Theodish Thoughts

Musings on Theodism, religion, mythology, history, and contemporary Heathenry

Category: House Gods

A Halloween visit from the Tomten

So our house-wight (aka the Tomten or Nisse) was feeling a little rambunctious, or lonely, or something last night (Halloween, not coincidentally). My wireless mouse needed a new battery, so I dutifully removed the old one, went downstairs to get a new one, answered the door for some trick-or-treaters, and when I came back upstairs the mouse was gone. Nowhere to be found.

I retraced my steps four times, looked right on the corner of my desk, where I left it, four times, looked in the kitchen, downstairs, even worried that I had absent-mindedly given it to one of the kids instead of candy.

In exasperation, I finally said out loud, to the house-wight, “okay, why are you doing this? Need a little attention? Very amusing!” and kept looking.

So one of our friends who was over and starting to help me look calls over to me, “Is it the gray-and-black one?”

I went over, and there it was, right on the corner of the desk, right where I left it. It had not not been there before. And she couldn’t have hidden it, because it was missing before she had come upstairs.

He’ll be getting an extra-large pat of butter in his porridge this Yule, to keep him happy.

The house-wight’s fee

The tomten has received his yearly fee. A heaping bowl of oat-porridge with lots of butter and cinnamon (that’s his stone on the hearth, under the wood-holder).

Gott nytt ar to all!

Saudi family sues genie, alleges harassment

I came across the following story on CNN from a few days ago:

A family in Saudi Arabia has taken a genie to court, alleging theft and harassment, according to local media.

The lawsuit filed in Shariah court accuses the genie of leaving them threatening voicemails, stealing their cell phones and hurling rocks at them when they leave their house at night, said Al-Watan newspaper.

An investigation was under way, local court officials said.

“We have to verify the truthfulness of this case despite the difficulty of doing so,” Sheikh Amr Al Salmi, the head of the court, told Al-Watan. “What makes this case and complaint more interesting is that it wasn’t filed by just one person. Every member of the family is part of this case.”

The family, which has lived in the same house near the holy city of Medina for 15 years, said it became aware of the spirit in the past two years.

“We began hearing strange noises,” the head of the family, who requested anonymity, told Al-Watan. “In the beginning, we didn’t take it seriously, but after that, stranger things started happening and the children got really scared when the genie began throwing stones.”

A local charity has moved the family to a temporary residence while a court investigates, the newspaper said.

In Islamic cultures, a belief in genies, or jinns, is common.

Genies not only appear in pre-Islamic fiction such as “Arabian Nights,” but are also mentioned in the Quran.

Many Saudis believe invisible genies live among them and are capable of demonic possession and revenge.

Now, I can’t say that I have any direct experience with genies per se, but I do have quite a bit with land-spirits and house-gods in a Northern European context. Noises? Small items disappearing? Stones being thrown? Sounds like classic poltergeist activity to me, and if this was someone I knew, I would recommend starting a regular habit of making a small offering. It’s quite obvious that the genie is looking for attention.

Why now, when the family has been living in the house for 15 years? Well, I would not be a bit surprised if one or more of the children had just entered adolescence. The timing certainly seems to support that notion. Spirits (both of the dead and land-spirits) seem to be drawn to the various emotional and physiological changes brought on by adolescence.

But a lawsuit? How do they serve papers to a genie? And can they accuse a genie of contempt of court if it fails to appear, or doesn’t obey an injunction?

Rites of the Heathen Household

If you look to the left menu, you’ll see a section entitled “Downloads”. The first offering (of many, hopefully) is a booklet entitled “Rites of the Heathen Household”. The idea is that while Theodsmen approach the Gods corporately– that is, on a tribal level– individuals, families, and rooftrees should be approaching more local spirits such as land-wights and household gods in a parallel fashion.

The current booklet is an extract from a much larger work that I am currently laboring over and hope to have ready for the light of day next year sometime. It will be put together in a modular format, so that each family, rooftree, or individual can take the elements that they like, arrange them in a fashion that makes sense to them and speaks to their particular spiritual needs, and begin to establish their own household religious tradition.

On House Gods

I’m not sure if it’s just the smallish circles in which I run within the pagan and heathen communities, but there definitely seems to be a groundswell of interest and activity in the “minor” divinities. Household gods, land spirits, ancestor worship, etc. I think it’s ane excellent trend, and one which is long overdue.

In Theodism, there is a tendency (understandable, but there nevertheless) to focus on the top-down aspects of religion in general. There are the high fainings that take place three or four times a year, and they are grand events on a tribal scale. But in between, there is precious little for the ordinary Theodsman to do on a religious level.

Queue the house-gods.

There is ample evidence that the house-gods were worshipped immediately after the the heathen period, and plenty of circumstantial evidence to say that they were an integral part of everyday religion among the masses during the heathen period. This has survived into the present day in the form of the tomte, nisse, tusse, brownie, etc. Folklore tells us how these spirits are to be treated, their likes and dislikes, what insults them and when they should be honored, etc.

I’ve been working on a book on this very subject for about three years now. Not just this subject, of course, but the general subject of “everyday” worship for heathens. It’s not all blots to Odin and high sumble; it’s listening to the birds sing and leaving something for the god that lives by the hearth, or making an offering at a spring when we need a boon. Most importantly, it’s instilling that mind-set into ourselves and our children; we are not alone. Both Gods in Asgard and spirits in our homes and the woods nearby all are there as well.

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