Rökkr:Twilight + Rökkr:Shadow + Rökkr:Darkness

Rökkr means twilight. Ragnarok is thus the twilight of the gods, a meaning that is implicit in the German translation Gotterdammerung. In this instance, the twilight represents the fading of the power of the gods of Asgard, as they give way for the return of the older Rökkr pantheon. Although the Rökkr pantheon can be seen as representing the night which overwhelms the Æsir gods, they are more accurately manifested as the spirits of the twilight itself. It is at twilight that the black body of the night goddess rises into the sky, and the Rökkr, who are astral beings, can be seen, marked out across her form as the stars and constellations.

The point of twilight (as well as its twin, the dawn; both phases being implied by the word dammerung) is the time when the world is most alive: when nocturnal creatures awake to a new night, and diurnal animals experience one final burst of energy before retiring for another night. This is the period of the daily thinning of the veils, when the world of night, for only a few seconds, exists simultaneously with the world of day. It is at this time that the light of both the Golden Sun and the Midnight Sun can be momentarily glimpsed, and it is because of this supranatural light that twilight and dawn are the times when colours appear at their most vibrant, and their most numinous.

Twilight is, thus, the time of meeting between the worlds, be they the worlds of night and day, chthonic and celestial, causal and acausal, or life and death. It is this twilight realm, which partakes of both worlds, and is a part of both, but simultaneously of neither, that is the province of the hagazussa (hedge-sitter). Hagazussa is both a title of Hela in her crone aspect, from which we get the word hag, and one of the names given to the followers of the dark goddess. The hedge was used, from Neolithic times up to the recent past, to protect and define settlements, and the hedge-sitter was, thus, someone who had one foot in the safety and reality of everyday life, and the other in the spirit realm. Hagazussa is the root of the modern German word hexe (witch), and is thematically the same as Tunrida (fence-rider).

The priority given to the twilight was not limited to the hagazussa, but was also a pivotal feature of the pagan world view. In contrast to our modern perception of diurnal time, where days begin at dawn, pagan Europeans saw the day ending with the sunset, and beginning with the twilight; the night coming before the day. This fundamentally different way of viewing the world is the reason for the emphasis on eves in pagan festivals. Festivals appear to begin the night before because the nights are the beginning of the festival day.

Twilight is represented annually in just such a festival, Samhain, when the veils between this world and the next part for the night. Samhain is ruled by the goddess Mordgud, but another goddess of the twilight is Sindur (dusk), one of the nine daughters of Ran who turn the world mill. Sindur is the red colour that fills the sky at sunset, and reddens the sky with gore at the great twilight of Ragnarok. Also, at Kali's temple of Dakshineswar in India, sindur is the name given to the holy vermillion paste used to mark her worshippers.

When nights of nothing and everything fall,
I see her yet again,
when all mix as within a wyrdic cauldron,
and her stars shine brilliant with the spectrum of
unimagined hues.

Rökkr:Twilight + Rökkr:Shadow + Rökkr:Darkness