I found that one of the first innate gifts I developed during my shamanic training was that of pattern recognition. When you’re continually zooming out to go into other worlds, and then zooming back in again, you are able to see the patterning of this world at a glance, and so you can easily follow the trajectories of certain lines or actions that lead to inevitable conclusions, just as they have always done throughout history.
This is how shamans can become oracles or prophets. Being able to foretell the future is not some kind of woo-woo hocus-pocus; it is just about having a more zoomed out view. It’s a kind of upgraded, finely tuned common sense, really.
Another thing I began to tune into was the language of symbols, which are everywhere. They speak to all of us in concepts that we absorb far faster than the meaning of written words. It’s like lightening and thunder. The lightening (symbols) hit our subconscious first, and then the thunder of the words and reason arrive afterwards. But the lightening has already struck the tree and it’s on fire.
That’s why I believe that it’s so important to learn the meaning of symbols which we are surrounded with in our everyday lives – whether in advertising or in the architecture of certain buildings. They are communicating with our subconscious minds whether our conscious mind understands them or not. It’s like when someone plays a note on a piano. The sound enters and winds around the labyrinthine corridors of our ear and then resonates throughout our whole mind-body-spirit world regardless of whether we consciously know that it is B flat. Some of us only need to hear two or three notes in a certain order, and the rest of the whole symphony instantly reveals itself.
This is all about pattern recognition … and you don’t need to be a shaman to have this ability, which is why I have included a whole chapter on it in Stories in the Summerlands: A pilgrimage into esoteric Avalon.
I hope that once you begin to learn how to read this secret language, which some call the Language of the Birds, you will be able, like one-eyed Odin, to talk back to “the birds” in a way that will enrich your own life.
When Odin claimed the Mead of Wisdom and Poetry it was the final episode of a larger mythic cycle covered partly by the Prose Edda and partly by the Poetic Edda. It records the origins of the mead and its passage through existence, returning full circle to its starting point. Along the way, the mead is met by several of the beings who inhabit the World Tree; suggesting all of these different beings contribute to the progress of wisdom itself.
The mead’s first ingredient came about when the Aesir and Vanir Gods agreed a truce after their futile war. They all spat into a vat and out of their spittle arose a being called Kvasir.
The Vanir Gods are associated with wilderness, nature, fertility and possibly magic. The Aesir Gods seem more associated with the protection of social order, “civilization” and religious observance. Kvasir embodies their differences and their common peaceful interest. He contains everything those deities stood for, a compendium of cosmological knowledge. As Snorri Sturlason stated in the Prose Edda “He was so wise that no one could ask him a question that he could not answer”.
By Rosemary Taylor, Shamanic Practitioner
As I explained in my last article, Odin Part One – Journeying God of Magical and Social Wisdom, Odin travels throughout the Nine Worlds in his quest for wisdom and to avert his own prophesied end, told him by a Seeress. He gains amazing resources along the way, including the runes and the mead of wisdom and poetry. He grows in magical and transformative power.
I also ventured that gaining this kind of occult wisdom may not be everyone’s path in life. If this path is your choice then you might well ask what were the processes, the methods by which he gained such power? Enough information is given in the Poetic and Prose Eddas to establish that he engages in forms of initiation and sacrifice in order to alter or expand consciousness, gaining knowledge of himself and the nature of reality. Continue reading
By Rosemary Taylor
Odin – such a complex character: a warrior, god of poetic inspiration, shapeshifter, leader of the Aesir Gods; husband; father; and mysterious man of the road. Often depicted as a lone traveller, a wide-brimmed hat pulled down over his face hiding his true identity, ravens perched on his staff or upon his shoulders.
I was told he has 99 names, which in itself seems to demonstrate his variety and changeability; sometimes these names are “fake IDs” that disguise and protect him as he travels through the nine worlds seeking wisdom. Continue reading