Sprëhhan 4

Green Man Inguin1, came not one great harvestman, nor came he one great swain2 aplenty. Long ago, he fore-stayed Halja’s embrace3 – wrote himself large in the home of Tívar. Now – ever he grows anew in each fair free-holder, every ardent swain, and bringer of harvest. His is all that lived thus and ever shall. Should none harvest, still he is. Should none love, yet he is. Thought itself too hard a darkness – burst to flame, bright lit, fair and beauteous, spoke: Baldere! In the High Sun, when the wheel on ground4 is cut, becomes anew, for timeless the Tívar and true.

My Interpretations

This whole sprëhhan brings to mind the tale I grew up with of the Lord and the Lady, who embody the transit of the Wheel of the Year. It’s a traditional harvest story.

Notes on Sprëhhan 4

  1. Inguin (Ing).
    Old High German for Freyr, who Wright notes came not to any particular class of men, but all men.
  2. Swain means “youth, young man.”
  3. Halja’s embrace or “Earth’s embrace.”
    Denotes immortality. Wright notes that Halja is Jacob Grimm’s theorized Proto-Germanic name for this goddess, and states that he further relates her as the owner of Helhest, a three-legged horse found throughout Danish folklore.
  4. Wright notes that “wheel on ground” describes kindred children who mark the Solstice Sun Wheel upon the earth; then, upon it they plant the five grains of the Northern Tribes: barley, buckwheat, rye, oat, and wheat (respectively: Finnish, Slavic, French and English, Celtic, and German).

Freyr

Sometimes anglicized as Frey, his name means “lord” and he is described as the King of Elfheim/Alfheim (Grímnismál 5). Freyr is associated with sacral kingship, virility, peace and prosperity, with sunshine and fair weather, and with good harvest. He is a Lord of Earth and Sea, invoked for weather conditions and plant growth, and it is said that he bestows frith and pleasure to all men (Wright, 2016). Freyr is associated with the rune Ingwaz.

Thor

In Germanic mythology, Thor (from Old Norse: Þórr) is a hammer-wielding god associated with lightning, thunder, storms, sacred groves and trees, strength, the protection of mankind, and also hallowing and fertility.

Besides Old Norse Þórr, the deity occurs in Old English as Þunor, in Old Frisian as Thuner, in Old Saxon as Thunar, and in Old High German as Donar, all ultimately stemming from the Common Germanic theonym *Þunraz, meaning ‘thunder’.

Auðumbla

The first Auroch, the primal cow or Cow Goddess. Her name is generally accepted as meaning “hornless cow rich in milk” (from Old Norse auðr meaning ‘riches’ and humala meaning’hornless’).

The primordial frost jötunn Ymir fed from her milk, and over the course of three days she licked away the salty rime rocks and revealed Búri, grandfather of the gods, and brothers Odin, Vili and Vé.

Auðumbla’s narrative occurs in the Gylfaginning section of the Prose Edda. The cow Auðumbla’s tears produced four rivers of milk, from which Ymir fed. She licked salty rime stones for sustenance, and once licked salts for three days, revealing Búri: The first day she licked free his hair, the second day his head, and the third day his entire body.

Sprëhhan 3

Faced stone and storm – the dying and birthing of worlds1, before ours was thought to be. Faced with no concern for hurt or loss – went on, conscious. Went on in all of storms of worlds. Pure courage was born to the Void. Pure ardent valor came to the worlds-before-world and spoke the Holy Spark in darkness: Donar2! Frija3 nurtures young shoots of life. Frouwa4 is pure beauty and Baldere5 is pure light – all their own right Self-won, Self-determined. Each spoke us in the travail of birth. In each cloth tied to bough6 – in each ale cast from horn7 – I give to them, and they to me, in turn.

My Interpretations

Born from storms and strife. Lightning strikes in the clouds. The early shoots of spring.

Self-won. Self-determined. The actualization of the Self.

We give and take in our relationship with the gods. I think of the rune Gebo: it represents a gift or exchange (including that of hostages), and reminds us of debts that are due. We constantly owe to the gods, we must honour them, give offerings, and honour our ancestors. We must be grateful and give back.

Notes on Sprëhhan 3

  1. Wright cites the Völuspá 1:
    “Ginnunga-gap was there, beginning before beginning, seething and churning void of nothingness from which first things merge. Blessed skull and cauldron, radii of zenith and nadir, keeper of three Wells and three roots, soul of all seeds, it is the all of nothing, the nothing of all.”
  2. Donar.
    Old High German for Thor; his name means, “thunder, rumble, din.”
  3. Frigg.
  4. Freyja.
  5. Baldr.
  6. Wright notes that this is descriptive of the strips of cloth tied to the boughs of trees, each representing a wish for well-being (also: “prayer tree”).
  7. Wright notes that this describes sacred drink poured from a drinking horn; as in Ausa Vatni, or “sprinkling water.” This latter practice was done on babies who were eight days old, and warriors going into battle. Both were means of protection and healing.

