First a preface…
Initially I wrote the first portion of this around 2 yrs ago, I am reusing it here because it is as good an accounting (minus a few edits) as I am likely to get of those first years in summary, I do expand in some places but if you are one of my FB friends then yes you may indeed have seen parts of this before…..
Moving on now…
It started a little over 20ish yrs ago… with complete denial. See, at that time I was deeply immersed in my happy little world of Celtic paganism – after all everyone else was so why shouldn’t I right? He made many attempts to make Himself known in various and sundry guises – to this day I can only guess that he chose the gets-ups he did (surfer, biker etc) because he was attempting to either appeal to my sense of humor or be less intimidating. I’m inclined to think it was the humor angle being that I have not ever seen or heard of him intentionally being less intimidating to anyone. There were many reasons as it turns out. But the primary reason when it came to it is simple. The Old Man Spoke to my Heart, Mind, Body and Soul. And lets face it those are the reasons any of us have faith aren’t they?
It was at that point that I took my first step onto His Path. I began to Seek the Mysteries by studying the runes. I took 2 years to work through them the first time. Through that I dug through the lore and deepened my relationship with My Self and with The Old Man as well. I was involved in various kindred’s and built wonderful relationships but moving around a few times made it hard to maintain much contact. Understand of course that this was when long distance phone service was still on a $/minute rate and internet was barely existent so it was a factor..
As I did this work I was also seeking out the mysteries of the “so called” Dark Goddesses. I say “so called” because there seems to be an extreme bias against them, or at the very least an incomplete understanding of them. The negative aspects seem to be the only things considered and in my mind that was a very strong reason for a deeper seeking of the mysteries that surround them. I began with Kali, & Lilith, Inanna, Pele, Medusa, Kali, Sekhmet, Hecate, and ended with Hela. I learned a great many things as I walked along this road and began to apply what I was finding to my runic studies. It greatly enhanced my understanding of them and broadened the depths of the mysteries within them.
One might ask the question what does all of this have to do With Oðin or even with Heathenism. After all what does Pelé have to do with either of those things. On the surface not much but a deeper exploration of Her (for me) revealed valuable insight into Kenaz I had not considered. Every one of them revealed a deeper aspect of the Runes, heathen ideals or other principals we live by.
I continued to build my relationship with the Runes and The Old Man through the years. There were of course twists and turns along the road but they were good twists. After the twists my Goði was ‘told’ that it was time to find his old kindred members – of which I was one – and form a new kindred in the area. It was simply time for it to happen. So we gathered, we sought, we listened we bloted and symbled as well. As a part of our symble we always raised a horn to Loki after one was raised to Oðin. This has been the case in every kindred I have been a part of. It has always been done so to honor the bond of blood brotherhood between He and Oðin. But still it is questioned it seems – because it is Loki. Who understandably garners suspicion, yet still he has a bond with the Aldaföðr . A bond once made has power, even if that bond is eventually broken. In my view it harms none to honor what once was because it has power. I think it is also prudent to note what became (becomes) of an Oath breaker in the scope of our faith and given that how likely is it that Aldaföðr did so? I realize that it is not every kindred’s practice, but it has been a part of the ones that I have taken part in. Given that, I generally was the one that Raised my Horn to Loki after our Goði raised his first to Oðin. But on Walpurgisnacht that year I held my horn up and spoke a praise to Hela. The kindred all just looked at me with that “wha?” look on their faces, to this day I don’t know if it was due to the expected toast was for Loki and I changed it or if it was curiosity over why I did it. I give this information because it directly relates to how and why I have become what I now am. What I am is an Oðins dottir. What I am is Hela’s Gyðja. What I am is a walker between the worlds as I have been given to do by Hrafnaguð. How do I know this is Sacred Work? Below is the message that was given to me by a Seiðrkona on August 3, 2007. My question was simple: I know there is a message for me that someone has been trying to get through to me but I cannot unravel it, I come to ask what that message is…
I had an inkling what the answer to your question would be when you asked it. But I was not expecting the way it was answered. When your question was asked, a darkness enveloped me—not an unpleasant darkness, but a soothing one. (Jo, who was acting as my warder, later told me that she felt a coldness at the same time—although again, it was not unpleasant or threatening.) And then (for the first time ever) Hela spoke through me to answer:
“Your path lies in working with the dead. You are meant to be a guide for souls. You have known this, but you fear to admit it to yourself, and you don’t speak of it. You fear it because you have felt death come close to you, to your family. You fear loss, you fear pain. Your fear makes you shrink away. You must conquer your fear, for this is your path. Look into the dark mirror before you, and see. This is where all of the roads you have followed lead. This is the training you have been approaching from so many ways. It is where the Old Man is leading you, and why you feel My touch. This is where His path and Mine overlap. Your work is with the dead.”
