Fairy Friendly Families: Dwarves
Young children easily connect with non-ordinary reality (NOR), and as our children grow, in the grade school days, they begin to norm themselves with their peers, many of whom have not been encouraged to maintain their connection with the NOR. This can be disappointing to those of us who have either maintained or regained touch with the Fey. Our kids do still relate to literature, movies and games that feature the Fey and these mediums can be used as teaching tools to help maintain and even deepen our tweens and teen’s connection. Tolkien is known to have drawn heavily on Norse mythology, as has Rowling. Here are some discussion points on Dwarves:
Among the dominions in NOR, is the one of Earth. One level of Earth as an element is associated with gnomes, another level are Dwarves. I recently took a workshop with a master of Dwarf mythology named Atherton and was impressed with the connection to Dwarves that I made. In his workshop Atherton drew on information from the Encyclopedia of Celtic Wisdom by Caitlin and John Mathews.
In a journey during the workshop, when I asked about the Dwarves, I was told they are a branch of the Sidhe who focus on the forming and shifting of the earth’s mantle. Most Dwarves, I was told, are not involved with humans, rather, they work with forces such as Continental Drift, volcanoes and mountain building. The Brisingr family did involve themselves with the Gods and human folk of the
Norse in mythological times. Atherton taught me that the Brisingr family consists of the father Andarvi (or Ivaldi) and his four sons; Alfrigg, Berling, Dvalin and Grer.
Dwarves are master molders who can create artifacts of power and do magical healing. Many objects that the Brisingr family created have made their way into current popular literature including Andarvi’s creations the Helm of Awe and
Alberich, the cloak of invisibility. Wagner used the story of Andarvi’s ring as the instrument of the curse in his epic “Der Ring des Nibelungen”.
The four sons were master molders, each contributing different aspects of the molding process. Together they created such things as a golden wig for Thor’s wife after Loki, in a practical joke, cut her hair off. They made a collapsible boat named Skidbladnir for Freyr and Odin’s invincible spear Gungnir. The sons, together, possessed the skills and powers to mold and unmold. Alfrigg, whose name also
means Elf King, possess spinning and molding power that is necessary to see the molding process from start to finish, holding the various steps in balance. He can mold and unmold, bringing the form into or out of tangible shape. Think envisioning a tree house or term paper and then overseeing each step of the process, editing or tearing down when things don’t conform to the big picture of the original vision.
Berling, whose name means “Handspike” is the “Spark in the Dark. It is the lightning strike that gets the molding process going and provides the momentum. I think of it as the excitement of what could be: “how cool would it be to have a tree house”,” how interesting is it that I could write a term paper about woodpeckers.” The momentum come as Berling or any molder pulls the strands together forming color and sound. This process of pulling the elements together creates the song of the object being molder. Berling is the catalyst.
Dvalin, whose name means Delayer or Dawdler, is the focused one who understands the importance of timing; when to start, when to breathe life into the mold, when to shatter, when to rest and to sleep, and when to take a breath. The fact that he is a delayer puzzled me at first because we all experience the frustration of procrastination. Discernment regarding when are we procrastinating and when are
we waiting for the right moment or keeping our lives in balance thru rest and sleep is one of the great lessons that tweens and teens are learning.
Atherton couldn’t find a direct translation for Grer, but Greer translates as alert or watchful. Atherton notes that this was the last of the brothers that he met. A fellow with an air of mystery, he often remains shrouded and doesn’t come out without reason. He starts and ends the process, understanding time and timing. Grer can move into and back from the Potentiality Pool. He is a time changer, time shifter, time shaper and the most powerful to the four brothers.
These folk are very relevant to our children and teens. The insight brought from discerning what the whole process of creation entails is a good starting point. The fun of knowing more of the deeper mythology supporting popular culture is also very fun. And perhaps, just perhaps, our children can actually learn to form alliances with these folk for their creations. I know I am seeking their council in
Many blessings to all in this New Year,