Tag Archive: norse


I thought I’d share these projects with you…altars happen to spring up all over the place!

First, an altar to Frigga.  I decided to set this one up in the dining room on the buffet.

Altar to Frigga

Altar to Frigga

There is a covered offering bowl for liquids; a plate to burn incense; blue tea-light candle holders; a piece of blue lace agate, a piece of unakitemoonstone pendant and a small quartz crystal ball – these just felt right.  Also, a Glade glass candle holder as an offering bowl – I just really liked the spirals etched in the metal – reminds me of spinning and wyrd.  I plan to add other items later to include flowers, keys, maybe some representation of ducks or geese (my pair of pink quartz Mandarin ducks now that I think about it…) and a small distaff and/or a small replica of a spinning wheel.  I’m also waiting on a hand-crafted Frigga soy blót candle I had ordered several weeks ago adorned with a Perthro rune hung on handspun Blue Moon baby camel and merino yarn.  I’d also like to incorporate 12 small white tea-light candles around Her to symbolize Her 12 handmaidens.

Next up is an altar to Odin.

Altar to Odin

Altar to Odin

I had originally thought to set this up above my computer desk upstairs as that is where I spend a lot time seeking knowledge.  When I set Odin’s statue up on the window sill, I had a rock knickknack/paper weight there that said: “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” – totally reminded me of Odin.  So, I went back downstairs and set Odin’s altar up above my Ancestor altar.  There is also a wood carved raven; a smokey quartz; a piece of black obsidian, and a blue optic crystal ball – totally reminded me of the eye he sacrificed at Mimir’s Well for a single drink of enchanted water that granted him wisdom and fore-sight.  Also, an offering plate and a cup in back with depictions of  pinecones and evergreens on it.  I am also waiting on a hand-crafted dark blue soy candle charged with Baltic Amber and 9 sacred herbs of Northern Tradition shamanism including Mugwort, Plantain, Nettle, Fennel, Chamomile, Sweet Cicely, Watercress, Crabapple Wood and Viper’s Bugloss adorned with a raven charm.  

Altar to Odin

Knife unsheathed

So yeah, some neat things in the works 🙂

MUST REMEMBER THIS!!!

MUST REMEMBER THIS!!!

So, where to begin in this post?  Balance…If you can believe it, yes, life has gotten a little more hectic – another monkey wrench or two thrown into the mix of life.  All was almost balanced – house, kiddies, online college courses, spiritual development, devotions and practices.  Now however, due to my husband’s new work schedule that now keeps him from the house almost 16 hours a day with unknown days off in between, I came to the hard and sudden realization on Monday that I’m going to have to yet again, make some changes in my life – really sit down, prioritize and effectively manage my time or I will burn out.  This has been showing up quite a bit in my daily Rune readings  with Ehwaz on an almost daily basis and  quite recently Jera in opposition – indicating a setback, a need for readjusting and asking for help and Isa – again, time to slow down!  This really sucks as I HATE change!  I’ve just started attending a Seeker’s Course with The Nine Worlds American Kindred which is about an hour’s drive for me, am studying and have recently been initiated into the Apple Branch and am in the middle of completing the Dedicant Path with the ADF (well, actually trying to play catch up as I originally wanted to have it completed within a year of joining the ADF, but that may or may not be a realistic goal right now…).  I think, why have these opportunities presented themselves only to be taken away (referring to the Seeker’s Course in particular)??

To add to all of this, I’ve also been dealing with some uncomfortable health issues and upon visiting the doctor on Monday, left me with 2 choices of treatment: (1) major surgery with the removal of an organ that I’m not quite ready to part with yet (and plus I have no one to help me during recovery time should I choose that method of treatment) or (2) hormone injections (which sucks because I like the way I feel not being on hormones).  Overwhelmed…feeling quite overwhelmed and ever so slightly grumpy…

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My most recent and amazing Full Moon ritual back on March 28 gives me some relief and comfort knowing that things will be OK when I reflect back on it.  Upon welcoming Freyja and lighting Her candle, the candle began to literally crackle and pop, putting on a most amazing light show that left me speechless and heart racing until the flame settled back down; there was no doubt that She was there.  Personal offerings were made, I had a most amazing and powerful experience in a meditation from a Daily Om course I had ordered last month that I finally started, followed by a Rune reading: Uruz, Eihwaz, and Raidho.  My interpretation indicated inner strength coming into effect in daily life – think before acting, take responsibility or act with responsibility and I will have the power to overcome any obstacle.  Still holding onto outdated beliefs or desires (yes, this was also told to me at Ostara – I have broken many restraints but there are still a few I need to break), do NOT resist change.  Trust and take control – know the true nature, seasons and cycles; BALANCE action with planning and reflection.

