Here is the last of looks into my book about ‘Viking use of Drugs’ in the pre-Christian era. This one is about the Odinic shamanic sacrifice, and then the details about Hemp, which is only one of many herbs I have included of use in the book. It’s an exciting one for me, and comes full circle with a journey through the Viking lands of Scandinavia, Iceland and Scotland. It is coming soon, so keep an eye here in the new year ya’ll… Fellowship work
The Psychedelic Havamal Experience
None refreshed me ever with food or drink,
I peered right down in the deep;
crying aloud I lifted the Runes
then back I fell from thence.
Here is the infamous passage of Odin’s vision quest which brought him the runes. Several translators have wrote it in different ways, and the main tenets are Odin’s hanging on the tree in a Shamanic initiatory style. This can be compared to how Shamans undergo austerities throughout all world cultures observed in Mircea Eliade’s book Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy. Odin sacrifices the dross, weaker self to his higher more aware self, and transcends being merely a man of Midgard. It is said how he fasts, and is parched for thirst, which can be taken as self inflicted or punishment. All passage speak of a ‘looking down’ a ‘peering in the deep’ or some other form of glance into an unknown place while he hangs, though it is not sure if he hands by his neck or his feet. He falls off the tree from his struggle to grab the runes, and surely he does get them, but where did these runes even come from? If the Runes or Runa is the epitome of the secret, or occulted truths, then this can be understood as a metaphor for Odin, dying, and rebirthing, and the runes can be metaphysical, or they can be material, but still where did they come from. My own theory which I have not heard purveyed by others is that Odin was undergoing a psychedelic or entheogenic trance while on the tree, in a shamanic fashion. Before the trip he was just odin ‘something, something’, a common Icelandic name for a man. Then he became aware of the Odin, the wod-stirrer god, that lives within the divine, like the chemicals of certain psychotropic plants, perhaps hemp, salvia, or a mushroom, linking back to the Giant who put all matter into Midgard, Ymir, who is then the real creator of these psychedelic and magical plants.
139.Nine mighty songs I learned from the great
son of Bale-thorn, Bestla’s sire;
I drank a measure of the wondrous Mead,
with the Soulstirrer’s drops I was showered.
Odin seems to speak in such an enlightened and illuminated way here, as if he had just then glimpsed some portion of eternity. Which he had indeed. He speaks of the wondrous :ALU: Mead, so powerful even he has only a ‘measure’ of it. He was showered, with the drops of the stirring soul, and learned songs from the son of Bale thorn. Such songs could be compared to the unknown language of Glossolalia provoked by the psilocybe mushroom, known to affect in man and woman strange utterances with rhythm and syntax, though making no perfect rational sense. In fact many of the passages of the Havamal, but even more so the Voluspa could be thought to be spoken ‘under the influence’ of some magical medicines, if one has the imagination from it. Try thinking about this next time reading the Voluspa, it was spoken by the Seidmadr, the witch, it can’t be denied that her prophecy just came about through a random idea, it was provoked by her own magic and vision quest, like Odins. Perhaps I will write about this in another article in the future. My thoughts are that the runes were reaped or gained from an altered state of conscious, as is repeatable in the mythologies of magically oriented societies for ages; to name a few, the Eleusinian mysteries of Greece, the Soma cult of Aryan-India, the Mazatecan tribes of Mexico, the Santa Daime church ofAyahuasca, the Native American Church of Peyote, etc.
The north was not rich in ‘magical’ plants per so, but they did have some available. Which were probably only available to a select few or used in rites of passage. It is no less intrigue that most of the Gods and Goddesses possess abilities that go beyond the scope of normal man’s faculty, like Heimdalls extremely sensitive hearing as he guards the ‘Rainbow bridge’ one can imagine those entering such a colorful portal to the higher worlds through ‘shaking sound’ as given as one translation of Bifrost, or kaleidoscopic and patterned colors, as provoked by LSD. Freyja’s and Loki’s ability to shapeshift into different animal forms like birds, snakes, fish… This is just one thing to consider when trying to understand, not ‘find the answers to’, the Havamal, the runic system, and the Northern mythology, as each perspective to each person is just as relevant in a new way.
:MARIJUANA: Hanathiz/ Hörr/hampr/lín
In the fifth century BC the Greek historian Herodotus wrote of the use of cannabis by the Scythian people of the Black Sea region:
The four hemp seeds found with the Volva in the Oseburg ship burial were near the pillows the supported the corpses, she may have carried them in her pouch for the same reasons as burning on fires, or perhaps slept with them. The women sowed tended and harvested the plant, in honor of Freyja. This was accompanied by an erotic ritual wrote Christian Ratsch in Sacred Plants of our Ancestors.Her powers were found in the flowers. Ibn Fadlan, wrote that Vikings preferred to make cannabis into an alcoholic drink rather than smoke it in the Arabic fashion.
On a framework of tree sticks, meeting at the top, they stretch pieces of woollen cloth. Inside this tent they put a dish with hot stones on it. Then they take some hemp seed, creep into the tent, and throw the seed on the hot stones. At once it begins to smoke, giving off a vapour unsurpassed by any vapour bath one could find in Greece. The Scythians enjoy it so much they howl with pleasure.
In the Norwegian valley of Gausdal, people in the nineteenth century would lift their hats in greeting as they approached a field of hemp. The plant was known to house a vette or vaetir, a nature spirit best treated with respect.
Hemp may have been grown in Norway in pre-historic times. Pollen samples suggest hemp growing in the vicinity of the Oslo fjord in the Roman Iron Age, around the beginning of the Christian era. Cannabis was also found in an Aryan burial in the Gobi desert with the oldest mummy ever discovered. The tetrahydrocannabinol molecule from Cannabis can be viewed as a combination of two very different halves.
The right half (as the structure is usually drawn) resembles the nucleus of many of the substituted benzene-ring containing components found throughout the lichen world. Isolation of these products can give the raw materials that can be converted to the compound olivetol. The left half is a terpene which contains carbon atoms, and which is substantially identical to the essential oil, pulegone. This component makes up some 80 to 90% of the Oil of Pennyroyal.
The fusion of these two materials has been shown to produce several products, one of which is delta-3-THC. This is as close to the delta-9-THC, of marijuana that is known to be active in man.
LINKS TO NORSE GODS.GODDESSES
(Snorra Edda I,Gylfaginning , ch. 14, p. 66) Hörr is the name given to one of the dwarves, which leads one to believe the plant wight names are those ‘dwarves’ the life under the earth. Our ancestors would have been mystified still before the age of science of how plants and herbs grew, their rituals and beliefs demonstrate this. If this herb was known as Horr, but also as Hampr or Lin, this suggests they named it according to its use or its parts and character, like the tradition of the Gods and Goddesses having multiple names or Heiti. If one could think Horr was the underground part or indwelling spirit within and underneath the plant, and hampr as the hemp fibres strung out of the stalks, and lin as another product, perhaps the finished item.
Empathy with animals, alive and dead. Sensory highs. Wode and inspiration. Communication with the Fetch or Hamr. Higher appreciation for music. Tolerance of discomfort and decrease in pain.
With inhaled through a pipe of wood, bone, stone or glass, let smoke billow inside the mouth in a deep exhale, this can be seen as the Ond, rising from the lowers hvels of the Lik, into the higher hvels. The ganfer, or wind, makes passage along the central axis, and is held in the throat. Exhaling the breath, letting the Ond drift back into the world outside you.
The book will be free as a pdf, and then you can pay what you want for it, if you think it’s good enough.