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                                          The Blot 
                            Copyright (C) 1991, 1992 Lewis Stead
           The Blot is the most common ritual within Asatru. In its simplest form
           a blot is making a  sacrifice to the Gods. In the old days this was
           done by feasting on an animal consecrated to the  Gods and then
           slaughtered. (The word blot itself is related to the Norse words for
           "blood" and "sacrifice.") As we are no longer farmers and our needs
           are simpler today, the most common blot  is an offering of mead or
           other alchoholic beverage to the deities.
           Many modern folk will be suspicious of a ritual such as this. Rituals
           such as the blot have been  falsely interpreted by post-Pagan sources
           in order to denegrate the ritual or trivialize it. The most  common
           myth about ritual sacrifice is that one is buying off a deity e.g. one
           throws a virgin into the Volcano so it won't erupt. Nothing could be
           further from the truth. In Asatru it is believed  that we are not only
           the worshippers of the Gods but that we are physically related to
           them. The  Eddas tell of a God, Rig, who went to various farmsteads
           and fathered the human race so we are  physically kin to the Gods. On
           a more esoteric level, humankind is gifted with "ond" or the gift  of
           ecstasy. Ond is a force that is of the Gods. It is everything that
           makes humans different from  the other creatures of the world. As
           creatures with this gift, we are immediately connected to the  Gods,
           we are part of their tribe, their kin. Thus we are not simply buying
           off the Gods by offering  them something that they want, but we are
           sharing with the Gods something that we all take joy  in. Sharing and
           gift giving was an incredibly important part of Norse cultur (and of
           most ancient  cultures) and had magical significance. Giving a gift
           was a sign of friendship, kinship, and  connection. By sharing a blot
           with the Gods we reaffirm our connection to them and thus  reawaken
           their powers within us and their watchfullness over our world.
           A blot can be a simple affair where a horn of mead is consecrated to
           the Gods and then poured as  a libation, or it can be a part of a
           larger ritual.  A good comparison is the Catholic Mass which  may be
           part of a regular service or special event such as a wedding or
           funeral, or it may be done  as a purely magical-religious practice
           without any sermon, hymns, or other trappings.
           The blot consists of three parts, the hallowing or consecrating of the
           offering, the sharing of the  offering, and the libation. Each of
           these is equally important. The only tools required are mead,  beer or
           juice, a horn or chalice, a sprig of evergreen used to sprinkle the
           mead, and a ceremonial  bowl known as a Hlautbowl into which the
           initial libation will be made.
           The blot begins with the consecration of the offering. The Gothi
           (Priest) or Gythia (Priestess)  officiating at the blot invokes the
           God or Goddess being honored. This is usually accomplished  by a
           spoken declaration with ones arms being held above ones head in a Y
           shape, in imitation of  the rune elhaz. This posture is used for most
           invocations and prayers throughout Asatru. After  the spoken invoc-
           ation an appropriate rune or other symbol of the God or Goddess may be
           drawn  in the air with the finger or with the staff. Once the God is
           invoked, the Gothi takes up the horn.  His assistant pours mead from
           the bottle into the horn. The Gothi then traces the hammer sign  (an
           upside down T) over the horn as a blessing and holds it above his
           head offering it to the  Gods. He then speaks a request that the God
           or Goddess bless the offering and accept it as a  sacrifice. At the
           least one will feel the presence of the deity; at best one will be
           able to feel in some inner way the God taking of the mead and drinking
           The mead is now not only blessed with divine power but has passed the
           lips of the God or  Goddess. The Gothi then takes a drink of the horn
           and it is passed around the gathered folk.  Although it sounds like a
           very simple thing, it can be a very powerful experience. At this point 
           the mead is no longer simply a drink but is imbued with the blessing
           and power of the God or  Goddess being honored. When one drinks, one
           is taking that power into onesself. After the horn  has made the
           rounds once, the Gothi again drinks from the horn and then empties the
           remainder  into the hlautbowl. The Gothi then takes up the evergreen
           sprig and his assistant the hlautbowl  and the Gothi sprinkles the
           mead around the circle or temple or onto the altar. If there are a
           great  number of the folk gathered, one may wish to drop the drinking
           and merely sprinkle the various  folk with the mead as a way of
           sharing it. In a small group one might merely drink as the  blessing.
