Living transiently and being able to create permanent connections with natural features, the flora and fauna is a difficult task worth talking about for someone like myself, who is rarely in one place for more than 6 months, and oft usually only half of that time. This stress that I put on having an instinctive and sympathetic connection with the environment moves me to great lengths to experience these raw natural occurences. I force myself often, into discomfort, in the rain and wind soaked to the skin, in the freezing snows, or heat baking you like a sauna. The experience revolves around sacrifice, and the amount you are willing to converge from the safety of your own home, and try something you have not. In the past 6 months I have lives in 6 places in the United Kingdom, and have day tripped into at least double that. For the sake of what? Getting my bearings certainly, knowing my new home, and exploring my landscape, just as anyone who occupies a piece of land should. Our hunter gatherer, and farmer ancestors knew the lay of the land intimately, they knew were all the wells were, which plains to hunt the elk, where to find the ripest fruits, etc. They also had their own sacred sites as you know, and something seemingly as mundane as a pile of boulders, or a lone tall tree, a particularly deep lake, a hill with a good view, a harbour or island, they gave these places names. Tórshavn (“Thor Harbor”), Grim’s Ditch, Woden Hill, which is just in Northumberland. They were as you know places of worship. What I am getting at is how does one find these places and incorporate them into your own spirtuality and ritual. Why should you even have these sacral places at all? And how do you read them?
Part of my spirituality revolves around animism, revitalizing wild and organic human behavior and acting in a way that promotes natural growth, based fundamentally on real work, method, observations of natural patterns, and exposure to the elements. I prefer to spend over half of my waking hours outside, most of it spent hiking, and wanderlust, exploring to new patches of the map that I have not been before, or making a ‘pilgrimage’ to somewhere I thought would prove to be worthwhile. A cairn, or a barrow, a large national conservation forest, a lake, and so forth. If i were to start listing all the peculiar, awesome, and isolated places, I have seen so far, I would be speaking through the night, but it need be said most of these places were not so far removed from where I started. What one finds in these places and what is felt are always subjective, but the conditioning of the find is usually a shared sentiment. If you don’t know what it means to engage in the bio-acoustics of a place, or live through the elements, and become aware of unseen places, a guided meditation is probably the easiest and less stressful way of attaining this. It keeps the thinking part out of it, and allows you instead to focus all your attention on the senses.
A pretty easy one that can be remembered when you feel a tendency to imbibe spiritual energy from a place is by finding solitude, turn off your music, and shut out distractions. Lie on your back and gaze into the sky, and try to allow the uniformness in color, and pattern reflect itself on your consciousness. You are not looking for technical and fantastical pictures for this. The longer you look at it, the deeper and more admiral your sense of the sky will become, everything is going a bit slower in your mind, so you don’t miss those things that are so common to be deemed ‘unimportant’ by the mind. The sense of beauty or intimidation or quietude you get turns into awe, a temporal state of ecstasy. You begin to see the elemental forces behind natural occurences, as they are unfolding. I think because we always try to live fast paced lives, we only see these changes in the same way we perceive evolution, by comparison. What something is now, compared to what it is before. So this at least puts you in a vulnerable state so that you can transfer your attention elsewhere.
Using kennings, and holy names from the mythos are a surefire way to attach significance and quality to a feature that seems to stand out to you. I devised a gild game for myself, called Ginnskald, where I put on some music, an album or two and write out all the kennings for a word that I could use when writing my journals and blogs. By using them in writing, or singing or chanting the holy/kenning names of elements you are internalizing the relations between the mythical and the profane, the speciality and the mundane with a word. I believe we are influenced by everything, that we don’t really get to just choose exclusively what influences our being. If we surround ourself with high minded beings, or sacred spaces, we become unto those people and places. If we are an aspiring vitki, and want to be like our ancestors all the time, but sit in front of the computer for 6 hours a day, we are going to be influenced by the technology implementing itself on our brain. People like this become far less social and outward because they can just accomplish everything online. So how this relates to the ve, is by sacralizing your own world, and making attachments to places that surround you, that influence will build, and the frequency of times they will impact you will increase with the more
you are attentive to them. It is a similar method to Paul’s :HATHENGARYA: The oridnary heathen aspiring to be something high/noble/arya, as with the Ve, it takes on this high value, and special quality.
For seta, if you have for instance come upon some old burial ground, or ruins of a historical building, these can be found virtually anywhere, even if you are on the move. You can use the Odal rune in a galdor formula, and link some of the kennings for the features that you think would be appropriate. During the part of the experience when you are chanting the kennings for say a boulder that may look like Woden’s face, or or leaf that seems to have a Yggdrasil pattern in it’s veins, you are internalize the experiences of your meditation in your memory and etching those thoughts into the place you have performed them at. Then if ever returning it is possible to invoke the resurgent feelings of that past experience and build on them, or if you never return again, try repeating what you did in a similar way at a new place, and observe the experience changes. Certain words or sounds will be able to conjure up the images of those places so that you may not have to be there in the flesh. This is certainly useful if you are not intending to visit a place to make physical gesture but merely meditate on it’s presence.
