It's like one of the gods just turned down the thermostat about 15 degrees. All of a sudden, the days are cooler, the nights almost cold, and my kitchen is aglow with the oven. It's time for me to begin baking again.
I first started baking a couple years back when I was looking for a winter activity that didn't involve lots of money, lots of alcohol, and/or lots of ice. In this part of the world, there's not a whole lot to do outside of that. My first few loaves of bread were...learning experiences. Since then, I've practiced and learned, and can now make some pretty amazing breads when I have the time to devote to it.
As I've stepped into Heathenry, the emphasis on the natural world, self-reliance, and self-motivation has been a big plus for me. The gods don't look out for us, they expect us to look after ourselves. And so having a skill like baking, being able to produce food for myself, is important.
The Norse Goddess Sif is most often associated with bread and baking, though there is also Freyr who overlaps with her in representing the harvest and grains. For me, baking feels like it falls more in Sif's realm. I feel calm and focused when I'm kneading the dough, feeling the tension build between my hands, and I feel satisfaction instead of excitement when I see my dough spring up in the oven and turn beautiful shades of golden, brown, and yellow. For some reason, I was thinking of Sif today when I was folding my dough before letting it prove.
As we slide into Fall, I feel like the Gods and Goddesses are more connected to us now than at any other time of year. From now until the Winter Solstice, their presence and the presence of the landvaettir are more and more obvious to me.
Bless my hearth and home, oh lady Sif! May you bring us bounty and joy, and gift us with abundance this year! I offer you bread and wine as an offering to you, Lady of the Golden Hair, and hope that my gifts will bring you joy.