Thursday, 25 August 2016

Urðarbrunnr

 


Mál er at þylja þular stóli á
Urðarbrunni at, sá ek ok þagðak,
sá ek ok hugðak,

Deliberate speaking the song chant in the Bard's-seat
I called to The Sea-beach, the Earth-Slip, the Well of Memory
There I was in silence
There I was attending to my thoughts.

-         - Hávamál111
 

Monday, 22 August 2016

This Place Was a Shelter

This place was a Shelter
My body was a temple of Wonder.
Every day a delight.
Each breath was a symphony
I grew strong in the light.

Then in one crashing moment
You pulled apart every timber, every stone.
Crumbling dreams.
Crumbling home.
For years I wandered like a worm
Wasting in the harshness of the sun.
My songs were moans
From the injustice you've done.

Yet in the quiet moments, from the darkness I sought
I turned to witness others
I learned from those who had fought
And slowly my hands
Reached to find stones.

Now with each passing year
Stronger and stronger I build
A new shelter from the storms
And with each passing year
A new piece of me is born.
- Christina Marvel

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Varðlokur.




"Þá svarar Guðríður: "Hvorki er eg fjölkunnig né vísindakona en þó kenndi Halldís fóstra mín mér á Íslandi það fræði er hún kallaði Varðlokur." - Eiríks saga rauða

Then answered Gudrid, "I am not skilled in deep learning, nor am I a wise-woman, although Halldis, my foster-mother, taught me, in Iceland, the lore which she called Weird-songs."

Varðlokur... They were called Wyrd-Songs or Invocations of Spirits. In the saga of Erik the Red, a powerful Volva was invited to Thorbjorg's homestead to determine the fate of the family for the coming year. Before the ceremony, she asked Gudrid to sing a Varðlokur...a song to summon the spirits that would aid the Volva in her prophesy. 
In the story, the women gather around and sing Gudrid's song. Supposedly, the song worked so well that she was blessed by a very prosperous future...even though she was a Christian and no longer a practicing Heathen. There is something powerful here connecting song and summoning spirits of the Ancestors and that it was tied into the luck of not only an individual but of a tribe. Gudrid's whole family was blessed by her contribution to the ritual. Here, again, we see more indication about how the Ancestors hold the "Haminja" or "luck" of the family and connecting to them as a Seidr-singer is a way to bless the whole family.

This makes me think of how in the Svipdagsmál, Svipdag summons his dead mother Gróa at the mound and how she blessed him with all the spells and wisdom that he would need to succeed in his quest. Ancient songs to summon ancestors. Ancient songs that connect us with the luck of our tribe and the heritage of our past. My, what a blessing to our communities this would be if we could revive these ancient songs!

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Kauna


This month,I've been studying the rune Kauna. The torch, the sore, the creative spark. I
was thinking about the disparities in the rune poems:

(Anglo-Saxon)

The torch is
known to every living man by its pale, bright flame;
it always burns
where princes sit within.


(Norwegian)

Ulcer is fatal
to children;
death makes a
corpse pale.



I have been studying the art of Forn þrefa this year...learning the subtle kennings of
healing spells and Galdr. One of the things I noticed about Kauna is that it
raises the body temperature. It can also be used to enliven and invigorate a
lethargic state. I've been using it to help me before I train and lift weights.
I find that Kauna sparks a fire that stays lit for a long time. Consequently, I
found that Algiz is a good rune for cooling down. We cannot burn all the
time...the body needs balance and I find that the cooling energies of Algiz
helps after a workout to re-center and balance so the body can heal afterwards.

Thinking about all this, I remembered:

Ǫnd þau né
átto, óð þau né hǫfðo,
lá né læti né
lito góða.
Ǫnd gaf Óðinn,
óð gaf Hœnir,
lá gaf Lóðurr
ok lito góða.[3]


Soul they had
not, sense they had not,
Heat nor motion, nor goodly hue;
Soul gave Othin, sense gave Hönir,
Heat gave Lothur and goodly hue.[5]



HEAT GAVE LOTHUR...and I thought about how when the body is wracked with illness or
infection, that often a fever is present. The body swells with heat and sweat.
What if the ancient Heathens thought that boils from infection and illness was
an overabundance of heat in the body...a torch that burns too brightly inside
us? This might account for the connection between sores and torches in the Lore.

