Oracular seidhr for November: Tuesday the 12th

My next oracular seidhr session will take place on Tuesday, November 12th, 2013. If you would like to be included, please email your question to me at: wodandis at gmail dot com.

Since I skipped my October session, I will be relaxing my limit of five querents for this month’s session; I have a few questions I saved from last month, have already received one new request this month, and have room for a few more.  So if you have a question, send it in!

Per usual, I will still be accepting only ONE question per session from each individual (with NO follow up questions, please!) . Please allow 2-3 days after the session to receive your answer, to account for the fact that Jo needs to type up the dictation she takes down during the sessions, after which I look over and sometimes amend her transcription before emailing the answers off to you.

Please get your questions to me by Monday night if you would like to be included! I will reply briefly to your email to let you know you’re in, and will post again when I feel I’ve reached my limit for the questions.

Although this is a free service I provide to the community and payment is not necessary, donations are always VERY gratefully accepted, especially this month, as I really overextended myself on preparing my booth for my recent craft fair venture and made no sales at it.  (More on that later: the venue and so many other things were wrong about this!)  Also, this disaster coincided with my having recently reduced my working hours to 25 per week, and while I am definitely seeing an increase in my energy levels as a result, there is also a rather large decrease in my paycheck.  So as always, if you appreciate what I am doing with my seidhr practice and/ or my blog, and I have helped you in some way, I deeply appreciate any financial gift you can afford to make, no matter how small. If you would like to make a donation you may do via Paypal at wodandis at gmail dot com.  Or, you could always hop on over to FiberWytch on Etsy and pick up some handspun yarn or a ritual cord or two instead; all of my prices have recently been lowered with the holiday shopper in mind (I realize many of you have money issues of your own, but you still need to get those holiday gifts bought or made, right?), and I’m adding at least one new item every day.  (Plus, domestic US shipping is now free!)

More information about my seidhr practice may be found here.

Oracular seidhr for October: Sunday the 13th

My next oracular seidhr session will take place next Sunday, October 13th, 2013. If you would like to be included, please email your question to me at: wodandis at gmail dot com.

Also, if you contacted me about seidhr last month but were too late for September, and if I told you I would include you in the October session, please email me again to remind me.  I have a crappy memory due to fibro fog and don’t always find these emails a month later.  To help make sure no requests slip through the cracks, I am also asking that all seidhr request emails have the following subject line: ORACULAR SEIDHR FOR (fill in the month).  Please take care that your spelling of seidhr matches mine or I may not find your email when I search.

Please keep in mind that, going forward, I will be accepting only ONE question per session from each individual (with NO follow up questions, as usual), and limiting each session to FIVE separate querents. In addition, please allow 2-3 days after the session to receive your answer, to account for the fact that Jo needs to type up the dictation she takes down during the sessions, after which I look over and sometimes amend her transcription before emailing the answers off to the querents. I think these changes will make it easier for me to continue to do seidhr in a manageable fashion.

Thank you for understanding, and please email me before next Saturday night if you would like your question included in the upcoming session. Anyone who sends theirs in too late will have the option of being first in my queue for the November session!  (But I will ask you to remind me, as noted above.)

As always, donations are very gratefully accepted, as I am only able to work part time due to my health issues; if you would like to make a donation you may do via Paypal at wodandis at gmail dot com.

More information about my practice may be found here.

New post at my PaganSquare blog

I just published the most recent installment to my PaganSquare blog, Threads!  It’s the first in a series of three posts on heathen practice for beginners (inspired by Lykeia’s recent “Baby Polytheist” post).  You can read Baby Polytheist: the Heathen/Odinist sequel over at the Witches & Pagans site here.

May 18th seidhr session is now CLOSED

English: Signature of Anne Boleyn.
English: Signature of Anne Boleyn. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In my post-concussive state (and considering that I also have Queen Anne’s Day coming up this weekend) I now have as many questions as I think I can comfortably handle, so at this point I am closing seidhr to further questions.  Thank you all for the great questions; I’m very much looking forward to Saturday’s session!  If you have heard back from me, then you can assume your question(s) have been accepted.

I’d also like to thank everyone for the amazing prayer and poetry offerings you’ve sent for Queen Anne Boleyn; I’m very happy and touched to have gotten responses on this!  If you would like to send something and have not done so yet, I will be needing these by tomorrow evening; after that point I will be closing submissions for these too to allow myself time to print them out and get them ready.

Thanks again!

