This rite dates back to 2003 so it is certainly reflective of an earlier version of me.
But I feel it deserves to get more widespread attention – so here it is.
Unsubstantiated Personal Gnosis alert: While the ritual is directly inspired by heathen mythology, the practical side of things is pretty much cobbled together from made up techniques which might or might not approximate historical practice (and which I adapted from various sources which I have now lost track of). Have fun, feel free to modify as seems appropriate.
Before undertaking this ritual, you should fully familiarise yourself with the tale from the Prose Edda which inspired it (the tale is in the Skaldskaparmal section, pages 62-4 of the Everyman edition).
This is a solitary working, although adapting it for (presumably small) group use seems possible.
Because this ritual works with extremes of unconsciousness and hyper-consciousness, you need to be prepared for the possibility that repressed trauma or the like may come forth. Working with powerful images of the collective unconscious is always a calculated risk and this is not something to be undertaken lightly.
Be sure to thoroughly familiarise yourself with all aspects of this ritual, especially remember the props, etc., that you will need. You may like to tape yourself reading the guided visualisation, leaving long pauses at points where a lot has to happen. Then you can play it during the working if you prefer to have the actual guide as written during guided meditations. Personally, though, I don’t think this will be necessary.
The images of serpent and eagle are easily tied to body energy systems. You might like to experiment with corresponding the appropriate energy centres with the energy extremes this working involves. You might also like to open up these two energy centres after the hallowing so as to heighten the effects of the working.
Finally, regarding the visualisation meditation, if you are female you may be uncomfortable taking on Odhinn’s male form. If so, simply imagine Odhinn as female. Simple! Alternately, you might want to imagine yourself as Freya (the ‘seeker of Odhr [inspiration]”. If you take the latter option, you might want to change the names invoked in the poetry to mention Freya as well as Odhinn/Bolverkr. It is hard to advise on this issue because I do not personally encounter it.
1) Hagalaz Hallowing
Perform a hammer hallowing, but trace the hail form of Hagalaz instead of the hammer, and call on Hagalaz instead of Thor. This technique is very much a piece of UPG and should I revisit this ritual I suspect I will do something different.
Given the magical and Odhinnic nature of this rite, you would probably want to do the version of the hallowing which includes invoking the runes in a ring around your ritual space with visualisation and galdor.
2) Guided Visualisation.
For parts of this visualisation you may want to impressionistically glaze over certain sections (Odhinn doing work all summer, etc). The point is to activate the images and interactions, not to slavishly imagine every detail in ‘real-time’.
Lie down. Make sure you are wearing comfortable clothing. Make sure you are in a posture that is relaxing. Background music such as something by Ein Skopudhr Galdra (shameless plug) may be appropriate. Take a few deep breaths and relax.
Now close your eyes, allow yourself to move into a regular and easy breathing pattern. Visualise … but also hear, smell, taste, and feel what you see.
… You are standing at a crossroads. The sky is dark and broods with clouds. The land is verdant and wet. In the distance, the jagged fangs of mountains loom, and dark forests of pine and ash cast mysterious, menacing shadows. It is dusk, and the light is fading.
About you is thrown a deep blue cloak, and from one eye you can see nothing, for it is gone. To the northern road, you see a field of hay, being mown by nine hard-labouring peasants. You walk towards them.
When they see you, you should greet them and offer to sharpen their scythes. Do so. Afterwards, they will be much impressed, and when they ask for the stone, you avoid suggesting a price for it. You toss it in the air, and in their haste to claim it, they slay one another.
You take up the stone, gingerly, for you take no pleasure in your killing, but it is Needful for your quest.
Ahead is a great long hall, and you continue towards it…
… Outside the hall sits Baugi, a towering etin of brute features and rough clothes. He seems distraught, and when greeted, he tells you his peasants are dead and his livelihood at stake. You tell him you are Bolverkr and offer your services in exchange for the mead of Suttung, his brother. He accepts, and you work until winter, the land turning grey and white around you …
… Baugi leads you to the foot of Suttung’s mountain, and points to the tunnel he claims to have carved.
