Ah, the first all-nighter of the fall semester.

While I didn’t do anything overtly tied to the Fire Howling, I’ve chipped away and/or finished work that I’ve been letting sit while pulling an all-nighter. The Master Electrician in me says that I should’ve had my ME Binder ready by the first day of school, but the very much not perfect human in me says that shit happens. I’ve made progress, at least.

A little peak into today:

  • Class (8:50 – 10:40)
  • Elbows Production meeting (11:50 – 12:45) (?)
  • Class (12:55 – 2:45)
  • Shop hours (second shift; 3 – 5)
  • First day of 1392 Practicum students in that time slot, as well.
  • First Much Ado Production meeting (5 – 6)
  • Elbows Design presentation in Rehearsal (starts at 7) (?)
  • First SOUP meeting (7 – 8 ish)

(?) Indicates that I have no idea if I need to be there or not, since I’m no longer the ALD / ME [just the ME now]. May be I need to be there, may be I don’t.

Also: There will be eating not listed here. The SOUP meetings usually run an hour, but have been known to run two hours (often the first one and when workshopping long pieces). THAR 1392 is a class that does intro to lighting, basically, and that level of practicum students come in and work in the shop M/W. I’ll basically have newbies to be in charge of (since the ME is the crew leader).

At some point in the Elbows production meeting I’m not sure if I need to be at and/or my second class, I will probably start to really feel this all-nighter. If I make it all the way through today (to about 8) without pulling out the toothpicks or nodding off, I’m probably just passing out as soon as humanly possible.

So – my wonderful Fire Howling post is happening now. Yay Jotun New Year. Let’s not make this all-nighter deal a habit this semester. I feel like I haven’t eaten in a long time, and my stomach 10/10 agrees on food before classes.

~ May you not howl alone this year ~

August Full Moon

Possible names include Sturgeon, Grain, Red, and Green Corn. Mani indicated that He’d like me to use Grain, though I make no guarantees He’d convey the same to anyone else. The following is a piece of sacred fiction inspired by answersfromvanaheim‘s full moon theories [example].


Hati glances up to the sky, noting that the clouds were still covering the moon in a shimmering curtain. He looks over Midgard, eyes peeled for the distinctive glimmer. Not chatting up any of Aegir’s kin near the ocean, not among the trees, not – yes, a flash in the fields.

Hati jumps from one cloud to another on his way down, nodding to Jormundgand as he passes over an ocean. Mani isn’t running away, so there isn’t a pressing need to chase him down. The field in question doesn’t look very remarkable – soft heads of grain move with the breeze, about mid-chest high. A hand reaches up from the stalks followed by a triumphant, “Ha”.

“Catching fireflies, again?”

Mani’s smile flickers, as he looks over to Hati. His face is youthfully vibrant and clear, and he releases the firefly with a slight shrug before sinking below the stalks. Hati weaves among the grain and works his way in to the middle of the field. Mani is crouched near a topless glass jar, whispering to the fireflies inside. He sets the jar down and follows Hati back out of the field, looking just a hair below ‘child caught with his hand in the cookie jar’ guilty.

Mani takes the lead in walking back up through the clouds with Hati following a few steps behind. After a moment or two, Hati speaks, “You can’t make every firefly you meet into a star, y’know.”

The Fire Howling

Aug 31st – the Fire Howling. The Fire Howling is a day of cleansing and the equivalent of New Year’s Day; the 30th is the equivalent of New Year’s Eve.

At sundown on the 30th, Tribes gather at the designated locations in their territories / Realms where priests have a bonfire going that’s been made with the intent to cleanse. Papers with memories, forces, and whatever someone wants to leave behind in the New Year are burnt, and space is given for grieving and processing. Dancing, singing, and music often play a part of the night’s cleansing as well.

The night isn’t deathly somber, but it is more serious in tone than the next day. Everyone puts something into the bonfire and processes throughout the night, even if they need to return after the initial line goes through in order to process and add more. Talking and listening about what’s been burnt is an option, and light refreshments are out to help with grounding.

