One of the most important things about Odinism is traveling.
This of course applies to the Shamanic or visionary aspect, but more importantly to the physical traveling or “wandering” of the Earth.
The Odinist must track down sacred places, spend nights alone in new woods, explore the vast deserts, the mountain peaks, the lakes and rivers and valleys green and lush. To enjoy reckless and unwavering ecstasy and new experience, to make new friends and open oneself to all the possibilities of life. To gain as much wisdom and knowledge as possible in this brief incarnation.
Wandering defeats fear and attachments; delivering solace in the self and a destruction of the need for useless “stuff.” Traveling shows us what is important to not only ourselves and our needs, but also that which is important to humans in general, as you will encounter every imaginable type of person to learn from along the way and begin to see patterns and similarities in people and even cultures.
This is Odinic action. The becoming of the wandering God.
Mannaz is the rune of man and greater humanity. It represents the vessel in which our spirit is carried and the critical analysis we can apply to the world around us. Mannaz is the ability to articulate and grasp esoteric knowledge, become aware of natures’ patterns, and form practical responses to those patterns. It is a rune of magical abilities, skills and superior memory; associated with knowledge, thinking, and interdependence with the forces of nature.
Mannaz signifies the unique conductivity, receptiveness and intellectual capacity within us. It also symbolizes the importance of finding control over that heavenly conductivity. Some say this means to equalize the “male” and “female” aspects of the self, but I think this control is more concentrated within that category in which we fit. Both energies (male/female) are valuable as separate entities in their own right, each having their own physical, emotional, and spiritual needs and requirements. The Mannaz rune represents those energies coming together in the creation and preservation of the divine spark.
Overlooking, renouncing, or ignoring the powers of the sexes in magic (or spirituality) is to miss the divinity held within both individually. In this respect, we should celebrate our physical incarnation and hold our biological strengths in high regard; recognizing the powers held within them both. Nature has suggested separate requirements for the sexes, and these are all necessary for the manifestation, cultivation, and propulsion of humanity. Mannaz signifies our journeys coming together equally to manifest creation and ascension. Essentially, Mannaz can be seen as two Wunjo runes (ecstasy and bliss) coming together to form one entity.
Mannaz is the rune of intellect, logic, and reason. It represents the sacred structure and occult organization of mankind; symbolizing the intelligence, awareness, and technical abilities we possess. These abilities distinguish humanity from the rest of the animal kingdom, who we are closely associated with in many ways, shapes, and forms. In the order of the Futhark, the Mannaz rune appears right after the (ᛖ) rune Ehwaz, which symbolizes animals. This close proximity (and similar shape) suggests a similar origin or purpose, but distinct separation.
Nauthiz is the rune of need; a vague rune when approached for the first time. However, this “need” has a deep and esoteric connotation associated with it. Something that “must” be done if one wishes to gain answers in this life. Nauthiz is, above all, a force of resistance and resilience. It symbolizes obstacles within our lives and the deep inherent “need” for these obstacles in order for us to grow. This is a required force of resistance, causing one’s inner fire to be cultivated and strengthened.
Nauthiz can be applied to conflicts of the material or spiritual, symbolizing the friction and tension these conflicts bring upon us; like a beast to tame or a mountain to climb. The conquering of these obstacles provides the “need-fire” creation within us, the confidence and inspiration to withstand and conquer the trials of life. This is the unlocked power and function of Nauthiz. With this fire within us, we can keep climbing the ladder of defeated obstacles, rising higher and higher until we ride forever on the Eternal Winds of Wotan. Nauthiz symbolizes the hardships required for us to grow and reach further stages of development.
Without moments of darkness and uncertainty we would be robbed of our ability to grow and appreciate that growth. The only way to truly understand and strive for feelings of power and accomplishment is to be at odds with the possibility of failure; and perhaps even humiliation and shame. Nauthiz represents those moments in our lives when we can truly prove our worth to ourselves, and to the Gods. Nauthiz supplies us with moments to shine, as well as moments to fall.
Nauthiz is a rune of effort, or lack thereof. Nauthiz can be visualized with the saying “to light a fire under one’s ass;” something that’s meant to combat stagnation and laziness. Difficulties can crush one’s morality and inner fire, so we must be strong and keen to recognize these moments to show our strength and power of will. With persistence and consistency in action we can achieve great feats and feelings of power.
By consistently conquering obstacles, we ensure our inner fire stays strong and bright, providing us with powerful and creative energies for the future. Nauthiz is a reminder of what must be done to achieve our goals, and a reminder of the hard work that lies ahead of us in our journey toward the Throne. By constantly destroying the obstacles in front of us, we can remove any feelings of restraint and uncertainty in life, curbing all feelings of anxiety.
Nauthiz represents the development of your magical ability; meaning your ability to change and alter the circumstances in your life and surroundings. True ascension and spiritual cultivation is a warlike process on many levels, with your greatest enemy being yourself and your human condition. We battle the hindering aspects of ourselves in order to achieve victory and personal mastery; a state of ecstasy that is crystalline and unchangeable. Do not fear Nauthiz, for it is one of the greatest teachers and conduits of growth.
Celtic Shamanism and Druidry were practiced by the Celtic tribes until the late Roman period, and even until modern day in the far western reaches of Ireland. At the very core of these spiritual practices are 3 main principles to conceive of and practice; 3 systematic perceptions of the way the Shaman should interact with himself and the world around him/her. These concepts are called by their Old Irish names Eolas, Imbas, and Dán, which I’ll be covering in detail throughout this piece. This trifold system of practices will give you new tools to venture into other worlds with; and to use to master the vessel you inhabit.
The first concept is that of “Eolas,” the Celtic word for “knowledge.” This type of learning would be to indulge in studying the Lore, the written wisdom and experience of those before you, and the analyzing of the myths of your people. The Druid, or Shaman, must be well versed in the history of the people and the traditions of his/her blood; he/she is a spiritual anchor for the surrounding community.
The second concept is called “Imbas,” which in Celtic means something like “inspiration/intuition.” This is practiced through the study of dreams, vigorous meditation, communication and offerings to spirits. This is where our intuitions, personal insights, and innate wisdom are given meaning; and we must master our internal dialogues and systems before attempting to master any external forces. The last principle is that of “Dán,” the Celtic word for something like “Gift/Poem/Skill.” This would represent how you apply your Imbas and Eolas to create yourself, your talents, and your destiny. This is represented by art, music, writing, magic, teaching, and the mastery of yourself and the universe in which you inhabit.
An easy way to visualize this system is to think of it as a metaphysical cauldron. The cauldron bubbles over a healthy and robust flame, and inside of it is a world that absorbs and radiates whatever is coming into it simultaneously. Out of this union spews forth creation and magic; all the while absorbing the energies of the surroundings and ancestral spirits. Through this trifold union we become true sorcerers of the Will; entering a permanent world of ascension and creation.
When visualizing this cauldron, imagine the Eolas as the Cauldron itself; the foundation of tradition and the anchor of the spirit. Underneath the cauldron of Eolas would be the Imbas, the energy and vitality that boils the Eolas. The Imbas represents the internal fire that transforms the contents within the Eolas or cauldron; the force we use to build off of our Eolas foundation of knowledge. Once the inner fire of the Imbas mixes and brews the contents of Eolas, an internal synthesis is created, which is unique to each person.
Out of this synthesis rises the Dán, the fruits and magic of our union of Lore and Revelation. This is the product of our magic; of our creation. Dán represents the skills or gifts we possess; the vessels and tools we use to make our will and purpose known in this life. Dán also represents the actions and outcomes that arise from the union of Eolas and Imbas, the creations of the inner fire.