Heathen Mysticism Mini-Course

Read this fine Heathen
article by Wayland Skallagrimsson on Uppsala-Online, then complete the eight lessons below. (If by chance the link is broken, scroll down all the way to the bottom of this page to find the text of the article).

Heathen Mysticism Lessons

Lesson 1: Introduction Lesson 5: Outsitting
Lesson 2: Sumbel Lesson 6: Mound Sitting
Lesson 3: Hedge Sitting Lesson 7: Seidh Trance
Lesson 4: Scrying Lesson 8: Trollaukin/ Berserkergang/ Perchtenlauf

Lesson 1: Introduction

1.  T/F: Modern heathen religious practice tends to be largely worldly, in that its practices are ecstatic & mysterious.

2.   According to the author of the article what two thoughts are not true of those who practice the heathen religions?

3.  What are two things in which those who practice Heathenism, do not believe?

4.  What position, according to the author, was the position of advisor only, not leader?

5.  Explain what UPG is. Have you ever “received” any UPG? Tell about it if you want to.

6.  T/F:  Seeing visions and hearing voices in heathenism is thought to be insane.

7.  What is the primary difference between the visionary and hallucinatory states?

8.  T/F:  Such visionary practice, such seeking of direct contact with the divine is actually a religious tradition found all over the world.

9.  What new form of religious practice did the author and Cainn create?

10.  What two ways did they organize these rites?

11.  What reasoning is explained by the author that “most Kindreds generally bar any sort of ecstatic, mystic practices from their rites?”

12.  Fill in the blanks:  In certain ____________ religions, such as Voudoun, ____________ religious practices are performed by some, while secular practitioners stand aside and watch, or do something else.

13.  What were three degrees to ecstatic states that Cainn had learned?

14.  The author and Cainn state that their practice also mirrors a description in Nordic Religions In the Viking Age, by Thomas DuBois, of ecstatic religious experiences being of three degrees. What are the three degrees according to DuBois?

15.  T/F: Ancient sources say that occasionally people died during the Perchtenlauf.

16.  What are the 3 basic elements in ecstatic rituals to attempt to induce visions?

17.  What is the basic skill a practitioner must have in order to perform any ritual?

18.  What is meditiation? And what is the intended purpose of its use?

19.  How is the practice of meditation useful?

20.  What is the authors list of “order of rites” from easiest to most difficult?

Lesson 2:  Sumbel

1.  What is sumbel?

2.  T/F:  The modern practice of the sumbel should contain the use of alcohol substance, (beer, wine, whiskey) and should not be substituted with non-alcoholic beverages.

3.  Fill in the blanks: . Alcohol was the holy ________ of the ancient ________.

4.  How was alcohol regarded by the ancient heathens?

5.  Were all participants made to partake in “drinking” from the horn?

6.  How was the horn to be passed around ? And to whom were toasts to be made?

7.  Describe how a toast could be made? Give at least two examples.

8.  What is the kindred adopted habit for toasting? And explain why?

9.  Complete the sentences:

a). Doing this while toasting the gods and spirits can, in the right circumstances, create a feeling of closeness to the gods and spirits,…

b). Doing this while socially bonding with others can, in the right circumstances, dissolve normal interpersonal boundaries and….

10.   Explain what the right circumstances might be.

Lesson 3: Hedge Sitting           Top

1.  T/F: Hedge Sitting is also the first practice underage practitioners should seek to learn, as they cannot legally consume alcohol.

2.  Hedge sitting is a practice designed to give the practitioner an experience of what?

3.  According to the author, how and when does the initiate begin to perform the rite?

4.  What words should be spoken by the initiate at the start of the fast?

5.  Fill in the Blanks:During the day the initiate should spend some time in meditation.

6.  Fill in the blanks:Near evening the initiate should perform another meditation and should then rise and proceed to the tree the ritual is to be conducted under.

7.  The tree should be selected according to what criteria:

8.  T/F:  The trip to the tree should be swift and silent.

9.  T/F:  The symbolism associated with the trees is something Cainn learned in Austria. Little indication as to their antiquity exists.

10.  What do the readings of Eddas focus the mind on?

11.  Perform your own hedge sitting, if not physically okay to perform the rite in your own mind. Follow the rite on this site. Send us your report on your own experience, tell us what you saw and how it made you feel.

Lesson 4: Scrying             Top

1.  The author states that scrying is more difficult to learn, why does the author feel this way?

2.  What is scrying and why is it performed? Explain.

3.  Explain why the author feels that scrying has elaborate rules. (give an example)

4.  T/F:  Ideally it should be done during the waning moon, on a Wednesday or a Saturday at the 3rd or 10th hour after sunset.

5.  What should a ceremonial dish look like?

6.  T/F: Smell is a powerful trigger of memory.

7.  Complete the sentence: The practitioner’s gaze into the bowl or at the solder is designed to…

8.  When scrying how might one interpret the images seen in the bowl?

9.  Interpretation of the images should be done according to what criteria:

10.  Ask the question to which the scrying is to provide the answer, keeping in mind the following rules apply: What are the rules?

11.  When is the traditional time to perform the scrying ritual?

Lesson 5: Outsitting                                Top

1.  How is the practice of outsitting different from scrying?

2.  Fill in the blanks: The prayers focus the mind on the divine _________ responsible for __________ and divination.

3.  T/F:  Establishing contact with Odin and Freya first gives a base altered, mystical state that can then be further and more specifically altered to form visions or auditory impressions.

4.  How does the repeated alliteration of the prayers further serve to encourage the unitary state.

5.  When is the most appropriate time to perform Outsitting?

Lesson 6: Mound Sitting                               Top

1.  T/F: Mound sitting is not as restricted and difficult as outsitting.

2.  What is the purpose of mound stting?

3.  What is the reason this additional restriction is desired, rather than avoided when performing outsitting?

4.  The dead have a long symbolic association with unearthly knowledge and revelation. Why is establishing contact with them so important?

5.  Fill in the blanks: Runes themselves are highly _________, and therefore _____ in the experience.

6.  What does the word AKOZER mean?

7.  When and where should the rite be performed?

8.  How many sentences should be writ in runic around the fire during the ritual?

9.  T/F:  A sacrifice to bring the runes to life during the ritual should be made in blood.

10.   What should the practioner do if they feel fearful or endangered by the spirit?

Lesson 7: Seidh Trance

1.  T/F: Seidh trance is the most difficult mystic practice to perform in heathenry.

2.  What is the primary use of seidh trance?

3.  T/F: A lot of the elements of the ancient techniques of seidh trance have survived today.

4.  Which Saga states that much of the costume includes the skins of the cat, sacred to Freyja?

5.  Which runes were appropriate to carve on a staff?

6.  Which symbol would be appropriate to use for Freya in ancient times?

7.  For what reason does the author say that the practitioner is the eat the heart of the sacrificed animal.

8.  T/F: Singing or chanting along with drumming should be done after you go into a trance.

9.  The reference to the kin of etins refers to whom?

10.   List the rune words that help the practitioner channel the spirit. And explain what each word indicates.

11.  Fill in the blanks: The unitary state of faring ______ is in essence a divinatory state of rare power and ________.

12.  Before beginning faring forth practice, there is an exercise that should be mastered, a necessity for success. What is the exercise?

13.  List one method of separating the soul from the body.

14.  T/F: Beginners are in less danger when performing an out of body experience than an experienced practitioner.

15.  The rune words that may help in faring forth are POKUSO, EKRUKA, LOWEiFU, KOTARA what is their meaning?

16.  Name the salient features of the road that the practitioner should familiarize themselves with.

17.  Do some research. See if you can find some examples or sagas that speak of any of these salient features of this practice. Document the site, books, etc. where you found the material.

Lesson 8: Trollaukin/ Berserkergang/

1.  What does the term trollauckin mean?

2.  What is the meaning of beserk?

3.  What is ulfhednar?

4.  What is the Perchtenlauf ritual?

5.  What is the key to performing trollaukin?

6.  Name three good places where one can perform the ritual.

7.  There are a few clues for elements to such rituals to be found scattered here and there in historical sagas, archaeological artifacts such as the Torslunda Plate, and folklorists’ collections. Do some research and give the names for the historical sagas the author is speaking of.

8.  What is the most common practice of the berserkergang and the Perchtenlauf?

9.  What is the symbolism for Beserkergang, Perchtenlauf and trollaukin?

10.  The key to inducing the experience of trollaukin (in the general sense) involves the three basic elements what are they?

11.  What is “burning the wod”.

Top | 1stDeg Study Hall

Lessons questions for Heathen Mysticism are all by Lady Arianna aka Donna K. Answers in MyDocs FromDonnaK.

Below is the Text of Article for the lessons above (in case article ever disappears from online). We assume the author is Wayland Skallagrimsson because that is the name given on the homepage of the website where these articles appear.

Uppsala – Heathen Mysticism

Sumbel / Hedge Sitting / Scrying / Outsitting / Mound Sitting / Seidh Trance / Trollaukin/Perchtenlauf/Berserkergang

From:  http://www.winterscapes.com/uppsala/mysticism.htm


Modern heathen religious practice tends to be largely worldly, in that its practices are non-ecstatic, non-mysterious. Emphasis is placed upon the carrying out of certain rites (prayers, sacrifices, observances), and social gathering, and little if any heed is given to direct experience of the gods and spirits, known as ecstatic or mystery practices. And this is quite appropriate, for it is not only in keeping with the inclinations of most people (few desire or have the talent for such things), it also is largely in keeping with the way ancient heathens did things. But not entirely. Such religious practices as the Perchtenlauf, and such cults as the bersekers, as well as the existence of seidhworkers and thules, indicate that some amongst the ancient heathens were drawn towards mystery religion. And as some amongst the ancients were, some today are as well.

I am one such. I have always been drawn to mysticism, to the experience of religious awe, of the visionary experience of the gods. Of being able to, sometimes, hear their voices. Because of this, I have always incorporated such practices into my normal religious life.

