Norse Mythology/Runes

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Re: Norse Mythology/Runes

Postby Heith » Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:40 am

Continued this from another thread, as the conversation moved onto Norse Mythology.

Seeker666 wrote:
Heith wrote:I take it that you are interested of Norse mythology as well?
Most definitely! My favorites are of Odin and and The Rokkr.
A person on one of the forums I'm on once said that Odin was the "high god" and therefore our enemy
However, Odin has many chthonic and deathly attributes that mark him as an ally. Unlawful as a god of thieves, wrathful as lord of battle and berserker fury, Saturnian and deathly as wanderer and lord of the wild hunt. Master of the souls of the mighty dead. Not to mention his myths make it clear that both power and wisdom requires sacrifice, and nothing in this world is free.
In my opinion, it can be somewhat difficult to try and look at the Norse concepts with same sort of mindset as one looks at, for example, monotheism where the "role" of the opposer is clearer. In Norse mythology, we don't have the "good" and "bad" guys- rather most, if not all deities, have these qualities. In this way various Norse deities can be assigned the role of Satan, and indeed I would see Odin as one of these. In Norse mythology, the deities frequently interact with the thurs and rhimethurs, and the purpose is not always to destroy them.

As to this idea of Odin being the "High God" and therefore our enemy, as you described that someone has written to you, well. Agreeing with you whole-heartedly. It seems that a person rather uneducated on the subject of Norse cosmology would make such a claim, without understanding this archetype at all.

Odin (or Wodan) is indeed the God of death, as well as ecstasy (or fury). In some ways he is a God who seeks to preserve the world of men (such as by gathering heroes to Valhöll- although the idea of getting into Odin's hall is much more wide-spread in the ásatrú brethren of today than what it was before, as Odin wasn't half as popular as he is today) and will battle in the final days against the forces of chaos.

On the other hand, he is a host for the dead (or one of them, Freyja and Hel being a few others that we know about) but then again, in the old days the line between birth and death was slim, often viewed as a similar event. This is easier to understand with the concept of the great goddess (such as Freyja / Frigg- if we assume these are one) that both gives life, and gathers the flock onto her fold again.

Odin is extremely complex and I dare not claim to understand what he represents fully. However, to me he seems to mean intelligence, thought, abstract thinking- basically, the human mind. The death-aspect I've felt to me comes more clearly from the female archetypes. But then again I feel most close to Freyja and she fulfills many of the aspects that also Odin represents.

Do you refer to the thurs with Rökkr?
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Re: Norse Mythology/Runes

Postby Nefastos » Tue Dec 17, 2013 4:39 pm

Heith wrote:Odin is extremely complex and I dare not claim to understand what he represents fully.


This is always the (highly interesting) problem with the different cultures' theologies: especially the most prominent lord-god or overdeity seems to blend in with the Solar god manifesting all the aspects. Yet I hold to the idea that for every culture such an overdeity still actually is one of the seven archetypal lords (of the planets of the old).

For the Greeks, the overdeity was Jupiter (Zeus). Romans slowly seem to change the factual overdeity from Jupiter to Mars. Christians took the Jewish overdeity of Saturn & converted, or tried to convert it, to Sun - although the Mars continued to be in actual ascendance. The cultural change can never be instant, obviously.

Of the Scandinavians, the high god Odin is said to be Mercury, & I can understand that, although it's a Mercury very unlike that of, for example, Star of Azazel's usual depictions of that god. But it's in nature of Mercury most of all that (s)he's extremely volatile & changes shape & temperament most easily of all the cosmocrators.

Jiva wrote:Something that occurs to me is that the fylgjur are an outward projection of something comparable to the etheric body. I also think that the fylgjur come from within but perhaps as a secondary development, particularly if their (and the hamingjur's) etymology is connected to “afterbirth” (and how this is interpreted).


Maybe we're here talking about something not wholly etheric (energetico-physical) & not wholly astral (kâmic, emotional) principles, but the conglomeration of both. Such a state is an "occult" state, that is to say, it doesn't happen normally to people who are not magicians, so the fylgja would not be a standard "principle" per se, but an agent of conscious or subconscious will that is more like a amalgame of several principles? For me these are just more or less wild guesses, since I'm unfamiliar with the original texts, only listening to your discussions.

