The topic has come up before and has recently surfaced again. People in angst feeling as though they don't have contact with spirit. They read stories on the internet, they wander through tumblr sites, and peruse forums where they read of people telling tales or claiming to have 'god-phones'. In essence, the stories are of phenomenal experiences with spirit where the author claims they see, hear, and interact in profound ways with deity. I've been guilty of this also, I'll admit.
I've pulled back from this. I'm wired one way, others are wired differently. We all, repeat we ALL, have mechanisms for spiritual experience. Every one of us. No one way is better, more thorough, or more accurate. It is how the experience and information is received and used that makes it more meaningful.
I want to briefly touch on an alternative method of spiritual experience for those who feel left out, for those who don't hear words or get flashy visuals. See, we live in a culture that emphasizes intellect and thought over emotion and intuition. It isn't what should be, we need to regain balance there.
Heart tradition is found within many indigenous cultures. It is a source of experience we all can and should look to. Rather than focusing on trying to attain an intellectual, hearing and seeing experience, why not focus on seeing with the heart? Examine the feelings, the intuition that comes from this practice. It is an experiential way of spiritual contact. The heart is holistic, it is more then just emotion but our perception of those emotions. Deep wisdom lies within and for those who have faced barriers in spiritual contact, this may be an alternative avenue.
What happens here is when one goes before spirit, rather than hearing words you feel the answer. Since many modern cultures have an ingrained distrust of feelings we often start by disregarding what is received. But stop, don't disregard, give it time to percolate. Mull those feelings over, court them gently. Over time their wisdom will be acknowledged. Over time, we'll more rapidly understand the holistic message. It can be a profoundly intimate contact, much more so than words or images.
A decent article written from an Andean paradigm by C. Michael Smith is found in the link below. If Spirit via the Heart is something that interests or may benefit you, I suggest you take a look: Andean Shamanic Vision: an archetypal psychology of the heart. (You will have to scroll down, the page has a blank area near the top.)
Three Norns by Palentino at the entrance of the Ribe Viking Center in Denmark.
Urðr, Verðandi, and Skuld. I've written of them on various pages but its time I mention them here. They are generally ascribed as weavers of fate- the sacred tales they spring from describe the creation of individual and community wyrd as a woven strand(s).
Most of the time, these ladies are ascribed to concepts such as the past, present, and the future. It's a pretty simplistic approach but I find some errors in that particular line of thought.
Urðr, and it's Germanic cognate wyrd, essentially means that which has come to pass. Verðandi is simply the present tense of the Old Norse Verða, 'to become'. It typically is interpreted as that which is in the making or becoming. Skuld is the trickier concept, this word has a Germanic root of skul meaning 'to owe.' It can point to debt or guilt.
What we have here are some pretty deep concepts far beyond past, present, and future. Often we look at the concept of wyrd as what is to happen but wyrd itself requires all three Norns to fully activate as a theological premise.
I prefer a different approach to wyrd and the three Norns. We have Urðr, the past, the foundation, that which sets the stage for Verðandi. This Norn isn't the present, she isn't the now. You've already read those words, they are now the past. Verðandi is the becoming which is continually evolving and never remains still.
Here, as I noted, is the trickier aspect. Skuld. If you saw these three as a branch, it is at Skuld the branch would fork. We have two options, the will and the should be. We can ask ourselves at any given time in the becoming, 'What 'will be' in opposed to what 'should be'?' The 'will be' is the direction one is heading, it is where your feet and head are taking you. Are they aligned with the 'should be?' The goal of any human truly needs to be to align the will be with the should be.
How does this correlate with the meaning of the word Skuld 'to owe?' Simply put, we all have a path, a destiny, a fate. We chose it ourselves, it was placed upon us, it was in the cards, use whatever method of description works for you. We owe ourselves and others to align with the should be. The concept of debt or owing is often glossed over, individualistic and independent people don't feel comfortable with the idea of being born into this life with pre-destined duties or obligations. It messes with their concept of free will and choice which is a topic I'll discuss on a later date. For now, let's just focus on getting to the should be.
How do we get there? Sometimes it is common sense. Drink heavily? Doesn't matter the Urðr of the situation, right now there is too much alcohol happening. The will be is obvious to most; relational problems, employment issues, DUIs, liver cirrhosis, even alcoholic dementia if bad enough. Change the becoming and that will alter the will be to a should be of a healthier life.
