I have been reading about the ancient Norse.
When I was a teenager I read Jane Smiley’s, The Greenlanders and was drawn in to the world of sagas. This was after my school marm dressing Truman Capote/New Yorker days. Fifty pages from the end of The Greenlanders I cried because I would never be able to read it again for the first time.
I waded my way through sagas and flipped through Time Life books then fell upon Kristin Lavransdatter after the birth of my second child. I read that book to pieces. In one week.
Every year I go through a Nordic reading phase adding titles to my favorites list and every few years I get the excuse to go in depth with one of my children and Norse myths. In the Waldorf teaching cycle grade four is Norse mythology. The things I do for these people.
Late nights I am perched on the side of my bed trying not to wake irritable children ( see last post ) with a shaded lamp downing chapters about pagan Scandinavia and scribbling notes. These forays in to ancient ways are for both them and I.
This summer I began working on a mythical piece about a hero. It’s weird place for me to be because when I first conceived of the idea it was from the woman’s point of view. But there’s writing for you.
Norse myths are funny. There is school yard treachery and cross dressing. Love and bad tempers. And we from this time are looking at them from our world view, the heaven and hell world sandwich.
Just the other night as I was so perched trying not to wake littles I got it. The pagan Scandinavian world view is near to far. The world was one plane. It was here and it was there. You were not above it or below it but level. The gods and goddesses were your friend, full of foibles, they were either close to you or so far as to be out of view, just over the horizon.
This morning my seven year old ran up to me as I was writing this to tell me she had seen them! The dust fairies are here! In the waning light of summer they show themselves and are near enough to wave your hands through, to sparkle in front of your eyes.
These things, these otherworldly things, ideas and practices, they are always with you but a matter of being near or far. You just have to believe in them.