trance stories: underworld I


I brought up fidelity. I got a lot more than I expected. Here it is, do with it what you will.

Go to your base camp

Filled with the beginnings of some questions to ask brother Snake in the underworld, I travel to my base camp, a mead hall in a forest clearing. I have an image now of three longtables, a brilliant, fiery hearth, and but a few items in the hall. First off, there are wide-bottom earthenware mugs, a bowl with a ladle and a lid, a set of runes coloured with red and gold, a couple of staffs for faring out, several small cups and horns for mead, a bowl and grate for heating the cups for spiced mead, slices of wood on the tables to put cups on, and some wood to burn for incense. I sit at the longtable alone, wearing brown linen tunic and drawstring pants, warmed by a woven multicoloured cloak of bamboo-thread yarn, tied with the protective bindrune burnt into wood my friend made.

Take a staff, and cloak, and fare forth into the forest.

I wander out into the snows, my boots leaving footprints in the ground. I walk through trees made of brush that grow past my boots as I walk. The tree tunnel transports me to tundra from which a wide world-tree springs up, Yggdrasil, offering portals to all terrains on Earth. I take the portal to Rishikesh Valley in India, where I first met Snake.

I do not meet Snake. There are all kinds of cratures around now, mostly humans, cows and monkeys. The hoary-haired monkeys of Laxman Joola sit on fences, peering wisely at pedestrian traffic as it goes by. Cows wander into stalls and are beaten by the storeowners with brooms and brushes made of woven straw. It’s hot here, and I need to remove my woven cloak and boots, faring forth with only my tunic, linen pants and bare feet.

The sight of a wanderer wearing a tunic, with pale skin and green eyes, beard braided and seax at his side, is not a bit strange for shopowners here. They’re used to seeing travelers on pilgrimages, come to the self-proclaimed yoga capital of the world. Many travleers come from France, specifically Normandy, from Germany and Denmark, and the young of them all look like Nordic comrades, dressed as they are in natural fibres and plain colours. There are no branded t-shirts on this side of the bridge connecting Laxman Joola and Rishikesh proper. This is a place where we come to learn about trance, meditation and the secrets of the soul.

I look still for guide, and he beckons: Walk to the Valley where the idol of Laxmi overlooks the forest and streams along the cleft of the vale. The landwights here are not the same as the ones of my Frozen Northern home. They don’t even call them landwights. Locals call them Divas or Asuras or even just by their purely energetic name, Prana.

I worry that this place will not offer an authentic connection with my spirit-world animal, a guide on the Northern Path. Why could my animal not be something more… Northern? Something like a wolf or bear, a crow or raven, or, something more Canadian like an elk or moose?

Are these considerations of fidelity useful for this procession on the Northern Path? If I commit myself to meeting my spirit animal here, am I being unfaithful to the Old Gods of my ancestors? Or will my resistance to this vision only scare away its authentic nature, and prevent me from walking the path with faithfulness to my true experience? This was one of the questions Seithkona posed to guide me on my journey: Ask your spirit animal about fidelity. I would love to hear a snake’s perspective.

Monkeys jumped and barged through the buses as I strode out to the valley. Insects chirped and jumped through the grasses. I had to stop for refreshment along the way. Finally I reached the valley basin, where grass huts sit on a tributary of the great Mother Ganga.

One, two, three times brother Snake slithered by until he was right before me, filling up all my view. “Hello, brother Snake, I have some thoughts to share with you.”

“Yesss, yesss, I’ve already seen them in your head. You spend more time on the garden of Eden than I would. But since it’s on your mind, let’s clear it.

A symbol is a symbol is a symbol. Forget what people have said over the ages. People say things. Those are things that people say. Thigns people say are the evidence, the witness of the symbol that runs through the rivers of the valley, just like tributary you see out there that flows into the Ganga. If you think the Ganga is the pure and faithful story of the water contained in it, look up “chemical properties of the River Ganga.”

Water flows from the glaciers; it descends from the sky. Where clouds hold water, you find the pure symbol of water and what it means at its source. To illustrate: If you see the details of the Garden of Eden, without all the morality that the story picked up along its rushing path through valleys and streams and rivers and tributaries, you see a Paradise you could even use for your own home camp in trance states. You see a pristine garden with all things contained there. You see animals walking and flowers blooming, plants all over the ground and a bright, powerful sun in the sky.

You see a tree of the knowledge between good and evil with a serpent crawling about it. Is this not a universal symbol? What of the Cadaceus, a staff standing as tall as a tree, two snakes intertwined at each energy point? What of the Ouroboros, the great Serpent that consumes its own tale perpetually? What of the serpents of Greek and Roman myth, who struck against the bold hero, and whose defeat was the proof of the hero’s might? What of the serpent that Cleopatra VII held close, and in her final act of freedom, accepted its venomous fangs for a swift and dreamlike death?

Is the symbol of the Cadaceus more powerful than the single snake hanging from the tree of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil? Or do they have different purposes? Cadaceus has balance, a balance bewteen binaries, between dark and light, good and evil, hot and cold, attrraction and repulsion. The tale of the Snake in the garden is unbalanced: there is a choice to be made. Would you say that the Hebrew Yaweh, or the First Man that god created, were the protagonists in this story? By no means! We always speak of the First Woman, and the choice she had: to be faithful to her deity, or bring her gifts to a mortal man. 