Sometimes discerning the should be is more difficult. Should you marry this individual, should you take this job offer, should you buy this house, you get the point. What looks good in the becoming may not be the best ultimate course. Meditate, do the research, seek advice or counsel, divine; whatever works with your own construct.
Urðr, Verðandi, and Skuld, are far more than past, present, and future. Take the time to explore them and change your forked branch to a smooth, tightly wound strand.
Three Norns by Timothy Schmalz. Click the picture to go to his site.
Early morn before anything needed done I rose and left my home.
State route, county road, gravel, then leaf deep path.
Thirty three miles further into the mountains than I already live.
Past rivers strewn with the marbles of giants.
Mossed birch stands as mist's sentinels.
Path narrows, washed out becoming streams under reaching waterfall fingers.
Impromptu despacho of the found,
Earth gives to be honored.
Square within circle,
Singing is heard, "My name is Kporoye."
Praise to the ancestors.
Respect to the lands.
Reverence to the sweet waters.
I pray for determination.
“We humans fear the beast within the wolves because we do not understand the beast within ourselves”
~ Gerald Hausman
Mythology contains many bound deities. Our heathen stories contain two bound entities, Loki and his son Fenrir. I won’t write on Loki, much has been written regarding this perplexing God. I won’t write on bound Gods in general; that would encompass a book. This essay concerns Fenrir, a virtually overlooked being within the Nordic pantheon. Fenrir is a son of Loki and Angrboda. Typically known as Fenrir (Fen-dweller), he is also known as Fenrisúlfr (Fenris Wolf), Hróðvitnir (Fame-Wolf), or Vánagandr (The monster of the river Ván). He is the sire to the wolves Sköll and Hati Hróðvitnisson who chase the sun and moon around the earth until the time of Ragnarok when they will swallow the bodies respectively.
Fenrir’s story from the Prose Edda, in brief, is as follows. The Aesiric Gods had knowledge of prophecies concerning great trouble due to Fenrir. The day came that they went to Jotunheim and took him along with his sister Hela and sibling Jormungand. Hela and Jormungand were sent to other realms but Fenrir was kept locked away to be cared for by Tyr.
Fenrir continued to grow till the Aesir feared him greatly. After several failed attempts, they ultimately created a fetter named Gleipner made of the sound of a cat’s footfall, the beard of a woman, the roots of a mountain, sinews of a bear, the breath of a fish, and the spittle of a bird. He was tricked into the bind as Tyr promised no harm would come if he allowed them to put it on and as a show of good faith Fenrir asked that Tyr place his hand in his mouth. Of course, the binding worked and captured the wolf who then bit off Tyr’s hand for the deception.
The Aesir then took a string called Gelgja(fetter) and tied that to a rock called Gjöll (screaming or resounding). They then took a rock called Thvti (hitter, batterer) and used this as an anchor to hold Gjöll even more firmly. Fenrir reacted and began trying to bite his captors who impaled his muzzle into the ground with a sword. The saliva that streams from his mouth has become the river Van (hope).
Interestingly, Gjöll is also the name for one of the eleven rivers that make up the Élivágar (ice flow) which originate from the wellspring of Hvergelmir. These rivers were in existence at the beginning of time and flow through the Ginnungagap into the rest of creation.
Wolves in folklore
Wolves appear in mythology and folklore around the world. These tales and symbologes have been passed down to modern man and resultantly our thoughts on Fenrir. Wolves have coexisted with man for thousands of years. Each culture reflected their views of this association into their own cultural paradigm. Today wolves are often viewed negatively but this has probably not always been the case.
The importance of the wolf likely began in Neolithic times as man began coordinating their ability to hunt. Wolves and their pack and hunting behaviors were something to be emulated, something to model themselves upon. As time went on wolves were invited into tribal units and became allies in hunting. They were positive symbols of loyalty, were revered, and considered brothers or guides. Mythos that reveres the wolf includes the Altaic mythology of the Turks and Mongols. Some of the Turkic legends, such as the legend of Asena, even postulate that their people are descended from wolves. Chechen lore about wolves is very positive; wolves are portrayed as either an embodiment of their own people or as a loving ‘Wolf Mother’. Several Native American Indian tribes such as the Nanamiut, the Naskapi, the Pawnee, and the Tanaina viewed wolves positively.
