Spirit Fest Rune Workshop and Readings

SPIRIT FEST • Saturday November 10th • 9:30 am to 4:00 pm • Institute for Spiritual Development, LOTUS CENTER located at 41-45 Dietz Street, Oneonta, NY • Includes six free workshops, readings, and energy healing by several talented Psychics, including myself, and Energy Healers • There is no admission fee, and the Psychic Reading fee is $25/15 minutes • Also available is metaphysical shopping and Raffle Prizes! Proceeds to benefit ISD.

To schedule your readings with me in advance, please call (518) 947-0645 or email: susan@nornirscorner.com

For a preview of my free Workshop from 1:00 – 1:45 p.m., please read below!

I wanted to give you a preview of my workshop. The talk has a long title: “The Norns, Scandinavian Goddesses of Fate and Destiny, the Norse Tree of Life and Worlds, and the Wells of the Tree.” The topic is largely about emotional healing and includes how the Worlds of the Norse Tree of Life relate to the Chakras and other energy systems we may already be familiar with. The Wells of the Tree correlate with human bio-physiology and how we psychologically process emotion. I expect to give you some insights during the talk on emotional healing.

2013 was a year of revelations for me. The Runes “downloaded” themselves to my understanding. The Nature Spirit (or Angel of the West Kill) that flows behind my home introduced me to the Norns, Scandinavian Goddesses responsible for overseeing the “Weave/Web of Wyrd” (the fate and destiny of humanity). They guide me in understanding ways of energy work. Soon afterwards, the Death Goddess, Hela, made contact with me. Heimdall, the God who guards the Rainbow Bridge (Bifrost), and watches for the Ragnarok to blow the Horn at the End of Time, took a dive down my Universal Energy Core and hooked me up to the Norse Tree of Life and Worlds, Yggdrasil. Since then, I have been upon an intense journey of intuitive meditation and substantiated research to support that intuition, which I am working on a book about.

I hope to see you there! The time of my workshop is 1:00 – 1:45 pm. To schedule your reading with me, please call (518) 989-6428 or (518) 947-0645 or email me. Scheduling in advance will guarantee your opportunity for a Reading with me!


About Hela – an excerpt from the Goddesses of the Nitty Gritty, my book in progress

The story told in the Prose Edda is this: Loki’s three children with the giantess in Jötunheim, Angrboda, were the Fenris-wolf; Jormundgand, the Midgard-serpent; and the Death-goddess, Hel. When the Æsir realized these children were there and what unhappy prophecies were made about them, Alfather Odin requested the children be brought to him. He placed the serpent into the waters around Midgard Continue reading “About Hela – an excerpt from the Goddesses of the Nitty Gritty, my book in progress”


HAGALAZ begins the second Rune Row, and Hagalaz is a complex Rune of transformation, containing all the challenges of life, that if overcome can lead to one’s highest potential. Hagal is the hailstorm that threatens crops and can mean even life threatening storms: whiteouts, blizzards, sudden snow squalls that blind one to the path.

The keys to working with Hagalaz and the other seven Runes that accompany Hagal’s Ætt are surrender and acceptance. The power of the storm is greater than any one human being’s effort to advance against it. It is wisdom to stop one’s activities and take stock of the lay of the land: Where is shelter? What advance can be made, if any, against the forces arrayed against one? Sometimes it is better to conserve what one has gained, and rest to fight another day. The Runes that follow Hagalaz provide the information that is needed (Nauthiz) to resolve the problem after a concentrated time of taking stock (Isa). More will be said at the end of the commentary on this Rune row.

With Hagalaz the challenges presented by life through limitation, delay, disruption, sudden change, and events outside of our control arise. Hagal interprets as “hailstone,” the snow or seed crystal, the germ within the sudden transformational storm. Hagalaz is strongly connected to natural causes, disruptions, limitations, and delays. Life disruptions may be weddings, death, illness, birth, or random acts of Nature. Happiness may be found by learning to live within these limitations. Hagalaz also can mean a sudden change brought about by hard work or taking a calculated gamble, in which the outcome can fall either way – great success or failure.

Hagalaz is not necessarily a Rune of unfortunate outcomes. Hagalaz drawn as *H* a bridge connecting two sides represents the Rainbow Bridge of Asgard, Bifröst, that connects the highest form of conscious being to all levels of the World Tree. The snowflake version of Hagal, the “seed crystal” has six sides reminiscent of a quartz crystal with all of the potential for conscious being contained in the quartz crystal. There is a quartz crystal called a Dow crystal that has the three and seven sided windows and represents the consciousness of Love. Thus, Hagalaz represents the tremendous potential inherent within all things. For a thing to crystallize is for its potential to come into being. Hela once told me that all children are seed crystals. At the time I was sitting at my son’s All-County Chorus and following Hela’s suggestion I began looking at all the children through the eyes of love, and seeing how uniquely each child utilized their musical talents, which greatly improved my enjoyment of the concert.

When I was new to the Runes, and Hagalaz showed up in a reading, I shrank back from the approaching troubles. But once I learned how to work with and welcome the energies of Hagalaz, I instead anticipate the offer of a new opportunity. Through undergoing challenges, ordeals, or other forms of suffering willingly, I know that once I get to the other side of it, something in my life will be immeasurably better.

