Water Boys: Heimdall

The Watchman Between the Worlds

Heimdall and His Nine Mothers by W.G. Collingwood

The realms of water, the sea and intuition are by no means dominated by women. Though primarily feminine, to be sure, there are still several masculine deities and energies of water and the ocean. As we are made up of all the elements, though some may be more influential than others, we are all made up of typically “feminine” and “masculine” energies and attributes too.

Just as it is vital for women to be in touch with their more assertive, masculine sides, men desperately need to be in touch with their feminine sides and simply with their own Mother Nature, as we have plainly seen throughout destructive, misogynistic history. The men and gods of the waters exemplify this need perfectly and have much to teach everyone, male and female, about balance and beauty.

I’d like to begin with a personal favorite – Heimdall, of the Norse and Germanic pantheon. You may be familiar with the name and “character” from, if nothing else, Marvel’s Thor comics and movies. While that is hardly an ideal source for any accurate information about ancient Norse cosmology, it has undoubtedly introduced many to the age-old gods of Scandinavia and neighboring countries.

Heimdal, Thor, Odin and the others have been carelessly relegated in modern times to not only the world of comics and over-hyped movies, but often to what is lazily called “Viking mythology”. I should here like to address and put this glaring mis-categorization to bed; there is really no such thing as simply Viking mythology, as the Viking period is but a specific and very limited time in Norse history.

It is far more accurate to say Norse or Scandinavian mythology, as these gods existed long before, and long after, what is known as the Viking Age (only 793-1066 CE, not even three hundred years). That would be like referring to Japanese mythology as merely “Samurai mythology”, only worse as the relatively few Nordic people referred to specifically as Vikings did not last even half so long as the elite military class of the Samurai (from roughly 900 to the 1860s, nearly a thousand years).

It is the popularity of the comics that are only loosely based on Norse lore, not to mention highly glamorizing TV shows, that have led many people to have serious misunderstandings about what these deities and energies really are, as well as the real stories behind them.

Yet there is so much that can be learned and appreciated from the rich history and lore of these countries and their pre-Christian spiritualities. Thor is often lovingly and only half-jokingly called the “gateway god” to Paganism, most particularly Asatru, which is the faith of those “True to the Aesir”, also called Heathenism. Thor and Heimdall have many adventures and exploits together, often on the behalf of the goddess of love and magic, Freya. In addition to Thor, Heimdall is one of the very few specific male deities/energies with whom I work, have forged a strong understanding and even have certain personal elements and qualities in common. If your knowledge of Heimdall comes only from what you have seen in the movies, you may be at quite a loss as to why I write about him in the context of water deities.

However, that is indeed what he is, among other things, though many popular representations don’t do him justice.

Heimdall – Guardian of Bifrost by Howard David Johnson

Heimdall is often considered one of the Aesir, the race and generation of gods which includes Thor, Odin, Frigga, Baldr, Sif and others. One of his epithets is “The Shining Ase” and he was indeed beloved by all those gods. He seems to have been just as frequently, if not more, included with the Vanir – the other, more wild and earthy race of gods – as is stated by Helene A. Guerber in her classic “Myths of the Norsemen”.

Freya Aswynn, one of the world’s leading authorities on the runes and a priestess of Wodan (Odin), also posits in her excellent book “Northern Mysteries and Magick” that Heimdall is actually one of the Vanir due to his repeated connections to the Vana Freya, and by extension to Njord (or Niord), the god of the Sea and father to Freya and her twin brother Frey.

This makes much more sense to me than classifying him as one of the Aesir, and reinforces his primary element of water. Yet it is my personal belief that he is at once perhaps both and neither, though more likely neither.

Heimdall is very much an “in-between” being, in almost every way. He guards the Bifrost, or the Rainbow Bridge, which connects our earthly realm of Midgard to Asgard, the dwelling of the Aesir. Being a bridge, it is not technically part of any world. He is also very unique and pure among the gods in his origin, appearance, character, his abilities and qualities, not to mention his role as a most vigilant and steadfast guardian between worlds.

