By Eowyn OR
‘But who knows who is hunted and who shall be the prey?’(1)
Fogmoon heralds the strangest point in the year when much of nature’s physicality has apparently ‘died’ and ‘gone to ground.’ The veil between the worlds of ‘past,’ ‘present,’ and ‘future’ seems very thin. This cold, dark time, when Sunna sinks to her lowest point at Yule and is~ then ‘reborn’ at Mother Night is a yearly Ragnarok for nature replete with customs and mythology, reflecting its enduring power within our consciousness. Odin- now as Lord of the Wild Hunt, takes over from the Goddesses and leads the Einheriar across the land: this is probably why Freya takes half the battle slain warriors to Asgard- at one level reflecting the inherent wholeness in the seasons. ‘Death’ is paramount until Yule when, as in ancient Germany and Scandinavia, the New Year is magically regenerated from the twelve ‘Heilige Nacht’ (holy nights), which forms the ‘time between times:’ the Furious Host of Woden rages forth with Dame Holda’s company of witches. Across Germania, the twelve nights present corresponding weather omens for the forthcoming year. It is the Ur-time, the crack between the worlds where danger lurks. It is also the ‘resting tide’ of the year. Four great tides sweep the year, corresponding to the pattern of the agricultural wheel: a ‘cleansing tide’ from Yule to Summer Finding; a ‘growing tide’ from Summer Finding to Midsummer, a ‘reaping tide’ from Midsummer to Winter Finding and a ‘resting tide’ from Winter Finding to Yule. Practically speaking, Fogmoon time was the start of frosts and the cattle, pigs and sheep would be brought back to the settlements from the hillsides and woodlands to be sorted- some for slaughter and some to be over-wintered. This ‘fallow’ period of the year would naturally bring uncertainty:
foodstocks might not last; the winter might be particularly harsh; the weak and frail would probably not survive and babies might not thrive with food shortages.
Not surprisingly then, it is a time of remembrance for our ancestors- of those that preceded us and whose lives ensured our being here now and of those slain in battle for our benefit. Thus, inherent in this time of year is recognition of the importance sacrifice plays in our lives- at both the personal and collective levels. For whether we are aware of it or not, these tides also sweep through our blood and thus affect us deeply: they are a part of us. This is obvious when we witness the annual spectacle of Halloween: on October 3l’~, people of all ages dress up in ghoulish attire, ostensibly as an excuse for yet another party. However, it also reflects the ancient need for psychodrama in communities. Costumes would be an expression of the fears and uncertainties of the season, of the ‘faces’ of sickness, disease and death- an attempt to transform the understanding of ‘death’s’ place in life. However, donning masks not only presented an exciting theatrical spectacle for onlookers, but also the wearer ‘became’ the creature represented by the clothing in a shamanic ritual rooted in the need to temporarily dissolve the boundaries of the ego to gain wisdom. In ‘becoming death,’ he would no longer be stalked by it in a fear-based dichotomous hunter/hunted relationship that bound him to a linear view of time and mode of living. In doing so, he gained knowledge and wisdom for the community’s benefit.
This need to recognise ‘the season of the soul’ pervades our consciousness so deeply, that despite annual assaults by the church, Halloween celebrations continue unabated- even if watered down into the commercially motivated ‘Halloween’ cinema films or the ‘trick or treaters’ sporting ‘gruesome’ 18 carat plastic bin liners and plastic axes whilst littering our doorways! Of course, the dualistic ego-rational paradigm of Christianity that sees life in purely dichotomous terms as good/evil, black/white, light/dark, etc has successfully converted the populous’ perception of ‘death’ into a cosmic bogeyman, embodied by the menacing apparition of the grim reaper. The mythologist Joseph Campbell once said that ‘reality is myth we can’t quite see through;’ thus ‘death’ has been made a reality by Christian misconception and consequently is
very much a taboo subject in wider culture. In ‘Shaman, Healer, Sage,’2 a shaman comments that westerners don’t bury their dead. Instead, behind each of us are scores of ‘undead’ that have not been properly mourned. This occurs because culturally, we do not possess the knowledge of what happens to the soul parts after death. As a consequence of being improperly mourned, our ancestors continue to live out unresolved issues through us. Indeed, by keeping ourselves ‘protected’ from ‘death’ through ignorance, we are inadvertently disturbing our loved one’s own journey in the primal world, Hel. If we thus ‘bring them back’ as an apparition (i.e. in their Iitr), we do these people a great disservice. Our predecessors were well aware of this fact.