           When this is done the Hlautbowl is taken by the Gothi and poured out
           onto the ground. This is  done as an offering not only to the God
           invoked at the blot, but it is also traditional to remember  the Earth
           Mother at this time, since it is being poured onto her ground. Many
           invocations  mention the God, Goddess, or spirit being sacrificed to,
           and then Mother Earth, as in the Sigrdrifa Prayer "Hail to the Gods
           and to the Goddesses as well; Hail Earth that gives to all  men."
           (Sigrdrifumal 3) With this action, the blot is ended.
           Obviously this is a very sparse ritual and if performed alone could be
           completed in only a few  minutes. This is as it should be, for blots
           are often poured not because it is a time of gathering or  festivity
           for the folk, but because the blot must be poured in honor or petition
           of a God or Goddess on their holiday or some other important occasion.
           For example, a father tending his  sick child might pour a blot to Eir
           the Goddess of healing. Obviously he doesn't have time to  waste on
           the "trappings" of ritual. The intent is to make an offering to the
           Goddess as quickly as possible. At some times a full celebration might
           not be made of a holiday because of a persons  hectic schedule, but at
           the least a blot should be made to mark the occasion. However, in most 
           cases a blot will at least be accompanied by a statement of intent at
           the beginning and some sort  of conclusion at the end. It might also
           be interspersed with or done at the conclusion of ritual  theater or
           magic. Our kindred, for example, begins the ritual with a chant of
           "Odin, Vili, Ve"  which connects us to the Gods of creation. Between
           the invocation of the God or Goddess and  the actual Blot we usually
           add a meditation or something else which acts as a focus of the
           ritual.  Once, for example, we made mead in the middle of a ritual to
           Aegir. As part of our blot we also  pass the horn three times. The
           first time around is a taking in of the power of the charged mead  and
           all offer a toast to the God(s) of the occasion. The second and third
           rounds are open to toasts  to other Gods, toasts to the kindred, the
           hosts, to pledges, boasting and anything else on wishes to  say. It is
           essentially a "mini sumble" in the middle of our blot. Always of
           course, we remember  the purpose of our ritual. We would never toast
           one of the Jotnar during a ritual to Thor for  example. We have also
           added a few steps at the end which are a private affirmation of our
           groups  kinship with each other and with the Gods.
           Basic Outline of the Blot Ritual:
           I. Sanctify space with the Hammer rite 
           II. Invocation of the Deity 
           III. Secondary Activities supporting the blot: meditation etc. 
           IV. Load mead by offering it to the God 
           V. Pass mead for blessing or sprinkle on folk 
           VI. Other activities, prayers, etc 
           VII. Thank the deity 
           VIII. Pour the libation to the Earth
                          THE NECKLACE OF A THOUSAND STRANDS
           In the beginning that ever was and ever shall be, there was only
           Night.  She lay sleeping.  In Her sleeping, She dreamed.  In Her
           dreaming, She sighed.  In Her sighing, She turned and in Her
           turning, She awakened.  In Her awakening, She saw naught but
           Herself, and found Herself beautiful.
           Long did She delight in Her beauty, Her perfection.  Her softly
           rounded limbs, full body and flowing hair were so magnificent
           that She wished to adorn Herself.
           She captured Her thoughts, each a brilliantly colored speck of
           light, and strung them together to form a Necklace of a Thousand
           Strands.  This She donned and was pleased.
           Each speck sparkled with its own hue and brilliance, creating
           spectacular scenes of Night in Her many attitudes and postures. 
           When Night moved, so did the Necklace of a Thousand Strands. 
           This created a living, moving mosaic of Night - each image acting
           and reacting with other images of Herself.
           Though this was beautiful and pleasing to Night, it created in
           Her a loneliness.  Loneliness to have companionship, loneliness
           to have another admire Her great beauty, loneliness to experience
           love outside Herself.
           Not know how to create this Other that She longed for, She sought
           to amuse Herself through movement.  She began a stately dance,
           slow and measured.  As She turned in the figures of the Dance,
           wind was created in Her passing, and in it She visualized a
           partner, a counterpart.
           She sent all Her love and longing into the whirlwind She had
           created, and a shadowy form began to take shape.  She turned and
           spun ever faster, thinking more upon the shape of Her desire.
           The form became more solid.  It began to take on substance and
           reality.  It was like, yet unlike, Night.  She felt drawn to it
           and it was impelled toward Her.
