Of Frost and Fire

In the beginning was a gaping abyss, Ginnungagap,
but that Void dreamed, as all emptinesses do, She
dreamed a dream of love, and in her sleep was born
warmth, the spark of life, a great fire, and then
the liquid of birth and death, water frozen as ice,
Niflheim and Muspelheim, they dreamed only of you –
a being of perfection carved from primal elements,
in their dance they gave you the breath of wit, in
their kiss that melted and burned you were a child,
and you grew older as the fire grew higher, and ice
grew to tender water, layer upon layer of frost and
flame made you stronger, you were born of First Love,
before the gods ploughed the earthen dales, before
the elves made their shining home, before the dwarves
made brilliant gifts for the dwellers of Asgard,
before even the Norns let down their gray hair, you
were there, you the dancer in their tumultuous passion,
and I call you Ymir for you are a giant to me, colossal
in my mind, growing too large for my heart to contain,
and to love you is to die, be reborn in eternal dance,
for who is not frightened when their lonely universe,
the Ginnungagap in her chest, breathes life onto a
dusty heart, and the needfire awakens, blood quickens,
and Urda’s well springs up in her marrow, ices her mind,
and fire and water carve out a canyon for a perfect one
who the gods sent after prayers to wandering Mardoll
every night, giants are real, for you are Jotunblood
in my mind, a man of myth and legend, and to hold you
is to hang from Yggdrasil, and to let you in to the
beginning of my cosmos is a shy, tender task, but
my world would be nothing without you, so I will
be Audhumla and give sustenance to my altar of you,
licking salt and bleeding rivers of milky wonder,
and soon, I will ken your wanderings, but for now,
let me be your dream, be my driving force, and let
us be ice and flame, yin and yang, entwined like
Odin and Frigga, Freyr and Gerda, Loki and Sigyn,
to love a giant is easy – they eat girls, after all.

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Freyja Rides Out

To be like the Great Sow, Mother of Battle.
they say I have gold tears that hide smiles,
my teeth are bright as tusks, my breasts be
mountains, little one, my thighs crush men
and as I strangle their necks, they grin,
pour wine into my lap, and drink down blood.

See me on the battlefied, bright armor shining,
See me in the bedroom, resplendent as a pearl,
See me High Seated, prophesying Valraven’s fall,
Odin may be Frenzy, but I am the Blade, see me
cut the Norn’s hair and spin it on my fingers,
See me ride out with Valkyries and Svinfylking,
See me scream and beat my shield, see me ravage
all who oppose me, or bed Ottar’s images, I am
the chooser of the slain, gods’ gift to men.

Worship me, make love for me, call out my names.
Mardoll and Freyja, Bercha and Syr, Butter Dame,
Gullveig Gold Drink and Heith Ill-Speaker, sing
for the Lady, dance for the Lover, cry for the
Wife and heal for the Lover, worship me sweetly
and offer me your strawberries, your amber, mead
bright as honey and the bones of hallowed dead.

I am the First Witch, a delight to evil women,
Learning seidhr at my veiled mother Nerthus’ side,
I am the survivor of Ragnarok, the Veteran of the End
When Muspell’s flames burn my body will quench them,
when the Aesir speared me and roasted me, I was thrice
alive, the most noble of battles was fought over me,
I am the coveted prize of the Jotun, but I fly falconwild,
and no man may tame me, neither Odin nor Freyr nor Ottar
nor dwarven makers of Brisingamen, for I am ineffable,
the Beauteous Maiden who breaks all men’s hearts, so
crawl to my bosom and breathe down my arts, I shall
rock you by Noatun and sing of your future wife, I will
speak softly of your first love and last lullaby, I will
comb out your sorrows, little one, and hold you tight.

When Loki Found Sigyn

I sing of he who is always a guest, never truly welcome,
wanderer from the Iron Woods and Odin’s blood brother,
son of Laufey Leafy-Isle and Farbauti Lightning-Strike,
mother of Sleipnir, father of Death, Serpent, and Wolf,
consort of the ruddy-haired Angrboda, and scar-lipped,
sly tongued liar, though he is cursed to tell the truth.

I sing of Sigyn Fetter-Breaker, Victory Woman, Mother
to Narvi and Vali, Child Bride, Keeper of the Bowl
that suspends poison from touching her dear husband,
the only one that could drink down fire and quench
the burning loneliness of Loki, steadfast wife of
the hearth and wildfire, blue flower of the sea.

Loki had flown in Freyja’s falcon cloak far and wide.
No woman pleased him, not Sif’s ample hips or Freyja’s
wily ways, Odin’s mead was bitter, his longing for
someone who did not smile then turn away whenever
he entered the room – be our fool, Loki, be our
friend, then we will spit your name like a curse.

Who in the Nine Kingdoms did not despise him when
his trickery caught the best of him? He laughed
through the pain of sewn lips and flytings, even
Odin could not ken the depths of his madness, it
ate away at Loki like acid that would someday drip
from Skadi’s snakes, but that was centuries away.

Loki was still young, still a wanderer, Angrboda
was fierce, yes, and he was proud of Hela, Fenrir,
and Jormungandr, but to have an etin-bride far
away in Jotunheim left his Asgardian bed cold
when rain pelted like hail and the girls and
boys had tired of his amusements, they said he
slept with anything that could move, horse or
hag, but truly, Loki did not want to be alone
when the darkness came, and silence reigned.

