Ingwaz – A Personal Adventure
First International Gild-Moot
My personally made Runes and Rune Pouch. I found this numinous stone in Iceland with the natural, amazing image of Ingwaz. It is my Soul Stone.
Some of the archetypal filters you will experience with me are the Sun sign of Sagittarius, an Aquarius moon and a Libra ascendant. I am blessed with a masculine Scot ancestry and a Norwegian-Sami feminine ancestry. I am a Yellow Solar Seed in the Mayan system and an intuitive/feeling type. I am a 23/5 and the 10 of Hearts. Perhaps this essentially means that the dark and the light carry equal value for me within the seedl-ing that I am.
I have been passionately interested in human behavior since I was 16, when I heard Clifford Beers (author of A Mind That Found Itself and founder of the National Mental Health Association) tell the story of his return to himself. My real passion was music therapy but since there was no such training at that time, I fell into my mother’s profession of nursing, though my focus was psychiatry. However, unable to bear the medication and dissolution of the human spirit in those settings, I was drawn to know the great educator, Ralph Ojemann, who stretched us to consider any and all possibilities and probable consequences, with the challenge of not getting identified with any aspect in the process of the enquiry. During this phase of my life I married and had two children.
It was however, through the diagnosis of M.S. in the late 60’s that I was to be initiated into the first dark night of the soul within my be-ing.Symptoms are always the last resort of the psyche – the means by which the violation of one’s true nature is finally heard – the attempt to self-regulate (Adler, Spring). My first conscious meeting with the Ing rune came in my first recorded dream. “My daughters and I are setting an elaborate table for a feast on the porch. As we prepare to sit down, I look out into my newly planted garden, stunned to see a wild Boar half-smiling at me.” I had just begun analysis with John Sanford to try and understand what the unconscious had to say about my physical condition at the time. He suggested the boar was my animus and that it would have to be dealt with. I see some of you smiling, but it was to be 8 years before I had the pleasure of reading Snorri’s description in Skaldskaparmalof the golden boar as “one of the treasures of the gods, forged in precious metal by the dwarves and adorned with bristles of shining gold,” ——or that when Gullinbursti galloped through the sky, the heavens shone — or that on Goldenbristles, Freya could travel to the realm of darkness to gain knowledge -– or that the young prince Ottar, who worshiped Freya could go to the underworld on her boar to learn about his ancestry (Edda poem, Hyndluljoth). The dream had come in December. Perhaps this was a spontaneous offering for the Yule. That was not considered at the time either. Much later I learned of the boar of atonement offered to Freyr by the father to assure a powerful harvest. It seems that this must be a man of courage and high reputation, swearing his faithfulness to his family. It took me a very long time to not project this and to grasp that all of that masculine faithfulness was a potential within my own psyche that needed to be alive and well there first of all. I did not know about Hildisvin, the great Helmet of Swedish kingship, nor did I know that I could still wear that helmet energetically for protection, inspiration and courage. What I did know and feel then was that it wall felt really alive. It was to be another 8 years however, before I was to come to know Goldenbristles as a powerful, active, working energy available within me.
So began my journey with Ingwaz – a gestation and a gathering of invisible potential had begun- a destiny blueprint for me to cope with, offering me strange new possibilities. The unconscious anticipates developments in us years ahead of the personality’s ability to grasp. It is as though some fate is already known. Thank goodness I had enough consciousness at the time to stay with the process and beat living with the feeling of being haunted. This willingness and spirit of adventure and pioneering in relation to oneself eventually constellates the possibility of an enthusiastic, meaningful opportunity to go deeper and deeper into one’s personal connection with ancestral gifts and challenges. That word “haunt,” actually directs us to the words “home,” and “homestead,” through the I.E. root of “kei.” In going “home” we are further offered the opportunity to connect with and bring forward our own individual gift to the collective evolutionary process. Traditional guidelines are available, but, ultimately, we are free to become our own masterpiece. This is only possible with a cooperative, willing, heroic ego. Plants and animals will become who they really are in the cycle of life, but an individual will be left high, dry and stranded without conscious connection to the cycles spiraling and unfolding within the unconscious, without attention to dreams, song, story, art, myth, fairy tale and ritual which have assisted mankind for centuries to honor the communication from life itself. Rudolph Steiner emphasized that the folk soul pulsated in our very breath and blood. What an individual will be able to contribute will be available through his or her very own perception of this mystery.