Hagalaz also represents the weather, timing of things within the seasons, the recognition of Earth as an ecological unity, and learning to work within the rhythms of Nature instead of coercing one’s own will upon the timing of the situation. Delays and limitations can convert the time to come more favorably toward the outcome one is shaping. There is much to be said for Divine Timing if one has the grace to surrender, accept, and allow.


Town of Athens cemetery

Hela, Norse Goddess of Death, summoned me prior to my night’s rest. I sat down in the Meditation Room, and began, as is my habit, to thank the Creator and my guiding spirits for the day, its blessings, and its challenges. Once I was receptive to what she had to say, Hela asked me to encourage people to meditate upon their death, which they can use toward a fuller life.

The ultimate passage from this world awaits all of us. Death spurs us to live fully, love totally, and to work on self actively. Let no moment go by unfulfilled. Death is an ending and a beginning. Every day, many moments of small deaths occur unnoticed: the end of one breath and the beginning of the next; the end of one task and the beginning of the next; and the flow of one movement into the next.

Awareness becomes the disciplined practice of giving attention to life. Work on self might include that stuff we do not like to do – a goal for my self, if I finish cleaning my kitchen, then I can return to my artwork without further thoughts nagging upon this task. Work on self becomes also an awareness of the stuff that we do like to do, but deny ourselves. In this mood I finally completed that intricate puzzle I kept putting off due to imagined time constraints. Now it hangs on my wall where I can look at it to enjoy the sense of accomplishment and achievement it continually gives me.

To meditate upon death is to loosen the fear it can have over me. Conditioned Mind might grab me with fears of death, but I cannot “see” my final hour. To make meditation upon my personal death a regular practice offers me the chance to struggle with Conditioned Mind to loose its hold over me, including those anxieties that rob me of a peaceful night’s sleep!

My son was born on the first morning of spring. I sat with him in the hospital window on one of those rare sunny days that promise an early season, but don’t deliver more than a couple of nice days before winter comes back as rain and mud. I watched the clouds scuttling overhead, and I looked down into my son’s eyes that could not quite focus on anything yet. His eyes reflected back to me those passing clouds: Something passing and gone more quickly than I could grasp hold of. Conditioned Mind is like that. Thoughts constantly arising and passing away grab my attention, one moment slips away into the next before a moment of wakefulness comes, and I realize an hour has passed and I have not remembered myself.

Anticipation of my death pushes me to the struggle for conscious being. I have today to breathe, live and move. With death everything will stop. My body will be stiff and unresponsive. If I have trained my spirit, the other side of life will welcome me. If I have not, I will be heavy with remorse for all I have left undone. Have I said, “I love you” often, and meant it? Have I remembered to practice kindness, an act of compassion? Have I remembered to feed the dog, feed the cats, feed the horses, and give adequate care to those I am responsible for? My son? My husband? My co-workers? Have I had love? Or has my time on earth been spent in bitterness and jealous longing for greater material wealth?

Death makes me consider what I can take with me when I die and what I can’t. I can’t bring my material wealth, but I can bring my spiritual accomplishments. I have my memories. I can practice mindfulness, enjoy peace of mind, and be excited by the next adventure. I can bring my love, my good will, and my trust in the Creator, because isn’t the Creator the Great Mystery at the end of the journey, even as at the beginning?

Hela has been a great teacher to me. Death is not a new experience for me; I have been recalling unfinished past lifetimes since I hit puberty. What I needed to remember was repressed in my unconscious mind – the scars of this life that had remained unhealed. I had to uncover these to begin the process of dying to myself, which even though the Norse were training me is akin to what Jesus talked to Nicodemus about dying to self to be born of the Spirit. The hold of the Conditioned Mind, or ego self, must pass away before we can open to the Wholeness of Spirit that we are.

When Hela first came to me, I had answered the call to Northern tradition shamanism, a renewal of all the indigenous traditions lost to the Scandinavian peoples via the event of the spread of Christianity. I had begun to study the Runes and learn from the Norns. My first experience with Hela came as a test that occurred during my daily physical exercises.

I was rolling my head gently around on my neck to loosen habitual tension, when suddenly I found myself hanging from a noose! After a moment’s time to react, my thought was, “Okay! This is old stuff!” (Salem, MA, August 19, 1692 where I believe myself to have been John Proctor). Next I found myself lying flat on my back being disemboweled and dismembered on the battlefield. Valkyries flew overhead, and there was the smoke and the stink of carnage. My next thought was, “Okay! So this is what it is like to die by the sword!” I saw living skeletons dancing around me. My spirit took in all that was happening. I had been reading about Hela online at Raven Kaldera’s website, so I asked, “Are you Hela?” She nodded, and said, “You are not fearful!” I replied, “I am not! I have died many times before.” That exchange sparked a dialog with Hela on death and dying, rebirth, and living between states of awareness.

It is as possible to be dead while you are alive as it is to be alive when you are dead. This statement seems like a contradiction, but I consider the example from Christianity when Jesus admonished his apostles to let the dead bury the dead. An enlightened consciousness is vaster than what passes for waking consciousness, but is totally unknown to those who have not experienced it; a state of sleep in life is akin to death, because we have been separated from an innate connection to Spirit, which should be our birthright. It is possible to find ways to live mindfully with intention and awareness. We can learn by seeking the commonalities among world religions to overcome our own inherent religious bias. Carolyn Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit, said Christ is the great teacher of the Heart, as Buddha is the great teacher of the Mind. The Koran acknowledges the other teachers from God that came before Mohammed. Is this something fundamentalist Christians (who seem to hate Moslems on principle) are even aware of?