Living with Someone Else’s Loki

Reblogging this because truer words have never been spoken regarding how to react to anyone else’s UPG, my own included. Back when I was a shiny new Odin’s frau, I went through the exact same thing Heather describes here regarding dealing with Odin UPG that differed from my own (and a great deal of it did). The best thing you can do in this kind of situation is listen to your Significant Other, and trust in what They are telling you. The gods are vast and multi-faceted and do not reveal the same face to everyone; living with someone else’s version of your god–or trying to–is pointless, especially when your own is right there, tapping His foot and waiting for your attention.

Deathbringer

For Mother’s Day, I thought I’d share the longest “short story” I’ve ever written (I think it may qualify as a novella), the tale of how Odin became King as told from the viewpoint of His mother, Bestla.  While I was writing this, I began to affectionately think of it as “the Asa Saga.” 

(© 2007 from Water from the Well and Other Wyrd Tales of Odin)

If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you need to know is that I was trained as a priestess from birth, raised in the service of the First—Aurgelmir, our god-king, whom you know better as Ymir. I was born into one of the priestly families he established from the beginning, and those families grew in strength and power as his own strength waned.

Now, I am old enough to remember Aurgelmir—not in his prime, but as the proud, aging king who still cared for his people, still took an active part in our lives. I remember being perched on his knee—and an enormous knee it was by that time—when I was still but a babe. I remember that huge hand reaching down to ruffle my silvery-blonde hair when I had hardly begun to walk. Aurgelmir loved and doted on the children, especially those of us who were born into his special service. That much I do remember—and even that was uncountable ages ago. Yet the days of his glory when first he set up the kingdom of Nifleheim, hand-selected his chief servants from among his eldest children, established the great families and helped them erect their fortresses—of those days, I know only what I have been taught. And much of it was learned at the feet of my high priestess, eldest and foremost of all Aurgelmir’s servants, who some say was also the first of his many children— Urda.

It was Urda who trained me, from the day I was old enough to be taken from my own mother, who I barely even saw afterwards. Urda was mother and grandmother to me, yet most of all she was my beloved teacher. It was her hand that schooled me in all the priestly arts—in spinning and herb craft, the making of charms and medicines and, yes, poisons, in scrying and taking omens, and the subtle weaving of Wyrd. Most of all, from her I learned the arts of sacrifice, which took on an increasing importance as Aurgelmir grew steadily weaker. It was she who taught me to listen for our aging king’s commands, picking up on even the unspoken and barely formed thoughts in his mind after he could no longer speak his own wishes, and finally divining his will by casting lots when even the most ephemeral thoughts could no longer be heard. It was she who taught me to choose the sacrifices that were brought to him once a month at the time of the full moon, after he was long past the ability to choose them for himself.

For this was the reason I had no memory of the vigorous, strong king Aurgelmir had been in his mighty youth: unlike all of his progeny, as our unfortunate king aged he had grown progressively more enfeebled, until finally he could neither move nor speak. And more than that, while the rest of us stopped growing after reaching maturity, he had—inexplicably— continued to grow as he aged. He grew until he was larger than the mightiest of his many children, and then larger than the tallest tree, and then larger than the highest mountain. And then he grew larger still. By the time I reached adulthood, he had made a resting place for his gigantic body in the center of Ginnungagap—the vast wasteland from which all life had come—after leaving orders with Urda that sacrifices of cattle and sheep (and, when we could get it, honey) should be brought once a month to feed him, to keep his body alive for as long as his consciousness endured.

This was to be the last direct order he ever gave. Soon afterwards he lost the power of speech altogether, and Urda— with the help of her daughter Verdandi and granddaughter Skuld, who was my own age—took over the running of the affairs of state. Meanwhile, I was put in charge of the monthly sacrifices.

Month after month, year after year, I would dutifully scry, cast lots, and do whatever else was needed to divine the king’s will, to read the omens, to choose the offerings he could no longer choose for himself. I also arranged trade agreements with Muspelheim—the neighboring kingdom to the south beyond the wastelands of Ginnungagap, for at that time there were not yet nine worlds but only two. Muspelheim was a powerful and prosperous land whose ruler, Surt the Black, was rumored to be the oldest being in existence, older even than our own king whom we called the First. Yet unlike Aurgelmir, he had neither grown untenably large nor weaker as he aged; instead, he had only grown in wisdom, power, and wealth, and under his hand Muspelheim had prospered while our own land and people languished. I sent emissaries to Surt’s court, led by my own brother Mimir, who had been fostered there in childhood and was a friend of the Black Lord himself, and so it was arranged that we would trade furs and our hand-spun wool and flax for the honey that was Aurgelmir’s most prized delicacy. For Nifleheim was too cold for bees, and it was only there, in the south, that honey was plentiful enough that it could be sold, bartered away, and even fermented to produce a sublime drink that my brother had boasted of when he returned from his time there, and that it was said Aurgelmir had also greatly enjoyed in his youth.

