Sunday, June 14, 2015

12 Days of Midsummer


12 Days of Midsummer

You may have heard of the 12 days of Christmas which begin on Christmas day and end on January 6. This originally came from the 12 days of Yuletide which began at sunset on December 20, known as Mother Night, and ended on the night of December 31, the Night of the Oak King and the Roman day of Hecate.  Similarly, Midsummer also has a twelve-day celebration which begins at sundown on Midsummer Eve on June 20.  In the Midwest USA it starts June 20, 8:40 pm.   (http://www.timeanddate.com/astronomy/)

Note, for the purpose of this post, I did mix several items together.  Under each day you will find a daily food, action, deity, poem and/or runes.  Some celebrate just on Summer Solstice day.  Others might go to week long events such as Pagan Spirit Gathering in Illinois.  And another might spent the full twelve days doing deeds for others and reflecting on the next six months to come.  Each Norse community would have had their local customs so use what notes speak to you and develop your Midsummer Tradition. 

summer_by_mslionkin.jpgThe Summer Solstice or Midsummer is second only to Yule in importance to the ancient Northman. Considering June 24 is the day of John the Baptist, it's interesting that 12 days later on July 5 is what is referred to as Old Midsummer's Day, which may have once been the summer equivalent to the Christian Twelfth Night on January 6, which has been pretty much forgotten now. Many congregate at Stonehenge in England, or other parks to watch the sunrise on the Summer Solstice.  In the Midwest USA, the official day is June 21, 5:18 am. 

Midsummer is the religious celebration held at the summer solstice. This feast usually falls around June 20-21. Midsummer-related holidays, traditions and celebrations are found in all the Germanic countries of Northern Europe. Midsummer's eve is considered the second greatest festival of the Germanic holy year, comparable only to the 12 days of Yule. Set up your altar with symbols of the season - solar symbols, candles and Midsummer fruits and vegetables.

Certain celebrations take place on the evening of the summer solstice. Great roaring bonfires, speeches, songs and dancing are most traditional. Folk traditions include the making of wreaths, the kindling of fires, the burning of corn dollies (human figure made out of straw), and the adornment of fields, barns, and houses with deciduous greenery.

Midsummer as particularly a time to make blessings to Baldur. Model Viking ships are also sometimes made out of thin wood, filled with small flammable offerings, and burned at this time. Midsummer is the high point of the year, the time when deeds are brightest and the heart is most daring. This is the time when our Viking forebears, having their crops safely planted, sailed off to do battle in other lands. It is a time for action and risk, for reaching fearlessly outward.

Other traditional events include raising and dancing around a huge phallic maypole. Before the Maypole or Midsummer Tree is raised, greens and flowers are collected and used to cover the entire pole. Raising and dancing around a maypole to traditional music is primarily a fertility ritual.

 

This is the longest day and the shortest night of the year: Now Sunna begins her decline, sliding into the darkness which will culminate six months from now at Yule. Identifying the sun with the brightness of Baldur, we celebrate in honor of both. Hold a blot to Baldur and High Feast. This was also the traditional time for holding the All Thing in ancient times.

summercht54d.pngWe know from numerous ancient accounts that our ancestors held the legislative body known as the Thing to be sacred. The Germans, according to Tacitus, allowed the whole community to debate major issues at the assembly where the priests were in charge of the proceedings. Tacitus wrote in The Germania, "The Assembly is competent also to hear criminal charges, especially those involving the risk of capital punishment. The mode of execution varies according to the offense. Traitors and deserters are hanged on trees; cowards, shirkers, and sodomites are pressed down under a wicker hurdle into the slimy mud of a bog. Less serious offenses, too, have penalties proportioned to them. The man who is found guilty has to pay a fine of so many horses or cattle, part of which goes to the king or the state, part to the victim of the wrongful act or to his relatives."

Things were held at the local and regional level, and in Iceland the Althing was a national event.  The Althing site was considered a holy place, making it both socially unacceptable and also sacrilegious to carry weapons. These were democratic events, in which all free men who met certain conditions were permitted to speak their thoughts and to have a say in what was decided.  In Iceland, where the settlers did not want a king or other ruler, the laws agreed at the Althing were the highest authority in the land.

