Posted in Witchy Tips

Deity Worship: Working with the Divine

So, here lately I’ve been doing a lot of deity work. I try to keep most of my witchcraft practice pretty secular, but the deity I am devoted to in my religious practices has lately shown interest in becoming involved in my magic.

This is just going to be a basic guide full of suggestions on how to start, maintain and keep a practice with a deity, or deities.

Step 1: Making a Connection

The first step to devoting yourself to a deity or deities is to listen to your heart. Your gut instinct. Is there a specific open pantheon that you feel pulled towards? If there is, go with that. If not, then maybe read up on the different pantheons and go from there. Sometimes being called won’t happen right away, and that’s okay. Sometimes its very subtle, and you really have to pay attention to your surroundings to see what sticks out. It is different for everyone. Something important to remember, however, is that becoming a devotee of a deity is a partnership. Yes, you are ‘serving’ them, but they also must reciprocate and be an active member of the relationship. If at any time you feel uncomfortable, you can easily terminate the partnership and cease to be their devotee. Just like with a human relationship, both parties must be consenting and comfortable with the relationship. Once you have established that a specific pantheon would be right for you, research any deities within that pantheon that you would be interested in working with. If you feel you like or are attracted to one, go from there.

Step 2: Establishing a Partnership

Now that you’ve chosen a deity, you need to figure out whether or not they want to work with you. Again, its a relationship so it has to go both ways. You could do this through meditation, pendulum, tarot, runes, astral travel, etc. If you both feel good about it, its time to write up a contract. This step isn’t necessarily..well, necessary, but I like to do it just to make everything feel official. If you do decide to write up a contract, remember to list what you promise to bring to the relationship, and what you expect for them to bring to the relationship. Also, remember to add ‘if either or both parties should feel uncomfortable or wish to cease the partnership, immediate termination of the contract can take place’ somewhere in there.

Step 3: Maintaining the Relationship

Depending on the deity, the requirements for maintaining the relationship will be different. As their devotee, it is expected of you to make offerings to them on a regular basis. It is between the two of you which kind of offerings they want to receive, and how often they should be presented. Below I have listed just some suggestions for how to strengthen the bond with your deity and maintain that steady flow of communication.

  • Give each deity (if you have more than one) their own journal. Deities do not want to feel like they are competing.
  • Let the deity pick the journal. Go to a store and stand in their notebook/journal aisle. One of the best exercises that I find really helps my deity work is to let the deity choose. So while you are standing in the notebook section, let them choose the journal that you will use for them. This could happen as a simple ‘feeling’ of wanting a certain one, or finding a journal that kind of matches their associations. Like, for Persephone, a journal with flowers on it. Or something like that. Use your intuition.
  • Schedule a time every day in which to spend with your deity.
  • Schedule daily or bi-daily meditation or communication sessions.
  • Schedule offering sessions, whether they are daily or twice a week, etc.
  • Communication methods can be pendulum, tarot cards, rune stones, etc.
  • Fill the beginning of the journal with your research on that specific deity. What is their history like? What kind of mythology and stories are associated with them? Do they have specific colors, seasons, foods, plants, crystals, animals that are used to represent them? How did the priests and priestesses of ancient times worship them? How can you modernize that and incorporate it into your daily practice? Etc.
  • Write down offering ideas.
  • Write down ideas you have for activities you could do to honor or better represent your deity.
  • Write down altar ideas.
  • Make them their own altar. Altar’s can include any number of things, but the general set up that I follow is: an offering bowl, an offering jar filled with an herb or plant associated with them, their own set of prayer beads, their own pendulum, crystals associated with them, a statue or idol of them or that represents them, artwork of them or of something they enjoy (like scenery), a candle with a color/scent related to their associations, incense related to their associations, etc. Again, though, that is just my personal set up. Do whatever feels natural to you.
  • Write letters or prayers to the deity in the journal.
  • Write poetry about or for your deity.
  • Document everything! Their altar set up, ideas you have, any communication session transcriptions, prayers, etc. The journal itself can be seen as an offering to your deity, and they appreciate it when their devotees take the time to gather and keep all interactions recorded in one place.
Posted in Witchy Tips