An aside here is necessary before continuing. It should not be thought that there is anything of overweening ego or insanity in this practice. It should not be thought that those who worship this way are setting themselves up as authorities on what the gods really think. The ability to enter into altered states of consciousness wherein visions are had and the voices of the gods heard is simply a talent such as the ability to compose music, or write novels, or invent mechanical devices. Some have it, some do not (having, instead, other talents). It is primarily a private matter. We heathens do not believe the gods are omniscient. We do not believe that any man or woman is infallible. So we realize that anyone hearing a god speaking is hearing in actuality an echo of the god’s voice, a distortion. The god’s nature, meaning, and intent are filtered through the mind of the seer. The facet is what is seen, not the jewel entire. It should be remembered that the position of thule, a man who could hear the gods’ speech and give their opinions on questions asked them, was the position of advisor only, not of leader. An individual revelation such as this is called, in modern heathenry, a UPG, or Unusual Personal Gnosis. It is taken as a sign of individual understanding, and others accept it or disregard it as they see fit.

Many people have the assumption that seeing visions and hearing voices are a sign of insanity. I suppose, because these things are like hallucinations. But dreams, too, are like hallucinations, and no one is thought insane because of those. While all three states (hallucinatory, dreaming, and visionary) are similar to each other, and even related, they are also distinct. Science is even coming to see this distinction, and to understand the nature of some of the biological and psychological bases for such experiences. (I would recommend the work of Drs. Newberg, Aquilas, et al on the unitary state of consciousness. An excellent summation of their work for the layman is available in their book Why God Won’t Go Away.) The primary difference between the visionary and hallucinatory states lies in the fact that visionary states do not, in general, impair day-to-day functionality, and even provide direct benefits of one sort or another, and hallucinations are just the reverse of this. Such visionary practice, such seeking of direct contact with the divine is actually a religious tradition found all over the world. In Tibet, and Haiti, and India, native religions either incorporate or center upon these things. Christian and Jewish mystics have practiced their faiths for centuries this way. Many Buddhists perform similar practices as well.

Some years ago I started corresponding with a heathen named Cainn, from Australia, who was born in Austria. He told me that he was similarly drawn to such practices, and sought to fully integrate them into his religious life. He mentioned that some mystery practices such as the Perchtenlauf has survived, on the folk level, into the nineteenth century in Austria, and he had been fascinated by them as a child. We both were very interested in practicing these mystery rites, of having a religious life based on seeking direct contact with the gods. It seemed the best, most natural path to us. We believed that it is a path too often neglected in modern heathnery, and one that could be of great benefit to all heathens. After some conversation we decided to embark upon a project. We decided to create a new form of heathen religious practice, one entirely centered upon mystery rites. To draw solely upon traditional heathen practices in doing this, and to make each ritual appropriate to the holy day or circumstance it is meant for. We decided that these mystery rites should not be substitutes for the more traditional and mundane rites, but instead should supplement them.

Cainn had learned of traditions associated with the practice of some of these rites in Austria, from old men who had practiced them in childhood, or who had heard of them from others who had. Specifically, he had had details of the Perchtenlauf, of Hedge Sitting, and of Mound Sitting. Now it is highly debatable how many of these details might have been from ancient heathen times. But even if they are purely elements from folk tradition, at least it was a folk tradition that sprang from the ancient heathen ones. For other rituals we used ancient descriptions to provide what detail we could. And wherever we lacked necessary details, we created them from knowledge gleaned from our own practices in mysticism, and the practices of others.

We decided to organize the rites in two ways. One was to assign each rite to a particular holy day or circumstance, so that those experienced with such things can practice heathenry as a mystery religion. Because heathenry is a reconstructionist religion, both Cainn and I felt that it would be inappropriate to use these rites as substitutes for the traditional holy day observances. Instead, the practicing mystic should combine the two. I have always felt it best to perform the traditional rites first, as this helps put the mind into a state receptive for the upcoming spiritual state.

Most Kindreds will be composed almost entirely out of secular practitioners. For this reason most Kindreds generally bar any sort of ecstatic, mystic practices from their rites. This can leave the seidhmen and women, and other such, feeling something is greatly lacking or incomplete in their religious lives, and can lead to their eventually leaving the Kindred. This is why many such mystics practice solo, or in small groups of other mystics.

I don’t think this fragmentation of religious practice and understanding serve the general heathen community at all well. I wonder why most seem to think it necessary. There are insufficient records of ancient practice to know where they stood on the matter. But many other pagan religions, and near-pagan religions, the world over do not make such a heavy distinction. In certain rites in the Fiji islands the ecstatic practitioners begin the general ritual with such things, and the secular practitioners either watch this as inspirational or entertaining or, if that doesn’t do anything for them, stand aside and converse amongst themselves. Then, when the ecstatic practices are done, the rest make a procession to the shrine and perform more mundane ritual. In certain Carribean religions, such as Voudoun, ecstatic religious practices are performed by some, while secular practitioners stand aside and watch, or do something else. This provides them the opportunity to take something from, or even take part in, the ecstatic practices if the spirit suddenly moves them, or religious revelation strikes, as it sometimes does. In any event, more secular practitioners can benefit almost as much from inclusion of ecstatic practices as ecstatic practitioners can. It provides a sense of imminence of the holy, and can tend to bring a greater spark to the feeling of the mundane ritual.

The other way we had was to order them from the easiest to the most difficult. This, we felt, would allow naturally talented but inexperienced mystics a method of learning how to perform the more difficult, complicated practices, by presenting them as the culmination of a process of mastering smaller challenges of increasing difficulty. Cainn said that he had learned there were three degrees to ecstatic states. The first, and easiest (because it involved the least loss of self and the most distant of contacts) was that of mediumship, wherein the practitioner was in some sort of contact with a spirit separate from him or her. Communication with the spirit was like hearing another person speaking. The second level was that of channeling, where the practitioner allows the spirit to speak through him or her. To borrow his or her voice, as it were. The two are in general still separate, though each will affect the other. There is a merging of the two into one to some extent or other. (And so it should always be remembered that the predispositions of the practitioner will color the message in some way.) The third and final phase, the culmination of the ecstatic state, is that of possession, where the spirit takes complete (or near complete) control of the practitioner, as in the berserkergang or Perchtenlauf (like in being ridden by the lwa in Voudoun). This classification seemed to match most precisely with my own experience. It also mirrors a description in Nordic Religions In the Viking Age, by Thomas DuBois, of ecstatic religious experiences being of three degrees: fascination, awe, and surrender. Mr. DuBois’ description was of general religious experience of a god, Cainn’s teacher’s description was more specifically of invoked deity. So we ordered the rites into fascination/mediumship, awe/channeling, and surrender/possession.

I am a berserk. Cainn had practiced the Perchtenlauf, and was a berserk himself, though he had no formal way to practice it, as the state generally came and went on its own. He asked me for assistance in developing a ritual to bring these berserk states under his control. He used the ritual provided herein, which is the one that I used. While he got no result from it at first, about a month after, while he was dancing in a religious ritual, he underwent a powerful, yet controlled gangr. He attributed it to a delayed result of the initiation. He told me it had been a powerful but dark and frightening experience. He spoke later of having difficulties adjusting mentally, spiritually, and emotionally after the initiation. He then told me he was heading into the Outback to get his head back on straight. (He knew some Bushmen out there, and hoped to get assistance from some of them.) He said he’d write when he got back. That was almost two years ago now. I tried writing him, but found his account had been cancelled. I do hope he is alright, but I figure that whatever the reason for his absence, I should consider it to be indefinitely extended. So I have undertaken to finish the work we had started together as best I could.

This story should serve as a reminder to the reader that just because instruction is provided for several types of practice is no reason any individual practitioner should try all of them. Not everyone is suited to every type. While Cainn’s absense may very well have a mundane explanation, it would not be surprising either if it were a result of his initiation. Initiation was rough on me too, the hardest thing I have ever gone through. It has been the same for others who have experienced it. Ancient sources say that occasionally people died during the Perchtenlauf. Many seidh workers have had experiences that were terrifying and maddening. There is good reason to think that the berserkergang and seidh can be practiced only by people with the right genes and/or calling. This because berserks, as a rule, will go into berserk states from a young age without deliberate intent, and because berserks tend to share certain physical characteristics. It is also because in virtually every culture in the world that practices a form of shamanism, not everyone can be a shaman. No one can choose to be. The shaman is inevitably chosen by the spirits, not the other way around. While seidh is not, strictly speaking, shamanism, it is closely related, and so it is entirely reasonable to think that it had such a restriction too. This is backed up by historical records where, when people need a seidh rite they send for a seidhworker, at some expense. No one in the village just up and performs the ritual. It is best, IMO, to find whatever practices one is best suited for and stick to them.

There are three basic elements to any ecstatic ritual, any attempt to induce visions. Virtually all rituals have them, though other details might vary. These are:

1) A physical component, some particular action, usually (and best) repetitive.

2) An intellectual component, or ORF. (Object of Ritual Focus.) A specific image, word, prayer, mantra, and so forth, something symbolic in some way of the spirit(s) and/or forces the ritual is to contact.

3) A strong emotional valence. This must be some emotion that has the potential to be powerful enough to lift the practitioner up out of him or herself. Rage is what does it for the berserkergang. Stillness and calm in the case of outsitting. Vibrant life in the case of hedge sitting. Et cetera. It is virtually a necessity to have the emotion tied in some way to the ORF. I.e., it must be an emotion brought out by the ORF, or readily suggested by it. It should also be consistent with the physical activity. If the emotion is strong, vibrant, violent, then the physical action should be energetic, and involve motions of large muscle groups, such as leaping and dancing. If the emotion is still and calm, then the physical activity should be kept minimal, no more than a gesture of the hand or the mouthing of words, perhaps.

Any ritual, no matter how simple, that contains these three elements has the potential to work in inducing specific mystic states. The rituals should be analyzed, and these elements discerned within them. As the practitioner grows more experienced much of the detail of these rituals can be done away with, so long as that basic core of physical/intellectual/emotion is kept.

