FOI Online Liturgy
Booklet: Athena, Arcadian Awakening
By: Olivia Robertson
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Chapter 2: Iceland
"A POET'S DOWNFALL"
VISITANTS: PATH GUIDE, ELAINE, PRIESTESS OF ALCHEMY. HELPER, AIDEN, PRIEST OF ALCHEMY. DEIRDRE, ORACLE
TEMPLE OF ARTS - ICELAND
AIDEN: It is dramatic to be invited to this extraordinary Temple with a distant view of an erupting volcano. Reminds me of Hawaii. Frey, as Poet and Arcadian, we gather you wish to share your own experiences with us of your Shamanic Awakening.
FREY: Gladly. My Spirit twin, Freya, has counselled it. Everyone in our group needs this Shaman Quest.
ELAINE: What is your quest?
FREY: I had no idea until I reached my goal, and then it was that I lost everything! You shall hear of my downfall. I would like some dramatic music please – Sibelius’ Symphony One. Also red and orange colours – we have the necessary lighting – darkness that then gives way to dazzling colours that affect the chakras. I wish to share my misfortune so that you may help – or fall with me.
ELAINE: We’ll take the risk. Proceed.
PART ONE: FREY'S NARRATION
CLASH OF MUSIC AND PSYCHEDELIC COLOURS.
In the time of my Arcadian life I had all you could think of that could give happiness. I had adoring parents – some too adoring – a pleasant village with a good view of our volcano and a superb school, modernist system, with plenty of skiing. Indeed, I think it was this addiction to climbing a rocky gorge near there that led to my failure – see it silhouetted against the flames of our volcano? I’ve been up there many times and always came down elated with mystical visions. So you see I begin where most of you end - with Arcadian Awakening.
I had it all. My twin soul Freya encouraged me, from her world of spirit, to do deeds of daring. The villagers said I had a charmed life. My mother used to call me Pier Gynt (she was Norwegian). I should have heeded this as an unconscious warning.
One snowy night in November, I was late in returning from an expedition gathering firewood in our sled – not I fear drawn by reindeer but by a motor. It was a night full of the incredible Divine Northern Lights – I should have been more careful, as I made my way home, but I had my eyes on the Lights to the left of the crimson flames of our volcano – and fell into a ravine.
From then on my life changed. Some kindly woodsmen found me and took me to a smart hostel much frequented by visitors – nothing mysterious about them. I felt that our volcano and the Lights were wasted on them. They could only talk of their skiing exploits. So I did not accept their offer of a meal, but sat alone. I wished to attune to the mystique of such a night.
However, there was one visitor who excited my curiosity. He appeared to shun friendly attention much as I was doing. He was wrapped in a long black cloak and I could not catch a view of his face, which was shaded by a wide-brimmed black hat. Then he removed the hat to shake off the snow and I was struck by the dignity of his face. It was aloof, suggesting ancient nobility – not usually seen in our democratic Republic. Suddenly he looked at me with the most brilliant gaze. And when I saw he had a black patch over one eye, I knew I was being scrutinized by Odin. For his eye was not human.
In case you don’t know, this God, expelled from the Hall of the Gods, Valhalla, wanders around the northern lands in the way the Wandering Jew pursues his solitary course. Only at Christmas does he ride in blue cloak in a sledge drawn by reindeers bringing gifts of healing herbs.
With a slight gesture of his long white hand, he beckoned me to a chair beside him. Like one hypnotised, I obeyed. I could do no other.
“Frey,” he said in a deep musical voice, “my old friend! And I see your brilliant sister is with you! What a pleasure!” Here he beckoned to an invisible Presence and indicated another empty chair. “You have come to the crossroads that will determine your life.”
“Your sister has made her choice and is with us in the Holy Realm of Valhalla, domain of the Queen of Spirits, Vala. But you have yet to take up the challenge. It is quite a simple choice. You live a dull life as at present. Or you die and enter Valhalla.”
Suddenly I felt icy cold, as if death’s frozen hand had reached my heart. I began reciting the Lord’s Prayer under my breath and some “Hail Marys”. I hadn’t prayed for years as I deem myself a Norse Pagan. The terrifying thought came to me that this Pagan God was the Devil.
He read my thoughts and smiled kindly. “You are thinking of later Germanic narratives of Us,” he said, “as in the libretto of Wagner’s “Ring”. You think the Gods and Goddesses built a fortress in the sky they named Valhalla, and were defeated by Giants. They were sent forth in the Destruction of the Gods. I am thus The Wanderer.”
