A Prayer to Macha

For the last several months, a good friend and I have been meeting via video chat as often as we can to discuss Morpheus Ravenna’s The Book of the Great Queen: The Many Faces of the Morrigan from Ancient Legends to Modern Devotions chapter by chapter. The book is robust, offering page after page of deeply satisfying food for thought and insightful guidance for devotional practice. This Friday night while I was sitting on the couch watching television, Macha inspired me. A supply of words rushed to my busy hands to be typed out. On Monday night, the eve of the Spring Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, I finished a small prayer for courage in her name.

May the prayer honor Macha and bring at least some small measure of blessing to her devotees. In these brightening (in terms of season) but still difficult and dangerous times (in terms of institutionalized oppression and dehumanizing political moves) we need her blessing of courage more than ever.

Morrigan Shrine

Personal Morrigan Shrine/Altar

Along with a glass of blood red wine and the light of my bright red Morrigan candle, I give these words of supplication:

Mighty Mother, hardened by horse hooves striking,
With striving muscle, shout thunder across the Plain.
With unrelenting strength, foal and finish.

Sovereign Queen, heartened by ripe crops yielding,
With cleaving claíomh, reap the high harvest of heads.
With blood-sorcery, doom the treacherous.

Woman in birthing strife!
Raven of the raids!
Greatness of wealth!

Courage we call up from the fertile land,
Hallowed and harnessed by womb and wound.
Great Macha, we pray you grant us favor!


“Macha Curses the Men of Ulster”, Illustration by Stephen Reid (1904). Image from Wikipedia.


Thrifting and Remembering

My grandmother, my mother’s mother, absolutely loved thrift stores. If there are thrift stores on the Other Side, I have no doubt that grandma spent her two coins there, after talking Charon out of them of course. Did I mention grandma was Team Virgo? If anyone could have convinced Charon to surrender his due payment, it was her. At the time it would have seemed to him perfectly reasonable and good to let her have them. That was grandma’s gift. I was young when she passed away but I knew her as a woman of few words, until she had something to say. Then she was sharp and to the point, her words powered by an attempt to draw the most good out of the situation. The good was always for the benefit of those she loved and in service of what was right.

Grandma might have asked Charon for the coins so that she could purchase vases, bowls, cups – you name it – all made of green glass. The more peculiar the better. She lived with us until she passed away and our china cabinet was filled with green glass and other unique thrifted kitchenware. Grandma would have probably told Charon that her purchases at Five Rivers Thrift & Discount would help her to connect with her youngest daughter, my mother, who got her love of thrifting from grandma. Her argument would seem reasonable and good. No manipulation. No BS. Just the truth. How could Charon say no? He’d abandon millennia of duty to help out the nice lady who wanted to use the last two coins she’ll ever see to basically buy a phone call to her daughter.

IMG_3680For the last roughly two months, my ma has been visiting with me in the freaking freezing Midwest! She returned home yesterday. During her time in town with me, we visited thrift stores together when we could. We saw some of the coolest stuff. My mom was used to the great deals and finds, but it was new to me. I found a ton of stuff! Kitchenware is my favorite. Wine glasses, a small pitcher, teapots, teacups, saucers, and dessert plates all leaped into my hands.

As my mom and I shopped, we talked about grandma. We remembered family visits to downtown restaurants and candy shops. We remembered her polka dot dresses and fancy hats. We remembered her Sanka coffee and cigarettes. We remembered her daily soap operas. We remembered her love and her give ’em hell attitude when people threatened her family.

Through the process, I prayed for grandma. I bowed my head in front of every rack of green glass and I remembered her. I invited her to feast on the energy of my and mom’s search for cool kitchenware. I hailed her with each noteworthy find.

Long may my mother’s mother be remembered. May she be ever blessed among those who have gone before. What is remembered lives!

Deity Offerings Series: For Odin

This post is the first of many in which I will be detailing the offerings that I give to the deities and spirits with whom I’ve built strong relationships over the years.

December 2017 will mark the ninth anniversary of my taking up the runes and the beginning of a deep and serious relationship with Odin. Over the years I have worked to grow closer to Odin and to understand his preferences in all things, especially as those preferences influence my devotional work. One important concern in building a mutual and healthy relationship with any deity is sacrifice and offering. Here I present a list of common offerings that I make to Odin. In the lore we see the Old Norse words mjǫðr, vín, and ǫl used most often (which are beer or ale, wine, and mead respectively) to describe alcoholic beverages available at the time. Each has its place in my work with Odin in addition to other offerings.


Mead is the first and foremost offering for Odin as it was the greatest and grandest of beverages among the Vikings – the iconic libation of kings and those favored by them. As such, mead is an appropriate offering to Odin especially as an acknowledgement of his status as Mighty God and Most High. In addition mead has deep associations with magic and poetry.  It’s also often aligned with the runes given that they are mysteries which one may access through sacrifice, magic, and deep draughts of this holy brew. So it is bound up with Odin as shaman, rune-winner, and wordsmith as well.

By cunning and wit Odin won the mead for the Gods and favored mortals. He entered Gunnlöð’s court, seduced her for three nights, took the mead in three long gulps, and flew away in eagle form, escaping Suttung – the Jotun owner of the mead, before Odin – who was in hot pursuit. We learn of these works and their blessings in the Skáldskaparmál:

En Suttungamjöð gaf Óðinn ásunum ok þeim mönnum, er yrkja kunnu. Því köllum vér skáldskapinn feng Óðins ok fund ok drykk hans ok gjöf hans ok drykk ásanna.

But Odin gave the mead of Suttungr to the Æsir and to those men who possess the ability to compose. Therefore we call poesy Odin’s Booty and Find, and his Drink and Gift, and the Drink of the Æsir.