The Romans noted the wolves loyalty to their pack and their ability to mother and celebrated this in their tale of Romulus and Remis. These were twins ordered to be killed by their uncle. The servant instead placed them on a riverbank; the river rose and took them downstream to where they were ultimately adopted by the female wolf known as Lupa. The twins survived and eventually became the founders of Rome. There is also an Irish legend of a king suckled by a wolf and of course, we all are familiar with Kipling’s tale of Mowgli.
Romulus and Remis with Lupa, possibly from the 13th century.
We will now move to more agricultural societies. When looking at the agricultural societies point of view, suffering from livestock predation by wolves had a large impact on how wolves were viewed. Farmers had to contend with the wolf as a predator, not a fellow hunter, and so the view of the wolf was accordingly more sinister. Hunter-gatherer societies who transitioned to agricultural lifestyles often changed their views on wolves. They went from a mentor and fellow hunter to a menace to their way of life. Some cultures, however, continued to foster relationships with wolves even as they became more and more entrenched in farming. Some Japanese tribes laid out offerings for the wolves in the hopes that wolves would protect their crops and animals from other marauding beasts..
Cultures, such as the Finnish, viewed the wolf as destructive. Wolves are symbols of desolation and excessive, wasteful consumption. Their very name, susi, means useless while their byname hukka means punishment, damnation, and annihilation. The Tsilhqot'in Indians believed association with wolves would cause insanity while the Navaho believed witches called Mai-cob dressed in wolves clothing.
Christianity has probably had the most influence on wolves being considered in a negative light. The Bible has numerous references to wolves as greedy and destructive. They are an enemy of flocks and symbolic of evil men, power lust, and gain by dishonesty. The mythos and attitudes of this religion have had far ranging consequences. St. Francis of Assisi, however, does have a tale of befriending a murderous wolf by the power of the cross. He noted the wolf only committed evil out of hunger and so convinced the villagers to feed the wolf and no harm was further done.
Nordic view of wolves and Fenrir
Fenrir plays a large role in some of the most important Nordic myths. I’ve outlined his tale from the Gylfaginning in the Prose Edda. The same book also discusses his role in the events of Ragnarök when his children will swallow the sun and the moon and the stars will disappear from the sky. All binds will snap and Fenriswolf will be free and will join the battle on the field of Vígríðr (battle-surge). There, the prophecy foretold long before will be borne out. Fenris will meet and devour Odin after which he himself will be killed by Odin’s son Víðarr. In this light, wolves would be considered an enemy of devouring, of destruction.
Fenrir is also mentioned in the poem Völuspá, and in two stanzas of the poem Vafþrúðnismál. In the first his birth is recognized and his subsequent role in the killing of Odin. In the second it is Fenrir that is mentioned to swallow the sun but fortunately the sun has borne a daughter who will continue on in her stead. He is also mentioned in the Skáldskaparmál, the Heimskringla, and Háttatal in much the same light.
Many people, in light of the lore, merely ascribe the symbol of Fenrir to be that of hate and destruction. It is considered good to bind these features that exist within all of us, to keep them under control. This fits into the Nordic and Christian mythos of the wolf well and to a point, I agree.
However I believe there to be more, far more to Fenrir. This surface explanation of Fenrir being hate and destruction rings as incomplete, not true enough. To just apply hate, destruction, and their needed fettering to his symbolism is an easy way out of actually dealing with the issues – far too easy for our ever so complex mythos. We can’t forget that the river Van flows from his jaws.
Wolves may feature in our myths, our history and our dreams, but they have their own future, their own loves, their own dreams to fulfill.
Death of a star
I now begin to veer away from direct loric application of symbolism to the Fame-Wolf. To explain this last I need to relate a meditation I had. Fenrir had come, he took me to something similar to a stone tower. Within, it was simply but beautifully furnished with rough hewn woods, plenty of red velvet coverings, steel or silver trappings about. Set within the circular walls were many vicious looking iron spikes all pointing in. I looked at them, he shrugged and said, ‘Many don’t like me.’
