Category Archives: Esoterica
Grounded and centered, having offered to the Gods my morning prayers, and having lit incense to the ancestors I sit comfortably and consider the following meditation.
I reach up with my consciousness, through endless boughs of an enormous Tree, and its leaves whisper with secrets. I am one of those secrets being whispered and sung up the gnarled knots of that ancient Tree. It exhales me up beyond the worlds.
We exist within the breath of a God. We ride that breath into being. We exhale that breath back into the mouth of the All Father at the moment of our death. We are tied to everything through His breath and it pulses around us, the steady hand of the storm. I breathe it in down into my crown. I am alive. I am Odin sitting atop Hliðkjalf and I wear the crown of sovereignty. Nothing can separate me from this God. He has knit Himself into my soul.
It is Mani to Whom I reach as I move to my third eye. He is an ancient God and all manner of folly He has seen and dismissed. He forgets nothing and yet He is luminous. I pray that my mind and my heart may be luminous too, that I may rest in the House of the Moon, and may my Sight be always true.
My throat is filled with Loki’s fire. It burns away deceit. It cleanses and renders and because of it I speak true. His is the crucible in which I am ever refined. He hones my courage.
My heart is Sigyn’s hall. She protects and tenderly nourishes all that falls within Her care. She keeps my heart steadfast and the gentle flame of devotion burning within it. I look to Her that my soul might be constant. In such things, She does not yield.
In my gut, the seat of my will, I think on Thor. Mighty Thor with His chariot and gleaming hammer, He fights off pollution. He girds the world against dissolution. He will never be overcome. With Him at my back, I know that I will always be able to align my will with the divine order. Thor will keep me clean, the Holiness He bears will keep me focused.
In my sex lies Freya’s gift, roaring, liquid heat connecting me to life and primal desire. She is Mistress of Sesrumnir and Her blessings are holy. She teaches us to find joy in living. I strive to remember this.
At my root, lie the mysteries of Frigga’s hall. She grounds me in piety and respect, reverence, and power. She is the All-Mother and Her touch makes everything sacred. She roots me deep in the purest iteration of myself and throuh Her all magic flows.
Beneath my feet breathe the bones of the dead. Thousands of generations of ancestors having passed through Hela’s hallowed halls. They walk with me and when necessary lift me up. There is no place I can go where they are not and in times of danger they are an honor guard. With each step I thank them. With each step I am grateful.
In my hands, I feel the echo worlds. In my right hand I hold fire, in my left hand I hold ice. There is the holy chasm in between. All of creation is within me and I see the moment the Gods willed the worlds into being. I stand with Them then, again and again. I am willed into being too with each and every prayer. I am sustained and my prayers fall like nourishing water from the well of memory upon the Tree. It is sustained too. It is enough.
I reach above me with my right hand drawing power up from the dead and from the living earth and down from the most secret powers of the heavens and it is right and good and I touch my brow and chant:
Til ykkar, Oðinn og Regin,
I touch my belly and intone: rikið.
I touch my right shoulder and intone: krafturinn
My left shoulder: dyrðin
I cross my arms over my heart: nú og að eilífu
I bow my head in reverence: Amen.
And it is done.
(my photo: “the World Tree”. Do not use without permission).
So my article on re-enchanting our world seems to have provoked a bit of concern among some of my readers. Normally, this would pass unremarked but I think in this case it really highlights the major ideological fault line running through our various communities today: what takes precedence, the Gods and spirits or humanity?
This is not new. In fact, I think it’s always been the primary fault line upon which we dance for at least the twenty-five plus years that I’ve been a polytheist. I wasn’t surprised to see it come up here. This is what the differences in our communities largely come down to: do you prioritize the Gods or do you prioritize the people and if the latter, then what it eventually becomes is prioritizing politics over any Holy Being. That is the inevitable outcome of that consideration. Is it any wonder then that the political pagan crowd are so doggedly determined to silence polytheists? We challenge the entire framework by which they have ordered their world. We also apparently challenge contemporary parenting styles, you know, the kind that teach you that there are consequences to one’s actions.
