Comments on the
Seriousness of Seidhr
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Disclaimer posted at Rod's request: This is a rant about people who think is Seidhr/Spae is nifty and cool. Rod emphasizes that Seidhr is NOT fluff and light.
From Jordsvin: this discussion took place on egroups.com's Seidrland List in January 2001. I found it well worth a longterm home on my site. Not everyone has encountered the problems Rod has with Seidhr, but some have and they are VERY real. I like Eleiren's attitude. She takes Seidhr very seriously, and tries to find ways around problems, or at least maintains a positive, commonsensical attitude. Yes, Seidhr IS "nifty and cool" in the sense that it is very popular with people and provides querents with good, useful information they can put right to work in their lives. However, it is NOT "fluff and light," and is not without its dangers or its costs. Most Heathens, at least, seem to recognize that. The average Heathen enjoys an oracular seidhr session, but does NOT aspire to the High Seat. It was made clear that for me at least, finishing the training and ascending the High Seat would mean a lifetime committment to our religion.
Many people are requesting to "fix," me or recommending I get out of this if "I hate it." It was a warning to those newbies that are in this for zing and the wow. I tire, a great deal, of the fluffy bunnies attempting to cuddle up to those of us and then demand ...you've read a few of these posts ... that we teach them. They claim to want to know heathenry yet only want to "really" know about seidhr which is by my standards "advanced" heathenry at best. I tried to warn them that this is not fun, a game or some little feather in their hat. As usual, the youth are grumbling that they are being poopoo'd and the old guard understand but feel that newbies need to learn their own lessons.
>Look at Swain's alternative Spae rite.
Tis a decent alternative. Useful in its manner.
>and Rod's How to survive a Spae/seidhr session,
I personally use a variation of the Hrafnar method. I also use my Kindred as a "troop" that all help me in various ways (I'm blessed with to many *really* grounded people in my kindred, great warders) when I'm up on the high seat (or truck, or picnic table, or pillow, or even porch.)
I'd like to hear some opinions. Particularly on the Do's and Don'ts and the various roles. Everyone wants to jump in the high seat but a warder or guide or even singer may be better suited to your talents. Heathens were a practical people.
The overt desire to be magickal and involved in seidhr is (to steal a bit) "of the dark side." Seidhr for the sake of seidhr, to tout out your credentials just ... well because, is going *way* in the wrong direction. Much like being clergy, you ultimately serve the folk. A worker has no reason to exist without those that they really serve. Whom do you serve? The folk, the god/desses, the spirits that speak thru you and the wights you interact with. You've got to clamor for pieces of *you* in there.
While "sixth sense" was a movie it did bring up a few things. Sometimes a worker is told to do things, things that you'd really rather not do. Sometimes you are seized by a vision like Cordilia on "Angel" (and sometimes as painful). Other times you get sick because of being in an area where something really bad happened. You have to deal with things that can be very disturbing and can isolate you from people.
There is a price for all this to. I'm rapidly loosing my hearing in one ear? Doctors can't tell why. I also have a seizure disorder that when I do Spae to much or to long I go into a seizure. Winifred has horrible dizzy spells that the docs are attempting to figure out but that she (and many others) are convinced has something to do with her Spae. I've been thrown around by various entities while on the seat. I can't go to concerts because it's just to much on me. Hospitals ... let's just say I do my best to avoid them. Nursing Homes are the same.
People also get scared around you. When the kid in "Sixth Sense" starts getting upset when people stare at him, boy howdy, do I understand that. I call it "The Look." I hate and despise it. Particularly when its by someone close to you. I'll never forget the time my mother gave me The Look when after she was freaking out that she saw a floating shape in her bedroom/bathroom area. I, matter of factly, told her that his name was Justin, that he died when he was ten when his family was killed by raiding Indians as they camped by the nearby stream in which the area was named after.
Weird things happen around me all the time, doors blow open when there is no wind, lights go out in stores and whole groups of people give me The Look. I've got all sorts of "war stories," it ain't fun. It ain't neat all the time. When you see a person on stage and you know they probably will be dead in 10 months and you have to tell them to be careful walking on the college campus or it will happen sooner. When you walk into a house where a friend's uncle died and you have to tell him he's dead so he can go on. Tree's scream at you on icy days. It ain't fun. There was a reason why the gifted and worker often where only called on when needed. Having people like that constantly in their vicinity scared the people who were every day farmers and everyday workers. It was also those same gifted that frankly wanted to let the barriers down that all those people did to them and thus lived alone.