“Then, it’s a lie.” I said hopefully. “Only Christian defamation.”
“Not at all,” said Odin, beckoning a waiter for more beer, which he sipped with evident enjoyment. I accepted his offer of a glass, which I drank in gulps, hoping it might help. It didn’t. “At the early stages of our planetary civilization – primitive, though not as primitive as your present evolution – we created a satellite for military purposes – rather the same as your own weapons of mass destruction – you know the sort of thing – you think they keep your people safe from enemies. We weren’t physical as you are – we’d reached a more refined level. For instance you see me, but the rest of the people here can’t. They see you drinking beer, talking to yourself, facing two empty chairs. Where was I? Oh yes. We had not outgrown having enemies though! We used to career nicely round this sun, between Jupiter and Mars. Now who was to blame I don’t know – which warring faction – ‘Giants’ versus ‘Gods’. In a terrific impact with an asteroid we were destroyed. Etherically that is. Our true Spirits naturally continued, having learnt a useful lesson.
"Our ‘Valhalla’ admittedly was smashed up and is now circling the sun as the asteroid belt. Our planet itself was hurled forth by Gods more powerful than us, into Outer Darkness nearly beyond your solar system. Well, I suppose we had rather interfered with the Divine Planetary Arrangements. The asteroid belt is unstable, bits flying off now and then, and our planet on a huge orbit goes the wrong way round, at an acute angle, against the traffic lights you might say.
"I say, you’ve spilt your beer. More? No? Cheer up. It’s really all wonderful. There are, I admit, plenty of false Valhallas, but the Great Goddess Vala is in charge of the real ones, sanctuaries of Spirits and these are eternal. There are four lower material levels, like Glitnir – all glitter, but the top three realms are eternal. And one of these is Vala’s. And I am offering you a chance to reach the true Home of your Spirit where Freya awaits you – with her Apples of Eternity.”
I had heard enough. I panicked - I did not want to die and be with Freya. She’s more spiritual than me – I saw everything I had once despised, as being infinitely preferable – food, people, my work. So to my shame I rose to my feet and fled – I just looked back once and saw three empty chairs. Only then did I realise that I had lost my chance of eternal life. You are my last hope. Is there a second chance?
PART TWO: ALCHEMICAL RITE
THE WANDERER RETURNS.
“THE GOAL AND THE PATH ARE ONE.”
ELAINE: To understand our roots in the past, we need to invoke the Deities of Destiny. Let us seek the Oracle of the Goddess Vala, Queen of Spirits, who dwells in Her Holy Heaven, Valhalla.
AIDEN (RAISES STAFF): Divine Vala, Queen of the Valiant and Defender of the helpless, You who reign in Divine Reality in Heaven while we struggle in dramas on earth, help this man to achieve his Quest to find Eternal Life, the goal of us all.
ORACLE OF THE GODDESS VALA
All that is – is mirrored in one small seed. Those who aim at their own greatness cut at the very roots of the tree Yggdrasil, the immortal ash that is within and without all nature. Men are ever in such a hurry! Sit with me, Frey, on some pleasant grassy slope. Here you may enjoy many lives, and face the fiery heart of a volcano or black depths of a well, yet receive no hurt.
The time has come for humanity to achieve travel in All-Time, All-Space. You long for adventure. So be it! Harken . . . Lost in the icy wastes of a mountain, frozen from all love and joy, is an imprisoned woman. She neither moves nor speaks nor weeps. Her sleep is dreamless as she is caught in No-Thing. My son, rescue this maiden soul, bring her home to Valhalla. But in the attempt you may lose your life.
ELAINE: We give thanks to the Goddess Vala for Her Oracle.
AIDEN (TO FREY): Are you willing to undertake this task though it may lead to your own death?
FREY: I undertake the quest. I have always wondered why young men, including myself, yearly risk our lives trying the impossible – reaching the summit of the Pole Star Rock! It points towards the Pole Star. Warning notices forbid climbers to make the attempt. But as our long winters darken the world, mothers bar the shutters of windows when darkness comes, to stop their young sons seeing the deadly peak. They have heard of a beautiful ice-maiden who dwells there luring would-be lovers to their death. I believe in this legend because I have met Odin’s god-like gaze.
ELAINE: You are ready to make the ascent. I shall be your Path Guide. You will not see me – only hear my voice. In trouble you may call upon the Helper, Aiden, who can aid you in this sphere – and the next.
