Forest by Oliver Harold

Pagan Blog Project: Carolitic

I was asked to start doing the PBP, because I have interesting things to say, they said. As we’re into Cs, I suppose I will try to get back through the other posts, if possible, because it’s not all that late, and I did write a post spurred by my attempt at writing about my adoption by Loki and his family (which was then titled Aridity).

Carolitic is an architectural term meaning ‘adorned with leaves and branches.’

I don’t always recognize the gods in art that are meant to be him. Sometimes they are completely and utterly foreign. Sometimes semi-passable. I’ve never found anything that was exactly right. What I do have is a picture of a person I found on tumblr, that V edited for me, which I can’t post, because I don’t recall the original photographer, or the model, and it’s altered without permission, regardless. Even the picture is not perfect, but it will do. It is, of course, of a completely human man, looking completely human.

Freyr does not always, though the human-like shape is very convenient and he seems somewhat to favor it, but I couldn’t say that with authority. Likely he changes his shape depending on what sort of beings he is interacting with.

He is meant to be a god of fields, fruit, bountiful harvests, grain, and so on. Honey, also, via some UPG I seem to share with several people. I have seen him that way. Golden, brighter than the sun, running his hands along the tops of the grain, or riding his horse through the shining fields, laughing in the summer…

But I also see him, increasingly, in the forest. I repressed the idea because I felt like I was treading on the territory of people who associate with one or another horned god figure, and I do not believe all gods bleed into one.

It stayed, however. And I kept reblogging deer, saving pictures of deer, thinking about his antler, and the piece I wear around my neck, reblogging forest after forest. I felt him too much in some of these pictures and I could not shake it. It was not going to go away.

The Vanir are old. Very old. What was there before there were tilled fields? There were forests.

And so I see him at times in a somewhat humanoid shape, with branching antlers, in the deepest parts of the forest. He reeks of power. It rolls off of him like the mist formed by his breath. And I wonder what I am seeing, if this is what came before, if this is what there was before humans began shaping myth with their belief and taking axes to trees to create fields to grow their crops.

It is always a silent, still, long moment, of looking, and waiting. I think he wants to know if I will come to him like that, with ivy twining and moss and lichens making themselves known. Leaves caught in those antlers. His breath is heavy, as if he had just been running and stopped suddenly. I do not think he runs on two legs, though he stands on them well enough.

I have not gone yet, because I have been afraid of what it means. Of saying, yes, I love this god whom you’re very familiar with, and in some of his aspects, he is absolutely nothing like what you’ve read or been taught, and no, I am not confused, not confusing one god for another — I know my husband, if nothing else — and not being a very mushy polytheist. To say, yes, this is Freyr, and he is a very old god of the forests, long before there were people.

It does not change who he is most often now, of the fields of golden grain, but this part of him has not gone away.

It is my wont, whether intended or otherwise, to lean toward mysticism.

Tonight I will embrace him.


2 thoughts on “Pagan Blog Project: Carolitic

  1. reveniens

    I have to admit, I have honest difficulties with the belief that gods are static and unchanging. They are living beings. All things that live adapt and change with time. I really don’t see why a god’s domain could not change over time, why he must be placed into a convenient box that even a human being would never fit into over the course of a life, and I don’t understand why such a change would have to mean that the past must be completely shed, obliterated as if it never was to begin with.

    Consider dogs and wolves. For a long time, the main theory was that humans had, somehow, managed to kidnap wolf cubs from a den. It’s not a very good theory, as experimental evidence shows that wolf cubs are not easily socialized with human beings if they are older than three weeks, and they do not begin to eat solid food until 3-4 weeks.

    A more current theory is that some wolves were drawn to the cast-off refuse of human settlements. The more a wolf could handle being near humans without fleeing, the more nourishment and benefit it could attain. These wolves changed to become the dog—the wolves that kept their distance remained the wolves we know.

    Yet dogs and wolves remain the same species. They are capable of breeding, and their offspring is viable, as capable of carrying on as either parent. The dog adapted to humans, but the wolf has never truly been taken out of the dog.

    Not that Neil Gaiman is a pagan authority as such, but while there is the famous quote, “One must change or die,” afterwards there is also this quote from The Wake: “Omnia Mutantur, Nihil Interit. ‘Everything changes, but nothing is truly lost.”

  2. Helio Pires

    I’m gonna go with what reveniens said and add that an essential part of Freyr – at least the way I see Him – is that He’s a god of the seed. And that applies not just to grain, but to any plant (trees included), as well animal and human “seeds”. He makes things grow.


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