           She gloried in Her creation of the form, and it adored Her great
           beauty.  The Two danced together.  The longer They danced, the
           stronger and brighter did the fierce spirit of longs and love
           grow between Them, Night and Her Shadow.
           Her Shadow became all that Night was not, out of Her longing to
           be fulfilled, and She was called Day.
           Day and Night danced furiously together, and finally, no longer
           able to keep apart, made love to one another. In Their wild,
           passionate turnings, the Necklace of a Thousand Strands began to
           break, a strand at a time.  The specks of light went flying off
           to become the Stars, to swim about the divine couple, in
           beautiful precise patterns, as if to remain a part of Love's
           Dance.  Thus began the Ages of Loving.
           All but one strand broke, and it remains together to this day. 
           It is seen in the sky, brilliant, breath-taking and
           awe-inspiring.  We call it the Milky Way.
           Dawn and Dusk are the sacred times and places where Night and Day
           merge in love's ecstasy.  Keep them holy.
                                      - ZS-1-SB -
                         HOW THE WORLDS AND PEOPLES CAME TO BE
           Night and Day danced lovingly and long, through the spectacular,
           blazing bits of thought that had flown away by the breaking of
           the Necklace.  Not long can such love exist with creating of
           Itself images that reflect this Great Love.
           Many of the bits of brilliance grew heavier and more solid
           throughout of passing of the Ages of Loving.  These bits were
           called Worlds, or Planets.
           The Lady and the Lord, Her Consort, looked upon their Worlds,
           delighting in each one, and decreed that there should be life
           upon them.  Life that re-created the Love and Harmony that They
           and the Universe shared.
           So, They began to form upon these Worlds, rivers and streams and
           bodies of water to quench the thirst of the plants and animals
           that would henceforth live upon the nurturing breasts of these
           These Worlds They called "Little Mothers," for from their soil
           would spring all manner of life and it would be sustained by the
           "Little Mothers."
           Near each of the "Little Mothers" there was always placed a
           particularly bright thought-speck, called the "little Fathers." 
           For Night and Day knew, as we do, that Life must have warmth and
           light to truly grow and reproduce.
           All Worlds They did not make the same, for diversity and
           combination serve to further the Great Love of Themselves.
           Having then seen to the Planets and Suns, and too, to the seeding
           of the Worlds with all manner of vegetable and animal life, the
           Divine Ones rested.
           But the Great Goddess was not content.  She felt the work was yet
           unfinished.  She spoke to Her Consort and told Him of a plan.  He
           agreed, knowing that the Lady knew what was best for Her
           Creations - for was She not the Progenitor of All?
           Thus, they began to make and mold a people for a World.  They
           made them in twos, male and female, to reflect the images of
           Themselves, and so that the re-enactment of Their Great Love
           might take place.
           Now we know what people transpired upon this World, but we, as
           yet, know not what people were designed to populate other Worlds,
           or which Stars they are under by which they flourish by the Lady.
           Though we would wish in our hearts to be the only objects of
           reflection of their Love, we must never think to believe that
           Their Infinite Love, burgeoning across all the Universe, had
           created none but Ourselves.  Nor that the Divine Ones are so
           limited that They have not created many peoples on many Worlds,
           though unbeknownst to us.  And they - these people of other
           Planets, like us, are perfect reflections of that immense, Divine
           Never-ending Love.
                                   LIGHT OF THE WOMB
           In the warm Womb of Her Mother, She rested and dreamed.  She felt
           through the membrane all that had passed, did pass, and would
           pass with Her Mother.  She knew that Her Mother was reckoned to
           be beautiful, kind and giving; yet too, She know that those Her
           Mother would succor had no thought of her Gifts, and would not
           repay kindness with kindness, but rather with rapine and
           Light-of-the-Womb knew that She had been seeing future dreams;
           that the ugliness and cruelty of Her Mother's foster-children was
           yet to come.  And so, She resolved in Her heart to become
           beautiful but uncaring to those who would grasp at her beauty -
           unreachable, yet so desirable that Her Mother's foster-children
           would ache in their hearts for desire of Her.
           The day of Her birthing came, and as Her Mother shuddered in the
           agonies of labor, Light-of-the-Womb cared not for Her own pains,
           nor for those of Her Mother - but thought only of Her imminent
           freedom that would at last allow Her revenge on
           With a heaving surge, She tore free from Her Mother's thrashing
           body, and screamed in triumph at Her escape.
