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Warrior Philosopher
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Spirit of the Viking Journeys
Spirit of the Viking Journeys

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Winter Nights

The light is dying as the dark strengthens. Winter is approaching bringing with it darkness and wind-whipped stormy days and nights. This is a time and season to honor our family, kin, ancestors and the hidden spirits of the earth. It is a time to go inward and strengthen our connection with the Otherworld. 

Pre-Christian Norse celebrated and honored family and community throughout the whole of winter. However, there was three very specific times of Winter Nights for celebrating, sacrificing and for caution. And the reason for the caution; the first Winter Night, Vetrnætr, was also the beginning of Óðinn’s Wild Hunt which reached its peak around the Winter Solstice. This was a time of cold-whipped wild winter storms reflected by the imagery of Óðinn astride his eight-legged steed, Sleipnir, leading his spectral host across the night sky—woe to those that venture out on a stormy and menacing dark night. (Of course, good advice and common sense.) 
 
The first Winter Night was celebrated around mid to late October. The second Winter Night was celebrated mid-January or mid-winter until it was moved to coincide with Yule (ON jól) on the Winter Solstice. The third was celebrated around the middle to the end of April honoring the beginning of the summer season The Norwegians and Icelanders divided their year into two seasons: the light (summer) and the dark (winter). All dates of the celebrations could vary depending on environmental conditions. The reason: they were in partnership with nature and listened to the sounds of the earth, the ebb and flow of the tides and the winds and the birds of the sky. They were not separated from nature like our society and culture, which is ruled by linear time and obsessed with calendar dates. 

Vetrnætr, the first Winter Night celebration, was a blót (sacrifice/blessing) honoring the successful harvest and protection from the harshness of winter. It was a blessing and honoring of the fertility gods and goddesses, the dísir (a certain type of female deity), the ancestors, the landvættir (land-wights) and the hidden spirits of the earth; elves and faëries if you need a name. Basically, a blót signifies honoring the deities through sacrifice. It also meant to strengthen the relationship between the kin and the Otherworld. This celebration was also an occasion for heavy drinking.
 
The most common blót connected with Vetrnætr was dísablót honoring the dísir. Additionally, Freyr was one of the deities honored during this time of the year for a fruitful harvest and peace. In conclusion, as we hold our horns high filled with ale or mead an excellent toast during this winter season would be til árs ok friðar (for a good year and frith/peace) - Skål.’
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When I first set sight on a large statue of a Norse god outside of the Viking Village located in Hafnarfjörður, Iceland, I turned to one of my students and said, “This is not Ϸórr. It is Óðinn.”

The imagery I am referring to is a statuette of a sitting god holding a hammer-like object, which has been labeled Ϸórr holding his hammer - Mjǫllnir. I, however, disagree. According to the Dictionary of Northern Mythology, “Whether a statuette of a sitting god with a hammer-like object found in Iceland really represents Thor with Mjǫllnir has been called into question again recently, as the shape of the symbol differs too drastically from the shape of other Thor’s hammers found so far.”

Additionally, next year I will celebrate 50 years of martial arts training and experience. During various periods of time, I have trained and practiced with a short-handled double-faced throwing ax. Common sense and experience would deem that the handle of a throwing ax or hammer split into two sections or columns would serve no purpose and would possibly be a hindrance.

Continuing on this train of thought and as an alternative to the accepted theory, I believe the statuette represents Óðinn holding a human being by the legs. I explain in greater detail the symbolic meaning of this imagery in my forthcoming book: "Óðinn’s Wisdom - The Pathway of Primordial Knowledge."
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Seeds portray the vibrational imagery of life unseen. From the primal explosion of a seed comes the potentiality within. Or is it the reality within? Existence, growth and then, is it death, or back to the seed?

And thus it is so with the concept of the ‘seed syllable.’ A breath of power, a manifestation in form, all contained within the seed. A sound primal in structure but then again creative creation supreme and this is the secret of truth and light. But it is not to be grasped; only to be experienced with the heart. The mind struggles and refuses to grant this heightened knowledge and only desires the tangible form that in its seeking of its own egocentric power says: reality is form and form is reality. Racing to and fro the prevailing minds of cultural, societal humanity only see the illusion presented. And then strives ever more to prove the illusion. But the illusion is the reality but not what one thinks!

The heart knows. The seed is the heart. The sound is the heart. The love/light at the beginning, and was there ever a beginning, vibrates within each one of us, and that is the sound to bring to the world. The rest is just unhealthy ego building an illusionary existence and never knowing or wanting to know the paradise of life.

JC
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If you are a spiritual seeker, the key word is seed. JC
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Flowers, Flowers, Flowers, Everywhere.