To be mindfully alive in full knowledge that death will eventually claim me spurs my efforts to have meaning and purpose. I can sense the life forces in all things around me and I want to continue in spirit in relationship with those beings that I love. I make the best use of this precious life. I will not lay it down without struggle.

Expanded soul awareness informs me of what is important to my life. The tasks necessary to survival must be met, but beyond this, to partake in the dream of the world is to lose my inner peace. Witness the wealthy and the famous who emphatically pursue unvirtuous lifestyles just because they can: the Donald Trumps, Roy Moores, and Anthony Wieners of this world turn my stomach with their denigration of women, the natural environment, the poor, and the physically challenged. To seek the collective wellbeing via acts of service is its own reward: to clothe the orphans and feed the hungry, visit the sick and tenderly administer to the dying, to birth babies and help the new mothers toward a satisfying relationship with their children. To honor the values of the spirit is to raise our awareness to the less tangible wealth that we can take with us when we pass.

I am coming into a deeper awareness of what it means to walk my talk and live my values. To hone my truth is to speak it and to stand by it with my life if necessary. This is what I stand for. This is my foundation. And as I take on more of the mantle of the shaman, I even more dedicate my remaining years to the wellbeing of others and stewardship for the earth. And this is how meditation on my own death has helped me: I waste less time on useless pursuits and spend more time on those things that have meaning to my task.

I had thought this work finished, but Hela called me into conversation this morning and wanted me to add to this piece the reminder that the death of the physical body is not the death of the spiritual body. This body temple that houses our soul for this particular life on earth will pass into stench and decay that will feed the soils and become living matter for plants. Our soul is a different matter entirely.

There is a planetary wide call today to awaken consciously as never before. The actions that homo sapiens have taken to make life easier for itself has led to too much reliance on fossil fuels, and generated more waste and garbage than the planet can handle. We are called to a new style of life that leaves a softer footprint where we walk on the earth home during our time here. These are conclusions we must reach individually, gained through our own experience, because nobody else can do our inner work for us.

Our spirit, after our physical death, will be stronger or weaker for the time we have invested in working on learning and practicing the lessons we came into life to learn. Work on self is essential for the growth and evolution of our spirit. Our spirit can be in a state of “death” that is akin to deep sleep from which we lack the energy to awaken. Or, our spirit can be loving and conscious and strong. The choice is up to us.

I do not say this because I wish to scare any one, but the time is growing shorter. The true power in time is Now. The Present Moment holds all of our power in life. My suggestion to anyone reading this who has a sincere wish to work on them selves would be to form groups of like-minded people. Discuss ideas, discuss solutions, take advantage of your ability to be politically proactive and get representatives in government who are as sincere as you are about creating the world you want to live in. If you wish to communicate with me, please do. My email is susan.hintz.epstein@gmail.com. If you wish a Rune reading, to form a Rune study group, or join a summer drumming group if you live local to me, please email me at the above email address, call (518) 947-0645, or PM me on FB.

© Susan Hintz-Epstein – March 23, 2014 and December 8, 2017


The Norns, Urdabrunner, Yggdrasil, and Oorlog

I sit with the Norns today, when the energy from the solar eclipse is still with me. We relax around Urdrbrunnr, women talking as we work together and discussing round robin the small common things that women talk about when they work together. We discuss family; we discuss our worries, concerns, and brag about our children. We learn who has a new baby and who has passed back over into the Realm of the Great Beyond. With the Norns, the talk is more metaphysical: Who is looking to take on a new lifetime and How Someone Else is considering what they want to explore while in human flesh. Urdrbrunnr sits nearby the upper root of Yggdrasil where it comes out in Asgard by the Aesir Thing-meet. Today the Aesir weren’t there, just women taking care of women’s tasks.

The Norns in the Old Norse Lore are the three maiden sisters responsible for the fate and destiny of human beings. Since they have “taken me up” I have learned that there are other nornir, those like me who are interested in helping with the tremendous amount of work the Norns oversee. Those of us who are still in flesh visit their realm in Dream or Waking Vision. Both methods work to learn from Them and of Them.

Last month I began dreaming of the Tree, the great Tree Yggdrasil which serves as Odin’s horse and which also, like the other Trees of Life from Creation myths around the Earth, serves to hold awareness of the Cosmos for human beings. The first three nights of dreaming I was journeying around the Tree guided by Freyr or Hela. Some people might not think Hela leaves her realm, Helheim, but She does, usually disguised, so that She can keep in touch with humanity. I do not remember the totality of these dreams, but I knew we were traveling by boat, rowing, stopping at certain points to drag the boat on to rocky shores where we went foraging into the woods or to meet and greet people before traveling on again. Everyone that I was introduced to was most polite, and I greatly appreciated the wild country we traveled through without benefit of road or highway. This countryside touched my soul in deep ways, and I always awoke refreshed and ready to carry on with my day’s tasks.

I was told that bringing all the content of my dreams into waking consciousness was not important; that the information I had received would make itself apparent at my need. The energy of our Subconscious will rise up with this need and provide that information. This works by being open to the messages of emotion, imagination, and daydream, which can clarify the truth inherent in our lives and in our souls: the practice of intuition. (For those less skilled at this practice, the discipline of regular meditation and prayer will strengthen skills that anyone can do).

