For myself as a vitki the excerpt from the Havamal starting with stanza 140 is the most important piece of Lore that we have. It tells the story of how Odin got the runes. I’ve read it many times in many translations. Here’s my summary:
Odin is hanging, pierced there by himself (or perhaps just hanging as different translators say, not pierced, but definitely on his own accord), to the World Tree. He looks down, sees the runes, and grabs them. This causes such a jolt of energy and inspiration through him that he is thrown back off the Tree shrieking. Then the knowledge starts growing…word brings word, deed brings deed. I can see Odin doing rune castings for the Aesir and Vanner! And he is given rune charms in this bolt of inspiration he’s experienced (but that’s another post). He is on the path now.
This excerpt requires much meditative thought from a vitki. So much going on, so many layers. Here are my thoughts regarding this little piece of the Lore.
Odin was hanging on Yggdrasil. We know that Yggdrasil is an important tree in the Norse mind. It is the Tree that connects the nine realms. It is the source of strength and wisdom. So Odin was just hanging out on the Tree of Wisdom. For nine nights he hung there. The sacred number nine. Nobody brought him food or drink. He was alone. Experiencing this ordeal in solitude. Then he looks down and sees the runes. Looks down to Hel, the subconscious, and sees something that he knows he needs. He reaches down and grabs the runes. This act sends a blast of energy through him. So powerful he falls back off the Tree screaming. He gets thrown away by this sudden, hugely important act of wisdom being imparted. It knocks him back it’s so big.
Now that he has had this blaze of inspiration it’s time to act. Word brings word. Chanting the runes in galdr lead him to further understanding of the runes. Deed brings deed. Every action he takes leads him to another action inspired by Runic knowledge. He starts putting this new knowledge to work in every aspect of his life. He is walking a new path filled with what has been revealed to him. He is a practicing vitki.
What does this mean for me as a vitki? First I had to seek the knowledge — hang from the Tree of Wisdom. It was a solitary endeavor. One I had to explore on my own to reap the full benefits. After a period of exploring — hanging for nine nights — I was given a flash of inspiration. I had that moment when everything runic suddenly started to make sense. Then I started chasing the words — words of the runes and all they entail. Searching opened me up to more searching. I was discovering even more wisdom. That lead me to deeds. Operating in the world and doing stuff infused with the new insights I was receiving. A whole new world had opened up to me. I saw how this path was full of constant discovery. I was a vitki.
I did a rune casting of the question “What does this section of the Lore mean for me as a vitki?”. The results I got where that stasis and stagnation in the work will lead to sorrow and strife. Approach the work with creativity and awakening will occur. Wise words for any vitki!
That’s my short take on this important section of the Lore. I meditate on it often and find new meaning. Take some time for yourself to reflect on these words. You won’t be sorry!
To briefly paraphrase. In chapter ten of his book “Germania” Roman historian Tacitus describes a ritual in which a priest takes strips of wood with symbols scratched on them, casts them on a white cloth, and gazing skyward randomly selects three. The priest then fortells events based on the symbols chooses. He then looks for omens in the flight of birds and behavior of sacred horses. This account comes to us from the first century CE. Is this the use of runes for the purpose of gazing into the future? Or something else entirely? Heathens take both the yay and nay side of this discussion. Let’s look at the arguments involved.
The nay side says it cannot be the runes. The word “rune” is not mentioned in the retelling. The use of runes for divination came about only after the Tarot made its debut. It is too inconclusive a report to know for certain what is being recounted. Not enough information.
The yay side says “if it looks like a duck…”. It’s a complete enough description. Something sacred was happening with pieces of wood from a fruit bearing tree that included sigils scratched onto them. It was a ritual for the purpose of foretelling future events. If not the runes as we know them today it was certainly some sort of protorunes.
Both sides are compelling. It’s a debate we can’t definitively finish till there’s a time machine we can travel in. One of the primary attributes of the runes is mystery. Perhaps this is a mystery that will never be solved.
I tend to fall into the yay camp. It’s a good enough description of something sacred occurring with symbols scratched on wood for the purposes of divination. If it doesn’t prove an unbroken line back in time it provides proof that something very similar to the Rune castings of today we’re going on. Something was happening. For me it was a use of the runes.
