In John Michael Greer’s The Celtic Golden Dawn, a simple ritual is presented utilizing the Awen as a replacement for the Cabbalistic Cross section of the LBRP. The version presented in the book (page 31) is an inspired bit of Celtified occult wisdom that replaces the Golden Dawn/Hermetic ritual with Celtic names and phrases. Even though I enjoyed Greer’s Celtic Golden Dawn creation I found it far too heavily inspired by the Hebrew Cabbala for my taste and stopped after working my way through the Ovate Grade.
However, being the Druish sort of fellow I am I still use the Awen attunement/empowerment ritual with a slight twist. By substituting the Celtic words and phrases for more Odian ones I can marry my Runic religious work with my Druish eco-occult philosophy.
My Awen empowerment rite
Keep in mind that Greer’s Awen or ‘Rite of the Rays’ version of the Cabbalastic Cross is identical in spirit to the Golden Dawn version; the occultist is trying to empower herself and attune to the powers within and without. This practice can be done as a daily empowering yogic performance or as a beginning and/or end to ritual or meditation.
Stand facing North (or East). Achieve a state of calm and begin to imagine yourself as large and towering into the sky. Raise hands above your head and reach for the glowing essence of the sky.
- Bring hands down to the crown of your head bringing between them the cosmic power of the sun and sky, moon and stars. Vocalize “Muninn” as the light falls into the crown of your head.
- Bring hands down before your forehead, the light follows your movement filling your head, thumbs barely touch the skin. Vocalize “Lyke” as the light cascades down to your feet and into the ground.
- Extend your right arm down and slightly diagonal away from the body. Vocalize “Odhr” as the light in your head flows down to your hand and beyond.
- Extend your left arm down and diagonal away from the body. Vocalize “Ond” as the light in your head flows down to your hand and beyond.
- Bring your arms up to cross your chest. Vocalize “Huginn” as you marry the cosmic power within your arms and body igniting the internal self in radiance.
- Sweep the hands back down diagonally and end by Vocalizing “Odin” once, twice, or three times.
- Take some time to digest what you’ve done and experienced. Three breaths usually is enough to end this practice with respect for yourself and the energies.
What does it mean? This practice brings you in touch with several Odian views and energies.
Muninn means Memory and is one of Odin’s ravens. To the Runester Muninn is a matrix of lore and mystery, ancient wisdom that bubbles with Rune knowledge. Even though in this practice the wisdom is coming from above it should be perceived as coming from the multiverse and therefore all around us from all points of perception.
Lyke (Leek) is the body, the sacred vessel of existence, sometimes associated with a Ve or a sacred area. This is one of the gifts given to man by Odin in his tripartite form as Vili-Ve-Odin or Lodhur- Hoenir – Odin. Ve (Lodhur) gifted the physical body to man to understand and interact with the worlds.
Odhr is thought to be the force of inspiration, the fury of being. This was given by Vili (Hoenir) to man and is the root of the name Odin. Odin is the god of furious wisdom and inspiration – we too were given that power.
Ond is the divine spark of life the breath of existence. This was given by Odin to man.
Huginn means mind (will) and is Odin’s other raven. Very simply Huginn is the will of the occultist. Muninn comes from above moving downward, Huginn comes from below and within moving upward.
This act is a powerful realization that the Runester embodies the nature of Odin and is not a subservient recipient of these life gifts but is instead a powerful ally and partner in the unfolding of the multiverse. The Runester is not a worshiper of Odin per-say but through acts such as this is seeking to walk the same roads as Odin and establish her own Will by winning Rune wisdom.
If one wishes to take this Awen/Odian empowerment further the occultist can imbue the practice mentally with Runes as well. The Lyke stage can be likened to the Aett of Fehu (Fehu-Wunjo); the Odhr stage to the Hagal Aett (Hagal-Sowilo); the Ond stage to the Tyr Aett (Tyr-Odal). I see the Runes extending within my body into the respective area of attention > The body, the right arm, the left arm from top to bottom.
This form of body attunement can offer much in the way of meditation and ongoing speculation. Try it for a few days and see how you like it.
This post will be a ramble of recent thoughts and reflections on certain practices of mine that have been deepening with time. To include such topics as Taoist Alchemy, Stadhagaldr, non-violence, meditation, and the power of the Breath…I apologize ahead of time for any possible incoherence along the way.
