The Magical Powers of the Ancients Revisited
On January 6, 2011, I had an ecstatic experience as a man in ancient Denmark returning from a merchant trip to my home and to my pregnant wife, son, and daughter. In the evening of January 8, 2012, I found myself once again experiencing life through this man when an ecstatic posture group I am in used the Freyja Initiation Posture.
I find myself back at our homestead in Denmark near what is the border between Germany and Eastern Jutland. On this journey I find myself at home just before leaving on the merchant trip from my earlier experience. I am concerned because my wife is pregnant and I will be gone for most of her pregnancy. Our son and daughter have been instructed on how to do everything necessary in my absence--the farm work and helping my wife with the household chores. We call upon Freyja to help, and we make a stone altar to her near our hut and near the garden. I tell our son to not forget to place a few grains of barley on this altar each day as an offering to Freyja and remind all to pray to her daily for support and assurance that she will protect my wife and family. We tell Freyja that if we have a daughter we will name her Freyjadottir. Then I leave.
I return in the fall, and a couple of days after I return my wife goes into labor. I tell my son to go to our neighbor to bring the wife back to help with the childbirth. He is back with her in no time. He explains that as he left the hut, he saw her coming through the field not far from the house. She had “seen” with her power of seeing that the baby was on her way so she came immediately. I then go out to the altar with my son with grains of barley to give an offering to Freyja and thank her for getting us through everything, while our daughter and the neighbor are helping my wife with her childbirth. Our new daughter, Freyjadottir, is born healthy with Freyja’s help.
Offerings and song bring the world alive with enchantment. Opening ourselves to this enchanted world opens us to the spirits. We call upon the spirits to join us and bring us their wisdom as we prepare to go into an ecstatic trance. “Seeing” from a distance, from the past or into the future, is one of the main forms of what we would call magic, though among the ancient and primitive people of the world it is very common. In current times some may call it intuition, but it is much more than that, as we will see.
Realm of the Dead Posture
On the morning of January 14, 2012, continuing my pursuit to discover the ancient ways of magic, I used the Tanum Lower World Posture.
I quickly find myself gliding along the bottom of the ocean and find my way to the seat of Njord, the god of the sea. He announces his presence, describing himself as the son of the Great Mother, and asks why I am before him. I tell him that I am a fisherman and have come to see what I can learn from him. He gets up, starts to walk along the ocean bed, and motions for me to follow. He tells me of the story of Loki and the fishnet.
Loki, when hiding from the gods after the death of Baldr, sat in front of a fire in a small cabin he had built for himself, and there he was thinking of the best way to evade the gods. He decides to use his power of shape shifting to change into a salmon and hide in the sea. He questions how the gods might catch him there, and fiddling with a ball of linen twine he fashions a fine net that can be used to catch fish. Loki realizes the hazard of such a net to a salmon. He then hears in the distance the gods approaching, throws the net into the fire, and leaves to dive into the sea as a salmon. As the gods enter the cabin, Kvasir, the wisest one, notices the ashes of the net in the fire and recognizes it as a device to catch fish. The gods, after making such a net, go down to the water’s edge and, after several attempts, succeed in catching Loki.
Njord tells me to leave and return to fishing, and as I leave he tells me to call upon him for help. I am then back in our village with the other men, helping to mend our fishnets in preparation for a day of fishing tomorrow. As we push off in two boats we call to Njord and throw him an offering of a handful of barley. As we row, we go to where we feel we are being pulled and there we throw in the net, stretch it between the two boats, circle, and when we come together again we pull in the net full of fish. A successful trip.
What is the magic of this ecstatic experience? Again, it is listening to our intuition or the Universal Mind, going toward where we feel we are being pulled. Calling to Njord and throwing him an offering brings us in touch with our intuition, in touch with that which we need to listen. Listening in this way is a basic element of magic. It is this magic that makes life possible in ancient times--the magic of knowing where, what, and when to plant, of calling for rain, and of collecting herbs for healing. In present times hunters and fishermen who read the signs of animals and know how to imitate how the insect dances over the water use this intuition and are the best hunters and fishermen.