Preparing to Prevail

Name means “Protectress”

The twelfth is Hlín: she is established as keeper over those whom Frigg desires to preserve from any danger; thence comes the saying, that he who escapes ‘leans.’ Her name is pronounced “Hleen” in Icelandic. (1)

 

Musings on The Hero’s Path

“Help me! Save me!” When you cry out for help to the Asynjur, when you need a hero, it is Hlin who hears and answers. You could see her as a Norse Kwan Yin, the one who “hears the lamentations of the world,” were it not for her also being a formidable warrior and weaponsmaster rather than a pacifist. She embodies the path of the hero and guides those who walk it, all of it, not just the parts people applaud.

When thinking of champions we usually focus on their brave deeds rather than the times before and after. There is often some emotional wound that comes first on that path, one that gives rise to the drive to make things right. This leads to a long period of training mind and body to respond efficiently to crisis, without which most respond to danger with shock and inaction. Then there is that brave deed, which may or may not be celebrated as such. This is usually followed by mourning. No hero can save everyone, there are always losses of some sort and grieving them is necessary, even if they are only emotional wounds.

We’re assuming here that the heroine saved the day, but even the greatest heroes sometimes suffer bitter defeats. If the hero finds fame, there will be jealousy. No matter what great thing you do, someone will find reason to complain about it and wish to punish you by attacking your weak points, perhaps by going after your loved ones. Spiteful people will try to prove your reputation is just a sham, that you’re no better than them. “Why bother?” says the embittered burnt out hero, “they resent me if I help, and resent me if I don’t. They’ve destroyed everything I ever cared about. Let the young ones deal with this crisis.” Some will fade into obscurity as mere shadows of their former selves, some will become reckless and take suicidal chances with their own lives, while others will sell out and join the oppressors. A very few will rise up from that defeat and rebuild themselves.

Some never even start on their hero’s journey, refusing their calling. For love, we sometimes try to become what we are not and believe the lie we live. It can become a slow drowning despair that drags on through the years until we are but an empty shell, eventually realizing those we put on the masquerade for are all dead or distant. Other times, tragedy takes it all from our grasp until we must face our truth.

Hlin’s Ordeals

Hlin married a mortal man for love, renouncing her Aesir birthright and that of her sea mother Ran. She pretended to be human, happily raising a family until their lives were taken from her. Maddened by grief and depression, she blamed herself and willingly walked alone into a situation that would spell her death. Under the pretense of facing her enemies, she was actually committing suicide to join her loves ones in death. Trapped within a burning building, she sorrowed for her husband, children, and finally herself, praying for be delivered from this torment. Her tears were not enough, her regrets were not enough, but they were all she had left.

What if you lived among humans but knew far more than they what was to happen? Not with absolute certainty, mind you, but could read the signs well enough to predict a drought or a raiding party a year in advance. What would you do? You couldn’t just tell them without revealing yourself. Yet you could speak out for more food reserves to be made. You could help women train in defending the village for whenever the warrior men were away. Some would listen and prepare, some would not. Foresight of trouble is a great and terrible burden as much as a blessing. It can put the weight of the world on your shoulders. All you can do is give warning, raise concerns, speak for safety and preparedness of disasters that may come, teach survival skills, train in fighting and running away. You could pray for people to see the signs before it was too late. And when it finally happened, you would be ready, trained and well equipped to run to their side. You would defend and care for them as best you could. Some you could protect, some you could save. Some you could only grieve in sorrow for.

Meeting Hlin

Hlin appears as a mature woman with motherly dispositions, often with relatively short graying hair. She is no fan of magical or medical wrinkle removal, she’s earned those smile lines and care lines around the eyes through love and loss. She can come weeping and wailing, or with a caring smile and a laugh. “Why so glum?” she exclaimed at a supper in her honor. “Where is the laughter of children? You look like you’re at a funeral.” So if you’re mourning, sorrow and shed tears. If you’re celebrating, make it fun and light hearted. If you ask advice in preparing for danger, be ready to find a relentlessly demanding teacher before you. She want you to be safe and survive. Whatever your endeavor and path, she helps you prepare to prevail.

Baptism of the Sea — A Sacred Cleansing

Whether you failed to protect the realm or had some lesser failing, we all come to feel shame. This sensation of being dirty, unclean, was called miasma and thought to pollute everything we did with a dark rotting spiritual stench. Dealing with death as a warrior, butcher or funeral attendant was also a source of pollution; sexual abuse is sadly the most common form of defilement these days. Left unattended, it grows and corrupts our lives.

A simple way to cleanse yourself is to make a bowl of ‘sea water’ — with water and salt. Say something to bless it into being sacred water, such as:

“Sea water sacred, cleanser of sorrow, holy water make me hale and whole,” or

“Waters of the sea, kettle of sorrows, sacred waters draw this darkness from me.”

