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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!

 

Four Ways to Make Easter Not Suck

Four Ways to Make Easter Not Suck

Easter has never been my favorite time, largely because it’s a Christian holiday that is pretty much a celebration of their death-cult god. Even when I was growing up, other than getting Easter baskets with lots of yummy chocolate, all I remember is having to get dressed up and go to church and afterwards a brunch that was maybe okay.  (Never mind the fact that ham was the main dish, ahem…in honor of Freyr.)

Sure, we can quibble whether Eostre was really an Anglo-Saxon goddess or not, but it really doesn’t matter much if you’re a solitary Heathen among Christians.  Sure, you can go through the motions and celebrate the season with family, but I’ve come up with some interesting ways to make Easter not suck.

Make Easter a Celebration to Freyr, Freyja, and Eostre


Okay, maybe Eostre existed in Anglo-Saxon lore, and maybe she didn’t.  That’s okay.  We know Freyr and Freyja exist and we can use Easter as a time to celebrate the gods and goddesses of spring.  That means creating yummy meals, doing blots, and celebrating like it’s a time to celebrate — that is, the beginning of new life.

Have a roast pig dish, crack open a bottle of mead, and celebrate the spring.  Got Christians in your family?  Well, how would they know this is for our gods and not theirs?

This past Yule, I didn’t get my Christmas cookies made, so I figure now is as good of time as any to make roll out cookies. Luckily I have more than just Christmas shapes.  In fact, one of my sisters gave me a Star Wars cookie cutter set, because nothing says Christmas like Star Wars.  So, I figure Easter is as good as any for cookies that I can enjoy. (ETA: Munching on them right now.)

Go Have Fun While the Christians are in Church

Look, not everything in the United States shuts down on Easter (I can’t say that with certainty in other countries), so why not catch that movie you’ve wanted to see, go to the attractions that are normally mobbed other times of the year, or plan doing something that is just plain fun while the Christians are getting the megadose of guilt in church?  Look, just because they’re insistent on getting all formal to impress other people in church doesn’t mean we have to sit around and mope.  Celebrate Easter with a favorite movie, meal, or go outdoors and enjoy nature.

Or do what we do, and go rabbit hunting.  “Hey, it’s the Easter bunny!”  Blam!

Sleep In

It’s Sunday, and unless you have to work on Easter, just sleep in and relax.  Nobody is telling you to get up for the crack of dawn sunrise service.  Look, you’ll probably be doing that on Winter Solstice and Summer Solstice, so why bother for a day that has no meaning to you?

Do Some Eostre Egg Dyeing and Hiding

If you feel the need to enjoy the holiday, why not hard boil some eggs and use natural dyes to color them?  Here are recipes which teach you how to make natural colored dyes easily.  If you do put on an Eostre egg hunt, be sure to count the number of eggs you hid. otherwise a few days later you’ll find the egg with your nose.

I am certain there are other things you can do to make Easter more enjoyable.  Let me know what you do.

Hail the Goddesses and Gods of Spring

Hail the Goddesses and Gods of Spring

As we approach the vernal equinox, winter starts to lose her icy grasp and  spring slowly slips in. Spring for me means mud season, which isn’t  something I or my livestock particularly enjoy. One of my goats gave  birth on the Ides of March to a lovely buckling.  I had to come up with  makeshift quarters for them and bring the kids inside at night due to  the cold and predators.  I’m now on kid watch for the last pregnant doe  of the season, which means checking on her every couple of hours.  Yay  me.  Hence the lateness of the blogs.

Here up  north, we’re still in Skadi’s grasp, although the winter goddess is  slowly relenting to the gentle hands of the spring goddesses and gods.   These goddesses and gods are powerful in their own right, and while we  may not know everything about them, I think we can make some good  assumptions about them.  Let’s look at them.

Courtesy of Magickal Graphics

Eostre or Ostara

If you want to start up an argument between  Heathens or between Heathens and Christians, mention Eostre, the Anglo  Saxon goddess of spring and rebirth. (In German, it’s believed to be  Ostara.)  A goodly portion of recons think that Eostre was simply the  name of April and St. Bede suggested it was the name of a goddess when  it wasn’t.  Christians will accuse you of trying to undermine Easter if  you mention it.  Nevertheless, if you wish to enjoy a feast day to  Eostre, do it. I have a whole post dedicated to Eostre and why I think she was probably a real goddess.

