By Ulfhethnar Odinsen AOR
The Elhaz – Algiz rune is one with many layers, complexities and associations. The relationship between two of these I’d like to consider and discuss on a more personal level as I believe this rune is symbolic of the sanctuary where one seeks to transcend the bindings of Midgarth yet we aren’t told exactly where that sacred Ve is to be found.
I do believe there is a clue in the association with the Valkyrie. Though some may disagree, as is their prerogative, I believe there is a greater relationship between the Valkyries and the Disir though somewhat obscured. We are told of how one’s personal Fylgia or Kin-Fylgia attaches herself to an individual of her line, warding and guarding, until her ward dies or is found wanting – in which case they are abandoned.
In most cases the Fylgia was never seen by mortal eyes until one was near death; such is the description also given concerning the Valkyrie who, upon the death of a One Harrier, revealed herself and led the hero to Valhalla. I think the connection between the two is not as slight as we have been led to believe by some and, the more we tap into our ancestral stream, the more we connect with our Dis and the guiding essence of the Valkyrie. On the same note, we are likewise cast off or abandoned on our own, the less we seek the elements in our bloodline and align ourselves with that which is unnatural and un-folkish. We close ourselves off from the streams of life and become the conquered not the conquerors.
What would lead us upwards becomes vague and insubstantial yet, even in this state, we are sometimes given glimpses of what our ancestors knew and experienced. In those rare moments of extreme stress and very real danger, what could be called, the “Elhaz – Algiz experience” occurs: In these moments we step outside of time and exist, for however long, in a state between normal warp and weave; a place and state of being, not of wood or stone, but of total spirit where we glimpse the illusion of time and limitations. Examples are to be seen and heard about more often with the burgeoning population growth yet remain mostly unexplained. We have heard about, in some cases experienced ourselves, these transcending moments and circumstances. A person involved in a very serious auto accident who describes every fine detail, including the phenomena of the slowing of time to a fraction of normal; where what took, in actual time as normally experienced to witnesses, mere seconds seemed like minutes or more to those involved. The screech of brakes and the ripping metal, the shattering of glass and its slow progress as it’s scattered in every direction; the process of thought seemingly sped up and answers to questions given before even asked; somehow, as if in that moment, we have tapped
into that great storehouse of knowledge and that which we called ‘instinctive’ was really guidance from within; a mere glimpse into what was, and could be again, a commonplace experience.
Elhaz – Algiz is, to me, symbolic of that state of being where stepping out of time and space is controlled and utilised by a ‘One Harrier’ or one on the path to being such. One who has reacquainted his or herself with the folk and the folk-spirit of our ancients and who draws from the well that life giving essence – where we become that sacred Ve in constant transcendence – it is , I believe, quite true that we are reborn into our ancestral lines and as such, in some cases, are tapping into, not only, our ancestral memories but our own from previous incarnations. What else could explain how we experience aspects of the above in other similar circumstances of high stress or real danger? Or how someone who may be in a confrontation with a person, or persons, who wish them harm – and they likewise – experience the slowing down of time and the speeding up of thought processes? They may be individuals with no history of violence, or any martial skills for that matter, yet in that instant they overcome one or more aggressors as if it were the simplest feat. Later they may not even be able to explain exactly how they achieved the seemingly impossible. That, somewhere in our blood, a similar experience occurred and the memory was tapped into could be the only real explanation.
Despite the promotion of the idea that we have two basic urges; fight or flight, in any given conflict or stressful situation, I believe there is much more involved. It’s the difference between discipline and the lack thereof. When we have severed ourselves from the stream, have yet to reclaim our heritage or have been “abandoned” by our Fylgia – our Valkyrie – we have been separated from all the combined wisdom of our folk; of our memories. Munnin has been lost and wanders aimlessly, to be rarely glimpsed, as we search the skies for what we can no longer explain. Something is missing but we are at a loss to say exactly what. It is only when we reconnect to that stream that we reclaim what is ours; what guides and sustains us; where we reforge our bonds with Asgard and all who dwell there.
Elhaz – Algiz is that state of being that becomes ours by frequent visits within and with a silencing of external distractions and distortions; it’s where we learn to be still and truly hear the harmonic vibrations, right choices and right actions sent throughout the web. Elhaz Algiz is, not a physical destination but purely, a spiritual state of being that exists outside of normal space and time; it is within and can exist at all times and within all spaces. Wherever you are can be that sacred Ve where every moment is conducive to transcendence; where answers and epiphanies flow as freely and consistently as the blood in our very veins; where there are no contradictions; no lingering doubts. In combination with Thurisaz and Othala, we connect with Elhaz- Algiz to create that ‘crossroads’: The binding of the wolf creating a disciplined self who is then awoken once more to ancestral ways of wisdom. The merging of the two create a sphere of consecrated energy and potential; a sacred Ve where true communication is then possible; a meeting place between man and his gods where we are no longer deaf; where we are no longer guided by fleeting external illusions; where, “instinctively”, “we know”; where we hold to what “we know”, despite the threatening winds of change that would snatch from us what is ours scattering it to the four winds. ‘Neath the protective wings of the Swan Maidens we have such a place. We need only stop looking high and low, ‘neath every stone or behind every tree. We need only to stop seeking every sage or “Messiah returned” and gaze inside ourselves to that internal and eternal well-spring of ancestral and godly light that is carried within. That is what they brought back. They underwent their Elhaz – Algiz experience as must each of us. Nothing is given that is more than superficial. Another’s clothes are still another’s clothes as are his thoughts; his journeys will take you nowhere. You must journey to ever reach a destination. “Your” feet must stir the dust within Asgarth’s hallowed halls to bring life once more to that sacred realm.
In the runes we find the keys that unlock the mysteries of life, or death, of all experiences. We learn what is truth and cease falling prey to falsehoods and illusions; we learn to be in all moments in accord with the great song of the web where we put forth life even when it means our death.
To me this is the essence of Elhaz – Algiz that we have glimpsed but have the potential ‘to know’.
May we find ourselves once more at the crossroads and remember what we are truly capable of and what is truly possible where time and space are inconsequential. Let us find, within ourselves, that which we seek and become that sacred vessel of inspiration that we are meant to be…
Ulfhethnar Odinsen AOR
Blod Tru Hearth AOR