The Nine Divines of Skyrim

So as I’ve been playing Skyrim, I’ve been getting more and more involved in the lore of everything and how it could relate to pop culture witchcraft. Since video games, movie and book pantheons are totally open to work with and a lot easier to access for most witches. I’ve seen lots of Skyrim magic posts, and have made a few myself, but never any really related to the deities of Skyrim and how they could be applied to someone’s practice. So, here is a list of the nine divines and their associations. I’ll be doing a post for the Daedra separately.

 

http://vignette3.wikia.nocookie.net/elderscrolls/images/9/9d/Nine_Divines_Stained_Glass.png/revision/latest?cb=20161014203324

The Aedra: The Nine Divines

Akatosh//

Rules Over: Time, the Pantheon of Gods.

Associations: Endurance, Longevity, Invincibility, Dragons.

Offerings: Iron, Amethyst, Carnelian, Energy, Sand from an Hourglass.

Virtue: Humility

Blessing: Renewed Magical Energy.

Commandment: “Akatosh says: Serve and obey your Emperor. Study the Covenants. Worship the Nine, do your duty, and heed the commands of the saints and priests.”

Activities (to perform in their honor): Meditation, Studying.

 

Arkay//

Rules Over: Mortals, the Cycle of Birth and Death.

Associations: Funerals, Burial Rites, Seasons.

Offerings: Iron, Silver, Obsidian, Autumn Leaves, Bones, Graveyard Dirt.

Virtue: Piety.

Blessing: Renewed Health.

Commandment: “Arkay says: Honor the earth, its creatures, and the spirits, living and dead. Guard and tend the bounties of the mortal world, and do not profane the spirits of the dead.”

Worship Verse: “Come to me, Arkay, for without you, there is neither breath nor beginning, nor can any man live, love, or learn without the spark of your spirit.

Activities: Spirit Work, Honoring the Dead, Bringing Flowers to a Cemetery.

 

Dibella// Goddess of Beauty, Pleasure, Lust and Creativity.

Rules Over: Art, Beauty, Women, Emotions.

Associations: Beauty, Lust, Creativity, Love, Friendship, Sex, Pleasure.

Offerings: Mercury/Quicksilver, Iron, Obsidian, Ruby, Roses.

Virtue: Inspiration

Blessing: Improved Communication and Creative Skills

Commandment: “Dibella says: Open your heart to the noble secrets of art and love. Treasure the gifts of friendship. Seek joy and inspiration in the mysteries of love.”

Worship Verse: “Come to me, Dibella, for without you, my words must lie dull and leaden without the gilding of grace and sagacity to enchant the reader’s ear and eye.”

Activities: Painting, Drawing, Photography, Sexual Activity.

 

Julianos// God of Wisdom, Logic and Education.

Rules Over: Wisdom and Logic.

Associations: Literature, Language, Education, Law, History, Contradiction.

Offerings: Onyx, Obsidian, Books, Poetry.

Virtue: Learning

Blessing: Improves Magical Power and Ability

Commandment: “Julianos says: Know the truth. Observe the law. When in doubt, seek wisdom from the wise.”

Worship Verse: “Come to me, Julianos, for without you, my wit is weak to sort the wheat from the chaff, and my eyes should neither know the true from the false, nor sense from folly, nor justice from prejudice and interest.”

Activities: Learning a New Skill, Reading a Book, Writing Poetry.

 

Kynareth//

Rules Over: The Elements, The Heavens, Air, Sailors, Travelers.

Associations: Wind, Rain, Plants, Nature, Life, Healing, Medicine.

Offerings: Flowers, Rain Water, Sea Glass, Driftwood, Sapphire, Moonstone.

Virtue: Ambition

Blessing: Increases Stamina and Endurance

Commandment: “Kynareth says: Use Nature’s gifts wisely. Respect her power, and fear her fury.”

