DPM 18: Not A Metaphor

I am going through the Devotional Polytheist Meme questions from Galina Krasskova’s blog, together with my lover Lon Sarver, over the course of several months.

We encourage our friends to follow along, and welcome links to other people’s answers, as well as your thoughts on our answers, in our comments.

18. What does fertility mean to you?

This comes up a lot because fertility is a major domain for the Vanir as a group, and several of Them individually.

To quote myself:

[T]he fertility we’re referencing is not a placeholder for creativity in general. We’re not raising energy to fuel our art projects, inspire fantastic ideas, or bring us more money (at least not directly – if everybody ends up going home and redecorating their temples in a creative flurry, I’m not going to complain). What we’re doing is raising energy to make more life happen.

Now yes, sometimes the life we’re aiming to promote is a human life… The rest of the time, what we’re promoting is the fertility of the land, the plants, and animals. We’re raising energy to encourage our living resources to multiply, because last time I checked, everyone needs to EAT, and all of our sustainable resources are, in some way, tied into the ecosystem of living organisms.

THAT is what fertility is. The thriving interaction and reproduction of living organisms. All of them.

That is indeed my working definition most of the time. But I had a dream a couple years ago wherein Nerthus explained the domains of fertility, and how a Sacred King is responsible to and for them. In that dream, She referenced some metaphorical aspects of the concept of fertility that I don’t usually include in my more literal definition:

We call it “Economics”, and describe huge enterprises like automatons, as though they are entities unto themselves. Perhaps they are. If so, they are fertile entities, creating and exchanging and destroying, much as the animals and plants and insects and microbes beneath them in scale.

A Sacred King must be responsible for all of these things, for a people cannot thrive in a dead land, without thriving plants, without thriving animals, without thriving trade. And all of these sorts of fertility belong to Nerthus.

There is another kind of fertility, another ability to create, to reproduce, to spread far and wide, to destroy, to deconstruct. It does not belong to Nerthus, for it has no physical form, but it does depend on those of physical form to thrive. This is the fertility of ideas, and it is as much the responsibility of a Sacred King to be certain that this form of fertility is encouraged in the land as any other, if a people are to thrive.

I may not easily work with these abstract definitions, but who am I to tell Nerthus the true nature of fertility?

Still, when I think about it – memes and companies aren’t exactly alive, sure, but the behaviors that Nerthus is pointing out are fertile of them aren’t metaphors. They really ARE being born, growing, spreading, making more of themselves, blending with others, changing, dying, feeding new ones, and so forth. So while it might not always about organic entities, fertility is still about this cycle of being, isn’t it?


Lon’s answer: Happy Birthday, Life!

About EmberVoices

Ember Cooke has been a member of Hrafnar and Seidhjallr for more than a decade, where she trained to be a Seidhkona, Galdrakona, and Gythia. She founded the Vanic Conspiracy and made ordination vows to the Vanir and her congregation in the summer of 2013. She has contributed to several publications on Heathen and Northern Pagan subjects and regularly presents rituals and workshops at festivals. Her personal practice is more diverse, as the Vanir have lead her into cross-training and service for the wider Pagan community. This has including medium and servitor training in American Umbanda, clergy training with the Fellowship of the Spiral Path, and jail ministry for local counties. She holds a BA with honors in Religious Studies from Santa Clara University. Ember has lived all her life in the south San Francisco Bay Area, and is intimately bound to the valley of her birth.
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7 Responses to DPM 18: Not A Metaphor

  1. Fertility is a healthy imagination. Or maybe even some imaginations that aren’t so healthy, but are at least interesting and intriguing. Or shocking, lol

    Liked by 1 person

    • EmberVoices says:

      How do you relate that to the main definition of fertility? If the dictionary and common use defines fertility as the ability to reproduce (hence things like fertility clinics) how do we relate that to other things?


      • Fertile imaginations produce art and literature.

        Liked by 1 person

        • EmberVoices says:

          So we apply fertility *to* imagination. What else do we apply fertility to then, that isn’t physical?


          • Hahaha! You’re a teacher aren’t you? Taking me to task. 😛 I’ll apply more thought after I get some sleep. Hours are all messed up and I need to be regulated enough by Tuesday to make one half of a 900 mile move.

            Liked by 1 person

          • EmberVoices says:

            *laughs* I suppose I am, at that, but that isn’t what I was trying for.

            I tend to be pretty literal in my thinking, and fertility in its traditional sense is extremely important to me, so I don’t really grok the popular abstract uses.

            It sounds like you DO have a sense of that usage, and I suppose I’m hoping I can get you to elaborate in a way that might help me understand more. 🙂


  2. Pingback: Happy Birthday, Life! | Drinking From the Cup of Life

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