|Image from National Geographic.|
There are certain keys, mantras, ideas, concepts, that are central to my being, central to my work, central to my beliefs, central to my practice, central to my ethics, central to my religion, central to my witchcraft. These keys come up again ans again. These include the Twins (Tvennr), the Weaver (Grimr), the Mirror, the Bridge, the Priest, the Mask, the Knot, the Blade, the Tower, and the Wanderer.
Another is the mantra, “Each person is responsible for their own action.” This mantra is very important in defining my personal ethics and is very important in informing my understanding of not just the human world, but the natural and spiritual worlds as well. The following passage from Riding Windhorses expresses this mantra in a very well and in a way that makes a lot of sense to me. This is in the context of Northern Asian shamanism, primarily among the Siberian and Mongolian peoples.
“Shamanism is concern with personal power and bringing good fortune into one’s life. In the context of the cosmology described above, one must remember the saying, ‘Everyone has his own universe, everyone has his own path.’ While every day brings an individual into contact with the personal worlds of others, the core issues of life lie within one’s personal universe. In this individual aspect of the cosmos, a person stands at the perfect center of the universe, supported by Mother Earth and enveloped in the clear blue vastness of Father Heaven. At the center one’s cosmic soul (suns) shines as a bright white star, and the body soul (ami) is a red point of light. One can fly freely within the vastness of space or travel upon the earth. Because one has his or her own path, one is ultimately responsible for his or her own actions.”
This also expresses a lot of other important concepts in my beliefs and practice. Present here is the concept of the Guardian of the Centre, and also of Witch Herself. Modern science and common belief says that it is pure ego to say the earth is the centre of the universe, and especially to say yourself is the centre. But who doesn’t feel, at least subconsciously, that they are the centre? That doesn’t mean no one else is important, or that all should serve and cater to you, or that it’s all about you. But you relate to the world from your own person, not from the centre of the galaxy or solar system, nor even from the person you hold most dear. You relate to the world from your own person, so that is the centre of your world. You are the centre of the web, the weave. All the threads in your life radiate out from you, connecting you to the things and beings around you.
|The Fable of Arachne by
Velazquez, image from Hellenica.
This isn’t just metaphor. According to KaHuna tradition as it has been passed into Feri, Unihipili, Nefesh, your lower soul, Fetch, forms threads, called aka threads, which connect her to everything she comes into contact with. Energy, mana, flows through these threads in both directions. Fetch is the spider, the Weaver, at the centre of the web, each aka thread connecting her to everything she has ever touched until the thread is either cut or withers away. Energy flows across these, but that energy has memory. Fetch is made of the same stuff as the threads, that mana, that energy, and she contains our deepest memories. And the Fetch of each thing contains it’s memory, whether that thing is a person, a spirit, a god, a dog, a tree, a rock, a toaster. All things have a Fetch, and all Fetches contain deep memories. Across the threads, the memories flow. Fetch is sometimes called the Listener, just as the middle soul is the Talker. She sits at the centre of her web, her weave, and listens, listens to all the memories. Her universe is made up of all those things that are part of her web, all the memories she listens to.
|Horizontal Traditional Loom,
Centre Cultural Alexandra David-Neel.
Uhane, Ruach, your middle soul, Talker, has a web of her own. This one people are more familiar with. We use terms like social networking all the time Talker’s web is one of social interactions and communication. While Fetch’s web is passive, she sits at the centre and listens, she forms connections automatically with anything she touches or that touches her, she lets the threads weave the pattern, Talker’s is active. She actively builds a web, reaches out to form each connection, feeds the connections she values and wants to keep. She constantly has her hands in the weave, forming them, directing them. Fetch’s web is static. A thread forms and stays until it is cut of withers. Talker’s web is dynamic. She’s constantly adding strands, cutting strands, feeding strands, pruning strands. But for all the differences, one thing is the same. Talker is also the centre of her web, her weave.
And, of course, Aumakua, Neshamah, your higher soul, Godself, has a web of her own. Many people, whether they believe in it or not, know the concept of Fate, Destiny, Necessity, Weird, Karma. Consequences that influence the future, things in the past that direct the present. Many cultures talk of the Weaver or Weavers, in whatever form. Spin the thread, measure the thread, cut the thread. Birth, Life, Death. A good way to understand Godself’s web is to look at the concept of Weird or Wyrd in the Germanic traditions.
O.E. wyrd “fate, destiny” (n.), lit. “that which comes,” from P.Gmc. *wurthis (cf. O.S. wurd, O.H.G. wurt “fate,” O.N. urðr “fate, one of the three Norns”), from PIE *wert- “to turn, wind,” (cf. Ger. werden, O.E. weorðan “to become”), from base *wer- “to turn, bend” (see versus). For sense development from “turning” to “becoming,” cf. phrase turn into “become.” The modern sense of weird developed from M.E. use of weird sisters for the three fates or Norns (in Germanic mythology), the goddesses who controlled human destiny. They were usually portrayed as odd or frightening in appearance, as in “Macbeth,” which led to the adj. meaning “odd-looking, uncanny,” first recorded 1815. (http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=weird)
|Frigg Weaving the Clouds|
Another world used in Old Norse is ørlǫg, literally, “beyond law”. Frigg is said to know all ørlǫg, but not say it. She is often portrayed as a Weaver. Think of her sitting at her loom, letting the threads go where they go and seeing ørlǫg in them. But the Norns control the threads, control ørlǫg, control urðr, Wyrd, Weird. You’ll notice a few words above. “To turn, wind”. Like a thread on a spindle or distaff. “To turn, bend”. Like the threads being bent into a pattern on a loom. (Note that one possible root meaning for witch is “to bend”, also.)
