By Eowyn OR
The Engraving This was the Heu-monat or Heymonat, the Hay-month. Scythes and sickles were used in the harvesting of hay by the Anglo-Saxons and the poet Spenser alluded to this when he wrote: “Behind his back a scythe, and by his side Under his belt he bore a sickle circling wide”
Blot: Sleipnir (Festival of Life) reminds us of the interdependence of all life forms, that we are an integral part of nature and not separate from it. It reminds us that we must return to this earlier wisdom our ancestors understood, for in ignorance of it, humanity is destroying Mother Jorth and in consequence, himself. Sleipnir is Odin’s eightlegged steed, who symbolises the interdependence of all the worlds. We call upon the Aesir and Vanir to be with us and to guide us that we may honour and protect life, recognising its divine beauty as a creation of the Gods. Hence, we give thanks for the way in which all helps us to sustain ourselves, whether as food, fuel, companions or service; for all contains the divine spark of life as we do. At the same time, we recognise that diversity is essential and that cycles of expansion and contraction are necessary to sustain diversity and growth.
We also remind ourselves that natural limits are imposed by the rights of others and that these are necessary to maintain the rights of all; thus it is right and natural and beneficial for all to mate with their own kind. This awareness of the interdependence of all life is Odinism and we understand this as integral to respecting all, including ourselves. And whilst all is not equal – that killing and defence are necessary – it doesn’t eliminate our awareness of the divinity in nature.
Conversely, we see that by ‘un-godding’ nature, Judeo-Christianity has created a mindset where creation is perceived as separate from God and humanity, and there for plundering, whilst the whole egalitarian movement strives to eliminate diversity. Odinists know this is totally unnatural and we ask the Gods that this state may never come to pass.
Our Gealdor is Fehu, the rune of cattle and wealth. Cattle were very important assets to our ancestors for they provided meat and clothing. But this rune reminds us that assets need to be tended and used wisely, that quality outweighs quantity and that motion is inherent within the maintenance and accumulation of assets: one must know when an asset that initially helped improve the quality of life is no longer worth the effort to maintain and must therefore be exchanged for something that will be of more use. ‘Sitting’ on assets – whether these are skills or possessions – and not using them for good, often leads to loss of their value in some way.
Hence Fehu teaches us that motion is integral to the evolutionary force, that life is about motion borne of the integral connection between man and all lifeforms, all of whom contain the spark of divinity.
Thus, in the breeding strength of cattle is seen the fertility of Frey, which leads to prosperity; and Fehu stands as the first rune of the Futhark and of Frey’s Aett.
Remembering July. This is the fullness of the year and the ‘spirit of the summer.’ A collective madness apparently sweeps over everyone as passions run high and events reach a peak: schools break up for summer holidays and folk begin to head off for annual breaks. In July, it is useful to continue the work of June. If the detoxification process has released unexpressed ‘toxic’ emotions, it is important not only to release them, but also to ensure they do not reassert themselves to affect our lives negatively. As Odinists, a negative effect in the light of this month’s message about the interdependence of all life forms would be one that isn’t conducive to good relationships – both with oneself and with others.
One of the scourges of modern times brought about by the monotheistic mind-set and alienation from nature has been the creation of low self-esteem amongst our folk. Good self-esteem is an essential part of the indomitable spirit that enables us to face challenges joyfully and to recognise them as an important part of life and evolution- to strive to overcome them in the quest to hone ourselves on the anvil of experience. Conversely, if lacking, life can become an alienating, fear-based struggle and in many, this perception induces the apathy that so rampantly infects the folk soul today. Ultimately, this negative self-perception not only pollutes our relationships with other people, but also dishonours all life because the recognition of its inherent divinity is lost. Thus, the person treats it as such – as we see happening on a global scale with mass environmental devastation. Sadly, most of this arises from the negative perceptions foisted upon us by others, particularly in our early years, and these need to be recognised for what they are and discarded when found wanting.
There are many ways of approaching this problem such as affirmation, play, visualising yourself as confident etc. – and others too numerous to rehash here. However, perhaps the essential core of this work is the recognition that all life is sacred and is about diversity and balance in motion; and that includes the individual as a sacred expression of the life-force and God forces. Therefore there are times to work, rest and play – all of which have a place in life. Meanwhile, things that cause us to feel unreasonably stressed for too long may be a signal that we are not listening to our intuition on what’s truly best for us – and ultimately all – in the scheme of things. Like all good things, this requires practise; but it is the practise and recognition of the results that builds the experience and hence, confidence and trust in our abilities – all of which are integral to our relationships. During this month, continue also to nurture yourself with plenty of sunshine, fresh air and exercise to store energy for the darker times ahead and strengthen the Odic force within.