Fire fears the dark, and Loki wanted kindling.

And then past the edge of the Worlds, at Urda’s
Well, Loki saw a young woman picking cornflowers.
She had hair like wood, a body like a beautiful
supple violin, and her smile lit up the mountains.

Was she As or Van? Jotun or Alf? Human, maybe?
It is lost to time. But she sang, and she would
offer the flowers to the well, they are her magic,
you see – they broke Loki’s chains in the end, for
Sigyn is the Fetter Breaker, and do you really think
anyone else in Asgard but she who held the bowl
could set Loki free from his torments?

Where do you think she poured the leftover venom but
onto Loki’s chains, rusting them century by century
until her now broken husband was free, she stayed
sane for him, for their dead children, for All.

But that was a far away wyrd, and Loki wooed her
with the simple promise: I will make you my bride.
I will love you as the wildfire loves the forest.
I will devour all your fears and fructify soil, I
will give you my tongue, for I have no sword, and
please, oh please Sigyn, let me but hold you, for
I am so lonely amongst friends, so tearful behind
my smile, and your kindness is something that will
save me in the depths of my insanity, you will be
my answer to all the cruelties of a hard life, in
the end, I will have done it all for you, my wife.

And Sigyn held him, and comforted him, and she said
I will love you and bake you sweet bread, I will bear
you sweet boys that will never reach adulthood, but
we will love them nonetheless, in your kitchen I will
sing, I will hang the ceiling with flax and flowers,
I will spin and sew you clothes and secrets, I will
be your bride, sweet Loki, for I see past your silver
tongue a man whose heart is broken, and it will take
an eternity to mend, but I am water, I fit into your
cracks, I will whet your fire and ground you, husband.

And their love was the strongest of Asgard, and their
trials were the cruelest of all invention, but still
they love, and still Loki protects his humans with
utter warmth, wit, and humor, and still Sigyn lets
no hungry mortals come to her table, still she tends
wounds you didn’t even know existed, and they welcome
the outcasts, the mad, the wild who do not belong,
for in the hall of the Madman and the Fetter Breaker,
no one cries for long, and happiness plays like songs.

Sif

A snowy corset of lace and winter
bedecked in rainbow Bifrost jewels
waist so slender and starry tender
a neck like a swan, face like a doe,
gentle curves make Thor’s wife sweet,
but she is a warrior, she is wheat,
she wields gold-proud hair aflame,
and walks the aurora bridge, noble
and electric, the harvest’s dame,
lady of summer secrets, autumn mist
rises from bare milky toes, her eyes
are wild with the seasons, Sif is
unfettered ripe fields, earthen
mother of Ullr, Lady of Bilskirnir,
Hail to the hallowed Woman of Fall!

Hymn for Freyja

Freyja blooms with the wildflowers, green and rose
golden light crowns the Vanadis’ flaxen head, radiant
as dawn as her toes shine with the light of Vanaheim,
amber Brisingamen at her milk and cream breast sparkles
she is the sow, the dun cow full of butter, mead, barley,
fruitful in this vision of wandering Mardoll, Syr is sweet
as honeysuckle breeze, wheat bends and bows to its Queen,
oh Lady of Folkvangr, hail your blessed dead and riders
that circle the Wild Hunt sky, your tears shed brassy
brilliance and blossom into lovers tussling in the hay.

Hail Freyja! Hail Ingvi’s Bride-Twin! Hail the Wife of Odr!
Hail Mother of the Girl Treasures, Gersemni and dear Hnossa!
Hail wandering sea-born Mardoll! Hail Rider of the Hunt!
Hail Queen of the Valkyries! Hail the Lady of Vanaheim!

My heart is in your bountiful hands, my mistress, sweet
as your smile, and I am singing your name like a kitten.

Be gentle on this precious love, and guide me to radiance.

Hela’s Tithe

The blonde huldra has a birch bark back
she dances in flowery fields for Freyr,
delights in cow tail sweeping men’s sleep
one with the earthen ploughs and dales,
a dancer on the Forest King’s hollows,
but just as Ingvi gives his life harvest,
so must the elf woman learn of sacrifice.
She sleeps in a gossamer moss down bed,
hair long as wheat shafts, sparkling sun,
the Maiden of Helheim, Hela Half Rotted,
rises with the moontide, graces the girl
a spiderwork of bones shimmer under skin
as Hela lays hands over the burning witch
she may belong to the Golden God, but Hela
is also her mistress, life and death twine
like thread in braided brass hair, frolics
in fields, Ingwaz to Ear, Green Man falls
to Lady Death’s scythe, and in the milk of
her marrow, John Barleycorn is reborn.

Holding Hela’s Hand

Bone fingers on mine as I shepherd ancestors
across the Veil, onto starry Death’s breast,
Hela grips my hand with ice and snowflakes,
her palms slide to my hips to ground my roots
as souls pour into me as black brilliant sparks
wreathed in white halos, flickering into light
Hela’s bosom is all Helheim, I drive in rainy
memories through those not yet in her kingdom,
first there is the overwhelming smell of decay,
a corpse baking sickly sweet in the summer sun,
slowly bodily fluids evaporate, bacteria feasts,
and the rot becomes wet dirt, Hela is beautiful
but does not shelter her girls from true passing
no antiseptic white wards here, just honorable
necrosis, hazy gray globes of eyes, bone white
hair that wreathes a half-flesh, half-frozen face
Hela smiles gently, and I become mist in her arms.