I’ll reveal it: the serpent is neither good nor evil. The serpent is ever a symbol of power. Power alone is neither good nor evil. The serpent in this land of Mother Ganga, of Shiva the serpent-tamer, is the inner snake of the kundalini, which is power manifest in the Greater Body. The serpent in the garden is the First woman’s power. It may suggest that she give her power to the glory of her universe, to her god, to her soul, to her journey, or it may suggest that she give her power to a mortal, whose mind is not expansive enogh to appreciate her magick. We all know how that story went, and need not waste more time on that. The tree in the garden was unbalanced compared to our tempered Cadaceus, and as in Shakespeare, when time is out of joint and fate is without balance, the story is a tragedy.

Let’s return to fidelity and the serpent you did not picture when you conjured a tunnel to come and meet with me. Your fidelity may be to unfaithful mortals, whose whims change with their emotions, whose fancied trends reflect their place on the path, not the truth of their whole path. Would that be a faithful choice? To rise and fall with today’s politician, with today’s celebrity, with today’s well-publicized guru or pop-psychologist? Yuk! You know in your soul this is Yuk! Will you be able to spot when you’re giving yourself away, giving away your power?


The serpent you did not picture was the one on your own path, Great Jörmungandr! Exercise your fidelity and find out what you can about this ancient and powerful serpent! Be wary of the voices of the men who told the stories of endtimes, the Asgardians who fought the serpent, the serpent who was the progeny of Loki, and all other negative associations that the human fear of snakes can sully such a rich and vibrant symbol, a true guide filled with all things this world can offer! If you can give faithful voice to my expresison, then try! But be ever conscious that as Christians put their words into Heathen tales, so do

you put your words into my mouth. I have no words, but only eternal images, all of which turn from gold to lead in the physcial realm of Miðgarðr where mortals give voice to the sights they’ve seen, using the tools stitched into their physical brains! If you see the serpent as a symbol for power, than you will see the true scales of Mighty Jörmungandr above you when you walk down the street! Look up into the sky more often and appreciate the glittering dome of the stars that sit in my scales! Why! why do you not look up to the sky and see me, see me everywhere and in everything! Where is your faith? Where is your fidelity? Jörmungandr is the greatest earthly creature and teacher, wound round the circumf

erence of the globe, can’t you see him? Or do you mindlessly tune into the consciousnesses of zombies propelled by fear, and not Wisdom!

This! is fidelity! To see me everywhere and in everything, and to OWN your own uses of my symbol! To walk all other paths is to learn their mythos, nod your head, and pretend to understand what their mortals’ saviours stories mean! To walk this path is to have a true connection to the symbol, to your deity, and not to the frailty of flesh! Drink from the Ganga or drink from the Glacier, I care not! But to pain yourself with minor fidelities, when the great fidelity is there in the sky! In the trees! It is the life force of all that is and all that wil be! Do you have fealty to a king? To a manager or supervisor? To a social media platform? To a partisan divide? The only truth you are shutting yourself out from is the truth of what is. The only person you damage is your own innenr self. Fidelity is not something you do for oth

ers, it is what you do for yourself to live a pure path, not purity of the flesh, but purity of the symbol, of your chosen Gods, and your path in life! Never did we cry out and ask for the Gods to solve our problems! Always did we hear them laugh and say “the strength is within!”

So there. I can hear your mp3 drumbeat is coming to an end, and when it does I know you will be plucked and thrown back into a world that is much more materially-binding than this land, or so you perceive. But when you come to meet me here again, come pure, and not fettered by infidelity!

My own voice on the mp3 recording sucked me back, tore me from my travels in Rishikesh Valley and threw me quickly onto the forest path back to my base camp. I enetered my base camp, thinking now that the words, base camp are starting to diminish the power of this place, and I want to give it a new name. I shall consider it.

I sit on a bench and throw back a final horn of mead. I have no idea who is serving me thi

s mead, because I am the only one here. I don’t question it.

The air of that world becomes the world of this world.

I wake in a home that is the residence where I work. My friend is beating a druma nd smiling. I wonder where he went. I smile at him and make us both coffee. The symbol. After all that, I don’t even know what it means.

Here’s the recording I used:

trance stories: a change in the air

Dream… but I feel these dreams will start fading into another form….

I’m eating and doing some work on my laptop in a restaurant owned by my coworkers. I idly chat with the server and somehow get home without my vehicle (must have had a drink?) I return the next morning and someone has brutalized my van. They’ve smashed two side windows, ripped up and thrown around everything, I clean up all the glass and put the interior in order. My laptop is missing. The cubes of smashed glass and ripped fabric all seem so real, so correct in look and feel. On my to check the restaurant, I run into a man with glasses, a bald head, and a radically straight-laced disposition who talks to me as though he’s my employer, which I soon realize he is. I recall that he was interviewing my friend Andrew to work at the restaurant, and he’s very impressed with Andrew’s realistic views on things. I become internally aware that I am by no means realistic, and silently despise people who are. I feel gross just for talking to this man, even though I don’t show it, or show him any hostility whatsoever. I return to the restaurant. I’m there before any of the servers show up. I see that all of my dishes are still out on the counter. Hidden behind those dishes is my laptop, and I’m relieved. This really cool person I work with, Tara, walks up the stairs (there are many) to the restaurant. I become aware that I’m in a tropical location, somewhere with lots of palm trees and the like. We talk about the van, and I show her the damage. I wake up and it sets in that my van is in the driveway outside, and it’s fine.

