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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Seeing My Own Death in the Runes

Continuing my story of my personal journey on my heathen path, in college I discovered that I could advise other people with rune readings, but when I read for myself, all I ever saw was my own death. I was still a teenager the first time I foresaw my death, and it scared me. At the time, I was studying Russian Studies and Soviet Political Analysis at UC-Santa Cruz. I wanted to be an intelligence officer after I got my degree. Actually I wanted a military career, but my eyesight and asthma precluded that, and I thought the closest thing I could achieve would be to become an intelligence analyst. I had already been a freelance writer for several years, and those were the two career paths I asked about when I tried to read the runes for myself.

A quote from my memoir, Greater Than the Sum of My Parts:

     “I did a lot of rune readings for myself, friends, and people I met at parties.  Acquaintances brought people to me to read runes for them.  One evening I decided to read for myself and ask about future courses of action.  Was I on the right road?  I asked the runes, “What will happen if I join CIA?” and they said, You will die.  I was frightened, so I asked, “What will happen if I become a writer?”  You will die.  “What will happen if I take some third course of action?”  You will die.

     My fear evaporated.  I laughed out loud.  “Of course.  Of course.  Whatever I do, I will eventually die.  I am not a god.  Of course I will die.  It doesn’t matter what I do, the end is the same for everyone.  So I should just do what I want to do, and let the end take care of itself.”  I resolved to make my decisions based on what I really wanted, and never again ask the runes for advice in deciding a course of action.  In the coming years I would sometimes think of asking for advice making decisions, but I always remembered this lesson, and chose without the runes.”

In a way, knowing about my own death since my late teens has been a positive experience, because it has allowed me to act fearlessly. It's not comfortable knowledge, though. Most of the time I ignore it. What I ignore tends to become an unconscious issue that comes back in my fiction writing, and the question of what prophecy is and what it's for and whether it can be changed is one I'm currently exploring in the heathen mythology based novel I'm currently writing.

About 20 years after seeing my death for the first time, after I had been teaching my Rune Seminar for many years, I decided to make a Rune Seminar video and include sample readings. I got several people I know to be in it, with me doing readings for them. I also figured I might as well do a sample self-reading. I had not tried to read for myself since college, but I thought I was prepared for what I would see, since I knew I would see my own death again. This time I saw more than that. This time I saw past my death, and caught a glimpse of my own afterlife.

Since I became a sworn priestess of Freya in 1989, I had expected to go to Freya when I die. When I read for myself again in my 40s, I saw the face of Odin. I only saw it briefly, but it was unmistakable. There was a light like a white cloud in front of the sun, and his white-grey hair and beard were made of that cloud. He had one eye with a light in it like the sun piercing through the cloudy sky.

I was frightened again. Odin had been my original patron and was the god I had actually intended to swear myself to the day I went out in the woods and ended up with Freya instead. But by this time I had been hers for decades, and I associated an Odin-centric afterlife with death in battle, which is not what I foresaw for myself. Even if I did die in battle, Freya takes half the slain so I could still end up with her. But I saw Odin. I was disturbed thinking I had my vision all wrong all this time and I was with the wrong god or things were not going to happen the way I had foreseen after all. I decided to edit that whole sequence out of the video, and just ignore the whole vision, and file that glimpse of Odin in the place where I file experiences I can't explain and don't want to think about too hard.

Link to Rune Seminar video: http://www.amazon.com/Rune-Seminar-Magicalrealist-Gallery/dp/B003KZ5UGG

I don't have any of my self-reading in the video, I cut the entire thing, because the video is supposed to be an upbeat teaching tool and I didn't want to show myself having a negative experience on it. I actively ignored what I had seen and went back to expected to go to Freya after death. Only very recently have I come home to Odin and know that I saw the truth that day. But that's getting ahead of my story. Returning to the chronological order of my journey, next time I'll write about the day in 1989 when I went out in the woods to dedicate myself to Odin and ended up a Priestess of Freya.

