Day 5 on Yggdrasil

DR:   OR:   RR: 

8-21-2010

9:03pm

I have realized I have not written much on what Hanging on the Tree is like much, so I will describe it here.  Keep in mind with each new moment what I describe here gets harder or worse (in terms of say, pain) or increases in sensation.

What I first notice is the pain in my ankle that shoots up my leg.  It burns from the rope and strain alike, my muscles clench and unclench in pain.  A fiery hot that burns in my right leg as my ankle swells with that throb.  Next I feel the weariness in my limbs as they dangle, scratched from hitting the bark, hands bloody as I’ve clung for moment or two for relief for my foot only for weight to hit it harder.  Then the spear wound, ribbons of pain from under my left ribs across my chest.  My breath comes in long draws; I shiver with cold, the pain unwelcome in its intensity, glorious in its heart.  My body is an unwashed bloody mess, my hair sticks together from the dried blood and sweat.  my throat begs for water, my belly for food.  Everything seems to throb right along with my ankle; my mind, body, and spirit begging for release.

This is what has been happening to me in every moment as I do the lessons and tasks the spirits give me.  This has and is hard to be asked to do all this and do the bidding of spirits and diligently write about it.  I hope that others find use in this writings.

Today the Realm I will be working is Midgard, and the Runes are . It is interesting; two-twenty in the morning and neither Odin nor anyone in Midgard has contacted me yet.  I will have to see what happens in the morning.

I did not think about why I picked up Dune to read when the radio proved useless.  Purpose.  All things, even seemingly useless gestures have purpose and meaning.  Looking into this Ordeal, seeing, feeling, understanding, knowing, connections where others see only chance or coincidence, I can see, experience the grand tapestry of Wyrd all around me, inside me, beyond me.  Once, I would have thought “this is grandiose delusion or foolish notions” but I can feel the waves of Wyrd all around me.  All things born die, but all things are made for the purpose of living.  Beyond that, what purpose is there?  Some look to religion, others to science, some to philosophy; most, however, never truly think about purpose.  It is not something most people bother with finding because they have been conditioned to another’s purpose since birth.  That, perhaps, is what troubles me most about humanity and this world.  So few question their purpose, and so, become willing, uninformed tools of another’s purpose.  It is entirely likely Odin and His Family and all Gods and spirits exist as not; yet I find comfort in my religion, and in my Father, because neither foisted purpose onto me, merely gave me the tools to find it and claim it.  I believe in Gods and spirits, energy work and the soul not because they exist in some “out there”, but because I can experience them as readily as another who desires to.  The whole human race can experience the “between“, the liminal, and yet, so few do because it is too bizarre or frightens me, or suddenly God or things speak to them and our modern world, whether by monotheism or science, has no answers save “heresy” and “demons” on one side and “delusion” or “magical or wishful thinking” on the other.  Yet so many Christians parrot Christ in how we are all Sons and Daughters of God, but think neither of the message nor the purpose behind it.  They don’t think about how their Savior tells them from a book they hold so close that they will do far greater things than He.  That is their purpose, if they but claim it.  Like most humans, they are caught in “everyday life” mindlessly sailing the boat down the river with all the others when their vessel is oceanworthy.  The ocean scares us because there are no certainties in the ocean.  You may hit dead wind or be blown off-course from where you wanted to go, shipwrecked or sunk, but no human progression has happened with all boats floating down a river.  If we move into that open water, like wearing the Valknut, a terrible death could come to take us.  Death comes for us regardless of how perfectly you navigate the river or how horribly the ocean may claim your ship.  Living comes in decision, in exerting your Will upon this world as much as it doing the same to you, and both reacting to one another in causality that can be interrupted at any moment, or perhaps, better to say, and more accurate, purposefully ended.  Yet in death our Will may be felt upon the Earth.  The battle for Civil Rights did not die with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., nor Malcom X, nor the countless who died victim to white supremacy or riot.  They gave people, or people accepted, purpose in their deaths.  That, perhaps, is the most beautiful and dangerous gifts our Gods or our fellow humans may give: purpose, on that others may not understand or actively denigrate, that shapes the world around us because our Will is that strong, or more likely, because our gift of purpose to us or others brings that Will in to the world and changes it.  That is why people fear purpose: it brings change and with it, there is purpose in the change and a new understanding of Self, reality, the world, perhaps the Universe, and certainly, one’s place in it.  Recognizing one’s purpose as important, whether one is given that purpose from Gods or spirits, community or family, self or seeking, it is neither hubris nor self-indulgent to acknowledge the importance of one’s purpose.  There is power and security in fulfilling your purpose, as sure as there are limitations and uncertainties.  I would actually reject what I now see as my purpose if I had no uncertainty or limitation as that leads to fanaticism and self-delusion, both I see as roadblocks, for I see that purpose can change and evolve.  However, this does not stop me from feeling, knowing in my heart and soul that I have a great purpose, but I serve this purpose by navigating my ship in the ocean and working with it to arrive where I need to.  Not adjusting or putting away the sails when the winds change or storms rise makes for poor progress, or shipwreck in the ocean.  In accepting this, and the uncertainties that come with it, I also must recognize the possibility I am neither floating down a river or sailing the ocean, but splashing in a kiddie pool and only wetting myself, making a great deal of commotion with no effect besides self-gratification.  To not at least think of this, to not be humble enough to say “I may be completely wrong” opens one up to self-delusion and fanaticism for a purpose without impact, or worse, a disastrous one that brings others with you as David Koresh did.  Yet, even he had purpose we can recognize, as did his followers, though we do so from differing perspectives.

So I come back to purpose.  It does not need to be great or big, small or quiet, or anywhere in between.  Your purpose need only be one thing: Yours.  An apt pop-culture metaphor icon, could be Luke Skywalker.  His destiny was not simply lain before him; through life experience, the guiding of Obi-Wan Kenobi, his ancestry all contributed to his purpose, but he eventually chose to follow it.  Yes, Obi-Wan Kenobi offered him one purpose, to become a Jedi, but his family did too, to be a moisture farmer, and his friends offered him yet another way: the Imperial Academy to become a solider.  He could have chosen any purpose for himself; become a thief, a smuggler, anything within his spheres of influence and understanding could have become his purpose.  He chose to be a Jedi, and all that came with it.  That is the power Luke, like any of us, has.  The power of choice, to do and follow that purpose to its end, or next beginning or wherever it may lead.  He followed his purpose and his Wyrd, his orlög, changed the galaxy around him for the betterment of it.  How many tiny choices went into that end we see at the end of Return of the Jedi?  How many great ones had to be made?  In the final scenes of The Return of the Jedi, Luke overcomes his own anger and rage, rather than strike down either the Emperor or Darth Vader, no small feat, but one many of us can make, especially with the training to support those decisions.  As with training Jedi, this is why magical, Pagan, Shamanic, even psychological disciplines do so much training.  For the magical practitioner, it is empowerment of the Will, deconstructing obstacles to It, and the fulfillment of one’s purpose.  Psychological disciplines train so one may aid others without becoming others’ purpose, something I feel the previous groups could use more of.  The psychological disciplines are about aiding another in fulfillment of their purpose by helping them remove obstacles to it, or in extreme cases, giving purpose if the other cannot see it despite aid and training.  This is dangerous territory, and it is why those in the psychological disciplines are held to such tight standards.  However, psychologists, unless they interact with a patient from a young age, does not give them frames of reference and understanding to their reality.  Religion, parents, schooling all do, and many in those fields seem to care less of the impact their inclusion into the lives of their children and adults that they are a part of.  A poor experience with a religious leader at a young age may completely curb a person from ever exploring their potential purpose in religion.  It may shut out an avenue of hope that they may sorely need down the road.  Alternatively, it may help them see frauds and hucksters for who they are.  Experience, like purpose, can be what you make of it.  There is something I touched on earlier that I feel, however, I need to flesh out: the idea of spheres of influence.  A starving person will have fewer spheres of influence due both to the lack of viable options he or she has, real or imagined, and to the purpose she or he is following.  If the person wakes and says “I am starving today”, unless the person makes it their purpose to be a “full person today” their reality will follow suit and they close off alternatives available otherwise to them.  Does this mean that they will be a “full person today” if they merely think of it.  Certainly not.  Part of having options is exploring them.  The question one really needs to ask in this situation above, is what limits does the person place on alleviating their hunger?  Do they not eat foods, as Jains do, unless they are fallen fruit or similarly-found foods?  Will they refuse to eat pork because they are Jewish or Muslim despit there being ample pig to feed them?  Are they completely destitute, the latest U.N. shipment has arrived and is being ransomed by the city warlord?  If they have not the means to successfully, by any means, fulfill the purpose of “full person today” but you have it, are they failures?  No.  They will probably keep trying despite what can be heavy adversity.  However, they may do it on their own terms, as with Jains, they may not eat unless they find fallen fruit if their purpose as a Jain is higher to them than “a full person today”.  The same with Jews and Muslims who refuse to eat pork to alleviate starvation; their religious purpose is second to nothing, even physical harm.  This is both the strength and danger of purpose.  Sometimes we may choose it and yet sometimes it chooses us.  Children in poor areas of Africa did not ask to be born into privation.  Their parents did merely by having them.  Doing so, they severely limited their spheres of influence, both for them and for their children, and have framed their reality through the lenses they give to their children the we give to all we bring into our lives, whether born or adopted: society, religion, ethnicity, race, status, wealth, etc. that we use to design and define our collective reality.

In defining collective reality we give people purpose, and yet, we may, in choosing our own purpose, transcend it.  Women in Africa, given microloans, were able to purchase a few items that greatly expanded their spheres of influence: a bike, cell phone, and basic supplies.  So we may empower another by giving to their sphere of influence and contributing to their purpose, or disempower them, destroy spheres of influence and give them a purpose they will be willing to accept if for no other reason than we have so severely limited their spheres of influence.  My purpose as Odin’s Son, as a Runemaster when this Ordeal is over, as a Priest, Warrior, and Shaman, is to help others expand their spheres of influence, and help them come to understand their purpose for themselves.  My purpose is to be many things besides, such as a father, a lover, a student, a video game player, a reader, but they are wrapped up in being my purpose, in following it.  I need not be fulfilling my role as Priest every moment of every day in service to others; there are avenues of options within each purpose I have, and giving myself, and being given the options, is part of my power.  If power is found in finding one’s orlög and Wyrd and following it, it follows, to me, so are the options that become available to you when you do that.  So I will walk in my purpose, I will live my purpose, and see where it leads me.