Heimdall was always depicted in resplendent white armor and he was therefore called the bright god. He was also known as the light, innocent and graceful god, all of which names he fully deserved, for he was as good as he was beautiful, and all the gods loved him.” – Helene A. Guerber, “Myths of the Norsemen”

He also possessed a swift, golden-maned horse named Gull-top, who carried him back and forth over the bridge. Horses are well established in multiple stories and mythologies as sojourners between the worlds, another being Odin’s own magical, eight-legged steed Sleipnir.

All these things speak to Heimdall’s firm position “in-between”.

His most obvious connection to Water comes from his nine mothers who were the Nine Waves of the ocean. They are considered to be the daughters of Njord, who then of course would be Heimdall’s grandfather, supporting Aswynn’s assertion of his status as a Vana. It has been my belief and conjecture that he began as a Vana, or at least closely related to the Vanir, and sort of evolved into his own separate and in-between state, especially once he took the appointment by the Aesir to guard the Bifrost.

His solar qualities, his descriptors of “shining”, “bright”, and his associations with the East and the new day also attribute to him his secondary element of Fire. Indeed he is “fire born of water”, as Aswynn eloquently puts forth. This both links and opposes him to Loki, the god who is wholly uncontrolled fire, and the two are fated foes who destroy each other at the Ragnarok, the destruction of the world that brings forth a new world and a new generation of gods. Heimdall in fact takes the form of a white seal when he fights Loki, therefore a totem animal for him and another link to his primary element of Water.

As the warder of the Rainbow, Heimdall was also the god of the rains and dews which quenched and refreshed the earth. He clearly embodies the forces of light, protection, life and all that supports and nourishes life, especially water.

We see a natural cycle reflected in Heimdall and his role, as he was first conceived and born Below, by and through the ocean, and ascended as a pure and shining god to the role of a protector beloved of all the gods and the only one charged with guarding the sacred Rainbow path from Midgard to the higher realm of Asgard. From Above, where he dwells and stands watch, he sends pure water back down to the Earth that is under the vigilance of his most sharp eyes and most acute hearing. What could be a more poetic allegory and representation for the beauty, necessity, purity and protection that Water affords us, both physically and spiritually?

Water is everywhere, is vigilant, aware and sees, holds, hears and remembers everything. So too does Heimdall. As stated before, he often acts a sort of guardian and champion to Freya. With the help of Thor, who primarily represents strength and fertility, he serves her and performs important tasks for her, often defending her against the mischief of his enemy Loki, as when he stole Freya’s enchanted necklace Brisingamen.

More than beauty, love, sexuality and magic – or rather as all of these combined – Freya ultimately represents life itself, as she is indeed the only one of the original gods of both races who survives Ragnarok. Life goes on and cannot be stopped. Heimdall’s connection to and frequent protection of Freya represents the inextricable link between water and life, and the need life has for both light and water.

Water belongs to itself, generates and regenerates itself and exists in a perpetual cycle that rises and falls between the realms and, together with radiant light, creates both life and the beautiful illusion that is the rainbow. This is the very spirit and elemental power that created and is represented by the deity Heimdall, who is fire born of water, and the magical guardian between the worlds who ensures, even through his own sacrifice, that life will always continue.

Song to Heimdall

To you who guards the Rainbow Bridge
To you who sounds the Gjallarhorn
To you who sees and hears all
Hail to you, hail Heimdall

You are the most Shining Ase
You are the son of the Nine Waves
Loki shall at your hand fall
Hail to you, hail Heimdall!



© Article and original poem “Song to Heimdall” 2019 Meredith Everwhite – All Rights Reserved


Journeys to Sedna

Here is the original, unedited version of an article I wrote for SageWoman magazine, which was published in the current “Wisdom of Water” issue, sent out at the end of December 2018.



She is the fingerless, (hu)man-hating, icy, Inuit goddess of the sea. She is the benthic “Big, Bad Woman” and the transfigured mother of marine mammals. Her palace is made of whale bones and lies beneath the bottom of the Arctic Ocean. She is the punisher of broken taboos and disrespect to nature.

It’s plain to see that Sedna is not a warm or welcoming goddess, but I felt her pull as strongly as a fly pulled to a porch light. No chthonic deity has ever really reached out to me, and it was no surprise that this was the one who finally did speak directly to me, as she is both an ocean and an underworld goddess. Indeed, the two are hardly separable.

