The moment of enlightenment.
Another overcast and dreary day in South-central Anchorage, Alaska. Overall the day was spent in modern-day life, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Our family (my shield-maiden, my two young sons, and I) celebrated my arrival at 54 years old with a cake and ice cream following dinner. Nothing out of place, nothing seemed unusual about the day at all. It wasn’t until we were getting ready for bed that evening that things began to feel “different”. I sought answers from my Landvætti, but they were silent. Normally my wife ventures upstairs to bed, as I remain downstairs to feed the dogs and put them away (in their kennels for rest). Because she can get energized, my spiritual partner (“Astrid von”) sleeps in her kennel in the garage.
Tonight, she doesn’t want to go into the garage, even after some strong “encouragement”, and paws the back door. Without thinking about it, I let her outside again. Her dark coat stands out against the fresh snow in the yard, and I see her bolt for the northeast corner of the property. I shrug it off, thinking she may have seen a squirrel. However, at this point our aged large yellow lab indicates she wants to go outside again as well. Uh, OK, without thinking I let her outside again, hooking her collar onto a run (she’s blind). As I step outside, I hear Astrid whining. I search for her in the snow and find her laying down in the deep snow in the northeastern corner of the property. Confused, I call her. She stays where she is. My immediate thought is that somehow her collar got caught on something and she’s stuck. I decide that I can dash out quickly to unhook her collar and do so.
I don’t have any shoes, or a shirt on, as I reach her. I notice that our aged lab has freed herself of her collar and joined us here in the corner of the property. That’s when I heard his voice.
“Oolv heth nar” the deep voice startled me. “Oolv heth nar, do you know me?” I searched the yard through the falling snow to make out anything human. I immediately wondered if I was hearing things, could the weather have made that sound? Did I actually hear it, or think I heard it? I searched through the darkness interrupted by the falling snowflakes, as I searched a figure slowly materialized before me, emerging from the darkness. His large frame pressed his cloak in all directions, and fur boots connected his cloak to the ground. He stood about a foot taller than my six-foot height and was wider at the shoulder by a foot in each direction. His face partially covered by a darkened hood, his thick beard stuck out, as did his long braid of hair. His frame was large, with a large hand grasping a weathered staff. As he got closer, I noticed that the snowflakes did not pass through him, but actually settled on his person. My mind immediately began to contemplate how I could fight my way out of this situation with my dogs. Although I did notice that my partner Astrid did not move as he approached, and allowed him to give her a scratch behind the ears (she does not like anyone she doesn’t know). “Oolv heth nar. You are the great-grandson of Jens Petersen’s youngest girl. Are you not?” As he spoke I mentally tried to remember the ancestry stuff I had completed for my mom recently. “Your father was Albert the oldest boy, and his father was Albert the oldest boy, and your great grandmother was Nelsina”. As he spoke, he lowered his hood, which revealed his aged appearance. However, I remember noting that although he seemed quite aged, his hair and facial hair was blonde, almost golden, with a braid of hair that ran from the back of his head to reach into his cloak in the front.
My mind was racing in an attempt to apply some logic to what I was seeing. At this point, a random thought struck me. I was barefoot in 18″ inches of fresh snow, and had no shirt on, yet, I was not cold. Another thought shot through me “You are Ó∂inn” I stuttered and immediately dropped to one knee in the fresh snow. He reached out with his free hand and grabbed my arm, lifting me back to my feet.
“You will bow to no one. Ever” he spoke evenly. While there was no real inflection in his voice, there was a tone of finality to it. As if his words were carving law as they traveled. “You have learned much, do you remember us?” as he asked his question he waved his staff in a general direction indicating all around. As I turned to look, I saw hundreds of human outlines, they surrounded us. No details, simply darkened human outlines. Some of them stood where I knew there was a fence, and I could see the fence through their darkened outlines. “You have spoken to the Landvætti many times, and they are sure you are whom I seek”. He stepped closer to where I could now plainly see the metal plate covering his right eye. His chiseled facial features left an indelible mark on my memories, I will never forget that face. As he leaned closer, I saw the pelts beneath his cloak, as well as the head of an ax upon his chest. “Let me see you. Your great grandmother carried the gift of the Norse magic in her blood, given to her from the elves of Ālfheimr”. As he spoke, a slight smile appeared upon his lips. “Yes, I believe you are one”. The smile disappeared as he continued “I came to your father, and your grandfather and they denied me wanting to forge their own ways” he looked off in the distance “I have been watching you seeing where your heart was. You have proven your allegiance to me, and to the Landvætti”. He turned and cast his steel-gray eye on me as if he was looking through me. “What is your desire? Do you wish to assume your birthright?” Astrid let out a small whimper, and as I turned to her, she nudged my hand with her nose.