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Please note that this is not a treatise on how all Gods are One God/dess— in Norse myth or otherwise. Norse myth contains distinct deified ancestors, locally-specific Gods and many other members of the pantheon such as Njordh, Mani, Baldr and Thor.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Shirl Sazynski
    Shirl Sazynski says #
    And Simek's Dictionary of Norse Mythology, where relevant.
  • Douglas Lange
    Douglas Lange says #
    Can't wait to see more of this piece. This article is kinda like being invited to read someone's notes on their personal practices
  • Shirl Sazynski
    Shirl Sazynski says #
    Thank you, Douglas. I'll be using primary sources from The Tain to the Eddas, and work from Hilda Ellis Davidson, Jan Puhvel, some
  • Beth Wodandis
    Beth Wodandis says #
    While it is true that this is only an introductory post (and she stated as much), I think it might have gone over a little better
  • Amarfa
    Amarfa says #
    I look forward to seeing more on this. I am ashamed at my peers for pointing out so much to correct in what is only an introductor

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

This blog post also appears in print with more photos in Sacred Hoop Issue #85.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Albuquerque-from-the-air_wikipedia.jpg
Central Albuquerque, New Mexico USA. Seen from the sky. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

"Look wide, and look far. Look upon your city. This is your community. These are your people, all of them. The people you know and the people you will never meet. Even the ones you don't like. Good or bad, rich or poor, status and class and family don't matter. Politics don't matter. They're still all your people.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Thanks. I enjoyed the description of wandering in the hills near Albuquerque. I spent several years there and have hiked extensiv
  • Shirl Sazynski
    Shirl Sazynski says #
    You're welcome. Thanks for responding. Sounds like a fun wedding, Greybeard! And Jemez is gorgeous.
  • Shirl Sazynski
    Shirl Sazynski says #
    Thanks, Kimberly! I'd love to read those if you decide to share.
  • Kimberly Glaser
    Kimberly Glaser says #
    So beautiful! Makes me think of my own journal entries about Cerridwyn

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Touching the Earth

Pre-dawn yoga. As we flowed from pose to pose, the teacher’s words emerged from the rhythm of her own movement:  “Since we were in the womb…the universe has never stopped… supporting us. That’s why…we are still…alive.”

I knew in my bones it was true. Looking at the moon, wandering the woods, touching the earth, I find that truth again. When I disappoint myself, I know the trees and the sky do not judge. Good or bad, I am held in the web of life and known by an awareness that goes beyond my own. 

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  • Archer
    Archer says #
    Thanks, Ted. I'm glad you enjoyed it.
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    This is great, Archer; it really speaks to me! OM Mani Padme Hum.

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

I recently posted one of Danielle LaPorte's Truthbombs on my Facebook page:

don't hide behind your vows

 

This sparked a discussion of what it means to make a vow, to break a vow, and to hide behind a vow, a discussion that got me thinking about my first marriage and divorce.

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  • Amoret BriarRose
    Amoret BriarRose says #
    Thank you!
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    great post

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

This week, I write on Odin to fulfill my promise to write about each god (#8) placed in the atheists’ “god graveyard”.  I’ve only had one personal experience with Odin which I wrote previously about here.  So I’ve spent time this week researching him, trying to figure out what to write.  Nothing came to mind specifically just an overwhelming awe over the role he has chosen for himself.  

b2ap3_thumbnail_oski.jpg

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Odin: A Vision of the Yule King

A past December:

It's the season of mistletoe and holly, when bells are ring-jing-jing-a-ling and the year-round Northern outdoor signs that say, "Beware of Falling Ice" finally have meaning. The night is hushed in a way it only gets when there is a blanket of snow, on the eve before a holiday, when everything is closed. Snuggled in a hotel room in upstate New York, red and blue-foil snowflakes covering presents gleam out of the corner of my eye, while real ones slowly fall, dancing over the parking lot.

               It's almost midnight. Drowsy with hot cider, lying on my husband's chest and listening to his heartbeat, there's nowhere else I'd rather be…

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