Soul Searching at Winter Solstice Time, my new post on The Agora at Patheos, is available! Give it a look-see :D.
I was reading through some old notes I made after a marathon divination session with a number of Powers, Angrboda included, back in April. I felt it was important to share her rede here:
“Things fall apart, but what emerges in the wake of destruction can be generative. Learn to toil in the fields of sorrow and produce sustenance. Learn the worth of the devils in the dark.”
Now that I’m looking, I cannot help but see a connection between Angrboda’s words back in April and my recent post on hamingja and luck.
Laure Lynch over at Gate of the Slain discusses the Fehu rune spirit as a gatekeeper, among other things. My own experiences with Fehu over the last several years confirm this. I began working with runes in divination, personal alchemy (another phrase for psycho-transformation), and magic(k) in December 2008. I’ve learned a lot about all of the runes since then but over the years I have had the nagging feeling that something’s disturbingly inadequate in my rune work. Sure, I meditated on the meanings of the runes, I did in-depth divination, and I purchased the latest books on the subject. Yet and still, I was having the nagging feeling month after month that something was off.
What I knew but have only recently (since about Yule 2010) begun to realize on a deep inner level rather than just intellectually is that the runes each have their own mysteries to teach and that you can never truly unlock the secrets of one without having passed through – at least the initiatory – lessons of the rune before it. This process has nothing to do with understanding the meanings of each rune, but instead is concerned with experiencing the initiatory mysteries of each rune, having their foundational lessons etched on your consciousness and heart.
That being said, no matter how many of the runes I “learned”, my mind and my heart always returned to Fehu. She called me back. It was like when you rush past a doorman in a hurry and then they frantically yell “Ma’am, come back. You forgot to show your ID.” Or, “Ma’am, you have to pay the toll. Ma’am?!” That’s essentially what Fehu was doing to me. I’d get so far and then I would be called back to pondering her mysteries. When I realized she was really serious, I was a little irritated. I felt I had the broad strokes and a working knowledge of at least a few of her more interesting nuances; I was doing just fine. Wrong! She told me that I would not be able to “move on” until I “got it” and “gave it up”. Of course she was vague on the details at the time…as usual! In this way, Fehu served as the Gatekeeper to the rest of the Futhark. I would be banging my head against the proverbial runestone until she saw fit to release me from that agony. So, I meditated and I waited. I had to relax and accept that the knowledge of her, the Fehu rune, would come to me when I had earned it.
After a number of grueling rituals and hundreds of tears cried (none of which I consciously linked to my Fehu initiation at the time) she whispered to me. Fehu gave me insight into who I am and what I have to offer the world and others. She showed me the bounty within myself. And what did she demand in return? I had to check the anxieties and insecurities that shaped and defined me up to that point at the gate. This may seem like a lop-sided deal to the onlooker. Some of you might be saying to yourselves as you sip your tea and adjust your legs that this chick is full of it. I assure you, I am telling the truth about my Fehu epiphany, on my honor. What I gave up was no easy thing and it frankly did not have to be done. Most of us live our lives in a steadily filling pit of our own brown-black filth. That is not Fehu’s thing and she will not let you carry that crap through the gate with you in its full craptastic glory. Nope, you have to be working on cleaning house. Otherwise, all that stuff just gunks up the other runes and clogs your ears so you can’t hear them as clearly, and really what good does that kind of blockage do the rune spirits. That BS does not make for good relations!
It has been super hard learning Fehu’s lessons. Am I done? Hell to the no! I keep trying to go back to what’s comfortable, the insecurities and doubts that at one time were the troublesome foundation of my self view. When I understood this, when it was written in my mind and heart. Fehu flung open the gates and suddenly Uruz started to whisper to me. I still have my ear to the ground trying to make out his lessons and I have no doubts that he’s going to take a chisel to my soul and start hacking at the dark, calcified bits. Or more correctly, he will give me the chisel and demand I do it myself or leave my passion for the runes behind! In fact, our initial encounter was visceral, primal, feral. We have not actually graduated to words yet. More on my initial encounter with Uruz at a later date.
Hail Fehu, Persistent Lady at the Gate! Hail Uruz, Mighty Wild Aurochs, I pray you greet me well! To the journey!
On April 18th, during a reading with the fabulous Tarot of Vampyres by Ian Daniels, I had the realization that Hekate and Mercury not only talk with one another but that they actually have a relationship that is highly complementary. Do I believe that the gods spend all of their time wrapped up in the affairs of individual mortals? No. Do I believe that they talk about us with one another and co-plan certain aspects of our lives? Yes! Any one who works with more than one god intuitively knows this. I, on the other hand, am quite late to this realization!
