Daily Devotions [Ask Me About Odin]
Lilly Rose wrote: “I am curious as to what your daily devotional rites to/for Him are. I’ve been trying to think of ways to up my devotional practice to Him, and am curious to see what others do.”
Well, because I am Married to, some of the daily devotional rites I do for/with Him are private, and fall into the same category as would “alone time” with a mortal spouse. But that’s probably not the kind of thing you mean. ;P
In the realm of things I can talk about on my blog, the number one devotional request He has made of me, as I have mentioned in other posts recently, is “Take care of My wife,” which is so open-ended that it can encompass everything from getting to bed in time for my 10:00 pm “curfew” to spending the money I had earmarked for a religious tattoo on insulated and waterproof winter boots instead, because that’s the offering He decides He would rather have. In fact, the reason I have fought this particular directive so hard–and why it has been the most consistent cause of conflict between us–is that it seems so utterly me-centered. On the surface of things, it doesn’t seem (to me, anyway) to have much to do with honoring Him at all, and there have been plenty of times when I’ve been tempted to dismiss it as a cop-out, an excuse for not staying up until the wee hours to get that last bit of writing done, or not wringing out every last bit of strength and endurance I have in order to visit three cemeteries instead of two in a single day. (And, ahem, sometimes I do the aforementioned things regardless, usually to His displeasure.)
But the reality is that I have fibromyalgia, and the symptoms of it–not only pain and fatigue, but also loss of cognitive ability and mental acuity, difficulty concentrating and focusing, sleep problems, stomach upset, and a whole constellation of other issues–become markedly more severe when sleep deprivation is coupled with my own personal brand of misguided workaholic mania. This catastrophic brew, which has recurred in a fairly predictable pattern for over ten years now, is what led to my epic fight with Him of two weeks or so ago, during which He finally put His foot down in regard to it because–also predictably–being in this kind of exhausted, sleep-starved state does not leave me at my best for performing any of the tasks that normally comprise my Work, whether divination, oracular seidhr, magic, writing, spinning, pathwalking or trance journeying, my sacred queenship duties, simply being a wife, or what have you. Basically, driving myself into the ground renders me a not-so-useful tool.
So, “Take care of My wife” (aka “Treat yourself as you would treat Me”) is the number one, set-in-stone commandment, and after that my daily devotional practice for Him varies, though there are a few regular patterns I have set in place that I find add structure to my day by beginning and ending it centered and rooted in Him.
In the morning, as soon as I have begun to recognize that I am awake, I make an effort to remember my dreams, and write them down in a little notebook. (A lot of the time, dreams are simply mental regurgitation of the preceding day’s events and worries; however, for a seidhr practitioner, sometimes they are more than that, and it is the “more than that” aspect I am always on the lookout for, and why it is important to try to remember them.) Then I reach out for Him and spend a few quiet minutes with Him, usually Over There, in our home in the Otherworlds; since He is not native to my realm, He appreciates it if I make an effort on a daily basis to spend at least some time in His. After I have risen, I gather a few tea lights on a plate and head for the bathroom, where I shower by candlelight, both for warmth (the fan in our bathroom is chilly) and because the steam and candlelight creates an optimal environment for spending even more time with Him. When I dress, I listen for His input on what He wishes for me to wear that day, not only in terms of appearance but also what is appropriate for the weather and my physical state (taking care of His wife, again). Before breakfast I light a candle and, if there is time, some incense at His shrine. On the weekends I also brew some of the wonderful organic, Fair Trade gourmet coffee we enjoy in abundance here in the Pacific Northwest (although my stomach cannot take drinking it every day), and I share some with Him in a hand-thrown teacup I purchased for Him. (He only drinks it black–which I cannot tolerate the bitterness of beyond the initial sip I take from His cup.) Regardless of what day of the week it is or whether or not we are sharing coffee, I settle myself in front of His shrine for a few minutes of uti seta (deep, rhythmic breath-centered meditation), as well as a specific drawing in of His essence with my breath, followed by my morning grounding, centering and shielding routine, and usually also some galdr (sung/chanted/intoned incantations involving runes and other charms). Sometimes there is chakra work as well, in which I cleanse my chakras of any muck that has accumulated and infuse them with His energy and protection.
On most days, He will get a portion of at least one of my meals (placed in the offering bowl on His shrine), but it is not always breakfast. After breakfast, on weekdays, I head off to work, and during my commute I listen to music either relevant to Him or to my other deities or spirits, threshold states/the Work in general. On my bus ride to the day job, I usually pull out my rune bag and ask Him for runes to guide me through the day ahead, after which I take out the set of all-Odin prayer beads I made for Him. I haven’t yet written a formalized set of prayers to go with the beads, but there are three beads each for nine different categories into which I have sorted His many, many heiti (by-names). Your mileage may vary but for my own purposes the categories I’ve settled on for now are: Lover, Mage, Warlord, Shaman, King, Healer, Draugrdrottin (Lord of Ghosts), Lord of Inspiration, and Mad One. My meditations on the beads tend to vary from one day to the next, sometimes manifesting as prayers for assistance in bringing out His various qualities in myself in some way, sometimes asking Him to take what assistance or energy He may need from me in His various undertakings, and sometimes merely thanking or praising Him for Who and What He is.
At work, I have a mini Odin shrine next to my desk, and I frequently reach over in the course of the day to pick up and handle the handcrafted figurine representing Him; along with any religious jewelry I happen to be wearing that day, this gives me a physical link to the “real me” to touch base with throughout my workday. I listen to Odin-themed music again on my commute home, and sometimes also do some pathwalking, and as soon as I get home, I light a candle and some incense at His shrine and get Him a drink for us to share. After that, evening activities vary greatly depending on whether there is a household festival that day and what day of the month or week it is (we have some recurring devotional activities that are determined by the day of the week or the moon phase, and some evenings are primarily for writing or crafting, too). Regardless, as the evening wears on, it is very important to Him that I wrap things up in order to get to bed on time, and I try to manage my time so that my last block of time before bed is spent at His altar. Sometimes there will be some gentle yoga, other times I will just sit and do more uti seta, or meditate on some of His names/aspects, or do a trance journey, or maybe a divination for the following day. Sometimes I will read aloud to Him one of the poems I’ve written for Him, or jot down a few lines for a new one, or just write down any messages or guidance He has for me that I want to make sure I won’t forget. And then I go off to bed, and spend my last few wakeful moments (assuming that it isn’t one of the nights I have trouble falling asleep due to fibro issues) in our place in the Otherworlds with Him.
I’m not sure, on reflection, how useful this daily devotional schedule of mine will be for those of you who are not also Married to Him, but this is a pretty accurate sketch of the bare minimum of what I do on a daily basis (minus the more private elements, of course). There are also lots of devotional activities I do that are not necessarily daily, such as cooking special meals for Him, brewing mead, making candles, oils or other little gifts for Him, and deeper trancework. (I do some trancework that is more devotional and relationship-oriented, and some that is more Work-oriented–to the extent that it’s possible to make such a division, anyway.) But those are all more involved topics for other posts.