The ocean – water itself – is everything. Not only in my personal spiritual practice but for all the world and her inhabitants, on all levels. It is life and death. Sedna is both Life and Death.

That woman down there beneath the sea
She wants to hide the seals from us.
These hunters in the dance house,
They cannot mend matters
They cannot mend matters.
Into the spirit world
Will go I,
Where no humans dwell.
Set matters right will I
Set matters right will I.

– central Arctic song (translated by James Archibald Houston)

Should too many of her sacred taboos be broken, should there be disrespect and abuse of nature and of women, Sedna would draw the seals and other sea creatures the People depended upon down to her palace. The shaman, or angakkuq, would then have a most unenviable task; he would need to journey down to her palace to set matters right, to appease her wrath and comfort her so that she would release the animals who would feed and clothe the village.

This was accomplished by combing out her hair, which became knotted and tangled when her laws were broken. Because her traitorous father chopped off her fingers (during the tragic event that would turn her into a goddess) she was unable to do it for herself. If, for whatever reason, the angakkuq failed to appease her, he could be lost to her abyssal graveyard forever.

When I first began to learn about Sedna, I immediately related with her and her story, and I felt that she was summoning me. At first this was somewhat intimidating, as she is not very welcoming of visitors in the best of times. However, she indeed was the one calling me. Loudly. Her taboos and all manner of natural laws have been broken to bits for ages now, countless crimes against nature, women and all life sending her into a constant rage, yet no angakkuit have been coming to see her, not like they used to.

By my own earthly, given name was she calling, specifically the literal meaning of that Welsh name – “Protector of the Sea”.

Will you live up to that name?” she seemed to be asking.

I don’t know how long a pre-Christian Inuit angakkuq would train and prepare to even be able to make the journey to Sedna, but I did learn that female angakkuit, while rare, were typically much more powerful than males. Perhaps this aided me in my efforts, but it still took no fewer than three tries – three separate journeys – to make it to and into Adlivun to commune directly with Sedna.

The first journey took me to the Arctic and showed me the path down to her palace. It consisted of three obstacles beginning with a whirlpool on the frigid ocean surface. This was the portal down into the sea, deep into the darkness, until reaching a long, deep trench that must be followed and then penetrated to reach an even deeper, darker sea. Then, even from a distance, it was clear what the final test was; the classic beast at the threshold; a dark, looming silhouette against the phosphorescent glow the massive whalebone arches.

The second journey, still consisting of entering through the whirlpool, down to the trench and through it to the underworld, took me closer to the guardian at the palace door. It resembled a huge, terrifying yet beautiful three-headed woman with the lower body of a dragon or sea serpent.

The guardian told me that to enter the whalebone gates and speak to Sedna, I would need to make a third journey, this time returning with a Venus Comb murex. A Venus Comb (Murex pecten) is a seashell, so named for the dramatic spines all around it’s exceptionally long siphonal canal.

Since spring of 2017 I have been studying Michelle Hanson’s Ocean Oracle: a 200-card oracle deck featuring 200 different seashells and the meanings that she has received from them over decades of both biological study and meditation.

I have also had the pleasure of frequently corresponding with her via email, as she does with students taking her certification course, developing a friendship as well as a student-teacher relationship. She lives only two states away from me and when she learned she’d be stopping very nearby on her way North, we planned on meeting in person for the first time.

It was shortly after this that I had made the second journey and was told to come back with the murex. Michelle had emailed me, asking if there were any particular shells I would want to see when we met, and I replied listing several favorites.

I tried my luck a bit further, asking if she happened to have an extra Venus Comb I could buy or borrow. At first, she replied saying she unfortunately had only the one in her personal collection that she used for readings.

She then asked if I wouldn’t mind explaining why I needed it, wondering if using the card from the deck (which also bears the shells energy and is useful in various workings) would suffice. I related my journey and my instructions to bring back a real one and she agreed that, in this case, the picture alone would not do.

It was not only, as I understood it, a test of devotion for me to find and return with one. It would also be the token and tool by which I would complete my version of the angakkuq’s task of combing Sedna’s hair and communing with her.

