All Their Voices

Words and thoughts in devotion to the Divine


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His Cauldron

All good things come from His cauldron:

Roast of cattle and swine and sheep,

Duck and chicken and goose,

Oats baked into bread and porridge,

Apples and berries with honey,

Butter with garlic and onion, or from the cool bogs,

Milk both sweet and sour,

Cabbages and parsnips and wild herbs,

And every good thing that walked on two legs or four,

Or flew,

Or grew from the ground.

 

All good things come from His cauldron:

Meat for the protein to build a warrior’s strong muscles

And a worker’s strong back;

Fruit and vegetables to provide vitamins and fiber

To ward against sicknesses and keep the heart hale;

Dairy products with their calcium,

To keep bones growing strong and healing swift when broken,

And small green growing things with their many

Compounds to help build toughness for all.

 

All good things come from His cauldron:

Heat of a meal inside the belly,

To warm against a cold winter’s night;

Heat outside the body, from where it hangs

over the hearth’s flames to help send warm goodness

all through the house, and drive away the drafts;

The scent of food, which is the scent of home,

And the scent, most of all, of happiness.

 

All good things come from His cauldron:

Seated at His feast, we know how to work together

To create a meal;

We learn to cooperate to build something worth having,

To commiserate with each other when there is sorrow,

And celebrate with each other when there is joy.

We learn to understand the brevity of life; in knowing

It is short, and will end, we learn to value every moment of it,

Because once gone, those moments will never come again.

 

All good things come from His cauldron:

Health, and strength, and perseverance,

Togetherness and joy, even sorrow,

But of all these, the best thing to come from His cauldron

Is hope.

Hope is at the heart of every piece of daily bread;

Hope is the soul of the joy that links us together at the table,

And hope is what holds us together,

Tribe and family, beneath His gaze.

 

O Dagda, great god, good god,

We thank You for the gifts You bring us,

Red-headed lord of great knowledge,

Warrior without peer, champion with no equal,

Great father to Midhir and Aengus and Brigid and Bobd Derg,

Generous one, wise one:

All good things come from Your cauldron.

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The Road Home

This is so very important. Worth reading.

mainer74

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A thousand years ago, our ancestors understood the traditions we try to embrace today.  They lived in a world where they walked with their ancestors, knew the wights of the lands and waters, made peace with the jotnar of the high mountains and raging rivers, learned the alfs of the wild places.   The gods and goddesses held a place for them that was something we can only imagine, for they learned how everything fit together from their first breath, first step. There was no word for what they did, for it was no more possible to separate their practice from their life, than it was to separate their breath from their body and continue to live.


A foreign smoke stole that breath from the body of our ancestors, and the living faith died a long time ago.  The path they walked we cannot.  What they knew, we can only guess…

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The Gift of Fire

Prometheus remembers.

 

Will Zeus ever forgive me, if I do this?

 

Probably not.

 

The coals glow on Hestia’s hearth,

casting their warmth outward in a living blanket

of bright radiance that calms and cheers

everyone that rests under that mantle of heat.

 

Below, on Terra, the mortals suffered,

huddled in their caves as a storm raged overhead,

casting down rain.

The winds lashing all who ventured out,

the thunder’s roars loud enough to penetrate

even down into the depths of the caves where they dwelled,

the children crying out in terror

even as they clung to their parents for warmth.

 

He was decided, then:

My brothers may languish in Tartarus,

but I am here, and I can act.

I remember the Golden Age,

when mortals loved us unconditionally,

and we, them.

 

I think of all the things this fire can be used for,

beyond the most basic:

cooking food, eating homes, and giving light, yes, but—

 

A sheet of wildfire races across a fallow field,

clearing it for planting.

 

A torch is used to sear closed the stump of an arm

that a lion has bitten off, keeping a man from

bleeding to death.

 

A young boy chars the tip of a stick in a cookfire,

then begins to draw upon a wall.

 

Fire is used to soften up logs, so they may be more easily

chopped to build a house.

 

Agriculture. Medicine. Art. Architecture.

And so much more.

 

My theft is not one gift, but a thousand gifts.

 

I scoop hot coals into the hollow reed I have prepared, and flee.

 

I will pay the price for my theft in time…

but it will be worth it.


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To Odin

I don’t want to follow in your footsteps:

I recognize I am too weak for the

sacrifice of well and tree.

This does not mean I have not known pain

in my lifetime, only that I do not, cannot,

compare it with yours.

And yes, there is fear—

how could there not be?

I think of all that you are and quake;

You are not exactly known for your kindness.

