It is all very well to learn my ancient names and call me, but you must understand that I have not died and reappeared. I was always here. You must find new names by which to bring me into your lives. Snorri was right. I have many names in many lands. Learn them. I speak in all the languages of the world. When you can call my name in all human tongues, then I will be present, not just in your Norse circles, but in the life of the world.
This has begun to happen with Erda. The Goddess is called first, and I do not deny her right. The child learns speech first from its mother, and so should you. The Goddess has returned, and everywhere she is speaking. But she is not all. There will never be balance and a harmony of forces until I am involved as well.
Does my name mean Seeing or Knowing — or Thinking? The scholars, in their infinite minutiae, do not yet understand that truth is one, and that despite the evidence, all arguments that point in the same direction are true. In truth, I am all of these things. I am a process, not a result. I am a participle. I am always seeing the world without with my Eye above, and the world within with my Eye below, and I am always speaking the words of power with my breath which is the wind, which is the spirit, inspiration. And that in turn is initiation, the forever becoming of existence. There is no past, there is only now, and at the moment of now it changes, so there is only the future, what is coming to pass. And the fire in the mind that they knew when they spoke of mind as wrath is the fire of life, the dance of the atoms — and that, too is only a metaphor. But even your bodies are always becoming, every cell changing every minute.
Vé is my brother, one of my other selves. You knew that but you did not think what it means — I am the holy place also, in the relation between you and what you call the sacred. I told you before that I am a process — therefore I am present in the practice of worship. When you are changing consciousness to seek the divine, you are experiencing me. You do not yet understand, but if you understood you would have no words to describe it — though indeed you would try. You have tasted of the sacred mead, but you will never get enough to satisfy you, and if you did, you would be carried too far out of yourself by its ecstasy to tell the tale. Therefore I give it to you only in tastes. Be patient — you can drink as deeply as you wish in my hall.
Because I am Mind, it is easy for me to reach the mind. Those who fear me are afraid not because I am alien and unpredictable, but because I am intimate — and unpredictable!!! But my power, working through your mind, gives pleasure as it passes, and stimulates your brain to produce more pleasure. Ride it, do not fear it — remember to breathe.
What are the gods? What am I? The argument becomes circular. Insofar as you are conscious, you participate in the divine. Can a being apprehend a thing for which it contains no analogue or conceptual structure? Just as your tongues can only pronounce those sounds you have learned to hear, and your eyes discriminate shades of color you have learned to identify, your ability to describe spiritual experiences increases your ability to assimilate them — so long as you do not go on to assume that the words and the experience are the same. I am Word — Name — sacred sound — the Runes — but even they cannot contain ME. Yet I have given you the Runes to help you anchor your perception of that which is beyond symbol.
Study the Runes, but also study the world. One is not more sacred than the other. Drink to me in the mead of Othroerir, that activates your understanding of words and lifts it to the level of ecstasy. To know — and to know that you are knowing, to articulate that knowing in words which are themselves Beauty in sound and pattern, is a particular delight which is especially sacred to Me.
This is only one of My roads. I have other Faces, which others who seek me may encounter. Even the Christians sometimes get it right — I am This, and I am not This — go out of your head now, and touch and taste the world. Here I can speak to you clearly, but not most powerfully. Take your awarensss of Me with you, that I may experience the world through your consciousness, and I will show you how to experience it as I do, as ecstasy.
Those who named me Wishfather knew another face . . . but there were those who taught them to see me as a demon and so with that face I came. As they have asked so they shall receive. If that is the only way in which they can know me, so I will be known, but I will be known. I work within all limitations. They thought to deny me, but they cannot deny the wind, they cannot deny the storm. And I creep through the chinks in their walls and the cracks in their armor. And there has never been a time when I was not here.
