The world of the ettins is in Scandinavia called Jötunnheimr. Jötunn, English ettin, derives from proto-Germanic *etunaz, and this word means «the hungry», «the gluttonous» and «big eater». Heimr means simply world. So this is the world of the gluttonous powers, the big eaters, but also of the uncontrollable forces of nature, like the power of growth in the wilderness, erupting volcanoes, and the ice and stone asteroids threatening to change life on Earth. The peasant cultivates his land, but must fight the ettins constantly, or else nature takes back what has been cultivated by him. Wild herbs and eventually trees will start to grow in what used to be a field. The forest will prevail over the field; the ettins will win unless the peasant works hard to prevent this.
The ettin is not a name for a different race or anything like that. It is a power of a certain type, wild and some times wonderful, untameable and uncontrollable, and this power can be found in nature, but also in us. The opposite of this ettin power when it operates in usis what we would call moderation or temperance. So the Pagan man is a Stoic, with moderation and temperance as supreme ideals against a wild and untameable ettin power. He knows that he must not allow the ettin power to prevail, he knows that he must work hard to keep the ettin power at bay and he knows that he is a God (or a Goddess) andnot an ettin!
Yes, this is a struggle between the Gods and Goddesses in us and the ettin powers that try to force their way into the land of the Gods and destroy them. There is no malice in what they do, no “evil” intent, just nature – nature as it is supposed to be like.
We can banish our deities by letting nature prevail, but we can also preserve, cultivate and strengthen the power of the Gods in us through – amongst other things, but still most importantly – temperance and moderation. Eat, but don’t eat too much. Drink, but don’t drink too much. Sleep, but don’t sleep too much. Have sex, but don’t have too much sex.
The deities are real, in us, the powers of love and beauty, of harmony and splendour, but if they are defeated and replaced by the ettin power we become ettins ourselves; greedy, gluttonous and obese, drunken, ignorant, lazy and truly sub-human. If we on the other hand fight the ettin power we not only remain human, we can even become true Gods and Goddesses on Earth!
Not all deities are of the exoteric type, though; some are more mysterious and wield sorcerous powers; Mâni (Moon) and Ôðinn (Mind) the sorcerers are good examples. The latter travels to the realm of the dead, learn the secrets of the past as he falls down and is re-born again. He travels in the mind and spirit, he thinks and reasons, contemplates and grows stronger and wiser for each incarnation. He too can be strengthened in us – and again – mainly by temperance and moderation.
In Vafþrûþnismâl we learn that;
15. Seg þat, Gangrâþr! Alls þu â golfi vill
þîns of freista frama:
hvê sû â heitir es deilir meþ jötna sunum
grund auk meþ groþum?
16. Ifing heitir â es deilir meþ jötna sunum
grund auk meþ groþum;
opin rinna hôn skal of aldrdaga,
verþrat îss â â.
(15. “Say, Riddle-reader! Since on the floor
thou fain wouldst show thy skill,
how the River is called which parts the realm
of the Jötun race of the gods.
16. The River is Ifing which parts the realm
of the Jötun race from the gods;
free shall it flow while life days last;
never ice shall come over that stream.”)
The river Ifing is what parts the realm of the ettins and the realm of the gods. The name can have several meanings, but the most probable would be “Undertaking” or “Action”. Only what you do will prevent the powers of the ettins to take over in your life, and you need to do something to keep them out from your divine realm! Work hard, or else the wild forest will take back the land you have cultivated! Work hard, or else your divine and glorious mind will be darkened and slowed by the gluttonous ettin powers. Master and control “sorcerous powers” and be a God or a Goddess, not a degenerate sub-human wallowing in all the gold and physical pleasures of the world. The fair European man has a potential others can only dream of. Use your potential; become divine! It is all in your power to do so; cast aside the ettin powers and hail the European deities! Smash the head of the worm and throw it into the abyss! HailaR WôðanaR!
Such is the philosophy of Ancient Scandinavia.