           Now even as the Daughter knew of all that passed with the Mother,
           so did the Mother know of that which passed within the heart and
           mind of the Daughter; and She set up a great travail.  The waters
           of Her Womb crashed and hissed in torment; Her bones creaked and
           trembled; Her flesh rent apart in pain and suffering.
           Yet in Her great Agony, the Mother cried out to Her Child, "Oh,
           Daughter!  Light-of-My-Womb!  Why do you betray your Heritage?" 
           And in coldness, did the Daughter answer, "I would not be as You,
           Mother, to be ravaged by the uncaring; to be ignored by the
           lesser who have no sense of what they do; who see not beauty in
           its truest form!"
           And She placed Herself a distance from Her Mother; away from the
           warmth of Her embrace - yet within the reach of Her low, gentle
           Long ages passed, and the uncaring Child danced Her empty dance
           about the abode of Her Mother, growing more delighted with Her
           own frozen beauty; more strongly determined to exact revenge upon
           those who would bring pain and sorrow and disgrace upon Her
           Mother.  Her light of beauty shone silvery and pristine upon Her
           Mother's sleeping form.
           When the fosterlings came, at first they were reverent, and gave
           back to the Mother tokens of esteem and praise - all that they
           could with their limited abilities.  Though Light-of-the-Womb saw
           this, She waited - unforgiving of the future grief She knew they
           would bring.
           Always did the fosterlings worship Light-of-the-Womb, and She fed
           upon this worship as Her due, but did not soften towards them. 
           Some of Her coldness touched the fosterlings and made them, too,
           a bit cold.  But She cared not.
           In truth, She became more cold and disdainful, at times even
           bringing madness to those who cared too deeply for Her.  It was
           right and correct that they should worship Her beautiful Self,
           for was She not delicate and gracious in Her gift of Silver Light
           as Her Mother slept?  Did not She cause Her mother's Love for Her
           to control the planting and growing of the food they ate?  She,
           did She not, caused Her Mother's blood, Her salty Womb to pulse
           in rhythm to Her turning dance.
           She ignored Her Father's brilliance, though She privately
           admitted that it was from Him She had inherited her gentle glow. 
           At time, His anger flared at Her, then would Her gentle Mother
           intercede, coming between the Two, as if to protect the Daughter
           from His furious gaze.  At these times, a bitter cold came upon
           Light-of-the-Womb, and Her cruel humor turned to dark despair. 
           As soon as Her Father's wrath had cooled, Her mother would move
           gently away, exposing Light-of-the-Womb slowly to Her Father's
           gaze, so that He might remember the beauty of His Daughter.
           Light-of-the-Womb began after a time to feel shame, and regularly
           turned Her face from Her Parents - so that at times only a sliver
           of Her shining countenance could be seen.  Though She suffered
           shame at her disdainful ways, She found She could not change. 
           For all heat in Her had died over the long ages, and no more was
           there the white hot rushing of blood in her veins.  She had
           become stone - trapped by her own frozen vanity.
           So now, as She looks upon those fosterlings that tear at Her
           Mother's pride and beauty, She cannot aid Her in any way, save to
           soothe Her Mother with Her silvery light, and to cause desire in
           the fosterlings' hearts.  Her beauty and unapproachability tugs
           at their hearts, causing their bodies' water to flow in Her
           timeless rhythms - making them turn a portion of their desire for
           Her upon their fellow fosterlings.  Lovers, too, pray to Her and
           are heard.  The mad are sacred to Her, known as Moon-calves.
           Upon Her full face can be seen a look of surprised sadness, for
           She cannot partake of Her Mother's Fate, save to watch - and know
           that She, too, will be ravaged.  But since She never gave of
           warmth and substance, there will never be regret in the stripping
           of Her bones.  And only a cold, frozen thought is lodged in Her
           heart, remembering what love was.
           No tears fall from Her eyes, for Her waters are wasted, and Her
           blood is dried up; but a little remains of Her liquids; enough to
           warn the wise when rain will come.  At these times She dons a
           halo of opalescent light to show the only She can, that She is
           still the daughter of Her Parents and that though She cannot feel
           love or give love, She can inspire that emotion in Her Mother's
           fosterlings when they gaze up at Her and call Her - Moon.