After writing this Nicole asked if I wanted to go to the local graveyard.  Everything clicked, so I agreed and went with her.  The graveyard close to my folks is run down, but peaceful.  No overtly angry spirits, just fussy, cranky ones wanting to know why two whippersnapper Pagans are tromping around a largely Christian graveyard.  A lot of the graves were ill kept, some dating from the late seventeen-hundreds to as recent as a few years ago.  Several of the Veterans gravestones had fallen into neglect.  The spirits there asked me to help by cleaning up their grave sites, something Nicole started immediately.  So, I did, and one family line full of Veterans whos graves I cleaned, prayed for, and saluted, offered me their graveyard dirt to take with me. We left after about an hour of speaking with the spirits, one giving me a headache trying to make contact so I could find and clear the little kid’s small grave marker.  I left feeling good, and like my work in Midgard was done, aside from ongoing work with my Ancestors.

In the spirit of ,, and Odin is asking me to take stock of my spiritual protection, the paths of my energy, and to correct imbalances as I find them.  He also asks I take time to site down and catalogue my spirit guides, totemic spirit guides, Ancestors, etc. who guide, guard and/or work with me, in the spirit of .  In the spirit of , Odin asks that I look at what qualities I would ask to be hallowed or ask for success in.  In the spirit of , Odin asks me to look at situations of injustice in my life, and evaluate them by heart, mind, and spirit, and write on how I approach conflict.  He also wants me to talk about spiritual conflict, not just with oneself, but with other spirits.

 

Spirit’s Name       Kind                                      Relationship

“Grandfather”       Possible Ancestor, unknown   He guides me when I bend my ear to listen, venerable man with fox as a totem it seems

Corsayth                Small blue Dragon                        Guardian that eats excess “Water” energy

Wolf                         Totemic Spirit/Kin                       Kin through my wolf side; guide and teacher

Eagle                       Totemic Spirit                                 Introduced by first Pagan teacher; guide and teacher

Bobcat                    Totemic Spirit                                Introduced by FourClaw, Native American medicine-worker-in-training; guide and teacher

Owl                           Totemic Spirit                                Introduced by first Pagan teacher; guide and teacher

Turtle                      Totemic Spirit                                Reached out to me in a dream; guide and teacher

Dung Beetle          Totemic Spirit                                Met during astral journey two to three years ago, guide and teacher

Michael                  Archangel                                        Worked close during Ceremonial Magic and evocation training; sparring partner, teacher, sometimes guardian

Kaedra                    Sidhe Court Representative     Liaison to the Courts, as needed contact

Landvaettir          Local land spirits                          Reciprocal guardianship and friendship; teacher

Kora                        Valkyrie of Freya                          Lover, reciprocal guardianship

 


Name of Quality                  Request

Financial Security              Hallowed and help me to be successful, that I and my loved ones may do as we need without worry

Purpose                                  Hallow and bless it with success, that I may do what needs to be done

Discernment                         May I be successful in understanding how I can help, and whom

Fatherhood                           Hallow and help me to be the father my children need

Love                                         Hallow and help me to find it, cherish it, and make it grow

Speech                                     Hallow and help me to say the words when needed, or keep them back when not

Wisdom                                   Hallow and help me to know wisdom and to live it every day

Magic                                       Hallow and help my magic, may it grow in power and with the blessings of wisdom, may I wield it well

Resolve                                   Help me succeed in sticking to my guns when needed, but having humility to know when I am wrong

 

Conflict is something that requires discipline if you are to do anything with it.  The Immortals of the Persian Army in the ancient world, and likewise the berserkers, controlled their respective battlefields with discipline.  The former controlled their conflicts with deeply ingrained discipline, such that they were said to be silent when falling battle.  The latter controlled conflicts with a seeming lack of discipline, but I would say berserkers operated measured discipline in knowing when to let the battle fury overtake them.  If you are to win a conflict you, above everything, need discipline to steel yourself for blows and to take them when needed to gain a tactical advantage or to roll with the blow and reverse the tide of conflict.  Sun Tzu said “The Art of War is deception”, to “appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak” and to always challenge your own status quo while keeping to the principals that serve your purpose best.  Though I do not advocate lying in relationships if possible, understand that in any situation where conflict may come, deception is part of the skillset.  In terms of spirits this can mean taking an energy signature you are comfortable with and adopting it their purposes.  Are most spirits like this?  Not to my knowledge, in the same way that most people don’t care enough to try to deceive you in ordinary situations.  Just be cautious as you might meeting a physical stranger, but moreso as a physical person will probably not be able to mask their energy or shapeshift before your eyes.  I particularly caution people who do a lot of astral travel to have a few trusted spirit guides as well as a Deity or Divine figure to turn to when a situation is too confusing or spiritually risky.  Having backup plans and people, physically and spiritually is important.  Don’t go into a situation expecting conflict, just be prepared to handle it in case there is.

Day 4 on Yggdrasil

DR:  OR:  RR: 

8-20-2010

10:23pm

Yesterday was exhausting and given which Realm Odin has told me I work with today, Svartalfheim, it looks as though my workload may be increasing.  Already I know I will be working with Andvari, and possibly the four Elemental Dwarves of the Four Direction, Austri (East), Sudhri (South), Vestri (West), and Northri (North).  I drew only two runes to work with today.

I am surprised Andvari has not put me to work already.  It seems, mercifully, I have a reprieve until morning.

“No need to push a worker ready to drop dead,” I hear a rough voice joke.  “Just be ready to ready to work by noon.”

It is ironic; for the first time in four days I am allowed to listen to the radio, and I can find only a few stations worth listening to.  I fell asleep in silence.

Andvari’s first task is for me to make plans for all my future Shaman gear.

“You will have to make it sooner or later.  Best to draw diagrams and plan to get materials, figure out what you need to learn and learn it.  Heck, you might want two versions: one for summer, the other for winter.  Get to it, then see me when you’re done.”

The first big, needed item that comes to mind is not any clothing, but my Rune bag.  The one Nicole bought me at Crazy Wisdom has fallen apart, so the replacement is one I want to be sure will be good for years to come.

Rune Bag Design

 

 

Materials Needed:

  • Length of durable white or black cord
  • Sewing needles & red spool for runes
  • Durable, natural, organic (if possible) material for bag
  • Altar with accouterments to bless bag
  • My stained, blessed runes

Shaman Gear:  Socks Design

Materials Needed:

  • Durable, absorbant, breathable material that can stretch
  • Thread that is able to stretch and “breathe” with the material
  • Red thread for runes

 

Materials Needed:   Same as above.

 

Shaman Gear: Pants Design

Materials Needed:

  • Jean material for this design, if it cannot be done take out pockets and liner areas and have plain design with room for belt.  If jeans cannot be made, material should be of cotton, wool, or another substance that breathes, preferably organic.
  • For jean design: Metal snaps, denim fabric (possibly layered with two denim or denim and wool or cotton), thread: tough and flexible.  Maybe zipper for jeans.

Materials Needed:  Light flowing or easy-breathing material, yet tough enough to walk or hike in.

 

 

Editor’s Note:  I will update this with the full extent of what he had me design at a later date.

Andvari is pleased, so long as I hold to making or getting all these materials together as I can.  Given the rain and lack of money, He is having me move on, but expects progress on this throughout the year.

The Four Elemental Dwarves spoke to me, Northri, the Dwarf of Earth and sometimes Ice, had this to say to me in His cavern that Andvari led me to:

“You know your human hands won’t rival dwarf-made items.  Besides, I don’t want that kind of offering.  If you want to call on Me as an ally, then the offering you give Me is unleashing the land locked beneath the Ice in your heart and mind!  How can I call you ‘friend’ when you question why I come to you?  Your Father set us as Guardians, and so we shall be.  If you desire to understand and cultivate a relationship with Earth, stop worrying about screwing up.  You will and you will be better for it!  No good dwarven smith began a Master, no a Shaman a steady walker.  Fall; at least my Element cushions you!”  When I asked Him why He and so many were willing to have relationships with me, Northri said this:

“You human stopped planting our crops in your field.  There always has been the fertility there.  Now, you few humans allow planting; who would not wish to share their seed?  Better yet when your fields are open to all with room to spare!”  He nods His head and sends me on to speak with Austri.  Where Northri was black-haired, brown eyed and girt in green, Austri has curly white hair and beard and blue eyes, wearing flowing blue with gold trim.  Northri’s voice was deep and gravellish, where Austri’s is like breathing while talking, almost like a mascule form of how Queen Mab from ABC’s miniseries Merlin spoke.  Wind whistles in His cave.

“You already have good grasp of my element. The problem you have here, and that I ask you to offer Me, is to speak in the moment when your heart tells you and learn to temper the words so they offer the impact you want not hope for.  Don’t waste your breath.  Let your silence now be a lesson to you in that.”  That was all He had to say, and He sent me on to Sudhri.  I was expecting a male dwarf, but Sudhri has appeared to me as a flame-haired female dwarf wearing black pants and deep, ember-red tunic.  Her voice has a smokey tone to it, a tenor ring.

“Surprised?  Why?”  I don’t hear anger, a quiet kind of curiosity.  I answer because the other Dwarves were men.  She chuckles and pokes at the fire at her feet, sending up sparks.

“So what can you offer me as a token of friendship?” She smiles as She sits across from me.

“I can offer you something of passion-” I begin and She stops me, telling me I have too many strains on that, to offer Her something of Will.  I don’t get it, so I ask if She wants some of my Will and she breaks into a raucous laugh, slapping Her leg.

“No, I want you to fuel it!  We won’t be able to kindle much if you douse your flame half the time!” She laughs, tells me that will be good enough and sends me on with a warm clap on my shoulder, still chuckling as I come to a dimly lit underground pool.

Vestri sits, a dwarf woman with Her feet dangling above the pool.  She looks up at me and gives me a knowing smile.  She wears a skirt of navy, tunic of blue-green.

“You would come to Me last.  You’re so closely tied to my Element, but yet it perhaps scares you the most.  I and the Undines saw as you almost jumped off the pier.  Without that lifeguard to stop you, you mihgt have.  Not that long ago, the thought of that alone would have terrified you.”  I simply nod; there were kids fifteen, sixteen years old jumping off that dock, so I didn’t feel too accomplished.  When I swam in it, the ice-cold Massachusetts ocean panicked me.  I had flashes of a life where I was drown in an ice cold sea, something on or around my legs dragging me down.  I had a panic attack and swam back to shore as fast as I could.  She watches me reminisce, sighs and splashes Her feet in Her pool.

“You always have been too hard on yourself, too ready to dismiss your intuition and thought and emotion, insight…shall I go on?  So if you have an offering for Me, let it be you trusting your emotions, intuition, energy, heart…how else are we going to grow as allies?”  With that I am back, going on to Odin’s Rune lesson for today.

In the spirit of andOdin is asking me to acknowledge what I reliably know and what I would like to that remains a mystery to me, spiritually speaking.

  • Non-Gardnerian Wicca
  • Galdr
  • Exorcism
  • Roman Catholicism Runes Spirits in general
  • Forms of prayer Utiseta The Nine Worlds
  • Forms of meditation Various forms of energy healing
  • Varieties of energy work Horsing Myself
  • The chakra and kundalini systems
  • Egregore Creation
  • Seidhing
  • Psychic abilities
  • My Gods, Spirit Allies and Ancestors
  • Varieties of Shamanism, particularly Native American varieties and Northern Tradition
  • Ceremonial Magic
  • Chaos Magic
  • Stones, metals, and herbs for magical use
  • Shields, wands, circles, sainings, etc.

