Vé as a Place Guarded by Local Gods

Written by Dyami Millarson

(holy places, things) are protected by local Gods. The is not just dedicated to any number of local divine beings, but it is also their place of habitation. The deities associated with the are stead-bound. A similar notion of this stead-boundedness found among the Gods is expressed in the Old Norse term hús-bóndi (the one who is house-bound, i.e., husband). The Gods were bound to their house, which was the and therefore one may understand as any kind of holy house, while the Gods may inhabit any place: a house, a waterfall, a boulder, a lake, etc. This is why Gods can be found in human habitations, lakes, waterfalls, mounds, and so on. These steads may be inhabited by Æsir as well as Álfar.

When one enters a , it means that one enters the sacred house of the Gods, and therefore one has to observe special rites so as not to offend the host. Bad luck could befall those who displease the host. Many stories are told about the guest-host relationship in the Old Norse lore, for that is the relationship between worshipper and God. The rites that one should observe are straightforward. One should not desecrate the . So one should not cut down trees, pee or defecate in the house of the Gods, spill blood there, or speak too loudly. One should whisper or be silent in the presence of the Gods as hosts. One should simply be careful not to offend the ancient beings that live in the sacred steads of nature.

In general, this means that one ought to revere nature. One should not simply break branches, yell in the forests, and so one; for one may awaken an ancient spirit from its slumber and it may take revenge for the disturbance of its home. That is how bad luck may befall those who do not heed the intuitive rules or rites which were followed by the nature religionists of yore as well. The Northwestern European folk religionists did not really need to be told to revere nature; they revere nature as they saw its power. They wished not to disturb all the holy sites of nature; the Germanic folk religionists left all the in peace, which is the key concept here. The Old Norse word for for this state of comfort for humanity, this universal order or order of the universe which was to be maintained is friðr.

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