I was supposed to leave this morning to go to Cauldron Farm for my Earth ordeal. Clearly I didn’t. Raven called me this morning to tell me that “the bitch” woke him first thing this morning and started downloading shit into his head about the ritual. My first question of course was “Your bitch or mine?” As I expected, he was referring to his Lady. Raven is a servant of Hela, the Norse goddess of the underworld.
Although I hadn’t really thought of it this way until recently, I guess you could say that Hela has been an integral part of my ordeal cycle. She was present at my Fire ordeal when I crossed the snow covered field completely exposed to the elements and offered blood and a measure of my humanity on the stang. She has given Raven the info on the Earth ordeal, which he is administering. And she will likely be present in Lydia when she puts me up on hooks for Air in just over a week.
I am conflicted as to whether or not I think this is a good thing. Hela is a hard and in some ways cruel goddess. That said, I have a significant amount of faith in Her. I have seen enough of Her people to know that She is effective in what She does when She takes a hand in a person’s life.
I love my Lady. In a very real way She is the reason I exist. I am who I am because of Her. She gave me the name Wintersong and She gave my people the name Tashlin, which I have now also taken as my legal last name. For all that I complain, there isn’t another goddess who I would choose to serve (if I had a choice, which I don’t so that’s good then). That said, I am glad that Hela is taking a part in this process as well. For all that they may work in the same “office complex” there are significant differences between my Lady and Hela.
My Lady is about death and creation, productive destruction, rot and decay becoming new growth and other radical (often violent) transformations. She is implacable, and elemental in the way of death. But unlike Hela, my Lady takes little note of souls. Hela is a goddess of death and the guardian and master of the underworld. She is almost certainly better suited to this kind of remaking than my Lady is. Don’t get me wrong, my Lady has made a great deal of changes and modifications to me over the past decade. Those changes tended to be technical, and functional, rather than spiritual.
I don’t know exactly or even roughly what will transpire tomorrow night. I know that tomorrow night will be difficult. I know that “difficult” will seem like an understatement when the time comes. I know that I may not make it through the ordeal in one or more of several senses. But I have faith in my Lady and I have seen the work that Hela does. If I fail tomorrow night it will be on my head, not because the gods haven’t given me as good a chance as possible.