May Heimdall be awake and listening to your growth.
May stepping stones emerge for you across Hvergelmir,
Each footprint, sure in the strength of absolute trust,
Offering the momentum of the goal satisfying itself.
Ingwaz is not an idea of who you are. It is who you are! I suspect that we are all secretly waiting to be discovered. This dream of possible discovery has been so thoroughly projected within our society that the unspoken suffering of not being discovered at a celebrity level is gnawing at one’s very tree of life. If we could truly celebrate ourselves, we would set ourselves into the motion of praise and gratitude for life itself. Robert Bly, whom many of you may know, a Norwegian poet who lives n “Odin’s House “ in Minnesota, reminds us that there is a genuine need for grandiosity. Today this is severely damaged, very misunderstood, frustrated and goes unlived, festering, especially in our youth and elders. In his recent book, The Sibling Society, he discusses this annihilation of our literary, artistic and scientific ancestors.
Bly’s favorite poem about this challenge and, I believe, the challenged of Ingwaz is by his mentor, William Stafford. It is called A Story That Could Be True
If you were exchanged in the cradle
and your real mother died
without ever telling the story
then no one knows your name,
and somewhere in the world
your father is lost and needs you
but you are far away.
He can never find
how true you are, how ready.
When the great wind comes
and the robberies of the rain
you stand on the corner shivering.
The people who go by-
you wonder at their calm.
They miss the whisper that runs
any day in your mind,
“Who are you really, wanderer?” –
and the answer you have to give
no matter how dark and cold
the world around you is
“Maybe I’m a king.”
Who are you really wanderer? The answer is, “Maybe I’m a king.” “Maybe I’m a queen.” I will talk later about this issue of king or the heroic within. This boldness shines through in the O.E. Rune Poem, Ingwaz.
Ing was a first among the East-Danes seen by men,
until he went eastward over the wave,
his wain rolled after him.
thus the Heardings named the hero.
There is much speculation on the origin of the name Ing. What is known must be inferred from scattered remnants of information. In this presentation, Ing and Ingwaz will be used interchangeably. Ing is an Old English form of the Proto-Germanic word, Ingwaz. The earliest reference to Ing seems to be by Tacitus. He described three great tribes or cults – the Istraeones to the West, the Erminiones to the East and Ingvaeones to the North. Information as to exact location is speculative. There is some evidence of movement from a Denmark island to Uppsala, Sweden. Three theories arose to attempt an understanding. Polome’s discussion in Essays on Germanic Religionis helpful.
The Vienna school emphasized comparison of the Nerthus ritual discussed by Tacitus with other Indo-European tribes. The Dumezil School was sociological in approach and viewed the Ingvaeones as carrying the third function of fecundity and the power to self-replicate. Palome describes the Nerthus ritual as the celebration of the cosmic event of spring. Nerthus literally means power. Polomé emphasizes that at the time of Tacitus, agriculture was still a feminine activity. With masculinization, Ing and Freyr appeared and Nerthus, Mother earth, changed to the male god, Njordr (sea). The power symbol of this spring growth was a plant or flower. Priests were present and sacred animals drew a chariot. All weapons were locked up at this peaceful time. The flow of sacred energy of life was set into motion. This view resonates with Eliade, Jung, Kerenyi and Neumann and is based on the concept of archetypes.
I would like to read Palome’s translation of this event from Eliade:
For a moment, the life of the whole human group is concentrated into a tree or some effigy of vegetation, some symbol intended to represent and consecrate the thing that is happening to the universe: spring…The presence of nature is indicated by a single object (or symbol). It is no pantheist adoration of nature or sense of being at one with it, but a feeling induced by the presence of the symbol (branch, tree or whatever it may be), and stimulated by the performing of the rite (processions, contests, fights, and the rest). The ceremonial is based on comprehensive notion of the sacredness of all living force as expressed at every level of life, growing, wearing itself out and being regularly regenerated. This “bio-cosmic sacredness” is personified in many different forms, changing it would seem, to suit mood or circumstance…What remains, what is basic and lasting, is the “power” of vegetation, which can be felt and manipulated equally well in a branch, and effigy or a mythological figure.
