God of the Season: Ratatoskr (2)

wpanimalredsqRatatoskr and I have had a long close relationship beginning in my childhood. I always have thought of Him as a magical squirrel. I see Him in the squirrels who chatter in the trees. I see Him in the squirrels who leap from the oak tree to my balcony. I see Him in the squirrels who square off for sunflower seeds at the “bird” feeder. I see Him in the squirrels who bury and dig up acorns. As long as I could remember, Ratatoskr has always there to talk and listen to.

When I read Norse mythology, I discovered that Ratatoskr is The Squirrel of the World Tree. He brings news to the Gods and gossip to Vedrfolnir, the Eagle and Nidhogg, the Serpent. Technically Ratatoskr is not a God but a Wright (Spirit). To me, He is a “Nature Spirit.”

I see Ratatoskr more than simply a gossip. Squirrels have a language of “chees,” body movement, and tail signals to converse with. They tell each other not to come into their territory, warn about cats and hawks, and discuss who goes where when. Squirrels tell people and strange animals not to trespass near “their tree.”

Squirrels bury nuts, which then become trees, and finally their homes and food sources. The cycle of squirrel and tree is one of reciprocity. The squirrel ensures that trees are planted, and the trees give the squirrel a home. Looking at Ratatoskr in this manner, makes Him less a gossip and more a force of nature. He becomes the Nurturer of the Forest, ensuring that it continues for all.

Hail Ratatoskr                                     The Squirrely One

Carry News                                         Not Gossip

Carry Truth                                         With Kindness

Teach Us                                             Wise Words

Hail Ratatoskr                                     Of the World Tree

From Wikipedia:

Ratatoskr is described in the Prose Edda‘s Gylfaginning‘s chapter 16, in which High, one of three men that respond to questions posed by Gangleri (Odin), states that

“An eagle sits at the top of the ash, and it has knowledge of many things. Between its eyes sits the hawk called Vedrfolnir […]. The squirrel called Ratatosk […] runs up and down the ash. He tells slanderous gossip, provoking the eagle and Nidhogg”

—–

Why would I have a Norse Wright in a Roman-centered practice? Ratatoskr has been a Patron of my mother’s family. I honor Him as well.

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