Friday, August 31, 2018

Shamanism and Runic Transformation

This is going to be a long post because I am seeing a lot of people struggling with aspects of Runic transformation in their minds so I wanted share what I’ve learned along the way. This might help some of us Rune workers also understand how we effect the people around us and our communities. One of the things, as Rune Seekers, is that we will eventually have to become comfortable with bouts of ego-death and temporary madness. While this may sound trite, ego death really feels like death. It will require a person to face losing everything they know to be who they are and what they are. My first few deaths were tremendously terrible because I was surrounded by people who actually didn’t understand ego death. They took my flailing and fear as a personal attack on them (Let’s raise our hands and shout ego death party!!). Looking back, I have a big chuckle about it, the drama was pretty spectacular.
Luckily, I knew some real Shamans who had cracked open their consciousness a couple times so that they didn’t take me personally at all. A real Shaman in your community is steady and not swayed by what others think of them. They will mostly be someone that no one notices, yet, when you get around them, you will feel incredibly grounded and free to be yourself.
I want you all to think what it would feel like to wake up one morning and not remember how to speak, think about how that would feel. Imagine waking up and not knowing what “human” is or who you are. Imagine walking along and slipping into another dimension and then popping back into current reality and trying to explain to friends that you’ve just been gone for years in some ice world where nothing made a sound. Imagine walking along a street and suddenly seeing yourself from on top of a skyscraper and realizing that you have no body. Imagine walking into a house and not only hearing everyone in the room but all the hungry dead that surround them. These moments are not always easy to navigate and when most people encounter true magic, their mind bends a little and the strangest shit comes out. Their shadows surface and all the negative feelings that keep them small rise to the surface. Therefore, I think it’s important to cultivate a positive attitude in all things. When you go mad. Laugh. When others hate you and misunderstand you. Laugh. When people start calling you all sorts of things. Laugh. All is temporary. It really is. Just keep calling the Runes and seeking people who ground you and make you feel strong and whole. You will have to start cultivating a community around you that supports your work, and even then, it may dissolve. That’s when you roll up your sleeves and try again. Each time, it will be a little better and you will grow faster and stronger. I’ve been consistently going mad for quite some time now and patching myself back together again and I can still manage to pay my bills and feed my cats and write this awesome post for you. It can be done. Runic transformation is a part of this path and the madness it brings is natural like getting a cramp while you swim. You just stop, work out the kinks, and keep going. So keep swimming, little Rune Guppies. Keep swimming.
When I started the Runes, I went straight to Odin and he came to me as a Shaman, so I trained in various Shamanic paths to learn how to be comfortable with madness and listening to spirits. It takes a lot of mental and emotional flexibility to not take anything that happens inside you and outside you too seriously. I was lucky in that I could sense in people this type of mental strength and flexibility so I observed them and learned from them and I kept seeking the Runes. I would go through a series of mental breakdown after breakdown, but each time, Berkano would rise up in my consciousness and my mind would regrow and reform. After about 24-48 hours, my sanity would resume. (An old friend mentioned to read Nausea by Sarte and this book really describes well what happens when we step outside our mind.) This practice is by no means safe. In fact, we learn that safety is just an illusion anyway. Life can throw some wicked curveballs, so each of us has the choice to cower in fear from what life brings us, or actually boldly go into the unknown with a joyful and curious mind.
So with that lovely introduction, let’s look at your mind:

The Enclosure

What you are and what you think you are is bounded by what you think of your known world. Think of  it like you have a big bubble around your consciousness, like a RING. Inside that bubble is everything that you know to be true and everything that everyone you know knows to be true. Most of us don’t actually think for ourselves, we think collectively and take on the ideas and feelings of everyone we closely associate with. This is why it is very important to cultivate good people around you and if you find someone bringing you down, there are ways in the Shamanic practice to distance yourself from the energetic signatures of others. We don’t actually have to get mad at people, we just need to make appropriate boundaries. I call it being “iced-out” (really it’s Elhaz, but when you push someone out of your enclosure – to them it burns but to you, it feels like icing a burning wound.). Some of my good friends have iced me out when I was going mad and then when I regained my wits, they let me back it. It’s no biggie. We need to be ok with people around us kicking us out of their mind homes when we get too rowdy and we need to be ready to do that to them. Giving a friend a good knuckle sandwich and a boot out the door can be a great way to show unconditional love. True friendships are about consistently working with others and making boundary choices every day.
 Now, how do you know that someone around you needs to be “iced out”?
First you gotta know why people piss you off…
So we are calling Runes, right? We use them in spells, we meditate on them, we draw them, we sing them, we obsess over them. Every time we bring up the idea of a Rune in our mind, we call on their counsel. They always come. They are much bigger than us, bigger than even the Gods. We are also drawn to them in others. Have you noticed that when you study Thurisaz, you seem to gravitate towards people really good at conflict? It’s because the Rune is enticing you to get out of your current enclosure to grow. The Runeseeker always wants to move forwards, always into more curiosity and new learning. This is why, sometimes, when we meet strangers that have such different ways of thinking, that in order to understand them, we actually have to expand our enclosure of consciousness. The more people you seek to understand, the more your consciousness grows and the bigger that enclosure gets. This process will feel blissful. It will feel exciting and you will gain a lot of joy and your health and mind will grow strong and improve. This is the process of Growing. It’s beautiful and feels refreshing and wonderful. You will happily munch on your beautiful green pasture of Runic fields for a while and then something will eventually happen.