Using the runes, and with some of my apprenticing rituals and meditations, I have made headway with linking runic currents with certain natural phenomena. The wild rune stadhas I devised for working with natural inherit energy of the Nine Worlds was part of this. I see runes wherever I go and in everything I interact with. This congruence of ideas is how the magicians will is ultimately formed. Being able to find the esoteric meanings and offerings that are under the sub strata. I have had intense experiences upon discovering natural features. Stuff in nature that everyone enjoys. They were not particularly special for any reason, but at the time and place they took on the essence of what could be called a ve, because they seemed to permeate a very real embodiment of something bigger and better than just a body of water, a pile of stones, the tree or the trail. It stuck with me and acquired a kind of store in my consciousness. Even if it was temporal and I knew I could never return to it, I would often just stop and recognize it, honor the place, the wights who lived there, how it might have been shaped into what it is, trying to speak it’s language, and show my respect for the place. Many tracts of forest I have hiked since I was a teenager still have this sacred appeal to me, the trails of Northern Canada for instance, I can not go there and honorably leave if I see rubbish lying on the ground, because I know this history of the place, and what it means to the people who have sown their seeds of worth there, so these type of things I see as a sign of neglect which is counter intuitive to how the ve works. When I plant trees, it all seems the same mostly, the same logging roads, the clearcut, the dawn to dusk grind, but in my mind it becomes more than the hustle. If I stop planting for awhile, I can hear Roe deer far off, their footprints mending with my own. I know that in 10-20 years, the trees I put there may be cover enough from hunters, or shelter from a storm, a temporary refuge. Buzzards will hunt rabbits who choose to make their warrens there, and life will continue. Instead of accepting the wasteland. build the ve, every day, and though it has less impact on my life, it becames a sacred space for other sentient life. The impact of the Ve can not be misjudged. A ritual project that I am undertaking with a friend in the Badlands has suggested a similar sentiment about building and investing time and essence into energy-spaces if you will, where we can make our pilgrimage to, to perform and ‘go under’ the influence of the place. These places would be adorned with organic elements, like feathers and bones, and be used as a channeling point to convey messages, and imbibe a sort of perfected understanding of said place.
Everywhere I go, I seem to make connections, and at the same time to my spiritual downfall, I rarely stay to let them grow on me. I frequently go out whenever in a new place and photograph all the plants I have never seen and then identify them. Knowledge of the flora and fauna is extremely important in knowing what kind of wights live in a place and where you are sharing your dwelling with. If you are stripped for time or permanent space for whatever reason, an effective way is to find where the wights would have a particular affinity. I recommend going by instinct, all the books will tell you that dwarves are summoned in the presence of stone, and cliffs in the dark, and elves are best summoned in the presence of lush vegetation in the sun, and so forth but do what feels right. Following a set of rules, and methods I find doesn’t really help in the end, because you analyze too much. If you feel that some gnarly ruins are really making you feel that a draugur is lurking inside, then fixate your foci on the dead, anything that makes you think of wraiths and malefic spirits. In time you will be able to detect their presence in other ruins, in the case of a draugar though, you may want to ward yourself. A permanent space is obviously better for paying continued penance to the Aesir and Vanir, but by seeking out places that already have this historic connection to them, you don’t have to do all the work of :Gifu:, and making it personal. The age of the place itself, means there is probably something written about it, some archaelogy done there, or local lore about the place that you can work into your own rites and understandings. I think all of these sacred ve can act as portals as well. Just as there are harrows, groves, and fells that are in Midgard revered, so too there would be these in the outer homes, as a two way gate between both worlds.
Something else I find is how my current environment influences the pictures in my head when I am exploring or meditating in these sacred places. The way my fetch changes behavior when I am in a city or the country. The bio-feedback I get from derelict Roman and Celtic sites, as vastly different from what I felt when swimming in a Norwegian fjord for instance, or climbing the dunes in the badlands. The viscerality doesn’t seem to shift, but the draw I take from it, and lessons are very different.
A meditational paradigm that I think represents this transient finding quest of the ve, and which Troy used is this one, which reads: But how, asks the youth, is to gaze to be aware? “In each place and force a spirit dwells before me, after me, and always. They show me the world before me and after me. They have shown me our world at the time of hidings, when the people of stones and the people of oaks, when the folk of staves and ravens, are banished, (Druids, Odinists) and they show me we shall return again, in the night after the next Sigurd.” Now and again, Folk see him at marsh or skerry stone and none think him mad. The youth is faring into each place, to communicate with what is there, and what was before. Who stood and lived in the places where your house is today? What did they look like? Was there even anyone there at all, or was it untouched nature, perhaps the massive forest would have lurked over you there, a millenium ago, and a coyote may have made his den where your backyard is.
I ponder these visions all the time, and several of the techniques that Sean included in the gild book, like the hamingja strengthening, faring forth, seta, and blot, have been surefire mediums of transforming the way I think and act on my current lifestyle.