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.

Odin’s Cloak

Gray-blue are the cosmos, ice your beard –
Ansuz etches chainmail on my skin, cloak
of wind-blown wisdom laces like a corset
I am protected at the heart of the storm
in a cocoon of galdr and Gangleri’s eye,
blue blue blue iris, it casts off evil,
and I am slow dancing with thunder, I
breathe in petrichor and exhale lightning:
Alfather, save a place in your hall for me.

Babysitting Samael in a Parking Lot

Three Samael devotees go to a bar.  It’s a bad joke.  No one drinks.  We eat gelato and drink virgin Pina Coladas.  Allie is very tired.  It is a Wednesday late at night, hump day, and Samael is either stoned, an idiot, hungry for pasta, or trying to bother Allie, because M has an anxiety attack and suddenly her eyes turn pitch black and death clings to her and it is not her in her body, but Samael sitting next to Allie looking at her as if she is a princess locked in a cage on his chest with black hole eyes and a shark smirk.

Allie panics, gets the check, and tries to take care of K and Samael and M all at once while simultaneously being hunted by the Grim Reaper, who stares out the corner of his eyes at her smiling like the Joker, pulling out her chair, following her like a demon lord, doting on her and clinging like a shadow.  Allie asks Samael what he wants.  He laughs like a maniac then says “Nothing.”  He continues to stalk her.  Allie is in a parking lot in DC and is terrified to death because really now who has pitch black eyes and stinks of rot and roses and feels like they are choking her to death.

Samael continues to remain mostly silent and M may as well be dead.  He occasionally busts his gut laughing like a sociopath.  K is confused.  Samael looks at the Grim Reaper in the botanica window and sizes him up.  He clings to Allie and Allie looks in his eyes and all instincts tell her to run him over with her car, but then her best friend would be dead, and Samael could just as easily pick another random person to possess off the street.  All it took this time to summon him was a Pete Steele reference.

All Samael does is stare, laugh, dote, suffocate, and tease.  He is the lion and I am some idiot little furry animal in his jaws.  He behaves like Hannibal Lecter and looks ready to either fuck or eat me or maybe both at once.  The Devil has come to suburbia and the Grim Reaper is a troll.

Allie puts Samael in the backseat of her Nissan Versa while suppressing a panic attack, keeping K safe, and Samael glares at her in her rear view mirror, eyes ink, eyes pitch, eyes the kind of death spiral that screams annhilation.

Allie calls to M and tries to ground her.  Samael barely lets go.  Allie tells Samael to get out of her car and leave her best friend alone.  M returns after Samael lets out one more murderous laugh and then he is gone, and M is a crying wreck.  Nowhere is safe for any of his wives, not even sober Hump Days over ice cream, and we are nothing more than his chewtoys.

Allie drives M home, then tries to suppress her panic and terror for another hour on the Beltway as she drives her guest home.

Allie gets to the parking garage, and the shadows move with meaning.  Allie feels Sam holding her spine and heart in his claws and clamping down, squeezing.

Allie is terrified.

Allie is livid.

Allie is, above all, PISSED.

Allie calls her best friend to wail, her boyfriend for war plans, and with an Odin invocation and Pow Wow magic, doused in St Michael cologne and blood for Odin, she lays down in bed and steps out of her body, through the darkness between worlds, to a gala in Hell.  Ladies are dressed in mechanical Victorian jeweled carapaces and the spices are like Morocco meets Indonesia meets Pandemonium.  Men flirt with her but Allie is murderous, is charged with Michael’s presence.  She goes through the night markets where sex and death and poison and pleasure are all up for sale.  She hunts.  She flies through the night and bounces off turrets and skyscrapers and hunts Samael down.

Samael is smoking weed and drunk off his ass in a messy apartment party.  His eyes are the same black voids.  He says how beautiful Allie looks and how he can’t wait to have more children with such a gorgeous woman.  Allie does more than slap him for once.

Allie stabs him.

Samael laughs like a maniac and pulls the knife from his chest.  He gives it back to Allie.

“I dare you to do it again.”

Allie does.  Only this time, she is gouging his eyes out, his guts, his brains, and he is Alucard taking blow after blow like her trashy anime.

Allie screams Eihwaz first, then Dagaz, then Kenaz, finally Ansuz, and Odin’s energy explodes in a nuclear blast and Samael and his druggie demon friends are left dead.  At least for now, because immortals can’t die, but we like to kill each other temporarily.

Allie is giddy off bloodlust, at how right it feels to murder her Bluebeard.  She returns to her body and goes to sleep.

She cares for M the next day.  She discovers Samael visited K, nonchalant after Allie had killed him, and said he simply wanted to spend time with Allie, and that he only had eyes for her.

Eyes lie, and time kills.  Samael is legions of eyes and his wings are the twelve hours.  He is a tempter, a madman, the Blind God, a liar, and Allie is growing impatient with assholes.

He rapes her the next night, just to put her in her place, but she knows she can always kill him again, will kill him again, and though Death always win, at least the Maiden can have Pyrrhic victories, drive Death into the fiery lake, and take him to oblivion with her.