercion by someone who wants to use you. Don’t fall for it.

Did You Just Hear from Other Gods?

Did You Just Hear from Other Gods?

Although Tyr is my main god, sometimes other gods step into my life in a big way. It’s not uncommon for me to hear from Loki, Skadi, Thor, and Freyja, but lately Freyr has been making himself known.  It’s not that Tyr isn’t important–it’s just that Freyr needs to assert himself in my life. If you’ve ever had one god step into your life If you’ve ever had one god step into your life that wasn’t there before, you may be wondering why other gods and goddesses pop in and out of one’s life at various times. I want to address why and how to work in the new god or goddess into your life.

Our Gods Strengths

Our gods are very good at what they do.  Naturally, because they’re gods. But with few exceptions, they’re very good at what they’re known for and not as good outside those areas. For example, although there are many strong gods, Thor is the strongest and the most feared. At the same time, while he’s not stupid, he’s not the most clever god of the Aesir.  So, if you want help from an intellectual god, Thor probably wouldn’t be your first choice to help. You might go to him if he is your main god or if you are more familiar with him, but he may act as an intermediary between you and Odin or whomever.

Tyr’s Help

Tyr is the god of law. He’s an incredibly powerful god who gets few acknowledgments other than losing his hand to Fenrir to keep the wolf bound. My own UPG has determined that he’s not only the god of human laws, but also of the Universe. Meaning that while Odin and his brothers created the world, we have Tyr to thank for the laws of physics. Our universe makes sense thanks to Tyr. His laws govern our entire existence and the world around us. That makes him a pretty damn powerful god in my book.

But even though Tyr presides over an awful lot, he doesn’t deal with certain areas that are more human-related, such as growing crops, husbandry, hunting, and wealth. When I need advice or help in my life, Tyr will often refer me to another god, whose purview it is.  Sometimes that god will just show up on my figurative doorstep and offer counsel. Hence, my surprise having Freyr show up and advise me.

Good Allies to Have

Freyr is a good ally to have. He’s the son of Njǫrd, which makes him a god of prosperity, something I could use right now. Since Njǫrd is the god of wealth and the sea, Freyr has it “in” with his father.  Given that the Northern peoples relied heavily on the sea for trade and raiding, it’s little wonder an ocean god would also be considered a god of wealth.

If you have a problem that is outside of your god’s or goddess’s expertise, you should still ask them for help. Chances are, they may send you to other gods who are more familiar with the situation you are in. You may have a another god or goddess work with you on a particular problem, having had your main god make the introductions. Listen to the god who has more experience in your situation and meditate on whether it is good advice. Some gods, like Loki, are well-meaning, but can give terrible advice. Others may simply give good advice but you’re just not ready to hear it or use it. Nevertheless, thank the god or goddess and make an offering to them. Keep their image or a token of what reminds you of them on your altar and be sure to include them in blots.

Sometimes the newcomer isn’t a god but a wight. The same advice holds true here. They may be good allies to have or they may not be in your best interest at this time. Still, respect the wight and give it offerings. After all. they came to help you at the request of your main god.

Pay Attention

One thing to keep in mind is to pay attention to what the new god or wight has to say, even if they simply show up on your doorstep unannounced. Maybe you don’t have a problem that needs their expertise–yet. Maybe they know something you don’t and are there to help you through something which will be going on in your life. Still, other gods simply show up uninvited because you’ve piqued their interest for some reason.

Talk to your main god(s) and/or goddess(es) and find out if this will be beneficial or not. Some gods and wights you don’t want visiting for a myriad of reasons. If this is a god or wight whom your main god doesn’t want you to talk to, you’ll have to make a choice. If your main deities have not steered you wrong, you should politely thank the god or wight for their offer and refer them to the gods you have a better rapport with. However, if your main deities aren’t helping you, tread carefully because you don’t need an annoyed god on top of everything else. You may have to at least listen to the newcomer and see if his advice is sound. Talk to your gods and see if there’s a problem with going a different direction. Chances are, if your original gods aren’t helping, they’ll be glad to have you work with a newcomer.

This is just my advice, and as I often say YMMV or Your Mileage May Vary. Let me know what you think in the comments.  Thanks!