Both Nerthus and, later Freyr, are associated with a wagon as part of a ritual blessing of the awakening of the earth in spring, honoring abundance, sunshine, fruitfulness, love, prosperity, fertility and peace.
This joyous celebration is reflected in the constellation of spring, called Bootes by the Greeks. Ing and/or Bootes is the driver of the wagon (Ursa Major), shouting and calling to the sluggish self/earth to awaken its sleeping potential. It is clearly visible April 1stand some equate the Ing figure with the Fool of the Tarot deck. Both reflect the potential in man. Osborn and Longland offer these helpful images:
Ing is the rising sap of the self – as a spring constellation he heralds the rising of the sap in the world of nature, and is a beacon in the spring sky. May you deeply feel this wondrous, nourishing momentum in yourself.
Ing is known to us by several shapes, the most central of which is the diamond. The most ancient description I could find of this shape comes from a conversation I had with the Russian psychiatrist, Olga Kharidity.
I met Olga and her husband, Sasha, in the early 90’s because I was strongly drawn to a seminar in Taos, New Mexico on “Healing Techniques of Siberia”. I had just had an Astrocartography chart done and realized that the majority of my lines were in Northern Europe, but that most were in Siberia. Astrocartography offers a picture of the astrological zones of influence for you in relation to the physical world. Awareness of this can assist one to find places where certain parts of one’s destiny will manifest most strongly. Very few of my lines were in the United States. This left me feeling quite puzzled and anxious. Suddenly, synchronistically, knowledge of the Taos seminar came to me. I was elated and knew I must be there. Furthermore, it was at this seminar that I was invited to consider teaching in Iceland. I followed through on that option because of a dream I had had 10 years earlier that I had given birth to Odin— more on that later. Certainly, teaching there had never occurred to me. Circuitous routes and detours were showing up. Olga’s work as a psychiatrist in a Moscow mental hospital and how she was led to an exploration of Siberian Shamanism through a patient’s ancestor story is told in her book, Entering the Circle.
She told me sacred geometry was revered by Paleolithic Siberian hunters and that the diamond shape had very special significance. It evolved as a stable image of two dynamic triangles and symbolized materialized fundamental nature. Mammoths were hunted at that time and sacred objects were produced from their bones. Some bones with a certain cut produced a diamond shape. Siberian shamans considered the bones to be the location of the soul. This belief has been preserved there in the cults of holy remains in the Christian tradition.
The sacred symbol of the diamond shape represented a model of the soul’s evolution beginning with its journey down from the sky and completing its full integration with the Great Spirit. The horizontal and vertical axis symbolized by two time streams. The vertical axis was connected with the time of Eternal Present, which was later called The Way of the Gods, and the horizontal axis symbolized time from past to future and was named The Way of the Ancestors.
The culminative point of the Way of the Gods was the achievement of immortality. The highest possibility for the Way of the Ancestors was the obtaining of healing as peace for soul and inner harmony.
There is a long association of the diamond shape with Creation and Mother Earth. This birth/vulva/diamond shape recently showed up in a young woman’s dream through a powerful image of an imminent birth, inviting her to know the Great Mother and to respond to the challenge of her own Divine Be-ing. We will focus later on the nature of these challenges.
The main concern of Chinese alchemy is the formation of the diamond body, produced in the seeding place of the golden flower. Here is the alchemical instruction offered in The Secret of the Golden Flower.
If thou wouldst complete the diamond body with no outflowing,
Diligently heat the roots of consciousness and life.
Kindle light in the blessed country ever close at hand,
And there hidden, let thy true self always dwell.
In Sanskrit, the diamond is a image of the Mystic Center, the symbol of light, brilliance, innocence and joy, luminous being.
The playing card suit of diamonds represents feminine power, warmth and light.
The diamond appears as a central motif in the 8thcentury Irish Christian Book of Kells. The 8thcentury was a time of tense co-existence between Pagan and Christian worlds. Osborn and Longland discuss this appearance of the diamond as a link to the idea of Ing as divine human and mortal/divine Odin, i.e. the human whose intellect is developed with the help of symbols.