Sprëhhan 2

Energy goes on – takes new forms. It merges with, emerges from, the play of selves – best tribal minds: the oldest souls. With each living and each dying, they Self-merited, through successive higher lives, progression to Godwise1. Hugi2 creates itself best – formed mind of tribe, and this goes on, becomes immortal. Ginnunga-gap is hereby thought in minds of Tívar3 and men, and formed thereof and from its Self, ancient milk of that first Auroch4. Lived much and many – becomes that force frith5 – throth6 in the ways of men. Looked with care upon itself, became Ginnunga-gap, and it spoke: Frija7!

My Interpretations

Energy is not destroyed, it’s just recycled. Our essential energy comes from our collective consciousness. Strive to be better with each life so that life is better for the tribe. The generations to come are our legacy.

Self-awareness divides us from the collective consciousness, but we work for its greater good.

Notes on Sprëhhan 2

  1. Wright notes that Godwise is akin to “godhead” and is used through the text to denote wise and self-recognised, realised, enlightened Seiðus.
  2. Hugi means “mind, think, thanks.” Here, Wright describes it as “formed mind of tribe,” meaning, when it comes to our tribe, we must act with a conscious mind, to be reasoned, reasoning, and reasonable, to remember experiences, to be rational and objective in all dealings. One must carefully think things through in all one’s dealing with their tribe(s).
  3. Gods.
  4. Auðumbla.
  5. Frith means, “interrupted conflict; pledge to maintain accord or agreement; commitment to troth.”
  6. Troth means, “fealty, allegiance, faith in shared trust.”
  7. Frigg.

Sprëhhan 1

I am the union of fire and ice – where their streams meet1. I am energy and have no state. Nothing I grasp – and what have – do not hold. I am only I who knows, and all that I am is that knowing. I Am: for I know my Self to be apart from what I am not. Selves change – world is eternal. Self-reappears, goes about in new forms – Self is eternal. World about changes – worlds come and go. I release it and selves change beyond the selves they are. Ginnunga-gap is eternal – screaming void between Fire and Ice. It cares not for me nor not-for-me. The Void I have formed; the Void forms me – the Jötuns2 and Tívar3 both, were before, and will follow too. Conscious became the Void, became first thought, and gave first word, and it was: Wod4!

My Interpretations

The Ginnunga-gap is the space between, where the most primal fire and ice stand side-by-side. I always see something like plasma flow, or the distance between atoms. Probability fields.

Things are always in motion, never truly at rest.

The conscious mind is self-aware. Our self-awareness sets us apart from other beings, and the world around us. People come and go, but the world at large goes on. We come back in different forms, so our essence carries on in the world. Societies change, they rise and fall. We learn to ride the waves, like plasma flow.

The vacuum of space and the space between atoms aren’t even aware I exist, even though I am made of stardust.

The giants and the gods rise and fall again and again.

I think there is a difference here between the self and the Self.

Notes on Sprëhhan 1

  1. Ginnunga-gap.
    Wright cites the Völuspá 3: “First, in ancient time, was old Aurgelmir’s fixed abode, the triple enclosure; when there was no sand or sea, no cooling wave. There was no earth anywhere, no heaven above, only Ginnunga-gap, the seething void, and nowhere herb.”
    As well as the Völuspá 22, where the Gylfaginning describes the collision of Fire and Ice into the Ginnunga-gap: “…the resulting sound birthed Aurgelmir and Audhumla, primal force and form, or energy and matter.”
  2. Jötuns/Jötnar.
    The first being that rose from the merging of Fire and Ice was Aurgelmir, the first Jötun. Hyndluljóð 33: “Iotnar allar fra Aurgelmir komnir./Jötuns all from Aurgelmir come.” The Jötuns occupy their own Jötunheim/Útgarðr (home/outyard).
  3. Tívar (plural), Tívi (singular), Tíva (‘goddess’).
    Wright notes that Tívar is identical to Latvian divus, Sanskrit devas, Greek deus, Proto Indo-European deiwos, all of which mean deity or “god, divine; celestial, shining” and is mentioned in at least ten of the Eddas.
  4. Wod.
    Wright notes that several Old European languages have this word as “mind, wit, soul; madness, violent agitation; furious, to rage.” It can be understood as a philosophical and theological way of unknowing, or the means by which one is able to discern hidden information. It is also the process in which this inspiration is received.

Health and Fitness Tarot

Today I’m starting a nutrition challenge through my gym, so I thought I would do a tarot spread to examine and clarify what I need to focus on during the four weeks of the challenge.

I looked around for some health and fitness spreads but didn’t find much that was close to what I was looking for, until I found A Tarot Spread for Achieving Weight Loss by This Aquarian Life. Even though I’m not specifically focused on weight loss (I’m looking to clean up my nutrition habits, increase my energy, and be more consistent in the gym), the spread is just right for the challenge.

The spread is shaped like an upward pointing arrow, and laid from shaft to tip.

