Know the Altmâg mound1 is there, is here, and I access it. Do not construct, nor imagine. Stand anew at each threshold2, not knowing, and at ease with what is not known. Walk briskly in, knowing nothing still, and know the impress of eternity on mind. Calm the heart and mind – calm and deep – that opens to all forms of might. Bliss is in moments: the calm of morning before the house awakens; waving grain; or awaiting the Sun’s taking off the dew before the scythe – moments are bliss, or it is not at all.
He came to the Hörgr after far trekking to the fiery realm3, trading amber. “Whereof to consecrate this place,” he thought, “for I have seen of ewe and fat shoat the folk of hooded-robes4 kill and the notched stone soak. There they make holy and should we.” The Godwise gave that to kill and not eat – would Viðar or Ullr offend. “Consecrate,” she said, “this circle: the warrior with his sword motion, the craftsman with her banner, and the brewer with his mead. All with their gifts of mind – this Donar5 loves best, as keeps the hill. Consecrate thus with your essence given the Ansur6.”
The only true knowledge lies in knowing we know nothing. Live in the moment.
Ritual intent. Consecrate and give thanks, in your own way.
Notes on Sprëhhan 11
- A burial mound, or a place where the ancestors and Náttúra remain (“nature spirits”). The traditional means of access is by Útiseta or “out-sitting.”
- Wright notes that this section appears to detail a method of meditation. She notes that the suggested method appears to be apophatic, rather than cataphatic, which uses memory and imagination. Here, we want to embrace formlessness.
- Seemingly the Middle East or Far East.
- Wright notes that this could describe either Christian monks or the desert tribes.
- Donar is invoked as the Ansur who creates protection to every head and stead. Wright notes further that the Regin Pillars erected in every Hof have nails pounded into them, using a hammer. These reginnaglar, or “advising nails,” make holy the pillars and protect the Hof.
- “Gods” from Proto-Germanic *ansis, *ansuz which is from Proto Indo European *h2énsus, meaning “life force.”
Faith1 is participation. Faith constructs and creates experience. Like from the mold cheese is taken. Thoughts, our experiences create, but are also influential. Who can hold the image of the higher world will reach it. He whose logic deconstructs2 experience lives only in his head. Sweet the sleep of the one who tires in striving to Know. Sweet the touch of woman’s roundness to man, and sweet the hard shoulder of man to woman, but the touch is a moment – no place of full happiness is in this Wald3.
To experience the world, we must use our senses. Our perception creates our experience, but we can’t limit ourselves to our senses. We seek higher knowledge.
Notes on Sprëhhan 10
- Wright notes that “faith” is Middle English and means “duty of fulfilling one’s trust; truth, confidence, pledge, truthfulness.” It is rooted in Proto Indo European *bheidh- “to trust.”
- Write cites Hávamál 23: “The un-wise man conceited stays awake all night and thinks himself wise on anything whatever. Then exhausted when morning comes, all that was wretched still is.”
- “Wald” is Old High German and means “a forest,” but also implies “world.”
Ever is there time, before the field be tilled. Ever is there time, before the nets need tying1, that I can sit and learn. Ever is there time to bend the limb2 to keep the age-dragged gait away. Act beyond, beyond fatigue. Act beyond, beyond what is not to be worked with, beyond comfort, and beyond known headlands3. Who sails beyond creates new charts. If the new land comes not here, still is a man richer to have sailed for it. In his next voyage shall She4 send him to a better journey. Ever is there time to strive, so time must find. Never the man is so busy that he may not stop and look about. Even busy – two in the wharves, one sees the sky, one not. Always one may be aware. I can refrain from too much trencher5 and too many cups. I can curb the tongue from boast or threat. I can be still and learn, or sit in Hörgr6. Even with poor food, even with a humble cottage7, much can understand. Even a sweeper within public-house can have might, and all hear his thought and see his glow8.
Make your own path, forge your own way. Do what makes you uncomfortable. Everything you need is within you.
Notes on Sprëhhan 9
- Exercise. Wright notes Sprëhhan 33.
- The edges or borders of knowledge.
- Wright notes that there are three prominent women in the text: Frija, Urðr, and Halya.
- Eating or feeding.
- An outdoor, stoned-in sacred space.
- Wright notes Hávamál 36: “A household is better – though small to see – for a man who has a home. Though he has only two she-goats and a rope-raftered home – that’s better than making requests of others.”
