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yggdrasil

GoodGod!

July, 2018

Meet the Gods: Heimdall

Merry meet.

The Norse god Heimdall was the watchman for the gods. Every hour of every day, every day of the year, he determined who could cross Bifrost, the rainbow bridge to Asgard, the land of the gods, one of the nine worlds held in the tree Yggdrasil.

Heimdall is said to have had nine mothers – all sisters, all giants and all virgins. He lived at the footing of the bridge. He was tall with teeth of gold, hearing so acute he could detect grass growing in the meadow; even at night he could see farther than a man could walk in 100 days and required less sleep than a bird. He was the god with the whitest skin, for which he was called the shining god.

Before he came to be the sentinel keeping Asgard safe from giants, he went by the name of Rig. Wandering the world and staying with three couples, he is said to have been the forefather of the three social classes: thralls (who served), peasants and freemen, and warriors and chieftains.

He and Loki kill each other fighting over a necklace.

According to NorthernPaganism.org, Heimdall can be of assistance with pragmatic wisdom for achieving a goal, considered helpful in academic and philosophical pursuits.

He took it upon himself to stand watch to protect Asgard. It was a lonely but important job. Let him serve as an example of duty, dependability, purpose, focus and awareness – traits that would benefit detectives, intelligence operatives, those providing military surveillance and protectors of others, as well as anyone who deals with unruly factions and needs to maintain good relations with all. Find ways to emulate him. Call on him for endurance.

Gjallarhorn was Heimdall’s horn, which could be heard in all nine worlds when he blew it – which was not often. You can dedicate a horn to him.

When seeking to honor Heimdall, be honest and know he valued actions above words.

Mead makes a good offering, so does coffee.

Heimdall Ritual for Blessing a Guard” by Ari is offered on the website as a way to honor and appreciate those who hold often thankless guardian positions such as security guards, bodyguards and bouncers.

Ari calls for making a sigil – a round piece of wood painted sky blue, with the runes Dagaz and Algiz, for wakefulness and protection, on it. It should have a piece of rainbow ribbon tied to it, and a golden chain to hang so it can hang around your neck or a gold keychain for carrying it. A wooden staff, taller than the person being honored, is given to him or her. While holding the staff, the individual is smudged with smoke from dried angelica and cumin seed.

The person performing the ritual says:

Hail to Heimdall! Hear us, Hallinskihdi!

Gold-toothed guardian of Gjallarhorn,

Give this your guardian

Sire of many castes, stamina’s soldier,

See this your sentinel as s/he stands watch

And watch over him/her as well.

Bifrost’s border-watcher, bane of burglars,

Be with this your patient protector,

Let eyes close not, let ears shut not,

Let back bow not, let wakefulness flow,

Let wits be about in all ways, O Wave-Son,

Witness of a hundred leagues around.”

Then a drop of mead is touched to each eye, each ear, the center of the forehead, the top of the head, and the back of the neck, with the words:

See all above,

See all below,

Hear all above,

Hear all below,

Sharp to catch all,

Proud to stand tall,

Strong back never fall.”

The guard takes a sip of mead and pours out the rest as a libation to Heimdall with the words “Hail Rainbow’s Guardian.” The guard hands the staff over, and is given the sigil in trade, with the words: “This staff stays in your spine; this sigil stays at your side.” Then the guard should, ideally, go straight to work, with Heimdall’s blessing.

More poems, prayers and writings about Heimdall can be found here http://www.northernpaganism.org/shrines/heimdall/writing.html.

Merry part. And merry meet again.

***

About the Author:

Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.

 

Rune Activism for Fallen Trees

June, 2018

Rune Activism for Fallen Trees

In Germanic regions, it was believed that mankind was created from tree trunks, echoing the perception that people and trees have much in common.

In Sweden, some trees were considered ‘wardens’ and could guard a home from bad luck. The warden was usually a very old tree growing on the lot near the home. The family living there had such great respect for the tree that they would often adopt a surname related to the name of the tree.

A well-known sacred tree in Norse mythology was Yggdrasil, a giant ash tree that was said to link and shelter the nine worlds that were believed to exist.

https://blog.pachamama.org/people-and-trees-intimately-connected-through-the-ages

Earlier this year I wrote a blog titled Novena for Fallen Trees. This blog follows on from that article.

My (Swedish) surname is Almqvist: it means branch of an Elm tree.

My maiden name is Berendsen : it means son or child of a bear.

A few days ago I walked up the forest track right next to our house. I was looking for large smooth rocks that might volunteer themselves as spiritual boundary markers for our property (I am collecting 24 of them and painting the 24 runes of the Elder Futhark on them).

