Sharing the myths III

The other nights I shared the theft of Idunn’s apples and the marriage of Skadi. 

During the second night, after recapping the first, we got to the part where Loki, as he is ultimately responsible for Trasi’s death since he handed over Idunn to him, had to hurt himself to get Skadi to laugh. 

As I described Loki tying himself to a goat and bouncing off the ground, Witchlette broke out into a crescendoing laugh much like I image Skadi did. 

It was one of those perfect moments. 

I am so incredibly blessed. 

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Sharing the myths II

Two weeks ago, in the morning as we were finishing packing for school/work, Witchlette asked me to tell her another “Thor story”. As I was also in the midst of other tasks, I did not put forth enough mental energy to properly pre-schoolerize the first myth which came to mind: The Mead of Poetry.

I skipped quite a few sections and didn’t give the ending the bang it deserves, and I told Witchlette so and promised I would tell it to her again at a point when I was not in the midst of packing.

Later that evening, after her lullaby, I knew I would have to run out to the pharmacy and told her so before we started signing. Witchlette asked, instead of her lullaby, if I could please tell her a Thor story. Since the pharmacy is open late, I relayed a The Treasures of the Gods and then we all sang her lullaby.

The next morning, I sat and thought about Mead of Poetry better and was able to give her a proper version of the tale. It was at this time that Witchlette’s title changed from “Thor stories” to “Asgard stories.” Over the next few nights, I relayed more and more myths to her and the new routine went from book, candle, lullabye, stay with me, bed to book, candle, Asgard story, lullabye, bed.

More recently, she has been concerned with the dark. She is frightened that she cannot see in the dark and she is worried about what she cannot see coming to get her. To try and calm her, I have relayed the relationship between the most beloved Balder and his twin brother Hod. According to many scholars, Balder did what he could for Hod- he always worked to include him and would share in his joys with him as best he could. When he was cast aside during the revelry of throwing axes and spears at Balder, Hod was left out because Balder was the target and no one else thought to include him. This is what made it so easy for Hod to fall pray to Loki.

Witchlette knows Hod before the mistletoe- the Hod that adored his brother and, while not as outgoing as Balder, is just as kind. There is nothing to be afraid of in the dark, because the dark is just Hod.

Witchlette’s response: “I like Balder better.”

 

Sharing the myths

Witchlette has started her stay with me requests after we have sung her lullaby and kissed her goodnight. Last night, she asked me to tell her a story, specifically, “Deadpool and the zombies.”

I took advantage of her want for oration of stories, and shared with her a myths of the Norsemen. 

Below is the version I related to her of one of my favorites. 

Thor awakens one morning to find his hammer missing. He blames Loki, who swears he didn’t do it, but agrees to seek it out and share what he learns. Loki ventures out and finds the hammer in an ogre’s home. He speaks with the ogre who says he will return the hammer if Freya becomes his bride. 

Loki returns to Asgard and shares his findings: Mjolnir for Freya’s hand in marriage. Thor takes the news in stride, Tyr has done well with only one hand, surely Freya can give up one for the cause as well. Loki corrects him- he wants Freya to be his bride, something Freya admently refuses to do. 

Loki comes up with a plan. He transforms himself into a beautiful handmaiden and sews three of Freya’s dresses together to fit Thor’s frame. He covers his head, face included, in a veil thick enough to hide his bright red whiskers. As a finishing touch, Thor dons Freya’s special necklace to prove his false identity. 

Loki the handmaiden and Thor the bride travel to the ogre. They enjoy the wedding feast, where Thor eats his usual amount and consumes his usual amount of mead- helpings that are not appropriate for a dainty Freya. Loki explained it away as “Freya’s” want for the other, her excitement at becoming his wife, that she must eat to have strength. 

After the wedding feast, Mjolnir is presented to bless the union. As it is placed before “Freya” at the table, Thor stands, rips through the dresses, and smites all the ogres. 

Perhaps, if she asks tomorrow, I will share about the building of the wall. 

Challenge book 4

Last night I finished my 4th book for the Witch and Witchcraft book challenge. 

I read Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology. 