Could be part memory of a similar story a painter told me yesterday, could be an analysis of how I view interactions between people, or the things I value. I’m told that a vehicle is the means to do something, home is your frame of mind, and a workplace represents your contribution to the world.

Am I jealous of my roommate’s realistic perspective? Perhaps I just know that I will soon be moving on with my level on contribution to the world.

Today had an odd air about it. Electric devices were breaking down in every store I visited: the ATM in a convenience store, the computer and debit machine in a grocery store, and I even couldn’t find my drumstick, which is my technology, at my workplace.

Now safely home, I reflect on the many things that have developed over the last month.

The beating of drum is a daily reality for me.

I need to write some drum stories.

There are these groups, online.

They cry out, “Hail Tyr! Hail Odin!”

“Hail Frey and Freyja!”

What brought us here, Ouroboros?

Oh, yes.

That’s a story I need to tell you.

Perhaps another time.


trance stories: the mariner

The world is begging to know! How’s it going with your practice? Okay, the world is not really begging to know. But there was a strange one last night. Warning: what you are about to read may get graphic.

I was sitting on a couch. There was this woman, roughly my age and disposition, sitting next to me. We were casually talking, and she leans over and kisses my lips. I look over and she’s returned to her side of the couch with a coy look on her face. I lean in and we kiss once more. She gasps, tells me she has a boyfriend and storms off.

So, this is what it’s come to: I’m a homewrecker. I’m not sure if this dream was there for the drama, or if I just needed to feel what it was like to kiss after all this time. When I say that, I mean, I could actually feel it. It wasn’t exactly as I’d remembered, but it wasn’t entirely unpleasant. One detail that was clear: she was subtle and hesitant, whereas I was rushing forward like a locomotive. Yeah, super hot, right? Nope. 


So anyway, we were supposed to write a few lines of poetry about a picture, scene or object. Okay, this needs to be preserved for posterity. I was on a ship with a madman helheim-bent on loosing a giant wolf from its tether. For reals. I mean, like really really. In fact, it felt more realer than the realest reals, like, totally, literally, ever.

Oh boy.

It started out as a little collaborative poetry. Which was all good and nice. The image was text written on a titel card on a facebook post reading something along the lines of I offer my wrist. Oh, okay. He’s playing Tyr and Fenrir. I’ll check that out.

I jump in, pop in a few lines, make a few jokes, why not? Cool beans, I think to myself. I’m doing the thing Paxson told us to, and it’s fun. The he starts talking about the sun going down, and someone else brings up the Beast. Some sort of dark disposition is coming over everyone, and they are crying for the moon. Then I suggest that the moon is bringing madness, and all of a sudden, we’re on a ship going through choppy waters. The beast is raging and the leader of the group is talking about cutting its rope.

I just remember being there, and seeing things that I don’t know if others saw. I’ll bet if you looked back at the poem, you wouldn’t get the impression of what I’m about to illustrate, not at all.

We’re in a mead hall in the evening, and the sailor, some conflation of a mighty Beowulf with the ghostly presence of the Ancient Mariner sits at the table, drinking his mead, going on about a prophesy he has that he will be offering his wrist to the Beast.

Various other patrons of the hall sit around, alive with idle chatter about the old stories, laughing and riffing on each others’ sentences, asking of where so-and-so is, or what are the words of the day. These people laugh and drink, but the man in the corner has a gravity that’s unspeakable. It’s almost as if the light banter around him was a rustic dance compared to the fierce and fearful gaze this man had towards the dimming of the sun.

I finish my cup, he calls, and the sun is lost! Oh where are those that were once among us? Why does this fate come nearer?

Mani, mani! The people cry. Come save us with your magic! Mani, the moon, has no salvation in store. Instead, the madness of the Night Wanderer brings all festivity to an end. A shield-maiden enters the hall and says, now, what of the Beast?

Instantly, the man in the corner, the shield-maiden, a Freysgotha and a library-keeper are transported to the deck of a ship. I am there, but I’m not. I’m a crewman on board, but I’m a wight circling in the sky. At some point, I am even Mani himself!

Water from waves sprays across the deck! The smell of saltwater permeates our nostrils! It’s all so real, and so rich with sensory images! I feel the chill, and hear the growl! The Mariner is cutting the tether, the beast is gnashing its teeth, the librarian, shield-maiden and Freysgotha are hollering to come to shore and quit this lunacy! Yet we stay adrfit, tossled around by the waves, the great wolf almost loosed upon the inhabitants of the vessel and then… and then…

I had to close my computer and go to work for a five o clock shift.

I could have stayed to reach the conclusion.

But is that the point of the journey?


trance: the eventual aim


The eventual aim of writing in your journal is that your thought will become clearer. Your life-focus will become more apparent. Your drive will become sharper in shape and you will go out into the world and change it for the better.


Your writing might not advance, nor may your consciousness. That’s why we have ritual, wisdom, study and reflection.

The specifics of the path you choose do not matter. I’ve chosen a Northern Path. I have friends who’ve chosen a Christian path. I have friends who’ve chosen a syncretic path. I have friends who simply love reading. In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with any of these choices, until any of these choices rot into bigotry.

I’m not on a mission. But I do believe that if you commit to journaling, you will be able to deal with your subconscious. Hopefully then you will be able to access support and resources that aid your process of self-discovery. That means you need a good group. I think I found one.

Healing is a long, slow, steady process. So is Magick. Maybe if you read Harry Potter or watch the Magicians, you think that you can just utter a phrase and work your will on the world with a flash of light shooting out of magic wand. That’d be cool. But for most people, the magic wand is a TV remote, the flash of light is an invisible laser that changes channels, and the magick is opening your minds to whatever crap splashes across your TV screen.