But as you move to enter this dark and shadowy hole, he turns, unfurls his bulk and height, and raises his club to block your passage. He ripples with rage and might, and threatens all manner of dreadful suffering to you should you not turn back. You must outwit this slow-wit – in some way earn passage past him. Violence will merely get your defeat, however, for he is too strong.
When Baugi is passed, you fall down to your knees. A dreadful heat and agony fills you, as the solidity and structure of your form, your mind, your sense of self, all dissolve. With a piercing cry, you fall to the ground, a serpent, and slither deep into the mountain…
… Darkness. For how long? Here you are in your deepest unconscious, your personal Well of Wyrd, in the land of Hel where the past sleeps, waiting to be made into the future again. Only you will know what you experience. Let yourself fall into a stillness of mind, visualising darkness. Allow the hidden content of your deeper self rise to awareness, and feel the powerful will and force that lies slumbering beneath. Then, gradually, let the hidden powers and force of your unconscious rise, rise up, a tide at first gentle then violent. When the intensity is right, you slither from the hole into the darkened cave of Gunnlod…
… And open your eyes, ready for the next part of the rite.
3) Rede/Call/Statement of Intent.
Face north, standing in the Elhaz (arms raised upwards 45 degrees from ground) posture. Speak forth the
As Bolverk, Baugi ye fooled
And crept at wisdom’s call
As grave-born serpent hard and cold
‘Neath Suttung’s mountain hall.
Lay thou then with Gunnlod
Though nights of lust three
And drank from three of deepest bowls
Mead of poetic ecstasy!
Soon after swiftly flew thou didst
From Suttung’s deadly chase
Eagle wings fast borne on wind
Thy foe left far outraced
I call you now to wrench aside
The walls ‘tween Asgard and Hel!
Throw me deep in wisdom freed
As I remake thy spell!
4) The Loading.
Leap up and take up your horn and fill it with mead. Scream/vibrate/vocalise/sing/chant the following, focussing on unleashing the energies of your words into the mead (visualisation is also recommended). Feel free to play around the format, using repetitive chanting, drumming, dancing, whatever it takes to get you really pumping.
Drink down as much of the mead as you can, in three great gulps. Remember to leave some of the drink in the horn for the giving (see below).
Raise the horn above your head and feel the energies of ecstasy and inspiration burning through your body as the mead spills through you. Its fire streaming through your veins, your body, your mind. Let the energies flow throughout your body until they have opened all of your energy centres and completely infused you. It is likely that each individual will experience the effects of the rite differently.
6) Rede Part Two
Speak forth (perhaps shout?) the following:
Suttung’s weight will hold me not!
‘Cross the heavens I have shot!
Soaring over worlds so wide
Kvasir’s blood burns inside!
I return to poets all!
I return to Asgard’s Hall!
Hail Bolverk who shows the path!
Hail vict’ry I win my task!
7) Pour the remaining mead into a bowl. This is Bolverkr’s share.
8) Declare: “By Hel and Asgard, this work has been wrought!”
9) Take the remaining mead to the foot of tree and pour it there, saying “To Bolverkr, and earth spirits all”.
I have only used this working once but I fully intend to do it again. I experienced a number of synchronicities
leading up to it, including strange mead-fuelled and inspiring meetings with different folks (including Clint) on the two nights leading up to the ritual.
The guided visualisation triggered some pretty far out energy flows in my body, and the trick I used to outwit Baugi made me laugh out loud:) I won’t say what I did, however – this is something that others who experiment with this working might appreciate getting to work out for themselves. Or finding their own solution, more importantly.
The rite proper made me veritably explode with energies. The mead tasted especially potent.
As I transferred the mead from drinking vessel to bowl, some of it spilt to the ground! The ‘poets’ share’ took care of itself, and you might like to cause this to happen on purpose if you do this ritual and it doesn’t work out so neatly on its own.
Afterwards I produced massive amounts of new music and had one hell of a lot of energy and inspiration to create. My then flatmate even reported his own work as a writer received a big spurt over the next week. It was a really positive experience, particularly as this was the first personal ritual with any complexity that I ever attempted (unfortunately most of them did not get such detailed write-ups) Perhaps it is time to revisit it!