All Their Voices

Words and thoughts in devotion to the Divine

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Thor’s Dance

Let me dance to the rhythm of the thunder.

My feet pound against the earth,

splash through puddles as the rain pours down,

and my frenzies are lit

by the spears of lightning that fly

over my head.

I lift my hammer high,

ferocious in the face of my foes.

The howling winds become my cloak,

and the pouring rain washes

the blood of my enemies from my face.

Surely no greater music has ever been played;

surely no better dance has ever been danced.


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Waltz with the Wily One

it feels like you’re
looking over my shoulder,
watching me
but never there
when I spin to see you.

I can smell something in the air,
the scent of burning,
charred woods and cloves,
autumn leaves dying,
rain turning to snow:
the scent of change.

I sometimes think
I can almost hear you whispering
feel your breath
hot against my ear
and the back of my neck,
a deliberate hiss of air,
as tangible as a kiss.

It almost feels like we’re dancing,
a step closer,
a step away,
whirling until I’m dizzy and ready to fall.

Is this an invitation that you offer to me,
hand held out to take mine,
waiting for my answer?

Are you waiting to see if I accept,
knowing how knowing you
has the potential to
transform or destroy a life?

Or do you think I will back away in fear,
too afraid of what might happen,
too afraid of how your touch might transfigure
all I see and say and do,
too afraid to take a chance?

Let me take this breath,
this final breath,
before I tell you what I have decided,
because I have already made my choice.

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Shared Wisdom

From Hliðskjálf you see down

through every realm, every land, every home.

You who have drank of Kvasir’s mead,

you who gave your eye to Mimir’s well,

and who hears his head whisper to you in the night,

you who hung on the tree for nine days and nine nights,

pierced through with Gungnir:

I know of no other with the depth of wisdom you possess.

Yours are the answers to all my questions;

Yours is the knowledge of man and beast and tree,

ocean and mountain and fire.

You were present from the time that the universe was licked

from the ice by Audumhla and Ymir,

High, Just as High, and Third,

Hrafngud, Ganglieri, Haptaguð, Olgr, Uðr,

I know nothing in comparison with you,

but I know enough to know that it is wisdom

to ask for your guidance,

that I may benefit from the wisdom

you have spent all your existence acquiring,

and if I am most fortunate,

you may even grant it.

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Flidais’ Emissaries

That day,

in the rain,

water dripping off the branches overhead,

the forest all around me embracing me,

I felt your presence as never before,

sensed your gaze upon me as

I walked past oaks and pines and maples,

listened to the whisper of the rain,

and then, ahead of me,

well off the path I had abandoned

a mile or more ago,

your emissaries stepped out of the shadows.

Six deer:

a stag, three does, two fawns,

and I came to a stop,

watched as they cropped grass and herbs as they walked.

They showed no fear of me,

just as they would show no fear

of hawk or squirrel or raccoon or rabbit,

coming forward until they were no more

than a foot or two away.

I could have reached out

and touched those children,

but was content

to stand there under the boughs of an elm,

water streaming from my hair,

and watch them continue on,

until they were out of sight,

fellow travelers from your land,

neither far-off or foreign.

visiting that place that we both loved so well.

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Paean to Brigid

You are a healer, but you are not

the gentle, doe-eyed, dainty lady

that some folk make you out to be.

Your arms and shoulders bulge with muscle,

gained from lifting your hammer in the forge;

you are practiced with swords.

No weak and whining maid,

no cringing, fainting girl.

Woe to the foe that underestimates you;

send him screaming to his doom!

The hands that heal, that build, and

that pen songs of praise

may also wield the blade that takes

a head from its shoulders.

Hail to the warrior healer,

warrior smith,

and warrior poet:

May your sword shine ever bright!

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They dance for you, clad in

the gold of crocuses.

They dance for the bear that was killed,

and honor it—and you—accordingly.

Singing, celebrating,

cheeks aglow with joy under the masks,

under the false faces of the bear that died.

Every girl-child born in that place

grows from infancy knowing

that some day, she will go

to your temple, first racing through the woods,

arktoi in name and face,

wild as the bear is wild,

before coming with the others of her kind

and dancing those slow and solemn steps

that show how the great beast

once walked those same ways,

sleeping and hunting and playing,

your children now

as he was then.

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Prayer for Freyr

Hail, Freyr, Lord of Life!

