Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Dealing with Debris

Sven is a Lokisman.  This has some very material consequences, one of which is…




…Our home will never be featured in Better Homes and Gardens, that’s for sure.  I’m not exaggerating when I say I’ve seen a trail of debris form in his wake as he moves from room to room.  It’s kind of a gift, but the kind of gift that comes from Loki.


I made an impromptu trip to the hacienda last weekend, so Sven didn’t have time to pick up before my arrival.  I didn’t bother with it much beyond taking all the empty drink cans to the big garbage container that the previous owners had left for crushed cans outside the saloon.  This left me with a lot of plastic bottles that have no home.


It occurred to me how much I’ve taken recycling for granted, living in cities.  In Montreal they actually give you divided blue boxes to pre-separate your cans, plastics and paper.  In SoCal I just have a big wheeled bin to load with recyclables.  But here in the desert, recycling is actually going to be an effort.  Not only am I going to have to separate the garbage myself, I’m going to have to take it to the recycling plants out on Tangerine Road.  At least I’ll have the satisfaction of getting a little bit of money back—perhaps enough to buy myself another bottled drink.


It’s not for that bottled drink that I’ll be doing it though.  I’m a Thorswoman, and Thor is the Son of Earth.  His wife Sif is the field.  Freyr and Gerd are the Vanic couple who represent something very similar, with Freyr being the son of the chthonic earth goddess Nerthus and Gerd represented an enclosed garden.  Recycling and being very responsible for our household garbage is part of my holy duty as the household manager.


So this weekend I’ll get three bins, one for paper/cardboard, another for plastic bottles and a third for glass.  We already have a garbage can for non-recyclables, provided by the local, family-run company Talkin’ Trash (http://www.talkin-trash.com).  We’ll use as much of the recyclables as we can; there are hundreds of practical uses for an empty gallon jug, for instance.  We aren’t ready for a composting bin, but that will eventually become part of the plan.


I have a huge wish to wave a magic wand and have a pen of goats, a chicken coop and run, vegetable gardens and a pen with a donkey in it RIGHT NOW, but not only is that impossible, it wouldn’t even be a good idea.  At the moment I don’t even have enough time for an herb garden.  Recycling will be my latest step for a while.



Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Asatru Way of Death

Last week, our kindred here took a massive and damaging body blow.  Sandi, our beloved most elder member, died in her sleep probably early in the morning of August 15.  She had had health problems, but this was still completely unexpected.  She leaves behind a daughter, two sons and at least one grandchild.


Sandi and her family are all heathens.  Since the family is still very much in shock, there is a service planned for the 25th, but even that plan is tentative.  I respect that, but the kindred was hurting and very much needed a mourning ritual.


Asatru as practiced in the Americas is still new.  40 years or so is not even a blink of an eye in human history.  I turned to “Our Troth” for a funeral rite, but the organization is still so new that there has not been the need for one yet.  Sven did a little search on the internet and found a ritual, but it needed lots of tweaking to make it into what we wanted.


What we wanted was a rite in which we could not only say goodbye to Sandi, but given the suddenness of her departure we also wanted to make sure she was supplied for the journey.  She took care of us for years, with food, her wealth of experience and her indomitable spirit.  Now we could take care of her.


Here is the ritual as we made it.  All names are pseudonyms:


[ Sven lights the fire, blessing the fire by placing the Mjollnir on the fire and asking the gods to use this fire to send our gifts and prayers to Sandi. ]


Signy:  We call the gods here today to witness the passing of one of our kin from Midgard. May they all take note that today a great person, Sandi, has passed from us. May Heimdall guide her on her journey across the Bifrost bridge.


Sven/Dana:: Havamal 76-77


Deyr fé,                                                               Cattle Die
deyja frændr,                                                       Kinsmen Die
deyr sjalfr it sama,                                               We ourselves shall die.
en orðstírr                                                            One’s good name will never die
deyr aldregi,                                                        of one who has taken it.
hveim er sér góðan getr.

