Gnosis Diary: Life as a Heathen

My personal experiences, including religious and spiritual experiences, community interaction, general heathenry, and modern life on my heathen path, which is Asatru.

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Novel Gnosis part 19: Kvasir and Sif

Sif is the grain goddess in heathen mythology. She is married to Thor. Continuing my Novel Gnosis series, in which I present religious insights gained through writing fiction, today I'm talking about Sif and also Kvasir, the being made from brew. In Russian the word Kvas means a beer-like beverage.

In the Fireverse, Sif looks young with her shining gold hair, but her son Ullr looks old. Thor notices this when he marries Sif but he dismisses the thought because the appearance of age and actual age are not always related when it comes to gods and goddesses. Sif enjoys baking bread, and also enjoys eating it and other grain based foods. Sif’s representative color is gold. The cutting and regrowing of Sif's hair is an obvious agricultural metaphor, a snapshot of the wheat harvest.

Kvasir doesn’t appear in the story much, but his making was an important peace ritual. In the Fireverse, when each of the gods spat in the vat, they were adding their own special yeast cultures used to make particular kinds of alcohol, each one saying “Mine is for [beer, mead, wine, etc.]” until they get to Sif who said “Mine is for bread.” Kvasir is therefore the living spirit of spirits, that is, he represents yeast.

The story in the lore in which Kvasir is killed and his blood turned into vats of mead is another obvious metaphor, depicting the use of yeast in the production of mead.

Image: "Sif was Queen of the Fields" by Day, public domain via Wikimedia Commons.



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Erin Lale is the author of Asatru For Beginners, and the updated, longer version of her book, Asatru: A Beginner's Guide to the Heathen Path. Erin has been a gythia since 1989. She was the editor and publisher of Berserkrgangr Magazine, and is admin/ owner of the Asatru Facebook Forum. She also writes science fiction and poetry, ran for public office, is a dyer and fiber artist, was acquisitions editor at a small press, and founded the Heathen Visibility Project.


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