I don’t hate TV. I just think there’s more to life. I think it really is a magical device, because in truth, it utilizes all of the elements that magick does: trance, guided meditation, timing, persuasion. The difference is that someone else is doing it to you, rather than you being able to take control of your own mind’s screen.

What’s on my mind’s screen has become better and better. I started the morning with this dream:

So I’m sitting in this parliamentary building somewhere near Maryland and a politician in a fairly modest and muted suit is telling me about the pressures of his job and how antagonized he is by his peers about the strange hours he keeps. I listen intently and offer sympathy although my mind is somewhere else. It’s time for me to return home. We walk to the basement parking of the building and he motions for me to get into a city bus, which he drives. On our bus trip home, he continues to talk. I think of it now and I’m aware of an odd thing: it’s all talking. Where is the wonder of being alive, of being in reality, of enjoying the breath and scent of fragrant trees on a forest walk, or the needing embrace of a loved one who needs support? In essence, in all this talk, where is the joy of life? We arrive at my home, which feels like my home in the dream, but in retrospect, looks nothing like it. In this dream, I’m married, or I have a girlfriend or something, and the woman waiting for me wears a gently confused smile. She sees the politician, who she immediately recognizes from television. I talk about what we talked about and she talks about that with her opinions. Again, we miss the warmth of love, the smell of delicious food cooking, and only focus on our petty miseries about talking to people who were talking about what someone else was talking about.

My dreams are beginning to turn into prophesies, as will happen on The Path. My file is called “moardrims” to accentuate the fluidity of language, and how it can be manipulated over time, how words themselves are not as static as we believe. Moardrims=More Dreams. Getting it? No? That’s okay.

So, what proceeded was the following thought in a conversation online (I’ve edited out the other participant in the convo, but he was saying some pretty awesome things):

It (hate and bigotry) becomes a war of attrition, and we lose sight of the important things. That’s one thing I really really really love about the Northern Path. It reconnects us to the gifts of Gods: the vast beauty of nature, the smell of pine trees on the mountain side, the warmth of the fire in the pit, the power of galdric chants, the vast wisdom of the ages in runic inscriptions, the love of friends who keep each other warm. (You can tell I’m Canadian because I talk about staying warm a lot ) I want to help anyone who is deprived of life’s powerful and amazing experiences, because I really think that the worst violence against the oppressed is forced withdrawal from the important stuff in life, shoving them in the worst neighborhoods, giving them the worst food, and depriving them of the best activities.

Believe or not, combating that ugly side of privilege part of my job. I live beside the largest First Nations reservations in Canada. There’s a lot of spirituality here, but there’s also a lot of discrimination. The judgements people make are astounding. [The general populace has] no idea what inter-generational conflict and addiction has done to the people who have lived in this region for millennia. I combat it by providing outings for people to learn and explore the natural wilderness of Southern Alberta. We climb, bike, hike, raft, write, play music and have cookouts. Bigots simply don’t benefit from these gifts, for they’ve woven a spell around themselves that prevents them from seeing the brightest parts of life. In my opinion, bigotry is its own punishment.

I’m not sure what causes people to choose drugs over life. I work with individuals who have taken that path, I’ve taken numerous trainings, workshops, read books and books and books about the subject and I still have absolutely no idea. I think the truth is, the world has no idea. We can speculate, but in the end, we can only claim to know. No one really knows. There’s a Canadian author who quit his profession in working in pre-natal in the nice part of Vancouver to work with the addicted and mentally-ill in Vancouver’s infamous Downtown Eastside. He wrote a book called “In the Realm of the Hungry Ghosts” based on the Buddhist notion that one fate of those condemned to the underworld is to have stomachs too big and mouths too small to ever feel nourished. That’s a powerful metaphor for addiction. It becomes your obsession, and all other things become unimportant in your life.

I’m sure what led to my life-path is that my entire family suffered from the same things that the author I mentioned wrote about. These are stories that will break your heart. It’s easy to say that people have a choice to use or not, but the truth is, people don’t really “have a choice” but rather, they “have a responsibility” to at least start on the road to conquering their addictions. No one really has a choice. I feel like I didn’t have the choice to be so judgmental about addiction based on the trauma I experienced when I was young. But I did have the responsibility to reduce my hate and try to see addiction for what it was. Now I try to help people who have been missing out on life for whatever reason. It’s great. Since I’ve been studying Northern Path, and journaling a lot, I’ve been able to better articulate my direction in life. I got a promotion. Now I’ll be initiating a music program for street youth.

These, I feel, are the gifts of clear thought, of clear intent, and of checking in with your emotions. Remember,


trance stories: seventeen years


What has brought me back here, to Calgary, to 17th street, seventeen years after I moved away? The real reason is because there’s a free cabinet record player. I don’t even live in Calgary. I’m just here to help out a friend.

Then I discover that the record player comes from a junk shop. In the junk shop, there are several things sitting around in haphazard locations, people squeezing by cabinets and bookshelves, and general chaos everywhere. There was one thing for me there:


An excellent bowl, lid and ladle. It doesn’t take much to make me happy in this world. Homemade pottery, home-knit clothes, a dry place to stay and good friends with good food.

