Thursday, 20 October 2016

Woden's Initiation

Recovery of the Runes

"I wot that I hung on the wind-tossed tree
all of nights nine,
wounded by spear, bespoken to Woden,
bespoken myself to myself,
upon that tree of which none telleth
from what roots it doth rise..."
 
Neither horn they upheld nor handed me bread;
I looked below me -
aloud I cried -
caught up the runes, caught them up wailing,
thence to the ground fell again."
 
Woden hangs upon Iggdrasil, the World Tree for 9 nights, wounded with a spear, given himself to himself in a self-sacrifice; none know from whence the source of this ancient tree lies (not even modern science!). Woden was given neither drink nor food. From below him he looked to see the Ancient Runes, cried out and caught up the Runes, falling thence to the ground. In another lay the World Tree is called Mimameidr which means 'Tree of Mimir' or 'Tree of Memory'. This hints that Woden has to delve into the 'Ancient Memory' in order to seek the runes. In this section it is Woden himself that is speaking, giving the account of his self-initiation.
 
This is what most would call a Shamanic Rite in which he searched for knowledge; the term 'rune' mean 'secret', 'hidden', 'mystery', so his search was for hidden knowledge or occult knowledge.
 

Nine Lays of Power.

 "From the son of Bolthorn, Bestla's father,
I mastered mighty sons nine,
and a drink I had of the dearest mead,
got from out of Odroerir.
 
Then began I to grow and gain in insight,
to wax eke in wisdom:
from a word to a word I was led to a word,
from a deed to a deed I was led to a deed."
 
An alternative has it that Woden gained a draught of the 'precious mead' which was 'mixed with magic Odroerir'. Bolthorn is Woden's grandfather and it would seem that these 'Nine Lays of Power' were given to Woden in order to protect him on a quest he was to undertake. In the Lay of Svipdag we find that his dead mother, Groa (*) is awakened by Svipdag and gives him Nine Power-Spells designed to help him through the trials of reaching the World of the Dead - Hel. We can thus assume that Woden's Initiation did not stop at finding the runes, but was intended for a future quest that he had to undertaken, needing the Nine Lays of Power to undertake this quest. These are the Nine Power-Spells -
 
1. This shakes off any fear he has, so that he can seek the way himself.
 
2. Wyrd's Magic Songs guards him from all directions when he is met with 'mocking words'.
 
3. This third one protects him from drowning.
 
4. This one stays any foemen in their tracks, and stops them from attacking him.
 
5. This is a loosening spell that breaks fetters and bonds.
 
6. This one stills the wild seas, calms the wind and water to allow him to fare forth without fear.
 
7. This one protects him from the cold and frost.
 
8. This protects from the 'wraith of a Christian wretch'.
 
9. This one allows him to bandy words with a Thurs, so that he lacks not speech to counter.
 
We must not forget that Iggdrasil, the World Tree upon which Woden hangs, is not only a tree but also Woden's Steed. The name 'Iggdrasil' means 'Horse of Igg' or 'Steed of Igg'. Igg was a name of Woden before he became known as Woden. This could be understood by his undergoing this Shamanic Initiation as Igg, who then becomes Woden - 'Master of Wod'. In some accounts, such as the ride of Hermod to Hel, the Eight-Legged Steed of Woden (Sleipnir) is used, so in this we may see Woden riding this on his quest. This is important because the Shaman's Drumming mimics the hooves of the Eight-Legged Steed on its Spirit-Journey.
 

Quest for the Sacred Mead.

 
We must now move to Woden's gaining a draught of mead from Odroerir, or mixed with Odroerir. Some see Bolthorn's son as Mimir, which would make him Woden's uncle; this is interesting in that in Germania the uncle often taught knowledge. Mimir was wise because he drank from the Spring of Mimir out of the horn Gjoll. In another account Woden pledges his eye in exchange for the drink from the Well of Mimir. It would seem that somehow Mimir then gains himself through drinking from the Eye of Woden. Drinking from the Well of Mimir means drinking from the Well of Memory or Blood Memory.
 
We could see Woden's Eye as the 'Mind's Eye' or 'Third Eye' which now lies deep in the Blood Memory, atrophied in mankind. But if this refers to Woden himself it does not make sense; for the majority of mankind, yes, but not for one who is the Master of Wod. Of course, it could be symbolic of his 'losing' this eye so that he can look inwards into the Blood Memory. Whatever the case, again Woden gains in wisdom and knowledge.
 
What is the 'quest' that Woden wishes to undertake? It is the quest to take back the Mead of Inspiration from the Giant Suttung, which is guarded by his daughter Gunnlod. Before we go into this we need to look at the Sacred Mead itself. The Sacred Mead was made from the Blood of Kvasir the Wise, mixed with honey to make it into mead - it is that a source of knowledge and wisdom. There are also other sources of the Sacred Mead, since both the Well of Wyrd and the Well of Mimir are sources of mead. Indeed, this mead runs up the World Tree (Laerad), nurtured by the Wyrd Sisters, from which Heidrun ('Bright-Rune') feeds and who then sustains the Aryan Heroes in Valhalla with this drink. We must remember that this is the 'Waters of Life' which sustain the Heroes.
 
