The Holy Tides – Hlæfmæsse and Freyfaxi

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When it comes to religious, pagan celebrations most people are familiar with the eight holy days or sabbats that comprise the Wheel of the Year, such as Lugnasadh. In the Northern Tradition, we do not call these celebrations sabbats. Instead, based on words (like the Old Norse hátíðir) used to describe the most holy of these celebrations (like Yule) as high tides, we tend to call the various religious celebrations we recognize today as holy tides (since not all of the holy tides are considered high tides).

Since we practitioners of the Northern Tradition are dealing with a general umbrella culture that existed in vast plurality we look to ancient Germanic, Scandinavian (Norse, Icelandic, Swedish, Danish, etc.) and Anglo-Saxon sources. It is important to understand that these ancient cultures reckoned time in different ways in comparison to one another or to the modern world. They existed in different latitudes, lived amongst different types of geography with unique climate conditions that affected the local agricultural cycle. This means that sometimes the timing between when one group would celebrate and another would celebrate a similar type of holy tide could be several weeks apart.

Sometimes we can see an obvious and clear link between these cousin cultures to a specific holy tide like Yule, in other cases things are a bit less clear, or the celebrations of the different groups can sometimes seem vastly different even when they have a similar root, or some celebrations may be unique and not echoed in extant sources elsewhere.

Hlæfmæsse translates in our modern English tongue to Loaf-Mass, and is sometimes also called Lammas, we have numerous instances in Anglo-Saxon literature that talk about this particular Christianized celebration and some of the traditions attached to it. Since mass denotes a Christian ritual, some have theorized that the pre-Christian name for this holy tide may have been Hlæfmæst (feast of loaves), and for this reason some Heathens will use this name instead. That theory may not be far off reality. The ninth century text, Old English Martyrology, refers to August 1st as the day of hlæfsenunga, which translates to ‘blessing of bread’.

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Cultic Worship to Loki

Did you know we have possible evidence of cultic worship to Loki from antiquity?

Al-Tartuschi (also known as Ibrahim ibn Yaqub) hailed from the Cordoba Caliphate (specifically the Al-Andalus area from the Iberian peninsula), and wrote of his travels abroad in Europe in 961 – 962 CE.  He records seeing worship connected to the Sirius star in Hedeby, Denmark. The population size is estimated to have been around 1500-2000 people. Hedeby of the time was a commercial center populated by a range of groups: Danes, Frisians, Franks, Germans, Swedes, and Slavs. So that suggests to me the possibility for a much wider dispersion of the practice outside of Hedeby.

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Could Jormungand Be Connected to the Milky Way?

In the Norse myths, Jormungand is known to be the son of Loki and Angurboda. He takes the form of a giant serpent. Tossed into the ocean, he eventually grows so big he outgrows the water and encircles the world. He currently bites his tail, but during Ragnarok he is predicted to release his tail as calamity follows.

The Milky Way


This, combined with the fact I spend lots of time in astronomy apps and observing our night skies, has made me wonder if he might just be meant to tie to the visible sight of the milky way in our night skies. Just as the earth we live on (Midgard) rotates daily, and then annually around our sun, our solar system in turn is in motion spinning around our galaxy of the milky way. Every star visible in the night sky is an object that resides within our galaxy. Most of the objects in our spiral galaxy appear like a disc in what is often referred to as the galactic plane.

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The Healing Gods and Goddesses of the Northern Tradition

As a gythia (priestess), one of the questions I am asked the most is what deity would be good to pray to for ‘X’. In times of crisis, I field a great many more of these sorts of questions. Currently with the global pandemic of Covid-19, I thought it would be a good idea to spotlight all the deities (and there’s more than a dozen!) who are known to have ties to healing in the Northern Tradition (those cultures from ancient Germania, Scandinavia and Anglo-Saxon England with a common worship to Odin/Woden).

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🎉 NEW BOOK: Modern Guide to Heathenry Releases Today! 🎉 — Gangleri’s Grove

At long last A Modern Guide to Heathenry: Lore, Celebrations & Mysteries of the Northern Tradition officially releases today from my publisher Red Wheel / Weiser Books in the US & Canada (sorry UK readers, you’ll have to wait until January). The book takes what I created in Exploring the Northern Tradition: A Guide to […]

via 🎉 NEW BOOK: Modern Guide to Heathenry Releases Today! 🎉 — Gangleri’s Grove

 

I know I got my copy!

 

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Loki, Discord and Weak Lore

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I will always Hail Loki.

Hail be to thee Loki,
God of my heart,
Dear friend and mentor,
whispering wisdom
and bald truths.

When I find myself lost
On serpentine paths
Mired in brambles,
Eclipsed by fog and shadow,
You guide me through
back to the crossroads.

Hearth fire,
Sturdy stone,
Flickering flame;
You, dear Loki,
Beckon me home.

So do I hail!

Group Lokean Letter to the Wild Hunt

It took me several days to bring myself to read the unclean column over on Wild Hunt by Siegfried. Just the headline alone gave me a headache. Making a comparison from a mortal to a God is a problem. Painting a God with a wide brush as evil is a problem. To see a column that devalues religous expression and our Gods is disheartening and deeply troubling.

Consider my name added to this letter too:

https://ladyofthelake.blog/2018/12/02/group-lokean-letter-the-wild-hunt-declined-to-publish/?blogsub=confirming#subscribe-blog

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