All Around Us . . .
Look through any telephone book and see how our Northern ancestors revered the tree by naming their clans after a tree species or a tree attribute. You will find Ash and Oakley, Barker and Holly, Forest and Pine, Rowan and Thornapple not to mention the many, many Woods.
Trees have long been recognized as Nature's best gift to the human race. And rightly so, for trees contribute greatly to our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well being.
On the Physical Level . . .
They supply the oxygen we need to breath. Trees keep our air supply fresh by absorbing carbon dioxide that is emitted by factories and engines. Trees are natural air conditioners, cooling summer air temperatures by evaporating moisture through their leaves.
Trees provide wind and drifting snow barriers and cut down on noise pollution by acting as sound barriers. Trees are used to shade homes and reduce the energy required to cool buildings. Tree roots stabilize the soil and prevent erosion. The roots bring up minerals from deep in the soil and redistribute them in the humus that is built up from decaying leaves.
Trees provide firewood for residential fireplaces and for recreational campers, as well as for heating and cooking in Third World countries. Trees provide us with lumber for the more-than-adequate shelters we enjoy and for the beauty within our homes. They also provide us with life saving medicinal chemicals, rayon, certain plastics and with the paper you hold in your hands.
Aesthetically . . .
They fulfill our need for beauty. They provide natural color, shape and form. They give us a sense of privacy around our home. In large tracts of wilderness, they provide us with a primeval sense of the wildwood from which we came.
For this and more on the physical and emotional level, we should all turn to the nearest tree and say a reverent "thank you." But now, what of their spiritual contributions to humanity?
Sacred Trees in Myth and Religion . . .
In myth and religion world wide, trees have been revered as deities or as the abode of the Divine. Most prominent in this were the Druids of England, but they were not alone in their philosophy that trees contained animistic expressions of the Divine. Many elder cultures were noted for their sacred groves in which their spiritual leaders practiced divination. Within those groves, certain individual trees became oracles when their "voices" were heard by a sensitive sage or priestess.
The Bible notes that the prophetess Deborah judged the people of Israel from a seat under her very own "palm of Deborah" (Judges 4:5). In India, the Buddha was enlightened under a Bo Tree. In Persia, the cypress was the sacred tree of Ahura Mazda.
In the Americas entire Native tribes based their culture on use of a single species of tree. The leaders of the Iroquois confederacy, brought together by the archetypal "Peacemaker," sat under the Great Tree of Peace, a white pine. Some say that the idea for the U.S. Constitution came, in part, from this remarkable assemblage of Indian nations.
In the Northern creation myth, the triune proto-god Odin-Villi-Ve made Askr the first man from an Ash tree, and Embla the first woman from an Elm tree as they walked on the newly created Midgard, or Middle Earth.
The Animistic Tree . . .
The Elder philosophies perceived the universe as animistic, meaning that everything is connected and ALIVE. They assigned anthropomorphic (human like) qualities to all things in nature. It is only in the recent technological age that modern culture has dramatically veered away from this viewpoint. Somewhere between the two extremes is a valid balance point. Technology has advanced the quality of life for millions, but it has not provided all the answers. At the same time many core beliefs of animistic folklore remain in our society with stubborn persistence.
With this prelude, we can begin our study of living trees from the view of the mystic. The mystic maintains that all living things have a quality of life called "soul" with which the human soul can relate and communicate at an inner level of Being. The ancients visualized the living soul quality of a tree to have certain human attributes, but that is only a different perception of the same etheric energy that moderns now label as "mystical oneness" with nature. Even in modem times though, practitioners can become aware of the tree spirits, called dryads by the ancient Greeks or devas by the modern Dorothy Maclean as she experienced them in the marvelous Findhorn gardens in Scotland.
The Magic in Trees
Each species of tree vibrate at a their own unique frequency of the Creative Life Force. This unique frequency resonates with the psyche of a sensitive human being, which in turn creates subtle thought patterns in his or her conscious mind. It is this impression, demonstrated over centuries of time, that ancient seers identify in their lore as the distinctive energy "signature" or deva of the species and of certain individual trees within a stand or grove of trees.
