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Meeting the 9 daughters of Ran

Week 2: Hronn - Undine of Fear,
Mermaid of the Drowning Whirlpool

Personal Gnosis on Hronn UPG

Week 1: Blodughadda Previous MermaidNext Mermaid Week 3: Hevring

Hronn Crest, Mermaid of Fear

Saturday: Blodughadda's Return

Saturday June 19, 2010

A week after Blodughadda's first appearance, again I was driving over the bridge. I was singing along to the same CD, but it was playing Jord's song, and it started to feel all wrong. I switched to Blodughadda's, and that felt right, as I started drifting again into light trance. She spoke again in my head:

"What is offered to one must be offered to 9. Make offering tomorrow. Here."

"Um, um... okay. Sure. What should I offer?"

"9 drops of blood. A fruit is good too." She dove back into the water and was gone.

I had set the pattern of 9 drops and a fruit, so that's what They alll expected from me. And here I thought it was one drop for each one... nope. Those 9 had been for Blodughadda, and if I offered less to the other sisters... well, it would probably be an insult.

Wow! I thought I'd only deal with the one mermaid, which was great as my first Water ally. I'm more an Air type, and hoped that with this one ally, an Opener of Ways, I could beg for help of one of the other mermaids if I really needed it. I was both flattered by their high expectations of me, and a little worried. Some of these mermaids are reputed to be pretty scary and I had no idea who the next one would be.

Meeting Hronn

Sunday June 20, 2010

The next day I returned, but with a swimsuit under my clothes, just in case. I'm glad I did. It had been raining earlier that day, but cleared, and the previous night had been quite foggy. I had a peach, some more blood meal (which She didn't want), and my lancet device. I came to the shore, sang Blodughadda's song, and waited. And waited. And waited some more. I was starting to wonder if I'd be stood up, if I was unworthy, or They just didn't feel like it, when I heard a quiet voice in my head: "come".

She just said that, over and over, "come," but I didn't see Her. I took off the clothes, and started walking in. The voice got louder, "Come." Finally, I saw Her. Her face was rectangular, with flat brown hair hacked off unevenly at the jawline.

"Are you Himinglava?" I asked. She wasn't that pretty, but that's the song I'd been busy practicing all week. Himinglava was the second one to come meet Raven.


"Are you Hronn?"

"Yes. Come deeper," She answered.

I went further, to my calves. Before She would accept the offered peach and the drops of blood, She questioned me at length about why I was there.

Once satified, I made the offerings, then was asked to swim, to dive in. Chilly, but I did it. She instructed me to swim so I could not feel the bottom, then go under the water for as long as I could.

"Trust that the bottom will be there for you. Ride the fear that you will not have enough breath. Stay under as long as you can. Do you feel that? Good. This is about knowing, about trusting what you cannot see or feel is there. Knowing that even when you cannot check on it, it is still there."

I spent a while in the water like that, curled up in a ball, so I couldn't feel the surface or the ground, as She urged me on. Eventually, She was satisfied, and I swam back closer to shore, where I could stand. I took a good look at Her.

"You don't look very scary, for an Undine of Fear," I stupidly commented.

"I can be..." and very briefly, she did look pretty horrific.

"Oh... I... I... don't doubt it," I amended. Point taken. She was being nice and I shouldn't complain about it.

Like Her sister, She kept Her distance. She said I would have a song from Her. Yes, I could use the one I knew, but I would get another one. On the drive that followed, I got parts of it. I am not sure whether She made it for me as we went, or whether I was just inspired by the meeting and presence She had. I just have bits, like a composition. I should have stayed there to get it, but I had other promises to keep.


After it was all over and I was safe at home, I wondered what She was trying to teach me. It didn't really seem to be in character for Her to be reassuring. But I realized She was addressing one of my greatest fears. I don't really fear pain, or poverty, ageing or dying, or loneliness. Well, not to the point where I think about them a lot anyway. Rather, my greatest fear is that the spirits are not real, and I'm deluding myself with an overactive imagination. That I have no purpose.

I do get very clear evidence of Them, but it is sporadic. I get to see Them, hear Them, and even feel Them, but only when They want, not when I want. Serving the gods gives a lot more meaning to my life. Knowing there is something greater, beyond all the human crap and posturing is important to me. And knowing I play a small role in that, that I somehow make a difference, and that They care about me, is a vital to me.

