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Gatekeeper

Otorongo silently padded along at my side, a deep rumbling purr softly emanating out from her encasing me as we travelled between the worlds. I let my hand hang at my side so I could stroke her golden fur with black rosettes to ease the sudden nervousness I was experiencing. I hadn’t formerly reached out to Odin in a few years now, and I began to worry that he wouldn’t want to see me. My stomach had itself twisted in knots, making me feel sick.

Otorongo and I left the heavy dense air of the rainforest path we had been walking on and emerged out into the black starry expanse that held the world tree, Yggdrasil, suspended in between all the nine worlds. At the very top, nestled soundly within his nest, sat the Giant Eagle. Proud and strong, I could feel his sharp eyes upon me as Ratatosk, the squirrel rushed from his nest down the tree towards where Nidhoggr waited Ratatosks arrival. I could see Nidhoggr chewing away at the rotten and desecrated roots of the massive tree while the three sisters nourished its roots. The three sisters were known as Urd (past), Verdandi (present), and Skuld (future). Together they gathered water from Mimir’s well and washed the roots, returning life to them once more.

Always at my side, for as long as I could remember, Otorongo nudged my hand with her nose to get my attention. From the Bifrost, the Rainbow bridge that connected all the worlds, came an eight-legged steed, mighty and fierce, bearing my friend, guide, teacher, and former guardian. As Sleipnir soared down towards us, spit frothing at his mouth, fire raging behind his eyes, hooves riding on nothing but air, I bowed in wait. Otorongo began circling around my body, nose to tip of tail, creating a protective barrier between myself and the new arrival.

Heavy hooves slammed into the ground before me, and the dark-haired younger version of Odin, pulled up at the reigns, leapt off Sleipnir with the grace of a seasoned warrior in His prime and started towards me. I knew something was wrong immediately, but did not let the surprise show on my face. This was not the Odin I was searching for. This Odin, or Od, was not yet sacrificed to Himself, and if I wasn’t careful and respectful, I would find myself in immediate danger. He strode towards me clad in leather armor, His hand on the hilt at His side, with His face creased in anger. I bowed more deeply, making sure to remain within Otorongo’s protective circle.

“Forgive me, Od. I was not anticipating your arrival.” Fearing His temper, I avoided eye contact at all costs, choosing to look to His beard instead of His blue eyes.

“You came, unannounced, armed with a respectful warrior, to my home and you ask for forgiveness?” His anger shot through me and I prepared myself for the feeling of being sling-shot back to my body. I placed a calming hand on Otorongo’s neck and stepped towards him with her pressing against my legs as we walked forward together.

“I meant no disrespect. She is Otorongo, of the Andean Mountains, She is but my guardian and Gatekeeper. Where I go, she goes. This is not a challenge or a show of force. I am not looking to test or be tested, nor do I have a battle I wish to fight. I merely wanted to share a story with Odinn. I came seeking His advice. My apologies, I believed He would be here.” I bowed again, but kept a keen eye on the hand that held the hilt of His sword.

I could feel the tension of the situation tighten and wordlessly spoke to Otorongo that if this went sideways, we should get out of dodge and try again another day once I had made offerings to amend this perceived slight. I looked up and watched as the scars on His face twisted and contorted with rage as He pulled His sword from its scabbard. Otorongo took the space between Od and I and began pushing me backwards when Od was suddenly brought to His knees.

Verdandi stood behind Him, cackling. Her voice was strong and fluid and seemed to flow right through me. I suddenly became hyper aware of my physical body as well as my spiritual body. I could smell the incense I had burning in the room with me, I could feel the softness of the blanket that served as my seat, the room around me seemed to expand and contract with every breath and every book, every plant, every tiny reality of the room my physical body was in was sharp within my mind. I had to struggle to remain with my spirit body as Verdandi began to speak.

“Always irrational. No worries, all that will change when you hang.” She cackled again, striking Him lightly on the back of the head with her hand. She stepped towards me and smiled, her voice a bit softer now and easier on my spirit body. “My dear, He waits you by the pond. And do try to forgive this one. He knows nothing of the world outside of battle. He hasn’t learned his manners yet.” Another whack to the head and a grumble from Od had me smiling, but I quickly hid it as I addressed Verdandi and Od together.

“Thank you.” I bowed to them. “And thank you for protecting these worlds alongside your son.”

“Just go!” Verdandi shouted at me. With a wave of her hand, Otorongo and I were forced away from the blackened starry abyss and into a forest filled with Giants.

Otorongo eased up around me, now that we were in my Iron woods. The landscape rarely changed and I was greeted with the same towering, snow dabbled pines supported by rich, black earth. I could hear the waterfall off in the distance when a hand lightly tapped me on the shoulder. I turned to see The Wanderer, The One eyed, Grey Beard, Wise One, Seeker of Knowledge, Guardian of Valholl, All Father, Odinn, standing behind me.

Unafraid I wrapped my arms around Him, over joyed to be by His side once more. His blue grey cloak was scratchy against my cheek and his silver and grey beard splashed with black obstructed my view while we hugged. He stepped me back and looked me over, seeming to approve of me before heading towards my, our, pond.

“Why weren’t you…” I started.

“In Asgard?” He offered my pause. “Oh, I haven’t been home in a long while now.” We sat up against our tree as Otorongo curled up next to me on the ground.

“What have you been up to, then?” I asked.

