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Raunacht #6: Balancing Emotions

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Because most of us live in relative comfort, we have forgotten that for centuries and until not so long ago people feared the arrival of Winter. Winter time was synonymous of cold, sickness, hunger & death. It was not a joyful time (except for the celebrations around the Winter Solstice) but rather a matter of survival.

There were dangers everywhere, restless spirits & demons lurking in the night. They were given names, faces & rituals to appease them and also cast them away.

I know we live in troubled times with a lot of confusion & unrest. Whether we like it or not it affects us directly or indirectly (and energetically). Therefore it is perfectly understandable, normal and healthy to feel uneasy, angry, sad or worried.

Acknowledge these emotions, understand where they are stemming from and why you are feeling that way. But it would be a mistake to let your emotions rule your life. Try to find some kind of emotional balance and keep a cool head. Remember that everything is cyclical…

“It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.”

Marcus Aurelius

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Folklore Podcast on the PERCHTEN

The Krampus has become a big folkloric figure at Christmas time in recent years. But less discussed and of equal interest are the female figures of the Perchten from the alpine regions. On this, the final episode of Season 3 of the Folklore Podcast, host Mark Norman redresses the balance in an interview with alpine folklore expert Al Ridenour.

Source: Episode 50: PERCHTEN.  With guest Al Ridenour

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Raunacht #5: Remembering the Body is Holy

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We live in a world of images in which fashion trends define how your body should like year after year. This is a form of tyranny for which more & more people fall prey to, with sometimes devastating consequences. Know that having a thin body doesn’t necessarily imply that you are healthy.

That said, there is, therefore, no reason to be at war with your one’s own body. After all, the body is the ‘temple’ that holds & protect the ‘inner grail’ that is the soul. Without the body, one can simply not experience the physical world or navigate through it. It is Ehwaz in Mannaz. The body also allows us to experience the world through our senses because it is a sensual place. In our fast-paced lifestyle, we often don’t take the time to fully & consciously experience our surroundings through our 5 senses.

So with the new year drawing near, why not renew your vows to your sacred temple by truly and consciously taking care of its needs, nourishing, nurturing & healing it if necessary? Accept it, embrace it, love it, dwell in there fully & feel at home in your body. Feel free to ‘decorate’ it to your liking but stop waging war against it. Your life depends on it in so many ways…

Blessings.

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Raunacht #4: Trust One’s Own Wisdom

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We tend to look to other people for knowledge & wisdom, calling them ‘teachers’ or ‘gurus’ without realizing how they got there, how they obtain that knowledge in the first place.

Knowledge can be gathered from many sources. Nowadays pretty much everything you can possibly look for accessible online, as long as you seek that knowledge. But I have found that experience will often surpass the content of books.

Wisdom, however, is another form of knowledge. One that comes from trusting oneself, one’s intuition & insight enough to act upon it. It comes from aligning the mind, with the heart & spirit. It’s a deep knowing that surpasses beliefs (which can change) – there are no more doubts on the ground of wisdom.

While I understand that a seeker on his/her path may look for a teacher to learn from, I encourage any seeker to become their own teacher. I was once a student/teacher and I was fortunate enough to not have found a teacher…The Runes taught me what I needed to know (and will be sharing in a near future).

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Entering the Runic Month of Eihwaz

Runic Month Eiwhaz

Today we are entering the Runic month of Eihwaz. We have digested (Jera) and integrated the lessons learned from the ice in order to refine the self (Isa).
As the days are slowly getting longer, we too are ready to birth ourselves anew and reconnect with the physical world.
This time the I finds itself both grounded/anchored in the ancestral earth (Helheim) and connected to the higher realms of consciousness (Asgard).
Eihwaz is the embodiment of the Yggdrasilthe cosmic tree. The cycle of life, death, and rebirth applies to the self over and over during one’s physical lifetime. This is both evolution and revolution. So welcome the new year as well as the new you/yew… Everything is possible.

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Raunacht #3: Being Receptive

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Now that we have learned to embrace silence & stillness without fear, we are prepared for the next step: to open up & be receptive.

As I have mentioned before, this is a very special time: an in-between time, a highly spiritual time. And spirituality is first and foremost something experiential.

The quieting of the mind & the nerves combined with open mind & senses is the foundation for experiencing something beyond the mundane. But what will you be actually experiencing? For those who are new to spiritual practices of any kind and/or shamanism, I’d say that the least intimidating experience you might be interested in having is probably seeing something familiar in unfamiliar terrain.