Tribes have chosen to stick with the traditional stance of starting the New Year at sunrise on the 31st, even though they do have timekeeping devices that switch to the next day before sunrise. Food is brought out as the sunrise approaches, and priests say special prayers and blessings in the minutes before. At sunrise, everyone in attendance toasts with a drink¹ and then feasts.

A few minutes after sunrise, during the feasting, the televised event from the Henge starts broadcasting. (The Dignitaries, ambassadors, and higher ups get a few minutes of private celebration with family before needing to attend to official business.) Angrboda leads rounds of toasts with the priests from the Tribes (there are multiple priests for each Tribe, so that Someone can be at Henge while Someone else can be at a televised event) for blessings of the New Year.

The members of the Tribe being toasted drink and make noise while their priest is drinking, and this helps to solidify all the Tribes. Priests and leaders of the neighboring Realms (Muspelheim and Niflheim) are toasted to solidify the relations and connections with those Tribes. Representatives from various other Realms are often invited and get toasted together as well in order to cement those relationships before the sign off. Angrboda blesses the Jotuns, “May you not howl alone this year”, howls, and everyone in attendance and watching howls.

Sacrifices, prayers, offerings, and magic are often done throughout the day to ensure good luck and health for the year. Diviners are sought for readings and resolving wyrd issues as well. With connections to Midgard over the years, some Jotuns may make ‘resolutions’, but they typically avoid something that can be construed as an Oath. Feasting and cleaning often finish out the day.

Observing the Fire Howling:

  • Traveling or journeying to the Capital in order to attend astrally may be possible (bonfires for cleansing are there for residents and visitors the night before).
  • It may be possible to attend a televised event and family celebration, if you have a relationship with Someone that warrants this inclusion.
  • Whether you can do a bonfire in Midgard or not, you can burn away negativity of the past year. Other means of banishing junk can be utilized as well, as this night is ideal for finalizing shadow work and cathartic work.
  • Lighting a candle at sunset and listening to music, singing, or utilizing songs in processing and cleansing throughout the night works, preferably until sunrise if you can make it.
  • If you can make it to sunrise on an all-nighter, a toast for blessing the New Year and sharing a drink with Someone is appropriate.
  • Sharing a meal with Someone (whether blood Family, chosen Family, or an Ally in the Realm) in a fashion appropriate for you and Them.
  • Other means of cleansing and attractive magic are appropriate for this day as well.

Notes

(1) The drink in question varies. Some use mead, water, a different type of alcohol, something else that isn’t alcoholic, etc. A traditional drink seems to be a relative of mead that can be alcoholic or not depending on how long it’s been aged.

History: A general overview

While others have shared information on Jotuns and the Realms they inhabit, I’ve found that it primarily doesn’t work for me. This doesn’t mean that I’m wrong, or that the others are wrong, but it means that I can’t rely only on their information. I think the Tribes are large enough that we may be getting different ‘families’ in a manner of speaking. Some of it is a bit wibbly-wobbly, and I have no idea why I’m getting the info I’m getting. Feel free to take it with a grain of salt, YMMV, you do you, etc.

History (not extensive or complete)

I initially ran into the idea of the Jotuns and Vanir (typically considered Elves) once being one race in one Realm on Sebastian’s blog. I could see it making sense on a certain mental level, but I filed it under ‘interesting; come back later’ and went on. It wasn’t until I was trying to figure out why there was a Vanic flavored crossover in something I was being conveyed in relation to Jotuns that I returned to this idea.

I can’t indisputably prove it, but I can’t explain the crossover without entertaining the possibility that the Jotuns and Vanir were once an undifferentiated race in a Realm that wound up being split into ‘Jotunheim’ and ‘Vanaheim’. The People did another round of splitting, and I’m honestly not sure if the initial Realms were portioned up again or if new Realms were discovered.