“Oh, you know. Wandering, collecting knowledge, influencing people, loving women…”

“Scooping up followers left and right?” I added, a small smile across my lips. He shrugged and folded His hands in His lap.

“When the apples ripe.” He looked at me out of the corner of His eye and laughed.

For a long while we sat in silence. I absent mindedly buried my hand into Otorongos fur, feeling the softness and warmth of her next to me and relaxed back into the tree. The waterfall before us cascaded down over the rocks, sending ripples out to the edge of the pond. Off in the distance a Raven cawed and Odinn closed his eye and Listened. It felt good to be in His presence again, even though our relationship had changed drastically from what it used to be.

“I missed this.” My words were quiet in the darkened woods.

“I agree.” Odinns deep voice had a smile behind it. “But you came here with a purpose.”

“Could you not know everything?” I laughed. “Just once?”

“You’ve met the me that doesn’t know everything. He’s not a nice guy. Irrational, tough, unyielding, forceful.” He mused for a moment, trying to find a word. “Ignorant.”

“Oh, he’s not that bad.”

Odinn gave me the “you’re kidding me, right?” look, making me laugh again.

“Okay, okay, but he has his usefulness. You gotta at least give him that.” I reasoned.

“Yea, I guess.” He sighed.

“So, I came here to talk about Gatekeeping.”

“What can you tell me about it?” He leaned His head back against the tree and closed His eye.

This was pretty typical of our relationship. I would come to Him with a question, and He would have me tell Him everything I knew about it. Then He would ask another question and another until I ran out of information, then He would point me in a direction or give me a starting place. Rarely, very rarely, would he outright give me the answer.

The one time I could remember Him giving me the answer was when He became my original Gatekeeper. I had just started my path and had gotten tossed into the deep end of the metaphysical world with little to no understanding of basics or protocol when I joined Odinn’s service. I quickly became overwhelmed by the number of Gods and Spirits knocking on my door seeking an able bodied and willing person to do work for Them. I didn’t know how to say no, not right now. I suffered from physical ailments like dizziness, anxiety, headaches, lack of sleep, and a good ole heaping of I want to help everyone.

I became obsessed with wanting to find out as much as I could about everything so that I could be that expert, that I ended up just spinning my wheels for weeks on end until Odin picked me up and said “you’re coming with me, young lady. I have a few things to teach you.”

“You told me you wanted to become my patron and that you would help me find whatever it was I was searching for.” I said to Him, eyes still closed. “If I researched all the worlds religions and found all the similarities and wrote a book about it.”

“Uh-huh, and what did you learn from that?” He asked.

“That it was impossible for a single human being to do. Maybe a team, but that work would take up more then a lifetime.” I said, still stroking Otorongos fur. “An individual would go mad trying to include everything. When I realized that you were trying to teach me a lesson about how I was walking my path, about how trying to learn and know everything about everything and trying to help everyone who came along, I realized how damaging that could be for someone. I asked you to help me in a different way, to be a Gatekeeper for me, so that I could grow safely.”

“I had taken that role long before you learned that lesson.” He patted my arm with his hand. “You were always so hard on yourself. Needing to know everything because you believed that if you did know everything, no one could tell you that you were wrong. No one could call you fake, or a fraud. No one could hurt you, because with your knowledge, you could help everyone around you, except yourself.” He took my free hand in his and held it tightly. “I saw your worth then. I saw your heart, your mind, your desire.” He smiled. “I wanted you to be able to see what I saw. Unfortunately, that wasn’t in the cards for us. But it seems like our friend here has done some great work with you. I am grateful you chose her to take my place.”

Otorongo lifted her head and placed it across my knee and stared him down, but in a soft way. She was recognizing his compliment and returning it the way she knew how.

“I wouldn’t have made it here without you. Either of you.” I held his hand tightly and placed my other on Otorongos head. We sat in silence for a long while, just soaking up each-others energy, enjoying time well spent together. At the end of our visit, we embraced warmly and I returned home with a deeper appreciation of my Gods, Guides, Spirits, Ancestors, and all the rest.

A Gatekeeper, to me, is a God, Goddess, big spirit (like Otorongo), ancestor or other that not only keeps us from being overwhelmed by all that is out there, but they are our companions as we journey and one of our closest allies. They are the ones we turn to first for council and the ones who help us to “vet” any new approaching spirit. They validate and authenticate our experiences while keeping us as safe as they can. They are our liaison to the other side. Otorongo has been with me for as long as I can remember. All the way back to when I was a child and dreaming up imaginary friends. She was the one who came to me then and has never left, even when I thought I was crazy for seeing a large jungle cat stalking me down the halls of my high school.

I wrote this story as pure fiction. This wasn’t an actual journey I had taken at any point. Instead, I did my basics, called out to Odinn for help constructing this story, and also to Otorongo for permission to share her with you all. Together, the three of us put this together in hopes of helping others understand the importance of the relationships we hold with our Gods, and why sticking with one for a long time is extremely beneficial. While I no longer work with Odinn, I am welcome within his presence whenever I want to just chat or ask for advice. If you have questions about Gatekeeping, or how to find your own Gatekeeper, you can email me at Stormpaqo@gmail.com, and I will answer your questions the best I can.

Published by Lady Storm

I am a spiritual practitioner that has walked many different paths. Some could call me a jack of all trades when it comes to belief systems. While I don't hold all the answers, I hold many tools that will help unearth answers to questions anyone may have.

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