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Honoring Angrboda

25 Jan

As promised in my previous Deity and the Divine post, here are associations suggestions for honoring Angrboda. The majority of these are pulled from my own personal practice. Some has been corroborated with UPG shared by friends and fellow devotees.

Symbols and Icons:

The heart, the anatomical human heart, has become one of the symbols I most closely associate with Angrboda. Raven Kaldera re-tells the story here of how Angrboda, was burned three times and reborn, her heart stolen by Loki to bring her back to life.

This, of course, bears strong similarities to the story of Gullveig, who was speared, burned alive three times and reborn, and who’s heart was also consumed by Loki.

There is debate regarding the identity of Gullveig/Heidr in modern Heathenry – some see her as an aspect or another name of Frejya, some see her as a unique Goddess in her own right, and some see her as an aspect of or another name for Angrboda. Clearly, I fall in the latter camp, and as such, the heart and the eating of the heart in order to revive her/give birth is a significant symbol of her mysteries.

As you see in the photos below of Her shrine, the heart is a constant presence. The very first part of my altar to Angrboda was the painting on black wood of the anatomically correct heart. I had been trying to search for a visual representation of Her to have as a focus on my shrine, and nothing I found or created was suitable until I made this painting.

Sigurd’s eating of Fafnir’s heart in the Volsung saga is also a significant event in that saga, allowing the hero to gain knowledge he otherwise wouldn’t have had access to. As I mentioned in my previous post, I have found some ties between Angrboda and the Volsung line.

In The Lay of Hyndla, as mentioned in my previous post, there is a fragment at line 34:

Heith and Hrossthjof, | the children of Hrimnir

Heith (Heidr) being the reborn Gullveig’s name.

Hrimnir was also the father of Hljod, the giantess who brings Renir and his Queen the apple that impregnates her, and who later on weds the first Volsung

From the Volsung Saga, Ch II

“Much wealth won in war gat Rerir to himself, and wedded a wife withal, such as he deemed meet for him, and long they lived together, but had no child to take the heritage after them; and ill-content they both were with that, and prayed the Gods with heart and soul that they might get them a child. And so it is said that Odin hears their prayer, and Freyia no less hearkens wherewith they prayed unto her: so she, never lacking for all good counsel, calls to her her casket-bearing may, [1] the daughter of Hrimnir the giant, and sets an apple in her hand, and bids her bring it to the king. She took the apple, and did on her the gear of a crow, and went flying till she came whereas the king sat on a mound, and there she let the apple fall into the lap of the king; but he took the apple and deemed he knew whereto it would avail; so he goes home from the mound to his own folk, and came to the queen, and some deal of that apple she ate.
….
Now when he was fully come to man’s estate, Hrimnir the giant sends to him Ljod his daughter; she of whom the tale told, that she brought the apple to Rerir, Volsung’s father. So Volsung weds her withal; and long they abode together with good hap and great love. They had ten sons and one daughter, and their eldest son was hight Sigmund, and their daughter Signy; and these two were twins, and in all wise the foremost and the fairest of the children of Volsung the king, and mighty, as all his seed was; even as has been long told from ancient days, and in tales of long ago, with the greatest fame of all men, how that the Volsungs have been great men and high-minded and far above the most of men both in cunning and in prowess and all things high and mighty.”

The Rokkrbok identifies this giantess as Angrboda, and other sources/readings identify them as sisters. Either way, it should be noted that the Volsung line is decended in part from a Giantess (there are echos of this as a reflection of a Sacred Marriage between a king and and the land, as personified by a woman/Goddess/priestess.  We see echos of this in the marriage of Gerd and Frey, and the relationship between Odin and Jord (the Earth) to give birth to Thor. Both Gerd and Jord are Jotun women)

Another motif you will see on my altar are acorn and oak leaves. Angrboda is associated with the red oak trees – those with pointed leaves, whereas Thor, who is also associated with oaks, is associated with the white oak, those with rounded leaves.

Oak, as a hard wood, is also sometimes known as Ironwood. There are other woods that are popularly known as Ironwood as well, which I consider an acceptable connection to her.

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The rune Ac is also associated with Angrboda. Ac is the rune of the Oak Tree, and its pictograph is a person holding a stick: (Imagine and quote from Northern Shamanism.org)

The figure of Angrboda is that of a female Jotun, or giant; she is seen as tall, immensely strong, and very assertive. She also brings forth powerful children – Fenris, the great wolf who nearly ate the world; the Midgard Serpent that surrounds it, and Hel, the Goddess of Death. Unfortunately, she was secretly killed by Odin, who feared that she and Loki would populate the entire world with such creatures and thus overthrow his regime. It is said that all Loki found of her was her ashen heart, burnt like the heartwood of an oak tree.

