A Prayer to Thor During Times of Trouble

Hail Thor,
slayer of giants and trolls,
defender of Midgard!

Darkness gathers on the horizon
and troubling times lay ahead.
I call to you for strength to face these challenges!

Mighty Thor,
as you defend Midgard,
so too shall I aid you in its defense
standing up for the Earth and its people.

As you stride into Jotunheim to challenge the giants,
may I have the courage to go forth and challenge those I oppose.

As you uncover deception and illusion in your travels,
may I have the bravery to confront those
who seek to harm with treachery.

And as you take great risk to fight for Midgard,
may I persevere in the face of opposition
for the sake of doing what is right.

So be it!

A Prayer For When We Lose Our Way

Hail Mighty Kindreds!

I come before you as a child of the Earth
who has lost their way,
who has made mistakes,
and broken the virtues.

I come before you as a child of the Earth
who wants to find their way,
make amends,
and reestablish the virtues in my life.

I do this in the sight my ancestors,
I do this in the sight of the land spirits,
I do this in the sight of the gods,
and I do this in the sight of those I have hurt.

May the virtues take root in me once more,
so I can reach for the Sky.

May I have wisdom,
to apply my knowledge with experience.
May I have vision,
to see the direction I am going.
May I have piety,
so the Kindred may continue to bless me.
May I have courage,
to do what is right.
May I have perseverance,
to weather the hard times in life.
May I have integrity,
so that I may be trustworthy again.
May I have hospitality,
so my relationships stay strong.
May I have moderation,
so that I may not give into extremes.
May I have fertility,
so that I may be productive again
in all that I do.

So be it!

Five Ways to Practice Paganism Now

A group of people dance the spiral around a roaring bonfire, their song rising into the night sky. A solitary Wiccan casts a circle in her living room, calling out to the Lord and Lady so that she may work her magic. Several Heathens raise their horns to honor the Norse gods and goddesses.

When I think of Paganism, I think of ritual. Personally, I find the pageantry alluring and, when effective, a wonderfully fulfilling way to honor the spirits who inspire and sustain me. Ritual can be daunting, however, especially to someone new to modern Paganism. Perhaps there are space considerations in the home, or there are certain tools that still need to be created or acquired.

One need not perform elaborate ritual to practice Paganism, though. In fact, there are five things you can do right now to take your first steps on the path.

1. Greet the sun

Sun gods and goddesses are abundant in ancient Pagan religions, and with good reason: the sun is life. Nothing could survive without the sun’s light and warmth. Step outside and give gratitude to the sun, using any words you’d like. Feel its warmth on your skin, its energy, and power.

2. Know a tree

To ancient pagans across Europe, trees were an important part of religious practice. Sometimes worship was held in groves of trees, or sacred spaces were centered on a particular tree. In Scandinavia, the ash tree Yggdrasil was considered the very structure of the cosmos.

Do you have a favorite tree you like to visit, or perhaps have a tree near your home that you don’t know very well? Now is the perfect time to forge a relationship with that tree. If you are able, try to identify the tree. Is its bark different from other trees? How are its leaves shaped? Is the wood of the tree used for any kind of product?

How does the tree feel on a spiritual level? When you meditate at its base, how does the tree make you feel? Does it impart wisdom to you? If so, what is that wisdom? It may take some time to cultivate a relationship with the spirit of a tree. Try to spend some time with the tree to grow that relationship. Give the tree gifts in the form of offerings. Something as simple as a cup of clean water will do.

3. Dispose of litter

Paganism honors the holy within nature. Many of the spirits of the ancient world had a natural component, not to mention the plethora of earth gods and goddesses found in each culture. Modern paganism recognizes these connections, and naturally grew in tandem with the environmental movement of the 60s and 70s.

Any environmentally conscious act can be an act of devotion to the spirits. If you ever find yourself hiking, dispose of the litter you may find on the trails. This can be another way to forge relationships with the spirits, and you may eventually find yourself with powerful allies.

4. Search for inspiration

The Poetic Edda, Mabinogion, the Táin, and the Theogony are examples of sacred texts that are rich in the legends of ancient pagan Europe. They are also teeming with inspiration to guide you on the pagan path. Perhaps you’ll come across a certain deity or spirit with whom you wish to connect with. While some copies of these works can get quite expensive, there are free translations available on-line at the Internet Sacred Text Archive.

In my own personal experience, whenever I am feeling disconnected from the gods and spirits, I reach out to the lore. This often helps me reconnect to the spirits, setting me right on the path once more.

5. Live well

People throughout the ages have always tried to live up to their potential as good human beings, sometimes modeling their actions after those they consider the pinnacle of virtue: the gods. Indeed, the old sagas are full of stories about heroes in pursuit of a virtuous life, with examples of success and the consequences of failure found throughout these tales. Virtuous living did not remain confined to the old stories, however, as people, both ancient and modern, strive to “live well” according to their own personal values and codes.

