Washed in the Water

Washed in the Water

by Prudence Priest

 

Prudence Priest leads Freya’s Folk, a coven with a Norse focus that has been together for more than 20 years.

Although baptism is most often considered a Christian custom, the use of water as a purification is much more ancient. The Greeks, Romans, Aryans, Ugro-Finnics and the Teutons associated it with some form of initiation as well.

Ceremonial use of water can be both simple and complex. Children are born of the water of the mother; a parallel of washing away the old and beginning fresh becomes evident. Why do people wash their hands? This simple ritual cleans them from contact with dirt, and by extension, disease, death, even guilt. And as this process of purification is built on, the simple act of cleansing assumes ever more complex symbolism and meaning, and even becomes associated with the giving of a name as civilization becomes more sophisticated.

The four elements of classical times, among those who believe they have a life of their own or who are animistic, have often been venerated in their own right. Sacred wells or springs and lakes with reputed healing powers have outlasted all attempts to Christianize them if not to co-opt them.

Superstitious Romans believed that water could purge them of all sins. Many Indians today believe that immersion in the Ganges will wash away all the past sins of a lifetime. If water can wash away dirt and contamination on a physical level, then it follows that it is possible that water can purify one on an emotional, spiritual, moral and even psychic level as well. Such was the current of thought of the ancients. It is still prevalent among some pagan peoples today.

Teutonic peoples had a custom of baptism observed by Roman writers as early as 200 B(efore) the C(onfusion). Among the Scandinavians, it was called an “ausa vatni” (water sprinkling), and signified acceptance into the family. Until the ausa vatni had been performed, a child had no legal rights or standing within the community and was not even considered a human being. Even in Christian times, the wergeld for killing an unbaptized child was half that paid for the death of a baptized one.

On the ninth day after birth, the baby was brought to the father (or closest male relative) for the public performance of the ausa vatni, and at that time was also given a name. The Norwegians, Lapps and Finns performed the ceremony on a Thorsday. It was often accompanied with a feast given by all the blood relatives. The name chosen was usually that of a parent or an ancestor, usually a deceased grandparent on the mother’s side, conferred so that the qualities of that person could live again in the child. Giving the parent’s name granted one immortality in one’s own lifetime.

When a child was born, it was first laid upon the ground to reverence the earth as the source of all life. The Scandinavian term for midwife, “jordemoder,” means earth mother. The midwife then lifted the child up and presented it to the father, who had the power of life or death over it. This power was nullified, however, if the child had partaken of milk or honey, or if it had been washed. If any of these had happened, a child was considered to have rights equal to those of any member of its family. If the father were unavailable, the mother had the right to acknowledge or expose the infant. Another important custom was the planting of a tree on the day of birth. This tree became the child’s tree of life, and they mirrored each other’s growth. This custom has a lot more going for it than passing out cigars.

As water is elemental in nature, an ausa vatni is a Vanic rite (that is, a rite having to do with the Vanir). The new member of the community was thrice sprinkled with water by the father: once in the name of Thor, again in the name of Freyr and lastly in the name of Njord. By sprinkling the babe with water, it was believed, the beneficial forces of water could be brought to bear in their various powers for good and healing for the newborn. This attunement of the child with the element of water was also thought to protect it from the harmful effects of water.

Among the Finns and Lapps, baptismal names were bestowed by the “wash mother” (laugo-edme). Then, according to E.J. Jessen in Afhandling om de norske Finners og Lappers Hedenske Religion, the following ceremony was performed: “Warm water was poured into a trough, and two birch twigs one in its natural condition, the other bent into a ring were laid in it. At the same time, the child was thus addressed: ‘Thou shalt be as fertile, sound and strong as the birch from which this twig was taken.’ Then a copper (or silver) talisman was cast into the water, with the words: ‘I cast the namba-skiello (talisman) into the water, to wash thee; be as melodious and fair as this brass (or silver).’ Then came the formula: ‘I baptize thee with a new name, N.N. Thou shalt thrive better from this water, of which we make thee a partaker, than from the water wherewith the priest baptized thee. I call thee up by baptism, deceased N.N. Thou shalt now rise again to life and health and receive new limbs. Thou, child, shalt have the same happiness and joy which the deceased enjoyed in this world.’ As she uttered these words, the baptizer poured water three times on the head of the child, and then washed its whole body. Finally she said: ‘Now art thou baptized adde-namba (underworld name), with the name of the deceased, and I will see that with this name thou wilt enjoy good health.'”

Specific legal rights were conferred at an ausa vatni as well. Both the Eddas and Heimskringla have reference to the custom. In the Havamal (Dasent’s translation), the master magician states: “This I can make sure when I suffuse a man-child with water he shall not fall when he fights in the host; no sword shall bring him low.” In the Heimskringla, we are told that at the birth of Harald Gráfeld, “Eirikr and Gunnhild had a son whom Haraldr Haarfager suffused with water, and to whom he gave the name, ordaining that he should be king after his father Eirik.”