In horror movies there often is a scene where an unsuspecting person is walking in the forest and feeling completely relaxed, but ominous music starts playing (obviously not heard by this person!) – the viewer grips their seat and fears the worst…

As I saw one particularly suitable rock and started making my way to it I heard a roaring noise and saw a massive machine rolling out of the forest towards me. I took another leap aside but it veered too and continued to come directly at me.

I am all alone in the forest in a pretty remote place. What now?!

The machine stopped. A set of green metallic steps was lowered and a large man climbed out. We were face to face, the Logger and I. He offered me his hand and said: I am Sten – who are you? (The name Sten means Stone!) I stood there cradling one large rock like a baby and said: “I am Imelda, I am collecting large rocks”. He nodded as if a woman holding a big rock as if it is new born baby was a normal event in his life. He then proceeded to tell me that he had not seen a human being for four days. He had been working 14-hour days logging away, all on his own. He was desperate for some conversation and a human face.

This encounter reminded me of coming face to face with a pack of hunters in the same forest, in October last year. This was after waking up to a gunshot outside my window and then finding a dead young deer on the track in front of our house. I set with this deer for a while and spoke some prayers.

The forest that surrounds our house is owned by two large local country estates (essentially two aristocratic families). Everyone who owns forest land must file a plan with the forest authorities (a family friend who owns forest land has explained this to us). Sten is just doing his job. He works for the logging company that was hired to turn mature trees into logs. Those logs might then become buildings (or IKEA furniture).

There exist many myths throughout the world that say human beings are descended from trees, and these are particularly prevalent among Indo-European cultures. In Völuspá the first humans, Askr and Embla, are created from pieces of wood, and in Gylfaginning Askr and Embla are created from driftwood logs found on land by the sea. The three gods credited with their creation include Odin, and either his brothers Vili and Ve or companions Hœnir and Lóðurr (believed by some to be Loki or, by others, Frey). Each god endowed the first man and woman with different attributes.

http://www.thesoulofbones.com/blog/the-world-tree

I had briefly contemplated doing something heroic, like dramatically throwing myself in front of his death-machine. However, Sten doesn’t call the shots, he does not have the power to reverse any decisions. He is only doing his job….

Yesterday evening I decided it was time to check how far the destruction had reached. I brought a candle, red paint and a huge drum with 24 runes painted on it.

Things were even worse than I thought. My youngest son has a favourite hang-out in the forest that he calls Lynx Rock. – Lynx Rock is no more – it has been raised to the ground.

This week I had a dream where I was painting the rune Eoh (Eihwaz in the Anglo-Saxon system) on the tree stumps of fallen trees. Eoh represents the world tree and world pillar or axis mundi. So I used my red paint to do this. I turned one large tree stump into an altar where I had my candle burning while drummed loudly enough to raise the dead. I half expected the loggers (holed up in their caravan) to come running and investigate what was going on – but they stayed away.

I drummed. I chanted. I prayed. I asked the spirit of the world tree for regeneration and healing of this land. I apologised to all the animals, plants and creatures that had just lost their homes.

I took a moment to connect to tribal peoples all over the world who have lost their trees and way of life to loggers and deforestation.

As the world axis, the World Tree runs vertically through the centre of the cosmos and links the heavens, earth and underworld together. Holding the many worlds within its boughs, it is the connecting point between all realms. Its branches (or, in some cases of inverted world trees, the roots) stretch into the realm of the gods while its roots reach into the depths of the world of the dead. It also functions as an anchoring point – a sort of “world nail” or “spike” (Old Norse veraldar nagli) – around which the firmaments revolve. It is sometimes represented by the Pole Star, or North Star, since the skies do appear to revolve around this central, fixed point. As Åke Hultkrantz mentions in a discussion about world trees and pillars in shamanic cultures, the world tree and world pillar/nail were probably two distinct concepts initially which eventually merged together.

http://www.thesoulofbones.com/blog/the-world-tree

When all that was done, I made my way home down the forest track. The daylight was going. I was still extremely upset but I felt better for having performed my vigil and “rune activism”.

In Old Europe there were many ancestor cults involving trees. It was believed that after death the souls of the ancestors took up residence in trees. This is why many forests and groves were so sacred and there were severe penalties and punishments for messing with trees.

What if the Old Europeans were right? What if Heaven does not exist or Heaven turns out to be a forest in this world where our souls take up residence in trees after death so we can continue to watch over the living (and pray that they pay attention to our loving guidance)?! Do we give this ancient belief any thought before we decide to decimate forest land?!!

