Issue #7, Lithe-Moon

Welcome to the Lithe-Moon issue of the Rûna-Eormensyl blog. New Moon is tomorrow, so you are getting this a little early, for various reasons. We are continuing with Ingrid Fischer’s ‘Introduction to Germanic Soul-Lore’; this is episode 4. In this piece, Fischer writes about the traditional view of identity, which is rather different from what most people assume about themselves.

DEVELOPMENT OF PERSONALITY

To quote C G Jung, ‘Personality is a seed that can only develop by slow stages throughout life. There is no personality without definiteness, wholeness and ripeness. These three qualities cannot and should not be expected of the child, as they would rob it of childhood.’

Our Germanic ancestors waited until the ninth day after a child was born, before they named it. These were harsh times and a child was considered to have a soul only once it had proven that it was strong enough to survive these first critical days. In general, on the ninth day the father would look at his child and something in the child’s appearance would remind him of an ancestor, whose name the child was then given. According to the saga literature, the child was picked up by the father, put on his knee and then sprinkled with water (ON vatni ausa) whilst being given his name. By naming the child, ‘it’ became a ‘he’, a fully accepted member of the tribe with all its rights and responsibilities. And of course another, very important thing happened when the child was named. By receiving the name of an ancestor, the child received the traits and reputation of this ancestor and all expectations that came with it. Now there is a start to the development of one’s personality!

Every man born carries in him seeds (or you may call them genes, inheritance of the forefathers, fate) for what he may or may not develop; they are hard or impossible to discern, and only his deeds will reveal who he really is. This progress will span a whole lifetime and it is the essence of nature to move only when causal necessity forces her to. Human nature follows the same rules and human personality will only ever develop itself by force, be that an inner or outer one. Even in young children we can observe this rule. When they go through one of the typical childhood diseases like measles or mumps, they seem to have matured afterwards. All critical stages in life, be they pleasant or painful, will bring about changes in a man’s psyche and are a ‘kick in the behind’ reminder from nature that it is high time to get on with developing one’s personality.

Remember the Old Norse soul complex from last week, the core of this is the triad hugr, minni and óðr and it is here that the work has to start.

Hugr (hugh) is the conscious will and the cognitive faculty; minni (myne) is in simple terms memory and the reflective faculty; óðr (wode) is the principle of inspiration or enthusiasm. Surrounding these is the hamingja-fylgja complex. The fylgja or fetch is a complex entity and is partly independent from the individual. This is the faculty where a man’s deeds are stored and that makes a man grow; transpersonal powers and responsibilities are transmitted to man from here. Hamingja or luck is closely related to the fetch and is also partly independent from man.

Work on hugr will mean studying and increasing one’s knowledge; with it memory (minni) will increase and also one’s ability to reflect on the learned. As a consequence, this newly acquired knowledge and its assimilation into one’s storage of understanding and view of the world, will trigger connections with facts previously known and may contribute to a new and more mature world view. Following on from here, óðr may be activated and new creativity and inspiration will enhance your life even further. When óðr, hugr and minni grow and push their boundaries outwards, this will cause the fylgja to grow also and consequentially, the hamingja. Also, successful development involves balance. No good would come of it if only one part of our core triad were to enhance. The hamingja will grow because your actions and deeds will be informed by greater wisdom, creativity and maturity; you will be more ‘lucky’, you will have more influence and power, and if you pass some of this on to others, the whole complex will gain again.

To illustrate how our forefathers saw this development I insert a quote from the Hávamál, which is part of the Poetic or Elder Edda:

Þá nam ek frœvaz         ok fróðr vera

            Ok vaxa ok vel havaz

Orð mér af orði              orz leitaði 

Verk mér af verki         verks leitaði

 

‘Then I began to thrive,

And grew well in wisdom.

One word led me to another –

One Deed led me to further deeds.’

– Hávamál, stanza 141.

 

Practical work:

Start again by standing up straight, inhale and intone, three times:

uruz   ansuz isa eihwaz   ehwaz odhilaz

uruz   ansuz isa eihwaz   ehwaz odhilaz

uruz   ansuz isa eihwaz   ehwaz odhilaz

Now visualise again the core triad covering your whole body in a three-dimensional triangle: óðr is located at the crown of your head, hugr to your right and minni to your left. Continue where you left off last week, but this time try and find out any imbalances and obstacles to a free flow of energy between the three parts of your soul. Is any one the strongest; is one too weak etc.

Again, record all your findings and keep concentrating on imbalances and what you intend doing about them.

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