To those people who want to learn seidhr because they think it's cool "or, like, Asatru magick and shamanism." Yeah, it has some neat points, even a little credit, but remember what you sign up for when things like the time I and Gus had to help Laurel because the old women that was in her had such bad arthritis that Laurel was all scrunched up and could barely move.
Oh well for you people that find the above as "wow." You are missing the point. There I days I hate, I mean really hate this, I call it "my victim of the psychic war" days. The days when I can't explain to my boyfriend why I'm exhausted because the day before we went to the Renn Faire and I had to have "shields up" because of all the people, things and events. When you look at a friend and feel that they are going to have something really bad happen to them in a few months that is part of their wyrd to fix but that you can't help them because it's "against the rules." The Norns are not of mortal kin, or even of godhood but of elemental forces. They will slap you *hard* if you mess to much with the tapestry. Frigga knows a great deal and can teach you about being silent but even she knows of the burden it can be.
<sigh> Why am I saying all this? Well, honestly, hopefully those people out there on this list that think they can learn to do some little thing and then move on that they are missing the point and that if they think this is some little thing they don't realize what the sagas warn. This has uses, the people that practice are made well aware of the prices by guide, deity or spirit. It isn't a Llelwynn book, nor is it something you put on when you want to impress people.
I'm done with my doom and gloom. I'm sad and tired from work where I literal avoid a pregnant woman because I get "vibes" from the growing child that I just don't want to deal with at work. No, it ain't all fun it's a responsibility and a demand from the folk. If you do it, then do it. Don't do it half-assed or just for dabbling. You piss me off to damn much and I don't want to have to clean your mess up or someone like me has to clean up your mess. If you think, I'm loony. you may be just right. Comes with the job. It ain't all fluff and light kiddos. If, however, you know the above and are willing to deal with it then you can email me privately and tell me to go to Hell because you knew this already. If you think it's all fluff and light you can email me too. I borrowed above from Star Wars and I shall do it again. After Luke said he wasn't afraid, Yoda responded, "you will be!" Take his warning, for a Muppet he got it right.
From "El," in response to Rod:
Okay, I don't mean this to be antagonistic, just my thoughts on this one... and if anyone wants to say anything about any of my views, fire away. If I can learn something that maybe I'm missing, I'll be glad to.
>Everyone wants to jump in the high seat
Says who!? I'm still not sure that it's a want for me. More often it feels like one of those things that just needs to be done. Kinda like raising kids, there's times I love it, times I'd rather be elsewhere, but the job still needs to be done, so I'll see to it that it's done.
>The overt desire to be magickal and involved in seidhr is (to >steal a bit)"of the dark side."
Why? Why is it that any time someone actively seeks to interact with something stronger or greater than themselves, it's considered dark? No, I'm not the most experienced person in Seidh, but I've had plenty of experience before this. Just like I wonder why it is that the women who do seidh in the sagas are all seen as evil or manipulative somehow. My personal gripe... people who study, learn, and earn whatever in life aren't evil. People aren't evil because they study and learn magick. They aren't evil because they study and learn seidh. They aren't evil because they study & learn how to run a multi-national corporation. If you have the desire, and you pursue it, you're being true to yourself, and there is no evil in that act of working and earning your way to your potential. The evil ... the great wrong I see perpetuated around me daily ... is those who refuse to reach f! (editor: ???) or fear of someone saying that they shouldn't. If that's not what you were saying I apologize, but it's how it came across.
>Much like being clergy, you ultimately serve the folk. A worker >has no reason to exist without those that they really serve. >Whom do you serve?
Personally, I serve myself first. It wasn't until I decided to serve myself first that my life took on any form that was survivable. Yes, I do a lot to help those around me. Anyone who knows me knows, "call her, if she's got anything to offer, she'll do it." I'm even that way for people I may not particularly care for. If they need help though, they get it. I still take care of myself before I take care of anyone else. If I didn't I'd still be the same co-dependant, lost, used up person I was about 8 yrs ago. You can't love til you love yourself, and you can't serve until you serve yourself.
>The folk, the god/desses, the spirits that speak thru you and the >wights you interact with. You've got to clamor for pieces of >*you* in there.
Again, like I said before, not when you serve yourself first. If anyone has to clamor for themself "in there" then they've gone too far over. Self-sacrifice is wonderful, and a true act of self-sacrifice receives my full admiration, but even Odin knew he would have to be able to get back on his feet after sacrificing himself.
