The HUMANities

The School of Athens. 16th Century. Raphael.

The School of Athens. 16th Century. Raphael. To me, the ultimate representation of the humanities.

I was taken by surprise by how much David Bowie’s death affected me. Even days later, listening to certain songs, like my favorites Heroes or Ziggy Stardust, could make me choke up, bring tears to my eyes.

I didn’t know David Bowie other than through his music, movies, and interviews, so why was I so sad? Because that is what art is all about. A great artist can touch people’s lives and get into their souls. Art burrows deep inside of us.

It made me think of a conversation I had with another student when I was in graduate school. I studied Humanities and took classes in literature, art, art history, history, philosophy, music, and film. My teachers, co-students, and I were also writers, poets, artists, musicians, or philosophers. The student who questioned me studied business. He thought my major was silly, old-fashioned…worthless. He told me that no one should study humanities; it was a waste of time.

My answer: society needs the humanities. The humanities, I told him, were what being HUMAN was all about. Stories, music, dance, visual arts, and philosophy all study what it means to be human in all its joys and sorrows, terrors and jubilation. The HUMANities have been with us since the beginning of time when people told each other stories around a fire and carved images into cave walls, millennia before anyone concerned themselves with macro-economics.

When we become engrossed in a book or film or dance, when we become overwhelmed by the emotions in a painting or song, we are taking a piece of that art and holding it in our souls. It enriches us and reminds us, even if for a brief, beautiful moment,  that we are more than our commute to work and our daily errands.

“We can be heroes/Just for one day.” This one line says it all. We are all heroes in our own stories. Great art and artists remind of us this and that is why we need them. This is why we mourn them when they are gone.

Posted in Humanities, life, Music, Stories | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

This is Where You Live

"This is where you live."

Hitch and Albert

In the movie Hitch with Will Smith and Kevin James, Hitch, played by Will Smith, is the ‘Date Doctor,’ a man who hires himself out to help other men get dates with women, often unattainable women. Albert, played by Kevin James, is just such a man, shy, clumsy, and awkward. He wants the beautiful, rich, and famous Allegra. In one scene Albert tells Hitch that dancing is one area that he does not worry about when it comes to women. He thinks he has moves. With a questioning look, Hitch asks Albert to show him what he means by that. Hitch puts on some music and what follows is one of the funniest scenes in film.  

Hitch’s advice to Albert of “this is where you live” to show that Albert does not need any wild moves to dance made me think of beginners in Aikido. Yes, Hitch and Aikido! When we start in aikido, everything is so awkward and strange, we don’t know which foot goes where or what to do with our hands. We are timid and try to make as few mistakes as possible. On the other hand, we also watch the advanced students, the black belts, and we see how they fly around the dojo, we observe their confidence and their ability to know where to step and what their hands are supposed to do. To a beginner, the advanced students look like Will Smith dancing.

So…as beginners we want to emulate the advanced students and try things beyond our abilities. We want to fly so we attempt to breakfall when we’re not ready. We want to show that we have confidence so we go charging in to attack one of the advanced students and find ourselves crashing to the mat. As beginners we want to throw in the ‘making the pizza’ move.  

My advice to beginners. Take it slow. Yes, watch the advanced students. Observe what they do and how they do it. Take the steps and train so that you can do what they do…one day. But don’t try to do it all at once or before your body is trained in the correct form. Don’t try to prove that you can handle it or that you are strong enough to take it. As Hitch said, “you is a fluid concept right now.” As beginners we are learning, changing, and growing. Fluid.

Stick with the basics. “This is where you live.”

 

Posted in Aikido, Dance, Movies | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Defeating Evil with Compassion

Recently I was telling a friend who practices Aikido and likes Lord of the Rings about my blog and that I like to write about both. A joke went around the table about Frodo doing Aikido. I laughed but it got me thinking…Frodo *does* do Aikido! As do two of my other favorite heroes. It reminded me of something I’d written a couple of years ago. Here is how the Aiki spirit of non-harming, of resolving conflict through love, plays out in three of my favorite stories.

 

How do we fight evil? With more force, bigger weapons, anger, hate?

What do our stories teach us? Let’s look at my favorite three examples: Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings.

In each story, there is a great evil pervading the land or universe. Great evil. Evil that wants to take over the entire world; evil that will stamp out all goodness. This is what the hero’s in each of these stories is up against.