I am a practitioner of Stadhagaldr and that’s where this begins. After having practiced this form of Rune wisdom for several years now I’ve come to realize that it is not merely a mnemonic device for learning Runes. It has become a central part of my Pagan practice out of which everything else arises. In my head, I see it as a form of western QiGong, that branch of eastern Taoist metaphysics that brings energy into the body through movement and stances. SG accomplishes many of the same benefits for the practitioner, but also some unique ones;
- Rune memorization
- Rune activation in the outer world
- Rune activation in the inner world
- Body awareness
- Breath awareness
- Manipulation of self time
The True Man breathes through the heels, the common man breathes through the throat. (Tao Te Ching 61)
One of the main lessons of SG is that of breath and True Breathing. Breathing is a way to peace and stillness, to rejuvenation and insight, to calm and active intent. In Celtic lore we have the idea of the Cauldrons of Poesy, points of inspiration and power born into every individual; The Cauldron of Warming, of Motion, and Wisdom. These points are easily accessible and fill-able through manipulation of the breath, just as in the practice of chakra enhancement or balancing. In Taoist Alchemical texts we also see the Three Treasures of Essence, Breath, and Spirit, specifically Taoism links the activation of these three treasure in the human with the cultivation of Spirit, breath being the sole tool of development. The Rune Row also has it’s three’s, the entirety of all it’s mystery is found in the order and chaos of three’s..The Aett system is born out of both the physical nature of the world and also the lessons of the multiverse and it’s esoteric components. Breathing becomes a way to activate the body and it’s points of well-ness that inherently reside within. It’s not important to realize these three points, but only to understand that breathing moves and passes through the body and invigorates the self in a progressive manner.
With this in mind, I have found that SG is most powerfully integrated into the self when the breath is not constrained. This means that one should not be focused on deep breathing, or on rhythmic breathing patterns such as 4 seconds in, hold for 2, then out for another 4. It means allowing the breath and body to determine the need of breathing. SG then becomes a way for you to train yourself to be conscious of your breathing and not to hold it or force it, but instead to allow it to move through your body with cause when necessary or with unnoticed ease.
The gentle outlasts the strong.
The obscure outlasts the obvious.
The soft overcomes the hard.
The slow overcomes the fast.
Let your workings remain a mystery.
Just allow people to see the results. (Tao te Ching 36)
A lesson gained from this comes also from a previous post of mine on a dream insight I was given. ” With no enemies, we know peace.” or simply, “No Enemies Know Peace”. If we begin to cultivate peace within ourselves, accepting for ourselves a non-violent attitude toward our own selves, we can begin to overcome outside violence with others and our environments. This is predicate upon understanding that violence is not only physical. We do violence to ourselves with our own thoughts, with what we eat, with our failure to exercise and meditate. Once one begins to focus on the breath as the beginning of peace with ourselves, we begin to make peace with the world at large. When we hold our breath and do not allow it to flow our hearts beat faster, stress invades the body, anxiousness escalates. Learning to release the breath by allowing it to roll untethered is the harbinger of non-violence within and without.
Cultivating Power and Peace with Stadhagaldar
My method of SD is to practice it outside whenever possible, the connection to the land can be a vital part of developing internal power and Rune resonance.
Here’s a bit of personal Rune wisdom. I look for relationships among the Runes; relationships of opposites, of like themes, relationships that detail a progression from one idea to the next. If you’re path is Indo-European oriented and not just modern Occult or Wiccan influenced you’re probably not dealing in the paradigm that utilizes the four elements as it’s base. Instead you’ve probably come to the conclusion that 3 is the magic number, the elemental standard and the idea of 4 was not so much an Indo-European idea but certainly was in use in the ancient middle east and greatly influenced the Hermetic traditions.
The Runes hold this wisdom. Not just in the apparent setup of the Aetts, which literally means Clan, and displays the common social structure found in many Indo-european cultures; The Aett of Fehu = Farmer (workers, laborers, land-tenders), The Aett of Hagal = Warriors, and The Aett of Tyr = Wise Rulers (Kings, Lawyers, Priests). If one understands the Runes well enough, they begin to reveal patterns among themselves, these patterns blossom from Aett to Aett, between and among Runes that at first seem to have little in common and are not in the same Aett.
In my previous post A Rune Meditation I discussed one such relationship between Eiwhaz and Jera. However, other important Rune combinations are found using Runes not in pairs that may contradict each either, such as the pair relationships that begin with Eiwhaz and Jera and working outward through the Rune row, threesome combinations also divulge a deeper knowledge and display a coherence among the Runes that invalidates any inklings of randomness to the order of the Futhark.
A very important threesome in my practice is the Raidho, Eiwhaz, and Laguz threesome. These Runes are all fourth in their particular Aetts and afford a wealth of knowledge to the Runester. The complex revealed here in a not so occult manner is the ancient concept of Sky, Sea, and Stone or Fire, Well, and Tree or Upper, Mid, and Under Worlds.