Not to be confused with herbal lore, which has its own disciplines, what we examine here is the particular energy field emanating from each tree and how it can enhance your physical and mental states of being. What follows is a sampling of the extensive amount of tree lore available within the Northern tradition. We have selected a sampling of species, hopefully including one or more that are native to your locality so you can go outside and experiment with this age old wisdom.
Birch is a tree of feminine energies, the White Goddess or Lady of the Woods. She is the symbol of the Earth mother and the feminine powers of growth and healing. Birch is the tree to select to bless the undertaking of a new venture. Birch wood has the qualities of purification, exorcism and protection. Tapping a person with a birch twig drives out negative energies. Cradles of birch are said to protect newborns.
Ash, considered to be the "father of trees," is the tree which forms the great Cosmic Axis, or Yggdrasil(*), the Northern World Tree. As mentioned earlier, the first man was shaped from an ash tree. The ash was used in works of divination and as the preferred wood for wands of Druid preists. Ash, being prone to lightning strikes, is considered a good conductor of megin magical power. As the stable Cosmic Axis, ash has protective qualities against ill-wishers. The wood of ash is good for the handles of tools and weapons (as well as baseball bats in modern-day major league baseball). Ash leaves placed under the pillows induce prophetic dreams, while to carry an ash leaf, especially one with an even number of divisions on each side, will bring good luck (similar to a four-leafed clover). The smoke of ash wood will serve as good incense.
* Yggdrasil is alternately depicted as a Yew tree. Yew was a favored tree in Elder times for making bows, and is sacred to the winter god of archery, Uller. The yew is extremely poisonous and is associated with death.
Pine is the tree of immortality due to its evergreen nature. Throughout the world it is traditional to build coffins of pine and to place fresh pine boughs on a coffin during a funeral to symbolize immortality. In orthodox Jewish funerals, the only permissible wood for a coffin is pine indicating the ancient reverence for the Spirit of this tree. The Chinese plant pine trees on graves believing them to be full of vital force that will strengthen the spirit of the departed. Pine cones are carried as fertility charms and pine nuts are eaten for the same effect.
Elm is the tree from which the first woman was shaped. Elm is said to be very popular with elves, therefore it is helpful in bringing about communications with the entire realm of forest devas. One of the nine realms in the Northern cosmos is LightAlfHeim or the world of Light Elves. In legend they are willing helpers of humankind. Being near an elm tree or carrying a talisman of elm wood will open your mind to many hidden energies in the wildwood.
Maple is a "joy" tree. It brings expansive, happy energy to any situation. Maple leaves are used for bringing love and financial prosperity into ones life. Native Americans see the maple as a tree that loves human company. It brings positive thinking and intuitive skills to the practitioner.
Cedar signifies strength, stability and purification. As a cedar box repels insects, so does its energies repel negativity. Used as an incense, cedar purifies an area and banishes fears. Native Americans bum cedar in sweat lodges to help release heavy emotional energies. A piece of cedar hung in a home repels lightning and protects the home from any unwanted intrusions.
Oak is another of the significant sacred trees of the North. Especially suitable for protective functions, oak served as shields for warriors, protective doors for homes and main load bearing keels in ships. The acorn is a sacred fruit of the oak, signifying potential: Great oaks from little acorns grow is a well-known saying. Acorns have been used as talismans of fertility, immortality and longevity. The great, old oak tree is the abode of one of the most powerful tree devas in the forest. With its aura of reserved power, it is a tree of strength from decades of steady growth. Attunement with an oak tree will give you self-discipline, stability and high ideals.
Willow is symbolic of purification and rebirth. The lesson in a willow is flexibility and resiliency. It aids in friendship, love and healing. Association with willow energies strengthens your intuitive abilities and prophecy through dreams. It promotes the value of soft-spoken words, loyalty and the ability to listen with gentle kindness. She is the "whispering one."
