Friday, March 29, 2013


Weather is the state of the atmosphere, to the degree that it is hot or cold, wet or dry, calm or stormy, clear or cloudy.  On Earth, common weather phenomena include wind, cloud, rain, snow, fog and dust storms. Less common events include natural disasters such as tornadoes, hurricanes, typhoons and ice storms. 
Meteorologists use very sophisticated instruments for predicting the weather.  But since they often get it wrong, many may prefer traditional customs of forecasting the weather from colors in the sky or the behavior of animals.  We all have looked up at the sky for a sense of what the weather will be. 

Weather lore is the body of informal folklore related to the prediction of the weather.  It has been a human desire for millennia to make accurate weather predictions. Oral and written history is full of rhymes, anecdotes, and adages meant to guide the uncertain in determining whether the next day will bring fair or foul weather. 

The ancient people of the Norse had close ties with the Earth and it’s seasons. Their lives circled around the seasons as much as the seasons circle around the year.  The changing seasons affected not only the weather, but the day to day survival of the Norse, dictating what they ate, where they lived and how they lived.  The ancient people’s very existence depended upon adapting to change and living by the seasonal cycles.

One of the defining traits of Neo-Pagan religions is an awareness of the forces of nature.  Among the many powers attributed to witches is the fantastic ability to summon storms, stir winds, and call forth any manner of precipitation as well as to withhold life giving waters to blight crops, and to destroy homes and villages with mighty winds and torrents of rain.

"When halo rings the moon or sun, rain's approaching on the run."  A halo around the sun or moon is caused by the refraction of that body's light by ice crystals at high altitude. Such high-level moisture is a precursor to moisture moving in at increasingly lower levels, and is a good indicator that an active weather system is on its way.
"When cows lie in a field, a good rain this will yield."

"Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning.  Red sky at night, sailor's delight."  A red sunset probably means dry weather the next day.

"When the wind is in the north, the skillful fisher goes not forth.  When the wind is in the east, it is good for neither man nor beast.  When the wind is in the south, it blows your bait into a fish's mouth.  When the wind is in the west, then the weather is at its best."


Will there be rain to make crops grow or will there be fair weather for safe fishing?  Or for urban pagans, will there be rain to carry an umbrella or sunshine to be on the beach.  When the signs weren't favorable, people developed rituals (weather magic) to help turn the odds in their favor.

"Burn the picture of a deformed or otherwise ugly person and the heavens will cry for them out of pity." Or "Dip a broom in salted water and flick it to the four directions to bring rain."

Among Native Americans, the Rain Dance is a ceremony performed to bring rain and ensure the crops.
"Tying up winds in a rope or string and slowly untying the knots to release the winds."  These types of ropes were often sold to sailors in the Middle Ages.

"Goddess Sunna bless and decree that the sun shall shine on me."  Repeat nine times while holding a sunstone or other sun powered crystal.  Do this every morning leading up to your holiday or event that you want sunshine for.


Hagalaz h is the rune that tells you to pay attention. Challenges are occurring in your life, but these are to be embraced rather than feared.  A hailstorm, for example, may seem daunting and scary at first, but if you catch a hailstone you will realize that it is only water and is not to be feared.


Sowulo s rune represents the power of the Sun.  In almost every religion in the world, the Sun is held most sacred.  To the Norse, the sun was known as Sunna or Sol and was considered feminine.  The sun’s light and warmth symbolizes life, nurturing, growth and all that is good.


Isaz i rune represents being frozen in time or place.  In Ancient times, ice was a constant factor in the day to day lives of the Norse. It threatened their crops, their ships and their livelihoods, almost throughout the entire year.  To the people though, it also served as a symbol of creation from which all life eventually springs forth.

Freyr is a Norse God of weather and fertility; brother of Freya. The dwarves build Freyr a ship, Skidbladnir, that can hold all the Gods or fit in his pocket. Freyr goes as a hostage to the Aesir, along with Njord and Freya. He courts the giantess Gerd through his servant Skirnir. 