There’s too much to focus on right now with so many developments. I’ll limit myself to three:

  1. A Collaborative Base Camp
  2. Paxson chapter 5
  3. That guy from the trance

I’ll do item 3 first. Why did Njörðr feel so strongly about making himself known this morning? I’ve been slacking on writing down the content of dreams in favour of focusing more on controlled trance practice. Now that I’ve been doing this, I’ve found that the dreams are rich and my motivation for trances have increased. I don’t perseverate on the meaning of the dreams as much, but maybe now Njörðr is telling me to pay attention. What I had forgotten was that Njörðr is father to Frey and Freyja.

Here are the new practices:

Practices 13-16: Reverse memory, base camp, articulation and passages:

13. Before sleeping, go through your day in reverse to determine what events led to your present moment. Once you’re familiar with this, review your day’s journey forward, noting sensory detail. Compare these renderings of the day to see how they interact. Go back a week. Think of places you’ve lived in the past ten years. Recall life events.

-Paxson elaborates on the purpose of having a way in and a way out again
-Seek advice from someone who has done this before (so crucial!)
-Think of cultural maps that are used in meditation: Yggdrasil (Norse), tree of life (Kabbalah), … can you think of any others?
-Become familiar with the route before taking shortcuts
-Teleportation: move at the speed of thought in and out of the Otherworld (Why does Paxson not elaborate on teleportartion? Does anyone know about this?)
-Observe landmarks
-Now we start really talking about the Otherworld… in terms of safety for travel
-Speedy teleportation or emergency ejection can lead to “soul loss”
-One person needed to “gather up missing parts of soul”
-How to: repeat your journey slowly, looking for pieces of yourself you may have left behind (This seems really important)

Note: the process of soul retrieval is a process best guided by an actual shaman.

-Book: “Soul Retrieval” (1991)
-Review checksum exercise

14. Base camp construction, two options: 1) meditate on your needs and allow your subconscious to create one, or 2) build one in your imagination, perhaps drawing on the experience Paxson discussed in her chapter. Entrances and exits are important.

-Create a “power-place”
-Don’t forget doorways
-Memorize the detail and pay the base camp a visit
-George had a very detailed description (See page 87)
-Don’t forget sounds and smells
-You can use mythology (Swanhild)

15: Articulation, or “bibliomancy”: work with writing and your inner image-screen to generate sensory details based on an excerpt of poetry or prose.

-Focusing on and remembering sensory input can help you carry more information from trance states
-Put what you’ve learned into words
Think of journaling!
-“Know what we know”
-Pascal’s mystical journal, how it helped recall an experience
-Still your internal monologue to focus on other things. (I just had a thought… trying to do this in everyday reality would be a good practice, too.)
-Viga-Glum’s saga of the giantess: an example of putting a dream into words
-Use haikus or poetry
-Work with words chosen at random

16: Use the concept of passages from favourite fairy tales to visualize space, detail and routes in and out of trance spaces.

-Alice in Wonderland: rabbit hole
-Oz: tornado
-Chronicles of Narnia: Wardrobe

…What are some other classics?

-Gateways, doors and curtains
-“Going through a barrier”
-Up, down, compass points

And finally, the collaborative base camp is a work in progress. The link is:…yysKjjdKIFnamIzHQ0U/edit. The point is to have a shared space we could access. It’s all experimental at this point. I will keep the blog posted…

And soup! I shall have all the soup! What an odd gift to receive, this bowl. Beautiful though it is. I have only gratitude to pay:

Aslithar Alle, Valhallar Visir,
Tusen Takk!


trance stories: why don’t people just get it?



I feel like I’ve had a pretty gentle ride so far. Last night, however, something happened that I didn’t expect.

I’ve been steadily adding to my repertoire of meditations. Now I have a relaxation trance, a chant, and a rune-discovery. Soon I’ll be recording an Otherworld journey meant to discover a fetch, or animal spirit.

I feel so productive and driven these days. But for some reason I lost consciousness during trances last night. I’ll be honest: every time I add a meditation to my playlist, I feel like doing all of them. That’s a lot of trance.

What I’ve noticed is that the more I get into trance and meditation, the more I start to feel like the world would just be much better if people just “figured it out”. The world can improve, we just need to make that choice. Why don’t more people “get it”?

So here, on this blog post, I’m going to transmute some energy:

Thor: I just feel like snapping. It’s okay to get angry, and a perfectly natural human response to being faced with the sociological reality of “role conflict”: being expected to participate in several levels of society at once.

Wow, I’m feeling that Thor energy. You know what, it feels good. For a bit. Then I realize that I need to ascend to the next level of energy:

Odin: The magician handles situations with grace. Ever notice in your readings that people talk about fearing Odin?

Why Odin?

Why not fear Thor, the angry one?

Why not fear Loki, the wily one?

When I meditate on the All-Father, I think of how silence can be more powerful sometimes than a whole slew of words. I think of how he learned the art of expressing himself on three levels. What these levels are remains a mystery, and no one can truly define the Thrice-High.

The power is in the mystery.

Where did the mystery come from?

Freyja: There is speech beyond words. This is the level of the reality of the unknown. The truth of the unknown, is that as much as we may try to assemble a totalizing theory, a universal narrative, a situation where everything lines up and works out, such a world is but a solipsistic effort to understanding everything all at once. Thinking we can do this is pure egotism. You don’t understand everything. You weren’t meant to understand everything.

The Norns have a bunch of threads that are not tied to anything. They dangle and fly off the table and sit on several looms or fall upon the floor. There is no ultimate witness. Your brain does this incredible thing: it makes do with a chaotic influx of competing signs. Your brain ties it all together. As soon as things start to fall apart, it tries to gather things up again. Sometimes it fails.