~Brodeur translation

Yes, mead is first and foremost for me in my devotional offerings to Odin. However, he is a multi-faceted god with many aspects, and many interests and investments. Consequently, there are other alcoholic beverages, in my experience, that when well given will gain his favor.


Lore is often cited in order to make the point that Odin is sustained solely on mead. In Grímnismál verse 19 commonly used to argue this point, the original Old Norse word vín is translated as mead:

Gera ok Freka seðr gunntamiðr
hróðigr Herjaföður;
en við vín eitt vápngöfugr
Óðinn æ lifir.

~from the Codex Regius

The chief inur’d to toils in war,
Removing from the feast afar,
Bids Gerr and Freker daily eat,
The smoking honors of the treat:
But Odin, great in martial deeds,
With mead, immortal vigor feeds.

~Cottle translation

Freki and Geri | does Herefather feed,
The far-famed fighter of old:
But on wine alone | does the weapon-decked god,
Othin, forever live.

~Bellows translation

However, a closer look reveals that vín is actually more accurately translated simply as wine. Odin is sustained “on wine alone”, if we rely solely on this bit of lore. What we know about wine within its temporal and cultural context is that it was hard to obtain because of the lack of grapes in Scandinavian lands. It could be acquired through trade with wine producing countries, but was quite expensive for this reason. As a result, it was reserved for nobility, especially kings, and Odin is absolutely that, so I give him wine to honor him as nobility.

In addition I work with a number of Greek and Roman deities. Within those ancient cultures, wine was central to the symposium. The symposium was an aristocratic event marked by poetry readings, the singing of hymns, deity libations, philosophical conversation, political strategizing, and entertainment of a musical as well as a sexual persuasion. Symposia seem like events that a seeker of knowledge and wisdom from a distant land (who also has skill with disguises) would have happily wandered right into the middle of. And so I use wine to honor Odin as scholar, philosopher, and political mastermind as well as god of commerce, trade especially by ship, and long-distance travel. In my experience many wines available today suit his tastes well. I find that Odin appreciates blood red wine in general, as well as most German varieties.

Beer and Ale

Óminnis hegri heitr sás of ölþrum þrumir,
hann stelr geþi guma;
þess fugls fjöþrum ek fjötraþr vask
í garþi Gunnlaþar.

A bird of Unmindfulness flutters over ale-feasts,
Wiling away men’s wits;
With the feathers of that fowl I was fettered once
In the garths of Gunnlodr below.

~Verse 13 of the Hávamál , in its original Old Norse above with The Viking Answer Lady’s English translation below

In the Havamal we have the Sayings of the High One, who is generally accepted to be Odin himself. From the above verse we see that Odin is well acquainted with ale and the feasts that it presides over, and during his encounter with the giantess Gunnlodr he drank deeply of the ale he was offered. We also know from Hymiskviða aka The Lay of Hymir and from Lokasenna aka Loki’s Wrangling that the gods serve ale/beer at their own feasts too.

Beer and ale are on my list of offerings for Odin. As a wanderer Odin moves among gods, mortals, and etins alike – whether overtly or in disguise – seeking knowledge and wisdom, bestowing gifts and asking favors, laughing and loving, and shaping wyrd and weaving wonders. That mighty god can and will drink the beer and ale that would have been available in any hall or household at any time. Beer or ale would have been the equalizer in that both nobility and common people who have had access to it and consumed it. It’s my belief that any drink offered in the spirit of frithful hospitality (no foul play involved) was and will be well received by Odin.

Other Libations

In addition to mead, wine, and beer/ale, I offer Odin honey whiskey, whiskey, and vodka. I keep hard liquor on hand in larger quantities than mead, wine, and beer. In my experience, he enjoys them. As stated above any fare given in frithful hospitality can potentially be acceptable to him.


Because Odin is a god of poetry as well as the written and spoken word, I offer improvised as well as painstakingly crafted verse in the form of a recitation or a song. I also sing songs and recite poetry from others of his devotees who have been so kind as to share their work on sites like Odin’s Gift.


I often burn incense for the deities and spirits that I have relationships with. For Odin, I burn mugwort or wormwood (either alone or in combination with other herbs and resins) because both have strong associations with travel throughout Europe. I also burn ash bark and leaves because of this tree’s associations with Yggdrasil and with the Ansuz or Æsc rune. From among the resins I give frankincense, myrrh, and dragon’s blood. I often associate frankincense with heady, elevating, contemplative/meditative, soul caliber raising energies which fits well with Odin’s might. Myrrh has the power to draw me into the dark for reflection and/or healing and so I have come to see it as an extension of Odin’s might. Lastly dragon’s blood is one that I’ve come to associate with Odin and burn in his honor because I associate it with everything hot and martial. It is a resin of warfare, happy to lend its energies to anything from campaigns against general stray astral entities causing trouble unintentionally to campaigns against big malevolent things that need to be full-on exorcised, and so dragon’s blood is Odin’s because I haven’t forgotten his ties to the fight and dragon’s blood packs a punch.

Food Offerings

I rarely give food but it’s not unheard of for me to do so. I share a meal with Odin every once in a while. If the lore telling us that Geri and Freki receive Odin’s food is accurate, I’m happy to offer to Odin’s canine allies in this way.  I have also given them red meat, unattached to a larger meal that I’ve made for myself. To Huginn and Muninn, Odin’s ravens of thought and memory, I’ve given hard boiled eggs which they seemed to like. The wolves and ravens need love too!

I hope that the above gives others a starting place in establishing an offering rich devotional relationship with Odin, and for the folks who already have that kind of relationship with him, hopefully some of the above sounds familiar. Hail Odin!