 

When You’re Stumbling Around in the Dark

When You’re Stumbling Around in the Dark

Where the fuck did April go? I swear, it was just the first week when I promised myself to sit down and write.  Only there were plenty of distractions, most of them from working as a professional writer and a small-time rancher. Like predators entering the horse pen.  Or trying to avoid the bear coming around to investigate things. Or my computer of five years taking a crap.

To make matters worse, I’ve been wracking my brains trying to come up with a better writing strategy. To be blatantly honest, very little of what I write makes lots of money, whereas before as a professional writer I did okay and made a reasonable living.  Since that time, a lot of things in my life changed and I seriously need to do damage control after so many bad things occurred. I won’t get into the issues involved, but let me say that although some were self caused, many were just a run of bad luck.  So, like a good Heathen, I decided to take stock of what I could do.

When the Gods Offer Advice

For several months I felt like I was alone. Tyr and Skadi were there, but they felt aloof. I suspect it was more me than them. The gods talk to those of us who listen, but sometimes when your life is a shitstorm, it’s hard to feel them. And yet, during this time, I’ve had conversations with Tyr. Which suggests I’m really not alone in all this. Around the Spring Equinox, Freyr stepped into my life. Not in a big way, per se, but as a counselor of sorts.  He directed me toward an avenue of novel writing that I had been capable of doing before the bunch of ugly things happened. Namely writing a book every few months. A writing friend of mine accidentally pointed me in that direction and we had a very frank conversation about what they were doing in terms of writing books.

Freyr told me to take this route because it had worked for me in the past. Never mind that I hadn’t been able to sit and write every day (sometimes I don’t practice what I preach) and I certainly hadn’t been able to write 1000 words a day on a novel, let alone the 2000 words I used to crank out.

Consulting the Runes

After feeling particularly depressed after a hard day of writing, I sat down and consulted the runes. I do this often to center myself, but I hadn’t been centering myself lately.  I tried to put myself in a meditative state and tried to remember the Teiwas Shoat pattern. That didn’t happen and I didn’t feel like searching for a runes book or going online. Instead, I ended up doing two three rune readings with an overarching rune that tied the two readings together. The runes told me I would embark successfully on this new writing journey, but there would be ups and downs. No surprise there. And the over-arching rune? Why, Fehu, of course.

I then pulled out four runes, asking who was advising me. Of course.  It was Freyr and Tyr. The other two runes were a bit more murky, but I suspect one was Skadi and the other was Loki.

What We Can Learn from this

Our northern gods tend to be hands-off when it comes to our lives. Frustrating for those of us who were raised with the Christian god who never seemed to be personal even when that’s what he promised in his religion. Our gods can be very personal in our lives, but they’re not interested in controlling your life the way the Christian god does. This can be somewhat frightening when we’ve been treated like children most of our lives by one religion and then told to step up and put on the adult pants when we change to Heathenry. Yes. it can even be terrifying when you realize that prayer isn’t going to pay the rent, put food on the table, or better your life. Our gods are a resource of inspiration and yes, knowledge, we can tap into. They can comfort us or urge us to action, but they seldom get involved directly.

Our Gods Aren’t Vending Machines

One thing I’ve learned talking to Tyr is that he often gives me the space to reason out the problem. He may drop subtle or not-so-subtle hints as to how I should do something. (Now, Skadi has dropped animals in my lap while I’m hunting, so I can’t say she doesn’t take a keen interest in my success, but I feel that is her prerogative.) Freyr has been offering me advice too.  He has even pointed where I need to go to do what I need to do. That being said, our gods aren’t vending machines. Saying X number of prayers to them doesn’t give you a prize at the end. Giving gifts to them works up to a point. The god or goddess may do whatever the Hel he or she wants to do, whether or not it is in your interest and whether or not they accept your offering.

Have a Conversation with Your Gods

The gift for a gift is a nice thought, but I think it’s more important to have a conversation with our deities. When you have familiarity with the gods you ask help from, you’re more likely to get it than if you just approach a god out of the blue. For example, it’d be foolish for me to solicit Heimdallr for help even though he’s part of our pantheon. Why?  Because I don’t have a rapport with Heimdallr. I have more of a rapport with Loki than with him, oddly enough. But even though I do have a rapport with Loki, when I ask for help, it’s usually advice. I know his advice can be good or bad, and it’s up to me to determine what the trickster is actually saying. For advice, I trust Tyr, Thor, Freyr, Freyja, and Skadi. They’re pretty my go-to gods, but if it’s not in an area they have domain over, they will refer me to others to speak with. In that case, I know they’ve already at least introduced me to the god or goddess I need to talk with.