Suggested Keyword: Relationships
The Engraving This was the main harvesting month and was known as Arn-monat or more rightly, Barn-monat, indicating that the barns would be filled with corn. The arable portion of an estate was probably comparatively small and the population of the towns was supplied with corn from those within its vicinity. There was no general system of exchange throughout the country. Enough corn was grown on small farms for domestic use and if this failed- as commonly happened – colewort and green pulse were the substitutes. Wheaten bread was not commonly used. It was the practise of the lord and lady of the Saxon household to distribute provisions to the poor and needy outside their hall door, and it appears that the etymological origins of the titles ‘Lord’ and ‘Lady’ may well have derived from this role of bread-givers to the folk. The lord allowed the food to be distributed whilst the lady served and disposed of it to the guests. This tradition is continued by the ladies and gentlewomen who carve and serve food to guests at the table: in many other countries, this is seen as strange and unusual.
Blot: Discovery of the Runes (Festival of the Mind) celebrates the power of the mind – learning, inspiration and scholarship. We recognise the runes as a vast wisdom, which allow us to advance both spiritually and intellectually in the light of truth and shaped by our gods-given will. We again draw attention to the understanding that in all of nature is diversity- which includes differences in abilities amongst humans and hence, that we are not all equal as is commonly purported nowadays. We recognise the ingenuity of our folk and realise that to respect others, we must firstly respect ourselves. Thus, we celebrate Odin’s quest for knowledge, wisdom and knowing as he drank from Mimir’s well and sacrificed himself to himself on Yggdrasil, that he would know the holy streams of power – the runes.
We recognise their purveyance through our blood and as the source of our thirst for knowledge and wisdom – a gift that has been clouded by alien indoctrination. So we ask Odin that he might rouse our folk from their stupor and to once again, inspire them to greatness. We are also reminded that the path to wisdom can be harsh, but that we must strive to know, remember and build- even though in that knowing, we will see ugliness. We must needs use our minds to learn, gain knowledge and use it for the advancement of our faith, folk and familieseven if that means swimming against the common morass; for true wisdom is awareness and Natural Law. Our Gealdor is the full Futhark in recognition of Odin’s sacrifice.
Remembering August: This month sees the beginning of a three-month harvest period and a lot of bustle in the countryside as this starts to be brought in. However, in other respects, it is almost a month of stasis: nothing can grow any bigger or fuller and we begin to sense the start of the decline towards winter. It is a time for luxuriating and enjoying the sensual pleasures of life and nature’s bounty.
So it is a superb month for indulging in the vitalising properties of the huge range of wholesome natural foods available. An effective way of doing this is to juice fresh organic produce and anyone can benefit from one day per week on a juice-fast of 500-700ml of juice sipped throughout the day along with plenty of distilled, filtered or spring water. Vegetables help to alkalinise the body, bind excess acids and thus to clear the body of toxins; hence, this is an effective way of reducing matic pains, as they often have arthritic and rheumas their root cause crystals of lactic acid that have been dumped in the joints and tissues instead of being eliminated as the waste products they are. Weak rose-hip tea will also help the eliminative process.
A naturopath or Ayurvedic practitioner can advise on specific juices to help individuals rebalance their bodies towards vibrant health. Meanwhile, whilst August is a month of ease and sensuality, it is also one of gathering in all senses of the word- of taking stock of what we draw from life and of what we can give back.
Hence, it is both a time to show gratitude for all that we have and towards those that help us live our lives more fully as well as to gather our thoughts in readiness for the year’s next big shift. Recognise that in the creation of our lives, there is also the taking and sacrifice at all levels and that this inherent dynamic is at the core of all life as energies are exchanged. Thus, we evolve in wisdom – just as Odin sacrificed himself to attain the wisdom of the runes for all our folk. At the simplest level, grace before a meal is a potent way of recognising this basic truth and a very simple and effective one can be found in the Book of Blotar.
