“Hel / Hella – Goddess of Death” (Asatru – Part 16) -The Pagan Pulpit

Happy Sol’s Day

Announcements:

We don’t pray here – we figure God, the gods, goddesses, or whatever powers that be either know already, don’t give a fuck, or are busy with more important matters than our petty stuff. We also kind of assume that they expect us to do stuff that we can do for ourselves and that we will do them ourselves and not be lazy. We also believe in being good friends, so we don’t presume on our friendship with the powers that be by asking them all the time for stuff while giving them nothing in return.

We also don’t take an offering here.  We figure the powers that be probably don’t need it.  Let’s be honest, offerings are not given to the divine powers, they are given to an organization to support it.  Just being honest. God, the gods or whatever never sees a dime, farthing or peso of that money; it all goes to the church, mosque or shrine.

Theme Song: “Helvegen – The Way to Hel” Wardruna

Meditation:
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Text:

See the source image

If you want more details about Asatru, I can’t recommend this book enough.

Sermon: 

Somewhere along the way the depictions of Hel or Hella, to differentiate her from the realm she rules, became a half beautiful woman and half corpse.  But the original description of her in mythology simply has her half black and half white. The one thing is for sure a lot of elements Christianity crept in as time passed as regards her realm more properly known as Helheim.  She is the goddess of those who die of natural causes and not in battle. Her realm is mainly described as a continuation of this one but forever.  Forever, of course, being defined as until Ragnarok when everything basically hits the reset button.

Hella is in a couple stories of significance.  First, her origin story which has her as the child of Loki and a giantess. It is in this story that she is placed in charge of Helheim by Odin himself.  Her spheres are not pleasant ones – sickness, famine, old age.  Her artifacts reflect all of this.

The other story is, of course, the story of Baldar who ends up, somehow even though he died in battle,  in her realm.  The gods attempt to appeal to her for his release.  Her condition is that every person must weep for his death.  Loki, of course, has a hand in making sure one person does not and  Balbar remains with Hella. She also is in charge of keeping Fenrir the great wolf bound until his release at Ragnarok. It is interesting how much she figures into the story when it comes to the end of things and perhaps that is her real sphere – the end.

To the followers of Asatru, Hella is venerated not as someone to be feared.  She is simply one of the options one might find oneself in when you reach the afterlife.  Her real job is to offer comfort to those who have died and give them rest from the toils of this world.  The people who live in Helheim admire and respect her.

For me, she offers an interesting paradox of a character.  Of dubious origin being the child of Loki, she fills the role fo bastard daughter who finds herself in a position \of power and thus both loved and feared.  Her personality might be a little brooding and gloomy, but given her job who can blame her.

In my writing when I have depicted death allegorically or as a traveling companion to the hero, I find she always takes the form of a woman and I have to say this is due ot Hella’s influence. I see her as not only gloomy and foreboding but with a dark sense of humor who occasionally can find laughter in the ironic particular as regards death.

Parting Thought:

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I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

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