We talked for a time and he suddenly looked up as though listening and then bounded up some stairs. He cried out, ‘Come, come quick!’ I ran up the stairs after him and he pointed me to a circular window that seemed as though a lens. Through this lens I saw two stars heading towards each other and they collided with a brilliant beauty I will never forget. I looked at Fenrir, he looked at me with such joy and wonder. I realized this scene was a gift.
The meditation ended then. I often thought about that event, what I saw there. To Fenrir, death and destruction WAS beauty. It was a chilling thought, one I quickly wanted to set aside. At this time I am glad I didn’t turn away from this conceptual stream.
The concept and the absolute beauty/horror of what I had seen continued to tick through my mind for several months. One day, I was driving home from work and my mind touched on this again. Suddenly everything crystallized.
Now, this may only make sense to someone like me who has in their career helped well over a hundred people pass on. I’m an RN who has worked AIDS units, oncology and transplant floors, high level ICUs. Death abounds. Death in and of itself isn’t to be feared, it is a part of the progress of life. I’m not talking of the cold existence of death; for me that is more Hela’s realm. I’m speaking of our conceptualization of death.
I realized that moment there is a singular beauty in death. We as a people need to acknowledge this. Death is a passage on, a change, a different sort of birth. Beauty can be found within its realm. My father died on hospice care. We didn’t hire nurses, my mother and I stood by his side for the year he was actively dying. My young children helped in his care. His death, though sad, was a good death. It was a death of beauty, surrounded by his wife of nearly 50 years, his children, and the sound of his grandchildren’s laughter.
Let’s take a side look at wolf behavior. Wolves are inextricably bound to their family pack from the time of their birth to the time of their death. Wolves have been seen to mourn the death of pack mates, laying around the body for days. Mothers who lose pups have been observed in the wild to carry the pup around, showing it to other pack members in grief until another finally buries it.
This is the bittersweet beauty we can and should seek out. We should honor death, find a place of peace at its side. Modern man has removed death from our homes, relegated it to dark corners in nursing homes and hospitals, transferring the tending of death to nurses and other caretakers. We have separated ourselves from it and so shun and fear death and anything to do with the concept. Death needs to be brought back into the home, into that circle of love that only family can provide. Therein lies its beauty if we only look and accept. Therein lies hope for our own lives.
This applies to the death of our world at the time of Ragnarök. All living things come to an end and so will the Earth. As I believe mythology to be a symbolism, our end may be a meteor, the sun may burn out, or we may cause a nuclear holocaust. Somehow, our world will be destroyed. However, we can realize we aren’t alone. Beings like Fenrir are present that can help clean up the mess, swallow that burnt out sun providing room for the daughter of the sun to shine. Old Gods will go with dignity and heroism making way for new Gods and a new world wherein they can provide for the new bloom of humanity, a new age of innocence. Without all of the beings within the mythos playing their perspective roles this can’t happen. I am not eager for Ragnarök. But it will come and, just as a dying relative, I will not relegate the end of this cycle and the transition into new to a dark mental corner. I will find the beauty and grace in their death, I will play my role in their cycle which infringes upon mine.
I’m not proffering that everyone should go out and begin worshipping Fenrir. I am suggesting that his role in the mythology be examined more closely. All beings within the Northern mythos have multiple aspects and sides. Just as the Allfather encompasses not only war and death but inspiration and creation, just as Loki is not only a thief but a gift giver, Fenrir can provide wisdom and insights of beauty. Even just heavy meditation on his dichotomy against the Allfather will be of value. The meanings of Fenrir has been cast into the closet long enough. Every village should have at least one who has considered Fenrir and what he has to teach about rage, control, despair, and finding the beauty and hope in death. These concepts shouldn’t be avoided, they should be learned from as they impact all.
It is not the child who fears the darkness that should be feared, but rather the man who fears the light.
How can you help anyone if you don’t find the world to be an amazing place?
I think it is a valid question. One of those thoughts that strikes you in that numinous sweet spot between opposites. See, I have this thing, this ramble brain mode where these diametrically opposed trains of thought go sweeping through. I’m at once actively participating and idly watching them go round and ride, shooting past rapidly or creeping at a snail crawl. The tracks meander around but there is one spot, one special place I've found where they cross and if you work at it, if you are persistent and have that feather’s edge of luck, you can get those trains to collide. When that happens, oh when that happens, you get to slip into that space between the worlds, that numinous place where sight becomes the velvet touch and sound smells as rose peaches warming in the sun as you feel the rhythm and taste of honey.
