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.

Frigga

There’s a spindle whirring in Frigga’s lap
and she stares down the World Tree eternal
churning bloody milk in Urda’s well, flax
becomes golden Sif hair, twine is dyed with
mead from Kvasir, it is her High Seat truly,
Odin is just a guest, her breasts Asgardian
skies, her eyes Mani and Sunna, her teeth
brilliant stars, weave wyrd and play lives
of Midgard out on her skein, beneficient
tender of the hearth, of my home, Frigga
does not like to be brilliant as Freyja
instead she wears dun white and fawn brown,
keys at her waist that open the Nine Worlds,
when she was young she was a Wanderer, but
few know how Frigga charmed her way across
the realms with sweet words and stories like
the finest of cheese and bread, bite into her
tales to children and elderly and warriors,
find the sweetest of mulled cider warm on
an autumn that speaks of motherhood harvest,
Frigga is tied to the seasons, the land,
she gave birth to light for a reason, for
Balder is what happens when death meets
life, Odin and Frigga are polar opposites,
that is why the Alfather kneels for no one
but her, he becomes a cabbage moth to flame
in Frigga’s bosom, and her body is All,
her breath could melt Niflheim, her wealth
is the way the Norns chant runes and cut
Frigga’s cloth to rainbow spindrils, no,
Frigga is the keeper of the Aesir and Vanir,
under her doe gaze, gods sleep peacefully.

Ratatosk Tells a Tale

“Do you think I was alone
when I hung on that windswept
tree nine nights, spear-heavy,
a sacrifice unto myself?”

“Never.”

“Frigga was my altar.”

Images flow through my mind of a young Odin, drenched in blood and wolfskins, Ratatosk at his shoulder as he drives his spear into the carrion of the slain, choosing only the choicest bits to go to Valhalla. The Valkyries carry away the Einherjar in a wine-dark ascendancy in sulfur skies.

The Alfather hangs from a yew. Ratatosk nibbles his one eye. The other is closed, turned inwards, meditative even. The globe of blue and blood will fall into a well, for squirrels plant seeds, and you can drink the gore from and know what Frigga sees from the High Seat, but it will cost you your life, and your tongue.

All it took was the beat of the buffalo drum, and I was under, swimming in a trance as my soul traveled the three upon threefold path. It’s a Valknut, it’s the ladder of runes, it’s just a poem. Yggdrasil blossomed and froze and all there was was the Light Elves, the Dark Elves, Freyr – or was it Balder? – being buried by the squirrel with curling golden locks, pale as death, to fructify the Earth.

“I am the Tree.”

“I am its guardian.”

“I plant seeds of Yggdrasil through all the Nine Worlds.”

Squirrels never shut up, do they? Neither do I. Perhaps the first poet was a squirrel spinning a story over a newly born sprout, urging it to grow, for though fierce and silly, Ratatosk is a gardener.

He chitters in my ear. The Blue Heron comes and says: impatience, but it is not my message. I get Odin again and again. Pretty soon I’ll be singing Ansuz and firing witchlight from my palms.

The visions soften, I awaken, but the Tree is still sentinel over my wanderings.

The drum stills.

Behind every regent, a powerful woman. Behind every warrior, a witch. Behind every dead man, animals planting their corpses into new life in another world. Behind every king, a queen he worships.

But I could just be bullshitting, for I am a squirrel.

Allergic to the Havamal

I eat up the Skirnismal and Lokasenna, the Voluspa and sagas, but to the sacred gods of the North, I can’t get through the fucking Havamal.  It bores me to tears.  If I wanted to hear Odin lecturing me I could literally just talk to him.  He has me screaming Ansuz half the time in dreams and chasing after him in the Northern Lights with Geri and Freki, not to mention the two months he drove me into near shamanic sickness when I started crushing on my boyfriend, an Odinsman.  There would be times where I would dream of Odin nightly, seeing him about 20 times throughout the day.

