I love to explore the Divine Feminine and write about Goddesses. For a list of those, click on the link: Goddesses. In order to become more balanced within ourselves and, through that, to bring greater balance and harmony to the world around us, we must find greater balance between the masculine and feminine energies within ourselves that each one of us possesses, regardless of physical gender or any other ways of self-identification.
Power & Life
According to the Roman historian and priest Tacitus who lived around 56 to 120 CE, Nerthus was an earth and fertility Goddess. He calls her Terra Mater, Mother Earth. Although there have been many discussions and varying opinions, it seems that the Goddess later evolved into the Norse God Njördr.
Equally, her name is of debated origin. It may come from the Old Irish nert, meaning strength, which could then be translated as “The Powerful One.” It is equally possible that the name is related to the Old English word genord, which means contented. It also seems to be related to the Vedic sunrta which means good vigour, vitality.
Nerthus was a Goddess revered by seven tribes that lived near the Baltic Sea. According to Tacitus’ accounts, the Goddess had a wagon that stood on an island in the sea. It was not said which island it was. Once a year, the wagon would be brought to the mainland and, drawn by heifers, young cows who have not yet calved, would travel though the tribes’ lands, visiting villages.
There was a festival wherever this wagon passed and people would lock away anything made of iron. She brought peace and abundance in passing, so it is assumed that the procession would have been after the summer was over, which was the time for warfare. As she is also a Goddess of fertility, abundance and the Earth, taking an educated guess, it would have taken place during or directly after harvest time.
As Nerthus is coming through quite strongly as I write this, I see/feel her smirking and nodding in agreement. As I ask her why the female cows have to be “maidens,” young adult animals that have not yet experienced motherhood, she explains:
It is the prospect of unfulfilled potential with the best foundation. Young, healthy animals that promise strength and fertility.
To my question regarding the origin of her name, she scoffs.
What does it matter? It all brings you to that which I am. The strength, the contentment of a plentiful and abundant life, the life force and vitality of nature itself. After a spring and summer of much labour and often fighting, of toil and pain, you are now reaping the rewards of your efforts. When you have enough to grant you a good life over the harsh winter months, you are contented and at peace.
What I bring is not peace on the outside. That is merely a result of what there is inside. I remind you of feeling inner peace, being content with your lot, your achievements but also to accept your failures without judgement. It is what it is. You cannot change the past, yet the future is fresh, a clean land to create your perfect life on, like what you understand as paradise.
It is a sigh, releasing stress and tension, an exhale to let go of everything that has been, a look to your present blessings and fortunes and a promise of joy and contentment. Peace is not an exhilarated feeling with high levels of excitement. Peace is still, quiet, relaxed and being in the moment without fear or worry. It is trust in me providing for you, my children. I am here to remind you of all that riches that is yours at any time if only you let it.
You tend to forget so quickly what your blessings are and your powers. Instead, you like to drown yourself in worries and despair, of envy and quarrels. When the Wagon of Abundance is returned to the island near the sacred lake, the slaves wash it and the Goddess. Yet they cannot see the glory and thus, they must perish. The ritual drowning is as much an act of secrecy as it is of symbolism.
It is for you to decide now what you wish to be, a slave or a recipient of blessings, a co-creator of divine fertility and abundance. You have a choice whether and how to use your innate powers for good or for bad, That is, in your estimation. What will it be? I stand before you with my wagon full of gifts, your innate glory that is and always has been there. From peace is begotten freedom, to do as you will, with all your powers under your command. The slaves gives his powers away to an outside source. Other people, an authority, fate or circumstance, it matters not. All of it will result in him fretting for the loss of the few necessities and little amenities he has. He will become a slave to his own worries and fears.
Looking at the current state of humanity, mine is a timely message. You have free will. What kind of life will you create as an individual, but just as importantly, as a community and society?
A Tall Blonde
Nerthus is a tall woman with blonde hair held by a leather string around her head and at the ends of a couple of braids gently framing her face. And yet, although she is not aggressive, she stands fully in her power. She is not the cuddly type who will cradle you in her arms. She is more the type of parent who will tell you that from nothing comes nothing, so you had better get active and do something to bring about that which you desire. After all, it is there for the taking, whether we see and believe it, or not.
This Goddess is movement which isn’t all that typical for an earth deity. She is all determination and focus. She doesn’t stroll, she doesn’t even walk. She strides! But she is not active for the sake of activity alone. Her intent is laser sharp. Everything she does has a purpose, designed to bring her another step further towards her desired result. And yes, I have to agree to her slightly sarcastic question of whether I really expected a Goddess with a wagon to be static. She definitely has wit which I can appreciate particularly as a writer.
Always the Last Word
As a parting message, she says:
The slaves were not kept drowned and floating in the lake. Their bodies were ritually placed in peat bogs, that is to say, in my womb. They rest in all eternity, at peace in the knowledge of being once again One with their mother. But to get there, you must go within and realise that that which defines you as a sentient being is not your body but your spirit. Do not bind the latter to the former or you will die before death and you will die before you have truly lived.
Do not be afraid. Rejoice in this message that reminds you of your own glory and power. Embrace it. Don’t fear it. Love, joy and peace are truly One and they are at the centre of all Creation. Play your part. The one you would play if there was never fear, never doubt and never worry. Then you will receive all the gifts I am meant to bestow upon you.
With this, she nods, her serious expression signalling the end of her message to the world at large. I am going to spend more time with her in quiet meditation now. And I will walk up to her wagon and look at everything it holds for me. I may just have to dig, though. The treasures are mostly still covered in peat but the passive gestation period of waiting is over.