So there I was, one train creaking by its smell of rust tainting the air. I look around and lingers on the past mistakes and ignored chances, I dread the becoming, and already regret the should be. The idling motor spews grey as a realization strikes that life just hasn't turned out as one planned or hoped. That can be Depression with a capitol D.
But that is just one train. Another is meandering about. This thought looks at the world and wants to dance and laugh. There is humor in the air and joy is smelt near and afar. I idly watch this train realizing it is right, the world is a beautiful place. I avidly dive in and catch the fever of life whirling about on its mad mad wonderful ride. I’m stumbling around finding beauty everywhere.
And it happens. The impassive conductor of both stands calmly aside and throws the crook to pull the two trains together.
The trains collide and I step through. I laugh, life is amazing and you have to just look. It isn't place as much as perspective. I spontaneously say, ‘How can you help anyone if you don’t find the world an amazing place?’ I’m not particularly asking, I can feel the wonder of the question, I’m in awe of a sense of rightness in this numinous concussion.
He asks, ‘You think I am not amazed?’ I look and stop. My stomach sinks and with a looming heaviness I say, ‘If you aren't, I would be sad.’ I linger on this, I feel the sorrow of the truth of this. I think of others I know who bury themselves in helping others yet it is only a ruse, they are trying to find joy through others about them. They run that hamster wheel never realizing that until they find amazement, until they feel that awe and open themselves to life around them, they will never feel that joy. Someone who is not amazed is a sorrowful thing.
The worlds are wondrous places. Never stop feeling amazed.
"It's not that I don't have faith in the Gods, its that I don't always have faith in myself."
This is something to think on. We all have times of trial, times of bleak despair. We want to stand tall and rail our fists in the air, screaming at the Gods for all that has happened. We bemoan our loss of faith to friends, we tell them we feel distant from our spirituality.
We run around in circles dealing with our heartache and simultaneously hating and grieving the vacant hole in our religious hearts we so casually claim is left by deity. We ask ourselves and each other, "Why would the Gods do this? Why would they leave us to fend for ourselves in such times of trial?" We suffer and blame; we complain of losing faith.
But more likely the problem is ourselves. We don't have the faith in our own strength and perseverance to get through the adversities of life. We don't have faith that the Gods are actually there. When these times happen, when life throws us a curve ball, we want things to be fixed, we want strength and support, and sometimes that is just something we have to do ourselves. The powers, in all their wisdom, know there are sufferings we must have to grow, they know there are trials we have to bear.
So maybe, just maybe, the loss of faith is within our own self, its a lack of faith in our own ability to carry the burden, to persevere. Maybe we need to look within.
These are ideals anyone who wants deific involvement needs to cultivate. If you don’t have them, don’t even bother. You’ll ultimately be hit hard for hubris, you’ll only fill your head with inane sock puppetry, and you will make mistakes in what you feel is your study or work. Let’s briefly discuss each one.
Respect means to show deference and regard for another. I’m not positive there is enough respect in heathenry. Respect towards deity doesn’t necessarily mean you have to worship every power, but it does mean you need to show deference and regard. It doesn’t mean honoring one God and then insulting another- lack of respect for any deity is lack of respect for all.
I kneel, I eagerly get on my knees before my powers. It is one way I show respect, it is one way I give esteem to my deities. A simple physical act that means so much. I have been scoffed at over this and I fail to fathom why. I’ve heard, ‘I’ll never get on my knees to a deity, I’m a proud and tall heathen.’ Proud yes- to the point of hubris in my mind. These are deities, these are Gods. Kneeling before them is a privilege and a way of sharing joy.
I also strongly feel this lack of respect encompasses the, ‘I respect the Gods because they are my kin but I will not go to them ‘cause heck, they are busy’ mantra one hears so often. That isn’t respect, that is avoidance. That is only going to see Grandma when you need to borrow money, and then possibly not paying her back. Respect is visiting frequently, taking your shoes and hat off when you go through the door. Respect is bending down to help her pick something up as needed. Respect is getting on our knees.