Deyr fé,                                                               Cattle Die
deyja frændr,                                                       Kinsmen Die
deyr sjalfr it sama,                                               We ourselves shall die
ek veit einn,                                                         This I know will never die                  
at aldrei deyr:                                                      the fame of the dead’s deeds
dómr um dauðan hvern. 


Bob: Heimskringla - Yngling’s Saga #8


Odin established the same law in his land that had been in force

in Asaland.  Thus he established by law that all dead men should

be burned, and their belongings laid with them upon the pile, and

the ashes be cast into the sea or buried in the earth.  Thus,

said he, every one will come to Valhalla with the riches he had

with him upon the pile; and he would also enjoy whatever he

himself had buried in the earth.


Xerxes:  Let us now toast Sandi and the deeds that made her great.

(Each person takes the horn and says why Sandi meant so much to them.)


Signy- Sandi has left us.  We will not let her travel empty-handed.  Who has something for Sandi to take with her on her journey?


Each person comes up to the pyre. To each person Steph says “What gift do you bring so that Sandi will be well supplied?” The giftgiver then responds by holding up whatever object it is they have brought to leave with the deceased and explains the significance of the object.


Clarisse- Sandi, may you fare well. We thank the gods for their presence may they and the spirits of the land, the Landvattir, keep this place safe from all ill wishers.


Signy: From the gods to the earth to us / from us to the earth to the gods, hail! this rite is ended. But the folk go on.  [While pouring the libation in the fire or over the howe.\


[People are encouraged to remain in frith and speak stories and rememberances of Sandi.]


This ceremony ended up being very well timed.  Bob and Clarisse had Jul gifts for Sandi.  Bob had already purchased an amber pendant for her, and Clarisse had started knitting a shawl on Monday.  On hearing that we were having a pyre on Saturday she tried to finish the shawl, but couldn’t bring herself to do it.  Dana had a small bag with travel runes.  Sven had a mjollnir pendant and I had ears of corn, beer and a box of chocolates.  Xerxes (believe it or not, his real name is just as peculiar) had written a note. 


Being a Lokisman, Sven got the pyre going really, really hot.  At the end, nothing was left of any of the offerings beyond a very small bit of melted metal.  As the law of Odin cited in the second reading demanded, we buried the ashes and hope to erect some kind of runic monument in the future.


Sandi has left us, but she has gone equipped with something to eat, something to drink, something to keep her warm, runes and amber.  We hope she is enjoying the company in Fensalir. 


Hail, Sandi!  Hail the Idises, to whose ranks she has graduated!



Thursday, August 1, 2013


It's Freyfaxi, although some celebrate it as Loaf-Fest, Lughnasah or Lammas.  Here's some songs and a poem.

Starting out with Damh the Bard's foot-stomper:


And the Wild Oats.  They're defunct, but you can see Eben Brooks in venues around San Diego County.  Third Saturday of the month, Lestat's West is the predictable one.


Allison Lonsdale's "The Sickle and the Plow" isn't on YouTube, but you can hear it on "Live At Lestat's", her 2-CD set.

And a pre-Christian Mexican poem:

Translated from the Nahuatl by Arthur J.O. Anderson and Charles E Dibble. Originally published by Fray Bernardino de Sahagun in his "General History of the Things of New Spain":

O Iouallauan, why dost thou mask thyself?
Put on thy disguise.
Don thy golden cape.

My god, thy precious water hath come down from Coapan.
It hath made the cypress a quetzal.
the fire serpent hath been made a quetzal serpent.
Want hath gone from me.

Mayhap I shall die and perish--I, the tender maize.
Like a precious green stone is my heart,
yet I shall see gold in it.
I shall be content if first I mature.
The war chief is born.

My god, give me in part plenteous tender maize.
Thy worshipper looketh toward thy mountain.
I shall be content if first I ripen.
The warrior chief is born.

(Sounds like Freyr to me!)