Suggested Keyword: Discernment
The Engraving shows the wild boar being chased through the forests by folk bearing dog and boar spears, after being fattened on acorns and beech masts. The Saxon name for the month was Gerstmonat or Barley-month – the month either of the barley harvest or barley beer making. The old British breed of strong hounds was excellent for hunting and war alike and was exported to other countries. In Saxon times, even well populated areas were surrounded by thick forests: London was one such place. And in these forests resided boar, bears, wolves and deer. Thus, all ranks of the Anglo-Saxons delighted in the chase and young nobles were trained to hunt as well as to learn Latin. The King Harold Harefoot was so-called because of his swiftness in the foot chase. The beating of the woods to drive out the boar was a service of danger and therefore suited to the training required for war.
The Blot: Winter Finding (Festival of Harvest End) again emphasises the wheel of nature. The autumn equinox is reached and a period of decline ensues as summer ‘dies’ and winter approaches. We give thanks for our food supply and begin to assess our achievements, look into our hearts and prepare for the future spring that will come after we have endured the winter. Life’s rhythm is still strong, but dissolution can also be clearly felt now.
We hail the Gods and Goddesses of fertility and fruitfulness- of life: Odin, Frey, Thor, Sif, Freya and all the Aesir and Vanir and recall the sacrifice of Balder as not only symbolising the year’s drawing inwards to regenerate itself until Yuletide, but also as symbolic of our need to gather ourselves inwards; for we are a part of nature and of the great cycles that bring balance and harmony. The dark times strengthen us and contain within them the holy spark of life. We are reminded that religion, the social system and the whole of life were naturally seen by our ancestors as being on a great continuum – the beauty of which was trashed by the influx of the alien creeds into this age of rampant materialism and greed. Yet we recognise that ages pass and that a new revolution in the hearts and souls of our folk will give rise to the usurping of this corrupt doctrine and a flowering once again of the folk soul; otherwise we shall perish and be returned to the substance of Mother Jorth.
The corn mother is presented as a symbol of our hope for renewal and our debt to Mother Jorth. Our Gealdor is Jera, the rune of harvest. After the work of ploughing, sowing and harrowing, the harvest is reaped and its quality is dependant upon what we have sown. But a good harvest also means sacrifice and loss: to create we need to know how to cut and there is no lasting ideal state. Hence there will always be sickness and health, war and peace because inherent in life is the struggle to evolve around the wheel of life, which holds ‘life’ and ‘death’ in balance as integral parts of the whole.
Jera can be particularly attributed to the goddess Sif, to whom corn dollies and the harvest festival were originally attributed. As a Goddess of the annual cycle’s expression at this time, the cutting of her golden hair represents the bounty of the annual harvest.
At another level, this symbolises the destruction of the Golden Age by illusion – the increasing grossing of the energies towards a heartless machine that results from subscribing to the alien creeds. But also, the cutting at harvest will make it grow back stronger in the next cycle since its fullness has been reached. Similarly, when the age turns- in the fullness of time- the experience of the hardships we face and overcome at all levels will make our folk stronger and lead us inexorably back into a new Golden Age.
Remembering September: We begin to feel a crispness in the air and a sense of gathering, preparation and organisation for the future dominates. This is a time for knowledge- of gathering information- and a more intellectual focus on life: it is no accident that school and college terms begin in September! There is both an outer and inner harvest- a time for letting some things go whilst retaining that which will help us through the next phase and planting new seeds for that cycle.
Thus it is a purging and cleansing time that engenders sorrow as we leave summer and aspects of ourselves that no longer serve us. As we begin to assess the results of our endeavours, we need to acknowledge our achievements- but just as importantly, notice what hasn’t come into fruition and be prepared to discard it. We also need to begin setting new immediate and long-term goals and this must be done with a balanced attitude: be realistic about what is achievable in any given time-span and make careful but solid progress. An effective analogy is to see a goal as an ‘elephant’ and to dissect it into manageable parts which, when worked with according to your plan, will reap the results on time.
Physically, September is a time for strengthening the body in preparation for the cooler weather to come. Add a little more protein and fat to the diet and foods should be predominantly cooked rather than raw to begin warming the body. Steam vegetables and add nuts for extra protein. As usual, check out seasonal vegetables such as green beans, parsnips, carrots, tomatoes and pumpkins for the best food choices. Add herbs and spices, which have vitalising properties of their own. It is also a good time to work a little harder at any physical exercise you are doing- or maybe to try something new. Have an autumn house-clearing and tidying session in preparation for ‘battening down the hatches:’ this is part of ‘letting go’ of that which no longer serves you and the all-important process of attuning to the season. It also helps ‘clear space,’ allowing for effective and vitalising energy flow to pervade your life at all levels.
Suggested Keyword: Harvest.