Worship Verse: “Come to me, Kynareth, for without you, I might not know the mysteries of the world, and so blind and in terror, I might consume and profane the abundance of your beautiful treasures.”

Activities: Gardening, Collecting Sea/Rain Water, Environmental Activism, Donations to Conservation Efforts.

 

Mara//

Rules Over: Love and Mothers.

Associations: Motherhood, Marriage, Compassion, Emotions, Family.

Offerings: Silver, Malachite, Rose Quartz, Lavender, Rosemary.

Virtue: Compassion

Blessing: Increases Healing Abilities

Commandment: “Mara says: Live soberly and peacefully. Honor your parents, and preserve the peace and security of home and family.”

Worship Verse: “Come to me, Mara, for without you, I might forget the ways of our fathers, and preening by the light of latest fashion, my words might tremble like the thin reeds of novelty in the tempest of enthusiasms.”

Activities: Volunteer Work, Donations, Charity, Showing Love to Another, Adopting a Rescue Animal.

 

Stendarr//

Rules Over: Righteous Might, Merciful Forbearance, Magistrates and Rulers.

Associations: Mercy, Justice, Loyalty, Charity, Comfort.

Offerings: Steel, Silver, Mercury/Quicksilver, Jade.

Virtue: Justice

Blessing: Increases Protection and Strength of Protection Spells

Commandment: “Stendarr says: Be kind and generous to the people of Tamriel. Protect the weak, heal the sick, and give to the needy.”

Worship Verse: “Come to me, Stendarr, for without you, I might be deaf to the manswarm murmurings of thy people, and forgetting their need for comfort and wisdom, I might indulge myself in vain scribbling.”

Activities: Volunteer Work, Donations, Charity, Activism when the Government is Unjust.

 

Talos//

Rules Over: Warriors, Heroes, Man and War.

Associations: Mankind, Battle, Law, Government, Honor, Might, Courage.

Offerings: Steel, Cinnabar (Dragon’s Blood), Septarian ( Dragon Stone).

Virtue: Civility

Blessing: Increases Power of Spells

Commandment: “Talos says: Be strong for war. Be bold against enemies and evil, and defend the people of Tamriel.”

Activities: Standing up for what is right, Helping your fellow human.

 

Zenithar//

Rules Over: Work, Commerce, Traders, and Merchants.

Associations: Wealth, Labor, Commerce, Communication,

Offerings: Steel, Gold, Pyrite, Copper, Bronze, Emerald, Aventurine.

Virtue: Hard Work

Blessing: Brings Wealth and Good Luck

Commandment: “Zenithar says: Work hard, and you will be rewarded. Spend wisely, and you will be comfortable. Never steal, or you will be punished.”

Worship Verse: “Come to me, Zenithar, for without you, like a child, I might fiddle and fret when only through struggle and labor may I craft a work worthy of your name and the name of my patron.”

Activities: Learn a New Craft, Open an Online Store, Start a Savings Jar.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Witchy Tips

A Brief Introduction to Traditional Norse Magical Practices//

I’ve been meaning to write this as a companion to my Traditional Celtic Magic post for a while now. If you click the topic titles, it will take you to sources and references for more in depth information on the subject.  Please note that this is in no way an all inclusive list, but just the main points. All of this information focuses on Pre-Wicca practices and traditions.

Norse History//

According to Wikipedia,

Vikings (Danish and Bokmål: vikinger; Swedish and Nynorsk: vikingar; Icelandic: víkingar), from Old Norse víkingr, were Norse seafarers, speaking the Old Norse language, who raided and traded from their Scandinavian homelands across wide areas of northern, central and eastern Europe, during the late 8th to late 11th centuries.The term is also commonly extended in modern English and other vernaculars to the inhabitants of Viking home communities during what has become known as the Viking Age. This period of Norse military, mercantile and demographic expansion constitutes an important element in the early medieval history of Scandinavia, the British Isles, France, Kievan Rus’ and Sicily. By the end of the 11th century Christian and Catholic governments had colonized and assimilated most, if not all, of the Nordic cultures.