Life is cyclical and as we progress through it we lose the ones we love. We mourn them, we remember them, we celebrate their memory, and we often worry & hope that they are OK on the other side, that they are resting in peace.

This simple little ritual (nothing scary here, just be open & remain calm) will enable you to make contact with those who have crossed over:

In a quiet place, light a candle. If you have some pictures of your loved ones, have them on display. I recommend burning some protective incense or herbs such as a little bit of sage, rosemary, juniper or frankincense. If you intend to contact somebody in particular, you could try singing or whistling their favorite song. Now close your eyes & relax. Ask for a sign of their presence, a sign that they are OK. Be open with all your senses: you might get an image in your mind’s eye, a passing smell, a sound or a whisper, a cool breeze or even the sensation of being touched. You might even find out afterward that something in the house has been moved (I always enjoy those little signs). Remain in this relaxed state for as long as you feel comfortable. When you are done, open your eyes, write down your experience (it’s not a necessity but I highly recommend it) and thank the spirit(s) for stopping by.

Blessings.

Inspired by ‘Das Wunder der Raunächte” by Valentin Kirschgruber

 

 

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There were once 9 Maidens…

“In the book The Quest for the Nine Maidens, I have shown that these weird sisters are merely one of multifarious representations of a remarkably long-lived institution that underpins and infuses the mythology and folklore of the Celtic, Scandinavian and Iberian worlds and beyond in a timescale that seems to have lasted for millennia. For what the past two decades of research have shown me is that whether they hide behind the names of early Christian saints or Gaulish druidesses, Valkyries or Muses there was a sisterhood known to historians in the Classical world and remembered by that other strange sisterhood, the witches as late as the 16th century in Scotland, and who are remembered in a cave painting from near the dawn of time in Catalonia (El Cogul) but have almost been forgotten by the modern world.”

You can read the full article here: https://stuartmchardy.wordpress.com/an-intorduction-to-the-nine-maidens/

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Raunacht #2: The Art of Stillness

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The Rough Nights can be viewed as ‘Nights of the Soul’ because much of what happens during this time is of a spiritual nature. This 2nd night is about the stillness within and without (you can read about the 1st night HERE).

A lot of people fear silence. Some of them because they associate silence with death, others because they know they will have to hear their own thoughts and by extension the voice of their own inner demons.

Silence should not be feared but rather embraced as it is the key element of any creative or healing process. Learn to be at peace with silence.

Face any thought or emotion that may arise with honesty & integrity. Ask yourself (or the spirits) whether what you hear is just random inner dialogue or if there is something deeper that needs to be addressed. In this case, stillness will set you on your path toward healing. Welcome the experience & the lesson(s).

Blessings.

Inspired by ‘Das Wunder der Raunächte” by Valentin Kirschgruber

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Raunacht #1: Letting Go of the Old

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In Bavaria during Winter time, there is an old tradition still practiced nowadays: die Raunächte, also known as the 12 Rough Nights of the Wild Hunt. Though it is considered a Christian tradition it is deeply embedded in Paganism. During that time loose botanical incense is being burnt on the stove in a special pan (since I don’t have one of these, I use a small cast iron pan instead).

The Rough Nights are a deeply spiritual time, a time between time, a withdrawal ideal for reflection, inner work and preparation for the new year to come. The silence of Nature only to be matched by the silence within.

As the calendrical year comes to an end, so does another year in our personal growth. Take a moment to be thankful for the lessons, people & good things that have happened to you this year. Be proud of your achievements & rejoice.

Ask yourself, however, if there is still some unfinished business lingering. Do you need closure in some areas of your life? Now is a good time to do so, as you don’t want to drag old things/energies/patterns with you into the new year.

Now, ask yourself in all honesty if there are things/patterns/habits that hinder your growth & weigh you down. Things that you would wholeheartedly like to give up & let go in order to be a better person and/or move on with your life.

Write these things down on a piece of paper, focusing on the peace and the joy you will feel once these things will belong to the past and just be a memory. Keep the list short as these are things are more than just words, they will have to be followed by concrete actions in your daily life.

Now fold the piece of paper and burn it in the flame of a candle, feeling the relief of a burden taken off your shoulders. Take a deep breath, feel the warmth of the candle. Notice how much more relaxed and peaceful you feel.

Blessings.

Inspired by ‘Das Wunder der Raunächte” by Valentin Kirschgruber