Fimbulwinter and Ragnarok
So, what do we do when we pretty much get to the end of the enclosure of OUR known world? What happens when we eat all that is inside our enclosure? Easy answer. We fucking starve. Ever study the emotional and mental effects of starvation? Look it up and then examine your life. Take a real hard look.
Maybe we have been around the same people for a while and no one is changing or growing. No one is doing anything new around us. Hel, we aren’t doing anything new. It’s the same old shit, just new clothes, cycle after cycle. We start to get hungry for mental expansiveness. We start to mentally starve and we might actually start eating parts of our minds in order to sustain some kind of bliss. This may gain a temporary bliss from the same old shit, but it won’t sustain you. This is where shit gets annoying. This is where people start mentally feeding off one another in some viscous vampire melodrama. Ever thought about why there’s so many vampire and zombie movies? Well look no further. Most people you meet are in various stages of Fimbulwinter. The sad thing is, that sometimes after they die, their soul is so used to feeding off humans in the living world, that they stick around in the oorlog of their poor kids to gnaw on the living who are receptive to such energies. Those poor little kids grow up with tons of hungry ghosts feeding off them and if they have no Shamans to help, they turn out to be big energetic blood parasites themselves, seeking out kind empaths that have few boundaries and a penchant for nursing a hungry soul. It’s a vicious process but not one that can’t be solved. The solution is out there and Odin mentions it in the Runatal.  
The only thing that can help you break out of your current enclosure to get fresh food is to do something and be something that you’ve never done before. If you do not break out of your enclosure, you will die. All Shamans know this. They call it Shaman sickness. It’s a point when a powerful person, who was born as a medicine man for their people grows beyond everyone they know. They have incredible spiritual appetites and they find that the life they are in is so confining, that the mind will actually begin to consume the body. This will manifest in sicknesses that cannot be treated. The young shaman must go through a very scary process of healing themselves by self-death to themselves. They must die, completely, and become a new person. Everything about them must die inside. They must surrender to their spirits (the Runes) to guide them into a new life. The spirits (Runes) will lead them into a series of events that will challenge them to trust the spirits (Runes) and to keep going (Those events will come in the form of People. Don’t let the movies fool you. It aint all pretty on a mountaintop snowstorm. Your girlfriend or your mama might be your Initiation). The Shaman must shed all self-doubt, worry, or anger. The Shaman must only look for bliss and mental expansiveness. The Shaman may not die once, they may die many times in a human lifetime. This death is the Ragnarok of the mind. Every opposing force will slam into one another and everything the person knows to be true will come crashing in around them. It is only the Runes and their own Soul (fylgja) that will guide them through the process. If they survive physically, their mind will crash and they will become mad. They must be willing to surrender everything they are for the spirits (Runes). They must trust that the Runes they cultivated will rebuild them after they surrender their mind to the process

Gladsheimer
We do rebuild afterwards. The dawn always comes….just like the First One-eyed Shaman I met on the backroads of the Catskills mountains who once told me, “Christina, Ragnarok ‘aint the end of the world, even if you think it is. The next day, you will have to wake up and take out the garbage and go to work. No biggie. Easy peasy.”  The more we walk away from fear, anger, and doubt, the more we will break and remake ourselves time and time again. We will allow circumstance to break us and crack us open and we will choose to love our Guides and thus ourselves…and thus the whole world each and every time. How do you know a Shaman? Well you know a Shaman because they understand unconditional love for every creature on this planet. They know what exists on the other side of life, they have travelled through death, while their bodies are still living, and surrendered to the infinite universe and were reborn and remade from it. Each ego death brings out unique things in us, but it always brings out love. That’s how you know a true Shaman, because they will always teach you about Love.

Empathy and what the Fuck is Love with a capital L

Love is a very funny thing. It’s not always what you think it is. We often stumble upon love and trample it under the calloused bootsoles of our expectations. We think Love has to look a certain way or act a certain way. We are so full of our own shit. Love will come at you honestly. It will be someone who shares with you the true intention of their heart. They might desire you. They might come to learn from you. They might come to just help you. They might come because you remind them of something they need. Generally, people are not very good at Love with a capital L, but everyone can love at least a little. For the Shaman and Runeseeker, It’s important to learn how to spot the love in someone’s heart and not trample that when setting boundaries. You will have to be like a surgeon and cut away all the things that are not love. Never scoff at love, it will do you much damage. It will cause your runes to turn dark and you may become confused as to which way you’re heading in life. You want to be able to empathize with them, but still protect yourself and this takes much practice. People are going to come at you mostly because they love you in some way. Sometimes that love is buried so far under the hungry ghosts in their Oorlog, that they may seem like an enemy. They really aren’t, it’s just the shit that’s attached in their minds. The more you grow as a Runeseeker and Shaman, the more you will spot love under the mountain of troll-blight covering a person. You learn to focus on that little sliver of light inside them and you learn to not take anything else as a personal attack. These will be spiritual trolls coming at you which you slaughter wholesale with your mind and with your Runes. I won’t have to tell you why this is important to do, but once you face your own ego-death and you see what and who you are, you will know that this work is the holiest and greatest of callings. This work in helping people uncover their soul is what keeps humanity alive. It the root of all heroism. It is why Gods exist. We remind people that all life is born from Love - the Love that the Infinite spirit world has for Finite life. Without Love with a capital L, you would not even be here reading this essay. You would be a stone blasted by the sun’s rays. Inert and lifeless. Your heart and your mind works because part of you loves your body and your life. The moment you give up on Love, is the moment your whole world conspires to crumble you down into bones.
Don’t give up on Love. You need her. Never give up on Love.

