A Few Word Origins for Pagan Diviners

What is a Druid?

On the surface, we know Druids as ones who were/are among a certain group of Celtic priests, specific almost solely to the island of Ireland. These sorcerers were known to carry out the sacrifices and were known for their strict means of initiation; comprised of history, science, law, mythology, astronomy, and language. When we take a trip back in time linguistically, we come across the proto-Celtic words daru (oak) and windeti (to know, see), joined in the word druwits meaning “wise person,” or more specifically, “oak knower.” These words stem from earlier forms of the proto-Indo-European words dóru (tree) and weyd (to see), together as dóruweyd, which literally translates to “tree seer” or “tree knower.” As much as the druids were known for their sorcery, a key component of their characteristics lies in their knowledge of trees; their qualities, names and uses. Their writing system was known as Ogham, with each character also representing the name of a tree, hence it also being known as a “tree alphabet.”

What is a Godi?

A godi (goði) is a holy man or priest figure of the old Pagan north; invokers of the gods, custodians and facilitators of the Thing (þing). They were usually identified with jarls, chiefs, and landowners. When searching for origins in this word, we find ourselves first passing through the Gothic gudjô (pagan priest and custodian of temples, responsible for sacrifices) and eventually leading us to the proto-Indo-European ǵʰutós (to pour, libate, invoke). In pre-Christian Germanic culture, one poured libation to gods as sacred offerings, likely a remnant of the Soma ritual from Vedic literature. Godi also has its origin in the Gothic name for Odin as Gaut(az), where we are given an image of one that “flows” or “pours” out. Whether this is the ancient Odinic force of development or the entire population of people “flowing out” of the homeland is not entirely certain in this context. However, we know Odin as the ancient Godi, he who sacrifices himself to himself in a grand system of shamanic self-development. Odin (the operant) pours to his higher form, as the godi pours to Odin within him.

What is a Volva?

In Old Norse we have the term völva meaning prophetess, seeress, witch, wise woman etc. This word specifically relates to woman as opposed to many other terms delegating a person with “magical” ability. This word comes from a root word in proto-Germanic waluz (staff,stick) and an even older proto-Indo-European word welH- (to turn, wind, roll). Here we see an image start to solidify of a female “witch” figure can turn, wind, and roll the webs of fate. The association with a staff or stick can be contributed to “broomsticks” or wands of the classical witch, but in this context, one could assume that this connection alludes to the purported horse phallus preserved in herbs that was said to be consulted by these women for divine prophecy. Regardless, even Odin seeks the wisdom and knowledge of the ancient volva in ‘Völuspá,’ as it is with these primordial beings that cold, ancient, objective forms of knowledge are locked, trapped in their memories and experience of ages past.

Rune Ruminations

:

Lords of wealth,

And Earthly stride,

Pave the way,

Where wagons ride.

:

Drinking from,

Those robust horns,

Wild, merry,

Fighting forms.

:

Building high,

Crumbling low,

Bushes prick,

Protect from foe.

:

In the chest,

There lies a flame,

Howling wind,

Calls the name.

:

While in motion,

Keeping wits,

Travel far,

On land or ship.

:

On the wall,

The iron holds,

Illumination,

Of the soul.

:

Equal arms,

And roads to cross,

Giving and-

Accepting loss.

:

When one sits,

In total silence,

Peaceful sky,

And setting sun.

:

A sudden change,

To rouse the soul,

Under toil,

Life unfolds.

:

The lesson learned,

The wisdom gained,

From times of strife,

From times of strain.

:

That which blocks,

Can also shine,

Stillness heals,

And also binds.

:

Round and round,

The wheel turns,

Largest fests,

And wood to burn.

:

High and low,

Our arms in each,

Up and down,

Is all in reach.

:

Roll the dice,

Already known,

By the well,

There sits a crone.

:

Alert to all,

Wind or squall,

Blood rushes,

Antlers tall.

:

Sword of light,

Bolt on high,

Shine your rays,

From cloudless skies.

:

Measures made,

And painful trades,

Wars to win,

And debts to pay.

