Friday, June 29, 2018

Goð Skalds

(Bragi and Idunn by Nils Blommer)



Goð Skalds

Goð skalds of might and Man
Which weave the winds of change.
With each word, a weft-woven sinew
On the Heddle-weight of the World.

Strong is the Óðrerir of mighty souls
Who drink deep the courage to sing
The Elder songs of the Gods
And the brave deeds of the Alfar.

Bright are their brands of knowledge
Kindling hope in the heart of man.
Kennings swift like eagle flight
Watching far afield the battle’s plight.

Their heart, a shield towards hate’s arrows
Their will, a sword spoken with words
Formed in the forges of Asgard.
For hot burns the crucible of Wodanaz.

Long live the words of the Goð Skalds
Their songs, the forests of the mind.
Strong timbers and planks are made
From those ancient and wise-filled trees.

Strong are the boats built from such trees
Boats made to sail to distant shores
Swift and light, facing storm and siege
As drum beats sound the Wod of Man.


- Christina Marvel

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Cleansing Helblight


"Hel" (1889) by Johannes Gehrts.



I was condensing my notes from the last 6 months of the Seidr work I’ve been doing and I noticed that there has been an underlying energy that caught my attention. It seems that even the best Shamans and Spirit workers seem to be getting tangled up in a lot of chaos right now. I have had several come to me and say they’ve chosen to leave the Heathen community altogether because of being verbally attacked so often. There seems to be a lot of petty infighting and people getting very attracted to things like dragging others’ name through the dirt publicly instead of dealing with the issue head on or taking it to a Thing. There seems to be a lot of selfishness and ambivalence in helping others. Energies seem to be directed towards being some kind of a “town crier” letting everyone know what is injust in this world. The problem is if everyone in the village decides to be a “town crier”, it makes for a pretty awful village.

I know because I was caught in it myself. It has a frenzy feeling to it. This blight has the energetic signature of a drowning man...that flush of frenzy and fear at impending death. I think that what we are all going through probably has a lot to do with the stage we are all in as Pagans. Let’s remember that while there were some vestiges of pagan practice for the last 2000 years, Christianity pretty much nipped our rituals of sacrifice and catharsis in the bud. These practices have only been revived in the last 50 years. Many of those old rituals were never recovered. Many of those old avenues of catharsis and cleansing were lost and need to be rediscovered through experimentation. I believe what we are experiencing are growing pains and the Heathen Zeitgeist is rising out of Hel. With that, much chaos has a potential to happen.

When I was younger, my grandfather gave me Paradise Lost to read. At the time, his reasoning was to show me about my Ancestry, but little did he know that it would influence me to seek out Paganism years later. The poem really struck me as odd, because my dad always touted heroism and the German sagas, and yet, the heros in Paradise Lost were the demons in Hell...specifically the Demons who were ancient pagan Gods like Baal and Molech. The demons spoke in heroic terms and they were filled with the fervor of living. The Christian God was kind of a petty tyrant in that poem and Adam and Eve were emotionally dumb little beings. The Garden of Eden was this boring little garden where everything was peaceful and nothing happened. It all seemed contradictory to what I learned about Christianity...or was this some bubbling up of truth out of the Zeitgeist?

Could the Christian ideas of Heaven actually be the pagan concepts of Hel? And could the Christian ideas of Hel be the battlefields of the Einherjar of Valhalla?

It’s very easy for our minds to be tricked, but the heart always knows what is right. Peacefulness isn’t always aliveness. Agreeableness isn’t always a sign of friendship. Quiet serenity isn’t always what we need. But how do we know what we need as Heathens? We all seem to be creating a lot of chaos amongst ourselves. We also seem to be attacking one another readily for offenses that really don’t matter to us in the long run. What it’s doing is leaving us sick, exhausted, depressed, and isolated. So how do we know what is productive chaos that helps us grow spiritually, or unproductive chaos that breaks us down into apathy?

Well, it first starts with Ritual. When in doubt, do ritual. Sumble, blot, morning devotions...it doesn’t matter. If you want to call yourself a Heathen, you need to be doing ritual.  I do not sweat the details. People can cater their rituals to their lives. It can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it. The important thing is to be doing it and to do it often.