In the Volsunga Saga, Sigmund’s son Helgi wins a battle against the Hundings. One of the Valkyries- Gudrun- is so struck by Helgi’s courage, that she seeks him out for marriage. However, the one surviving Hunding- Dag- whom Helgi allows to go free (on condition that he wouldn’t avenge his kinsmen’s death), betrays Helgi and kills him. Gudrun solemnly curses Dag, but is grief stricken. One of Gudrun’s maids tells her that Helgi has been calling her from the tomb, so Gudrun enters the burial mound by night to speak with him: his wounds have continued to bleed and he declares that he cannot rest because for every tear she sheds, a drop of his blood flows also:
‘Thou weepest, gold adorned!
Sun-bright daughter of the south!
Ere to sleep thou goest
Eachone falls bloody
On the prince’s breast,
Wet, cold and piercing,
Within sorrow big.’ 3
Thus, to appease the spirit of her husband, Gudrun ceases weeping.
When my mother passed over earlier this year, I became intuitively aware of just how crucial it is not to indulge in the egocentric grief that is so prevalent in wider culture. Of course it is important- indeed vital- to grieve properly; but so much of the standard western approach is based upon Christian inculcated grievances and guilt-trips that keep everybody involved ‘stuck.’ Like many folk, having been raised with such ‘life mechanics’ firmly entrenched, I was certain I would find my mother’s passing a frightening and even gruesome affair. Yet conversely, I discovered a sense of peace and timeless wonder that I’d never before encountered. Doubtless much of the last night with her was spent on a rollercoaster of emotion. Nevertheless, I couldn’t help but feel the need to move beyond the hitherto expected- and trivial- ego-based pronouncements that I thought might be required to heal the past into a holding of timeless sacred space, so that she could release whatever she wanted. The sense of peace was incredible and it was an honour and privilege to ‘wait with’ this great transition, which totally transcended mere words. After thanking her and telling her how much I loved her, I moved on to silently persuading her to release anger, fear, attachment to materialism etc and then just remained- wordless- with her. Later, on the final morning of the withdrawal of medication I was resting my hand on her’s and, before the obvious point of passing, I felt a strange magnetic pull that moved my hand back and away from her. In retrospect, it is as though that moment marked the necessary separation of our journeys.
The wider culture of our folk cradles the illusion of duality- a war of opposites where male opposes female, Mother Jorth and all her wonderful lifeforms are just ‘objects’ over which humanity has dominion to abuse as he wishes whilst God the father is an omnipotent tyrant who covertly spies upon, and judges, everybody. The world of the deceased is a negative subject, not to be mentioned and thus, confined to a separate realm or ‘afterlife’ in which the proclaimed virtuous are resurrected in heaven whilst unbelievers and the none-virtuous are dammed to a torturous sadomasochistic realm called Hell. This need to retain the body- even in a so-called afterlife- betrays the narrow, egocentric nature of Christianity. That death should come later- as late as possible- is actively fostered as being rational. Indeed, it’s taboo nature holds such sway over the majority, that the medical profession (our modern mythologists), make the maxim of ‘saving lives at all costs’ a priority, Ironically, this thwarting of natural law is even perceived as heroic. In my mother’s case for example, despite the fact that the chance of her surviving the operation with any faculties intact was virtually nil, medical protocol ensured that during the statutory timespan of 96 hours, she was kept alive with 14 different drugs (including a multi-organ failure drug) and a respirator, before being allowed to ‘naturally fade away.’ Ultimately, she looked more like an adjunct to the computers and machinery than a dignified human being.
