A while back I was doing some magic involving runes, the Norns and the goddess Brigit.
One consequence of this was that the Norns suggested that I perform a kind of reverse nidstang in order to invite the local land spirits into more presence and comfort with the local human/built environment, and with me in particular.
The issue where I live is particularly loaded because we have seen a lot of very dubious development in the area which has been bad for the local environment (both physical and psychological). Indeed, our local council was dissolved not so long ago due to rampant corruption after allowing many, many unconscionable development projects to go ahead.
Near our home is a place called Sandon Point, a small marshland and then a long promontory out into the sea. The area has a very delicate ecosystem and is also an Aboriginal sacred site and (I think) burial ground.
After years of struggle between a large and unscrupulous corporation and the entire local community a terrible development was permitted over part of the area near the Point – and I must say the houses they have put up are truly ugly things. I mean really horrendous to the eye. If I were a local land spirit I would be very, very, very angry.
I’m told there a lot of spirits around the place and that the ghost of some kind of Aboriginal shaman person still haunts the area. In fact I think I may have once seen this being in my imaginal eye. With all that magic around the place I certainly wouldn’t want to live in one of those upmarket Legoland dwellings.
Thinking about my recent experience which what seemed to be an Aboriginal spirit, I decided now was the time to take the Norns’ advice and perform my anti-nidstang magic. And I decided that the Point was the place to do it.
I prepared my nidstang with some wood from our little garden, carving three runes (Ansuz, Nauthiz and Hagalaz) that were indicated to me by the Norns.
I rode out on my bike to the location late last night. It was an almost full moon which loaned an eerie atmosphere to the proceedings.
So once I was out on the rocks of the Point, the sea glowering on the dark horizon, I suddenly had the thought that correct etiquette would be to state my identity and purpose to the spirits here. This in fact I think a very conventional Aboriginal custom though I wasn’t thinking about it at the time.
So I talked about my ancestry, my ideals and values, my reasons for being there, and so forth. I felt beings drawn in all around me and for while it was like the air was holding its breath.
Then various voices somehow came into my awareness, testing me, asking me difficult questions, attempting to intimidate me. They were not happy and they did not like me particularly, thanks to the actions of others like me. It was a long conversation and I felt quite vulnerable because they quickly demonstrated the ability to control my movements – and threatened that they might make me drown myself.
But I am good at dealing with imaginal realities and we reached some kind of understanding. It helped that after a whole Woden checked in and took over for me. He was a lot better than I at relating to the local spirits and I think his great age and primal nature made a strange kind of sense to them.
I searched for the right place to place the nidstang and at that moment I found that the rocks, the sand and the water all seemed to swirl into the seeming of faces and figures. It was an incredible experience to find myself amid the rich chaos of the place, feeling myself to be watched and with the spirits both physically and imaginally.
Finally I found the right place to plant the nidstang, spoke the names of the runes over it, and bowed in respect to the land, the sea, the sky, the moon and the spectrum of their manifestations.
I stood, the rite completed. Suddenly from both sides of me great flocks of sea birds flew up into the air, singing and shouting, disappearing into the dark night. It was a beautiful moment. I rode home with a sense of curiosity as to what my actions might mean for the local wights, the local people, the whole of the local spirit of place.
Something the spirits at the Point asked me to do was to make contact with the local Aboriginal community and learn more about their ways of relating to the local environment. I am very hesitant to do this. I don’t particularly wish to seem like I am trying to steal from their already assaulted and marginalised culture.
I asked that some openings come my way for this to occur without me taking the first steps or having to force the issue. This way I can be comfortable that I am not overstepping the bounds. I do not know what will come of this.
I’m very pleased to have followed up and completed this bit of magic, and to have carried out the Norns’ advice, to have given something I dreamed and imagined the flesh of physical action. It was a beautiful, if somewhat frightening, experience, and one I am very glad to have had.
Perhaps now I need to call on Brigit and have her take me to the Norns again so that I can report back and get their advice on how to proceed.
It also occurs to me that this magic was a little like the Seat-and-mound seidh I wrote about a post or two ago. As usual I do things in an idiosyncratic way. I’m not comfortable with the idea of calling up someone else’s ancestors per se. But I live here in this environment and I think communing with it is rather necessary.
So perhaps more inspiration will come to me in this vein with time and my practical grasp of seidh might just get to widen a bit further. I wouldn’t mind coming to understand more about the nidstang thing either, and more about its reversal.
Incidentally, thank you Rod Landreth for your very thorough response on the seidh subject, yes I’d love to know more about your work if you want to email me, you hopefully have my email address from the Seidhr Study list posts I’ve made.