Why?

Because good ritual requires personal awareness. Many of us go throughout our day in a frenzied state of emotional needs. Half way through our day, we are usually checking out of our bodies and minds and just running on our animal reactive brains. Unless we have a daily ritual or meditation practice, we are most likely running on auto-pilot. We are not sensing the subtle energies around us and we are probably missing a whole lot of messages from the Gods. Ritual centers us. We leave the cares of our day outside the ritual space. We leave our problems with our brothers and sisters outside ritual space. It is a holy space designated for us to commune with the Gods. Ritual changes us and changes the way we approach our lives.

What happens after a year or two of daily ritual is that the Heathen starts to realize that larger and larger portions of their lives are sacred to the Gods. More and more of the day starts to be seen as Holy.

Then, as we change, our reactions to the chaos around us changes. The things we are attracted to changes. The chaos that used to bother us becomes a tide we can sail on top of instead of drown in.

Now, I think that when our consciousness starts to change, then much in the way we perceive things changes as well. At first, things may seem to be a little dramatic and the process of digging into and facing our inner shadows can be very dramatic and messy at times. This is why it is imperative for any Volva, Vitki, or Shaman to keep up with their rituals. The ritual process will help one adjust to the new levels of consciousness and help one rise above the “drowning” sensation that chaos can bring.

Personally, I’m an idealist. I believe that all Heathens have the capacity of being their own Volvas and Vitkis. While I know some of us put in a lot more work than others in this regard, the potential is still there. It all depends on how much work you want to put into the process and how diligently you are willing to stick with it...even when things don’t make sense.

In the last three years, I have had plenty of chances to walk away from this path. I chose to let go of everything that kept me from my rituals. Teachers, friends, my spouse, art, and even my own spiritual ambitions. None of these things mattered in the light of discovering myself while in the sacred space of the Gods. In the end, it doesn't matter if anyone understands me. What matters is if I understand me and be the best me that I can.

So I do ritual and if anyone asks me how to navigate these chaotic waters that we seem to find ourselves in, then I tell them. Ritual. Ritual. Ritual. Ritual is the only thing I’ve found that stems the tide of Hel-blight.

And what is Hel-blight you ask?

It’s that apathy you feel when you drown in too much chaos. The chaos you chose to engage in and the chaos that we often fuel. It’s that anger and frenzy that drives you into not taking care of yourself. It’s that bitter and shallow pettiness that gets you to a place where you go dead inside. It’s those reactions that you have that get you further from your goals...that distract you from the very things you want. It’s the complaining that things are not going your way. The expecting that your dreams will be handed to you. It’s the taking of all things that push against your will as personal attacks towards you. It’s blindly reacting to circumstance instead of listening to what is going on. It is the road of the Black Dog.

It’s interesting how we call Depression, the “black dog”. For it is Garmr, the Black Dog that guards the bridge of Gjallbru that leads to Hel. Could Hel be just the ultimate state of depression of the soul?

You won’t know until you start facing these energies and standing in regular ritual with your Gods. Once you start, you just might find yourself rising out of that Hel that you have found yourself in.



    “Then Óðinn rose, | the enchanter old,
And the saddle he laid | on Sleipnir's back;
Thence rode he down | to Niflhel deep,
And the hound he met | that came from hell.
Bloody he was | on his breast before,
At the father of magic | he howled from afar;
Forward rode Óðinn, | the earth resounded
Till the house so high | of Hel he reached”
- Baldrs Draumer

      “Now Garm howls loud | before Gnipahellir,
The fetters will burst, | and the wolf run free;
Much do I know, | and more can see
Of the fate of the gods, | the mighty in fight.”
- Voluspa

“Then shall the dog Garmr be loosed, which is bound before Gniphellir: he shall do battle with Týr, and each become the other's slayer”
- Gylfaginning

(Note: If Tyr is he who slays Garmr, the Hound of Hel, then it could bode well into looking at who Tyr is in our lives to help with stemming the energies of Hel.)

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Abisheka



Abhisheka

What is pleasant is not always good.
What is good is not always clear.
What is clear is not always easy to perceive.

