My sister was taken off life support the 26th. Her passing from this realm was peaceful surrounded by members of her clan. Unfortunately I was not able to be there to send her off. But from the moment I got the call they were taking her off support I went into full Vitki mode. Here’s what I did.
I did a ritual to invoke Odin. As ferry man I knew he would be instrumental in her safe passing between realms. This aspect of Odin is documented in the Lore. In trance I asked if I could pay her fare. He assured me that her fee had been paid by all the good works she had done during her life. This was very true. She was a good woman always doing for others before doing for herself. Her 59 brief years in this realm were a testament to how to live a selfless life. If in that regard alone she will be sorely missed.
After getting the call that she had moved on I started thinking about which deity I could call upon to aide in helping me deal with the grief of having someone so vital in my life pass on. I thought about it a while before deciding on Frigga. Who else but the goddess who had gone through the grief of her son’s death in the tale of Baldur? In that tale she had fought the death using everything at her command to reverse it. Although it was certainly not in my power to reverse events it was within my power to choose how to react. I resolved to act as honorably as possible towards members of my clan. This involved reaching out to my niece who is reeling from grief herself. Being as emotionally supportive of her during this time is no less than my sister would have done. Even though I am geographically far away phones and the internet are available to reach out. I’ve done what I can within the boundaries of respect.
Then I turned to Thor for his unending strength in all matters. Red beard has enormous amounts of strength at his beck and call. I will need that strength to help me through.
Overall I am doing okay. I am back to my regular schedule within a few days. I am interacting with others. And I am sharing with friends and loved ones how I am able to bounce back so quickly. With the guidance of my gods I will get through.
My sister passed beyond this realm this week. In my grief I was suddenly confronted with the question What do druids have to say about what happens when we depart this life? What do druids think about what happens next? A pretty fundamental question but one I had not given thought to in my past several months on the path of Druidry. Time suddenly to find out.
So I consulted the internet. And my Grove priest. I got the answer that there basically are as many answers to this question as there are druids. And here are some of the answers I got.
When we die that’s it. Game over. It all ends. This was not a particularly helpful point of view for me. I truly believe that there is something else. Energy doesn’t cease to exist. It must go somewhere. There must be another way that the energy finds an outlet for. So this idea wasn’t in keeping with my spiritual beliefs. So I dug further.
We join the Shining Ones. Most likely as an entity like a star. Our energy is released only to be reborn is some form. Not human but some form of being that is part of our multiverse. This sat better with me spiritually. It was closer in thinking to my ideals. I liked this answer.
We become part of a group living a life not too different from this realm. Only more fun and carefree. Endless feasting and games. Reunion with loved ones. Perfect for my sister because in this realm she had spent her energy on helping others. Time for her to have an eternity of fun. I thought this was a fitting evolution for my sister.
We become reincarnated. Our energy finds another outlet in a new birth. Although we may not be reincarnated as a human necessarily. We could come back as an animal. Or even an inanimate object. But we come back as something.
These are some of the answers I found to my question. I’m not sure exactly which one is true for me. But it gives me much to ponder over. Which answer sits best with you?
Tough times. I’m going through one now. My sister who I love dearly has been in a coma on life support the last four days. The prognosis is not good. So I decided to call upon the gods to help me through.
First I called to Eir. As physician to the gods she was of course my first choice. I did a ritual asking for her healing powers to aide and assist my sister. That energy was sent out into the multiverse quickly on day one. Asking for her assistance helped put me at ease. I knew that the situation was in the hands of someone bigger than me. Someone in a position to do something about it. What could be more appropriate?
Then I called upon Thor. His strength and might are definitely called for. He can assist my sister by bringing her strength. And for me too. I am relying on his strength to keep me stable. He is needed in times like this to help me power my way through the emotions I’m feeling. His strength is helping me keep an even emotional state. Who better to turn to when strong responses are called for?
Why turn to the gods at a time like this? They are instrumental in my life. They help me in so many ways that it just makes sense. If they can continue to help me with the smaller issues in my life why wouldn’t I turn to them for the big stuff? Any other response from me would be totally out of character for me as a Vitki. If I can’t turn to the gods in tough times then what good is all the work I’ve done in the good times? I’ve built up a bank account of positive energy. It’s simply time to make a withdrawal.
So my advice is to work with the gods in good times. Build a relationship with them. Then when things get bad you have someone to turn to.
So I know whatever the outcome of this situation may be I will have the gods to see me through. They will show me the correct path to take and guide me on my journey. That’s all I can ask of them. And I am certain they will be there.
I suppose they could exist. But for me taking the gods out of Vitki work leaves the practice awfully dry and barren. Without the gods all that is left is a shell. It takes away all the wonderful possibilities of the practice. Here’s why I feel this way.
Rune work without the gods leaves you with a rather bland and tasteless experience. In its simplest form it becomes rote divination. Without accepting that the runes are in fact a form of direct communication with the gods you are left with symbols that have direct meanings. By allowing them to be a link with the gods whole stories unfold. Meanings take on nuance. The multiverse is at your fingertips. Without the gods you are left with little beyond surface meaning. The gods give the casting the flesh and blood on the skeleton created by the staves pulled. Acknowledgement of the gods provides depth otherwise not accepted. For me in this regard the gods are all.
What of magical uses of the runes? Without the gods for me it just doesn’t exist. Magic requires the divine to work appropriately. Without the gods magic becomes simply an act of will. And as any magical worker will tell you will is only the barest minimum of the working. When we don’t accept the divine magical workings fall flat on their faces. Without the gods you are again left with a shell of the possibilities.
Seidr work without the gods is simply trance. Anyone trained well enough can achieve trance states. It’s in the communication with the gods and entities of the beyond that things get truly interesting. Then once again the multiverse unfolds for you. Insights and wisdom make themselves known to you. True meaning can be found. Questions can be answered. A wealth of information becomes yours. You can actually do something with the trance. It’s more possibilities open to you.
These are just a couple of quick examples of why I don’t believe a true Vitki can be an atheist. You just cut yourself off from too many meaningful experiences that way. To be a true Vitki for me requires a strong belief in that which is bigger than ourselves. Without a belief in the gods you are left with sheer arrogance.
Yule is a big deal for us druids. Why is it a big deal? In marking the longest darkness of the year we mark the turning. The turning from darker days to lighter days. The coming of the yearly rebirth of earth. The time for introspection and spiritual growth. And a time to celebrate the return of the light.
This is a celebration of illumination. We light candles not just to hold back the darkness of this day but to welcome back the light. The birth of the sun. It happens every year. It marks a passage of time. A time to reflect on what we have achieved in the past year and set goals for the coming year. For me it is a time of spiritual introspection and spiritual goal setting.
It is a time to celebrate the illumination of self. The spiritual illumination. We talk of those who are spiritually wise as being illuminated people. This type of illumination is a goal I strive for. I seek to become illuminated from within. In the work of attaining this goal I spend time each day on devotionals and study. I work hard to achieve my goals. Hopefully you do too.
As we work towards becoming an illuminated person our lives change. We become lighter as we see that many occurring issues in our lives are but ripples on the water. We realize they are short lived and will pass as quickly as they appear. This makes us lighter in personality. We become more of a joy to be with. People are instinctively drawn to us. We find our lives fuller. With less attention spent on small daily concerns we are free to contemplate bigger universal concepts. We grow spiritually.
So I take this time of the year to celebrate my ever expanding wisdom and spiritual consciousness. I find it a time to remind myself that the issues that really truly matter are long term. They unfold gradually. And with this celebration of illumination I welcome all that is to come.