Hrēðe, Tīw, and encountering almost-forgotten Gods.

Photograph of a pile of different coloured rocks, balanced one on top of the other.
Sometimes this is how I feel in prayer and meditation, waiting for the Gods to place the next delicately-balanced stone. Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

I have written here before about my calendar of monthly observances for seasonally appropriate Gods. In this scheme, March corresponds to Hrēþ-mōnaþ, the month of the mysterious Goddess Hrēðe, and I wanted to write a little about my experiences honouring Her, and Tīw alongside Her.

In his description of the Old English calendar, Bede lists Hrēþ-mōnaþ as the third month of the year, so-named because the pre-Christian English made offerings to the Goddess Hrēðe in this month. This is all we can know for certain about Hrēðe, which was ironically highly appealing to me as someone with a passion for little-known, almost-lost Gods. What follows is my speculation, UPG and personal experience.

I’m indebted in my thinking and honouring of Hrēðe to Byron Eugene, who wrote an extremely interesting essay [1] proposing the idea of Hrēðe as an Old English war Goddess, a Goddess of victory. She is worshipped in March as this represents the victory of the summer over the winter. I find an additional resonance in the idea of worshipping a victory Goddess at the time of preparation for summer campaigns.

At the time I was starting to read and think about Hrēðe, I was also trying to find a place in my calendar to honour Tīw. Tīw is a much more well-known deity than Hrēðe, considered a God of war and victory, but also justice, law and the democratic assembly, the Þing [2]. I had never really had any contact with or much understanding of Him, or His Norse counterpart Týr, however I felt not including Him in my calendar was an oversight.

Others had suggested to me that spring was an opportune time to honour Him, which gave me a brainwave: perhaps I could honour Tīw and Hrēðe together. Perhaps I could honour Them as a pair of married Gods – after all, what better partner for a God of war than a Goddess of victory?

Having had this insight, I turned to divination, asking Hrēðe for guidance on how to honour Her. This indicated I was on the right track as far as seeing Her and Tīw as partners. I was further encouraged when as part of my divination I drew an oracle card relating to offerings and/or sacrifice. I interpreted this as indicating to me Hrēðe is a Goddess of the sacrifices needed to achieve victory or success – sacrifices to the Gods, and sacrifices in terms of the time and energy we must put in ourselves. Again this felt like a thematic link to Tīw, who in the Norse mythos sacrificed His sword hand to the Fenris Wolf.

With all this clarified in my mind, this weekend I gave cult to Tīw, one-handed God of the Þing, and to Hrēðe, Goddess of victory and sacrifice. I made offerings, and asked for Their blessings in my endeavours this year, for my work life, my creative life, and as I set out on my married life. As I quieted my mind and opened myself to the Divine, I felt the presence of both Gods.

I felt Them both as dignified, perhaps comparatively a little remote for someone used to Wōden’s intensity, but not impersonal. I felt Tīw as a sense of almost stern integrity and honour, Hrēðe as a sense of great resilience and strength. From both of Them I felt the importance of the ideas of reciprocity, of being in right relationship with those around me, and of right action. At the end of every ritual, I say “may all my actions be right-done“, and this time it felt like a prayer to Them.

One final thought: to me this experience shows the value of prayer, divination and offerings in reconstruction. Research and intellectual debate can only take us so far – at the end of the day as Heathens we must be guided by the Gods.

References/Further reading


3 thoughts on “Hrēðe, Tīw, and encountering almost-forgotten Gods.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s