Before any of these rituals can be performed with anything better than a random chance of success, the practitioner must have a decent basic skill with meditation. None of the later skills can be successfully performed without it. It takes, if you have no prior experience with it, quite some practice to get the hang of it, but perseverence will pay off.

First it is necessary to define what meditation is. Commonly it is held to be a form of mental relaxation that brings about a physical and emotional relaxation. But this understanding misses the point. While it is true that mental relaxation is involved, and that it does sometimes bring about emotional and physical relaxation, these are nothing more than details and side effects. The purpose of meditation is to clear the mind, to still the chatter that is omnipresent in most people’s brains, even when they are thinking about nothing in particular. When the chatter is stilled, and the mind is silent, the aforementioned relaxation does occur. But this is just setting the stage for what is to follow: a greater focusing of the mind that occurs because the mind is clear.

When there is nothing to distract the attention, the minute signals that comprise the subconscious mind can be heard with greater clarity. There are a variety of reasons for desiring this. It can bring greater awareness of one’s surroundings, bringing small details to the attention of the conscious mind. It can be useful in retrieval of old memories. It can be useful in introspection and self-analysis. It is critical in the art and science of attaining visions. But whatever goal is sought, the thing meditation does is to bring what is hidden within to light. This has unpleasant elements as well as pleasant ones. Meditation is actually supposed to make things bad, in order that you might learn and grow. Meditation is a tool, not a goal.

While meditation takes time and effort to learn, it is pretty easy to describe how to go about it. First of all, make sure you will be undistrubed for the period of meditation. Make sure you are sitting comfortably. Lighting incense will likely be of help, as lighting candles might be. The important thing is to set a mood of calmness, stillness, relaxation. Once everything seems right, close your eyes. Let your thoughts slow down and stop. Become an empty vessel. At first thoughts will continually arise, and will prove to be quite distracting. Do not allow them distract you. Do not focus on them. Do not follow the thoughts. By the same token, do not fight them, do not struggle against them, for this is simply generating more thoughts. Allow them to rise, and allow them to pass away, and do not interact with them. In time, the thoughts will become fewer. Also distracting are sensory impressions, such as the myriad itches that inevitably spring up whenevr you try to meditate. As difficult as it seems, they must be dealt with in the same way as the distracting thoughts.

The first stage that is reached with meditation is an empty mind. After this, with continued practice and development, is becoming unattached to the ego, the self. This sounds similar to the empty mind, but there is a subtle yet important difference. With the empty mind, there are no thoughts. With an unattached ego, there aren’t even the basic causes of, or desires for thoughts. This is a much purer state of mind than simple emptiness. It will therefore be not only of benefit in the above mentioned endeavors, but it carries other benefits as well.

The order of the rites, from easiest to most difficult is:

Sumbel, Hedge Sitting, Scrying, Outsitting, Mound Sitting, Seidh Trance, Trollaukin/Perchtenlauf/Berserkergang

Sumbel may not be thought, by everyone, to be an ecstatic or mystic practice. And indeed, it does not have to be. But to ancient heathens the social bond was very important, and one of the chief ways of reinforcing it was through the use of alcohol, the “social drug”. H. R. Ellis Davidson, the noted scholar of Germanic folklore and history, stated that

“The drinking of wine, ale, or mead was of ceremonial importance at all feasts, and it seems to have been this which ‘hallowed’ the hall when men met for sacrifice.”

Its wide use in religious ritual indicates its status as the entheogen (holy mind-altering drug) of the ancient heathens. This is a good indication that they were therefore well aware of a certain kind of social effect of the drug: a tendency for an unusual closeness to develop amongst members of the group, for normal social inhibitions to be discarded, for walls to be lowered. For the group of individuals to become one, a single whole thing. This does not happen at every drunk. It takes circumstances being just right to get this effect. But the fact that alcohol was used so extensively in formalized religious practice is an indication that this effect was likely meant to be triggered. Everyone joining in toasts to the gods together will tend to encourage this particular effect of alcohol’s, and it will not only bond the group together, it will bring a sense of nearness to the gods (sometimes) as well. (This is why even a solitary mystic can get benefit from holding sumbel.)

There is a scientific reason why this is so. Events that happen close enough together in time will become confused by the mind, and will tend to be seen as one thing. This is a direct consequence of the finite speed at which the mind processes data. Alcohol inhibits the functioning of the forebrain, which is the rational, thinking part of the mind. This will tend to reinforce the confusion. This depression of forebrain activity is one of the requirements for entering the unitary state (the term neuroscientists who study mystics and meditators have developed to describe the ecstatic or mystic experience). The softening of the sense of the self, and the blurring of its boundaries, is an indication that the posterior superior parietal lobe is being shut off, one of the other main requirements for entering the unitary state. Toasting will focus the attention upon the gods (and one’s fellows). The often repetitive nature of toasting will serve to reinforce the hold these concepts (the gods and one’s fellows) have on the mind. And as the rational part of the mind, and the sense of self, are entirely shut off, these concepts, which are effectively an ORF, will spread throughout the whole mind, unifying it. The whole mind will be filled with attention to the gods, and a sense of their nearness develops. The whole mind will be filled with a sense of the practitioner and his or her fellows as one, a sensation directly resulting from suggestion from the repeated unified hailing of the group, everyone’s voices speaking as one. Sumbel has the three basic elements of ritual: physical, in the drinking and hailing; mental, in the concept of the gods and the unity of the group; emotional, in the feeling of joy and unity, alcohol inspired.

Sumbel is presented first, as it is the easiest to get into. This is largely due to the assistance of alcohol. (Though it should be noted that for proper effect the administration of alcohol needs to be carefully done. Too drunk is useless. There must be a depression of the rational mind and the sense of self, but not blacking out, fatigue, and oblivion.) It is also because little is sought, just a vague unity with the group and a sense of nearness of the gods. These things are why virtually anyone can get achieve this ecstatic state, even those with no inclination or talent to mystic practices. This is all most groups require for an ecstatic component to their religious lives. Sumbel is appropriate for any and all holy days and other religious rituals.

Hedge sitting is the next easiest rite to learn. This is because it is very similar to sumbel, in that the result it seeks is a vague sense of presence or energy. It is fascination, though it can lead into awe. It is also the first practice underage practitioners should seek to learn, as they cannot legally consume alcohol. It is not so much more difficult than sumbel that an inexperienced practitioner could not learn.

Hedge sitting is a practice designed to give the practitioner an experience of the Ve, which Cainn said he was told meant a sense of the living spirit and energy of the land. (Ve means “sacred space”.) This practice is a folk practice in Austria, and may or may not have been practice by ancient heathens. However, it has a definitely heathen feel and is descended from their traditions at least, and is of use in learning the more complex mystic rites.

The basic form of this rite is how Cainn learned it in Austria. But we added the fasting in order to accomplish two purposes. One was to provide a substitute for the alcohol of the sumbel. Fasting will, due to lack of energy, depress the functioning of the forebrain and soften the sense of self, like alcohol does. Thus it similarly provides a benefit for those trying to enter the unitary state. The other purpose we hoped to accomplish in adding the fasting was to introduce a sense of discipline and sacrifice, both of which would be required even more in later rites.

Beginning the rite with a statement declaring the practitioner’s intent to, ritually speaking, die and be reborn provides a framework for the mental and emotional state for the whole day, and serves as a part of the effective ORF. This makes the mind much more open to new and transcendental experience than usual. The difficulty of the fast itself will require discipline to overcome, and this in turn will require the practitioner to keep his or her mind focused on the upcoming experience all day. This makes the unitary state much easier to achieve than usual, for the mind is already much filled with a single thought.

The symbolism associated with the trees is something Cainn learned in Austria. Little indication as to their antiquity exists.

By choosing a particular location for the rite the mind is at least subconsciously assigning to it some special value. Because the location is symbolic in some way of (a) particular spirit(s) of the land, the subconscious will naturally be more open and receptive to indications or suggestions to those particular influences. By uttering the prayers, the attention is focused upon various spirits of the land. This opens the practitioner to their spiritual influences. It keeps his or her mind upon symbols of the life of the land. Making the offerings of wine pleases the spirits, and makes them more willing to help. It makes the practitioner’s subconscious more inclined to take the reality of the experience seriously, for something real has been given for it, and the subconscious has been largely conditioned to expect something for something.

The readings from the Eddas focus the mind still further upon the living nature of the land and of his or her connection to it. The first story will bring to mind the creation by nine elements, the powers underlying creation, and symbolically connect them to the Tree, and therefore also the tree sat under, by association. The second story will connect the creation story to men in particular, and therefore also to the initiate by association again. It will have the additional effect of merging the images of the tree and people (and therefore the self) as being the same.

Hedge sitting is most appropriate for Ostara, Walpurgis, Midsummer, and even Harvest Home.

Scrying seemed next easiest to learn. It is more difficult than previous rites because it requires that the practitioner’s mind be still, open, receptive, and energetic enough to start having brief visions, which are dream-like images that have symbolic or direct meaning revealing subconscious impressions.

The elaborate rules for selecting a time to perform forces the practitioner to make some effort for the experience, which increases its likliness by causing the mind to pay more attention to it, and to expect some reward for its effort. When the scrying bowl is used the mind will at least subconsciously remember the process of preparing it, and will recall the effort, and the memory of the smell of the herbs will trigger memory of other emotions the practitioner was feeling at the time of the preparation. (Smell is a powerful trigger of memory.) Those emotions should be of meditative calm and excitement, and these emotions will encourage the experience.

The practitioner’s gaze into the bowl or at the solder is designed to allow random impressions to form, to cause optical illusions. Because the nature of the meanings of the impressions will be random, they will tend to reflect the nature of the subconscious mind. Because the illusions are optical, they will be paid more attention to by the mind, as everything visual receives so much attention from the brain. This will, in a mind calmed by meditation and receptive enough, while being energetic enough, cause these optical illusions to become actual solid-seeming (though fleeting) images that, since they arise out of nowhere mentally, and the attention is directed into the scrying bowl, the mind tends to interpret as having seen in the water or solder itself. This is very similar to how the mind can make pictures out of the static on a dead TV channel, only here the pictures have particular meaning. Scrying was traditional at Yule, and could of course be done during Winternights as well.

