Sifter through the drifting white;
fallen snow untrampled, untroubled
‘neath the shoes of winter’s bones;
upright, a straight back, a proud face;
a shrouding mist and ghostlike sheen
upon such a face, though her cheeks flush, as ever,
so exhilarated a crimson flush.
Skaði is the name of one who roams
those hills beyond the shroud,
and ever in her oneness shall she be
the untrampled, the untroubled;
against the temperate breeze does she forsake a warmer wading
and embrace the biting winds
of so harsh and transfixing a frozen sky.
How my heart thaws within her glow;
how my lungs sing so unbridled in her heavens.
How my spirit reaches outward, rejoicing,
when it finds her guiding hands.
‘Bragi, I come before you on this spring evening, when the warmth beyond my window nearly mirrors the warmth in my heart. I come before you lucid and tranquil. I come before you without fear, and invite you to share a drink with me and take in the same Jasmine scent that I do now.
‘Skillful Bragi, discerning Bragi, Bragi of a most mindful presence: For every candle I have lit in your honor, you have reflected its light back to me a hundred times. For every meal shared, for every prayer offered, for every pile of incense ashes I’ve collected for you, you have let me taste sweeter things, let me hear lovelier words, and let me breathe more heady fumes. Word weaver and music maker, dweller in libraries and auditoriums alike: you have hastened my learning and bolstered my happiness, and therefore you have also given me precious moments in which to chase even greater knowledge and pleasure. That is a debt which I cannot hope to fully repay, so I will give you the next best thing. Please hear me now as I offer you the greatest gift I have to give.
‘Bragi my mentor, Bragi my friend: From this moment on, my body will be your temple, my hands shall manifest your will. My soul is a garden that grows many fruits for you to eat, a brimming cup from which you can drink, and a bed upon which you can rest. Give me a portion of your time, and partake of what little is mine. If by giving myself to you I can shorten the distance between us, then I do it gladly. Hear this, Bragi, my declaration: What is mine is now also yours, and so shall it be until the day when, by my own death or by your goodbye, I have fulfilled my oath.’
I finally made my formal oath to Bragi tonight, and completely by accident, I chose the best time for it. I sat on the porch where the incense would be out of the wind and stay lit, and I recited my oath from the sheet of paper I’d printed out, and after that it started to drizzle, and then it started storming. I sat counting the thunderclaps after each lightning strike, and I didn’t feel any different.
Five, six, ten, five, four, five, six, five, ten, and three.
There was no sudden overwhelming sense of duty and there was no regret. It was just me, Bragi, some incense and a cup of water, and Þórr off in the not-at-all-distant sky riding his chariot, first one mile away, then a bit further, then two miles away, then one again, and less than that, and then one and more, and one and two, and then the last lightning strike that touched down near my house before I went inside was just a little more than half a mile away.
I’ve been living as if I was already oathed to Bragi, and in a sort of roundabout way, I may actually have been. I took his name, and there are a lot of people who would say that doing that was as good as making a formal oath, but I wasn’t sure. I knew that I wanted to do it more formally anyway.
I feel calm, with a pleasant buzzing inside my head shaking apart any thoughts that aren’t easy to think. I feel warm and loved. Overall, this went exactly as I hoped it would.
When in the spring I began to walk, I encountered you, O Dellingr–
you, who was quiet, and tranquil, and who lifted the sun just above the lake
that sparkled with your light’s reflection. O Dellingr! I met you in the spring
and parted with you in the winter cold, and oh how I’ve missed you…!
I have longed to meet you again at the lakeside where I sat
and was soothed by the birdsong
and looked upon the shining waters
and became enraptured by the love I felt in my own heart
before you gave Dagr his reins and sent him to his mother.
O gentle god, O light reborn, O third lover and day-maker,
will you sit with me again?
Here at the lakeside,
will you fill my lungs with reverent words
and caress my cheek with your most calming breeze?
O dayspring, O Dellingr, please enchant me here,
and over and over,
and when I fall from the sight of this world,
let me fall upon a lakeside knoll
and sit with you again.
When the Earth made you, Þórr, she flecked your skin with seeds,
tossing handfuls of black soil all across your shoulders
and sowing in your body the strength to thrive.
