Firebrand of Surt

The Eddas tell us that in the Last Big Battle, the leader of the fire giants, Surt, will cast his firebrand across the sky and it will cause all the worlds to burn. Rising waters will eventually quench the fires and the surviving humans will emerge from their caves to start rebuilding in the Middle Garden. During the Cold War, we had a clear idea of what this was likely to be, but the idea went away for a while. It could be back.

The Cold War between the east and west, headed by the Soviet Union and the United States respectively, was a time of great stress. Both sides had enough nuclear weapons to destroy this world and several like it. They also had Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) that could carry these weapons to anywhere on the planet within a couple of hours maximum. This meant that any city on the planet could literally be gone in a flash.

Many Asatruar saw Surt's sword as a metaphor for nuclear missiles. The survivors were to climb out of caves, which match fallout shelters and the bunkers used for politicians and upper level military, making the metaphor more complete. When the Cold War ended, many of us gave a sigh of relief; the immediate threat of Ragnarök was pushed off a bit longer.

Now, though, there is again talk of nuclear missiles. The United States is in confrontation with North Korea over nuclear weapons. At present, the North Korea doesn't have much of an arsenal; many people are more worried about them selling biological or chemical weapons to terrorist groups. That doesn't keep the threat from being real. Pyongyang will be developing more weapons and, as sanctions cut off legitimate sources of funding, they are likely to sell the technology to others. The others may include terrorist groups, but they also include nations like Iran. Any of these sales raise world tensions to a higher level.

The agents of the fire giants have been active for a very long time. We see global warming from people who have been told to get what they can for the short term regardless of the damage it causes to the world. We see migrations increasing tension in new areas. Many of the immigrants are fleeing the influence of the fire giants in their own home and unwittingly becoming pawns as the chaos spreads. These are the reasons the Gods are so busy lately.

What can we do about it?

We are the allies of the Gods. We must make our best effort. To counteract the effects of the fire ettins, we must live honorable lives, trying our best to be strong. We must encourage others to live honorable lives as well, but we can't force them or we will just be adding to the chaos. (Don't let anyone walk over you, though.) We must try actively communicate with elected officials and encourage honorable behavior there too. Note that it may be more effective to not mention that you are Asatru unless questioned; don't lie, but don't give them undue reason to discount your opinion.

In addition, we should look at our emergency preparedness. You will want you and your family to be some of the ones who emerge from the caves when the fire is gone. This means learning how to survive initial troubles as well as how to rebuild. These skills will be just as handy in case of a tornado, if we are lucky enough to push the Last Battle off a while longer. Learn and be ready!

Finding More Information

The Internet has plenty of sites telling you how to prepare for any number of disasters. Be careful; some of the sites are less scientific than others and may provide dubious information. As with any subject, make sure to do your research.