Normally, the Godi (chieftains) of a region held a Thing in the spring and then took wider issues to the Althing in the summer.  It was held around þinvellir, about 30 miles inland from modern Reykjavik, Iceland.  The meetings were held for two weeks at the end of June every year.  Although any free man could be heard at the Althing, it was the Godi and their advisors who finally agreed what laws to put into place and how to apply them.  In addition to the politics and law, there were also all sorts of merchants, craftsmen and peddlers.

 

20 Odin & Fathers

Bread. Cheese. Goat milk. Meat. Mead. Right an injustice. Do something in a leadership position, especially if it is difficult.

Odin_Son_by_fresco_child.jpgAsh and Elm are other options that can be used for a Midsummer tree.  One day Odin, Vili and Ve walked on the beach.  There they found two logs; one appeared to be from the Ash tree and the other appeared to come from an Elm tree.  The first man was given the name Ask and the first woman was given the name Embla.

Odin (All-father) 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 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.

Father's Day is a celebration honoring fathers and celebrating fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society.  Many countries celebrate it on the third Sunday of June, though it is also celebrated widely on other days.  Typically, families gather to celebrate the father figures in their lives.  In recent years, retailers have adapted to the holiday by promoting greeting cards and traditionally masculine gifts such as electronics and tools.  Schools and other children's programs commonly have activities to make Father's Day gifts.

By welcoming the God of your tradition, you can honor the men who have impacted your life - whether they raised you, loved you or are being brought up by you.  This simple rite also offers your boys a chance to get out there and dance, and to celebrate the masculine within themselves.

 

Hail Odin, Lord of Asgard,
Warrior and wanderer, valiant and wise,
You to whom all the gods of Asgard look,
Sky Father on the eight-legged steed,
You who traded an eye for wisdom
And ruled a turbulent realm,
Give us the wisdom to accept
The twists and turns of Fate
Even as you surrendered yourself
To the mercies of the Norns.
Protect us, All-Father,
From what harm may come to us.
Lead us through the wilderness
And bring us safely to that great hall
That you reserve only for the brave of spirit.


On this day we also remind ourselves of the virtue Strength. The Strength to allow one to achieve in the face of opposition. Not merely physical strength or even “energetic” strength, such as chi or ond, but also strength of will, belief, conviction and ethics.  The strength to do and say the right thing, even in the face of severe consequences.  Courage enables us all to face the hard times in life in order to receive the rewards and benefits on the other side. The Ehwaz e, symbolizes inner strength and fortitude. And the Uruz u , associated with strength, tenacity, courage and survival skills.

 

21 Midsummer

Yellow and orange food of any kind. Open the house to others to share the ritual, or take it elsewhere. Like all the great high holidays, this ritual should be shared with the greater community.

The gardens are blooming and summer is in full swing. Fire up the barbeque, turn on the sprinkler and enjoy the celebrations of Midsummer! Also called Litha, this Summer Solstice Sabbath honors the longest day of the year. Take advantage of the extra hours of daylight and spend as much time as you can outdoors.  In ancient times, the Sun was believed to be the center of the universe, the core of existence. 

summer58414360594.pngThe Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System.  It is almost perfectly spherical and consists of hot plasma interwoven with magnetic fields.  Chemically, about three quarters of the Sun's mass consists of hydrogen, while the rest is mostly helium.  The remainder consists of heavier elements, including oxygen, carbon, neon and iron.

A solar deity is a God or Goddess who represents the Sun, or an aspect of it, usually by its perceived power and strength.  In Chinese mythology, there were originally ten Suns in the sky, who were all brothers.  In Baltic mythology, Saule, is the Goddess of the Sun and fertility.  The Old High German Sun Goddess is Sunna.

 

All Hail the longest day!
We have slept away the shortest night,
We have watched the wheel turn
From early darkness to early light.
All hail the highest moment of the year!
Come forth Sun and shine upon us!
Let nothing cloud your brilliance!
Let nothing cloud your light!
Let all your veils of rain be cast away!
Come forth and give us life, O Sun!
We stand where our ancestors stood,
We hail you on the day they hailed you,
We follow in their footsteps!
Hail Sunna of the golden chariot,
Hail Lugh Sun-Face of many talents,
Hail Ra who battles serpents each night,
Hail Amaterasu Omikami, mother of emperors!
Take joy in the morning rays!
Take joy in the noon heat!
Take joy in the sunset colors!
Take joy! Take joy! Take joy!