In order to gain the mead Woden journeys to Suttung's Realm, to Hnitbjorg which means 'Clashing Mountain' reminding us of the Symplegates in Greek Mythology - a symbol for the entrance into another world. He gains access to the mountain by having a hole bored by an augur - Rati (**) - and shape-shifting into a Serpent. Inside he gets drunk and lays three nights with Gunnlod in what can only be described as a Tantric Rite, and escapes with her help, changing into an Eagle. The symbolism is clear in this since the Serpent is an earth-bound creature, whilst the Eagle represents a heavenly bird. The Serpent and Eagle are connected with Iggdrasil and also with the symbolism on the Sutton Hoo Helmet.
 
The object of the quest was to gain the Sacred Mead, held in the three vats or kettles - Bodn, Son and Odroerir. I have gone into these before in The Three Cauldrons so suffice it to say that the Sacred Mead that he stole from the Giants is the same as the Soma-Madhu of Aryan India, it is the Amrita - the Mead of Immortality. Whereas Woden 'ate' from the Tree of Knowledge to be able to undertake the journey of his quest, the ultimate goal was to 'eat' of the Tree of Life which is to gain immortality. But Woden was a God - an immortal.
 
Woden was the Archetypal Shaman or Ancestral Shaman, the first to undertake this type of Initiation; this was not for him but for his Folk. This Primal Myth was the prototype for all other myths of this sort, it was that of the Shaman's Initiation - or Priestly Initiation. As the First Shaman he has to lead the way for the shaman-wizards on Middle-Earth to be able to follow. As such he is the Great Initiator - the Primal Initiator.
 

Three-fold Initiation.

1. Starting at the Hara-Centre which is the lowest cauldron, the Ur-Centre, the next stage is to move upwards along the spinal column (Mount Su-Me-Ru). We move upwards from Bodn. At this point the Initiate takes the form of the Serpent.
 
2. The next centre is the Solar Plexus/Heart Centre situated along the spinal column, that of Son. This is the Lagu-Centre.
 
3. Finally we reach the Head-Centre around the Mind's Eye and above; this is Odroerir and the Ansuz-Centre. Here the 'Sacred Marriage' takes place (Woden to Gunnlod). This is the union of opposites - HE/SHE in the lore of Miguel Serrano. At this point the Initiate takes the form of an Eagle.
 
The stealing of the Sacred Mead is to gain the knowledge of how to achieve Immortality, the creation of the Sun-Man, the Superman, the God-Man. Woden is the Great Initiator whose self-sacrifice enables us to achieve this. But it is only for the noble and the hero, not for the mass of people. As Serrano says, it is for the Vira who are those who feel the Call of the Blood and respond by taking up the Sacred Blood Struggle. The Soma-Madhu in the Rig Vedas tells us what it does to the gods, and this is open to men, but only those who take up the struggle, and who have the will to overcome the limitations of man.
 

The Immortals.

We need to remember here that mankind has not 'evolved' as the Old Order tries to tell us, rather mankind has 'devolved', gone backwards, we may even say has undergone a 'fall'. In the Golden Age man walked with the Gods; in the Ur-Hyperborea dwelt a Race of God-Men who were translucent, spiritual beings, 'Shining Ones', 'Immortals', of the fairest hue and with the Igneous Blood of the Black Sun - the Ancient Sun that illuminated Hyperborea. Due to a spiritual 'fall' when this Divine Race mixed with the lower species on Earth, the earth's axis tilted and the Golden Age came to an end.
 
Through the Cycle of the Ages this 'fall' continued apace until we reach the lowest part of the Cosmic Cycle, the lowest point of the Kali Yuga, Warg-Age or Dark Age, when the Ragnarok brings everything down. Mankind is at its lowest point, nearing its 'death', locked into the material world, broken off from the spiritual realms. Yet there is hope, hope in the form of the Race of Hope, the Aryan Man who is an archetype, a primal type that exists today only in the form of 'hope'. The hope of a resurrection, of a rebirth of the Hero. The key to this is the Aryan Gene and the Ancient Runes that can unlock this 'potential'. Our race has fallen as far as it can, and the only way is onwards and upwards, upwards towards the Superman - the God-Man - the Solar Man.
 
 (*) Groa stems from the Welsh grouch which means 'witch'. She is a 'Wise Woman'.

(**) The name 'Rati' stems from a root meaning 'ecstacy', 'rapture' or even 'orgasm', and with the symbolic serpent there is an obvious sexual connotation to this - a Tantric Rite

 
 
 
 
 
 


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