Earlier in this discussion I mentioned karma as a possible thing involved here, and considering how the karma is the "force of will" (again both conscious & subconscious, the latter working even through the generations & the whole races of beings, not only individuals), the original Sanskrit word meaning "action", it might be that these things are more like processes (agents) of energy between the principles than principles themselves. So, the fylgja might be like a "shaktic" principle of a force-halo, not elemental in itself?

Just thoughts here.
Faust: "Lo contempla. / Ei muove in tortuosa spire / e s'avvicina lento alla nostra volta. / Oh! se non erro, / orme di foco imprime al suol!"
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Re: Norse Mythology/Runes

Postby Heith » Thu Dec 19, 2013 11:45 am

Nefastos wrote:
Maybe we're here talking about something not wholly etheric (energetico-physical) & not wholly astral (kâmic, emotional) principles, but the conglomeration of both. Such a state is an "occult" state, that is to say, it doesn't happen normally to people who are not magicians, so the fylgja would not be a standard "principle" per se, but an agent of conscious or subconscious will that is more like a amalgame of several principles? For me these are just more or less wild guesses, since I'm unfamiliar with the original texts, only listening to your discussions.

Earlier in this discussion I mentioned karma as a possible thing involved here, and considering how the karma is the "force of will" (again both conscious & subconscious, the latter working even through the generations & the whole races of beings, not only individuals), the original Sanskrit word meaning "action", it might be that these things are more like processes (agents) of energy between the principles than principles themselves. So, the fylgja might be like a "shaktic" principle of a force-halo, not elemental in itself?

Just thoughts here.
And good thoughts they are.

The problem obviously with trying to determine whether or not a fylgja is something that is linked only to magicians is rather difficult to investigate, as a person with no interest towards such subjects would probably be unaware of what they were experiencing, or even refuse to acknowledge such a event- let's say, for the sake of conversation, a meeting with one's fylgja.

Although I confess to be rather ignorant of the concepts you write about, as my knowledge of magical subjects runs almost solely on the Norse vein, it does seem worth consideration that a fylgja would indeed be a merge of different type of things- in here you write, a shaktic principle. Perhaps you would be able to explain this further? I'd also like to hear Jiva's thoughts on this.
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Re: Norse Mythology/Runes

Postby Nefastos » Thu Dec 19, 2013 2:41 pm

Heith wrote:And good thoughts they are.


Thanks - it's no easy to brave oneself to enter into your learned conversation as an outsider, but I think it's what our "spiritually uniting forms of esotericism" is about, so, one has to try.

Heith wrote:The problem obviously with trying to determine whether or not a fylgja is something that is linked only to magicians is rather difficult to investigate, as a person with no interest towards such subjects would probably be unaware of what they were experiencing, or even refuse to acknowledge such a event- let's say, for the sake of conversation, a meeting with one's fylgja.


That's true. Still, there are stories & theories revolving around (para-)psychological experiences, and if one is careful, there's some material available that can be taken into consideration. It's just that because the people who can be monitored that way couldn't have mastered the phenomenon, it's happening chaotically & usually in anguishing forms, & thus considered pathological, states of bodily or mental illness. Often aptly, too, for something being "real" in occult sense doesn't mean it should be happening.

As I think many people are aware, there's plenty of paranormal phenomena happening all the time in many people's lives who're not occultists, but as you said, just because it can't be explained, it's pushed aside as being too strange to even think about. Human mind often works by blocking out things we feel we're unable to understand. So even if fylgja would be something like in my hypothesis above, it would most certainly come to being in many people besides serious & practical occultists, but in an unpredictable manner.

Heith wrote:a shaktic principle. Perhaps you would be able to explain this further?