  • Enochain Magic
  • Ergi work
  • Herb use besides just a few
  • Deeper knowing of my Gods, Spirit Allies, and Ancestors
  • Spirits I’ve not met in the Nine Worlds
  • Deeper into Chaos Magic
  • Deeper into my path in Northern Tradition as a Shaman, as I am experiencing now
  • Spae-craeft

 

Day 3 on Yggdrasil

R:  OR:  RR: 

8-19-2010

9:30pm

Today, at the end of today I will be putting aside my first staff, the tallest with two feathers on it, and will be using my smallest worm-tracked staff.  Today I face the daunting task of taking on six runes, leaving behind what are called Freyr’s Aett and entering into Hagal’s or Hela’s (as I prefer) Aett, all in one day.  Odin has told me today my work will be in Helheim.  Mordgud, its beautiful black-armored Jotin gatekeeper, awaits me when I am ready for Her.  I have avoided Her, not out of fear, but out of a sense of loyalty to Nicole.

Odin was kind and let me eat, well, drink with Nicole tonight.  I lay afterwards, trying to sleep, and Hela asks me if I fear death or the dead.  I don’t, and I tell Her this, then She asks why don’t I go to Stony Creek Cemetery right now?  I answer, because I respect the Dead and Their remains.

“So what is it you fear of graves then?” She asks.

I think it truly is being shut away in a bed of wood, buried and forgotten like so many of the graves at Stoney Creek Cemetery.  The grounds are desolate and many graves have been toppled, vandalized, or their words have long since been lost.  At least when I die, I wish to be cremated, my ashes scattered where wolves tread.

It is now eleven thirty-five and I still cannot sleep, thoughts and heat keep me awake.  My mind is full of thoughts, wondering about Helheim and where else I am to visit.  I can hear Nidhogg from the Nastrond calling to me; I will see Her soon enough.  My mind keeps wandering to Mordgud.  When I first read of Her, I heard Her, but told myself it was nothing.  When I first began to enter Helheim She would come onto me, but I mistook it for idle banter or jokes on Her part.  Then Hela asked me directly “Do you believe Mordgud is toying with you?” just as I was about to help a suicide victim from the Gulf area cross over.  When I answered yes, She shook Her beautiful, half-skeletal head and gave what I guessed was a quiet chuckle as I left.  Neither Nicole nor Kora would hold coupling with Mordgud against me, so why do I hesitate?

I think part of it lies in that I have never had ‘casual’ sex.  The only sex I have ever had has been with committed, long-term partners.  So, the concept alone is challenging to me.  That and given Mordgud is renowned woman and Guardian of Helheim, it is somewhat hard for me to believe She would reach out to me.  In asking the Runes, came forth, indicating my feelings on this situation are reliable.  Some might ask why I question so much, and why I double check messages from Gods and spirits like these.  The reason is not distrust so much as it is a desire to be sure that I am not indulging in hubris, or playing a spiritual game of Pokèmon.  I also don’t want to be known for sleeping with every spirit that comes to call, but with my lineage it might almost be expected.  I suppose this is also why this is hard: I am Odin’s Son yet I wish to distinguish myself from him.

“Yet in doing this, don’t you?” Mordgud asks me. “Besides, if you let your Father’s reputation stifle you now, imagine all you’ll miss and all the experiences you won’t have.  Kind of like myself and Hela; if I let Her reputation stop me, I’d never be satisfied.”  She grins, joking about how She “can’t live without Her Little Death”.  I hesitate, and She grins as though I challenged Her.

“How do you expect me to let you into Helheim if you can’t face fear?” Mordgud’s tongue lashes me, “How can someone so preoccupied get anything done or be of use?  You come from better lineage than to worry at a bedchamber!  Come, take me!” the last words are a growl of challenge, and it shoots heat through me.  I will write more later.

Mordgud was incredible.  Let no one say She appreciates only hard, rough sex.  When I began to shapeshift and become sexually aggressive, She lay a patient, comforting hand on my chest and told me if She wanted Jotun-style sex there were enough coming to Helheim.  No, She wanted sex with me as a human, a race that from what She has said seldom graces Her bedchamber.  One thing I have learned from this, is that if I am nervous drawing on my body helps dispel that fear either of intimacy or of “screwing up.”  Another is drawing  so I interpret my partner’s body signals correctly and communicate my own clearly.

At first I was taken aback, daunted because it has been so long since I, Sarenth, has made love.  Nicole and I have been what I would call “spiritually celibate”, that is, the only sex my body has is when horsing Loki or Damaru (her Djinn husband)[Editor’s Note: They are now separated].  Yet Mordgud was patient with me, helping me find my feet again and loving it.  This is not to say I have “gotten rusty” because I have been lovemaking with Kora; Mordgud partially experienced my human body whereas Kora and I’s lovemaking has almost always taken place in Freya’s Hall, Sessrumnir.

This brings up a curiosity I’ve had.  I ask Odin why is it that I am allowed such relations during my Nine Days but not with Nicole.

“I swore you to physical celibacy, but I also told you to do as those from each Realm have asked of you.  You’re doing as I asked,” He tells me, with what sounds like amusement in His voice.  I shrug; I feel somewhat mollified but when I look at other ascetic practices, between seeing people, making love with a Valkyrie, Kora, and a Jotun, Mordgud, it seems almost as if I am cheating.  Odin sighs, runs His hands through His long white beard and says:

“You are doing more than a good many ascetics: you are going through an Ordeal, encountering and receiving training from the Nine Worlds, pushed to incredible amounts of introspection and are, more or less, required to write down as much from the experience as you can.  You are doing and have done all I have asked so far.  The contact I allow you with other people is so you don’t lose your mind.  You are, as your father observed, a “people person”.  You need contact with others, even if you cannot speak.  You are not a monk, you dolt, you’re a Shaman, and a Shaman needs community as surely as it needs him.  So when I allow you contact with others or a bit of “down time”, understand I see your suffering on the Tree, and I know how little you have written of the pain you’re going through.  I give you this gift because I need you intact for the work I need you to do.  I give you this gift because I care.  Doand enjoy it.”

“Besides, you are harder on yourself than I could be,” He chuckles.

I am glad I amuse my Gods; it is far better than outright angering Them.  Mordgud, and sleep, await me.  I shall write more when I wake up.

Hela wishes for me to stay in the trailer today.  When I asked why, She said the trailer was better for me right now (it is eleven-forty and getting warmer) and because the only thing I can hear is the whirring of the air conditioner.  The only sounds I hear are the occasional honk of a car or motor of a bike, “Like many gravesites.”  I can work with Her, now that Mordgud had let me in.

Hela’s first task for me is to interview, or if I wish, channel three of the Dead; one a suicide victim, one a murder victim, the last died of old age.

(Editor’s Note:  I channeled these three, and all three wrote in a distinct style that I cannot duplicate in type.  I hope their words translate well though.)

My name is James Harner.  Why do kids have to be so mean?  I never hurt them.  I was just different. Even Daddy would yell at me for being different.  He would tell me Mommy died just to get away from me.  But Mommy told me she loved me.  Pastor Browne told me Mommy is in Heaven with Jesus.  He told me when I die I will go to Heaven with Jesus and Mommy.

That is all I could channel.  James was a kid about fourteen years old in Special Education at his high school with an abusive, alcoholic father who would scream at his son so much he would cry.  He shot himself in the head with his father’s pistol.  I need to ground and center after this; I’m shaken up and my heart hurts for James.  I needed a hug, and mercifully Nicole gave me one.  I’m going to play Solitaire until I am ready to continue, perhaps meditate on hanging, and continue.

I played three rounds of Solitaire with cards from the trailer; I won two rounds and lost one.  I meditated hanging on Yggdrasil for almost two hours.  It is getting harder; the pain is starting to bother my physical body even when not in meditation.  It sears my whole body, the pain, in meditation.  I’m cold, shivering just enough to keep feeling, the wound pulses with heat.

You prolly wouldn’t know me.  I’m from the D so no one’s surprised when a guy gets killed.  Did OK in school, lookin’ forward to college.  BA in Business Administration, get a good job, take care of my girl…you know, all the good shit in life that you’re supposed to want.  Never happened.  I walk outside my home and some big brother in a piece of shit car starts shooting.  I was going to work and some fucker blasts me.  Prolly thinks I owe him money or came onto his girl or some shit.  Happens here all the time.  I’m just another number, some black 18 year old dead in the D.  News @ 11.  Some people’ll wear those t-shirts with my face on ’em rather than dressing up nice for the funeral.  They put me in the ground and cried and the news got a 5 minute spot then life went back to normal.  Year later, no one’s come to visit me.  If you’re around the D come look me up.  I’ll let you know where to look.

He says his name is Mark but he won’t give me a last name.   I told him I’d look for him next time I’m in Detroit.  He seemed to appreciate it.

One thing I have trouble with at times is wanting to correct spelling or diction, or even writing while the spirit is in me.  It takes some work to actually let the spirit have the driver seat and let them write.  James’ handwriting hurt my hand because he pressed so hard, and the more angry and bitter Mark got the worse his handwriting got.  The editor in me wanted to interfere or ask “Did you mean this? “Or did you mean this?”.  Just letting the spirit write as they need to can be hard.  I almost cried while James was writing and disrupted him so he had to correct my hand posture.  So to any prospective mediums out there: in my experience it is hardest to take yourself far back enough out of the picture so the spirit may communicate yet keep yourself close enough so that if they need help translating you are able to.

My name is Margaret Anne Reese.  I lived until I was Seventy-Two and died in my sleep of heart failure.  I lived a good, long life.  I far outlived my husband who died from lung cancer.  Daniel did smoke too much, but he was a good man.  We were buried together just as we’d asked our children to.  Anne gave my eulogy; poor Jacob’s heart was tearing the whole service.  I visit from time to time to make sure they’re getting on alright.  They are both happy for the most part.  We paid off the house and gave it to Jacob.  He’s lived in apartments most of his life, and Anne has a good home with her husband and three children.  Maybe Jacob will find someone special soon too.  I pray so.  At least Jenny, my bulldog, has someone to take care of her.  Thank you for letting me share some of my story.

 

Sincerely,

Margaret Anne Reese

Don’t let Margaret fool you.  She’s a spitfire.  When I tried taking over writing when my hand got tired she “slapped” my hands and reminded me quite sternly why she was there.  Hela seems please, so I am moving into the next task or lesson She has for me.

The people I may work with can come from a variety of backgrounds.  Knowing Odin may send me into dangerous areas where drugs have taken root or are rampant, She wants me to see, experience, what spirits are like that take their addiction with them when they cross over.  To know what an addict who died of a drug overdose is like.  How the spirit may act, where it may go, and possible what is needed to help the spirit move on.