I gave him blood offerings.  I wrote him poetry.  I half-wondered if I would end up like Freya Aswynn.  Finally he gave me a vision of the horn he wants me to carve him for East Coast Thing.  I mean, he’s not demanding I build him a hof yet like my SO or return his sword, but godsdamnit, is Odin sassy.  Flip him off and he takes it as a compliment, I swear to all the Aesir and Vanir, Odin is wily, stubborn, demanding, and him sending me a dream of me being his skald in a past life traveling Scandinavia with an Aslaug style harp singing of Odin’s deeds was really, REALLY overkill.

I have a great respect for Odin, of course, as the Alfather of my religion, but what I love most is his sense of humor.

He also wants me to read the Havamal.

I was out to dinner with my kindred on Thursday and joked I was allergic to the Havamal.  That night, I dreamed I was in the Arctic, with Odin fishing in a fjord.  Odin’s twinkling blue eye was snaked with secrets.  I sat on a rock and watched him cast his lure into the sea:

Allie: “What are you fishing for?”

Odin: “Jormungand.  Thor wasn’t feeling up to the task.”

He winked and reeled in a tuna.

Allie: “Very funny.  Odin, I feel stressed.  I have a bunch of homework to do and a heavy taskload this semester.  What do I do?”

Odin: “Well, you can start by reading the Havamal.  You are incredibly lazy, Allie.  Also, you procrastinate, and you are flighty as Loki.  You need to find balance and push yourself without breaking.  All the answers are in the Havamal.”

Allie:  “Oh god!”

Odin: (Starts spitting out Havamal verses)

Allie: “But-”

Odin: “Wake early if you want another man’s life or land. No lamb for the lazy wolf. No battle’s won in bed.  Stop sleeping in and wasting the day away.  Stop spending all your money on frivolous objects.  You are as vain as Freyja.  Take to task your flaws and fix them!”

Allie: “Fine, I’ll read it!”

Guess I’m off to read Odin’s rant.

Huginn and Muninn

He grew up under wily Odin’s ravens’ wings,
feathers of blackness smoked night visions,
from the age of 5 they perched on shoulders
that were innocent of so much, soon weighed
down by a cross not meant for a son of Odin,
no, Yeshua did not answer his young prayers,
no one but the Alfather with all-seeing eye
spanning ages of wyrd, three decades wanderer
he sought the tongue of runes in dusty books,
in desert playas and nocturnal communion, one
time Gangleri was so close he could taste rain
from Ginnungap that was sweet as spiced mead,
travel half the world and find Asgard’s heart
in holy plants and kith and kin, in dancing
Ansuz and wolves and crows, the drum beats bold
it speaks of lives under Bolverk’s mighty fist
grabbing a soul from the stars to fish for
illumination, Odinsmen never rest, always
search for Northern Lights of knowledge, and
his journey is far from over, but Odin knows
what honor a life in service to Aesir weighs –
it is precious as Freyja’s amber, silver as
Draupnir, heavy as Sleipnir, he crosses Bifrost
climbs the World Tree, finds Frigga perched
in Yggdrasil’s branches, and karmic cycles
can be broken, his fate is the glory of gods,
life for the Alfather’s favor, go search, son
find roses and wine and women, sing my song
for my ravens are ever on your shoulders.

Berserker

We dance in blood and bite our shields
wolf-swift, bear-wild, boar-ravaging,
Odin calls our minds to drumming fury
we sink our red teeth into crow flesh,
chant the songs of the hunt, bellows
smelt our swords and we are dread-ruin
scavengers of the battlefield, ravens
that swoop in on the brink of night,
the killfeast is spread before Asgard
our spoils and murders and pillages
pile so high their fumes reach Bifrost
steaming flesh for the Aesir, burnt
crops for the Vanir, blood for Jotun,
come drink down gore and sharpen eyes
so that you can see the arc of ages,
we peered into the depths of Mimir’s
well, got drunk on the mead, swam
in the blood of the Alfather’s eye
and war-glorious, we return to halls
laden with blood gold and seidhrkonas
honor to Odin, honor to the beasts,
honor to the Tree we hang from.