How this applies to Runes

When someone is very proficient in a Rune and you have an empathetic exchange with them, your mind must adapt and pattern itself to the other person’s runes. If that person is stronger at a particular Rune than you, your mind will exit outside the enclosure of your current Rune Ring limits of your mind (Literally, their Love gives you and out of body experience). This is what causes temporary madness and the Runemaster must build all supporting Runes to create a new enclosure. As Odinists, we seek to ever expand our minds by learning from the Runes of each other. If the Runemaster is committed towards building the entire Futhark in their minds each and every time he/she exits their mental enclosure, there is no limit as to the mental expansiveness that one can achieve. There is also no limit as to the capacity of our Love. I will tell you this, nothing you care for actually matters more than Love. Not your car, your career, your house, your fancy titles. None of that would be here without Love. Love made that come into being. Love is passed to each other by frith and good deeds.
And here we have it, everyone:

Christina’s Big Rune Hypothesis
***ALL RUNES ARE SPIRITUAL ENITITIES AND THEY ARE MADE OF LOVE***

Thus, we grow the Runes in us by learning to Love others unconditionally. The more we learn about Love, the more the Runes rush in to teach us and the more our mind pasture grows. We pass Runes to one another by loving them unconditionally and seeking to empathize and understand their true heart. We hold the treasure of each encounter with utmost respect. Every soul that comes to us is a soul that wants to Love (and, thus Live). We treat them as our children. Precious as our own hearts. We hold them accountable to unconditional Love. We set boundaries and we seek to always communicate and understand. We allow people their personal freedom to explore Love and Life. We even allow people to give up on Love and choose Death. We enjoy life, for it is very much a powerful lesson for our soul. We laugh because the Gods live in our hearts. We Love because that is what spirit is made of. It is made of Love. The Gods are Love. The Runes are Love.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Shaman




Shaman


Every creature that has ever lived
Or lives now, came into being from Love.
Love saw death and ate him.
She fed from his bones in the darkness
And from his corpse, birthed Life.
Death sees Love and lays down his life for her-
Time and time again, for the promise of new Life.
He sees her as light in his darkened world.
She is his eternal Bride who he seeks to claim.

Love can get confused sometimes
And forget why she lives
She may think that she is Death
But Death merely happens in this world.
Life is a choice.
Life is always a choice.
Love can even forget this and hate herself for Living
She wonders why parts of herself die,
But that is just merely Death roaming around in her delightful hall.
She forgets that she is Eternal and she weeps
Yet he loves her all the same and never stops seeking her.
She may wail and gnash at his embrace when she is in Life
But he only came because she was Love.
He always hunts for her and in the end, she yields to him.

The path of the Shaman is madness
Because one must choose to Love all that is
While living. He begins to remember that
Shaman is both Life and Death dancing together.
Early on, the Shaman fights deaths around him.
Then later the Shaman fights death within him.
But all this is because the Shaman opens to Love
And Death always follows after Love who brings new Life.

To remember Love while in Life is the greatest vulnerability
For one must face Death in order to unveil Love.
Each act of bravery is an act of greater Love.
Each act of facing death is an act of unveiling one’s Love.
And Life becomes filled with Love
So Death inevitably follows.

The Shaman knows he is both Love and Death inside
Dancing a dance of his eventual demise
Which spindles outwards in his choice and deeds.
Each internal death unveils his capacity to remember Love
His wounding, a reminder to all around him of her Light.

The Shaman knows that the greatest of all Lives
Are ones filled with Boundless Love
And consequently, creating that, means choosing to face Death
Time and Time again, while he comes to claim his Bride.
Knowing that all Life is born from Love
And to Love he will eventually return.


- Christina Marvel

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Gamanrúnum - Growing Gebo



“Ráðumk þér, Loddfáfnir,
en þú ráð nemir,
njóta mundu, ef þú nemr,
þér munu góð, ef þú getr:
góðan mann teygðu þér at gamanrúnum
ok nem líknargaldr, meðan þú lifir.

I counsel you, Loddfafnir
If you’ll take my advice,
You’ll profit if you learn from it
It’ll do you good if you remember it
Get a good man to teach you the Runes
And learn a healing spell while you live”

-          Havamal 120



We all know that Gebo is the Rune for connection, but how do we connect with one another? How are emotional, physical, and spiritual connections formed? I think, as people raised in Judeo-Christian culture, we inherently have a lot of baggage about sex and connection and put a lot of unnecessary issues about it. Yet, there was a lot of sex in lore and a lot of different types of sex. There was sex with partners, with family members, sex while people were shapeshifted as animals….all kinds of sex. Sex wasn't the bad thing…it was the REASON behind sex that can cause issues. When studying Runes, it is always important to be ruthless with our intent in anything we do. We must be honest about why we want to connect with others or want to keep connecting with others. Yet is sex just limited to our bodies? Or is sex in our minds and hearts, too? Getting close to someone is not a bad thing, neither is getting your heart broken. Love is the one thing that makes life grow on this planet. We would all starve inside without true love and in order to understand the nature of love, we got to get brave and get out there and grow our Gebo. Growing our capacity to channel Gebo can be a very vulnerable process. That’s why it’s good to have some of the Gods of boundaries around when you do it.