 

On this day we also remind ourselves of the virtue of Perseverance. Our religion teaches us that the world is an imperfect place, and nothing comes easy. We need to continue to seek after that which we desire. In this imperfect world there are no free lunches or easy accomplishments-especially in the subjects we have set before ourselves. We must be willing to continue on when we are pushed back. If one loses a job for ones religion, the answer is not to go back and hide, but to continue until one finds a vocation where one can more forward and live as an Asatruar should. The Thurisaz T, allowing one’s destiny to unfold as it should, and allowing one’s self to experience all that life has to offer us.  And the Algiz x, encourages us to channel our energies towards the greater good.

 

22 Sunna & Light

Roasted Salmon or Salmon Cakes. Sunshine Mash. Summer Greens. Go out and enjoy the Sun.  Chores of the day should concentrate on cleaning and repair.

Like other natural phenomena, the Sun has been an object of veneration in many cultures throughout human history.  Humanity's most fundamental understanding of the Sun is as the luminous disk in the sky, whose presence above the horizon creates day and whose absence causes night.  In many prehistoric and ancient cultures, the Sun was thought to be a solar deity or other supernatural phenomenon. In many traditions of modern Pagan cosmology, all things are considered to be cyclical, with time as a perpetual cycle of growth and retreat tied to the Sun's annual death and rebirth.

Sunna (Sol) is the Sun personified in Norse mythology.  She is described as the sister of the personified moon, Manni, the daughter of Mundilfari and is foretold to be killed by a monstrous wolf during the events of Ragnarok.  Sunna has blonde hair with golden curls that looked like rays of sunshine. Sunna like the ‘sun’ was always kind and generous to her people brining light wherever she went.

On Midsummer Eve, Sunna's strength begins to decline, and those who honor her gather to celebrate this passage.  For the Pagan religions of Northern Europe, this is the Sabbat of Midsummer.  Songs are sung, poems are read, libations and toasts fill the air.  In honor of the strength of light and warmth that are Sunna's blessing, element fire is a central part of the celebration at this Sabbat, along with the direction south.

 

Hail to the day,
Hail, to the sons of day.
Hail to the day,
Hail, to the daughters of day.
Look upon us with kind eyes,
And grant us courage.
Hail to the Gods.
Hail to the Goddesses.
Hail to the green earth
That gives to us all.
Show us good speech and wisdom,
Grant us healing hands and joy,
in this life. Hail.

 

On this day we also remind ourselves of Fire. Fire is a purifying, masculine energy, associated with the South, and connected to strong will and energy. Fire both creates and destroys, and symbolizes the fertility of the God.  Fire can heal or harm, and can bring about new life or destroy the old and worn. The Cen rune, rune of the brightly burning torch that lights up the hall in the evening, whose flames represent the safe, tempered Fire of the hearth. And the Kenaz k-rune, is light, inspiration and knowledge are often associated with this rune, as in ‘shedding light on a problem’, or ‘ gaining enlightenment’.

 

23 Music Day

Potluck or Stone Soup. Friendship Bread. Mead. Face some emotion that seems overwhelming to you. Be more considerate of those you live with.

In Sweden, Germany and Wales, the Maypole dance is performed on June 23, and is called the Midsummer Tree or Midsummer Birch.  They put this sanctified tree in the center of their Midsummer ritual, and come dressed in their festival best to play music, sing and dance rounds.

1471982_3344218733.jpgUnfortunately we know little about Viking music. In ancient times, common Vikings didn't posses the technology of writing on vellum or paper. What little we know about the Vikings and their music has been passed down verbally through the generations from outside observers. The information indicates that music was used for a variety of reasons. Sombre chants were used for sermons and sacrifices, while a livelier tune were played at festivities; then there were the bawdy tunes sang while drinking mead.

In attempting to reconstruct this music, modern scholars look to traditions in Iceland for further guides. Iceland remained remote and maintained the language of the Vikings almost unchanged up to the present day, though there is no solid evidence of any unbroken musical traditions.  Viking musical instruments are very rarely preserved, because they would generally be constructed of wood or other perishable materials.  Archaeological digs have revealed quite a variety of instruments dating back to Viking times: pan flutes, horn pipes, lyre, bone flutes and lur.