I laugh at the idea that I am a mask that you put on, when in truth it is the other way around — you are a mask — each one of you is a mask that I put on in order to walk the world. What then is my true face? No two of you see me the same. My true face is the one you see in the darkness, the face you saw when you had the name you had before you were born. Argue, if you will, or agree to accept your differing perceptions. While you walk in flesh you cannot know for sure.
The connection between flesh and spirit is an interaction, not a prison. I am the Will that decides, and that holds the concept of the thing decided; I am that which is holy, a state of being set aside; and I am the movement that makes all happen, the ecstasy. In a way, I too am Being and Becoming and that which has always Been.
But it is not in this ultimate form that I can most productively speak to you. You understand already what happens when you touch those aspects — you go beyond human thought, and you are refreshed and at home in me, but that will not get my work done in the world. I am called Wodh when I act in human life because that is the mode in which action occurs — the making, the creative, active force. I am indeed also Jafnhár and Thriði, but you must not seek to know me as such for more than moments until you come to Gimlé. . ..
Humans are like children unused to strong drink. You must learn to hold my mead like a warrior. Those who simply become drunken are of little use to me, as are those who take a sip or two and thrust the horn away. But to those who call me I will come, in whatever measure they dare, and so they should be warned.
Having opened this door, it cannot be shut again. I must and will speak, and therefore it is for you to find me Mouths that can speak my words in the world. Find me the time and places to speak, and I will go more gently. You are not afraid to stand up to me, and that is well. Perhaps it is true that I do not yet entirely understand what a thousand years have done to the folk. Even in the tenth century, the last of my servants were already becoming bound by the ways of Rome . . .
What is it that I wish to tell you?
Parts of it you know already — the need to recognize, to experience spirit as part of the fleshly world. But the advantage of your time is the very habits of thought which I have been deploring. You think in a straight line, but that line is well suited for some kinds of understanding. You will have to understand a great many things both in sequence and together if you are to understand how to save your world.
I know the names of all dwarves, and of every jotun who dwells on the crags or beneath the sea. You humans must know the names of all the living creatures before they are lost. This is a new way of thinking — new to your men of wisdom. It is also an old way of thinking, given new words and patterns and spells. When you understand the web of life in the world as I understand the spirits that animate it, we can begin to bring the world into balance and harmony. Do not say that you will spiritualize science. Those words are too loaded with old meanings. But the more who hear my voice and learn the secrets of the runes, the more the two kinds of knowledge will join.
I will hold off Ragnarok while I can, I have said it before, but I tell you that the danger is great. I understand, but the Jotnar do not, and they cannot be held in check forever. BaldR watches and waits. When he comes forth to speak to you, you may know that the crisis is near. When I go down, the modes of thought with which you are familiar will also disappear — will you regret that? My essence does not die — nor does yours — but the transformation will be long and terrible. There is much in your world which has yet to flower, it would be a sorrow to see its ending come before time. Do not grieve for Erda; she will survive. She always survives, passing through yearly transformations. The transformation of Ragnarok will simply be greater, that is all.
But when it is over, the life you know will be gone.
You fear new wars of men, but there are always wars. If one people find their way at last to peace, then be sure that another will go to war. Pity them, but do not be shocked at what they do. If they will confine their violence to each other, it will be well. It is evil when the land is poisoned as well. . . .
Put on a mantle of black blue, not because you feel like killing, but because you pass beyond death. Bright darkness. There is an illumination in the night, ablaze with its own lights, that is different than that of the day. My time is night, though I move also through the hours of daylight. But it is harder for you to see me, or hear me, when you are too forcibly reminded of the mundane world. But in the darkness. . .there is a timeless continuity. The ravens fly by day, dark fragments of night in the sunlight. I see the outer world during the day, they report to me. My wolves run at night, and howl their songs to the moon. I know both, but for you, I should say, the night is easier — if you will remember to seek me then.
