By Redwald OR
It was Woden’s day in Horning 2009 when I performed the inaugural blot to celebrate my newly acquired Hama status – ‘Hama of the Golden Harvest’, named to honour and reflect my rural surroundings. Taking this new step forward, all I had to go on was an instinctive feeling that Odinism was something I felt in my gut rather than read in a book, along with an article by Eowyn OR on the Hama.
From the outset, I have to explain that there are many, many folk in the Odinic Rite who are more well read in Odinic literature than myself. I am of course greatly fascinated by tales of our ancient heroes and our esoteric lore, but it has always been the folkish impulse that has driven me forward rather than an ability to memorise writings which may or may not have a biased Christian slant. For many years I’ve felt the same about historical writings; they often ask more questions than they answer and while interesting, I believe my history is within me, genetically coded to show me the way forward.
We all hold within us an inner truth which we can access if we only bother to listen to that quiet voice which resides beneath our waking consciousness; our waking consciousness is influenced by day-to-day affairs, however our inner voice stays true to our inner being – our folk soul. Many ignore it.
It was with the understanding that I was not as advanced as many other OR members in a literary sense that I applied for Hama status, not knowing if I would be accepted. In fact, if I am honest, at that time I didn’t fully comprehend what a Hama was expected to do. I wanted to further awaken my own spirit and I wanted to see the OR advance, but I didn’t really know how. What follows is what I have learned since then.
Borrowing briefly from Eowyn’s stand-alone article, ‘A Hama provides a daily and constant Helidom in which a person will teach him or herself to see the sacred in every aspect of life…’. I will resist from quoting Eowyn’s article further as it should be read in its entirety, however this short section offers an especially significant insight into Hama status.
Generally, I am a fairly relaxed person and if I look back to conversations which deal with my beliefs, I feel that perhaps I have not promulgated my thoughts strongly enough. I often wonder if I should be more fanatical about my religion. After all, religions historically have been spread by force, both verbally and otherwise. But Odinism, as a nature religion, should perhaps reflect nature in that it advances as a kind of gentle force, like the wind – brushing by our folk and occasionally moving them… with occasional outbursts of power. That which rises quickly often falls quickly, but that which breathes slowly endures.
And so I have tried to ‘ebb and flow’ with the occasional use of emotion; one can be ‘power-full’ without appearing unstable. Hama status teaches one to learn from nature, and it does so in a variety of ways.
However, in the beginning I was frustrated. I had read Eowyn’s article but considering the apparent significance of Hamas to the Odinic Rite I felt there should be more black and white instruction regarding what to do and when. But then again, we have our monthly blotar and suggested ritual so perhaps it is down to an individual Hama to show self-discipline. The inspiration for this article came from what I didn’t understand as much as from what I did. Are there others who might apply for Hama status but do not, due to their uncertainties about guidance and whether they might do something wrong? Is it more important to test oneself against the unknown rather than have it all mapped out beforehand?
The OR is an evolutionary organisation in that it adapts and gets better over time. A pre-planned step-by-step programme towards ‘enlightenment’ smacks of Scientology rather than nature’s way. And so this article details my way, albeit guided by OR principle.
For two years each day I’d get up well before sunrise and sign myself with the hammer and fylfot. Then, if I had time before work, I’d do a short breathing exercise (and I mean short; 10 breaths through the nose). On my fifteen minute drive to work I’d sing a short Odinic song and chant the runes. At first I couldn’t remember them all but over time I learned their names and the order in which they came. That was my daily ritual and it only changed if I had a day off work; then I would rise, face north, sign myself with the hammer and say a few quiet words to myself and our Gods.
I’d read that it’s important to meditate in the morning, before the thoughts and concerns of the day. I use the word ‘meditate’ but that is merely a word to vaguely describe a process which can vary depending on what one wishes to achieve. Sometimes I use a slow breathing process as part of a positive thinking exercise but for the most part my spiritual journey entails stilling the mind and thinking of nothing – no easy task but one which I have been assured will reap great rewards as I begin to tune into my soul / my deeper self / my inner God-force; which ever description one wishes to use.
Also, I’d do a fairly regular report to Asrad CG, the OR’s secretary. A Hama is expected to do a monthly report and I’d try to keep this up. But then I missed a few reports and my blotar became irregular. I suppose this is perfectly normal for anyone who works and has a family and other responsibilities and I pacified my guilt (for want of a better word – that’s the Christian hangover for you!) by reminding myself that I contributed to the OR regularly. Then suddenly I asked myself a question – is Hama status meant to benefit the Rite or the individual?
I considered a few things; I’d written articles, helped compile material for OR Media, attended the GM and Folk Camps and so forth. It was clear I was contributing, with or without Hama status. It would be easy to do away with the notion of the Hama, quit the daily ritual and meditation and simply remind myself that I was a part of OR Briefing and OR Media. The Rite would be pretty happy with that, I argued to myself, and all that time-consuming meditation, getting up slightly earlier each morning to fit it in, could be put to one side and forgotten about altogether.
