I have a message for humanity from Heimdall. Let me first explain how I got this message. While I’ve been writing my novel in progress Some Say Fire, I have sometimes gotten flashes of UPG. This year I’ve been spending close to full-time-work hours open to the gods, thinking about them, devoting my time and energy to them, inviting them into my mind if they have anything to say. I feel that sometimes what flowed out of my fingers while I was writing was inspired by the gods. Out of thousands of hours of being open to them, I got perhaps a few minutes of actual messages, so I’m not claiming to be any better at receiving their messages than anyone else. I just happened to be able to spend the time doing it because I’ve writing a novel based on heathen mythology. When I received this message, it was in the form of a story that fits into my novel. I’m going to quote the message, and then analyze what I think the message means, and then present some information that could be used to follow the message if one wishes.
Heimdall’s Message to Humankind: A Story
Thor and Loki walked to the Rainbow Bridge. The rainbow lay melted on the ground like an oil slick on a puddle. The puddle shimmered over a green field full of little white flowers and what looked at first like hail lying in the meadow. When they got closer, they saw the hailstones were the curled up bodies of animals.
Thor asked Heimdall, “What happened to the Bridge?”
Heimdall’s gold teeth glittered as he spoke. “The humans of Midgard weighted it down with hundreds of millions of dead dogs and cats. Not traveling across it. Not sending dogs to Zisa and cats to Freya. Sitting there. Waiting. Until the Bridge broke under the strain.”
“How can we fix it?” Thor asked. “Loki, get the dwarves to make a new bridge.”
“I have no way to get to Svartalfheim without the Bridge.”
“Oh. Right.” Thor turned to Heimdall, who shone with rainbow light. “How are the dead getting to Valhalla? Can the Valkyries still ride without using the Bridge?”
“They cannot, and the dead are rising in Midgard. Those slain in battle are becoming draugr instead of einherjar.”
“But that’s terrible! What can we do?”
“Nothing. The Bridge was part of the structure of the universe. We didn’t make it; it just became. Like the World-Tree, and the Sacred Cow, and the first giant she licked out of the ice. All older than us, all part of the same order that gave rise to us. There is nothing any of us can do. I don’t know why I even still stand here guarding the rainbow. Nothing can come over it now.”
Loki said, “You will still need to blow the horn when the time comes.”
“You would remind me of that, Loki? The Prophecy says I am to be the one who kills you in the final battle.”
Loki shrugged. “Someone has to.”
Heimdall put his hand on the ram’s horn hanging from his belt. “You know if I could restore the Bridge, I would, for the sake of the human souls who can’t get to Asgard when they die. The humans are my children. I love them.”
“Twilight comes,” Loki said.
What I Think Heimdall’s Message Means
Humans are misusing the Bridge and it’s putting a terrible strain on it. He wants us to stop.
There is a poem circulating that encourages people to imagine their dead pets waiting for them at Rainbow Bridge, to join them when they die. There is power in human imagination, especially when many people focus powerful emotion on the same image. Grief is a powerful emotion.
The Rainbow Bridge, Bifrost, is for traveling over, not camping on. It is not supposed to be an afterlife destination but a way to go places, including afterlife destinations. Most of the people mentally sending their dead pets to wait for them at Rainbow Bridge are not even heathen. This is not just a matter of cultural appropriation of the imagery of the Bridge. It’s actually affecting the Bridge itself, putting a load on it that it can’t handle. If we break the Bridge, we break the afterlife, and it will lead to Ragnarok.
The Bridge is Heimdall’s concern as its guardian. In my opinion, there is an additional concern that may be of interest to non-heathens: if you do not expect to go to Asgard when you die, and you send your beloved pet to wait for you on the Bridge to Asgard, he will be waiting there for you forever. Forever, looking down the road and waiting to run to you wagging his little tail, until the universe collapses in fire or ice, while you went somewhere else. Please stop doing this, everybody.
How We Can Follow This Message
If you want your animals to go to appropriate heathen afterlife destinations, it would make the most sense to visualize them going to the god associated with that specific type of animal. The following list contains both European and American animals because it is derived not only from Icelandic, English, and Germanic / Continental traditions, but also from Urglaawe, the Pennsylvania Dutch tradition. It is not a complete list of all known animal associations and animal forms of the heathen gods, but an attempt to include all possible animals that one might conceivably keep as a pet, livestock, or personally owned performing animal.
Animals and Their Associated Heathen Gods
Bear: Odin, Thor, Modi
Beaver: Berchta, Frigga, Holle
Bee: Thor, Eir, White Haired Woman (Weisskeppichi Fraa)
Bird (songbird): Sigyn
Cow/Ox: Nerthus, Gefjon
Deer/Stag: Freyr, Ullr, Wild Huntsman
Dog: Zisa, Nehellenia, Frigga, Holle
Falcon: Freya and Frigga
Fish, freshwater: Njord, Nehellenia, Erda
Fish, saltwater: Njord, Aegir, Ran
Fox: Tyr, Thor, Loki
Goose: Holle, Berchta/Perchta
Horse: Freyr, Wayland Smith
Owl: Berchta, Til Eileschpiggel (Trickster), Frigga
Pig: Freyr (boar) and Freya (sow)
Sea gull: Njord
Snake: Odin, Eir, White Haired Woman
Visualization has power. It’s good to be sure what one is visualizing is really what one wants to accomplish. If readers have anything to add to the list of gods and animals, please add them in the comments.
[Erin Lale is the Acquisitions Editor at Eternal Press and Damnation Books. Her writing and publishing career began in 1985. She has an extensive list of published nonfiction, fiction, poetry, etc. In the print era she was the editor and publisher of Berserkrgangr Magazine and owned The Science Fiction Store, and she publishes the shared world Time Yarns.]