Sep 23, 2011

Excerpt From A Dream

This post very much caught my interest. I feel that it raises a cogent point: there comes a time when we have to take a stand. Those of us who identify with the progressive side of Heathenism cannot always afford to maintain a "polite" silence.

A few weeks ago, I actually had my first dream of encountering my God, Forseti, face-to-face. In the dream, I knew I was supposed to meet Him, and then heard His voice telling me where to look for Him. I went where I was supposed to go and was able to pick Him out from within a crowd: He appeared to be a professionally dressed older man with short, curly gray hair and creamy brown skin. He had hazel eyes--light brown with other colors mixed in. All in all, He looked Latino, or perhaps Middle Eastern. I won't go into the entire dream, but throughout, there was a deep sense of connection, love, and the possibility of real hope for those who had been victimized in brutal ways. My dream ended with these words: "justice is for everyone."

Sep 10, 2011

A Dedicant's Experiences With Forseti

One of the reasons I enjoy being a judicial officer is because the work culture plays to my natural inclinations. While I take a great deal of pleasure in conversation and sharing an honest laugh, and value my friendships deeply, I keep much of who I am private. This is not an unusual trait for people in my line of work.

Lies? Lies are in the air we breathe--though we get honest folks in front of us too, and it is absolutely critical to remember that. Many judicial officers develop certain instincts: that little whisper in the ear that something "feels" off. Asking the right questions and getting as much information as possible are vital. We often find out that our instincts were correct, when the fingerprints come back or when the facts are finally corroborated. But we live in an imperfect world and operate within an imperfect system. Sometimes, there is simply no way to know what really happened.

Today's post is about my personal experiences as a dedicant of Forseti. I can't say that I'm finding this to be the easiest post to write, but He seems to want it done, and not from an academic perspective. Since we bring so much of ourselves into the experiences and relationships that are the most meaningful to us, I thought it fair to begin with some of what I'm bringing into this topic. No one else can speak to your relationship with a God or Goddess. Each relationship is different. All of my thoughts here are offered in that spirit.

Forseti

Forseti is not one of the most well-known Gods in our pantheon. He is associated with justice, lawgiving, and decision-making. Some links to the left provide overviews of His surviving lore. For more detailed information, Richard Culver's article, "The Stiller of Strife," is an excellent resource.

Forseti is an incredibly compassionate, loving, and warm God (however, like all the Norse Gods, He does have a harder side to Him when necessary). He tends to like a certain level of decorum, even from those who belong to Him. Casual turns of phrase and flippant expressions generally do not go over well with Him. However, He very much recognizes that our minds soak up what surrounds us, and that it can be very hard for us to still or ground our thoughts. I've never known Him to hold unwanted digressions against a person who approaches Him in good faith. Indeed, over time, I've found Him to be adept at stilling internal strife. The world of the mind and clarity of thought are extremely important to Him. He is a highly intellectual God.

As Mr. Culver notes in his article, Forseti isn't exactly known as the most "hands-on" of the Norse Gods. Indeed, he can be rather reserved. Getting purely in the realm of personal opinion, I do think that this is actually for our protection: He is very literally the "Presiding One." If a matter is brought to Him and He has jurisdiction over it, it becomes His--as in, deviating from what is asked can and will upset an important balance, and result in decidedly unpleasant fallout. A court analogy is appropriate here: judgments must be obeyed, and judges do have ways to enforce them, as many a fugitive arrested on a capias has discovered. Fortunately, our Gods are good Gods. They don't stand about, waiting for us to make a mistake so They can spring some sort of trap on us. I've found that Forseti tends to be very straightforward about what will be expected, often--if not always--before any final agreements are made. He is honest about what He can and cannot do for you, but is also very caring and may be willing to offer advice on matters that are not, as such, His. His decisions may very well go toward what is right in the higher sense. While He will listen to personal concerns and wishes, and might take these into account, these may or may not prove determinative of the outcome.

As indicated earlier, language is very important to Forseti. He has a profound understanding of what is unspoken as well as spoken. Never attempt to lie to Him--or to any other God or Goddess, for that matter. If He asks a question, take the time to think your answer through. Respectful deliberation is always a good way to honor Him. Artifice is anathema to Him, as is sarcasm, and He does not like verbal trickery or showmanship. With Him, language is to be used as tool to build bridges, uplift the individual and the community, and to bring the truth to the light. This does not mean that one is obliged to tell the whole truth at all times. Confidentiality and privacy have sacred aspects in law and in life, and not everyone is entitled to every bit of information. Silence is valuable--indeed, sometimes silence is holy.

Continuing in this vein, He is also a God of respect and protecting healthy boundaries. Respect is especially crucial to Him, for it lifts up the person who gives it and the person who receives it, as well as all those around them. Respect very much includes respect for the self. I've noticed that my God does not particularly like words such as "humility" or "supplication" (another worshiper's experience may differ; for me, these words do have certain strong connotations). Much like Heimdall, Forseti is associated with guarding boundaries and setting aside a space for what is holy. This can be seen in the surviving legend about Him. It is my belief that He would be a good God to consult for psychological concerns regarding internal respect and keeping healthy boundaries.

A few more thoughts on Forseti: while He can be reserved, he is a very warm, dedicated, and loving God. If He shows you something of His private side, it is a great honor indeed. Do not take this trust lightly. He is very intelligent and curious, but tends not to like analysis without heart. Fairness, order, and open legal processes are all of great significance to Him. The words engraved over the entrance to the U.S. Supreme Court building, "Equal Justice Under Law," could well have been His.

Symbols: Single-headed axe, hawks, clear springs, the ocean, ships, scales and other legal symbols.
Colors: Red, per many who have interacted with Him. Gold and silver. On a personal level, I have had a positive response to using white, going toward holiness and purity.
Offerings: A lit candle works well. Unlike some Gods and Goddesses, I have not found Him to be particularly interested in food offerings. Mead seems to be appreciated, though. Obviously, offerings should be directed toward Him personally and not "given" as some sort of attempt to change the outcome of a legal proceeding. Praying for a just and right outcome would be appropriate, so long as this is the true intent of the prayer, regardless of individual interests.