Hela

This morning I was reflecting on the symbolism that accompanies the Goddess Hela. I am a Seer. I have Seen Her skeletal, I have Seen Her beautiful, I have Seen Her as Snorri depicted Her, with a face half decomposing and half normal flesh. And I have Seen Her face burned away by the Light that She is. Always, She has stood by me with Her caring guidance and direction for the healing and growth of my soul. To have a devotion and a relationship with Hela is to have a relationship with Death, and ultimately, Life itself.

It is necessary for Hela to have both a fearsome aspect and a compassionate aspect. To Her all will come when their time of life has passed: To Her or to another of the Death Deities or Angels whose job it is to guide humanity through those transitions. Why is it necessary for Her to have these two aspects?

When I read The Tibetan Book of the Dead, I learned that the deceased is read to for forty days. The purpose is to guide the soul to move on into its new birth, and if the deceased can accept the fact of his or her transition early, the better the chances of attaining a good birth. But the longer the time that elapses, the deceased will have to settle for a birth that is perhaps not so good. In the beginning of this reading, the Angelic Deities that appear to the deceased appear as Beings of Light – to encourage. But over time, as the deceased evidences a stubborn nature, these Beings take on Their fearsome aspects. We human beings like our comfort zones, and that state doesn’t necessarily pass once we have died. Sometimes the incentive for a child reluctant to do their chores is a threat of something they will be more afraid of than denying the parent’s request to clean their room, do the dishes or take out the garbage. So it is with the newly deceased. The Angelic Deities are simply taking a stronger stand with the soul who is in a childlike state of wonder that they are no longer embodied, but still have life. This is why it is sometimes necessary for these Beings to have a dual aspect. It is sometimes better for us to allow our guidance into a superior opportunity.

Another aspect of Hela’s nature is the great care She takes to provide the deceased with a Realm of Beauty. Granted some parts of Helheim are established for those who believe they will be punished for those errors they made during their lifetimes, such as the River Gjoll where the murderers wade. But for most of us, Helheim is a place of beauty for those of us who have passed to consider the lifetime just passed and the lessons we have taken from that lifetime. The place the Christians call Purgatory is just like this. When a person has completed that work, Hela works with the Greater and Lesser Norns in planning the next lifetime. Although some souls choose to bypass this completely, being perhaps younger souls or more adventurous souls, it is a service that the Birth Planners offer.

I have a statue of Hela that I made for my Ancestor altar from a Vision that I had of such a statue. She is skeletal and protective, and over Her the wings of a Green Heron are spread. While I have not found any reference of a Green Heron to Hela’s cultus, I honor the connection because it came to me in Vision. Heron is a bird of the marshes, and to my Nordic Ancestors, Life came forth from the marshes. A turning and a returning, to turn and turn again, each lifetime an opportunity for life experience and the advancement of Wisdom. As Odin is the God of Knowledge and Wisdom, so then is Hela the Goddess at the Root of the Soul who Guides and connects one to both the ending and the beginning of Earth Life.

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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