Monday, 22 July 2013

The Power of Ran

In ancient northern mythology, there is one particular goddess that is powerful. Her name is Ran and She's the goddess of the sea. In Old Norse, the name is Ran, and it's pronounced "ron" or "rha - an". The name is linked to an early Norse word to mean "rob", in characteristics of "robbing the dead at sea". To argue with firm beliefs, the German "Rhine" and Old English "run" (to flow) comes from Old Norse "rinna" and Sanscrit "rinati". Run, rin, ran... all to do with the flow of water!

Some consider Her to be a type of dark goddess as she's associated with death. A beautiful giantess of the sea, wife of the sea god Aegir. Aegir hosts parties and rules the ocean and it's creatures. Interestingly, Aegir's origins seem to belong to an earlier era and He may not be entirely confined to the Scandinavian myths. Ran and Aegir had nine daughters, called the "billow maidens". Each daughter of Ran was named after different types of ocean movements:
"Bara" (Barra) to mean the wave.
"Blodhughadda" (Blodigadda) means bloody red hair.
"Bylgja" (Bilgia) to mean big or choppy waves.
"Dufa" (Dewfa) the pitching or pointy tipped wave.
"Hefring" ( Heffrig) to mean the tide or surge.
"Himinglaeva" (Hemiglaiva) to mean reflecting water.
"Hronn" (Herna) to suggest the surf.
"Kolga" (Kolda) the cold waves.
"Unnr" (Una) the bubbles or foam.

 This goddess Ran uses a net to catch men who've fallen into the sea. She claimed the souls of the drowned dead who are sent to Her domain. As a result, sailors keep gold and treasures aboard ships so that if they were to find themselves ship wrecked, Ran would be most pleased with them. She is gifted by sunken ships containing treasure chests. Here is a piece about Her in the Prose Edda:

"To the sky shot up the Deep's Gledes
With fearful might the sea surged
Methinks our stems the clouds cut,
Ran's Road to the moon soared upwards".

Ran is not just a goddess of the sea. She's a Vanir goddess of the storms including hurricanes. She was much feared by the ancient people who ventured out to sea. So they carried some treasure in the hope She would be kind to them. The earliest origins of Ran goddess has scattered and confusing connections with more older European myths and words. Now the name Ran as mentioned before is "rob" and "robbery". This is because of drowned seamen. Yet there is "She" before Ran, as many said "She robs! (at sea)". Sea Ran, or She Robs. There is another word from a different Indo European branch, Σειρήν which is ancient Greek for "Siren" (sei - ren).

There are many different sea goddesses, sea nymphs and sea spirits of myth. It's hard to keep track, or define who might be related to whom or who is the same as another. Maybe they're just not? The more interesting thing is that the sea goddesses tend to exert power so much that they have a following and even temples dedicated to their worship. Fearing the idea of entering a stormy sea would've frightened people into making offerings to the sea gods.

Despite how much She was feared, Ran was considered a sea queen and an aquatic giantess of love and beauty. Her element is Water, and Her special colour is blue. Her gemstone is the pearl. I feel sure that this goddess was around in West and North Europe before the catastrophic event thousands of years ago. Where the North Sea is today, there was once a land mass, connecting the continent of Europe with the British Isles. There are clues. This now sunken place is called "Doggerland" and has been nicknamed "Atlantis" by the press.  There are many sunken islands and cities as well as ships.

The mysteries of the sea is unknown. Most have rejected the power of the sea and people don't respect the sea as much as they used to. The sea is teeming with life and it contains inner worlds and secrets. Gods and goddesses of the sea are its rulers.  Remember that the sea provides, nourishes and guides, but beware of its dangers. Those who know the sea take superstitions and omens seriously.        

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Astral spirits

Sometimes when I meditate, I end up having visions of being in places. I can touch things and smell them. Often I end up falling asleep because it turns so vivid and the deeper into subconscious I go, the more real the places are.

When I have an OBE (out of body experience), I first appear in my house and outside. It's usually night time when I do this, so it's night also in the visions when it's quiet too with no one around. Except that there are drifting spirits! These entities are silent and don't seem to notice me. Occasionally if I talk to one, they look at me for a moment and then move away. I can see them interacting with one another but I can't hear what they're saying. I've seen animals too, usually dogs in spirit among these phantoms.

On another astral trip this year, I went to Hawaii. I didn't know very much about the place and I arrived there in a forested area and not at a beach that I wanted to see. I was confronted by a group of spirits. These looked a bit like people but were not quite people. One of them was small and cube shaped. Another spirit was large with big saucer eyes. I hadn't seen anything like those spirits before. They were guardians and told me that I couldn't just wander into their island, so I returned.

