Day V. To Sigyn, Delight of Her Man

Freyja taught you well, Sigyn, her ways of allurement
and of gratifying any desire the mind might conceive,
the sorcery of the garden and of the kitchen, the mysteries
of managing the purse and an orderly run household,
and everything that goes into keeping a husband healthy,
happy and satisfied, both in and out of bed. Things that
your mother, or perhaps your aunty, should have guided you through.
But as always your sister was there to fill in the holes, and many a time
has skillful-tongued Loki proclaimed his indebtedness to Njördsdottir
for your schooling, O Goddess of Ladybug Delight,
but in truth you were a very apt pupil, especially when it came
to matters of the boudoir. Truly Loki is a lucky God,
and he knows it too, which perhaps is why he does not go about
siring lines of doughty Heroes, Kings, and Magician-Poets like Óðinn,
Heimdallr, Þórr and Freyr. (Though, in fairness, if he was hung like Freyr
it would be a terrible sin not to put it to good use.) And so I hail you
exquisite example of wifeliness and hometender extraordinaire,
and ask your blessings upon the heads and hearts of each member
of our household and in looking to your fine example
we all shall prosper and get lucky.

Day IV. To Sigyn, Heart Strong

I hail you Sigyn, for your heart was strong
and large enough to accept the other wife
of your husband and all their monstrous brood
into your happy home and life, and you shared
in the children’s rearing as if they had come
from your very own womb, no matter how savage
and nerve-fraying they could be. Under your loving
but stern direction they grew large and powerful,
the constant companions of Narvi and Váli
and oh, what mischief the lot of them got up to!
Once the pup Fenris chased Ratatoskr up a tree
and then could not get down again, and another time
you nursed Jörmungandr through a terrible toothache,
and you even talked a teenaged Hela out of her room
when she was angry with Angrboða
for not letting her date a boy from Niðavellir.
The challenge of parceling out Loki’s time and affection
you met with dignity, grace, understanding and good humor,
as well as a great deal of careful communication,
something even Gods cannot escape. What’s more,
you came to love She of the Ironwood as deeply
as you care for your own dear sister Freyja.
And so I ask that your blessings and guidance flow
always into our home and help me to show the same
consideration and kindness to my deeply cherished ones.

Day III. To Sigyn of Great Suffering

O dolorous Sigyn I pray, you who have endured
what no soul should ever have to – the laying to rest
of your parents and your children both.
The latter sorrow has oft been on the lips of poets,
but even the precious names of those who bore you
have disappeared from among mortal men.
The High One may have seen what happened,
Heimdallr may have heard, and the Queen of the Gods,
Frigga too may know, but if so she will speak not a word
of the matter, for it is too covered in grief and bitter tears
to revisit. Instead your story begins
with a child of astounding beauty, hair in tight braids
and clutching a stuffed wolf doll to her tender breast,
staggering into the Vanic lands with her linen dress torn
and stained with soot and blood. So Njörðr found her
near the shores of the great sea, and scooped her up
in his big, strong arms. He stroked her back and whispered
kind things to her as he carried her home
and placed her in the care of his daughter lovely Mardöll,
close to being the girl’s agemate. She made her laugh and shared
her pretty dresses, dolls and other playthings with the girl
while Njörðr armed himself and went out to investigate
what had happened to her parents and if need be
to avenge them. Whatever the Terror of the Deep discovered
he kept it to himself and raised the fosterling
as his own adored and true daughter, naming her Victory Girl
for what she had gone through to join his clan.
These mysteries are yours, Sigyn,
and teach us why family is so dear to you.

Day II. To Sigyn, Victory Woman

Sometimes all that it takes, Sigyn you know all too well,
is just one bad day and a single match tossed
to bring the whole shithouse burning down.
Everyone focuses on Laufey’s son, brand him
a dangerous troublemaker and hold you up
as his support and longsuffering, dutiful spouse
– and sure, you are – but do they ever stop to consider
what sort of Goddess that sort of God would wed?
Oh, you love to laugh, and often he would make you –
but you love watching the powerful squirm even more,
especially when what they most wish to remain secret
is brought into the light. And you would don masks with him,
and roam the streets together in noisy revel, egging him on
to perform more clever and daring pranks, jokes
and assorted buffoonery until he went too far.
Nor did you leave his side when the brawling started,
but instead drew your blade and leapt right in,
kicking more Æsir than ever your husband did,
and biting more too! What, do people think your name
just an ironic sobriquet – it’s truth in advertising,
and you’ve more than lived up to it. When the Jötnar
stormed Ásgarðr in retaliation for the flyting of Þjazi
you took up ash-spear and buckler to fend them off
and sent three or possibly four to Hel just by yourself.
So hail to you, Goddess of the mighty arm and withering laugh,
and Sigyn I pray, stand with us in our time of distress
and protect this home just as fiercely from all its foes,
mortal and otherwise.

Day I. To Sigyn, Light in the Cave

I call out to Sigyn, the Goddess who loves
the way moonlight reflects off the rainbowy scales
of swift salmon struggling against the current,
and how the white teeth of wolves shine in the gloom
as they race through snowy woods and lift their shaggy throats
in salute to wide-ranging Máni, and when lightning bugs flit
and dance around like elegant Álfar or the fiery wheels
in Nótt’s purple cloak, and the stillness of those long hours
before golden-haired Sól shows herself when anything
seems possible, even an end to your husband’s endless torment.
Hear me, Lady, as your husband hears you when you return
from having emptied the bowl and you tell him of all
these beautiful things, and weave soothing myths from them
to distract from the searing pain, and though it does not
he appreciates the effort and bears it all manfully, for your sake;
this is my prayer, O Sigyn who so delights in the nocturnal
that you named your own son after Nótt’s giant father,
soon may you be able to stand again in Loki’s firm embrace
enjoying these and countless other dark sights together.

Day VII. To Hermes Aglaos

Radiant Hermes who shines gloriously
from a dark, damp cave
like the liquid gold brought in tribute
by Nymph-loving bees,
the glint of treasure piled up,
the sudden flash of insight,
glittering sequins and confetti
of a skillful street performer
hoping to make it big,
and the eyes of a dog on the porch
watchful for thieves and strangers,
I pray to you, friend of Dionysos
the Midnight Sun, adviser and Leader
of a third of his numerous Host,
bless this house which reveres you
and never tires of singing your praises
or making plentiful offerings to you.

Day V. To Hermes Charidôtês

O Muses, lift your melodious voices in praise
of grace-giving Hermes and his Lady,
the loud-crying Brimo who administers justice
to the souls in Haides. They met, it is said,
in a field of rushes beside a swiftly-eddying river
where the Good Shepherd had brought his charges down
for watering, and she had come to collect flowers and plait
crowns for her Queen and double Persephone
of the lovely harvest feast. While the flock munched
and drank and wandered shoreside, Hermes talked her up
and helped her find the prettiest flowers to pluck;
their hands touched, as each reached to grab
the same purple narcissus, then their eyes connected
in longing, and finally they were on the ground,
removing the hindrance of their clothing
while the animals around them
went about their oblivious business,
and all was right with the world.
For it is never wrong, O Maidens Nine,
to laud Hermes Nomios, the Lord
of Mount Kyllene and bearer of the long staff,
tireless, potent, expert searcher and keen interpreter of signs,
who does not forget or leave one hanging dry
or all tangled up, and in brambles.