I suppose I should introduce myself and this blog a bit less formally.

First musings! Why I am I doing this blog? One reason is that I’ve spent over three years getting to know the Handmaidens and have been feeling an increasing sense of “We’ve given you all these stories, all these personal details about us. You said you wanted us to be better known, better loved. So why are you still sitting on all this? Get it out where people can see it! We’re not here for your entertainment, you know!” (and I can so hear Pink’s song U+UR Hand in that… this is what I get for listening to pop music with the Ladies).

I’m self-conscious about letting people see it, that’s why!  The plan is to assemble their stories into some sort of perfect book about them, but it’s never complete enough or good enough. I could spend my life on that project and it still wouldn’t be. I’m also quite sure I got some things wrong about them. Hence a blog. It’s available, but less final than a printed book. I can still edit the public version if it becomes necessary or new insights come to light.

Last October I was at a rite honoring many Norse deities, part of which was getting a little fortune cookie style message. The one I received was “Write what you feel where others can see it.” I was stunned, moreso because the only two other people who got that same message, among the sixty or so in attendance, were published authors. I know, because everyone read their message aloud. I’m supposed to make it available, whether or not I think it’s good enough or sufficiently edited. The message wasn’t to write the truth, just what I feel. This at least I can do.

To avoid publishing huge mistakes, I do divination on each shrine pages after it’s written — with the help of another seer, because it’s almost impossible to correct your own personal gnosis. Mostly it’s tweaks. Syn’s story got completely junked, as did her shrine page, due to the other seer’s divination saying it was plain wrong. I was actually a bit relieved: better to redo it now than after the book is published. Her original story was also the most confusing and… well, I have to admit it, boring one I had. Rewriting from scratch is difficult, as I keep questioning what I get, but it’s getting smoother as I go.

This is all about my process though, not why I’m doing it, why I stay up late and spend as much effort as I do on being their bard. The basic reason is this: Women need stories. Scratch that, women need *better* stories. Men also need better stories about women, but they have plenty of their own that make the lack less of a hardship. If it wasn’t an issue, we wouldn’t need the Bechdel Test to tell us how few movies have women as more than plot devices.

I want little girls and grown women to have stories where women matter, not because of their relationships to men, but in and of themselves — stories where women do stuff for their own personal reasons and accomplish great things. Sacred stories of Goddesses are crucial because they show meaningful patterns and choices women can make, how they learn, grow and achieve their own unique form of greatness. We desperately need more role models — not perfect ones, those are boring — but believable ones, inspiring ones, the kind you want to hear the tales of because they give hope and drive to make things better.

These single Ladies of Asgard are not picture perfect. Like the Gods, they make mistakes, terrible soul-wrenching mistakes with unspeakable consequences. Yet they still overcome their fall, finding ways to improve and ascend. The scars they bear are rarely written on their skin, most don’t follow the way of the sword, but they are there all the same. The beauty of a stone is in the pattern of its imperfections, and the nobility of a person is the failings they have overcome.

Aside from Gefjon, all their stories were lost. No one cared to record them back then, and modern scholars even argue that Snorri probably made them up. Unmarried Goddesses? Independent divine women? Nonsense, a good woman needs a man, be it on Earth or in the realm of the Gods. There’s no need to get uppity here little lady, you have plenty of properly married Goddesses to worship. Unmarried Gods you ask? Oh, that’s normal, men can have their own lives without women. But not women, oh no.

I doubt I’m the best person for this. My top credential is simply that I’m doing it, writing these stories for the Goddesses, honoring them as best I can and hoping it means something to someone out there.

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Comments
  1. Elizabeth says:

    I think you’re the perfect person to write about these things because you give a damn about them. Writing books isn’t the be-all and end-all of authorship, especially in these times where frankly, more people have a chance of seeing what you write if it’s online. The stories need to be told; they are what is important. We’re just the mediums for them to get out into the world 🙂

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    • lofnbard says:

      Thank you Elizabeth. You’re my ‘bestest’ cheerleader. 🙂
      I certainly don’t expect to make much money from a book, and blogging’s probably somewhat more useful for fame these days — it’s easier and cheaper for more people to access as you say. Yet there’s something about holding a physical thing in your hand and saying “I made this,” even though it’s only partly true. There’s no such thing as “made from scratch,” the work of many others is what allows me to do it now, as well as inspiration from the spirits. What’s mine is the elbow grease and the choice of how to turn a phrase, how to look at a scene and deliver it.

      I’m hoping people will comment and question my various entries. That’s the nice thing about blogging. Like a live performance, you can see the reaction of your audience and learn from it what works best in doing your craft.

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  2. I’m really thrilled about this project, because yes, “Women need stories.” And also I am curious to learn more about more of the Norse pantheon, and I’m glad someone is making the effort to try and learn more from some of the lesser-known members of the pantheon.

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    • lofnbard says:

      It’s difficult work getting to know deities with no lore to speak of, yes, but very rewarding. I’m glad you appreciate it. 🙂
      Some of what I got was very surprising, so I hope people will be inclined to contact some of them and share their own experience here.

      Like

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