Make Music Day, held annually in June, is a global celebration of music making. Taking place in more than 110 countries and 800 cities around the world, it is the perfect opportunity to meet and create new music makers. Completely different from a typical music festival, Make Music is open to anyone who wants to take part. Every kind of musician — young and old, amateur and professional, of every musical persuasion — pours onto streets, parks, plazas, and porches to share their music with friends, neighbors and strangers.

 

Hail! It is good to praise
and make music to your name Divine Friends,
to proclaim your love in the morning
and your faithfulness at night.

 

On this day we remind ourselves of the virtue of Hospitality. Hospitality is simply one of the strongest core values at the heart of virtually every ancient human civilization. In a community/folk religion such as our own, it is the virtue that upholds our social fabric. In ancient times it was essential that when a traveler went into the world he could find some sort of shelter and welcome for the night. In modern times it is just as essential that a traveler find friendship and safety. The Mannaz m-rune , to remember your ancestors, to act fairly and to honor the Gods. And the Teiwaz t-rune , represents inner strength, morality and honor.

 

24 Baldur

Soup or stew dyed with saffron or curry. Sacrifice something beautiful in a way that gives benefit to others.

Balder (Baldr, Baldur) is a God of light and purity in Norse mythology, and a son of the God Odin and the Goddess Frigg.  He was a being of great beauty; the God of the summer sun, of radiance.  In fact, it was said he was so bright that the light shone from him. He has numerous brothers, such as Thor and Vali.  Balder's wife is Nanna and their son is Forseti.  He is so fair of feature and so bright; he had a good character, was friendly, wise and eloquent.

Compiled in Iceland in the 13th century, but based on much older Old Norse poetry, the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda contain numerous references to the death of Balder as both a great tragedy to the Aesir and a harbinger of Ragnarok.  In Gylfaginning, Snorri relates that Balder had the greatest ship ever built, named Hringhorni, and that there is no place more beautiful than his hall, Breidablik.

 

Long, long ago, Baldur was the favored of the Gods.
Of all the Aesir the most beautiful, golden and fine
As the Sun, and everywhere that he went, he shone.
All loved him on sight,
And all agreed that Baldur was to be the next King.
In his home, nothing impure was allowed,
That it might not dim his glory.
Yet it was Loki plotted his downfall,
Tricked a blind man into killing him,
And it was Hela who took him in,
Took his soul to her breast.
And so it was that all of Asgard wept
And there was sorrow flowing everywhere,
For Baldur the bright had been taken from the living
And hidden away in the twilit world.
So it was that Hermod the brave rode to Helheim
And asked for Baldur's return, but Hela would not
Be moved unless every living thing wept for him.
So it was that Frigg his mother went to every living thing
And begged them to weep for her lost son, and all wept
Save one old woman in a cave who said, "Let Hel keep her own."
And we would think this story only a tragedy,
Was it not know that at the end of days,
When the Aesir would fall, if Baldur the bright
Were present, he too would be sought out and slain.
There was only one safe place in the Nine Worlds
For the King of the Next World to wait for his throne,
And that was Helheim. Think on that mystery as he sleeps in peace.

 

On this day we also remind ourselves of the virtue Dignity. The inherent worth and Dignity of every being. Dignity is a term used in moral, ethical, and political discussions to signify that a being has an innate right to respect and ethical treatment.  Human dignity should be inviolable.  To respect and protect it shall be the duty of all.  If anything comes out in the Eddas and Sagas it is that without honor we are nothing.  Living by the Rede, the Law of Return or whatever ethical system you embrace is honor. The Gar rune, spear, is also the name of , sacrifice and dignity. And the Mannaz m-rune , to remember your ancestors, to act fairly and to honor the Gods.

 

25 Freya & Freyr

Freyj and Freyja_rgb_72dpi_large.jpgVegetarian, with sweets, nuts, fruits, and bread. Ritual sex is appropriate on this day or weather magic.

Freyr is described as being very handsome, powerful, merciful and kind, and is called the 'God of the World'.  As a fertility God of love and pleasure, Freyr was often depicted with an enlarged phallus.  Animals sacred to Freyr include the stag and the boar.  Like these animals, he could be very peaceful and gentle, and also very fierce when provoked.


Freya is the 'wild woman' among the deities of the North: free with her sexual favors; mistress of Odin and several men.  She is also skilled at the shamanic form of ecstatic, consciousness altering magic called seidhr, thus it is of no surprise to find her as the matrons of female magicians.

