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!



NAUTHIZ, the “Need Rune,” translates as “Needfire,” and represents the Bow Drill, an ancient tool for fire making the fire essential to saving and maintaining life during long, icy northern winters. Following the Rune Hagalaz in the Rune Row, Nauthiz indicates severe constraint and hardship; its very essence helps determine the solution to the need.

Nauthiz as a Rune of Time connects one to the Norns, and represents those things that contribute to the development of character: delay, constraint, limitation, oppression, affliction, illness, lack of vitality, money, or other resources. The difficulty of Nauthiz can best be overcome by developing a wait and see attitude, and the practice of patience and endurance. When Nauthiz shows up in a reading, the questioner is undergoing a trial by fire that could result in the further development of their character.

Nauthiz is not a lucky Rune, but if one comes to the Rune with an accepting and willing attitude the solutions to the problems will make themselves known, offering knowledge of the necessary actions to get out of the difficulty. If Nauthiz shows up reversed, the best position to take is one of total honesty and open communication with all involved parties. This is a situation where more face will be saved by owning the mistake than trying to place blame on another party. Nauthiz can also mean continuing hardship, karmic debt or Ørlög to pay off through suffering, melancholy or depression.

Rather than to be regarded as “evil” this Rune can represent the displacement of a great force – what is favorable within one set of circumstances may prove stressful in another. Overcoming Nauthiz means a period of hard work, attention to detail, and perseverance.

Winds of Spirit is here!

IT’S HERE! The long awaited Hay House Book, Winds of Spirit is on shelves and I can’t wait to flip through it’s pages… In Winds of Spirit, shamanic healer Renee Baribeau shares the rich mythology and cultural significance of wind, while also presenting a powerful system to help you recognize and utilize the subtle energies in your life to heal yourself.

I cannot say enough good stuff about this author! Renee is a generous and frequent contributor to her Wind Clan page on Facebook, an accessible teacher and author.

Experiential practices including wind breath, wind bath, wind knots, and more…ancient wisdom on how to invoke wind deities—gods and goddesses from around the world—and the cardinal winds from the four quadrants of the sky. I’m so excited to dive in and see what happens. Order this week to receive Amazing GIFTS from the Heart. #windsofspirit http://thepracticalshaman.com/winds-of-spirit-book/

Christmas Angel | The Golden Child of 2017

When I was a child on Christmas night I would linger under the tree, lights lit in the darkened living room, listening to the bustling sounds of Mom and Dad putting the day away. My sister was in the play room watching television, but for me, alone under the Christmas tree, was a special moment. A feeling of peace would come over me. In the quiet and utter stillness was the living presence of peace.

Between young adulthood and middle age, I lost this feeling in the cares of the world, making my way. But after divorce, and raising my son apart from my former spouse, a light broke into my heart again. His dad had come to pick him up for the weekend, and I was sitting alone in my home, enjoying the moment of peace and quiet before exhaustion drove me up to bed. The lights were out, because I was preparing myself to go up to bed, but I had just sat down for the moment, and two ribbons of light, one red and one green began dancing around the living room. I extended my senses, and I experienced a feeling of love. Two days later, I visited a store that sold new age art prints, and someone had painted angels that way, as ribbons of colored light.

Cares and time weighed me down again for a few more years, but this year just past, in 2017, I have reconnected. My second husband is a Jewish man. When we first met, he asked his sister to teach me the song to light the Sabbath candles. It began slowly, but in August I first noticed that by the Sabbath candles I felt again the way I had felt under the Christmas tree as a child. The more I noticed its presence, the more I began to feel in touch with my inner child.

With this presence I feel calm, happy, and joyful. The more I bask in its presence, the more in touch I become with my inner child. The presence comes now when I work with fire. It comes when I need reminding to be a light. There is evil in the world, there are greedy people without love. To be a light in the world has meant I often have to face my own shadows; as my hatred or rage gets hooked by the mistreatment and disrespect of women, the rape of our environment (Mother Earth), the often unnerving hostilities perpetuated against innocents, I can remember the Light and find my inner balance.

