One-Eyed Cat: Northern European (Germanic, Celtic and Slavic) Paganism

Teaching safer seidhr (Norse trance work) practice, working with the Gods and spirits. We'll also explore the wider Eurasian influences on central and northern European religion, including Norse, Slavic, Celtic, Baltic, Siberian, Mediterranean and ancient Indo-European beliefs and discuss how to apply them to contemporary practice.

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Nine Weeks of Energy Clearing: Week 1—The Wyrd (Karma) of Used Things

Used things can be a boon or a bane. Often, it’s a bit of both.

Ritual purification was (and still is) a huge thing in many polytheist traditions, including Heathenry. For nine posts (give or take some extras), nine being a holy number, I’m going to focus on simple ways to examine the energy entering our lives and help keep it clean. For me, that’s a part of preparing for and welcoming the purifying aspects of Imbolc (Disablot/Tyr’s feast for some Heathens), prior Spring Equinox’s renewal.


 Week One: Examine the wyrd (accumulated energy and related fate pattern) of the used things around you.


Used things can be a boon or a bane. Often, it’s a bit of both. I’m not against getting used things at all, but they can come with a tremendous amount of unseen baggage. Be aware of this potential pitfall: just as we have fate patterns and energy that can be felt and affect the people and things around us, so do most objects. One of the first steps for coming into alignment and keeping energetically clean is to pay attention to your surroundings, especially the items that are entering your life.

Heathens are pragmatic types who value craftsmanship and like to re-use things. Some used things are certainly made with far better worksmanship and more lasting value than many recent, industrially-manufactured things, and very sensible to purchase. (I prefer used houses, books, furniture, kitchen items, and certain tools, myself.) A lot of us also prioritize other things, like connection to the land, over careers that bring a lot of monetary wealth and so don’t have the capital to buy everything shiny-minted new.

So, how do you keep the energetic baggage to a minimum?

Step #1: Take a look around. How many of the things here were used by someone else before you? How many were given to you? How many things were handmade by someone else?

Now, look at your clothing. Are you wearing something you bought new… or did it come from a consignment shop, yard sale or thrift store? (This includes jewelry, purses, wallets and accessories.) Do you know who made the things you’re wearing… and the conditions under which she (most likely) made them?

All of these objects carry energy from their prior use, their previous owners and their makers. If they were given, made and used with love, this can be an absolutely wonderful thing. But if there is pain, resentment, shame, fear or addiction attached— or, Gods help you, an unhealthy spirit lodged in there— having these things around is like leaving an open gas line running without a pilot light or letting radiation leak out into your life and on anyone you pass the objects on to!

Step #2: Freebies aren’t free. Don’t just accept what’s offered or take it just because it’s there. Oh, they may be monetarily free. But one huge thing I’ve found about the wyrd clinging to objects is that a direct transfer of money seems to transmute a lot of it. When a person sells an item that is rightfully theirs, under fair conditions, very little baggage tends to attach to it. Ideally, that energy is beneficial – making something with love and selling it to a customer who appreciates it makes a huge difference! On the other hand, objects given away can be downright filthy energetically. This includes freebies from businesses or objects and services loaded with the psychic noise of junk advertising. Don’t just grab the freebies or samples left out in a store unless it’s a place you already do business with, might frequent in the future, or they’re offering a product or service you honestly want to try out. Those freebies are weighted with intent: intent to make the sale, intent to relax you, intent, under the worst of circumstances, to make you let your guard down (that’s why art galleries loooooove putting out wine. Tipsy people overspend.) Ditching these freebies cuts down on needless clutter, expenses for the business if they’re honest folk, and consumption of resources overall. And you don’t inherit that subtle draw on your will. 

I used to love thrifting before I got more energetically attuned. Now, I loathe walking into thrift stores: they give me a twitchy, dirty feeling when I step in the door. Antique and consignment shops, on the other hand, usually have a different energy. It’s more one of dust, age and wear, but rarely that thrift store miasma that makes me want to run and take a salt bath. Individual antique and vintage objects can be highly charged— especially personal affects or religious items— but overall, these type of shops are both physically and energetically cleaner than thrift stores.

Some of that cleanliness is due to the actual physical cleansing of their wares. Another part is the value placed upon the objects, and care shown to them. But a third part is that when objects are given away, more energy is passed on with them. In Heathenry, luck is a tangible, inheritable, living part of the soul than can grow or wane depending on your actions. Objects given away to charity tend to be unlucky in my experience. And guess who inherits that bad luck? You. Think about it: when do people give things to GoodWill? Often, things are given away during times of pain, frustration, or during a very focused clearing: that previous owner wants to be rid of bad memories, clutter and whatever else is clogging up their life. Maybe it’s a death in the family. A divorce. A move. The charity-giver is literally unburdening herself of some unseen weight she can get rid of in no other way. (Which may have been one of the untalked-about purposes behind some ancient sacrifices, particularly war booty, being thrown into lakes!)

So, how do you make wise choices about purchasing or keeping used things?