The mind builds traps of ease
Strongholds to dominate one’s world.
To think thoughts one has never thought
One must face the fall of such strongholds.

Walls are good for keeping the enemy out
But they can also keep the enemy in.
Who is my enemy?

Is it my own self? My ego?
It is the ideas of others foreign to me?
Is it my unwillingness to be open
To all life has to show me?

I am limited in measure that I remain unopened.
I grow as much as learn to let go.
I am comforted by the measure that I accept discomfort.

The pursuit of Self is akin to the pouring out
Of libations to the Gods.
We pour out ourselves onto the altar of our hearts
Sacrificed, self to self, in order to open
To the libations of the whole Universe.


- Christina Marvel

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Havamal 2 Test Your Might On The Floor

(Odin visits the Giants by Jason Rhineville)


Gefendr heilir! Gestr er inn kominn,
hvar skal sitja sjá?
Mjök er bráðr sá er á bröndum skal
síns um freista frama.

Hail to the Generous! A guest has come
Where shall they sit?
Swift should he be who brandishes revenge,
Who tests his luck by the fire.


Gefendr - a giver (plural), a generous person
Heilir - greeting meaning “wholeness” and “haleness”
Gestr - a guest
Er - who
Inn - in
Kominn - has come
Hvar - where
skál- shall
Sitja - to sit
Sjá - to see
Mjök  - much, greatly
er  - verb (to be)
bráðr  - sudden, hasty
sá  - this / that
Er - who
á - at
Bröndum - brands (fire)
Skal - greeting, shall
síns  - seek revenge, seek battle
um  - about concerning
freista  - to attempt, to try, to tempt
Frama. - to further, to distinguish oneself



The first time I read the translation of the Poetic Edda by James Chisholm, I fell in love with his word choice for “á bröndum skal síns um freista frama” as “test his luck by the fire”. The word Bröndum is where we get the word brandish or brand. This could insinuate brandishing a weapon or a torch, but either way, one’s intent is illuminated by such action, The phrase “friesta frama” can be directly translated as “trying to distinguish oneself” and I think this deals directly with how we build our Hamingja, either through revenge or brave deeds. One must be wise when engaging with others for revenge. As the previous verse in the Havamal states, one must see with the eyes of the mind and the eyes of the spirit to make sure not only who is an enemy, but what kind of skills that enemy has. In the Saga of Hrolf Kraki, when Svipdag entered the Hrolf’s Hall, he knew immediately that Svipdag was a formidable warrior. He had cunning sight and could gage well the nature of a man.

We also see the phrase “friesta frama” used in the Vafþrúðnismál as the Giant Vafþrúðner questions Odinn (in disguise as Gagnráðr) with his riddles.

“Seg þú mér, Gagnráðr, alls þú á gólfi vill þíns um freista frama,”

“Tell me Gagnrath, since you want to test your might from the floor”

While the verse in the Havamal alludes to testing one’s luck by seeking revenge or combat, the combat in the Vafþrúðnismál was all of the mind, where Vafþrúðner tests Odinn’s knowledge of the cosmos. With the two cases, we see that testing one’s luck can be a physical as well as a mental test. Again, this is connected to being able to gage the strengths and motivations of one’s company.

Understanding the nature of those around you takes a lot of practice and also takes knowing oneself. In my Rune studies, working with the Rune KENAZ or The Torch rune, is a very powerful magical tool to help illuminate one’s own inner darkness. There are many things we wish to avoid about ourselves. It’s quite easy to  distract ourselves with the way others’ are an not work on strengthening our own weaknesses. Sometimes our own weaknesses might be overly obsessing about the weaknesses of others! When Kenaz reveals such a weakness, we can choose to sit in meditation and face that part of us. That weakness can be mastered by making decisions to face them persistently and diligently. If you have a weakness about obsessing with others, you can practice “non-action” and not engaging with those people or events. If you have a weakness with gossiping or complaining about others, you can try to refrain from that and change how you speak to others. Each weakness can be faced and slowly turned into a strength.

Our growth is fully in our hands and the level of growth is the level of commitment we are willing to work on ourselves.