MUSIC. VIOLET AND GREEN LIGHTING.
FREY: How real this snow is! I could forget the Temple . . . just be here in this blinding storm. But I can hear the soft voice of Elaine – I hear the sound of sea birds from their rock nests . . . I am making my way through the lower slopes of the Pole-Star Rock. I make extremely slow progress. I have been here for hours . . . I am exhausted but I shall not turn back . . . Now I am high enough to face the summit itself which blots out the stars. It is like a terrifying cathedral of ancient Giants! But then I see a wraith-like mist of snow crystals that hides the peak, and the Pole Star behind it.
Ah! It is the form of the most exquisite woman I have ever imagined. No. She is no Woman. At last I behold a Goddess! She is far beyond mere earthly woman. She is robed in snow and shines like ice and her head is crowned by the Polar Stars. She looks into my eyes and I am in heaven of ecstasy. I hold out my arms to her, releasing my hold on the rocks – between me and her is an abyss. I can turn back now – or leap over the abyss to bring her escape from this icy hell . . . I can reach her by a rainbow bridge. I make the leap and fall into total darkness.
I must be dead. I have fallen down a well that seems miles deep. I fall through black cold water. * * *
This is ridiculous. I’m back in that ski resort with noisy visitors. Some kindly men have carried me in front of the fire and women chafe my hands and rub my face – and give me brandy. I hear one of them say to the other: “Another of them! Welcome to Spirit World, young man! You’ve joined the land of the Goddess Vala – you have won the honour of being admitted in Valhalla, for you have died a hero.”
I look around me with astonishment. Those who had presented themselves as vulgar visitors on a skiing holiday, gazing at our volcano – are no less than the Norse Gods and Goddesses! What I took to be a convivial bartender is the mighty Thor. Two or three Valas, co-workers with Vala, are indulging in intellectual discussion with Logi, who is explaining his use of magnetism for his use in their space travel.
Two other Valas are tending to my needs. One of them says to another: “He’s really had an easy transition. Violent deaths are often less traumatic than slow dissolution. That’s why adventurers are apt to end up here. Vala’s Hall is for active service within the Land of Asgard.” She addressed me. “We Valas like to help those who face initiatory death. It can be quite a shock.”
I look around for help. How about Aiden? I hear his voice very distantly: “You already had a Guide but rejected Him as the Devil! Look for a patch over one eye!” I look round. And there, sitting at a table is Odin! Curious - for a moment he reminds me of my old School Master – the one who annoyed me by saying I was spoilt. At first I could not see his companion. She has her back to me. Then Odin beckons to a vacant chair, and I sit down.
“This is delightful,” he says smiling. “It’s so pleasant to have Freya with us!”
Then I can see the woman now that she has pushed back her woolly cap to shake off the snow. She looks into my eyes. She is the Icy Goddess of the Pole-Star. I am totally taken aback . . .
She laughs and says: “Frey, answer me this riddle. ‘What is it that dwells on the peaks, is lost in the abyss and sits all the while in the tavern in Spirit World’?”
I cannot answer. She replies: “The Golden Apple of Eternity is within Goddess and wanderers, earth humans and spirits. Frey, you are still alive in a physical body and so am I. And there is much work to be done. Who knows? We may meet.” * * *
END OF TRANCE.
FREY COMES BACK FROM TRANCE IN ECSTATIC STATE. HE PUTS IT DOWN TO HAVING FOUND VALHALLA. BUT AIDEN COMMENTS THAT HIS TWIN FREYA HAS SOMETHING TO DO WITH IT! IT SHOULD BE INTERESTING TO MEET HER. REPORTS ARE SHARED. THOUGHTS OF HOPE AND COURAGE ARE SENT FORTH.
End of Rite.
A happy few days are enjoyed by the group, including a trip to the volcano but not too near, delightful though Valhalla sounds.
Orcadian Poem by Olivia to the Valhalla motif by Wagner
Love shines like gold in Holy Vala’s Hall
Where dwell the Gods and Goddesses in bliss.
There grows the Tree of Life above the Well of Truth.
Sun’s Apples gleam in Freya’s leafy groves,
Celestial food that brings eternal life.
A rainbow forms an arch
Uniting Heaven and Earth.
Birds call their song of hope to Wandering Souls,
Pilgrims in search of their lost Heaven.
“Within the Mother’s Home
Lies hidden the Source of Life.”
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