Not two days after Michelle’s initial response and referral to a website where I could try to buy one, she wrote back again with surprising news. She remembered some boxes in her basement which contained several other “extra” shells and happened to find among them a beautiful Venus Comb murex that she didn’t even know she had.

We met shortly after that, and she presented me not only with the near-perfect Venus Comb, but a handful of precious shell gifts (all deliberately chosen for me for their meanings), most of which now rest under the gaze of a mermaid goddess on my ocean altar.

The third journey down to Sedna was one of the quickest and easiest, and the imposing but familiar guardian was immediately accepting of me and my murex.

In her guidebook, “Ocean Oracle: What Seashells Reveal About Our True Nature”, Michelle describes the meaning of the Venus Comb as “healthy self-centeredness, self-love, focusing on one’s needs, discovering and living one’s truth”.

This meaning was echoed in the energy I felt attach itself to the shell once I took it to Sedna. It is now not only symbolic of an actual comb to repair her gnarled hair (an act which itself is both literal and symbolic) and a powerful key to her realm and the understanding she imparts. It’s also a token of love for Sedna and the Earth, and of self-love.

Sedna knew her self-worth when she left an unhappy and misleading marriage, even though that only led to another disaster in which her father turned from rescuer to executioner. But even that final struggle and heartbreak transformed her into a mighty goddess forever.

It is only when we truly know and love ourselves, and honor our personal truths, that we can learn to have divine love for our precious planetary mother and stand up to defend her. But it is only through Earth itself – spirit, nature and magic – that we come to know ourselves.

So, the answer is always to return home, and to ourselves; return to the Great Mother and nurture that which nurtures us, completing the sacred circle.



© 2018 Meredith Everwhite – All Rights Reserved

featured image: Sedna from The Goddess Oracle deck by Amy Sophia Marashinsky

Conchomancy: Scotch bonnet, the Pioneer

The Scotch bonnet shell came to me unexpectedly this past summer, in a little bundle of shells that I bought from, of all places, Michael’s craft store. I had chosen this particular bag of shells because it had several perfect moon snail shells, along with a few other good specimens I recognized and wanted to add to my collection.

It wasn’t until I got home and got them all out that this lovely, bleached-white Scotch bonnet came to my attention. I could see that it resembled helmet shells I had already studied in Michelle Hanson’s Ocean Oracle, and so wasn’t hard to then identify as Semicassis granulata, a gastropod that indeed belongs to the subfamily of helmet and bonnet shells.

It is so named for the resemblance it bears to a tam o’shanter, a traditional Scottish cap. It might seem a vague resemblance based on the shape alone, but it is also the consistent pattern of colored patches, which look like plaid or tartan, that makes this an appropriate comparison.

tam o'shanter

The Scotch bonnet is a pioneer in the shell world because it was the first ever to be chosen as a state’s official seashell. That state just happens North Carolina, where I was born and where I currently live.

It is not currently included among the 200 shells of the Ocean Oracle, so I suppose I get to be something of a pioneer myself in attributing and describing the meaning of this shell. Though, to be fair, the Scotch bonnet quite plainly shares its very apt meaning, in my opinion, and I just happen to be lucky enough to have additional personal associations with this meaning as well.

It was chosen as North Carolina’s official shell in 1965 to honor the numerous Scottish settlers who founded the state, and obviously it is common to the state’s shores. Scots have been in North Carolina since the earliest permanent settlements, the first significant group being the Argyll Colony in 1739. By the 1780s, it had been estimated that some 20,000 Highlanders had migrated to America in a second wave, most of these settling in the Upper Cape Fear region.

Cape_Fear_Sunset by Sarunas Burdulis

Cape Fear Sunset, photo by Sarunas Burdulis

I have proudly known my whole life that our family is of predominantly Scottish (along with English and Irish) stock on my father’s side, through his mother who was a McClung. However, but a couple of months before the Scotch bonnet shell came to me, I had learned that we are in fact direct descendants of the famed Robert the Bruce, king of Scotland.

Granted, many people are descendants of King Robert and his various children, particularly in America where tens of thousands of Scots settled. Yet I can’t help but feel even more proud and happy to have discovered this lineage. And it was very shortly after discovering this that I first read about the movie Outlaw King, which is all about Robert the Bruce and is actually now on Netflix.

