Saturday, 10 July 2010

At the Witch Camp Day 2

Next morning I return to  the camp, wandering past the geodesic dome and the smoking camp fires. Children happily chase each other and everybody smiles.

Today  Runic John is holding a seidr workshop, a working of the Runes in the Nordic Shamanic tradition.   We drift towards the circle, a ring of around fifty people slowly  gathering around four stakes that mark the cardinal points of the compass.  John greets us, jovial, expansive, commanding the space with his staff and resonant Yorkshire tones. Vast and shaven-headed is this shaman in his fur waistcoat and heavy khaki kilt. He will teach us to intone the Runes ,  as we simultaneously shape our gestures and postures to their forms.  

To warm us up  on this bright chilly morning, we begin with exercises, running towards the centre "around the sacred sheep turd".  Then, with John's patient coaching, we attempt the singing.  We sing crouching, we sing with fists extended. Each rune has a specific function, and  the tone/bodyform shapes the ond  ( odic force? vril?) working through us,  aligning us with the  God-beings in Asgard and the Ancestors in Helheim.   Our shaman strides around the circumference as  he relates the  flow of ond and  the energy centres  to the physical body, envisaged as a sphere of white for the head, red for the heart, blue for the genitals, brown for the feet.  The dynamic rainbow  sphere embodies psychic integration, not static but a balance of forces.

I sense  parallels to  the Eastern notion of chakras, or the Qabalistic system  but this isn't a seminar for scholarly digressions , it's a workshop and you have to keep working at it to  control breath and coordinate movement. Eventually we sing  runes more or less as one,  runes of foresight, runes of healing. Nothing  spectacular happens.  Yet there's a curious clarity of mind afterwards, as in the Lesser Banishing Ritual  in the Western tradition.

And now it's as if the whole event has found its centre, and there's growing synergy in the  flow of people around this wide field of stubbly grass.

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