June 10th, 2012
|01:30 am - More on the Court of Sif|
So I thought I would go ahead and mention the Chieftains of Sif to give some more information to those interested in the ritual at Summerlands. I also wanted to show a bit of the work I have already put into this project to show that I'm not just talking out of my butt but actually have a plan. Forgive the length. I hadn't intended this to go on and on. But as Odin said, "One word led to another word..."
After getting the idea to do this after attending Ian Corrigan's Court of Brigid last year I first made contact with the Goddess Sif and asked if She was willing to do somethig similar. She was. The next step was to find out who the Court of Sif consisted of.
Essentially the idea is that you start with the Norse Goddess Sif. She has authority over several different areas. To help Her, She has Chieftains, kind of like vice-presidents or department heads. Under the Chieftains you would have all the worker spirits, as it were. The purpose of the Court of Sif rite is to make contact with these worker spirits in order to gain magical allies for specific magical workings. Just like the Goetia grimoire lists various demons, their sigils, and what they could do for the magician.
In Ian's Court of Brigid, he called Brigid's helpers, Powers, or the Queens of Brigid. Sif told me to call her helpers Chieftans and that there were 5. I looked through the Troth Book, Our Troth, second edition, volume 1, in the section that talks about Sif, identifying the various areas that Sif holds power and making notes of each. When I was done I found I indeed had 5. These are beauty, abundance, kinship (especially by marriage), prophesy, and protection. I won't go into the details to save space, but if you want to see my reasoning check the Troth book yourself. The Chieftain are 5 women who, if not goddesess in their own right, are pretty close in terms of power.
I then made contact with the Chieftains using trance journey techniques and asked each if they were willing to work with me to find worker spirits in a rite (the one to be done at Summerland). They were, so I then asked what they would want as offerings for future workings. As I interacted with them I made note of their appearance. I later went through an Old Norse dictionary looking for Norse words to describe their functions. I'm not sure if the words I picked are appropriate, but they sound nice and later the Chieftains approved of them, so it seems that what I came up will work. So Norse language purists, please forgive me. I should work on getting symbols to represent them.
Sigils for spirits is a very traditional part of spirit magick, and I know Ian has come up with an Irish variation to create sigils for each spirit. I would take a more radical view and ask the spirits themselves for symbols that represent their presence or their essence. I started this with my Rún Valdr practice with my Deities. With the Deity symbols when you use them you are immediately filled with their presence which feels wonderful and is perfect for devotional activities. I like the idea of asking the spirits for a symbol rather than randomly creating something. I plan on having the people attending the Court of Sif rite get a symbol from the spirit when interacting with them.. I realize this may tax some people, but we'll see what we get. I actually tried this when I made contact with a spirit under the Chieftain Gnott. The symbol I got is very different from what I normally get for my Rún Valdr symbols.
Getting back to the Chieftains, they are:
1. Beauty - Frithr or Fridr (the th should be the d/th weird looking norse letter). She appeared to me as a tall, blonde woman with long wavy hair and blue eyes. The offering she would like is locks of hair. It should be noted that hair was pretty important to the ancient Norse. In the sagas whenever they described a beautiful woman all they talked about was how long and lovely her hair was. Sif is described as the most beautiful of the goddesses and Her main attribute is Her hair made of gold. Which leads to Her second Chieftain.
2. Abundance - Gnott (there should be an accent mark over the o). She appeared to me as another tall, blonde woman, but her hair was long and straight and her eyes were gold. Her offering should be coinage of some kind. Should be actual currancy.
3. Kinship - Froendi (the o and e should connected) could also be Fraendi. She appeared to me as a matronly woman with curly medium length, light colored hair. Eyes were gray in color. Her offering is bread, homemade if possible. It occurs to me that Amish friendship bread is perfect as you are expected to give starter packages away to neighbors and friends.
4. Prophesy - Spa (there should be an accent mark over the a). She appeared as a woman of medium height with curly medium length dark hair. Her eyes were dark. Her offering should be mead.
5. Protection - Hlif. She appeared as a tall woman with straight, longish, black hair with bangs. Her eyes were blue, but very light in color. She carried a rowan staff. Her offerings are rowan wood. The wood should be touched to the tongue first before being offered.
