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Ran: Norse Sea Goddess

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Forums -> Norse Paganism -> Ran: Norse Sea Goddess

Ran: Norse Sea Goddess
By: Moderator / Knowledgeable
Post # 1

Ran: Sea Goddess

Ran is a sea-etin, most notably a Goddess married to Aegir: Lord of the Sea, and oriented closely with the Sjovaettir (which are the wights associated with bodies of water, much like Landvaettir are associated with aspects of land). Together with Aegir she had nine daughters, who represented different aspects of water and waves. Throughout the Eddas and Sagas, the sea was both revered and feared- for good reasons. The sea could be a calm, beautiful body of water that gently cradled ships across its surface. For that reason, the sea was thought of as healing, calming and gentle. But it could also be a terrifying, intense destructive force. The sea can be highly energized, wild and out of control. Because of that duality in nature, sea-etins and all other jotunfolk that are associated with the sea or bodies of water tend to be very bipolar- switching between friend and foe as they please.

This duality is expressed again with Aegir and Ran. Aegir tends to represent the calmer, gentler waters (most of the time) while Ran very clearly represents the wild, bloodthirsty aspect of water. Aegir, the Lord of the Ocean, tends to be jovial and brews mead, hosting several parties and gatherings for other deities. He often was depicted smiling in his hall, hosting company. He had strong alliances with the Aesir. (Dont get me wrong, Aesir could easily get angered like any other Jotun and was known to cause huge storms when upset that crashed ships upon rocks).

Ran tends to lack the gentle aspect that her husband does. In a lot of UPG she is depicted as looking very sweet on the outside (not unlike a mermaid, with fins, webbed fingers, blue skin and seaweed for hair). But when upset, it is said that her teeth are like those of a shark, her hands become webbed claws, and she takes on a darker aspect. Her name means, essentially, robber/ravager which suits her personality very well. Not unlike Sirens, Ran was thought to be very flirty with human men and do her best to lure them in close to wherever she was. Why? Ran had a hobby of drowning men by dragging a net through the ocean and pulling the men she captured down to the bottom of the ocean. She collects their corpses in her home, and keeps their souls within her realm to populate her hall. She is thought to be the cause of all major storms within northern bodies of water.

Men would often throw coins into the water as they sailed as a way of honoring Aegir and Ran to ask for safe passage. Outside of this, Aegir and Ran were rarely called upon- as they were often viewed as an uncontrolled force, too dangerous to attempt to harness or use. It was believed that if a person was seen appearing at their own funeral feast after drowning that Ran had welcomed them into her hall. For that reason, some sailors began carrying coins with them at all times while sailing so that if they were to drown- Ran would accept their payment and welcome them. She was considered to be a Goddess of the Dead, not unlike Hel, since in her respective way she kept dead souls with her in her hall at the bottom of the Ocean. She is also thought to be a Goddess of Life, as life comes from water.

Honoring Ran

As with honoring most deities, an altar dedicated to Ran is one way to honor her. However, Raven K suggested a unique twist on this. He proposed the building of a "floating altar": a mobile altar made of driftwood tied together. That kind of altar can sit on shelf space, and can be taken to a body of water whenever you go out. You could include sea shells, ribbons, dried fish, seaweed, coral and other things to represent sea life on it. Another idea is to create a basin of seawater, then place those items in/around it. At the very least you could have seawater mailed to you in a small container and place it on a shelf, or on an altar. I personally like making a sea-jar, filled with salt water. In the jar I place items I associated with Ran, like starfish, shells, seaweed and some gold (not unlike the sailors).

Ran, being a Jotun, appreciates hard work and sacrifice. One way you might catch her attention to physically do something involving a body of water. Perhaps dedicate some time to cleaning up a river, or lake. Go out on the lake and do some recreational activities, and otherwise spend time within or near bodies of water. Take an interest in ocean-related affairs. Physically get out into a body of water and learn about it. Pay offering to the Sjovaettir. And, as always, blood is an acceptable offering for Ran.

Sources:

Jotunbok by Raven K
Northernpaganism.org
http://spiritualnexus.freeforums.org/ran-norse-goddess-of-storms-t617.html
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Re: Ran: Norse Sea Goddess
By:
Post # 2
You put a lot of time into this, it looks good.
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Re: Ran: Norse Sea Goddess
By: Moderator / Knowledgeable
Post # 3
Ah, I love it.
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Re: Ran: Norse Sea Goddess
By: / Novice
Post # 4
I like this a lot. You did a wonderful job. It hit a personal note for me....
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Re: Ran: Norse Sea Goddess
By: Moderator / Knowledgeable
Post # 5

Do you work with Ran, Thora?

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Re: Ran: Norse Sea Goddess
By: / Novice
Post # 6

This is a wonderful post.

The idea of the altar is very interesting.

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Re: Ran: Norse Sea Goddess
By:
Post # 7
Very lovely information, thank you. :)
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Re: Ran: Norse Sea Goddess
By: / Novice
Post # 8
Sorry for such a late reply. I do and Njord. I have a deep connection with the ocean. Itis said in my family that we are bound to the sea and may never be able to leave it. My oldest brother was born in the south but came to live with my father in his teens and was drawn to the sea. He was lost at sea years ago and his body never found. I believe Ran has him but I do not feel anger to her and I dont think he suffers.
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Re: Ran: Norse Sea Goddess
By: Moderator / Knowledgeable
Post # 9

I am sorry to hear about your eldest brother. My prayers are with you and your family. Losing someone in that manner is hard. However, if you feel that there's a connection there between your brother and Ran- have you thought of leaving a gold/coin offering to her like they used to do for sailors lost at sea? That may help bring some reconciliation for the whole ordeal.

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