>Sometimes a worker is told to do things, things that you'd really >rather not do.
Yup, but that's true in all of life, isn't it? Students get assignments they'd rather not do, people get jobs they'd rather not do, relationships leave people facing things that they'd rather not. It goes with drawing breath (which there are times *I* would rather not do! *grin*)
>Sometimes you are seized by a vision >Other times you get sick
And sometimes you get the most incredible experiences. And sometimes you get the help you have been screaming for, just out of nowhere. And sometimes the gods give you just exactly what you need, right when you need it most. And sometimes, if you need it, they'll just hold you and let you feel safe again.
>You have to deal with things that can be very disturbing and can >isolate you from people. >There is a price for all this too.
Yes, but you don't have to be near anything shamanic to be isolated. My whole childhood I was isolated because no one wanted to be near me. I was ugly, there were foul things going on in my house, and so even the few kids who didn't care what I looked like weren't allowed to be my friends. I've had people give me that look too. They don't matter to me anymore. I have friends now, who know who I am, what to expect around me, and they accept it. You have a large group to work with, are they your friends as well? I could assume that they are, but if not, make them your friends. Then the "look" doesn't make you feel like such an outsider.
>Hospitals ... let's just say I do my best to avoid them. Nursing >Homes are the same.
Hospitals drive me nuts. The energies are too chaotic. I've been learning to deal with that though, like tuning a radio. I had to. A friend of mine was seriously ill & I had to go see her. Since she was in the cardio ward, you can just imagine. But I found very quickly that I could choose what to hear and what not to. I can't do it always, perhaps it helped that my friend was my main concern. However, I would think that a good bit of shielding and focus could serve to protect in uneasy situations. Nursing homes on the other hand, I love. These are people who hold our past. The "old ones" who we can listen to, and gain SO much understanding from. I see them as the living links to our ancestors. They're more caught between worlds than we are sometimes. It's incredible... for me anyway.
>People also get scared around you.
Yep, especially those who have a reason to be afraid. However, if you're careful about who you tell what to, that is controllable too. For example, I'd never tell my mother anything, it'd be too much for her. I would, and do, tell my friends a lot of things. I never tell *anyone* everything. If the gods don't give me more than I can handle, why do it to someone else?
>I call it "The Look." I hate and despise it. >Particularly when its bysomeone close to you.
I've gotten it from my best friend. I've gotten it from my husband. Yeah, it sucks, you know that there's no one there who understands. So, what I did is went looking. Now there are people who understand. Again, it's all about not giving someone more to cope with than they can deal with.
>When you walk into a house where a friend's uncle died and you >have to tell him he's dead so he can go on.
Why is this difficult? It's like healing someone. I find it rewarding. Could you explain why it's hard for you?
>Trees scream at you on icy days.
And they sing beautifully on the nice ones. It's a fair trade, to share their pain and pleasure both. I wouldn't want to just hear the happy sides. That's not being a friend.
>There was a reason why the gifted and worker often where only >called on when needed.
In this I don't think you're right. There just wasn't one in every town, village, and house. Like sending for a doctor, it had to be done when there was need, because there wasn't one nearby. Also, the sagas are stories... what good is it if everything is right there!? Not to mention that well, to borrow a little on my own here..."A prophet is seldom welcome in his own land." Also, Black Elk Speaks and Pretty Shield are both books which discuss the life of a shaman among their tribe. They most certainly lived *with* people, they just couldn't live in every single band at the same time!
>There I days I hate, I mean really hate this
This part of your letter really stuck out to me. My mind is screaming *why!?* If you're doing anything you hate, even sometimes, it should be evaluated, from one end to the other. How can you heal or help if you're full of anger and hate about it? No part of life is all fun & happiness, I know that. I just don't think that any god wants someone who is angry about the work they're asked to do.
>The days when I can't explain to my boyfriend why I'm exhausted
Oh yea!! And the times my husband doesn't get why I'm shivering head to toe after he decided to play a prank & yell "BOO!" at me when I look relaxed! *lol* If you've tried to explain and he doesn't get it, you may want to try a code my husband and I have had in place for years. If something has happened to exhaust me and he wants to know what's wrong, I just say, "It's just one of those things." That tells him, it's something spiritual usually, and we aren't going to discuss it, but I need him to let me relax and to help me out a little more until I perk up again. It has helped a lot. I get the support I need, and that, coming from someone who loves you, can make up for their lack of understanding in a million ways.
