Though I think that the phrase ‘two sides of the coin’ is somewhat limiting and very limiting in this particular context, I have been contemplating what seem to be the predominant two sides of my ‘coin’ (read: me/my practice) and why those to sides are standing out.
Since my book from Iceland arrived my repertoire of study and practical exercises has grown from Ogham Fews an Elder Futhark Runes to include Icelandic sorcery in the form of staves. The three of them combined has left my studies with a rather Northern slant, which is certainly an agreeable circumstance to me. I’m not, just to get this part out of the way, going to discuss the Icelandic sorcery as a kind of third side of the coin because I’m still exploring what exactly Icelandic sorcery is as a whole and what, in a separate order, sorcery as a word means and conveys as a word to describe a magical practice.
The runes and fews have been my primary focus for quite some time now, but as a by product of looking deeper into deity I have been looking deeper into the practices and deities associated with both runes and fews and it has led me to a rather interesting place.
When I consider all the things that I know about the Irish deities and Druidry and compare that to all the things that I know about the Norse deities and the various practices associated with Norse traditions, I have started to see something beyond just their similarities and their differences. I’ve started to see how the two are interestingly counter-pointed by one another. Where the Irish deities and Druids saw the Storm as an expression of extreme power, a fusion of all four elements, summonable but uncontrollable the Norse deities and their practices are very much all about the harnessing of that force and power and using it in accordance with ones will or desire. There are more examples that I could give, but if you’re that interesting in them I recommend that you do your own research and see if they stand out in the same way to you that they have done for me.
I’ve started wondering if there is a reason why this seeming counter-pointing is standing out to me so well and I’ve begun to have some thoughts as to why. The two part harmony represented by the two sides I’ve looked at thus far are reflected somewhat in my own personality and approaches to daily life. The elements of my personality can be, at least in part, be divided into either Irish or Norse dominant traits. To give a series of examples: I’m very concerned with the gathering of knowledge and the pursuit of thinking, stories and poetry and a great many things that are historically believed to have been some of the functions of Druids; however I am also deeply involved in three martial arts and am capable of being quite aggressive or violent; my first instinct is to help someone and to heal; but I know that I am more than capable of protecting someone against a great many things.
There is even something to be said for the similarities between the two that draw me to them. They both share a shamanic approach to other worlds and magical approaches, a combined appreciation of the world in which mortal man lives but through different perspectives. Both sides have powerful magical practices/traditions and again, different approaches to both.
It seems to me that there might be something worth investigating here, and coming back to and adding to once I have explored Icelandic sorcery and sorcery to a satisfactory extent. I don’t think that there is anything special about this observation, nothing divinely inspired or feeling like its drawing to me, I just find it to be an interesting observance.