Volume 1, Number 5
Hail, Bountiful Earth!

In the Sigrdrfuml, Sigrdrifa hails the sir, Asynior, and the bountiful Earth asking for blessings. "Heilir sir, heilar asynior, heil sia in fiolnyta fold" Why call upon the Earth?

Kjs r jarar megin... "Choose for yourself the might of the earth, " the High One of the Hvaml, advises. And again, an Old English charm we find Earth being invoked and a further explanation of her power and reasons to call upon her:

Hwt, eore mg wi ealra wihta gehwilce and wi andan and wi minde and wi a micelan mannes tungan."

"Lo, earth can prevail against all creatures, Against injury, and against forgetfulness, And against the mighty tongue of man."

Unlike the supernatural powers that were sometimes beyond men's ken, the earth was always close at hand, firmly set beneath one's feet. In an account written of the Germanic tribes during the first century AD by Tacitus, a Roman historian, in Germania, explained, "They share a common worship of Nerthus, or Mother Earth. They believe that she takes part in human affairs, riding in a chariot among her people" The earth, represented by a goddess was not remote or uncaring, but reactive and involved.

The faith in the power of the Earth perhaps comes from the view of the strong inter-relatedness of man, gods and Earth. The need to take care to preserve the fruitfulness of the fields, pastures and forests is recognized as well as the strength and protection offered. This fruitfulness is the result of the stewardship of both men and gods as well as in the giving nature of the Earth. In an old Anglo-Saxon prayer, the Acerbot, we find the Earth again hailed, and blessings asked from her, as well as upon her. Hal wes u, folde, fira modor! Beo u growende on godes fme, fodre gefylled firum to nytte. "Hail to thee, Earth, mother of men! Be fruitful in god's embrace, Filled with food for men's need."

Of earth we are born, and to earth we return after we die, and all through our lives we depend on the blessings and bounty of the earth. In the northern traditions one did not seek to escape the earth, but to see earth and heaven united in a fruitful peace, good harvests and well being. Today many again begin to see the relationship of respect for the Earth and the wide spread problems of pollution and unwise use of the land that threaten the interdependent relationship and the future of both men and the earth itself..

Take the time to step outside the busy routine of daily life to pick up a handful of earth. Stand for a moment beneath the sky, ask a blessing upon the earth, and with that, determine one thing that you can do make that blessing a reality, and call upon her for protection in your life.

Hal wes u, folde, fira modor!

2001 Susan Granquist - Published by the Irminsul ttir - All rights reserved.

Irminsul ttir