In Urglaawe, practitioners believe in the goddess  Oschdra (Ostara?) who  gives the Oschter Haws (Easter Rabbit) the  ability to spread color throughout the world in the spring. The Oschter Haws was brought into Pennsylvania by German settlers where the Easter rabbit laid colorful eggs.

That  being said, if you’re an Eostre believer,  celebrate with candy,  colored eggs, bunny rabbits, and chicks. (The candy, incidentally, is a  later addition of more modern times.)  Have fun and enjoy yourself.   Make an offering to Eostre for the spring.

Idunn

Idunn, of the golden apples fame, is the goddess of spring,  renewal, and immortality, is certainly a terrific goddess to honor in  the springtime. She’s interesting not only because she’s a powerful  goddess, who keeps the gods young, but she wasn’t born into the Aesir or  Vanir (though you can make a case for her being Vanir, being a goddess  of fertility.)  She hails from alfar blood, making her one of the Elves.

She’s  particularly important because without her, the gods would grow old and  die.  Her apples bring youth to those gods who do age.

Freyja

When talking about spring, I feel that you simply must  include Freyja.  Freyja is a Vanir and a fertility goddess.  Without  Freyja we would have no beginnings when it comes to new life. She is  literally the conception of life, and my own UPG suggests spring is  indeed her time. As such a powerful goddess, she has many roles: goddess  of war, love, beauty, seidr, and death.

Freyr

If Freyja one of the quintessential goddesses of spring,  Freyr is one of the gods of spring. One could make the argument  (successfully, I might add), that he is a summer god.  But Freyr also  has the duty of gestation and growth.  He is the male god of fertility,  but he is often associated with germination. It just makes sense he is a  fitting god for spring.

If you think about Easter  celebrations, you’ll note that a traditional Easter meal is a ham.  No  surprise there.  I’ve read that Christianity was happy enough to  incorporate the pagan traditions of eating ham at Easter when ham was  originally eaten in honor of Freyr. As Heathens, having a traditional  ham dinner is certainly a great way to celebrate spring and Freyr.

Thor

On first blush, Thor seems out of place in the list of  deities having to do with spring. But the thunderer is certainly  considered a god who brings the rains which helps the fields to grow.   Little wonder that he is married to Sif, who is a spring/summer goddess  in her own right. Thor presides over the wind, rain, and even the  crops.  It makes sense that he is considered a major god and one who  presides over spring and summer.

Sif

If Thor brings about  rain to the crops, it is Sif, his wife, who receives the rain. She’s  definitely a fertility goddess and an earth goddess.  The story about  how Loki cuts her golden hair and must find a substitute for her is a  suggestion that her hair is the wheat crops. (Incidentally, cutting a  woman’s hair was a sign that she was unfaithful — something to think  about when reading that Loki found his way into her bedroom and cut her  hair while she was sleeping.)  But, I digress here.  Sif is certainly an  earth goddess and spring and summer is her time.

Honoring the Gods and Goddesses of Spring

Springtime  is a transition time. As modern day Heathens, we acknowledge that the  equinox is the first day of spring.  However, in ancient times, our  ancestors looked at spring differently.  Spring was believed to maybe start with Grundsaudaag or Groundhog’s Day in Urglaawe tradition.  The groundhog replaced the badger or bear in German tradition.  While,  we’re well past Groundhog’s Day, we can hold a feast in honor of spring  and our spring gods and goddesses.

Sigrblot usually comes in April and is celebrated with offerings to Freyr and Freyja.  Most pagans consider May 1st as a celebration time of spring which  includes Walpugisnach.  While it may be a more modern interpretation of  the Heathen calendar, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy it. Unless  you’re a member of the recon rabble, there’s no reason why you can’t  adopt Heathen and pagan traditions your own holidays as you see fit.

I  mentioned coloring eggs and rabbits as part of the Eostre celebrations.  Even if there wasn’t an Eostre, it doesn’t mean that you can’t take our  older Heathen traditions that survived and changed, and make them in  honor of the spring goddesses and gods you do wish to venerate.  I think they will be pleased.

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