Ok so – back a few weeks ago I was put onto a path of knowledge. At least that’s how I see it looking back. I hadn’t been working on my journeying or meditating for a while. Being a mom to a two-year old, I kinda had to learn how to multitask… but when you are balancing ten things on one plate, I find it’s easier to focus on a few things at a time, leaving the other things untouched. Yes, I do strive for balance, which is one of the reasons I’m keeping this blog now – hopefully integrating my spiritual questings in my day-to-day life more. Anyways – I was online and of course stories lead to links which lead to other places etc, and I came upon Lulu.com, which is a self-publishing website for authors, and it’s really cool you should check it out, but I put in ‘shamanism’ into the search area just to see what would come up, and came across this book: Wyrdwalkers: Techniques of Northern-Tradition Shamanism by Raven Kaldera.
Normally I would cruise right past this, because I have never been drawn to any kind of Northern or Norse myths/archetypes/history etc. Vikings have just never done it for me…maybe because they are so overdone in history, or overused I guess, over-storied or stereotyped, that I have always found them boring. And the thought of Norse religion has always felt in-genuine and contrived to me as a result. But, for some reason I checked out this book and it led me to the author’s website, which I found fascinating. Something about the way he writes really caught me. He’s articulate, intelligent, knowledgeable, and unapologetic about his views, life-story and fantastical experiences. I found myself for the next three weeks reading all I could find on this ‘Northern Tradition’, also known as: Heathery, Asatru, Northern Trad. Paganism and a few other names that describe sects and/or fundamentalist groups.
Why had I never heard of these people before? Everyone has heard of Wicca and Celtic Paganism, for example, but I had never come across Heathens before. It seems to be more of a US thing, and in particular, the mid-west of the US, with only a handful of groups in Canada.
Anyways, Raven Kaldera and friends don’t call themselves Heathens, but rather, Northern Tradition Pagans, which is a more eclectic, mystical version of the former I guess. I’m not going to get into everything I learned about the differences here (there seems to be a lot of division in the ranks – lots of fighting and politicking that holds no interest to me at this point). I wanted to focus on the faith itself.
The Gods for one, the pantheon, the most well-known being Odin the ‘All-father’ at the head of the table, Thor the son of Odin, thunder-god, Freya the love-Goddess, Frigga the wife of Odin, and Loki, the trickster god of chaos and destruction. All of these I had heard of before but was never drawn to. Why? I guess, none of my ancestry is in Norse blood (so I thought), so I’d never been interested in learning more. And just like the Greek pantheon that we’ve all heard of; Zeus, Athena, Aphrodite etc, I’ve always thought of them as a bunch of myth and legend; stories made up by primitive, un-technologically advanced and therefore vulnerable people, attempting to explain, civilize and master the forces of nature.
But for some reason this past month I just could not get enough of this stuff! So I wondered again about my own ancestry and went back to check it out. My families, both sides are from Scotland and England, so going back a certain amount of generations, I had assumed Celtic roots but, going back even farther to pre-Christian times I found out that two of the four last names in my family were very prominent Saxon families. Nobles of the time, and well-known. My dad’s last name can be traced right back to the Battle of Hastings and the Norman conquest of England. And then the other name originated in Cornwall, which was actually a culturally rich Celtic area. Of course people moved to Scotland and Ireland and England back in those days of the roving Germanic bands.. and the Saxons and the Angles and the Celts and the rest eventually intermarried and became England of today. Even in Iceland, where a lot of the Vikings went, a lot of the Celts went as well, so you have mixed blood everywhere. Anyways, it was really interesting to learn that if I was seeking the Gods of my ancestors, I should be looking at Northern Germanic Paganism, just as much as I have been looking at the Celtic pantheons.
And really, in the past few weeks I have been so excited at times reading this stuff, almost obsessed with it, which is something I have never felt reading about the Celts, or about witchcraft. This is why I never got into Wicca – it just didn’t pull me enough.
When I asked a First Nations medicine woman where to get medicine wheel training, she told me to get into witchcraft, because there are some powerful witches where I live, and it is thought to be the ancestral magikal path of white people I guess. But as I said it just doesn’t pull me enough – the spells and potions, the dead things, the cone of power. Even working magik – I’m not really interested in. No, shamanism is the key for me. The journeys. The parallel realities, the other worlds that exist alongside our own. These are some of the great mysteries of our existence.
So – I was super interested in reading Raven Kaldera’s website – where he documents his journeys to the Norse otherworlds. And these are so fantastical – truly right from The Lord of the Rings. Which by the way, I found out that JRR Tolkien based a lot of the settings and characters and basically the world in his stories on Anglo-Saxon and Norse legends and mythology. As did the Grimm brothers. Of course these are all stories I have been raised with, as have most of us in western culture. But again, I thought these were all of Celtic origin, not Germanic. So, there was a familiarity to it all, while I was reading it, and at the same time a fascination and of course, disbelief. This guy is talking about going to parallel realities and talking to Gods and fairies and Elves… I mean really? Come on! My rational brain was yelling ‘foul’! Surely he’s speaking in metaphors…or he’s crazy. But I could not stop reading.
At any rate, it has led me, now that my fever has died down a bit, to starting this blog, documenting my excitement for the shamanic path in general, and promising myself that this year I will act, on this path as well as read read read about it. The time for research is done I believe. It’s time to commit to it. To begin a practice with it, and stop messing around just wishing certain things were true, but really being afraid if they actually are true. It’s like I really want to go to the other worlds, but I am terrified to go. And this has happened to me on the few journeys that I have done by myself. I ended up getting haunted for a bit after one, but that is another story. So I intend to learn how to do this properly, how to protect myself properly and how to release that fear.
I truly believe that there is a war going on, on this plane and this planet, between good and evil. And instead of being afraid all the time, I have chosen to pick a side and learn to be a warrior for that side. I love our mother-planet. I love the animals, I love the people and the cultures and the art and music and beauty we’ve created. I love being a part of a greater cycle and system of nature and I see our human place in that. I believe that all we have to offer each other in peace is far more than what we have given each other in war for the past couple of thousand years. It’s time for a change – a drastic, radical change to the human experience. I want to be ready.
ciao for now – more to come
Skye on her Isle