Musings on the Goddesses of the Jotnar, Angerboda and Iron Wood Magic

Despite the more obvious practices of Seidhr, spells, enchantments, divination and shapeshifting, there is another powerful magic in the Iron Wood: the women Themselves.

The women are the fiercer, more powerful sex among the Jotnar – think of Angerboda and Skadi, of Groa and Gerda. But this strength isn’t just physical, and nor is it purely ‘magical’. Their true power lies in Their personal power, Their Sovreignty, Their sacred expression of Their Selves. They are empowered women, the ones who stand up for Their needs and desires, standing Their ground, asserting Their boundaries.

To the writers of the time these powerful, self-assured women must have been seen as a real threat to the ‘way of the world’. These are independent Goddesses who know Their needs and magics and are respected for it. How much of the ‘terrible and terrifying’ description of Them is really true, and how much is the filter of the writer?

While these amazingly strong Goddesses can be fierce and awe-inspiring, is there a chance They have been somewhat misrepresented? How much of Their true nature has been rewritten or lost? Just as Sigyn is reduced to the long-suffering wife of Loki in the Eddas, with the gift of her magic as galdr fetter hinted at in one epithet, how much of the Jotnar and Iron Wood has been lost?

In being drawn back to the ways of nature, the Earth and the crystal, plant and animal kingdoms I feel  my inner ‘wild woman’ calling. This is part of me I have been too afraid to claim, but now I’m tentatively curious. Whereas Angerboda used to terrify me I can now be in Her presence with a great deal of respect for Her power. I know She values physical strength, but She also values strength of will and heart.
Beside Her more obvious Iron Wood connections, to me She is a Goddess of empowerment. Part of Her gift is bringing us into our own power. While this manifests differently in each of us – due to different personalities, abilities and paths to follow – She is the embodied Powerful Feminine.
Although Hers can be a tough love, She does love… and fiercely. She is loyal and true to Her Self and to those She loves. She doesn’t suffer fools gladly.

 

Loki and Sigyn: facilitators for deep healing and Shadow integration

Loki and Sigyn by Michelle, Northern Tamarisk

If Sigyn is the Goddess of holding space (see previous post) perhaps Loki is the one who takes our hand and let’s us know it’s safe to open up. He is the one who encourages us to express our most vulnerable selves. All the while Sigyn holds the bowl, catching any poison and throwing it away. Together They are the ones who support us through the deepest levels of healing.

If there was ever a Deity suited to helping us heal our own Shadow it is Loki – He who knows His own, Who loves all His children; knows how to love the seemingly unlovable. He is also the one who calls out hypocrisy and the Shadows of the Gods Themselves. He is the one who helps us heal our deepest wounds.
When we are in our own caves, bound by things once dear to us, upon rocks of our own shame, Loki is there with us. He knows the agony, the torment, on a whole other level. But knowing the cave as He does He can help us through our own time in the Underworld. When our own Shadows, our own repressed selves, drip down onto us, tearing us apart, He is there. 

All the while Sigyn, compassion personified, holds us steady. She takes us in Her arms like She holds the bowl, letting the Shadow poison spill out, helping us to heal. She lets us know She’s there whenever we need Her again. She will always return to hold the bowl when needed.

What we need to hold on to during this process is that, somehow, Loki made it out of the cave. Somehow He was freed from the darkness, and Sigyn could finally rest Her strong but weary arms and heart. That means we can make it out of the darkness too. We can start to reclaim our lives, go out into the world and do what we’re meant to do. We are all the stronger for having been through our trials.

They are a partnership for deep healing. For how do we heal the Shadow? With understanding acceptance and compassion. Loki and Sigyn.

Sigyn and holding space

During a healing treatment yesterday Sigyn came to me. She gave me a revelation of a part of modern life she embodies: that of holding space.

Sigyn teaches us the sacred basics of holding space for another, whether they are in pain, are suffering or need a shoulder to cry on.