To draw the rune Ac is to be the lightning rod for the fears and anger of others, whether or not it is deserved. You will have to stand as strong as the oak tree, and endure the blows and flames. If it does not kill you, it will make you stronger. Ac’s keyword is Endurance, as opposed to the other “strength” rune, Uruz/Ur. Ac is the rooted tree and the high mountain. Indeed, there is something very “masculine” about Ur’s strength, that of the wild charging buffalo, while there something more feminine (but not passive) about Ac’s strength. Consider one the irresistible force and the other the immovable object.

As well, Endurance is concept I strongly associate with Angrboda.

Family

As I touched on Angrboda’s father and potential sister above, reference should be made to the rest of her family, as the Jotuns are clannish to the extreme – I have representations of all Her children on her altar, and as folks who work with Jotuns soon learn, the family of their Fulltrui is part of the package.

It has been said before that while some of the nine worlds see Angrboda as Loki’s wife (or, gag, mistress), but that in the pecking order of the Ironwood, Loki is Angrboda’s husband/consort. Loki is the father of three of her most famous children, Hela, Fenrir and Jormungandr. These were not her only children, as she is believed to be the mother of Hati and Skoll, the solar wolves, whose father is likely Her own son, Fenrir.

Both the Rokkrbok and Gullveigarbok cite Aurboda as an aspect of Angrboda/Gullveig, and as such cite Gymir as one of her husbands and Gerda as a daughter. As well, some who hold to this also cite Gymir as being Ægir, and as such connecting Ran to Angrboda/Gullveig. I point this out not because I agree, as I do  not share this UPG, but for the point of sharing all the information I’ve collected.

Kaldera and other practitioners of Northern Tradition Paganism also cite Glut as both a wife of Loki and a (possibly adopted) sister of Angrboda. Again, this is a view I do not personally hold, but share for the sake of completion.

Other Beings associated with Angrboda

Angrboda does not generally seem to spend much time outside of the Ironwood or outside of Jotunheim.

Sigyn

Through Their relationship with Loki. As well some hold UPG that after Vali was transformed into a wolf, Angrboda took him in (Weregild),

Some folks feel very strongly that those that work with Angrboda don’t usually speak with Sigyn, and those that work with Sigyn don’t generally speak with Angrboda; I’ve heard this is a matter of respect between the two Ladies. I’ve never been told one way or another by Them.

Personally, I feel they must have got on fairly well if they ever did meet. I don’t experience Angrboda as particularly jealous and I doubt she was unaware that she married a fellow with flying shoes that liked to travel from bed to bed, nor was she particularly monogamous herself.

Odin and Freya

My own experience has led me to feel that She is connected to both Odin and Freya. All three know seidhr; all three are well versed in magic and martial skills; all three have associations with sex magic, and it could be argued that the three of them are each the respective ‘leaders’ (all were war leaders, and all could be considered religious leaders of their folks) of their tribes.

Odin

Obviously there are nuances to these relationship. The connection between Angrboda and Odin exists – they do not seem to be actively at war at this time, though They do seem to keep a wary eye on each other. As she is the mother of wolves, and Odin keeps wolves, I would not be surprised if this was not some sort of exchange of hostages, much like Frey and Njord’s presence in Asgard.

Freya

The connection to Freya is through Seidhr magic. It is my belief that much as Freya taught Odin, She also taught Angrboda this magic, As well, it was the Aesir’s treatment of Gullveig (Angrboda) which set off the first war. I feel that there was a strong relationship at that point between the Van and the Jotuns (who even in the lore seem to have gotten on rather well; Giant women were not uncommon brides. Both Njord and Frey married etinwomen.)

Tyr

When Fenrir was taken from Her and held hostage in Asgard, it was only Tyr who was brave enough to feed him, and play with him, and care for him in his gruff warrior way.  And it was Tyr who did what was necessary and scarified his hand to the Wolf when it was time for him to be bound. Tyr was of the Aesir, but like Loki, his parentage was Jotun.

Animals

Animals associated with Angrboda are the wolf (both through her connection as the mother of Fenrir and as Chieftess of the Wolf Clan (per UPG shared in the Jotunbok) as well as other canines, the snake (again through her connection to the World Serpent as their mother. As well, the giantess Hyrrokin was noted to ride a wolf using a snake as reins) and cats (as jotnar have been associated with cats, as were volva. Other personal aspects of my practice inform this as well.)

