How did you become first aware of this Deity?
I suppose that this question has a two part answer. The first part would be how I became first aware of Týr generally and the second part would be how I became first aware of Týr in my life/personal practice.
Identifying how one is first aware of a God generally might seem like a moot point, but it is surprisingly perhaps one of the most important things that any devotee can overlook. The way in which someone first becomes aware of a God partially creates the framework (and associations) that one has before they may even meet the God in person. (This can be a good thing or a bad thing, of course). For me, I first became aware of Týr through posts online from a Asatru group I follow on Facebook. For every day of the week, this group writers a prayer of praise along with a description of the Deity and an accompanying photo. Group members also post individually, and many of them very much like (and hail) Týr. I noticed immediately that Týr is very codified in tradition, in the sense that frequently the only part of Him that is praised (the Warrior) becomes the only way in which people think about Him. So when I first became aware of Týr’s existence, I was aware of Him in His qualities are the Warrior, the Upholder of Law and Justice, and most strongly The Wolf Binder who became the true Hero when He sacrificed His hand to Fenrir.
But, see, although that Týr is the Týr that I work with, that is also not the Týr that I work with. The funny thing about Gods is that They can be both and neither at the same time; that Týr can be Warrior, and yet not be, and yet Be.
I became first aware of Týr in my life in March of this year; I wrote about that here, but for the sake of this Devotions series, I’ll write it out. I had just recently starting working with Frigg, who was the first Goddess I was working with (besides Queen Maeve, but that’s a different story altogether). This was a big deal for me because, between June of 2014 and September/October of 2015, I worked with one God only: Cernunnos. This was also a big deal for me because I have had a lot of trouble connecting to Goddesses, which frustrated me deeply (along with other personal issues but, again, different story!). Working with another pantheon entirely was strange yet wonderful, and I found myself quickly understanding the ways of the Norse and appreciating Frigg’s movements in my life.
But where Frigg stepped in quietly and with compassion, Týr stormed in. I remember I had found a beautiful piece of artwork on Týr and, being the Taurus that I am, I was examining the detail of the musculature used for the representation of Týr’s body. All of a sudden I heard and felt a ‘boom’ before me, as if the wood floor before me was creaking and aching under a great weight. When I looked up all I could see was this giant of a Man, with long scarlet-orange hair and the brightest silver eyes I had ever seen. He had this radiance and power about Him that just didn’t allow me to take my eyes off of Him, as if some cosmic law had decreed that once a gaze rested upon Týr then it could never waver. I remember asking Him what He wanted from me, and His answer had me land flat on my ass. Almost quite literally, too. You, He had said. I remembered that vividly, and it was an answer that deeply implied a specifically sexual claiming that I immediately honed on. In other words, Týr is not a God of mystery; truth is not mysterious when spoken clearly.
Being a good polytheist, I divined. Repeatedly. Over and over. In the meantime I tried to explain away His words as some consequence of my recent breakup, any sexual frustration, or just my natural Taurean self. I tried to hide it or to re-frame it or to find any other answer that made sense – or, rather, even if the answer made less sense, to be a different answer. Sex is Gods is not a far-away concept for me, but at the same time, between my care to divine accurately and my understanding that communities are often merciless with people who claim to have sexual relationships with the Gods, I wanted to make sure that I received the answer He desired for me to have.
Well, Týr is a god of truth so I’ll be honest and say that I didn’t want the answer to be ‘yes’ because I was frightened. I didn’t want the answer to be ‘yes’ because the Týr that I was perceiving was not the Týr that others perceived – and in that cruelty and ignorance that was why I was frightened. I was divining with a presupposed result, and yet every single answer was ‘yes, that is what He said and wants.’ In seeing other diviners, I also received that answer. And there came a point where something happened between us where I realized that I was boxing Him in and not allowing Him to do exactly what He wanted to do with me: to be Himself with me. The Týr that I know and work with is very much the Great Warrior and the Hero… but when He is with me, He is Himself. He drops His armor and weapons at the door and He comes and lays with me. He lets me kiss the stump of the Hand He has lost and He is quick to tell me when He feels another God is not upholding Their responsibilities. He is a brilliant God, with humor and grace and many, many surprises. The fact that I once tried to turn that away because I was frightened is a regret that I will carry until I die.
I remember, when I first met Him, that I blabbered on about how He couldn’t make a home with me, because I had no idea how to give it. I had no idea what He saw in me, had no idea what He meant when He told me He could give me what I wanted. I had no idea, even when something deep inside of me yearned at me to take what He was giving and to offer what He wanted in return. I was caught up in so many excuses and rulemaking and ‘Gods don’t do this‘ that His next words stopped me cold.
Why do you question My judgment? Do you think I am not capable of joy, tenderness, desire? Do you think that you are not worthy? For all of your talk of passible gods, fair devotion, Relationship, you are very quick to tell me Who I am and what I am allowed to do and feel.
It’s true: if the Gods want you, They will find you and have you. They will engage with you in the way They see fit, and that Relationship is something to be respected. And lately, when I look at myself in the mirror, I smile and say to myself, No wonder He picked you. Aren’t you just glorious? For someone that has long battled years of abuse, self-esteem issues, compulsive lying, and struggling to understand myself, recognizing one’s beauty, grace, power, and righteousness in truth is a truly significant and serious thing.
Hail, Týr –
for when You stepped into my House, You bowed –
and I was surprised –
and I did not then understand that it was because
I had been wearing peasant’s clothes for so long
that I had forgotten that I had always been a Queen.