So how do Harry, Luke, Frodo and Aragorn defeat this kind of evil? With love, kindness, mercy, empathy, and compassion.

When Harry meets Voldemort at the end and they duel, Harry does not use the killing curse. He uses the simple Expelliarmus spell, which only disarms an opponent. However, this creates a rebound effect on Voldemort’s killing curse.

Harry and Voldemort--final duel.
Harry and Voldemort–final duel.

The killing curse rebounds on Voldemort and kills him in turn. In essence, Voldemort’s evil intent kills him. Harry does not kill Voldemort. He is merely the implement by which Voldemort’s evil is destroyed.

At the end of Return of the Jedi, Luke fights and finally defeats Darth Vader…but he DOES NOT kill him. Luke cuts off Darth Vader’s right hand, and in that moment, he recognizes himself in Vader. Luke looks at Vader’s hand, looks at his own hand (which had been cut off by Vader), and recognizes that he is becoming evil like Vader. He sees how his hate and anger will destroy him as it did Darth Vader. Luke deactivates his lightsaber as a sign of his disengagement with hate, anger, and evil. In the end Darth Vader destroys the main force of evil in the galaxy, the Emperor. It is Luke’s disengagement, his turning off the hate and anger (as symbolized by turning off his weapon), that propels the formerly evil Darth Vader to turn aside from his hate and anger and destroy the Emperor.

Frodo shows mercy and compassion for Gollum all through the long journey towards Mordor to destroy Sauron’s One Ring.

Frodo taking the rope off Gollum's neck.
Frodo taking the rope off Gollum’s neck.

It is that mercy that eventually wins out in the end. When Frodo cannot destroy the evil, the One Ring, Gollum takes it from him and falls in the fire of Mt. Doom, thus destroying himself and the Ring. If Frodo had not shown empathy for Gollum (for, like Luke seeing himself in Darth Vader, he saw himself in Gollum) along the way, the Ring would not have been destroyed, and evil would have won.

Aragorn also does his bit. He is willing to sacrifices himself (as do many others) to give Frodo and Sam time to destroy the Ring. By storming the Black Gate of Mordor and distracting Sauron from seeing what was going on in Mordor, he gives Frodo time. Aragorn believes he is doomed, he thinks that he will die in that battle, but he is willing to do it all the same. His love for his hobbit friends makes him willing to sacrifice himself.

All four of these hero’s do not only show that mercy, compassion, and love can defeat evil in the end. They show these traits over and over again throughout their journey’s.

Every time Harry meets Voldemort (in whatever guise) he defeats him, not with evil, or some matched force, but with love or compassion. When they meet in the graveyard, Harry uses Expelliarmus and this makes it so that the shadows of the people Voldemort killed appear out of Voldemort’s wand. These shadows all help Harry escape with his life. When Harry meets Voldemort in the Ministry of Magic and Voldemort is torturing him, Harry does not turn to thoughts of vengeance, but he thinks of his friends and family and how much he LOVES them. This overwhelming love breaks Voldemort’s hold over him.

Luke refusing to fight or give up on Vader.
Luke refusing to fight or give up on Vader.

Luke shows compassion for Darth Vader when he is taken captive by Vader. He believes there is humanity and goodness in Vader, if only he would let it out. Vader says that it’s too late for him, but Luke presses on. He never relents in his belief in Vader’s inherent goodness, and this love and empathy for Vader save them all in the end.

Frodo, of course, shows mercy and compassion for Gollum the moment he sees him. At the beginning of his journey he thought it was a shame that Bilbo hadn’t killed him when he had the chance. But, once Frodo sees how much of a miserable creature Gollum is, Frodo can’t help but pity him. He also shows empathy. He can see just how he, too, could become like Gollum. He understands the terrible pull of the One Ring.

Fiction can teach us so much about life. These well-loved stories tell us that evil cannot be defeated and destroyed by anger, hate, stronger evil, or a better weapon. Evil is defeated by the even stronger human traits of kindness, compassion, mercy, and love.

Do you agree? Do you have a favorite story that plays out like this?

