Of Memory and Necrosophy

As it has been discussed before, there is always an underlying message to myth.

Most myths yield a corpus of material that may allow an operant to further develop their praxis. But, many look at myth as a means to glean what their ancestors might have believed, and many cling to these poems in a literal way – focusing solely on the anthropomorphic forms rather than the inner meanings surrounding these figures and their actions. Whether it be from the Edda, Theogony, or even the Christian Bible, these subtle forms will always be embedded in poetical verbiage and the scrawl of scribes. To effectively work with the many images and forces we deem as divine, one must tread down their overgrown pathways, and enact their work ourselves. We do this in emulation, but also for our own becoming. This is how I view ritual, and have gotten the best results with this methodology.

..any repetition of an archetypal gesture, suspends duration, abolishes profane time, and participates in mythic time.

Mircea Eliade, The Myth of The Eternal return, page 36.

One such myth we can draw a ritual from, is in Ynglinga Saga chapter 4 which gives details a crucial part of Mimir’s story and how he came to talk with Óðinn, and became a medium for his divination:

“Óðinn tok höfuðit ok smurði urtum, þeim er eigi mátti fúna, ok kvað þar yfir galdra, ok magnaði svá, at þat mælti við hann ok sagði honum marga leynda hluti.”

“Odin, took the head and smeared worts, which possessed power against rot, and spoke over it with sorcery, and empowered it so that he could speak with it, and it said to him many hidden lots.”

The first ritual focus is the process of embalming that the sorcerer is enacting.

The first term comes from the word smyrja, which means to butter or smear something on an object. Other ways of using the word, is to anoint something – like a King. What is smeared, is usually an ointment of some sort, judging by the use of the word smyrsl. But since the term is utilized when speaking of butter or fat, this is likely what was most commonly used as the base of said ointment. In later black book traditions, smearing butter on objects, or using butter as a medium to transfer sorcery was common. The medieval fear of witches stealing butter may result from this tradition, as it was fat was/is a crucial piece of survival, especially during the winter months. The importance here should be noted.

The second term urtum, means an herb otherwise called a wort. It essentially is the root and/or stems of a plant. The term jurt is another form of this word, and indicates an aromatic scent accompanying the herbs, and was later used for spices. The strong scents would likely be to rouse the spirit of the being, while preserving the physical form of the head. The word urt, is used for the first brew of malt in each season and was also used for eggs. All of these indicate the components of what was used in combination with the butter/fat.

The second ritual focus is the recitation upon finishing the embalming process.

Óðinn was said to kvað þar yfir galdra or speak with sorcery over the head of Mimir to make it empowered – magnaði. The metrical form of galdralag would have been used when speaking over the now embalmed head of his friend, and is a relatively simple poetic form. These verses were said to be fathered by Óðinn, as he was the father of all sorcery. The term magnaði is key, as it is commonly used when detailing the animate sorcerous power, as in making something like a rock or a tree root. it is not an inherent power already held by an inanimate object, but one given to it, by the use of the object as a medium. A similar word is megin, for might or strength. This is commonly used for Gods like Þórr.

This ritual has obvious elements of Necromancy, though Necrosophy is a proper name for it due to it revolving around obtaining information in the mythic sense. There is a similarity to those rituals of creating a famulus or fétiche, which take up the dead contents of animals or humans and imbue their shades into objects; usually an object carried on an individuals person, or back into their original skeletal remains for use as ritual objects and indenturing a spirit into the servitude of the sorcerer. The process of keeping such a form alive and awake, is to feed it with sacrifices and/or offerings – what type of offerings are all dependent on what you are creating into a famulus. For instance, for Óðinn to gain sight to the fate of his son Baldr, he gave up his eye. Offerings in many cases are like for like. In my experience, most spirits respond more readily to fresh blood and meat.

The process is as follows:

  1. Obtain a vessel you wish to imbue, and place it in your ritual space.
    a. This can be a skull, bone, or limb such as a hand or paw.
    b. You can place this upon an altar, or a specialized bowl or box.
  2. Prepare the roots and stems of the plants you have chosen to rouse the shade.
  3. Prepare the malt.
    a. Grind it into powder.
  4. Prepare the eggs.
    a. This should be less than the butter, otherwise it will not solidify properly.
  5. Render the butter into liquid.
    a. Ensure that there is enough butter to cover the entire vessel.
  6. Combine the contents together as the butter is being rendered, and mix.
    a. Let this simmer.
  7. Once the contents are mixed thoroughly, pour the mixture onto the vessel.
    a. It will dry fairly quickly, so ensure that you cover the entire area of the vessel.
    b. Rub the mixture into the vessel.
  8. Once finished, set the vessel into the ritual space.
  9. Make your first sacrifice/offering.
    a. If using an animal, ensure that the blood is dripped onto the vessel.
    b. If using your own blood, do the same as above.
    c. If using alcohol or some other substance, do the same as above.
  10. Recite your verse/meter as many times as possible.
    a. Ensure that this is memorized, you will need to speak this each time you give a sacrifice/offering.
  11. Meditate on imbuing your intent and focus it into the shape of the vessel.
  12. Depart.