There are many places in Helheim.  Some of these are grand, sweeping visions of beauty, like the Summerlands, or places of desolation and pain like Nastrond.  The place in Helheim for addicts who died of an overdose and whose spirits still crave is some perverse mixture of the two.  I don’t get to see all these spirits’ private afterlives, only a few.

The first is a skinny white guy, swimming in clothes that don’t fit him.  He has bleach-blonde hair and tells me his name is Johnny.  When I ask him what his last name is he breaks into an ironic, mad grind and says “Coke, why you got some?” His spirit goes between blitzed off spiritual cocaine and spiritual detox.  I turn to Hela, angry, and ask why She doesn’t stop this.  She replies softly, “Were the Buddha simply to throw everyone off the Wheel how many would claw to get back on?  He is here in this way because it is his Wyrd just as it was and is yours to meet him.”  Her voice is devoid of emotion; She is telling me like it is.  It doesn’t help as I watch him vomit and claw at himself.  It is emotionally sobering though.

“Hey” I ask Hela “Could he have avoided this despite overdosing.”

“Yes, just as sure as he can decide to end his suffering right now.”

I can watch as he lights up but he won’t listen to me as I tell him he could stop.  His spirits takes huge huffs, chakra system lights up like a Christmas tree, then as the high wears off his chakras go dull.  I can see dark chunks flow up from his root up his crown as the detox hits, and just when I think he’s heard me he takes another hit.  I try for almost half an hour, but nothing by way of empowering him helps.  I could force the coke out of his head, but like Hela said, he’d probably claw back on the Wheel.

“So how do I help him?” I ask Hela, almost pleading.

“Weren’t you listening?  You don’t. It must be his decision to let go of the spirit that feeds and feasts on him.  It must be his choice to stop.  Does forcing a person to stop work in your world?” She asks coldly.

“Rarely for a long time,” I answer softly “Even then, relapses happen.”

“I showed you him so you would understand, not so you would “fix” him.”

We turn away from Johnny Coke who is going through his fifth cycle since I’ve seen him.  I walk beside Her in silence until a question comes to mind.

“How many times has he tried to quit?”

“Sixty-two” She replies matter-of-factly.

“He’s…tried to quit that many times?”  I’m incredulous.

“Yes.  The spirit of Cocaine is powerful in your world and can reach victims who do not break ties with it even here.”

“Why?”

“The same reason you may still have ties to loved ones when you die.  Your connection may be that strong, for whatever reason.”

We round what amounts to an alley corner and enter another dead overdoser’s afterlife.  He’s a big beefy man, sitting slumped against a wall.  A fifth of what looks like cheap whiskey swirls in his hand  He’s speaking what might be considered slurred English, tipping back the bottle with an angry look in his eye.  Both are bloodshot.

“Gon’ head n’laugh sumbitch.  Wanna watch me piss too?”  The scene around him looks like the alleyway melts, revealing a photograph in the alley wall of a beautiful woman and a baby girl.  As soon as they appear he dissolves into hysterical sobs, cuddling around himself, the bottle still in one hand, his gray t-shirt wet with sweat and tears.  He rocks himself, taking a swig on occasion, mumbling about how everyone, even God laughs at him.

“Fucker must!” he screams, raising his body to point with the bottle at the sky “Or you woudnt’ have fucken took ’em you no-good fuck!”  He rages on, fuming:

“Did everything right!  Wen’ church, took care of everything and you FUCKED me an’ everything an’anyone I loved…”  He slumps, the pictures on the alley become dark brick again and Hela motions me to leave as he starts back up again.

“Randy” She explains “Was an employee for a parts provider with Delphi Automotive  His wife and child died in a car crash, his plant went under, and he drank himself to death, despairing as his unemployment ran out.”

I don’t like giving up on people.  Ever, really.  So please…appreciate how hard this is for me.  It doesn’t make me happy that I know these things.

“We have one last person to see,” She announces as we hit a street corner.  It looks like one I’ve seen in Detroit.  A woman in a leather halter-top leans against a light pole with a needle in one hand and a rubber tube in her teeth.  Her face is a mess of bruises and her legs look clawed and bruised.  Tears stream down her face, for a moment, then she slumps and is silent.

“This was Cindi’s life since she arrived here in America.  She’s originally from South Africa, got picked up by human traffickers and was prostituted since the age of thirteen.  She got hooked on heroine and died of an overdose after she was gang-raped on her eighteenth birthday.”  Hela’s words burrow into my skull.

“Do you know why I show you these things?” Hela asks me.

“Because I can’t save them all.”

“That is part of it.  The other is that all of this suffering was preventable.  When Johnny would beg for money people handed it to him just so he could leave them alone.  Neither he nor anyone he begged from lifted a finger to help him beyond a dollar here or there.  No one offered to take him to get food or find a detox clinic or rehab or a shelter.  So Johnny froze to death on the streets hooked on the one thing that comforted him and ate him from the inside.

Randy’s relative all left him in his misery after the funeral and none of his friends called after the plant shut down.  His landlord found him in the alley beside his apartment two days after his death because he began to stink in the summer heat.  A few friends and few family members came to Randy’s funeral.  He had isolated himself, and people let him live alone in his pain.  They let him die in it too, until the stench bothered people.

Cindi was never given a choice.  She put out or she was beaten.  She ran away and she was whipped with a belt and cut on her upper though where her “clients” never bothered to look.  She wore clothes that barely covered her, even in winter.  Except for her first prostitution job, police never gave her a second thought, and even then, it was a quick drug frisk and on thirteen year old Cindi went.  None of her “clients” cared; she was for their pleasure.  The only love she knew when she died was the twelve years before her kidnapping, with people she never saw again.  Her pimp used to call her Cindi Candi, and let her “clients” know how sweet she was.  When she was found dead he let the state bury her and went on to the next girl.

“What can I do in the face of all this?” I felt hopeless.

“The same as your Father when humanity was suffering: share your knowledge, your resources, your magic.  Is not Draupnir’s rings a source of wealth that He has gifted to others?  Is not Gungnir a weapon to defend His people?  Are the Runes His alone?  No.  Share them.”

With that She sent me to the depths of Helheim to Nidhogg, Chewer of the Roots of Yggdrasil and Gnawer of Corpses at Nastrond.  She is a great Dragon with red scales.  She sees me and gives what I guess is Her version of a grin.

“At last Son of Odin.  Took you long enough.  I know you are here for some instruction,” She enunciate the last words as She eats a hunk of dead root from Yggdrasil.  She chews and it feels like my bones are going to come out of my skeleton.

“When Odin sent you to learn He didn’t tell you who you would learn from, did He?”  I shake my head “no”.

“That is because He sent word out to the Realms you were wandering, and to teach you whatever we could.”  I can feel my heart pound.  I didn’t know I had started my wandering yet!  Then I hear His voice gruffly telling me to calm down and that that wandering wasn’t starting quite yet.  Nidhogg hasn’t heard or doesn’t care because She goes on, saying:

“Ratatosk told me, along with some choice insults from the Great Pigeon atop the Tree.”

I ask Her what She has to teach me.

“Something that comes naturally to me.  How to eat the spiritually dead and poisonous things and turn them into fuel for your spirit.”  I’m not sure I entirely understand, so I ask Her to put it in a context I might understand.

“You know how Sin Eaters work, absorbing spiritually nasty stuff?  I’m taking you a step further so you can handle the spiritual toxicity that brings.”

When I ask Her how, Nidhogg laughs.

“So like your Father when He was young; eager to learn!  You don’t have a system set up like mine, but with time you could.  The runes I give you will help.  Once you have “eaten” something spiritually “dead”, write or for slower-acting ones .”  I asked if that was it and She assented, then asked me to write a reminder: if you try to use the techniques, spiritual or otherwise without consulting the Gods or spirits first, they probably will not work but if they do you have no spiritual safety net.  So far I have done all these things under the watchful eye of Odin and whomever He entrusts my care to.  Without the kind of initiations I have received not just over the past three days, but years worth of work it has taken me to get here, unless your God(s), spirit allies, or those who have given me these tasks and lessons call to you, I do not recommend you do them.  She has asked me to include this in every blog post or writing I make on this Nine Day Ordeal or the tasks and lessons I have received during it.

Satisfied She sent me to Hela who has told me I must stay in Helheim for the end of the day.  I asked Her why my Ancestors had not contacted me during my time there, and the answer, boiled down, was they wanted me to discover Them per my agreement with Hyndla, and to be blunt, I was busy and they can contact me at any point.

The six runes I have work with todayhave all been appropriate given what I have been through.  In to Mordgud we gain.  In I gained what knowledge, I needed.  In taking time I was able to through it, harvesting my knowledge that I now have.  These six runes were rough, as much as the Realm itself, yet also beautiful and needed in their own right.

In the spirit of and , Odin is asking me to acknowledge the gifts others have given me, and that I give to others.  He asks me to look at what gives me joy in my life.

The gifts others have given me comes down, ultimately, to a few words that encompass whole hosts of gifts: support, love, honor, respect, empathy, understanding lessons, hope, purpose, and knowledge.  I give the same in kind.  What gives me joy in life is the peace in the home, reciprocity, a vibrant community, loving others, reading, writing, my friends, my family, and leisure time.

In the spirit of and Odin asks I look at the things in my life I need to destroy and what I need in its place

Self-confidence sabotage                                                                 Confidence in myself, my experiences

Fear of my sexuality                                                                          Enjoyment and immersion in it

Worry I won’t be taken seriously in Paganism                       Trust in my experiences & sharing despite potential criticism

Hang-ups on polyamory                                                                  Letting painful experiences in it go and accept new, good ones

Worrying about my son’s upbringing                                         Bring him up as best I can when and where I an

“My path is too grandiose”           “My path is my path, and those who wish to join me or leave me can, but I walk my Path”

 

In the spirit of and Odin asks I look at projects and other things I have stalled on and what I hope to “harvest” in the next year.

Brighid’s illuminated work She asked for                                          Learn how to do it and make it

Novel writing                                                                                                Find a subject that interest me and make it

Poetry                                                                                                              Same as previous

Enjoying leisure time with games like World of Warcraft          Set aside time to enjoy myself and family

Finding a new lover                                                                                    Seek him or her out or let them come to me but be open!

Friendship with Sean                                                                                 Set aside time just for us next semester

Sex                                                                                                     Enoy the new lover and work with Nicole through intimacy issues

Worrying about Nicole and I’s relationship                     Let things develop organically and enjoy time with and time away

Gym workouts                                                                                              Work out after or between classes this semester

Worrying about job situation                                                                 Listen to Odin and runes, be patient for opportunity

Doing what makes me happy in-the-moment                                  Stop fearing judgment, enjoy and express myself

Feeling “lazy”                                                                                    Be fair to myself and honestly evaluate “lazy” from “relaxing”

Feelings of “not doing enough”                                                                Acknowledge resources and ability to do thing as needed

 

That is all I can come up with at this moment.  That’s a pretty good list, and I think it is realistic to work through them in major ways throughout the next year.  Looking it over, a lot of what I have “stalled” in has been poor mindsets and ways of relating to myself.  Otherwise it has been feeling pressure or criticism or feelings that need not be felt relating back to those poor mindsets and self-relations.  Through this, I hope to work through some of this these Nine Days and feel I have, like in terms of sex or the “feelings” categories.