How to Practice Tree Magic
Tree magic is easy! It is a simply a matter of attunement. Here's how you do it. Go into a nearby stand of trees either in your local park or in your favorite secluded area of forest. Examine their bark, feel the power that rushes up and down their trunks. Smell the leaves, listen to the branches talking in the wind. See if you can spot flowers or developing fruits. Search the earth at its base. Research their characteristics in nature books and botany journals in your local library.
Interact! Get close to one of the trees in the group, one that you feel intuitively attracted to. Show it to your family, picnic at its base. Show it love by hugging it and talking to it. Cast off all technological conventions when you deal with the mysteries of nature.
Out loud, say I Love You several times to a tree or any other work of nature you are addressing, followed by What do you have to say to me? I always get an inner intuitive response when I do this. We recommend your using this technique more than any other. All living creations respond to an expression of love from a human being when the human mind seeks to experience nature. Once you establish an inner affiliation with a tree or a group of trees, you create a doorway into the etheric kingdom of nature where adventures happen and much natural magic has its play. With practice, you will discover a mystical doorway between worlds and in the process reawaken another part of your spiritual heritage from the ancient past
In Winter . . . You need not interrupt your activity during the winter months. Although the energies are slightly different from the wildwood, we recommend you visit your local arboretum or botanical garden for your attunement exercises. If you do venture out in the wildwood in the winter, you can still feel a subdued level of energy in the trees but you do have to search for it.
The Mystical Landscape
At the Denali Institute, we use the term "mystical landscape" to indicate the fundamental nature of the relationship between Earth, nature and humanity. A brief summation of this relationship will help you better understand and practice the subject of this article.
The Elder Northern tradition holds that Earth (including its various realms of nature) and humanity are co-evolving in consciousness, each dependent upon the other for advancement. It is an evolutionary truism that all kingdoms on this planet - animal, plant and mineral, await the human life wave to evolve its higher consciousness which in this epoch means mastery of the consciousness of Love.
In this cooperative relationship, humanity brings to Earth and nature what it was not endowed with at creation. Humanity brings to nature an extension of the Love Force.
Love is the fulfillment of the Cosmic Law of evolution in human consciousness. In our relationship with Earth, it is our gift back to the Life Form of the planet for we are the only living Beings in the physical world that have it to give. It is best represented in the lore of the rune Mannaz (shown below). Once we understand this essential truism, our world-view turns upside down and we begin to regain the profound respect for Earth and nature that our culture once had in ancient days.
This is the reason why, when a human being extends Love to any work of nature, nature it will in turn reveal some of its living conscious essence into the psyche of the human being.
Learning the Northern mystery teachings regarding the relationship between Earth, nature and humanity is essential to spiritual advancement on the Northern path.
(1) Wizard in Tree by Anne Crane, Dancing Crane Photography, Tigard, Oregon. Wizard carved in cedar tree by unknown person, discovered by her son Aiden Crane, 9 years old, who has read all the books in the Harry Potter series.
(2) Personal photo by Ragnar. Cup purchased (and slogan a registered trade mark) from Tillamook Forest Center, Oregon Department of Forestry, Wilson River Highway (Hwy, 6, mile 22), Tillamook, Oregon. www.tillamookforestcenter.org.
Lo, there do I see my Father
Lo, there do I see my Mother, and my Sisters and my Brothers,
Lo, there do I see the line of my people back to the beginning,
Lo, they do call to me, they bid me to take my place among them,
In the Hall of Valhalla,
Where the Brave, they live forever.
The 13th Warrior, based on the book by Michael Crichten)Viking Jarl Buliwyf
(in the movie
At the end of this month, we will observe a celebration of Samhain (Ancestor's Night, All-Hallows Eve) and enter into the traditional family time of the year, when you and your loved ones will gather together physically, and if not, in treasured memories of past gatherings.
