Roads to Vanaheim: Exploring the Vanir & Vanatru
A blog about the Vanir gods and other Vanic entities, gnosis and doxa, and thoughts on building a Vanic pagan practice.
In praise of Njord
While the Vanir are always present in the world around us, I personally tend to feel Them the most strongly in that liminal space when the seasons change: Nerthus when fall becomes winter, Freya when winter becomes spring, Frey when spring becomes summer... and Njord when summer becomes fall.
This is the time of year when depending on where you live, it's still warm enough to be comfortable, but the oppressive heat of summer starts to fade, and the rains come or will be coming soon. As the land mellows, I feel Njord's gift of serenity, water after fire, which will later wash color into the world.
That said, this is a year where I've felt Njord pretty strongly year-round.
In July 2013 I moved from southern California to Portland, Oregon. I have always wanted to live in the Pacific Northwest, and while the circumstances in which I arrived here were not the way I wanted to come here, I am nonetheless grateful for living in the land that has called to me all my life... and where my own soul sings with it. There are many things about the Pacific Northwest that I love. The thing I love perhaps the most is the Oregon coast, a place of beauty... of liminality. When I go to Cannon Beach, I can feel the veil thin between worlds... I can feel where Vanaheim overlaps with Midgard. I have felt Njord there more strongly than I have ever felt him anywhere else of all of the beaches I've visited.
Njord has been good to me over the years, he has taught me more than a few important lessons... and this past year he taught me about letting go, cleansing, and the flow of wyrd - all rivers run to the sea, and wyrd is as inexorable as the tides crashing into shore. It was valuable. That and the peace he gave me during a major ritual I did in March, has stayed with me, and has helped a lot.
In my gratitude to him, I am putting together a devotional book in his honor. (More details can be found here on my WordPress blog.)
But even more than that... I am feeling him. I am aware of him. I am mindful of him, and especially as the summer winds down, cooling into fall... his season of influence refreshes me after an intense, catalytic thirteen months. I drink in his presence, and I am nourished, and I try to share some of that in my corner of the world.
Njord is a god who I am surprised does not have more of a following in modern polytheism. I know he's not as "exciting" as some other gods out there, but his serenity, his wisdom... his grace... is something I have appreciated for many years. He is a joy to know. I adore him, in his quiet strength, his compassion, his hospitality, his generosity, his sunny disposition, his playful humor, his depth. He calms the wildest storms of my melancholy heart, he reminds me of all that glitters in the world - like sparkles shimmering on the sea - and helps me to remember "this too shall pass" when rough patches appear. He is like the embodiment of the sunlit sea... the gentle rains... given form in his smile, his words, the way he is, and encourages us to just be. He is a beautiful god, with a beautiful heart. While he is not my patron, I am close to him... and my life has been the richer for it.
So in this seasonal change, I turn my thoughts to him, and flow with him; if you've never connected with Njord and you'd like to do so, the coming weeks are a good opportunity (much as he can be experienced year-round, like I noted above). Here are some suggestions:
-Pray; offer your words, the sincerity of them. It doesn't have to be pretty. It is the truth of those words, given from the heart, that matters.
-Poetry, which he is fond of. He also likes song.
-Drink offerings such as mead, rum, or cider.
-Food offerings such as fish, chowders, rum cake.
-Gold coins (such as gold dollars).
-Treasures from the sea - shells, sand dollars, pebbles, sea glass, driftwood. (Please be careful in collecting objects from beaches, as many places have ordinances about collecting these items; take care with the local marine life and ecosystem.) A set of runes carved from pieces of driftwood would be a lovely craft project to make as an offering.
-Spending time at the shore (or other body of water if you live inland, such as a lake or pond or river), meditating on him, maybe talking with/to him if you like.
-Spending time cleaning a beach (or other body of water) from litter.
-Meditating on him during other activities involving water - bathing, drinking water.
-Hailing him when it rains, thanking him for the life-giving gift of water. (While storms are more traditionally connected with Thor.)
-Meditating on him when travelling, or involved in commerce (buying/selling) - domains of Njord's - or other activities that involve flow and exchange.
As noted these are suggestions, not demands. But hopefully these will help, if you have wanted to make a connection with Njord and don't know where to begin.
If you have any words of praise for Njord or experiences with Njord that you'd like to share in the comments, please feel free to do so.
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