 

*Note:  If you try to use the techniques, spiritual or otherwise without consulting the Gods or spirits first, they probably will not work.  If they do, you will have no spiritual safety net.  I recommend only using these techniques if your Gods or spirit allies, or alternatively the Gods and spirits of these techniques, directly move, ask, or inspire you to learn them and practice them.

Day 2 on Yggdrasil

DR: OR: RR:

8-18-2010

9:00pm

As yesterday, I began in prayer, praying to Odin, Vili and Ve, and breathing önd into my rune bag that both my Daily Reading and how many runes I will be working with today would be clear.  Today I pulled four runes, so I will be working with today.  They are well-stained and rest upon the rune pentacle, the two stained yesterday waiting in their places on the rune pentacle until their fellows join them.  In this way, I read each new day with less and less runes in the bag.

I have been told by Odin the Second Realm I will work in is Muspelheim.  Fitting, given I drew  today.  It seems I may be learning a new layout to the Tree. I shall map it out once I’ve finished.  The first of the realm I am to work with is the Jotun-God Surt, He who was made of or in Muspelheim.  He I will be working with Him in my dreams and upon weaking and I am to record as dilligently as I am able.

Surt has given me three lesson which His wife, Sinmora, has pushed me to write down now, at six in the morning.  The first was to regulate my internal body temperature; using  as a mantra I could greatly increase it, but repeated after helped me to regulate it.  In return for these lessons He asks I share them, to increase His reputation beyond what Ragnarök has given Him.  Once I was able to regulate my internal temperature to His liking (yes, my body was warmer than normal upon waking and writing this) He congratulated me almost as a grandfather does a child.  Surt’s second lesson was to take that internal heat and project it outwards for healing or for harm.  For healing, He had me repeat  because  is the birch, slowly feeding and growing the healing power of  .  He has told me is also good to add on the end, and a fever breaking spell may be like this: .

The third lesson Surt has taught me involved fire spirits.  He knows, especially of late, that I work with them and had some words on the matter that He asks I write here:

“Fire spirits, like I, are neither to be terrified of nor disrespected.  You may appreciate fire, but fear not based in respect makes you its thrall.  Treat fire as an ally, and fire spirits this way, and both will respect you.  Place limits upon your fire, but equally, give your fire adequate room for growth.  Feeding a large flame drains resources fast, but maintaining a small one can drain patience.  Know first, then,  and then  may take place.  If you are using fire for cooking, whisperas you light it if you need it.  Let your allies know  regardless of why you light a fire, combine runes so your message is clear; fire spirits may not understand your spoken words, but the energy behind them.  So, if you say “I would like a fire to warm my family!” and you are wroth, the spirits may misinterpret that and disaster, or the refusal of fire, may result.  So approach fire and the spirits therein in calmness.  If you cannot, then do not approach, or speak in runes that clearly communicate your desire.  I give you these lessons that my kind and humans may rekindle our relationship and may grow in respect for one another.  Once, men came to Me, asking for my help.  Yet now few know Me beyond Surt the Destroyer.  Why would a being such as I desire companionships with humans?  My Flames were once respected, revered.  Now My Flames murder children wantonly, destroy homes, cities, nations, in ways controlled by human hubris, greed, and disregard.  I do not mind My Flame’s use; I mind its disrespect.  Flames engulf too much of your land; we must strike a balance.  So even if you do no more than call My Name when you light a fire, so long as you do so in respect, I may bless it.  If you call My name in battle and kill only whom you need, I may bless the fire of your weapons.  If you call My name for healing, I may come, but My healing is far less gentle and sometimes much more swift than Sinmora’s.  So call on Me, but do so in honor; do so in respect.”  He now sends me to His wife, Sinmora, who also will teach me in dreams.

In my work with both Surt and Sinmora, They have provided me mental “keys” or cues to help me remember.  When this has not worked, They have graciously reiterated or helped me in recalling what has been said.  I tend to remember what has been done, if vaguely.

Sinmora started off the evening not with a lesson, but a talk.  She commented on how “my people”, namely Americans but especially Pagans, would preach freedom over and over again and yet would not indulge ourselves in it.  She went on:

“You fetishize, then punish yourselves for merely looking at the thing.  ow can you live so disjointed?  One pack of authority figures tells you ‘respect your sexuality’ and the other either denigrates it, exploits it, and/or tells you, in the name of sparing you or ‘keeping you pure’ nothing about it!  If you are to let your youth explore their sexuality, let them explore it and give them the means to do so.  Guide them, let them be safe!”

After this I lapsed into sleep, upon exploring my own within my mind.

Sinmora’s first lesson was the fire of sensation.  Almost on cue of writing this last sentence, Nicole came out with two great containers of Tomato Soup.  Sinmore pushed me to touch her, embrace her, hold her, as I desperately wanted to do.  I asked the Allfather for permission and He assented, given it was one of His agreements to allow me to do as I needed in each Realm.  I took in the richness of the sensation; dear Gods, when you attention to your body it tells you so much!  The softness of her skin played on mine, shot fire down my nerves, could feel the tiny hairs tickle my far larger ones, could feel her blood thrum like drumbeats as we embraced.  Her whole body was alive, constantly sending, receiving, if only I’d pay closer attention.  Then she kissed my cheek, a pure , beautiful, needed gesture, and it warmed me heart and soul.  I came, held her close, kissed her lips, and for a moment, felt melded to her, two fires burning as one.  I probably won’t be getting a moment like this, at least until after my Nine Days are up.  I will cherish it.

Sinmora’s second lesson was on purification and healing and saining through flame.  Her first part of this lesson, purification, involved both physical and spiritual purification

“If you ever need to purify an item, pass it through or over an open flame.  The fire spirits will feed on the impurities, whether emotional, physical, or spiritual.  For physical purification it is best if the object or limb (the latter, quickly if possible) is passed quickly through the flame.  During this, it is good to chant  along with whatever runes or words the illness or malady best match, followed with a healing such as  or , or other runes as appropriate for the desired outcome.”

The second part of Sinmora’s lesson was far more complex.
“Healing begins in need, so  is usually the best rune to start with, regardless of if your healing is galdr magic or a spell written on a cast or for surgery.  Keep in mind the Mistress of Healing is Mengloth, and if She contradicts my words I Myself would follow Her instruction.  Besides, fir for healing can be the wrong element for a given illness or issue, so what I say here has bearing only for my element.  If you have a physical burn, beyond the necessary remedies of the physical, I recommend for minor, perhaps moderate burns, and for serious ones.  For inflammation I recommendfor a slow growth of the inflammation into being resolved.  For internal ‘firey’ problems I recommendto grow into a state of internal balance, and to quickly restore balance to your scales within, though the process may be more jarring than .  If you are feeling heat or pain in an area, saying  may help your spirit locate the area at issue.  There is more that can be said here, but much of knowing healing is to train in it and simply do it.”

The third part of Sinmora’s second lesson went faster, but no less informative.  She called upon a spirit of flame, a salamander I believe, and bid it attack me.  It hit my shields and bounced off, but then Sinmora offered me a (spiritual) torch and had me trace a small circle about myself.  She told the salamander to attack me once more, and it did not even get close to my shields, but hit the barrier of my saining and bounced off.  Then Sinmora called a fire-etin to Her and bade him attack me with his flaming axe.  It seemed to dent my saining sphere for a moment, and then all was well.

“If ever you need a spiritual barrier, site, or to lay claim to an area, do it with fire.  As you can see, even spirits of flame cannot pass through a sained area.  However, if you feel yourself in need of added protection, any of the runes may do, especially all of them about the saining site.”

Sinmora’s third lesson was on passion, power, and will.

The first of these, passion, She had this to say:

“You humans tend to feed your passions well until it looks like you might get somewhere with it.  Other times you feed your true passion little and feed things that distract you instead.  You, Sarenth, turned your love of art into a career move, which you pursued with misguided passion.  You turned a love into a bothersome labor and you ceased enjoying it.  Though it has take you time, your passion now matches your choice of career, and you can be passionate in your work and your love of art.  Make sure what you choose to be passionate about is good for you, or at least, moderated well.  Expending your passion entirely on video games leaves no room for others or other passions in your life.  Similarly, expending your passion on your spirituality leaves the other parts of your life cold.  Moderate even your true passions, or you may find them burning more than you have fuel for.”

The second part of Her third lesson, Sinmora had this to say:

“Power is found first within.  Those who project facade as their power often have either enough who believe them, or enough fear built off of their perceived power.  You know if you have power; it may not be outright strength, nor may it be in having more followers than such-and-such does.  It is found in living by your word, in how you treat others, in how your community knows and remembers you, in how spirits, Gods and Ancestors remember you, or know you.  Power is found in doing, is used in doing, is made in doing.  Power can be built and destroyed.  It can be harnessed or let loose.  Power can corrupt or sanctify.  It can bring peace, creation, healing, life.  It can bring death, destruction, pain, entropy.  Each being engages power and is tied to it.  Power is found in Wyrd, is given its shape therein.  To have power is, then, to weave with Wyrd, to do your Purpose, or to find it and embrace it.  Find yourself, find your orlog and Wyrd, follow both, and you will know power.”

Finally, Sinmora had this to say on will:

“”Your will is honed in each decision.  Every time you make a choice or yourself, each time you stand up to dishonesty or speak for another unable to, for whatever reason, you further your will.  Each time you lie, or are silent when you should speak, you further your will.  The power you use is done so by your will, and your will shapes the response of your power.  If you feel empowered, you are.  If you feel powerless you are.  Recognizing what you cannot do, however, is a good exercise of will.  It is as good as recognizing what you can do.  In knowing your power, you may see where your will may apply it for the best and least effective ways.  Keep both your power and what you truly will in mind with each decision.  Choose well.”

She has asked Loki to take me on.

It is now about twelve-thirty and the heat of the day is getting to me, so I am going to my backup shelter, my parents’ trailer, until the heat dies down.  I did so at Loki’s nagging, telling me that it was stupid trying to tough it out on all-liquid fast and that my body is under enough stress as it is.  So, while my soul struggles on Yggdrasil, my physical body sits in more comfort, the A.C. just kicking on.

“It makes it hard to do the rebirth part of this experience if your physical body dies of heat exhaustion…in this life, anyway,” Loki says with a grin.