When studying Gebo, it’s important to keep digging into every connection we have ever had with others. What did we learn from every connection? What did we gain from those encounters? What of that encounter can we use today?

Now, I know Gebo and empathy involved in growing it comes with a bad wrap. A lot of people in the Heathen world detest empathy because they were probably burned by it in the past. I would argue they weren’t burned by it, but burned by a lack of physical and spiritual protection. I am finding that Thurisaz, Elhaz, Tiwaz, and Ingwaz are the best runes to boost when delving into Gebo studies. I will go into detail why each one helps:



Thurisaz

I have written in some past blog posts how I think Thorr is integral to helping a Seidr worker navigate these tricky waters of growing this Rune. Thorr is he who guards the mind and ultimately the spirit from the forces of chaos. It is he who stands on the threshold of our minds and tells us what we should or shouldn’t get involved in. Now, as an Odinist, sometimes I run past my Thorr and delve into the chaos for special lessons, but that doesn’t mean that I leave him completely behind. Thorr is there to protect our most vulnerable places. You can think of him like a metal condom you put on when you might dance with those who dally too long in the underworld.

I have noticed in my life, that the more I connect with those who contribute to my growth and connection to my Gods, the more I grow and learn faster. I’m not spending a lot of my life force cleaning up from the disaster of chaos. Now we all need a little chaos every now and then, but it’s important to be smart and really honest with ourselves if we are actually growing from it or not. IF we are constantly being brought down by our relationships, it might behoove a person to call on Thorr to smash some of those bridges we might be addicted to crossing. And believe me, if you sincerely want to grow and get close to your Ancestors, Thorr will come a-knockin’.


Elhaz

There is a power in Elhaz that is connected with invisibility because if you got a lot of it. Even your enemies forget to mess with you. When someone is so sure and solid in their own spiritual gifts and skills, Elhaz naturally grows. This rune often grows rapidly when we embark to create our own individual magical rituals, bindrunes, and Seidr practice.  Elhaz is about teaching us that we inherently know our own soul best and we trust only our own Ancestors and Fetch to give us the ultimate guidance. When Elhaz and Gebo are strong in the body, you can be open to hearing anyone out and trust to filter what is right for you or not. You can also have people around you in various states of chaos and you don’t take any of it personally. Cultivating your own spiritual practice, is like making your own hedge (I was a hedgewitch for a long time and it took me a couple years to figure out that hedge crafting is very much a part of the old folkway wisdom of Elhaz). If you feel like you got to mock or control others, then your Elhaz hedge might need some tending. If people who think differently than you make you upset, then your Elhaz hedge might need tending. If you spend a lot of time obsessing about the choices of your loved ones, then your Elhaz hedge might need tending.

(I might write about tending the hedge at a later time, but for now, I will say it has to do with making your own practice and sticking to it day after day. It’s going to be a hodge podge of everything you like in others.)

Tiwaz

This directly relates to the verse in the Havamal about Gamanrunar. Love staves and healing staves are best given by a Godly man. For those who honor their oaths and uphold the virtues of the Gods are the ones who will give you the safest place to grow your Gebo heart. It’s also those friends who always tell the truth, sometimes the brutal truth and yet still love you when you don’t listen to them that are the friends you want to cultivate around you. My Tyr friends are not always the nicest people and I often argue with them, but I trust them so much and they have given me invaluable honesty when I needed to hear it the most. If you got a friend that is willing to tell you that you done gone and fucked up and still love you after you ignore them, then you got yourself a Tyr friend. So find your Tyr friends and be a Tyr friend, because they are the best ones to know how to chain that chaos you love so much down for a bit so you can breathe and grow that beautiful little Gebo heart of yours.

Ingwaz

It took me a long time to learn to only help those who ask and even if they ask, take no expectation that they will learn. The best crops are ones that have a wide amount of seeds over the most fertile places. Stop messing with the crop and just let it grow! Sit in the sun and drink some Lemonade and flirt with a handsome stranger. Dance to some good music. Get your sexy on with your partner. Once you sow the seeds and put the work in, Jera just happens. Stop messing with the crops! There are people around you who live this quality very well. They are people who don't sweat the details and just enjoy life. Get out there and enjoy life a little, ok? We really have been given a gift of life and Ingwaz holds the key towards our understanding that love only truly grows when it's given fertile ground and the freedom to be in the sun.

So enjoy this process, my fellow Runeseekers. Runes aren't just an abstract concept...they are us and we grow and cultivate them in our minds, our actions, and ultimately, our legacy in this world.

Ingwaz and Seidr


Ingwaz Seidr tip: only help those who ask and even if they ask, take no expectation that they will learn. The best crops are ones that have a wide amount of seeds over the most fertile places. Stop messing with the crop and just let it grow! Sit in the sun and drink some Lemonade and flirt with a handsome stranger. Dance to some good music. Get your sexy on with your partner. September is upon us and it's time for seeds to ripen. Once you sow the seeds and put the work in, Jera just happens. Stop messing with the crops!