That message put me on a path I don’t know that I ever would have even have begun to think about. A path that has taught me so very many things, There is wisdom with the Dead, there is compassion within the entire realm, there is also love. I know that this seems counter to what we have all been told but when you break it down in human terms it really does make a good deal of sense. Hela was banished yes, she was relegated to a cold and dark place that most would simply have fed their rage over such an act as banishment is. But She did not. She was also given a charge that no one who comes to Her door may be turned away for any reason. The result of that charge is that She is patient, giving, caring and loving. How can She be other? Her realm is home to any soul that is lost and searching, Her realm is home to the wisdom of our Ancestors and Disir. It is to Her realm that we go when we seek their counsel. Were She the horrible creature that some Heathens portray Her as would She be so tolerant of this? Would She even consider allowing a living soul to approach Her home? Its highly doubtful.
Since I began this work, I have grown more as a person, and as a spiritual being in three years than I did in the ten that preceded them. My Work with Hela has transformed me from beast to beauty. She took the bad and transformed it to something that was raw that was ready for me to make it whole and functional. This – THIS – is what a Deity of death does. She takes what is of no good use any longer and destroys it, giving back something new, something to create with. Something that can grow.
I take those who are lost and wandering to a place of safety for them. I take a frightened old man who doesn’t realize he is making his crossing and give him a person to share the road with. This is a Sacred Work, Holy even if you get down to it. It takes an amazing person to do this. It takes an even more incredible Deity to find that person, to put the work into them, to help them grow and learn. To help them grow themselves – Oðin gave me the Gift of My Self, Hela helped to nurture the Gift, Hela helped the Gift to thrive, even in adversity, Hela helped to foster the Gifts within the Greater Gift. Oðin gave me the desire to seek out the Mysteries, Hela helped me dig deeper. Oðin taught me the ways of the Warrior, Hela taught me the peace that comes with compassion.
These two seemingly oppositional Deities have shaped the deepest part of my Soul. It is Them who laid the paths before me and bade me welcome and be met with the multitudes of All before my Spirit.
I think it is these two that are misunderstood perhaps more than any others as people tend to be more one sided in their views of Hela and Oðin. These are who I seek to emulate the ways of, These are who have guided and cared for the nurturing of my spirit when others were absent. Quite simply These are who I love, and who love me in return.
But that is not the end of the story… Since that was written some 2 yrs ago many things have changed. I have made many journeys and learned more than I think I wanted to know, and I have developed a certain bitterness toward Aldaföðr over a few things, not a hatred but bitterness over things that for me were unnecessarily painful in ways that could have been avoided had there been a bit more tact used (yes i know who am i to expect Him to use Tact when dealing with the Human Condition?). My relationship with Hela has deepened greatly and that has evolved a relationship with Her Kin with the most powerful connection to Her Father… Loki…. Though I will say that Her Mother is often nearby as well, but I will come back to that in my next entry for it could end up being a longer story than this one…
In addition to the influence and connection to the Rokkr, another gift was given to me in the form of a remembered skill that i for me a deeply sacred craft and meditation. The crafting of metal into fine things. I work in silver and niobium to create some pretty incredible stuff and when the time came to reformat my business I decided that a name change was in order as well but didn’t begin to know where to start. And my dear old Goði once again proved to know what he was talking about. He told me to re read Weylands Saga. so I did and I began to see the wisdom of it, of finding that connection between Weyland and his craft to me and mine. That same night i was given another message…. “Dig deep, deep into the earth, to the dark, into the unfertile soil, there you will plant the seed, there you will keep it dark and let it thrive” . That seemed very much to me to indicate a sharing of knowledge with the Dwarves especially given the previous reading of Weylands Saga. Then I looked deeper deeper into the well to find the source. The progenitor of the Crafting Dwarves – Ivaldi, he who was Idunnas Father and Master of Master Crafters. And Then I named my shop for him and my gifts have multiplied in accord