It is the need of the land that calls you. All the lands, but at this time the lands from which you come. They cry out and as you hear them I hear them. They cry out to you, they cry out to me. In this land there are good folk who call upon us. They do not yet hear that cry, and too many of them would fight the wrong war. It is not a war of peoples that must be fought, but let them enjoy their innocence while they can. The seeds have been planted. You have changed and will change more for them.
They are on a path and do not know where it leads, but they have already taken the first step. They think they know where they are going and they do not, and the farther they go the more clearly we will speak to them. And they will not be able to keep from hearing us. There are some to whom this happens already. Not the most learned, but the ones who hear me the most openly. That is why they are in such torment, because they cannot cease from hearing. They hear now and the others laugh and those who laughed will hear and tremble. A time will come when they will hear and know that the powers that they have called upon are real.
The wind in the trees is like the sighing of the sea, and the crackle of fire and the patter of rain are the same, like the crackle and flap of banners whipped by the wind, Fire and wind and water, all elements in motion. I am in motion.
You ask, you wonder who I am when I lead the wild riders across the skies . . . I am the power of wind, of air, of breath, of spirit. I am change.
When the great winds come, great masses of air move across the face of the lands. So it is when the wind of the spirit blows, the little changes that you did not notice become sudden convulsions of faith or fear. The air is always moving, but you do not notice it. The spirit is always moving too, and you do not see that either, though the signs can be read by those who have the proper barometers to see.
You have such skills, but you do not use them. You see neither the small changes nor the great until they overwhelm you. Wind is as real a force as any other. And it moves, moves, it changes. All that you think and dream is manifest in Me, but for me to know myself, your knowing must be conscious, imagination ruled by will. The pre-history of consciousness was not unconscious; because imagination and dream were not suspect, they could be used with conscious power.
Image, vision, and word, all shape reality. But word is most powerful. This is why you sing spells. Sing or say, chant, enchant, incant, spá tell, thul. Those thoughts for which you have words you remember, those colors, those creatures. Words enable you to capture the free flowing forms of reality. But do not make the mistake of believing that the word is the thing, or that by giving a thing a name you have mastered or understood it.
When you know all the meanings of a word you may begin to understand it. When you know all the names of a thing in all the languages, you may begin to understand it.
When you know all My names, perhaps you will begin to understand Me.
The names they gave Me in the old days were only a beginning. And some of them were less names than ways to avoid them. To call me, but not too powerfully. To describe me, but not too closely. They could not bear to see me too clearly, to describe me too exactly — nor can you.
When you follow all the words back to their beginnings, you will find the first breath. The first exhalation that filled Ginnungagap. When ice met fire a wind was born. Before there was a being to give birth to another. Before Bor or Buri, there was the wind on the waters. When the world first drew breath, life began. I was that life, moving, ever moving. Without movement and change, nothing would have become. Being and becoming, both are movement.
This is why I come to you most easily in movement. To summon me, breathe deeply. I fill you with each breath; you grow light, you tingle with energy. Even in my stillness there is motion. Even the rainbow bridge shimmers with vibration. Sound moves in waves, light moves, atoms move.
When you call me, open the windows.
When the Wild Hunt rides, common men shutter their windows and bolt their doors. They are afraid I will blow away all their preconceptions. Open your windows — open your minds! Pray that I may roar through your halls of government, shaking them up, lifting away the dust and scouring away the grime.
And yet what you hear when you listen is not the air itself, but the sounds made by what it touches. You do not see the wind, but only the motion of the leaves it tosses. You do not see me, but only the tumult I leave in the heart.
I will fill you, if you will let me, and though they do not know me, they will see how I move within you. I am the spirit that passes through you, that moves you. Without me you are dead; without you, I cannot be known.. Your words are leaves stirred by my passing. The moving leaves are not the wind. Your words are not my spirit, but they bear witness that it has passed.
I am searching for human words, human metaphors, that will reveal this mystery, but it is best expressed by paradox. I am a paradox. I am ancient and new. I can overturn trees and creep through the tiniest openings. I am the roaring of the storm and the whisper of a quivering leaf.