Your hair grew like man’s first fire,
red and thrashing like a fish in the sea,
the sea where, now and then, your mother feeds you the flesh
of those scorched ones whose ships fear your fanned red skies.
They find their burial mounds in the deepest sands
under the flash of your light,
the dead who feel your firm black soil again at the doors of your hall
and make themselves full with food and drink
and Hellos to friends so long and fervently missed.
O Þórr, please hear me now as I declare for you my adoration:
You are in the straining of my muscles and the feeling of strength in my arms when I labor unceasingly to achieve beauty in my own space. You are in the satisfaction I feel when the task is done.
You are in the way I assert my authentic self and stand up for my own beliefs and demand my right to decency and happiness.
You are in the way the house shudders and sways in the wind when the thunder echoes in the distance, and in the way its power makes me feel utterly invincible.
You are in the full-hearted words of my friends, in the embrace of my loved ones, and in every smile I earn, and because you give these things to me, I will devote myself to repaying you for your kindness.
Hail to Þórr and hail to the thunder! May Mjǫllnir’s strike never fail!
(Note: I base this praise off of Saxo’s writings on Balderus and on my own UPG.)
Baldr, who shines like the sun and even more beautifully, please hear now my adoration for you:
If the mortal whose loss in love and miserable end made him a god most beloved is called Baldr, then the road to Love is called Loneliness, the road to Redemption is called Sacrifice, and the road to Life is called Death.
Baldr of beautiful things, of gentle encouragement, of kindness, of warm and unconditional love: You are an inspiration to me, and more than that, you are the picture of a love that I want to embody and to give and receive. If beauty is Baldr’s domain, then nobody who truly knows him could ever mistake him for being anything less than absolutely selfless, for beauty exists in every corner of the world–in every flower and every weed, in every innocent smile and every set of snarling fangs, in every noisy crowd and every gentle song, and even in every thing that is ever called “ugly,” because most importantly, beauty exists in the eye of the beholder. Beauty is Baldr’s gift to those who know him, but also to those who do not, and so Baldr is kind and giving and a believer in the fundamental goodness of humanity.
To honor you, Baldr, I promise to give often, to love selflessly, and to strive for all that you embody.
Praise be to Baldr, who shines like the sun and even more brilliantly. May his gifts never go unnoticed, may his sacrifices never go unappreciated, and may his kindness inspire the whole world.
Hail Loki, whose flame-red hair appears for
but a moment where there are tricks to be found.
Loki, with sharp tongue and nimble toes,
let us be swift and sure in our dealings.
Let us be strong as the children you begot;
mighty as Fenrisúlfr, resolute as Hel, and awe-inspiring as Jǫrmungandr.
Loki of quick wit, who weaves truth through lies,
none can best you in a contest of cleverness.
Wherever we go, may you hold the mirror in which
we see you in ourselves, cunning and lively.
Hail Loki, who is never far, and ever a playfully flickering light in the dark.
May you find entertainment in the strife for all your days.
Just Þórr, mighty Þórr, quick to dole out justice,
Red-Bearded One, Hammer-Wielder with far-reaching renown,
we know you are near when the thunder comes rumbling through,
when we hear the goats run and the giants fall,
felled by a mighty swing of Mjǫllnir, grasped by strong hands.
Cowering victims do you make into champions by leading the way,
and fearful trembles become boisterous laughter.
May those who wrong you always fall to their knees in defeat,
brought low by the strength of your body and heart,
and as we honor you, may our foes be struck down as well.
Hail the just! Hail the righteous! Hail Þórr!
Mighty Þórr, whose powerful hands wield Mjǫllnir,
whose thirst lowered oceans, whose brawn lifted Jǫrmungandr,
you are the strength of our bones, the thickness of our skin,
the bite behind our bark, and the will to push on.
Kind Þórr, your compassion knows no bounds.
With a light heart do you best evil in all its forms.
Help us to find the courage to defeat our foes,
be they in the mind or on the earth.
Bring us a spirit to match yours, O Þórr,
so that we may hold our heads high when life beats us down.
Good-hearted god, lead the way and we will follow,
singing your praises wherever we may go.