I’m going to Hel. And I’m taking you with me!
Journeying to visit departed loved ones almost always means s journey to Hel. It’s not as scary as it sounds.
First I set the mood. Candles. Incense. Those always help me travel. The smell of white sage is almost enough to put me in a trance. But that’s how I’ve trained myself to respond. I always use that incense when I journey. So my brain knows when I smell it burning that something’s up.
Then I drum. And chant. As I’m journeying to Hel I chant Hela’s name. That sets my intention firmly in mind. Intention is a big player in these scenarios. Without proper intention I would just wander about aimlessly. But I have a goal. Keeping that in mind helps.
Soon I’m in a trance. I keep drumming and chanting. Next thing I know I’m at the gates of Hel. I always experience this realm as a type of desert. Hot. Dry. Dead. It is a rather bleak landscape. But I press on.
Hela greets me. I throw some meat at the dog at the gates. Hela seems to appreciate that gesture.
She is beautiful to me. Well half of her is anyway. Beautiful and calm. But for me there’s always a windstorm in her wake. But she herself is the calm in the midst of that storm.
I ask to speak with a departed loved one. She nods and goes inside the gate. I wait. Then she returns. Sometimes with the loved one I wish to speak to. Sometimes with someone else. Sometimes she returns alone and tells me that no one has any wisdom to share with me at this time.
If I’m lucky and someone wishes to speak with me we’ll have our conversation. With Hela standing close by as if to watch. It seems to me she likes to know exactly what’s going on. I never question her intent.
Then it’s time to leave. I thank Hela for her assistance. I thank the departed loved ones. I begin drumming again. My journey has ended for the day.
Thats a quick overview of how I talk to the dead. Pretty easy once you’ve mastered getting into trance. And Hel is not such a bad place after all!
Many people experience a type of initiation where they become a Vitki. It often makes itself known through a sudden upheaval in your life. Loss of a loved one. Loss of a job. Some sort of life changing event may lead you to the path of the Vitki. Here’s a couple of examples.
I have an apprentice who is going through such a process now. In trance several days ago he was given a vision of himself and Odin standing at the top of Yggdrasil. Odin turned to him and said “You’re ready”. And with that he was plunged off the top of the tree. Falling downward he stopped short of hitting the the ground and realized he was hanging by his feet on the tree. He was told for nine days he would hang there. He was only to drink water and abstain from smoking. As he hung there he was visited by Freyja and Hela who offered their aid. That was pretty much how the trance went.
He had a vivid dream the next night. And with my help he discovered he needed to incorporate his feminine side. He had issues with this matter and it was going to be a life changing exploration. He started the work at hand that day. Still in the middle of his nine days we’ll see what else occurs.
My initiation came when I spent five days in the hospital to finally be diagnosed with MS. The stay meant days worth of testing including two spinal taps. This ordeal was a big life event for me. And at the end of it all to be given the diagnosis was definitely a life changing event. This happened shortly before I started to pursue the path of the Vitki full time.
I guess the thing I’m saying is that following the path of the Vitki occurs for many people after some life changing event or ordeal. It is a shamanic change of courses similar to a near death experience. Or in the above examples a death of some part of Self. Becoming a Vitki can be a tough path. But it is one I have found outweighs the sacrifices called for. May your transformation be easy and complete.
The lore abounds in animal life. Everywhere you turn there’s a critter! Why were animals included in these works?
First of all our ancestors were close to animals. They relied on them for many things. Food. Warm clothes. Many things had their source in animal life. Today we seem to group animals into much different categories than our ancestors did. Today they’re pets or bred for meat or wild or kept in cages. These categories seem to have the effect of stripping animals of their sacred place in the world. Rarely are they of the wild category that allows them free range of animal expression.
In the lore we encounter animals in the wild for the most part. Animals left to their own devices. The sacred cow who licked the ice block to free the giant was nobody’s pet! Fenrir the wild was subdued and tended to by Tyr but no one could ever call him tame. The ravens of Odin may report back to him but they are left to their own devices much of the time. The Midgard Serpent is never caught and certainly nobody’s pet. These animals are allowed to act as they would do in their wild state. And as such they are free to act in profound ways in the lore. They may contribute to the tales of the gods as their character ordains. They are allowed to contribute to the lore in ways according to their nature.
