I apologize for the first draft which was unedited. It took me literally hours to get back in to edit this short article. Obviously my computer is still not functioning correctly !
In a little while I will pour myself some wine, start up my fireplace, and transfix on the dancing flames until my mind wanders to another place and another time. Whether this will be to a place the Gods take me to, or simply a memory of a time spent with a loved one or family member, is not of my choosing. On my door is hung a wreath with a Thor's hammer hanging in the middle of it for protection against evil visitors. This wreath was placed on my front door to bring in spirits, long dead ancestors, or anyone with a good heart from the other side who cares to stop by. This is not a new tradition, but one that dates back to the days of the Vikings, and possibly even further.
I think that people get the wrong idea about these specters. I personally have never seen them as ghosts or actual beings, but as a memory, or moment in time that during Yule is allowed to come back, and if invited in, to visit with those they so chose to sit down with. These misconceptions come partly from the Sagas which speak of the dead coming back in human form to haunt, or walk with the living, and partly from what we are taught from the time we are little until the time that we die. I have never believed in " physical ghosts " so the concept has never meant anything to me. To me they are simply the past speaking to us and showing us that which once was here on our little world.
Some may say that these are just hallucinations, or maybe just a vivid imagination run amok, but I have lived long enough to know when my thoughts are being tugged in a direction they have never experienced before. All day dreaming has to have a basis in something known, and something already experienced. The few times I have seen these images they were not of things that I had already conceived, or experienced, but consisted of moments that I would never have thought to be true.
The flickering flames bring me to this place, and the spirits then take me to their world and to their time. During other times of the year I see images only in dreams. Many of my short stories are based upon my recollections of these dreams. And these are not normal dreams because they are too vivid and are remembered long after being awakened, something that never happens when I have a regular dream. Others see these dreams too. I know they do ! People try to skirt around this knowledge when talking to me, but several people have let it slip out that they too see these images either in dreams, or in a state of deep meditation.
So I say to all of you, place a wreath on your door, protect it with a Hammer, and see who comes to join you in front of your Yule fire. Remember to honor them with a drink, and maybe even a snack, because they have traveled a long way to get to your door !
- Glenn Bergen
Go with Odin's wisdom, Freyja's love, and Thor's protection !