Traditions of the North Witch: The Völva

In ancient Scandinavia and Germania, there was a class of priestesses or seeresses whose history and lore are of great interest. These seeresses, or völvas/vǫlvas, were a class of women all their own. Responsible for reading omens, prophesying, and divination on behalf of their tribesmen, these women were clearly the conduit between Midgard and the Beyond.

Völvas must surely have looked to the Ancestors’ spirits, as well as spirits that resided in the land and sea. These women were thought to be the mortal divinity of Freyja, as it is said Freyja was the goddess who introduced the art of Seiðr–that is, the practice of seeing into the future, the Unknown, and even the world of the dead, as much wisdom is gained from Spirit conversation.

These women were held in very high esteem, respected as a divinity by all…including men of all ranks. This seems to be so because the culture and religious practices of the Vikings and Germanic tribes attributed all women as having been in some way endowed with this power. Those that chose this path in life because of their strong sight became married to their staves, the working wand of the wild witch.

Völvas who were requested to divine on behalf of the people would do so sometimes publicly, as all were connected to Fate, and would sometimes be called to the home to perform a ceremony. It seems clear that these women acted as Shamans to their communities. They would be imparted with spell-song, to help aid their trance-states so the information from the worlds beyond would be better transmitted.

Not unlike Shamans of many other tribes, völvas would commune with plant and animal spirits as well as those that dwell within the land and hearth and home. For this reason, many were called upon as healers for spirit and body, too.

The Seiðr-craft was so revered and respected (because of its origins from Freyja, no doubt) it is said that Freyja was the one to impart this knowledge to Odin himself. The power of the Feminine Divine, indeed.

The lesson one can take from the völva and other women who are practitioners of this ancient tradition is one of self-discipline and spiritual development. The sight must be practiced, brought into harmony with all of the Self. Such practice seeks to completely eradicate the Ego’s stirring presence of self-doubt, opening the channels for communication between all divine beings, both of Earth and those who dwell beyond and below.

Image courtesy of GermanMythology.com 

A little bit of Summertime Magic

The weather has been absolutely heavenly, and things are growing and thriving in the garden and around the yard. DSCN2872.a1_markedMy dandelions have been plentiful, perfect for making cosmetics and tea. These babies pack a punch of all sorts of vitamins and minerals, and are a very rich source of beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A. Some of the other vitamins and minerals found in dandelions include Vitamin B-complexes, Vitamin C & small amounts of Vitamin D, fiber, potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium, and phosphorous.

Dandelions are also a great source to get trace minerals and organic sodium (table salt is baaaaad news!) A bitter plant they can be, but these babies can be mixed with sweeter greens and fruits for a wonderful salad. Minus the ants! So clean before eating & using.

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I don’t believe this particular species of milkweed is native to FL, but it sure as hell helps nurture, support, and harbor my monarchs! I got to watch the monarch’s life cycle from caterpillar to butterfly with my little girl, and it never fails to amaze me!

(This is a great page, easy to read information about FL’s native milkweeds and monarch facts.)DSCN2847.a_marked

Here she is emerged from her chrysalis, posing for a picture. Nature is amazing, the Earth Mother always gifting us with moments to share love and joy with every living being. With moments like these, magic truly does exist.

Summer Blessings Xo

Fire in the Blood

The weather has been utterly beautiful these last few days. I’ve been lingering outside longer and longer, and I have even migrated my craftings out to the patio because I just can’t resist the pull of the Season’s magic. We’ve all been restless in my household and the Goddess and spirits that are so prevalent among the plants have urged us outdoors for play and meditation.

Spring cleaning has thus far only been physical, but May Eve/Bealtaine will be greeted with fire and smoke to drive out the last remaining energies of the past year. Mother will be welcomed in, alongside passion and inspiration and positive flowing action.

The maypole, a summer broom, flowers, the fresh breeze and ribbon decorations have replaced stale air, old pictures, and useless “buildup” around the home & hearth.

The season is for Love and Light, letting these earthly vessels we call bodies free, and rebirthing the Sun. Spirit is lusty and full of heat, rendering jovial play within my artwork and craftings.

And not only that, but my little girl will be 3 on Bealtaine. This little fireling has given me life and joy, passion to learn, and the strength of flame to overcome. She has been such an inspiration and I will not only celebrate the Sun and Earth’s rebirth, but my own personal rebirth that has come from my Daughter’s birth.

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So fill your baskets with wildflowers, craft a floral wreath, eat fruits of the Earth and drink sweet honey mead, for this is a season for Light and Life, rebirth and new beginnings. Sweat in the heat and feel the passion of the gods as they mate to bring all into the light half of the year.