The Tree, standing as it does for the awareness of men and Gods, serves to tie together loose aspects of self. Through it we can understand the waking consciousness and the sleeping/dreaming consciousness inherent within our being. According to contemporary psychological thought regarding “consciousness,” there is the waking consciousness, which is assumed to be the full sum of “consciousness,” and there is the Subconscious that includes both the “Superconscious” and the Unconscious which consists of every memory or every emotion we have ever repressed. However, according to meta-philosophical thinkers like G.I. Gurdjieff, the Subconscious more properly ought to be the conscious mind. Those who have developed their intuition as suggested above will probably understand this.

I think that lumping the “Superconscious” mind into the Subconscious category was a mistake on the part of scientists who really did not know the properties of the soul too well. In my experience, this part of myself resides alongside the waking consciousness, but it is not needed for the common tasks of life, but for the tasks of life which require making choices helped by the powers of insight. I consider these holy; they involve full communication with the part of myself regarded as the “Higher Self.” It is my soul, my fetch, my muse, my true self that infuses me, advises me, and sets me on the twin path of self discovery and self recovery.

The Norns work within all of this structure with their fleecing, spinning, weaving, and cutting of threads. One day Urdr sent me a Vision of herself spinning threads from clouds. I was able to understand from this Vision and the esoteric correlation of water with emotion that Urdr was spinning threads from desire, want, longing, and needs. Those familiar with the second Aett of the Elder Futhark will have an understanding of the forces the Norns work with. Water is the shape-shifter of the Elements. Modern science knows that water can be a solid – ISA, a liquid – LAGUZ, or air – ANSUZ. Water is therefore a good metaphor for emotions, because we know our emotions are always changing. Hel’s Aett, or octave, represents the forces of change and how we proceed through the dynamics inherent within change in sequence from HAGALAZ to SOWILO.

Urdr spins from the clouds water vapor that descends from the Realm of the Gods – Asgardr – and descends as rain or snow upon the Nine Worlds. Rain collects into larger bodies of water, becoming the “Serpent’s Bath,” where the Serpent protectively encircles Midgardh where the humans dwell. The Serpent represents both the protective and destructive forces of Kundalini, which is the divine energy provided for our lives by the Creator Gods Odin, Hoenir, and Lodhur, aka Woden, Vili, and Ve, and is passed on to us as essence in our DNA. The shape shifting aspects of water within us cover the course of Divine Inspiration (water vapor – ANSUZ), the emotions continually shifting within us (LAGUZ), and those that we have frozen (repressed) until we can process them (ISA).

Urdr’s threads form the basis of our Past – desires we had but did not act on, choices that we made and acted on (with positive or negative outcomes), and potentials we have not even realized (personal talents and hidden desires). Verdandi is continually weaving these threads together into a great tapestry that not only concerns individuals, but the patterns of our families, tribes, countries, and even the world. The choices humans make collectively have far reaching patterns that are difficult to see individually. At the end of our physical life, Skuld will cut the threads where they are. Whatever we have left undone, will be left undone. Whatever we had hoped to take with us will remain where it lies. This is why the ancient Ancestors placed such emphasis on having a good name, a reputation that can succeed you after you are no longer walking this earth in a physical body. I believe this tapestry of the Norns is equivalent to the Akashic Book of Records that Edgar Cayce, the “Sleeping Prophet,” was able to access.

Choice and desire and action have consequences. In the Norse religion we have Oorlog (I do not have access to the O with the line through it, so I have borrowed the Dutch word), akin to the concept of Karma, wherein our actions have consequences. Science phrases it this way: “Any action will have an equal and opposite reaction.” Many of us act from feelings, the needs of the moment, or from reactive behavior patterns that have arisen with us from childhood into adulthood. The Buddhists call this conditioned arising and they have their teachings and practices of mindfulness to rise above all that. Christians who are true followers of their Rabbi Jesus practice forgiveness of wrongs done to them.

Odin offers us the path of the Runes. His sacrifice on Yggdrasil of him self to him self made it possible for the rest of us to access the Runic powers to rise through conditioned awareness to full awakening. Taking up the Runes, then, is taking up the opportunity for conscious being, a disciplined meter of work on self toward that aim – sacrifice of self to self. There are many fragmented selves living within us, parts of self that have been disowned and not recovered. A child self could act up, for example, and create a scene on the job that embarrasses one’s professional life. Odin offers us the Ravens, Huginn and Muninn, or Thought and Memory, toward this discipline.

In another Vision, Urdr called me to meet, and set me upon on her whirling spindle. I was twirled down to a cave on Jotunheim where Mengloth sat silent and handed me a mirror. When I looked into this mirror, I saw not one reflection of myself, but many self fragments that had not been incorporated into my larger sense of self. I almost lost my awareness to these self fragments, but a great effort of centering saved me. Mengloth silently braided a cord, attached it to the mirror, and gave it to me. Although she never spoke, she made it clear that I had to do the work of integrating these aspects of myself so that I could progress on my life path. Urdr gathered me back up to Urdrbrunnr on her spindle and sent me back into ordinary reality.

