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2011 06 07

            "After word comes weird," is an old saying that alludes to the belief that the saying of a thing is followed by its happening through the power of weird: the principal agency by which lots are determined. We speak of a weird occurrence when this power appears perceptibly evident in an implausibly coincidental happening. Weird-spells, seeking to twist the lot that befalls us by seemingly magical power, are the province of the norns ~ the sisters of weird, who are known by others as the three fates. Rune shapes express the force of weird in physical form. Rune names are the words of power, for sound is, according to Blavatsky, "the most potent and effectual magic agent, and the first of the keys which opens the door of communication between Mortals and Immortals." It is a special language made of sounds, not words, but complete formulations are composed of sounds, numbers, and figures. "He who knows how to blend the three, will call forth the response of the superintending Power." Runes were used in the practice of divination. The lots were consulted three at a time, or three times ~ sometimes on consecutive days. Weird was addressed by the casting of Rune lots, cut on staves of yew, inlaid red with blood, while incantations (galdr) were chanted. (An interesting and revealing exercise is to lay nine Runes on the Cosmology Of The Nine Worlds.) Since its beginning, the world is constituted to signal to those able to read the symbols, but it is prudent to heed the caution of the man who would be the Beast 666: "Fortune telling is an abuse of divination. At the most one can only ascertain what may reasonably be expected. The proper function of the process is to guide one's judgement. Diagnosis is fairly reliable; advice may be trusted, generally speaking; but prognosis should always be cautious."
            It is important to know that the word lot, although it correlates with the Italic-based fate, providence, destiny, has a quite different meaning. Its root is in the Old Teutonic hluto, the primary meaning of which is uncertain. "In genuine OE idiom" (according to the Oxford English Dictionary) "the verb governing hlot was weorpan ~ to throw; its meaning is primarily the object (usually a piece of wood) used in the ancient method of deciding disputes, dividing plunder or property, selecting persons for an office or duty, by an appeal to chance or the divine agency concerned with chance." Thus it is not only the casting or drawing of lots ~ the action, but also the result: what falls to a person by lot, a share, or inheritance. The important difference with the Italic cognates is that the Teutonic lot has no connotation of divine determinism. This concept of the human lot is opposed to belief in a fated existence. One need not bend to destiny, for the human lot is subject to circumstance and one's willful intercession. Wrote Madame Blavatsky: "Reject fate that implies a blind course of some still blinder power; believe in destiny which from birth to death everyone weaves thread by thread around themselves." Destiny and fate may make a Needlot, and we live side by side with what befalls us of necessity; but each woman, every man, has power to bend that great Need by acting with the integrity of their convictions.

            In the ‘Prologus' to his Snorra Edda, Sturluson wrote that since the beginning humans have had the wisdom to discern their lots, by observing the habits of earth and sky:
            "Then thought they and wondered, how the forms they encountered, of earth and animals and birds together had their heritage in the same lot, though they were unlike in habits. They had one heritage, for when the earth is dug on a high mountain peak, water springs up there, and needs no longer digging to water than in deep dales. Such is it with animals and birds, that it's even-long to blood in heads and feet. Another nature is of the earth, that in every season grass and flowers wax on earth and in the same season are all felled and wither; such is it with animals and birds, that wax hair and feathers that fall off every season. There is a third nature of the earth, that when she is opened and dug, that grass grows in her soil, which is supreme on this earth. Boulders and stones signified to them the marks of quickened teeth and bones.
            "From this discerned they such, the earth shelters what quickens and has life with anysome habits, and they ascertained, that she was forebodingly ancient as ages are counted and mighty in heritage. She fed all that's quickened, and she owned all that is dead. For that sake they gave her names and counted their families from her.
            "The same traced they from ancient relatives of theirs, since from them were counted many hundreds of winters, when were the same earth and sun and heavenly-stars, but the goings of the heavenly bodies were uneven; the quarters of some of their goings were longer and some shorter. From thuslike lots suspected they then, that anysome hands were steering the heavenly bodies, that which steadied the form of their goings to its will, and the forms seen were in realms of main and might. And this expected they, if it counseled before the creation of the prime elements, that it had form and was there before the heavenly-stars. And then they saw, if it counseled the goings of heavenly bodies, that it shall counsel the shining sun and the dew aloft and the awaxing earth-doings, and thus it follows that the same engenders the winds aloft and then too the stormy ocean. But they knew not, where its realm was. From this trusted they, that it counseled all lots on earth and in sky, heavens and heavenly bodies, oceans and weathers.
            "To ensure that this might long be related or kept in mind, they gave names to all those lots they themselves had seen, but since has this old creed through many dispositions changed, because nationalities shifted and languages branched off. But all these lots discerned they in a material meaning, because to them was not given spiritual wisdom. So they discerned, that all lots were smithed from anysome stuff."

