Gnosis Diary: Life as a Heathen

My personal experiences, including religious and spiritual experiences, community interaction, general heathenry, and modern life on my heathen path, which is Asatru.

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Novel Gnosis part 28: Rindr

Continuing the novel gnosis series of posts, wherein I discuss religious insights gained via writing my unpublished behemoth Some Say Fire, today I'm talking about Rindr. Rindr is kind of an obscure goddess so I'll start with an introduction to her story in the Lore, which is what Asatruars and other heathens call our religious canon. Rindr is the daughter of Billing, king of the Ruthenians. That sounds like she must be a human but she is considered a jotun, also called ettin or giantess. Odin needed to father his son Vali to be an agent of vengeance and decided Rindr was to be the mother. He set out to woo her in disguise as a warrior named Roster, but she did not accept him. He tried twice but was rejected both times, so instead Odin turned himself into a witch named Wecha and used magic. The two main interpretations of this story by scholars are the agricultural metaphor interpretation that Rindr is a personification of the frozen winter earth that needs to be thawed and fertilized, or the feminist interpretation that Odin is a problematic figure. I don't subscribe to either of those interpretations in my novel gnosis.

Rindr was born with the potential to become a goddess, like some other jotnar who joined the Aesir, but didn't finish becoming one until bearing the god-child. Her story then is a story of the trial of initiation that makes one reach one's potential, similar in general movement if not in detail to Odin's trial on the tree. The ways in which Rindr doesn’t quite pass the goddess ascension tests and how Odin figures out how to make it work anyway highlight exactly what those tests are and what they are for.

Enjoy this snippet from Some Say Fire:


Vali still clung to his father’s white beard. He turned his baby blue eyes to his mother, and he smiled.


Then her eyes widened with realization, and she put an embarrassed hand over her mouth for a moment. Her voice was softer when she continued, “I have dreamed of you all my life, as you appear now, but robed in blue.”


“When you are ready to journey to Asgard, just say my name out loud and the Rainbow Bridge will appear before your feet.”


“Why did you trick me and my father? Why didn’t you court me openly?”


“I did, as Roster.”


“Roster! Roster was just some guy. If you had come to me as yourself, as a god, as King of Asgard, I would have welcomed you.”


“I am always myself, even in disguise. I wanted you to recognize the god in Roster, to see my light, and guess my identity.”


“Games! I am so mad at you!”


“You see my light now, though, don’t you?”


“I see it,” she said. “And Vali’s. And my own. I thought I was going crazy. An aftereffect of the fever, or, or something.”


“You are quite sane. You are a goddess. Recover well, and call for me soon.”


He turned to the window, and the end of the rainbow came through it and touched down on the floor.


Rindr said, “Wait.” He turned to her, rocking the baby in his arms. Rindr said, “I have always loved you. I wanted you to come to me. I dreamed myself as Jord, the Mother-Goddess of Midgard, since I was a small child. I learned she was also Fjorgyn of Jotunheim, and I thought I had it all wrong. But I still dreamed of you. I thought I was dreaming again when I saw you in my fever.”


He smiled gently. “Would that I could have waited for you to recognize the goddess in yourself before sharing my light. You did guess my name, though. It is enough. Our child is perfect and full of the light of godhood, and so are you.”


Image: woman in wedding dress by Victor De La Torre, creative comons via Deviantart.


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Erin Lale is the author of Asatru For Beginners, and the updated, longer version of her book, Asatru: A Beginner's Guide to the Heathen Path. Erin has been a gythia since 1989. She was the editor and publisher of Berserkrgangr Magazine, and is admin/ owner of the Asatru Facebook Forum. She also writes science fiction and poetry, ran for public office, is a dyer and fiber artist, was acquisitions editor at a small press, and founded the Heathen Visibility Project.


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