By naming and claiming a child as his own, according to the Teutonic peoples, a father granted the child protection, provision and the right of inheritance and succession to his estate. An ausa vatni is an important rite of passage in Asatru. As many people have never had one, it is a custom in Freya’s Folk when a new member joins and takes a new name. Why not try the cleansing, healing and purging power of water for yourself?

May the gods direct you to the best.

Today’s Tarot Card for August 11th is The High Priestess

The High Priestess

This Tarot Deck: Fantastical Tarot

General Meaning: Traditionally called the High Priestess, this major arcana, or trump, card represents human wisdom. She can be viewed as a kind of female Pope, the ancient Egyptian Priestess of Isis, the even older snake and bird Goddesses, the Greek Goddess Persephone, or the Eve of Genesis before the Fall.

For the accused heretics who were burnt at the stake for revering her in the 14th and 15th century, she symbolized the prophecy of the return of the Holy Spirit, which was perceived as the female aspect of the Holy Trinity.

In the sequence of cards in the major arcana, the High Priestess appears as soon as the Fool decides he wants to develop his innate powers, making a move toward becoming a Magus. The High Priestess is his first teacher, representing the Inner Life and the method for contacting it, as well as the contemplative study of Nature and the Holy Mysteries.

Saint of the Day for July 11th is St. Catherine of Siena

Saint of the Day

St. Catherine of Siena
Doctor of the Church

The 25th child of a wool dyer in northern Italy, St. Catherine started having mystical experiences when she was only 6, seeing guardian angels as clearly as the people they protected. She became a Dominican tertiary when she was 16, and continued to have visions of Christ, Mary, and the saints. St. Catherine was one of the most brilliant theological minds of her day, although she never had any formal education. She persuaded the Pope to go back to Rome from Avignon, in 1377, and when she died she was endeavoring to heal the Great Western Schism. In 1375 Our Lord give her the Stigmata, which was visible only after her death. Her spiritual director was Blessed Raymond of Capua. St, Catherine’s letters, and a treatise called “a dialogue” are considered among the most brilliant writings in the history of the Catholic Church. She died when she was only 33, and her body was found incorrupt in 1430.

Have a Very Blessed & Peaceful Sunday, dear readers!

Did you enjoy yesterday’s post on Astral Projection? There is more to come on that subject I guarantee you. Today, I think we need to touch on a very serious subject, that few of us know anything about, that is Reincarnation.  I think everyone has questions about death but no one has any answers. Perhaps, since we reincarnate we have more questions. It would be nice if someone could go there and tell us what it’s like. But they can’t, so we are left to imagine and dream about reincarnation. We dream and imagine by what we have been told from others. But really they don’t know anymore than we do. Have they been there? NO! So basically we are left to make up our own mind. I hope the posts today will answer some of your questions as well as mine today. Afterward, I will post some spells dealing with death and reincarnation.

I hope you enjoy these posts!

 

Today’s Tarot Card for July 2nd is The High Priestess

The High Priestess

This Tarot Deck: Fantastical Tarot

General Meaning: Traditionally called the High Priestess, this major arcana, or trump, card represents human wisdom. She can be viewed as a kind of female Pope, the ancient Egyptian Priestess of Isis, the even older snake and bird Goddesses, the Greek Goddess Persephone, or the Eve of Genesis before the Fall.

For the accused heretics who were burnt at the stake for revering her in the 14th and 15th century, she symbolized the prophecy of the return of the Holy Spirit, which was perceived as the female aspect of the Holy Trinity.

In the sequence of cards in the major arcana, the High Priestess appears as soon as the Fool decides he wants to develop his innate powers, making a move toward becoming a Magus. The High Priestess is his first teacher, representing the Inner Life and the method for contacting it, as well as the contemplative study of Nature and the Holy Mysteries.

Saint of the Day for June 30 is St. Gabriel, the Archangel

Saint of the Day

St. Gabriel, the Archangel

Feastday: September 29
Patron of communications workers

The name Gabriel means “man of God,” or “God has shown himself mighty.” It appears first in the prophesies of Daniel in the Old Testament. The angel announced to Daniel the prophecy of the seventy weeks. His name also occurs in the apocryphal book of Henoch. He was the angel who appeared to Zachariah to announce the birth of St. John the Baptizer. Finally, he announced to Mary that she would bear a Son Who would be conceived of the Holy Spirit, Son of the Most High, and Saviour of the world. The feast day is September 29th. St. Gabriel is the patron of communications workers.

Saint of the Day for June 29th is St. Peter

Saint of the Day

St. Peter

Simon Peter or Cephas, the first pope, Prince of the Apostles, and founder, with St. Paul, of the see of Rome.

