Thursday, October 8, 2009
With all due respect to my beloved Freya
Sprinklers in Lafayette Park. Looks like the eagle could be taking a quick shower.
Ing is a god in the Norse pantheon, one of my favorites, though I really love almost all of the completely disfunctional family of Norse cosmology. A high goddess who trades sex with the elves in exchange for a nice necklace, a supreme god who willingly pokes his eye out in exchange for wisdom. Odin also stabs himself in the side, hangs from a tree for eight days in exchange for the wisdom of the runes. My goodness. What is up with that? Norse cosmology includes giants made of ice, a world tree called Ygdrassil (LOVE that name) and a rainbow bridge connecting the world of the divine with the world of humans. Their creation myth involves the alchemy of hailstones mixed with fire, and their doomsday scenario is truly fabulous. It's a cosmology of great drama.
Not so much drama with Ing, though. One story about this humble god is that he was farming his land one day while still human, when suddenly the thought struck him that maybe he could be a god. So he went to the gods and told them he thought he could do the job. They agreed and immediately deitized him. Who knew it could be so simple?
His life as a god is not that different than his human life. Tales of Ing often include him riding around the countryside in his humble cart, spreading prosperity and fertility wherever he goes.
See? What's not to like about Ing?
I was thinking about Ing before the bank account looting, though he is even more on my mind since. I was thinking about the harshness of the weather and seasons in Scandinavia and Iceland, how survival was certainly more strenuous than in more comfortable landscapes during the time when storytellers were developing the cosmology. It's little wonder that the myth cycle is so intense, reflecting the land from which it arose. (I believe all myth cycles come from the landscape; are channeled by humans but are not originally human stories. Which is why it's so hard for Americans to relate to the Judeo-Christian myth cycle that is inherently north African/middle eastern in nature.)
The Vikings are renowned for their toughness and brash courage, also for their looting and pillaging whenever possible. Whoever it was who stole my bank number is, in my mind at least, a modern day Viking, made unethical by virtue of some sense that he/she/they can not take care of themselves unless they steal. Thieves can be arrogant, but are rarely truly confident. I think of arrogance as no more than the flip side of insecurity so therefore quite brittle. You can't depend on arrogance, nope.
Ing had perfect self-confidence as a farmer and later as a god. Confidence makes it a lot easier to lead an ethical life. Confidence brings integrity, at least in terms of being honest. I'm thinking about Ing so much, asking for a sprinkle of prosperity, for lessons in gentle self-confidence. ING. Yes.