At the same time, we are in the midst of a great surge of interest in the field of genealogy, the tracing of family roots back as far as records can be researched. As a runic practitioner, you should not only be searching paper trails (which may take you back into the 1800s and even the 1700s, if you are lucky) but also be addressing "spiritual" genealogy which will carry you back a thousand years or more in your ancestral stream using the energy of the runes and your Elder Northern tradition.
First off, let's talk about what you can do right here and now to discover more about your family roots.
STEP 1: In the next few weeks, develop a list of those things you want to know about your family tree that you can ask your relatives when you have the occasion over the holidays to talk or write to them. You'll be surprised as to how much you can learn of your family tree by just this exercise.
But, I recommend you do not leave this exercise to chance. Write down your questions, and write down their answers. I also do not recommend tape recordings of conversations as your first choice, unless you plan to transcribe the recordings within a few days. Tape recordings sit around for years on the shelf, and by the time your children will want to access them, Ill bet there won't be a tape machine around (it'll be digital voice recordings or something newer).
I recommend you write down your questions in advance and write down the answers in brief shorthand type notes that you can flesh out later. Prepare a special journal to contain your notes. Write as if you were writing, not to your children or grandchildren who know you already, but to the third generation away.
STEP 2: Draw out a family tree diagram so that the linkages are obvious. I will bet you have a family tree in your baby book that ends with YOU. Now, it's time to give this same gift to your descendents.
STEP 3: Don't hesitate to make contact with your older relations this season. In many cases, whole family histories disappear with the unexpected passing of an elder in your family. If you have a "skeleton in the closet" between you and an elder, now is the time to deflate that energy with a sincere inquiry into their past and what they can remember of the generations before them.
After this effort, if you choose to do so, you can begin to search back beyond your living relatives and their memories of past generations. The Internet is the resource of choice for genealogists-just enter the term "genealogy" in a search engine and you will find hundreds of web pages offering quality services at no charge. You can initiate a search in your own name. You are limited only by your imagination and the time it takes to follow through on each lead.
Spiritual genealogy begins where the physical research leaves off, back beyond the past century or two of family records. Fortunately, you are in a spiritual tradition that not only includes but recognizes exploration of ancestral streams to benefit your present life in Midgard, as well as to reveal the variety of experiences you have stored in your family treasure box.
To be clear, we are NOT talking your personal rebirth or reincarnations within the ancestral stream. While you can expect to have incarnated more than a few times in the broad ancestral stream that you now belong to, we are paying special attention to the OTHER souls that have been weaving in and out of your ancestral stream that have left traces of their energy in your inheritance.
The runes that quicken your consciousness to awareness of your ancestral stream are:
Othala (primarily) as rune of the Kin-Fetch and Disir.
Ehwaz as rune of your Fylgja or Fetch (which contains your personal wyrd/orlog and connects to your Kin-Fetch).
Tiwaz to restore inheritances which are justly yours.
Four questions to quicken your mind in meditation:
1. Where did I get my spiritual "genes" to explain my interest and pursuit of esoteric mysteries and runic tradition, especially if none of my present family exhibit such tendencies? Think deeply on this runesters, for this question will lead you back to the ancestors that practiced the tradition openly. NOTE: you may have to leapfrog back and bypass those ancestors who were (are) dogmatic in their religious beliefs and/or fearful of straying from strong Christian dominance (don't underestimate this element).
2. Who else "owned" my name?
3. What traits have I inherited that are certainly "family?"
4. Are there any "like-minded" ancestors alive today in a distant thread of my family stream that I have yet to meet in this lifetime?
NOTE: Those of you who are of non-European ethnic heritage, consider:
(1) your fascination with symbols and a Yggdrasil-type cosmology from a similar type ancient tradition that has since disappeared from your present ethnic heritage; or
(2) leaping back to a thread of your ancestral stream that was part of or dealt with Northern cultures; as well as
(3) your past incarnations that may have been in Northern realms or overlapped with the Northern tradition.
