The Thunder God

Thunder and lightening are raging around my house, driving me indoors from the garden.

Water becomes very important at the height of the summer when the growing crops need irrigating. According to an old saying: A dry May and a dripping June/ Brings all things in tune. [1] However, the hot weather often brings thunderstorms, and this is the season the thunder god was honoured and sometimes placated. He has had many names and the oak was usually sacred to him, since lightning was often believed to strike the oak more than any other tree. In Greece, he was called Zeus, and it was said that thunder storms raged more frequently around his sacred oak grove at Dodona more than anywhere else in Europe.  The oak was also sacred to Thor, the Norse thunder god whose famous hammer caused thunder. During the conversion of the Germans, St Boniface felled an oak in which Thor was believed to reside.  Oaks also figured in many representations of Taranis, the British thunder god.  The Finnish god of thunder was Ukko (‘Oak’). In Russia the oak god was called Perun, his name meaning ‘thunderbolt’. The Lithuanian god of the oak was Perkaunas or Perunu (‘Thunder’); if lightning struck a tree, rock or man, they were believed to hold some of his sacred fire. In Latvia, even today, oak wreaths are worn by men named Jānis (John) at Midsummer. Small oak branches with leaves are attached to cars in Latvia during the festivity.


Thunder God Ritual

Have ready a bowl of water and a twig of oak in leaf. Using the oak twig, sprinkle some of the water on the earth. Say:


You roar causes the sky and earth to tremble

You spark the fire of lightening

Your light rends the clouds

I honour you and offer you praise,

Be gentle with us,

Send us rain in time of need

To nourish the earth

Blessed Be.


© Anna Franklin 2020

[1] Bonnie Blackburn and Leofranc Holford-Strevens, Oxford Companion to the Year, Oxford University Press 1999


Author: annafranklinblog

Anna Franklin is the High Priestess of the Hearth of Arianrhod, which runs teaching circles, a working coven, and the annual Mercian Gathering, a Pagan camp which raises money for charity. She regularly speaks at conferences, moots and workshops around the country. She is the author of many books on witchcraft and Paganism, including the popular Pagan Ways Tarot, Sacred Circle Tarot, The Fairy Ring, Herb Craft, Magical Incenses and Oils, Personal Power, A Romantic Guide to Handfasting, Familiars, The Oracle of the Goddess, Hearth Witch, The Path of the Shaman and The Hearth Witch’s Compendium. Anna’s books have been translated into nine languages.

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