Even a good life has its days.
As a hard rain good for the crops
turns to a hail storm that flattens them.
Even then the bad times don't last;
even the thickest hail
melts away.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Divine Tree

The Norse family could be patriarchal, but Viking women exercised more rights than the women of other European societies of the time.  For example, a wife had a right to share the wealth her husband gained, any Viking woman could own land or other property, a woman could choose to be a warrior over a mother and Viking law permitted married women to divorce anytime she wanted.  And many men died young from disease or war.  Three or more generations of family lived together, including slaves and visitors.  The family tree could get a bit tangled and so did their Divines tree.  Many Gods and Goddess had lovers (human and Divine) and/or multi-marriages. 

I was asked for how some of the Divines relate to each other, but that is not an easy answer.  Basically, there are the Aesir, the Vanir and others.  The others are supernatural beings and Divine that do not really fit into the tree.  Of course, there are many more beings and some many link them in other ways but this can be used as a starting point for your notes. 

Norse God & Goddess




Appeal: Magic, Victory, Leadership, City Hall, Professors, Poetry, Death, Travel, Wisdom, Teaching, Father, War
Odin A is a chief God in Norse mythology and the ruler of Asgard.  Odin has only one eye, which blazes like the sun.  He is often pictured as an older man wearing a floppy hat and a blue-grey cloak.  His role, like that of many of the Norse Gods, is complex.  He is associated with war, victory and death, but also wisdom, magic, learning, sky, poetry and the hunt.  Odin is closely connected with a horse called Sleipnir, a spear called Gungnir, a pair of wolves named Geri and Freki and two ravens Huginn and Muninn.  From his throne, Hlidskjalf, Odin could see everything that occurred in the universe.  His description from the Temple at Uppsala gives some details on the God.

In this temple, entirely decked out in gold, the people worship the statues of three Gods in such ways that the mightiest of them, Thor, occupies a throne in the middle of the chamber; Wotan (Odin) and Frikko (Freyr) have places on either side. The significance of these gods is as follows: Thor, they say, presides over the air, which governs the thunder and lightning, the winds and rains, fair weather and crops. The other, Wotan—that is, the Furious—carries on war and imparts to man strength against his enemies. The third is Frikko, who bestows peace and pleasure on mortals. His likeness, too, they fashion with an immense phallus.

Gesta Hammaburgensis 26, Tschan's translation

According to the Prose Edda, Odin, the first and most powerful, was a son of Bestla and Bor and brother of Vili and Ve.  With his brothers, he cast down the frost giant Ymir and made Earth from Ymir's body.  
Odin hung from the world tree, Yggdrasil, impaled on his own spear, for nine days and nights in order to gain the knowledge of runes.  Odin brought down the wisdom of the runes and conveyed their information for the rest of humanity to learn from.  Therefore, the Ansuz A rune is often regarded as a rune of ‘communication.’  Linked to the Divine, it is a rune of inspiration, wisdom, aspirations and communication.

Odin has many sons, the most famous of whom is Thor.  With his wife, Frigg, he fathered his doomed son Baldr and the blind God Hod.  Many royal families in Midgard claimed descent from God Odin through other sons.

Up until about the tenth century, the Nordic people regularly made human sacrifices to Odin, often by hanging them upside down from ash trees and thrusting spears into their sides.  When Christianity came to Scandinavia, human sacrifices were outlawed.  Christian leaders often compared Odin with the Devil, a Christian evil spirit.  Some modern Asatru and Odinism groups, use a human shaped dummy, mead or other items as the sacrifice to Odin today.

He is also remember throughout the year in many feast days.  Depending on your area, Walpurgis April 22 (nine nights of Odin's sacrifice on Yggdrisal), Fall Equinox Feast September 20, Einherjar November 11 or the Wild Hunt December 20 (which over time turned Odin and Sleipnir into Santa and reindeer).

With the threat of Ragnarok, the death of all Gods, Odin built Valhalla, a great hall of the heroic dead.  Odin would then gather heroes and warriors who were slain in battle and bring them to Valhalla so they would fight alongside the Gods, in an attempt to strengthen and save the Gods in the final battle at the time of Ragnarok.  On the day of the final battle, Odin will be killed by the wolf Fenrir.
Wednesday is named after Woden, the English form of Odin (Woden's day).  Odin appears in the 1939 novel The Ship That Flew by Hilda Lewis.  Odin is the main God character in the 2001 novel American Gods by Neil Gaiman.  In the popular video game Age of Mythology, Odin is a major Norse god which also gives the player the ability to use his two ravens Huginn and Muninn to scout the map.  He appears in many other modern influences.