In one image Matthew (man) holds a book in each hand, each with Ing designs on the cover. The repetition of Ing, in the design of his tunic and on the arms of his chair suggests Ing to be a state, which must be constantly noticed and rediscovered (p 123). The lion, ox, and eagle are to be subject to man as king, directing and controlling these three elements harmoniously in himself. Ordinary man can become man/god and be in a state of unified awareness. “Man is the only beast capable of conscious self-development and of transcending his condition.” (pg. 120)
My own personal beginnings with that lion/eagle challenge came in the form of a dream March 27, 1974, while completing exams for therapist licensure. “I was running along a rocky road embankment with my artist friend, Nancy. There was a stream on my right. An odd creature, part eagle and part lion darted in front of us and into the water. Suddenly I saw a nest of huge eggs. In examining them, I could see a big claw and an antenna sticking out of one egg. We had to decide whether to crack it open and take a look or let nature take its course. We decide to let the eggs be and allow the growth to unfold naturally.”
Odd, opposite, instinctual, mythological forces were presented to me. They are related and functioning harmoniously here in one creature and it has laid eggs.. I would have to patiently see how that development was to unfold in my life and what challenges it would hold for me. I guarantee that a griffin can upset your idea of your life and who you think you are. The deep soul/life force in the antenna was stretching out to move into resonance in some way in my life. The Griffin is the guardian of the gates to Hyperborea, land of the Shining Ones beyond the North Star, the ever-vigilant guardians of the deepest ancient stirrings of the elf kingdom and protectors of that veil. Here also was Apollo’s retreat for regeneration and healing. Just this August, I was traveling in Iceland by bus from Snaefellsness Glacier area to Reykjavik. I was immersed in the beautiful sounds of Sanskrit put to music in Patrick Bernhardt’s Solaris Universalis when I was showered with a recall of life as a pre-human energy color and light. In that moment I felt I had slipped past the veil, through the Griffin’s gates.
I like to think of Ing as that which is always revealing itself, but we must keep the inner and outer eyes open. Architect Jonathan Hale in his book The Old Way of Seeing discusses the loss and denial of this way of seeing today in architecture. The living, invisible diamond shape celebrating nature’s harmony, grace, and materialization of spirit in the form of seed, flame, egg, bird, fish, almond, corn or wheat no longer informs our buildings. The mandorla or vescia pescis is formed when two circles overlap. All cellular growth follows this pattern, constantly arranging itself into new, creative expressions of itself. We can easily see and understand these manifestations of spirit in plants and animals, but theirs is not a willing re-engineering, as ours must be. Think of a circle as consciousness reaching to expand it’s known world. As it merges with the second circle, forming the Mandorla, we have disorder seeking order for a while, moving to a point of stabilization, at which point another expansion is possible to a third circle. The first seven expansions produce the Seed of Life, a metaphor for our many possibilities of life’s blooming. With each expansion, the movement is from the present point of knowing, or existing arena of experience into the unknown. These nature guidelines and the basic trust of life offered within this physiological model of stretching towards the mystery, forever beckon us to relate to our inner Masterpiece.
Wilhelm Reich deeply studied this shape, calling it “the basic form of the Living, from patterns of energy flow.” His term was “orgonome.” This is the process of growth in which size increases, while shape remains the same. Here wildness and intuition can seed and re-seed within the boundaries of the human body/spirit.
Frank Lloyd Wright said a building should express the fire of life the way a tree does, where life energy is always arranging itself into a new, creative expression of itself. The Old English Ingwaz is the shape of the DNA chain – the chamber of the resonant receptors of our genetic code. Here the protein of life is created and duplication can find its rhythm. Depak Chopra reminds us that the cell’s memory of perception contained in the DNA cannot be lost. It is the personality and the will that must meet the intense challenge of correct attitude and willingness to persevere towards the depth of Mimir’s Well.
The early shape of Ing as a square may suggest the reality of the practical use of cutting tools by the rune carver. Lines are easier to carve than circles. A straight line though the diamond may be symbolic of the heavenly seed planted with the stamen or male element being the cosmic food in the storehouse of gestation.
The O. E. shape hints at the on-going, endless mystery and potential. Edred Thorsson has pointed out to me that, consistently, Ing remains smaller than the other runes with the diamond shape staying contained within the parameters of the lines, perhaps reflecting the seed, gestation symbol. A study of related runes, such as kenaz, gebo, wunjo, jera, berkano and othala would add bountiful information and would be another lecture.
Now that we have looked at many aspects of Ing, I would like to consider the challenge of responding to Ing – what is the celebration here?
