Knowledge out of Darkness
Name means “aware”

“The tenth is Vör: she is wise and of searching spirit, so that none can conceal anything from her; it is a saying, that a woman becomes ‘aware’ of that of which she is informed.” Her name is roughly pronounced “Ver” in Icelandic, ö sounds like the French “eu.” (1)

Vor’s Story

In the beginning, there were few giants after the flood that drowned Ymir’s kin. Vor a was daughter of Bolthorn, sister to Mimir and Bestla and aunt of Odin’s. Far from the refreshing ice of Niflheim, there was need of fresh water on the rocky shores of newly formed Jotunheim. It was Vor’s task as a girl to find it. Bolthorn made it a game, saying “I’ve hidden the water underground. Close your eyes and find it.” She put her small hands over her eyes and looked underneath the rocky surface to find the water, directing her father’s great footsteps as she rode on his shoulder. It was her brother Mimir’s talent to bring the water up through rock and soil, but it was hers to find where it lay hidden.

All over Jotunheim they made wells for the people as new generations spread and settled the land. She would stare her favorite well when there was no need of her water-witching, allowing it to reveal secrets as she practiced seership. Some would come to ask her for answers, and she told the unkempt to return when they had washed away the filth from their eyes.

Odin eventually made peace with his uncle Mimir, and asked help in finding fresh water for the dry lands of sunny Asgard.

“I can bring it up, nephew, but it is my sister Vor who can find them. She will not soon forgive you Ymir’s death, nor offer help.” Together they came up with a plan. One of Mimir’s talents was to know how people would die, and he shared some knowledge of his own death with Odin. They sent word to Vor that she must find water sources in Asgard, lest her brother lose his head. She looked into the waters and saw that indeed, Mimir would be beheaded unless the future was changed, so she grudgingly agreed to seek groundwater in Asgard. She served her purpose, residing in her cave at other times, peering into its dark waters to learn all she could. Yet she dared not verify if her actions had changed the future and saved her brother. The deed was done, and she could do no more. Some things are better left unanswered, and she wisely chose to live in hope rather than certainty.

When Mimir was beheaded in Vanaheim, she sighed and started packing her few possessions to finally return to Jotunheim — no longer did she have any reason to stay. It was Frigga who came to her isolated hut, begging her to stay and be one of her ladies.

“Elder,” spoke Frigga, “I am but a youngling queen here, much in need of one wiser than I to counsel me. I pray that you consider staying as part of my court, no longer at Odin’s bidding but under my protection, free to do as you wish, yet able to influence our affairs as a Goddess of Asgard, as one of the Asynjur. Will you think on my proposal?” With the weariness of age, Vor sighed, put down her bags and returned to her well for what she thought was the last time. We do not know what she saw, only that when she returned to the hut she was pale and shaken.

“I will stay as one of your ladies, Frigga queen of Asgard, for I dare not tempt the future we would face if should leave you without my counsel. You have… my allegiance.”

Then she sat for a long time in silence, still holding Frigga’s hand. Many believe she cried for the first time in ages, something she had not done even at her brother’s death. Others say this is foolishness, that she would not show weakness this way in front of her new liege. One thing however is plain to see: no one she knew in her youth was still alive in Jotunheim, and she would not be warmly welcomed after serving the Aesir for so long. When asked on the matter, Frigga simply smiles sadly and says nothing.

Vor is sympathetic to immigrants who have had to venture far away from their homes, making the difficult choice of living in a new land where they are not welcome.

Meeting Vor

Vor typically appears as an impossibly ancient white-haired woman, yet still vigorous enough to give silly mortals a tongue lashing. In one rite she was heard speaking with an odd cadence and accent reminiscent of a cross between a Jewish grandmother (or perhaps Eastern European) and a First Nations elder. Her tone can be harsh, critical, and she has no issue berating you for your foolishness and failings — though what she complains about only makes sense if you really think about it:

  • “Ach! How can you see with all this light!? Far too bright to see, it’s making me sleepy.”
  • “You’re filthy, have you no shame? Wash yourself, for the sake of the gods! Smear your body with mud, fool, so you can come to me clean.”
  • “I’ve never heard such a stupid question. Find a better question.”
  • “Why are you so short? Stand up straight! Don’t be short when you’re supposed to be tall.”
  • “Stupid people, walking around with your eyes closed. Open your eyes, fools!”
  • “Shut your mouth when you speak.”
  • “Your heart’s dirty. Here, take this stone and wash it in my cauldron.”
  • “Wake up! You’re all asleep and dreaming! Get rid of this light, close your eyes and wake up!”

