Root, Stone and Bone: Honoring Andvari and the Vaettir of Money
Fuensanta Arismendi and Galina Krasskova Asphodel, 2008
In this slim volume, co-authors Arismendi and Krasskova explore their devotions to — and the lessons they have learned from -- Andvari and the different vaettir of money. To my knowledge, it is the only such volume, making it a rare and fascinating treat.
In the Northern Tradition, Andvari is one of the Duerger, or dwarves. He makes one memorable appearance in the lore, in a Reginsmal tale in which he loses his magic ring Andvarinaut and his golden hoard to Loki. As the authors reveal, though, there is much more to Andvari than one might first think. He is the “God of deep places/ And of deep and far-reaching consequences,” the “forger of consciences” who teaches powerful and important lessons about right ownership, right consumption, integrity, frugality, luck, and fair trade. In other words, he teaches us how to relate to money; not in the unhealthy ways so many of us do now (we fear it, we hoard it, we obsess over it, we despise it), but in creative and healthy ways. Money, this book teaches, is not inanimate; it is sacred and alive. When it is hoarded, it rots. When it is exchanged fairly, rightly-traded, rightly-owned, it is a force for creation and transformation.
The lessons offered in Root run the gamut from the wholly practical (mindful consumption of resources, self-discipline, paying off old debts) to the deeply mystical (the vaettir of the different denominations will sometimes place conflicting demands on you). I found the confluence of the “practical” and the “mystical” striking. If you treat money as sacred and worthy, then of course you’re not going to spend it frivolously. If you keep your check book balanced and only spend within your means but always take care to tip fairly and pay your debts, then of course you realize its importance and value.
I enjoyed all of Root, but a few pieces stood out. Arismendi’s “Fafnir and Dragon Disease” is eye-opening and just a tad frightening. (We all know someone with dragon disease.) “Andvari’s Bride” by Vongvisith is sweet and funny and bittersweet. And, thanks to Krasskova, I am feeling the urge to make my own Money Consciousness Prayer Beads. Root, Stone and Bone is a heartfelt offering in the name of a little-understood and little-honored Power.
Highly recommended to those on the Northern Path, as well as anyone devoted to Deities closely linked with money (such as Hermes, Mercurius and Cai Shen). Also, anyone with psychological and emotional money issues — which is, candidly, quite a few of us. (Note: this review is reprinted with permission of the author; originally published in Eternal Haunted Summer, Autumn, 2010.)