Raidho is the wheel and holds the mysteries of not only travel and change but also the esoteric relevance of Cosmic Movement and the Order of the heavens above, represented by the Cosmic Wheel of the Sun and Stars, order out of chaos.
Eiwhaz is the axis, that which unites below and above, chaos and reason, and all polarities. It is Yggdrassil the great holder of Worlds, that which extends from the great wells of chaotic mystery and wisdom to the heights of Asgard and the realms of Reason.
Laguz is the water of the psychic current found within mankind and Esoterically represents the Wells of original unbridled and ancient wisdom. That which is embodied by the Underworld and the water of chaos.
Meditation upon this threesome can be an eye opening experience. I’d recommend laying out the entire Rune row vertically to begin understanding this threesome better. A meditation with the three can begin by taking 3 breaths to develop awareness of the Well symbolized by Laguz beneath you, 3 breaths to realize the Tree symbolized by Eiwhaz within you, and 3 breaths to become aware of the turning of Raidho above you followed by 9 breaths to link them together. Breath in bringing up the powers of Laguz (the Well) through Eiwhaz ( the Tree) to Raidho (the Fires of cosmic light and reason). The out breath then begins with Raidho down through Eiwhaz and to Laguz. So awareness of the world beneath, the body, and the head and beyond becomes a powerful tool for self awareness and balance.
One of the challenges facing the new Tarot student is coming to a personal understanding of what Tarot is or is not. Does it hold the answer for everything past and present, or is it just a collection of paper with pretty pictures? That’s a large spectrum to begin with, but I think the extremity of those positions is fairly honest in how both skeptics and enthusiasts see Tarot.
I’ve studied copious amounts of Tarot material, and the one thing I’ve taken away from it is this; Tarot, as modern readers and users know it, has very little in common with the card game (s) it was meant to be used for when it (or its very similar predecessor) was created in the 15th century. All the thousands of books on the Tarot are merely guides on how everyone else perceives Tarot, and if you’re using Tarot in any way as a spiritual/mystical/life informing-affirming tool you’re relying on a very kabbalistic/hermetic creation of the 19th century. Yes, you can read the Golden Dawn material and derive all the meanings that modern practitioners use (most without even knowing themselves where much of that symbolism derives from), you can read the how-to books, and those on Tarosophy…But if you honestly look at and question the Tarot what will be your personal stance on the cards?
My stance has mostly always been that Tarot is nothing special. I don’t charge my cards with crystals, I don’t assume they hold the keys to universal knowledge, and I don’t expect them to answer all the problems plaguing my sub-conscious. More than not I lean toward the Tarot being a bunch of paper with pretty pictures. Yet, I read Tarot and I work with Tarot nearly on a daily basis. Odd you say. Not really, I respond. Things in my opinion don’t hold power – people do.
Tarot is a repository of wisdom, yes. It is not wisdom in and of itself. Tarot bares (or can bare) in it’s images generations of knowledge, a heritage of what it means to live in a Western society. It conveys the psychological and sociological truths that we as modern individuals have been adapted to live within for hundreds of years at this point. The multi-layered fabric of the Tarot is woven from the threads of that which we all share, it’s a mirror reflecting the great ‘Dreaming’ of Western culture – the truths of work, relationships, life challenges, our emotional well being, religion, etc.
Crowley, in his popular book The Book of Thoth expounded that the Tarot is a representation of the Cosmos, that each card is also a being, and that the deck is literally the composition and culmination of the Wisdom of Thoth. I don’t think the Cosmos is written in the Tarot, I feel it’s wisdom is much more terrestrial and immediate to our lives – I don’t feel that each card is a unique entity but a mirror of our own existence – and Thoth had very little to do with the creation of a 15th century card game. And to be blunt true/historical Tarot should have nothing to do with Kabbalistic wisdom. Can it? Sure. The beauty of Tarot is that, again, it’s a reflection of what the Reader brings to it…I tend to be pretty rational (in my opinion) when using tools like Tarot. Some would say though that Tarot is a tool of the irrational..so there you go.
My tendency is toward seeing Tarot as a Reality Simulation device. It’s a technology that functions as a Simulation of events and life situations based in reality. Jean Baudrillard, a French sociologist is a great place to start with such thinking. He goes a bit further to say that perhaps most of our icons and the symbols of our society (which Tarot of course uses and probably IS) are mostly historical and even fictitious to the modern westerner, but I digress…There is a Tarot book by Emily Auger which discusses briefly these concepts, and even postulates that Tarot is a kind of Cyber Reality Simulation, which is an absolutely inspired way of looking at the Tarot. Cyber here means artificial or a Technology that has been manufactured or created, just as the Tarot is a technology; an artificial representation of reality. This concept really influenced my image of the Tarot and what it means to be a Reader – and the mental image of a Cyberpunk Astralnaut jacked into a fanned out Tarot spread while he co-mingles fiction, fact, and history into a hazy surreal blend of human potential is an awesome ideal.
