Andvari and My Adventure in Gambling
So I’m not that great at gambling. At all. Until last night, anytime I did, I came out busted (or felt I was losing way too much money to continue playing) or even when I won, felt dissatisfaction with the whole affair. I really looked at it as a time sink and a waste of money. Mind you, most of the gambling I’ve done has been with relatives, friends, or people around school when I was in highschool. Lost my lunch money two times in a row and developed a bad taste for gambling.
I’ve been working with Andvari, the Norse God-Duergar (Dwarf), a God of Craftsmanship and money. I originally knew Him from Having worked with Him during my Nine Days on Yggdrasil. I have reconnected quite well with Him through Root, Stone, and Bone: Honoring Andvari and the Vaettir of Money by Fuensanta Arismendi and Galina Krasskova. There are some lessons from it He is teaching me, and there are others unique to my needs for learning. He is helping me re-examine my methods of understanding ownership, how to value what I do and make, and especially relating to money, its place in my life, and is teaching me how to best honor the vaettir of money. One of the big ways He has helped revolutionize how I view money, is by acknowledging the spirits of money. My money, in particular.
He is helping me relate to my money as spiritual beings, each cent, each nickel, dime, quarter, etc., each possessing a spirit. This kicked me in the head quite a bit. Until this, I looked at money as a burden, or something I was always needing, an energy I never quite had enough of. Always needing it, wanting it, bleeding for it, working for it, some nameless, faceless energy I couldn’t relate to but bound up my whole life whether I was buying a hotdog or getting student loans. Now, I look at money as an ally when it is on my side, and a potential ally when it is not. In this alone, it has pushed me to understand how money, on a spirit-level, works. Money likes being together, being used, flowing. It does not like to be inert unless the inertia is being built for something worthwhile. In my experience, it seems my pennies like being separate from the other coins at times, and other times like to be mixed in. I’m not quite sure why yet.
What does this have to do with anything, especially gambling? Well, I originally wanted to forgo the family’s annual Christmas gambling card games. I’d lost something like $20-$40 one year because I didn’t understand the rules, didn’t pay attention like I should have, and made stupid wagers without thinking. I’d been confused, lost a lot of money and had a bad history with gambling to boot. I didn’t want to play this year either. I was sure, prior to Andvari spiritually/psychologically kicking my reluctant ass up the stairs, that I would lose. He said “Look, all your change is really doing in your pocket is waiting for you to spend it on pop or a candy bar. It wants to be used for something; use it for something that, if nothing else, connects you to your family and is something you could have fun with.” I then proceeded to pile on excuses that “I only have $2.50” and “but I hate gambling and I suck at it and I want to hide in the basement”. He didn’t like that last one. After telling me I needed to get upstairs or face a challenge by Him with a quiet smile, almost a grin on His face, I went. I plunked down, pulled out my $2.50, and let myself spiritually open to the money.
The response was immediate, and at first there were a lot of voices. Then, like a choir or barbershop quartet, the voices layered (though they weren’t singing), but it wasn’t like Borg-speak or something like that…just a lot of voices speaking to the same thing together. The pennies wanted to be separated before the game started. The table’s leaf from Christmas dinner was being taken downstairs, so I took the time to individually put the pennies into an unused pouch on my wallet, and apologizing to the spirit at the disrespect of dropping a few. At first, I felt goofy apologizing to a penny, then I asked myself “If I were a spiritual being in a penny, would I want to be treated with respect?” After separating out the pennies, the spirits of the various denominations of other coins asked to be sorted, and were to my left side. The pennies didn’t want to be gambled with, so they stayed in my wallet pouch in my pocket.
The first game started, and the betting on that first hand nearly took all my money in the first blow. My heart sank, and I said to myself “Well, that was fun. Good thing the money vaettir are happy”, given the spirits seemed happy about getting out and about. Andvari piped up and asked me if that was all I had, given I was supposed to be a Runemaster and Odin’s son. “Why aren’t you using the Runes? Didn’t you hang on a Tree for them? Waste of a gift.” Well, that got me pretty angry. Then, calming myself and taking a deep breath, I drew over what I had left (maybe a buck if I was lucky). Well, we switched games and suddenly my mom drops me a $5 loan out of nowhere so I can keep playing. I didn’t ask her for it. I chuckled, wondered if had worked that quick, and then kept playing. The new dealer picked a new game, and I was the first person to go after she dealt the cards. I thought to myself “Fuck, I’m screwed. I’m right after the dealer, anyone can overshoot my cards.” It was a 3-card game, with a single card flipped to tell what suit was trump. You had one turn to pass in cards you didn’t want. You keep the game moving by losers who wanted to play putting in equal money to the betting pile. Those who chose not to play the hand did not, and those who won at least 1 trick won some of the pot and did not have to put in next turn. Turns out this is a great game for me, especially where I was.
The dealer fed me some horrid hands, to be sure. However, the majority I got at least 1 trick, and in total I had about 4-5 shutout tricks. After a few turns I gave my Mom her $5 back and kept moving forward from there. Once I began to listen to the money, knowing when to fold and when to keep going got easier to tell. The primary money vaettir that spoke to me on this was the indicator coin. Rather than each person declaring “out” or “in” for the hand one-by-one around the table, my family has us place a coin face up for “in”, face down for “out”. The reveal counts up from 1 to 3, then everyone reveals their coin and declares if they are in or out. When I listened to the indicator coin vaettir, I won money, or when it counseled going out, I usually won at least a trick the next hand. I was fascinated, and actually was enjoying myself, laughing, and having a good time.
When Nicole came up from the basement, wanting to leave, the vaettir all but pushed me away from the table. It wasn’t for her sake, for them, but for mine. From $2.50 I had made about $27, including the $5 I gave back to Mom. Andvari had helped me transform a game I loathed, deepen a relationship with money I’d all but forsaken prior to beginning work with Him and the vaettir of money. He and they helped turn around both by showing me the value of a good relationship with money in a single night.
I find it odd to be asked by Gods and spirits not to be given offerings to…but Andvari insisted the offering I gave to Him was learning. The money vaettir told me that giving them a place to be, such as a box when I can get one (they want it decorated, woodburnt, maybe stained too) would be a good enough offering for them. It’s a new relationship, something I’m getting used to, but I feel better about doing that now. I can actually understand through experience why it is a good thing.
Hail Andvari and the Vaettir of Money!