- Wright states that glow is likened to “glory”, “aura,” or “halo,” it is said to stem from the subtle body and is a natural radiance that occurs about the chest and torso; mostly it is reflective of mood (muot, “mind, mood”).
Paths of might yield to the man who stares beyond his own reflected gaze1. The inner reckoning2 – leaping beyond the known-reflected surface – beckons. The paths open not by act, but by decision. Who has decided he cannot live but in might, that is so. Feasts and droughts arise for who holds abundance. Who holds someone, sorrows at her loss. Who holds what should, shall ever regret what is. Much a man can hold, but this I know: None may hold the Seiðr. Who holds not – nor expects – he lives in might. Who holds not, nor clutches, nor seizes, is much given, but little estate will build. Who holds little can be little riven by grief. Who holds not, but accepts and looks forward with good anticipation, gathers pleasantry and is beyond sorrow.
The mind is a powerful thing. We look within for clarity and kenning. What you decide to do becomes reality. Don’t confuse what you want with what you have. If you tighten your grip, things may slip through your fingers. A gentler touch is required.
Notes on Sprëhhan 8
- Wright notes that mirror-gazing is an ancient tradition used in both divination and meditation.
- Denotes looking within or the “greater mind” – “mannit mikið” and “vit” – “consciousness, sense, mindfulness.” Wright cites Hávamál 6: “Of wisdom shall no man boast to have, rather be heedful of mind. So that wise and silent you come to the homestead, for seldom then will you have to defend your lip. Therefore be resolute and forever grasp the friendship of your greater mind.”
Opening is active, for the mind I must put aside is active. I take the active urge to be passive, to allow in the Full-Knowing of might1. Comes only in the active self – then puts itself aside. The opening I either do by act of will, or quite undo by unthinking – for the mind I know stands aside the path of might. By such paradoxes do I advance, for life is known by precept, but lived by riddle2, and so must be thought.
Three states has the life of man: youth, prime, and old. Three streams3 his time – for water comes down divided. One branch beneath the high sun dries fish, cuts peat, and herd to market drive. One branch the tales around fire tells, and at Þing tide4 – the boy give knife and rope, the girl give loom and ladle; to both to sit, to pray, to grind soot5 and stir. The third lie still in stream, its course of dreams, of quiet, of fire or moon gazing.
You have to take a step back to see the pattern of life. The paradox of the mind’s knowledge of itself. The significance of threes.
Notes on Sprëhhan 7
- Wright notes that might is a quality of being, meaning “power, strength, ability, main, luck.” From Proto Indo-European *magh- “be able, have power”; seen in Old High German, maht. It is routinely used to describe Tívar, Altmâg, and Heroes. As an example: Seiðr is a path of might.
- Riddle, a common theme in Heathen lore. Wright references: Hervarar saga, the Third Book of Hávamál (Heilrœði, or the ‘Counsel of Stray-Singer’) and Vafþrúðnir (“to name a few”).
- The three streams of time is poetic for the three classes of men: herders/cultivators, warriors/rulers, and Godwise (those divinely inspired by the gods).
- At Þing tide denotes not just giving gifts during the Þing, but recognizing a level of responsibility; akin to an organized rite-of-passage, perhaps.
- Grind soot indicates the making of ink for writing.
An illness came and took the frail. Lady of small green things1 helped some, the Vitki2 others. The lady who spun and wove, she never faltered, though it struck about her hearth. At her stoop she lay unrobed, as in a summer sweat. In the cold day, brisk drove the herd with only a shawl about. In Ôstara’s3 cold water was she seen by the men o’weirs4. They came to ask this weft-woman, “Why never afflicts you?” And she told the five purities5: I sweat Baldere’s gaze but may no return it. This be first. I lay in Sunna’s smile and ask she probe my innards with light, the dark moon chase, this the second. I sit the cold fast water until it is faster than my thought and rumbles out cares for three. Drink I only from skins I fill at the high stony brooks and eat not one day out of every month. I sit and do not ponder, do not do. Once it be wind in rushes – they sweep me clean. Again a brook rushed past and next was leaves before a storm. Last dusk, it was a thousand calling frogs. Into the shadow I gaze, where none will look, or to tan grasses, wind-rustled – they sweep me clear. Or in the babble of brook the play of Sunna’s greeting washes eyes as stone-speech cleanses ear, and this be five.”