Nordic Religion//

The Nordic people had a very rich and wonderful religious tradition. Unlike Christian religions, anyone could perform sacrifices and rites of worship, not just the priest class. Their religion revolved around their Pantheon of Deities, Ancestor Worship, Magic and Dealings with Supernatural Beings.

Supernatural Beings//

There are several different kinds of supernatural creatures that the Norse people believed and revered. The Landvaettir, who were land spirits, specifically believed to be the actual soul or spirit of an area of land. They are known for being offended by violence, providing protection to children and animals, and being responsible for bringing prosperity to the land in regards to fishing, hunting, farming, gardening, etc. It is a very good idea to get on their good side.

The Fylgjur are another supernatural being that the Nordic peoples highly respected. They are similar to the western idea of a witch’s familiar. They are personal guardian spirits that usually take the form of an animal and follow their human, preventing harm or danger from coming to them. Fylgja very rarely show themselves, but when they do it will commonly be in the form of an animal that best represents their human’s personality. They are known for banging on walls when an accident is about to occur, or if someone has arrived at their human’s home. Apparently seeing your own Fylgja is a sign that death is near.

The Dvergar, or Dwarves, are skilled and wise creatures that are known for crafting weapons for the Gods. Sunlight causes them to turn to stone, so they live underground or inside rocks as to avoid it. While not necessarily worshiped by the Norse, the Dvergar were still respected and wary not to offend them.

The Draugar are the ghosts of humans that were unsatisfied after their own deaths, usually those who committed some evil deed in life. They are known for remaining among the living to torment and harass them. They are even said to cause illness, insanity and death in some cases.

The Disir are female spirits associated with Frejya that are attached to a specific family line. They are known for visiting the homes of newborn children to bring them luck and to bring nature’s bounty to their family. Usually spoken of favorably, the Disir can also be merciless and cruel if not given the proper respect. Sacrifices to the Disir, known as disablot, were thought to be carried out at the beginning of every winter.

The Valkyrja, or Valkyrie, is a female warrior spirit associated with Frejya, but also with Odin, that are present on the battlefield to choose the warriors that will fall in battle and carry their souls to Valhalla.

Festivals, Feasts and Sacrifices//

While feasts and sacrifices marked important events and special occasions, the Norse also held regular feasts where everyone in the community was invited to attend. One occurred at the beginning of winter (where sacrifices were made to the Landvaettir for abundance and good luck for the coming winter), one in the middle of winter (for prosperity and growth of the crops to come), and then one in the spring (for victory and wealth in the raids that would take place in the summer). During these times, sacrificed animals would be killed and eaten and ale was drank in honor of the gods and any fallen comrades.

Rituals//

There are two main types of rituals that are most often discussed in writings about the Norse. The first is known as the Blot (pronounced with a long O) which could mean ‘blessing’ or ‘sacrifice’ depending on the context. The Blot was a sacrifice or feast held in the honor of either a deity, an ancestor or a supernatural being such as the Landvaettir. The other ritual is the Seidr, which is a special rite or ritual used to obtain hidden knowledge. This is thought to be their magical practice.

Seidr: Nordic Magic and Sorcery//

Nordic magic, or Seidr as it is commonly known, is a practice that is centered around respect for the supernatural beings, worship of the gods, honoring the ancestors, and seeking answers to the mysteries of the universe. Women who practiced Seidr were known as Volva, which roughly translates to ‘wand-bearer’ or ‘carrier of the staff’. These witches were known as seers, prophets, and healers. They are said to be directly descended and trained by Frejya herself, the goddess of magic and witchcraft. Volva are known for practicing knot and weaving magic to control destiny and bring peace, for partaking in sexual rites and magical ceremonies, reading Runes to foretell future events, and performing Seidr alone, known as Utiseta, in a kind of meditation. What little record there is of any male practitioners tells of them being killed and tortured to death for practicing magic, as that was revered, respected and held as the women’s domain.