December 23, 2020 — Deer. Serpent. Wolf. Eagle. The kindred-animals of the Æsir can still be ridden by skilled truth-seekers in command of the spiritual.
Especially during Yuletide, when the veil decorating the entrance to the otherworld is at its thinnest. Speaking of the otherworldly, Verjaseiðr — the name of our new album — can be interpreted as “spiritual protection-habits” or “defense-magic”, both of which are heathen, spiritual concepts that relate to the title of our album. One such track in particular is Ǫndskuggi which means “soul shadow” or “shadow-self” — a well-known psychological concept that deals with the dark side of anyone’s unknown, deeper personality.
The shadow-self is unconscious, instinctive, and irrational. Besides, the soul’s darker side seems to view the success of others with resentment. This is because on an unconscious level, success in others can make the shadow soul feel inferior. Hence, the shadow-self of many individuals, especially when part of a group or a mob of people, begins to project the group’s own collective shortcomings — their complexes — blaming others who are more fortunate. When this happens, the shadow-self often reveal itself as an evil, chaotic, and unjust force. It becomes an untamed darkness of the collective unconscious that is almost impossible to control.
Our ancestors had to constantly fight chaos like famine, jealousy, greed, and disease — what they might have thought of as primordial evil. Chaos would always encroach on our forebears, not unlike how in the modern day, evil can invade your mind through propaganda which infiltrates your thoughts, so they are no longer your own. Given the chance, evil will always seeks to occupy and control. Unless stopped resolutely in its track, evil will let ignorance and avarice run the world — and thus also the future lives of our children.
The ancient arts of seiðr allowed its practitioners to protect against evil and foretell the future. Thus, the Nordic tradition of seiðr would provide tactical advantages and the element of surprise in battles against the Romans, the Huns, and the Christianized Franks, to name a few. Roman historian Tacitus is one of many sources who reports of seiðr being used in warfare; Julius Caesar is another reference telling of seiðr-like rites that were conducted against the Romans [when they arrived on the shores of Britannia to invade.]
Facing true evil while knowing it is real, and also that it might destroy the world we know, is kind of a blessing: Without facing great evil, how would we ever know the greatness of our own humanity, or the strength of our own character?
In the distant past, seiðr was used to heal and protect against the ubiquitousness of primordial chaos and ill deeds. Like its Óðinn-powered counterpart galdr, the arts of seiðr can effectively expose the wickedness of corrupt men and vile women. Likewise, seiðr can also be used to neutralize and thwart (“verja” in Old Norse) the dark forces of humanity.
Our ancestors live on within us, and you might be surprised at how well you might do if you try reaching out to yours. Our ancestors knew they would not be around forever and that what mattered most was what they did while they were here. Which is why we need to call upon them now to inspire us to stand our ground. The time has come for many of us to resolutely draw a straight line in the sand.
The above aside, we wish you an incredibly fruitful and relaxed Yuletide. Why not seize the occasion to swear an oath for the good of your family? That is what the people of ancient Fennoscandia did at jól, no oaths were taken more seriously than those sworn on the long dark nights of winter and Yuletide. It seems to have worked out well for them, since no power has ever been able to bury the memories of the great men and women who came before us.