At about the same time Aurgelmir lay his ever-expanding body down in Ginnungagap and issued the last orders that were ever to pass his lips, I met a young man who was to shape not only my own Wyrd but, indirectly, that of all the worlds. He had been born in our lands but was just returning with his brothers from having spent many years away in Muspelheim. He was the son of a frost giantess mother and a father of whose lineage no one was certain, except that it differed both from ours and that of the Muspeli. This father, who was known as Buri, had simply walked into our village one day, having traveled across the ice from someplace in the wilds of Ginnungagap—or at least, so I am told, as all of this happened before I was born. When asked where he had come from, all he could say was that he had come out of the ice; and so his origins remained a mystery. He had then married into one of the old priestly families and proceeded to have a number of children—several sons and a daughter or two. Their entire clan was tall, golden-haired and handsome—in contrast to both the thin, cold pallor of our own people and the swarthy, stocky folk of Muspelheim—and they called themselves the Aesir. The children were fostered at Surt’s court, as was the custom among our aristocratic families, for in Muspelheim promising young folk could be exposed to arts, culture and refinements that even the most prosperous among us could ill afford.

They had been away for so long that I barely remembered having known this boy, Borr, and his siblings in my childhood; so imagine my surprise when I literally bumped into him one day when I was at the marketplace bartering some of my spun flax for grain to feed our sheep. I had just turned away from the grain merchant’s hut, a bag of feed clutched in my arms, when I collided with someone who was hurrying in the opposite direction. I was knocked off balance, the bag slipped out of my grasp, and grain went flying in all directions. With murmured apologies, a golden head bent towards the ground, and large yet graceful hands set about deftly collecting the grain and restoring it to its bag. Then at last he stood up, and I saw the gleaming golden hair, the dazzling blue eyes, and the devastating, heart- stealing grin that he would pass on to our sons. He had grown taller and more handsome even than his father. We were married barely a month later, and within the year I was pregnant.

Read more…

Reminder: oracular seidhr for April

My next upcoming oracular session will be held on the evening of Friday, April 19th.

This year I have made several changes in the process for submitting a question, so please read this page and make sure you understand the changes and the new information before sending me a request for an oracle, as if you do not follow the new guidelines your question/s will be rejected. This is not for the purpose of being a hardass, but to make it possible for me to offer you the extra sessions I have added (11 this year as opposed to the 5 I held in 2012). And if you can do so at all, please do consider donating this year, to help support my devotional practice, if you submit a question. It is still not required, but I am working fewer hours now due to chronic health problems (I am “invisibly ill”) so it is always appreciated!

Thank you!

Mimir’s Gift

[From Odhroerir: Nine Devotional Tales of Odin’s Journeys, © 2005]

When the messenger arrived from the Vanir to deliver my uncle’s severed head to me, I was ready and waiting.  The message of contempt and derision the boy had memorized at their behest did not come as a surprise to me; nor did the contents of the blood-soaked leather bag at his belt.  Mimir was dead.  I had foreseen this.  Oh, I had read the threads of Wyrd in the Well that morning, as I did every morning, and I had known for weeks what the increasingly hostile situation in Vanaheim would lead to.  But it had not required scrying or sorcery to see this coming, only common sense.  It had been a mistake to send Hoenir to Vanaheim as a hostage, despite his amiable good looks and easy charm.  He was slow in thought and reaction, and relied on our uncle’s wisdom entirely too much, deferring to him before making every decision, consulting him on every question the Vanir put to him.  Finally, it had gotten to be too much for them.  Convinced that Hoenir was an idiot (he was not; he was simply unsure and deliberate—a bad combination), and that they had gotten the bad end of our hostage exchange, they had reacted— not by killing my brother, as might have been expected, but by killing the sage he relied on, and who we all relied on.  My uncle.

With the head in my possession, I had to act quickly.  In my private workroom, I had already gathered the supplies I would need: the herbs and resins for drying out the fluids and preserving the flesh, the oils for keeping the skin flexible and supple.  I had also prepared all the runic formulas and galdrs I would need to perform the act of resurrection itself.  I first washed the head thoroughly, taking special care to cleanse the blood from the neck-stump, and then I set to work.  The process took nine days.  The eyes had to be removed (for there were no herbal compounds that would preserve them), their sockets filled with stones and the lids stitched shut.  Incisions had to be made in the skin in order to insert herbal pastes, and then stitched shut again.  The entire head had to be soaked in a salt bath, and then dried and soaked in resin, and then treated with herbs again.  During all this time, I worked alone and tirelessly, speaking to no one and pausing only to take small amounts of wine and bread to keep up my energy.  And then at last it was time to begin chanting the spells, a lengthy process in itself; now I would sing the head of my uncle back to life— or if not life, at least a clumsy approximation of it in which he would be able to see, hear and speak.