We provide in-depth coverage of ancestral stream dynamics integral to our tradition in Rune Master lessons, as well as a full chapter in our Rune Mentalist Skills book which is further described on this site.
It's unfortunate that a useful and practical metaphysical truth gets relegated to a once-a-year celebration of folklore particular to only one cultural group. The "Luck of the Irish," is celebrated on St. Patrick's Day, and rightly so. But it's not just to the Irish nor to the Irish Church that "Luck" belongs. It's part of the weave of Northern lore, and the Irish have held on to it the longest, to their everlasting credit.
"Luck" is a uniquely identified energy concept within the Elder Northern tradition, and recognized throughout the Northern lands. Far more than the modern definition of luck to the gambler at the race track, or in the casino (although even in this extreme, the principles apply), Northern "Luck" can be identified, quantified (somewhat), and shaped (somewhat) according to individual will.
It is true, in mainstream consciousness, that luck is "90% preparation meeting 10% inspiration." But to a Northern practitioner, the concept of Luck has much greater potential for practical use.
Just what is "Northern" Luck? In the Northern tradition, Luck is defined as mobile force. The universal energy force that fuels Luck in Northern lore is Ond, or vital breath. It is roughly comparable to chi, prana, orgone, nous, and manitu energies in other traditions.
However, in Northern lore this universal energy is given a uniquely individualized identity. When specifically addressed as the energy within an individual, this energy is called megin. Megin is defined as a personal force distinct from physical power or strength, the possession of which assures success and good fortune. It equates to what we call "charisma," but more than just everyday charm, popularity, or ability to persuade.
Megin is stored in an energy construct within the aura of a human being called the "hamingja." Numerous references are made to the hamingja of Northern heroes and kings in the sagas, but it is not easily defined. Briefly, the hamingja is an integral part of one's personal aura which gives the entire field greater potency and much more flexibility for workings of human will. Think of it as being similar to the air sac of Scottish bagpipes. The hamingja serves to concentrate one's personal megin much as the bag in the Scottish pipes acts to store air for future melodies. Consider the hamingja a reservoir for the storage of your megin energies, which in turn becomes your Luck.
Through study of the Northern mysteries, we know that, (1) the walls of the hamingja can be strengthened using the rune Elhaz, (2) its capacity to hold energy can be increased (using the runes Fehu and Elhaz, and (3) it can be tasked to discharge its energy in a "sending" under the will of an illumined mind (using the rune Fehu). The hamingja is an extremely important tool of the mind for the Northern practitioner to become adept in using.
MANAGING YOUR LUCK
Making a relatively simplistic assumption, we can say that the amount of Luck in your life is the equivalent to the amount of megin concentrated in your hamingja or psychic energy reservoir.
It is common that people experience the best of their Luck in the early years of life. That is when the hamingja is fresh and full of megin that is rightfully yours from past life accumulations and through your share of the energy "treasury" provided by your family ancestral stream. Because of this, early in life things happen naturally and effortlessly and you experience any number of "lucky" synchronicities.
However, as the years go by the level of the energy in your reservoir goes down as you go through life passages, and the skeletons accumulate in your mental closet. If your hamingja is not refilled with fresh megin energies, your Luck goes down also. I am sure every reader will relate to this statement to some degree or another.
If you have health problems, you can be sure that your personal megin will be used to counter bodily diseases and other health emergencies. This is an unintended depletion of your reservoir of megin energies which only serves to lower your relative level of Luck. While all the megin stored in your hamingja is instantly available in the event of an emergency, unfortunately, in most people the level of stored megin is just adequate to meet daily needs. This relatively low level is not sufficient to give you what you had known as "good luck" and is definitely not adequate to protect you from threatening situations which call for an abundant supply of megin to protect you from harm.
The Northern tradition does NOT hold that individuals are limited to a fixed allocation of megin energy in life. HOWEVER, we do know that if an individual doesn't learn how to preserve personal megin and how to refill the hamingja after discharging megin, they certainly will appear to "run out of luck." As a student on the Northern path, you will be pleased to know that there are ways in which you can increase your luck so that you will have an abundance of megin energies at your command for positive applications in life.