Ansuz. . .ehwaz. . .right hand. . .left hand. . . right brain. . . left brain. . . moving in partnership, mind and body, but whose Mind? The ravens fly, left and right, reporting both back to their master; I am their Master, I am the Consciousness of everyone. When I have a personality and history, I am Odin, but I exist also in other kinds of thought and philosophy. Even that discussion of faith versus reason by folk who do not truly understand either is a part of me. You are all my voices, carrying on an argument I have been having with myself for a very long time.
But of course you are also individuals yourselves, with your own wills. You can be both simultaneously, just as your bodies are both part of earth’s biosphere and your own physical vehicles. Does that make it clearer?
I have as many names as there are thoughts, but I am still myself behind all the masks. I return to Frigga when I am in danger of forgetting. This much Wagner had right about her, that she reminds me Who I am and keeps me in mind of my commitments — my Law — my Need. Nauðiz is in its own way also a rune of Frigga, the spindle of fate that spins her threads. Sometimes I think that she is the spindle herself. And sometimes she is the Well.
Immanence and transcendence . . . I am here and not here, part of you and something entirely other, in the world and transcending it. You may know me in the whisper of wind and the flare of light on water, in the movements of your body and of your mind. But in all things, be flexible. I am not rigid.
Sometimes, my word is of peace (not often, I know (laughter)). But sometimes. . . In the winter, after the frenzy of the Hunt is past, I too am willing to sit by the fire in Frigga’s hall. I sleep longer then, and I dream. I see visions in the fire. I have leisure then to contemplate the future and the past, and seek the patterns of action and desire.
Your folk do not allow themselves that luxury. Even your vacation is a time of turmoil. But the northern earth knows the value of occasional stillness.
I do not need to be consistent — I counsel both rest and action. They are the two sides of the same thing. But it is the body that needs to act, and the mind that needs to be still sometimes. Test your body against the hills, but stop at the summit and feed your spirit with the view.
Take time to tell riddles by the fire. When your kindred meet, lay a good blaze in the fireplace, and tell riddles. There is more to riddles than humor. Sometimes they hold a seed of wisdom. Or at least, paradox.
Truth is like the wind. Unseen in itself, you perceive it only by its effect on what it touches. So it is with my words. They acquire substance only in the moment when they are heard. The sound of the wind in the leaves of the ash tree and the needles of the yew is not the same, and yet the wind is unchanged. So the meaning that each of you finds in my words will be somewhat different, and yet each can say, “yes, this is the wind”. It is the same from one age to another. What they heard from me in the old days in the North was not entirely the same thing that you hear today. They were different, and you are different — and I am different, for I too change and learn and grow. And yet there are some things that do not change. The winter wind is cold, the summer sun is warm. Faith and loyalty are still good guidelines for living. And the Powers that walked the world at the beginning are still here, waiting until you are ready to listen once more.
[Relevant excerpt from another communication.]
Your question now is about those feelings that I inspire in you and in others-and you have been surprised to find them in others, have you not? Water is wet; fire is hot; and I am the god of ecstasy. To be in my presence is to feel that magic, unless one fears and resists it.
Love, pleasure, excitement, ecstasy — these are by-products, sensations wired into you to draw you to the things that you must do. The pleasure of sexual joining inclines male and female to mate and bring forth young, and to make the bonds that will keep them together to raise them. And the ecstasy you feel when you think about me, when you allow me to draw near and share your consciousness, that too is a lure, which brings us together.
But you must remember — love is a means, not an end. You open yourselves to receive my love, and in that spiritual joining, together we create — words, deeds, wisdom. We co-create what is needed to preserve the worlds. This, then, is what you must tell those others who swoon with delight at the touch of my hand. Let us join together to do the work that is waiting. Let our love renew the world…
Of course I call — I am always calling! One of my names is Omi, far crier, after all. The question is, who can hear? Some hear me often, some never. Some create an image in their minds to worship. Sometimes I can speak through it, and at others they are creating messages in my name. But that has been the case in every religion.
