Casting a circle is a fundamental magick practice, and it can serve two vital purposes.
Firstly, the circle contains and concentrates the energy generated prior to casting a spell. The circle does not generate energy itself; instead it functions like a dam that holds back the flow of water and forming a reservoir. As energy builds during the spell or ritual, the circle will likewise hold back the energy. This allows it to be released at the opportune moment, maximizing the effectiveness. Continue reading
Technology is supposed to improve our lives by making things easier and more convenient, and save us time, freeing us to do more meaningful things. Yet I have not seen a lot of in-depth analysis of the ways technological advances have impacted the occult student.
It’s been suggested that binaural beats can act as a shortcut to years of disciplined meditation and yogic techniques, and while I derive massive benefits from a formal sitting meditation practice, I have found that it is not always the most suitable for preparing you for real life. Your mind may be a still clear pond when perched upon a zafu in a temple setting, but that serenity can fly right out the window the first time you get stressed out at work, or get in a fight with your significant other. Continue reading
After putting myself in too many people’s shoes, and seeing the world through everyone else’s eyes for too long, I start to become a warped and weary alien to myself. I no longer recognize my own face and I need to recharge. This is when I head to my studio to sit. Continue reading
The Book of Seidr: The Native English And Northern European Shamanic Tradition, by Runic John
With the popularity of Runes information on Seidr, the Germanic form of shamanism, is sometimes difficult to come across. Well-researched information that tries to reconstruct the practices as well as possible is even more rare. Runic John’s book is one source of just such information.
The opening chapter of the book serves to ground the reader firmly in the lore with regard to Seidr practice. Using the Eddas, sagas, and even analysis of practices banned by early Christianity, we begin to build a picture of the Seidr men and women of ancient times.
Chapter 2 is the first chapter of practical exercises. It aims to develop the basic skills required, such visualization, that will be required throughout one’s development. The creation of a harrow is also described as an aid to magical and religious focus.
The rest of the chapters continue the mix of practical exercises and explanation of relevant lore and traditions. Where there are gaps in the historical accounts of Seidr Runic John analyzes the neighbouring traditions of the Sammi and Siberian shamans. This will no doubt disturb the more ‘folkish’ members of the heathen community but it is done in a measured and well thought out way.
The practical techniques taught by this book include shamanic journeying through the nine worlds of Yggdrasil, shapeshifting, healing, and Spae (oracular Seidr). Each technique is taught in a way that progresses gradually so that even the most inexperienced reader can develop his or her own Seidr practice.
All in all I think this book is an excellent guide for anyone wishing to undertake a study of Seidr in as authentic and traditional a manner as possible. Runic John has done a great service to both Seidr and heathen reconstructionism with this book. I’m looking forward to the forthcoming Book of Advanced Seidr.
Altered States of Consciousness (ASCs) are an integral part of ritual. They can be defined as any mental state recognized by the individual as different from his or her normal waking consciousness. As such, the act of separating yourself from the mundane world, having a ritual bath or shower and preparing the ritual space, is enough to induce some sort of ASC in most people. Taking on a magical persona involves an ASC, as does invocation of godhead, dancing or chanting to raise power, meditation, scrying, and going through a guided visualization or path-working. Continue reading