Outsitting was placed after scrying as it was essentially the same, though lacked the stimulus of the water or solder, requiring a little more from the practitioner. In this practice total (visual, and preferrably auditory also) sensory deprivation sets the attention usually directed towards those senses free to wander, which it does in a more or less random manner. If the state of the meditator is right, the impressions that arise can form reveletory visions.

The prayers focus the mind on the divine powers resposible for revelation and divination: Odin and Freya. Establishing contact with them first gives a base altered, mystical state that can then be further and more specifically altered to form visions or auditory impressions. The repeated alliteration of the prayers further serves to encourage the unitary state by providing additional connectivity between different parts of the mind, by drawing different parts of it together at the junction of the alliterative sound. Outsitting would be appropriate for both Winternights and Yule, as well as Midsummer (to try to see the alfar who walk the earth that day).

Mound sitting is more restricted and difficult than outsitting. It seeks very specific visions, of either the dead in general or of a particular person amongst them. As it seeks a vision of the dead (or at least to hear their voices) as well as to hear specific information (answers to questions), it requires the practitioner to be able to be in a relatively more involved unitary state than other types. The reason this additional restriction is desired, rather than avoided, is because it does represent an additional stricture upon the practitioner’s mind. The dead have a long symbolic association with unearthly knowledge and revelation. Establishing contact with them, establishing a unitary state with such symbols, amounts to more firmly directing the mind towards a place where it can find what it seeks.

The calling to the dead focuses the mind in the desired direction. The writing in the dirt is an effort that improves that focus. Runes themselves are highly symbolic, and therefore aid in the experience. The word AKOZER is a galdric word which shines a light into the world of the dead, and compels travel to this world. Any practitioner familiar with the runes will benefit from the additional densely packed symbolism of the runes of this word.

The bloodletting, if the pain does not distract the attention of the practitioner (a matter of experience and discipline), will provide a powerful emotional boost, as pain and the sight of blood are both adrenaline triggers. This will greatly ease the process of getting into the unitary state. The stone on the chest inhibits breathing, which tends to weaken the forebrain, the benefits of which have been discussed in previous rites’ descriptions. It also tends to bring the adrenaline up. It has further symbolic value as well. The greater levels of stress and adrenaline in this ritual directly reflect the increasing difficulty of these practices, the greater the energy they require.

Mound sitting is appropriate for Winternights and Yule.

The seidh trance is the most difficult sort of mystic practice in heathenry. (The berserkergang and perchtenlauf are specialized forms of seidh trance, IMO.) It cannot be practiced by everyone. It should by now be apparent to the practitioner the reasons and uses of the various elements of the seidh trance. It is appropriate for any holy day, but particularly for Walpurgis, Midsummer, Winternights, and Yule.

The trance of trollaukin/berserkergang/perchtenlauf is a particularly difficult sort of seidh. The perchtenlauf is appropriate for Winternights and Yule. Either sort is appropriate in a way for any holy day, as a means of gaining intense and powerful sorts of contacts with Odin and Perchta.



The sumbel is a ritual toasting which is a part of many important religious and social occasions. The Heimskringla Saga mentions Jarl Sigurd toasting Odin for power and victory, Njord and Frey for peace and good weather, and to the dead ancestors. Juliues Caesar recorded ceremonial drinking using the horns of the aurochs, a now extinct species of wild bull. In the epic poem Beowulf, the word sumbel is used to describe the drinking vessel used in the ceremonial drinking that occurred immediately upon Beowulf’s arrival to Hrothgar’s hall. Traditional European weddings, going back to heathen days, required ritualized drinking from the same drinking vessel. H. R. Ellis Davidson, the noted scholar of Germanic folklore and history, stated that

“The drinking of wine, ale, or mead was of ceremonial importance at all feasts, and it seems to have been this which ‘hallowed’ the hall when men met for sacrifice.”

It is these sorts of rites that the modern practice of the sumbel is based upon. Some hold sumbel only inside, some hold it outside. The kindred should sit or stand in a circle, and a ceremonial drinking vessel, preferrably a horn, should be filled with alcohol. It should be mead, if at all possible, the fermentation of honey. It is the most traditional alcohol, but, if it is impossible to obtain, any other drink may be used, such as wine, beer, or even whisky.

However, nonalcoholic drinks should not be substituted. All historical references specifiy alcohol. Alcohol was the holy entheogen (religious drug) of the ancient heathens. It was regarded as an important social bond and the basis for legal contracts as well. It was the substance of inspiration. Odin is said to take no meat but to live exclusively on wine. If someone cannot drink alcohol it would be better to simply take no part in this ritual rather than to warp it into something that it wasn’t. Alternately, though, that participant can ritually touch the horn to his or her lips without imbibing.

The horn should be passed around the circle. (If there is more than one particpant in the sumbel.) Toasts should be drunk to the gods, goddesses, landwights, or dead ancestors. Toasts can be long and elaborate, naming the deeds and good attributes of the god, and giving reasons the toaster in grateful to that one. They can also be as simple as “Hail Odin!” Instead of a toast a bragging story or boast of an accomplishment to be undertaken could be spoken, but any such boast is given the weight of a most solemn and binding oath. Some kindreds limit the number of toasts to be drunk, often to three. Others place no limits but feel that the toasting should continue as long as the participants are so moved. Many kindreds have adopted the habit of, once the toast is given, having the toast echoed, loudly, by all the rest of the kindred. This practice adds much to the atmosphere and bonding of the ritual.

The sumbel is the simplest sort of ecstatic altered state of consciousness to get to, in no small part because it is aided by alcohol. It (and/or perhaps the Ve) are the only altered states of consciousness that most practitioners of Asatru use. One of the primary effects alcohol has is to lower social boundaries and inhibitions. It also generally depresses the activity of the forebrain, the conscious mind. Doing this while toasting the gods and spirits can, in the right circumstances, create a feeling of closeness to the gods and spirits, and a vague sense of immanent deity might develop. Doing this while socially bonding with others can, in the right circumstances, dissolve normal interpersonal boundaries cand create a sense that all present are family or even part of one whole thing, with such intensity that the feeling becomes “realer than real”.

And what are the right circumstances? A relaxed and open mind is usually one. Being in a meditative state helps, but even relaxation caused by other means works well. Feeling “charged up” is also often a requirement, and this can be easy to do by drinking the alcohol at just the right rate to provide a lift to the emotions. These things work with the deadening effect of the alcohol to amplify the images brought on by the toasting and social interactions. (Because they are what is foremost in the mind; being brought out, as they are, in the course of the ritual. Having the attention primarily upon them while the emotions are charged up and while the normal background noise of the brain is quieted makes these images and emotions amplified much more than is usually possible, and this can be enough for at least a soft unitary state.)



The initiate begins the rite in the early morning, by abstaining from all food for the day, as a devotional act to the landwights and to Nerthus their queen. If the initiate is conducting the rite solo then he reads the following at the start of the fast, minus the parenthetical words. If the initiate is being guided through the ritual then the following is read to him, with the parenthetical words replacing those that immediately precede them.

“In honor of the wights of the land; the alfs and huldrafolk, and in honor of Nerthus their queen I (you) shall abstain this day from food. I (you) shall starve the old life out of myself (yourself) that when I (you) arise to journey to the tree I (you) may be a new creature.”

During the day the initiate should spend some time in meditation. Near evening the initiate should perform another meditation and should then rise and proceed to the tree the ritual is to be conducted under. The tree should be selected according to the following criteria:

Most desirable is a botrad. A botrad is a tree that has an alf or other landwight living in it. A botrad can be told either by unusual size (indicating unusually vigorous life energy) or by the presence of a natural hole or hollow in the tree.

The tree can also be chose by type. The sense of Ve that results will be subtly different in each case.

Oak for holiness, healing, power.

Yew for death, life, and altered consciousness.

Pine for clarity and endurance.

Birch for healing, fertility, luck, numinous power.

Ash and elm as ancestors.

Cypress for purging, purification.

The trip to the tree should not be rushed, and the tread should be slow and even. If the initiate is guided, the guides should ring bells and beat drums in time with his steps. If the initiate is solitary, then he might ring a bell or beat on a small drum himself.

Once at the tree the initiate should pour out three libations of wine, brought for that purpose. At the first he should say “For the wights of this tree.” At the second he should say “For the wights of the land.” At the third, “For Nerthus their queen.”

Seating himself under the tree the initiate should put himself in an open meditative state, breathing slowly and evenly, from the diaphragm. As the initiate begins to feel the Ve, which is a sense of the sacredness, and life, and spirit of the land, this might be supplemented with more rapid breathing, up to and including hyperventilation. While breathing the initiate should have the following read to him, or must read it himself if necessary:

“Before generations came to be and the human race was multiplied there was Ginnungagap, the void. The part that faced in a northerly direction was filled with the weight and the heaviness of ice and rime and there was a vapour and a blowing inwards from it. But the southerly part of Ginnungagap cleared up in the face of the sparks and molten particles that came flying out of the world of Muspell. Just as from Niflheim there arose coldness and all things grim, so what was facing close to Muspell was hot and bright, but Ginnungagap was mild as a windless sky. And when the rime and the blowing of the warmth met so that it thawed and dripped, there was a quickening from these flowing drops due to the power of the source of the heat, and it became the form of a man, and he was given the name Ymir. When he slept he sweated. Then there grew under his left arm a male and a female, and one of his legs begot a son with the other, and descendants came from them. These are frost-giants. The next thing, when the rime dripped, was that there came into being from it a cow called Audhumbla, and four rivers of milk flowed from her teats, and fed Ymir. For sustenance the cow licked the ice, which was salty. And the first day as it licked there came from the ice in the evening a man’s hair, the second day a man’s head, the third day there was a complete man there. His name was Buri. He was beautiful in appearance, big and powerful. He begot a son called Bor. He married a wife called Bestla, daughter of the giant Bolthorn, and they had three sons. One was called Odin, the second Vili, the third Ve. Bor’s sons killed the giant Ymir. And when he fell, so much blood flowed from his wounds that with it they drowned all the race of frost-giants, except one that escaped with his household. Giants call him Bergelmir. Odin, Vili, and Ve took Ymir and transported him to the middle of Ginnungagap, and out of him made the earth, out of his blood the sea and the lakes. The earth was made of the flesh and the rocks of the bones, stone and scree they made out of teeth and molars and of the bones that had been broken. They also took his skull and made out of it the sky and set it up over the earth with four points, and under each corner they set a dwarf. Their names are Austri, Vestri, Nordhri, and Sudhri. Then they took molten particles and sparks that were flying uncontrolled an had shot out of the world of Muspell and set them in the middle of the firmament of the sky both above and below to illuminate heaven and earth. They also took his brains and threw them into the sky and made out of them the clouds. The chief holy center of the gods is Yggdrasil, the great tree whose branches spread out over all the world and extend across the sky.”