Since then I looked into Hawaiian myth and came across sculptures of "Tiki" men or gods. They look very similar to those guardian spirits that I encountered during my astral trip! Whether these were actually the Tiki themselves or not, I have no idea. To give an example of the Tiki, and what they look like, check this out:

Mythic Hawaii
Aloha magazine - Tiki

On another astral journey, I become a wolf. At times I can travel fast as the wind. I see a lot of stray ghosts and entities lingering around. I visited my dad's grave hundreds of miles away, and went to a castle where spirits had a party. A few years ago I kept appearing in a snowy wood to visit a cabin "home" and here I met one of my old dogs (who passed away when I was ten years old). Sometimes astral flights are very emotional.

There is another interesting feature that I can see during astral travel. There is a giant tree that glows in form. It sometimes stands near my house or it's further away. This must be a sacred tree of a different plane.

Have I been to the moon? No. I've attempted this and got a panic attack. I'm sure people have gone there though during astral travels. Don't attempt anything if you're scared. Astral travel was a way for me to look for healing and answers during an illness.

Why spend money on a plane ticket when you can lie down and drift?...

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Brunhilde - the awakened princess

Brunhilde, or Brynhildr, is a warrior woman that appears in Germanic mythology and operas. Her name is pronounced Brun - hil - da. She's a "shield maiden" (a term for an historical woman in battle) and a Valkyrie.

First of all Brunhilde is probably widely known today as the Queen of Iceland in the 2004 film "Sword of Xanten" (retitled "Dark Kingdom: The Dragon King"), directed by Uli Dedel. Queen Brunhilde is played by Kristanna Loken and comes across as cool, strong but quite vulnerable too. She encounters Siegfried from eye contact passing the smithy, then another meeting one to one after a meteorite falls. Here is where the hero, Siegfried finds the meteor to create his sword, and loves the queen. Only a dream about finding her sleeping in a circle of fire makes reference to the myth about Brunhilde's sleep. That particular film is based on Richard Wagner's "Ring" cycle.

Her being an Icelandic queen in that film is an idea taken from the medieval poem "Nibelungenlied" (The Song of the Nibelungs). In that Brunhilde was far more treated severely. Siegfried loved her once but a sorceress princess Kreimhild gave him a love potion so that he would love her and forget anyone else, including Brunhilde. She challenged Siegfried in a duel of strength, and if he wins, she'll accept him as her husband but if he loses, he'll be executed. However, Siegfried is not as he appears but is in a disguise of King Gunther using magic. Siegfried's strength comes from bathing in a dragon's blood that he'd killed. Only a fallen leaf on his back made that small area on his back vulnerable to attack. The rest of him was invinsible. He used and manipulated dwarf magic to trick queen Brunhilde. So in disguise as King Gunther, Siegfried wins the contest and Brunhilde is married to King Gunther. Brunhilde later discovers the trick made on her.    

In the famous Wagnerian opera there is the tragic fairytale concerning Brunhilde and Siegfried. This is found  in the operas "Die Walküre", "Siegfried" and "Götterdämmerung". Brunhilde is a goddess who became mortalised as punishment by the All Father Odin. Brunhilde is the daughter of the god Odin and goddess Erda. She disobeyed her father's orders and turned mortal but given ever lasting sleep surrounded by a ring of blazing fire. Only a man could waken her. Siegfried is the man who enters the fire and wakes Brunhilde with a kiss.

Anyway apart from this literature, the character of Brunhilde is possibly based on both the mythical Valkyries and swan maidens, as well as true historical woman, princess Brunhilda of Austrasia. She lived in around the years 543 - 613 C.E. and part of the Visigoth tribes. This princess could've been the reason poets and writers used ancient myth of Valkyries to interweave with this woman's life.

Going back to the myths, what is a Valkyrie? "Chooser of the slain", a band or army of supernatural women who select warriors to venture into Valhalla. According to earlier texts, these Valkyrie women were often garbed in white swan feathers. They were associated with swans, and called swan maidens. They didn't fly with those feathered cloaks but rode on winged horses. Sometimes the swan maidens have worn metallic armour (chain mail) with helmets.  Their style of dress is white swan feathers, armour, helmets, and waist length golden hair. They were often seen in the sky or descending to the ground if a battle took place.

They sound, so far, quite angelic. These are warlike woman with the ability to travel in the sky and across the seas. They guard the war dead into the afterlife. They are also said to eat corpses though! Dressed in black raven wings, the valkyries have been said to behave like ghosts. It's very likely that the darker valkyries were more so a demonised version of something pure. This is not coincidental that the influence of Christianity and other enemy forces tainted old myths. 