I feel the need to make a not ehere: when I say or alliterate to seeing or hearing Deities or spirits, my eyes may ‘reflect’ the motions the spirit or Deity goes through, but I am not seeing with my physical eyes.  My mind is interpreting the spiritual signals it is getting into a recognizable form; usually when I ‘see’ spirits it is affected in the visual of them so I know they are not corporeal.  In the case of spirit or Deity possession, it is like a transparent visual overlay of the Deity or spirit over the host body.  Not all my spiritual stimuli comes in sight, it can come in any of the six, presenting itself for translation into my mind so I can interpret the signals.  Does this mean that Gods and can’t become corporeal?  I don’t think so, but why blow that much energy crossing the barrier into physicality when there are other ways to get one’s message across?  My Gods and I have grown our relationship over time.  Odin didn’t come to me like Moses and the Burning Bush, but I am no less dedicated to my God than Moses.  Could Odin have physically come to me?  Yes.  Did He?  No.  I don’t need Him to, to count the blessings in my life that He and all the Gods and spirits with whom I work have given me.  I have no less of a purpose, nor do I feel less loved by my God because He has not physically recognizably (from my angle) encountered me.

After letting me get the above out of my system, Loki has come back to give me His own lessons.  At first He says:

“Life sucks.  Get over it.  Move forward.  There ya go, three lessons and I use less paper than Surt and Sinmora!” He says with a laugh.  I smile and ask Him seriously what His lessons are.

“Find your opposite and appreciate it.  If nothing else you look damned intelligent and good-natured side-by-side!  Write down the attributes of your opposite; you might find you could easily be this person with a few personality tweaks!”

At first I think ‘Pentecostal minister’ but there’s still a zeal that person and I share for our Gods, still the zeal, however misplaced the actions, to help others.  So then I think ‘atheist with a huge, cult-like following’ but even I have had things I have agreed with Richard Dawkins about.  I feel like I’m missing the mark, though these examples have been close hits.  I think, though I may have it now: ‘anti-social personality disorder with the ability and willingness to fleece and hurt people with religion.’  Loki is right; with a few tweaks I could be this guy.  I have charisma, an excellent understanding of religion in general, particularly Paganism and Christianity, and understand how to motivate and manipulate others.  If I stopped giving a damn about others, only thought of myself, and did not want to be there for others so much, ignoring my orlög, Wyrd, and all of it, I could be this guy.  I definitely appreciate him for showing what I could sink to, to what I could become.  I’m thankful for all my examples of what not to do for similar reasons.

He claps me on the back and adopts an upper-English accent as He goes on:

“Now that we understand this about ourselves, let us go on to what fuels us.  That is, what provides that fuel for your life and gives you reason to be and grow?”  His lessons are not what I expected at all: introspection.  I guess He likes to keep me on my toes.

I don’t know if I havea single source of ‘fuel’ for my life.  I don’t think I do.  My reason to be and grow is given to me by a lot of things: myself, my son, my fiancee, my communities, my Gods, my spirit friends, my Ancestors, my friends, my family, even my society.  The fuel from myself rests in wanting to be more today than I was yesterday and pursue my own happiness and fulfillment.  The fuel from my son is to show him a good way of life, to show him he can make it despite adversity, and my love for him.  The fuel from Brandon burns bright; he is a pride and joy in my life whose fire I hope to kindle with my guidance and example.  The fuel from my fiancee Nicole is love, the desire for a happy future together, the twin flames of our religious paths, the understanding and effort we give to each other.  The fuel from my communities comes from the mutual support we have, and my desire to improve them and be remembered for it.  The fuel from my Gods comes from the love, support, help, and purpose They help give me.  The fuel from my spirit friends comes from their support, help, and devotion, and my desire to give back.  The fuel from my Ancestors is similar, additionally They being the reason I am here, and wanting to give back to Them for it.  My friends fuel me with love, support, honesty, hope and faith in me, as does my family.  My society fuels me with desire to succeed in it and exceed its limitations, and to improve it.

He leans close and asks me in a whisper: “What truly feeds your flame?”

My desire to help this world as much as I can with the resources given to me and my ability to use them.  If you boil down all of my fuels above, this is what it comes to.

“Now to get in touch with the oldest of fires: find the Ancestor in your bloodlines that first used fire and learn from or her, and set a small fire.”  He laughed at my confused expression that I held at first.  I first need to go to Hyndla and ask to learn or get help in bloodwalking; I know that much.  Then find the Ancestors, then learn from him or her.  This may take some time.  Regardless, it is time to leave the trailer.  As part of my agreement with Hyndla, She will teach me bloodwalking if I look up my ancestry and introduce others’ ancestors should the time be good for Them and I.  She is a fair Jotun-Goddess.

I am using yarn-cord blessed with my blood and following Hyndla’s guidance as I bloodwalk backward along my bloodlines.  The first knot is me, the second my parents, the grandparents, great-grandparents , etc. and I will get no more than “feeling related” until I look up my ancestry.  I make a knot in the string each time I feel an Ancestor with close contact or desiring contact with me.  The furthest knot is my Ancestral Progenitor and/or Progenitor Coupl, the middle knot is a family bloodline from sometime around 1200 C.E. that wants contact.

My ancient Ancestor that first knew how to make fire was a woman named Dath (I’ve no way of verifying this besides her) with a ruddy complexion, lanky build and long brown-black hair and deep brown eyes.  She is dressed in brown furs and shows me how to make fire with two sticks as with .  Now I must do it physically.  It would honor her.

I have struggled almost four hours to make fire.  I saw smoke three times but I did not get my tinder on quick enough those few times.  I am incredibly warm, my fingers are near to blistering and Loki and Dath are both chuckling at me, that I thought I could get it my first time out without training or experience.  So I have come back to the trailer irritated at myself both because I broke my silence in frustration saying “Please show me!” to Dath, and frustration for not being able to make fire.  I almost did though.  At least it is cool here.

A few hours ago I had my second lengthy meditation on the Tree and my leg hurts from it, a twinge of pain at the site from my astral self every so often.  I can feel my life force slowly ebb away; Odin warns me I may spend more time asleep or in meditation as the days progress, but still be expected to record during my waking hours.  Today’s morning and midday meal was delicious Tomato Soup with milk…which, upon review of my notes, it seems I already wrote this.

In this spirit of  and , Odin has asked me to evaluate where I stand and where the chaos in my life come from; then, I am to look at my oaths and take inventory: what have I done and not done?  What can I no longer do?  What am I being called to do?

Where I stand in life is pretty good, overall.  There are things I would like to change, such as my employment status and physical custody of Brandon, but due to circumstance cannot.  My financial status is a sore subject of chaos, one I have not been taking care of as well as I should, but one which is hard to take care of with two years unemployment and no job prospects despite a good resume.  Most of my chaos besides is internal; me wrestling with old, poor self-image or other issues, and sometimes against perceived slights and too much involvement of my ego in conversation.

Now, an inventory of my oaths:

Odin: Promised to follow my path as His Priest and a Northern Tradition Shaman, and accept my time when it was time to “wander” soon as He once did.  To honor Him as my Father.

Baldur:  None as of now.

Freya:  To love myself, to respect my sexaulity, to engage the range of my sexuality, to love others so long as they respect me.

Freyr:  The same as Freya, with the inclusion of allowing others to experience and appreciate my effeminate male side (ergi) and to honor it, allowing it out as I needed and loving my whole Self.

Thor:  To honor Him as my blood-brother and to lend Him aid and my ear as He asks.  Many of my oaths with Him are severed due to Him allowing me to sever orlög wit h my former mentee.

Brighid:  Learn to do a simple illumination and write something important to myself in it.

Bres:  None at this time.

Lycrous:  To honor the wolf within me.  Look upon Him as my wolf-father if I would.

Lupa:  Same as Lycrous.  Look upon Her as my wolf-mother if I would.

Bast:  Do not douse my passions in tepid waters.  Allow my heart to open and release its pain.

Anubis:  Honor Him as blood-brother and His Priest, and the Dead as He sense them to me or as They ask in crossing over, aid spirits as I desire and as my ability, station, resources, and relationships allow.

Hela:  The same as Anbuis, sans blood ties and priesthood.

Skadi:  Learn survival techniques to hunt, and to clean, skin, and dress a kill.

Thrym:  Speak to Odin on His behalf to establish trade with Asgard, if able.

Surt:  Share His lessons for me

Hyndla:  Look up and otherwise research my ancestry, introduce others’ Ancestors as able.

My Ancestor, Dath:  Learn to make  fire.

These are the oaths I have yet to do.  The oaths I have done are many, and I have neither the full recollection or paper space to write them.

What I am being called to is as much a fulfillment of myself as these oaths.  What I am being drawn toward is the end of the Nine Days and the wandering that will take place soon, my work as an ambassador from Odin to the other Realms of Yggdrasil, and especially my work as a Northern Tradition Shaman.

In the spirit of and  Odin is asking me to take stock of my long road ahead, where I see myself or would like to go in five, ten, fifteen years, and the things needing illumination for it to happen.

Five years:  Working on my Master’s in Counseling, halfway through the program, have a good, steady paying job with benefits, a good relationship with Nicole and my son Brandon, healthy loving relationships with friends like Sean and Ashley and Mary, etc.; healthy loving relationships with one or two other romantic partners, balanced finances, Pandoran Society grows.

Five Years:  Good grades, good GRE exam, good GPA, job opportunities that present themselves and allow my foot in the door, open and honest and loving communication with loved ones, having a balancing book or similar written system.  Encourage PS to grow with good Council example, training of new members, and adjusting group as needed.

Ten Years:  Mast in Counseling, private mobile practice that brings in good money, affordable health insurance, saving for a home, good relationships with loves ones, begin wandering once stable.  PS has several autonomous chapters.

Need to find steady clients, able to afford mobile practice with client load, ability to get health insurance based on good salary or client load or job or career choice, continue open, honest and loving relationships with loved ones, keep communication channels open, put away extra money for home (budget for it!), wander once other affairs are in order.  Be open to not having a “job” as most normal people do.  Odin has said numerous times that the Provider role will probably be Nicole’s.  Encourage PS to grow with encouraging individual growth into group growth.

Fifteen Years:  Wandering ends, excellent personal relationships, leader in Pagan community, renowned Counselor, a home, built public temple, personal shrine and magical work area, national Pandoran Society meetings, Nicole and I and our lovers and/or our committed partners comfortably living with our children, Brandon and other children-of-age in college or otherwise pursuing their dreams, take out life-insurance policy on myself so funeral expenses and other matters are taken care of.

Fifteen Years: Wandering needs to actually end; communication and love and respect are hallmarks of relationships with loved ones, have a college fund for the children set up when they are young and contribute as able to it, give children both upbringing and resources to pursue college and their dreams, find competent and tailored-to-me life insurance

 

*Note:  If you try to use the techniques, spiritual or otherwise without consulting the Gods or spirits first, they probably will not work.  If they do, you will have no spiritual safety net.  I recommend only using these techniques if your Gods or spirit allies, or alternatively the Gods and spirits of these techniques, directly move, ask, or inspire you to learn them and practice them.