Maybe we could compare human principles to the atomic structure. The actual core consists of the principle itself, its halo being the changing electrons manifesting its peripheral fields of power. Hindu & Vajrayana-Buddhist deities have their female consorts or shaktis, which are like a manifestation part of the male deities which present stability of a force. So, the "shaktic" principle would be like a dynamic aspect of a principle, but instead of being solely attached to one principle only, it also moves dynamically between the principle and manifestation, & is even able to join together several principles in one action/manifestation. Human as a whole has one's aura as the ultimate shakti (all powers together), but that auric structure consists of these different shakti- or power aspects of the different principles.
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Re: Norse Mythology/Runes

Postby Jiva » Tue Dec 24, 2013 6:27 pm

Actually, this is basically how I've been thinking about things too. I thought I'd posted something like this in the post you quoted, but apparently not. Maybe I mentioned it in a PM to Heith instead. Either way, at the moment I think that the fylgjur are agents of the unconscious or subconscious, while conscious projections originate from the hugr (thought/mind) via the hamr (“pelt” - as in something to put on) to become hamingjur, either by shape-shifting or projection. Naturally this causes some debate as to whether those in a trance or asleep are committing conscious or unconscious actions.

There are plenty of Old Norse parts of the soul with equivalents in other languages. The fylgjur seem to be the only entity that is argued by different scholars to be either a part of the soul or a spirit. As stated I think it's a confluence of various things. People who aren't occultists who see their fylgja often don't realise the significance of their vision. For example, in Njal's Saga, Thord sees a dead goat lying on the ground and simply makes a remark about seeing it. Njal doesn't see the goat and informs Thord that he should be watchful, but Thord basically states that he's going to die and nothing will change that.

P.S. Heith, did you get the email I sent to you Azazel email address?
'Oh Krishna, restless and overpowering, this mind is overwhelmingly strong; I think we might as easily gain control over the wind as over this.'
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Re: Norse Mythology/Runes

Postby Heith » Fri Dec 27, 2013 5:20 pm

Jiva wrote: P.S. Heith, did you get the email I sent to you Azazel email address?
Yes, thank you. Looks very interesting.

I've been leafing through Julius Krohn's "Suomen Suvun Pakanallinen Jumalanpalvelus" (something like "the pagan god-worship of the finno-ugric people") but it was a little different from what I remembered and I'm uncertain if it would be of help to you, Jiva. On many parts of the book, trance-states are described, but there seems to be nothing in these that you would not know already. I have also another book that is about the burial customs of the finns, so I've to look at that at some point. However, the things most found in this book are descriptions of shamanic practices, and it doesn't seem to say more than that the noaidde (witch / shaman) would fall into a trance ("langeta loveen"- which we have already discussed previously) and converse with haltija (elf), or battle against these, or be tormented by them, and thereby receive answers- literally they would "haltioitua", become enchanted. This can also refer to being in a trance, or perhaps inspiration. In modern finnish we use the term when someone is enthusiastic about something. The book also describes that the people who most likely turn into shamans / witches suffer fits of rage and other symptoms.

This brought into my mind the name of Wodan, (Fury, rage, inspiration).

It seems that the word haltija is used to describe all sort of spirits and elves, and the text makes no difference between one's own inner haltija, or a outside power- all is simply referred to as haltija.

The book also describes how the "job" of the witch would be inherited. It could be passed down to one's children, or other family member, even a friend. Here perhaps we may see a similarity to giving one's fylgja away, as occurs in a Norse saga.

Perhaps noteworthy is also the mentioning of the witch/shaman's drum, that on the backside has hanging metal rings. The greater the witch/ shaman, the larger number of rings. The number indicates how many haltija the person controls. You can see similar rings on this drum, if you look carefully:

Image

This of course doesn't necessarily relate to one's Fylgja, if we believe that it has one shape, for example, a wolf. But it's very common for people who practice shamanic techniques to have more than one helper, that generally appear as different animals. Usually one of them is a mammal of some sort or a animal that walks on land, and another one might be a bird. These would be used for slightly different tasks. So perhaps a Fylgja can have numerous shapes as well.

but, as always, here I speculate shamelessly.
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Re: Norse Mythology/Runes

Postby Nefastos » Mon Dec 30, 2013 1:09 pm

Heith wrote:It seems that the word haltija is used to describe all sort of spirits and elves, and the text makes no difference between one's own inner haltija, or a outside power- all is simply referred to as haltija.


Haltija is an interesting & very important topic in Finnish occultism. The word actually means the keeper or holder of something, from the word hallita = to dominate or to possess. It's often used in a same way as the "spirit" nowadays is, only it being perhaps more free of the light side of the latter word. One's own haltija is being invoked when the real magic power is sought, like in a spell I quoted at the start of Kalevala topic. In that haltija is one's genius, his "best self" so to speak. So, very close to the âtma-buddhi-manas.