INCREASING YOUR LUCK
FIRST, Stop Excess Drainage! Extreme diplays of negative emotion (anger, jealousy, etc.) will cause unnatural drainage of your reservoir of energies. Unbridled exuberance that fills your personal atmosphere with energy supplied from your hamingja will also contribute to loss of energy. You wonder why the Ancient Wise Ones are written or observed as (relatively) sober and nonemotional? This is why.
You should also Check Your Eyes! You will want to monitor how much energy flows out of your eyes in the normal course of the day on meaningless trivia that could be retained in your hamingja. Your eyes are truly the "windows of your soul." If you don't "draw the shades" on your eyes, you will needlessly discharge psychic energy from your reservoir of storage. You will also want to remove yourself from the vicinity of the energy "sappers" as defined in our lessons.
SECOND, Add to Your Storehouse of Energy. Meditate on the several runes that are known to build up your hamingja and its reserve of energy. The rune Fehu, a fiery energy rune, is known to increase the production of megin into your hamingja. It draws down the energy of the sun, the moon and the stars into your personal sphere. The rune Uruz will draw upon the powerful telluric rune streams within the Earth to be stored in your reservoir of psychic energy. The rune Elhaz,the Guardian rune, will act to strengthen the walls of your hamingja, giving it a greater capacity to hold new energies.
You should do deep breathing exercises that we include in our lesson instruction to gather more of the mystical Ond into your hamingja. Get in the habit of regular physical exercise and proper eating habits to maintain good health and vitality. You do not want to spend precious megin in restoring yourself to health after unnecessary disease or sickness.
THIRD: Constantly Visualize Build-Up of Energy. As you mentally redirect the energies generated by your rune meditations into your hamingja, (1) see the area of concentration expanding to accommodate this new influx as a water bag expands as it fills with liquid, (2) see the extremes of your auric bubble becoming more defined with increased density at the edges so you can make it impermeable to any leakage or intrusions from outside at will, and (3) visualize a release valve within your auric field so you can "send" some of this energy to loved ones or for other workings.
Because of its capacity for discharge into magical workings and its ability to be refilled at will, albeit with a certain amount of concentrated mental work, you see that the hamingja is a very valuable mental tool for solving the problems of life, most of which are originally caused by a lack of megin energy to begin with.
SENDING YOUR LUCK
This article is neither the time nor the place to go into the operative techniques of sending your Luck to others or onto situations you need to control as did the great Kings, Drightons, and Seers as noted in the Heimskringla (Chronicle of the Kings) when situations deem it necessary. That is left for our Rune Master lessons.
We will take a moment to qualify the matter of Luck regarding gambling and the like. Yes, the storehouse of megin in your hamingja can theoretically improve your luck at gambling or even at the lottery. But remember, at the same time you are applying your megin to the gaming table, there are others probably more skillful and trained than you in the art of gambling, who are also applying THEIR megin to the lay of the cards or dice or even the lottery.
Whoever is the most skillful, of course, will have the most influence. But, remember, even the professionals have to live by the whims of Luck. So, unless you are a skilled gamer, it's best to practice your Luck on getting a better job, finding a mate, increasing your business prosperity and the like. At these tasks, you will have great success because you are applying your conscious use of Northern Luck in situations where you are personally involved.
THE MYSTERY OF "LUCK"
With all this being said, there is still a great mystery to Luck. We used the term "somewhat" earlier in this article, and we meant it.
While the preceding text appears like a 1-2-3 step technical model on how to manage your Luck, be aware of this: how the Breath of Life, Ond, and the magic of megin or charisma work within your aura is more of an esoteric art than a science.