When it fails, like it did for me last night (I passed out during trance.. I actually never do that), I know I need to call up and make an appointment with my counselor. I need to regroup and run some ideas past someone. There are professionals for that.

Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone needs help. Especially if you are increasing your level of energy. The negative stigma we attach to counseling is entirely unfair. It’s when people aren’t getting help that we should be concerned.

Anyway, I’m going off to that appointment. Life is good. We’re becoming warriors, in the best possible way: transmuting our energy from frustration to true magical power.

Aslithar Alle, Valhallar Visir,
Tusen Takk!


trance stories: compassion fatigue




I was watching a vlog created by a Wiccan who was talking about the signs you know you’re a witch. It seemed that all of her signs had one thing in common: empathy. What I took from it is that a witch is someone who cannot help but have compassion for all living beings, be they human, animal or plantlife. That of course doesn’t mean that one does not appropriately respect and fear predators, be they human, animal or plantlife. Thus the first thing a lot of rookie spellcasters learn is protection spells. At least, that’s the smart way to do it.

And why not? If you were naturally inclined to feel empathy, you wouldn’t see things as black and white. You wouldn’t see an ultimate good and ultimate evil. You wouldn’t limit your care and compassion to those in your own tribe, denomination, gender, orientation, race or mental ability.

Perhaps you don’t share the view that your tribe is to be worshipped and honoured no matter how terrible it might become, and the enemy is to be fought against no matter how innocent it may be. You might see someone who believes in an ultimate good and ultimate evil as an ill, deceived, violent, potentially dangerous predator from whom you might require protection, or might be in a position to help.

But if your psychological bedrock is not built on the notion of an almighty god and its people, locked in a holy battle against an evil demon and its people, what exactly do you believe?

I’ve learned of something called a “pantheon”. While the young, popular religions (yes, to a cultural historian, two thousand years is VERY young) don’t necessarily utilize a pantheon to express the wisdom of the ages, most ancient traditions do. The wisdom I’m talking about is the spiritual maturity to understand that, rather than all of reality working on a binary system of good competing with evil, the more likely substance holding the cosmos together is a series, or pantheon if you will, of forces with competing or cooperating interests.

Have I lost anyone yet?

With this in mind, I received a wisdom during last night’s adventure.

Chaos and desperation. A man makes a pact he cannot honor. A whole group of people, a generation, is filled with fear. And a disturbing thought on the side of fortune: sometimes the wrong thing is the right thing to do.

This, I think, is a just a token of maturity. It just means I need to appropriately respect and fear the fact that people don’t always automatically care about how I feel in the way I sometimes can’t help but care… I guess at some point someone gave me the curse and blessing of empathy. Without it, I wouldn’t be so good at my support work job. But when I allow it to control me, I sometimes act against my own best interests. Which rune would this be?

I can’t help but feel that this whole thing started as a result of the meditation I recorded last night. It was a simple one, written by Diana Paxson, with some basic thoughts on the meanings of the runes. It’s meant to be used with the book “Taking Up the Runes” which we are now studying.



trance stories: this looks serious


Where shall I start? Let’s begin with yesterday’s experience. The Paladin decided to visit me in the only park open after 8pm. They weren’t there specifically to see me, I’m sure. They just happened to be there while I was doing a ward around a cottonwood tree that I’ve come to know as Mal, and for some odd reason, the Paladin Security® guards decided to get out of their car and walk through the park. We ignored each other. It was nice.

I returned to my residence and wrote a poem about my job. I opened a fortune cookie. It read:84710154.jpg

Okay, no it didn’t.

Actually it said:


I thought nothing of it, because I will believe a lot of things:

Landvaettir: “spirits of the land”- yes, of course. That makes perfect sense. Nature is powerful and mysterious. We have no idea why some people are more in harmony with it than others. But we do know that faring forth with a spirit of gratitude changes the experience of nature that you have.

Husvaettir: “house wights” – again, makes total sense. Call it feng shui, call it keeping organized, there’s just something about a harmonious house that brings out the best in life. Let your temple be your.. you know, temple. Show appropriate grace to the unseen inhabitants and see what happens.

Bifrost: “rainbow bridge” – the idea that Earth is connected to realms outside of Earth. Lately, I’ve been seeing that to be more and more true…

But… fortune cookies?

No, there’s no way. That’s just a random piece of paper with a generalized phrase written on it that could apply to anyone.

Unless you wake up the next morning and get two messages:

  1. Your workplace telling you you’ve gotten an internal hire to work a job that you didn’t apply for, namely, brightening the lives of the people you work with as a “cultural coordinator” in charge of arranging musical and performance experiences
  2. A veteran moderator of the Vanir Path group you’ve been really enjoying asks you to become a moderator of the group that was meant to be a limited study group and has now grown to 500+ members

AND an odd thought as an aftertaste from two posts ago wherein your humble narrator examined Fehu and ended up with more work than he could handle.

So, I’ve got a new rune map. It’s based on a fantastic suggestion from a trusted source of the component runes of Freyja. I’d love it if you fact-checked this one for me:

Freyja bind:call.png

Now, for my own purposes, I plan on doing the trance in the Old Icelandic. So the English translations are only mildly important to me.