Correspondences and other associations
Colour: Red, particularly blood red, oranges/yellows, firey autumnal colours. Bronze and Copper. In Her aspect as Gullveig, gold and green. In her aspect as Hyrrokkin, black.

Metals and Minerals: copper, bronze, gold. Flint, jet. Dark red stones.

Herbs and Plants: red oak trees, mugwort, agrimony, henbane.

Items: images/representations of hearts, wolves, oak leaves and acorns, nine stones (for the nine Clans). Flint or copper knives.A staff or wand. Angrboda is often described as a seven-foot tall woman with waist length hair the colour of dried blood, tattooed, wearing men’s clothing.

Offerings

Incense: I have found that offers of strong almost ‘masculine’ incense have been well received. My personal ‘go-to’ is piñon incense, as well as dragon’s blood and mugwort.  I sometimes mix my own incense of oak leave, mugwort, and other herbs and items I gather. The Jotunbok cites agrimonny as sacred to her, and there is also a set of directions for an Angrboda incense located here which I have not yet tried.

Food and Drink: Whisky and other hard alcohol. I’ve given Her rum, vodka, beer.  My go-to is usually Jack Daniels. I once got Her a bottle of hard alcohol made of strawberry mash called “Sweet Revenge”; sometimes something strikes my fancy like that. I once found a local beer company that made a wolf themed beer where some profits went to a wolf sanctuary, so I brought her that as well. Water (everyone like a cool glass of water).  Meat (raw is better. Sometimes I offer it raw and then prepare it to share.). I find I like to try to bring her things I think She might not be able to get in Jotunheim or the Ironwood all the time – fresh bread and cheese, sweets, coffee. Chocolate, though sometimes I feel silly because of the canine connection. I have also found She enjoys Sriracha.

Service Offerings: its an awkward way to say it, but “Doing the Thing”, that is, the task put before you to do, unflinchingly. Learn a martial art or some kind of fighting skill (I often thing She feels very strongly about stick-fighting).  Support causes such as wolf and other wildlife protection, those that work with at risk women and children. Blood, sweat and tears (of all kinds – from fighting to fucking to agony).

Names and epithets

Angrboda – “Distress Bringer” “She Who Brings Sorrow” “Bringer of Woe” “Foreboding””the one who brings grief” or “she-who-offers-sorrow” as Angrboda, she is the Chief of the Ironwood Clans; Chief of Chiefs, Iárnvidia: ‘She of Iron-wood’; Mother of Monsters, Mother of Wolves, Mother of Death Hag of the Ironwood, Hagia, Hag of the Ironwood, Wolf Lady, She who Endures.

Hyrrokkin – “Fire Smoked”

Thokk – “Thanks” (Thokk is the Giantess who refused to weep for Baldur, thus denying his return)

Heidr –  adjective meaning “bright” or “clear”  or the noun meaning “honour” or “fame”

Gullveig – The current popular translation is ‘gold power’ ‘gold lust’ ‘gold intoxication’. Ekortu has a rather interesting breakdown of the name in Gullveigarbok, which is worth looking at, though I can’t speak to the scholarship behind it, not speaking any of the languages involved nor being much of a translator myself.

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Below are some photos of my current shrine/altar for Angrboda. The two paintings are “The Unlucky Family” By Hellanim and “I’m an Animal” by Jensine Eckwall

The first two images are close ups of the wall shelf and dresser top portion of the altar.

The altar started initially as just this shelf, and it kind of took up the whole area eventually. I’m an altar maker by nature. I like the way they look, and I love helping create them!

Up here you will see wolves, acorns, hearts. A pretty pine cone I found, the image of a tree.  There are a few cats.

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I keep some of my devotional jewelry on this altar as well. In the back right you see three little paintings I did of Her children. I hung them by putting command brand velcro strips on the back of the canvass and attaching them to the wall that way!

They are just the perfect size to fit in a little box, like the gold one below, which is my travel altar. I don’t actually carry those images in that box , but I plan to make a one just for Her in the future.

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Here are close up photos of the travel altar. I cut strips of water colour paper and folded them together to write prayers on, and I also found a tiny wolf figure recently that fits just right.  I sometimes take an electric tea light with me, as I generally take this with me traveling, and usually can’t light candles. The box was one dollar from a craft store. The pictures were from old Fables comics that had been damaged and salvaged for later use. The rhinestones were also random findings I happened to have around. I lined the inside and bottom of the box with felt, which had one side pre-glued.

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Posted by on January 25, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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