Happy Life and Light, May Day, Beltane … 

The month of May is named for a Greek Mountain nymph named Maia. She is also known as the most beautiful of the Seven Sisters—the Pleiades. The Pleiades, a cluster of seven stars in the constellation of Taurus and known as the Seven Stars of Life and Death, figure prominently in the celebration of Beltane. They rise just before the sun on the morning horizon announcing the arrival of Beltane. However, true Beltane seldom occurs on May 1st. Old time Beltane or Elder Beltane happened when the sun was at 15 degrees Taurus, many times around May 5th.

Taurus, ruled by Venus, emphasizes the fertility and the earthly sexuality of the evening star phase of Venus, thus the joyous expressions of human passions and the fertility rites that would occur during the celebration of Beltane. Of course, Beltane was also about celebrating the end of winter and the beginning of summer. This was a time to honor the return of life from the void of nothingness—winter. But the shade of winter still hung over the people and the creatures of the earth.

The Norse divide the seasons into two, winter and summer. Now is a shifting of energies, the unstable energies of change. It isn’t winter anymore now, but it isn’t yet summer. This is a transitional or blended state of time, a time between a time—a time of timelessness just as dawn and dusk are blended times.

In Norse belief this is Freyja’s time. Freyja is associated with fire. Fire is the energy of change. At any time winter could still reach out its frosty hand and destroy the fruitfulness of the earth.

May Eve marks the last night that Odinn hanged from Yggdrasill—the great Cosmic Yew Tree. Odinn hung for nine nights, some say between April 22 and April 30, as a Self-Sacrifice and Sacrifice Self to Self to master the nine mighty rune spells.  What are you willing to Self-Sacrifice and Sacrifice Self to Self for awakening and wisdom?

Additionally, this month gives us the perfect opportunity to not only celebrate the fruitfulness of the earth and the life-giving powers of the sun but also to recognize and honor the spark of divinity in the earth and all the creatures of the earth. Take this time to be ultra-aware of the divinity of creation while honoring and respecting all things in their divinity as well as their intrinsic power and identity.
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Warrior Philosophers may be likened to ÓĐINN’s Warriors, the One-harriers. The One-harrier is one who harries, commands, or controls, one — our own self.

Each has moreover elected to die as a personal ego and gained transcendence of consciousness into the non-personal, universal, realm of the gods and goddesses. To put it another way, we have overcome the lesser human self and united with the cosmic purpose of life. This is a continuous process — of growth, hence of change, each change being a “death,” a transformation from one state into another, usually from a less to a more perfect condition.

The surrender of weapons is a hallmark of the Mystery tradition. The candidate for universality cannot, by the very nature of the quest, regard ourselves as separate from the whole; we can therefore have no use for divisive means of any kind, in thought, word, or deed. First to go are weapons of offense, as harmlessness is cultivated. Thereafter all means of defense are dropped and finally all personal protection of whatever kind. The One-harrier has stepped beyond the notion of separateness. Our work lies not in the immediate but in the eternal. We are no longer bounded by a self but extends unlimited; the hero soul has discarded all personal concern, placing complete reliance on the divine laws we unconditionally serve. Excerpted from the "Masks of Odin."
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Eat an Almond Today!

In Judaism one tree holds a special reverence as a Tree of Life. This tree is the almond tree.  Its fruit symbolizes concealed wisdom and in Hebrew almond means the ‘awakened one’ as the almond tree is known for early blooming bathed in white flowers. It symbolizes purity, perfection and wakefulness and is referred to as the ‘resurrection’ tree—the first tree to blossom.  

Mystically, the almond symbolizes “the divine light that embraces us all equally. This is demonstrated in the other of the almond’s ancient names, luz, which in Aramaic means ‘light’. It is also the name of the mythical City of Almond of the Canaanites (who worshipped the goddess Astarte).”  

Luz is also the Aramaic word for bone. René Guénon, an author and intellectual in the field of metaphysics, referred to luz as the ‘kernel of immortality.’ He goes on to state that “at the base of the vertebral column is the state of ‘sleep’ where the luz is to be found in the ordinary man.”

Supposedly, the base of the spine is not the only location of the luz bone. The identity and location of the bone is so ambiguous that some feel that its location is not at the bottom (sacral and coccyx) but at the top of the spine (33rd vertebrae—the atlas, or first cervical vertebra). Just as there are many facets to a diamond, there are many sides to luz. Part of people’s confusion is centered on the concept of resurrection. This is not bodily resurrection at the ‘end of time’ but spiritual awakening and renewal.   And luz in all its facets gives us the clues and blueprints for our own resurrection of self from the unhealthy ego to the healthy ego and the awakening of our divine spark.
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