What is Heathenism? Part 2

In the last post I covered the essential Aesir and Vanir. Now I would like to write about the others that play a part in the spiritual realm. I am going to begin with the Monster Children of Loki and the Giants.

HELLA: Hella is the daughter of Loki by the Giantess Angrboda. Hella’s realm is called Hel and Helheim depending on the source. She is a grotesque goddess, being half flesh and half rotting corpse, other sources say that half of her body is black and the other half white. Her character is dual, being both a torturer of the wicked and a gentle if not morose hostess to those who died of old age or sickness but otherwise lived virtuously. The journey to her underworld realm is a harrowing one, where the souls of the dead must traverse through swamps of blades and spears and over sharp, cutting rocky trails. Those who were oathbreakers, adulterers, murderers and secret-killers (betrayers of trust) were taken by the swartalfar, dark malicious dwarves who whipped the damned and poured burning poison down their throats. These unlucky souls were cast down into the frozen wastes of Hel, where there is no warmth and no rest, as they constantly ran from the dreaded dragon Nidhogg who gnaws upon the roots of Yggdrasil the world-tree and whose wings are lined with corpses. The Lore is not clear if this is an eternal place of damnation, or merely a purgatory-like way-point where the damned are extirpated of their crimes and are then reborn without Hamingja or Fylgja to start anew. My opinion is the latter, as the Norse did not seem to believe in “eternity”, as even their Gods must die to rally in a new Era. 
    The virtuous dead were ushered into a somber place of melancholy beauty where they could rest and visit their kin in Midgard. I believe that after a time these souls would then choose to be reincarnated through their family line in hopes of dying a warrior’s death and being ushered into Valhalla.
    However Hella will play an important role in the doom of the Gods, as it is she who will rise up from Helheim, accompanied with the souls of the dead to make war upon the Aesir and the living. It is said that she will tire of her dank halls and seek to usurp the Shining Ones. Hella is often honored during the winter months, especially around Blotamonth (November) when many surplus animals were slaughtered to be preserved for food through the winter months. She is a goddess to be summoned when working dark majik such as curses and necromancy. She is not tame and should be called with the utmost respect and caution.

JORMUNGAND: Jormungand is the World-Serpent, another of Loki’s children by Angrboda. This wyrm was cast into the sea by the Gods, where it grew large and wild. It is said that this monster is so large that it circles the entire globe and can bite it’s tail. Jormungand has a deep hatred for Thor, as it was Thor who almost slew it at one point during a fishing trip. Jormungand will slay Thor at Ragnarok. Wild ocean storms are said to be this monster flailing it’s infinite coils about the sea-floor, and sailors dreaded this beast, having special incantations to chant when his presence was felt.

FENRIR: Fenrir is the giant wolf son of Loki and Angrboda, feared by the Gods. At first, when he was a pup, he was tolerated in Asgard, yet only Tyr dared to go near enough to play with and feed the beast. As the wolf grew he became increasingly violent and cunning and Odin, perhaps having foreknowledge of the fate of this wolf decided that the animal must be chained. The Gods, pretending to be playing at testing his strength, tried all the strongest chains they had, but Fenrir broke every one.  Finally the Dwarven smiths wrought a chain of deep majik that was guaranteed to be strong enough. However, Fenrir was suspicious at this point, and refused lest one of the Gods offer insurance by placing a hand in his jaws. As mentioned in the previous post, only Tyr was brave enough to do so. When Fenrir saw he could not free himself, he exacted payment by ripping Tyr’s sword hand off. The sagas tell us that in the final Age Fenrir will free himself and do battle against the Gods. Odin shall fall to the wolf, being eaten alive, but he shall slay Fenrir in the process. Fenrir should not be called to, and it is my opinion that he has gone quite feral in his imprisonment.

SLEIPNIR: Perhaps the only benevolent monster child of Loki, Sleipnir was born under the most bizarre of circumstances, for Loki in the case was not his father but rather his mother. The sagas tell of a Giant who came to Asgard in the guise of a simple human laborer and offered to build a wall around Asgard. He arrogantly demanded the Sun, the Moon and Freyja for payment. The Gods were about to strike him down for his insolence when Loki intervened and said that they should accept this offer, but demand that the wall be completed in three seasons. No mortal could possibly do such a thing, and the Gods agree under these conditions. The man accepts the deal and begins to build the wall with astonishing speed. The Gods become wroth with Loki, for it appears that the man will indeed complete the walls in time, so Loki changes form into a mare and entices the man’s powerful stallion (without which he obviously cannot complete the project) into the woods. The man becomes angry and lets his guise fall, revealing his Giant nature. The Gods realize that they have been dupted and slay the offending Giant. Loki returns nine months later with an eight legged steed and presents it to Odin as recompense for his misjudgement. 
    Sleipnir is the fastest of all horses and with it Odin is able to travel the Nine Worlds with great speed. Odin cut runes onto the horse’s teeth, hooves and saddle tack, perhaps revealing a practice for protecting war-horses. Sleipnir has been a powerful ally to me in my shamanic journeying through the Nine Worlds, and riding him can be a useful meditation for astral travelling.

More to come. . .


One Response to “What is Heathenism? Part 2”

  1. Keen share here and I like your take on things. One thing I’ve experienced is what we think about is 100% what we receive. We create our own reality.

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