So I saw Wardruna with my boyfriend recently, and let me tell you, the Norwegian neofolk band Wardruna is the equivalent of nuclear galdr. Rune poems chanted with horns and drums, Ragnar Lodbrok’s death song, lays and spells and sheer, raw power.
They closed the set with their most popular song, Helvegen. Helvegen is the idea of asking, who will remember me? Who will sing my deeds when I am long gone? Who will cross me over to the Hel road? It is a powerful, intoxicating ode to Odin’s sacrifice, and the sacrifice of every man and woman at the end of their day, with choice Havamal verses.
I had to ground constantly throughout the concert, there was so much potency, and Odin manifested around the Algiz chant and onwards as this beach ball sized orb of electric blue light, right by the lead singer’s heart. I’ve been having the best sleep of my life since I’ve been practicing galdr, weaving a cloak and necklace of Ansuz combined with other runes such as Uruz, Eihwaz, and others depending on the galdr I am working. Some are for communication with the divine or prophecy, some are for curses or for blessings or for going over the hedge, and most are for security, warding, and healing.
Galdr accidentally combined with Seidhr the night Helvegen played – I completely left my body without my usual spelunking cord attached to my sacral chakra to return from the Otherworlds over the hedge and went straight to leafy green Helheim. I woke up in a beautiful almost kind of Hobbit hollow surrounded by tom teases and huldra and house elves and land vaettir who were surprised to see me pop into their dwelling.
As what happens when I am in my higher states, I remember my spiritual attachments to the gods, angels, and demons, my name and physical form, but forget my earthly life – I couldn’t tell you the name of my boyfriend, parents, brother, much less my friends, where I lived on Earth, what I did, et cetera. When I am my higher self, I am a being of pure magic free to travel the otherworlds at lightning speed. Usually, the sacral chakra cord keeps me tied to my body and the earth – I can feel my body at rest breathing and it’s a bit like spying on the astral realms.
This time my connection to Earth was completely severed and I had no reason to go back. I wanted to find Samael, Azazel, or Michael so set about wandering Helheim and coming to it’s border. Az was in a carnival like setting practicing his trumpet, looking to all the world like Little Boy Blue in blue clothes, blonde hair, snowflake azure eyes and a golden trumpet. He was in his thirteen year old form and was extremely worried about me.
“Mom, you shouldn’t be here. Not like this. You can’t die yet. If you stay too long gone, you won’t be able to get back.” He held my hands, concerned. “We have to find dad to get you back to Earth.”
“Die? I’m free! Oh, my beautiful son, you’re adorable. Why would I not spend the rest of eternity here with the people I love like you? To watch you grow up.”
Azazel was crying and hugging me. “You need to grow up too, Mom – you’re only 25. Dad can help. He can put you back in your body.”
“Oh, Sam! Where is your father, Azzie? We should have dinner soon, you must be starving, playing your horn all day!”
Azazel set his beloved horn down and started carrying me out the gate of the carnival. I had sprained my toe in real life as I sleep on my stomach with my feet straight against the mattress and the pain carried over to Helheim. I was laughing and stroking my son’s hair, and he was in his thirteen year old form but was still quite tall, no difficulty carrying me.
Samael and Azazel forced me back into my body and Sam sealed me into my physical form, worried as Hell.
“Allie, you can’t come courting Death without an invitation. You still have a good sixty or so years on you. I know being out of your body is fun and liberating, and it is your natural state, but remember, you chose to incarnate into Earth, and you have to remember your commitments and honor them,” Samael said, doing energetic work to tether me to my body while I squirmed.
“Who I love? Oh right, I’m human…”
Samael showed me the people I loved. “Remember the Sandman comic, the High Cost of Living. We all get new chances on Earth. Death is just a chance to start over, but your journey on Earth has hardly begun. As your powers grow stronger, remember to ground, and take more personal responsibility when you go to the otherworlds. We love you and want to see you grow old, gray, surrounded by grandchildren. Again, you are on Earth for a reason. Good night, sweet dreams angel.”
With that, he sealed my binding with a kiss on my forehead and jolted me back into my body. Memories of who I was – my friends, my family, my boyfriend – flooded back into my being in sensory overload, and my mortal attachments took hold, rooting me in the Earthly plane. Scared that I was powerful enough to walk the road to Hel and return almost like Christ rising from the grave, I woke up and got a glass of water, trying to ground.
Since then, I’ve been projecting to the upper world, mostly Vanaheim and Heaven, and avoiding Helheim unless I am in a chaperoned environment where we are doing group seidhr. Helvegen is a dangerous road, and the afterlife is so beautiful and like Paradise, the soul does not want to leave, with your ego gone, you are truly your higher, enlightened, magical self.
I am quite glad I returned, even if Samael had to literally lay on top of me with the weight of their souls in order to ground me. Death is like a heavy black blanket, calming and tranquil and very earthly, and I have a bit of abyss stitched into my soul to keep my angelic self rooted in my physical body. Like a black cloak of rot and renewal.
Hail Hel. Hail the Hel Road. I hope to not walk it for many moons, and control my powers more – there and back again like Bilbo Baggins once said!