Tag Archives: world walking

Odin’s Path: Connection

I read somewhere that Odin’s wisdom is found in the ability to make plans that are successful – in other words, his wisdom is found in strategy. I don’t dispute this, as he is a war god and therefore needs the ability to think strategically, but I don’t think it fully captures his wisdom (and I’m not sure it’s possible to do so).

Strategy and making plans – those are both very important skills, but I think there’s more to wisdom than that. To make good plans, you have to understand people at a very deep level, and to understand other people requires a lot of patience and the ability to listen. It also requires the ability to trust in a person’s own experience of the world without feeling the need to negate it based on the experiences you’ve had yourself.

In my experience, understanding another person necessitates the suspension of disbelief. Each person we meet, no matter how crazy or far-fetched the story may sound to us, has their own story to tell, and we all believe in our own stories. They are, after all, what we are comprised of. They are the world we are made of – our stories define us in a way nothing else can.

To deny another person their story is to deny them their identity – it isn’t simply a case of whether or not we believe that the story that they tell us is a true one. That’s where understanding gets lost. People are worlds in themselves, and each world has its own unique set of rules. What those rules are vary from world to world, from person to person, and there is nothing more wrong or right about any particular set of rules that govern these worlds, these people.

This is the type of thinking that shamans must master in order to find the connections that link worlds, that link people, together. It is in these connections that we find the commonalities, the threads that tie us to one another and to the gods. If someone asked me for a definition of shaman, I don’t know if I would have had a proper answer even a year ago – it took me awhile to realize that the work I’ve always done as an empath has always been the work of a shaman. In some ways, they are the same, as the shamanism I practice is inherently empathic in nature (this is, of course, not true of all shamans nor is it true of all empaths).

Now, I would define my shamanism as the empathy required to forge links between worlds – knowing as I do now that every person is their own world. What people don’t understand – or at least don’t like to believe – is that I connect with gods as easily as I do people, and I have ever since I started to comprehend them as having agency in their own right, as having their own type of personhood. The links between gods and humans are a little bit different, a little more slippery, but they do exist – they always have.

It is because of these links that I tell people, when they ask me which deities they should try to work with (and believe me, I get this question quite often), that the deities they need to look towards first are those that most resemble them in personality. Not the deities they admire the most or the ones they think will be most beneficial – the deities with personalities that echo the personalities of the humans who ask me this question.

Because those are the deities that we can connect with most easily – those threads are most accessible to us. Odin is my patron, I am sworn to his path, and yet he is not a deity I converse with easily. Nor is he a deity whom I consult often – the relationship I have with Odin is a very complex one, and it is in the complexity of his personality and the complexity of my own that we meet. It is not a relationship I could ever hope to properly explain to someone else, but I trust in the relationship we share despite the oddness of its shape.

Loki is also my patron, and I am one of his priests. Unlike Odin, however, I converse easily with Loki. Among the gods I work with, he is one of my best friends. On the surface, he can seem irresponsible and whimsical, but there is a depth of emotional maturity to him that most don’t see in him because they don’t look past the surface. I understand on a very real level what it is like to be seen by others without truly being seen by them, and it is on this understanding that the link between me and Loki is founded.

I honor and work with many other deities, and all of those relationships are founded on different commonalities, different threads that link the world of who I am to the world of that particular deity. With Tyr, it is the understanding of stepping forward into responsibility when no one else will. With Freyja, it is the understanding that female and weak aren’t equal terms, that there is a depth of strength in femininity that is vastly different than the strength found in masculinity. With Sigyn, it is the understanding of the depth of love a person must feel for another to stand loyally by them despite the pain they endure. With Mani, it is a depth of compassion. With Ullr, it is a love of competition. With Freyr, it is an understanding of what nobility truly means. With Bragi, it is a love of words.

With all the gods – with all humans as well – there are links of understanding. It is upon those links that relationships may be best forged. Think about the friends you cherish – what first made you friends? What link of understanding does that friendship center around? And how many of your friends are your friends for the same reason? Because I know the relationships I share with my friends are defined very differently from person to person, from god to god. No relationship is the same as another – for good reason, as that would teach us nothing and also be incredibly boring.

