You come to Me for aid in healing, I suppose because you have learned to come to me for everything — do you think that pleases me? It flatters me, perhaps, but that is not relevant, flattery and gratuitous praise are for your own sake, not mine. I do not need your praises, but you need to praise me. Do you see the distinction? When you praise me, you affirm your belief, and that strengthens the bond between us and enables me to work with you. Only, do not confuse the things you say about me with what I am. . . . !
This is not, truly, a digression, because one of the things for which you have praised me is healing. One charm (The Second Merseberg Charm) is a slender foundation on which to build such an edifice. And yet — you are right to call on me to help you, only you must understand what kind of help it is that I can give.
My magic is chiefly manifested through words, sounds, and symbols. The most obvious application here is of course the runes. This is something you already know — binding forces together for a purpose by constructing bindrunes, developing rune-chants, inscribing or consuming runes. You understand all this well enough, so what is there which is perhaps more esoteric that you could use?
In doing a work of healing, you are speaking to the elements of a living being, not only the mind and spirit but the elements that make up the cells and the energies of the body. It is a work of transformation, like in some ways to the work of creation itself, when we gave form to the life stuff around us by thought and word.
You know that names are powerful. My way of healing is to use name and sound to command the raw energies. You may refer to it as affirmation, but it is more than a simple statement of the way you would like things to be.
Word and sound — that is the crucial concept. They must be connected. It is not only the words themselves, but the sound and rhtythm of the chant into which you bind them, and the tones in which you vibrate them, that give them power. just as there is a difference between letters on a page and runes cut with a holy knife and charged with blood. All this can, of course, be done in the mind, if your situation requires it. But when you are working with a physical body, it is most effective if you engage the forces of your own body to energize your spell.
What do you think this doctrine of “parts” of the soul you have been working with means? You say these things and yet you yourself do not understand them. Every part is holy, not just the godsoul. Therefore every part has a role to play in magic.
The flesh speaks to the flesh. You may talk all you like — to yourself, to your patient. But there is a knowledge that is communicated by the touch of skin on skin. This is why babes who are not held do not thrive, and why they teach those who nurse now to lay on hands as if it were some strange new thing. Physical proximity is useful and necessary also for some kinds of energy transformation. There are ways, however, that this can be done at a distance, by using your shape to work on the spirit plane.
At a deeper level still, beyond touch and energy and breath and sound, there is the healing magic of Idea. The symbols are bound together and transmitted in the ways you know, but unless your deepest self is focused on the work, they will only be sounds and marks on a page. Do you see now where I am leading? All of your “parts” must be coordinated to effect these transformations, whether of healing or other forms of magic. Therefore, it is your whole, integrated self that works. This is why it is best if you are in an “altered” state of consciousness. (I find myself becoming annoyed at this vocabulary which is all you give me to use — the words are not wrong so much as out of tune.)
Idea. Concept. Archetype. What I mean is the kernel of each thing. When you understand the essence of a thing, you will know how to transform it. The language in which you do this is not that of medicine or biology, but of poetry. You want not only the technical identification, but the meaning, the significance, the function. Sometimes it is only by metaphor that this can be attained.
If, for instance, you say “Bear”, you may evoke many things. But there is a difference between Honey-paws and Deep-sleeper. You should understand this — is this not why I myself have so many names? You need to know not only what a thing is classed as, but what it is at any given moment. You want the language of poetry. This should not be hard for you.
The anthropologists talk about magical thinking. Often, what they actually mean is poetic thinking — a kind of poetry which is not thought out and written on a page, but the kind that comes directly from the hidden levels of the mind. The old skalds could come forth with a stave at the drop of a spear head, this is not only a literary convention. It is a knack that can be learned if you believe in the possibility and can free yourself of bondage to pen and paper (or computer).
You complain that the word which is spoken into the wind (because you are in trance) is lost to you. That is your problem, not mine — and not the problem of those for whom you are working. I lose nothing, and every word of power you speak rests in me. The issue that concerns you most is freedom — freedom from inhibition, self-consciousness, embarassment. Your feelings are complicated, and they hamper you when you try to make use of all your forces. You do not need me to give you more power, you need to unlock the power you already have. In truth, I do not give powers to my servants — my allies — I have already given you all that you need.
(Received while trying to sleep in a tent, at a festival, in the rain.)
(Laughter, like distant thunder) My son has been playing. Now he passes onward, leaving you with no storm, but a gentle rain. It is inconvenient, yes, but nothing crucial will be harmed. Even if things get wet, is that so terrible? You will dry out in the sun. As for your health, have you so little faith in your own magic, or that of your friends?
Let the earth energies heal you. Breathe deeply, and chant Önd, and allow me to heal you. Your barriers are still up, and they prevent me from helping you. You can be free here, you are among friends. Let the sound of the rain be a lullaby. All will be well. But you must cooperate; you must be willing to accept healing. You do not have to be a Pollyanna, but open.
As for what you are intended to do — you have done good work, you have reason to, if not boast, at least share your pride in it. Talk to those you have come here to see. What magic should you do? Magic for the earth mother, as you say — magic for the earth religions and the landspirits, who are beyond this place, that those religions and people who are rooted shall come together and make alliance.
When Ragnarok comes, I have no objection at all to contingents from other cultures, following other gods, fighting beside us! Nor in all the little Ragnaroks that will precede it. We must stand together.
The valknot: As you have found (by experiment), it is a portal allowing passage between the nine worlds. Its intertwined form shows the interconnectedness of all things — you have only to step from one line of the drawing, one path, to another. In ancient times this sign was both revered and feared, for the only time ordinary people crossed between the worlds was at their death. Only the valkyrjar, the spirit walkers, and the village magicians did this at other times. So the valknot was associated with death, and held in awe. No one would wear it as an amulet unless they had the power to pass the portal and return again. It became associated with me because I stand on the threshold and can come and go at will. I die, and am born again. Mostly, now, the symbol has lost its meaning. Those who know the old ways, however, can use it.
The complex ritual is not my requirement. But if you wish to learn academic sorcery, there is much power in it. You will find it difficult, for it draws its power from the intellect, and most people live in emotion. Work with me, and you will learn patience. If you can learn my discipline, you will be freed of the tyranny of your emotions. They give you the greatest power, but they can destroy you. Freyja can teach you more of this… I am not a god of physical love — my ecstacies are of the mind. But the detachment I hold can help you look at yourself and the world, and perceive clearly what you see.