Robert the Bruce

Robert the Bruce

Talk about synchronicity! I had even thought to myself, “Never mind Braveheart, why hasn’t anyone made an epic about Robert? You know, the one who survived and became the most famous king of Scotland!” Well, they finally have! I sadly have yet to see it but hope to very soon.

So, not only do I derive the meaning of “Being a pioneer or forerunner” to the Scotch bonnet shell, but due to the connection to Scottish settlers and heritage in particular, I also attribute energies and meanings of “Ancestry, descent and inheritance”.

The “ancestry and descent” meanings might more fairly apply to those of Scottish persuasion, but it is still a great reminder that we all come from somewhere and that many people from many different places are the reason why any of us live in this country.

However, the more widely applicable “inheritance” meaning comes not only through the obvious ancestral connotations, but from the fact that this shell is a very common choice for hermit crabs to inherit and inhabit. Studies have shown that this is not a random choice, but that the Scotch bonnet shell is ideal due to its weight, size, shape and internal volume, as well as its resistance to predation.

War_of_Independence_figures_by_William Hole

Notable figures in the first Scottish War of Independence, by William Hole

The Scots are renowned as being rather resistant to predation themselves, having long fought English domination in earlier centuries. They are a hardy, brave and patriotic people. They are also brilliant inventors and scientists, and we owe many creations and discoveries to Scotsmen such as penicillin, malaria treatment, the television and telephone, radar, threshing and reaping machines, and even the raincoat!

We also owe some of the most beautiful art, poetry and famous fiction to the likes of John Duncan, Robert Burns and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Let us not forget some remarkable Scottish women who were pioneers and leaders, such as Victoria Drummond, the first female marine engineer who was awarded an MBE for bravery at sea during WWII when she single-handedly kept the engines of the SS Bonita running during a German attack. Also, Katharine Marjory was the first female Scottish MP, elected to the House of Commons in 1923, a very impressive accomplishment for a woman of such a time.

the-turn-of-the-tide John Duncan

Turn of the Tide by John Duncan

We can’t talk about Robert the Bruce without mentioning that he was even crowned by a brave, rebellious woman named Isabella MacDuff (traditionally, the crowning of the Scottish monarch was performed by a member of the MacDuff clan), a countess who defied and left her husband after he sided with the English. As a result, she was imprisoned by Edward I in an iron cell in Berwick Castle for four years.

So, my Scotch bonnet shell now holds a special place with my best and favorite shells on my mermaid altar, reminding me of the brave and legendary king I descended from, as well as all the other Scottish ancestors who settled the state of my birth.

scotch bonnet

My Scotch bonnet shell

This reminds me of a quote I once read from some great and famous thinker or other: “There is no king that does not have a slave among his ancestors, nor a slave that does not have a king among his.”

This is a both an encouraging and a humbling thought. No matter where we descend from, we all have something and someone important and impressive in our ancestral past and genealogy can be a very helpful and empowering tool. Knowing where we come from can tell us about who we are and help us decide where we want to go.

It can also remind us that sometimes we have to start over. We have to be brave, we have to sail into uncharted waters and create something brand new for ourselves and for future generations, or even contemporaries who can learn from our pioneering example.

But we never have to give up who we are, we need only to improve who and what we are. Our past does not have to equal our future. And sometimes overcoming a painful, challenging past and even present can lead to the glorious dawn of an unimaginably better future.

This brings one final, inspiring quote to mind, from the French author André Gide: “You cannot discover new oceans until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.” A fun side note to add to my amazement of other synchronous events of my day, I looked up Gide just now, right after typing the quote from memory, and saw that his birthday was November 22, the day I am writing this! Which also happens to be the Full Moon in my Ascendant sign, and the day the Sun entered Sagittarius. Isn’t it amazing how many wonderful things magically come together the more you pursue wonders and magic..?

Be a pioneer, never stop pursuing new shores and wonders will never cease! And get a Scotch bonnet to remind you to, especially if you have any Scottish blood.