And in walks Frigga who has been sitting back since December and observing in Her strong, quiet, and all-knowing way…Perhaps it’s time to develop my home, hearth and kitchen Craft.  As She is associated with the home and also with magic, given my circumstances of severely limited to now non-existant solo travel time, I do feel it’s time to work with Her and learn these things necessary to master said Craft.

Reading Nimue Brown’s post “The Druid balancing act” yesterday was very inspirational and spoke to me…

Freyja rides atop Hildisvíni to visit Hyndla (1895) by Lorenz Frølich.

Freyja rides atop Hildisvíni to visit Hyndla (1895) by Lorenz Frølich.

Also on an interesting note, yesterday’s Goddess of the Day was Rindr.  My daily Rune draw included Isa – associated with Rindr.  Given Her story in lore and some past issues I’ve dealt with that still do affect my life today, I feel as though Freyja is sending me to Rindr.  Just as Freyja had to visit the giantess Hyndla to get answers She needed, so too must I visit Rindr to get answers and knowledge needed to progress – just hopefully the meeting(s) won’t  be as confrontational…

So, as it stands right now, I need to slow down and take a step back, look at the bigger picture and prioritize – decide what has to be cut back or be put on the back burner for now.  A lot of my work is going to have to be solo or online.  I will try to make it out to Alabama or up to Atlanta for the High Days with the kiddies as I can because I do need some “real time” contact with community for the sake of sanity.  As a dear and wise mentor pointed out yesterday, balance is very important!

Welcome Freyja!

Wow, it has been too long since I’ve written last.  As I’ve stated in my other blog, The Journeys of a Nomadic Pagan, “Reflections During the Dark Moon“, life has gotten extremely busy for me and I’ve found it difficult to sit down and write about all the cool things going on.  If you recall from an earlier post, “The Dark Mother Does NOT Hold Back and Other Things“, I was having a very intense time with Odin making his presence overwhelmingly known in my life.  It seemed as though Odin was there, all the time, pushing me so hard in the pursuit of  knowledge that I was putting everyday activities to the side, constantly trying to play catch up late at night with everyday mundane activities.  I had to tell Odin that my family and my children come first in my life right now.  Then, in stepped Freyja and everything changed…

“Freyja” by Kris Waldherr

“Freyja” by Kris Waldherr

I don’t recall the exact date now – looking back though, I’d say that at around February 23rd (I know it was after a conversation that I was having with a good friend of mine on February 20, telling her how I felt like there was more work that I felt needed to be done or to prove myself before I could connect with Freyja; but before the Full Moon on February 25th because I dedicated that Full Moon rite to Her) Freyja made a surprising visit as I was falling asleep one night.  I was right on the verge or falling asleep, when you’re in that in-between state, but still somewhat conscious of what’s going on around you.  All of a sudden, I “saw” these bright prisms or rays of white/blue/purple/pink light beam down and light everything up.  Then, I saw Her – She was very similar in appearance to Kris Waldherr’s depiction of Freyja, chariot and cats and all, but different – Her hair was brighter or a lighter blonde and the clothing She was dressed in lighter colored clothing, white and grey.

Her energy was amazing and completely surrounded me – every breath I was taking in felt as though I was breathing Her energy into my lungs and engulfed my body.  The only way I can describe it is warm kitten fur – seriously – it felt like warm soft kitten fur!

That night, She made it very clear that She was here to stick around and has even given me certain requirements or tasks that She strongly suggests me to do if I am to represent Her and become one of Her priestesses; and since then Odin has stepped back, way back.   It was almost as though She had to “step in” and acting in a protective manner and tell Odin to step back for a while.  Later, I found (and I can’t remember the source – still looking for it) that Freyja was the only Goddess that could, for whatever reason, really stand up to Odin and have him step back from a person that he had a hold on as it were.  I think it might have to do with the fact that She had taught Odin magic and that gave Her the authority to do so, or the fact that Freyja has the first pick of souls of the slain or fallen warriors as Lady Imbrium had mentioned.

This new deep connection with the gods of the Norse pantheon almost made me feel conflicted in a way.  You see, for my ADF hearth culture, I was sure on my choice of the Celtic or Gaulish pantheons to work with.  However, things have taken a real turn and it seems as though the gods of the Norse hearth culture have chosen me.  Funny how that works…but I still continue to honor the Goddesses I feel especially close to and have their altars I set up (The Morrígan, Brighid and Epona/Rhiannon) and things seem and feel OK.  I’m also in the process of setting up my ADF altar to Frigga (who has a real quiet but firm presence in my life – but She doesn’t say too much, She just kind of sits back and observes) and Odin.  In fact, a few weeks back, I actually had a dream of Brighid and Freyja.  Their images were on a single card from the Goddess Guidance Oracle deck by Doreen Virtue.  It kept spinning, Freyja on one side and Brighid on the other.  To me, it signified balance and a feeling that it was OK to work with both pantheons, but that they should not be mixed.  Balance was the key.