I know that Hekate and Mercury have a good relationship regardless of my involvement, but it never occurred to me that they coordinate their efforts in my life specifically. From my personal gnosis about how they work with me, Hekate keeps track of the grand scheme of things and my life’s trajectory while Mercury seems to enjoy being the executor, the guy who makes things happen, who sorts out the details. Given his involvement in the minutia of everyday life in general, this makes a lot of sense. I can see the god who deals with public transportation, email, the internet, telephone lines, business, politics, and the economy being involved in making sure that I encounter who I am supposed to encounter, when I am supposed to encounter them, so that certain spiritual and mundane processes in my life happen in ways that likely feedback into their larger goals. This reminds me of a previous post where I highlighted that Mercury tends to be Mr. Telephone Man. He has been present at pretty much every major deity connection I have made!
This most recent connection with Dionysos is no different. Hekate attended me during Dionysos’ initial overtures and entry. Mercury stayed out of sight until the 18th of April when the deal between all of us was pretty much sealed, a deal for which I am still trying to get someone to reveal the exact terms, conditions, and fine print! I guess that’s called being in a relationship. This is after all a social contract at its most basic level, though it involves gods and a mortal.
P.S. I still feel a little crazy sometimes talking about relationships with gods. It just feels so presumptuous. I am working on my issues with it. I promise. I just have to remind myself that the gods are our Elder Kin and they really are invested. I am just hoping I can meet their expectations, which seem very high given the amount of time they spend Working with (on?) me. Gasp! (no, seriously…GASP!!)
As mentioned in previous posts, seidhr (pronounced “say-the”, according to Jenny Blain in Nine Worlds of Seid-Magic) is a Norse/Germanic shamanistic practice that many Heathen magickal practitioners are reclaiming. Seidhr has a mixed wrap. Some people view it as a positive practice for healing, prophesy, faring-forth, shapeshifting, weather-work, wyrd-working, and spirit communication (especially with the Ancestors and Wights, but also the Gods – of course). Others associate seidhr primarily with maleficent workings like mind tampering to cause delusions and bring on madness. If you are looking for a crash course on the who, what, when, where, and why of seidhr, the Viking Answer Lady gives an excellent treatment of this art for those who seek detailed information that is grounded firmly in the lore. Diana Paxson, Kveldulfr Gundarsson, and the folks at Vanic Paganism also wrote very strong articles on the subject. Just follow the links above directly to the articles!
I have been working seidhr for about two years now. The majority of my experiences and budding skills have been in the areas of spirit communication, faring-forth, and prophesy. I have also done some shapeshifting but I am still getting the hang of that. Frankly, the initial phases of shapeshifting can be a little disorienting and disconcerting! There is nothing quite so odd as sliding into the perceptual framework of another creature! Sight, taste, smell, sensation, all change. Not to mention, you get shorter so you are seeing the world(s) from a completely different vantage point :-). Very cool. Very useful. Very wyrd. My hope is that as I improve at shapeshifting, as I become hamrammr (shape-strong), the transition from human to animal and back again will become smoother. What is interesting to me is that something like shapeshifting is not outside the scope of seidhr as defined across ancient and modern Norse/Germanic shamanistic practice. Seidhr is everything that I mentioned above, and more.
At this point in my development as a seidhkona, I feel good about my growing abilities and I of course want to continue to strengthen them for the service of the community. While testing my existing spiritual skills, I also feel like I can take on a little more; I hope to begin learning seidhr for wyrd-working! This totally qualifies as “and more”. I would definitely begin small and work my way up to more complex weavings. I am actually not certain how much a seidhkona can change an individual or group’s wyrd given the profundity of the wyrd – what it means – but I hope to study with a deity or other weal-willing spirit in order to learn more. Soon I will propitiate Freyja for her guidance on the matter likely through both journeying (aka faring-forth) as well as through the runes (my new-found spirit allies in the process of working wyrd). I’ll approach her with questions like: Is this a good course of action for me to take? Is this the right time? What must I learn or do first? And others. I think I may also approach the Nornir for their counsel and, of course, I will consult Odin, whose insight in such matters is quite invaluable. All will receive proper sacrifice of course because nothing in any of the Nine Worlds is free. A gift for a gift as the Havamal teaches. Right now, I am thinking dry mead for Odin, perhaps a rich dark beer for the Nornir, and a cyser for Freyja.
Hail the Ancient “Seithing” Arts and the Ones Who Weave Wyrd!