If we take the yay side we have a very early account of someone very much like a vitki doing something very similar to vitki stuff. If so that means our calling is an ancient one. Maybe I’m just deluding myself into believing there was an ancient form of our craft going on. Maybe I’m crazy. Maybe I’m not. The vote is still out…
I am a Vitki – a Norse, male sorcerer who works in the subjective universe to affect change in the objective universe. The tools of a Vitki include trance work, seidr, healing work both physical & spiritual, and most importantly rune magic. He works in all types of esoteric practices to bring about change.
This is what I would say to someone who got on an elevator with me on the second floor going down if they asked me what I did for a living. Only a minute to answer. My husband gave me this exercise tonight to firm up for myself and others what I do with my time. Relatives are especially hard to explain this to. I tend to blather on about it. So it’s a good idea to have a quick concise answer ready.
And I could go on. About how rune magic is more than readings. Or seidr is something I do to communicate with the gods and the departed.
So I did a rune casting using the question “What is a vitki?”. The results were not too surprising. Initiation — self initiation into the mysteries. Gestation — of constant new ways of thinking and seeing. Innovation — in ways to do the work at hand. New life — constantly being reborn. Trust — in myself, the work and the multiverse. After all vitkis do work outside of the ordinary so all of this applies.
A pretty good reading in answer to my question I thought. And a pretty good explanation of what I do. Hail the gods for their words of wisdom. Now to be on an elevator with them…
Meditation is one of the main attributes of my practice. It centers me and grounds me — both vital to a vitki.
Meditation is not about totally clearing your mind so that it is an empty void. It is about learning to let go of thoughts. To not become ensnared by your monkey mind. For me it is about allowing thoughts to be recognized and released. Only then am I able to fix my mind on intention. Intention is the cornerstone of all my work. With intention I am able to affect the energies of the multiverse to make valuable change.
One of the keys to meditation for me and many others is breath. By controlling my breath I am able to relax and let go of the world and all of its distractions. I am able to enter into a quiet place deep inside myself. It is in this place that I am able to do the work at hand. It is in this place that I am able to find the strength to affect change.
Meditation and trance work are very different things for me. Trance work has an agenda. You go into trance for a set purpose. Meditation is done to simply be. Be in the moment at hand, moment after moment. In meditation we find ourselves — the good, the bad. In trance we find a reason to achieve change. Hopefully for the better of all.
An easy way to start a meditation practice is to simply set aside a quiet time to breathe. Breathe in to the count of four, hold to the count of four, exhale to the count of four. That easy. Once you have a rhythm established you can start to notice your thoughts. Just to notice that the thought is there and then to let it go. With enough practice the appearance of the random thoughts will diminish. You can finally go deep inside yourself to that quiet place. The place of You. The place of power.
If you don’t have a regular meditation routine this is a simple place to start. With breath. From that small cornerstone you can build a mansion of Self. Breathe!
Let’s talk a bit about the tools I use in my vitki work. Here goes!
Rune sets. Obviously. I have several. One for personal use, one to do readings for others, one for travel. I guess I am a rune hoarder. But there are worse things to collect! I also find each set has it’s own energy. The wood sets definitely feel different from the ceramic and stone sets. At least that’s my experience.
Gands. Again I hoard. I have gands of different crystals. Lapis for rituals seeking wisdom, rose quartz for matters of the heart, clear quartz for general healing. You get the idea.
Drums. I have two. They are both for different purposes. One for seidr involving contact with the dead, one for sessions acquiring wisdom. Have you figured out I’m a bit of a collector?
Smelly stuff. Incense and oils. They help serve as triggers to let my brain know we’re entering a different realm from the ordinary. Smell is a powerful trigger for me.
All of these tools are geared to getting me to a different place. They help transform ordinary to sacred. If I can’t make that leap my work is hollow and empty. Even for a simple rune reading I will at least create a sacred space using a gand. Seidr requires a bit more stuff for me to get results. But hey! Whatever works.
So that’s the short list of tools I find necessary to my work as a vitki. What’s on your list?