Your modern machines provide a good analogy — if you focus the channel properly the reception is good; if not it becomes fuzzy, and you have to guess at the original message. If it is too fuzzy, you will give up in disgust or despair. But all the time the station is putting out the same signal. It is not the message that is distorted, but the transmission. There are differences also in the machine receiving. Some have the capacity to express and perceive every nuance, every vibration high or low, whereas in others, only the loudest or most perceptible tones will come through. The message is there, but you do not get all of it because you do not have the sensitivity to receive it. And yet again the message may be received, but the sound equipment is incapable of expressing it adequately. Some systems may be better on the high notes or low ones — what I say now is badly transmitted because this “receiver” does not have the concepts or vocabulary to completely describe what I am trying to say. In any case, the point is that the message begins, is transmitted from the source, complete and whole, but reception varies.
As to the calling, what I desire is individuals who will get the message out. They do not have to be “dedicated” machines. I do not want slaves or automatons. And despite what I have said earlier, the most faithful receptors are not always the best. Seeing how the message changes, or better still, engaging in dialogue with someone who can question or argue, teaches me. For this I will say, the message is always clear in origin, but it evolves with time.
I call always, and I accept those who hear me, and some I seek out because their abilities are needed. Do they need to be crazy? As in crazy wisdom or dysfunction? The former I can use, the latter I can pity, but I cannot show mercy. Sometimes the machine that picks up my call is too fragile to bear the volume. I am sorry for it, but I cannot alter the call, for there are some who will hear only when I “transmit” at full volume.
And yet the spirit is eternal and survives its lifetimes, and learns, and the soul that failed in one life may yet return to hear and understand the call in another.
You may not trust any man… but remember that though I appear human to you, I am not a man. I am beyond such things. I will appear to you in the form you expect. If you expect me to be dark and deceitful, therefore I am. But that is not all I am. Remember that I am not only the god of words, but the god of war. The eagle is my symbol as well as the raven. I fight with wit and craft, as well as the spear. Thought and memory tell the spear where to strike. Do not become lost in the mazes of the mind. Holding spear in hand is also important. Set your course and persevere. Do not forget who you are.
You humans are so complicated; you make your lives so difficult. When you work with me, you will learn discipline and you will learn detachment. I see many things, but I do not always act. Men have called me fickle for this, but it is not so. Some things must run their own course; wyrd does not turn aside even for gods.
Oski — the Desired one, the Wished-for.
You knew, already, that it’s not just presents… well. It’s not just nice things that one desires. Of course you can find several web pages that boldly assert that that’s my name when I’m Santa Claus, but think. Dig. It goes deeper.
What things do you desire? Not when everything is happy, when the cows are fat in the fields and the barn bulges with grain… What do you desire when the times are lean? What do you desire in dark places, in cold, in desparate times? You know well of me as Need-Father, and it is as this, rather than Wish-father, than you should think when you consider Oski. Consider ‘wish’ in the sense that Michael Ende does [in the book The Neverending Story], and you will be closer.
When they went out on the battlefields in my name, what did they yearn for? Not dying for their country, but making the other bastard die for his (what? I was always fond of Patton…). And I gave it them. Sometimes, they desired death, and I gave that to them, as well.
Sometimes the desire is for ecstasy. Ah, yes, somewhere in you the little hedonist wiggles at the thought of it, but in your waking mind you know all too well that there are many kinds of ecstasy. Our man on the battlefield might want the Valkyries to being him strength, to send fetters to his enemies–or he will if he is smart!
Some desires are dark, and yet it is often those that are truer. Some desire death… but I do not always bring it, as many have found out.
I do bring it eventually, of course, to each and every one. There is a sense in which life and death are always and ever desired by every single one of you, and the balance is always fascinating to contemplate.