“To the coast then came, / kind and mighty,

From the gathered gods / three great Aesir;

On the land they found, / of little strength,

Askr and Embla, / unfated yet.

Sense they possessed not, / soul they had not,

Being nor bearing, / nor blooming hue;

Soul gave Odin, / sense gave Hoenir,

Being, Lodhur, / and blooming hue.”

At the conclusion of this reading the initiate should be left alone to experience the Ve.



This ritual can be conducted almost anytime. It is performed to gain visions of far away places or future events. It is best done in a dimly lit room. Candlelight is preferable. For one method of scrying, a more recent method found in folk witchcraft, follow these instructions: First of all, the practitioner must prepare the aspersion mixture, which is to be done on a Wednsday at the 1st or 8th hour after sunrise, or the 3rd or 10th hour after sunset, during a waxing moon. It should be prepared by filling a pot with salted spring water and binding mint, marjoram, and rosemary in thread, and immersing it in the pot. It should be stored for future use in scrying ritual. Then the appropriate time for the ritual must be selected. This is done by trying to use as many of the following guidelines as possible. While the rite can be carried out with only one criterion met, the chances for success grow with increasingly meeting the criteria. Ideally it should be done during the waning moon, on a Wednesday or a Saturday at the 3rd or 10th hour after sunset. Once the time arrives, prior to which the practitioner should spend time in meditation, prayer, and contemplation, he or she should bring out the ceremonial divining dish. This should be unadorned on the inside, and be either white or black in color. Some find a glazed, shiny finish to be preferable, others find a flat, dull finish preferable. This dish should be fumigated by incense. While any incense will do, it is much preferable to make one by mixing as many as possible of the following ingredients: frankincense, pepperwort root, cinnamon bark, mace, zest of citrus fruit, bayberries, odiferous seeds, poppy seed, myrrh, cloves, cinquefoil. Once the dish is fumigated, it must be filled with water.

Ask the question to which the scrying is to provide the answer, keeping in mind the following rules apply: One: always get a confirmatory divination or omen. That is to say, after a divination omens of another kind should be consulted, such as bird omens, to either confirm or deny the validity of the interpretation. Only confirmed scryings should be trusted. Two: never rescry. After asking a question once, do not ask it again, for not only will a second reading be impossible to obtain with higher accuracy, it will in fact be less accurate because of the predispositions the mind now has about it. Three: never ask too many questions in a row. When the scrying ceases being easily interpreted, take it as a sign the spirits or forces grow weary or impatient and ask no more questions for the present. Four: never ask a yes-or-no question.

Keeping the question lightly in the mind, leaving it largely calm and undisturbed, gaze into the scrying bowl; now on the surface of the water, now on the bottom of the bowl, now on the water within. The gaze must never linger anywhere overmuch.

After a time images will begin to come into the mind. It should be remembered that the scrying tool is an object of focus, and the images come to the Second Sight, the mind’s eye, rather than actually being seen in the tool. Once this happens, the slightest reaction to these images – whether intellectually or emotionally – will destroy them and the state that produced them. Abandonment of the self is CRUCIAL to successful scrying. The images should be allowed to run for a while. Eventually, a pattern will become apparent. After letting this pattern develop for a while the state can be released and conscious speculation and analysis as to meaning can begin. The proper point for this is unique to each practitioner and cannot be described, only discovered via practice.

Interpretation of the images should be done according to the following criteria: The key for interpreting the visions is two-fold. First of all, attention should be paid to the VERY FIRST impressions that arise in the mind upon seeing each element of the vision. These should be given more weight than subsequent impressions. The other thing that should be done is that, while still in an unbroken meditative state of mind (obviously one must be rather practiced in meditation to scry), the run of the visions and impressions as a whole should be passively observed. Each has multiple meanings or shades of meaning. All the possible meanings of each should lightly be in the attention of the practitioner during this. The practitioner should wait for patterns to spontaneously form in his or her mind amongst these meanings, for a consistency amongst the different elements to suddenly start to stand out. Once the pattern has begun to form, the practitioner might start to use left-brain discriminating thought in drawing conclusions about meanings and interpretations, and start filling in the gaps of the pattern.

These occult techniques are readily described by scientific analysis, and the only difference lies in the interpretation of the origin of the images. That is to say, whether they are stimulations of the deep subconscious by distant or future events either by spirits or magic forces, or whether they are stimulations of the deep subconscious by distant, buried memories and understandings that combine to form images “loud” enough to attract conscious attention. A temporary “Sherlock Holmes” mode. The analysis says that this process is virtually identical to the process of divination, only the increased experience the practitioner has at the attainment of the unitary state and Fermi processing allow the starting point for subconscious association to be less rigidly presented. The mind of the practitioner is at this point sensitive enough to the subconscious that association can be started by phantom images coming from random fluctuating noise, a result of the unfocused manner in which the scrying tool is viewed. Not unlike how sometimes pictures will suddenly seem to jump out of the snow, the visual static, of an unoccupied television channel. Whether the scientific or occult interpretations are selected by the individual practitioner is a matter of personal preference and ultimate irrelevance, as it can be done from either or both points of view.

An older form of folk-witch scrying, which may be old enough to be a survival of heathen ritual, involves a bucket or pot of cold water. Into it should be poured melted solder. (In place of the more traditional but more dangerous lead.) It will instantly harden into strange shapes when it is flash-cooled by the water. These shapes must be interpreted in the way that the visions of the previous methods are, observing all the same rules. In some ways this method of scrying is easier then the other, but might also not tend to give as deep or powerful experiences.



Outsitting is a ritual designed to give the practitioner visions, either visual or auditory, not unlike as occurs in scrying. Outsitting should be attempted in a meditative state. The practitioner can further prepare him- or herself through fasting and/or alcohol. (Not overmuch, though.)

The practitioner should go to a quiet place where he or she will be undisturbed for a long time. A hat or hood should be pulled over the eyes so that it completely blocks out the sight. Prayers such as

“Odin open my eyes!”


“Freya free miy sight!”

should be said over and over until some sense of connection to the gods is established, however distant, like in sumbel or the ve.

Once this is done the practitioner should quiet his or her mind as much as possible, holding the question being asked or the nature of the vision being sought gently in his or her mind. Eventually, impressions will start to arise, followed by visions. These should not be reacted to or interacted with until done or just about done.



The initiate begins this rite preferably in the evening. The rite must be conducted either on a burial mound, or a crypt, or on a grave, or at least at a crossroads, where traditionally the dead might be raised. At first the initiate should meditate, and open himself to the forces of death and the dead. Once this is done a fire should be built. If a fire is impossible then a candle might be lit. If this is absolutely impossible then the fire may be eliminated, but this should only be done if absolutely necessary. Around the fire should be writ the following nine sentences, given below, in runic form:

Far below, Hela’s hall

Holds the dear departed.

Dwelling there as well is one,

Wise and strong, whose aid I seek.

And frosty, frail, the Gioll bridge

From here to there does run.

How to call from out of howe

Hero, shade, and ghost I know.

Now I call, now I call

AKOZER, the dead shall rise!

Hear my call, harken well

Head across the bridge to me.

Sacrifice of strength I’ve made

Sent to aid the journey here.

Take it all, take it now

Tell me what I want to hear.

My word is binding, more binding than sleep, more binding than the promise of a hero!

After these sentences have been writ the initiate must make a sacrifice to bring the runes to life. Preferably this should be of blood. With nine sentences it is not expected the initiate should color every rune individually, but if a little is let to drop over the sentences it should suffice. If this cannot for some good reason be, then the initiate must call up his hamingja and breath nine times upon the sentences with hamingja-laden breath.

Once this has been done the initiate must say “Dagaz. It is done.”

Then the initiate should lie down with a stone upon his chest, that should be weighty enough to feel heavy and inhibit breathing, but not so weighty as to be dangerous. The meditative state should be re-entered or strengthened, as necessary. Once an altered state of consciousness is attained the weight should be removed and an seated posture taken. A hood or broad-brimmed hat should be worn and pulled over the eyes, covering them. The dead should be called to either by specific name, or by title (such as “ancestor”), or by some other symbol. The mind should either be kept pure and blank or the forehead, at the location of the third eye, should be focused upon, whichever rings more true for the initiate.

Images will arise and pass away. Whatever happens these should not be interfered with. They should not be overly interpreted. Some, especially towards the beginning, will be elements of the subconscious mind. But when the initiate feels light-headed, and all around him seems to shine, or when the hairs on the back of the neck or arm rise then any impression that seems to be from a spirit can be taken as such. This will presently resolve itself into an image of a spirit, or at least a definite sense of presence. Often, especially to those with little experience with genuine spirit contact, the spirit will seem to be just over the shoulder. If this occurs no effort must be made to turn to face it or to make it stand in front, for either of these will just likely ruin the state of mind necessary for the mystery. The spirit may be questioned, either aloud or with the thoughts. After the spirit is let go (which should be done if the spirit requests it) it should be thanked. The fire should be doused and the runes wiped away. As an alternate method of practice instead of a hat or a hood the fire may be looked into, in which case the dead will appear within it as a vision. If at any point during the mystery the initiate feels in danger from the spirit and fears the experience may turn into an unwanted form of channeling or possession then the arms should be crossed to keep the spirit out of the body.