Some reflection is in order for this kind of question. What does it mean to you to “live well?” Do you follow a set of virtues? If so, what are they? What do you consider your values? Making a list of virtues and values can be helpful. How does it feel to succeed in living your virtues? On the other side of the coin, what do you do when you fail? What things can you do to make sure you remain on the right path in regards to your virtues?

If you’re unsure what virtues are important to you, there are many examples that can be found on-line or in literature. Exploring these concepts can be a highly rewarding endeavor as you seek to guide your own personal development.


While this list is not meant to be comprehensive, it is meant to be accessible to folks who are taking their first steps on the pagan path, without the need to purchase or acquire anything. Feel free to modify or expand these ideas as you see fit. For example, if you are reading this article at night, perhaps you can greet the moon instead. You can start being pagan today, and hopefully some of these ideas will help you with those first steps.

 

These Gifts (for Wights)

I give these gifts
wights of Land
wights of Sea
wights of Sky
To you
I give these gifts

I give these gifts
wights of stone
wights of stream
wights of tree
To you
I give these gifts

I give these gifts
wights of field
wights of lake
wights of hill
To you
I give these gifts

I give these gifts
wights of green
wights of red
hidden folk
To you
I give these gifts

I give these gifts
with the hope
of blessings
and allies
To you
I give these gifts

A Norse Evening Prayer

By: Mike Kaan

Hail, Night!
Hail, daughter of Night!
Hail, spirits of Night!
The day is done
as darkness comes,
and Hrimfaxi rides high in the sky.
May the lessons of the day bring wisdom.
May the work of the day bring abundance.
May Night bring rest and peace.
So be it!

A Prayer to the Mississippi River

Hail, mighty Mississippi!
Your flowing waters
move through the land,
bringing life to all.
This life is the gift you give,
so I return to you this gift
in gratitude.
May your rushing depths
continue to sustain this land.

Mighty Mississippi, accept this offering!

A Solitary Norse ADF Core Order Ritual

By: Mike Kaan

This ritual template has evolved from my very first rituals using the ADF Core Order of Ritual. The beauty of the ADF Core Order of Ritual lies in its modular nature. I don’t necessarily need to reinvent the wheel every time I plan for my next High Day rite, I just write a new Statement of Purpose and invocations for the deities or beings I will be honoring for that particular ritual. If I do need to revise the template, I can revise it a step at a time without having to rewrite the whole script.

The liturgy that follows has served me well, and has produced powerful solitary ritual experiences for me.

1: Initiating the Rite

[Ring bell three times at shrine]

Say: “A child of the Earth has come to honor the Kindreds!”

[Perform Two Powers meditation]

2: Purification

Say: “The waters of the Earth flow within me, the light of the sky shines within me, cleansing me and making me whole.”

3: Honoring the Earth Mother

Say: “Hail Jord, hail Nerthus! Goddesses of the Earth! Your blessings of abundance and peace flow over the land, giving life to all. I stand upon you with gratitude and I honor you. Be with me in my rite. Jord and Nerthus, accept my offering!”

[Make offering]

4: Statement of Purpose

Say: [A short statement of the purpose of the rite]

5: (Re)Creating the Cosmos

Say: “And so it came to pass that Odin and his brothers slew the giant Ymir: Of Ymir’s flesh the Land was fashioned, and of his blood the Sea; crags of his bones, trees of his hair, and of his skull the Sky. Then of his brows the Gods made Midgard for sons of men.” (modified from original translation)

Say: “Hail to the Fire! Flame of the hearth and tribe, fires of creation and destruction, light of the Heavens, shining forth from Asgard, home of the halls of the Gods, radiant with wisdom, order, and inspiration!”

[Make offering of olive oil to the Fire]

“Sacred Fire, burn within me!”

Say: “Hail to the Well, the triple Well, deep beneath the earth! The Well of Hvergelmir, source of all waters, near the Halls of the Dead, the Well of Mimir, deep pool of sacrifice and wisdom, the Well of Urd, the spring of fate, where the gods hold court, and where the Norns determine the fates of gods and men!”

[Make offering of silver to the Well]

“Sacred Well, flow within me!”

Say: “Hail to Yggdrasil, the World Tree! Standing tall in Midgard, connecting all Nine Worlds together, from Helheim below to shining Asgard above, from deepest root to tallest branch, the center of the cosmos!”

[Cense and asperge Tree]

“Sacred Tree, grow within me!”

[Renew center]

6: Opening the Gate(s)

Say: “Hail Heimdall, son of nine mothers, all-seeing and all-hearing guardian of Bifrost Bridge! You stand at the threshold of Asgard, guarding the realm of the Gods from those who seek to destroy it. Be with me in my rite. Heimdall, accept my offering!”