Step #3: Pay attention to how you feel in the presence of an item, while touching or wearing it. That will tell you a lot about whether and how thoroughly something needs to be cleared. Do you get a physical sensation, like heat or a static charge? Are you tired, moody or sad for no reason you can pinpoint? Do any “random” thoughts or impressions pop into your mind? See if this feeling stops once you put the object down and walk away from it. It’s not right for you, wants to stay where it is, or needs to be cleared.

Some objects are just more prone to carrying psychic debris. But sometimes things have a mind (and intended owner) of their own and just come into your life to help or receive your aid regardless of any other advice I give here. Are you struck with nostalgia, warmth, joy? By all means, follow your instinct. That object probably doesn’t need clearing (but a proper clearing shouldn’t get rid of good vibes, either.)

Step #4: Clear the Objects! I recommend keeping used objects in quarantine before they become a regular part of your life. Keep them in the car, garage or a separate box/area, physically clean the items thoroughly and then clear them before mixing them up with what you already own. Clear the car or garage if they’ve been there awhile, too. Candle hallowing and smudging are excellent for this. So is a good dose of sunlight where possible. (Tip: clear a car with something besides sage: it confuses both police and dogs unfamiliar with the smell. Not the red herring you want at a traffic stop!)

Some basics about objects:

  •          Don’t ditch your heirlooms or things you can’t afford to replace just because you feel something is off. Give them a good physical cleaning, let sunlight into the room and try candle-clearing (circling an object carefully with a consecrated, lit jar candle) and smudging. If there’s a problem you can’t pinpoint, and you think it’s an object, wrap it in white fabric and put it in isolation first, then do a general clearing on the house or room and all people there.
  •          Skip used magical items, including books, unless you know and trust the provenance. They tend to carry unwanted visitors. Also, if your relationship with someone who gave you an amulet, tool, divination item or magical book changes, look at clearing that item.
  •           Things that were once alive, unless processed umpteen times, carry the energy and some of the sentience of their former life within them. This includes rocks and plant parts! Heathens, historically, are animists. This is a basic principle of animism.

 Recommendations for commonly used items:

  •           Clothing and jewelry: buy new unless you absolutely can’t afford otherwise, or find something wonderfully high value that’s worth the effort to clear it, know how to thoroughly clear items and can feel the difference when this is done. A large amount of personal energy attaches to things that have been worn. Especially if someone died while wearing them.

If your wardrobe is full of used swag, don’t fret. Just give everything a good washing (put salt in the water if hand-washing; add a couple of drops of lavender oil to wash loads). Smudge first, then wash: it’ll get rid of that clingy sage smell. You can candle clear (hallow) after washing, though. But don’t wear something before you’ve cleared it. Bonus points if you can line-dry it: the sun and wind will help carry away negative energies.

  •           Furniture: Should always be thoroughly cleared, but seems to have more of a life of its own.

Caveat: beds, bed linens and mattresses. You spend a lot of your life in bed: people are energetically charged during sex, and vulnerable during sleep. Luckily, beds and mattresses can get some nice herbal remedies to help reboot them, like rose oil and lavender water sprays along with rose petals and lavender tucked between the mattress and box spring.

  • ·         Books tend not to hold as much energy, unless they’re about supernatural topics, visionary art, religious icons, or magic, in which case, they act as doorways for spirits. Paper, being highly processed and ephemeral, isn’t as charged. One of the exceptions to this is religious texts, particularly old family Bibles and library books.
  •          Children’s and baby items can carry a lot of frenetic energy on them…. and, surprisingly, a lot of destruction. Some of this comes from how we are forced to parent in the modern age: kids aren’t getting as nurtured when both parents have to work outside the home, and have to work ungodly hours. Also, you don’t know how the former caregivers treated their children: dress clothes, in my experience, can be particularly riddled with bad vibes. Or whether the mom suffered severe post-partum depression (most women don’t talk about this, or underplay it).

According to magical adept and author Josephine McCarthy, destructive energy unfortunately flocks to children because of their very growing, creative nature. So it’s a good idea to thoroughly cleanse everything, especially clothing, that’s passed on to your little ones.

  •  ·        Vehicles have VIN numbers you can check, but that doesn’t tell you the whole story! Vintage cars can get buggy with ghosts and other spirits. Vehicles also fall into a special category as items used specifically for transportation and therefore prone to accident.

To find out more about how to perform a Hallowing (a Norse clearing/blessing ritual) please see my column in Witches and Pagans#30. You can also find a number of directions for smudging or other forms of clearing on Youtube, around Pagansquare, and elsewhere online.

The energy clearing continues in Nine Weeks of Energy Clearing, Week 2: The Media Detox- Reclaiming Your Mind, Will and Relationship With the Gods

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Shirl Sazynski is a priestess trained by Frey, Odin and Freyja and has been practicing the Norse magical and priestly art of seidhr (trance journeying/fate weaving) for fifteen years. Her column, "One-Eyed Cat", runs in Witches and Pagans Magazine. An oracle, icon painter and author, her work has appeared in both popular and pagan media. She teaches workshops and was a popular presenter at PantheaCon.

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