(Yes, I’m skipping forward a bit.)
One of the workshops I love doing is an activity called Myth Embodiment. I have an entire section of the blog dedicated to it. Essentially, it involves a group of people “embodying” or re-enacting a myth, with all of the bits being portrayed–the deities, the scenery, the named objects. During the reenactment, we stop and each “character” gets a chance to give their pov of whatever event is taking place. It sparks some great discussions and helps really fill out less-well-known or less documented deities and myths. A few years ago, the Vanic Conspiracy did a myth embodiment for the Skirnismal, (“the Journey of Skirnir/Skirnir’s Story”). At the time, it helped me address some deep-seated issues I was having in working with Freyr, because at surface value this myth shows Freyr’s servant Skirnir forcing Gerd into marriage with Freyr using extremely creatively horrible threats. Our analysis is hosted on my blog here. My longer description and analysis of the myth from several different perspectives is available on Huginn’s Heathen Hof.
Gerd (Gerðr) is a beautiful jotun maiden, daughter of the jotun Gymir. She was out minding her own business when Freyr spied Her from Hlidskjalf, Odin’s High Seat from which he can view all of the worlds. She was at her father’s hall, standing out in the garden. He saw her flashing white arms, and He fell violently in love. Skirnir woos Her for Freyr, and She comes back to marry Him. (This is the short version; the long version is found in the Skirnismal, or Skirnir’s Journey, which I will discuss ad nauseum later in this series.) Here is an illustration of Skirnir “wooing” Gerd in Her father’s Hall. Though it is not my favorite depiction of Gerd, I find it amusing as it attempted to compare the “small” Skirnir, of which race we know not, and Gerd, who is of Jotun kind. As Jackson Crawford explains in many of his videos on the subject, the jotnar were never meant to be understood as a completely different species of being; they were more than likely just seen as a tribe of outsiders, and not that much different from the Aesir or Vanir.
It’s Spring. Can’t you tell? Freyr knows this. Freyr makes it so. Freyr, the inexorable coming of Spring, it all ways that it can come.
In honor of Spring, Gerd, and myself, I’m doing a 30 Days of Gerd. This will be an unorthodox (?) 30 Days Devotional, in that I’m not following any specific pattern of questions. I’ve decided to just let it grow
(wait for it…)
organically. (Vegetation puns FTW!)
First up: A description.
Imagine a snow-covered glade in the mountains. The snow has melted a bit but is still mounded up here and there, with frozen patches over lakes and ice-filled river water just starting to flow at normal speed. Where the snow has melted, the ground is black and dark brown, covered with little bits of dried grass and dead leaves. The earth looks bleary and shaken and not quite awake; kind of how I feel at the moment, two days into Springtime. The land and I are of one accord, now, and so is Gerd. Though, having been through this process a millennia of times more than I ever will, She’s taking it with much more grace and dignity.
A frost jotun awaits her lover, the Summer King. But she does not do so passively. Jotun are anything but passive. She is Lady and Keeper of the Fields and Hall while he is away. In my mind’s eye these last few weeks I’ve seen her sweeping the garden, weeding out the plant-boxes, and making the earth ready. I’ve see Him hovering just beneath his lands, a force awakening and ready to erupt. Does Spring come quietly? Or in an explosion? Time will tell, I guess.