The aforementioned moderator suggested that Sowilō was not so much a destroyer of ice, as I had previously translated the text, but possibly a force that slowly works to reveal successive layers of ice, which makes sense considering the Isa rune has many positive connotations, and we have no intention of destroying it. I had to consult Zoega.

I’m sure you have Zoega’s dictionary of Old Icelandic on your shelf, but to save time you can always consult the online version:

I mean, the beauty of the XML-encoding alone is enough reason to visit the site. But I digress.

The sun is the “life-long sadness” of ice, according to Zoega. Now what in the world does that mean? So, I decided to use the English “Persistent unveiler” of ice, which, if you look it up in your King James, has a kinda neat allegorical significance.

Sothlice. You may now use this, with modifications if you deem them necessary. But please tell me:

  1. what modifications did you use?
  2. what do you think is mistranslated or misrepresented?
  3. what was your experience like?
  4. and most importantly, do you totally not get how to use this?

For that final question, I can certainly be of assistance. I’m thinking of doing a video. Here’s the thing: I’ve been around a lot of computer programmers who have tried to show me how to do stuff involving computer code. It’s a steep learning curve.

This is the code of all reality. It’s a steeper curve indeed.


trance stories: Váli

Previous (Fehu)


Commission – Wolf fighting a cobra tribal by wolfsouled– Deviantart

Happy Vengeance Day!

On the Heathen calendar I bought for $9.99 in a shopping mall downtown, they call today Válisblot. My instant reaction was, No… we’re not appropriating a holiday for the purposes of our own cultural identification, are we? WHO does that?!?” Oh, yeah. Western culture has been doing that for centuries.

I guess despite some St. Valentine character being thrown in the mix at some point, it’s still the day of Cupid and Venus. And Váli! (Not to be confused with the Vast Active Living Intelligence System of Philip K. Dick. The LOST nerds in the room just produced a happy sigh.)

Anyway, I am sorry to all the folks who feel left out of Vengeance Day, aka the blot of Váli. From Baldrs draumar:

Rindr will bear Váli
in western halls;
that son of Óðinn
will kill when one night old—
he will not wash hand,
nor comb head,
before he bears to the pyre
Baldr’s adversary.

Apparently this is quite a new tradition. I love new traditions. After all, aren’t life paths always evolving? So, if you’re looking over at your Heathen partner thinking, with the rest of the world celebrating love, and getting chocolates and flowers, why the hell am I stuck with someone who’s meditating on all those who deserve vengeance? I have good news for you: Vengeance is all about love.


Who has the perfect relationship? No one. There’s always some point at which you’ve thought, “What happened to my life? How did I end up in this disappointing relationship?” And if you don’t think you’re resentful for giving your best years to an unappreciative partner, you’re either a) one of the “lucky” few or b) totally lying to yourself.

You think one day of flowers and chocolates will make up for the fact that you’re with a person who doesn’t have:
a) the perfect salary
b) the perfect body
c) the perfect reaction to every situation
d) the most glamorous job
e) the perfectly neurotypical brain that is capable of entertaining you with quality conversations whenever you want them (and knows when to shut up when you don’t), and,
f) the American Dream of a brand new house, two-car garage with two cars in it, two perfect kids who never act up or have identity issues, and you know, platinum cards with no monthly minimum?

Well now, if you can live without wanting any of these things, you must be spiritual as hell. Call me up right now. We’re getting married before you can change your mind.

If we’re being super-realistic, we understand that the human condition is to ALWAYS WANT BETTER. In the pursuit of always wanting better, we will naturally resent a partner who may very well be doing their best, but has failed to provide us with everything on our subconsciously-created checklists.

So you can either be passive aggressive about it, and express sad, whiny disappointment that your partner isn’t everything you wanted (because as we discussed, your partner will never be everything you wanted) or, you can Heathen up, and take the aggressive route: Unstructured, raging combat.

Get revenge.

Scribble down everything you’ve been wanting to say for the longest time in frantically-written scrawl. Scream at the moon and get that psychotic glare in your eyes. Break a few things. Then, you and your partner should strip down to your scivvies and have a joyous ten-match no-holds-barred MMA match. Hairpulling, crotch shots, biting and spitting included.

After taking revenge on your partner for your joyless domestic situation, laugh it off, dress each others’ wounds, and make violent love.

Because that’s the true spirit of Vengeance Day.

I hope no one ever reads my blog. You might get the impression that I’m not simply writing it to amuse myself.

So, oh yeah, I promised to write something about my trance last night. I’m going to be honest, after all that Fehu stuff (see my last post), I ended up working from 11pm Monday straight until 9:15am Wednesday. I like to think the “magical effects” are just in my mind, but the truth is, I just made a crapload of money. Of course it isn’t enough. It’s never enough. That’s the snaky part of Fehu.

With all the work coming in, I barely had time to go to the park that isn’t guarded by paladins (see previous journals about this running joke) and visit Mal the Cottonwood. so I ended up visiting the small tree in front of my residence. I did meditations, and went to sleep. And oh, the dreams! I only wrote a couple down.

In this dream, I got to be with one who got me into writing. We spent a lot of dream-time together. Someone mentioned to me that the reason she keeps her chin high with me is she needs to look up to see into my eyes (odd, because she’s quite tall). We spent time in the dream that I honestly can’t recount. We were just talking and being in each others’ presence.

That was a pleasant way to spend the dream time. Oh, and then there was this other lovely dream:

There was a TV show where a drummer was challenged to replicate the drumbeats of popular songs. I walked right on and joined the competition. The dream turned quite lucid. I woke up in the dream, aware that it was morning outside my mind. I was surrounded by all the drums and pianos. I decided I wanted to stay in the dream for a while and play.

