I know this Mystical blogging month is supposed to be more about our role in the wider Heathen community as mystical types but quite frankly I'm not so sure about that whole thing at the moment. Not for other people, no, I still think that Heathen mystics should be working with the community as much as they can and bridging that gap. But it's just when it comes to me that it gets problematic.
Over the past year I've worked hard to try and work positively for the community but it just seems that no matter how hard I try, me trying to fit into the community is kind of like trying to get a round peg to fit into a square hole. I can kind of go in if I pull myself in and make myself small enough but I'll never belong or fit. I can never really be myself. I'm not squishy, so I can't really reshape and/or remould myself either.
I would be lying if I were to say that this isn't kind of upsetting. Especially with my strong beliefs about the importance of community and how much I would like to be part of that.
But really, what can I do?
On to happier things now...
One of the things I've been looking at recently is looking at old charms from texts like the Lacnunga, the various collected Old English charms and the Merseburg Charms and trying to figure out modern usages for them.
Some of these charms lend themselves quite easily to modern usage and have still kept much of their Heathen qualities. Zum Beispiel, one of the charms for birthing problems.
Se wifman, se hire cild afedan ne maeg, gange to gewitenes mannes birgenne and staeppe thonne thriwa ofer tha byrgenne and cwethe thonne thriwa thas word:''this me to bote thaere lathan laetbyrdethis me to bote thaere swaeran swaerbyrdethis me to bote thaere lathan lambyrde''
(The woman who cannot manage to have children, should go to a departed man's grave and then step over the grave three times and then say these words thrice:
Let this be my remedy for the horrible delayed birth
Let this by my remedy for the grevious difficult birth
Let this be my remedy for the horrible lame birth)
Another charm that also lends itself to our modern needs is the 9 Herbs Charm. I've found chanting the section about mugwort over an infusion of mugwort to be most effective. Especially when the chanting is done in Old English. There is something about the sound and feel of that language that just works with magic. Hence the reason why I've been singing my hallowings in Old English for years now.
Some charms need some 'stretching' or adapting. One of these charms is the First Merseburg Charm:
Eiris sazan Idisi, sazun hera duodersuma hapt heptidun, suma heri lezidunsuma clubodun umbi cuioniouuidi.insprinc haptbandun, inuar uigandun.
( Once the Idisi alighted here, settled themselves here and there;
Some of them fettered the prisoners, some hindered the war-group,
some laid hold of the bonds.
Make loose the fetters, drive off the enemy!)
Now very few of us are taken prisoner or require that a 'war-group' be hindered, we live in the now. However this doesn't stop us from looking at the basic ideas of this charm. Being bound by enemies and dealing with those enemies.
This could refer to everyday situations, you don't need to be a soldier to find yourself backed into a corner, unable to get out and at the mercy of enemies. This kind of thing can happen in the workplace, in your social life or even magically. With these kind of charms, very often a kind of story is told about the basic ideas, but that doesn't mean that we should be limited by the story! Of course the story is powerful, there is power in tradition, but the usage of these story/charms seemed to have been quite abstract when compared to the content of the story at times.
Some other charms have refrains that can be repeated and used as a chant, for example the 2nd Merseburg charm:
''ben zi bena bluot si bluodalid zi geliden sose gelimida sin!''
(bone to bone, blood to blood
limb to limb, so be glued)
This would be an effective generalised healing charm. Chants like that can build and build until the magic worker is quite literally seething with it.
So that's one of the things I'm working on at the moment. Crawling through old charms and figuring out how they can be relevant or made to be relevant today. Not just Old English ones too - I've also been looking at Norwegian Trolldom charms. Some of them for during childbirth and healing need no adaptation whatsoever. Different systems of magic have different 'rules' and methods of working. I'm hoping to learn more about the rules of Old English/German and Scandinavian magical traditions. After all, there is power in Tradition.