I’ve also noticed I’ve been dreaming of runes and seeing them more often.  I had a dream one night of runes that appeared from the usual swirling grey mists in my “spiritual dreams”.  Out of the mists Fehu and Gebo appeared.  These runes apparently have some type of significance to Her (as does Ehwaz I’ve been finding out).  A few others appeared too, but I don’t remember them – Berkano, Jera, and Mannaz seem to be standing out; but those first two are the two that really stand out in my memory.  Also, there are times when I close my eyes and runes just seem to swirl around and around….

My personal altar to Freyja - a work in progress.

My personal altar to Freyja – a work in progress.

I have since set up a personal altar to Her in my bedroom by my bed side, making daily offerings to Her of different sweet-smelling incense that She seems to enjoy (strawberry, latin lover, and amber romance).  She also made it known that She likes pearls.  This was a little strange to me as She is a fertility Vanir Goddess, more closely associated with the earth I thought – how was She connected with the sea?  But looking at Her father, Njörðr, god of the sea and weather, it makes a little more sense.  Then I found this wonderful blog entry, “M is for Mardöll“, it made much more sense.  Plus, She just thinks they’re really pretty – She likes pretty things 😉

I continue to speak with Her and give Her praises daily, and She in turn comforts me, helps to remind me to go within and find my center when I’m angry or upset, and tells me what work needs to be done in the healing process I’ve started back in February.  The relationship I’ve been working on building with Her is amazing.  She is so strong and confident, an amazing healer and full of wisdom and knowledge that will come to me in time with hard work (there are things that She has advised me I NEED to learn and WILL learn) as She sees fit and feels I am ready.  The new found healing, love, confidence, blessings and opportunities that have presented themselves within the past month or so have been so amazing and transformative – unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before.  Welcome Freyja!  Hail and praises to you Sweet Lady!

Goddess Nicneven

“The Faery Godmother” by Brian Froud

“Nicneven’s themes are protection, ghosts, divination, peace and winter. Her symbols are pumpkins, gourds and traditional Halloween fare. In Scotland, Nicneven is the crone Goddess of Samhain, which is the predecessor of modern Halloween festivals. Nicneven governs the realms of magic and witchcraft and also represents the imminent onset of winter.

In magic and Celtic traditions, this is the new year – a time when the veil between worlds grow thin and spirits can communicate with the living.  Follow the usual customs of carving a pumpkin or turnip for protection and to illuminate the way to family spirits to join you in today’s celebrations.

In Druidical tradition, Samhain was a time to rectify any matters causing dissent. Nicneven provides the magical glue for this purpose. Take a white piece of paper on which you’ve written the reason for anger in a relationship, then burn it in any hallowed fire source (the pumpkin candle, or ritual fires). As you do, ask Nicneven to empower the spell and destroy the negativity completely.

To inspire Nicneven’s wisdom or magical aptitude within, enjoy traditional Halloween fare – apple pie, for example, brings sagacity. Sparkling apple cider tickles magical energy. And root crops provide solid foundations and protection while magical creatures are afoot!

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Queen of the Bad Fairies” by Brian Froud

Nicneven or Nicnevin or Nicnevan (whose name is from a Scottish Gaelic surname, Neachneohain meaning ‘daughter(s) of the divine’ and/or daughter(s) of Scathach‘ NicNaoimhein meaning ‘daughter of the little saint’) is a Queen of the Fairies in Scottish folklore. The use of the name for this meaning was first found in Montgomerie’s Flyting (c.1585) and was seemingly taken from a woman in Scotland condemned to death for witchcraft before being burnt at the stake as a witch. In the Borders the name for this archetype was Gyre-Carling whose name had variants such as Gyre-Carlin, Gy-Carling, Gay-Carlin amongst others. Gyre is possibly a cognate of the Norse word geri and thus having the meaning of ‘greedy’ or it may be from the Norse gýgr meaning ‘ogress’; carling or carline is a Scots and Northern English word meaning ‘old woman’ which is from, or related to, the Norse word kerling (of the same meaning).

