Memory is a powerful thing. Without it, we don’t know who we are.
The cup holds many things and when it’s full to overflowing, do you partake of it all or do you partake and then pour out the rest?
Sigyn’s cup catches and holds the venom that drips on Loki, caustic and punishing. Even the smallest droplets burn her hands and when she leaves for only a moment to empty it, Loki writhes in pain.
There are the bowls that hold the Mead of Poetry, made from honey and the blood of Kvasir who was formed from chewed berries and the communal spittle of the gods.
There is the Cauldron of Aegir where the beer for the gods is brewed. There are containers that hold the blood of warriors and containers that carry the blood of sacrifice.
There is the gilded aurochs horn filled with the fermented liquid carried by Freya, she who receives the dead into her hall Sessrumnir, found on the field of Folkvangr and it is from this gilded horn we all must drink in the sacred marriage of death.
What are the contents of your mead cup? Who holds it for you? Or do you carry it yourself? And when it’s full, do you drink from it before you pour it out? Or are the contents something other than liquid?
To remember is to honor. To honor is to offer something up.
I stand on the mound pouring out an offering to the gods, an offering given in exchange. The endless cycle. The skeletal remains of ancient sea creatures compressed by the weight of ages form chalk and chalk fertilizes the earth where the crops grow and we are fed. We are blood and bone and we return ultimately to the ancient seas that nurtured the sea creatures that became chalk.
Looking at Calc you might see, instead of the upturned container, the three roots of the World Tree Yggdrasil. Others do. Each of the three roots grows into a different well, Urdarbrunnr, Hvergelmir and Mimisbrunnr. At some time in the far distant past, which is also the future, did Calc contain something valuable and sacred that was poured out into the wells that water the roots that water the tree? And if so, what was it? And where did it come from? Was it the contents of your cup?
Pouring something onto the ground nourishes the ancestors as well for that’s where they’re buried. How do you honor your ancestors and their memory? How do you feed the World Tree? What are you willing to pour out when Calc appears among the runes?
There is no sound more primal, more bone chilling, than the howl of a wolf. The hair on the back of your neck stands on end and you pass through the veil into an ancient realm, the foreboding gloom of the Iron Wood, home of Angrboda, Chieftess of the Wolf Clan. She is howling for her children. It was here in the undulating oak forest, muck oozing from the ground, that the shape-shifting Angrboda, skin tattooed with ink and battle scars, made love to the Trickster Loki. In their lustful, intense, all-consuming coupling they created magic in the dark and what she birthed, she loved but no one else did.
She was cruelly deceived by the high gods who lured her away from her children with a lie. They burned her until only her charred heart remained in the ashes. Yet she lives. Nothing is as it seems. This is the rune Ac.
Angrboda howls for her half-rotted corpse daughter Hela, who dragged herself along to the gates of Helheim to wait for her mother.
She howls for her wolf son Fenrir, cruelly chained by Odin and his cronies.
And she weeps tears that mix with the waters that surround Midgard, the prison home of her serpent child Jormungand.
How does it feel to give birth to children, to beings, to things that are feared, hated and despised?
How does it feel to know you have brought forth the inevitable, the chaos, destruction and death that even the gods can’t avoid?
Ac is also the mighty oak, thousands of years old, which stands guard at the entrance of Angrboda’s home. Ac shows me the blinding flash of lightning that strikes the tree and I hear the crack as it splits apart and ignites, its heartwood burst open. The wisdom it reveals is the wisdom of life. Terrible monstrosities exist. They must be birthed, the necessity of destruction in order for life to continue.
Sometimes I ponder the question, what role does the oak tree serve when it diverts the lightning strike of Thor that would otherwise have struck his mother Jord, she who is the earth giantess?