I call this Light my Christmas Angel, the Sabbath Angel, or my Golden Child. 2017 was the year I met my inner Golden Child. I know that I AM a light in the world, but together, humanity together – WE ARE the Light of the World. We are to hold everyone in the Light of the World, even the GOP Administration as they expose the shadows inherent in their greed and their narcissism. We are to hold in potential, without judgment, for ALL of us are creating the conditions of this time, as we move forward into 2018. May it be the best of years!


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.

A message from Urdr:

The Cosmos of the scientist and the Cosmos of the Yggdrasil, the Norse Tree of Life, both invite us to participate in the dance of Conscious Being…

We wear a lot of forms, we wear a lot of faces as we shape shift through Time. Some we keep, some we shed, some we hold dear to ourselves long past our need of them.

A lot more can be said about this. Circumstances demand different actions and different reactions. Our masks are the faces we present to the world, to society in order to gain the outcomes we wish. Our cues are taken from others, situations, and time. But are any of these faces truly you?

When you are quiet by yourself something else emerges, right? A feeling maybe. A sense of your own vibration, your own song, and if you sit still long enough and listen long enough, you will begin to hear this something different which belongs to the stars.

Each one of you a star, singing with your own cosmic being.

When we made the legends [Mythos] your species was not ready for galaxies and stars. But you were ready for Gods and Heroes, so we strode forth, larger than the life your ancestors knew – a life close to starvation and survival, but for the work of your hands in the soil of Earth in accompaniment with the seasons and yearly round.

And here you stand now gazing at the stars from which your seed soul came with the invention of the Hubble telescope!

This has not distanced you from your [species’] need for Gods and Heroes. Why else would you play at Marvel comics or do battle with Dungeons and Dragons and create Renaissance Fairs?

The imagination can leap, but the body is still of Earth, and something of the soul still yearns for the vibrational wildness of forests and trees.

We [speaking] are the cumulative voice of your ancestors and ancestral Gods. Loki, Thor, and Woden no less a part of us than Jesus, or Buddha, or Mary.

Sometimes I speak as Urdr, sometimes as the Voice you will hear [me, and the collective]. We feel your pain(s), we feel your anxiety, we have been in the human experience too, so know we are here for you.

Light a candle, pray. Burn some incense, smudge the room. Do whatever it is that you need to do to climb those stairs into the inner realm of vision.

Being or Becoming? Does something in you need to pass away so that something new can be born? This is a role of the Tree of Life, which is pure awareness. Ascend if you are seeking the Becoming. Odin is Master here. Descend if something needs to be disowned, dismembered, or understood. Hela is Mistress of impartial compassion – I did not say “niceness.” She is not a squeamish Goddess, but if you are tough enough for Her kindness, She will help you, oh yes, just as She has this medium we channel through.

If you seek your Being, seek your fate, come to Us at the Well, but KNOW your questions! Know your questions, especially if you turn to Mimir! He’s been without a body for so long that he’s forgotten the trials of the flesh. We [Norns] are much kinder, for we look with detachment, with impartiality.

Know yourselves, know your motivation, know your own darkness and your own light – as Sigyn holds the bowl for the God of Truth and Deceit. For what you fear will poison you, what angers you will poison you, your own jealousies will poison you.

Look to the left and look to the right. Know your own place in life and stand firmly on your two feet and you will hold your own power.

As the Earth spins a certain way about the Sun, and the Moon spins a certain way about the Earth, you too have your calling toward Conscious Being. A calling that if you answer it will grow your soul to its very depths as a tree reaches its branches toward the Sun and its roots toward the anchor of Earth and the life giving waters she provides.

But if there is ought rotten at the heart of you, that will be your undoing.

There was the man who went out with a sword determined to kill every thief he found because he felt something of value had been stolen from him, until at his last day of judgment he learned he had been the thief of many lives. This great warrior did not go to Valhall, he went to Hela who received him in her mercy. For many will say, “Lord, Lord, here I am! Here I am!” and the Lord will say, “I will know you through the compassion you showed your neighbor. I do not know you.”

Odin carries the war toward Conscious Arising. His companions are those He meets along the way. Remember we are all kin. All humans. You may look different as night and day, but under the skin, the blood runs red.