Silence. Why do I even need to define this? Because it is more than just being quiet. It is actively listening, it requires a stilling of the mind to allow one to hear what They are saying. It requires what I coin a ‘willful vulnerability’ to actually hear. You see, what deities will impress on one isn’t always what we want to hear. It isn’t always backpats and pink joy joy bubbles. We need to be silently vulnerable and open to actually learn not only the good about us and our surroundings, but also the shadows, the parts of pain. If gibberish is eternally spewing from our mouths then nothing of import can ever be taken within. Silence entails, for once, a point at which we stop talking or explaining or rationalizing or yammering on and just focus on being, focus on listening.
Research. This is not only actively putting oneself into a position of learning, but it is work. That is Work with a capitol as many like to put it. What direction do the powers point us in? What is our role in this life? What do we need to do now, what next? We won’t understand this without first having the respect and silence that allows us to understand how to do the job. Once we do we need to actively pursue this role, we need to grab it by the shaft with a firm diligence that provides the greatest of esteem to our powers.
Put simply, we need to get on our knees, stop talking, and do the job before us. They want to savor our desire, they want to see aggressive application to the work, they want to see determination and staying power. When the job is done with passion and fervor, they will reward with an explosion of joy that one can practically taste as sweet as honey’d dew and with that blessing bestowed one can rise and welcome them in again and again. The lesson has been learned; respect, silence, and research.
Your ancestors are like the house around you.
Imagine not having a home, that is life without your ancestors.
If you haven't yet, build your house.
There is a fair amount of chatter lately among some members of the mainstream heathen community over whether or not Loki should be hailed in group settings. Those who feel He shouldn’t claim it either invokes strife or has deleterious effects to their wyrd. Those who feel he should state He is part of the pantheon, they claim it is their right to honor one of the Ase’s, and their personal toast should have no effect on others.
It is a persistent impasse. Two camps that can’t see eye to eye. Naturally, I have to side with toasting Loki. I don’t worry about who anyone toasts, toast Beezelbub for all I care. I have enough faith in my own Gods to know someone else’s toast won’t affect me. I also believe in tolerance, most people I know in any kind of marginalized minority believe in this; people have the right to honor and toast who they wish.
Naturally this conversation doesn’t include private gatherings and I don't claim any rights in a person's private home, the conversation centers around an organization’s public gathering. The organization in question welcome’s devotees of Loki’s but won’t allow them to toast him at their own public gathering. Almost by definition this creates a division, a class separation of ingard and utgard. It is a shunning of one of the Gods and a muzzling of those who honor Him. They call it maintaining frith but it is only frithful for those who don't care or don't want Loki toasted.
What many don’t realize is the pain this causes those who love Loki. Just once, I would like a detractor to be honest. I would love to hear them not complain of their own issues or fears surrounding Loki but to say out loud, ‘Yes, your God is utgard to me.’ It would be honest and something I would be better able to respect.
I would hope though that they would understand the sorrow this brings, the sadness. It isn’t at anyone in general- not even at the most staunch and outspoken of the anti-Loki camp. It is a soft pervasive sorrow that doesn’t recede even when He Himself so gently whispers, “It’s ok. I don’t care.” Reality is, in my gnosis, He doesn’t care. It is the people who care.
It doesn’t matter that I can toast any of my other Gods at said public event. I ask, how can I be expected to turn my back on a God who has been so kind to me, a God I so dearly love? How can I be asked this?
I was thinking about this one morning during my commute to work and came upon the flower pictured. It was growing right out of the concrete, a thing of beauty persisting and blooming despite having a bed of grit and pain. I realized this flower is me, it is the community of those who love or respect Loki. It is a joy to behold.
You see, someone recently wrote on a list that it is the shunning of Loki that gives Him power. No. It doesn’t. What it does do is bring together those who love Him, those who won’t shun Him. It is that bond of shared sorrow, that pain in being named utgard that brings devotees of Loki together. It is that which forces His to make their own ingard, to form their own community and it is community that gives power and strength.
To those who are upset, to those who feel pained and hurt, look to the joy that is springing forth. Devotees of Loki are slowly but surely connecting and banding together. Friendships are being formed, alliances and groups made. This would never had happened without the intolerance of those who hold fear, hate, or just uncaring apathy, in their hearts.
