Dwarves!

Cinderella’s (soon to be Sleeping Beauty’s) Prince: Yes, but even one prick–it’s my thing about blood–

Rapunzel’s (soon to be Snow White’s) Prince : Well, it’s sick!

CP: It’s no sicker than your thing with dwarfs!

RP: Dwarves!

CP: Dwarfs.

RP: Dwarves are very upsetting….

Actually, they’re not that upsetting at all, just kind of surprising. And happy folk for Freyaspeople to come visit. So, let’s talk dwarves, shall we?

I had not thought much about dwarves until this past year, I have to admit. I knew that they were excellent craftsmen, often possessing magical craft as well, and that they appeared in various story cycles. That’s about it.

Then, last year around this time, a local Norse group had decided to do a tour of the Nine Worlds. We started with the Norns and the Wells, and proceeded to the various Worlds. One of our first trips was to Svartalfheim (land of the dwarves, the “dark elves“). I went along with everyone else, and I had a blast. Afterwards, we shared out our experiences, and apparently I was one of the few who did have a good time in Svartalfheim. I’m not entirely sure why.

Svartalfheim seemed very earthy, as you might expect in a place populated by dwarves. It felt sturdy, steady, stable, and productive. It was also filled with metals and gems and gleaming woods, many beautiful things, and dwarves busily going about their business, drama-free. What was there not to like?

The first dwarf I interacted with was a very friendly dwarf (“the King of the Dwarves”) who was working in his workshop. I brought him an item that my fylgia (here, for info on my fylgia) had given me, and he offered to fix it, for a fee. Not having much experience interacting with various types of entities, but having plenty of experience dealing with men in power, I offered to honor his name each time I came to Svartalfheim. He accepted this as a reasonable fee. Then he explained the item to me as best he could. Among other things, it turned out to be a “secret handshake” for getting me into Svartalfheim and making sure I received the proper respect while there. (Likely this originally came from Freya Herself, as my fylgia is essentially a gift from Her as well.) He also gave me a bright red ruby before I left. Again, what’s not to like?

Subsequent journeys to Svartalfheim have provided me with this dwarf’s name–Albrecht– who upon later research turns out to be Alberich, the dwarf from Wagner’s Ring cycle (the Nibelungenlied); and who is, in fact, the very dwarf who guarded The Ring and the rest of the treasure hoard in that story. (And whom, unfortunately, Siegfried kills to get the ring.) I’ve never read nor watched any version of the Ring story cycle, so it was cool to have my dwarf king’s identity verified outside of journey. And subsequent journeys have also continued to prove that he, and the rest of the dwarves I interact with, are friendly and helpful and all around pleasant beings to deal with. I have no idea why more people don’t go down and visit them more often.

My original thought on this was that because I am Freya’s, simply by association I would get on well with dwarves–or, at least, they would have a soft spot in their hearts for me because of Her. This does appear to be the case. What I’ve also gathered from them is that She has visited them quite often in the past, has done them various favors, and continues to visit regularly; and, as a result, they are often in debt to Her for one reason or another. She is a generous goddess, and what is owed to Her gets passed on to those who belong to Her as well. It also makes a lot of sense to me that She would have a lot of reasons to continue to visit–political, social, personal, and probably either sexual or to inspire them on to even greater works of art. But I imagine they are not overfond of random people wandering around in Svartalfheim.

So, if you want to spend much time in Svartalfheim, it couldn’t hurt to bring a token from my Lady, or from someone else of whom they approve. But if you can get into the club, babe–it’s grand 🙂

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