Yesterday I posted on the Vanir and their implications for how we should look at the natural world around us. Today I want to write about the Aesir - and specifically about Odin, Thor, Frigga, and Ullr. (This is not an exhaustive examination, but just a short commentary!)
Frigga is perhaps the deity with the most obvious environmental connection, for she is identified as our mother, the Earth. We can assume that anything that harms the Earth or disrupts its vital systems is an affront to her. Ullr is a God of the hunt, and so he is concerned with the continuance of animal life. Thor is connected with the harvest through the thunderstorms that nourish the fields, and with the principle of fertility in general through the power of his hammer. Odin - the ruthless, the pragmatic, the terror-inspiring one - would seem to be the last of the Gods who would care what happens to the environment. But consider his most ominous role: To prepare for Ragnarok, thus defending all the manifested universe as seen in the World Tree itself, from destruction by the forces of chaos, death, and lower consciousness.
A key point in all this is that we do not violate the Earth every time we build a house or cut down a tree, or hunt an animal for its food and fur, or when we smite our enemies. These are the things that humans have to do to exist in any meaningful way. We are predators and we do take from the environment. It is our spiritual duty, however, to give as well as to take, to have a sense of proportion, to consider the impact of our deeds on all life, and to balance utility with reverence.
Asatru serves Life!
Asatru Folk Assembly