I started writing this because I wanted to talk about how Odin’s wisdom encompasses so much more than simply the ability to make plans – he is the penultimate shaman. He sacrificed his eye to gain wisdom, and he sacrificed himself to gain the knowledge of the runes. His path is a path of sacrifice, and one of the biggest sacrifices I’ve found myself making is setting aside my own sight to pick up the sight of another.

That means suspending disbelief, keeping your own prejudices and default biases under wraps as you listen to the stories of the people around you. I have heard stories that most would view as beyond the realm of belief because I have taken the time to set aside my doubts and trust that a person’s story, when they tell it to me, is true enough for them.

Intro to Dreamwalking

I had one person ask me about dreamwalking, and I’m sure there are others who are interested, so I’ll share what I do.

First off, dreamwalking occurs after mastering lucid dreaming, and I’ve heard lots of people come up with lots of different methods over the years with little to no success. I go with what I was taught because it’s never failed to work, but it’s not an easy process. There’s no immediate “Wow, I had a lucid dream I controlled!” Nothing in life is that simple. It takes time, it takes effort, and it will be exhausting.

Just like any muscle built up through exercise, dreamwalking builds up mental muscle. And like exercise, you don’t start with the finished product. A lot of people think psychic skills / mental abilities should come to them easily – sorry, life isn’t that kind. Sure, there are people with a higher potential skill level than others, just as there are people with higher natural athleticism than others. But if that athleticism isn’t trained into something, it never becomes more than potential.

That being said, lucid dreaming must be mastered before dreamwalking occurs. And to master lucid dreaming, you first have to become aware that you *are* dreaming. If you never manage to wake up in a dream and think, “Oh, this is a dream,” you will never learn to control it, and thus never learn to dreamwalk.

The first step then, is to master the awareness of the dream, and the trick that I used when I first learned the skill is a very simple one. The only thing required is a place to lay down. This is a trick my mother taught me when I was very young, and I have taught others this same trick one-on-one. To my knowledge, it works for everyone.

First, pick a number higher than five but less than ten. Then, before you get ready to sleep, tap the back of your head that many times on your pillow and tell yourself, out loud, that you will know you are dreaming when you begin to dream. The vocal affirmation is necessary only until you get used to waking up in a dream.

When I first taught this trick, I was unaware of the level of exhaustion it would cause. The first person I taught told me that he slept nearly ten hours after he did this trick, and he woke up feeling like he hadn’t slept at all. This is normal, so if you don’t want to sleep more than an hour or two when you start, I suggest setting an alarm.

This trick only allows you to realize that you are dreaming. Control, the pinnacle of lucid dreaming, comes later. First, you must master the ability to handle your dreams as they come to you, no matter how disturbing or bizarre they may be. When you get to the stage that lucid dreaming is possible, you learn how to wake yourself up out of the disturbing dreams. That’s the first step to controlling the dreamscape itself, but it’s a lesson you must learn on your own.

If and when you start using this trick, begin keeping a dream journal. The best way to do this is to keep the journal by your resting place with a pen beside it, as the dream realm and physical realm are connected by the thinnest of margins. If you place your feet on the floor before you have written down the dreams you’ve had, you will forget most, if not all, of the dream. We naturally ground ourselves when the soles of our feet contact the ground, so if you intend to remember everything, write it down before grounding yourself.

Also, as one final note, remember that we have multiple dreams when we sleep. I have gotten to the point that I have five to six dreams that I remember each night, but it didn’t start off that way. If I am remembering correctly, when I began dreaming purposefully, it took me awhile to realize that the “dream” I woke up in was actually a chain of dreams running together. It’s that realization, along with the ability to wake myself up, that allowed me to learn how to control my dreams and begin to dreamwalk.

So to recap the steps to dreamwalking

1) Master the awareness of dreaming (using the trick mentioned)

2) Learn to wake yourself up out of bad dreams

3) Learn to distinguish between dreams and identify the chain of dreams

4) Lucid dreaming allows dreamwalking

Remember, dreamwalking isn’t an easy thing to do – it takes time, it takes effort, and it takes dedication. If you truly intend to learn to dreamwalk, it’s not something that can be done in the space of a week or two. Nothing worth doing in life is that simple.