Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Some disjointed Heathen thoughts

I've started doing something I think quite a few Heathens do, which is praying to or connecting with gods for whom each day is named. Today, for example, is Wednesday or Woden's Day, so tonight I will honour Oðinn.

But not before I do a little rune study because I have been slack and I don't want him to be mad at me. 

It's just a little prayer, or has been so far, ad-libbed but somewhat formal - before my altar, hand on my hammer and so on. I have come across two issues in my not-yet-a-week of this activity.... the first being that there are no traditional prayers surviving on which to base these prayers aside from Sigrdrifa's Prayer. For me this is pretty depressing. I'd love something with historical roots to recite, and Sigrdrifa's prayer has too much... asking for daily use. Asking has its place, of course, but it's not the sort of thing I like to recite daily. 

The second issue is that there are four days named for the gods, then one named for Saturn, and then Sunday and Monday. To be honest, I've never gelled much with Sunna and Mani. Maybe I should connect more with them, but honouring weekly seems a bit... excessive? Did the palaeo-Heathens honour the Sunna and Mani regularly? Are they more a sort of poetic personification (as some claim Hel is)? Are they Jotun-kin, or more sort of Vaettir entities? (Gundarsson has nothing to say on the subject. *sulk*)

Random thought: I wonder if the wolves chasing them are clouds? 

The days of the week are named after the Latin days, with Roman gods associated with Germanic ones. Compare the French, for example... Mardi (Mars's Day) to Tuesday (Tyr's Day). The same is true of Sunday and Monday. I don't think a cult of the sun or moon was particularly big, back in The Day... I don't think praying to them weekly is something I'm going to incorporate in. Once in a while, perhaps. But this tangent has led me back to my second problem, gentlemen and ladies, namely that there are days not named for gods for which I need to pick someone to honour.

Last week on Saturday it was Heimdallr, as I had read something about him that day. I'm wondering if I should make a schedule, or something, or keep records. Should I go through Frigg's handmaidens? (I'm still not sure which ones are her and which ones aren't. Hlin? Saga and Eir seem to be separate entities, but I get a bit lost with the others. Lofn and Snotra seem similar to one another, too.) Should I focus more, on perhaps Sunday and Monday, on the landvaettir and so on? Thankfully Tyr, Oðinn, Thor and Frigg are gods I've always gotten along well with, and I might end up alternating Friday between Frigg and Freyja as by the time Friday was named the two goddesses had been coalesced into one, as I understand it.

I'm asking rhetorically of course. But here is something not rhetorical: I am interested, oh fellow Pagans, in your daily worship; will you share? Particularly Heathens out there: do you pray daily? Is there something particular you say?

I had this idea that typing all this out would straighten it somewhat in my head. This did not happen. I think my head is more jumbled now than it was when I began. 

In other news, I can now do 17 press-ups in a row. This is something of which I am enormously proud, because I started out, months and months ago, barely able to do five press-ups on my knees. I feel like some freaking superhero being able to do proper press-ups, and it's really gratifying to work at something and see improvement in such a real way. I feel like physical strength and fitness is important in Heathenry, insofar as pushing oneself to one's personal limit, whatever that might be, and seeing improvement. Being the best one can be, the strongest one can be, the most capable one can be. Strength is important generally, and more mentally and emotionally than physically - physical strength won't get you so far without determination or knowledge.

Someone brought up to me a while ago that they were disabled, and they felt like a bad Heathen because they were physically limited. But, at least to me, it's not about being physically able so much as it is doing as much as you can do. I mean I am stronger now than I was, but I'm still physically weak and will always be weaker than most men, probably. This person in question was working hard at physiotherapy, and seeing improvement, and what's more she was attentive to her body and knew when pushing too hard was wrong for her body, and not sensible, and when to pull back a little. Heathenry is not a religion that excludes the differently-abled, and I want to make that clear because I know statements like in the previous paragraph can be read to imply the opposite.

The lame can ride horse, the handless drive cattle,
the deaf one can fight and prevail,
'tis happier for the blind than for him on the bale-fire,
but no man hath care for a corpse.

- Havamal 71

But I do like becoming stronger, and I do feel like improving my physical fitness and exercise generally are aspects of my spirituality, as well as my physical and mental heath. 

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