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!
Prayer plays a role in all spiritual paths. The act of prayer is a form of communication with the gods. It acts as a bridge between us and them. It serves as a strong foundation in my practices.
I pray mostly to offer thanks to the gods. Thanks is a good thing to be aware of and practice. We all have so much to be thankful for. Our loved ones. Our health. Our abilities to make it through one more day. And letting the gods know you’re thankful for the role they play in all of that is important.
I also use prayer to honor the gods. It makes a difference that you are taking the time out of your busy day to perform this act. Making time for the gods every day is something we can all aspire to. What better way to take that time then in honoring the deities who play a role in your lives?
I avoid Santa Claus prayers. Asking for things or intervention in an issue on my behalf. If I do offer those kind of prayers I’ll make sure I’ve exhausted every avenue offered to me in this realm. Help from the other realms is great and all but I think the gods appreciate those who do as much for themselves as they can.
Prayer for me also involves offering. I like to offer something to the gods I’m praying to. It is often something simple. Like incense. Or juice. No need to go overboard in this regard. Unless of course you feel it’s called for! Let your imagination run wild here. I’ve offered crystals. I’ve offered ogham sketches. All seemed to be accepted gracefully by the gods. So I don’t feel hindered in types of items to offer.
Let prayer become a daily part of your routine. It will definitely help you build stronger relationships with the gods. It will help you achieve a calmer state of mind. And you’ll be performing an action that is sure to bring you some form of reward.
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.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in following this path over the past several months it’s that I need to make time for the gods. No matter how busy my life may become spending time with the gods needs to be a priority.
How do I spend time with the gods? There’s a couple of ways. The first is through simple meditation. Taking time to quietly sit and clear my mind of most everything but the god at hand helps me build a relationship with that deity. I pick a god I want to be closer to. I sit quietly with some incense burning and meditate on that god and their attributes. This helps me build a bridge between our reality and theirs. New ideas may come to me dealing with my everyday life. It’s a time for honest communication with the deities in a nonpressured setting. This is an important skill for me in my spiritual practice.
For deeper communication with deity I go into trance. This is where I build my more lasting bonds. The act of going into trance helps my brain switch gears from the casual communication of meditation to a more serious communication. Trance work for me is also a vital part of my practice. There I can actually hold conversations with deities. I get more direct information. I find more answers. This is also vital to my building a bridge between the realms.
Then there’s the ritual. Doing ritual makes definite time for the gods. In my experience the full blown ritual with incense and drum and the structured action tells the gods that they’re important to you. I try to make time for a full on ritual at least once a week.
Can I make time to do one of these three things every day? I try. But I know if I don’t I end up getting grumpy and nasty to be around. For that reason alone it is worth the effort.
Make time for the gods in your life. Only then will you reap the benefits of having relationships with deity in your own life!
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!