Ing is a participle which adds process and action to verbs – implied is provocation, stirring up, turning around, shifting, re-cycling – movement. We are constantly in motion in some way or another,—if we are alive. We have a choice as to how or whether we relate to this process.
People most often come to see me because they feel depressed, tense, anxious, stuck, inadequate or alienated in some way. These first stirrings of consciousness are often mis-perceived and mistreated, especially in people of accomplishment . One can suddenly be forced into introversion and may feel they no longer fit anywhere. They can become restless, confused and even disoriented. It is a very bad mistake to normalize such a person into the collective level of life. It can destroy all possibility of individual development. Trust of a the inner crash pad that includes negative feelings puts one on the yellow brick road. With a courageous and adventurous spirit, illusions begin to be busted, the stillness and immobility of depression is embraced as a container full of back burners full of pots bubbling and overflowing with hidden nourishment. The tension and demands of the soul have built up to such a degree that true suffering has begun. Marie Louise von Franz calls this a “suffering pressure,” and says that without it, nothing much happens. She writes, “One needs a terrific bout of suffering to bring about any progress.” Most of us fight the lazy, inert, collective ego (i.e. lazy in relation to the soul) until it is a matter of life and death. My experiences with M.S. and Breast Cancer certainly brought new life, new vistas and new meaning. Other frustrations suffered in this elaborate labyrinth of inner and outer include what is often felt to be social failure – such as work, relationships or marriage. Von Franz suggests that the following be considered – “It is as if the unconscious arranges a complete failure for those it has called to become heroes,” or for those who are open to achieving higher consciousness in relation to some specific inner task.
In Odin, we are given the model and pathway for the heroic relationship to the Mystery. While offering himself to himself, the runes were given – verbal symbols, language and articulation streamed forth to be shared with the world.
Following dreams of Thor and Freya’s Necklace in the late ‘70’s, that same deep pressure to translate the non-verbal into outer reality led me to Norway in search of my ancestors. I wanted to feel the energy of that land. The only connection to Freya I found was the Freia Chocolate factory and a few jewelry shops had Thor’s Hammer. The actual living experience of Thor and Freya did happen, however, in being with my cousins, picnicking on the heath, roaming the countryside and staying in my ancestral home on Huftoroy, an island near Bergen.
It was on return, from this trip that the diagnosis of breast cancer was confirmed. I didn’t understand. Had I not honored the unconscious in the best way I knew? I could only ask, Why? Why? Why?
Following surgery in 1982, I had the Odin dream referred to earlier. I had given birth to Odin and the dream message was that he was growing very rapidly. I felt an odd, deep, intense, fearless fragility. One of Jung’s descriptions of this state is: “Often one has the impression that the personal psyche is running around this central point like a shy animal, at once fascinated and frightened, always in flight, and yet steadily drawing nearer.” In some new way I was Ing-ing along in the best way I could. Synchronistically, a flyer arrived from Grinnell, my first College experience, offering a trip to Iceland. A deep sense of excitement and gathering occurred within me. I knew, somehow, I would go. There was an odd sense of arrogance and a voice that said – what the hell are you doing – you’re probably dying of cancer and look what you are deciding to do! At one level it made no rational sense, but there was an impelling, unexplainable excitement and magnificence that was carrying me there.
Robert Bly’s translation of Rilke’s poem, I Have Faith,expresses this unusual time for me.
I have faith in all those things that are not yet said.
I want to set free my most holy feelings.
What no one has dared to want
will be for me impossible to refuse.
If that is presumption, then, my God, forgive me.
However, I want to tell you this one thing:
I want my best strength to be like a shoot,
with no anger and no timidity, as a shoot is:
this is the way the children love you.
With these ebbing tides, with these mouths
opening their deltas into the open sea,
with these returns, that keep growing,
I want to acknowledge you, I want to announce you,
as no one has before.
And if that is arrogance, then I will stay arrogant
for the sake of my prayer,
that is so sincere and solitary
standing before your cloudy forehead.
Arrogance has had a lot of bad press in our culture – no one considers a plant or animal arrogant as it offers us its bloom or its wild beauty. One might hear the phrase in somewhat embarrassed way of loving jest, but I discovered that hiding in the word, “arrogance,” is the Latin root Mangus, meaning great and Magnificus, meaning great in deeds, I was warmed to the possibility of coming closer to accepting my own, individual, wild blossoming.
