For many pagans, this is the time of year where they honor and celebrate Imbolc one of the eight sabbats that comprise the Wheel of the Year. For those of us in the Northern Tradition however, we have our only celebrations known as holy tides (from the Old Norse hátíðir) that we may currently be celebrating instead: Charming of the Plough or Disting.
I was ruminating over the subject of Ragnarok recently. In the various bits of lore that talk about Ragnarok, while we have a great deal of detail about what male forces and male gods are doing, there’s hardly more than a peep about what the females/Goddesses are supposed to be up to.
The modern day country of England, appears to derive its name indirectly from the Vanic deity, Freyr who was widely worshiped among the Scandinavian, Germanic and Anglo-Saxon peoples.
In England, there is a folk tradition known as Plough Monday (which is the first Monday after the end of the Yuletide and traditionally also after January 6) that encompassed the ceremonial act of ploughing the first furrows in the fields. While the earliest written depictions of this tradition come from post conversion (1400s CE), it is in all likelihood a surviving remnant of the pagan past. While Christianity would have altered the customs, the surviving folk traditions still practiced today appear to be based on the pagan observances we tend to celebrate with the Heathen Holy Tide for the Charming of the Plough.
For most followers of the Northern Tradition upon learning about this path they read the myths about the Gods, and many tend to also study the Havamal. The Havamal is one of many sagas found in the Poetic Edda, and many of the stanzas are known as being a depository of advice as it applies to wanderers and guests when they travel abroad; it talks about what is proper behavior beyond one’s own homestead, and cautions the traveler to be wary so that he might eventually return to home having suffered no mischief or misfortune.
I sponsored the creation of this prayer card by Grace Palmer for the Goddess Nerthus, and I’m thrilled that it is now available for Pre-Order – http://wp.me/p59Y9v-AK
Ancient God of Wisdom,
Of Magic, and the Dead,
Of Warriors and Poets too,
All-Father we hail!
A long time ago, in a world before Christianity there were MANY GODS.
Guess what, They haven’t left.