#3 Hamr and hugr – and changing skin
Perhaps you are aware that many elementals (elementals are human-like beings with affinities for different elements like air, fire, water and earth) have more than one skin – ‘eigi einhamir’, meaning ‘not of one skin’ in the old language.
Hamr is our body, our skin – and because of my raven nature I can alter my hamr and take the shape of the raven. We call both skins hamr, but on occasion the raven skin is referred to as ‘feðer-hamr’, because of our plumage and wings.
In the old times we referred to our bodies as ‘hamr’ and our minds as ‘hugr’, but understand that ‘hugr’ implies more than what the word ‘mind’ indicates. ‘Hugr’ is our inner self, our personality, our intuition and the vibe we emit.
To change skin – ‘skipta hömum’ – means that you become as two beings. You can do everything that your animal shape can, but your elemental strength is added on top. Some of us are impossibly strong in our animal skin – like those in dragon, bear or wolf skins. My raven skin doesn’t possess impossible strength like that, apart from the fact that we’re very difficult to kill and that we don’t age in our ‘feðer-hamr’. In this shape I get to keep my ‘hugr’, but the rest is raven.
The concept of ‘skipta hömum’ can take a philosophical direction too. In different contexts we might need to take on different roles, learning that we can’t use the same strategies in every situation. This is more of an internal ‘skipta hömum’.
Feathers and lore,
There’s much, much more,
Meet the ravens. Hugr means thought, Mugr means memory. And Odin needed both. Which is your raven?
Venla escapes to her remote cabin to celebrate Christmas alone, grieving the shattered fragments of her life, but when old memories ignite her creative spirit, and she starts spinning and knitting, a raven comes to visit. On an impulsive whim she decides to let the raven into her heart, treating it as her friend, and it doesn’t take long before it brings her a magical gift. Only now it wants her to follow it into the woods. She thinks she must be crazy for even contemplating this, but the magic piques her interest. Not knowing it is the Elemental realm the raven has brought her to, Venla wields the little magic she can, to make her way.
But what will come of this crazy journey? Venla wasn’t sure what to expect, but she certainly wasn’t expecting her raven to transform into a beautiful prince, to discover a long-lost kingdom under a curse or to enjoy the most wonderful Yuletide she had ever had. And perhaps a ‘happy ever after’ too…
Inspired by ancient Scandinavian Yuletide traditions, the raven in Norse mythology, and Scandinavian folklore. Journey to encounter a host of mythical creatures in a heart-warming, creative Christmas adventure with transcendental depth.
The raven in her heart by Anneli von Knorring is a feel-good wintery tale where we explore the raven and its magic in Scandinavian folklore and myth, along with old Yuletide traditions.
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I didn’t realise walking would take so long. Ravens don’t normally walk for long stretches. We fly. But since Linnea and her father don’t fly, walking is our only option. For a long time, I’ve had no choice but to accept my circumstances. This is just the same. I just have to accept what is […]
#16 A veterinarian
Summer nights are bright, the sun merely kissing the horizon. I’ve taken a seat on the tiny front step to the small cabin – and as I sit here I let my eyes wander. The red painted wooden houses, and the small yard in the middle – then the tree line closing this place in […]
#15 A moment to myself
Travelling by wing is infinitely better than travelling by machine. And you all know how I feel about changing into my raven skin after centuries trapped in it. Still, this is freedom. I find myself rethinking the ways in which to be imprisoned, and I wonder if perhaps my sister is too – somewhere in […]
#14 Maybe we should fly
Pizza lacks enough meat to satisfy my raven and is completely drenched in melted cheese. Remind me to never have it again. My stomach is still rebelling, and it’s known to be made of steel. It might also be the means of travel upsetting my stomach. I’m no longer trying to follow the road with […]
#13 What if it’s a trick
Everything is a flurry of motion. Linnea is here, then there. Making more calls. Someone’s at the door collecting a set of keys to her ‘practice’, and by the time Linnea’s father shows up, she’s all set and ready to go. I’m impressed, despite myself, of the efficiency completely disguised by chaos. “Ást, Hräsvelg, this […]
#12 And then they were four
“I need to make a few calls,” Linnea says, and goes to collect a strange, flat device. When she flicks her fingers over the glass surface it lights up in different colours – just like magic. I study it, pondering what she means with making a few calls. Are we visiting people? A beep is […]
#11 “I thought she was dead,” Linnea says.
Linnea’s eyes grow impossibly wider, and at first I’m convinced Hräsvelg’s appearance crumbled what little progress I’d made with Linnea. But she takes a few deep, strengthening breaths, then looks between the two of us. “Wow,” she says, and shakes her head. Her hair is even lighter in colour than Queen Venla’s, and it’s tied […]
#10 The realm of machines
The morning sky is the same, yet different. Another realm – it’s such a strange and uncanny feeling to be here. I’m further from home than I’ve ever been. “Where to?” Hräsvelg asks me. I can’t believe he’s still here, and yet, undeniably he is. He kept the fire going all night, then he got […]
#9 Please steal me away
We’ve stayed the night at the Gränstorp central inn – a small, quiet town where reality wears a crack. A good night’s sleep has at least restored some of my patience. Still, I don’t blame the innkeeper for the wary looks he’s giving Hräsvelg. My ‘companion’, despite the large variety of elementals visiting this small […]
#8 Friend or foe?
I’m still staring at him – this stranger that I’ve apparently flown into unwittingly. I can’t wrap my mind around how it happened. I was so careful reading the winds and the landscape – I should have noticed another flying creature. Well, I’m supposing he flies, how else could he have been up there in […]