Wyrd itself is Fate, the web of all things that were once whole. Orlog is the ever changing threads which are found in the athem. It is the fate of the individual itself. Orlog affects hamingja and vice versa. The hamingja bears the orlog in this life. By fulfilling and bettering the hamingja, one takes care of orlog. This in turn “feeds” the fetch, or spirit, by fulfilling fate and bringing the fetch one step closer to completing the true “Great Work.” So it would seem that Orlog is the transmitter of wyrd to the hamingja and that by improving hamingja one can create a better wyrd for the future. (http://artesmagicae.blogspot.com/2010/08/following-is-second-chapter-from-book.html)
The Athem is the spirit cord, divine spark or “breath of life” which flows through us. These cords, which all things possess are the “Threads of Fate” which tie all things together. It is when these “threads” cross that we become attached to another being or thing and thus generate more “fate” (understood by most modern cultures as karma.) It is the series of all athems which bind all things together in the great tapestry of Fate. It is both a completion and destruction of the tapestry, by resolving all fate that we shall finally achieve the Great Work as a universe and allow the Godhead to be whole again. Each athem by itself also binds together each part of the individual anthropos. It is through the athem that we make contact with entities of spirit and, indeed, our own spirits. This is because the athem is in constant contact with the spiritual forces of the universe. It is interesting that the Egyptians seem to have believed that life ended when the ka left the body, which seems to support our analysis here. (http://artesmagicae.blogspot.com/2010/08/following-is-second-chapter-from-book.html)
The fetch is the portion of the soul complex that truly lives on after we are no more. It is what truly carries wyrd from life to life. (http://artesmagicae.blogspot.com/2010/08/fetch-true-spirit-and-meaning-of-life.html)
(Note that he is using the word fetch differently than I used above, much closer to what I mean by Godself. Read his whole articles to understand his use of it, which is Germanic in origin, whereas my usage comes from Feri.)
So, according to Dr. R.J. Thompson, we have the fetch (Godself) carrying wyrd between lifetimes, with the wyrd residing in the athem. These cords, the athem, the “Threads of Fate”, is what I’m talking about here.
The Godself, the (Greater) Neshamah is made up of three parts in Kabbalah, the (lesser) neshamah, the chiah, and the yechidah. In the way I see these, the (lesser) neshamah contains our capacity for love, the chiah contains our True Will, and the yechidah our Divine Sparks, which are also the Threads of Fate. The yechidah is the athem Dr. Thompson talked about. It connects us with the Divine, to which all things are connected. The yechidah is our Soul Root, which grows in the soil of the Divine. Picture an upside down tree, with the roots in the ground above and the branches reaching for the sky below, which is our world, the World of Action.
These “Threads of Fate” are Neshamah’s web. Just as Fetch’s web, the aka threads, connect to all things she has touched, to the Fetch of others, just as Talker’s web, our social network, connects to all beings we interact with, to their Talkers, Godself’s web, the Threads of Fate, connect her to the Godself of all others, and to the Divine, which is the same thing. She, too, sits at the centre of her web, for only our own Fate, our own Destiny is relevant to us. Other’s actions effect us, other’s threads cross ours, but only our own Fate matters in the end.
|The Lady of Shalott, by
William Holman Hunt, 1905
Which brings us back to the passage from Riding Windhorses and my original mantra. Other’s actions, other’s threads, be they aka threads, social threads, or Threads of Fate, effect us, influence us, come into contact with us. We are effected by them. When people enter our personal universe, they are part of that universe, and each one has an effect, like the butterfly flapping its wings in chaos theory or the observer in the slot experiment in quantum physics. But ultimately, they are responsible for their actions and I’m responsible for mine. It’s not what they do to me that matters, it’s how I respond. It isn’t what they give me, it’s what i do with what they give me. It is my web, my weave, my tapestry, my personal universe, and I am responsible for it. I make my own decisions, I do my own actions, and I am responsible for what I do, not for what they do. If I take responsibility for their actions and their decisions, I give them power over my life, I submit my life force to them. Same thing if I let them dictate my decisions and actions.
I am the Guardian of the Centre. I am Witch. I loose and I bind. I spin, I measure, I cut. I weave the tapestry of my life. I am responsible for it, and I have Power over it. I am Human, but I am also Divine. I am Fey. I am God Herself. I am the Nagara. I am the Tvennr. I am the Grimr. I am the Vordr. I am the Heidr. I am all things. And I am nothing. It is my world, my universe. I am the Centre. I am the Circumference of all.