Autumn is coming. Let it happen.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Rune Reflections: Fehu - Investing

Fehu      (Investing)
I was thinking about Fehu the other day and how the Rune poem talks about wealth. You know, I hadn’t thought a lot about how important investing is when thinking about Fehu. We often want a lot of things, but Fehu reminds us, that anything worthwhile is going to take some time investing resources and energy into: that new career, that new house, those physical goals, your creative goals, a new tribe, a new partnership. In order to get a return on your investment, you need to invest into the endeavor in the first place. Even relationships take a lot of investment. Good partnerships don’t happen overnight, neither do friendships or tribes. In the Havamal it says;
“The friendship among false friends
Burns warmly for five days
But then it’s extinguished
By the sixth day
And the friendship is over” - Havamal 51
Often times, we think that just because we have similarities to a person, that it would make for a good friendship or relationship, yet I've seen proven time and time again that good relationships are built over time. It’s required that both people grow and work with one another. Good friendships outlast conflict and are not broken by it. I think back to all my tried and true friends who we have stuck by each other through several conflicts. In fact, I have this one wise friend who keeps telling me, “Christina, Honey, I know you love to believe everybody is amazing but 30% of people out there are gonna hate you no matter what, 30% don’t give a shit about you whatsoever, and 30% will love you regardless of what you do. Focus on those people who love you, OK?”
So we invest in our dreams and we invest in others. Sometimes we find that we made a bad investment and it hurts that we lost all that time and money in the process. I like to think of the fact that wealth can always be cultivated again. We can start all over and pull up our sleeves and start a new life and say, OK, I’m a little wiser this time around, let’s see what I should invest my time and energy into now.
I am learning that in order to walk into the future, it’s important to just let the past be the past. It may seem like we lost a lot of things with our past failures, but if one has an open heart and mind, they might be able to glean the wisdom from past mistakes so that the investments of the future gain greater yields. 

Shamanic Principles and Steps to Trance



Shamanic Principles and Steps to Trance



I like to think there are three basic rules to trance: Space, Sound, and Senses. If you learn to explore what these three concepts mean to you, then you will most likely discover a good trance system. The key is, this is YOUR system and not anyone else’s. The responsibility of the Shaman is to find their own path into the unknown, to connect with their own Ancestors and Guides. You can learn technique from others, but you will only learn BEING from yourself. That said, feel free to explore techniques you are drawn to, regardless of what culture they come from. The Shamanic journey is a journey that every mystic of every culture cultivates. While I am a Heathen woman and I follow Heathen ethics and values, I think it’s good to search for Ecstatic rites from around the world: dancing, drumming, sweating, fasting, drowning, wilderness survival, hanging yourself from hooks, piercing yourself with a spear, to burying oneself in an ant mound are all a part of Shamanic ordeals around the globe. We listen to the call of our Ancestors and Spirit Guides and they will call us to specific techniques to open us up to learning. Each ordeal opens us up to greater parts of who we are. It is the Shamanic ordeal that shows us we are alone in this path. No two Shamans are the same, nor would you want them to be. We need a world of Shamans each listening to their own Spirits instead of other Shamans and Priests. Each of us faces these powers with only our Ancestors and Guides behind us so it’s paramount to honor those spirits. If there’s any advice or teaching I could give to young Shamans, it’s that TRUST NO ONE but your Ancestors and Guides. Not your teacher, not your students, not your friends, nor your spouse. Trust ONLY yourself. This is the Shamanic path and it feels terribly lonely at first. I know when Odin first called me to Shamanism, I was very sad. I was very much a people person and I loved learning from others, but I spent a lot of time listening more to my teachers than myself. I was co-dependent on my teachers and friends and that left me open for being a victim of other people’s baggage. I became the whipping dog of all who I sought for guidance. It wasn’t until I decided that I would no longer ask for advice or gain guidance from anyone outside myself, that I actually started to make real progress as a Shaman. It’s also when my life and physical health seemed to improve over night. I made a commitment not to hate or become bitter about those who I struggled with, but to be strong. It is my commitment to my practice and my Ancestors and Gods that holds me steady in the rough times…oh, and there will be rough times. Don’t let anyone fool you about Shamanism. It is not all love and light. It’s a lot of taking your light into the darkness and facing the trials and challenges that your Guides bring to you in order to liberate you from your mental cages. It’s consistently breaking and mending one’s ego, body, and sanity. It’s a tough calling.

Yet, if you feel called to the Shamanic path, it will be the greatest learning journey you have ever faced. It will soften you to be honest and empathetic with every part of yourself….and there’s a lot of shit we repress. We spend a lot of time getting all worked up about other people and what they do, but that is just a distraction from facing ourselves. Our Guides want us to know exactly what we are, warts and all. Our Guides want us to see ourselves honestly. And that journey inwards can be very intense.