It is through visions like these that the Norns, Hela, and sometimes other Gods and Goddesses guide me on this path. I listen, watch, and do the work to the best of my ability. Hela has guided me through a Life Review to finish the work that Urdr and Mengloth set for me. Most of my inner healing related to child selves. It is in childhood that we are most sensitive and receive the emotional wounds that deflect us from our intended life course. Integrating the childhood selves involved assimilating the emotions that I repressed at those times, and because of this process I have journeyed toward wholeness. Recently Urdr told me that the bulk of her work with me was done, and that I would be working with Verdandi more now as I plan ways to actualize my life purpose. I was told somethings about my life purpose, other things I have to figure out as the path unfolds. There is learning that will come in the proper time, and learning I have already done yet need to integrate.

In developing a spiritual life, I am realizing that the commitment is to live in the Present moment, ready to listen and hear the Goddesses when they call, but in addition to that, living a conscious life means continually “clearing out the closets.” As a Reiki Master, I learned to work with healing energy. As a Mesa Carrier, I learned ways to work with the energy of Four Directions and to set up my altar according to my need. As a person who has been “taken up” by the Higher Powers of the Norse pantheon, I am continually reminded of the need to clear my own energy circuits, ground and center on a regular basis. The work is not over as long as I have life. The learning is exciting, and I hope to share more with people through my experiences as written in this blog and my book.



This morning I was walking the dog, and a hawk startled up from where she had been perched. I saw her feather fall, then went to find it where it had fallen. This hawk feather was a gift to me. I believe the Creek Woman inspired the hawk, the dog, and I to be at the right place at the right time. I offered thanks, and because I didn’t have any with me at the time, I will go down later and offer tobacco. The Creek Woman and the Norse God/desses have been teaching me a shamanic related path over the past four years.

I began blogging recently about questions I had within myself regarding the rebuilding of traditions, and Odin had given me the term “NEW OLD TRADITIONS.” He told me that of course the methods had to be learned from some place, because many of the traditions of our ancestors had disappeared over the flow of time. There is that other fact, too, that we cannot easily cast out of ourselves the conditioning we have received from the material-oriented Christian culture we have grown up in. As synchronicity happens often in my life, I was not surprised when a culmination of things I was thinking and reading about happened to sync.

This blog considers the topic of RIGHT RELATIONSHIP. I found this term in Buddhism, in the book Fools Crow: Wisdom and Power by Thomas E. Mails, and a book on the Huichol by Tom Soloway Pinkson, Ph.D., titled The Flowers of Wiricuta: A Journey to Shamanic Power with the Huichol Indians of Mexico. My Gurdjieff mentor Donald Petacchi frequently said that it is good to have good will with other people.

This series of meditations started when Odin chastised me last week for not being attentive enough to the Gods. I am admittedly a worry wart; I had some personal situations going on that I had not brought to prayer. I felt I was closed off from my usual open channel to the Gods, but I was not kenning why. Odin reminded me gently that when I get worried about something, I try to solve my own problems. He reminded me that I was forgetting to act with faith and trust. While the Gods expect us to work to solve the difficulties in our lives, They also like us to pray to them about our difficulties, and to ask for what we need – Nauthiz. The process itself is an exchange. There are things that we do for the Gods and the Goddesses to honor them and to be their agents in the world – Gifu.

Odin opened the door of my heart again, and I began paying attention to sacred reciprocity that I had neglected. I used to work daily with the Creek Woman, but I fell away from that when I accepted a day job an hour’s drive away from home. I keep a busy schedule, but I am home for the summer, so there has been no reason to neglect that relationship. Being a worry wart is really no excuse. When we had our floods here back in 2011, she taught me how to sing so that the rain would be diverted over a wider area and bring balance back to the local weather. She taught me more than that, but that is another topic. The point was that I had forgotten to honor RIGHT RELATIONSHIP.

Right relationship figures prominently into the old ways of thinking practiced by indigenous peoples. As a young college student taking an Anthropology class in 1977, my professor, Dr. Ferguson, loaned me a book that radically changed my life. The book was Black Elk Speaks about a Lakota (Sioux) Holy Man who lived at the time the white people were seeking gold in the west. I felt like I was reading my own story. As a twelve year old kid, our parents took us on a trip to the Badlands because they wanted to see Mount Rushmore. I wanted to see the statue of Crazy Horse. I wanted to go off on my own and explore the Badlands, as I somehow knew I would be okay. The landscape was familiar. I felt victorious at the Custer National Monument, and overwhelmed by grief at Wounded Knee. Reading Black Elk Speaks brought those feelings up again, and inwardly I felt like the lifestyle I was living did not fit me, yet I could not articulate why. Now, nearly forty years later, I have a better handle on it than I did as a kid.

We have values in the greater American culture that collide with values of cooperation and reciprocity that were common in pre-settlement America. Cooperation and reciprocity are values that are supported by communities who realize that helping each other is the manner of survival. American Indian peoples would share the hunt between the members of their communities. The poor always had food to eat. Communities would have Giveaways out of gratitude or life changing events, such as a death. It did not matter that the family gave away everything, because some other family would host another Giveaway.

It is true that we still find some of those values today. Small town communities will have a giveaway or a fundraiser for folks whose homes have burned down or who have a family member with cancer or other incurable illness. Schools and Volunteer Fire Departments remain social centers within communities. The Amish still hold their barn-raising and community-centered events. I am talking in general about values the larger culture honors, such as greed and corporate gluttony, the lust to own more things, and the tendency to blame the poor for being poor.