                              HOW THE SEASONS CAME TO BE
           In the beginning of the green World, the Lady Night did dance
           upon the Earth's breast.  She delighted in all the Earth - the
           growing herbs, the animals, the insects, the birds of the air,
           the creatures of the waters, and all that made up this pleasant
           She exulted in the warmth of the sunny days and cool nights.  She
           ruled this world with Her companion and counterpart, the Bright
           King, whom She had fashioned out of Her longing for love.  His
           name was Day; the brightness of the Sun shone from His visage. 
           Great was their joy in one another, and in the green fertile
           World about Them.
           The Earth became more and more full of Her creations - crowding
           happily in on one another, until there was little room to Dance
           or move about, and the Earth groaned under Life's weight.
           Mother Earth complained to Father sun, the They consulted with
           each other on how they might best serve the Great Goddess, and at
           the same time relieve the burden that rested so heavily on
           Earth's weary body.
           After much talking, they could not decide what they must do, and
           Father Sun told Mother Earth that since her's was the pain, so
           must Her's be the solution.  And He turned away His Face and
           shrouded Himself in robes of seething clouds.
           Coldness fell upon the Earth, and many things cried out in loss
           an pain.  For was not the Sun needful to them for Life?  Many
           things began to wilt and shrivel close to the Little Mother's
           bosom, looking for solace.  Many things burrowed deep, sleeping
           until a more favorable time.
           Then Mother Earth devised a plan - let there be two halves to the
           year - the bright and warm, and the dark and cold.  Thus would
           the burden lighten somewhat, when the things shriveled for a
           Father Sun once again looked upon Mother Earth, and agreed that
           Her plan might work well.  "But who would rule the dark time?" He
           "Let the Lord be the Master of the cold season, " She replied. 
           "Then can the Lady renew and replenish all things after His
           Father Sun felt it would not be wise to leave the Lady
           companionless.  Why could there not be two - one to rule the
           bright and one to rule the dark.  He wished that the Bright Lord
           should remain in the warm time; for He was straight of limb,
           bright of visage, and merry of heart.  Too, Father Sun thought
           the Lady would wish a companion to compliment Her beauty, be
           light-hearted in all ways, thus making the task of renewing all
           the more joyous.
           Mother Earth thought long on this, and at last sent a choice of
           her own.  The man was strong and dark of countenance.  He had not
           the great beauty of Father Sun's choice, nor were His ways
           light-hearted and merry.  He was much given to thinking, planning
           and building.  He was much given to practicalities, and could be
           counted upon to the clearing away of the extra weight that so
           burdened Mother Earth.
           On a day designated by Sun and Earth, the two Lords met in a
           glade where the Lady sat twining ropes of flowers in her tresses,
           and draping them about Her body.  As She surveyed the two Lords,
           She felt chill from the Dark One.  He seemed so stern and
           forbidding!  The Bright One caused Her heart to dance.  She ran
           gaily off, holding the hand of the Bright Lord, singing and
           The Dark One said nothing.  He went far to the North, where the
           sun's rays were weaker, and the vegetation sparser.  He built
           Himself a fortress, and hunted for foods, preparing them in
           strange ways so that they would last a long while.  These, He
           stored, and then set about making furniture and pots of fired
           clay in which to cook.  After a time, He had made a snug and
           comfortable home for Himself, with room enough for guests.
           The Lady and Bright Lord payed Him no mind, gaily Dancing and
           playing and loving.  They planted seeds, tended them lovingly,
           and then at the fruits of Their Harvest.
           On the day the Sun stood still in His journey, the frolicking
           Lady and Lord felt a sudden chill.  There, in the meadow, where
           first the Three had met, stood the Dark One.  He held out His
           hand to invite the Maiden Lady to come with Him.
           The Bright Lord sheltered the Maiden in His arms, refusing to let
           her go, clinging with all the love of Life that was His nature. 
           The Lady held close to the Bright King, refusing to look upon the
           "Then," said that Dark Other.  "We fight!"  They took up arms
           against One Another, and it seemed as if the Bright King was
           winning for a time.  The Maiden Lady clapped Her hands in glee.
