About Ember

I serve the Vanir – Freyja, Freyr, and Their kin – as a priestess, minister, teacher, bard, artist, medium, and witch. Or to put it the Heathen way, as a gythia, galdrakona, and seidhkona.

I am the Gythia of the Vanic Conspiracy, and have been a member of Hrafnar and Seidhjallr for over a decade, where I have had the privilege of taking the last Rune Class taught by Diana Paxson before she published Taking Up the Runes, and to train with Lorrie Wood in ritual trance. I subsequently organized and helped teach the “Gamma Round” of the Trance Class, testing the material for Diana’s Trance-Portation series. I have also contributed interviews, essays, poetry, and photographs to multiple publications on Heathen and Northern Pagan practice, including books published by Diana (of course), Raven Kaldera, and Sebastian “Nornoriel” Lokason. I have presented rituals and workshops at festivals like PantheaCon, Trothmoot, Nine Worlds Festival, and most recently, Many Gods West.

My personal practice is more diverse, as the Vanir have lead me into cross-training, interfaith work, and counseling for the wider Pagan community as needed. This has including nine years of medium and servitor training in American Umbanda, clergy training with the Fellowship of the Spiral Path, and jail ministry for the Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. I also hold a BA with honors in Religious Studies from Santa Clara University.

I have lived all my life in the south San Francisco Bay Area, and am intimately bound to the Valley of my birth. My friends and allies may span the world, but it is the Vanir I love as family.

Be Well,
–Ember Cooke–

17 Responses to About Ember

  1. Pingback: Not in our Paganism? We’re not off the hook | EmberVoices: Listening for the Vanir

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  3. Pingback: The To-Do List From… Somewhere | Drinking From the Cup of Life

  4. SuzyLL says:

    Hi, i am very happy to have found your blog, i was searching for information specifically on Frey & Freya but i was wanting to ask you a question & was hoping this would be the best place to do so. I received a HUGE informational “vibe” for lack of a better word on Sigyn, that she is Vanir & wondered if others have received this as well. It was almost like a revelation…Sigyn is Vanir! I meditate on Her frequently as Loki is my Patron. This “revelation” was accompanied by an encouragement to begin working with Freya & Frey and i know this was coming from Loki. I have some experience of interacting with them back in the 90s & i was looking for info on Frey & found your blog.

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    • EmberVoices says:

      Hmm! A very interesting question.

      Sigyn as potential Van hasn’t come up in the Vanic Conspiracy as of yet, so I can’t confirm that for you, I’m afraid. You might ask Noroniel, who has much more comprehensive UPG in this area than I have, and might have some insight regarding Sigyn.

      –Ember–

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  5. Pingback: Updated About Ember | EmberVoices: Listening for the Vanir

  6. I first asked this question of Cara at The Gold Thread, but she referred me to you, thinking you might have better information. I am working on a book about the seasons in human life. Now I am working on the mythology chapter. Norse tales record few stories about the origin and cycles of the seasons, except for their preoccupation with Ragnarok, which comes on the heels of Fimbulwinter. So I am interested in Freyr and Freya, who are nominally fertility deities, even though I can find no tales that evoke this role. With most fertility deities, especially pairs like Astarte and Adonis, Isis and Osiris, Inanna and Dumuzi, and of course Demeter and Persephone, there are stories that evoke the seasonal cycle, but not with Freyr and Freya. This may have to do with the great climate shift in Scandinavia around 850 to 650 BC, when things got so much colder, and agriculture and viniculture both declined. The Norse attention shifted to Fimbulwinter and the end of the world. Have you ever read or heard older tales, some not recorded in the Edda and other well-known sources, that tell stories of Freyr and Freya?

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    • EmberVoices says:

      It is possible to interpret Skirnismal in the Elder Edda as a seasonal tale, if Gerd is taken as a personification of the frigid land rejecting the initial advances of a penetrating influence – i.e. the plow, or the roots of fresh plants. It does make some sense, since the name Gerd comes from the root as “Garden”.

      That’s one way a lot of people go, in an effort to gloss over that one major interpretation of Skirnismal is that Gerd was basically coerced into marrying Freyr because He found Her pretty. There are yet other interpretations which are more forgiving without being so metaphorical.

      You’ll probably find more of what you’re looking for in Sagas than Eddas. The Sagas are the stories of how humans did things, and with so many of said humans being tied deeply with their land, their seasonal practices with the land in relation to gods like Freyr (and less so, Freyja, whose fertility is more animal than plant/land based) comes out more.

      Freyr is one of the gods whose wagon was taken around to bless the growing fields, for example, which we know from a Saga, but I need to look up the exact name for you.

      There’s also some older references to Freyr and Freyja as a pair of child twins in the ancient Vanir cult in Sweden. They would be kidnapped by frost giants each winter and rescued each summer. But that’s a more obscure reference that’s much harder to find.

      Are you specifically looking for metaphorical cycle stories like Persephone? I’m not sure Norse mythology works the same way you’re expecting, honestly. The myths were less metaphorical in those senses, and more adventure stories to pass the time. The seasonal worship was more about how you live your life, and thus shows more in the Sagas, but not necessarily in ways you’d find useful if you’re trying to find a great metaphor…

      –Ember–

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      • EmberVoices says:

        Of course, another major factor is that the stories we do have were recorded not by believers, but by later Christians. The same is not true for Hellenic or Vedic literature. -E-

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      • EmberVoices says:

        Right, the story of Freyr’s wagon is part of “Ögmundar þáttr dytts ok Gunnars
        helmings
        ” and similar descriptions of Nerthus’ wagon are in Tacitus “Germanicus” (I misremembered Gesta Danorum, but that’s the reference for Freyr’s bells).

        Digging around, I don’t honestly think there’s a single cohesive myth in the sense you seem to be looking for.
        -E-

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      • Thank you so much. This is all very helpful (except for the fact that now I have more reading to do.) I am never quite sure what I’m looking for, except to resolve the ‘missing parts,’ namely that I have seen Freyr and Freya called fertility deities a number of times, with no stories that enforce that. The clues you have given me, oddly enough, help tie theses stories back to Slavic tales. Both traditions see a giant tree at the root of the cosmos. In the Slavic tradition, twin deities are born each new year, the male is kidnapped by the underworld deity, but is reunited with his sister/wife by spring, making the summer fecund . . . you see the connection.

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        • EmberVoices says:

          Oohh, yes, I do, and now I want to go reading those Slavic tales!
          I’m not surprised to hear there are ties. They are neighbors after all.

          -E-

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        • EmberVoices says:

          Okay, so I’d like to continue this conversation somewhere where I can give you .PDF files, because I came across a paper that has good citations in it to perhaps narrow your search in the Sagas.

          Will you email me at Ember Outreach at gmail dot com, please?
          -E-

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  7. J says:

    You may or may not remember me… Runemal, galdramaður, Passer of Bourbon and Sly looks, Good Spirits, maður hyneksli (Dirty Old Man) and all around good fellow. I embrace my Asa brothers and laugh behind their backs, by Hel’s Hemline, in front of their backs, for their foolish addiction to gods of Blunt Force. My partner and I have a presentation (with a cheesy name of course) on Sunday Afternoon, before the jallr. Or you can find me sitting selling her jewelry in the vendor room.bless bless

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