One of the things I’ve been most frustrated with, religiously, is finding other people with similar perspectives in a theological or bigger-picture religion sense.
Most of the heathen-oriented people I communicate with don’t bring up environmental concerns as part of their faith. Even among the people I know who worship Jotnar, that seems very rare.
Most of what I hear (outside of how They have been of personal assistance) is about how They have taught the human in the equation to stop fearing destructive forces, to look at them in a different, neutral or positive light. And that’s great, I think that is positive, especially when the “destructive” forces you are talking about are fundamental natural, normal parts of existence. Treating natural forces as threats, or, worse, as “evil,” has terrible repercussions for how humans interact with the environment.
But I haven’t gotten much of that from Them, and that’s not what drew me to Them – it was Them as bigger picture Powers connected with nature, not just its destructive powers. So, even among other Jotnar-worshipers, I feel like a weird outsider.
Here are some things I have learned:
Angrboda has given me advice on studying the runes and certain kinds of magic/energy work. She has also offered some personal advice and support, and helped me better understand some aspects of my relationship with Loki.
Hela helped me learn how to tend the dead, which lead to helping the deceased pass on, which became extremely important and valuable on a personal level when my elderly parrot died.
Surt has helped me with Fire energy. Not sure where that’s going, it’s all early stages, but at this point it has had nothing outwardly to do with destruction. Or creation. (Or um, anything other than some basic familiarity with it.) He’s also shown up for some personal support reasons.
Nidhogg has had a few things to say about dirt and decay, which technically is a process of things breaking down – but it’s about recycling nutrients back into the food web, and calling decay “destructive” would add a lot of irrelevant and harmful baggage.
Ran and the Undines helped me understand about flows of energy between sea and land, via the rivers, which helped push me to reading more about ecology, and especially about ecological processes in my region (see also: anadromous fish). Ran has also helped me with ocean and water-related magic/energy, and She and the Undines have helped with various emotional healing things. One of Them had some important things to say about the value of pleasure.
I am sure some of this is purely a matter of perspective, how you frame things, but even at this point, so much of what They’ve had to teach me – it would be ridiculous to try and shove it into the “destructive natural forces” box.