[Make offering]

Say: “Heimdall, aid me as I open the gates! May this Fire become a gate, opening to Asgard, realm of the Gods! May this Well become a gate, opening to the Halls of the Dead, realm of the Ancestors! May this Tree become a gate, opening to Midgard, realm of the wights, and connecting all Nine Worlds together!”

Say: “May the gates be open!”

[Make an opening motion with hands, envisioning the gates opening in the Sacred Center]

Say: “The gate is now open!”

7: Inviting the Three Kindreds

Say: “Hail Ancestors! From the line of Ask and Embla, to the line of my Alfar and Disir, with wisdom and stength you guide me from realms above and below, with wisdom and strength you guide me from within my blood. I honor you. Be with me in my rite. Ancestors, accept my offering!”

[Make offering]

Say: “Hail Land Wights, spirits of forest and field, spirits of stone and stream, shining elves and earthen dwarves! You guide me as I walk Midgard, teaching me the lessons of nature. I honor you. Be with me in my rite. Land wights, accept my offering!”

[Make offering]

Say: “Hail Gods and Goddesses, Aesir and Vanir! From your halls you shine bright and brave, illuminating me with wisdom, bestowing me with courage, sustaining me with abundance. I honor you. Be with me in my rite. Gods and goddesses, accept my offering!”

[Make offering]

8: Key Offerings

Praise offerings:

[Make offering]

Being of the Occasion:

[Make offering]

9: Prayer of Sacrifice

Say: “Ancestors, Land Wights, Gods and Goddesses! In the Sacred Center I have given you offerings, in the Sacred Center I have given you my devotion! Mighty Kindreds, I honor you! Mighty Kindreds, I praise you! Mighty Kindreds, accept my offering!”

[Make offering]

[Renew center and feel the flow returning]

10: The Omen

Say: “Hail Odin, All-father, ruler of Asgard! Nine nights you hung from Yggdrasil for the secrets of the runes, nine nights you hung on that windy tree, sacrificing self to self. Odin, All-father, wielder of the runes, let the Kindreds speak to me! What blessings do I receive in return for my offerings?”

[Draw three runes]

One for:

Ancestors

Land wights

Gods

11: Calling for the Blessings

Say: “Mighty Kindreds, offerings have I given you and your blessings have been revealed! A gift calls for a gift to complete the exchange of hospitality. Mighty Kindreds, may your blessings flow into this horn, so that I may drink deeply of fair return!”

Say: “Give to me the Waters of Life!”

12: Hallowing the Blessings

[Trace runes on the horn]

[Visualize the traced runes glowing with power, sinking into the cup, into the beverage, and glowing within the liquid]

Say: “Mighty Kindreds, your blessings flow into this horn. Behold the Waters of Life!”

[Drink]

13: Affirming the Blessing

Say: “Mighty Kindreds, your blessings flow through my head, my heart, and my loins. Hail to the Kindreds!”

[Renew center]

14: Workings

[Magical workings are done here]

15: Thanking the Beings

Say: “[BoTO], thank you for your presence and blessings in this rite.”

Say: “Gods and Goddesses, Aesir and Vanir, thank you for your presence and blessings in this rite.”

Say: “Land wights, spirits of the land, thank you for your presence and blessings in this rite.”

Say: “Ancestors, kin of my blood and spirit, thank you for your presence and blessings in this rite.”

16: Closing the Gates

Say: “Heimdall, my work here is finished. May the gates be closed!”

[Make a closing motion with hands, envisioning the gates closing]

Say: “The gates are now closed.”

Say: “Heimdall, son of nine mothers, all-seeing and all-hearing guardian of Bifrost Bridge, thank you for your presence in this rite.”

17: Thanking the Earth Mother

Say: “Nerthus and Jord, Goddesses of the Earth. Your blessings of peace and plenty flow over the land, giving life to all. I stand upon you in gratitude and I honor you.”

[If there are leftover offerings:]

Say: “I return to you that which remains.”

[Give leftover offerings]

Say: “Nerthus and Jord, thank you for your presence in this rite and your rich bounty.”

18: Closing the Rite

Say: “I go forth with the blessings of the Kindreds. This rite has ended!”

Ehwaz Rune Prayer

By: Mike Kaan

Ehwaz

May I be blessed
to have a strong steed beneath,
bearing me along my path.

May I be blessed
to be the strong steed beneath,
bearing kin through trouble.

Sunna Greeting Prayer

By: Mike Kaan

Hail, Sunna!

Bright bride of the heavens,
golden, glowing goddess,
fire of sky and air!

I greet you this day!

May your journey across the sky
be swift and safe.

So be it!

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