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Meeting the 9 daughters of Ran

Week 12: Bara, Undine of Erosion and Big Waves, Mermaid of patience

Personal Gnosis on Unn UPG

Week 11: Bylgja Previous MermaidNext Mermaid Week 13: Fjolvar

Bara, undine mermaid daughter of Aegir and Ran

Sunday August 29, 2010  

A friend came along to the Parc Des Rapides with me, it was her favorite place to go to while growing up, even calling it “home”. As we walked, I confessed to her:

“You know, you’d think that coming to see the Mermaids would get easier with time. I’ve been doing it once a week for 3 months. But it doesn’t. Each time is a leap of faith. Each time I get the nerves, like on a first date, wondering if I’ll spill my drink all over myself and look like a fool, or offend my date. Last week, I was afraid I might fall into the rapids and die, so I wrote my last will, and spent like an hour crying. And then I came, met Bylgja, and it was all fine. Every time, it’s hard, and I get nervous in different ways. But it always works out.“

We parted and I went to the tip facing the current, the point of greatest erosion. My body felt heavy, like I was sludging through molasses. I practiced Bara’s song as I walked, memorizing the words, until I got to the tip. It was a bit crowded, but I found a nice spot on the rocks near the water. On a whim, I’d brought a blue ribbon, from a cake box my girlfriend had left. Tying one end around my wrist, I let it trail in the water so I could see the currents, and sang Blodughadda’s song. She appeared, and nodded Her approval. I really didn’t feel like hurrying, taking time to really enjoy watching the water, and the gulls who flew above. The wind was strong enough for them to be flapping, yet stay in one spot, and it was fun to watch.


Meeting Bara

My lancet ready, I sang Bara’s song. And I noticed two islands. No wait… one island… and a head! Wow. Raven wasn’t kidding when he said She was a BIG mermaid!

She just waited there, as I stared astonished. Then some crazy guy went into the rapids with only a surfboard. Everyone got up to look and follow him, to see if he didn’t kill himself. Perfect time to use the lancet without attracting attention. “Bara, I make this offering of blood to you.” A drop fell in.

“I wait,” She said.

A second drop.

“I wait,” She said again.

A third. She got closer

“I wait.”

Fourth. Even closer. Crap that’s a big mermaid!

“I wait.”

Fifth. She scooped up some water with a gigantic hand, and drank

“I wait.”

Sixth. Her hair seemed short, auburn blonde, with straight bangs, and straight cut on the sides. She scooped up another drink

“I wait.”

Seventh. Her fingers were mostly flat at the ends, with  very short nails. Closer again, to drink up the blood.

“I wait.”

Eight. Her face must have been about 3 meters wide by 4 meters high, rather rectangular. A meter’s about the same as a yard.

“I wait.”

Nine. “Greetings Bara of the Big Wave. Thank you for coming and accepting my offerings. If you would teach me the ways of water, I would be grateful.”

She slapped the water with Her huge hand and laughed, “I break things, spiritworker. I break them all apart, so they come back to the sea. Is there something in you that you want broken?”

I thought about it: “Well, I break things in people as a therapist … like their shyness, their inhibitions, their fears… but I honestly can’t think of something inside me that needs breaking right now.”

She nodded and smiled. “The big waves are coming you know. The waters will take back big parts of the land. And I will laugh! It all comes back in the end. The waters will rise, you’ll see. And then maybe you will feast with my mother under the sea. Then I will see you, and we will drink together!” She seemed very pleased by the idea. “But not now. Later.” That sounded like a dangerous prophecy for us humans! Not that rising sea levels aren’t expected, they are. Then again, who knows what Her timetable is?

“You humans, you are eroding, just like I am. But you are strange. I erode the land, and bring it to me. You erode the land you need to live on, like an army of ants. Each one insignificant, but working together, the erosion you achieve is truly astounding! It takes time, but I am patient, and I watch. And I wait. Are you patient, spiritworker?”

“Somewhat, I suppose. I guess I’m moderately patient.”

“There’s a trick to being patient, you know.” She smiled. “First, you learn to notice the small changes. Look at this rock under water. Look in your mind, for the small changes. What do you see?”

“I see… very very tiny particles of rock, slowly being taken away from the rock.”

“Very good! The second trick is to pick a rock. I chose this rock. Oh, certainly, I want to bring down the whole shore, the whole continent. But that takes time. Patience means I pick this one rock, and I focus just on that one. I pay attention to the small changes, as my waves constantly batter it. And I enjoy every little grain of that rock I can get away from it.” She grinned good naturedly.