Posted in Aikido, Books, Fiction, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Stories, The Lord of the Rings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Murk

weather_fog5

Is it necessary to have clarity in my aikido practice? It feels like I should, like I should have something to work on and focus on every time I step on to the mat. I don’t. Perhaps the almost two month long break when I was sick has knocked me off my game. Not only am I not experiencing clarity, but I’m also not feeling confident about my practice, like I don’t know what I’m doing. I know that my aikido practice comes in fits and spurts, has peaks and valleys, and that sometimes, even after all these years, I struggle with some of the techniques. I know that on some days a technique like shiho nage will come easily and on other days it will be the hardest technique I’ve ever done.

Now everything feels murky and clouded. Part of me wants to fight my way out of it, but another part wants to let the murk clear on its own. I heard that if you find yourself stuck in quicksand you should not fight, but relax, and that relaxation will buoy your body up to the surface. If you fight, of course, you’ll get sucked under. The relaxation and letting go of the need to control what is happening is what allows you to float to the top and to safety.

So that’s what I will do. I will let go and relax and allow the cloudiness to disperse on its own. I won’t force it. Who knows? Maybe what crystallizes will be something amazing.

What about you? Have you experienced times of cloudiness when you didn’t know where your path led? If so, what did you do?

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The Hero’s Sidekick

Samwise2Everyone needs a good sidekick—the person who stands by you through everything and helps you out when you are at your lowest. This certainly holds true for Heroes.

In archetypal terms the Sidekick is the faithful and loyal companion to the Hero. What would a classic Hero be without his Sidekick? In fact, there are some Heroes who wouldn’t make it through their adventure without the help of their loyal Sidekick! They’d run out of food or get captured or even simply lose hope. Even when a Hero has a group of companions around him (think Frodo and the Fellowship or Luke Skywalker and the Rebels or Harry Potter with his friends in Dumbledore’s Army and the Order of the Phoenix), he often leaves that larger group of companions and sets off with just his Sidekick.

Of course, when it comes to fighting the Ultimate Bad Guy, the Hero even has to leave his Sidekick behind. However, without the faithful and loyal Sidekick, the Hero would never make it to the Ultimate Bad Guy at all and we wouldn’t have much of a story.

Today I want to talk about the character I think is the best Sidekick…Samwise Gamgee from The Lord of the Rings.

Some people see Sam as the Hero, and he certainly does heroic things over the course of the story, but in terms of archetypes and in the language of Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, Sam is not a Hero. Everything Sam does that is heroic he does because of Frodo. If not for Frodo, Sam would not be on the journey. Frodo is given the task, Sam follows. Frodo is the Ring-Bearer; Sam helps him bear the burden. I will talk about Frodo in another post, because he is a complicated Hero.

Sam and Frodo leave The Shire.

Sam and Frodo leave The Shire.

In The Lord of the Rings Sam Gamgee is Frodo’s gardener, his friend, and his most faithful companion. Sam is the best example of a Sidekick. Sam is a provincial and unadventurous Hobbit who has never traveled outside of The Shire, but he accompanies Frodo on his journey because Frodo needs someone to look out for him. Sam helps Frodo even though the road is dangerous. When Frodo decides that he must go to Mordor alone because he knows the Ring will work it’s destruction on the Fellowship, Sam goes with him even though they don’t know how to get there and it will be terribly dangerous. The faithful Sidekick follows the Hero no matter what:

“Oh, Mr. Frodo, that’s hard!” said Sam shivering. “That’s hard, trying to go without me and all. If I hadn’t a guessed right, where would you be now?”
“Safely on my way.”
“Safely!” said Sam. “All alone and without me to help you? I couldn’t have borne it, it’d have been the death of me.”

Once Sam gathers up all of his gear and some extra rations Frodo says,
“It is no good trying to escape you…It is plain that we were meant to go together.”

Frodo makes the right decision taking Sam along. Sam is the one who takes over the watch while Frodo sleeps, ensuring that Gollum won’t kill Frodo in his sleep in order to recover the Ring. When Frodo is betrayed by Gollum and captured by the giant spider Shelob, it is Sam who comes to the rescue. He fights and defeats Shelob and saves Frodo from becoming her dinner. When the Mordor Orcs find Frodo’s body, it is Sam’s quick thinking that keeps them from discovering the Ring on Frodo. Sam had taken it. Sam then rescues Frodo from the Orcs.

Sam fights the giant spider Shelob.

Sam fights the giant spider Shelob.

