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The following prayer (or hymn, as you like) I wrote both in honor of Ingvi-Freyr and out of love for someone very dear to me, who is currently undergoing Marine Combat Training, the month-long infantry training course for United States Marines with non-infantry military occupational specialties. Though I’m from a military family choc-full of active duty servicemen and reserve officers, it’s all Greek to me, as the saying goes.

At any rate, like me, he is very much devoted to Ingvi-Freyr. (Don’t let the hyphenation fool you — Freyr and Ingvi-Freyr are names for the same deity, not a syncretism of two Gods. The “Yngvi” or “Ingvi” part refers to His being the Divine ancestor of the oldest-known Scandinavian dynasty.) I feel it should also be mentioned that my loved one, unlike me, is exclusively “Heathen,” which in any case is a hard thing to be in the United States Marines. Sadly, they would not allow him to list his religious denomination on his dog tags. “Asatru” is now an option in the Army, and perhaps in the Navy and Air Force as well, but to use my loved one’s disappointed words, “the USMC doesn’t tolerate that crap.”

To veer off tangentially for a moment, he seems to have brooked his COs’ sarcasm and cynicism during boot camp well and without issue. One of them had been grilling him about his religion, badgering him with statements along the lines of “how can you follow a religion you can’t even explain?” His response (again paraphrasing), was candid and sweet: “There’s no point in explaining my beliefs to someone who doesn’t give a shit either way.” His CO never bothered him about it again after that, thankfully.

I’ve been missing him terribly already — he only just left for MCT three days or so ago, and I feel like such a wuss for being so emotional over his absence so soon — and I wrote this with the intention of making a prayer card for him that he can carry around with him without much fuss while he’s away. I think the USMC will allow as much. I doubt they’ll allow him to have a shrine or anything similar, especially if he’s living on base. Being almost or entirely separated from one’s religious observances and sacred spaces is beyond frustrating, if not painful and starvation-inducing. In those situations, the small, simple things mean a great deal, and offer a great deal of solace. Given his career, I think he’ll be needing a lot of that in the years to come, Gods preserve him.

It’s a bit long, and I may have to edit it in order to make it fit on the back of a prayer card, but in its current state, I think it would be an appropriate prayer to say on Freyfaxi (August 1st), or on any other Freyr-specific occasion, and certainly in one’s own personal devotions. For those of you who find it useful, feel free to pass it around.

“Freyr,” by Johannes Gehrts

Hail, Ingvi-Freyr,

Golden God, Lord of the Aesir, Ruler over Alfheim,

Resourceful One by Whom Beli was slain,

You astride Blóðughófi Who mounts the world,

Most Beautiful of the Vana-Gods!

You, Who are the bringer of the sun and rain,

You, Who bestows upon men cattle and grain,

You, by Whose golden boar Slíðrugtanni men learned agriculture,

You, Who grants men all manner of prosperity in life,

Let us be honorable in war, and just in Frith;

Let us uphold the good of the law, and let none dismantle us from without or within.

Let us not succor injustice or perfidy.

Let our judgment not be without humanity, nor our mercy without wisdom.

Let us love selflessly and genuinely,

As You once sold Your only weapon for the love of the fair Etin-maiden Gerðr alone.

Let us be as the stag who leads his harem

With graceful and noble antler.

Let us be as the boar who protects his sounder

With sharp and fearsome tusk.

Let us be as the bull who bares his horns against the tides of strife

With strength and courage unmatched.

Let us be as the horse who bears great burdens

With dignity and endurance.

Let us be as the sacrificial animal

Whose flesh and blood honors and sustains Gods and men.

Life and praise to you, Ingvi-Freyr!

Let us reflect Your brilliance in the world of men.

By Your Grace, by the devotion of our hearts and the merit of our deeds,

May our spirits come to dwell among the Elves in the Land of Eternal Summer.

A lucky snapshot my loved one captured of a herd of elk while he was home on leave.