I was in my teens when I first read through the Eddas, and the story of the World Serpent, Jormugandr, terrified me. As the story goes, the Gods received dire prophecy about the children of the brood of Loki and Angrbodha and cast them all out to various locations, Jormugandr being dropped into the deep sea. The serpent grew to ensnare the world in its coils, eventually biting its own tail and slowly squeezing the world.
At Ragnarok it rises and does battle with the Gods. At this point in the legend it is mentioned how it spews venom into the air and water and how it will bring the seas to gush upon the land as it rises. I’ll be honest; as a kid it was hard not to see this as a metaphor for pollution and corruption. Jormugandr tries to crush the world, and failing that, tries to poison it.
Thor stands against him. Thor has a long history with the World Serpent. He is the one who casts him into the sea. On one of his journeys to Jotunheim he is tricked by the magic of Utgard-Loki (not the same as your regular old Loki) into thinking that he is wrestling a cat, when in fact he’s wrestling Jormugandr (it’s a weird story). At Ragnarok he faces off against the World Serpent for the last time. He destroys it, but falls back nine steps and dies as its poison overtakes him.
The analogy between the water protectors and others defending the earth from the Dakota Access Pipeline, which is being referred to as the Black Serpent, leapt out at me. Corrupt and dangerous industry threatening sacred and sovereign territory seemed like a clear metaphor. So in response for prayers (and calls to curse the black snake) that have been given I reached out to Thor. Thor is the defender of the common person and the Earth, honorable and strong, and if he responds, will do so with wisdom and ferocity.
bless our earth defenders,
with your strength,
with your might,
with your victory,
with all the power the Gods can grant.
Thor, slayer of Jormugandr,
a Black Serpent threatens Midgard with its poison.
Destroyer of serpents, wrestler of dragons, guardian and son of the Earth,
wield your hammer against those who raise the Black Serpent.
Against their materials.
Against their vehicles.
Against their technology.
Against their will.
Against their strength.
Against their weapons.
Against their hopes.
Against their bodies.
Lay them low.
Crush their Black Serpent and strike fear in the hearts of any who would come to follow them.
Hail Thor, Defender of Midgard
(For those who wish to find out more about how they can supply material and other forms of support to the water protectors and others defending Standing Rock, here is an excellent list of resources).
(Also, here is the recent article by Dr. Karl E. H. Sigfried on The Wild Hunt where he speaks of his opinion on the story of Thor and the serpent in regard to current affairs).