Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Wolves of Winter

When the weather turns lethal, you have no choice but to be smarter and tougher. It's 18 degrees outside right now, with snow as far as the eye can see- and more snow and ice-rain expected tomorrow. I'm excited. This weather makes you turn inward, and then makes you turn back and push against the powers that be- it makes you assert your will, makes you realize how unimportant so many of the things we get worked up over really are. Before this winter is over, -10 to -25 degrees is possible. All that stands between me and death is burning oil, wooden walls, the fellowship of my household warm bodies, and our own creativity.

The Ancestors were hard and tough, largely I think because they had to compete with other humans in bloody combat, but also because they had the cold to teach them. The Ancestors didn't have any illusions about the cold: it was a manifestation of Wyrd, of power from another world- the world of Niflheim, Ice-Home. It was the breath of Giants; a life-killing force that could and would overwhelm the world if contrary forces didn't balance it out. Luckily, contrary forces do exist.

Some of the Natives of this land weren't off mark about this either; to the Sioux, Waziah the Giant lived in the north and blanketed the world with white snow and cold- but that cold was a purifying power. It helped people, as much as it presented a danger. And that's part and parcel of organic wisdom; the contrary forces in nature had a place and a purpose that served all beings as well as hindering them at times. Part of living a happy life was to integrate these two poles of every power.

The Goddess Sunna has followed her track away to the distance, leaving this land I'm in now in the grip of cold powers. She'll come back, but until she does, the wolf-wights roam this place, eaters of the living and the dead. Frost giants don't tread here, else we'd all be frozen into blocks, but their breath and their awe-full distant presence now shrouds us in ice. Matter slows down; the wind now bites, and even sounds are swallowed in the sucking darkness. I've never "heard" such a silence as what exists on top of this snow at night.

It reminds us why the Godly work of creation is so precious- without warmth, creativity, technology, intelligence, artifice, artistry, and willpower, we'd all vanish into this darkness. In this time, your humanness stands out in sharp contrast to the gaping maw of raw nature, when she assumes her giantish face of cold. You find out more about yourself. And in the primal ice crystal-filled night space, Jolnir- Odin, the Yule-Father- rides his horse across the broad sky. His wisdom is like this darkness, because it was born in darkness. He can celebrate the sunny side of life alongside the frozen side, because he knows both sides of his being. May we all learn from his example and embrace the cold alongside the blessings of spring.

People have seen my winter side; they have seen the dismal depths to which my person can be driven. And people have seen my summer side, the caring person who is capable of much loyalty and compassion. I am two-faced and two-natured, like Allfather. I offer a cup of mead to my ice-blue Other Self. In the heat of the deep south, my other self was confused; it emerged in irksome, troublesome ways. Here it can run and play on brilliant white fields of virgin snow.

The wights of this winter won't overcome me and mine because a wolf lives in us that is just as strong- pure, savage, resentful wolves of will. This cold will discover a will-force in us that will make it rage in impotence at our inventiveness and undaunted drive. If this winter is cold and hard, we will be colder and harder. The next time some lame problem crosses my path, it will pale in comparison to the devouring cold. What the Gods have placed in us is an undying light that shines through extremes of cold or heat. We are undefeatable.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When the cold bites with bitterness I call it the kiss of Skadi, when I walk in the snow and it has settled its called the beauty of Hronn pure pure beauty, when the ice mountains show there whiteness and ice rivers flow forth its called the purified will of Jarnsaxa and the icicles forming on the trees and of the buildings the purification of ziza and the whole silent ice world around me Ullers purified harmony.
what a beautiful time to honor such powers Svane