Heith wrote:The book also describes how the "job" of the witch would be inherited. It could be passed down to one's children, or other family member, even a friend. Here perhaps we may see a similarity to giving one's fylgja away, as occurs in a Norse saga.


This would fit to the energetico-emotional fylgja hypothesis. That it would be one's "astral" spirit, and thus separable from one's profound self, unlike one's seven basic principles. In the astral atmosphere live one's emotional dynamics, both good & bad, lofty & primitive, inspiring one's actions & giving - or vampirizing - his strength. That strength is real energy, because it stimulates one's chakric (& thus even glandular) activity.

A magician (tietäjä) or a shaman-witch (noita) has unusual astral vehice, although it - if one is true - isn't the ultimate source of one's power. But that vehicle can be transformed, or even given away. That exactly is true formal initiation, as opposed to true spiritual initiation, the latter forming the needed foundations for the former. The text Adept, which is under its alpha translation now, is about the latter, touching only quickly the former. But it is just these energetico-emotional (linga-kâmic) initiations which the secret societies try to establish & give to their members, almost always failing, because their foundation is not solid. But when it is, the "spirits" will help such a brotherhood, & make such formal initiations possible.

This dominating vehicle of the astral matrix, or the power-aspect of haltija, is like a central energetics system controlling the other spirits: it is related to kundalini-nadi in a way that other spirits are linked to other nadis (the pathways of magnetized energy). A witch without "true" initiations (of the spiritual kind) can get access to the lesser familiars, but only a magician with the true fundamental initiations can get in contact with one's haltija without leaving one's body i.e. without swapping personalities. While losing one's haltija would be equal to "losing one's immortal soul", losing or gaining or changing that haltija's magical aspect (fylgja?) is possible by theurgistic or goetic practices without destroying one's principal self in the process.

The process of creating spiritual children in initiations is much similar to having physical children in regard that the seed comes from the father, but the growing is done by the individual (and, to lessening extent, the mother). But as long as the inidividualization is yet to come, the occult "child" is more like an extension of its father, the initiator, and its mother, the astral atmosphere of the spirits co-operated with. But in rare karmic or practical cases, even fully developed vehicles can be given.
Faust: "Lo contempla. / Ei muove in tortuosa spire / e s'avvicina lento alla nostra volta. / Oh! se non erro, / orme di foco imprime al suol!"
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Re: Norse Mythology/Runes

Postby Heith » Tue Dec 31, 2013 12:48 am

You lost me there, and I think I need to read this a few more times to understand what you mean. Or perhaps we may discuss about this the next we meet? Certainly a fascinating topic.

I am obviously no expert on the etymology of words, and what I tried to find of the root for the word álfr wasn't exceptionally enlightening. However, the poem Völuspá (Prophecy of the Seeress) lists a rather large number of dwarves, and some of these names have álf in them (such as Gandálf :) which stands for Wand-elf). Wikipedia mentions that "In Skaldic poetry, the álfr word stem is used nearly always in a kenning for a warrior or a full-fledged man" (Motz) which certainly suggests a power of some sort. Still, to make the connection between álf and haltija isn't straightforward, or at least I did not find one.

What we do know is that there seem to be different types of Elves in the Norse Mythology. Snorri Sturluson mentions "Light-Elves" and "Dark-Elves". He states that Light-elves live in Álfheimr, and the other folk live underground. Álfheimr is ruled by Freyr, one of the Vanir gods. Freyr, like his sister Freyja, is connected to fertility. He is also the ruler of sunshine, a mighty warrior, and was one of the major deities during the viking era- as his statue was among those of Thor and Odin in the temple at Uppsala.

The texts (at least so far as I remember) concerning the álfr are most puzzling. In some ways they certainly seem to be a race of their own, or considered to be so. It seems to be possible for humans to mate with álfr and to produce offspring in such a way. Perhaps this can be linked to the idea that everyone is again born to the same family? Steinsland & Meulengracht suggest that since the elves were collective powers with a close connection to ancestors and fertility, it is possible that the álfablót concerned ancestor worship and the life force of the family, so perhaps, hamingja?(A blót is a type of ritual, generally a offering to the gods or, as we see here, the elves). I also remember that it is suggested for women in labour to call for the help of elves, as well as the goddesses Frigg and Freyja. We also know that elves had healing powers (Kormáks saga).

