Saturday, February 20, 2016


Helheim_betye.jpgHela (Hel, Hell, Haljô) is referred to as a daughter of God Loki and is usually honored at Samhain and Yule and on the dark and waning moons.  She has a chapter in my new book, 'Who are your Divine Friends?', in Lulu Publishing.  Hela's rule is that of vision, keeping perspective even in the face of adversity.  She is appealed to for death, morgues, cemetery, funerals and hospitals.  Death comes to everyone; the one promise in life is death.  Even the Gods could not evade death.

Hela welcomes all those who do not die gloriously in battle but of accidents, sickness or of old age, and are hence unworthy of the higher abodes of the Gods.  Hella's realm in itself isn't bad, with older sources make it rather pleasant, and indeed a close reflection of the idealized God-house seen in descriptions of Valhalla (Hel and Odin have much in common, in fact).  The concept of Hela and her kingdom is certainly something that has been immensely twisted by later Christian writers into something more fitting of horror fiction rather than the ruler of the Kingdom of Death.

Hela is a Goddess who should be respected and admired, rather than feared.  Unless, of course, you have done something unworthy which might give you a reason to fear her.  She can guide you to live in the moment since now does not last forever.  Her friendship can be honored by providing affection to the dying or the socially outcast.  



Altar: upon black cloth to the right place four black candles, a skull, bones, a pot of earth, a pile of withered leaves, and a gravestone and/or upon white cloth to the left place four white candles, incense, an ivory chalice of mead, a crystal sphere, and a bunch of dried roses - veil the windows

Animal: wolf, owl, raven, dog

Color: black, white

Day: Saturday

Incense: myrrh, storax

Moon phase: dark, new

Offerings: blood, difficulty, an arduous task that will take all you have to give, and will benefit the generations yet to come

Plant: wormwood, hellebore, juniper, belladonna, willow, yew

Pronunciation: 'Hel-lah' (Hella)

Rulership: dark magic, revenge, death, change

Runes: Beorc, Hagalaz, Isa

Stone: black agate, jet, lead, obsidian, onyx

Wheel of the Year: Samhain, Yule


Jennifer Tifft

My words go down to the depths
White woven into black
the cut strand
the napped thread
the skein unraveled

Not the brilliant, boisterous vigor of
Valhalla, Folkvangr,
the splendid, seething purpose
of the war-claimed dead:

Hers is a quiet voice indeed-
A place of sleep, tranquility, surcease,
Her vaulted halls give shelter and enfold
the silent dead: released, at rest
in torment or in peace.

Hers is the cauldron of Answers
To questions known, unknown,
shouted in the silence, and unasked.
The keen edge of compassion
Dark mercy
White despair
Wisdom waiting
ever, never, now-

Velsigning, Hela.


hela_s_servmad.jpgMe and Hel
Raven Kaldera

Death sits in your kitchen chair
across the table wrapped in darkness.
You cannot see under Her
robes to the bones and the screaming and
it is just as well. Her finger flicks in derision.
I have not come for your body.
You relax, a mistake. I have
come for your soul.
Much worse. You tremble. Write,
She says, pointing to paper
and pencil. Write all the things
about which you are ambivalent.
The things you love and hate both. Those which
snap you by reflex into old patterns. Write.

You write, you
weep. Like a mother wondering
which of her delinquent sons
will go to jail forever. Lover, child,
career, friends, causes.
Pieces of flesh. You
set down the pencil. One,
She says. You may keep one
as a keepsake. All others must go.

It is the bones and the screaming
now, inside you. You consider
offering Her your body, instead.
Would you die for these ambivalences?
Which of your fingers will you cut off,
which of your children will you present
with a sacred case of survivor guilt?
You wish to Hel it was
Her consort sitting there; He might
urge this on you, scowl and
stand tapping His foot, for years, even,
but He would not grab you by the scruff and
pull you through the gate
ready or not here we come. He is the
Voice that Urges, She is the Force
That Compels. She has no patience.
You will not be permitted
the luxury of confusion and fretting.
One, She says. All others must
Go. And when they go, they will be
Gone. This is the Real Thing.
There is no Do Over, no Only Joking.

helangh5n.pngYou are allowed three seconds
then you must drop the weight.
For the gate through which you must
pass is no great portal
it is as tight as the neck of Her womb and
there is no room for heavy luggage.
You must be ready to fly. For you see,
She says, and it is the last
explanation you will get,
all else must be taken on faith,
Someday you will stumble onto the rocky road
that is your true path
and the fall would have killed you
if you hadn't been traveling light.