Then there are the animals in the lore who are tamed and do the gods wishes. Thor’s goats. Freyja’s cats. Odin’s eight legged horse. Skinflaxi. All do the bidding of the gods and serve the lore as characters who round out the tales. No one can think of Odin and not think of his wolves. They provide the stories of the gods with depth. And they help move things along.
So animals play a sacred part in our tradition. Wherever they occur they are there to make things better or worse. Just like humans. Their roles are as important as the roles of the gods. Maybe we should look at them through respectful eyes. Give the animals their due!
How will I know if I’m called to the Vitki or Volva Path? You’ll know. This is my experience being called to be a Vitki.
It all started with the Runes. I was called to study them first over two decades ago. I don’t really know what the calling was. But I soon realized I couldn’t ignore it. Runes were on my mind constantly. I joined the Rune Gild. I memorized and read every book I could get on the topic. I confess to being influenced the most probably by the books of Edred Thorsson. His work combined an academic viewpoint with enough UPG to keep things interesting. So I was influenced heavily by his books. Still am for better or for worse. But I read and studied books by many authors. I wanted to know as much as my brain would hold. I was starting the path of the Vitki.
Then seven years ago I was diagnosed with MS. This meant no more work for me. Well no more work outside of my home. I suddenly had a lot of free time on my hands. Time to think. More time to study. My practices at that point were decidedly heavy on the masculine analytical side of things. I knew I needed some balance. Time for more intuitive work. I had read passing remarks regarding Seidr. I decided it was time to explore that option. And so once again I read everything I could on the subject. I learned how to get into trance. And things just kept rolling forward from there. Now Seidr work is as important to me as Rune work. For me they provide a balance between the masculine analytical side of my brain and the feminine intuitive side. Both are needed for true Vitki work.
Then I started getting apprentices. This opened up a whole new world for me. Teaching others about this path has kept me on the ball and focused in my own work. Nothing can keep you as centered as fielding questions from others about your calling!
So in my experience it was a gradual calling. A door would open and reveal more doors to open. So much to explore.
But I knew I couldn’t ignore this calling. I had even gotten a certificate as a Consulting Herbalist during that time. I had no idea why I felt I needed to study herbs. I just knew I had to. One more tool in my toolbox of Vitki skills!
Listen to your guts. They will tell you whether or not you are called. Verify with a Rune reading or trance session. Watch for opportunities to make themselves known. In my experience everything I had done my adult life pointed and steered me in this path. To ignore the world that awaited me wasn’t in the cards. I was being called. And more important I listened.
Being a practicing Vitki can get expensive. The cost of gands, incense and mead add up quickly. What to do? Here’s a few tips on cutting back costs without cutting back on intent.
The mead. This is easy. In place of mead use any dark juice. Grape, cranberry. Any dark juice will do. The honoring of the deities and ancestors remains the same. It’s all about your intent. Trust me on this one. I’ve been using juice in my rituals for years. The affects are the same as long as your intention is strong.
Statuary. Looking to honor the gods with some statues of them? The costs of this can really add up. If you’re even a bit creative make your own! The costs of clay are far less. And the gods will be even more honored that you took the time and energy to do it yourself. Don’t worry if it’s not as beautiful and detailed as those purchased over the internet. Again intention is the key.
Gand or wand? You don’t need a crystal wand to do magic. Find a piece of wood and carve it. The act of finding the right wood is an act of devotion in itself. Or use two fingers. Same results. Pennies saved!
Incense. Why not try growing your own mugwort for this purpose? The act of planting can be turned into a ritual.
Runes. Make your own set! You probably should anyway. That way you can be sure to load them with your own energy from the very beginning
These are a few quick ways to save some cash on Asatru Vitki tools. A little creativity can mean a lot. Remember that the key with most of this is intention. Make whatever you use sacred through intention and you’re home free!