Riding that fear means trusting They are there and real, even if I cannot perceive Them every time I feel insecure. The real ground is there, even when I don't touch it, and the air is right above me, even when I cannot breathe it. Even when I am floating in a scary between place. Sometimes, all it takes is one breath, one single breath, to save your life when you feel like you're drowning.

Ironically, I now think of Hronn as The Saving Breath.

Hronn's Song

Hronn's spirit song is hard to learn, in that it has no clear sequence. So I found a way to memorize it, by having it travel in different parts of my body, and drawing a line between them, anchoring it in each part, so I know what the next line is, according to what part it makes me think of. The words of the song are on Raven's site.

Grey waters: Grey waters, in RVs, refers to the dirty water tank, from washing and from going toilet. So I focus on my bladder for this line. I am under water, floating, drowning in slow motion.
Pulse: My heart. A line is drawn from my bladder to the heart. And then a line continues to...
Eye: My third eye, in the middle of my forehead. A line connects each further point.
Deeps: My nasal cavity. I notice how my voice resonates there.
Wet Stones: My teeth.
Grey Mantle: My brain, with all its grey folds.
Breath: My nose.
Words: My lips.
Song: My vocal chords, in my throat.
Silence: the space all around me, inside my aura.
Find you: One foot touches down on the ocean floor. I see Her before me.
Find you: The second foot touches down on the ocean floor. She gets closer.
Find me: She is before me, and clasps my hands in Hers. Then She gives me a push up,and I keep singing the word "go" until I'm out of breath, feeling like I'm still rising up in the waters, but not at the surface yet. And then I have no breath and I'm still not there... and I keep my lungs empty as I keep rising, looking up at the light above... and when I can't possibly go without breath anymore... That's when I reach the surface and take a deep breath.

I know that if I absolutely needed one more breath, She would put Her lips on mine, and give me that one Saving Breath to get me to the surface.

The song also describes reactions to fear: peeing myself from fright, my heart thumping wildly, eyes wide in fear, feeling like you're in a pit and can't get out, teeth chattering, the brain is where fear happens but also can shield you when realizing it's not so dangerous, breath stops with a gasp, struck mute with fear, unable to even cry out, feeling isolated in this silence, then finding solid ground, securing your footing, and finding the way to safety so you can breathe easy.


The Sweatlodge Ordeal

Saturday June 26, 2010

Saturday, I went to my first Native American sweatlodge, having been only once before to a Wiccan one at a festival. This one was interesting in that it included a few Christian Ministers, Pagans, random folks, and the Mic-mac / Irish elder who was leading it. It was very very intense. As one of the women, my role was to cover the floor with cedar leaves, making it soft, and carrying the scent and blessing of cedar. We also helped point out the holes where the light came in, while the menfolk outside found various tarps and carpets to cover them. So, the men were in charge of the light, and the women of the darkness. Interesting.

Near the end of the first round, I had to put my head down near the ground in the cedar leaves to breathe. Since heat rises, the floor is where the coolest air is. At first, I was fine sitting up, but as it got more intense, I had to go down. My thought: "when you can't stand on your own anymore, get down to the Earth." While still sitting up, I'd spoken to introduce myself and my intent. My focus was on the Earth, and my recent meeting with Jord. I prayed for a blessing on all healers, that we may have healing enough ourselves to continue our work. When I came out, on all fours, humbly, the same way we had entered, my relief was immense. Cool air was a blessing, and I could barely think, barely crawl to get some water as I recovered.

During the second round, the men's round, 7 more glowing hot stones were brought into the firepit. More water was splashed, and it got much hotter. I lasted about a third of the way through it before having to go down where it was bearable. I was thinking of the various gods I honor. Between each round, we went out, and I went to the lake, walking in the water. At the first break, I sung Blodhugaddha's song. At the second one, Hronn's, and though I thought I didn't know it yet, most of it came to me; out of order, but it came.

During the third round, the women's round, more stones were brought, and it almost immediately became unbearable, even near the floor. In response to what someone else said (which cannot be repeated outside the lodge), I wanted to speak aloud, asking for blessings upon the Norns.

The Norns, The Three Fates of the Norse

No one ever blesses Them, They desire no worship, and They cannot be swayed because they act from the demands of Necessity. They're also very busy, and have little time for our petty concerns. They're doing everything They can to make history turn out for the best, and get little appreciation. I am such a small part of the tapestry, barely worth mentioning. But in this place, this void of creation that is the lodge, in the spirit presence of the Grandmothers and Grandfathers, I felt I could ask for a blessing upon Them, to make their work a bit easier.