Alba gu brath! (Scotland forever!)

royal scottish flag

 


References:
https://www.ncpedia.org/scottish-settlers
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scotch_bonnet_(sea_snail)

© 2018 Meredith Everwhite – All Rights Reserved

 

2018 Samhain New Moon Oracle of the Waters

October 31st may be Halloween, but it is not Samhain. It is but an arbitrary date and day like any other in a modern, man-contrived and Vatican-imposed calendar. The cross-quarter days – the days halfway between the Solstices and Equinoxes – astronomically and astrologically occur at 15° of the sign of the season. Tomorrow, November 7, is when the real Samhain energy wells and flows, and when the floodgates between this world and the Other are truly open.

Water is the element that has all dominion over this powerful time. On this true Samhain day, the Sun reaches 15° of Scorpio and is joined by the Moon; the invisible, submerged New Moon. It is also Jupiter’s final moment at the critical degree of Scorpio before moving into its second home of Sagittarius.

The Moon forms a favorable, creative trine to Neptune, that supreme ocean lord whose power is currently enhanced by retrograde motion his own home, shared with Jupiter, of Pisces. This Moon also creates opportunities being sextile to the chthonic water-dweller, and younger ruler of Scorpio, Pluto.

Water is my path and my deity. My way is the flow of the Daughter River to the Mother Sea, where the sweet, fresh waters that quench us mingle with the salty womb that bore us; the way of the falling rain, the fleeting morning dew and mists. I listen to the Water and I speak for Her.

This Samhain’s message and lesson comes from both the sweet waters and the salted.

The energy and power of Water reaches its darkest, deepest fathoms in the fixed water sign, the sign of upheaval and transformation, secrecy, deception and death. The salt of the benthic womb of She who is both Mother and Destroyer – Tiamat, Thalassa, Yemaya, Ran – gathers into eerie brine pools at the bottom of the oceans, into the most intense concentration of that essential substance.

These dense pools are like submerged salt lakes, existing at the edge of comprehension where underwater shores form one of the most mind-bending between spaces on Earth.

 

brine_pool_1.still006

Life at brine pool, image courtesy of the EV Nautilus

It is from this realm that the first message comes, from the primeval matrix best represented by the dragon goddess and coiled serpent, Tiamat, the Sea Herself.

In the somewhat Lovecraftian, so-named Grimoire of Tiamat, Asenath Masen states that “…the salty waters of seas and oceans can hardly be considered a nourishing substance. They do not quench the thirst of living beings and they do not make the crops grow. The waters of Tiamat are dissolving, corroding, poisonous and deadly.”

While an understandable point in context, to an extent, this is not altogether true. There are some living things that do not have thirst to quench. There are some living things that are indeed nourished by the deep salt of the sea. The waters of Tiamat are not poisonous and deadly to everything.

Much life is to be found at the sweltering mouths of hydrothermal vents, as well as at the shores of the staggeringly saline brine pools, even though they can be toxic to some marine animals. These few creatures to whom they are not toxic, however, exist and are called extremophiles. It is from these submarine shores and these extreme creatures that we receive a powerful message…

You are all living in extreme times. Many of you are living in extreme conditions, be they literal, physical surroundings and circumstances, or intense, extreme emotional states. These are likely the most burdensome and noxious emotions that are running highest and burning you out – fear, anger, hatred, depression, anxiety, regret, sorrow, loneliness, and all manner of loss that is the result of unwanted change.

But not all that is corroded and dissolved by change need be mourned or missed. There is much to be learned and to be gained from extreme states. Some of you will be poisoned and defeated by them and others will grow through them.

You must learn to adapt and to navigate the harshest conditions with confidence and self-control. Be present in all that you are experiencing and feeling, and find the balance between embracing and understanding those feelings – even the most painful and uncomfortable ones – and thriving in spite of them. Or because of them.

Rise above and beyond what you think simple society or any pretender is expecting of you. Look at yourself and ask what you expect of yourself, and why, and learn to be true no matter who may end up judging or shunning you. Know that those who do so are not worth your time as long as you stand in truth.

Transformation has nothing to do pleasing others, or with lowering or weakening yourself. It is for, by, through and because of the Self. Transformation is a choice, but one that may be made for you if you don’t find that balance.

the-depths-of-the-sea.jpg!Large

The Depths of the Sea by Sir Edward Burne-Jones

 

But there is a light overhead. There is peace and passionate renewal to be found after enduring and rising above the turmoil. In the second part of the message, the fresh rivers, lakes and the falling autumn rains ask us to then surrender, to simply…

Rise up.
Let go.
Breathe.
Flow. 

