Hope reaches towards the light and flees the darkness; faith trusts both
Gods, elves, dwarves, giants and men tramp across the crumbling bridge towards the fields of battle. Upon the air the shattering sounds of Gjallarhorn still hang as a portent. A ringing in their ears that started long ago. They all know it. Ragnarok, the end of days. Written into prophecy. Etched out upon carefully catalogued readings. One decade, the next, the next. How hollow the horn sounded when it finally rang out and proclaimed the time had come for each to take up arms and meet fate. A fate created not of heroic deeds, but of denial and apathy. The scientist knew it, the researcher knew it, the young child looking upon the world with eyes not yet accustomed to its lies knew it.
At the end of days it is said the Heimdallr, the God who listens and watches will sound his horn, Gjallarhorn and summon the Gods to battle with the approaching giants. Yet the Gods have battled the giants for age after age. What makes this the moment? What tells Heimdallr that this approach is the final one, the one that must be answered even though the deaths of so many of the Gods, including himself, are the consequence? Gjallarhorn is said to ring throughout all the worlds, its name means ‘noisy-horn’, ‘ringing-horn’ or ‘shrieking-horn’. It comes from the same etymological root as the river Gjöll ‘roarer’ which separates the realms of the living and the dead. I wonder if there is a noise loud enough to unite humanity? A rallying cry clear and sharp and heart-opening enough to heal our tribal rifts and make us strong? When Ragnarok struck the horn was not raised in warning. There was no moment when the tide of the inevitable could be turned. Gjallarhorn rang out and I cannot help but see the rainbow bridge itself begin to crumble at its sound. How can Heimdallr, whose hearing is so sensitive he can hear the growth of as single blade of grass bear a sound so piercing?
The answer is, of course, that what he is already hearing is more terrible than the shattering, earth-ending, God-slaying, doom-laden sound of the Gjallarhorn. Heimdallr is a God who hears all things. Perhaps it is not the sound of wild-fire or ice-melt that makes him draw the Gjallarhorn to his lips? Perhaps it is not the passing of species or the drifting expanses of plastic? Perhaps it is the sound of silence and denial that cracks the consciousness of the God who guards the bridge between the earth and the heavens? Perhaps it is the bickering and the blaming? Ragnarok is a cyclical story, a myth in which is woven the inevitability of death as the precursor to new life. Perhaps when Heimdallr blows his horn he is simply saying ‘Enough. We have had our chance and we have (literally) blown it’. In the dead of night, in the shadows of my heart that possibility stalks the edges of my being. It is hungry and fearful and angry and helpless. Still, even then the God of the rainbow bridge whispers that when hope dies faith will revive us. Hope lifts us towards the light of our dreams, faith teaches that when one dream shatters another is birthing beneath it.
But enough of this doom-talk. Talk is cheap, says Heimdallr, AND I have not yet blown my horn. There are a thousand small acts of care and kindness that could turn the tide of the Ragnarok. So tell me. If you knew the God of the rainbow bridge would witness every bright deed, every heroic act, every small gesture of kindness, every defiant, idealistic, adventurous effort. What would you do then?
Step into the magic…
This month in the Hearthspace we are exploring the theme of intuitive knowledge as presented through the stories and oracles of Heimdallr. Join me for four live circles or catch up with the recordings:
- The Nine Mothers rune reading
- The bridge between the worlds oracle story
- The rainbow’s song meditation and embodiment
- Hearth hygge discussion circle
So who is Heimdallr?
Heimdallr (haim-dahl) is the bridge-keeper of Asgard ‘enclosure of the sky gods’ known for his incredibly acute senses. Anglicised his name is Heimdall. The meaning of his name is a little obscure. He is said to be the ‘shining-god’ or ‘white god’ and his name is sometimes translated as ‘brilliance’ or ‘illuminator’. The word ‘heim’ may relate to the earth or home, perhaps making him the illuminator of the world or the embodied link between earth and sky (which the bridge that he guards most certainly is).
A number of the runes speak to his nature. As Wunjo he is the light of joy; Wunjo is the eighth rune and his home ‘Himminbjorg’ ‘heaven’s cliffs’ is said to be the eighth home of the Gods. As Hagalaz he is the son of nine mothers; sometimes named as nine giantesses and sometimes identified as the nine daughters of the deep sea gods Ran and Aegir. As Nauthiz he is the keenness of the senses, the knowing of the body. As Isa he is the guardian of ‘the shimmering path’ of Bifrost – the rainbow bridge. As Algiz he is the divine watcher who sleeps less than a bird, watching over us always. The shape of the Algiz rune entwines three prongs into one, reminding me that the Bifrost bridge is said to be made up of 3 colours. Some have speculated that the bridge is also made up of 3 elements: fire, air and earth or fire, water and air. As Mannaz he is the father of social order having literally, we are told, fathered the social classes of serf, freeman and earl. He is the bringer of order, standing against the forces of chaos. As Dagaz he is the clarity of knowing, the vision of everything and the gateway to the future.
Join me for my introduction to Heimdallr for a deeper exploration of Heimdallr and intuitive wisdom in my free and private Hearthspace community.