Tarot, to end it all, is about what makes sense to you in your world. Just as the final Major is The World (or perhaps the Fool), it’s up to the journeyer to discover just what it will be. Use the books, use the websites, and the tutorials but remember that the mirror of the tarot is for you to understand and should not be used as just another technology meant to box you in.
Once in a while I get to a purging point in my practice – a realization that certain avenues of study, experimentation, or work may not be productive, may be unnecessary, or even detrimental. This usually happens to me over a period of weeks or days, and once in awhile I get hit while in the midst of a working that it is completely wrong and not where I want to travel.
This purging doesn’t only happen with practices but also with the accoutrements of practice. I’m not a pagan that likes to get attached to objects and items. Since I place very little importance on ritual items or altar pieces I know that when I begin to acquire too many “things” it’s time for a purge. I tend to think of my practice as very subtle and simple – when it becomes overly complicated it is also time to reflect and modify.
I’m also incredibly aware of the synchronicities in my life. I don’t ignore slight pushes toward certain practice that the cosmos (the gods or ancestors) wants me to explore. I’ve been developing more of an internal practice these days, a push backward into my past – a past that was focused more on meditative reflection. Books, media, studies, and my daily occurrences have been easing me back into this…not necessarily away from the robust and physical practices that I have been utilizing, but into a more intimate practice that regards silence and reflection as necessary components to my spiritual movements.
There is a tenuous balance between the internal experience of religion and the external one. One can move too far in either direction and forget the importance of the other. The purge is a step toward critically acknowledging what I have forgotten and maybe what I have chosen to ignore.
Spring is an excellent time to slough off the extraneous stuff that I have accumulated. Most of the stuff is stuff, but some of it is technique or practices or mental obstructions that just don’t fit with where I’m headed.
My ADF membership is up next month. I’m going on eight years of membership with the organization known as Ár nDraíocht Féin, but I’m not a joiner by nature and when confronted with the request to update my membership I pause and reflect.
Have I grown as a religious person because of membership?
The short answer is yes. I have been challenged by the organization and I think I may have challenged it along the way. My practice is more focused and deeper because of my stay with the ‘Druid’ organization. I am more pious, more devoted, and more fruitful in my practice.
Is ADF an organization that does good?
If I’m a member of something I damn well feel that the org should be good. And I mean that in every aspect…It must be good for the membership as a whole and it must be good for the person. More importantly it must be good for the religious community and not just the ‘Pagan’ one.
I have found ADF to be overall good. There are always those who rock the boat, who place self above the whole, and who may seek ambition in spite of the general good…but overall my experience with ADF has been positive, and I do believe that its members seek the highest good and progress for others.
Have I learned?
Yes. I completed the Dedicant Program a few years into my membership. In my mind the DP is one of the best learning programs in the ‘Pagan’ sphere of education. ADF does not seek to bolster it’s own hypothesis of what ‘Paganism” should be, instead it presents courses that require academic and scholarly brashness. Certainly there is a bit of ADF attitude involved in the programs – it’s liturgy is somewhat specialized, but it is also an example of the academic evolution one sees in the organization. The honesty of the training and the work involved in accomplishing ADF’s offered courses is stellar and comparable in my mind to college level research and course work.
My plan was and still is to continue my studies with ADF – moving toward clergy or initiate status when time permits.
ADF holds the ideal of openness in ritual and grove conduct. This allows for gatherings of friends and strangers alike. Like our ‘Pagan’ ancestors ritual is open and calls the people of a community to worship and renew bonds between people, the land, their gods, and ancestors. In this case ADF excels in bringing people together and also therefore in respecting the fellowship and differences that can be highlighted by such ventures.
The rites I first led were ADF inspired within a small grove, in fact some of the largest rites I’ve attended were ADF rites under a blue sky in the light of mid-day. I was proud to be a ‘Pagan’ in those rites, and I still am because of ADF’s need to serve the community in the open, not arrogantly displaying their faith but honorably devoted to ancient truths and wisdom once again explored and acknowledged.
Yes or No?
In the end I will rejoin. Though I don’t call myself a Druid, ADF is more about honestly looking toward the Indo-European mindset and practice. It is not beholden to it however, and the organization does allow for the wisdom that modernity has given to humanity. I think it does good, and I think there is more to learn within the organization that perhaps I would not learn outside of it.