Etymology — what is it good for?

Etymology. The origin of words. Sometimes this issue comes up in groups on Facebook. What exactly is the origin of the word “rune”?  Or “Seidr”?  Or any other word related to the work of a Vitki?  Interesting questions to be sure. Yet really what does it matter?

I maintain the only issue that should surround a word is how it is used currently. The only thing that matters is the current use and meaning of a word. Everything else in my opinion is merely mental mastrubation.

Take the word “rune”. The origin of that word is the word “runa” which means “mystery”. What does this mean to us now?  Would we not have discovered this meaning if we simply studied them?  What difference does it make if a word is Old Norse or Old German or whatever?  The meaning of a word is what it does for us today. So in this case the word means “mystery” to us today because in studying the runes we find it to be true.

My opinion is that a word is only as good and as powerful as it’s current usage. Otherwise we run the risk of being trapped in some dusty yesterday rather than being full and vibrant practitioners of a living craft. And that’s what I strain to be. A living breathing Vitki with his eyes looking towards the future. Not looking back on where we’ve been.

Birds

I love birds!  Any kind of bird. As long as it has feathers I love it. Birds to me mean freedom. They are free to fly anywhere they want. I wish I could have that sort of freedom!  But watching and observing birds gives me a vicarious chance to feel the freedom. If only second hand!

I live in the suburbs of Chicago. Very urban. But we get a fair share of birds anyway. They all have different things to teach me. I try my best to listen to the lessons of the birds every day.

This past summer we inherited a family of crows. Three of them. They always remind me of the wisdom of the Morrigan. About life and death and it’s cycle. It’s not a cycle to be feared. But as the loud caws of the crows tell me it is a natural part of the way things are. That for me is the main lesson of the Morrigan. And my family of crows remind me of this.

Robins teach a different cycle. The cycle of the wheel of the year and the journey through the seasons. The robins arrive with spring. They stay for the summer. And now in fall they have made a departure. Their lesson is that of the passing of the year. Marking seasons. Living in harmony with the changing of the Earth. A powerful lesson for me on my path of Druidry.

Herons make an appearance in the forest preserves that surround my suburb. They appear less frequently than other birds. But their lesson is just as valid. They teach me of the ability to straddle two realms at the same time. Just as the herons straddle both land and water so too do I strive to exist in this realm and the Otherworlds. I learn from this bird the grace and poise needed to achieve this goal.

Chickadees come and perch on our balcony railing. Always in twos they remind me of the lesson of fidelity. Fidelity to your loved ones. Your clan. A powerful bond to be sure. The chickadees will be here all winter snuggling up to one another. Teaching me the lesson of belonging to something greater than myself.

The birds are my teachers. They are one of the reasons the path of Druidry means so much to me. It is the love of all things natural that feeds my soul. May you find such lessons in the wind beneath the wings of the birds!

Connections

To be truly effective a Vitki must be well connected. Connected on many levels to many different entities. Connection is the way we monitor our progress. It is the way we serve. It is the way we communicate with our gods.

First for me there is the connection with deities. Being connected with the deities gives me the opportunity to do and experience a wealth of information. Being connected to deities is the way I make sure I stay on the correct path. How to stay connected to deities?  The easiest way is through meditation. And ritual and prayer. These ways offer us a direct link to the divine. This is my primary connection. Without it for me none of the other connections really matter. It is my lifeline to everyday life.

Connection to the Runes is also vital to me as a Vitki. It is my first line of connection with the gods. Through my use of the Runes I am allowed a glimpse into the goings on of the divine. The runes are more than a powerful Divination system for me. Plugging into the energy of the Runes gives me a boost of spiritual strength. I need this on a regular basis to function well.

Connection with your clan. Staying connected with those of a like mind has never been easier. Thanks to the internet we can reach others all over the world in a simple keystroke. Your clan can be as large as your imagination allows. For me this has the added benefit of not needing to leave my house to be connected. This is important as a person who suffers from MS. It may be important to you for different but just as valid reasons.

These are just three ways that being connected is vital to my work as a Vitki. I’m sure in your own practice there are more. But being connected is an important part of who we are and what we do. Connections makes the work worthwhile!

New moon ritual

Last night was the new moon. I thought I’d commemorate the event with a ritual. I don’t normally do new moon ritual but this month I was feeling the need.

I started the ritual as I always do by lighting incense and lighting a few candles. Then I got out my drum. I started drumming and chanting the names Cerridwen and Morrigan. These are two of my primary gods that I summon for all of my rituals.

Then I started to chant a hail to the moon. I asked for it to be with me and hear my ritual. I next began to state the purpose of the ritual. I kept drumming and to the beat I said words of my intention. My intention was to banish all old ways of thinking that no longer served me to make way for the new. The new I stated was to begin learning the tarot. I stated all this and thanked the deities for joining me. Then the ritual ended. Pretty simple and straightforward.

Then I went to bed. I had sent the intention into the multiverse to do its thing. I released all that I had done and focused on sleep.

I had a very interesting dream. In the dream my husband and I were exploring our tarot decks. I was overcome with a feeling of joy. So much joy that I started dancing a little dance!  Then I told my husband I needed a new vocabulary to define myself. I needed to focus on more positive ways to define myself. I had been a definite negative thinker for long enough. Time for me to get positive.

When I woke up the dream was still with me as vivid as reality. I had a feeling of excitement and happiness just like in the dream. As I told my husband about the dream I remembered the ritual of last night. This dream was exactly what the ritual was about!  Getting rid of old ways of thinking to make way for the new!  The dream was letting me know that the ritual was doing its thing. I just needed to come up with a new way of thinking and talking about myself. It was all so clear.

Was this dream merely my subconscious reiterating the ritual to solidify the results?  Or was it a message from the gods that I must do this work to move forward?  I’d like to think it was a message from the gods. For me that’s what following the path of Druidry is all about. Connection with the divine. Guess who will be doing more new moon rituals in the future?

Seidr and personal transformation

One of the most powerful ways to use Seidr is to use it for personal transformation. This is easy enough to accomplish if you have trance skills. Let me give you an example.

First let me restate my definition of Seidr. For me in my practices any trance work done with a northern tradition as its backdrop is Seidr. Traveling the nine realms qualifies.

First you need to determine what you would like to change about yourself and your thinking or behaviors. This could require some introspection. It’s time well spent though.

Once you have a plan in mind it’s time to journey. For transformation purposes some of the most powerful allies you can have are the Norns. They are the weavers of Wyrd and help control our paths. Whenever I have a change that needs to occur within myself I travel to the well with the Norns.

Next I ask them to see the weaving they are doing of my own Wyrd. If they agree to show me I look for something in the weaving that may correspond to the change I would like to have occur. Many times this appears as a dark or black strand in an otherwise colorful weaving. It looks out of place. I then ask the Norns to cut this thread and continue the weaving without it. If they agree then great. Mission accomplished. If they don’t agree to this request I simply go back to them at another time and it always seems to get done.

Next I return to ordinary consciousness and make a game plan of what I can do myself to bring about the change. This is something else I always ask the Norns. They generally give me a good idea of what I can do beyond their changing of my weaving. This always takes the form of good solid steps to take. It’s up to me of course to follow them!

This technique has worked for me many times. Whether it’s a habit I need to change it a relationship that I need severed I go to the Norns for their aid.

This is just one way to use Seidr for personal transformation. There are many more. The uses are only limited by your imagination. Dream it then do it with the help of the Norns!