>When you look at a friend and feel that they are going to have >something really bad happen to them in a few months I tell them what I see, regardless. My friends may as well be my family. If I can't use what I see to forewarn people I care for, then why on earth even bother to open my eyes? >Frigga knows a great deal and can teach you about being silent >but even she knows of the burden it can be.
Yes, it can be, but if someone is in true, physical danger, I don't think we're bound by anything to stay silent. Recently I've had a lot of experiences where I see, for myself, danger around the corner. These events have happened every time I didn't listen to the warning. When I listen, I stay in one piece and avoid a few more bruises. Should I let my friends walk into harm then, just because they can't see ahead? Would you leave a blind person to struggle up a steep hillside alone? Of course not. So tell your friends and see if there's a way to help. Don't sit there and wait for a car to run them down.
>hopefully those peopleout there on this list that think they can >learn to do some little thing andthen move on that they are >missing the point and that if they think this is some little thing
If there are people who want to learn some little thing and move on, then that's what they'll get. There's not a thing wrong with that. There's no blasphemy inherent. They just don't belong here. Most don't think this is some little thing overall. But if they only want so much, then let them have what they want. It's better than having people commit to something that they don't feel a true connection to.
>they don't realize what the sagas warn.
Again, I don't get this warning stuff. If anyone is willing to educate me, I'm more than willing, seriously, but I don't see any warning. The gods know who is serious. Those who aren't will either be ignored or dealt with by them.
>the people that practice are made well aware of the prices by >guide, deity or spirit.
Not always true! I didn't get any clue of the prices in advance. I was handed a ticket and put on the train, and later figured out what the cost was. Had I been warned of the costs, I wouldn't be anywhere NEAR where I am now.
>No, it ain't all fun it's a responsibility and a demand from the folk. >It ain't all fluff and light kiddos.
And the gods, and all the rest of every living being out there. So is life. There's still a LOT of joy in it though. If there isn't, there's something wrong. And I don't believe in fluff either, never have.. I do believe that no matter how nasty life is, we can still find peace, happiness, and beauty. It just depends on how you look at it.
>Yoda responded, "you will be!"
Well, it wasn't Yoda who said it to me, and he was right, but once I stopped being afraid and pulled my head out of the sand... all I can say is what you thought people would say....
("El" continues): Now, for my $.02....
Yes, I'm new to seidh. NO, I'm not new to the gods, or to nature spirits or to shamanic work. No, I don't know the sagas and the eddas and the runes and all that my memory.. yet... and I still need prompting... a lot... but that doesn't mean I haven't learned things already. I was taught by what I had, and all I had were the spirits around me. Ghosts, nature spirits, gods, whatever happened to be there. It wasn't always fun either. It's been *so* worthwhile though. I feel like studying here is the culmination of all that work from the rest of my life. I am disturbed though. (No wise cracks ... thanks so much!)
I see so many people who seem angry. Who seem to feel that this is something that they were forced into & they resent everything for it. I see people who seem to feel like no one else can know what they're going through. I see people with my personal disease... "why me?"
The thing that baffles me is, if this is so incredibly hated and such a horror in life, why even deal with it!? I got dragged here kicking and screaming, and I mutter and gripe a bit, but come on... anyone who knows me KNOWS I love it. If something you're doing in life, be it school, seidh, or a relationship, isn't capable of either igniting a fire within you, or of helping you to ignite one, then why on earth do it?!? It's like telling the doctor, "It hurts when I do this." The doctor will say, "then don't do it."
My fight right now in my life is with something more mundane. I'm an economics major. I have to have calc and stats before I can take one econ class which I must have to graduate. Calc is my worst nightmare in book form. I hate it, just as passionately as I love things, I hate calc. I have to get through it to get to where I want to be though, so here I go. I refuse to accept failure as an option, I know I'll abhor every second in class, but I also know that this awful part will let me get to what I love...econ... and a career in it. If I didn't want that degree, that potential future so badly, I wouldn't care 2 hoots about calc.
That's the key though. I love econ, so I accept calc. If people love seidh, why not just accept the not so nice and go one with it? Why let the hard parts ruin the good ones? Breathe deep, realize it has to be done, and then do it, and enjoy the results... don't stand there getting angrier and angrier at gods that are only trying to make you grow & reach your potential. That just spoils everything, for everyone... and probably discourages others who want or need to learn.
last modified 09/27/2004