            Four steps to initiation have been recognized: the introduction of the master, the awareness of change working within, a vision of god that confirms the knowledge of oneself as distinct from the body, and the finding of the universe within ~ the cosmic consciousness of the witness to all. Adepts of all disciplines contemplate and renunciate in meditation and mental culture. They watch the breath, in motionless posture to still themselves, matching inhalations and exhalations with the heart pulse to reach a state of mindfulness where the breath is watched with the mind's eye only. It is a mystic state that is mind-created, mind-produced, and mind-conditioned. It has nothing to do with reality. But there is a transcendent absolute reality beyond our ken: the universe between observations. Through mindfulness, awareness, attention, and concentration, the initiates turn from the perception of material reality to focus on the intuition, seeking the wisdom (the knowledge, or gnosis) that can release the human spirit, forced to descend from the higher spheres to be born into a construct of human belief: the material universe ~ which the Gnostics saw as a vast prison with the world its innermost dungeon where fate and destiny rule by the law of nature to enslave the people. "What makes us free," wrote a Gnostic bishop (Clement of Alexandria in Excerpta ex Theodoto), "is the knowledge who we were, what we have become; where we were, wherein we have been thrown; whereto we speed, wherefrom we are redeemed; what is birth and what rebirth." Hewitt indicated that the "Sufis are taught to pursue the ‘Who Am I?' inquiry in this meditation: I am not the body. I am not the senses. I am not the mind. I am not this. I am not that. What then am I? What is the Self? It is in the body. It is in everybody. It is everywhere. It is the All. It is Self. I am it. Absolute oneness." Who am I? Where do I belong? What am I supposed to do? To ask this is the first required step on the traditional path; it is to have intelligence ~ the human characteristic.
            "Voluspa," wrote Cleasby, "distinguishes between three parts of the human soul, ~ ond, odr, and lae, spirit, mind, and craft(?); the ond was breathed into man by Odin, the odr by Haenir, the lae by Lodur; the faculty of speech seems also to be included in the odr." To the ErilaR, ond is the supreme universal breath of spirit that may by intuition know directly of Teiwaz; odr, inspiration, is the soul's force expressed by right action ~ it is influenced by the senses, foresight and memory, and by thought, idea, volition, will, and intellect, as well as by emotion; lae, is life's heat that infuses matter, and is the gift of our earthly life that flows from it ~ savor, odor, sound, and light, the bodily senses of touch, taste, smell, hearing, and vision, the affections of pleasure and pain.
            Gordon noted that "the authors of Icelandic prose do not seem to have cared for beauty in anything else than conduct and character." Paraphrasing Gordon, the heroes of the sagas knew it was not enough to be merely courageous. They understood the purpose of their courage. They had a very definite conception of the evil of life, and they had the courage to face it. They had a creed of no compromise with anything that gave them shame or made them less human, for they were champions of the freedom to shape the human lot. They knew the body cannot be preserved from destruction, but they could preserve an undefeated spirit if the will were strong enough. Yielding made them less as people, so they resisted to the end and won satisfaction in being master of their lives while they had it. Their courage rose higher, their spiritual energies grew more concentrated, as the opposing forces were stronger. They might win the struggle or they might know it was hopeless, but it was better to die resisting than to live basely. The problem of life lies in the struggle for freedom ~ against the pains of the body and the fear of death, against each individual's lot itself. And thus the ErilaR await the day to again raise among all the tribes the ancient traditions that demand personal liberty and self-rule, freedom and justice. Justice: impartially; with benevolence, which demands that in all actions the interests of all beings must be considered; and in the spirit of liberty which holds that one ought not to interfere in the chosen course of any rational being. The supreme demand is for action without concern for its result as success or failure ~ for there are no ends but only means.
            Thus also teach the ancient Sanskrit scriptural texts, the Veda, that originated among the Aryans. The Bhagavad-gita contains the essence of Vedic knowledge in seven-hundred concise verses. It instructs the "imperish-able science of yoga" that admits of three kinds of transcendentalists (those who seek higher consciousness): scholars, devotees, and yogi. Yoga is literally: to yoke, and means (to the yogi practitioners) union ~ a linking with the supreme, or the mystical absorption of sat-chit-ananda: being- consciousness-bliss (or, the reality, the knowing, the blissful). Voluspa's lae (the living heat's action in blood and bones), odr (the soul's inspiration and the driving force of mind, reason, and intellect), ond (the spiritual breath of the soul), is sat-chit-ananda (the rapture of transcendental bliss in pure consciousness of spirit). There are many kinds of yoga that seek to harness one's faculties: astanga-yoga's mystic eightfold path that seeks the seeming-death trance of samadhi; karma-yoga of dedication of the fruits of one's work; bhakti-yoga of the worshipful devotee; jnana-yoga of spiritual realization through a speculative search for truth; hatha-yoga of bodily posture and breath control that is preliminary to mental discipline. As a spiritual discipline, Hewitt wrote, "yogic . . . metaphysics. . . does not rely on intellectual acceptance of a theory, but says something like this: ‘Sit quietly, breathe evenly, silence your mind's chatter ~ and you will see into your inner nature and enter the plane of Being'." In yoga there are no scriptures, no shrines, no saints; anarchy is the yoga tradition. Symbolicly, to breathe is to assimilate spiritual power in imitating rhythms of the universe; yoga rhythm enables absorbing not only air but also the light of the sun ~ the solar light ~ the astral gold.
            Deepak Chopra noted that the systems of mystic "meditation meant controlling the mind. . . . It was meant for hermits and the religiously inclined. It led to inner peace, but primarily for those who renounced the world." The promise of stress relief attracted Chopra to the method of transcendental meditation (TM) of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi:
            "I found that the technique was easy, as advertised. It also made very little claim upon my time, since the sittings for meditation were only fifteen to twenty minutes long, twice a day ~ nothing at all compared to what is required of a devotee in India. Nor did I possess a devotee's strong beliefs. My TM teacher emphasized that one could sit with eyes closed thinking, I don't believe in this, I don't believe in this, and the technique would still work. I was told, however, not to force thoughts of any kind, for or against. The key to the practice was innocence. The ideal attitude, my teacher said, was to meditate for one's twenty minutes, get up from the chair, and forget that the meditation had ever taken place.
            "By a stroke of genius, Maharishi has compressed the acharya [the guru, the religious teacher, the master] and placed him inside every meditator. If we want to look for the one who will enlighten us, we do not have to go beyond our own doorstep."