Day 1 on Yggdrasil

DR:  OR:   RR:  

8-17-2010

10:00pm

Today begins my Nine Days upon Yggdrasil.  The preparations are made as they can be.  I will be in total silence and severely limited human contact.  I have sained the site with a candle with snowflakes on it, symbolizing the melting of Niflheim by Musplheim, my previous state into this new Self.

I have some nervousness, given I’ve not fasted Nine Days in a row before, nor felt the kind of pain in meditation I will here.  I will be writing at least once if not twice a day, cataloging my experiences.  So far, I have sained with fire by the aforementioned candle, set up sacred space within my tent via the diagram below:

 

The altar is set up as below:

 

As I go through this, I will be “staining” the runes with my blood.  I will draw how many to do so at the beginning of the day, stain them and work with them throughout the day, using both Taking Up the Runes and Odin’s work for me (Odin’s words).  I have thrown the runes and, per Odin’s instruction of working through the runes in this way by number of runes in the number of the Futhark, I will first be working with and  as I drew two Runes.  According to Odin, I may experience spiritual phenomenon at once, but it is also as likely to be experience through the day or in dreams.

I will place Odin’s rosary, and the Bifrost mala on the pentacle and stain the runes while internally chanting their names.  I have a physical Vow of Silence all Nine Days.

I have done this, and I feel power from the Runes, more connected.  It took some work to get my blood, given my skin is thick and my pads leathery.  Once done, I bleed enough to stain and no more.  I will be sleeping.  By Northern European reckoning, “tomorrow” is not until nightfall, so this lesson may last until then.

Earlier, when I was saining, I claimed the space about and inside the tent.  To tie myself to this Nine Day working even deeper, I stained the large candle (which I use as a dual representation of Odin as Wanderer, Runemaster and Allfather, and as representative of Odin, Vili and Ve), the four heads of my ancestor representation, and the statue of Odin, also recognizing myself as His Son.

As Odin has sked, I will be working through Taking Up the Runes, and for and  I will be inscribing both on my forehead.  With it, I will experience through astral travel and shortly, sleep, the desirability and strength that I will share with Kora, Nicole and one other whom Odin has not told me of.

I don’t remember anything of my astral travel, but from speaking with her later, Kora was “quite pleased”.  The dream I had was odd and quite disjointed.  At some juncture Bona Dea and a bunch of her fellows were in a procession, with me facilitating some role or another.  We get to the ocean and I and a beautiful young woman about my age with dark hair and beautiful brown eyes (perhaps Asian?) helps me into the water.  She pushes me under and I start to drown as she pushes me further.  I hear a voice yell something to her, and I am heaved out of the water.  She holds me a moment, blushes and says “I’m sorry, I sometimes forget humans can’t hold their breath as long as we can.”  When I awake I wasn’t sure if the processional and woman were related, and am still fuzzy on it.

 

The first time spending conscious time on the Tree; I’ve felt a dull throb of pain in my body from last night after I stained the objects on the altar.  Now, I feel a sharp thrust of metal into my side, and I barely remember not to scream.  Then, my leg goes up and I feel blood dribble down my chest, my face, drips down onto the ground as a I sway upon Yggdrasil.  Keep in mind: this is not a physical description of what I am doing, but the effect of the pain, swaying, etc., I do feel in all its sensation. This first time was spent in the tent, and it is spiritually impactful, but after grabbing some water and going outside to do this, I can say actually binding your foot to a physical tree to be enhancing to the experience.

Throughout this Nine Day period I will have a rope about my foot as a physical representation of my hanging on the Tree.  I will not remove it until after the Ninth Day, barring emergencies.  The loop around the tree is simple; find a good sized branch around which to loop the rope, and pull taut, allowing your left to lift as high as you are able.  Once here, meditate or spiritually engage the tree as Yggdrasil (asking the tree’s permission first and leaving offerings after each session) and lower your leg if it gets number or is too pained by counts of Nine, and rest on the ground, meditating further until done.

I wear a hat made of leather, wide-brimmed, every time I leave the tent.  Given that Siberian shamans may be the remnants of Norse/Germanic/etc. peoples in origin, having Nine worlds on their own World Tree, climbing it being part of shamanic journeys, etc., I took on their idea of hat wearing.  Their idea behind it is that it protects the crown of the head where Father Sky or other spirits come in to speak, and that to have a bare head invites spirits to come in.  While I have more than adequate spiritual psychic/magical./etc. shielding, having a physical hat barrier has proven spiritually valuable and pushes spirits to actually communicate with me instead of sentence here or “feeling” there.

This First Day, working with and   has given me the ability to handle this experience, and further, to accept the status, spiritually and perhaps within the community, it will give me.  I will eat now, and come back to writing.  As a note, in working with the runes, I will be signing them as I can on appropriate things (i.e. food, drink, body, etc.) throughout the day.

I find it ironic that the First Day midday meal was beef broth.   directly means “cattle” and   is the horns of the auroch, a kind of Northern European buffalo.  Signing and   into the broth and thanking the animals and plants, I first poured out offerings after taking the first sip.  Offerings are important; they link us to the world around us in reciprocity, allowing us to fulfill   with those who help us, great and small.  Offerings don’t have to be of food, I’ve found.  Just giving time, attention, devotion, or doing things that help the plants, animals, spirits, Gods, etc. are often offering enough.  This, again, goes back to reciprocity as seen in   , gift-for-a-gift.  Sometimes just listening or offering help to a person can be an offering to Deity/spirits; you might not know they work with Goddess “A” or spirit “X”.

Nicole, my fiancee, is a blessing.  She helped set the tent up with my brother, Dustin, and will be bringing me the midday meal.  In her own way, she is going through these Nine Days with me.  Whether check to make sure I have enough to drink or that I’m not in danger (the weather is in the 80º’s F and my diet is liquid per Odin’s instructions), she has been incredibly loving and supportive.  I am glad I was able to say what I needed to say before I began this, but I will write what I would have liked to say had I more time.

Nicole, I love you.  From the moment we met, I love you.  We have grown so deep, so strong together, and have faced things in each other and ourselves neither, I feel, though we would.  Yet we have, and though we have had, at times, a rocky road, I am relieved, elated, honored, to be able to call you beloved.  You’ve helped me overcome so much of my past, but more than that, you’ve helped me overcome myself and claim Me as I am meant to be without fear or shame.  Before you I denied myself, my bisexuality, my spiritual path, who and what I am.  Now, I don’t just accept myself, but love mySelf!  You have gone through so much just to be with me, I stand amazed. You have moved through the abuse at the hands of David, and rejected your father’s in turn.  You have pursued who you want to be despite protest and abuse from your family, your own doubt, and society itself.  You provide warmth and comfort when people need it, and a slap of reality when called for.  You have made strides in your life, physically and mentally and spiritually that take most years, but you take no time at all.  Your love is something I choose the return, not an obligation or addiction; a true gift, a true expression, a true love.  I love you, Nicole.

 

Something Odin has asked me to do, in the spirit of and   , is take stock of my status, my strengths, weaknesses, etc.  Kind of like a spiritual SWOT analysis that identifies Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, usually used to evaluate one’s employability as it was first designed by industrial psychologists.  It requires one to be honest, both negatively and positively, and it can be a good grade of both the person’s mindset and aptitude or abilities.  The manner I will be using it in, I will be doing a few:  physical, mental, and spiritual, analyzing where I am, where I am not, etc. with each category.

Physical SWOT Analysis

Strengths:  Good build, strong upper and lower body, hardy, warm-bodied, able to withstand extended exposure to the cold, trained in multiple disciplines of hand-to-hand combat, able to withstand physical pain, dropping weight (250 lb. 2 months ago, 234 lb. now), average height for American, can walk 5 miles, can run 1-2 miles reliably without tiring, knows basic massage therapy, can grab objects with feet, somewhat flexible (thanks to Wii Fit), deeply resistant to getting sick, eating healthier foods/portions, likes teas

Weaknesses:  Obese, asthma when hit by a cold/flu (occasionally), high blood pressure, not had physical in a few years, not always good about portion control, not always good about diet, not good with high heat with humidity (i.e. 85°F and muggy), likes caffeinated drinks and similar stimulated drinks

Opportunities:  Weight loss to healthy regions, increased lung capacity with more deep breathing and meditation, getting a physical and bill of good health, eat normalized proportions, handle heat better with more outdoor exposure and meditation, cutting out caffeinated drinks, get into another martial art (i.e. kendo)

Threats: Laziness in exercising, not doing needed checkups, gorging, not doing needed corrections otherwise due to stress or lack of caring

 

 

Mental SWOT Analysis

Strengths:  Able to grasp symbolic thought easily, excellent at writing, proofing and editing, reads body language well, understands complex issues when presented, able to get to meditative and trance states quickly, able to analyze and control my emotions, able to be empathetic, able to be objective, can identify others by face easily, excellent actor, understands a lot about counseling and psychology, favorite subjects of inquiry are: religion, history, psychology, magic, shamanism, spirituality, quantum physics (implications, not math); loves to learn

Weaknesses:  Laziness, last minute with projects, can sometimes have difficulty understanding others outside of own lens, not always objective when needed, can obssess over details, can obsess over distractions (i.e. video games), can obsess over item of inquiry, has auditory LD, easily distracted in lectures and conversation, can give impression “I know everything and you know nothing”, can be caustic when tired or perceiving slights, can misread body language and auditory cues badly

Opportunities:  Take time to listen, ask questions as needed to better understand others, be more objective and take things less personally in conversation, make more efforts to reduce distractions, do things that motivate me to do the things I want/need to do (i.e. Andrieh Vitimitus’ dice reward system), make sure my inquiries don’t cross into obsession by balancing with other things (i.e. social interaction, video games, books, meditation, etc.)

Threats:  Laziness, indulging too much in distractions and/or obsessions, limiting social interactions, not modifying current negative behaviors, not doing motivation work, continuing poor work/study habits

 

Spiritual SWOT Analysis

Strengths:  Son of Odin, blood-brother to Thor, blood-brother to Anubis, has a wide ranging experience in various spiritual modalities, ceremonial magician for five years, Northern Tradition Shaman for two (although did not recognize it until this last year), kundalini is awakened, competent hands-on healer, excellent magician, has worked with all four Elemental Dragons and Kings, has excellent relationship with the landvaettir, very well-connected to Water, Fire and Air; former Catholic of 18 years, can meditate and pray for long periods of time, does regular devotional work (even if it is not physically apparent), is willing to go through spiritual trials to better the Pagan community, Pagan Priest: Five years, Priest of Anubs: Five years, Priest of Odin: Two years

Weaknesses:  Can be full of myself at times, most times though I downplay or disregard a lot of my experiences (this is receding); can sometimes be too caught up in spirituality and other two categories suffer, needs to establish links better with Gods who are not my main focus now: Brigid, Bres, Lycrous, Lupa, Bast and Anubis; needs to do banishing and cleansing more often, need to give more time to “distractions” (i.e. books, video games, etc.), need to give myself more “me” time

Opportunities: Balance ego, accepting spiritual experiences as valid, allotting or giving time to things other than spirituality; praying or offering or otherwise connecting to non-foci Deities, allowing more time to relax and do things for myself and others

Threats:  Continuing poor habits, letting ego take control, not giving validity in my own experiences, not banishing or cleansing, lapsing in my spirituality, burning out, Dark Night of the Soul, not giving non-foci Deities time, not relaxing or interacting with others

 

It is odd how being perfectly quet, or at least, without words, makes one feel quite lonely.  Everything in nature makes noise; bugs may buzz by wings or slide their extremities around, birds sign, cicadas make their hissing loud noises, dogs bark, but besides a few animals, mostly predators like the spider, I alone am making no noise.  The silence is not deafening; it is alive, full of conversation our human ears struggle to hear because we do not know how to be quiet.  The little world around me is filled with chatter, calls, conversation.  If only more humans could give the world around us a little more silence, we could hear the world around us.

