The Goddess

Eir

 

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Notes from Patrick/Jordsvin: Eir is a physician Goddess mentioned by Snorri Sturluson in the Younger (Poetic) Edda.  This is basically all that survives about Eir.   Her name means "copper" or "brass" and is cognate with the English word "ore."  In light of this, the forge and metalwork aspects Eleiren has seen, while not in surviving lore, do not surprise me. Medicine in Norse culture was evidently considered mostly a job done by women.  I'm posting this material by Eleiren, a student of mine, and would like to hear from others working with Eir.  The common ground found by many people can do much to help us restore the lore of little-known Gods and Goddesses:

Patrick, this is the stuff I have in my notebook. I wrote this up to drop into my more "formal" journals (that I use when teaching others) as an example of how to record experiences with or symbols of a deity. Feel free to share it as you see fit. Maybe someone else knows her... it'd be nice to not be the only one who knows her!

Eir

Basic traits:

Appearance : Slender with reddish-blond hair, clear blue eyes, & pale skin. Unclothed, her arms show an amazingly muscular build. She usually wears a red or gray gown with a blue hooded cloak that is fastened over her chest with a red (copper?) brooch shaped like a tree. She is approximately 5'9" - 5'11"

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Colors : blue & red

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Symbols : fire

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forges (& tools of a forge)

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swords

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intricate jewelry

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Animal : a large bay mare (dark red earth color that blends into darker brown/black down the legs & mane)

She is a forge goddess who deals more with creative and artistic aspects, than with making weapons & the like, though she seems to be fairly skilled at both.

Roles/attributes:
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defender and aid to warriors

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creative energy

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metal smith

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fire

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healing

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perseverance

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patience

Background:

Eir first appeared to me in a dream in the summer of 1996. I was standing on a hillside (more a small mountain really). It was late summer there, and there were wildflowers in bloom everywhere, but I knew it was late summer because there were lots of flowers that had gone to seed or were hanging dried out from their stems. There was a large lake at the bottom of this hill, and I could hear what sounded like the ocean coming from the other side of the hill.

I looked up and there was a woman coming up the hill towards me in a blue cloak. I couldn't see her face but had no feelings of needing to move away from her or that there was any danger in her presence. As she came closer, she pulled the hood back, revealing her face and hair that seemed both red and blonde at the same time. She said to me, "Welcome home! I'm so happy you've finally remembered."

I said to her, "Lady, I am sorry, I do not know you or this place."

"Of course you do or you wouldn't be here now. Remembering a place doesn't always mean remembering everything, sometimes it's just remembering where it is and how to get there," she said, very matter of factly.

I blinked in confusion, because still nothing was registering, despite that I felt at least comfortable in my surroundings. "Remembering" wasn't even a thought.

She spoke again saying, "I am Eir, your mother. What you don't remember, you will in time." She took a small, dark glass flask out from under her cloak and opened it. The scent of it's contents flooded the area and was like a deep forest after a rain. She anointed my forehead, lips, heart, hands, and feet, with a blessing given at each point. Afterwards, she recapped the bottle and said, "You are Eleiren, my daughter. Your name means Daughter of Eir. You have been and always will be my daughter." She kissed me and hugged me and told me to remember to call on her any time I needed her.

I'm not sure how I knew, but the next day I knew it was not Eire of Irish tradition who had come to me. I went looking for Eir in other pantheons, determined to find out what I could about her and found her with help hiding among the Norse deities and unfortunately being a goddess that not much was known about. Since then I've just worked with her and gotten to know her more and more. She has become my mother literally, supplanting even my birth mother (which was for the better and my birth mother and I have finally become friends as we didn't manage to be a very odd mother-daughter pair.)

There is no solid "proof" that I know of for my experiences with Eir, nor do I know of any means to prove that she is even a goddess, much less one of the Norse pantheon unless there are symbols or clues that I do not know about that have been given. This is at least the circumstance usually... that a symbol I overlook ends up having some meaning to someone who knows more about a certain pantheon or culture. For me, this relationship has been an exercise in faith... especially faith without factual representation.

Learning patience and perseverance has also been a set of lessons that I needed badly. Eir has taught me both of these while helping me to reconcile the artistic and healing sides of myself with the warrior nature, and to find a balance between them. I feel she would gladly do the same for anyone else, though I caution, she's gentle, but very hard as well. Don't go asking her for something unless you're really sure you want it. She'll give it to you and if you don't want it, she'll let *you* figure out what to do with it. Sympathy isn't something you'll find from her if you're hanging off a cliff that you jumped from. At the same time, if you need support, feel that you have no one to help you, or you have wounds that are slow to heal, she is excellent. Her healing techniques sometimes involve "burning" out whatever the hurt is caused by in somewhat of a trial by fire, but as she says to me, "No metal is worth working if you don't heat it up and get the impurities out first." The healing is complete when it is over though, and the hurt does not resurface. Eir is also good to call on if you need help with fine detail, as in a project that rests its strength on details, or if you need to pay more attention to details.

She also does one other thing, for me at least, and I can't see her not doing this for anyone else who worked with her... She will come when you are feeling like you can't go on, and much like a mother teaching a child to walk, she will pick you up and help you go on.

 

"El"

Note from Jordsvin: I'd be happy to forward any comments to Eleiren.  Please email me.

Created by Chandonn and Jordsvin

all works used by permission of the authors

last modified 09/27/2004