Exploring Our Gods & Goddesses: Sinthgunt [Redux]

Our only surviving reference to the Goddess Sinthgunt comes from the Old High German Merseburg Incantation (also known as the “Horse Cure Charm”), which dates to around the 9th or 10th Century.

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In the source, She is described as being a sister to the Goddess Sunna, who is the personification of the Sun. Within the context of the story, Baldr’s horse has been injured, and so the Gods and Goddesses present (Odin, Frig, Fulla, Sunna, & Sinthgunt) render healing aid to the horse. Literally the story tells us only 2 things about her:

  1. She is the sister to Sunna
  2. She has affinity with healing

The only other thing we know about Her, is Her name. And so explorations into the etymology of Her name have been explored by scholars. Using the spelling of Sinthgunt, one scholar finds the etymology renders as “the night-walking one” and thus She may be meant to be the Moon. However, we know that elsewhere in Northern Tradition cosmology, the Moon is a masculine force embodied by the God Mani. However, by switching two letters in the spelling of Her name, so that it now reads as Sinhtgunt, the proposed etymology renders now as “heavenly body, star”. Interestingly enough in the original source manuscript for this charm, Her name is spelled in this later way. However, when it comes to the spellings of names, I always recommend caution. Spelling conventions at the time when this text was penned, was not yet formalized. In texts throughout Europe, spelling could vary widely for the same word within even the same body of text. 

In the Poetic Edda, specifically within the Volupsa it states:

Sól það né vissi
hvar hún sali átti,
stjörnur það né vissu
hvar þær staði áttu,
máni það né vissi
hvað hann megins átti.

[The sun knew not
where she had her hall,
the stars knew not where they had a stead,
the moon knew not
what power he possessed.

 

Here we see Sol/Sunna, Mani, and the “Stars” being written about by means of personification, and therefore most likely deification as well. This to me, strengthens the concept of this being a trio of siblings. Cosmologically, Sunna and Mani’s father, and most likely Sinthgunt’s as well, is Mundilfari, the time turner. His name, literally is how we count time, and it makes sense that his children would be the references we use to count time. Today we still mark time by the progress of the sun, the moon, and the stars. Although due to light pollution, most of us don’t notice the stars as much as we once did.

Personally, I believe Her to be sister to both Sunna and Mani, and that She is personified by the Stars, perhaps specifically Polaris, as that star is always visible in the Northern Hemisphere. However, very little information has survived about the pre-Christian beliefs and names tied to the Stars from Northern Tradition cultures. Most of what has survived, is unclear as to what specific star or stars it may reference.

Still, while we have but a mere reference to Her, that doesn’t prevent us from trying to learn more. She is a Goddess whom I worship, I venerate Her, and I give offerings to Her.

 

A prayer card featuring Sinthgunt is available within the “House of Mundilfari” prayer card set at Wyrd Curiosities on Etsy. All cards come from Galina Krasskova‘s passion for the arts and polytheistic devotion, to create the Prayer Card Project. Since so much religious iconography has been destroyed, or defaced in the course of human history, she is actively making new religious prayers and iconography available to the various modern polytheistic communities to support those who are building their religious communities, building their devotional practices, and hungering for art that represents their religious faith. All while also supporting the artists within these burgeoning communities.

 

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The Holy Tides: Charming of the Plough / Disting / Solmonaþ

For many pagans, this is the time of year where they honor and celebrate Imbolc one of the pagan holidays 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, Disting, or Solmonaþ (month of mud).

Source: D’Aulaire’s Book of Norse Myths

Continue reading “The Holy Tides: Charming of the Plough / Disting / Solmonaþ”

🕯️ Glad Lussinatta! 🕯️

For me Yule personally begins in another week, however if we look to the various holiday traditions from Krampus and Saint Nicholas, to today’s celebration of Saint Lucia Night, we see the pre-Christian remnants scattered across all of December. But I wanted to acknowledge Lussi on Her feast day today in Scandinavia.

Some scholars have posited that the Christianized Saint Lucia, may very well have pagan origins related to the figure of Lussi. We see Lussi who led her Wild-Hunt like horde called the Lussiferda. (Similar to other figures in the Northern Tradition: Perchta & the Perchten, which in turn probably connects to the similar Nicholas (most likely from Odinic origins) and the Krampus). On Lussinatta, folk traditions have Lussi coming down chimneys to steal misbehaving children.

The practice of Lussevaka – to stay awake through Lussinatt to guard oneself and the household against evil, not only fits symbolically well with a solstice celebration of longest night, but also brings to mind the description from Bede that Mother’s Night was observed for the entire night as well. While there’s a few different Christian origin stories for Lucia, or Saint Lucy, one of them has her bringing light to persecuted Christians hiding in the catacombs surrounded by the dead with nothing but a lit wreath to guide her. Symbolically, traversing the dark and realm of the dead with light, seems to fit with pre-Christian symbolism.

In modern times Saint Lucia’s Day is observed on December 13th, 12 days before Christmas. So, this very much syncs as a parallel to yule starting with Mother’s Night for the 12 days of the modern yuletide, even though the dates between modern pagan and Christian observances vary. Prior to the adoption of the modern Gregorian Calendar, her feast day in the Julian calendar fell on the Winter’s Solstice.

On a side note, the traditional depiction of Saint Lucia is of a woman clad in white. We know this is sacred iconography that is referenced time and again in Northern Tradition areas. We see this mentioned in Tacitus’ Germania that priest or priestesses wore white, we also see in the folk traditions mentioned by Grimm that women clad in white appeared at dawn for Ostara/Eostre.

Lussesang: a song for Lussinatta

While I don’t agree with the description saying this is for Freya (and thus assuming that Lussi is an aspect of Freya), the lyrics only mention Lussi and Alfrodul (an attested name for Sunna) and the words are perfect tonight. If you visit this on youtube, you can find the lyrics in Swedish and English if you expand the description.