A friend writes that it is a folly

to think that the Gods do not care for mortals.

Not all gods will concern themselves

with all humans, of course—

they take an interest in just certain ones,

just as we mortals may take an interest

in a favorite actor or author or painter,

or even a sports team.

We do not know why you choose

certain of us, of course;

for the most part,

You’re not telling,

and it would be rude (and dangerous!) to pry.

Now, saying that the gods care for us

is not the same as saying that they defer to us,

nor would I wish it so;

that is not the natural order of things.

What I mean is that it is natural to be afraid of you,

from time to time,

just as I would fear an earthquake,

or a tornado

or a wildfire

or a hurricane—

forces of nature, all so much greater in power than I,

and unpredictable,

with unguessable motivations,

smashing down boundaries,

ignoring the desires of the venal and greedy

and lazy and weak

(and sometimes the strong and the humble

and the dedicated and the committed, too),

and generally doing whatever must be done

to achieve their goals.

 

No, I don’t want to follow in your footsteps,

but I want to be of use.

I want to learn.

I know my fear has thrown up a wall between us—

no wall could keep you out

if you did not permit it to,

but I think, perhaps, you let it stand,

maybe to see how long I would go,

allowing myself to remain apart from you

(in my fear, or maybe my stubbornness),

before at last I cracked.

 

Longer than I should have,

but less time than it could have been, I guess.

I’m tired of—well, not fighting,

because I can’t hope to fight you—

but of struggling,

like a small fish trapped in an unbreakable net.

 

If you will still have me,

if I have not exhausted your patience,

(I do not delude myself that I could make you angry,

You who have faced down giants and trolls

and monsters without a qualm,

but neither do I think your patience is endless),

 

If you will still have me,

here I am.


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Observation about the afterlife

You know…for all that I am fulltrui to Odin, I am not expecting to go to Valhalla when I die, and that is for the simple fact that I am not a warrior. The idea of fighting and dying every day only to get up the next day and do it all over again sounds like my definition of the Christian Hell. I’m a rapidly-approaching-elderly housewife with some poetic skill, and I’ll be just fine with a warm bench in one of Hela’s quieter halls.

Combat isn’t everything, and sometimes honor can be found places other than at the sharp end of a sword.


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Kingly

The enemy saw my girth,
my rude way of dressing,
my cheerful nature,
and branded me a fool.
They were wrong, of course;
they thought to weaken me,
humiliate me with their demands:
as if eating a huge bowl of porridge
would leave me unfit for battle!
They learned, to their grief,
how wrong they were,
when I slew Cirb, son of Buan,
when he entered the fray.

Some among my own thought me simple;
they forgot my deeds of strategy
at the Plain of Props, and thought
they could trick me into giving up
such things as were mine;
when my most beautiful son
sought a place of his own, and
my half-brother,
the most skilled one of all of us,
thought to help me, they could come up
with no more than a petty play on words,
and that in our own tongue;
yet they thought that enough to take
the Bru na Boinne, and I let them,
for I love my son, and am I not
the most amiable and easy-going
of all of our folk?

Some among the bards think me
indolent, and lazy, and slow,
content to let others do my work for me,
as when I handed command of our forces
to my half-brother during the heated battle,
as when I might have served as champion
to our silver-handed king, but left that task
to my brother; but I had other matters to
contemplate and carry out, and those things
required more of me than a moment’s stolen grace.

Some thought me weak and cowardly;
those who were thus mistaken are all dead.
Skulls smashed in battle, brains spilled,
blood loosed in rivers from the veins where it swam.
I suffer none to hold me in such contempt,
and showed my foes the errors of their ways.
None may stand against my mighty club,
nor the heft of the thews that wield it,
nor the strength of the one who lifts it.

Some account me lusty, and on this,
they are correct, though mistaken are those
who think I show disrespect for my wife
by my trysts with others;
but when was it a crime for a man or a god
to admire a beautiful face, a shapely form,
and want to explore such beauty further?
If such is a crime, then all of us are criminals,
and not just men, but women too, though
many would not care to admit to such.
But I refuse to recoil from such joy and pleasure
when the opportunities present themselves,
and of me and my prowess, no woman I’ve
bedded has ever complained.
Even the Phantom Queen Herself,
fierce and dreadful and terrifying to behold,
has known the embrace of my arms,
the skill with which I wield that other club of mine,
and when we were finished, She lamented not.
In this, I am content.

Those who might mock me, think to cheat me,
hold me in disdain, find me unwitting, beware:
Among all the Tuatha de, you will find no greater King.
Underestimate me at your peril.