Welcome the Conflict

When the Norns first came to me, they gave me an Invocation that invited me to be of service. To be of service is to sometimes step out of the solitary self and into the larger community of humanity. Truly learning to be of service has been a huge balancing act for me. I share the Invocation in the book I am working on: Urd’s Well and the Goddesses of the Nitty Gritty.

Being of service to Deity and the larger community of humanity, has meant learning that as I am, I am not a large enough vehicle to contain the channeling for the Divine at all times. But who wouldn’t want to stay in that zone? It is uplifting, fulfilling, caring, powerful. But I have learned that to attempt to stay in that zone is fall out of it into a negative space in my own imagination that serves my ego instead of the needs of community. Instead, I have learned to find peace – or strive to find peace – with the community of my own soul.

It is a powerful act to be simple, to be human, to live and act without an agenda. Life offers challenges enough to distract and tear down that fragile inner peace. So I offer up these simple moments, these simple acts demanded by life, to the Goddesses. The simple actions of cleaning the house or raking the yard or going to work become mighty acts of gratitude when offered with mindfulness. Thank you for my life and what I have.

It is these moments, too, that offer the opportunity to come into emotional honesty with my small self. Here I can bring my worries, petty annoyances, angers, and larger concerns – with humility – to the Norns for resolution. Although life often demands waiting for answers, I have learned through faith and trust to wait for the Gods’ good timing. This has included help with improving relationships, financial burdens, and just in general seeking the next sense of direction.

I began working with the Norns in 2013. Soon after that relationship began, others from the Norse pantheon dropped in. The Norns and Odin showed me smoky scenes of battles – the evil purges of the Nazis – and I was told to make it right. I don’t know how to make it right, except to carry as much love forward in my life as I can.

When Odin came, he greeted me in German, a language I don’t speak, but I understood enough to realize that “Wilkommen al kriege” probably meant “Welcome the battle.” Later, when I was translating a book from German into English because it held information I craved, I bought a German-English dictionary, and I learned that kriege meant warrior. So whether Odin was welcoming me as a warrior or whether he was advising me to welcome the battle, either interpretation became important to me.

Although I have never served in the armed forces, I am a warrior. I have had to carry on when hope was gone. I have had to endure difficult situations, and I have risen up when others have tried to pull me down. I know something of struggle, enough to understand Odin’s blessing in those words, WELCOME THE BATTLE.

Struggle is what makes us stronger. Conflict challenges us to rise up and overcome. This is implicit in the second Rune row with Hagalaz, the Rune of “seed change” and wintery storm, followed by Nauthiz, the Rune of the Need-fire that also helps us to find the next steps forward, even though it is followed by Isa, the Rune of Ice, concentration, and waiting. Odin knows well that through the struggles with the stuff of life we will find our strength by facing down and overcoming our challenges.

Finding my own balance through the challenges inherent of stepping into and out of my larger self – the self I am in communion with the Gods – has been one of learning patience and mastering the art of waiting. The process has taught me humility. It has taught me how to contain my own energy in the act of waiting. There is more of myself to bring into service, then, when I am called. It is about mastering the art of integrity and right action.

Two Runes that guide me here are Teiwaz, aka Tyr, and Reidho. Tyr is the God who sacrificed his arm in order that the Aesir might bind Fenris, the “Wolf of Greed” (as translated by Maria Kvilhaug The Seed of Yggdrasil). Finding this inner balance has meant binding my own strong passions and emotions in appropriate circumstances, even as Tyr served to bind Fenris. Reidho might be considered the Rune of right action (although this seems a Buddhist concept) because it is the Rune of the lawful movement of the stars in the Heavens and the flow of activity on Earth.

There is so much just to be learned from simple contemplation upon the Runes. But those reflections are for another time.

Published by susanofthenorth

Susan Hintz Epstein is an author, Rune diviner, healer, non-academic scholar, and former Methodist Lay Speaker who was called by the Runes in 2013. The time since then has been a serpentine shedding of one skin for another, as Susan's spiritual practice with the Runes and the World Tree, Yggdrasil, deepened. Susan keeps company with the Norns and other like-minded women.

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