With the advent of robotic technology, more and more machines are replacing jobs once held by human beings. With the event of computers, video games, cell phones, and television, people no longer seek their entertainment from nature, and their attention spans get shorter. If I were a historian, I might write a thesis as to the entire involution of this process, but I am not a historian. I am a simple human being who thinks deeply about things and wishes the world that people have created is better than it is and people better than they are.

So it is in thinking about these things that has me in this introspective mood this week. I talk to Odin, the Norns, Hela, Loki, or Sigyn about the feelings that are troubling me, and the answer is some version of “Live from the inside out. Talk to people. Share what you know. Share what you are.” Easier said than done sometimes. I was the “weird one,” the odd person out so often in life, that I have grown far more comfortable with my own company. There have been walls to take down, but I have done that work. Living in Right Relationship demands community. The Holy Men and Women of the Lakota Sioux say they give their lives for the people, like the buffalo. To this end they have their sacred pipe and the story of White Buffalo Woman. I was raised by devout Christians, who had great love for Jesus who laid his life down for the people. It was hard for me to come to this attitude; I have been so angry much of my life.

One of the things that I have often been sensitive to is the fact that people in groups are so familiar with one way of looking at things that they believe that is the only way to look at things. There was a moment in Fools Crow when he was talking to Tom Mails, and he said that if only they could get the Catholic priest out there to look at things, the Catholic priests would understand that their God and Wakan-Tanka was the same being. What Fools Crow did not understand was that the Church had only one way of looking at things. People don’t really think, and they ought to think. The same sun shines on everything. The moon too. The planet circles around our sun, sharing its light with the other planets in its orbital field. Our solar system is one of many in this galaxy. We are finite beings upon this planet that so graciously provides for all of our needs. Yet human beings with their big egos and corporate greed rob not only the planet, but other living beings of the sustenance they need for life. I will not even begin to comment on the atrocities of colonialism; or the mindless hatred of genocide. In a way this thinking of Right Relationship is a property of our Rune Raidho. Raidho is a rune for right ritual, and reflective of the journey the stars, suns, moons, and planets make across the sky – in right relationship. We humans likewise rotate around each other in the activity of our days.

What is really needful is a shift of human consciousness. And that can only come one person at a time, as individuals feel with open hearts the misfortunes of others and seek to do what they can to equalize the reality of life here on Earth. I think that an animistic view of the universe is needful as part of this shift of consciousness. The Lakota also have a saying, “Mitayuke oyassin,” which means “All my relations,” and refers to the two-leggeds, four-leggeds, winged ones, fishes, trees, plants, rock and stone people, and all beings of Earth. It is a more humble way of looking at the world, and a higher way, to realize that we are equal to everything else. If I am caught up in my ego, and someone in the Wal-Mart line does something that I don’t like, I might take my stand, say words that aren’t flattering, and in general behave just as poorly as that other individual. If I am in my center, and that person is doing the same thing, I might walk away, find another line, or choose to hold my patience then and there as another way to practice holding my center. The Gods and Goddesses support this work of self-change. Loki, for example, is great at finding the prank to knock me out of my ego and into a place of humility, and I thank him for that. He originally came into my awareness out of his curiosity at the work I was doing with his daughter, Hela, and ended up introducing me to Sigyn. The two of them have been most kind in helping me with attitude shifts in my own marriage.

Odin taught me another thing a couple of weeks ago. We live in the country, a really rural area of the country, where the wilderness is still wilderness and the bears can be met in the berry patches when we go to pick our own. And we are okay with this. But this year the ticks have been almost endemic, and the first time I walked Dolly in the spring field I literally was pulling eighteen and twenty off my pants. Yuck! Finally my anger at the ticks had grown so large that I was killing every one that I saw. Where I live we all know someone suffering from Lyme disease, and no one wants to get that. I eventually had the insight that my anger was attracting the very thing I wanted to avoid. I try to practice the insights of the Lakota saying quoted above. Odin reminded me that I was not living from a center of trust and faith, but from fear – fear of what might happen with the ticks. He said, “When you live that way, you close your heart. You close your heart to Me.” So, with genuine contrition, I prayed “Help me to live with trust and faith. Help me to open my heart that I might better hear You.” He did, and the balance of my inner world fell back into place. And He taught me a prayer, “Thank you for all of the lives that live here in my valley and that make up the world. Thank you for both the joys and the challenges, the love and the fear. I will live with trust and faith. Please do not let those other beings who could harm my physical body hurt me.” And I say that now whenever I walk the dog, and I have not been bothered by ticks since.

But this process, being equal to those beings that disgust me or that I have cause to fear, can be challenging, because I have that social conditioning that says I have the right to kill whatever is in my way or crosses my path. This same ego sometimes allows me to feel that it is okay to express anger at my loved ones, or other people just because I am in a bad mood. This is not being equal to anything or anyone. In fact if I stomp on an ant yet fear the bee, it makes me something of a bully to pick on those that are smaller or more innocent than I just because I can. Rather in being equal to a thing, or another being, I have to practice an act of humility, one that recognizes that being’s life is just as important to it as mine is to me. So I walk by the ant and let him about his business, and I step respectfully by the bees fascinated actually with their hard work and grateful for their pollination of the plants in my garden. My teaching by Odin reminded me of another thing that I often am forgetful of. When we are confronted by the Higher Powers, an act of surrender is needful. When I have exhausted my own will and done all I can in a situation where things just are not working, I have to surrender. This does not mean I have quit. Rather the Higher Powers that guide my life are putting in an appearance and letting me know that my way is not the way that will work. Instead, this surrender is really an acceptance, and when I bow my head to the inevitable, it is an act of trust and faith that the Higher Powers have a plan in mind for me and that things will work out better in the long run if I humbly listen.