Dionysos Bookmark Now Available

I was recently contacted to design a bookmark in honor of the Greek God Dionysos. The bookmark is a dual-sided design: each side with its own unique look developed from surviving archaeological depictions of this beloved Greek God, ranging from mosaic tiles to statuary. One side presents the Oration of Aristides (a powerful cleansing prayer to Dionysos) in English, and the other in ancient Greek. For those who are interested this bookmark is now available and being sold at WyrdCuriosities.

 

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Click Here to Buy Now: http://etsy.me/2BIl4SG

Sigdrifa’s Prayer Bookmarks Now Available For Sale

Sigdrifa’s Prayer is a rare remnant in our lore, as it’s the only non-Christianized, complete prayer that we have from the historical sources. In it’s short simplicity, the prayer found in the Sigdrifumal is a microcosm of the vast macrocosm of Northern Tradition cosmology. It holds a very special place in my heart.

Many of you are no doubt familiar with my long standing tradition of providing free Sigdrifa’s Prayer bookmarks to active duty and veteran members of the United States military. I’ve sent them off to pagan circles in the military, as well as individuals.

After years of receiving requests to do so, I’ve decided to let these bookmarks now be purchased by those who otherwise would not be eligible to receive it. WyrdCuriosities will be selling these on my behalf. Proceeds will help me continue to offer these for free to pagan and polytheistic veterans or active duty members of the U.S. military.

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CLICK HERE TO BUY NOW: http://etsy.me/2E74TU3

The Holy Tides – Charming of the Plough / Disting

For many pagans, this is the time of year where they honor and celebrate Imbolc one of the pagan holidays 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.

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Gefjon Fountain in Copenhagen, Denmark

Continue reading “The Holy Tides – Charming of the Plough / Disting”

Exploring Our Gods and Goddesses – Sigyn

I’ve been a bit distracted, I meant to re-share this several days ago in celebration of the Sigyn Agon running over at Gangleri’s Grove. Click on the link for a thorough exploration into the Goddess Sigyn, from what we know about here from lore and the archaeological record, spotlighting various artistic depictions of Her, correcting common misperceptions that arise in connection with Her, and poetry in Her honor. You can read it in full here: Exploring Our Gods and Goddesses – Sigyn

The Holy Tides – Yule, its traditions, and religious observances

Just as our pagan cousins celebrate the eight major sabbats that comprise the Wheel of the Year, for those of us in the Northern Tradition we too have somewhat similar key celebrations that we call holy tides (from the Old Norsehátíðir). Some of these celebrations are more significant and special than others, and these especially important holy-days are known as high holy tides: such as Ostara, Winter Nights, and Yule which is now upon us.

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Continue reading “The Holy Tides – Yule, its traditions, and religious observances”

Free Sigdrifa’s Prayer bookmarks to any veteran or currently serving pagan or polytheist in the U.S. military

Sigdrifa’s Prayer is a rare remnant in our lore, as it’s the only non-Christianized, complete prayer that we have from the historical sources. In it’s short simplicity, the prayer found in the Sigdrifumal is a microcosm of the vast macrocosm of Northern Tradition cosmology. It holds a very special place in my heart.

 

Hail to the Day
Hail His Sons
Hail Night and Her Daughter!
Gaze on us
with loving eyes
and bring us victory.
Hail to the Gods
and the Goddesses
Hail, the generous Earth!
Grant us wisdom
and eloquent speech
and healing all our lives.

What many do not realize is that Day (or rather in the Old Norse Dagr) is a personification of the Day, and is the son of Nott, i.e. Night. And that they are separate and distinct from Sunna and Mani (the Goddess of the Sun, and the God of the Moon).

These few lines… is enough fodder for a short book – Sigdrifa’s Prayer: An Explanation & Exegesis, by fellow blogger Galina Krasskova.  Whether you are of the Northern Tradition, or just practice some other form of paganism the book is definitely recommended.

I have created bookmarks featuring this prayer, and would now like to make them available for free (yes, I’ll cover shipping costs as well) to any veteran or currently serving pagan or polytheist in the U.S. military.

Sigdrifa’s Prayer Bookmarks

 

The bookmarks themselves are 2 x 6 inches, with a UV glossy coat, featuring a double-sided full color design printed on nice cardstock. One side has the prayer in the original Old Norse, the other side has a modern translation of it.

To Qualify:

  • Identify as either a Heathen (Asatru, Northern Tradition, Theodish, etc.), a polytheist, or pagan.
  • Be a veteran or currently serving member of the U.S. Military (any branch).
  • You must have a U.S. mailing address (an APO/FPO or similar address counts).

To Request:

Contact me via email (wyrddesigns at gmail dot com) or through private message on facebook (Wyrd Dottir). For privacy concerns, please do NOT make your requests (featuring your name and address)  in the comments of this post. When you do contact me please be sure to:

Provide your:

  • Full Name
  • Complete Mailing Address where the bookmark(s) can be sent. If you give me an APO/FPO address, remember that all mail must be addressed to an individual soldier.
  • Email Address or FACEBOOK ID (whichever method you used to contact me so I can notify you once I’ve got the items in the mail, and I can make sure I don’t mix your request up with someone else of a potentially similar name).

Quantity:

I’m going to assume that I just need to send 1 of the bookmarks along. If you are requesting on behalf of a group, please indicate that clearly in your message to me and the number you’d like to request. I’ve sent a stack of the bookmarks before to some of the Pagan Circles at various bases.

Offer only good while supplies last.

I have worked with groups before who offered to sponsor a print run to give away at large public gatherings and events. I am open to such discussion, just drop me a line.