 

Holy sister and brother,
Lady and Lord of the Vanir,
Golden of hair as the fields of wheat
Who bring riches of heart and hearth
To noble and common folk alike
You are the security wealth can buy
And the happiness it cannot.
Lord Frey, Corn God
Warrior without a weapon
Who gave his sword for love,
You who make the grain spring forth,
Show us faith in every harvest.
Bless the bonds of those whose love
Binds them to land, to hearth,
To commitment of permanence,
O God whose wedding was cursed and blessed.
Lady Freya, warrior woman,
Chooser of the slain warriors,
Teacher of magic and mysteries,
Mistress of Seidhr and mother of jewels,
Love Goddess and Lady of Springtime,
Flowers scattered in your footsteps,
Unashamed of love and pleasure,
Help us to remember
That there are many kinds of wealth.
Bless us, Frey and Freya,
Most precious gems of Vanaheim,
With the gold of next year's grain and sun.

 

On this day we remind ourselves of the virtue of Fidelity. A word that is far too often defined by its narrow use in terms of marital fidelity. June is the most common month for handfastings (marriage).  But by the dictionary it simply means being faithful to someone or something. In marriage this means being true to ones vows and partner, and this has been narrowly defined as limiting ones sexual experience to one's spouse. The Laguz l-rune , predominantly with healing, peacefulness, love, truth, compassion, intuition and forgiveness. And the Teiwaz t-rune ᛏ , the truth will always be victorious in the end.

 

26 Poet's Day

White Fish. Crusty Bread. Mead. Write a poem or song. Give a performance in order to bring joy to others.

untitled.pngSurviving Ancient poems show a wide range of topics and tones: respectful and reverent, boastful and proud, witty and humorous, threatening and defiant, vile and obscene.  The skald was a historian, storyteller, poet and singer of songs.  The skald was highly respected in Viking society for his skills.  A skillful poet could earn a valuable reward from a generous king or save his head from an angry neighbor.  They were common in both Scandinavian and Icelandic lands.  Bragi is the God of poetry in Norse mythology. 

Poems praising a woman were banned, both because of the publicity and the effect it might have on her reputation, and also because of possible spell binding effects the poem might have.  But surviving love poems suggest the ban was regularly ignored.  And on hearing certain kinds of poetry, such as an insult, a man was at liberty to kill the person reciting the poem.

The primary feature which distinguishes Norse poetry is probably the alliteration used. Alliteration means words which begin with the same sound, as in song ... Peter Piper Picked a Peck.  Another important feature of Norse poetry is the use of kennings. A kenning is a riddling reference to one item or concept which does not name it directly, but rather suggests it by the round way in which the subject is spoken of, which causes the listener or reader to visualize the intended concept. Modern scholars have also applied the term kenning to similar figures of speech ... (báru fákr 'wave’s horse' = ship) or (grennir gunn-más 'feeder of war-gull' = feeder of raven or warrior) or (sól húsanna 'sun of the houses' = fire).  

Rune poems were usually inscribed on monuments and serve to praise an individual.  Eddic poems describe the Gods and Ancient heroes.  Skaldic poems typically praised the deeds of notable people and were generally spoken not sung.  Today is a day for all poets to celebrate their special talents and the vision that makes them so wonderful and dear.  Poet's Day is a time to share special thoughts about poets and poetry.

 

Hail the Alfar,
Ancestral fathers,
Ghosts of our kinsmen,
You stand ever vigilant,
Watchful and wise,
Protecting our homes,
Our land and our kin
Hail to the Disir,
Ancestral mothers,
Ghosts of our kinswomen,
You stand ever vigilant,
Watchful and wise,
Protecting our homes,
Our land and our kin

-Larisa Hunter 

 

On this day we also remind ourselves of the virtue Justice. Justice, equity and compassion in human relations. Justice is a concept of moral rightness based on ethics, rationality, law, natural law, religion, or equity, along with the punishment of the breach of said ethics; justice is the act of being just and/or fair.  It is the justice of law shaped by the lore of our ancestors and passed out with good judgment and true by those who can see the truth. The Teiwaz t-rune , a rune of justice, strengths, warriors and order. And the Laguz l-rune , predominantly with healing, peacefulness, love, truth, compassion, intuition and forgiveness.

 

27 Loki

Hot, spicy food. Examine yourself for how you manipulate others, even for their own good, or with truthful means.