So, am I a hypocrite on giving an instruction post on how to do Shamanic Trance when I just spent a page describing how no one actually can be trusted to teach anything? Yeah, it’s pretty funny the irony in these places, but even if I fuck this post up, I’m going to give it the old college try. If you think my post is helpful, then it’s time I spent well. If you think my post is bullshit, it’s still time I spent well. I felt compelled to do this for some reason. I’m learning like all of you and each time someone asks me how to do something, I realize that I’m just as much a student as they are. So to the nice people who asked about trance techniques: Thank you for being my challenger in navigating these difficult waters of instructing people. I will endeavor to share what I’ve learned not only from others, but from my own personal practice. Take what you need and leave the rest.



Trance. What is it? It’s defined as “A state of concentration, awareness and/or focus that filters information and experience”. The word trance comes from the Latin word “to cross over” so I’ve always seen it as a way to create ritual to cross over into one’s subconscious while one is awake. Often the things we see and experience in trance are confusing, like dreams. Nothing we see there can be taken at face value, though. I made the mistake for years trying to read into what I saw. I was wrong every time. What I just needed to do that  first couple of years was shut up, listen, and watch. My subconscious (Soul) was talking to me and it doesn’t speak the language of my rational mind, For that is not how our soul works. Our soul is not organic. It does not speak the languages of life. It is beyond life…you see, trance is about developing a relationship with your soul that neither thinks nor exists like your mind. For it is spirit….and it speaks to other spirits, but you house that spirit in your body. Trance is like the living room you open up to alien visitors. You set out the teacup and cookies. You sit and listen and try to ponder a being that does not exist in neither linear time nor space. We are creatures limited by our organic biological minds and our soul is beyond that. I believe that is why we, as a species, always pursue this question of WHAT IS GOD? Or WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE? It is the internal tug to want to face and interact with one’s soul. Every culture has its path to it, like rivers and tributaries that flow into the Ocean. But every Ocean on this planet is connected with each other and so is this internal need to seek the divine as part of what it means to be human and have a soul. Each of us have our own unique journey on these waterways. So all this is to reiterate to you, not to take your visions too seriously. You are learning the language of the soul and that language is very complex. It is not a linear language and it is not even spoken aloud. It is FELT. That’s right. The language of the soul is feelings so that’s why everyone has such varied visions regarding certain events. You take the visions and meditate on them and see how they make you feel and look for how they apply in your life. After a while you will start to see patterns. When delving into the subconscious, we are like Neanderthals who pick up an iPod they find in a cave. Imagine, as a modern person, explaining to a cave man what an iPod is? You might try to show them by singing and waving your hands, but the Neanderthal keeps bashing it against the rock and wondering why it doesn’t crack his nuts open. Yeah, the spirits are very patient with our stupidity. They know we will eventually get it. Us humans think we are hot shit, but we are so deluded when it comes to the spirit world. Luckily, the spirit world has infinite patience with our tendency towards arrogance. Trance is the place where we lay down our conscious minds and allow our souls to try and teach us. Simply put, Trance is listening, and Trance is learning.



So what is conducive to making that happen?



Space

If Trance is a way that we open ourselves to learning the language of the Gods and of Spirits, then it’s important to examine what you need in order to get to that kind of openness. For some people this might be in isolation. For others, it’s to be in nature. For some, in the company of other trusted tribe. Some can even trance in front of strangers and in the middle of a city (those Tibetan monks are mad Shamans!). Everyone has their own level of comfort and connection to those spaces. You design your space how you want. Space has several criteria: It can be a physical place, so an altar room or a specific place in nature. It can be a time, so a certain day of the week and time of the day you do those trances. It can look a certain way, so perhaps you have ritual wear or ceremonial instruments or burn specific incense. The key is that you want to create a space to trance where you feel strongest and open to crazy things coming at you. If you don’t feel comfortable to be completely free and open in your space, change it. Go on a quest to find the best space. Give offerings and ask your guides for help to find the right trancing space for you. You will find it. Your Spirit wants you to connect with it.

Sound

This also is something that is so personal to people. Sound is a vehicle for the brain to check out of thinking and relax so it can feel. We each have needs for sound in trance. I’ve tried drums, rattles, sticks I’ve found, stones, flutes, guitar and mandolin….to even scratching my hand across a drum head (which, oddly, became my favorite). I say experiment and find out what sounds relax your mind. You want to find sounds that give you this strange sensation of alert stillness, where you are fascinated by the sound and want to listen to it for a long time. It should be a sound that gives you delight. Now, I do know that some Shamanic ordeals have to do with loud grating sounds to shock the shaman into a trauma space so that they trance out from dopamine flooding the brain. That is an option. Know, though, that the journey you take into trance will color the language of how your soul speaks to you. If you are in pain and trauma, your soul will show you lessons about your trauma. If you are in bliss and comfort, your soul will show you lessons about your bliss. Neither path is right or wrong. We all need to discover ourselves and many are drawn to the darker ordeals because they are trying to make sense of their past trauma. Like I said before, judging others only distracts us from listening to ourselves. Focus on your own growth, little Shaman. Focus on yourself. Explore and discover your sound that draws you.