Seidh trance is primarily used to gain advice and/or prophecy uttered by spirits the practitioner is speaking to, sometimes via channeling or repeating the utterances of a nearby spirit, and sometimes faring forth to the realm of the dead, Hel, to find the spirit. Few elements of ancient techniques to induce the seidh trance have survived into the present day. The best picture of the ancient ritual is given in the Saga of Erik the Red. It specifies that the practitioner must sit on a raised seat, specifically with a cushion stuffed with hen feathers. The practitioner should wear a costume consisting of as many elements as possible of: a blue cloak ornamented with stones, a necklace of glass beads, a cap of black lambskin lined with white catskin, catskin gloves, and calfskin shoes. A belt supporting a skin pouch of magical paraphernalia and a walrus ivory handled knife, and a carven staff (with runes or other sacred signs) with a brass knob, also set with stones. It is interesting to note that much of the costume includes the skins of the cat, sacred to Freyja. That the practitioner should have a staff is mentioned also in the Lexdaela Saga.

Appropriate runes to carve on the staff would be Perthro, Kensaz, Ansuz, Algiz, Odal, and Ehwaz. An appropriate symbol would be the heart symbol, which is supposed to have been Freya’s in ancient times.

Before the ritual the practitioner should walk around the ritual place and become familiar with it, and there should be, traditionally, an animal sacrifice, in which the querent(s), if any other than the practitioner, eat the sacrifice along with the practitioner. Specifically the practitioner should eat the heart of the animal. This likely is a method of eating the animal’s power or soul, and using its strength to power the ritual. Even if eating the heart weren’t possible, some of the meat must be consumed. Not all modern practitioners will be ultimately willing or able to carry out an animal sacrifice any more, and so it may work ritual to cosume crops such as grains or corn, and fruits, to at least consume the spirits or power of the plants. Christian records indicate that prayers, sacrifices, and requests for assistance must be offered to the gods. Odin, Heimdall, and Freya are the likely candidates.

There should be a song sung, by a querent or assistant, according to Erik’s Saga, but can be sung by the practitioner, though this may be more difficult. Just what this song was is no longer known. But goods words, such as those from the beginning of the Voluspa, can be put to music. (Or simply chanting them can work at need.) The beginning of the Voluspa reads:

Hear me, all ye / hallowed beings,

both high and low / of Heimdall’s children:

thou wilt, Valfadhir, / that I well set forth

the fates of the wold / which as first I recall.

I call to mind / the kin of etins

which long ago / did give me life.

Nine worlds I know, / the nine abodes

of the glorious worldtree / the ground beneath.

The reference to the kin of etins may be a reference to Odin, Vili, and Ve, who created the human race.

Though it is not mentioned in surviving sources, drumming would be of enormous use as well. The querent(s) or assistants, if any, should do this. If necessary a solitary practitioner could use taped drumming.

The drumming should slow just before the trance is entered into, and the practitioner should go through a relaxation ritual, which can be as simple as deliberately relaxing each part of the body in sequence. An often more effective one is to deliberately tense up the whole body and hold it that way while holding the breath for 20-60 seconds, and then suddenly relaxing. This might sometimes not be desirable, though. Some practitioners might find it to have the relaxation ritual guided by the words of an assistant, others might prefer to do it internally.

After the meditational state is entered, by influence of the previous ritual, and the drumming and/or singing, the emotions of the seidh worker must be amplified, brought to a boil. (And this is what the name “seidh” refers to, which translates as “seethe”.)

At this point some choices must be made, depending on the individual preferences of the practioner. Some might prefer to seek out or call spirits that are relatively nearby, such as local landwights or ancestors. This type might do this simply be going into a deep meditative trance by following the relaxation with meditation and an utter and complete relaxing of the mind. (Note: the ability to so thoroughly relax the mind may take much practice.) Some may just passively wait and see what arises, or passes by, in the form of visions or impressions. Others might call something out, either the names of certain spirits, or types of spirits (such as “all wights of the land”), or just call out “who is there?” or “what is there?” Still others might prefer to use the spell from the Mound Sitting ritual:

Far below, Hela’s hall

Holds the dear departed.

Dwelling there as well is one,

Wise and strong, whose aid I seek.

And frosty, frail, the Gioll bridge

From here to there does run.

How to call from out of howe

Hero, shade, and ghost I know.

Now I call, now I call

AKOZER, the dead shall rise!

Hear my call, harken well

Head across the bridge to me.

Sacrifice of strength I’ve made

Sent to aid the journey here.

Take it all, take it now

Tell me what I want to hear.

My word is binding, more binding than sleep, more binding than the promise of a hero!

Some practitioners might prefer to speak this themselves, others might prefer to have assistants speak it.

Variations can be made for other spirits than the dead, such as landwights:

Sacred stones and holy trees

Hold the folk of Huldra.

Dwelling there as well is one,

Wise and strong, whose aid I seek.

And gold the pillars holding high

The hall-roof of the alf-kin.

How to call from out of howe

Sprite, and alf, and landwight I know.

Now I call, now I call

AKOZER, the alfs shall rise!

Hear my call, harken well

Head across the land to me.

Sacrifice of strength I’ve made

Sent to aid the journey here.

Take it all, take it now

Tell me what I want to hear.

My word is binding, more binding than sleep, more binding than the promise of a hero!

Calls to gods can be made too, though these shouldbe in the form of prayers rather than commandings with rune words.

Rune words that will help the practitioner channel the spirit would be:


The first word indicates combination (and more, as do each of them), the second revelation, the third harmony, order, and perfection, the fourth combination again, and the fifth creation of a partnership through divination.

Other seidh workers may prefer to fare forth, send their spirits out of their bodies and into Hel or the surrounding land to find the spirits. This can be done utilizing the following methods:

The unitary state of faring forth is in essence a divinatory state of rare power and detail. It is, in essence, the whole of the universe in miniature, wherein every part of it is a divinatory vision of the corresponding portion of the “external” universe, formed by parallel Fermi processing greatly amplified by the unitary state of consciousness. It is experienced much like the “outer” world is experienced. There aren’t simple flashes of visions; there is one great steady vision, giving the magician a solid impression of seeing with his or her normal eyes, and furthermore this vision is (generally) continuous, that is with no breaks or gaps. Hearing is usually weaker than vision in this state, but still quite strong. Sense of touch is usually absent in most practitioners, but is sometimes developed with experience. Taste and smell are often absent, though a sense of smell without taste impressions is not entirely uncommon.

Before beginning faring forth practice, there is an exercise that should be mastered, a necessity for success. Most people have a sense of themselves as being located in their heads (having learned that the brain is the seat of thought and feeling). But this is not an actual sensation of location of the self. There is no location of the self. The self is an emergent feature of the complex chaotic dynamics of the brain and the body, a concept, an abstraction. There is no actual reason to feel it being “located” anywhere. The feeling of being “in” the head is an attachment, something that will hold the practitioner down. The practitioner should become able to shift the sense of where his or her self is, to the hand for instance, or a toe, or the heart, and to maintain this impression for at least a few minutes.

There are several different methods of actually separating the soul from the body. (The preceding ritual is just to make the procedure possible, it is not the entire process itself.) The first of them makes use of a large mirror. In a deep meditative state, aware of the spirit worlds (the Outgarths), the practitioner should sit in front of the mirror in a comfortable fashion. Making use of the skill developed in the exercise of the previous paragraph the practitioner now must take it one step farther, and place his or her sense of self into the mirror image, and to see him- or her- self as looking out of the mirror and into the physical world. (This is accomplished by the strong visual similarity of the mirror image to the physical body being fixated upon while in an altered, easily confused state of consciousness, which the unitary state then makes feel real.) Once this has been done the magician is in the Outgarths, and should then get up and leave the room and go into the further reaches.

A note here is appropriate on moving in this state. The practitioner can move along just fine as long as he or she is unaware of how exactly the motion is being accomplished, but the moment awareness sets in, there is usually a tendency for beginners to try to move their legs. But this will not actually provide motion while in spirit form. Worse than this, by attempting to make too much use of physical systems the practitioner will quickly attain too much physical awareness and be drawn back into his or her body (lose the unitary state). What should be done instead is to look at the place the practitioner wants to move to, gently will him- or her- self to be there, and hold a sense of expectation about getting there, without visualizing how it is done. Motion will ensue.

If the above ritual is unsatisfactory (most practitioners actually only respond well to one or two of these techniques) there are others. One such is to lie prone in a comfortable place, either naked or with loose comfortable clothing. (At first all possible distractions should be eliminated to make it as easy as possible. Later the practitioner should become stronger and learn to do it even in disadvantageous circumstances.) While aware of the Outgarths, put the awareness, the sense of self, in the solar plexus. Once this is done, project energy out from the solar plexus into the air immediately above the self. At first this energy will look (to the third eye or Second Sight – the physical eyes should be closed) like a vague, diffuse mist. But as the process continues, the practitioner will find his sense of self leaving his body with the energy and joining it hovering above the body. (This is because of the unitary state operating upon the mixed imagery of the self residing in the solar plexus and energy being projected out from the solar plexus.) Once a sufficient percentage of the conscious self is outside the body the haze of energy will shape itself to the form of the body (later the practitioner can learn to alter the shape of this, the hamr, into other forms). Once this is done the practitioner should leave the room he or she is in (at this point it is actually the astral double of the room) and go into the further reaches.

Another method is to get into the usual “aware of the Outgarths” state and develop a strong visualization of a flight of stairs (the more “otherworldly” or “magical” the stairs look, the better). There should be a symbolically appropriate number of steps (like nine, perhaps, for rune magicians). Slowly, regularly, the practitioner should visualize ascending the steps to a door at the top. Once there the door should be opened. If enough strength has been put into the visualization then the Outgarths lie on the other side of the door, reached via unitary state association upon the imagery and symbolism of ascending the stairs.