So that's about it for now. I see that Ian has a rite to do the working part after getting a listing of the spirits and what they do. I may need to either steal this or modify it for my own practices. In my studies I find it better to try to interact with the spirits on a more mental plane than trying to achieve corporeal manifestation on the physical plane. Thus any rite I come up with would be half physical and have mental/trance journey. Working with an inner nemeton or temple would go a long way towards this and thus except for the physical offering, the real interaction would be non physical.
Also thinking back to the ceremonial formula of "Enflaming oneself with prayer" I'm thinking it would be good to make offerings to Sif, then to the Chieftain who rules over the worker spirit, then making the offering to the worker spirit, then switch to a trance state to do the summoning and interaction. Also if you gain a Deity symbol (in this case for Sif) using that throughout the working would further grant you the authority to treat with the spirit. This would be the enflaming oneself with prayer part where you are literally channeling the energy and presence of the Deity throughout the working. Thus we see the short-cuts Rún Valdr brings. No need for long sessions using Barbarous names.
So even following ADF core order of ritual, a brief outline could be such:
Kindreds (ancestors, nature spirits, shining ones)
Chieftain in question offering
Worker spirit in question offering
Trance induction to inner temple/nemeton
Summoning of spirit (use of symbol as a focus, calling by the authority of Sif and the specific Chieftain) Ian has some nice formula for this that could easily be adapted to a Norse audience.
Interaction with spirit (asking for task to be done, settling on final price)
License to depart and thanks to the worker spirit
Thanking Gatekeeper/closing gates
Thanking Earth mother
End of rite.
This rite can be shortened by skipping Earth mother and Bardic as they seem extraneous to a magical working. The kindred also seem a bit extraneous as well for this kind of focused work, but I'm sure that could be debated. I would stick with treating with the outdwellers, maybe even doing a variation of a magic circle, perhaps using the rune Othala, which represents a safe place, that which is known, one's homestead. It delineates the safe and known (where you are working) and the unknown and dangerous (that which is outside your working space).
In the ADF style ceremonial magical ritual that I wrote many years ago I had the idea of using the portals as power sources to the realms of Land, Sea and Sky. Not sure if that would be appropriate here as you are trying to get a spirit to do the work rather than raising energy yourself to get the job done. Most likely it is for another kind of ritual other than spirit work.
I have looked at Ian's blog about the Court of Brigid and read the post by Rufus Opus and his criticisms of trying to slap neopagan names on ceremonial rites in a bad way. I can understand RO's concerns. I would agree that, for example, doing the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram using Celtic God names instead of the normal Hebrew God names would be innappriate. However doing a banishisg ritual created purely from Celtic Lore untainted by ceremonial traits would be very appropriate. Having a banishing ritual is always nice. Bad copy and paste jobs are not. I see what Ian started as taking the concept of spirit work made popular by the renaissance magicians and later ceremonial magicians and approaching it from a purely neopagan ADF way of doing things as very appropriate and useful for ADF folk.
This is similar to how Shining Lakes Grove came in contact with Ana, the Goddess of the Huron River here in Michigan as our Earth Mother. Fox was writing some rite and kept trying to come up with an appropriate river goddess to use. Irish lore has tons of these. Then he thought, hey, why don't we contact the goddess of the river we live by. In other words, trying to contact Boann would do us little good because She is in the river Boine in Ireland, not in the Huron river here in Michigan. When moving to a new watershed, you need to make contact with the goddess of that new watershed you don't keep the old. So Fox started work to contact the Goddess of the river Huron. She's no doubt native in origin, and perhaps appearance, but She was approached in a Celtic manner. We are not trying to do native american things or appropriating native ways. We are keeping true to our own ways. This kind of spirit work pioneered by Ian is similar in scope and tone.
That said, it's getting late and I'm getting tired. Please excuse any spelling errors.
Current Mood: tired, but good
Current Music: stuff on Pandora
I'm looking forward to this. Last year, I had very little, if any, reaction to the Court of Brigid. But I also had not established any sort of mental discipline practice at that point. I'm going on 5 months of regular meditation practice now, and will have a couple of more months in by the time Summerland rolls around this year. So hopefully my experience will be different this year. Only time will tell!