I think the Dark Elves primarily split from the Jotuns, though Some did leave Vanaheim. I think the Light Elves primarily split from the Elves in Vanaheim, and the remaining People are Who we call the Vanir. I’m pretty sure Sebastian has covered this while talking about the Vanir at some point (or something similar), but I pretty much had to figure out the splitting on my own for things to mentally click.

Because the environments in Muspelheim and Niflheim lent themselves to specifically focusing on fire and snow / ice affiliation, the Flames became the Family of Fire and the Snowflakes and Icicles became the Family of Snow and Ice. They seem somewhat related, in a distant fashion, and have formed specific cultures set up around Their Family affiliation and Realms. Many families make up the overall Family, so there can be a wide difference between what one finds out from members in the same Family.

From the initial split, Jotuns primarily carried animal shape shifting into Jotunheim. Some Tribes kept the primary animal that had been shared with the Elves – Wolves, Bears, and Serpents. Some combined different animals – the variety of bird shape shifters (Crane, Eagle, Goose, Owl, Raven, and Swan) were consolidated into the Talons Tribe (ravens, crows, owls, and vultures are the most common preferred forms). Some have expanded the options but primarily kept the affiliation – the Scales Tribe can be any fish, but often goes with salmon.

Elemental Tribes slowly formed as elemental forces in Jotunheim and magic / powers were combined by animal / Ice / Fire mixed heritages. The largest elemental Tribes are Ocean (Ice / Scales), Mountain (Ice / Fire / Bear), Tree (Mountain / Ocean), and Lightning (Fire / Talons). Some Tribes or individuals migrated back to Muspelheim and Niflheim due to Their affiliations / forms preferring the environments in those Realms – Lava (Fire / Mountain), Desert (Fire / Mountain / Serpent), Wind (Snow / Fire / Talons), and ‘Snowy’ individuals with enough Snow heritage to have what we consider arctic or polar forms (wolves, owls, fish, polar bears).

It took Tribes requesting to return to Their ancestral homes and significant displays of intermarriage for the People of Niflheim and Muspelheim to seriously consider the invitations put forth by Jotunheim to be considered Tribes. The Families had rejected previous invitations on the basis of not wanting to be forced to assimilate and lose Their cultures. However, agreements were eventually reached for the Flames, Snowflakes, and Icicles to be dual citizens in Jotunheim for a lack of better phrasing.

Niflheim and Muspelheim are still their own Realms, and the Families are still self-governing with Their own cultures. Being recognized as Tribes and Jotuns allows for easier and more mutually beneficial trade, travel, and assistance between the Realms. The Families are represented with the rest of the Tribes in ceremonial rites and government matters, although They may send Their own representatives and ambassadors to other Realms. It depends on how the politics between the Realms are going; sometimes it’s more beneficial to send Someone from the Families, and other times it’s more beneficial to send Someone from Jotunheim.

Several cities and halls are known from Lore accounts in Jotunheim, but with the three Realm alliance, a more neutral location closer to the borders with Muspelheim and Niflheim became the government capital of Jotunheim (the Capital, though I’m sure I’m getting a ‘translation’ as it were of the place’s name). Dignitaries and ambassadors from other Realms can reside there without running into territorial rules from one Tribe to another. The location was also chosen due to its proximity to a sacred site where ceremonial rites and magic are done to bless Jotunheim. It contains stone formations and resembles Stonehenge, which seems appropriate for a place called the Henge.

While the Jotuns of Jotunheim wanted to include the Families of Muspelheim and Niflheim among Their Tribes, They haven’t sought Familial reconciliation on a formal level and welcomed People Who split away. Political relations and trade agreements are the primary extent of interacting with the now separate cultures (particularly aimed at the Light Elves and Dark Elves).

The Vanir were kept at a distance in terms of politics and trade during the initial stages of splitting away while differences in cultures were established. However, the political relationship between the Jotuns and the Vanir have been considerably more friendly than the relationships either group has had with the Aesir. Wars, hostages, the kidnapping of three high ranking children, and probably specifics that I’ve never heard of. This is approximately the stage of relationships that is shared in the Lore.