Yet another method is to hang a tapestry on a wall in front of which the practitioner is to sit. It should have thin, light designs upon a black or dark-blue background. The practitioner should focus on this background until it attains a three dimensionality. Once this is done he should project his sense of self into it. This is an entry point into Ginnungagap, from where anywhere else can easily be reached.

Yet another method is to make a recording of harmonious ascending or descending (depending on the tastes of the magician) tones, and in a state aware of the Outgarths, developing a sense of rising up out of the self in accompaniment to the sounds, or sinking down out of the self.

The practitioner should, especially, as a beginner, at all costs refrain from looking at his or her own body when first leaving it. This will inevitably pull the practitioner back into the body too rapidly to be prevented. An experienced practitioner of great strength can bear the sight without being pulled back in.

Beginners should establish a place in the Outgarths from where they can easily get anywhere they want, such as Yggdrasil, Ginnungagap, an image of the Tree of Life, etc. Alternately some might prefer it to be a base, sanctuary, or home.

It is possible to sometimes get lost in the Outgarths and become unable to find the way back to the body. But simply waiting calmly will always resolve the situation. Eventually the pull of the body will make itself felt, or the practitioner will fall asleep and wake up back in the physical world. Sometimes, though generally only for advanced practitioners, injuries received to the hamr become reflected in the body (though usually less seriously, mostly in the form of bruises, sometimes in the form of cuts or illnesses). It is interesting to note that in general the beginner in such practices is the safest, while increasing experience brings increasing danger.

It is one thing to learn to fare forth. It is another thing entirely to remain in that state for any significant period of time. In this highly developed unitary state subconscious association is quite rapid indeed. This tends to cause diffusion in thought processes resulting in shifts and alterations in environment. (Much the way a candlestick in a dream might suddenly become a mushroom, for example.) Left undisturbed this is not a bad thing. The environment will maintain a high degree of integrity with changes that, while dream-like in nature, have their own internal logic, much like Alice’s Wonderland. But if anything is focused on too strongly, fixated upon too much, then this association becomes very unbalanced very rapidly. The focus the mind has upon any one image or thought is inversely proportional to the control that mind has at that moment to define the direction the mind’s thoughts are going in. So the higher the focus, the more probably the mind will suddenly skip off in a random direction. And this sort of sudden random shift as likely as not will be jarring enough to at the least completely alter the entire environment around the practitioner and at the worst end the unitary state. Similarly any time the focus grows too diffuse then the direction the thoughts are moving in grows too strongly defined, and becomes a torrent of energy that can sweep the practitioner helplessly along with it, taking him or her to undesired places, usually, or even out of the state. The thing to do is to tread lightly, and to maintain a balance between focusing on specific things within the environment and on being aware of the direction things around the practitioner are moving in. If something must be interacted with for an extended period of time then the following method is suggested:

Look at it in a variety of different ways in rapid succession. Look first at one side, then another, then let the gaze slide naturally beyond it to the landscape it sits in, then perhaps see it out of the corner of the eye to get a general idea of what it is doing, then look suddenly at it square on, etc. The point is to stay constantly interacting with it, but never sticking for even a moment with interacting with any particular aspect of it. This builds up a gestaltic understanding of it, which is necessary for the sort of unitary state processing that goes on while faring forth, as it is very prone to Fermi processing.

At first the beginner to faring forth should stick to the parts of the Outgarth nearest the physical world. The above-mentioned problems are less severe there. It is only with experience that the farther realms of the Outgarths should be traveled to, and only with even more experience that the worlds of the gods should be visited. These are powerful places, and the least imbalance can set up a force strong enough to be experienced as being caught in a whirlwind that can throw the practitioner out of the world of the gods and out of the unitary state entirely. It should also be noted that those worlds cannot be reached without the assistance (even if the mage is unaware of it) of an assistant spirit(s) such as his or her fetch.

Rune words that might help the practice of faring forth are:


The first refers to inspired revelation, the second to journeying and revelation, the third is symbolic of the world-encircling ocean, in which Jormungandr the Midgard Serpent dwells (a metaphor for Ginnungagap), fourth implies inspired revelation through ordering and journeying.

While faring forth there must be an ordered progression from the Outgarths near the place in Midgard the practitioner began all the way to Hel, or to the landwights. To this end the practitioner should familiarize him- or herself with the salient features of the road to Hel. They are:

1) The near Outgarths, a near double of Midgard.

2) The Gioll river, which flows somewhere through the lands of Midgard, and hence through the near Outgarths. It is found within deep valleys. This river should be followed.

3) Through Svartalfheim. A large part of Svartalfheim is a complex of underground caverns, in which are to be found the dwarves. Some of these caverns are very worked and beautiful, others plain and natural. The river is still followed.

4) The Gioll Bridge is approached. It is delicate and frail, and covered with glowing gold. Crossing it, it shakes and resounds loudly, like the practitioner were heavier than a host of the dead who normally cross it. This is because of the living nature of the practitioner. Care must be taken to hold the spirit calm and still while crossing it. It is guarded on the far side by the maiden Modgud, who may ask the practioner his or her name, and lineage, and reason for travel to Hel. She will point the road down into Hel, which lies downwards and to the north.

5) Gnipa Cave is reached, a great cave inside which is Garm, a giant wolf, chained so that he faces the gate inside the cave, to prevent the dead from escaping. He may be frightening, but he should ignore the practitioner.

6) Hel proper is entered. It is filled with mist. There are places for feasting, and repose, benches and tables for gatherings. Beer and food are provided. Hela is the goddess who rules it. Half of her face is young and beautiful, half is decayed and dead.

Some practitioners will prefer that assistants guide the faring forth experience by describing the salient landmarks of the journey. Other practitioners prefer to simply travel through them with no such guidance other than from inside.

Once the spirits have been consulted the practitioner will journey back to Midgard in the reverse order he or she journeyed out, and in either case the spirits who answered should be thanked and dismissed.


The term “trollaukin” means “possession by spirits” (the earlier meaning), as well as “possession by trolls” (the later meaning). It was perhaps the general term for possessionary work with spirits, and was likely a term for the berserkergang, used after the practice of the berserkergang itself was outlawed. It specifically refers to the use of techniques to summon spirits to possess the summoner and grant him with extraordinary strength.

This does seem quite similar to the berserkergang, the martial art of certain Odinists, wherein they became animals in spirit and fought with extraordinary strength. The meaning of the word berserk seems to have varied from place to place. It sometimes seems to mean “bare of sark,” referring to the practice of the berserks of fighting without armor. It also sometimes was used as “bear-shirt,” referring possibly to another practice of fighting in an actual bearskin or to the belief that the berserk somehow changed into a bear. Some kinds of berserks (in the first sense of the word) were referred to as “ulfhedinn,” meaning wolf-coats in the same sense as the second meaning of berserk. There may also have been boar-berserks and cat- (of the large predatory variety) berserks.

Perchtenlauf was the ritual by which the Perchten, devotees of the birch goddess Perchta, worshipped. It was a procession during which various of the dead, such as ancestral spirits, were invoked to a state of possession. Sometimes the goddess Perchta herself was invoked. Great wildness and energy was supposed to come upon the Perchten during the experience.

There are reasons to think that the ability to be truly successful at ecstatic practices of this level of energy and sophistication is not found in everyone. It may be necessary to be born with the “right genes”. There are arguments about it both ways. Personally, I am of the opinion that it is at least often or usually necessary. However, I do also think that anyone can get something useful out of them, even a decent success, if they put in enough practice with the techniques.

Decent skills with meditation and with other, lesser forms of ecstatic practice, must be had before attempting any form of trollaukin. With these it must be understood that the key to trollaukin is the creation of high enough levels of stress combined with an open, meditative mind and the right symbolism. The usual way such states come without ritual is in life-and death situations, so the amount of stress that the ritual needs to create is quite high indeed.

There are reasons to believe that ancient berserks learned to enter the state initially through some sort of initiation ritual, one that involved creating either a real or simulated danger. Other than this, though, no indication of any ritual details exists. But there is an initiation ritual used by modern berserks. (Meaning those who are attempting to reconstruct the practice. No direct linear connection with the ancient practice is not implied.) This ritual is written specifically for an ulfhedinn’s initiation. (An ulfhedinn is a berserk who becomes a wolf spiritually.) But any other initiatory purpose can be served by writing your own words using this ritual as a template.

Before beginning the ritual spend a month or two studying about trollaukin, and human physiology as well. Also, spend this time in extended prayer and meditation. This readies the mind for the upcoming experience, sensitizing it to certain key elements. Care should be taken in selecting location. It should be remote enough that no one will interrupt the ritual, even if it gets noisy. It should also be atmospheric, and have “energy”. A haunted house, a cemetary, old ruins, these are all examples of good places.

The ritual begins with an old Slavic spell for becoming a werewolf. The spell requires a copper knife to be made, and then stuck into a tree. But making a copper knife is not easy. Even if the initiate eschews forging it, and simply files it down out of copper bar stock, no small amount of effort or small amount of time are involved. And this is the reason for the knife. Over that time strong emotions will come to be felt. Boredom and frustration at the least. Perhaps even pain, as it is easy enough to cut a finger when making a blade. The initiate will grow intimately familiar with the blade, its every nick and warping. For these reasons it becomes a powerful ritual tool. It has become a symbol to the initiate. Just holding the blade, just looking at it will call out all of those emotions from the memory. Actually using it in the ritual will connect the words and acts of the ritual to the emotional energy associated with the knife. No need to think to use it, no need to focus upon it, it thus acts in a way as to increase the power of emotion in the ritual automatically, without effort. In this way does the unitary state start to develop. Now the initiate has, floating around in his or her mind, the emotions and images invoked by the location with the emotions and images centered around the brain. These things begin to merge, to become associated with and confused with each other, after being held in the attention a while. This is simply due to the natural tendencies of the way the brain works. The phase shift to unity has begun.