Peter was a native of Bethsaida, near Lake Tiberias, the son of John, and worked, like his brother St. Andrew, as a fisherman on Lake Genesareth. Andrew introduced Peter to Jesus, and Christ called Peter to become adisciple. In Luke is recounted the story that Peter caught so large an amount of fish that he fell down before the feet of Jesus and was told by the Lord, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men”. Jesus also gave Simon a new name: Cephas, or the rock. Becoming a disciple of Jesus, Peter acknowledged him as “… the Messiah, the son of the living God”. Christ responded by saying: “… you are Peter and upon this rock I will build my church…. He added: “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven”. Peter was always listed as the first of the Apostles in all of the New Testament accounts and was a member of the inner circle of Jesus, with James and John. He is recorded more than any other disciple, and was at Jesus’ side at the Transfiguration, the raising of Jairus’ daughter, and the Agony of the Garden of Gethsemane. He helped organize the Last Supper and played a major role in the events of the Passion. When the Master was arrested, he cut off the right ear of a slave of the high priest Malchus and then denied Christ three times as the Lord predicted. Peter then “went out and began to weep bitterly”. After the Resurrection, Peter went to the tomb with the “other disciple” after being told of the event by the women. The first appearance of the Risen Christ was before Peter, ahead of the other disciples, and when the Lord came before the disciples at Tiberias, he gave to Peter the famous command to “Feed my lambs…. Tend my sheep…. Feed my sheep”. In the time immediately after the Ascension, Peter stood as the unquestionable head of the Apostles, his position made evident in the Acts. He appointed the replacement of Judas Iscariot; he spoke first to the crowds that had assembled after the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost; he was the first Apostle to perform miracles in the name of the Lord; and he rendered judgment upon the deceitful Ananias and Sapphira. Peter was instrumental in bringing the Gospel to the Gentiles. He baptized the Roman pagan Cornelius, and at the Council of Jerusalem he gave his support to preaching to Gentiles, thereby permitting the new Church to become universal. Imprisoned by King Herod Agrippa, he was aided in an escape by an angel. He then resumed his apostolate in Jerusalem and his missionary efforts included travels to such cities of the pagan world as Antioch, Corinth, and eventually Rome. He made reference to the Eternal City in his first Epistle by noting that he writes from Babylon . It is certain that Peter died in Rome and that his martyrdom came during the reign of Emperor Nero, probably in 64. Testimony of his martyrdom is extensive, including Origen, Eusebius of Caesarea, St. Clement I of Rome, St. Ignatius, and St. Irenaeus. According to rich tradition, Peter was crucified on the Vatican Hill upside down because he declared himself unworthy to die in the same manner as the Lord. He was then buried on Vatican Hill, and excavations under St. Peter’s Basilica have unearthed his probable tomb, and his relics are now enshrined under the high altar of St. Peter’s. From the earliest days of the Church, Peter was recognized as the Prince of the Apostles and the first Supreme Pontiff; his see, Rome, has thus enjoyed the position of primacy over the entire Catholic Church. While Peter’s chief feast day is June 29, he is also honored on February 22 and November 18. In liturgical art, he is depicted as an elderly man holding a key and a book. His symbols include an inverted cross, a boat, and the cock.

Evening Prayer for Parents

O dear Goddess, my Eternal Mother,

hear my prayer for my children. I ask you

to bless them and to make them healthy

and strong. Please fill them with your love

and compassion.

O dear God, my Eternal Father, please

protect my children as they grow to maturity.

 Please teach them the virtues of

wisdom, love, and peace, as well as the

happiness in this life and the next.

So mote it be.

Herb of the Day for June 15th is Lenten Rose

Herb of the Day

Lenten Rose

Lenten Rose is grown as a cardiotonic and narcotic drug. Although the rhizome is very toxic, the planet is enjoyed for its beauty. It blooms throughout the Lenten season; monks grew it to remind them of Christ’s purity and trials. The Lenten Rose is a ranunculae native to the Caucasus, Greece, and Turkey. It prefers shade in the mountainous woods of Europe. The large, bell-shaped white flowers have no scent, but are irresistible to touch. It is a hardy perennial propagated by division and grown in moist, rich soil.

Saint of the Day for June 9th is St. Ephraem

On the day of 9 June

Saint  Ephraem

Of Saint Ephraem, deacon and doctor of the Church, who first exercised the office of preaching and of handing on sacred doctrine in Nisisbis, his own country. Then, when the Persians invaded Nisibis, he fled with disciples to Edessa in Osrhoene where he laid the foundations for a theological school, fulfilling his office through discourses and writings and in austerity of life, and so singular was he in doctrine that the exquisite hymns he composed merited for him the title �harp of the Holy Spirit.