Still, there are others in the mainstream who believe in the concept of "Grace" to intercede in their lives (a worthy, but ill-defined abstraction). In the Northern Path, we have brought Luck to some kind of definition and identity, along with its influencing constructs in your auric energy field, so that you, the practitioner under the influence of Illumined Imagination, can have tools with which to exercise your skills.
When we at the Denali Institute wish you Good "Northern" Luck, we mean something more than just good wishes. We mean something tangible that can be felt with your extra-sensory perceptions.
We can only touch on some of the principles of Northern Luck in this journal article. Much more is contained in the expansive lore of the rune Fehu found in our lesson material as well as a full discussion in Rune Master course quarter #3 on Abundant Living.
If a mugger took $ 500 from your wallet
and gave you $ 100 back,
would you feel ENRICHED by his generosity,
or ROBBED of your $400?
Unfortunately, that is exactly the situation most seekers find themselves in when searching for answers from popular spiritual sources.
So much has been forgotten about the true nature of the Life Force, or has been covered over by centuries of dogma, or has been out-and-out changed by power-seeking revisionists, that most of humanity feels "enriched" by the little knowledge being given them by mainstream religion, and even, most New Age sources of wisdom.
In Denali lessons on cosmology, we learn that Life mysteries are meant to be understood by the intuitive and illumined reasoning powers of the human mind. They are NOT meant to be perpetually shrouded in the foggy mists of blind faith and abstractions. The ancient Wise Ones wrote their teachings accordingly, but so much has been lost between then and now. Where did we go wrong?
New students are encouraged to review our foundation documents, such as the Understanding Northern Spiritual Mysteries manuscript and our Quick Study lesson: Runes and Your Destiny, to refresh your mind about the value of the original knowledge contained in the Northern tradition. This will allow us to present NEW information about how modern seekers have been shortchanged, without having to go over the foundation points of Northern lore in this short article.
This is a brief introduction into the teaching points contained in this essay (available as Insight Article #292) and Denali lessons on Northern lore and Yggdrasil cosmology. The singular question to be answered is . . . how do you feel, Enriched or Robbed by cultural trances?
The Understanding manuscript provides a foundation of knowledge regarding Northern spiritual mysteries. It is offered as part of the Rune Master instruction program or separately to the general public. The following extracts will give you an idea of the range and scope of this paper and our instruction.
A Surrounding Medium
Like the fish that has no name for water, those of us who live in modern western culture are surrounded by the heritage of ancient Northern custom and tradition. It sustains us with a richness and abundance that is unique in the history of civilization. Just as the fish does not conceive water as an object outside itself, we neglect to see how much our daily lives are influenced by the Northern tradition. This is a great mistake, because it leads us to search for esoteric truths in strange mystical doctrines, attempting to configure our mental selves to unnatural (to us living in western culture) methods of thinking. All the while, we have the philosophic substance of Life within our very own cultural heritage. Signs of the great Northern tradition surround us daily, for instance...
(This paragraph is followed by eight distinct signs of the Northern tradition in our cultural heritage. The signs include the foundation points of democracy and our system of law; the overriding drive for equality of sexes which is more Northern than Middle Eastern tradition; the names of the days of the week; the festival of Yule; our natural system of measure, etc.)
In Northern lore, Ørlög is the root concept of the Cosmic Law of Cause and Effect. In Old Norse it literally means primal layers, and is loosely translated as fate. Ørlög parallels the Eastern concept of karma, a relatively fixed outworking of cause and effect.
However, within ørlög we find the Northern concept of wyrd, which is the process by which past actions are woven to influence your present and future experiences. In the North, the concept of wyrd provides a flexibility not identified in the karma of Eastern tradition. Wyrd is the means by which ørlög, or the cosmic law of cause and effect, can be bent.
Because Northern esoteric disciplines hold that the will of the individual is ever in play to influence events, wyrd can be bent to the will of the illumined mind. In Northern lore, the web of wyrd is never looked upon as fatalistic or unchangeable. Rather, past deeds build up weight in the cosmic fabric by which the lay of future events can be anticipated. If these events are deemed undesirable, the lay can be redirected (but not negated) by the active mind and independent will of the individual.
