I’ve returned from Ecumenicon 2010, and have had one of the most “spiritual” experiences that I’ve ever encountered. No doubt part of this was due to the fact that there was a huge Norse track. Where else are you likely to have the chance to actually talk to Jane Sibley, Diana Paxson, Laurel Mendes, and Raven Kaldera in close knit circles.
There were many “lessons” i learned from Ecumenicon, most of which are specific to me. However, there are two that seem appropriate to share.
The organic nature of heathen ritual
This was actually a negative experience, with a positive result. I attended a ritual where basically everyone sat in a circle, while the priest and priestess read from a script, and then there was a brief drawing down (we weren’t allowed to ask questions or interact) and then closing “theater.”
For me, I understood the ritual, but it just didn’t feel like it was me. I’ve spent years in Blots and Sumbels where I’ve heard spontaneous stories with deep meaning from not just the Gothi or Gythija, but from anyone in the group. Many of them weren’t planned, they just “came out.” One recent new attendee at the ritual seemed to be amazed at how eloquent and meaningful these spontaneous utterances were.
For me, while the blot structure is “fixed” the organic nature of this participation truly brings meaning to ritual, and its something I’ll take with me wherever and whatever I write. If you don’t draw out the feelings and experiences of those who are there, it begins to feel like you’re being lectured to, rather than partcipating.
In terms of historical norse practice, this is way “off the reservation.” It was divined in 2004, and is still under development. So much to the point that it was originally called “Rune Reiki.”
That aside, I always say “put it to the test” and have tried it, and there does seem to be some effect that it causes. Whether it’s divine effect, or something else to me at this point is irrelevant. The fact is these actions in the “energy field” seem to have a positive effect, and I’ve tried them personally on another person. Additional experimentation needs to be done, and I realize for that many Asatru, even suggesting this is on the lines of heresy. However, I’ve added it to my personal toolbox, and don’t believe it offends the gods.
Everything else? Still being processed. Stay here for details