These relations and the divisive attitudes between the Aesir and Jotuns are pretty far in the past when compared to agreements, attitudes, and politics now. However, the divisive context may wind up coming through in how some Faces of Deities react towards other Deities and how some Deities were formed as children. With my upg of Sigyn’s childhood, this is noticeable and significant. There’s still been almost 2000 years, depending on how Midgard time translates to other Realms, and relations are not the same.

The establishing of cultures within split off People and slowly building up amicable relationships has occurred over this time period between the Jotuns, Families, Light Elves, and Dark Elves. The Dwarves are an unrelated race Who took some time in forming alliances with these other Realms, but now cooperate reasonably enough. While the Vanir have been friendly enough, the Jotuns of Jotunheim in particular needed to strengthen Their relationship with the Vanir for land-health reasons.

The Silent Winter is a significant marker in history, but it’s been split into a separate post to keep this somewhat manageable.

Unpopular opinion: Shame, silence and godspousery

I can understand not wanting to talk about this. There have been moments on tumblr where I’ve been glad I tend to keep with people who aren’t going to jump down your throat about this issue.

I’ve sort of mentioned when introducing the Deities, Powers, Spirits, etc. I interact with that marriage has been hinted at. Right now, it’s currently more important to get a handle on the devotional D/s (since it’s taken some time in getting used to rules and such).

Master post is here, for the new followers. I tried to not get too specific to what I’ve gone through, but it’s obviously still there. m’Lady Sigyn is my Owner (I’m a slave-in-training) and Primary. Mani is my Secondary, and He’s my Little (I’m the Caregiver *not* the Little in the Caregiver / Little dynamic).

Because I split up what I wrote on the topic of devotional D/s into (currently) eight parts, it’d be easier to go the Master post for a summary of what each part talks about.

Raido

Courtesy of Beth.

Image from my transaction page for buying the Raido of the brass chain rune pendants mentioned here. I’m honestly not sure if I can link to the transaction page for the full description. An example that hasn’t been bought as of writing this is here.

Rune meaning from description

Raido is the rune of riding, journeying, travel, right action, right relationship, and common sense. Magickally, it can be used to motivate, to urge forward motion both within oneself and it situations. It is often used as a travel protection charm both mundanely and for journeying between the worlds.

I’ve talked about not being able to do things with runes unless Someone indicates that I need to use a rune / bindrune when talking about Odin [if you want to go see]. So, I was a bit surprised when I found out that Someone was wanting me to get one of Beth’s rune pendants. I didn’t have to rush into buying it, so the request took some time to simmer and stuff.

I ended up finding out that Hela was the One sending this request (with support from Mordgud). I’ve also touched on not traveling between the Worlds, which holds true for the most part. However, I wasn’t originally taking into account that journeying isn’t 100% limited to purposeful, intentional astral travel. From my post talking about seasonal depression:

This [suicidal ideation] is what I mean when I use the religiously based metaphor of walking the Hel-road. It may not have been astral travel / journeying / what have you in the traditional sense, and it wasn’t a matter of purposefully wanting go with this route, but I can’t write this off completely as a means of having still done this. I may not have physically gone through with the plan and did the whole resuscitation of the body route as a sign of being turned away, but on some soul / spirit level, I was turned away from entering Helheim.

In this context, I need to work on preventing travel between the Worlds (Midgard and Helheim, specifically). So, Raido actually wound up fitting, and it’s one barrier to help keep the lines between the Realms clear and distinct. (As opposed to blurring the lines to facilitate travel.) It took getting to a certain shadow work point before I got the go-ahead on ordering the pendant, but I finally have it.

The package shipped a fair bit faster than I thought it would, so it actually arrived here at my residence hall before I could move in (and pick it up). Given that it’s the start of the semester, I highly doubt any one was surprised that a package arrived on the Monday or so before move in, though. Good marks on shipping.