Today I will take my son to where Lynx Rock used to sit in a forest glade and where he would tune into Forest Magic and Lynx Medicine teachings. You can see him in action here and hear him explain what he is doing here:

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ousLzxLjflg[/embedyt]

I am not looking forward to seeing his face…

***

About the Author:

Imelda Almqvist is an international teacher of Northern Tradition shamanism and sacred art. Her book Natural Born Shamans – A Spiritual Toolkit for Life: Using Shamanism Creatively with Young People of All Ages (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) was published by Moon Books in 2016.  She is a presenter on the Shamanism Global Summit 2017 as well as on Year of Ceremony with Sounds True. She divides her time between the UK, Sweden and the US. Her second book Sacred Art: A Hollow Bone for Spirit (Where Art Meets Shamanism) will be published in March 2019. She is currently working on her third book: Medicine of the Imagination.

www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk  (website)

https://imeldaalmqvist.wordpress.com/  (blog)

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=imelda+almqvist  

(Youtube channel: interviews, presentations and art videos)

http://affiliate.soundstrue.com/aff_c?offer_id=124&aff_id=2260&url_id=86  

(Year of Ceremony)

 

Book Review – Northern Lore: A Field Guide To The Northern Mind, Body & Spirit by Eoghan Odinsson

March, 2018

Northern Lore: A Field Guide To The Northern Mind, Body & Spirit

by Eoghan Odinsson

First, I’d like to say that I liked this book. At first it was a bit academic, a bit dry, but then the interesting stuff made an appearance.

Eoghan was born in Canada and is also an award winning journalist. He has a Masters in Science from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland and taught there for a time. Eoghan holds a black belt in Shito-Ryu Karate and taught the martial art in Canada and the U.S.

It’s said that Odin gave up one of his eyes and hung himself upside-down from the world tree, Yggdrasil, and learned the Runes. There are many versions of runes. The oldest know is the Elder Futhark. The other two main versions are Old English Futhork and Younger Futhark.

Futhark/Futhork comes from the first six letters of the runic alphabet;fehu, uruz, thurisaz, ansuz, raido, and kenaz.

The Elder Futhark is separated in three groups of eight called Ætts. The original names of the runes have been lost to time but have been remade based on names given to the runes of the younger sets of alphabets.

As I said earlier, there are many versions of runes. These are the ones listed in the book; Elder, Anglo-Saxon, Younger, Hälsinge, Middle age, Dalecarlian, Icelandic/Norwegian, Long-branch, Short-twig, and Medieval.

Historically, the runes were derived from the Old Italic alphabets but no one knows for sure which alphabet.

J.R.R. Tolkien used the Anglo-Saxon runes on a map to show a connection with the Dwarves in the book, ‘the Hobbit’. Tolkien created a rune-like alphabet called Cirth to replace the Anglo-Saxon runes in later drafts of ‘the Lord of the Rings’.

Either historic or fictional versions of the runes have been used in fantasy fiction, video games, etc. runes were also used as the written language of the Asgard race in the ‘Stargate’ TV series and movies.

The Germanic tribes had a wealth of weather lore, much of which was shared be other cultures. Many of the old Germanic weather proverbs correspond to actual natural phenomena and many have to been proven to not be accurate.

All of the various world cultures have watched the weather to know when to plant for the best yield, when to reap the harvests, cull the herds for meat, etc. watching the various creatures can tell you how bad the winter is going to be.

One of the idioms that I’ve discover on my own was written on a place-mat at a restaurant; red sky in the morning, sailors take warning. Red sky at night, sailors’ delight. It means that it’ll be stormy if you see a red sky at dawn and pleasant evening if the sky is red at dusk. Of course, sailors always want the weather to be to be pleasant, since the seas can be dangerously rough when it’s stormy out.

There are many sayings on various aspects of weather, including how far sound travels, air pressure, winds, etc.

In Northern Europe, health was important. They had different ways of keeping in good health; runic yoga/Stádhagaldr(a recent creation as of approx. 1984 and was possibly based on an earlier version from the 19th century), herbs, use of animal products, etc.

A form of runic yoga called Stav was created in Norway and uses what’s called ‘Rune Stances’. The Hafskjold tradition of Stav is the only mind/body/spirit system know to the author in Europe. The author included an interview with Stav master Graham Butcher that he did when Butcher stayed at his home in 2005 and updated the interview in 2010.

There are several more topics in the book including cuisine, mythology, the Havamal (Sayings of the high one), and various spiritual practices.

Northern Lore, also, has a nice sized bibliography so the reader can do extra research if they wish.

For Amazon Information Click Image