Odin's Prayer
The forests sing, the oceans cry.
The ravens soar through every sky.
Into the corners of Asgard.
Where Odin hears the score, thus far.
On Sleipner, he rides on through,
Surveys the bloodshed before you
Commands Valkries too fly you home,
Too sit and serve by Odin’s throne!

Hear my call,              
My soul belongs too thee

So I may rest with you!

Saturday, March 23, 2013


Wisdom from the World's religions inspires our ethical and spiritual life.
Principles and Guidance: A basic definition of wisdom is the use of knowledge.  It is a deep understanding and realization of people, things, events or situations, resulting in the ability to apply perceptions, judgments and actions in keeping with this understanding. It often requires control of one's emotional reactions so that universal principles, reason and knowledge prevail to determine one's actions. Wisdom is also the comprehension of what is true or right coupled with optimum judgment as to action.
The ancient Greeks considered wisdom to be an important virtue, personified as the Goddesses Metis and Athena. To Socrates and Plato, philosophy was literally the love of Wisdom.
Wisdom is also important within Christianity. Jesus emphasized it. Paul the Apostle, in his first epistle to the Corinthians, argued that there is both secular and divine wisdom, urging Christians to pursue the latter. Prudence, which is intimately related to wisdom, became one of the four cardinal virtues of Catholicism. The Christian philosopher Thomas Aquinas considered wisdom to be the father of all virtues.
In the Inuit tradition, developing wisdom was the aim of teaching. An Inuit Elder said that a person became wise when they could see what needed to be done and do it successfully without being told what to do.
Buddhist scriptures teach that a wise person is endowed with good bodily  conduct, good verbal conduct, and good mental conduct.  A wise person does actions that are unpleasant to do but give good results, and doesn’t do actions that are pleasant to do but give bad results.  Wisdom is the antidote to the self-chosen poison of ignorance.
In the Thirteen Virtues of a Witch, wisdom has nothing to do with education. You cannot judge people's wisdom by how far in school they did or didn’t get.  Wisdom comes from life experience.  It is the best tool for giving people good advice and helping them out of tricky situations.  Wisdom is the ability to see what is for the best and when or when not to act. 
In Norse mythology, the God Odin is especially known for his wisdom, often acquired through various hardships and ordeals involving pain and self-sacrifice. In one instance he plucked out an eye and offered it to Mimir, guardian of the well of knowledge and wisdom, in return for a drink from the well. In another famous account, Odin hanged himself for nine nights from Yggdrasil, the World Tree that unites all the realms of existence, suffering from hunger and thirst and finally wounding himself with a spear until he gained the knowledge of runes for use in casting powerful magic. He was also able to acquire the mead of poetry from the giants, a drink of which could grant the power of a scholar or poet, for the benefit of Gods and mortals alike.
The Ansuz rune A tells of increased awareness of what the future holds. Linked to Odin, it is a rune of inspiration, wisdom, aspirations and communication. Promises spiritual renewal and progress, clear vision and good health.
Air is the element of the East, connected to the soul and the breath of life. If you’re doing a working related to communication, wisdom or the powers of the mind, Air is the element to focus on.

The Six-Fold Goal is another guideline discussed in A Book of Troth by Thorsson and was adopted by certain Asatru groups. The Six-Fold Goals are: Right, Wisdom, Might, Harvest, Frith and Love.
Mimir is a figure in Norse mythology renowned for his knowledge.  Mimir is the wise one and Odin's uncle.  He guards the well of wisdom under Yggdrasil.  Once he is decapitated, Odin gets wisdom from the severed head.
Snotra is a Goddess associated virtue, wisdom, self-discipline and justice.  She is always ready to let folk know what is fitting at any given time. Often called on by the lady of the house when men are feasting too boisterously.  Snotra is one of Frigg's attendants.

Odin is a major God in Norse mythology and the ruler of Asgard.  He is associated with war and death, but also wisdom, poetry and the hunt. 
Vor is a Goddess associated with wisdom.  Vor is the Goddess of marriage and faithfulness between man and woman from whom nothing could be hidden because she is so wise. She is wise and alert, and she misses nothing.

"Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it." - Albert Einstein