Most of her advice has to do with cleansing through water, waking up and seeing clearly. When inviting her, it’s good to provide a cauldron of hot water, one of cold water, and a number of palm sized stones she can give people to warm, cool or clean in those vessels. A towel is good, as she’ll surely pour water over your hands to wash you. Drumming might help trance, but playing music for her is a waste, she won’t appreciate it.

As a rule of thumb, Saga fills the role of the kind grandmother that gives you hot milk and tells you an uplifting story (in her elderly aspect), while Vor is the grandmother that make you clean up your mess. Though generally gruff, she does care and can offer comfort when you’re having a hard time (while Saga’s younger aspect can be downright vicious as a con-artist).

Oddly, Vor favors written over oral communication. Writing down your requests to her is a good idea, even if it’s just in your mind. I suspect it’s because she trusts what is seen (such as writing) over what is heard, so you can also ask her questions in the form of mental   images. Or maybe it’s a form of “talk is cheap, seeing is believing.” One method that worked surprisingly well was to visualize finding her Facebook page and messaging her through that chat system… let it not be said our gods can’t use Internet!

She is not so fond of Saga’s stories which distort and embellish the truth to press a point or inspire. Truth to her must be directly experienced rather than spoken of, and while Snotra likes books and learning from elders, she feels one’s five senses are the most direct path to knowledge — be it physically or by journeying in spirit. She also approves of the scientific method (making a hypothesis about something not yet observed, testing it, and using empirical data to refine the theory). See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method

Sometimes she comes so elderly, frail and crippled by arthritis that she can barely speak or hold a spoon to eat thin gruel. She mumbles so softly one must be quiet and strain to hear her answers.

Dwelling in Darkness

To find Vor’s wisdom you need silence and darkness. A blindfold and earplugs are useful props, though pressing palms strongly over the eyes may be the best pose to commune with her. If you cannot find a dark, damp cave, the second best place to reach her is in the bathroom while sitting on the toilet. This isn’t a joke. It’s over a pool of water designed to cleanse and relieve you of your crap. Ach, and you have so much crap to get rid of, children!

It’s better if you close the door and turn off the lights, but even in an office you can get a great pick-me-up by sitting on the toilet with palm-covered eyes, “turn off the world” and dwell in darkness for a minute. Breathe deeply and slowly, exhale with a noisy sigh. It works wonders when overwhelmed with people or work, as well as when seeking fresh ideas. Relieving yourself at the same time is not an issue, she doesn’t share modern notions of what’s clean and dirty. Letting go of filth is a good thing.

Vor’s Divination Chant:

Gracious goddess, Knowing One, help me now to see
How to read and how to tell, Truth from fantasy.

Thick or thin, smooth or snag, in the tapestry
Wool to hand, eye to lips, knowing set us free.

Invocation to Vor: (to have her speak through a seeress)

“Knowing one we call,   From Frigga’s favor
Keeper of lore,   Keeper of truth.

Goddess Vor we call,   Greet from Asgard we,
Make us aware,   what was to be.

Searching wise one come,   Few can rival you
Questions your seeds,   Answers to needs,   .

None so well concealed   That you will not find
Questions we speak,   Answers you seek.

Wise bloodhound for facts,   Well find You the words
To share, to catch,   As swift as birds.

Vör, Vor, ler her serve,   As your voice and ear.
Vör, Vor, here enshrined,   Goddess join us here.”

 

Suggestions for Honoring Vor

Colors:   Black, the color of water on a moonless night. Sky blue and cloud white (Frigga’s colors).

Symbol: Well; iron cauldron; black mirror.

Altar Suggestions:An asperger (made of birch twigs tied together) and other water-based purification items; a small cast iron cauldron; a ladle; a black mirror, other oracular tools; dowsing rod or pendulum; glass beads or smooth river stones; a blindfold and earplugs.

Music: No music. She prefers quiet, a simple trance-inducing drum beat, or the sounds of water.

Herbs: Betony; Sage; Rosemary, Hyssop, and other purification plants associated with water.

Weapon: Wooden spoon (for hitting wayward fingers) or ladle for dousing dirty people.

Runes: Pertho as her signifier for readings and rune of divination, Laguz for waters and Hagalaz for cleansing.

Affinity: November, Scorpio.

Food and drink:   Water, cleansing teas, lemon and water, things you would drink while fasting. Soup, thin gruel, foods you could eat with a spoon even if you had no teeth left; soft, well cooked organic root vegetables (things that grow in darkness).