The Creator, if there is only one, is not responsible for all the evils of the world. We are given free choice. The crap here is our doing, and we're responsible for fixing it. The Norns have to juggle this, and keep presenting us with choices, branches in our path, hoping we'll make the right choices. Each time we ignore the right choice, we make Their work a bit more difficult, and our own path harder. The choice comes again, but it gets less and less pleasant for us and everyone involved. So let's just try to notice what we're supposed to do, and do it the first time we get a chance. That's what I prayed for silently, as I cowered on the ground, feeling like my skin was being boiled.

Enduring and Weeping in The Sweatlodge

I tried to hold on long enough to speak, thinking of Sigyn's ordeal in the cave, protecting Loki from the dripping. Iit got more and more unbearable, while I tried to honor Her with tenacity. But I couldn't. I couldn't take it. I needed to breathe, to get out of there. I couldn't think of anything else. But I needed to hold on, for Her, for Sigyn. I started crying, softly at first, and soon in great wracking sobs, wailing loudly in pain. I had something to do, I couldn't just give up. We were asked to hold hands... but I couldn't get up. I couldn't even stand being down there. I cried out: "I can't get up. I need to get out of here, I can't breathe. But I can't give up, I can't go." Someone took my hand and held onto me, sharing strength and comfort while I cried even more loudly. I hoped that my turn would come before my will gave out. It didn't. I shouted as much as I had breath for: "I gotta get out! I gotta get out! I can't do this!!" Getting out was hell. I was drowning in hot scalding steam, unable to breathe, seeing the light of the open door but unable to get to it for the people in my way. When I finally made it out, I collapsed, shamed that I was not able to endure the ordeal, feeling that I had let down my Gods. But, as I had decided in the lodge, sometimes you have to know when to quit. Sometimes, that is the right thing to do.

Sometimes, it is okay to be weak. To realize something is beyond your strength, and be humble. I had endured my fear of dying in the scalding heat. I literally felt like I was drowning in boiling water, unable to breathe, and at the same time, that I could not give up and allow myself to reach the light and fresh air.

Hah. And here I thought Hronn had given me an unexpectedly easy lesson on dealing with fears. The lesson just wasn't when I expected it to happen. And I'm thinking that I'll likely see Hevring, Undine of Sorrow, at the next meeting. It looks like this was a joint lesson on fear and weeping.


Musings on Fear

You could break down fears into a few types.

Fear that something bad will happen, or has happened without your knowledge.

Fear that nothing will happen, of being stuck a bad situation that never changes.

Fear about discovering an awful truth, about yourself, someone else, or the world. Fear of a belief being confimed, or proven false.

And what can you do about it?

You can do something: Fight it, run away, find a smaller chunk you can do something about.

You can do nothing: Find a distraction, freeze, or avoid the source of fear.

You can change your state of consciousness: Stress, get angry, despair, get sad, get creative. So you can do, or stop doing. So you can act differently.

The Opposite of Fear

As I consider what Hronn was trying to demonstrate, I come to only one thing: Trust. Or perhaps it would be better to say Faith. Faith that things will work out, that I can be terrified, and still go on, because I believe. The opposite of fear is Faith.

It's a strange conclusion. Faith is not a popular thing in Paganism. Many of us came from religions that demanded faith, but asked us to believe in things that made no sense to us. So we left those religions, and found ones where we could practice something that made sense. We don't have the problem of monotheists, which is "how can there be evil, with an all powerful and all benevolent god?"

Pagan Gods

We don't have all powerful gods, they're not all knowing, and they're not all wise. They're more powerful, knowing and wise than we are, but they're basically like us, just bigger. They can make mistakes, and like us, they create suffering for themselves. There's no great Evil, just stupid and selfish acts that cause suffering. We can relate to them, and we can bargain with them. They want things, we want things. Maybe we can help each other. Everyone has an agenda, everyone an axe to grind. Even angels. Especially angels!

The One

Oh sure, some of us believe in a big super Oneness thingy somewhere. But the One doesn't intervene. It can't. It's all things, so it can't really favor any one thing over any other. Mosquitoes are just as much part of the One as we are. What we consider Good is just what's good for us. It's not even some Higher Good.

Imagine this, all humans get to vote on whether to save humanity, by destroying a hundred other civilisations, or destroying humanity, and saving all those other worlds. How do you think the vote would go?

