In Fall of 2011, with staff in hand and under cover of my white satin veil, I fared forth to Nerthus’ hall in Vanaheim. Before departing, I offered oil of patchouli as well as blended oils of Saturn and Earth to Nerthus, Blessed Lady of Twisted Roots and Ancient Bones. I thought my offering was sufficient to ensure safe passage and clear messages from the goddess. I was wrong.
I slipped out of my skin and into Vanaheim but it was a turbulent journey. My connection to that realm was not as strong as I had hoped or as I would have expected given the practice I’d had with venturing into others of the Nine Worlds. For unclear reasons, my awareness slipped back to Midgard – to my living room to be exact – where my body was entranced. I worked to determine what brought me back to my home base; it was quick work because off to my left I saw an angry spirit whose ire raised the hairs on the back of my neck. It stomped its foot in anger. I tried not to panic. He looked like a thurs to me, large and intimidating with a twisted form. Once I figured out what it was, I invoked the power of the rune Thurisaz and banished it, then returned to Nerthus’ Hall in Vanaheim. However, the journey was still quite rocky and involved a fair amount of disorder and confusion.
Nerthus spoke to me of many things. She was not completely out of focus but was less clear than I’d hoped. During our visit together in Vanaheim, she shared another piece of her mystery, which I relished (Hail Nerthus!). In my experience with her, Nerthus is both the potential for life that hums just below the surface of dead deep-winter earth and so too is she the death that grips earth in deep-winter. Her might seems intimately interwoven with life and death, most especially their power to potentiate one another. Rich earth contains building blocks. the codes for life and death. So, earth is the element I associate most with Nerthus though she has very strong water associations for me as well. Where she is connected with water, I see murky, earth-filled water like bogs. I think of bogs as the first wombs of life – where the first primordial Life Smoothie was mixed up by Nerthus herself – and as the first tombs – where the spent remnants of primordial life were interred and used to feed new life forming. Nerthus went on to share that she has a role in relation to the physical remains (particularly bones) as well as the spirits of many animals, trees, and plants, which is not surprising given her larger connection to life and death. She did not offer too much detail about this role. Before now, I connected Nerthus with human life fairly exclusively but she clarified on this journey and helped me to see that she is involved in stirring many species’ cauldrons, not just humans.
At this point in the journey, my mind wandered to and fixated on tree spirits. Then it dawned on me, the angry spirit in my living room was not simply a random thurs; it was the spirit of my staff! I returned to Midgard and spoke with the staff spirit, a spirit of Ironwood. I apologized profusely. He demanded appeasement in the form of beer and bread. I agreed to his terms in order to right my wrong and he quieted. When I returned to Nerthus, everything was “Claritin clear”, it was like a fog had lifted. Nerthus shared a few more helpful messages and confirmed that the staff spirit and I had some work ahead of us.
I infrequently fare to Nerthus’ home but I think I may need to walk that path more often. She is a great and mighty lady to whom I hope to give much more honor in the months and years to come. Hail Nerthus, Holy Mother, Sovereign Queen, Lady of Life and Death! And, I most definitely need to improve my spiritwork etiquette. In the future I will do a more in depth assessment of beings encountered along the way in order to minimize the chances of looking like a rude fool.