First she catches you in her bowl so you cannot fall further. Her strong, loving arms hold you in the bowl, supporting you while giving you space.
She collects the poison, your hurts, pain and tears, and then tips it away. She listens but she does not take these emotions into herself.
Like everyone she also needs a little time away to regroup and collect herself; to pour away her own poison, or to rest a while.
Then she returns, strong and ready, prepared to hold the bowl once more.

Sigyn is a healer, and in this role her magics are love, humility, strength and compassion.

 

Side note: how lovely that her teaching in this should be my 100th post.


If you would like to learn more about holding space I can recommend Holding Space: a Guide to Supporting Others While Remembering to Take Care of Yourself First by Amanda Dobra Hope. It’s available in paperback and kindle format.
I also found this article helpful:
http://upliftconnect.com/hold-space/

Has a shrine dedicated to Olaf Haraldsson been discovered in Trondheim?

Researchers from the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage believe they have unearthed the stone foundations of a wooden church where the body of King Olaf Haraldsson was taken in 1031 shortly after he was declared a saint.

For more information see this article: http://www.archaeology.org/news/5040-161123-norway-olaf-reburial

Samhain 2016 -Altar/Shrine pics

Last night I had the pleasure of setting up two extra altar/shrine areas, alongside the shrine for my Beloveds.

The first was for family members, including my much-loved and much-missed cat Orlando. I enjoyed setting up this one the most, as it made me look through all my photos and bits and bobs I have as keepsakes. The camera belonged to either my grandad or my Norwegian great-grandad, the dreamcatcher centre was brought back from Canada by my Uncle Tony. The door stop was from my Nanny’s house, and the Little Mermaid statue is a nod to her being born in Denmark. The Aragonite was my Aunty Tina’s. The little clay piece in front of Orlando’s photo is a paw print I took from him about a year before he passed away, and there’s also a lock of his fur. Presiding over the shrine on either side are Hella and Anubis. There are scarabs and a fabric lotus there too, as symbols of the cycles of life, death and rebirth. The lists you can see are names of my family members, and of family friends and pets.  Continue reading

Samhain 2016 -Finding the seed of light in the darkness

Samhain 2016 -Finding the seed of light in the darkness

It is a very human trait to fear death and the darkness, but many ancient and indigenous cultures understand that there is a greater cycle to life. In doing so they respect these forces and understand their place in the world, and in the universe(s) we live in.
Many Deities and Spirits have an element of darkness within them, like the Tao symbol, with Yin and Yang each having a seed of the other within. Some are darker than others, some are more of the light, but each have elements of both that can teach us.
For what is life if not day and night, light and shade?  Even those destructive moments strip away the old to leave the potential for a new way of life. As the moon shines in the night it lights our way through the darkness of the nocturnal hours, just as those who are darker in nature can teach us to find and follow our own pathway – ‘to thine own self be true’. Many of these so-called darker Deities have protective aspects, and can teach triumph through adversity. often they embody our own worst fears, ones we must ultimately face, or else how can we truly enjoy life in all its aspects?
Give the dark the respect it is due, and you may just find the seed of light – the moon – to guide you through it. Continue reading

Friday Finds – October 2016

This month, in a change from the usual format, I’m looking at ouroboros items. All can be found on Etsy. Click on the link below the picture to be taken to the product page.

ouroboros_orioncarvings
by OrionCarvings in Chile – Product Link

ouroboros_frostferrumforge
by FrostFerrumForge in Finland – Product Link

ouroboros_treeterracom
by TreeTerracom in Canada – Product Link

ouroboros_vocisconnesse
by Vocisconnesse in Italy – Product Link

ouroboros_artifactorystore
by ArtifactoryStore in Russia – Product Link

ouroboros_modestbirdy
by ModestBirdy in Hungary – Product Link

ouroboros_seespotrunfindings
by SeeSpotRunFindings in USA – Product Link

ouroboros_extase
by extase in Canada – Product Link

ouroboros_ayeshajones
by AyeshaJones in Wales, UK – Product Link

ouroboros_debaunfineceramics
by DeBaunFineCeramics in USA – Product Link

ouroboros_dwarvesong
by Dwarvesong in USA – Product Link

ouroboros_fogliaviola
by FogliaViola in Italy – Product Link