This is Winter Nights. For those unfamiliar with heathen holidays, this is the day we honor Freyja and the disir. The disir are a group of semi-goddesses and figuring out what role they play in the grander scheme of things is rather complicated. There are theories out there that say that disir are female ancestral spirits and there are theories that paint the disir as being more important than wights but less important than goddesses. The only real etymological clue is that the prefix “dis” means goddess. Since Freyja is considered the Dis of the Vanir, or the Grand Dis, I’m going to keep it simple and say that the disir are lesser goddesses. Not lesser in terms of importance but in how much influence they have in day-to-day things.
Freyja, of course, has quite a large impact on day-to-day things, as she is the goddess of love, beauty, sex, and magic. Through her, I have learned some of the darker aspects of the runes, and she has shown me how to accept the more feminine side of myself, which, before her, I had trouble doing. To honor her this night, I am burning a dragonfruit scented candle, and, of course, writing this entry. I don’t stick to the traditional format of blots or rituals – instead, I do what feels instinctively right.
With that being said, I did find an image of Freyja and a poem I want to share, both from external sources, that I thought were remarkable. The picture I found shows Freyja the way I always see her, and the poem describes, for me, some of the strength she helped me to find. The image came from the Modern Heathen website (I found it through google, however, so I don’t have a direct link), and the poem came from the Odin’s Gift website here. Enjoy!
The First Lesson by Maris Pái
The first lesson, She said, is to look at the path before you:
None of this eyes-downcast fear. No more stomach-clenched dread
Of all the things you don’t and can’t know. Because, Little One,
all the things you don’t and can’t know are legion and I will not
have one of my own flinching at shadows. Look at your path
and do not cower. Square your shoulders and
lift your chin. Have you not realized your own strength by now?
There are as many paths to the Tree as there are stars in the sky:
It matters less which you choose than that you have chosen
and been chosen and that you continue to choose
to put one foot in front of the other and walk the road ahead of you.
Sometimes you will walk on razor-blades, each step an agonized trudge
and sometimes you will run, eager to reach that which lies ahead, or
eager again to flee that which came before. The dragons you do not slay
may chase you down later and find you unguarded: better to face them
the first time and not be tripped up later and find that the smoke ahead
is not a friendly bonfire or hearth but new immolation.
I am in the staff by your side and your backbone and your feet
and I am the falcon soaring high above, leading you to the rising sun
and dazzling your eyes when what your focus should be is the journey
and not the potholes.