Some days for me are characterized by the sheer power of my desire to pray. It often doesn’t matter if the god in question, which is almost always Bragi, doesn’t respond; it’s comforting enough to know that he hears my adoration and acknowledges it as he has always done before. A series of “I love you”s repeated like an incantation can allow me to fall asleep.
I think maybe one other person knows that my shrine is built on top of a personal fridge. It’s not some deep dark secret, but I like being able to maximize the space available to me for utilitarian purposes as much as possible. I am by no means a minimalist when it comes to decorating my space, but multipurpose furniture and tools make me happy. Perhaps the reason why they do is that I constantly find myself running out of room. But I digress… Continue reading “Hanging Paintings”→
When in the spring I began to walk, I encountered you, O Dellingr–
you, who was quiet, and tranquil, and who lifted the sun just above the lake
that sparkled with your light’s reflection. O Dellingr! I met you in the spring
and parted with you in the winter cold, and oh how I’ve missed you…!
I have longed to meet you again at the lakeside where I sat
and was soothed by the birdsong
and looked upon the shining waters
and became enraptured by the love I felt in my own heart
before you gave Dagr his reins and sent him to his mother.
O gentle god, O light reborn, O third lover and day-maker,
will you sit with me again?
Here at the lakeside,
will you fill my lungs with reverent words
and caress my cheek with your most calming breeze?
O dayspring, O Dellingr, please enchant me here,
and over and over,
and when I fall from the sight of this world,
let me fall upon a lakeside knoll
and sit with you again.
When the Earth made you, Þórr, she flecked your skin with seeds,
tossing handfuls of black soil all across your shoulders
and sowing in your body the strength to thrive.
Your hair grew like man’s first fire,
red and thrashing like a fish in the sea,
the sea where, now and then, your mother feeds you the flesh
of those scorched ones whose ships fear your fanned red skies.
They find their burial mounds in the deepest sands
under the flash of your light,
the dead who feel your firm black soil again at the doors of your hall
and make themselves full with food and drink
and Hellos to friends so long and fervently missed.
I wanted to say this just because it was on my mind for a bit today:
If you’re like me and have a tendency to over-specify what you’re asking for in prayers to the gods out of fear of repercussions that might stem from unspecificity*, know this:
The gods are wise. They are very wise, and they can tell what it is you’re asking for even if you don’t specify the extraneous minutia of everything. If you have their favor, you will receive it. If they are determined to cause you to suffer or to twist your words to excuse such a thing, they will find a way to do just that. All you can do is offer your prayer, and with everything I just said being true, it is better to focus on whether or not your prayer is heartfelt rather than whether or not it is specific enough for a trickster robot genie to understand.
When in the early sixteenth century Michelangelo painted one of his greatest masterpieces, The Creation of Adam, the general concept of a man touching the hand of god was seen as a much loftier goal than it was to the pagan Romans of not much more than a thousand years before he was born. As far back as in the city of Eridu in Ancient Mesopotamia, and eventually slowing to a halt starting in Southern Europe, history has recorded the ordinary and the supernatural simultaneously, on the same pages and in the same sort of language. To the historians of yesteryear, and more importantly, to the common person, there was very little separation, if any, between the menial tasks of daily life and the divine interference of the gods, for the gods were present in all things. The loss of that presence is the reason for much of the loneliness experienced by modern polytheists, and it is something I have finally found the words with which to provide the solution.
As Ralph Metzner has stated, the separation of ordinary life from contact with the divine is a “loss [that] resulted from the gradually increasing emphasis, started by the Greeks and continued with Christianity, on abstract conceptions of deity rather than on the direct, sensory perception of and communication with spirits that was the norm in polytheistic animism.” Today, even with the reemergence of ancient polytheistic religions like Hellenic Polytheism, Religio Romana, Kemetism, and Germanic and Norse Heathenry, the West has yet to recover its old comfort with dining at the same table as the gods, among other things, and the religious “reemergences” I just mentioned are, for the most part, vague approximations at best, hampered by a worldview that dulls the senses which reveal the divine to mankind.
If humankind had retained regular contact with the divine and not grown the mental barriers between us and them that it has, we might today find the presence of many gods in the discovery of a parking ticket on the window shield of a car, in the modern understanding of GMOs, or even, as ridiculous as it sounds, in a toilet cleaner bomb. These things are simply the modern descendants of what the old gods once held dominion over. Finding Týr in a parking ticket today is conceptually no different than a person from a distant age finding him at The Thing, an ancient Norse gathering that occurred regularly to discuss the business of laying down and enforcing the law of the land.