Thursday, December 31, 2009

I stand on the 'string' in that place that is so simple it almost defies understanding. There is a splendid nothingness here and that in itself is so complex for modern minds that are used to space and time being filled with a myriad of various distractions. I don't know that it is the ginnungagap but it does fit the description of a yawning nothingness. Well, except for the 'strings'

The 'string' I'm standing on isn't the only 'string' here either and I just *know* that I'm looking at different times and different realities running parallel. To travel in time is as simple as finding the right 'string' and picking it up. 'Stepping' into it. Somehow it is hard for us to think about time as being like this and I'm reminded of L.P Hartley's famous quote that 'The past is a different country:they do things differently there'. We have no problem thinking about millions of people in different countries all living their lives parallel and unseen by us, maybe we should think that way about time too.

It's time to decide where to go and I think about the much debated scene in Eiriks saga rauða in which the people of the farmstead invite the Seiðkona to come and tell them their fortunes. I walk along the 'strings', careful not to step on one that I do not want. When I find the one I want, a time before the arrival of the 'white christ' in the North, I pick it up and then 'see' myself somehow stepping into it.

The hall is long and glowing with light from fire, I'm jostled and look at the people around me. They are all gathered to see the Seiðkona and all are washed clean and dressed as tidily as they can manage. They do not wish to offend. They are expectant - both excited and afraid at what they might find out. They are afraid of the Seiðkona too and talk about her in hushed voices. She is but a woman but she has skills that can either harm or heal. This time, it's her words that they fear.

I try to see over the man in front of me, try to look at where I think the 'high' seat is but it's not as high as I thought it would have been. The door creaks and a hush falls over the people. The atmosphere becomes charged. She's small and carries herself with both tired resignation and pride to equal that of a king. Our crowd parts to allow her through. She walks as though she does not see us, as if she's unaware of all the eyes that stare at her or how much of an outsider she is.

From elsewhere in the room a rattling noise is made, accompanying the Seiðkona on her walk to the seat, the atmosphere becomes familiar. I've felt this before and look around, trying to see what is there, waiting - I only see the energy in the air beginning to buzz. Like the preliminary stages of a ghost manifestation.

The Seiðkona arrives at the seat and women that have offered to serve as her singers do something I cannot see because of the man in front of me. I'm being jostled and only see her again when she climbs into the seat because the man in front suddenly cares that I cannot see. Either that or he had tired of his previous position. The women stand around the Seiðkona in her seat and face her as they sing. It's a simple song and people in the audience join in. The women at the front begin to go into something of a trance state, stamping their feet and moving as their song grows in power. The energy shifts in the room again and the Seiðkona, her head bowed and eyes closed in concentration also sings but her song is different somehow.

Then finally there is a 'shift' and everyone falls silent now. Lifting her head, the Seiðkona looks to the audience with eyes that no longer see only one reality, glassy.

'We are ready now'

At first no one steps forward, no one asks but then what starts like a trickle almost turns into a flood until the Seiðkona can answer no more.

I leave that 'string' step back out into the nothingness and decide where I'd like to go next but it's late and I need to sleep at some point during the night and so I reach out for my body. When I feel it, I'm yet again shocked at how 'dead' my body becomes when I go into trance. I shouldn't be shocked any more, it's always been like this for me. It's just a little disconcerting to not feel your limbs and have a body that's barely breathing. Slowly I resurrect myself before sending myself off to the slightly different state of sleep.

The next day I take out my penny whistle and play the song I heard the Völva's helpers sing. My words are different because my language is different but the tune is the same. I draw a stave and I write it down, mentally remarking on the numerical values of the notes. Three. It all comes down to the number three and this makes sense to me.

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