:

Silver, yellow-

Black and white,

To gaze upon,

In pure delight.

:

Trust in friend,

And never foe,

Ones we move with,

Bonds that grow.

:

Two wishes,

One reward,

Bridge of gaps,

Connecting fjords.

:

Roads upon,

All things connect,

The higher world,

And darkest depths.

:

Enclosed within,

A hidden space,

Seeds were sown,

Now taking shape.

:

Holy home,

Within the blood,

Sacred space,

From fire or flood.

:

At the end,

There shines a light,

Decimation,

Of the night.

Authority from Within

As the path of Odin, Shiva, Socrates, Lucifer, Buddha, and many others will reveal: authority, truth, and wisdom reside in our core, lying within us. Through the emulation and understanding of these most invulnerable and permanent forms, the essence of the Self stirring within every human incarnation, we get a glimpse into a higher, more focused, refined and crystalline sense of reason and awareness. Here is where all answers await, and where all questions of importance in time must be directed, as this is the only conveyer of truth, the eternal Self within all. This is the voice which calls the true seeker; drawing ever closer to its origin; striving to balance the earth and sky.

Irreplaceability, Mastery, and Glory

All men really want is to be irreplaceable.

Mans higher purpose is to become a master of something… a professional at X, a genius on Y, an authority on Z.

When it comes down to it, men want nothing more than to become irreplaceable. They want to know that no one can fill their shoes; that their existence has a meaning tied to their form. They want to know within that they have made a contribution and that their memory/legend will live on beyond the grave; whether or not one has heirs.

Man wants to conquer great obstacles, ascend the highest peaks, and soar into the blackness of space; each one wants his unique piece of the glory.

At a certain point, we must ask ourselves if this is really a bad or negative trait to possess. In reality, yes and no cannot answer this sufficiently, as it seems to be “natural” instinct for driven humans to behave like this.

Do we call the hunting aspects of a mountain lion negative or evil, even when they sometimes kill humans? No, it is natural for them to hunt any prey that is liable and in their territory.

The humans’ need to conquer seems to be akin to this type of instinctual, non conscious behavior; transcending a human “right” or “wrong” duality. Repressing this can be detrimental to one’s own life and the lives of those around him. But, through wisdom, it can be mastered and maneuvered with divine accuracy.

This view ties one in with the physical and metaphysical simultaneously, as one must achieve earthy victories in order to attain the metaphysical “legacy” one wants to build or acquire. In many ways, although this doesn’t seem to offer any sort of climax or end, it reinforces man’s role as the being “in the middle.” We exist within that context, as a wheel in between tracks, moving onward into eternity.

We emerge and dissolve into many forms, although, the deeper parts of our spirit continue to rise ever higher.

Walpurgisnacht

Hailaz Walpurgisnacht!

However you choose to celebrate the next couple days, do it with your full attention.

Meditate on life in its myriad forms.

Banish any fetters holding you down in the damp halls of Hel.

Personally, we will be preparing a part of the homestead for the return of our patron deity of peace, plenty, and fair weather (Freyr,Ingwaz, Fraujon).

(In our practice, Freyr departs after Samhain and returns on May Day.)

Before we do this, we wish to shield ourselves and our land from all forms of evil and misfortune with song, ritual, and fire.

Under the darkest of moons we shall embody the Sun,

Becoming the fire that licks the sky.

Filling our hearts with strength,

impregnating our minds with ferocity.

Let us transcend the depths,

On the wings of the eagle!

ᚠ : ᛉ : ᛋ

The World is What You Make It

People talk about “the real world” a lot.

Referring, usually, to their self built life of slavery; as if it were something one must accept and welcome.

I learned early on that their version of the real world was never a place I was going to survive.

The real world, as many have expressed, is what you make it.

It can be wild, full of life, and mysterious.

Or, it can be dull, boring, and burdensome.

Engage in beneficial actions, live simply, and remember to laugh.

Have joy () in the moment; nothing is permanent.

Change, Growth, and Wisdom

Changing and growing are similar but separate concepts.