Put your hands in it, and visualize the unclean darkness inside you. Imagine it flowing down your arms, pulled out by the salt water. Breathe, and push it out with your outbreath. When the bowl feels as full as can be, dump it in the toilet and flush. Wash your hands with clean water. Notice how you feel. If dealing with long-term issues, do this daily.

The same can be done in the sea, a river, or more conveniently in a bath — by adding sea salt or epsom salt. This can be followed by a second bath with blessing herbs, after draining away the first, such as Hyssop, Rosemary or Lavender.

Ritual bathing in sea or sacred river was nothing new two thousand years ago — the Ganges gave the blessing of Ganga, the Nile of Isis, and the Seine in France was for that of the Gaulish goddess Sequana. Romans and others often preferred hot springs. Baptism just means “washing-ism,” from the Greek word “baptiso.” If you’re not into working with the Giant Gods (Aegir, Ran and their Nine Mermaid daughters) when it comes to the sea, Hlin may better suit your needs.

 

Suggestions for Honoring Hlin

 Colors:   Sea colors and mourning colors. Navy blue and dark purple, along with Frigga’s cloud white and sky blue.

Symbols: A wooden bucket and ladle; a shield riddled with arrows; a water scoop.

Altar Suggestions: A heavy wool fire blanket or a soft child’s blanket; a fire extinguisher; an alarm bell or other loud noise maker, emergency whistle, shield, ladle, miniature bucket, wooden drinking bowl. She is sometimes seen using a stone quern (millstone for grinding grains into flour).

Music: Sad songs about lost love and lost opportunities. She seems to enjoy Indigo Girls and Melissa Etheridge, as well as some tear-jerking country songs.

Herbs: Seaweed, Barley, Rosemary, Dill, Maple trees.

Weapons: Spear, staff, shield, or whatever is on hand to keep danger at a distance.

Runes: Thurisaz, Hagalaz, Nyd, Berkana, Algiz, Laguz, Ingwaz, Othala.

Affinity: July, Cancer.

Food and drink: Fish and sea food, especially raw or smoked fish(during her devotional month I had constant cravings for sushi — piles of smoked salmon on a bagel with cream cheese was near orgasmic); seaweed salad; saltine crackers; barley porridge and gruel; white wine; barley beer .

Attunement: Find your special “blankie”, a soft blanket that makes you feel safe and protected. Sleep with it. Wrap yourself in it when you feel down. It could also be a wool cloak. Learn the difference between being proactive and reactive.

Service offerings: Change the battery in your smoke detector and those of your friends. Make sure everyone you care about has a fire extinguisher. Learn and teach fire safety and planning. Learn to swim or take scuba diving classes. Practice martial arts. Stay in shape enough to be able to run from danger, perhaps taking up jogging. Make a blanket or quilt with the intent of protection and comfort, especially for a child or someone suffering. Learn to felt wool for a blanket. Spend time each day training in something that will help you and yours survive and succeed. Mourning, crying and wailing for those who are lost, and helping others with grieving.

Offerings: Prepare a “Bug-out-bag” with emergency supplies and dedicate it to her. Write your emergency survival plans and discuss them with her, covering a variety of situations (fire, civil unrest, earthquake, robbers, war, an attack on the street of yourself or another etc. and each plan is an offering). Dedicate your fire extinguisher to her, write her name in runes on it. Have a fire blanket ready in the kitchen (cut from a heavy wool army blanket or flame retardant material). Prepare food and especially water reserves (at least 3 days’ worth of drinking water). Refresh your supplies and give away the older ones you didn’t eat. Give or make food for someone who needs it. Read her a romance story or watch and comment on such a movie with her.

Blessings: Help with grieving loss, depression and suicidal tendencies. Warnings of danger and how to prepare for them. Protection and rescue from danger. Guidance in training to survive what’s coming your way. When you badly need a hug just to go on. Surviving war, disasters, riots, muggings, home invasion, and sexual assault. Cleansing guilt and shame with sea or salt water,

Contra-indicated: Anything that is a potential fire hazard. Burnt offerings. Refusing someone’s request for food or water. Waiting for someone else to act first in a crisis.

Suggestions for Organizations to Donate to in Her Name:

-International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression (http://www.ifred.org/)
-The Firefighters Charitable Foundation (http://www.ffcf.org/)
-The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (http://www.ifrc.org/) & other organizations that provide disaster training & relief.

(1) from Snorri Sturluson’s Prose Edda, everything below this point is personal gnosis.

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Comments
  1. Ly says:

    I look forward to her story when it comes. She’s helped me in quite a big way as you know.

    Certain parts of this .. Really speak to me. You probably know which ones.

    Like

    • lofnbard says:

      I have a short story from her. I’m hoping to get more on what led to to it in the next three weeks of her moon. I started getting her presence today, and some fuzzy ideas. There’s something along the lines of a Mannannan’s “crane bag” or Mary Poppins’ purse, a bag with all the needed things. Also a sea mammal, possibly an otter. She does have a playful side.

      Like

  2. Teka Lynn says:

    Hail Hlin!

    Liked by 1 person

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