So I challenge you, Dear Reader, do you have what it takes to test your might by the fire? Can you face yourself and those things in you which hold you back?

We are in the height of the Summer Solstice tide, and now is a good time to seek the Runes of fire and illumination. Now is a good time for us to illuminate all the things inside us that we have been running from.

Burning Runes


AILIA - (Proto-Germanic) fire
AILIAJANA - (Proto-Germanic) to kindle fire
AILIADAZ - (Proto-Germanic)  funeral pyre

ELDS - (Old Norse) fire

Ađ kveikja eld- (icelandic) to light a fire
Eldiviđur - (icelandic) firewood
Eldfjall (icelandic) fire mountain - volcano
Milli tveggja elda- between two fires. (Where we get the phrase between a rock and a hard place)

Átta nætr sat ek milli elda hér,
svá at mér manngi mat né bauð,
nema einn Agnarr, er einn skal ráða,
Geirröðar sonr, gotna landi.

Eight nights I sat between the fires.
No man dealt me food, except for Agnar alone,
the son of Geirroth
he alone shall rule the land of the Goths.

- Grímnismál

Fire was one of the most powerful forces known to our Ancestors apart from the forces of nature. It was a natural force that was harnessed and used by mankind. The wolf of the magic world, the energies of fire seeks out all that can burn. What fire touches, fire transforms. When fire burns, it illuminates.  There is nothing like trials that can illuminate our own weaknesses and self-doubt. Odin's test in the Grímnismál was not only a transformational one, but one born of his wife, Frigga.  He did not heed the council of a wise Goddess, perhaps tricked by the romance of kinship thinking kin means good character.  No matter what bloodline a man has, his character is built by his will. This, even the God of wisdom can be blind, to. As with all fire tests, he was transformed as well as everyone involved.

Knowing the true nature of a person can be a great mystery at times...but fire always illuminates.

Kenaz, Nauthiz, Sowilo, Dagaz.

These are Runes which burn. They also illuminate and are all fed by Ansuz.

Want to know the true character of a man? Seek the burning Runes of illumination. Bring light to the darkness.

Rune Galdr Ritual

- Hammer Hallowing
- Light fire and give offerings.
- Ask the Gods your question for insight.
- Sing Ansuz to start...then add the burning Rune you want to use.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Ragnarok



Ragnarök


The ego is a ravenous glacier
That plows through the heart of the land
Seeking bright waters which feeds
It's bridges and caverns of the mind.

A glacier can build valleys
And melt to make rivers
And feed the bright Springtime
In the hearts and minds of Man.

The ego is born from its Source
Which feeds and nourishes its power
Yet some have become dislodged
No longer fed from the springs of their Heart.

In isolation, these glaciers become hunters
Of life and of water
Flowing from the springs hidden
In the hearts of mankind.

And for those who give freely
Those egos hunt ravenously
Lapping up all of her wellsprings
From the heart and the body.

For in the land of the soul
The battle is with winter
And the Glaciers of ego
Which threatens all green growing land.

For the time of wastelands and
Fimbulvetr is coming
As the souls of mankind battle
On the plains of the mind and the heart.

So for those with bright Source Springs
Seek the mystery of Hoddmímis Holt
The garden of delight where
Líf and Lífþrasir gambol.

Hold and Hallow your stead
From the ice winds of winter
Save your hearts, born of Source
Which renews all life in the Land.

For spring will one day return
And your gardens will grow again
Have faith in your Gods
Flowing from the Source of your heart.

For as all things turn,
So returns bright Sunna
Destroyer of ice,
Giving life and breath back to the land.

And your Gods will return once more
To play in the green fields
Born from the Heart Springs
And melting glaciers will once again nourish the land.

- Christina Marvel

Friday, June 22, 2018

Summer Solstice. Uruz in the Hall of Sowilo



My Beloved Readers,

Welcome to the second day of Solstice! Today the tide digs deeper into Solstice tide and we really start feeling the power of SOWILO in our lives! Below I have listed the three Rune poems from the Anglo Saxon, Icelandic, and Norwegian versions for SOWILO below.


SOWILO

The sun is ever a joy in the hopes of seafarers
when they journey away over the fishes' bath,
until the courser of the deep bears them to land.