Grimm has suggested that Dark-elves were spirits of the dead. I take this to mean those who dwell in the mound but I'm unable to say how these would differ from those in álfheimr.
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Re: Norse Mythology/Runes

Postby Nefastos » Tue Dec 31, 2013 1:17 pm

Heith wrote:You lost me there, and I think I need to read this a few more times to understand what you mean. Or perhaps we may discuss about this the next we meet? Certainly a fascinating topic.


Of course, both are fine.

You said how the witch's job could be inherited from one's family or friends, & I suggested it is because of this magnetized astral vehicle (possibly same as fylgja) being greatly vitalized, or actually, more like reprogrammed by a certain kind of energetical stimulation. It can be just a spark to ignite one's own magical ability, or sometimes even a developed vehicle can be transferred, if the karmic conditions are just right. Both are formal initiations, meaning empowerment of one's personal self. Besides of those initiations there are other ones which deal with one's higher self (wisdom & immortality) instead of his formal power aspect. Lunar (~LHP: tantric triad) & Solar (~RHP: spiritual triad) initiations, if you will.
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Re: Norse Mythology/Runes

Postby Heith » Thu Jan 30, 2014 1:53 pm

It occurred to me to write a little about this, as some brethren is so well versed in the subject of ON religion.

I’ve been pondering about this for a day or two. A fellow student on the subject posed the question of Skirnismal, where the love sick god Freyr falls in love with beautiful Gerd the instant he sees her. The poem begins with this love- theme and ends with it as well where Freyr has to wait for Gerd for nine nights.

Now then, in Havamal, god Odinn pierces himself with his spear and hangs himself from the great tree Yggdrasil where he hangs for nine nights before the arcane mysteries of the Runes are revealed to him. This is easily enough a portrayal of a death- type initiation, common among many shamanic cultures (fascinating stories of this kind of thing can be found in Joan Hart: Shamanic Voices). Of course, there remains a streak of Wotan-like sacrifice in this, as the Germanic peoples would sacrifice humans to Wotan in this way- by stabbing or strangling (Davidson, “Myths and Beliefs of Ancient Scandinavia). Also weapons were sunk into bogs and rivers, as Wotan, the god of war was a god of fury and war. For readers unfamiliar with the name, Wotan is thought to be a sort of pre-Odin, and many of the qualities that Odin now holds were previously more connected to Tyr.

As we know, the number nine is a repetitive theme in the sagas, often connected to magical items, events or, in the case of Havamal, Odin’s self-initiation. Fra Aquila asked me what kind of a initiation would I find Freyr’s nine night’s wait to be like. I had never thought about this and found that I was unable to give an answer, but the idea began to intrigue.

Yesterday, I read a paper by Daniel Sävborg titled “Love among Gods and Men: Skirnismal and its tradition” (Uppsala University), where the author argues that as a source, this poem is not functional in trying to figure out pre-Christian religion. The reason for this is that the structure of the poem is what one might refer to as “court poem”, and is therefore not a valid source. He dates the poem to be too modern and outside influenced.

I am willing to accept this statement to a point, but, I would like to discuss the possibility of initiation theme in Skirnismal nevertheless, and of initiation in Old Norse religious concepts in general. I can very well accept that Skirnismal is too modern and does not follow the general structure of courting in the sagas (the man talks to a woman, the man sits with the woman, the man visits her often, and pieces of clothing are given to the sweetheart).

Absolutely, the god Freyr is sadly very obscure from sources, and not often mentioned in the surviving texts. Still, we know he was among the most popular deities of Scandinavia, and Swedish kings in particular sometimes claimed to be descendants of Freyr. What I find to be interesting is that the Vanir were often connected to the act of sacrificial blot, and, if I remember correctly, Freyr is stated to be a sacrificial priest. Also Freyja receives blood sacrifice in one of the sagas, where a mound is reddened by her faithful servant.

So- initiation mysteries of the North, and is this to be found in Skirsnimal, or other poems?

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