This book is precisely as the reviews have described it:

  • Well written retellings of some of the most well-known myth with creative license taken to enhanced descriptions and some dialog
  • Respect to the culture from which it was taken and the movement which embraces it. 
  • A flowing read to get a good insight into the time, the people, the Pantheon 
  • Not at all a guide book for how to do Norse Magick (which apparently was a concern in some Heathen circles)

I recommend this book highly, especially for one who is just getting to know the myths. While reading this one, I also reread the graphic novel Gods of Asgard by Erik Evensen. 

The two books portray many of the same myths. Both begin with the creation myth and end with Ragnarok. Gainam makes frequent reference to the Necklace of Brisings but does not include the introduction of the necklace for the story is too “rapey” (his word choice). Evensen does include Brisings. Gainam includes the Mead of Poetry, Evensen does not. Gainam mentions more deities by name and description and includes a glossary of important names/places/items. Evensen has a cast of characters, akin to a giant Simpsons poster, which includes everyone, but not all drawn are detailed in the myths he depicts. 

Both gentlemen have little to share about goddesses, save Sif’s hair, Freya’s necklace, and Frigg’s son. Gainam believes the goddesses stories are lost to the sands of time, left for us to put back together. 

A task and an answer

During the last Full Moon, after working with some fine ladies to call Brigid and in a moment of quiet meditation, I was given a task. Someone spoke to me, “She has another name.” 


That night, I thought and researched. I read the introduction and first myth in Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology (highly recommend it btw). I had an instinctive feeling that I had a name- her other name.

The next day I continued to feel my intuition telling me, reverberating her other name. That night, I continued with my research and my reading of NM. I had another intuitive dream with the same answer. After a week of reflection, here is my answer to the task.

Note: this is UPG and I will not be responding to debate with anyone. Don’t like it, don’t use it.

Brigid, from the Celtic Pantheon, is Sif, wife of Thor.

Sif’s name means “relation by marriage.” There is very little record of her, besides her glorious flowing hair and her relationship with Thor. No personality or function – just a familial association. There are two theories that go with her name. Either: 1) Her given name is Sif and from that there is derived “relation by marriage” 2) She has another “real” name.

The most known, best documented reference to Sif is her golden hair and is, sadly, the most meaningful detail we know about her. Many scholars have suggested that her hair is a symbol of a field of flowing grain ripe for the harvest. When viewed comparatively to other religions of the same general area and timeframe, as well as what we know about Thor, this is a logical conclusion to draw.

A common theme in nearly all ancient mythology is the sexual union between a sky god and an earth goddess to bring fertility to the land and prosperity to the crops. The sky god rains on the earth goddess and life is sustained.

While Thor is known as a warrior god, he is also known to be a rain god and a fertility god, both of the land and the womb. Thor presides over air, and therefore thunder, lightning, wind, rain, and fair weather and, thusly, fair crops.  

Many folks think of Vikings as the berserkers but actually the majority of them were marriage-minded farmers. It makes sense, then, that most of their major goddesses would be a fertility goddess of one form or another: Frigg, Freya, Fjorgyn, Jordan, and Sif.

One plant, sacred to Sif, is the Rowan tree. It is also linked to Thor, but not as strongly as the mighty oak. The Celts consider the Rowan sacred to Brigid. Brigid is a goddess mainly known for her roles over healing, poetry, and smithcraft. She is also a fertility goddess.

The similarities that I have been able to find between these two are not at all expansive but there is a lot more known today about Brigid than about Sif.

This is something noted by Neil Gaiman upon the research he did for his book. The work he did is much more expansive than I will ever be able to do, as he does this for a living and I do it as a hobby in spare time. Trusting his work, he said,

We have all of these wonderful goddesses — there’s Sjöfn and there’s Vör — and the idea that you had a doctor of the gods, I think, in terms of the giant list of missing pieces, is the one I find most interesting of all. I would love to read the story — it’s as if all of the stories that are lost are women’s stories. They’re all stories about goddesses, in which goddesses have agency, and you go, “They have to have been there, because here are all the goddesses.” And I do not believe that the women … did not tell these stories. But we don’t have any of them.