In Norse mythology, Loki, is a God or a Giant (or both).  By the jotunn (giantess) Angrboda, Loki is the father of Hela, the wolf Fenrir and the world serpent Jormungandr.  And by the stallion Svadilfari, Loki is the mother—giving birth in the form of a mare—to the eight-legged horse Sleipnir.  In addition, Loki is married to the Goddess Sigyn, the sweetest and most loyal of all women.

He has several complex relations with the Gods and humans depending on the source or the century.  Loki sometimes assists the Gods and sometimes causes problems for them.  He is a shape shifter and in separate incidents he appears in the form of a salmon, mare and an elderly woman, most often playing tricks.  He is crafty and malicious, but is also heroic. 

lokimple2L.jpgLoki is known for bringing about chaos and discord, but by challenging the Gods, he also brings about change. Without Loki's influence, the Gods may become complacent, so Loki does actually serve a worthwhile purpose, much as Coyote does in the Native American tales or Anansi the spider in African lore.

 

Trickster of the far north,
Delicate spawn of giants,
Wheedler and coaxer with the secret agenda,
Liar who speaks the truth others will not hear,
We call you, two-faced one whose soul burns bright,
And invite you to be critical of our souls.
You love to make us break our vows,
When those vows are made heedlessly.
You love to catch us in our own hypocrisies
And puncture our bubbles of pride.
Nothing is safe from you, no emotion
Is sacrosanct from your prodding.
What do we really think, you ask?
What are we not saying? You know,
And your shifty eyes catch ours,
Your crafty smile slips across your face,
And we blush in shame, knowing
That you have read our foolish fumblings
With the truth. For the truth is a flame that burns,
You tell us. Do not pretend to eat fire
If you are not willing to suffer the consequences,
Which is to be cast out by others.
Only when we are clear-eyed and humble
Will your gaze toward us be free of slyness.
Loki, Spirit of Truth and Lies,
Burn us with the measure of our own words.

 

On this day we also remind ourselves of the virtue Acceptance. Acceptance of one another and encouragement of spiritual growth. Acceptance of our faults and the faults of others helps us to be patient and to avoid hurtful kinds of criticism or judgment.  For Asatru, fidelity is most important in terms of our faith and troth to the Gods.  In order for such a relationship to work, both must be honest and faithful to each other.  No one being has all the answers, we all must work together. The Thurisaz T, allowing one’s destiny to unfold as it should, and allowing one’s self to experience all that life has to offer us. And the Algiz x, encourages us to channel our energies towards the greater good. 

 

28 Frigg & Mothers

Soup or stew. Bread with cheese, meat, or jam. Bring harmony to some place that needs it. Give aid to an animal shelter.

frigg_by_inertiak.jpgFrigg (All-mother), is a major Goddess in Norse paganism. She is associated with love, marriage and motherhood. Frigg is frequently pictured as being very beautiful, wearing a girdle hung with household keys and weaving clouds on her spinning wheel. Eleven handmaidens attended her in her hall, Fensalir or "Marsh Halls," in Odin's Heavenly Kingdom of Asgard.  Frigg was believed to travel in a chariot drawn by a pack of dogs, perfect symbols of fidelity and faithfulness.

Frigg was the mother of Balder, and, according to some sources, she was also the mother of Thor, the thunder God, and of Hodur, the blind God who unwittingly killed Balder.  Odin was well-known for his extramarital affairs, so the family tree can get crossed.  Frigg had great patience and tolerance, often defending Odin when his actions were questioned.

Many different Goddesses have represented motherhood in one way or another and some have been associated with the birth of humanity as a whole.  Others have represented the fertility of the Earth.  The ability to forgive and provide for her children and put them before herself is the essence of a good mother. 

 

We call you, Frigg, from your misty halls at Fensalir,
All-knowing Queen, norn-wise,
Odin's loved companion, splendid queen of tribes,
Blessed in triumph, binding folk together.
Lover of your people, lady bright-minded,
Bridler of kin-strife, borne of kin-mindfulness.
Protector and peace weaver, friendly goddess:
Your blessings give to us, to babies and brave ones,
Great-hearted queen, holding secret counsel
With god-loving soothsayers; to the wise-minded
Giving rede and wisdom, discretion and prudence.
Key-keeper mighty, in your starry cape,
You know there is no tongue in which to tell
Of all that is and that shall be;
To sort the spinning strands of possibility
Into a span of words,
Yet with your spindle and your well-strung loom
You weave the airy clouds
And send the winds to shape them,
Writing your wordless wisdom-runes
In the ever-changing valleys of the sky.

