IDGAF Monthly Ritual

I have been thinking this month about what Paganism means to me as an Autistic and otherwise Neurodivergent person. To me, Paganism is very important to who I am and how I go about and perceive this world, not only in an epistemological sense(ie, Heathenry and the worldview that comes with that, which is a whole other post), but in a sensory way and an interpersonal and intrapersonal way. To me it affords me time to recollect myself and reserve my spoons and my energy. It provides me with routine, and also an escape from the sensory onslaught of the world around me. This is especially important when it comes to what this month’s IDGAF study has been about: The moon and water. I have been tracking the moon and have decided to choose to devote myself and my study to Ran, an etin goddess of the sea, married to Aegir in Norse lore.  I have chosen to do my monthly ritual on the full moon and tonight I am a bit early but I really felt that it was the right time for my ritual.

The moon and the sea are entwined. Water is not only entwined with the moon but inevitably with life. It is not only an important part of literally keeping me alive but it is immensely important to keeping me more or less sane and able to get about in the world. I am Heathen and you may notice that this type of ritual is more or less unknown amongst germanic reconstructionists but I have chosen this way to go about my dedication process because it affords me that escape and renewal. The moon dictates the perfect time for renewal in my opinion. But why the moon and water? Why not just do a Heathen ritual? Well, because I need it, that’s why. I am Autistic and I have some serious sensory issues that often have to be mitigated. I often find myself drawn to water, and the way only a hot bath can renew me body and soul. It is a sensory wonder to immerse myself into the hot, steaming waters and create a weighted barrier around my skin, protecting me from the sensory onslaught of the outside world. As such, I have chosen to do my monthly ritual by doing a ritual cleansing bath on the night of the full moon. In preparation for this meditation, I chose to create a set of prayer beads for Ran. I also prepared a jar of moon water(water left out in the light of the full moon and then used in ritual) and a jar of himalayan sea salt. The basic skeleton of the ritual was to make a very plain, bare bones purification bath with purified water and sea salt.

The prayer beads for Ran, made of sea glass and turqoise. The guru bead is made of pearls. The beads get across the basics of dealing with Ran, who is considered a goddess of death(for she takes sailors at sea and those who fall into her water depths down to the bottom of the ocean where she lives) and who dwells deep within the ocean. I think about death a lot, and one of my biggest fears is dying. I have seen death in ways other people can only dream of. The stuff made of true nightmares. In dealing with and studying Ran, I am facing my fears and embracing a singular comfort that I am physiologically drawn to-water.

The Poetic Edda was this month’s study book and I chose to focus on a particular section of the edda called The First Lay of Helgi Hundingsbane which contains passages related to Ran. Particularly, a giantess wants to send Helgi and his men to Ran’s cold and dreary death hall at the bottom of the sea and the valkyrie named Sigrun rescues them.

En þeim sjalfum

Sigrún ofan

folkdjörf of barg

ok fari þeira;

snerisk ramliga

Rán ór hendi

gjalfrdýr konungs

at Gnipalundi.[3]

But from above

did Sigrun brave

Aid the men and

all their faring;

Mightily came

from the claws of Ran

The leader’s sea-beast[4]

off Gnipalund.[5]

Image of Ran by artist Johannes Gehrts

Thus was the lady of the sea heavy on my mind when I proceeded with this month’s ritual. Not only do I find water to be the safest place for me, body and soul, but I am intimately entwined with death, just as she is. These things weighed on me as I went ahead. There is something beguiling and consuming about water, and the way it billows around you. Ran and Aegir’s nine daughters are The Waves and it seems fitting that something so powerful could be personified in the minds of our forebears.

Onto the ritual itself.

The basic altar set up with ritual libation horn, a bowl of heated water, sea salt and moon water. Cool Water incense and a candle.

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A close up of ritual items, including a curious Thor looking out and all decorated.
After a short meditation and chant, I mixed the moon water and sea salt in the bowl. I then treated it with incense and added it to my ritual bath.

Prayer beads were blessed with the mixture and worn during meditation and purifying salt water bath.
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At the end of the ritual, I added the remnants of the ritual ashes and sea salt, as well as some sea shells(including a cowrie shell) to the bowl and mixed them together before adding them to my ritual bottle(which contains the ashes of all rituals that have been done).

The final act before closing the ritual was to do myself a reading for the upcoming month, wherein I found The Torch/Pine, The Thorn and The Sun. Essentially, things are looking good for this next month. Domestic but possibly a rough patch. I think we’ll be good.

That is it for the basic outline of this month’s IDGAF ritual and update. I look forward to picking up my new book for next month which is to be Green Witchery by Ellen Duggan.

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