She was sometimes thought of as the mother witch, Hecate, or Habundia figure of Scottish fairy mythology.  This guise is frankly diabolical.  Sir Walter Scott calls Her:

a gigantic and malignant female, the Hecate of this mythology, who rode on the storm and marshalled the rambling host of wanderers under Her grim banner. This hag (in all respects the reverse of the Mab or Titania of the Celtic creed) was called Nicneven in that later system which blended the faith of the Celts and of the Goths on this subject. The great Scottish poet Dunbar has made a spirited description of this Hecate riding at the head of witches and good neighbours (fairies, namely), sorceresses and elves, indifferently, upon the ghostly eve of All-Hallow Mass. In Italy we hear of the hags arraying themselves under the orders of Diana (in Her triple character of Hecate, doubtless) and Herodias, who were the joint leaders of their choir, But we return to the more simple fairy belief, as entertained by the Celts before they were conquered by the Saxons.

Alexander Montgomerie, in his Flyting, described Her as:

Nicnevin with Her nymphes, in number anew
With charms from Caitness and Chanrie of Ross
Whose cunning consists in casting a clew.

“The Wild Hunt: Åsgårdsreien” by Peter Nicolai Arbo

Even so, the elder Nicnevin or Gyre-Carling retained the habit of night riding with an ‘elrich‘ entourage mounted on unlikely and supernatural steeds. Another, satirical popular depiction made Her leave Scotland after a love-quarrel with Her neighbour, to become wife of ‘Mahomyte‘ and queen of the ‘Jowis‘. She was an enemy of Christian people, and ‘levit vpoun Christiane menis flesche’; still, Her absence caused dogs to stop barking and hens to stop laying. But in Fife, the Gyre-Carling was associated with spinning and knitting, like Habetrot; here it was believed to be unlucky to leave a piece of knitting unfinished at the New Year, lest the Gyre-Carling should steal it.” [1]

“Nicnevin” by Xavier Collette

For a fantastic and in-depth piece written on this Goddess, I highly recommend reading “Nicnevin” by Sarah Lawless over at Witchofforestgrove.com.  In her piece, she explains “Nicnevin is the Queen of Elphame, the queen of the fairies, spirits, and strange creatures, queen of the Unseelie Court of Alba.  She reigns with a male consort at Her side, but his name is never given, it is my guess he changes with Her moods.  She is the Gyre Carline and appears sometimes in the Scottish tales as Habetrot, a crone-like spirit known for Her magical powers of spinning, weaving and clothmaking. It is said She wears a long grey mantle and carries a white wand and can appear as an old crone or a beautiful young woman. White geese are sacred to Her and their cackling may herald Her arrival. In this we see She is linked with the Germanic Goddess HoldaHel, queen of the Underworld, the leader of the Wild Hunt in Norse legend.”

In the Encyclopedia of Spirits by Judika Illes, she writes: “Nicnevin, Scottish witch Goddess, can transform water into rocks and sea into dry land.  Her name is derived from Gaelic Nic an Neamhain, ‘Daughter of Frenzy.’ Nicnevin flies through the night.  Although usually invisible, Her presence is announced by the cacophony of geese.  The Romans identified Her with Diana.

Following Scotland’s official conversion to Christianity and brutal witch trials, Nicnevin, a former Goddess, was reclassified as both a Fairy and a demon. (Scotland suffered particularly virulent witch hunts, second in scope only to the German lands in terms of prosecutions and executions.)  She is considered Queen of the Fairies of Fife, Scotland and is among the spirits associated with the Wild Hunt.

Sea hag from the hit TV show “Charmed”

Manifestation: Nicnevin manifests as a beautiful woman and a dried out old hag.  She wears a long gray mantle.

Attribute: Magic wand

Element: Water

Birds: Geese

Day: Samhain (Halloween) is Nicnevin’s sacred night when She grants wishes and answers petitions.  She is traditionally honored with celebratory feasts and toasting.  On Samhain, Nicnevin makes Herself visible as She flies through the air accompanied by a retinue of witches and honking geese.  Rituals are also held in Nicnevin’s honor on November 1″ (p. 760).

 

 

 

Sources:

Illes, Judika. Encyclopedia of Spirits, “Nicnevin: The Bone Mother“.

Lawless, Sarah. Witchofforestgrove.com, “NICNEVIN“.

Wikipedia, “Nicnevin“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Ancientsites.com, “The Celtic Huntress“.

Andarta, Boudicca. Paganpages.org, “Let’s Spell it Out“.

Dalyell, John Graham. The Darker Superstitions of Scotland.

Dashu, Max. Suppressedhistories.net, “The Tregenda of the Old Goddess, Witches, and Spirits“.

Electricscotland.com, “The Goddess in the Landscape“.

Goddess-guide.com, “Crone Goddess“.

Illes, Judika. Weiser Field Guide to Witches, The: From Hexes to Hermione Granger, From Salem to the Land of Oz, “Nicnevin“.

Rankine, David R. Sacredfires.co.uk, “Hekate Wears Tartan“.

Wikipedia, “Queen of Elphame“.

Wikipedia, “Wild Hunt“.

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