As I worked, as I sang, I remembered.  In my mind’s eye, I saw my uncle alive again, whole and hale.  I saw him at his post, beside the dark depths of the Well he guarded, on that fateful night— fateful for me, at any rate.  And here I need to digress briefly.  When you first learned this story, you may have been told that there is only one Well, the Well of Urdh, and that it extends throughout all the worlds.  You may also have been told that there are three different Wells—Urdh’s Well in Asgard, Mimir’s Well in Jotunheim, and Hvergelmir, the great bubbling cauldron that feeds into them both, in Nifelheim.  Both statements are correct.  (Yes, I know; another one of those paradoxes I so adore.)  There are three Wells, but in reality they are only one Well, which manifests differently in each of those three worlds.  Thus in Nifelheim the Well churns and foams, and in Asgard it is white and opaque.  In Jotunheim, it is as black as ink, a mirror- like blackness that reflects the barren mountainscape surrounding it.  An all-consuming, devouring blackness that sucks at you and tries to pull you downward to drown you in its depths.

On the night I went to see him there, the sky was filled with a thousand stars, which were reflected in the Well as if imprisoned there—a thousand cold points of light, glimmering and winking.  Beckoning.  The coolness of the air seemed to mirror the coolness that emanated from those black waters, their still surface unbroken by so much as even a single ripple.  I approached slowly, softly, my boots making no sound on the dirt path, yet he looked up when I was still some distance away, those inscrutable slate eyes finding me effortlessly in the darkness, though there was no moon.  Silently, he watched as I drew nearer, his eyes devouring my presence even as the Well did.  There are few beings who have ever caused me to tremble.  Mimir was one such.  That cool, calm gaze commanded everything and everyone around him with no effort at all, even as the depths of wisdom held within those eyes humbled and subdued all who saw him.  The Vanir must have used clever magic indeed, to have been able to lift their hands against him!  But that thought was of the present; with an effort, I submersed myself into the past again.  Mimir, my mother’s brother, watched as I approached.  Some said he was her twin, and I believed it, so like her was he in looks as well as temperament, with the same white-blond hair and unfathomable eyes, serious yet not unkind expression, and air of utter and unquestionable authority.  As I drew alongside him and turned to face him, he gazed at me with eyes that simply saw all there was to see of me—and I, Odin, actually hesitated, and faltered before beginning to speak.

“Uncle,” I said at last.  “I—”

“I know why you have come, nephew,” he interrupted me, that deep, rumbling, sonorous voice seeming to penetrate my very bones.  “I have been waiting for you.”  He paused, his inscrutable grey eyes appraising me.  The urge to look away was overwhelming, but I forced myself to hold his gaze until at last he continued.  “I am the only being who has ever drunk from the Well.  Every morning, noon and evening I drink from its dark depths; I drink of what has been, and what will be, and what may be but is not yet formed.  I drink of possibilities and potential, and of lost opportunities and broken dreams.  And I tell you this: there is a terrible price for such wisdom.  In my case, I know the price I will pay; it looms over me as a shadow darker than the waters of the Well, and draws nearer every time I drink.”  Those eyes bored into me, their expression not unkind but as unmovable as the bedrock of the earth.  He even placed a hand on my shoulder. “What price will you pay, boy?  I have no wish to harm you.  I have been your teacher and your mentor, and I look upon you as the son I never had myself.  It is in your wyrd to drink from the Well, and to follow me in the ways of wisdom.  In fact, in time your wisdom will even exceed my own.  I have foreseen it.  But the Well hungers, and if you offer it nothing in return for its waters, the price it will exact in the fullness of time will be more severe than you can now imagine.  As it will be for me.  In return for the terrible gift of vision it offers, you must give something of great value to you.  What will it be?”