Good just means selfish. Higher Good just means selfish for myself and my favorite neighboring life forms.

To Die or Not to Die for What You Believe

But back to faith. The problem is, what to believe in? Do you believe in anything strongly enough to give you your life for it? That's generally considered the strongest act of faith. People die for their faith, and that's kind of noble. People kill for their faith, and that's usually bad news. If you kill for your faith, you're acting out of fear... you're killing someone because they're a threat to your beliefs. That's just fear, not faith, though they look very similar. But there's a desperation to that sort of fear-faith, which is how you recognize it. That kind of believer is threatened by anything that is different.

How about letting yourself be killed for your faith? For the most part, that's bullshit too, unless being a martyr gets your rocks off. You can do more alive than you can dead. If you're working for the Empire of Evil, and you let yourself be killed for your beliefs, you'll just be replaced by someone with less scruples than you. Stay where you are, and do your best to fudge the paperwork as long as you can. Look for opportunities to help things work out for the best. Dying for your beliefs is the easy way out. Living for your beliefs is the harder path.

If I Do My Best, Things Will Work Out, In The End

I think that's the basic core of Faith, a belief that things will work out. You do your best. That's your job, to just do your best. You don't slack off and assume someone else will take care of it. As the quote goes, "All it takes for evil to succeed, is that a few good men do nothing." If you see something you can fix, or help, then do it. You'll never see the Big Picture, not entirely. But you do your part.

Notice the title is in three sections. First you do your best, you keep trying and never give up. Just trying once isn't enough, you have to keep trying to make things right. Sitting on your ass and expecting the universe to give you everything on a silver platter simply does not work. You have to sweat for it.

Then you believe things will work out. When? In the end. Bad stuff will happen, it always does. But what appears to be bad can lead to really good things. Just think of rich kids who always get what they want, or whose parents never set limits. They're insufferable brats, right? They think the world owes them everything and they can take whatever they want. We need to get slapped upside the head, hard, repeatedly, to learn to behave properly, to gain any wisdom at all.

Now, you can organize your faith however you want. I'm Pagan, so for me, there's a few gods helping me out.

I have Faith in Sigyn. I believe in living for what I believe in, and never giving up, in doing what needs doing, because no one else will do it for me, in enduring no matter how hard or painful it is. I follow my code of honor, because it's the right thing to do, and in the end, I'm the only one who can judge my own actions.

I have Faith in Loki. I believe in my luck to arrange events so things will work out best for me, personally, even if it doesn't look that way at first. I deeply believe I am lucky and blessed, that things are happening the way they are to help me. I believe in change, that change is a good and necessary thing.

I have Faith in my Disir, my ancestral spirit and my bloodline. I believe my body, my mind, and my upbringing, have been designed specifically to make me who I am, so I am the best possible tool to accomplish my purpose in life, even when I don't know exactly what that purpose is. I believe this is true for everyone.

I have Faith in the Norns, the Three Fates. I believed that history will work out for the best, in the end, and that the more we do our part to help the Fates, by fulfilling our own purpose in life, the less pain there will be for everyone, and the faster it will work out, so we can reach the stars, metaphorically and literally. The Fates can tweak events, but they can't force us. We all have a role to play, and we ought to play it well.


Meditation of the Week

You should really take at least a few days with each mermaid's themed exercise. Just sayin'.

Your exercise this week is to think of at least 3 times in your life when things went badly for you, but it turned out to be a good thing in the end. Think about what the end results of that were in your life, how they prepared you for other challenges.

Then think of some of your worst moments, and consider how these moments changed you, how you'd be different if they hadn't happened. Are they actually bad? Or did they give you new insights, empathy for others, a way to help that wouldn't have been otherwise apparent to you? It is a crippling wound, or a useful tool? Is it a bug or a feature?

Pretend you're God, and you designed a person exactly like you to have a role in the world... what would that role be? What would their purpose and function be? How would they be ideally suited to make the world a better place?

What do you have Faith in? What do you live for? Truth? Justice? And the Canadian Way? :)


Whenever you feal fear, or see fear in others, when you see water swirling down... you can remember Hronn.

Hail Hronn! Mermaid of Fear... and Faith.


Relevant Events This week

Tuesday June 22, 2010 : Dumb Supper for Sunna


Week 1: Blodughadda Previous MermaidNext Mermaid Week 3: Hevring


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