Friday, 5 August 2016

Three Levels of Religion




“Within most ancient and contemporary religions, there have been two or three levels of the religion: A “lay religion”, where people can indulge in their attachment to the gods or “God”, or “Goddess”, as a more powerful being than themselves, to whom they can make ritual offerings and prayers, and relate to as a sort of divine parent, ruler or guide. On this lay religion, most people will be satisfied to follow certain rules and participate in certain rituals, and otherwise just get on with their lives, although some will be more devout.

Then there is the level of professional priesthoods or self-proclaimed spiritual leaders, who lead the rituals of the lay level, who tend to the lay adherents, and make an effort to maintain or promote the dogmas and rules of the religion.

The third level is the level of the mystical experience and meditation on the true meaning of the divine characters. Those who seek this level within their chosen religion or within the religion they were born into, will question the dogmatic and stereotyped rules and images of the divine, trying to reach a deeper communion.” – Maria Kvilhaug (Seeds of Yggdrasil)

Here we see an example of how there is a divide between the Shaman and the Priest. As Shamans, we exist on the third level of mystical experience. While Priests serve a vital role to provide ritual and guidance for the community, the Shaman or mystic often delves deeper into the mysteries, looking beyond the rules and law, and questioning everything. The mystical experience is often a personal experience and it can confuse the common person. The mystic might question everything the religion stands for, opting to embrace the taboo for greater knowledge and enlightenment. For the mystic, there is no paradox...only opportunities to question and seek deeper truths. I am not surprised that when we look at mystics throughout the ages we see their major form of communication being in poetry, music, or art. It is in the realm of the artist that a mystic can free him or herself from the constraints of society. We have always allowed our artists to be somewhat taboo. It is this very art, these mystical poems and songs, which breathes life back into religion and revitalizes a community that could get mired in dogma.. What would Christianity be without Michaelangelo? What would Sufis, be without Rumi? What would Heathenry be without the wise mystic who composed the Voluspa?

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Push

I urge all you mystics and seekers to not fear questioning dogma or tradition. Ask unconventional questions. Seek down uncomfortable truths. Run down the darkened trails. Push into your own discomfort....for in the discipline of moving forward, you will find the person you always wanted to be.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Demon





Joseph Campbell wrote that the origin of the word demon came from a much different place than it means today. The greek word "daimon" was one's inner genius and it's where we get the word "Dynamic" from. It was the very thing in you that made you dynamic and powerful. Yet we slowly changed this word to denote something that is bad or evil. We started to think that what made us powerful, that unique spark of genius in all of us, was something to be feared and destroyed.

What if I could challenge you to release that which you have been hiding for so long? What if the shameful and bad parts of ourselves, are actually the very things to liberate us and empower us to love more.

We do so much damage to ourselves and others by not acknowledging our true natures. We are like blind eagles clawing at each others eyes, thinking we are doing the right thing.

The role of the shaman is to let loose such demons, to let each of us see ourselves. Sometimes this is frightening at first. We have so many prejudices. We have so many fears about ourselves. 

What if I told you that when such demons are loosed, when you stare into the heart of who you are, the messy and scary heart, which makes you feel like a fire might eat you alive, that on the other side is kindness, control, and much empathy?

I would not have thought such a thing were possible last year.

I would not have thought that by being messy, by letting my instincts guide me, and by facing everything I fear, that I would develop such a profound love for everything and every one. Not only is that word "perfect" ridiculous to think about, but every part of me that people used to find "annoying" is actually my biggest strength.

I spend no time worrying about what others think of me.

I get really good sleep. 

And my demons...they are truly beautiful.

I bet yours are, too.