Dominus Ingui: other Vanir gods

Isis wasn’t the only Egyptian deity worshiped in ancient Rome, as other gods followed Her, namely those closely linked to the Kemetic divine mother in the mythological cycles. Osiris, Anubis and Horus or Harpocrates, all of Them found Their way to Latin lands. This is hardly surprising in polytheistic religions where deities are often related in some way – by role, adventures, family ties. As such, a Latinized cult of Ingui-Freyr can easily include or bring along other deities from the north. In my case, there are three that are also part of my personal pantheon, plus the Elves of Alfheim.

Freya (Dea Domina)
Ingui’s twin sister and one of the great goddesses of the North, Freya is a deity of love and lust and Lady of Battle who takes fallen soldiers to Her halls. She’s also a Giver of Wealth and a Mistress of Magic – namely the northern form known as Seiðr. In line with Her shamanic traits, She can take on the guise of a falcon; Her other animals are the boar (She’s said to have one like Her brother) and felines, namely cats and lynxes. Essentially, Freya combines elements of Venus, Bellona and Hecate. My annual feast to Her is on May 1st.

Njord (Niordus)
Njord is Ingui’s father and a god of seafaring. He watches over sailors, maritime winds and coastal areas, including its riches, markets, shipyards and inlets – His own hall is called Noatun or enclosure of ships. Like His children, He too is a Giver of Wealth and, according to myth, He’s said to have the most beautiful divine feet. Interestingly, His cult appears to have survived among the common folk well into the 18th century (reference on Wikipedia here), though there is no information on feast days. Given His connection to the sea, I picked early July for His annual celebration: it is a Summer month, suitable for games and ceremonies on the beach, and it follows Roman tradition, which placed a festival to Neptune on July 23.

Gerðr (Gerda)
Ingui’s wife and fertile land to His erect phallus. Her name comes from Old Norse garðr, which is linked to modern English garden. She’s therefore a goddess of the enclosed land – the farm, the orchard, the garden. A sort of Norse Pomona, if you will. Despite Her close connection to Ingui, She’s a recent addition to my pantheon and I’m still unsure on a date for a annual feast in Her honour. Perhaps early Spring or any time of sowing.

According to Old Norse sources, Elves are shinning and divine beings. Or at least some of them are. The expression Aesir ok Alfar, the Gods and the Elves, features several times in the written sources, implying a connection between the two. However, the term could also be used for landwights and apparently ancestors as well. The Alfar proper, those coupled with the Gods, may more exactly be those of Alfheim or Elf-land, which is said to have been given to Ingui as a teething gift during the god’s infancy. And it’s speculated that the two beings described as Freyr’s servants in the poem LokasennaByggvir and Beyla – are both elves from Alfheim. Generally, whenever I present offerings to Ingui, I set aside a small portion for His otherworldly people, but I’m yet to pick specifically for Them. If nothing else, because the two celebrations more commonly associated with Elves – midsummer and midwinter – are already feast-days to the god in my calendar.

This is still very much work in progress. I have a few ideas for specific rituals and symbols, but they’re not yet complete and could use further research, so in the future I’ll make further additions to the series on my Latinized cult to Ingui. For the time being, less formal offerings and toasting will do the trick for the other Vanir and Elves.

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