Change has no positive or negative connotations. It is just the objective and constant state of existence. Growth, on the other hand, means a positive shift towards the best possible outcome of an organism; becoming larger, stronger, and more capable of survival etc.

Things will always change, but things may not always grow…

Make sure your choices and actions aid you in growth. Build the patterns choice by choice, day by day, until you are no longer conscious of them.

Building a habit of positive growth is something that will ensure your success in any aspect of life. Many sacrifices must be made, starting usually with the ones that that lead to short term pleasures. But, the hard choice will usually bring the most long term benefit and reward.

Growth can be a very painful and uncomfortable process. Learn to recognize and love these sensations.

By knowing these instances, we can actually find enjoyment and satisfaction in these painful moments, acknowledging the “need” one has for these experiences in order to reach higher levels of wisdom and growth.

This lesson can most potently be found within the Nauthiz rune; as trials, tribulations, and resistance in life can ultimately force one to become stronger in mind, body and spirit. Likewise, the rune represents a “make or break” aspect within ourselves, where we can either succeed by force of will, or fail out of weakness.

In summary, it is important to remember that the comfortable life doesn’t give one wisdom.

Life, in many ways and for all beings, is war.

Take a look at your life, choices and actions. Make sure they are aligned with your growth and not just pure change. Strive to conquer obstacles and not cowardly avoid things that are hard to do or figure out.

Wisdom must be hunted for within dark corners; wandered for with sweat and blood.

Essentially, wisdom is experienced, not learned.

Get out there and find it!

Tradition and Rhythm

“(Tradition) cannot be inherited, and if you want it you must obtain it by great labor.” – T.S. Eliot

Unless we establish rigorous and unshakable tradition in our own lives, we will never experience the countless secrets hidden in the rhythms of nature.

Like the seasons, like the cosmos, like music…

Everything is acting in rhythm.

The spinning wheel, the beating drum, ritual, poetry…

All emulations of this rhythm.

Everyday, every minute, every action has its place.

ᚱ ᚱ ᚱ

Don’t Be Easily Polarized

We should always have unshakable convictions, laws, and morals. However, we shouldn’t place ourselves willingly into any particular ideological box. These terms, theories and identities are too minute, small, and insufficient to attach ourselves too without limiting our growth and development. 

The Sanskrit term “Madhyamāpratipada” describes this phenomenon, meditation, or act of non-polarization in the practitioner, essentially meaning “The Middle Way.”

Many people are familiar in some regard to this concept. It’s been reworded and reworked countless times in countless traditions.

But, for those who aren’t familiar with this concept, I will do my best to summarize it in simple language. 

The “Middle Way” theorizes that while extremes are valid points of view and exist for a reason, they should be avoided by most, if not all spiritual aspirants or those looking to live a practical life. 

Of course, like the Hagalaz rune teaches, sometimes extreme measures must be taken to change a situation or element, but they cannot be practiced or embodied full time if one wishes to achieve samsara, enlightenment, nirvana etc…

We are advised to not delve too deep into the material world of sense-pleasure, as well as to not become to entranced in self-deprecating asceticism. The only reason a person should fall to one side or the other is to re-align and re-balance themselves onto this middle path. That is, of course, if one is conscious and aware that they have fallen out of balance.

The idea is that if we attach ourselves to one side of an idea, excluding the other, we will always face an antithesis regarding the same concept or thought. A type of cognitive dissonance of possibilities. 

Some might be familiar with this concept as mirrored in Greek philosophy under the title of “The Golden Mean…” 

Therefore, by taking the “Middle Way,” we leave no room for alternative or opposite thought or action. It simply becomes “the way” in which all beings “ought” to exist. In short, there is no possible opposite to the middle, so it must be the one true way or “dharma.”

The Neuroscientist Sam Harris touches upon this concept in his book “The Moral Landscape.” Stating that we can scientifically measure and calculate the ways humans “ought” to live.

This practice absorbs into one’s own dharma, duty, and daily rites, becoming one with the Eightfold Path of right understanding, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration. 

Strive to detach yourself from labels, identities, and denominations of any kind. They are at an incongruence with freedom of mind, body, and spirit.