This is one to study, during these pandemic lockdown days! The herbalists and medicine people tend to the sick. To stay healthy, the weaver follows the five purities: sun-gazing, sun-bathing, bathing in cold water, good diet and fasting, and meditation.
Notes on Sprëhhan 6
- Wright notes that “lady of small green things” implies an herbalist.
- Vitki means “wise-, learned-, conscious-man.”
- Ôstara is the Old High German translation of the Proto-Germanic root *aew-s, meaning “illuminate, daybreak.”
- O’weirs are woven dams built in rivers to catch fish; men o’weirs are fishermen.
- The five purities are folk methods to promote or maintain health:
- To sweat Baldere’s gaze indicates sun-gazing. Wright cites Hávamál 68: “Fire is best among the sons of men, and the sight of the sun. Delightful health settles if man takes hold of it – without which, life is flawed.”
- To lay in Sunna’s smile is to meditate in the sunshine.
- Fast cold water is bathing in cold water, a time-honored custom for health. “Cares for three” denotes the three aspects of being: inhaling breath, noble mind, blood and warm voice. Write cites the Völuspá 18: “They had no inhaling breath, no soul, nor had they inherited a noble mind, no blood or warm voice, no good colour or moral. Inhaling breath gave Óð, Noble Mind gave Hoenir, Blood and Warm Voice gave Lodur, and good hue.”
- Drinking pure water and fasting.
Tívar gives back to me the cycle, time from time. They redeem to me what is forfeited in change from one threadbare cloak1 in the next. All forgotten here – the Tívar beyond anchor our timeless core. Who opens may spá2 from life to life. Who opens must Útiseta3 his thoughts. Who opens, her shall the Tívar speak of time and cause, of life to life renewed. “Who sits in the halls of men?” The changeless ones. Who sits, renews. Who watches, renews. Who cleansed of his own voice hears theirs, renews. And Ash and Elm, Oðr and Frija formed, and from the Void gave Hugin and Munin4, gave Leitr5 too. And the Void moved in smaller ripples and it spoke: Wunsch6! Open is the way to see the Void, open to who reflects it as Ran’s daughters do – Knavke’s Dance7.
Sometimes, our souls return to life in a new form. We forget what we knew before, but the soul is an eternal energy we all share. When you realise this, you can share your knowledge between lives. You can sit outside your own thoughts. You can hear the gods.
Ash and Elm, Ask and Embla. Ash and Vine. The first two humans, created by the gods. Oðr and Frija, Oðr and Freyja. Hugin and Munin, Thought and Memory, the ravens of Odin.
Our individual minds seek the communal soul. We are all just ripples on the Void. Rán is mother to nine daughters, the Nine Waves, by the giant Ægir.
Notes on Sprëhhan 5
- Wright notes that “threadbare cloak” denotes reincarnation; in that Urd’s Well contains the waters of life, Her well could be the collective pool of all souls. The idea of reincarnation, or ‘back-birth’ is seen in the story of Thor‘s goats, who can be eaten, then restored to life if their bones are kept intact.
- Spá means “to see, to sooth, to speak.”
- Útiseta is, literally, “out-sit.” This indicates sitting outside in meditation, and sitting outside one’s self.
- Hugin and Munin are “thought” and “memory,” which ties man to the realm of the Tívar.
- Gave Leitr too means “to seek, search, looking,” or “gave the desire to seek.”
- Wunsch is “wish, beloved, desire.”
- Knak or knik is Dutch and means “a wrinkled or wavy surface.” Knavke’s Dance is a kenning for waves upon water (Ran’s daughters are the Nine Waves).
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.
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
- Inguin (Ing).
Old High German for Freyr, who Wright notes came not to any particular class of men, but all men.
- Swain means “youth, young man.”
- 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.
- 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).
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.
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
- 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.”
Old High German for Thor; his name means, “thunder, rumble, din.”
- 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”).
- 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.
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!
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
- Wright notes that Godwise is akin to “godhead” and is used through the text to denote wise and self-recognised, realised, enlightened Seiðus.
- 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).
- Frith means, “interrupted conflict; pledge to maintain accord or agreement; commitment to troth.”
- Troth means, “fealty, allegiance, faith in shared trust.”