This morning I was reflecting on how the Mythos of any religion relies on symbols taken from Nature in order to guide and deepen human understanding. From the Christian religion, for example, Jesus often talks about the need to “wake up.” His examples parallel the waking and sleeping cycles of day and night, but His meaning is far deeper. His meaning is the same as the Buddha’s when the Buddha talks about the process of Enlightenment. Jesus and the Buddha are talking about a process that every human being will go through from birth to death, and from death into rebirth.
The process begins, perhaps, with self knowing. The process is like an ascent and a descent on the Tree of Life. We “ascend” and “descend” between the conscious, ordered mind, and the Subconscious mind, which may often seem chaotic, turbulent, and not always comfortable. There is a layer of “sleep” in waking life that is the accumulation of conditioned awareness that prevents people from truly awakening into the life of the higher mind. And sometimes when people think they are awake in the higher mind, they fail to recognize all of the turbulence hidden beneath the seeming of their surface calm. The shadows of the depths, once faced courageously and sincerely, can bring us great treasures for an authentic life. The ocean surrounding Midgard and the Midgard Serpent that dwells within those waters represents this layer of sleep in the Norse Mythology.
I love the Mythology of Yggdrasil and the Nine Worlds and the lives of the Gods and Goddesses, Giants and Giantesses, Norns and Valkyries, Elves and Dwarves upon the Tree. The stories that remain to us from these old Germanic, Norse, and Scandinavian traditions are full of lessons of honor, humor, trickery, and striving. Magic is as real as science. The Norse Tree of Life itself provides a pattern for human striving. The example that humans were created from trees ties humanity to the life of the Forest and to the consciousness of trees being among the highest level of consciousness holders in the plant world.
There is a way to draw the Rune Algiz that ties us more firmly to the connection Trees make to the higher and lower properties within ourselves. This way of drawing Algiz is not reversible, and addresses the cognizance of which I am speaking – that one can always be connected both to the highest in one’s self and the lowest.
I have drawn this style of ALGIZ twice. The small circle in the drawing to the right represents humanity in Midgard/Middle Earth. In alchemical terms from the Emerald Tablet, “As above, so below,” our body is our Earth. Humans comprise the physical and the spiritual within our own bodies, and this is a sacred thing, as Odin breathed Life into two trees (Aske and Embla), Vili provided Will, and Ve provided the colors, sensations, and perceptions in accord with “blooming hue,” the blood that flows, the movement of the body, and the sensations recorded as perception. All of these are capacities the body, which houses our spirit, provides us during any one lifetime.
There is so much more to be inferred from this Mythos, but for now this is enough. What does it mean to have body, breath, and will? What does it mean to have awareness, attention, and the capacity for intention? Herein lies our potential.