           The Sun and Earth watched this battle passively; it seemed to go
           on forever.  But the sun must not stay His course in the Sky,and
           as sunset approached, the strength of the Bright King waned.  The
           Dark Lord, He of the Earth's devising, seemed neither to lose or
           gain strength, but remained constant.  He struck a great blow
           against the Bright King, who fell down, dying.  The golden grain
           drooped heavy heads, and the fruits of the trees fell to the
           ground in sorrow.  The flowers began to wither, though new ones
           sprang up, blood red from the Life fluids of the dying God.
           The Lady gave out a sorrowful cry, and the tree leaves changed
           their colors - some golden in honor of the Bright King's hair,
           some as red as His blood, and others the color of the Earth that
           was to receive Him into Her bosom.
           The Lady heaped flowers upon the still form of the Bright King,
           and mourned Him in a sorrowful song; a song that raced through
           the branches of the trees, who added their own mournful tones.
           Though the blood of the Bright King cried out for revenge, the
           Dark Lord ignored it, and grasping the Lady firmly by the hand,
           took Her off to His home in the North.
           The fallen fruits and flowers dissolved in sorrow, into the Earth
           Mother's breast.  The seeds of their yearning for Life lay
           dreaming of the long summer they had known; remembering the
           shining love that the Lady and Her Consort had shared with all
           that was.
           Now Father sun was angry that Mother Earth's choice should win
           over His Bright King in battle, and took Himself off a ways from
           Her.  The World became colder.  Without the love of the Maiden,
           the Brightness of the youth, and the warmth of Father Sun, Earth
           began to sleep under a blanket of white.  So, too, slept all but
           the most hardy of plants, trees, and animals.
           Though the Maiden resisted Him at first, She soon came to love
           the Dark One for His differences, and She learned much from Him,
           and He from Her.
           Then one day, the Sun stood quite still, viewing the Earth,
           thinking how still and pale She looked - and how it was not Her
           fault that her Champion had won.  He sent a pale ray of light
           down into the Caven Fortress where the Dark One ruled as Lord,
           the Lady by His side.  And lo, a son was born to Them.  His
           visage was bright and shining, as He laughed and played in His
           For a time, the Dark One was jealous of the Child, for He knew it
           was the Bright One, returned.  Then, as the Child grew to
           manhood, the Dark King sent Him away.
           The Lady, refreshed from Her confinement, followed the Youth. 
           Again, Spring came to the World.
           Now, this story is many times repeated.  Neither the Bright King
           or the Dark One ever own the Maiden-Lady for all time, but must
           share Her.  This must be, so the World be a true World, that the
           Four Seasons go apace to turn the wheel of the Year, and that all
           may learn that Life and Death and Life are but a cycle, and that
           Hope is always near.
                                 THE REASON FOR DEATH
           A time after the Lady began Her yearly trip through the Seasons,
           sharing Her reign first with the Bright King, then the Dark King,
           She began to notice that when She returned to the Upper World,
           many of the things She loved had perished.  She spent much time
           replenishing the Earth with new plants and animals.  This work
           was joyous - as the creation of New Life is always joyous - but
           She puzzled over it.
           She inquired of her Companion, the Bright King, but He had no
           knowledge of what was happening to those things that had
           perished. He slyly suggested that when next She traveled to the
           Dark Lands to rule with the Dark King, to ask Him - the Dark One
           and Rival to the Bright King - the question that haunted Her so. 
           "Perhaps," said the Bright One, "It is some mischief that He, the
           Dark One, has gotten up to.  Then you shall have an answer."
           Thus, during Her next time with the Dark Lord, She inquired into
           the matter.  He answered, saying, "Yes, 'tis I."  Angered, She
           demanded to know why all the things She loved must wither and
           perish away at His command - for was not the growing and care of
           all things Her own right?
           He told Her that Death was the rest and release for all things. 
           That all things must wither and pass away for a time, to make
           room for new things - New Life.  He explained that mortals and
           animals and plants,not being of the fine, high, spiritual stuff
           as Themselves, were unable to sustain the fullness of Life for a
           long while - that they grew weary and longed for peace.
           She became anguished at the thought of the pains of her
           creations, and wished to know for Herself how they fared in their
           short lives.  The Dark King bade her go into a mortal body for
           its normal span to learn of sorrow, pain, age,and the longing for
           So She did go into the mortal body of a woman-seed in the womb of
           one of Her people.  she was born in great travail, suffered all
           the pangs of growing up, and then She began to age.  The mortal
           years passed through Her as days, and yet it was hard and
           wearisome.  Pains beset her, her joints grew stiff, Her eyes dim,
           and Her mind uncertain.  The many wisdoms She had gained, She
           spun as tales for little children sprawled by the hearth-fire on
           bitter Winter days.  she knew that though they listened now, they
           would forget all She had told,and have to learn and re-learn it
           all in their own time.  Sadness fell upon the Goddess.
