Pathos: Offerings for the Gods — The Jotnar

Hi all, my newest article is up at Patheos. This is the third and final installment of the “Offerings for the Gods” series. (The first and second articles focused on the Vanir and Aesir, respectively.)


6 thoughts on “Pathos: Offerings for the Gods — The Jotnar

  1. Marcus says:

    I am not ready to swallow the dawn melatonin yet but if I don’the tomorrow will be a wreck and I’llc just have to go read something else because The Google is not giving up a clear explanation of what a devotional polytheist is. Raised as a (recovering) 11 o’clocan Mass nouveau bourgeois Catholics I think I have a general notion, but if you could point me in a good direction I would be most grateful. If I have read it ed the same prayer I wrote two mornings in a row as I put on my !jollnir, am I in fact a devotional polytheist after a faxhion? Or am I on the wrong track?


    • Cara Freyasdaughter says:

      Hi Marcus. My, you have a lot to say 🙂 My definition of a devotional polytheist is someone who believes there are many gods and that these gods exist independently of human beings. The gods have “agency”, meaning they have their own plans and agendas and goals and personalities. John Beckett goes into more detail about it here: For what it’s worth, almost every Heathen I’ve ever talked to, when I explained what a devotional polytheist is, went, “Of course. I’m a Heathen. What else would I believe?” But then of course there are agnostic Heathens, so your milage may vary.


  2. Marcus says:

    Ah, see, I had read Beckett’s article before posting my comment. I was understanding devotional to be related to practice, rather than having a personal relationship of some depth with a particular god, more even a set of God’s in their various aspects based on deep personal basis. My nascent ritualistic practice had been directed toward the Aesir (primarily Odin for a prayerful boon answered in spades, but when I was meditating on the sky gods at the the end of yoga, it was the Lord and Lady I strongly felt present for a long moment before we all sat up and chanted OM (except me, who is trying to integrate my yoga and Tai Chi into a Heathen view. Thorn sounds a whole lot like OM) Most of my deep personal experience comes while walking among the centuries-old live oaks near my house and I feel particularly drawn, toward the Vanir and Vaettir. At first I took the apparition at the end of yoga for Odin and Frigg because of an offering to Odin made that afternoon because I was answering the prior bnoon and asking for more of it as I struggled with something. However it was a significant visualization of the Lady’s neclack which clued me into who was present. So I get Beckett more clearly, in light of your comment, and understand that while I have a gift for a gift relationship with Odin at this time, it was the Vanir of my original calling who came to me personally when I called. And will likely direct my practice more devotedly (devotionally) toward them, while still offering my morning prayer to Thor as I don my Mjollnir, and maintaining a respectful relationship with the All Father “for favors granted” as the Catholic devotional ads in the back of the newspaper put it.

    If I do seem to go on I am newly called and solitary and have so much to say and so many questions.


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    • Cara Freyasdaughter says:

      I definitely see devotional polytheism as being about the relationship more than the specific practices used. And I can see given your examples that you would feel a strong tie to the Vanir. I wouldn’t count Odin out entirely, though; He has a habit of creating “services rendered”-type contracts, and in my experience, He likes to keep His eye on everything that goes on in Midgard.
      My first blog was a project dedicated to Freya, if you are interested in checking that out as well: Freya is lovely, but She is a force to be reckoned with, and She really is the firey one of the Vanir family.


      • The Typist says:

        I have been told (warned?) about inviting Odin in, but I understand there is something “contractual,” almost crossroads contractual. And I have gone there, and will go there again when I need the breath of inspiration, so Odin will always be a large presence. Then again, my last ritualistic devotion was very much pledging my troth to the Lord and Lady because of my quasi-Druidic attachment to my blessed oaks and bayou, because of the visitation I felt, because of not only the face in tree and also the large bole in the base of one oak in which I clearly see the shape of a boar. These things come to me, as the deities that intruded into Internet searches–Frau Holle, Nerthus–did so for a reason. And I need to not neglect the vaettir of these particular sites. (Runs off to sniff and taste the organic cream and check the honey jar, things which as a pre-diabetic trying to lose weight are in my house only for offerings. In fact keeping my finger out of Their honey jar–and I love honey–are it occurs to me a part of the ritualistic and behavioral devotion.)

        It is likely my Catholic upbringing, my grandfather’s devotion to St. Jude and all the ritualistic trappings–the novena as the local Shrine of St. Jude, the newspaper classified adds of thanks for favors granted–all of this informs a combination of the devotion and the ritualistic devotional that is my current “baby Heathen” understanding. As a recovering Catholic I recognize the role ritual plays in reinforcing the devotion, a feed back loop that in Heathendy consists in part of gift offerings, the ritual equivalent of the Novena or the ritual Catholic candle.


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