My silence is also full of pain as I hang on Yggdrasil, swaying.  I can feel the rope tighten around my leg, my wound caked dry with blood.  In my meditations, the pain has been instructive, not just in appreciating Odin’s sacrifice, or the one I will face in Eight Days, but in understanding and appreciating my own endurance.  In honoring Odin’s work in this, I honor the work I now do.

It is around five or six in the evening (the sun is bright overhead), and Odin has told me another thing I will go through  and endure in each of the Nine Realms: each day I will work with a being from each realm as They call to me.  There may be multiple beings in each Realm that call and I will be required to do as They wish and pass their trials or do as They ask to progress to the next Realm.  Odin has told me “No tree grows from the top down; likewise for your work on the Tree.  Begin in Niflheim.”  So I shall. Skadi, Jotun-Goddess of the Hunt, Ice and Snow has called to me and so I will answer Her, on the edges of Niflheim.

From what She has told me, given Odin is asking me to serve as a kind of ambassador between the peoples of Yggdrasil, a great many desire time with me.  It seems the other Peoples are keen on resolving Their differences with the Aesir, and vice versa.  Skadi has told me I have three workings to do with Her, the first being to learn how to survive.  Given I am in a summer climate now, She asks I duplicate Her tasks come Wintertime.  Her other two tasks are for me to learn how to hunt.  The third is how to clean, skin, and dress a kill.  She recognizes that given my finances these latter two may take some time to fulfill but that I should as soon as possible.  This brings me to a thought I’ve had for a while: why do people assume the Northern Gods are cruel or stupid?  I can take jokes about Thor being a guy who whacks people upside the head when they get out of line, but my Gods are not cruel nor are they seeking to harm me.  I find a lot of Northern Gods, Aesir, Vanir, and Jotun, just don’t do “cuddly” like how a lot of other Gods I’ve come across do.  It’s a kind of feeling like “We don’t have time for bullshit.  If you are here to treat Us like family, understand that We get angry, like any other family member might, if we are trying to communicate with you and are getting ignored.”  Skadi, for instance, is not heartless.  The climate She lives in is less forgiving, than a temperate region and so, She mirrors it both because it is how She is (Her words) and the Realm Itself gives you two options: survive or die.

 

Lessons of Niflheim

Skadi Lesson One: Survival

“Survival is more than taking care of immediate needs.  It is that, but survival is also learning the land’s features, its climate and the plants and animals within it, as well as how the soil itself works.  Why learn about soil?  Youlearn a lot about the world around you from it, like what kind of animals live there, and for how long.  In the regions of Niflheim where I hunt, deer and similar animals move around a lot to find food.  The soil can tell you if they’ve been around, especially hoofmarks and spoor.  Once you find a steady food source, like a herd, you need to study it a bit rather than kill the biggest buck.  You may end up screwing up the population of prey by killing the biggest.  You don’t necessarily need to kill the sick, but they’ll do and it’ll keep the herd strong.  When you do kill, thank the animal and use as many parts as you can. If you are honestly trying to survive, waste of a kill catches up with you.  Whether the spirit of the animal gets pissed, or the landvaettir do, it is a bad idea to waste regardless.  When you waste you take valuable resources away from yourself, too.  Since you have mobile shelter I won’t go as deep into it; just know that it, and where you put your own waste, should be your first two concerns after looking at the local soil, plants, and animals.

You might be surprised at how potent a fertilizer your waste can be, so it is an excellent offering to a tree or some secluded, non-grove area.  Don’t shit where you eat or pray, though.  Don’t shit near prey if you can help it.  Be sure to dig deep, deep waste holes if you have the time or space; last thing you need is overflow.  Be sure to cover once a waste hole is filled, and put some decent amount of dirt down between use.  Things here in Niflheim can track you like you track prey, remember.

If you don’t know how to make dire, do so.  Fire keeps you warm, cooks and dries meat, and keeps predators away.  Do not count on lighters, matches, or even flint and steel.  Learn to make fire like    and with flint and steel.  Always have dry woof and kindling on you if you can.  Develop good relationships with landvaettir and firevaettir to this end; both can save you in a pinch.

Keep up what tools you have; they are precious allies.  What tools you find you don’t have, make from what you have.  You were given intelligence and ingenuity; use them.  A knife for carving such tools should always be in your possessions.  A stone for this wouldn’t hurt either.

One:  Are you going to follow a herd or are you going to try to make it pastorally (i.e. with sheep, goats) or are you going to try horticulture or agriculture?  Choose wisely based on some observation of ecology, migration patterns and growing season, or find out from locals if you can, which is best.

Two:  How do you want work to be divvied up?  Obviously if you are alone you are doing it all, but if you’ve companions, play to strengths.

Three:  How are you going to keep balance or peace?  If you are by yourself, how are you going to track, or care for animals or crops?  If you are with a group, what rules are you going to establish or how will you take care of conflict?

Four:  What supplies do you have, need, and will want or need in the near, then far future?  Gathering firewood is one thing, gathering enough logs for a house is another.  Make sure goals and resources match, or can be made to match.

Five:  Understand your limits.  It is not worthing tracking big prey and getting potentially killed if you can stay safely in an area and live on smaller game.  Make good use of your energy and maximize your effectiveness.

There is more I could say, but much of surviving is simply doing it.”

Now I am to go into Niflheim and survive until morning.  Others may call on me during this time, She has told me.

 

Trilocation is hard, taxing, but I have done as Skadi has asked of me.  Only Thrym has since called to me, seeking to speak with me.  Thrym was the Jotun-king who had Loki steal Mjollnir, from whom Thor recovered it with Loki’s aid.  Once Thor, disguised as Freya, retained the Hammer, He usd it to slay all of Thrym’s kinsmen.  I find it interesting a Jotun of Thrym’s stature would seek me and now, given my connection to Thor.  I will go to Him in peace, and see what He has to say.  He will allow me to record below.

I salute Him in greetings, fist gently over heart.  He gives a nod.  We are in Thrym’s heim, a great castle with high walls.  We walk, He speaks of how His Jotun brethren hewed the original fortress from rock, and the various deal with Duegar, dwarves, that it took to make it the castle it now is.

“Why do you tell me all this, knowing my blood-bond?”

“You,” He replies slowly with a soft smile, “are not Thor.”

I ask Him to hold a moment; the light is fading and I must physically light candles to continue writing while utiseta (faring forth).  He patiently waits, stroking His thick, frost-thurse beard.

“I know you are now Odin’s ambassador to the Peoples of Yggdrasil, and possibly beyond.  I wish to establish ties with Asgard, perhaps in time trade.  Can you see if this can be done?”

I ask Him why, given His Heim is impressive and His people look well.  He chuckles softly, saying:

“Trade stimulates, young one.  Your own kind would not have ceased clubbing each other eons ago without it.  I seek stimulation for my peoples so they, if nothing else, may compete with the Aesir by other means than combat, though I know many freely mix.”

I tell Him I will let the Allfather know, and He gives me leave, and I come back to my body, whole and healthy.

 

*Note:  If you try to use the techniques, spiritual or otherwise without consulting the Gods or spirits first, they probably will not work.  If they do, you will have no spiritual safety net.  I recommend only using these techniques if your Gods or spirit allies, or alternatively the Gods and spirits of these techniques, directly move, ask, or inspire you to learn them and practice them.

 

 

Quick Notes on the Yggdrasil Journal Transcription

First, I will be faithfully copying down everything I wrote.  What you are reading, unless I specifically note something in addition, will be the unabashed and unedited version of what I recorded as I recorded it, what lessons I learned, and what I went through.  As this is personal, you may or may not learn things about me you may or may not want to know.  Please understand that what these posts contain may not be effective for you, but if you seek to learn or use any of the things I detail in my entries here I firmly recommend that you speak with the spirit or God/dess that taught me.  Additionally, if you have questions or want details, please ask.

Second, the Runes shown in the posts will probably be copied, linked, and/or modified Wikimedia Commons (found here: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Runes) as needed, which they share under the Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported Creative Commons License (found here http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/).

There daily rune readings done, a Daily Rune (DR), Outworking Rune (OR) and Results Rune (RR) done each day.  This is taken from the practice detailed in Rune Play by Ralph Blum and modified as I needed it.  I did not write on the Runes for each day in this reading, as I took the meanings of the DR and OR Runes as a reminder throughout my day.  The RR was drawn either that evening around 9pm when the changeover between Days happened, or the next morning.

Third, not all the details of what I did were wrote down either because I sometimes simply did not think about it (sometimes at all).  I may comment on something later in the entries that I may have glossed over or missed in the preceding pages.

My reasons for doing this are threefold: 1) Odin asked me to do this prior to beginning the Hanging on Yggdrasil.  2) It is my hope that what I write here will be of use to another person. 3) It’s a way to get all of this out into a format that can survive the paper and perhaps be taken further in whatever direction I or another deems appropriate.

Down From the Tree

I’ll be on vacation for a bit until the semester for college starts.  The Nine Days I Hung on the Tree were intense, and I did a lot of writing as Odin asked me to do.  I have somewhere around 80 pages worth of material I will be copying down in full and posting here.  Keep your eyes open, or at least your subscription handy.

Hanging on the Tree

I’ve been prepping for weeks for today, and at sundown, my Hanging on Yggdrasil will begin.  I will be in a tent, or outside spiritually hanging from the Tree for Nine Days.  When I am not in meditation or otherwise actively engaged in this, I will be writing, and going through ordeals as Odin decrees.  I will be required to write about my experiences throughout the day each day on the Tree, so I will probably have the quite the amount of material when I come back.  Until then, Ves Heil!

I know I hung on the wind-swept tree nine full nights
wounded by a spear and dedicated to Odin,
myself to myself,
on that tree of which none knows from where the roots come.
They did not comfort me with the loaf nor with the drinking horn:
I looked down below me and groaning took the runes up
and fell back down thereafter.”

Havamal 138-139