Next the initiate must find a fallen tree. This requires some small act of looking, which is a physical matter of walking about with the intent to perform this ritual. This improves the readiness of the mind to receive the new experience. Then the initiate must stab the knife into the fallen tree. This act symbolically begins the ritual, and causes the initiate’s mind to snap to attention. Then the initiate walks around the tree, looking at the knife. The act of walking raises energy levels in the body and so stimulates the mind as well. This gives energy to those thoughts going through the brain, making them stronger. And because the walking can be made into a wolf-like pacing, the image of the self as a wolf joins the other images in the mind, and benefits from their energy if it is held in the awareness long enough for the thoughts to associate.

While walking the initiate intones the following incantation (preferably using diaphragmmatic breathing, as singers and meditators do):

“On the sea, on the ocean, on the island, on Bujan,

On the empty pasture gleams the moon, on an ashstock (or whatever tree it is) lying

In a green wood, in a gloomy vale.

Toward the stock wandereth a shaggy wolf,

Horned cattle seeking for his sharp white fangs;

But the wolf enters not the forest,

But the wolf dives not into the shadowy vale,

Moon, moon, gold-horned moon,

Check the flight of bullets, blunt the hunters’ knives,

Break the shepards’ cudgels,

Cast wild fear upon all cattle,

On men, on all creeping things,

That they may not catch the grey wolf,

That they may not rend his warm skin!

My word is binding, more binding than sleep,

More binding than the promise of a hero!”

These words are important to the attaining of the unitary state. The incantation begins by describing a wolf doing exactly what the initiate is doing; approaching a tree. This identifies the initiate with the wolf, a sensation that is unconsciously given more sense of reality by the physical action of walking. Any thought or image associated conceptually with an action the brain automatically assigns a greater sense of reality to. In this way the unitary state deepens. The mind now contains multiple sources of emotion, all beginning to be tied in with the image of the initiate becoming a wolf. The second half of the incantation continues this process. By asking for the aid of the moon in stopping people from harming the wolf, the initiate is subconsciously identifying his sense of safety with that of the wolf’s. By casting himself in the light of a thing hunted by humans, the initiate is by implication declaring “I am not human!” The last two lines are a standard element of many incantations, and seal the effects of the ritual in the mind by identifying all that has gone into producing a unitary state of mind with the image of unbending strength and resolve to do this. This part of the ritual is ended by springing three times over the tree. By actually *acting* as a wolf, while speaking such sealing words, the unity of the mind with the self-as-wolf image is made strong and durable.

It is the next part of the ritual that actually triggers the change. The initiate goes to a fire, and casts nine herbs on it, herbs traditionally associated with wolves. (Any nine with the right association will do. This is another ritual tool like the copper knife, for some trouble must be gone to to obtain them.) Then the initiate oaths most strongly to hold his or her hand in the fire until transformed. There will be pain, and screaming (so make sure to hold this ritual far away from others), and a moment of almost irresistable need to pull the hand out of the fire. This is the critical moment. Hold on through this moment, keeping to the state of mind produced by the spell, and the change should be triggered. The unitary state results from the enormous NEED to end the pain, and from the overload of adrenaline in the body, and all this incredible energy rips through the mind, firing its contents into ecstatic super-life. Then follows the experience of actually becoming, or becoming possessed by, a wolf spirit.

There are two primary sources of stress in this ritual. One is the effort of extended mental focus. The other is the physical pain of the fire. In using it there is a danger of burning, but those who have completed this ritual said that the pain of the fire was enough to effect the experience in a matter of seconds, before any real damage was done. It is perhaps possible to gain such physical stressors ina another fashion, if the initiate is too uncomfortable with the fire. Prolonged fasting combined with heavy exercise has been suggested. But alternatives have not been tried, and it has also been suggested that, lacking the element of fear the fire induces, the other triggers would not be effective.

Whether an initiation ritual is utilized or not, in the long run it is impractical to rely on such extreme measures for inducing the experience. There are a few clues for elements to such rituals to be found scattered here and there in historical sagas, archaeological artifacts such as the Torslunda Plate, and folklorists’ collections. These include dancing, leaping, beard-pulling, and biting on a hard object such as a shield, as well as yelling and howling, in the case of berserks. Trollaukin (in the berserkergang sense) used runes to induce the change. The Perchten used frenzied dance and a cacophonous din, as well as masks representing the dead spirits they were trying to invoke.

So common to both the practice of the berserkergang and the Perchtenlauf is dance. The motion of large muscle groups is a trigger for adrenaline release. So is pain, which is found in the shield-biting and beard-pulling. The yelling and howling would tend to involve deep breathing. Hyperventilation and other forms of deep breathing are also adrenaline-release triggers. So is sensory overload, as with the cacophonous din of the Perchtenlauf. Thus it is obvious that such rituals for inducing the experience of trollaukin in a more everyday fashion can be seen clearly to involve producing large amounts of adrenaline, and that to replace the one great source of stress in the initiation ritual, a larger number of lesser adrenaline releasing triggers are used together. (This is more difficult to learn to do, though, and is why it is not done that way for the initiation.)

The other thing to note is that trollaukin (in the sense of the later term for and form of the berserkergang) used runes, and so engaged the intellectual, symbolic portion of the brain. The Perchtenlauf used symbolism too with its representative masks. It may be possible that the yelling and howling of the berserks was a similar use of symbolism, by mimicing the sounds of the animals the ritual was trying to bring out.

So it can be seen that the key to inducing the experience of trollaukin (in the general sense) involves the three basic elements of any ritual: mental, emotional, and physical. The body moves and suffers pain, which induces the adrenaline emotions of fear, anger, determination, etc. The emotions are appropriate to the mental symbolism, of animal or the wild dead spirits, which the masking and howling represent and evoke. The mental, emotional, and physical elements are all tied very closely together, making for ritual that is both simple and highly effective.

Turn the ritual into a sort of a dance. Crounch low on the haunches, balanced on the balls of the feet. Raise up, return to crouching, over and over again. Tense the muscles of first one arm, then the other, then the first one again. Build up a rhythm. Move the arms, tense, in and out, from one side to the other. Breathe deeply and alternate it with rapid shallower hyperventilation. Suddenly leap to some random other place and land crouching on the balls of the feet. Suddenly spring up onto the tiptoes and whip the head around backwards. (Warning: only do this if you have gymnastics, dance, or martial arts experience AND KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING! It is quite possible to seriously injure yourself doing that.) A little while of this sort of dance, especially combined with vision-inducing techniques and/or prayer will have a great effect on the level of wod experienced, which, when it rises to a great enough level, will induce the trollaukin experience. Combine this also with pain-inducing techniques for greatest effect, and also symbolism like howling, snarling, masking, etc.

Over-much focus in any particular direction emotionally or mentally can have side effects bad for the success of such rituals as this. This is because of the phenomenon of burnt wod.

The mind is a machine, not unlike a computer. Thinking about something is a form of processing like what a computer does. But unlike a computer, thoughts are not exact. Thoughts associate. Seeing a house, for instance, brings memories of other houses that were like it, and of different experiences in houses, all unbidden.

This practice is (amongst other things) a process of combining thoughts with emotions, especially those emotions that reflect adrenaline (such as fury). Wod quickens the blood, makes the mind race. This quickens the racing of thoughts through the mind, makes them more powerful. It also makes them less exact. Each thought requires a certain amount of energy to make it happen. Energy in excess of this “spills over” into other thoughts.

I call this “burning the wod” (because the feeling it produces in the mind is a “burnt” feeling). Unintended associations spring up when the wod is burned. This can diffuse or even stop elevation entirely. This is especially so because, as Jung pointed out, opposite thoughts are stored close together in the brain. Thus “ice” is close to “fire”, “don’t want to” is close to “want to”. So burning the wod during ritual will particularly bring out anti-ritual thoughts and feelings. Additionally, burnt wod can have physical effects. It can overadrenalize the muscles to the point where there is no elevated strength at all, but just debilitating cramps and shakes. In such circumstances it can be difficult to even simply stand up.

It is especially easy to burn the wod when first learning this. This is because you don’t as yet really know how to perform the ritual correctly. Subconsciously you are likely to overcompensate and raise the wod up much higher than it needs to be. But as with carrying a cup of liquid, it is better not to fill it right up to the brim. Think of it like trying to free a car stuck in the snow. Using too much gas does nothing more than spin the wheels uselessly. One of the first things a new practitioner will need to do is to learn how to use just enough wod to induce the experience without using too much.

It is for this reason that simply pushing hard to produce the emotion of fury can actually rapidly raise blocks both emotional and intellectual that interfere with rising fury. Therefore breadth of emotion is to be preferred to depth of emotion. Emotional is mental energy, and many lower-strength emotions can be combined to equal one powerful or even transcendental emotion. It will be necessary for the emotions to all run in the same direction, as it were, or else they would blunt each others’ effects. But fury of subtly different sorts can be raised up together by, for example, memories of a hated childhood bully, dwelling on current life stresses, and contemplating fantastic dangerous situations. Joy, which also raises adrenaline, can be called up in different ways as well. Because both joy and fury are adrenaline producing emotions they can be conceptually connected if the practitioner looks at them in the right way, and mostly add their effects together. (This provides an additional benefit in that the emotion of joy will tend to counter the worse effects of the fury in the process of the blending.) Other emotions can be woven in as well, depending on the idiosynchracies of the individual practitioner.

It would be appropriate as well to include some sort of noise in the ritual. This can be the cacophonous din of the Perchtenlauf, intended to jangle the nerves and overwhelm the senses. It can be recorded or live, and created by banging on pots, clashing swords, blowing on horns, beating on drums, and more. It can also be drumming, but here the object is not to overwhelm the senses but to get the mind to start moving along a rhythm. This need not involve either a live drummer nor a recording, for the practitioner can drum with his or her fingertips upon the base of the skull, at the back of the head. The sound here reverberates in the eardrum and sounds louder, more like a real drum.