The Way of the Wyrd: Tales of an Anglo-Saxon Sorcerer.
By Brian Bates http://www.wayofwyrd.com
The following are excerpts from various conversations between the Saxon Sorcerer
Wolf and the young Christian missionary sent to study his ways.
On the Nature of Wyrd:
To understand our ways, you must learn the true meaning of wyrd… Our world began with fire and frost. By themselves, neither fire or frost accomplish anything.
But together they create the world. Yet, they must maintain a balance, for too much fire would melt the frost, and excessive Frost would extinguish the fire.
But just as the worlds of Gods, Middle-Earth and the Dead are constantly replenished by the marrying of fire and frost, so also they depend on the
balance and eternal cycle of night and day, winter and summer, women and man, weak and strong, moon and sun, death and life. These forces and countless
others, form the endpoints of a gigantic web of fibers which covers all worlds. The web is the creation of the forces, and its threads, shimmering with power,
pass through everything.
You may start at any point in the web and find you are at the center.
Wyrd existed before the Gods and will exist after them. Yet wyrd lasts only for an instant, because it is the constant creation of the forces. Wyrd is itself,
constant change, like the seasons, yet because it is created at every instant it is unchanging, like the still center of a whirlpool.
The pattern of wyrd is like the grain in wood, or the flow of a stream, it is never repeated in exactly the same way. But the threads of wyrd pass through all
things and we can open ourselves to its pattern by observing the ripples as it passes by. When you see ripples in a pool, you know something has dropped into
the water. And when I see certain ripples in the flight of birds, I know a warrior is going to die.
So wyrd makes things happen?
Nothing may happen without wyrd, for it is present in everything, but wyrd does not make things happen. wyrd is created at every instant, and so wyrd is the
The threads of wyrd are a dimension of ourselves that we cannot grasp with words. We spin webs of words, yet wyrd slips through like the wind. The secrets
of wyrd do not lie in our word-hoards, but are locked in the soul. We can only discern the shadows of reality with our words, whereas our souls are capable of
encountering the realities of wyrd directly. This is why wyrd is accessible to the sorcerer: the sorcerer sees with his soul, not with eyes blinkered by the
shape of words.
Do not live your life searching around for answers in your word-hoard. You will find only words to rationalize your experience. Allow yourself to open to wyrd
and it will cleanse, renew, change, and develop your casket of reason. Your word-hoard should serve your experience, not the reverse.
Words can be potent magic indeed, but they also can enslave us. We grasp from wyrd tiny puffs of wind and store them in our lungs as words. But we have not
thereby captured a piece of reality, to be poured over and examined like it is a glimpse of wyrd. We may as well mistake our fistfuls of air for wind itself, or
a pitcher of water for the stream from which it was dipped. That is the way we are enslaved by our own power to name things.
Thoughts are like raindrops, they fall, make a splash, then dry up. But the world of wyrd is like the mighty oceans, from which raindrops arise and to which
they return in rivers and streams.
Rune images are the like the shifting cloud-shapes of wyrd. The dimensions and format of each rune can be learned by anyone, the way in which a set of runes is
interpreted in a particular context requires the knowledge of a sorcerer. They are not to be read like a simple set of sounds, for the runes have been evolved
by the spirits by correlating all the dominant cycles and forces which course through Middle-Earth.
Wyrd is too vast and too complex, for us to comprehend, for we are ourselves, part of wyrd and cannot stand back to observe it as if it were a separate force.
Just as fisherman cannot see the full extent of the sees, so even a sorcerer cannot view the totality of wyrd. So we carve runes into wood or bone and cast
them like nets onto the sea of wyrd. The messages the runes bring back are like a good catch: enough for us to feed on until the tides of life carry us back
Can you change the world by manipulating the symbols?
The forces of wyrd are like the winds and tides for a fisherman. If they are known a sailor can trim his sails to adapt to them. He can be in harmony with
the forces, and use their power. But he cannot thereby change them.