Hail to you, Hela
Michaela Macha

Hail to you, Hela, Grandmother Death.
Silent your wisdom, yours my last breath.
Reading our wyrd in cobwebs and lace,
Ancestors´ hostess, grant us your grace.

Hail to you, Hela, stiller of strife.
Half fair, half rotten, mirror of life.
Cool is your comfort, equal for all.
Highways and alleys end in your hall.

Hail to you, Hela, Lady of Dust.
All wyrd will ever go as it must.
Carving our way on the edge of a knife,
Éljúðnir´s Mistress, teach us of life.


hel_by_righon-d48q5go.jpgAncestor Ritual Invocation
Raven Kaldera

Hail to Hela, Keeper of the Ancestors,
Queen of Helheim, you who feed those
Who have gone quietly down your road
After their courage and endurance
Paved the way for our survival.

Keep them well, Lady of Helheim,
For they bought our lives for us
With blood and sweat, with toil and song,
With joy and sorrow, with birth and death
Upon birth and death, and we are grateful.
Feast them in your halls with honor.


Hel: Mistress of Niflheim
Glenn Bergen

From the Giants Loki and Angrboda you were born,
Then taken away from Jotunheim you were torn.
Brought before Great Odin, but committed no crime,
Banished to cold Niflheim til the end of time.

Given authority by All-Father over worlds that are nine,
You watch over the dead where the sun does not shine.
Your household is immense, your gates stand so tall,
Dark, cold, and damp is Eludjir, your misty great hall.

You were commanded by Odin, what you have you must share,
With those who die of disease or old age, now in your care.
Deprivation and misfortune are for you a way of life,
Your plate is called hunger, famine the name of your knife.

When Balder came you covered the benches with gold,
In the pit lit a great fire to help keep out the cold.
Delicious mead was covered with a shining shield,
For Odin's son whose fate had been sealed.

Under hangings of glittering misfortune, dark and gloomy,
Hel sleeps in a sick bed that is both moldy and roomy.
You rise up every morning with very little hope for the day,
And care for those who cross over the river of death and stay.

Hel is the picture of death, and she is hated by some,
The insults that she receives have made her quite numb.
I respect your awesome duty, I honor the way you care,
For someday I will die, and to Niflheim I will fare.


Hella.jpgA Prayer to Hela, For Humility
Anya Kless

O Lady,
as I walk your road of death and dying,
strip from me those things that hinder my steps.
Strip me from me my vanity,
my concern for the regard, lust, and admiration of others.
Strip from me my arrogance,
my assurance that I know best for myself and others.

Strip from me my pride,
in my body, my face, my youth, and my beauty.
Strip from me my reliance on my intellect,
my wit, and my words.
Strip from me my judgment of others;
I do not know their story or their path.
Strip from me my wastefulness
when I take abundance, health, family, and friends for granted.

Strip from me my impatience and irritation.
Strip from me my fear of being stripped.
Strip from me all the things I cannot cast off myself.
Strip from me everything I cling to in disillusion and fear.
Strip these things from me as flesh is stripped from bone.
Help me to allow these things to rot, decay, putrefy, and fall away.

Send your maggots to feast on my festering rot
until I feel the clamor of snakes, worms, and beetles
cleaning my bones.



hela1ae9521400cim.jpgHela and her army of the dead may play a role at the start Ragnarok.  But she is not mentioned once the battle commences, and it is unknown whether she plays a role after Ragnarok.

She can be seen today in many modern influences.  In the Fate of the Norns table-top role-playing-game, Hel is a major character in the afterlife meta-plot.  Hel appears in the MOBA Smite (video game) as a mage.  In the web comic The Order of the Stick, Hel is an antagonist who seeks to destroy the world as part of an elaborate plot to become more powerful than the rest of her pantheon.