 

On this day we also remind ourselves of the virtue harmony. Temperance and harmony protects the rhythm of daily life. Temperance is generally defined by control over excess.  True humility is recognizing both our strengths and our weaknesses and working to cultivate the former and transform the latter.  Humility helps us to be modest, to see that we are no better than anyone else and to be able to accept other people's help when we need it. The Wunjo, a point of balance, a sense of fulfillment and transformation. And the Haglaz the h-rune, represents the concept of balance.

 

29 Idunn & Children

Vegetarian. Serve fruit and nuts, especially apples. Do something for children. Today's work should concentrate entirely on gardening, even in inclement weather.

The apple tree was sacred to the Goddess Idunn.  Idunn was the Maiden who provided golden apples to the Gods that gave them eternal youthfulness.  Birch twigs were used to bring prosperity and to encourage conception.  Cradles were once made from birch so that the infant within would be protected. 

Idunn is the Norse Maiden Goddess of youth and springtime.  She was one of the lesser known Aesir Goddesses who lived in Asgard.  Idunn has golden hair and often seen with a box or basket of golden apples.  She is married to Bragi the God of poetry.

She is the keeper of the golden apples that give the Gods immortality.  The golden apples grew on a tree that could only be harvested or given to others by Idunn.  Since the Norse Gods are not immortal, the apples are considered very precious.

George Bush said: "Every child in every neighborhood has unique gifts to offer. We must nurture our children's dreams, help them develop their talents and abilities, and ensure their healthy development so that they may reach their full potential. Our success in this vital endeavor will affect the direction of their lives and the future strength and vitality of our Nation."

 

Hail to you, gardener of Asgard!
Let the other Gods quarrel
About who may sit higher than whom,
About whose sword is sharper
And whose spear is keener.
You, Lady, know your place,
And that place is indispensable.
You are the One Who Works,
The one without whom all the plans
And grandiosities of the others
Would simply come to nothing.
Giver of health and immortality,
Keep our bodies sound and strong!
Keep us healthy, that we may, like you,
Get up each and every morning
While the rest of the world quarrels
And go quietly to our tasks,
Working the Earth that you love so much,
Knowing that ours is the real work
And the real life, not some shell
Of unbodied, distanced work
Whose products we will never see.
Help us in our daily round of sacred labor,
Lady of the Sacred Orchard,
And may our gardens bloom as yours.

 

On this day we also remind ourselves of the virtue Love. To be able to be kind, considerate, gentle and sympathetic makes you all the more attractive.  Love, awe, respect and veneration for life, the Gods and ourselves.  Gratitude for all the gifts we have been given and the heartfelt willingness to pass those gifts on to others. The Laukaz l-rune , predominantly with healing, peacefulness, love, truth, compassion, intuition and forgiveness . And the Ingwaz for ng q, is all about common sense and simple strengths, the home and love of the family, caring and human warmth.

 

30 Manni & Ancestors

Spiced Beef or Pork with Rutabagas and Carrots. Black Forest Cake. Clean up a mess. Tend a cemetery and clean up the graves.

In mythology, a lunar deity is a God or Goddess associated with or symbolizing the Moon.  These deities can have a variety of functions and traditions depending upon the culture, but they are often related to or an enemy of the solar deity.  Even though they may be related, they are distinct from the solar deity.  Lunar deities can be either male or female, and are usually held to be of the opposite sex of the corresponding solar deity.  Male lunar deities are somewhat more common worldwide, although female deities are better known in modern times due to the influence of classical Greek and Roman mythology, which held the Moon to be female.

The Moon is the only natural satellite of the Earth.  Its prominence in the sky and its regular cycle of phases have, since ancient times, made the Moon an important cultural influence on language, calendars, art and mythology.  The Moon's gravitational influence produces the ocean tides and the minute lengthening of the day.  In Norse mythology, Mani (Manni) was the man who drove the chariot that carried the Moon across the sky.  He is the brother of Sunna the Sun and the son of Mundilfari.

Ancestor time is used to learn more about our ancestors and our past so that we can preserve our family history for future generations.  Knowing where you came from and who your ancestors were can give you insight into your family’s values and traditions and perhaps even make you appreciate how far you family has come.