It is also important to note that Sam wore the Ring, had his vision of what his life would be like if he kept it, but he willingly gives it up to Frodo when the time comes. Only one other person had worn the Ring and given it up willingly and that was Bilbo. Sam is also one of the few people who could resist the Ring at all (Gandalf, Galadriel, and Aragorn are the others). If Sam had not had this strength of character to give the Ring back to Frodo, then the quest would have ended right then in the tower at Cirith Ungol.

Finally, when Frodo and Sam are on the plains of Gorgoroth (in the darkest depths of Mordor), Sam helps Frodo physically—he literally helps Frodo march when they are mistaken as runaway Orcs, and he gives Frodo the last of the food and water. He also helps Frodo emotionally and spiritually (this happens from the time they leave the Fellowship). When all hope seems lost Sam tells Frodo a story:

“But I suppose it’s often that way. The brave things in the old tales and songs…I used to think that they were things the wonderful folk of the stories went out and looked for, because they wanted them…But that’s not the way of it with the tales that really mattered, or the ones that stay in the mind. Folk seem to have been just landed in them, usually—their paths were laid that way, as you put it. But I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn’t…I wonder what sort of a tale we’ve fallen into?”

"I wonder what sort of tale we've fallen into?"

“I wonder what sort of tale we’ve fallen into?”

It is the Sidekick’s job to keep the Hero going and moving forward despite all odds against him. The most important aspect of Sam’s character, and it is what kept him and Frodo going, is that he never lost HOPE. Not once. It’s a crucial theme in Tolkien’s work—hope. The evil characters try to eradicate it from the world, and the good characters work hard to maintain hope, because they know that without it they will fall into despair.

Amidst the ruin and desolation of Mordor, when Frodo cannot even remember what The Shire looks like or what a gentle breeze feels like on his skin (he is close to becoming consumed by the Ring), Sam remains hopeful,
“But even as hope died in Sam, or seemed to die, it was turned to a new strength. Sam’s plain hobbit-face grew stern, almost grim, as the will hardened in him, and he felt through all his limbs a thrill, as if he was turning into some creature of stone and steel that neither despair nor weariness nor endless barren miles could subdue.”

It is not long after this change that Sam decides that if all else fails he will CARRY Frodo up the mountain to destroy the Ring. When it does come time to carry Frodo, Sam does it with ease. The clarity of his resolve and the hope remaining in his soul, make it so that the burden of Frodo is light on Sam’s shoulders. This is the ultimate sacrifice of the Sidekick. He must carry the load of the Hero to the very doorway of the evil they are trying to destroy.

Sam carries Frodo up Mt. Doom.

Sam carries Frodo up Mt. Doom.

Sam remains loyal to Frodo on the return journey and for years afterward (even naming his son after Frodo). The story even ends with Sam. Frodo, damaged beyond repair by the evil of the Ring, departs for the Grey Havens with the Elves and leaves Sam behind in The Shire. Ever the loyal companion, Sam carries on finishing the book that Frodo started.

What do you think about Sam as a Sidekick? Do you have a favorite Sidekick?

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“The Easy Way is Also the Right Way…”

“To me, the extraordinary aspect of martial arts lies in its simplicity. The easy way is also the right way, and martial arts is nothing at all special; the closer to the true way of martial arts, the less wastage of expression there is…It is not daily increase but daily decrease; hack away the unessential.” ~Bruce Lee.

This is one of my favorite quotes. “Hack away the unessential.” I think this can be meaningful in all aspects of life, not just the martial arts. We all have clutter and junk in our lives–useless physical objects lying around the house, unfinished projects, and even relationships that are no longer working. When I feel like I need to de-clutter in my life, I go to the physical things—the excess junk. Often what I really need is to cut away activities in my life that are no longer useful or to finish projects that have been hanging over my head for a long time (sometimes years).

On the Aikido mat, though, simplicity is especially meaningful.

Me...doing a simple technique.

Me…doing a simple technique.

Aikido is difficult and complicated. I’ve been training for almost 9 years, and I still feel like a beginner. I feel like I could practice for the rest of my life and not even come close to understanding what it’s all about. What can make it even more difficult is my unconscious insistence on making it even harder than it needs to be!

