Old English spellian “to tell, speak, discourse, talk,” from Proto-Germanic *spellam (source also of Old High German spellon “to tell,” Old Norse spjalla, Gothic spillon “to talk, tell”), from PIE *spel- (2) “to say aloud, recite.”
Often I hear of people desperately searching for the wording to spells. Trying to find exact wordings and the meanings behind those words so as to do things just right. Well, here is what spirit taught me on this subject.
Our European forebears spoke words over their works. Often this was seen as they applied herbs to wounds or while making certain formulas for healing purposes. They were also seen sitting around the fires or off out in the woods reciting words that had a certain cadence or phrasing. Whether observed by accident, by sneaking children or others who wanted to learn but really didn’t understand just yet. It seems a misunderstanding developed and was greatly furthered along by the inquisition forces that swept across Europe.
Spells are words with intent. Intentions are released through the focusing of energetic forces of both thought and action. The action being primarily speech in this instance. Though one can also add the alteration of herbs or other physical actions as well to the formula.
A shamans apprentice or onlooker may hear the words and try to memorize them. Understanding that in order for the formula to work the words must be 100% correct. The perception by the onlooker is, in part, a false one caused by the assumption that the onlooker “thinks’ they understand a complex thing.
The fact is that these spell workings come to a shaman over time. Yes, a master shaman has many spells that an apprentice may have to initially learn. However, these are only meant to guide the apprentice as they being shamanic practice. In the years ahead. these word workings will help an apprentice develop their own spells over time with the guidance of spirit. Anyone starting a profession first must be given enough info to understand how things work before they go off making their own creations. It is no different in shamanism. Make no mistake about it. Shamanism is a spiritual professions that takes many years to develop. It is said that the Druids were trained up over a 20 year period!
Spell work has a pattern to it. Certain things go first and last. Certain things are repeated and others mention only once. Certain things are avoided and others are a must. A master shaman can work a spell, chant, sing songs for hours at a cadence and rhythm that would amaze the most profound of poets and uplift any sullen heart. There was a time though this shaman knew very little. The spirits that guide a shaman are the ones who make the songs, chants and spells which now flow from the heart and over the lips for ears to hear.
Much of what can be learned in word working will be taught by the spirits. Though this usually is some years into shamanic practice because there is much more that need be sorted out first. Namely, the apprentice needs to sort out their own internal struggles and develop a proper relationship with the greater circle around them. There is much work to clear the way and make corrections to any contrariness that has been brought about over the years. There is often much work to clear the way between the apprentice, The Great Mother Earth, The Great Father Sky and The Void of Green that lies between as well as the four leggeds, two-leggeds, slithering ones, crawling ones, burrowing ones, swimming ones, flying ones, the mountains, the tree peoples, the stone people, etc… Much work indeed!
Spell work is a craft of sorts. As is the knowing of herbs, the ways of the wild kin and other works of a shaman. In the past, as aforementioned, these skills would be passed on to an apprentice. This apprentice would be nurtured over the many years until the master shaman crossed the rainbow bridge. At which time the spirit of the master shaman would aid the apprentice who now became the master shaman for the tribe. This cycle was catastrophically broken across the majority of Europe during The Burning Period, aka, Christianization.
Shamanic practitioners (I am including in this lot those of seidr and other latter practices which had their root in shamanism) were hunted down and eradicated by The Church. It is quite understandable that the number of master shamans would be greatly reduced. Leaving apprentices hiding with whatever teachings they could remember but a lack of greater understanding. Certainly there have been a few who figured it out but even they were suppressed. Having to hide amongst the very ones hunting them down. Trying to blend in and syncretize the old ways with the conquerors religions. Just to preserve the essentials, so that later, their descendants could revive the old ways.
We can now see how we come full circle in the false notion of having to know the exact wording of the spells, chants, incantations, songs, etc… Yes, the apprentices need learn this way until the master shaman teaches them the inner advanced techniques. As more master shamans are reborn in Europe we will slowly do away with these falsehoods. As long as people like you are willing to open your hearts and minds to learning…. we will be here to teach you along with your ancestral spirits!
(Future posts I’ll reveal more advanced techniques for apprentices to follow. Subscribe now )