There are rules to dealing with Gods and spirits. They don’t have our ethics and we don’t make those rules but yes, we are expected to abide by them. This is not a difficult thing. There is, in fact, no small degree of middle class Western privilege inherent in our difficulties with what is really a very easy equation. It’s something that anyone raised in their own indigenous polytheisms easily comprehends. Hell, it’s something that anyone raised in a culture still possessing a vibrant folk tradition (like, for instance, Appalachia) might also comprehend. It’s only the privilege of the supposedly enlightened middle class that refuses to see what any five year old familiar with Grimm’s fairy tales might know: there are consequences to ignoring rules and we don’t get a pass with the spirits when we do so just because we’re happily steeped in social justice, politics, or racial self-abasement. Some spirits value our consent, but not all of them, not by a long shot and that goes for Gods too. What is the saying? Ignorance of the law does not excuse breaking it.
Now, one may argue that by laying my charms I’m setting out a honey trap. Yes, I am. It is still the choice of the passer by whether or not to steal it. Choices have consequences and if I am able to create even the barest crack whereby my Gods and spirits might gain greater purchase in our world, then I am happy to help and I shall sleep content.*
I think that at the core of this fault line is fear of the Gods warring with lack of belief and perhaps lack of desire to believe. If you believe in the Gods after all, then don’t you trust Them? Why would you not wish to return the world to Them, to restore what was destroyed? If you don’t believe in Them, why are you bothered at all? A delicious catch twenty-two, yes? No matter, paucity of piety on the part of others will never impact my own work and let me be clear about what that is.
My allegiance is to my Gods and spirits. My job is to open doors for Them, restore Their cultus, reclaim territory ripped away by monotheism. I am not in the least bothered if that makes people uncomfortable. I will always put the needs of my Gods and Their attendant spirits first and foremost, understanding that They are hunters, understanding that They have been waiting a very long time to reclaim what was Theirs, understanding that in struggles such as these there is always a rate of attrition. I will break your reality down until you see and hear and taste and smell, acknowledge and maybe even fear what is actually there.
and i’ll consider that a good day’s work.
* I might also add that it’s rather insulting that my readers might assume that I simply create blanket doorways for random passing spirits. Of course they are keyed to a very specific group of spirits and Gods. I am very careful in what I do.
We have assembled inside this ancient
& insane theatre
To propagate our lust for life
& flee the swarming wisdom
of the streets
This weekend was so tremendously inspiring, in part because I was able to talk with other devotees, other polytheists, and in a couple of cases other spiritworkers. We were able to exchange knowledge and techniques, and one of the things that I was able to see first hand is how others go about opening doors to the Gods and spirits in their world. I’ve come away with quite a few ideas.
One of those ideas is actually littering my town with enchantments designed to enhance people’s awareness of the Gods and spirits populating our world, designed to open small keyholes and doorways through which our eldritch spirits may skitter. I suppose it might be called ‘glamour bombing’ but there’s less glamour and more eerie fucking magic to be had when this is done right.
To create charms designed to affect the finder, designed to tag them for the spirits, designed to mark them for the Gods, designed to open their awareness little by little to the world beyond our world, the world within it, the enchantment, the holiness all around us? Fuck yeah. It is seeding the place with power. It is creating contamination with the holy. I’m good with that. Let the Gods and Their retinue of spirits seep and creep into our world by any means necessary, by any doorway, window, keyhole, and loophole at their disposal. Amen and ashe.
Tonight, I decided to try my hand at it. It’s 2:30am and I just returned from planting the first charm, and about that I’ll say no more save that I felt it take hold in the fabric of the wyrd and it is the first of many to be laid.
I’d like to encourage others to do this…use the conduit of art to lace your world with enchantments, beauty, and a little mystery. Create charms and shrines and everything in between and fucking recolonize the world for and with our Gods and every one of the spirits that serve Them. Step by step, stone by stone, shrine by shrine, offering by offering, and charm by charm let us reclaim. They are everywhere.
The Lords. Events take place beyond our knowledge or control. Our lives are lived for us. …But gradually, special perceptions are being developed. The idea of the “Lords” is beginning to form in some minds. We should enlist them into bands of perceivers to tour the labyrinth during their mysterious nocturnal appearances. The Lords have secret entrances and they know disguises. But they give themselves away in minor ways. Too much glint of light in the eye. A wrong gesture. Too long and curious a glance.
(a few initial working thoughts on runes and sacred utterance that I’ll most likely be playing with and developing over the next few months).
