On Önd (Breath)

What happens in your bodies when you breathe? Breath is the fuel that feeds the fires of life, and that inflammation is my ecstasy. Your blood carries breath through every part of your bodies; if it cannot do so you die. Breathing is a process, just as the combustion of breath in your blood is a process. And I am a process — that is why I am so hard to pin down.

I am all those names and many more, always moving, always transforming. As Mind, I am the means by which your perceptions are transformed into knowledge. Through me you constantly create your world just as through me your bodies are maintained. Mind and body are not two separate things, but two aspects of the same thing. Do not scorn your bodies. I am in every one of you, as I am in everything that breathes. But only humankind know that they breathe, and know that they think, and can name themselves as I name myself.

Breathe in. . . . and out. . . . in . . . and out. . . fill your lungs, let air expand your chest, fill every part of your body. You think that breathing is automatic, but the breath of power is that which you take in with intent, exercising your lungs, conscious that with every breath you take in, you are receiving me. . . . You knew this — all men know this. It is why in so many languages the words for breath and spirit are the same. You did not need a doctor to explain to you the mechanism — death occurs when oxygen can no longer reach, penetrate, throughout the body. Whether it comes because a wound has let out too much of the blood that carries it, or because the passages become stiff and are blocked, the result is the same, though the lungs labor, they cannot bring enough air into the body to keep it alive.

And I am the giver of Önd. . . What is it, therefore that I give you? I have said it before. Not a substance that you incorporate and keep, but one you transform. You take it in, make use of it and transform it into the breath you exhale. I am process. I am becoming, I am that which by always changing, enables you to remain the same — the same person in the body you know. But you must be aware that is an illusion. Your body is always changing, constantly building up and breaking down. Just so your spirit also changes, or should, and I am a part of those transformations as well.

What the doctor cannot tell you is what else comes into your system along with oxygen. There is an energy in the air as well as the oxygen molecules. Charged ions are part of it, the electrical part of the atmosphere that corresponds to the many electrical connections in your body. Energy moves through you, and some of you know how to move energy. This spiritual, energy body is maintained by the countless interactions of oxygen and electricity as well, and it is this which withdraws as the cells die. The body shrinks as it releases its energy. When you eat a vegetable or an animal which is freshly killed, you also consume some of that energy.

This is not the same thing as consciousness, but it is a part of the individual, and as it comes from me, so to me it returns. This is an aspect in which I am god of the dead that you may not have considered. The body’s physical components may return to the earth, and the conscious soul may go to dwell with Freyja or Freyr or any one of a number of realms. But that final transformation, a rebirth of a kind, takes place through me.

Therefore you cannot be separated from me. I am present with every breath you take. You can only choose whether or not to acknowledge this participation, and work with it, and me.