 

Our ancestors got up at dawn,
Slaved in the dirt,
Sweated in the sun,
Chilled in the cold,
Numbed in the snow,
Scattering each seed with a prayer:
Pray that there be enough,
That no one starve this winter.
Pray that no bird nor beast
Steal the food I have struggled for.
And most of all,
Pray that each seed I save
Of this harvest
Shall next year
Bring forth a hundred more.
We live today
Because they worked
Because they sowed
Because they harvested
Because they prayed.

 

On this day we also remind ourselves of the virtue Wisdom. In Wicca, we place a great emphasis on personal responsibility; use your knowledge to make informed decisions and be ready to accept the consequences of all of your actions.  Wisdom is the ability to see what is for the best and when or when not to act.  It comes from life experience.   The Ansuz a-rune , it is a rune of inspiration, wisdom, aspirations and communication.  And the Eihaz , represents cycles and is a rune of wisdom and communication.

 

1 Althing & Tyr

Red meat. Mead. Agree to a promise that limits your convenience. Resolve conflicts without resorting to violence.

althinggather.jpgTyr (Tiwaz, Teiva, Ziu) is the God of oaths, justice, law, courage and warfare in Germanic Mythology, portrayed as a one handed man.  Tyr actually pre-dates Odin in archeology finds and was thought to be the original All-Father of Gods and men, dating back to 600 BC.  He was the 'Sky-Father' and the original chief God, who was later overtaken in authority and power by Odin, when Odin discovered the runes.  But he appears in the Prose Edda as the son of Odin or as Hymir's child in the Poetic Edda.

Although he appears to have no special dwelling, he is always welcome in Valhalla, and occupies one of the twelve thrones in the great council hall.  He is renowned for his great wisdom and is unrivalled in his sense of duty and honor.  Many ancient Nordic tribes sacrificed to him for victory in battle, yielding the first spoils, captives and the weaponry taken in the conflict.  His attribute is a spear; the symbol of justice, as well as a weapon. 

Things, from the Old Norse þing, are the early assemblies found throughout Northern Europe as a result of our shared Norse heritage.  Icelandic law and the Heathen religion were tightly connected during this time, as evidenced by the fact that the leaders of the religion the leaders of the government were one and the same, the Godi. They have been described as the Viking cradle of democracy because their establishment was an early attempt to introduce a representative system, allowing disputes to be settled in a neutral forum rather than by blood feud and violence alone.

While attending, people lived in booths or tents, and weapons were laid aside or secured with straps.  The annual meeting was the time for marriages to be arranged, alliances to be made and broken, friendships to be renewed and gossip and news exchanges.  Perhaps up to one thousand people routinely attended the Althing, although many more attended the contentious sessions.  Plus many merchants, craftsmen and trades people also attended.

The Thing system for sharing and legislating power can still be recognized today. Several things continue to be active. The Icelandic parliament is still known as the Althing, the Norwegian parliament is called the Storting and the Faroese parliament goes by the name of Logting. The Manx parliament, known as Tynwald, still holds a Midsummer court on the thing mound at Tynwald Hill every year.

 

Honor is not comfortable.
It demands all you have,
All you are, all you can do.
It wraps you like a chain
That you may only shuffle where others run
And yet that chain will bear you up
When others trip and fall.
It limits you, like the loss of a limb;
You reach, and fall ever short,
Brought up by honor's limitation,
And yet this limiting hones you sharper,
Like a tool that must be cut down to work,
As every sharpening is removal of some of you.
O Lord of Honor, you whose name
Invoked, seals bargains without
A thought of cheating, you whose
Word is law and law is will,
You who are never afraid
To do what must needs be done
Even when there is no question
That there will be great loss,
May we all have half the steel
That lies in you, O warrior one-handed,
In your spine, in your hand,
And in your soul.

 

On this day we also remind ourselves of the virtue Truth. A free and responsible search for Truth and meaning. It is a word that holds so much in its definition and includes such a wide variety of moral and philosophical beliefs that many are drawn to it as a simple statement of what to stand for.  In a common usage, it also means constancy or sincerity in action or character. The Laguz l-rune , is predominantly with healing, peacefulness, love, truth, compassion, intuition and forgiveness. And the Teiwaz t-rune , since the truth will always be victorious in the end.

 

Have a Blessed Midsummer!

 







 


 

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