I spent most of my morning watching music videos by Victoria Hanna, like this one. After reading a few interviews and articles about her, I’m firmly of the conclusion that this woman knows things, like Kabbalistic things and the significance of en-fueled utterance.(1) Listening to her Alef-Bet song, I started thinking about the runes, their spirits, the shapes and cadence of their letter-forms and why that’s all so important in both the practice of galdr and Heathen theology.
It’s all about utterance and what happens at that moment that uncreation becomes conscious creation. To speak with intent is to bring that which has no corporeality, temporality, or material existence of any kind into being. It brings alive that which exists uncreated, unformed, unordered only in the ether of our own minds, only in the ether from which the Gods plucked and spoke and fought and formed creation.
Many traditions have the story of all creation coming into being by virtue of divine utterance. We do not, at least not that has survived for us in any readable form. Our creation story goes back specifically to the primordial, PREprimordial impulse: the spark, the push, the shove, the attention and tenuation of opposites that precedes the action of forming the will to utterance (the theological consequences of having a creation story that begins not ex nihilo but with opposing elemental forces already in existence within holy Void will be discussed in later articles and posts). Our story goes back to the mechanical processes that lead up to expression, that lead up to a point where expression can be rooted in temporality and materiality. But then, well after materiality has happened, after it has been forced to happen, we have a creator God plucking matter from the Void that now is (rather than the one that could be) plucking up and forming from inanimate, unsouled,(?) unmoving matter humanity and breathing into them not life but consciousness. With consciousness comes the spark of will.
Then that same God tortured Himself to tear open the fabric of all that had been created, that had been carefully formed into matter and materiality, yoked to temporality and substance. By tearing a gash in creation He brought forth the runes. He did not create them. He summoned them by will and blood and screaming: by utterance and sacrifice. He unyoked creation to bring forth potentiality bound by the power of utterance. Then He appeased them, creating (negotiating?) forms by which they could engage and act upon this place without reducing it again to the raw impulses of the Gap.(2) And those spirits brought forth more of their own here.
Taking all of this together, it points to utterance being something more than simple creation. It is directly connected to conscious being, a working ontology that has the potential capability to shape and work and guide the unfolding of creation. Given the physiological process of actually uttering a sound, that makes us as human beings conduits for creation, not just the simple βíoς of fucking and breeding (necessary and pleasurable – at least the first lol) but a potential for engaging in the process of unfolding creation that places us securely in the hierarchies of power, of recognition and it’s this that allows us to claim kinship to the Gods (our theology also speaks to Gods helping to father, mother, and further humankind). This is the point where the esoteric and the theological intersect in what might be likened to a very sticky Venn diagram.
What does the rune master want? More. To see more of everything unfolding. To stand in it, touch it, sing it into being, sing it into becoming, sing it apart, feel the building blocks of Beingness flowing through one’s hands and the fiery pathways of one’s synapses. To see, to know, to will. To effect carefully calculable results. It is a particularly Odinic type of ecstasy. It is to know oneself inhabited and comprised of the same particles which one seeks to transform, that we by virtue of our own materiality are built from the stuff from which the runes arose, and therefore hold their secrets in our very knitted togetherness. (3)
In one of her presentations, Hanna discusses the physicality of language, specifically where do letters hit on the throat, palate, teeth, lips, and tongue.(4) This is something that I’ve often found deeply significant on galdr. Part of the process for the more esoteric types of galdr involves playing with just this physicality to work unseen patterns of sound with each rune. These corporeal points become gateways for the rune spirits themselves, and the galdr worker a gateway for what they then loose. It is all centered around the very physical process of shaping and intoning the rune names. The letter shapes themselves become entry points, ciphers, shells for the spirits, coded sigils by which the runes may then be known, engaged with, and conceptualized on this world. Physicality has certain limitations after all both good and bad for which such a ciphered context would be necessary, or at least far, far more helpful even though that which the runes connect to(?) flow from, partake of is fully embodied in the building blocks of our very bodies and the world in which we move. Perhaps part of good esoteric work is learning to call that forth, bring it to the surface, and then engaging directly with it in ourselves and that which we seek to impact. I also cannot help but wonder, thinking of Hanna’s videos, if the fact that the letter-spirits she works with (Hebrew) are encoded as a sacred language as well as a spoken language helps to keep this more consciously encoded and easily accessed? (5)