Card 1 – Current Situation and Basis/Foundation

Ten of Pentacles. This card represents wealth and long-term success. Financial stability. Since this isn’t a financial challenge, I’m reading this as a reference to my past relationship with nutrition. I tracked macros for a long time, and I lost fifty pounds. Unfortunately, I’ve gained sixty pounds since then! But I know I should be confident in this challenge because I’ve done this before. I know I have past success as a foundation.

Card 2 – Mental Blocks to Overcome

Nine of Pentacles. This card represents abundance and luxury. It’s enjoying the bounty of your work. I think that this card speaks to the last one because even though I know I should be confident… I’m scared to start this challenge and fail. A voice in the back of my head asks if I have the strength in me to build a body that I’ll feel at home in. I need to tell that voice to fuck right off.

Card 3 – Emotional Blocks to Overcome

Eight of Pentacles. So strange for a run of Pentacles to come out of a well-shuffled deck like this. It’s a message, for sure! This card represents putting in the work, and slowly mastering the tasks at hand. I know that it’s a long process… but I want to skip to the end now! I feel like because I’ve been through this process before, it should be quick and easy. But it won’t be. It’s going to take just as long to do it this time as it did before, and just as long as it did to undo it. Everything takes time. Embrace the journey. Learn to love the struggle.

Card 4 – Physical Blocks to Overcome

Three of Wands. This card represents progress and expansion. After some success, you look to expand. It’s a bit ironic since I’m looking to shrink a bit… but I think there’s a deeper message about becoming consistent. I think this one is about fitness and getting active. I used to go to the gym six times a week, sometimes even twice a day. I may not need to do that right off the bat here since I’ve been struggling to go once or twice a week for the past year… but I very much want to get into the gym more and improve my athletic performance. Even if it hurts a lot in the beginning!

Card 5 – Current Attitude

Justice. This card represents truth and law. I think this refers to the fact that I’m entering this challenge with the idea that I should do everything exactly right. Target macros to the number. No deviation. No flexibility. The letter of the law.

Card 6 – Recommended Attitude to Adopt

Queen of Swords. This card represents independent judgement and clear communication. It’s very similar to Justice, but with an element of flexibility and “thinking for yourself” that tempers the message. Be honest, communicate, think for yourself, but don’t be afraid to take input and help from others.

Card 7 – Allies

Queen of Pentacles. My friends the Pentacles are back! The queen represents a nurturing provider. Honestly, in this context she’s like the Goddess of Meal Prep. I will absolutely be praying at her feet for the next twenty-eight days!

Freyja

Freyja (alternate spellings include Freya) is the goddess of love, sex, beauty, death, and sorcery. Her name means “Lady.”

Freyja is a Vanir, but was made an honorary Aesir after the Aesir-Vanir war.

Freya with Brisingamen / J. Penrose, 1890 / Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons
Freya with Brisingamen,J. Penrose (1890)

Freyja’s necklace, Brisingamen, is a symbol of fertility made of amber or gold. These were precious materials in the North. Freyja earned this necklace by laying with four dwarves, who represent the four elements. One of Freyja’s nicknames is Syr, which refers to a female pig or sow. We may find it vulgar to call someone a pig, but to the Norse they were sacred, and this is an excellent fertility symbol; in fact, Frey has a golden boar (Gullinbursti) on whose back he travels, and Freya has a battle swine called Hildisvin (Aswynn, 1998).

Freyja rules the afterlife realm Fólkvangr, on which sits her hall Sessrúmnir, which complements Odin’s hall, Valhalla. 

Freyja is a Völva and practitioner of Seidr. She is something of a shaman and a seer. 

Personal Experience

Freyja is the goddess that called me to this path. I picked up the runes because I had a vision that my father told me it was time. When I was introduced to them, it was Freyja that greeted me. She presented me with a piece of amber engraved with the rune Perthro. I often carry a real piece of amber with me to remember this vision.

A Note on the Runes

Working with the runes is an ongoing process. Before you attempt to use them for divination, you should take the time to learn each of them. At their simplest, they are just an alphabet. To use them as more, you should understand the metaphorical relationships between them. The runes tell a story, like the tarot, but unlike the tarot, they are much more mischievous. They demand attention and care.

I always say that the runes are like cats. They want your attention when they want it, and they will withhold theirs whenever they feel like it. They may back off if you come on too strong, or they may sit on top of everything you’re supposed to be doing. They’re fun to play with … if you understand that they’re in control. They’re playing with you. Sometimes, they like to let you know it. So, it is important to spend time with each rune. Take the time to get to know them!

I think the best way to do this is by meditating on the individual symbols. Then, study the interplay between groups of runes. The aetts. Groups of three. All of these meanings are important when you want to use the runes for magic, bindrunes, or divination.

You can listen to music or chants that help you access the meaning of the rune. Freya Aswynn’s chants were my favorites. I was crushed by reports of her hateful rhetoric because the CD that came with her book was my first introduction to runic chants.

Now, I enjoy listening to Wardruna instead, a band that examines each rune in a song. I like this playlist that takes you through the elder futhark.