King of riches, antler-wielder,

who traded away his sword for love!

Lord of the Alfar,

he who bestows fertility,

who leads the fields to plenty every Autumn,

I greet you with delight!

You whose gifts are without number,

who gives them without let,

I sing my thanks to you,

I sing my praise of you,

I sing of all things good and golden

that come to us from your hands.

Wheat, ale, fruit, mead, gold–

all things that enrich life with their greatness

come to us from you.

You lead us to love,

your blessings bring children,

and in the end,

we know long, joyous lives thanks to you.

All praise to you, golden Freyr,

Lord of all riches,

King of Joy:

May we ever return your gifts with gratitude,

and reap the bounty you sow

until the end of our days.

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Freya’s Refusal

Perhaps Thor was careless,

Misplacing that which was most precious and most dear to him.

Regrettable, dangerous, alarming,

but what came next

was insulting in what he proposed.

The news echoed ’round Asgard:

Thyrm had taken Mjolnir,

nor would he return it to the Thunderer

unless you were given to the giant-king in marriage–

the worst sort of extortion.

All the men of Asgard simply expected you to concede,

offering up the treasure of your golden self

to the prison of a giant’s bed

in return for Asgard’s safety.

You rightly set them straight:

never would you surrender

to repair the damage that

Thor’s carelessness had caused,

and if he expected differently,

he could don a dress and veil,

and go wed and bed the conniving thief himself.

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A Plea to Odin

How many times has the thought of failing you

brought me to tears, my Lord?

I fear I will never be good enough to serve you

as you should properly be served.

I have no shame to kneel before you and

acknowledge you as my greater;

Humans are not the equals of the gods.

Many times I have let my weaknesses lead me astray:

Distracted by mortal concerns,

mortal weariness,

mortal woe;

I regret that my focus on you and yours is not as strong as I wish it was.

Desires are ever stronger than willpower, I have long known.

Nevertheless, I pray you, do not forget me, do not forsake me;

If my spirit is willing and my flesh is weak, let my spirit

be the teacher that will lead my flesh to be stronger for you.

As I grow older, and older yet still,

do not think that I have forgotten you;

as the vicissitudes of the flesh bring me pain, exhaustion, illness,

I do not suddenly give you up

in the thought that such a betrayal will make things easier;

I know my destiny, my wyrd, and from beginning to end,

it lies with you.

I honor other gods, true;

The bloody queen of Ireland,

Her fire-shaping healer-poet cousin,

the swift-footed trickster of Greece,

and that land’s lady gardener,

the siblings of the Vanir,

and your own blood-brother

(despite that more cowardly and spiteful men

say I should spurn him),

but I am owned only by you.

I do not mistake you for fictional representations of you,

though I can see the echoes and ghosts of you in those

that the creators and actors tried to summon.

I ask only that you understand my failings–

not forgive them, as I do not ask for forgiveness,

and I am strong enough, at least, to own my failures–

and give me the chance, always, when my mortality drags me down,

to keep on striving to be worthy of you,

or as worthy as any mortal can hope to be.

I know you will never stop testing me,

and I can only hope that some day,

I will pass the test and thereby please you.

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Love Letter for the Lie-Smith

Thank you for clearing away the deadwood in my soul;

Thank you for your tough love and your lessons,

painful as they sometimes are;

Surviving them makes me stronger,

and strong, I believe, is what you want me to be,

strong enough to survive any tragedy,

any catastrophe,

any hurt,

any trauma,

any grief.

I try not to let these torments kill the gentler parts of my soul,

and I dream often of your smile,

though I have only ever seen it in my mind.

Your bright eyes, the smell of ice and smoke,

the gleeful fire of your hair,

your deft and tricksy hands.

These words may be a love letter you do not want;

if so, I apologize, but

after all the dreams in which

you danced through my sleep,

I cannot help but feel a closeness.

Others tell me not to trust you,

that all affection on your part

is feigned, false, a trick, a lie.

I do not have enough sense to know whether I should listen to them;

I only know I want what I feel of you to be true.

If my affections are unwanted,

I expect you will show me this sooner or later

–probably sooner–

in a way that cannot be mistaken for anything but a warning.

But until then,

I will continue to dance with you in my dreams,

enjoying the scent of you,

listening to your heartbeat,

holding your hand.