The true nobility of the heroic archetype has been lost in our culture. We suffer a profound lack of heroes. To become a hero is to move from a collective personality into one that can find meaning in life’s circumstances, no matter how difficult. The Austrian psychiatrist, Viktor Frankl dealt with this human possibility most eloquently in his book Man’s Search for Meaning.
A concentration camp survivor, Frankl emphasized that the spiritual freedom to choose one’s attitude toward life in any situation is what gives individual meaning and purpose to living. Inner strength can provide transcendence above outward fate, leading to relationship to destiny. What matters ultimately is what life is expecting from us and how we respond to that demand.
The heroic is recognizable by an allegiance to intelligent activity– i.e. he or she is able to relate to the unusual arrangements of fate and synchronicity – and to move harmoniously with the inner reality of feelings and intuition, along with changing outer circumstance. This individual is awake to his or her condition, attitude and stance. Discipline serves and sustains full presence. He or she is self-contained, but, shining out – centered, but mindful.
There is an awareness of being in touch with a higher intelligence. The Siberians understand this as the experience of the Double. With double awareness, patience can serve timeliness and over-reaching can be monitored. Persevering stamina and resoluteness are possible. The ancient and true meaning of elegance can actually be lived – i.e. being wakefully intent to the gathering of the Logos within.(Eckhardt)
There is a consistent ability to relate to the unexpected. The ability to see what is without hope or fear offers new levels of flexibility in being. Continuing on-going fulfillment is no longer stolen – in any set of circumstances. Agile, sharp use of pause keeps one off the roller coaster of inner or outer unconscious expectation.
There is a certain generosity and spirit of adventure. and pioneering. Expansion and greater space are demanded. Intuition deeply encourages courageous risk. These willing attitudes on the part of the ego ignite the unconscious to come forth with the birth of bountiful, outrageous nobility, inviting the individual’s ancient, heroic energy within Ing to be gathered and awakened.
Once this connection to the incredible intelligence of the ancestral wisdom occurs, healing and many new possibilities rush into one’s life. However, it can’t be emphasized enough that it can and does take you on a circuitous route, full of detours. This intelligence will outwit all of your expectations of how things should be – the truth is, however, that you will be directed to where the most immediate change is that is needed in your life.
In my Stadhr meditations during preparation of these thoughts, the following random words were given to me:
Trust in the measure of things
Death is brilliant
The butterfly’s touch
Knowing without knowing
Nothing to say
Not feeling heard
Feel the source, power and truth of the solar
Breaking apart from old ways
May you be stirred-up, shattered and scattered, disarranged and inspired. May you see through a new one-eyed lens and move with the graceful tension of Sleipnir. May you follow the thread of the Mystery through pain and fear. May new beacons of possibility pulsate in your veins. May the ever-burning yew provide constant warmth for your endless creativity. Magician, maiden, youth, trickster – I call you all to be and sing out who you are. Here is my poem about this experience:
How can I embrace
The unfolding of myself to Myself?
How do I remember and honor the Mystery that I am?
A fearless, creative power explodes in me-
Dreams! Shapes! Colors! Sounds!
Demanding – trust of the holy Self.
Echoes of terror and hopelessness rush in-
Tell me! Tell me!
Where am I trustworthy? Where am I honest?
Where am I beautiful? Where am I powerful?
Where am I whole?
Shape changer! Sing!
Hum into the new life!
Shape changer! Listen!
Hear the Spirits in the winds of change
Shape changer! Weep!
Moisten the fountains of ancient memory
Shape changer! Dance!
Move to the rhythms of your Mythic Soul!
Bly, Robert, Rilke poem
Bly, Robert, The Sibling Society
Braden, Greg, pg. 82
Edda poem Hyndluljoth
Jonathan Hale The Old Way of Seeing
Jung, Carl, Volume 12, pg. 218
O.E. Rune Poem, Ingwaz – Osborn and Longland
Polomé, Edgar Charles, “http://www.utexas.edu/faculty/council/1999-2000/memorials/Polome/polome.html”
Stafford, William, A Story That Could Be True
Von Franz, Marie Louise
Wilhelm, Richard, The Secret of the Golden Flower