Then I read a rather peculiar book. It was about meditation from a non-Western perspective and it dealt with the idea of listening to one’s inner voice and using breathing techniques to quieten the conscious mind. I’d come full circle in a way, and the book reminded me rather than taught me what I suppose I already knew – that to achieve significant things you must listen to your folk soul. Despite the author of the book identifying with a different religion to ours, his writings were certainly inclined to our way in many respects, even if he didn’t know it. In fact his line of enquiry was mostly spiritual rather than dogmatically religious, drawing on a variety of influences.
Some time passed and I gradually realised the truth in that Hama status helps one to better oneself for the benefit of the Odinic Rite. It’s a pretty commonsense notion but I don’t believe enough people realise that by properly helping oneself we can better aid those around us.
I recalled that long ago I’d had an interesting talk with a young lad who had for a time seriously followed the path of Satanism. From our conversation I perceived that Satanism was all about individual progression and shutting out everything and everyone else. This lad was smart and he’d attended one of our blots, but even back then when I was pretty new to the OR I’d thought that his efforts of self-empowerment were wasted if he didn’t utilise them to the betterment of his peers.
Later I understood clearly- Hama status, if it were practiced diligently and over much time, could benefit the self and the Odinic Rite. In a sense, a selfish act becomes a selfless act and our spent energies are allowed to live on as part of a greater movement.
If every OR member were as advanced as they could possibly be, the OR as a whole would be a most powerful force and the New Awakening would move ever closer.
The slightly more regimented manner in which a Hama should conduct him or herself acts like an internal sergeant major, drilling the individual to perform daily ritual which will, over time, have significant benefits ranging from more self control to being able to absorb natural energies more readily, and there are health benefits which come from this. Ideally, an individual should be able to listen to wise counsel and impart knowledge to others as a kind of intellectual osmosis. (My sincere apologies for the scientific simile; in between paragraphs my newborn son urinated all over my leg, prompting thoughts of solvent molecules moving through a partially permanent membrane.)
All this talk of self-betterment can sound pretty arrogant, but it is not. Hamas who regiment themselves in this way are making a regular sacrifice of the most important thing of all; time. And in the long run this sacrifice will benefit the Odinic Rite.
Now in the last few months my overt Hama activities have dipped but I have gained more understanding. Being an Odinist offers a particularly interesting outlook on life and Hama status emphasises that outlook to the point where all activity becomes a Hama activity. But in order to refocus my daily regime, I recently decided to begin a diary of activities and although I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions, the fact that most diaries begin in the New Year made this a good starting point for refocusing my thoughts and energies.
Nature’s cycles are important to Odinism, and as a Hama one is expected to acknowledge moon cycles, equinoxes and solstices. And so I purchased a nice hardback diary and entered these significant events onto the relevant pages. The next step will be to add details of our monthly and special rituals from the annual OR publication Rimstock.
Furthermore, I have always been a keen advocate of the ‘mind, body spirit’ approach to health and wholeness. In recent times that phrase has been over used by the Glastonbury crowd, but I feel that to be the best one can be it is important to exercise the intellect, maintain a sensible level of fitness and keep one ear on the folk soul. And so I shall also be using my diary to record workout regimes, diet, musical inspiration and anything else I feel is worthwhile.
With two young children, a wife, work, bills to pay and a handful of other fairly important activities in my daily life, I suppose I have set myself a fairly high bar. Sometimes I feel under pressure to complete the tasks I set for myself. But my one fear has always been to be lying on my death bed disappointed that I’d not tried hard enough nor achieved the things I felt were important.
In some respects I am very lucky; my job doesn’t entail a high degree of stress and my work does not come home with me. I strive to see the potential in life and reduce wasted time to a minimum but that doesn’t mean I don’t have the occasional moment of despair.
I write this in the week after Yuletide. My diary sits awaiting the beginning of a New Year. In twelve month’s time I sincerely hope to have a diary packed full of personal achievement and understanding and I hope to put the things I have learnt about myself to use for my Faith, Folk and Family.
I aim to utilise my Hama status to better myself and the Odinic Rite. It is akin to squatting a heavy weight; difficult to endure but with huge benefits. Some time ago I experimented with hypnotism and found that the effects were subtle and gradual and crept up on me rather than appearing in a flash of blinding light. Odinic awakening and advancement is the same. I feel the same today as I did yesterday, however I am a different person now than I was ten years ago.
I had hoped the OR would explain more about being a Hama; now perhaps I think that journey of discovery was worth taking in semi-ignorance – a step not perhaps into the dark but certainly only by candlelight.
I would like to finish by acknowledging Eowyn’s article, entitled ‘Hamas – Their Need & Expected Personal Benefits’.
The book ‘The Secret Path’ by Dr Paul Brunton, first published in 1934 was, and is, in my opinion an excellent guide to meditation; he was an early Western researcher into Eastern meditation practices and while we have come on leaps and bounds regarding understanding our own northern European spiritual ways, I feel it is a worthy read.
Towards the New Awakening