I turned my gaze back to the figure that stood before me. “With all my heart, I do”. “I am the great-grandson of Nelsina Petersen of the Petersen clan and a proud Germanic Dane”.
He reached out his right hand, and I grasped his forearm. I felt the leather armor covering the supersized forearms, beneath the cloak. I stared deep into his steel-gray eye and the figures that surrounded us moved closer. They seemingly reached out their arms to lay hands upon my shoulders, and the words came into my mind,
“Almighty all-father in Valhöll, I am before you this eve to swear my unwavering allegiance to you. You know I have proven myself in battle, both physical and in the spirit realms. Do you remember the time where I crossed the BiFrost to learn of the other realms? Or the time I crossed into the realm of Hel to protect the young girl who was threatened in the dream realm? I have proven my faith in your power over the natural world. I have proven my ability to cross the boundary from Mi∂gar∂ to the other realms, and have negotiated with Heimdal safe passage. I have drunken from the horn of Kvasir filled with the mead of Ó∂rerir and have been granted the infinite wisdom brewed of his blood by the dwarves. I swear upon my honor to be dedicated to you, else accept my fate of drowning in the black river filled with venom between Niflhel and Narstrand. I stand ready to serve you against the forces of ice giants should they escape Jötunheim. I swear to give my last breath to you in the battle of Ragnorök. Please accept my blood as a token of my oath as I endure the pain of surrendering it, as I swear this oath on the ring of Úllr to verify its honor.” as I spoke I drew the knife from its sheath on the back of my pants (almost as if feeling obligatory) and drew it across my forearm so the blood flowed down onto his forearm as well. I felt the sting of the knife blade sliding through the outer layers of my skin, deep enough to create a substantial blood flow, however, I kept my grip firm on his forearm. His stern gaze melted to a smile as he drew the ax from his cloak and slid it across the skin on his forearm, forming a pool of blood between our arms. I remember seeing in my peripheral view the pool of blood mixing and forming shapes of the runes. Ó∂inn put the ax back into his belt, and dipped a finger into the pool of blood, then reached up and drew Uruz on my forehead.
“We are one.” he spoke “The Nornir spoke of this moment”. He laughed as he spoke loud enough my mind wondered if we would wake my wife as the window to our bedroom faced where we stood. “They told me that there would be another Úlfhé∂nar. That all was not lost” with that he released my arm and grabbed both sides of my face pulling it toward his until our foreheads touched, he spoke more quietly now “The Landvætti will teach you. Listen to them, they are our friends. Learn what you need to know. This is your birthright. Nelsina was right about you. She told us you would rise”. As he finished speaking, he stepped back, “You have sworn an oath to the Úlfhé∂nar, in our beliefs, there is nothing stronger in this world than the oath of a man to me. The path that you have chosen to endure will be hard, the young will cast you out, the devout may doubt, but ultimately the victory will be yours, as you are sworn to uphold the life of the Úlfhé∂nar. The Landvætti are at your command to ensure the ways continue.” I felt as if a great weight had been lifted from my chest, I could feel energy surging through my body. He turned to go. “Úlfhé∂nar you have made me proud, as well your ancestors. Today is a day to rejoice, for today our way of life is on its way to life”. As he turned, a raven appeared to land on his left shoulder. “You have done well my friend. You found him” he spoke to the raven without taking his eye off of mine. “Prepare yourself Úlfhé∂nar, challenges will come, but, you are ready”, and with that, he turned to leave. “You know in your heart what you must do, the tide is changing, it is time to bring the ways forward”. His outline then disappeared into the falling snow, and before I could say another word, the figures faded away to reveal the falling snow.
Astrid nudged my hand again, as I looked down, my arm was still bleeding, dripping into the newly fallen snow. Astrid and Ember led the way back to the back door of our home. It was at this point I realized my bare feet again and felt the ache of the cold seeping in. The dogs led the way inside, and I quickly found a paper towel to apply to the wound. I covered it for about a minute when I found it had stopped bleeding. I helped the dogs to bed, then washed my hands, rinsing a substantial amount of blood down the drain. I went to wash my forehead where I was sure he had marked it, but found it empty of blood.
As I lay down to bed that evening, expecting a night of restless sleep with visions and ideas racing around my mind like it did every night. Tonight was different. I felt myself floating in a warm lake. I felt a gentle washing over my body, it was without close comparison, the best rest I have ever had before or since. Ultimate peace and solitude. I actually felt myselt melting into my bed. When I awoke the next morning, It was if I had turbocharged my batteries.