“The easy way is the right way.” Always, always, always. There are days when I insist on trying to fight my way through a technique. Aikido is all about NOT fighting. In Aikido you are supposed to use your opponent’s strength against him. If done properly the person attacking you should essentially throw himself. If done properly. When I’m making my life more difficult for myself I try to use strength (ha!) and muscle my partner into the position I want him. I pull and push and maneuver him.

This is not the easy way. Nor is it the right way.

I often work with men twice my weight and sometimes a foot taller than me. The right way is to allow all of that height and weight to come to me, get unbalanced by me getting out of the way or turning, and then me watching as he goes flying through the air or falls to the ground. That is also the easy way. It certainly sounds easy. It IS easy when I get out of my own way and allow for it to just happen…when I don’t try to complicate things by FORCING it to happen.

When I try to force things to happen, I am being wasteful (“wastage of expression”). I’m wasting my energy and I’m wasting my natural strengths by not using them to their full potential. My smallness is an advantage sometimes. A big guy has to strike down at me and it’s to my advantage, because he could be off balance by trying to lower himself to my height. A big guy also has the disadvantage of momentum—once he gets going all I have to do is get out of the way, maybe do a little something to him to break his balance, and then his size will do all the work keeping him going forward and down. It’s hard for him to stop his momentum and regroup to try something else.

I know when my Aikido is working, because it is easy and simple. Sometimes, afterward, I even marvel at how easy it was! There are times when I finish a technique, throw the person, and think “that was easy.”

Easy, simple…right. The “daily decrease” is truly the way of the martial artist.

How about you? Do you feel like life is better when you rid yourself of the unessential and simplify? If you are a martial artist, do you agree that the right way is the “daily decrease?”

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O’Sensei

O'Sensei

O’Sensei

Today, April 26th, is the anniversary of the death of Morihei Ueshiba, or O’Sensei as Aikido practitioners call him, which means ‘Great Teacher’. Morihei Ueshiba created the martial art Aikido.

Although O’Sensei is no longer with us, his art lives on in all Aikidoka all over the world. There are different “styles” of Aikido, but we all do “Aikido”. We all follow O’Sensei’s teachings in our own way. 524753_10152764391720433_606838492_n

I’m so grateful to him for creating this art. It’s transformed my life, and I know it’s transformed the lives of many others.

“The Art of Peace begins with you. Work on yourself and your appointed task in the Art of Peace. Everyone has a spirit that can be refined, a body that can be trained in some manner, a suitable path to follow. You are here for no other purpose than to realize your inner divinity and manifest your innate enlightenment. Foster peace in your own life and then apply the Art to all that you encounter.” ~Morihei Ueshiba

OSenseiKokyuHo

These are words I think we could all use to follow, no matter what path we choose to travel down.

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True Emptiness

“If you have not
Linked yourself
To true emptiness,
You will never understand
The Art of Peace.”

~O’Sensei, The Art of Peace

imagesI’ve been contemplating what the phrase “linked yourself to true emptiness” means in this poem, at least in an Aikido context, for over a week.

What is “true emptiness”? Is it a feeling? A moment? And how does that relate to the Art of Peace that O’Sensei practiced and handed down to Aikido practitioners?

For me, true emptiness as he writes of it here, is a moment in time and space. It is the transition time, the point at which one person either takes the balance of another or one person loses her balance. When I am taking ukemi, when I am the person attacking and being thrown, there is a moment, usually brief, when I’ve begun to lose my balance and I can feel myself falling. If I give myself to that moment, that space of falling, then my mind becomes blank and all I experience is that space in which I am no longer in control of my body, but I am at the mercy of gravity. The trick is to give myself to that moment fully, to experience it and to not fight it.

It is a third space, neither standing nor falling, neither balanced nor completely unbalanced; it is the time and space in between.

It reminds me of the feeling I got as a child swinging. I’d go so high that the chain would become slack, and there was that moment when the swing and I would hang for a brief fraction of time before we swung back towards the ground. I loved that feeling. Still do.

So, maybe that is the true emptiness. It is that third space when I am giving myself over to my body to transition from one space to another, from one moment to another, from one type of consciousness to another. When I give myself to that space, I lose my conscious thought and simply become my body, only feeling the movement, not thinking of it. Whether I’m the person doing the throwing or the person being thrown, I can still give myself to that space. If I am throwing I can step back from conscious thought and just blend with my partner’s energy and allow that energy to be transformed into something new.