Yet, in a very real practical sense, whilst we are full of life now, we are also ‘dead’- a side of ourselves which we won’t know fully until we pass over the illusory veil of linear time. At the physical level, we couldn’t survive in our present state without the works of ‘death:’ cells die and are reborn every second; bacteria and other micro-organisms break down substances in our bodies that would otherwise harm us; foreign bodies are disabled, thus preventing sickness and so forth. But spiritually, there is also an aspect to us that knows only timelessness and wholeness, which many habitually blank out because it doesn’t enter into the stream of linear time that knows only the ‘doings,’ to which wider culture is addicted. Consequently, people are persuaded that life is simply about balancing the masculine/feminine yin/yang dualities, much like trying to control the swing of a pendulum along its monoplane motion. This is akin to suggesting that we havp only Vanaheim (in the west representing stability and tranquillity) opposing Jotunheim (in the east representing the giants of change and destruction) or Niflheim (mists) opposing Muspelheim (fire). These four worlds certainly do operate together on the same plane- Midgard- to create and maintain stability. But without the nurturing soil of the remaining five worlds, we would simply have form without substance. Interestingly, at the collective cultural level, we are being actively encouraged to embrace change to the point where various ‘New Age’ leaders are advocating an ‘all change is good’ approach to life on breakfast TV. Similarly, there is also a fashion to work to remove the ego’s influence within our lives-without the support of a correct understanding of its place as a tool for healthy survival in Midgard. It is sobering to consider that in psychotherapy, a fragmented ego lacking in boundaries is regarded as unhealthy and if severe enough (as in schizophrenia), the person is considered dysfunctional. Hence, unskilful manipulation of a psyche ungrounded in the reality of the ‘otherworld’ dimensions which pervade and weave through our lives (like fibres in a complex tapestry), addressing different dimensions of reality will simply create a dynamic of fear/denial behaviours: fear because change without substance creates chaos and denial as a coping mechanism that encourages escapist activity. Consequently, in the throes of manufactured politically correct illusion, our folk accept the alien creeds believing this behaviour to be a key to enlightenment. Little do they realise that this unskilful disbandment of a healthy ego (that retains their folk identity) and embracing acceptance of ‘all change is good’ is leading them straight towards the manifestation of their greatest fear- death as annihilation! Indeed, the collective fear of annihilation that has been fostered in recent years by the media- whether from nuclear attack, terrorists or aliens- can be understood as a reflection of a spiritual crisis in which ‘death’ is denied; for the explicit order (physical world) is a projection of an implicit order that arises from the spiritual level of being. This has been proved b~ modern physics, as has the reality of life after ‘death’ (currently explained by the ‘grid theory4’).
The common misunderstanding of ‘death’ is largely attributable to the none realisation of its inherent time zones. The full awakening of the chakras allows a person to access various time zones associated with the different worlds of our multiverse. A person who masters the seventh chakra understands that everything is participatory: there is no subject/object dichotomy outside the limited paradigm of material linearity, It is the understanding that the river of life is beyond form and formlessness and hence, masters of this chakra can shape shift because they break free of the constrictions of linear time. This therefore is one of Honir’s gifts-the god who controls the life/death/rebirth cycle as it applies to Odin’s folk and who shape shifts into the stork that delivers babies’ spirits to the mothers’ waiting wombs. Meanwhile, the eighth chakra is the archetypal domain of original images, ancestral and collective memory- the realm of Odin, Asgard and eternity. Here, we encounter the timeless and cyclical conception of time. Thus, it is still a part of the space-time continuum of life/death/rebirth. For eternity is an endless number of days bound by time, whereas infinity existed before time and will still be there afterwards: infinity was never born so can never die. In the eighth chakra, we become aware of that aspect of ourselves that watches our lives unfolding without subscribing to them. It is the realm of invisibility because the ‘watcher’ cannot be objectified. Its negative expression is cosmic horror, a nightmarish realm between spirit and matter, where those who cling to material reality or awaken this centre uncontrollably can get stuck. I suspect these planes have become fairly crowded in recent times! Finally, in the ninth chakra resides our spirit, beyond time and space that resides in- and is- infinity.
