The Queen of Helheim

Hel is a formidable Norse Goddess. She is the daughter of Loki and the giantess Angorboda, and sister of the wolf, Fenrir, and the world serpent, Jormungand. Her name means “Hidden,” which is appropriate, considering where she dwells. As Queen, she rules fearlessly over the dead souls in the cold, barren world known as Helheim. It has been long believed that the dead, or the otherkin, dwell underground. Helheim — part of Niflheim, the World of Darkness — is located in the lower world at the roots of the sacred world tree, Yggdrasil. 

Hel is both living and dead. She is half-alive and half-corpse. The plate she eats from is called Hunger and her knife is called Famine. 

Hel wears a grim facial expression. Odin commanded Hel to rule over the dead spirits in Helheim, but she is ideal for this task, for ruling over those who died of old age or sickness. (The valiant dead remain in Valhalla.) She collects these souls to reserve them for the ending of the world at Ragnarok. During times of disease and misfortune, Hel leaves her realm on a three-legged horse to the living world. She searches everywhere for fresh souls which she captures and traps in her underground domain. 

Hel kept the God Baldur in Helheim against the wishes of many. No one leaves the underworld without Hel’s consent.

Her special day of the week is Saturday. Saturday is ruled by Saturn and the astrological sign Scorpio. Saturn is the planet of karma and resolution, and a planet of discipline and hard work.

The Sabbats for Hel are Samhain and Yule, the Sabbats most closely associated with death. The Crone corresponds to the winter season.

The flowers and herbs associated with Hel are beech, elder, elm, ivy, juniper, mullein, willow, and yew. Fragrances and incenses are myrrh and storax. Myrrh has a feminine element and corresponds to the Moon and Scorpio, and is often burned with frankincense. The crystals and gemstones are black agate, jet, lead, obsidian and onyx. The metal is lead. The foods are black bread, wine, dark chocolate, and coffee beans. 

Photos or other images of deceased loved ones.

Guardians of the Underworld
A fearsome and blood-stained hound known as Garmr (Garm) acts as guard to the entrance of Helheim. He has sharp white fangs and many eyes, It is said that his howls will announce Ragnarok.

The giantess Móðguðr (Modgud) is a fierce warrior who watches over Gjallarbrú, the bridge which crosses the river Gjöll. This river marks the border of Helheim, and separates the living from the dead.

The Meditation
Hel is best called for help in honoring the dead that have gone on before you. Be sincere in your intention to invoke her.

Perform this meditation outdoors during the winter to meet Hel in Helheim; ideally, somewhere you will be uninterrupted, such as in a park or wooded area.. The frosty air may aid you journey in your meditation. Bring a thermos to keep you warm. If you can’t perform the ritual outdoors, then sit indoors at your altar. Open a window to feel the cool breeze. 

Create a circle of stones around you on the earth. Sit in the circle and take three deep breaths to prepare you for the meditation. Cast the protective circle before you begin the meditation. Helheim is unforgiving. Be cautious.  

Light a black or dark blue candle, and mugwort or mandrake incense. You can listen to Nordic meditative music, if is not distracting.

Close your eyes and concentrate hard. See yourself traveling down a long, dark tunnel on horseback. The entrance is fiercely guarded by Móðguðr and Garmr. Be sure to bring appropriate offerings: for Móðguðr, dark and shiny stones or metal, cooked meat, or any dark beer or liquor; for Garmr, raw meat. 

Once you have reached Niflheim, dismount and kneel before Hel. Lay out the offerings worthy of this queen.

Show Hel the utmost reverence. When she has sensed your presence, stand. Implore her to offer you her favor. Be clear and certain in your heart of your intention. Hel suffers no fools. 

If she doesn’t grant your favour, then respectfully leave. Hel never compromises. 

If she grants your favor, bow again and mount your horse. Then see yourself leaving the icy tunnels until you have returned to the mortal world. Return your awareness to the room you are in or where you are outdoors. 

End the meditation. Open the circle. 

Pay attention to any messages or auspicious signs that you may encounter in dreams or a meditation. Sometimes, auspicious signs emerge in your daily life, like an image on a tarot card. Reflect on what the messages may mean and record them in your journal.

[Spiderwitch’s writing has been published in Untimely Frost by Lycan Valley Press, One Night in Salem, Horror Novel Reviews: One Hellacious Halloween, Wax & Wane: A Gathering of Witchy Tales, Witches and Pagans magazine, Eternal Haunted Summer, Circle Magazine, and Essential Herbal magazine. She is a clairvoyant witch who is ruled by an adorable kitty named Penny, keeps a garden and loves to cast lunar spells and brew potions.]