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.

16 comments:

Hammer said...

As I still have connections to the Nowegian/Viking mafia, I'll look into this matter on your behalf and undertake the appropriate justice measures. I checked, and your name is clearly listed on the "do not loot" column, so it's obvious somebody got sloppy. Although we may be brash, loud and given to wanton pyromania, if there's one thing the Norwegian/Viking mafia cannot abide (other than the Swedes) it's sloppy work.

Reya Mellicker said...

Ha! Love you, Hammer.

Steve said...

I think most thievery stems from substance abuse. (Except for the white-collar, Bernie Madoff variety, which is just pure greed.) Addictions are so destabilizing and they literally cause people to lose their minds. Seems like every time I come across stories about theft and robbery in the newspaper, someone involved has a drug problem.

glnroz said...

one can tire of the daily same 'ole, same 'ole. Thnx for not letting that happen. Always interesting.

Joanne said...

Oh Reya, the self-confidence you seem to have in abundance! But in light of your circumstances, I'll put in my effort of channeling Ing and sending him DC ways for a sprinkle of good fortune. May it rain generously!

ewix said...

OK so I grew up in INGRAVE (Essex, England) part of the world that was part Norse at one dim, distant time.
Get it: IN GRAVE
except, apparently, it was ING RAVE or
Ging rafe

ie the meadow (ing) belonging to RALPH

How these cosmologies swirl round us. Just finished reading Junot Diaz's OSCAR WAO

try that for cosmic soup.....in a very nice way:
religion, Caribbean mythology, S America curses, not to mention comic books and contemporary America culture.

LOVE YOU

ellen abbott said...

I love mythology, was introduced to greek mythology in the third grade (by my mother of all people). Norse mythology is very cool.

Hecate said...

You know, there's an on-line bank called ING.

Reya Mellicker said...

Hecate, YES I saw a letter addressed to one of my roommates yesterday, from ING Direct. Nice to see you!

Steve I think sometimes people steal because they have no other choice. No money, no job, they are hungry. That's simple thieving, though - the bank looting was pretty sophisticated.

Elizabeth! You grew up in ING country. Very cool. Of course you did. xx

Star said...

Freya is my Goddess of choice too. I have a statue of her in my Tennessee home. I have Viking blood amongst other (bit of a mixed pot, I am) and I also love their legends. I love the thought of them sitting round their fires in the long, dark evenings, recounting stories of old. I had a book once with some of those stories in it and I loved it so.
Blessings, Star

Reya Mellicker said...

I think you can't do better than The Norse Myths by Kevin Crossley-Holland. It's a chronological telling of their myth cycle - fabulous translations, at least it seems so to me.

Though I'm not Nordic by blood (except the Finnish Saami, who are my genetic cousins according to National Geographic) the Norse pantheon is definitely part of my family of spirit, oh yeah.

My full name is "Reyasdottir" which means daughter of the sunset or so I heard when I received that name. Its spelling is Icelandic. Nice, eh?

ING!

Barbara Martin said...

I love all things Norweign/Finland, especially the tall, robust men.

steven said...

reya my dad dove into norse mythology for a while and lived it to the hilt wearing leather jerkins and leggings and making swords and adorning his home with runic symbols and much much more!!! it was so cool and so strange all at once. he knew his roots as a northern englishman were roman, celtic, norse, angle, saxon and whatever else spread its genetic wealth. but i never asked him about all of it. he just was in it. i have hus runestones now as a gift from him after flying away. they're beautiful to see. frightening in some ways. i love your gentle, humorous, insightful take on all of this. steven

Barry said...

I think you're right about confidence--and you're right about Ing (what a great god!).

willow said...

Sex with elves for a nice necklace? I guess it would depend on how nice a necklace. ;^)

Reya Mellicker said...

Willow, it was a REALLY nice necklace! So beautiful it had a name: Brisingamen.

Oh yeah. That was no ordinary necklace.