Several runes work to bend unfavorable wyrd, specifically the rune Nauthiz (#10) when activated correctly. The energies of Nauthiz help define the existing web of wyrd and act as a counter force to negative ørlög, much as a karate expert uses the force of an opponent to render an attack harmless.
In Northern myth the three Norns are depicted as weaving the web of wyrd for both humankind and the gods alike, for no energy field within the realm of Midgard (Earth) is exempt from the Cosmic Law of cause and effect. The Norns are also known as the three Weird Sisters in Shakespeare and the three Fates of Greco-Roman lore.
(The above paragraph
outlines one of eight identifying characteristics of the
Northern tradition explained in the "Understanding" paper.)
Those who think the Northern mystery teachings stop at the pantheon (Odin, Thor, Tyr, Freyr, Freyja, etc.) fall woefully short of an accurate perception of the Northern creation story. The lineage of androgynous, pre-conscious Beings (Ymir, Audhumla, Buri) demonstrates a little known rudimentary truth found within the Northern mysteries.
By placing the androgyne several levels of consciousness above the pantheon of gods and goddesses, the Northern ancients revealed their knowledge of Ultimate Intelligence (Cosmic Mind, Creative Life Force) as a state of consciousness beyond that of the gods and goddesses. In fact, myths of the mighty gods and goddesses emphasize that they were human in their appetites, while superhuman in their feats.
The energy that they used for their activities comes from the Source of all energy in the universe, Cosmic Mind. This cosmic energy was called Ond in the North. It is also known as Nous, Chi, Prana, Manitu, etc. in other traditions. In Northern myth, the Aesir Goddess Frigga (wife of Odin) is imaged as spinning the (cosmic) Substance that eventually becomes the threads the Norns weave together to determine the ørlög and wyrd of humankind. This role places Frigga equivalent to the Cosmic Feminine in other metaphysical traditions. Denali Institute programs explore the mysterious dimensions of Cosmic Mind beyond the level of the ancient pantheon as a part of our triune approach to the Northern mysteries.
(The above paragraph
outlines one of four critical points in differentiating the
Northern tradition as contained in the "Understanding" paper.)
The most accepted modern psychological structure that comes closest to the ancient Teutonic view of the Life mysteries is that developed by the Swiss psychiatrist, C.G. Jung. No 20th Century thinker has contributed more to the understanding of symbols and symbol-making than Dr. Carl Jung. Jungian psychology postulates that remnants of the primordial dimensions of Being penetrate our rational consciousness in the form of symbols. There are symbols having personal resonance and symbols with universal resonance, which Jung calls archetypes.
Although Jung popularized the term archetype, he didn't coin the word. It first appears in Plato as he described the ideas or forms of natural objects present in the divine mind prior to creation. Jung suggests that if you could follow the archetype all the way back to its inception, you'd pass over the chasm between mind and matter. Archetypes are housed in the collective unconscious, a term invented by Jung to refer to an ancient symbol making mechanism. While the personal unconscious is individual, the collective unconscious is universal. Jungian theory along with quantum physics and holographic theory (covered later) gives us a rational foothold to understand how archetypal symbols, such as runes and the pantheon of gods and goddesses, can influence the manifest world through the agency of an illuminated human mind.
OTHER TOPICS covered in the "Understanding" paper include
The Northern Creation Story
Dynamics of the Northern Cosmic World Tree, Yggdrasil
The Pantheon of the North
The Mystical Landscape: Earth's Elementals and the Co-destiny of Earth and Humanity
The Northern Tradition in World History including its Suppression and Modern Revival
The Runes: Origins of the Runes, Quantum Physics and the Hologram, Science and Philosophy Come Together
Mind States for Mystical Practices: Changing Brain Wave Patterns
A - The 24-Rune Elder Futhark - Rune Shapes & their Ancient and Transpersonal Meanings
B - Bibliography & Recommended Reading
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