Each rune is a complete representation of wyrd. Just as one drop of water reflects a perfect image of all that is around it, so each rune reflects the
totality of wyrd. The rhythm of wyrd may be observed at all levels, whether it be the movement of the stars across the sky, or the cutting of runes….”
On Life, Death and the Soul
The secrets of life and death are different for a sorcerer. The patterns of wyrd far exceed the horizons of the ordinary person for he is capable of seeing only
short spans of time. Your eyes break up the course of life into tiny segments and label them as separate entities. The eyes of a sorcerer do that have this
false focus. Life is comprised of waterfalls, rapids, eddies, and whirlpools, but they are all part of the same watercourse. For me, life and death flow
together as one river. For you, life is a series of unconnected rain puddles, and death comes when the sun dries them up.
What does your view of life and death to do with a warrior being hacked to pieces? Surely he had more summer and winters to live?
Both warriors who fought in the hall had probably accepted the inevitability of death before they even stripped for combat. The finest warriors use death as a
resource, for they must live with their wits all the time, whereas for most people life is based on the assumption that they will live to an old age. With
the illusion of time to spare, their lives lack urgency, intensity. A life of fantasy takes over like a fungus. Thoughts become clouded with images of future
events and the actions and emotions of the present are postponed indefinitely. The warrior must accept, deep within his heart, that one day he will die and
that could be today.
For the sorcerer, also, death is resource, for living with wyrd takes us to the limit. Your life, in which avoidance of death is paramount, means that you live
constantly within your capabilities, for to push to the limits is to risk death. But the sorcerer has to accept his own death, for when he approaches the
spirits, he is like a moth heading for fire-flames.
Within each person three forces surge like streams converging on a whirlpool. These forces are the life-force, soul and shield skin…The soul is the essence of
Wyrd, present in everything. It is the very being of which we are formed. The soul is what gives form, pattern and direction to all things for it forms a
shield skin around the life force, enveloping vitality in a recognizable shape. The form of the shield-skin defines the kind of creature we are. The shield must
be continually maintained with each succeeding breath, for if not then life-force would burst from it like molten metal, uncontrollably leaking back
into the earth. The soul is the essence, and at the moment of death, when the shield-skin ceases, and life-force returns to the Mother Earth. The soul leaves
the body and lives an existence separate from it.
On Mutually Arising Events and the Task of the Sorcerer:
It is not the question of one thing causing the another. Rather, they arise together, held up by the web of wyrd. Your mission, the dead warrior, the sick
horse, and my presence were bound together surely as sun, showers and rainbow.…Your arrival trembled the web. The flight of the ravens trembled the web. My
presence vibrates the web. The battle of warriors and the sick horse trembled the web. All our lives are locked together in the shimmering world of wyrd in
which all things are enmeshed and connected to one another by the threads of wyrd. ….The wyrd sisters spin the web of wyrd and weave the loom of life, they
do not thereby determine it…the wyrd sisters simply express the will of wyrd.And so do we. We cannot control our lives, because we too are inseparable
aspects of wyrd and express its will. But this is not the same as saying our life is determined. Rather, it is saying we live like an ocean voyager, trimming
our sails to the winds and tides of wyrd as we skim across the waters of life.And cresting the waves of wyrd is something that happens at every instant. The
pattern of life is not woven ahead of time, like cloth to be worn later as a tunic. Rather, life is woven at the very instant you live it.
If there is no free-will, how can someone change his life for better?
Patterns change as they are woven. A pattern that is complex has more scope for change, for there are many more themes on which a new pattern may be based. But
even the simplest of lives changes over the course of time. The task of the sorcerer is to become fully aware and sensitive to all nuances of his
life-design as it unfolds.
The Power of the Sorcerer:
This is where lies the power of the sorcerer: the ability to control the source of life force, and raise the level to such an extent that power radiates along
his life fibers and throughout the web of wyrd.
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