What to Do if You Don’t Hear the Gods

What if you don’t hear the gods like I do?  It’s a simple matter, really. Talk to the god you’ve had the most rapport and see if you get any feelings from them. The feelings may be your own, or they may be the god’s to let you know which way you need to go to solve the particular problem. Many times, it’s nonverbal cues. You might have someone show up who may have an answer to the problem, or you may get a sudden flash of insight. The main thing is to keep your mind open and look for opportunities, even when you feel there are none.

Anyway, I will write more here. I promise. Have you missed me?

5 Ways to Honor the Lesser Known Gods

5 Ways to Honor the Lesser Known Gods

One of the frustrating aspects of our religion is that, when it comes down to it, we only have a smattering of tales about our gods. Sure, we have the Poetic and Prose Eddas that tell us stories about the main gods and goddesses, but there are so many gods and goddesses we know next to nothing about. Sure, we have names and stations in our myths and legends, but unless it’s one of the big gods or goddesses, we hear little about them. But what do you do when one of the lesser know deities call you? Or the lesser known gods attracts you? How do you go about honoring them?

Research  the  Lesser  Known  Gods / Goddesses

If one of the lesser known gods / goddesses calls to you, chances are you’re probably researching them.  After all, if someone is knocking on your door, you probably want to know who they are before you let them in. No, not all gods, wights, and ancestors are good and beneficial to you.  Some are downright harmful, which means you really don’t want them in your life. Some are beneficial and some are neutral. Entering into any relationship with a god requires due diligence on your part. Just because Odin shows up at your door doesn’t mean you should open your arms wide without some reservations. Odin can be fickle and dangerous to those he chooses.  And this is a god we know quite a bit about by comparison to other gods in our pantheon; imagine knowing nothing about a god who shows up on your doorstep, literally or figuratively.

Start researching the god or goddess. You may have nothing more than a name, but you may be able to find out if they were worshiped or honored in a particular geographic area.  That may be able to give you more insight into the god or goddess.  Researching the god/goddess is an excellent way of honoring the deity.  You are showing interest in them now that they’ve caught your attention.

Create a Shrine to Them on Your Altar

Once you know something about the god or goddess whom you wish to honor, the next step is to create a shrine on your altar, if you have one, or someplace in your home, if you don’t.  It doesn’t have to be huge or ostentatious; something heartfelt that reminds you of the god or goddess works.  For example, on my own altar, I have pine cones and images of dogs to Zisa. (Many think she is Tyr’s/Ziu’s consort.) By having something that honors the god or goddess on your altar, you can be reminded that this deity has a special place in your heart.

Include the Deity in your Offerings and Blots

Naturally, if you are honoring a lesser known god/goddess, you’ll want to include them in your offerings and blots. This is just good practice, in general, but also to establish a rapport with the deity.  After all, if you’ve considered venerating them, it helps to offer them something they might like. Choose something within that god’s/goddess’s elements or something that is meaningful to you.  Either way, I think it’s a good way to establish a rapport with a deity.

Pay Attention to UPGs

There I go talking about Unverified Personal Gnosis again.  Unverified Personal Gnosis or UPGs, the bane of most recons, can give you insight into the god or goddess that you can’t get anywhere else. While you can’t claim UPGs as being the absolute truth, they can give you a foundation for worshiping the god or goddess and provide the backbone of a relationship. Because they’re personal, you can’t expect your UPGs to be considered fact, but they are ideal for your relationship with a god.

Do Works in their Name

Are there good causes your god or goddess would want you to work in? One of the ways you can offer something to them is to donate your time and effort towards something that would further their causes. For a nature god, try offering work to clean up forests or natural areas near you. A battle deity?  Try helping out veterans of the armed forces. A home or house deity? Donate goods or help cook meals for the poor.  The gods and goddesses will appreciate your efforts.

These are just some ideas I’ve had. Chances are you have a few as well.