No damage to the pendant upon opening. (Because of bubble wrap – a definite perk.) A nice thank you message for ordering, and a little free sample of something. I believe it’s a sample of oil – Inanna: pure essential oils of jasmine, amber, and blood orange (listing here). I’ve never tried perfume oil, but for all I know it won’t be half bad. A cute organza bag that somehow makes the purchase feel a bit fancier.

Final decision: O – Outstanding

HP reference for the win

Would I buy from this shop again? Most definitely.

Jotun Wheel of the Year

I wound up getting the information for the holy days of the Wheel of the Year (Jotun-style) before getting some of the other information that I’m going to be sharing in this writing project. This means that some of those explanations reference these days, so I wanted to provide a summary. I also wanted to provide some context for why I may suddenly talk about a holy day that hasn’t been talked about before (details posts will be scheduled on / slightly before the dates given).

  • Autumnal Equinox – the Bones of Prey.

The Bones of Prey honors all Prey species and those who give their life so that others may live with some sort of sacrifice by the priest of each Tribe / Family.

  • Nov 3rd – the Howls of Winter.

The Howls of Winter marks the beginning of winter and honors those who have died in the past year (from the start of the last year’s winter until now with the increased winds of the season being ‘the howls of the ancestors’).

  • Winter Solstice – Gnawed Bones.

Gnawed Bones is a Yule celebration, though it doesn’t last 12 days as some other Yule celebrations may. It celebrates the survival of winter so far and seeks to ensure survival until spring.

  • Spring Equinox – the Howls of Spring.

The Howls of Spring celebrates a tapering off of winter and the beginning of spring (the winds of spring blow in hard and strong, howling). It’s often very festive to celebrate surviving the winter.

  • May 3rd – Rising of Our Stars.

The Rising of Our Stars celebrates the beginning of summer and family. (It’s like a family reunion on steroids.)

  • Summer Solstice – the Cleaning of Fishbones.

The Cleaning of Fishbones celebrates the many types of harvesting that sustains the Jotun Tribes throughout the year. It depends on the Tribe as to which harvest is the priority, so Tribe specific observances frequently happen throughout the summer and autumn based on when the Tribe needs to perform rites.

  • Aug 1st – the Cleaning of Antlers.

The Cleaning of Antlers signals the end of summer and beginning of autumn, though not all of the Realms (Jotunheim, Niflheim, and Muspelheim) experience signs of autumn this early.

  • Aug 31st – the Fire Howling.

The Fire Howling is a day of cleansing and the equivalent of New Year’s Day; the 30th is the equivalent of New Year’s Eve.

*college prep intensifies*

In between getting ready for my fall semester of classes and packing (and procrastinating these), I’ve been getting some information from Someone (or probably more than One). In a general sense, it has to do with Jotuns, and I’ve been debating just how much could be relevant to other people. I mean, I’m pretty sure I’ll eventually be sharing most of it, at some point.

Looking at what I’ve written so far and knowing what’s dancing on the peripheral, I had a moment of panic that I might be getting some sort of rough draft for a book. If my divination tools could smirk, it was probably doing so. It was basically an unfounded worry because They have different book plans for the future. I can’t guarantee that everything will be shared ASAP, but it’s going to be appearing here; tagged – writing project: Welcome Home. There may or may not be a section of my navigation menus with this, but that’s a bridge for another day.

Also, before I forget. I’ve mentioned it in passing that I’m a college student, but it’s really more important to bring up right now because I’m heading back to campus (and starting classes) soon. Like I need to finish packing by tomorrow night and move in on this Saturday because classes start Monday, soon. So, I will try to check back on this blog and schedule / post something at least once a week, but things may be quiet.