I stood frozen, considering his words.  He was testing me, I knew; if I could not figure out the proper offering to make on my own, from his words, all would be for naught and my request would be refused.  I pondered the riddle he had set before me.  Already I knew much and saw much; I had been schooled in ancient arcane lore and its uses by both my mother and my uncle, and from my throne at Hlidskjalf I looked out over the Nine Worlds daily and saw all there was to see in all of existence.  Nothing that was born or lived or died escaped my notice; no action committed could be hidden from my sight.  And yet, for all that I saw, I knew how limited my vision truly was, or I would not have come here.  It was if I could view the surface of a lake intimately, and see every ripple, every shimmer of light, and every insect that skated across its waters, but could not penetrate its depths.  The idea that I would someday exceed my uncle in wisdom did not seem possible to me, but I had to know more than I knew now.  The need to know, to see, was a hunger that burned in my veins and made my blood feel like fire that threatened to consume me.  I would pay any price to see what Mimir saw, to know what he knew, no matter how terrible that knowledge might be.  And suddenly I knew what the price was, what offering the Well required of me.

Wordlessly, I stretched open the lid of one of my eyes (no, I am not going to tell you which one), and with my fingertips grasped the eyeball and plucked it from its socket.  Pain burned where my eye had been, and I felt blood gush hot down the side of my face.  “My vision is what I treasure most,” I said to my uncle.  “Since vision is what the Well offers, vision is the price I will pay for its gift.”  I cast my eye into the Well, watching as the dark waters swallowed it.  But to my surprise it did not vanish into the blackness of the Well; somewhere in its depths it glimmered like one of the reflected stars, a point of brightness imprisoned there forever.

My uncle smiled, a rare thing for him.  Then he unslung his huge drinking horn and, bending over the Well, dipped it into the black waters to fill it.  I fancied I saw a glimmer of pride in those slate-grey eyes as he handed the horn to me.  “Drink deep, nephew.”

And I did.  The water touched my lips with an impenetrable coldness, like a kiss of the ice of Nifelheim.  I took my first sip, and that coldness washed through me, filling every cell and nerve ending.  I had the eerie sensation of being disconnected from my body; I was no longer the one drinking the water, but a spectator, watching from above as I drank it.  This is what the dead feel, I thought to myself.  This is how the dead see.  Except that was not quite true, because the me that was drinking from the horn still lived and moved, and I found that if I willed it I could center my awareness in my body again, while the other half of me watched with the detachment of an impartial observer, critically examining every move I made and every thought that wandered through my consciousness.

Undaunted by this strangeness, I drained the horn.  Suddenly my awareness split even further.   Now I was not only the me holding the horn and the me who was a detached observer, I was also the me who now resided in the depths of the Well, looking out through the sacrificed eye.  Reality separated itself into two parallel realms of light and darkness, being and potential, two realms that mirrored each other.  In the light realm, I acted and observed, thought and analyzed.  In the dark realm, I saw the entire history of my past actions, thoughts and feelings laid out before me like a tapestry, as well as all my future possibilities.  And not just my own, but everyone’s; I saw the past and the possible futures of every being and every world that existed, as well as every being and world that did not yet exist.  With one eye I saw all that was, and with the other I saw all that had been, could be, and might be.  And these two parallel realms of consciousness were bound together by a single thread, a single point of awareness through which I could enter and explore at will.

I nearly staggered under the weight of the sudden knowledge that rushed over me, the visions both wished for and unbidden.  It was too much; trying to take it all in at once would drive me mad.  Mimir placed a hand on my shoulder to steady me.  “You will grow used to it, in time,” he said, his tone more gentle than I had ever before heard it.  Or if not used to it, you will find ways to manage the flow of knowledge that is now yours.  I told you there would be a terrible price, my boy.  What I did not tell you—for it would not have deterred you, nor would you have believed me—is that the knowledge itself is the price.  The split awareness you now have is both a gift and a curse, and the gift of your eye is but a symbol of that awareness.”

As he spoke, my hand wandered to my empty eye socket, or the socket that should have been empty.  But there was no blood running down my face, and no raw, empty socket where my eye had been.  The eye was still there, where it had always been, warm and
alive and seeing normally.  And yet it also still glimmered in the depths of the Well, and through it I saw into the layers of past and future.  I blinked, and Mimir laughed at my surprise—a deep, rumbling laugh like the stirring of an earthquake—and clapped me on the back.

“Yes, my boy, both things are true: your eye is both is the Well, and in your head where it always has been.  Just as your awareness is now split, so you can see both of these realities; they both exist, and both are equally real. Neither is an illusion, nor do they contradict each other, for they are both part of the wholeness of what is.”

With one eye still on the past, in the present I finished the last of the spells that would restore the head of my uncle to life, or at least to a shadow of the life he had once known.  As I finished the last verse of the awakening song, the flesh changed, softening and becoming lifelike once again.  The muscles of the cheeks moved, and the lips twitched into a smile.  With one final surge of power, I passed my hand over the stitched eyelids, from which both eyes had been extracted.  The stitches vanished as if they had never been.  And the slate-grey eyes opened.