Kari’s Voluspa

Things that concern the health of our Folk Soul,our Human Soul, and our Planetary Soul.

My Photo
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

I am a Völva. Völva is Old Norse for “staff carrier,” the traveling spiritual guide learned in the ways of my European/Scandinavian Folk Soul. Like Thorbjorg from Eric the Red’s Saga, I am invited into communities to lead ceremony, share information, impart wisdom, and perpetuate the folk ways through song, story, and dance. I heal oorlag at it's source and read wyrd for individuals and groups.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Full moon Monday

Pick up your stav
Find your water source
Go to the Well and Find the Tree
Become the Tree
Plant Yourself
Hail the Land
Hail the Ancestors
Hail the Folk

Beste Hilsen!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Easter Rituals/Equinox Rituals

The pre-Christian origins of Spring Rituals in Scandinavian tradition have been preserved in so many interesting ways. The week of Easter, named for the Germanic Goddess Ostara, is filled with practical ritual that any good farmstead would want to follow.
The Monday before Easter is "black Monday". On this day we sweep our chimneys. The wood stove has been used continuously in our home for heating, cooking, ritual, and as a center for entertainment through the dark half of the year. Telling stories by the fire, roasting marshmallows, or just sitting and watching the flames dance while snuggling the cat have been our Winter past times. Our ancestors called the fire by name, still a goddess in the Baltic - Gabija. In our home we use birch bark to write our New Years resolutions or Juletide wishes on. We send them up the chimney in the care of the fire goddess to the ears of angels in the smoke.

Now it is time to shut the chimney down for a time and clean it out. In Sweden they still use different herbs and woods to cleanse the chimney so that the Paaskaring (Easter Witch) doesn't sneak down into the house.

The Easter witch may be Ostara herself, often pictured as a goddess flying through the air with a stav or wand. During Christian times, witches gained power through the betrayal of Jesus on Maundy Thursday when Judas the Iscariot gave him up to the Romans.

Spring Equinox is certainly a time to seek balance in all things. Fasting to clean out our bodies, cleaning our chimneys and homes, and balancing our thoughts through prayer or meditation prepares us for the frenzy of Spring activity. It is especially a time for women to check the balance of their menses. Sometimes our bodies may shift ovulation times in the spring and fall. It is vital that women have balance now as the season of May is full of fertility ritual for the land. Our ancestors didn't practice birth control so much as conscious conception. This too is part of Spring ritual.

Cleaning our bodies is the likely basis for the paaskris, the birch twig decoration still carried on in Sweden. Ritual sauna with birch switches to stimulate the blood and cold dousing between rounds of sweat are remembered in songs and are still practiced in Finland and the Americas where immigrants have kept the old ways. As bathing became suspect during the oppressive years of early Chritianity, the birch switches were instead used for flagellation and scourging, to remember Christ's pain on the cross. Today in Sweden you will see birch branches hung with colored feathers and little eggs, chicks, and witches as decoration.

Decorating eggs is a Spring ritual across all of Europe and the Americas. I didn't realize fully why until I began to keep three heirloom breed chickens of my own. Chickens ovulate on the sun cycle. They stop laying around Fall Equinox and begin laying again around Imbolc or Groundhog's day. By Spring Equinox there are enough eggs to color. The use of fake eggs to stimulate them to lay more is a time honored tradition going back to the beginning of humans relationship to chickens. The shell is the womb of the Earth, the yolk is the golden sun being born. In the Christian era, the shell is the tomb and the chick bursts out of death as Jesus did.

In my house, we celebrate Ostara on Equinox. It used to be frustrating to me because then Easter would come around and it would seem like we were doing the rituals over again. My children didn't mind, after all, two celebrations are nice! As they have gotten older now, I have settled back into my own personal seasonal ritual routine and teaching others the why and how of our modern rituals so they too may find the deeper connection of the ancestral folkway.