           At last, troubled greatly by Her body's infirmities, She begged
           the Lord's release from the body that encompassed her spirit. 
           The Dark Lord, Ruler of Death, closed Her eyes with a gentle,
           loving hand, and lifted Her forth.  Her bright, shining presence
           was once again strong and beautiful.
           The Lady's tears fell golden to the ground, capturing an insect,
           a flower - and froze there, in the cold light of Her
           understanding.  These tears are found by mortals even today, and
           prized as gems. Not all have forgotten the beauty of the meaning
           of those golden teardrops.
           She turned to the Dark Lord, smiling.  She said, "I knew not that
           I knew not, but You have shown Me that peace, and rest and
           renewal are the rewards Death gives at the end of a hard and
           treacherous life.  How sad it is that these mortals know nothing
           of Our Glory, save at the end of physical existence."  He
           replied, "Lady, it is Law; whatever You have brought into
           existence never truly ceases to exist, but merely is changed into
           something new."
           She pondered long on this, and then turned to the Dark Lord and
           said, "Therefore, let Us give them the ecstasy of Love for one
           another, that they may touch upon this great beauty while on
           Earth.  Let it be the hope that spurs them on, though life seems
           hard at times.  And let them remember and love one another again,
           when they have returned to physical form."  "So be it," said He.
           The Lady gathered up Her frozen tears, and strung them together
           with pieces of jet, taken from the Dark Lord's Hall.  this
           necklace was to remind Her always of the intervals of Life and
           Death of all things.
           The Lord kissed her hand twice, and watched Her walk away to
           green the Earth once more, resplendent in Her new understanding
           of Life, Love and Death.
                           KARMA:  THE WHEEL AND THE SPIRAL
           The Lady of the Wheel of the Year, having learned that Death was
           a necessary part of Life, returned to her Bright King, and
           together they Danced with great joy, greening the Earth - so that
           all was again covered in blossoming, bursting Life.  From time to
           time, She would see one of Her People in sorrow and travail, and
           She would remember that existence.  She felt a pang of sorrow,
           recalling the despair at pain and trouble that mortals felt all
           through their lives.
           Only in the midst of Love or at the end of physical existence did
           they know bliss.  Too often, even the bliss of Love was forgotten
           in the throes of hardship and misery.  Too, She realized, that
           though there was rest and succor at the end of physical
           existence, the mortals knew no hope for betterment, other than
           peace at Life's end.
           At first, She did not speak of this to either the Bright Kin or
           the Dark Lord.  She pondered privately upon the cycle of Life,
           Death, and Rebirth; the Seasons of the wheel of the year, and at
           last made a decision.  Conferring first with One then the Other,
           the Lady persuaded her two Lords to consider a plan to help Her
           people.  That They might more readily accept Her plan, She
           presented it as a game.
           This game, She called Karma:  it was an elaborate system of
           debits and credits by which the players could judge the progress
           of the playing pieces - the pieces being the People.  Now, the
           actual living on Earth was only part of the game - the first
           stage - to be clever enough to survive danger, disease,hunger and
           other pieces maneuvering for the same.  the second stage was how
           well the pieces maneuvered for the prizes - and how honorable
           they went about achieving their goals (a credit), and how
           dishonorably they chose to act (a debit).
           Adding a further twist to the game, She insisted that when a
           piece had achieved the full round of the twelve-spoked wheel -
           having experienced and mastered the lessons of each spoke and
           returned a final time to the hub (known as the Summerland), that
           a third level be added.  this third level, being on of the
           Spirit, gave the pieces a chance to grasp from a Higher Existence
           than that of merely bettering the Physical Self.
           To expedite the counting up of credits and debits for each piece,
           She created a body of beings known as the Lords of Karma.  She
           set before Them the cosmic Laws of Order and Existence, and gave
           into Their keeping the Akashic Records - the golden, flowing
           source of all that is, was, and ever shall be.