The runes were used to write several Northern languages and some scholars like R.I. Page would tell you that is all they were ever used for. Obviously I disagree. Language was and is remarkable technology and I would never dispute that, but it’s also remarkable esoteric technology. If the ancient Germanic tribes didn’t have some sense of awe around the process of writing and speaking back what is written that would make them quite a rarity indeed. Now, Norse, Old English, other Scandinavian languages were not, insofar as we know, engaged with as ‘sacred’ tongues. They were the languages people spoke without ever being reified in quite the same way as Hebrew was and has been.(6) All of which leads me to wonder if there was a rune language, something used by galdr workers in much the same way modern Enochian is used by certain types of esoteric orders today? Certainly there are rhythms. One sees this in havamal 144 and 145. There is a rhythm that languages like Old Norse are specifically capable of that can (and I would posit was) used for esoteric purposes. Literacy came to the Northlands by way first of Rome and then of Christianity. What might we have had it been allowed to spread naturally, without foreign influence or spiritual colonization? Might we have found our spiritual dialects comparable to the sacral positioning of biblical Hebrew now? This is speculation of course, but the runes ride rhythms (and alliteration). Is this the shape of the language mirroring the ipseity and inherent nature (sound, rhythm, flow, pattern) of the runes? What creates the best environment for their conscious calling forth?
I’ve often said that learning how to work the runes well is rather a matter of translation and interpretation. There is always a time, and sometimes a long one, where the rune worker is learning how to communicate with the runes and both sides of that equation are developing a common lexicon. This becomes the basis for future and hopefully effective partnership. What might it be like if that lexicon were already an encoded part of one’s culture, language, and religious experience and had been for generations? I don’t know, but I do know there’s a hell of a lot we can only imagine.
What all of this goes back to for me is the power of language: as a tool of creation, a loosing of that which can never be recalled, only transformed, as a sacred tool, an esoteric tool, a doorway. It goes back to language and the naming of things, and then to the ensouled, focused cry, the utterance infused with Being and Becoming, loosed forcefully upon the threads and rivers of Wyrd. I’m going to conclude this here. These are ideas that I plan to explore and develop over time but I wanted to loose them here now because we seem to have issues as a community, an intersecting network of communities with the naming of things and the idea that words have meaning– immutable, layered, textured, complex. They have their own being and when dealing with them it’s important to be precise.
- See here and here for starters.
- In thinking about Havamal 145, I’m struck by the word ‘sóa’. This author notes that while this word means “waste” (which is strange and not particularly workable in context) there are other cognates that refer to something more along the lines of “appease”, which completely changes one’s potential interpretation of this passage. This is something to explore further.
- For instance, our circulatory systems contain the essence of raido, the pathways that run throughout every part of the body. Thurisaz governs our nervous systems….which as anyone with chronic pain can tell you can be a hazardous minefield of torment at times, or a delight of sensual pleasures. Othila is that which is encoded in our DNA….R. Kaldera has explored this with the Younger and Northumbrian Futharks here. Perhaps because this is specifically for healing purposes, it doesn’t discuss the more esoteric aspects of embodied runology. For instance, Fehu has strong associations with blood and othila and ancestral luck. Still, this is the beginning of restoring traditions that have been lost to us, traditions rooted in Yggdrasil, Wyrd, and the unfolding cosmology of our Gods. …which begs a further question: no wonder mysticism and experiential traditions so bother a certain section of Heathens: to say that our Gods are alive and real and actively engaging with us, means that the cosmology and sacred stories are not set in stone. It means lore is unfolding and changing too and that turns all that we are used to in religions on its head. Ours is not a tradition that was once revealed and written down. It is an ever revealing tradition and that changes everything. It encodes eternal unending change into our tradition itself.
- This is a bit long, but worth watching here.
- The other thing that I noted as I was writing this (and obsessively watching Hanna’s Alef-Bet song) is the inherent intertwining between the esoteric parts of the language and piety, the praise of her God. One flows from and into the other in an endless loop.
- Except perhaps by certain denominations of modern Heathens who attempt to position various of these languages as uniquely sacral. I’m not knocking this. I think there can be benefit for encoding one’s language in this way—speaking it in ritual then helps to move one’s consciousness into receptive ritual headspace. It’s not historically accurate though.