Ancient amulets show valkyries wearing long gowns, with their flowing hair pulled back in ringletted tails, holding out drinking horns. The pretty objects were treated by ancient tribes of people as good luck tokens. These little metallic figurines of valkyries were ancient lucky charms. Placing them in the home would be blessing the space. To serve magical mead and offer a sacred potion, the icon valkyries closer to the origin of meaning. These were not demonic furies as some academics point out, but girl angels and celestial nymphs. The maidens of Odin were seen as sources of love and light.

Of Brunhilde, she as a Valkyrie appears in much later development of the whole myths, sagas and pantheon. She incarnated into the fairytale "Sleeping Princess" (the Sleeping Beauty and Briar Rose). Woken by the prince and rescued from eternal sleep. The story of Sleeping Beauty is traced back to the earlier story of Brunhilde. The ring of fire becomes the overgrown thorns covering the castle where she slept. Once she fell into a deep sleep, the entire kingdom froze in time also. It's as though she herself is more than a woman but a goddess that stops time when she enters sleep. This is like nature itself when maiden goddesses bring light and warmth back to the world after emerging from the underworld. The Grimm Brothers chose to base the Sleeping Beauty story on Brunhilde's tale, and not be too much like the tragic princess in Perrault's version. 

One of the children's favourite Disney princesses is Aurora, the sleeping beauty herself. This is a very gentle mordernised Brunhilde (the name Aurora reflects Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis, another name to describe the Valkyries).


Tuesday, 2 July 2013

8 legged friends

They are cute fluffy balls scurrying around the floor. Sometimes they hide. The little creatures are gentle but often up to no good. Mischievous things.


Baby spiders are like teeny beads learning how to sew their first webs. Spiders are the most needful, practical tiny animals on earth. Yet they're the most feared too. On the phobia top ten list, spiders are up there, second to the fear of heights. After spiders, people are afraid of fire, the dark, claustrophobia, ghosts and snakes. Phobia is basically a hotchpotch of human fears but some is completely irrational. Apart from rare poisonous spiders in the world, spiders are generally harmless and are far more scared of people. To a spider, a human is a gigantic monster with the ability to crush. I can understand the fear of heights, fire and snakes because these things are more capable of killing. Even non-venomous snakes can kill by strangling its victims. Being afraid of life threatening situations is natural. The fear of spiders and other bizarre things like ghosts, the dark, clouds is just psychological.

Spiders are friends.

If it wasn't for the existence of spiders, the planet would be populated with grub and giant vampiric insects and vermin. Perhaps mammals and other wildlife would never have been able to evolve if the world was dominated by nasties?

If people want to go ahead and wipe out the arachnid species, consider this: spiders are a vital part of the food chain. Do this and pests will explode in population. Diseases, plagues and famine even will escalate on a massive scale. Then other beasts, such as wasps, bees, butterflies, then birds... ect will fall and die out.

Anyway the ancients understood the importance and beauty of the Spider.

There are spider gods and goddesses. Spider wisdom. Spider lore.

There is the cosmic goddess in Native American mythology, called the Spider Woman. In Greek mythology, the first spider to be appear was a human woman named Princess Arachne. The Germanic cosmic goddesses of fate and destiny, the Norns, had spider characteristics. In Hinduism, the goddess Maya is a spinner of fate (she has two sisters) and she's depicted as a spider as well as a young woman. Anansi is the spider goddess in Africa. Spiders have been associated with women, dreaming, weaving, art, magic, witchcraft and the sun. In Japan is the fairytale figure of Jorogumo, (Joro) a spider that transforms into a seductive woman.  

Spiders have always been linked with women in folklore and mythology, mainly because weaving, looming and spinning on wheels was part of women's every day lives.  

Works of fiction by authors like Tolkien and J.K. Rowling created horrible big spiders with non-spider traits. Yet works such as "Charlotte's Web" by E.B. White, Marvel's Spider Man and eventually Spider Girl, and the "Miss Spider" series of children's books by David Kirk, feature good friendly spiders.  On the kids TV show "Wooly and Tig" a cuddly spider gives a little girl comfort and words of wisdom.

Basically spiders are useful, helpful and industrious little things, that deserve respect. They should be looked at as small tiny animals and not presented as horrific monsters, which they're not. It's all imaginary.

Ancient people understood that the spider is an important key to survival. Without them and we're all doomed.

Be good to spiders. Don't fear them. Say "hello" to them. Let them into your homes and watch how they keep mites, ants and bugs away. Spiders cured the infestation of ants in my house. Share the world with spiders. Spiders are cheeky and they're doing what we do, sleeping, eating and playing. 

Spider Link:

Goddesses who spin and weave