Sensation

This is my favorite part of trance!! Us mystics and shamans often spend so much of our lives contemplating the mysteries that we can get lost in our heads so much. We get so worked up and worried that we are not on our path or that those we love are not on theirs or freaked out by a vision or a myriad of others nagging worries that pop up. The purpose of trance is to get out of your fucking head for once. Drop your thoughts. Drop your worries. Drop your expectations and just feel. This trance is about no one but you. That is why this space should be one you can feel free to have sensations that you want to experience away from the judgements of others. If you can combine all three, where your sensation is a part of the sound AND the space that is involved, it’s like a rocket launcher to trance. For example, I have a particular space, time of week, scent, musical instrument, and clothing style that I wear when I trance. These things I built and will keep adjusting and building upon over the years. I also use my yoga practice as a way to trance and listen. I put my body through incredible amount of sensation and just be open if my soul pops out of my subconscious and wants to teach me. I know others who use sex, martial arts, hiking, swimming, and running as such ways. Sensation will always be our teacher, for if you think about it: we are immortal souls in a human and mortal body. We do not know how long we have on this planet in this form. We have the opportunity to learn everything from these series of sensations and experiences that come to us. Each sensation is our teacher, just like every soul we meet on this planet is our teacher. Trance is creating Space and Sound to find Sensation to learn from our Souls. Trance is merely listening and learning from that immortal part of us.



I wish you all Shamans and Seekers well on your journey! May you find the trances you need in order to grow and understand the infinite wisdom of your Souls.

Stages of Shamanic Travel



Shamanic travel is something that happens in stages. It starts in the Pineal Gland, then hypothalamus, then it moves outwards. It is not at all a static thing. I have found it to follow a similar pattern in myself and others. These are by no means linear or hierarchical:

Stage 1: Dream travel
Stage 2: Waking travel during psychedelic drug usage
Stage 3: Waking travel during ritual and trance
Stage 4: Waking travel at odd moments of being out in nature
Stage 5: Waking travel while interacting with other people during extreeme situations (such as death, violence, catastrophe)
Stage 6: Waking travel during everyday life.
Stage 7: Waking travel during other time periods in every day life
Stage 8: Waking travel before you travel (finding that a past you had setup the time travel before you even think to do it)
Stage 9: ???

I'm pretty sure the stages are an infinate pattern of growth and expansion of the consciousness. Not even Gods stop growing and evolving. The whole pattern of life is predicated on the magic of experience and evolution from that experience.

The key is remembering that if you discover some bad shit where you are at now, if you keep going to the next stage, you will probably find the answer to the thing that vexes you. Shamans are not creatures of fear who seak safety. We plunge heart first into the great unknown.

As my very wise Grandma used to say:

"The only way out is through, Christina. Keep going"

She made the best apple butter and listened so well. She would often offhandedly say the most profound things and I always felt eternally youthful around her. Many thought her stupid and simple, but often the most surpising people hide under those disguises. A Shaman must learn to examine themselves, always looking for how people and experiences make them think and feel. It is very easy to get trapped in the illusions of the ego. If you look at the old stories, even the Gods struggled with thier egos. The stories are there as guides.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Troll Shot



Pro tips on Shamanic Travel (and ultimately how porn, television, and movies set you up for failure):

Gods never appear the way you want them to appear. They often are about 1000-10,000 years behind the fashion trends. Expecting them show up looking like a television show will only open you up to trolls with smooth moves.
See with your physical eyes AND your inner eye. If one of those three eyes twitches, you will know to get your ass to higher ground. Also, trolls can look real good. Gods look normal to strange and make you feel great. Trolls often look great and make you feel like shit. Try not to fuck the trolls.Troll poison is real nasty and takes a while to get out of the system.

Side effects of troll poison incude: chronic jealousy, paranoia, malaise and general discontent, delusions of grandeur and seeing enemies everywhere, depression, co-dependent tendencies, regret, and self-loathing.

Remedies include: Regular blots, helping those who come to you in need without expectations, self care, and fasting from anything that feeds the ego. (The ego stores troll poison)

Friday, August 17, 2018

King Frodi



King Frodi

Every person you touch and love -
Every person you connect with,
Opens a channel of energy from heart to heart
Mind to mind, and soul to soul;
Of rivers carrying emotions and thoughts,
Blessings and curses.

These channels merge and span out,
Creating a network or web around each of us.
None of us are alone. None of us are isolated.
Even in running away, we still have the
Nauthiz inside us for connection.

The hermit secludes himself in the woods,
Thinking he is safe, but he only prolongs his fate;
Staying weak in his kingdom of ice and stone.
It is the brave who face the tempest
Day by day, knowing that the energies which
Pass over their bodies are not always their own;
Who are the ones to build a resistance to chaos.

It is the generous ones, who learn the magic of Fehu;
The ability to transmute energy from one form into another
The gain the ability to turn chaos into order:
Right Giving and Right Mind leading to the growth of Fehu in the body.

As cows in the field convert sun and wight into meat and milk
So does Fehu in the body convert murk into bright.
Knowing the right way of the self,
And guarding the treasures of the heart
Leads a man to know who he can be generous with
And who to leave alone.
For each one of us is connected in this web of life.
A wise man knows that the thoughts
Of his enemies will soon return to the doors of his mind.
A wise man knows this and prepares

Like good King Frodi who was generous with all who came to him
And he ruled as a wise and powerful king.
The wealth of his kingdom stands as a lesson
For all of us wanderers to choose bright thoughts
Instead of the murky minds of chaos and fear
To fight the evils of this world
With a bright and generous heart.