For these kick-ass dreams, I just want to give gratitude to the Gods. I’ve been processing some heavy stuff lately. Thank you.

Aslithar Alle, Valhallar Visir,
Tusen takk!


rune stories: Fehu


When I say the word Fortune, what images come to mind?

Fehu by EjLowell (DeviantArt)

What keeps coming up in what I read is “cattle”. Hmm. Cows must have been pretty important. What I read in the rune poems say,

Anglo-Saxon  Poem
Wealth is a comfort to all men;
yet must every man bestow it freely,
if he wish to gain honour in the sight of the Lord.

Norwegian Poem
Wealth is a source of discord among kinsmen;
the wolf lives in the forest.

Icelandic Poem
source of discord among kinsmen
and fire of the sea
and path of the serpent.

Anglo-Saxon Poem
Feoh byþ frofur fira gehwylcum;
sceal ðeah manna gehwylc miclun hyt dælan
gif he wile for drihtne domes hleotan

Norwegian Poem
Fé vældr frænda róge;
føðesk ulfr í skóge.

Icelandic Poem
Fé er frænda róg
ok flæðar viti
ok grafseiðs gata
aurum fylkir

Three very different pictures of Fe. I discovered during yesterday’s frenzied trance that indeed the rune of Frey and Freya may very well be the first rune of the Futhark (or last of the Nightside, Uthark, if you be so adventurous).

So what is it? A comfort which must be bestowed freely (ie with consent)? A wolf in the forest? Discord, fire and the serpent’s path?

Be it a comfort that should not be stolen, I think of the aspect of the Goddess that is love: it must be bestowed freely, for who loves under duress? Who loves for fear of poverty? Who loves against their will?

Be it a wolf in the forest, then may this be Fortune’s scowl, the icy hand of debt, forever waiting to pull you under water, steal from you your home, happiness and livelihood!

Now, if Fe be discord, fire and the serpent’s path, than she is close to my heart. My element is fire. My animal is snake. And discord is what I write best.

I wrote of Fortune in Three Valkyries Walk Into a Mead Hall:

The vision came. Foes on both sides of the police barrier were falling, screaming, brandishing chains, struggling against officers, struggling against each other. Pipes were flung, and bodies tackled bodies in the mud. Parents knew their children weren’t home yet. Cameras captured takedowns onto the darkening cement walks of Government Street. Flash snapshots instantly fed images of damp civilians in cuffs being hustled into police vans to social media sites now broadcasting to the world. A province was ablaze, soaked in fearful rain. Sven saw everything in that moment, and he shook for the tawdry devastation of escalated violence called a revolution by each half of a beleaguered brain. Sven saw all of Earth shaking, bouncing off every other rock in the Solar System, the dark mistress of Fortune sitting on top of the mass of land and water with legs crossed, wearing a shrewd smile and preparing investment options for the few who licked their lips at the divided province: investors, lobbyists, partisan heads, weapons manufacturers and media moguls. She looked at Sven as he looked at her. Hey kid, she said with a wink. Never bring a knife to a gunfight.

What of this Fortune, of this Fehu? Fortune was the vision of my dream last night.

First, the trek: I warded a circle around myself and Mal, which, if you’ve been following, you know is the cottonwood not protected by this town’s paladins. Yes, this town I live in actually has paladins. I wouldn’t be able to say that with a straight face, I’m sorry.

I then discovered something. My orientation has been all wrong! I was facing East and calling it North!


Okay, you can stop snickering now.

Anyhow, I realized my mistake and corrected myself. It was somewhat symbolic. I feel like I’ve been facing East (that is, thinking of my previous home in South Korea) for some time (see my first few posts). It makes perfect sense. My initial training was in yoga (ashtanga), tai chi, meditation, templestays, satsang and kirtan. Totally facing East. Now I’m ready to face North.

After this incredible realization, I returned to my residence and immediately did my Northern meditations. I should mention that I have other meditations sitting around… let me find one:

That comes from a popular stav book by Tauring.

I fell asleep, and woke up without anything written in my dream diary.

Instead, I had a perfectly clear memory of my dreamworld. This is what I wrote:

This dream was a trek through Victoria with my childhood best friend. We were looking at places to start businesses. One in particular was a subterranean development. Somehow we were connected to the main character in the poem. The character was wearing a monocle and top hat. Another man descended the stairs of the subterranean shop, opened the door, opened a business, and within minutes, he was flat broke with bankruptcy, and he turned his sign closed. The man with the monocle walked into the shop next door, and found it full of garbage. He sued the seller for $20,000 for reasons that it was bought “as new”, but sold “as is”. The man in the top hat thrived thereafter, and a poem was told in a narrator’s voice.

There was a man who rented a flat as new
But when he got it it was quite as is
So he sued for twenty thousand dollars, which
Was probably the wrong thing to do

First off, how about that slant-rhyme scheme? CREEPY. That’s actually never happened to me in a dream before.


  1. The common myth of “frivolous lawsuits”: not as common as one might be led to believe
  2. The ominous reality of STARTUP CAPITAL. Dreams are pretty, but assets beget assets.
  3. Poetic narration: I certainly need more poetry in my life.
  4. Why am I thinking about business now? I thought I had devoted my life to education!

Food for thought. Well, time to turn dreams into reality.

Aslithar Alle, Valhallar Visir,
Tusen takk!