‘Death’ is a process that should be as natural as being born. But our habitual relegation of it to taboo status means that for many of our folk, it is a terrifying process that is entered into unconsciously. However, shamans understand that the body returns to Mother Jorth whilst the soul aspects prepare for the journey through the primal world. As the brain shuts down, the luminous energy field (LEF) surrounding the body (and containing the different chakra energies and the ‘soul aspects’) disengages itself because the electromagnetic field created by the nervous system dissolves. It then grows into a large egg-shaped torus, enveloping the body’s seven chakras and, all being well, the LEF squeezes through the portal of its own axis. At this time, the veil between the world’s opens and the person can enter the spiritual domain easily. This is the anecdotal walk down the tunnel of light towards our ancestors. However, a person with ‘unfinished business’ or unhealthy attachments remains earthbound and the clearing of the toxic energies in the primal world is thus all the more difficult to accomplish than if done before ‘death.’ However, just as with birth into the physical world, ninety percent of people will make the transition comfortably; but ten percent will need help. Shamans therefore administer ‘death rites’ to help smooth the person’s great transition.
There is not enough scope to detail the process here suffice it to say that it involves three essential stages:
1/ Recapitulation and forgiveness: The person is allowed to tell their own story and verbalise any negative feelings and, where possible, forgive others- particularly themselves- for any past misdemeanours.
2/ Granting permission to die: As we saw earlier, this is essential to both parties. The person must feel their family are going to manage without them, whilst the family must ‘allow’ the person to leave unhindered by self-indulgent grievances and guilt trips.
3/ The Final Rites: Sacred space is held to allow the person a space to heal and the LEF is released. (It is interesting to note here that when a Christian priest anoints the forehead and heart with holy water at ‘death,’ he might unwittingly be trapping the LEF to the body, thus binding spirit to matter! If this happens, the deceased may continue identifying with his decaying body and will be unable to continue his journey until it completely decomposes).
As Odinists, I believe it an essential aspect of the advancement of our folk to learn to administer the correct ‘death rites;’ for it is the most important thing we can do for our community. Further, we need to accept the examples from genuine shamanic peoples and become proficient at learning the journey beyond ‘death’ (through practises such as meditation and out-of-body experiences), whilst we still have a body to return to. For what we then awake to is the Odinic consciousness that enables us to understand life’s mysteries and the nature of multiversal reality – that ‘death’ ceases to stalk us because it is an illusion based upon the limited linear vision of Midgard. We are then no longer the ‘hunter’ or ‘hunted,’ but a majestic folk grounded in the ‘substance’ of ancestral knowledge, blessed by the ability to fly with both vision and a profound understanding of the multiverse that naturally defies the erroneous illusion of ‘death.’
1/ Inkubus Sukkubus Wild Hunt
‘Vampvre Erotica’ (ABCD17: Resurrection Records)
2/ Alberta Villoldo, ph.D
‘Shaman. Healer. Sage’
(Bantam Books, 2000) Page 195
3/ HA Guerber
The Sigurd Saga
4/ The scientist Ronald Pearson showed that the ether has a complex structure, intelligence and consciousness as its core ingredients. He sees post-mortem survival of the human psyche as one of the many functions of a multidimensional, multi-universal, subatomic grid matrix, on which all life forms exist and which sustains the etheric and physical consciousness of all living organisms. Material manifestations of ‘dead’ people are a temporary merging of two different frequencies or wavelengths from two discrete levels on the grid much like the receipt of two radio broadcasts simultaneously. Mr Pearson gives full mathematical proofs for these theories and, if accepted, could revolutionise ‘scientific’ understanding.