I believe that Right Relationship also has to do with one’s sense of Place. After all when we work with the spirits of land and water, we are working with a sense of place. The synchronicity I spoke of earlier was this: Fools Crow was talking to Tom Mails about mythology versus origin stories. This struck my attention because I have been studying the Norse Mythology and asking my questions concerning Tradition. Fools Crow said that his people practiced ritual traditionally because it is a thing that works for healing and ceremony. He commented on the reality of mythology, and stated that the deeper those archeologists dig, the more they find those origin stories to be true. I grinned to myself, because I understand that one of the reasons Jesus talked in parables, and among the reasons that our own ancestors taught about life through Myth, is because there is a wisdom inherent in story and poetry that is missing in any literal, intellectual interpretation of a thing. You can know one thing with your heart, and that knowing will be wiser than your head. Fools Crow inferred something else, I felt, that Tom Soloway Pinkson, Ph.D. had recorded in his book on the Huichol. Tom was on a trip with the Huichol to collect the peyote that is at the heart of their shamanism, and he had a vision. He saw the spirit enter the land, and the spirit of the land entered the peyote, and the peyote grew into human beings who saw things in a certain way that manifests the spirit of the land. Even their language reflects the spirit of the land. This was pointed out equally powerfully by Joseph Rael (Beautiful Painted Arrow) in his self-illustrated book Sound: Native Teachings and Visionary Art. Joseph Rael learned these in his grandfather’s kiva at Picuris Pueblo more than sixty years ago. At the start of his book, he says, “Everything observable and non-observable in this sphere of perceptual reality is the result of the breath of God, moving in the space-time continuum, creating matter, creating life. …all these things, the flesh, bones, chair, grass and earth, are artifacts of one great collective act of perceiving in which all beings participate.” The entire book is a good read for many reasons, including that language is a form of the vibratory frequencies that sing life into being. What comes to my mind as I write this is the Australian Aborigine Songlines, where every tribe had a song that they knew to sing that kept the world in form.

If these things are true, and they are certainly true from a dreamer’s perspective, then what happens when a people leaves their homeland, and brings their language and their ways to new shores? If we are open, we learn to sing our ancestral songs in a new way related to the land we have come to. The Creek Woman has taught me a song of joining. A time I needed to do ritual for the dead of indigenous peoples the Norns advised me to make a sacred mixture of tobacco, corn meal, and sea salt to honor my traditions and the traditions of this continent. It seems that it is indeed a NEW OLD TRADITION.



Odin called me to the matt for not honoring the Gods this morning. I had made a decision to go to a Music Festival and do Rune Readings, but I had not prayed directly about it. I had assumed that it was going to be okay since the Gods had earlier suggested I connect with these people about the art that I do, and these people are running this festival today. Apparently I am not to make assumptions, but to first consult the Gods who guide me. These would be the Gods of the Valknut – Odin, the Norns, and Hela. They have been working together to guide me to a higher understanding of Conscious Being. While I do have free choice, apparently it is best for me if I honor Them in prayer before undertaking doings on my own initiative. If I fail in these matters, They have ways of making Their Will known.

This morning, my husband’s computer had quit. It was not working, period. He planned to take it to the computer service he uses, but there was a conflict with my plans for the Music Festival. We discussed how we would work these things out. It was a big strain on him to take me to and from the Music Festival, so we decided I would not go. Then he discovered that somehow the cord connection to his power source had been disconnected; this never happens, yet is consistent with how the Gods interfere with events when they want my attention. In the meantime, I had heard from the festival coordinator that there was a way to get me to the festival, and my husband is now telling me I can have the car. As all of this is going on, I am hearing Odin’s Voice ringing in my mind, and I KNOW I had better make the time to connect with the Gods before stepping out on my own initiative.

The message was loud and clear: We [the Gods] want you to bring all of your concerns, consults, plans, requests to Us before you act on your own. Yet there was a paradox here too. I remain free to make my own decisions and choices. It’s just that if I do so randomly, I invariably step away from the Divine Connection that sees me through my days and gives meaning to my life. The need to pray strengthens my connection with all of that. It would not matter if I were following these Heathen Gods or the Christian God of my mother (Jesus). There is a living Presence in my life when I make the time to pray and that living Presence is distant when I do not make the time to pray.

I had been asking the Gods for a while about tradition building. I am aware there has been a lot of work done in this area, but as a solitary practitioner who has come to this via seemingly disparate pathways of learning, I wondered if I was doing wrong if I fit the new things I was learning into the rituals I have been establishing in my own practice as a spirit-worker. This morning Odin chose to answer me with a statement about the New Old Traditions. That was His term. He said that so much has been lost, it has been necessary to take learning from other practices that have not been lost, and that I cannot assume [that word again] that the traditions people have been rebuilding are in all times and all places right for our post-modern Age.