Sun
shield of the clouds
and shining ray
and destroyer of ice.

Sun is the light of the world;
I bow to the divine decree.

I want to take a moment to note the part of the Icelandic Rune poem that says “and destroyer of ice”. We know there is another Rune called ISA which is called ice. For those of you who know a little about Isa, this poem indicates that when SOWILO is charged in our bodies that it destroys ice. I have talked with several Rune masters who often equate ISA with our ego. If one were to think about the power of SOWILO, then it has some of the power to thaw and melt our egos that might have built up over the year.

It makes me chuckle to think of our Ancestors heading to the 12 days of Solstice revelries….where often people would find romance and a new lover for the tide. The pursuit of lovers is a very great way to melt some of that ego in us. When we have to deal with another human being in that space of intimacy, there are bound to be confusions and complexities. This is a great time to let that ego melt in the hot sexy fires of Solstice and enjoy your body, enjoy your partner, and enjoy what the Gods offer to you at this time.

Whether you are with a new lover, or have no lover, or have a committed spouse for many years, this is a time to let those ice floes of the mind thaw and revel in the love for each other and the Gods. This is a time to lay down grudges and to enjoy the moonlit nights and rejoice in the growing season that is upon us.

Tonight is all about power. For it is the second night of Solstice and URUZ comes into the Hall of SOWILO. Below I have listed the Rune poems for URUZ for you to meditate on. This is a Rune of primal power and savagery. Tonight would be a great time to try some fun things you’ve been wanting to do...especially if you have a partner. Let out your howl into the night. Let yourself move and feel your aliveness. Our lives are but fleeting moments and each time to live, love, and dance this wonderful dance of living is precious.

Remind yourself of that tonight.

You have but this one moment. Live it well. Choose well!




URUZ

The aurochs is proud and has great horns;
it is a very savage beast and fights with its horns;
a great ranger of the moors, it is a creature of mettle.


Shower
lamentation of the clouds
and ruin of the hay-harvest
and abomination of the shepherd.

Dross comes from bad iron;
the reindeer often races over the frozen snow.





I’m wishing you all a beautiful primal Solstice night of passion! Live well, Heathens.

In Frith,

Christina

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Summer Solstice. Fehu In The Hall of Sowilo



My beloved readers,

For the last three years, I have been doing these posts on Facebook, but I wanted to share my Wheel work with all of you who read my blog. This will be a future repository for my devotion work to the Gods and the Wheel. It will also be a way I can share a lot of the amazing world of Runes that one can experience.The Wheel is an endless source of inspiration and wonder and using the Runes along with it, unlocks many things laying dormant inside us. It can be a way that we discover our inner emotional and spiritual selves. The more time and energy you put into this, the more you get out of it.

I start this on the First day of Summer Solstice. If you look at my drawing, you will see that each Solstice has 12 pyramids on it. That is because the tide of each Solstice runs for 12 days. This is where the tide of Elhaz turns to Sowilo, the Rune of Success. For the next 14 days we will be in Sowilo and for 12 of those days, the Solstice will have great energy to bring about change in us. Below are the three Rune Poems, the Anglo-Saxon, the Icelandic, and the Norwegian for the Rune Sowilo:

SOWILO

The sun is ever a joy in the hopes of seafarers
when they journey away over the fishes' bath,
until the courser of the deep bears them to land.

Sun
shield of the clouds
and shining ray
and destroyer of ice.

Sun is the light of the world;
I bow to the divine decree.


These poems can be used to meditate on for the coming Sowilo tide. You can go to blot and ask your Ancestors and Gods for insight in Sowilo. You can play with the Rune: drawing it, carving it, making the symbol with your hands. The more creative you are with the wheel, the more you open yourself to wonder and exploration, the more you will discover. Spirituality is not the path of drudgery...oh, no, it is an ever-blossoming fountain of inspiration.

If you want to take your wheel work a little further, you can start to think about how this is the first day of Solstice and the first Rune in the Elder Futhark is Fehu. So, if you imagine each Rune is a God and that God has a hall where it dwells:

What would you imagine it to be like if Fehu walked into the Hall of Sowilo?
What kinds of things would they talk about?
Would they get along?
Would they share gifts?
What gift would each Rune give to one another?