We also have to look to the bright moments. In the midst of this debate I received an email from a woman falling in love with the Gods. It is Loki who contacted her, she has now an active devotion to Sigyn and Her sons. The beauty of her words and love lend hope, they make me realize that no matter what some may say, Loki is actively working to put love and faith on the table. He brings people into a spiritual practice, a love for the Gods. Doesn’t matter if they call it heathenry, paganism, or whatever else they choose to call it. These people, like this woman, are hearing the call. They are returning love for love, they are learning about the Gods and slowly expanding their practice.
This, this is what is important. Not, as Loki calls it, a “petty argument.” Let other’s hold their fear, it isn’t for a devotee of Loki’s to hold. Those who love Loki will honor Him. We will be persistent in our sorrow and with Loki’s help, transmute that pain into joy.
The hunter whistled as he walked through the forest. He was in a land far from home and in the morning would be heading back to his own hunting grounds where he had grown up. For now though, he was enjoying this different land with exotic animals, plants, and trees. He had found one wood that was remarkable and had made a new bow and several arrows and was eager to test them for the first time. He was an expert hunter and had an arrow half strung, his fingers itching to let fly at game for the first time.
As he walked he was unaware of a man in the shadows. The Trickster watched the hunter as he leaned back against a tree, the ever-present piece of grass in his mouth. He tested the winds, and adjusted his hat. He thought for a moment and knew that the time had come, it was time for a little thing. At that moment, the hunter spotted a rotten but upright tree. He was feeling well and young and strong and strung an arrow, pulling it taut to gauge the feel and aim. The Trickster grinned and with a twinkle in his eyes he blew the smallest puff of air at the hunter. The puff dislodged a drop of sweat into the hunter’s eye and the arrow slipped from his grasp.
The hunter stood there in shock a moment. He was an expert. He had never let an arrow loose without meaning. He looked at where it had gone, it was buried into the rotten tree. He sighed a breath of relief that at least it wasn’t lost and went to retrieve the arrow.
When he went to pull it loose he saw that it had entered a burrow that had the entrance on the other side. The arrow had killed a strange little animal, a mother squirrel, her nine little kits huddled next to her dead body in fear. The hunter felt shame. He only killed for food and never killed a mother animal with young. He had never loosed an arrow accidentally and this with the death gave him the greatest of sorrow.
So he did what he felt he had to do. He had taken a mother’s life without the proper care and in return he would raise her kits. He reached in gently and pulled out the kits and their bedding, putting everything into his bag. He sighed, he’d have to truly test his new bow later. As he turned and left the forest with his bundle of squirrel young the Trickster grinned and let out a soft sigh and a chuckle. Things were now on the path of as they should be.
He cared for those squirrels carefully all the long journey home. When he came to his land, the land given him by his father and given from his father’s father’s before them, he stopped at a tree just outside the house. It had a crevice between two branches that fit the nest perfectly.
Time went by. He raised up the squirrel kits in this land foreign to them. No squirrels had been there before. They grew to adolescence and became rambunctious. They still weren’t ready to be on their own though and often he would have to chase them down to bring them back to safety for the night. One lovely evening one of the kits ran further than usual. The kit ran to the river down the gully and cheekily hid in a basket. The hunter, while pulling the kit out, was surprised to find a woman coming up the trail. She had been picking berries by the river and was shocked to see a strange man with a strange animal in her basket. However, he was handsome and had a kind smile and she was lovely with sparkling eyes and that little meeting ended up in a wedding full of love and light.
Later that year the squirrels had grown and moved on into the greater forest. What the hunter hadn’t noticed were several seeds buried in the nest. After the squirrels left the hunter took the nest and tossed it aside in a field.
Years passed and the squirrels multiplied and became ready food for the locals. The seeds grew into trees, trees new to this area of the world. The hunter, now old but with several strong, healthy sons found the trees to have a wonderful wood that were perfect for making boats and other things. He decided to cultivate the trees and when he died his sons continued the tree farm.
The sons became wealthy. They had inherited the kindness and compassion of their father and were always kind to their servants and neighbors. They and their own son’s and their son’s son’s spread out through wealth and travel becoming wise leaders everywhere they went. The family became a legacy of wisdom and peace and all the while the Trickster grinned.
When you follow the path of ‘should be’ you will find that often it is the little things that are of the greatest import.