- Christina Marvel

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Ingwaz



Ingwaz

If you have ears to listen, I will share with you
The greatest piece of Rune knowledge I have found.
It is but a seed of thought, yet when watered with the heart,
Can grow to cover the whole Earth.

I have heard many who follow the Runes say,
“Odin has brought misfortune on me.
Odin has taken away everything from me.
Odin is teaching me.”
(I have said these things, myself.)

Yet, if one is to follow the Runes
Like breadcrumbs through the vast wilderness of one’s life
One would see that this could be further from the truth.

Odin is not teaching us anything.
All he did was leave the seeds of the Runes
In the Zeitgeist of the Germanic people.
For all we know, he’s out there still
Riding the skies looking for the next Rune to find.

What he did was leave us seeds in song and story
And when those seeds cracked open in our hearts
We began to face the wild tempests
Fanned by our own growing wings.

Each action that we take in life creates a reaction
Each choice lays the seed for the next choice.
Each thought we nurture, grows into the next thought.
Layer by layer, as time weaves out, the existence of our lives emerges.
For every part of our life is woven by us:
Even in slumber, we participate in its weaving.

If we are to rise and grow as a German people;
It will be to understand that every choice, thought, and action
Determines this world that we live in.
We are the mighty weavers of our own fate
Even if we do not wish to believe it.

For the Gods continually give us gifts from the past
As Groa sang spell songs to Svipdag.
And we have always had the sword of our forefathers
As Hervor won from the undead hands of her father.
And we have the treasure of the knowledge of all our people
As Sigurd won from Fafnir’s lair.
All we need to do is face what limits us and search the mountain inside.

The Runes call out to the heroes of our people
They sing the Ancient songs
Which challenge us to face all that which
Stands in our way from us being our true selves.

- Christina Marvel

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

ALU ULA Meditation

ALU.ULA Awareness Meditation
(Meditation before and after Galdr)


I made this body awareness meditation, using the ALU.ULA formula and combined it with my Vispassana meditation that I do before Galdr. I wanted to create a type of opening meditation that opens one’s senses before I practice Galdr so that I was going in with my senses sharp and tuned to what my Runes wanted to teach me. The key of this meditation is simply Awareness and since we are using Runes, it’s very important to start off by clearing the mind of the day’s events and honing the mind to one single intent for this formula. The intent for this spell is is simply to become Aware and Open to the sensations of the body.

Stand Tall and breathe in deep.

Sound AAAAAAAA….
Start with arms raised up to the sky. This is the position of where Ansuz flows from.
Imagine the sound flowing from the sky into the crown of the head and flowing down into the body.
This is the divine sound of ANSUZ entering into the body.

LLLLLLLLLLLL…..
Lower arms to rest on the lower belly. This is the position of the watery depths of LAGUZ in the center of our being.
Imagine the sound resonating in the belly and filling the organs and then flowing down into the feet.

UUUUUUUU…..
 Lower hands to the ground and if you can touch the ground, imagine that the energy of URUZ is flowing from your feet into the ground and cycling back up into your hands. You can imagine the energy of your Galdr flowing out your feet and connecting with the primal energies of the Earth and then flowing back up into your arms looping over your spine and back down through the legs into the Earth again.

UUUUUUU…..

Imagine the power of the Earth rising up through your legs from the ground. Raise your arms and stand, bringing your hands to your lower belly.

LLLLLLLLLLL…..
Hold your hands at your lower belly and imagine that the power of the earth is rising up through your legs and filling your torso with vital energy. Feel it rise upwards into the chest and shoulders

AAAAAAA…
Feel the energy raise and flow into the neck and into the mind and rise out of the top of the head. Raise your hands upwards to the sky and feel the body energized and emptied of impurities.

Afterwards a good breathing meditation for 5-10 minutes helps to center the mind and open the senses. I have attached a video below of a Sensory Awareness meditation that I use. These steps prepares the mind and the body to be more in tune with the subtle jolts and twinges that Rune Galdr can bring to the body. This allows us to remain a distant observer to Runic magic and not get enmeshed in the experience, but “observe” it as from the outside.
The more we become aware of these energies and can get some distant perspective from them, yet still feel the emotions and sensations they bring, the more we can become aware of the Runic energies flowing through us and changing us. If we know HOW the Runes are changing us, we can direct that change in positive ways and be more conscious about what the Runes bring about in us.
Now with Runes, the moment we get a handle on them in our minds, they grow like a plant. Each “growth stage” makes the Rune more powerful and thus the effects of the Rune on us become even more powerful. One must always be disciplining the mind and staying in an AWARE state to be conscious of Runes flowing in and out of them. Now, they will seem to play tricks (it may “seem” that they do) but it’s really your subconscious reaching out - testing and utilizing the Runes in your life. Eventually, with daily meditation, one learns to let Runes spindle out from one’s awareness and trust that one’s subconscious will weave it well. The mind can rest in an “aware” state and one could go about their business while one is channeling Runes. I have found that channeling Runes while training in some physical discipline helps tremendously to train this dual-awareness. In my Rune Galdr experiments, this technique started to emerge after about three months of daily meditation. Now that I’m telling you and you can focus your mind on it, you may be faster at it than I!
I have attached a great sensory awareness meditation from REWILD U. Feel free to enjoy! This is your body, and your Runes. Explore. Train. Grow. See what you can do.