You have been like the monkey who got his open, slender hand into the narrow trap but will not release the petty prize in his closed fist which is now too large to let him escape. It is time to release your death grip on all that is trapping you in your pain, your sorrow, your anger, your illusion, your delusion. Give up the game. Relax and let go.

Sometimes your best laid plans and intentions are simply not meant to be. It is time to drift with the currents of life and trust that the cosmic rivers will carry you to safer, sweeter shores.

Perhaps you have been obsessing over everyone else and what they are doing. You may be worrying about everyone but yourself. You cannot control them. You can only control yourself, your reactions and your choices.

Soon you will heal and you will dwell by the waters of life that glisten in the Sun, no longer toiling or sorrowing deep in the stinging, extreme crucibles of Fire and Water that are forming you into the diamond you are meant to become.

Thekelpie_large

“The Kelpie” by Herbert James Draper

May you bravely dive down deep into the sea of transformation during this Samhain time, and in so doing rise up and connect to your higher self and the higher truths that are ever reflected in and carried by the primordial, cosmic waters that flow all around us here on Earth.

 

© 2018  Meredith Everwhite – All Rights Reserved

Mermaid Medicine: The Sacred Conch Mudra

In recent months I have revisited my interest in mudras, spiritual hand gestures within the practice of yoga. Of the mudras I was researching, one in particular caught my eye and made me laugh with surprise and delight when I read about its meaning and use.

It is called the Shankh Mudra; Shankha meaning “divine conch”. I was soon after only more delighted to get to the lesson in Michelle Hanson’s Ocean Oracle which included the Indian Chank shell (Turbinella pyrum).

The mudra is made by encircling your left thumb with the four fingers of your right hand, and touching the tip of your right thumb to the tip of your left middle finger.

shankh-mudra2.jpg

This shape resembles a conch shell, which is very sacred within Hinduism and Buddhism, and is one of the Ashtamangala – eight sacred symbols and teaching tools of enlightenment. The conch represents the sound of dharma, the “right way of living”.

The Shankh Mudra benefits the throat chakra and is intended to drive away all problems associated with the throat. This, combined with its association with a shell, is what made me laugh and associate it with mermaids and what then presented itself to me specifically as “Mermaid Medicine” – methods of spiritual and emotional (and physical) healing that resonate with watery, mermaid energies.

mermaid-circle-graphic-sheet-1-5-in.jpg

Mermaids are famous for their beautiful voices and songs. At some point in our lives, we may experience pains and challenges that rob us of our ability to communicate effectively, to speak our truths, or to use our creativity to express ourselves. These hindrances are likely to manifest as blocks or illnesses of the throat or the throat chakra.

Practicing the Shankh Mudra regularly, especially while chanting “OM”, is said to improve the voice, as well as heal and strengthen the throat chakra.

throat chakra

Visualizing and/or evoking mermaid energies or even a specific mermaid goddess while practicing this mudra can further enhance its effectiveness and give it a personalized focus and intention, if mermaid energy resonates with you as it does with me.

In the Ocean Oracle, the Indian Chank shell represents “Something or someone held sacred or dear”, drawing from the shell’s intense spiritual significance to Hinduism (and other Eastern practices).

I think, in the context of using this mudra, this meaning can be extended to valuing your own voice and expression, holding your personal truth as sacred and dear as any deity or other spiritual belief. Meditating on this shell and its meaning while performing the mudra can also enhance its power and give it further personal meaning, as well as teach you to be true to yourself and to have the courage to speak your truth, and to speak it righteously.

The Hindu god Vishnu is often depicted holding the Shankha, and is therefore another appropriate evocation.

Vishnu

Here is an affirmation that you may use, or customize, before or during use of the Shankh Mudra…

My voice is sacred as the holy shell.
Shankha Mudra, heal and clear my throat
So that I may speak and share it well!

Namaste!


© 2018 Meredith Everwhite – All Rights Reserved

Resources: Ocean Oracle by Michelle Hanson
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashtamangala
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turbinella_pyrum