According to the Bhagavad-gita, Krsna these words said:
            "Certainly there was never a time I did not exist, nor you; certainly will we all never cease to exist hereafter.
            "Steadfastly perform your duties, giving up attachment to success and failure. Steadily becoming even-minded is called yoga.
            "While contemplating sense objects, a person develops attachment to them, from attachment develops desire, and from lust anger becomes manifest.
            "Sacrifice of possessions, sacrifice in austerities, sacrifice by yoga of the eightfold path, while others sacrifice by the study of the sacred texts, sacrifice to advance in transcendental knowledge, like enlightened persons who have taken strict vows.
            "All, although apparently different, are those who know the purpose of sacrifice and are thereby cleansed of sinful reactions. The results of such sacrifice tastes as nectar approaching the supreme eternal atmosphere.
            "Greater than the sacrifice of material possessions is sacrifice in knowledge, as all activities in totality in knowledge end.
            "Certainly nothing compares in sanctity in this world as the knowledge that exists in the inner self of the yogi who matures in the course of time and this the self enjoys.
            "The faithful achieve knowledge by control of attachment to the senses. Once knowledge is achieved, transcendental peace will be very soon attained.
            "Therefor, born of ignorance situated in the heart, let knowledge be the weapon of the self, cutting off doubt. In yoga be situated to rise and fight.
            "If you cannot practice this, cultivate knowledge. However, meditation is better, and better than meditation is renunciation of the fruits of action, for by such renunciation peace is attained.
            "The great soul resides the same in all living entities, in the destructible not destroyed. Anyone who sees this, actually sees.
            "Partaking of eternity due to being transcendental, this spirit is inexhaustible though dwelling in the body.
            "Fearlessness, purification of one's existence, in knowledge of yoga practice, charity, controlling the mind, and performance of sacrifice, and study of sacred scripture, austerity, simplicity, nonviolence, truthfulness, freedom from anger, renunciation, tranquillity, aversion to faultfinding, mercy toward all living entities, freedom from greed, gentleness, modesty, determination, vigor, forgiveness, fortitude, cleanliness, freedom from envy, no expectation of honor, are the qualities of one born of the divine nature.
            "Sacrifice, charity and penance, activities never to be given up, must be done. Certainly such sacrifice, charity, penance also is purifying even to the great souls.
            "All these activities certainly must be done, but not with expectation of any results but as a duty.
            "Certainly it is never possible for the embodied to renounce activities altogether. But those who renounce the result of work, they are the renouncer, it is said.
            "With the intelligence fully purified, engaged in determination, the self regulating also the sense objects, giving up attachment, and laying aside hatred also, living in a secluded place, eating a small quantity, having controlled speech, body, and mind, absorbed in yoga trance twenty-four hours a day, detached, having taken shelter from false ego, false strength, false pride, lust, anger, and acceptance of material things, without a sense of proprietorship, peaceful, for self-realization is qualified.
            "All varieties of religion abandon. Unto me only for surrender go. I will deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not worry.
            "Those who will study this sacred conversation on knowledge of ours, by that sacrifice I shall also be worshiped."

[About Ragnarok] [In the Beginning] [Futhark] [Name Scroll] [Nine in the Tree] [Runes of Magic and Mystery] [Weird] [Wise Woman Speaks] [Words of Woden] [Works Cited]