O'Sensei exudes peace, and yet maintains a martial presence.

O’Sensei exudes peace, and yet maintains a martial presence.

I do not know if this is what O’Sensei meant when he said to understand the Art of Peace, I have to understand “true emptiness,” but perhaps the meaning of true emptiness and how we link that to the Art of Peace is up to all of us to find for ourselves.

What do you think? Have you ever experienced true emptiness? If so, what does it look or feel like for you? What were you doing?

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Unn the Deep-Minded

In celebration of International Women’s Day, I want to make mention of one of my favorite Viking women—Unn the Deep-Minded.

download (3)Unn’s story is told in the Laxdaela Saga, one of the Sagas of the Icelanders, stories written down in the 13th and 14th centuries detailing accounts of the lives of certain Icelandic families living in the 10th and 11th centuries.

Unn’s father, Ketil Flatnose married her to Olaf the White, who was the King of Dublin in the 850’s. They had a son Thorstein the Red, who we will meet later.

Ketil Flatnose had to flee Norway after Harald Finehair became the king as there was much bad blood between them and Ketil was sure that Harald meant to kill him and all his sons off one by one. Flatnose then traveled to Scotland where he was well received by the men of rank there and they offered him to settle wherever he wanted.

Flatnose and his kin (including Unn, whose husband was dead by then) settled in Scotland, all except Thorstein the Red, Unn’s son. Thorstein raided Scotland and became a scourge to the Scots as he was quite successful with his raiding. He eventually made peace with the Scots but they betrayed him and killed him.

Back to Unn…when her son Thorstein was killed she was living in Caithness. When she heard that her son had been killed, she figured her prospects for living in Scotland were pretty dim. Her father had also died by this time.

Model of a knarr

Model of a knarr

Unn, crafty and smart, hid in the forest in Caithness and had a knarr (a Viking ship) built in secret. Once the ship was built and the winter over, she gathered all her kinsmen and their combined, and considerable, wealth, and escaped from Scotland. No one was the wiser!

They first went to the Orkneys and stayed for a while, and Unn married her granddaughter to a wealthy earl. According to the saga all of the earls of Orkney were descended from Unn’s granddaughter and her husband. After the Orkneys, Unn and her band traveled to the Faroe Islands where she married another granddaughter to an earl there.

Unn was a busy woman and her legacy flowered in all of the Viking establishments!

Her final destination—Iceland, where two of her brothers lived. She met one brother who treated her stingily (which she did not appreciate!) so headed off to stay with her other brother. He treated her well, so she wintered with him.

From there she sailed around Iceland claiming much land as her own, finally settling in Hvamm. Once settled, Unn was very generous! She told her followers, “for your services you will be rewarded; we have now no lack of means to repay you for your efforts and your loyalty.” She freed her slaves (most wealthy Vikings had slaves) and gave them land too.

When her grandson married in Iceland, Unn hosted a huge wedding feast for him. Everyone who attended marveled at its magnificence. As the evening progressed, Unn, who was an old woman, grew tired and retired to her bed. In the morning her grandson found her dead.

Unn had died, “sitting upright among the pillows,” and everyone at the feast was impressed at how well Unn had kept her dignity, even in death.

I love Unn’s story. Her perseverance, strength of character, bravery, intelligence, dignity, and generosity. We don’t hear much about Viking women, but Unn is a wonderful example of the fortitude of women in the Viking age.

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The Lovely Sif

It’s Thorsday, but instead of a story about Thor, here’s one about Sif, his lovely wife.

Loki sneaking up on Sif.

Loki sneaking up on Sif.

Sif had gorgeous, long, golden hair. Of course, the trickster god Loki had to mess with it! Loki cut off Sif’s golden locks as a prank. Thor, infuriated with Loki, threatened to kill him.

But Loki is not to be done in. He offers to replace Sif’s locks with something even more magnificent than her original hair. He goes to the dwarfs and has them create hair of gold for Sif. Pleased, Sif and Thor forgive Loki and Thor does not kill him.

Golden-haired Sif.

Golden-haired Sif.

Sif’s golden hair has been considered by many scholars to be a symbol for grain, and Sif herself considered an earth goddess. It fits. The earth goddess, Sif, married to the sky god Thor with his thunder, lightning, and control of the rain and weather. What better pairing? Earth and Sky–a divine marriage.

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