May 26th, 2015
Heathens honor dozens of gods whose lore and names have been preserved from Scandinavia, England and the Continent. Each Heathen community finds their focus drawn toward some gods who become the center of their ritual practice.
The Ese (Aesir)
First among the gods are the Ese, the great gods who guide such forces of nature and culture as the sun and moon, peace and war, death and growth. Chase Hill regularly honors the following Ese:
Eorthe/Firgen (Jord/Fjorgyn) – Mother Earth, Eorthe is the mother of all gods and men, and she exhibits many aspects. We honor her as Erce, the first and primal power of the world. We honor her as Folde, the ploughed earth, in late winter, when sugaring season starts – the first sign of the coming plenty of summer – and we also honor her as Firgen, the forested mountain, goddess who upholds the sovereignty of the gods and preserves the wilderness around us.
Woden (Odin) – Chief of the Gods, Woden is the god of death, crossroads, thresholds, travel and magic. He leads the Ese in appointing the turning of the year and the day, the movements of sun and moon He governs the howling winds, is a master of will, fury and wishes, and in the Dark Half of the Year, he leads the werewolves and ghosts of the dead in the Wild Hunt.
Frig (Frigga) – Queen of the Gods, Frig is the sky goddess and cloud-mother, patron of witches and seers, and lady of the household. She preserves peace among men, oversees all economics – setting aside what needs to be saved and apportioning what needs to be used. She is a goddess of wisdom and wyrd, seeing the fates of all men with her powers.
Thunor (Thor) – The Thunder God, Thunor protects the folk and the ealh (sacred space) on Chase Hill. He travels the bounds of Middle Earth, protecting the order of the world from the elemental powers that would undermine it. We usually honor him twice a year – in the heat of summer when the thunderstorms begin, and at the end of winter, when he drives the Frost Giants away, clearing a path for spring to arrive.
Hell (Hella) – Goddess of the Dead, Hell holds the ancestors in her halls and in her arms when they pass beyond this world. Half beautiful and half rotten, she shows us both sides of death – the wisdom and love of those who watch over us from beyond the grave, and the truth of mortality; that one day we all will join her and walk this land no more.
Ing Frey – The Golden One, Frey is the god of beauty, peace, fertility, growth and sex. In the summer, we decorate his godpost (a sacred image) with flowers as a symbol of the opening and growing all around us, while in the autumn, we thank him for the harvest, and see in him the sacrificial figure of John Barleycorn whose beauty and vitality is mown down so that we might eat.
Skadi – The Winter Goddess, Skadi is the mountain-dweller, the lone hunter, the woman dressed in man’s armor, lover of wolves, and snowshoe-lady. During the Dark Half of the Year, Skadi stalks the mountain, bringing death to those beings too weak to survive the cold, and in death, the promise of new life when the year turns again. She shows us strength, survival, and courage.
Eostre – Dawn Goddess, Eostre’s power is that of healing, rebirth and springtime. She walks the earth at each dawn, but her greatest power is in the spring, when we hold ritual to welcome her home from the long, dark winter. She governs the Light Half of the Year with beauty, hope and renewal.
Sunne (Sunna) – The Sun Goddess, Sunne rides the skies every day, and we honor her power at the solstices. She represents victory to the living, healing, and the life-giving power of day and summer.
The Landwights (Landvaettir)
Many lesser gods or wights (spirits) exist alongside the Ese. The Landwights are those beings that inhabit and animate the land around us – hills, mountains, trees, animals. On Chase Hill, we begin every ritual by thanking those beings that coexist in this place with us, feeding and sheltering us every day.
Every person alive today has uncountable ancestors whose blood runs in our veins, whose spirits watch over us, and whose lives opened the way for us to live as who we are today. We honor the Ancestral Mothers who care for our family lines, we honor the dead whose lives and names we remember, we honor those ancestors whom we have never known, and we honor the people who have preceded us on our paths and in our traditions.