These are the kinds of questions one can meditate and ponder while opening the wheel. It can become a way to explore the Runes and Gods inside us. There are no right or wrong answers here, because your answers will be your answers. If you have a friend, you might share your thoughts...and then both of you might get to learn more of the relationship between Fehu and Sowilo as it is developing in either of you.

Below are the rune poems of Fehu. Feel free to meditate on them and see how Fehu and Sowilo can interact with one another.

FEHU

Wealth is a comfort to all men;
yet must every man bestow it freely,
if he wish to gain honour in the sight of the Lord.

Wealth
source of discord among kinsmen
and fire of the sea
and path of the serpent.

Wealth is a source of discord among kinsmen;
the wolf lives in the forest.


Exercises

  1. Meditate on Sowilo and write a poem about what the Sun would be like as a person.
  2. Meditate on Fehu and think about what Fehu would be like as a person.
  3. Imagine how Fehu and Sowilo would interact. Fehu is a guest in the hall of Sowilo, so Sowilo is in charge of that exchange and will be guiding the interaction.
  4. What kinds of gifts would they share with one another?
  5. What kinds of stories would they share with one another?
  6. If they mated, what would their children be like?


Baldur




Baldur

Hail to the bringer of light
To the son of Hlidskjalf
To the harbinger of Ragnarok.
Hail to Bright Baldur! Born in love,
Who was killed by blindness
And who shall rise from Hel again!

For the beloved of Breidablik
Where no baneful Runes did dwell
Was troubled with visions dire.
To his mother, the wise Frigga he sought
Who’s fate of all men she could see.
Rode his father to the Eastern Gates of Hel
He sought counsel with the Volva
In Hel-blight wind did she sing
Of consequence and death
Of war and devastation
And yet, a coming rebirth again.

But fate did the Gods fight
And Frigga did journey
To gain oath from all living things
That they would never harm bright Baldur.
Yet, mistletoe did she overlook
And it was Loki who took
This knowledge with revenge in his heart.

With stave Loki pressed
In the hand of blind Hodr
And in all innocence
At his brother, the stave flew.
To the shock of the Gods
And the glee of all baneful
Blind Hodr, his brother did slew.

And all the world fell silent
As his soul slid to Hel.
For Great Frigga’s heart was breaking
And no God knew of gladness that day.
For all people wept
And fire did weep
The very stones wept
Yet Thokk did not weep
So Hel kept her prize until the day
That Ragnarok opens her womb once more.

And in vengeance, Odin bore Vali
Who in one day born, slew Hodr
And all the Gods did go to honor the Dead.

For adorned in Hringhorni, did lay the Body of Baldur
Wreathed with the gifts of the Gods.
For around him lay garlands of Asgard’s weeping flowers
And poor Nana who in grief did she die.
And beside him lay Draupnir
Which every 9 days, drips 8 more golden rings to delight.
And about him the bones of the Giant Litr
Who in flame and fury did Thorr slay
And with great weight, an unmoving ship
That only Hyrokken could move out of the quay.

With bright flame, Baldur’s pyre sang high
A light that still lingers in the hearts of man.
And on Sunna’s return, do we honor his plight
And pray for his blessed return

For one day, when the cycle of the Gods is ended
And Ragnarok lay siege at our door
After the fires of wars do settle
Great Gladsheimer shall rise
And Baldur will walk amongst men once more.

For that day do we honor
In frith and good tidings
With honor we give to our Gods.

And the Solstice fires keep burning
In honor of Bright Baldur’s pyre
While men honor his spirit in heart.

- Christina Marvel









“Phol ende uuodan uuorun zi holza.
du uuart demo balderes uolon sin uuoz birenkit.
thu biguol en sinthgunt, sunna era suister;
thu biguol en friia, uolla era suister;
thu biguol en uuodan, so he uuola conda:
sose benrenki, sose bluotrenki, sose lidirenki:
ben zi bena, bluot si bluoda,
lid zi geliden, sose gelimida sin!"

- Merseberg Incantation