“And the third trick is, make it a game, have fun! Yes, I can grind it down to sand, grain by grain. But… where are the weak spots of this rock? Are there cracks forming? Are there sedimentary veins that will turn to sand more easily? If I can break it in two, it will be easier to grind each of them separately. Look for the cracks! Look for the weak spots! Are there more clever ways to destroy it? I love finding the cracks, and pulling them apart!”

Tricks to Being Patient
1-Learn to notice the small changes
2-Pick a rock to work on
3-Make it a game, have fun! Find the weak points. 

I thought about how water flows on land, into cracks, breaking things apart. And here in Canada, when water fills a crack, it turns to ice in the winter, and expands. That breaks it apart further, so there will be more water next year in that crack… and the ice will split it further. She nodded: “That’s it, exactly!” So interesting! She’s also the erosion on the land, in cracks, by ice! She smiled. It’s not uncommon for Them to comment on things I’d just been musing about, without specifically trying to send the words. So now, when I see cracks in things… I’ll think of Bara, and her joyous laughter at things being broken down. Neat. Then I had a thought:

“I… have a song I think you’d like. My girlfriend taught it to me just yesterday. I don’t know the tune… but I can make one up.”

“A song? Yes!! Do sing it for me! Make up a tune!”

“Forget your perfect offering,
Ring the bells that still can ring
There’s a crack in everything,
That’s how the light gets in.”

She laughed and slapped the water: “Wonderful! I love it! Thank you little spiritworker!”

I really like those song words, there’s a lot to meditate on in these. I keep trying to make just the right offerings to the gods… and I fail. I don’t know what the right offering is. But I do something, I ring a bell, I sing… I try. I’m imperfect, and so are my offerings. But maybe that’s the point… these cracks, maybe they’re not a flaw. Maybe they’re a feature.

By the way, I just looked those words up. They’re from  a song by Leonard Cohen called Anthem. Of all things, it’s a song about war!

Then I sang Bara's spirit song. I could feel the difference. I had permission to sing it now. Awesome!

I remembered something else: I had forgotten the fruit today. Of all days… the last of my series, I go and forget the fruit! Doh! But, I had a granola bar, with a yogurt coating. I asked Her if she’d like it, as I didn’t have fruit.

“Yes, let me taste this granola bar you have. It is not something we get a lot of.“ 

I unwrapped it, and let it float into the water. She grabbed it and brought it to Her lips… but it was tiny in Her hands, with fingers the size of my thighs! She managed a tiny dainty bite, I don’t know how. I can’t imagine She could have tasted much of it, but She chewed pensively, trying to get the flavor. “Perhaps,” I suggested, “you’d enjoy it more if you were a bit smaller.”

“Good idea!” She exclaimed, and started shrinking from gynormous to merely gigantic. Now the granola bar was only somewhat smaller than one of Her teeth, and She actually seemed to enjoy it!

“You will have to make me a bigger one.”

“A bigger one?? Umm…” And I started to think of how I might accomplish this with my meager cooking skills, imagining a granola bar the size of a really big loaf of bread. Well, I suppose I could do something with rice crispies, like those rice crispy squares, and add more stuff into it.

“Make me one,” She added, “and I will teach you more.”

Putting aside Her plans to destroy all the continents, She was certainly pleasant company, I’d enjoy seeing Her again. And at least, I knew what to give Her that She’s like! Our meeting at an end, I thanked Her, and made my way back to meet my friend. Wow… that was a pretty amazing meeting. I felt full, still a bit trancy, but full, like it was somehow bigger inside of me, that some of Her had rubbed off a bit.



After writing this down, I realized there was another reason I’d been writing all this down, and making it public. I’ve have many experiences over the years of things that just can’t be explained rationally, not unless you assume magic and spirits are real. But I’ve had an unfortunate tendency to forget these things, as if they were not real. Writing them down, being able to read them, and perhaps people asking me about them, is a sort of guarantee that I won’t be forgetting them anymore. They’re real.

Hail Bara, Mermaid of Joyful Antagonism and Persistence!


Note: The next entry is not a mermaid, but rather my attempt to learn more about Fjolvar, the most famous brothel keeper of the Nine World (well, actually, the only one we know about, who had Odin as a customer). He lives with his Ladies on an island called Algrön (Evergreen) between Jotunheim and Vanaheim. I commissioned art to contribute for His card of the Giant's Tarot deck.


Week 11: Bylgja Previous MermaidNext Mermaid Week 13: Fjolvar


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