Edible Offerings

I’m not sure I’ve seen someone point out a difference between an offering and a sacrifice like this [Why make offerings, anyway?]. I’m pretty sure past-me would have found it helpful because I tried not consuming edible offerings, and it doesn’t really work for me. I can understand the stance of composting food and pouring a drink outside, but I’m not in a position to do so.

For me, it literally amounts to throwing food away (or if I’m with my family, our dogs get the chance to finish off plates of food, so it fucks with the whole ‘don’t consume’ stance anyway). When I’m literally putting food in the trash, it’s really hard to accept “but the Deity ate it” when my mind is locked on “that’s perfectly good food, someone could eat this, you are wasting PERFECTLY GOOD FOOD”.

I don’t know if it was growing up and always being told to finish my plate, hearing a lot about food waste when talking about composting in classes, or some sort of compulsion, but I can’t throw away food that I could still eat. I’ve had to deal with overeating and setting specific boundaries on only being able to control what I do with my plate, in a manner of speaking.

(I love my one friend dearly, but the first time I ate dinner with her at a dining hall on-campus I had to fight some panic at her getting a plate of some sort of pasta product, taking one bite, and throwing the rest away. If she had said that the food was being offered to Someone, I still would’ve been panicky. It’s the literal food being thrown away, still.)

Wasting food is some sort of thing with me and my brain. It doesn’t matter how many people say that it’s rude, equivalent to stealing from the Gods, or not showing the proper devotion or piety. I can understand where traditions have rules about not consuming edible offerings, but someone throwing out Hellenic examples kind of misses the mark for me (because I’m not a Hellenic polytheist).

I know that some people are multi-trad and/or have side practices where they have to follow different rules and those rules can leak over into other practices sometimes. But my main problem with those making this argument was: 1) They talked like everyone in the ancient traditions did X just because the ancient Hellenics did X, 2) They took it upon themselves to define how poor someone else could be before they could consume offerings, 3) They talked like they wanted / expected everyone else to be able to do what they could do in terms of offerings, and 4) Did I mention the part about how they tried to define being poor and what poor people can do?

Some of this came out in follow-ups and not all within one post, if I remember correctly. I was unbelievably angry at their assumptions of what services poor people can access (Sebastian referenced the internet comment in his post, for example) and how they were defining a group of people they didn’t belong to. There are working poor, there’s the federal poverty line, people can get gifts that make them appear to have more money than they do, and there’s a component of racism and/or generational poverty. There’s also a matter of living with family, friends, or roommates, and what public services you can access. There are a lot of variations in how poor people live, and assumptions based on one person’s experience aren’t going to cut it.

While I was personally angry enough to say ‘fuck off’ to their opinions on consuming offerings, I ran into issues. I was new to this polytheist thing, they were very vocal about Heathenry, and I wasn’t exactly seeing a lot of evidence that you could consume offerings. Sebastian references prasad (a Hindu example), but I mainly sighed in relief at finding the Kemetics (they were vocal about not supporting the language the group of people used to imply that everyone shouldn’t consume offerings). And then a bit later, I found Grumpylokeanelder’s post On Heathenry and Consuming Offerings that looks at Lore examples and comes to the conclusion: “…we’ve got evidence for both consuming and not-consuming offerings within the Heathen tradition.”

At a certain point, I sat my ass down and did some divination because I was a nervous wreck about throwing away food, guilty for not “giving enough” to my Gods, and I was tired of trying to live my devotional life according to what someone else said. I switched to saying a prayer and offering up my food and drink before a meal to most of the Powers I interact with, They can split the energy however They like, and then I consume it. On holy days and special occasions (or periodically, by request) I offer up to a certain group or a specific Someone.

And you know what’s happened since I started doing this? The world has not ended, for one. Deities and Powers Who don’t want to use this system and be included opt out and ask for other types of offerings. I feel like I’m including Them in my life more, and it feels more like we’re sharing a meal rather than me just shoving a few bites at Them. Win-win. Not to mention that it gave Some a foot in the door about eating healthier and/or requesting stuff, but They probably could’ve gotten around to that in a different way.