Heimdallr is a God of graciousness and hospitality, courtesy and respect. Good manners, good thew- these are vital concepts and lessons for any community and the individuals within. He is a God that can teach and role model how to behave with ones’ peers and authority figures. He demonstrates boundaries of courtesy and respect between people.
He is most often equated as a Guardian of Bifrost. In this role He maintains the juncture between the chaos of the frost giant and the civilization of the Aesir; between the innangard and the utangard. He upholds tradition and order. Taking this further He ensures safety at the boundaries between the mundane and the holy and for this He can provide protection and guidance for those of us mere mortals who stray within both realms.
But as all Gods, Heimdallr has many other aspects than those most commonly identified. Heimdallr does have an enormous reserve of patience- when it is required and suits His needs. There are other times when He can bark as a drill sergeant- one mentioned to me that she sees Him as an old fashioned sensei. This is an appropriate analogy for me. He is a patient but demanding tutor- if He knows one is giving 110%. Woe to those who aren’t; if He chooses to continue to work with them (as He demands industry) there will be a kick in the behind that will most definitively let them know His patience has limits. That said, as long as one truly is working, He is an immensely patient and gentle God. I have and will always assert Loki’s great patience and gentleness, but Heimdallr has often shocked me with his steadfast support- it is so very enveloping.
Still, even considering his guardian and sensei type aspects, there is more to this God who deserves such reverence. He can also be a God of Fury. He is a son of Odin and this can never be forgotten. Just as his half brother Thor has the massive power of thunder behind Him, Heimdallr has His own immense reserves. His are just harder to define. One can’t easily point to Heimdallr and say thunder or lightening or wind or storm.
He does have the ram as a symbol and this can provide some commentary. A ram is ever watchful of his herd on the heights of his mountain ledge. When required, that ram will charge and the impact will create such a powerful crack, such an immense force, that it can be heard for miles. Yes- this too can be Heimdallr. A God who can create such a holy terror and weight with the essence of His being that watchful fury is the only definition that applies.
But we must continue and give thought also to His mothers. The Nine Waves- the force of the tides, the swell of the oceans, the chaotic swirling of the sea. Oh yes, Heimdallr is a blending of storm and sea, that frothy mixture of wind and surf that most of us have experienced at least once on a trip to the shore. Grandson to the ocean deeps and the furious tides, this is when Heimdallr can come in a stern fury guiding one through the surging rhythm of the tides, the vast, swaying oceanic currents, even the trembling tide pools. But oh, he can be gentle even here.
He can be as the waves that lap softly at your shins as you wade along the shore. He can patiently escort one across that boundary into the depths of the expanse and once there His fury can escalate. He will come as stern and commanding, as impersonal, as the deeps of the sea. One will be buffeted across that ocean floor till balance is gained, the learning is had, Heimdallr has obtained what He has come for. Then He will kindly escort you, bruised and battered, back to shore where He will ply healing and kindness and blessings till one is restored more whole than one was before.
This is more the Heimdallr I know. Yes, a strong guardian, a protector, a God of graciousness and courtesy. But He is also a God of stern, cold fury, the waves and the drumming of the coming storm. He has taken my soul, garnished it with beauty, and made it throb to his rhythm. He has blessed me with gentleness, He has terrified me with His power. Heimdallr- I honor thee.