Cruel fates have we to battle,
Pitiful our own misfortunes!
I am two months into my IDGAF dedicancy, and a lot of things have happened, including my reading of the Kalevala, and in particular a consideration of Tuonela, and the way that death affects us as the living. Life is as much about dying as it is about seizing what few fleeting moments we have and truly living. We live because we know that we will die. If that sounds all doom and gloom, rest assured, it is a bit more affirmative than that. Above is a quote from Kalevala, particularly Lemmikainen’s Restoration. The grieving mother calls out to be reunited with her son, and will do anything to get him back, and indeed she does. She ventures into the depths of the river of Tuonela, and pieces him back together.
I have seen death. I have seen the Gods, swiftly, and mercilessly swipe youth and life out from the feet of the young. I have looked into the eyes of ghosts. I have wondered why I was still here, and in my darkest moments, almost gave up. Recently, I lost my baby turtle to an illness. I have lost dogs in the past, and I have also lost my two younger siblings to a car accident that was to be, more or less, a hit and run. I have wished evil upon those in the other car. It was particularly violent and I looked into the lifeless, cloudy eyes of the reaper. Death is all around us, and it terrifies us. It mortifies us, it calls to us. Like a devil on the shoulder, it whispers its secrets, and pulls us in. We never know at which juncture we will meet face to face with the gods of death, valkyries ready to whisk us off to the unknown afterlife. I have, perhaps(or not), a healthy fear of death. I suppose it’s ironic that I am now devoting myself to a goddess of death.
And that brings us to our monthly ritual. This time, it was a quick redevotion ceremony, replete with offering and libation and it was done with Rota, my best friend and fellow dedicant. I rededicated myself to Thor and dedicated myself to Ran. I have death on the one shoulder, and life on the other, for Thor is much like that desire to grab life by the horns and subdue it, and truly live. Ran is the devil on the other shoulder, darkness and death and she will take what is rightfully hers(perhaps, a semi-aquatic pet?).
I don’t know what will happen when I die. I am afraid of what that would feel like and afraid of the possibly of simply ceasing to exist. I hope to move forward and face that terror head on, to hammer it down like Thor, and to embrace it and all its secrets, like Ran. Who knows what life will bring? Perhaps, as a Heathen, my wish would be that I will live on in my deeds. Being a ghost would be wicked too.