           Then She instructed the Two Lords in the Game, that They might
           watch with interest and understanding.  Too, that They might
           cheer on or aid a piece that caught Their fancy or touch Their
           hearts with its struggles.  They, nor the Lords of Karma were
           judged - for it is only by the Cosmic Laws of Order and Existence
           in the Providence of the Divine One to judge the Creations.
           As the Game advanced, much to the enjoyment of the observers,
           there seemed to be a missing element.  the Dark Lord too the Lady
           aside and said, "Never meaning criticism, My Dearest Lady of
           Life, but is it not pointless if Your piece do not know they can
           strive toward better lives and higher aims?"  The Lady thought
           upon this, and told the Lord that He was correct, and that She,
           herself, must resolve this flaw in the pattern.
           She gave a banquet and invited all those of the Greater and
           Lessor Pantheons, explaining to them the Game, and the reason She
           must prepare for a Journey - Journey which would take Her once
           again into the World of Mortals.
           All the Beings of Light were grieved, for They love the Lady
           fully, and did not like her to be absent from Them.  but She
           promised Them that though She must journey far, as long as Love
           was, there was She, also.  She then departed on Her Journey to
           the Plane of Mortal Existence and was not seen again for a Tim in
           the Halls of Light and Love.
                                 THE CRAFT OF THE WISE
           Now the Lady made Her journey to the Plane of Mortal Existence,
           and on the way, She passed through many other realms:  Those of
           spirits and phantasms, and those of the elements.  She dwelt a
           time in each realm, gathering the essences of each one about Her,
           layer upon layer, to clothe Herself.  These essences were
           necessary, for the Plane of Mortal Existence is made up of all of
           these elements, seen and unseen.
           Too, She spent time with Light-of-the-Womb, experiencing Her
           quiet pain, her self-imposed penance.  The Great Goddess reminded
           her Little Sister, Moon, that all things work together in
           Harmony, and that one day, Her great sacrifice would be repaid in
           Great Glory.
           Then coming at last to her destination, the Goddess once again
           clothed herself in Human Flesh.  She clothed Herself in all the
           pain and sorrow, and the joy that is the Fate of Humankind.  Back
           She went - back to the sensations of the five senses.  Back to
           the heavy physical vehicle that Human souls use to transport
           themselves about.  Back to a coarse and humble life; one from
           which She could study her people more fully, and teach them that
           which they must know.
           She chose not to go back into the body of a strong warrior, nor
           yet on of great physical feminine beauty - but rather as a plain,
           slender young woman.  Her eyes were brown as the Earth in which
           She dug for roots; Her hair was as brown as the bark; Her skin
           weathered a bit by the elements.  though She dressed as drabbly
           as any other mortal girl, there was still a spark, an intensity
           that could not be denied.  this, the Goddess Herself, could not
           change, for otherwise, She would not be present.
           The sparkle of Divinity that shone from Her eyes drew others to
           Her in a warm bond.  they listened to Her teach the secrets of
           planting and growing things, the ways of animals and fish and
           fowl; the flying birds and insects; secrets of water, wind and
           Too, She instructed them in the Way.  She taught them of the
           Spiral Dance of the Universe, that same spiral that is found in
           the very cells of their bodies.  She instructed them in the
           Mysteries - those of Birth, and Death, and Rebirth; and in doing
           so, explained the Game of Karma.
           When She taught them all they could learn, She told them that She
           must go once again to her Halls of Love and Light, but that they
           might call upon Her in times of need, and She would hear and
           answer.  She told them that the phases of the Moon would show the
           Among them She left One whom She had taken as a Consort and
           Helper.  He was a Forest Lord, Protector of the Wilds; He would
           as as Her Regent upon the Earth while She was away.
           The people wept bitterly, for they could not bear to be without
           their beloved Goddess.  But the Lord comforted them, saying,
           "Does She not love you enough to come amongst you? To provide a
           Regent for your comfort - to promise you an Eternal Life in Her
           Love at the end of the Spiral Dance?"
           And they built many temples and places of worship.  Sacred were
           the many Springs where She had drunk.  Sacred, too, were the many
           Groves where She had slept.  And too, those places of power where
           She had wrought the Magicks of the Spiral Dance for the
           edification and delight of Her children.
           Those She taught well became Her Priests and Priestesses - and
           they continue to instruct Her People in Her Ways.

Next: Celtic Deities/Origins (Lorax)