Attunement: Taking a hot shower in the dark, followed by splashing yourself with cold water; meditating in the dark with a bowl of hot water and one of ice cold water (try putting a hand or finger in each at the same time, like a battery with a hot and a cold pole); writing to her rather than speaking, this can also be done by visualizing your words being written, without mentally speaking them; going to a sauna or sweat lodge; for a quick mental recharge, go to the bathroom, turn off the lights, cover your eyes with your hands, say her name and just breathe while relieving yourself.

Service offerings: Performing divination for others without embellishing the results. Getting rid of things that clutter your life and toxic people; cutting out over-processed additive-filled foods from your diet. Various forms of fasting (just juice, or just mashed vegetables and gruel for instance); doing a silence fast — no speaking, texting, phone, tv, music or computers (for an hour, a day; start with short times, it’s harder than it looks); doing a “light fast” — staying in a completely dark place or wearing a blindfold for a time (remove glass and other breakables from your area first); wearing blindfold and earplugs while you meditate.

Offerings: That’s all right dear, grandma doesn’t need you to buy her gifts. She wants you to deal with your own damn shit first before you worry about other people. And close that door, you’re letting all the heat out. Hmph.
Go through your closets for what you don’t really need, throw away the trash and give away the rest. Cleaning the home is more for Frigga, but reducing the clutter in your life is a good offering to Vor. There is a lot of emotional energy tied up in holding onto things, which is freed by letting them go (a rainbow appeared as this writer was considering whether to add the current paragraph).

Blessings: Distinguishing truth from self-serving lies; spotting impostor spirits; cleansing body and spirit; finding sacred sources of water; blessing water; clarity and detachment when divining or doing oracular work.

Contra-indicated: Lying, to yourself or others; embellishing the truth to spare feelings; being dirty from lack of regular washing (as opposed to being sweaty and muddy from doing a purification rite, which is fine), talking too much and not listening enough.

 

Suggestions for Organizations to Donate to in Her Name:

Wikipedia (https://donate.wikimedia.org) and other organizations dedicated to freely sharing and revealing knowledge.
International Dark-Sky Association (http://www.darksky.org/) and others fighting light pollution.
Local groundwater protection organizations.

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

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Comments
  1. This post speaks to me at precisely the right time. I take the suggestions to heart. I wonder if her preference to written word is such that one cannot bow out of the accountability of truth. *ponders*

    Like

    • lofnbard says:

      Glad it’s timely for you! I’ve been struggling with getting these “imperfect” shrines posted. Once the written words are published, I lose control of what happens to them as they wander into other heads. Letting go is hard, ha ha.

      I’m also mulling over your words of accountability and truth. Accountability, oaths and contracts are more Var’s domain. But truth feels more on spot, especially not lying to yourself. Still not sure on the writing part.

      When I heard it told by Hobbes, the story of Truth and Story, that totally struck me as the relationship between Vor and Saga, and how these two were the Norse embodiment of those archetypes. It’s my favorite of his stories, and I’ve retold it at Norse festivals to honor them. 🙂

      You can hear John David Hickey’s recording of it here: http://shorteningtheroad.blogspot.ca/2010/01/story-and-truth-in-2010.html

      Like

  2. Ly says:

    This is great, I didn’t know much about Vor before.
    I’m curious as to all those quotes she gave, are those things she said to you?? :p

    She sounds like someone I’d like to get to know more 🙂 .

    Like

    • lofnbard says:

      Well, there were two rites. One where she was horsed by someone who wasn’t really compatible, The seer’s hands could barely move, as if locked with arthritis by old age. Vor answered a few questions from kindred members in a very weak voice. That’s when we used the invocation written above and got the sense she wanted mushy foods, as if toothless.

      The other was based on a vision I got while working with my spiritualist friend Richard. When my kindred performed it, I was Vor’s horse. Some of those words I heard in the initial vision, some were said during the rite. That’s the one alluded to with the two cauldrons and the heart stones that she washed for each attendee. I could clean up the ritual script and post it if there is interest. I have very good notes on that one and it was quite different from the usual spirit suppers.

      Prior to both of these, I got a chant from her (see above), with the promise to call upon her with it for clarity and detachment every time I used the Giants tarot for a year. It seems as relevant to her as to the Norns, and I feel the thread as if spinning wool with a drop spindle when I use it.
      Recording and posting that on my Sigyn’s Hope Youtube channel is on the to-do list. I got a great recording of Matt doing harmonies with me on Gerda’s chant last weekend, so that’ll be going up first once I clean it up. 🙂

      Like

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