Our Ancestors were an adventurous and war-like people. The pre-eminent chakra in our religion has been the Solar Plexus, our center of Will. The Christian religion that gained eminence over the first religion of our Ancestors based its teachings on Jesus, who was the Great Rabbi of the Heart chakra. As the time of his death approached, Jesus prayed at Gethsemane for Jehovah to remove the need for him to die. Yet at the end of his prayer, Jesus had strengthened his spirit to do what had been planned for him to do, and he said, “I will to do Thy Will” to Jehovah. Jesus had subjected his personal will to the will of the Gods. In his The Book of Runes, under Raido, Ralph Blum writes,”A simple prayer for the soul’s journey is: I will to will Thy Will.” My friend John Naughton, who writes as Phoenix interpreting the Christian Revelation of Saint John in healing terms, has said that Jesus’s death raised the standard for all the Gods of all religions to operate from the heart.

John’s understanding of the Gods is that “God” is the evolving human collective consciousness. I put this thought out there for readers to think about: the idea has a certain logic. I neither defend nor deny it, as Hela has said to me that the Gods evolve as people evolve. I believe I also read that thought (that the Gods evolve as people evolve) expressed in one of Raven Kaldera’s books, probably Pathfinder’s Guide to the Nine Worlds, as that is the most recent one of his books I have been rereading.

Whatever the case, it was brought forth strongly to my attention this morning, that I am better off if I bring my personal concerns to the Gods in prayer. I may have to bend my will [my ego, my stubborn pride] to the Gods’ Will, but when I raise my consciousness to the level of heart awareness, I am connecting with the Gods from love. I do this because my relationship with the Gods renews that love and contributes purpose, joy, creativity, knowing, and meaning to my life. The Gods may evolve with us, but certainly I need the help of the Gods to evolve in myself. I believe that people who turn away from the Gods toward atheism are turning away from a self potential that holds great beauty and wisdom.

So I return to the topic of tradition building. Even though I am now following the Elder Gods of the Norse, I am aware within myself of the conditioned teachings inherited from Christian parents. Hela guided my picking and sorting of conditioned awareness for values I would keep and those I would excise from myself. The dedication, loyalty, service, and truth I learned from Mom and Dad are among the values of the Warrior God Tyr, and are values I keep. Jesus influenced me as Healer; I practice Reiki. From the Native Americans of North and South America, I learned practices of the Medicine Wheel, the four directions, and the Pachakuti Mesa. I honor these, too. Last year I began working with Edred Thorsson’s The Nine Doors of Midgard, and I found teachings therein that were similar to what I had learned from these other traditions. All of these things were a start.

A couple of years ago the Norns encouraged me making my own drum, a thing I had been wanting to do any way. I prepared the deer hide myself in ceremony with Sun and Water, then had to re-stretch the hide after my husband tested the drum and said the hide was too loose. I re-softened the hide this time in ceremony with Moon and Water, so the hide has been three ways blessed. The Four Directions and primitive sound instruments are consistent with a shamanic practice. Love of the Gods, energy work, Spirit-work and the way of the psychopomp, drums, whistles – these are components of a religion that predated the church and has far more in common with shamanism than any religion based upon a priestly class; yet there are things we have learned from religions with a priestly caste. Mindfulness from Buddhism, Forgiveness from Christianity, Devotion from Islam and Hinduism are what come to my mind as I type.

Is there a right way or a wrong way to go about rebuilding tradition that was lost, especially when the Lore that comes down to us has obviously been biased by the Christianity of the time it was recorded? Many people are being called at this time to follow these Elder ways, and I believe that the only way we can arrive at what feels like the truth of it is to verify for ourselves through discernment via personal gnosis. If enough of us are having similar experiences with these ancient Beings, there must be some truth in it. Concerns exist for our Age though.

I have a personal issue with white supremacy. Shortly after I met the Norns in 2013, they showed me the bombings and vast destruction of World War II, a war my father’s generation had been part of. Men of my heart fought through Normandy against the Nazis and through the Phillipines against the Japanese. When Odin made His appearance to me in 2014, he greeted me with the expression, “Wilkommen al Kriege!” He showed me again the devastation the Norns had pointed out. He wanted me to do what I could to make things right of the murders of other peoples. The Norns represent Orlog, a word akin to Karma. As a people we bear the weight of our ancestors’ choices and the consequences of those choices. I have just prayed to Odin for an answer on this, and to the Norns, and I have been told that as an individual I am not punishable for my Ancestor’s choices, but that I am responsible for my actions by my own choices to do what is right toward the Spirit-world and my own conscience.

The Battle to welcome is not then outside of myself toward those who hate, but within me that my own influence in the world might be toward those actions and choices that support the values I uphold. The answer lies not in hating the haters, which I would then become, but to accept others until they too have evolved spiritually. I cannot help but wonder, if my father’s generation of America acted to help free Europe and those imprisoned and persecuted by the Nazis, what lessons are imposed upon the current American generation by another authoritative leader, Donald Trump? What I see of people who are taking stands for what they believe in even as they disagree with this person in the Presidency gives me hope. People are walking to protect water. Governors of states like New York and Vermont are supporting the World Climate Change agreement even as persons like Trump threaten to withdraw from it.

I think that any New Old Traditions we support must include considering the planet as the home of all human beings. There are simply no edges to fall off of now that science has discovered the world is round.