(For Bestla, on Woden’s Day: a poem from my 2008 book Water from the Well and Other Wyrd Tales of Odin)
You chant to the Rokkr, dark deities of dread realms,
Ruling iron forests and the caverns of the dead;
Yet how many of Them can recall
The days before the Great Tree sent up its first green shoots,
Or tell of the generations that passed
Before Urda took up Her ancient station at the holy Well?
You sing of your golden Goddesses,
Bright Ladies of Asgard’s shining halls,
Yet how many of Them gave birth
To the One who sits above Them all on His far-seeing throne,
Or guided His path from the earliest days
Before the Wanderer could walk, before the Lord of Words could speak?
You whisper of the holy Norns,
Wise weavers Who guide destiny’s slender threads.
I learned to spin and weave at Urda’s knee,
My heart filled with remorse and pride
At the spilled blood of the first sacrifice, guided by my hand—
The centuries of power cast down, the worlds brought into being.
You sing praises to your Goddesses dark and bright,
Of life and death and becoming.
You offer liquor, flowers, blood, for Their favor.
You count yourself pious because you can recite Their stories,
Because tree roots drink of golden mead
And bright blood, spilled for Them by your hands.
Yet Me you have forgotten,
She Who stands behind the highest of thrones,
Who put into place the pieces that became the empire
That rules the top of the Tree.
Heathens, mystics, shamans, fools,
To you I am merely an afterthought, a footnote in the pages of your lore.
Ice-pale and shard-thin as the path of Wyrd,
I stand crowned with frozen tears,
Gowned in white like a winter sky before the snow.
I am Mother to the wind, the Lord of Storm
Who rules Asgard’s hallowed halls.
I am sister to the Three Who ward the Well, who tend the Tree.
My roots reach deep as those of the needle-ash,
Embracing the past and the centuries of the dead,
Then rising to enfold the worlds and cradle the living.
Raise your arms to Me, bear Me offerings
Of your pride, arrogance and forgetfulness,
And then approach, all who would know My mysteries.
I plotted the downfall of one God and rise of another,
And I can show you how to spin a silver thread
Strong enough to string the worlds on like beads,
To tilt the eternal moment of becoming on its axis,
As creation listens, and ice gathers in the mist
Of the universe’s next indrawn breath.