by: Personified on Jun 13, 2013|
Before I go too far into this, I'd like to take a moment to say a few things. To begin, channeling/horsing is not for everyone. Some people simply have a harder time with it than others do. What I'm going to be discussing in this article is not for someone who is new to horsing, so I would advise you learn more about what channeling is before attempting it. I'd also like to point out that I will be discussing Fenrir, who is more or less an embodiment of destruction. He is not to be taken lightly. We often call him the God of Last Resorts, and he certainly owns up to that name. If you decide to do this in a group setting, be sure that you have permission from everyone involved and that it is mutually consented. This is not something you should look into on a whim. Be smart with what you do.
The Wolf-Son of Loki
There are some articles here on the site that already introduce Fenrir and tell his story, so I would suggest that you read them to learn more about whom Fenrir is and his background if you have never heard of him till this point. I'm not going to spend a lot of time reintroducing him. I would also say, if you have no idea who Fenrir is- you shouldn't bother reading the rest of the article anyway:
Fenrir is the wolfson of Loki and the giantess Angrboda. He was born along with Hel, Goddess of Helheim and Death, and the Midgard Serpent. When he was born, the Gods of Asgard heard a prophecy that Fenrir would grow to an unimaginable size and strength, and bring about destruction. In the end, the Gods bind Fenrir- and he remains bound until Ragnarok, when he is released and he seeks revenge upon Odin by devouring him.
To get a description of what knowing and working with Fenrir is like, I'd highly suggest this link:
" To see Fenris is to see a magnificent creature who must be chained, or he'll eat the world. It's seeing the grandeur of a hurricane, an earthquake, a solar flare, and knowing that this too is the hand of the divine... and at the same time knowing that they will do terrible harm ."
Fenrir serves the purpose of teaching a few lessons. One such lesson, as suggested in the Rokkatru ethics/values is Shadow: Learn to love and find sacred all the parts of yourself, even the darkness. Honor them by making a safe place for them, where they can neither be harmed nor harm others. Fenrir teaches about learning to accept the primal nature that is within all of us, but also learning how to bind and put away the negative aspects of ourselves while still accepting them and honoring that part of you. Another lesson he teaches is Extremity: he teaches us about our boundaries, how to push them, and the definition of the word "intense". He makes us ask ourselves: "What would you die for? For what would you suffer torture, imprisonment, pain and never entertain the thought of giving in?" as Raven K puts it. There are valuable lessons about the self to be learned from Fenrir, if you can withstand him.
Horsing Fenrir: The Ins and Outs
Actually channeling Fenrir is seen as a rare, sometimes dangerous, thing. There are only a few reasons why one would normally horse him:
As an offering- to "feed" him and his hunger through tribute.
To help enter an altered state of mind, such as in berserking.
To learn Fenrir's lesson about extremity and the shadow-self within all of us.
To attempt to horse Fenrir for a reason outside of this is likely not wise. He is not a God of light and fluffyness, and he is not gentle with those who try to work with him. In fact, he doesn't distinguish much between those who work with him and those who don't- being the kind of entity he is, he'd likely harm both without hesitation. Dont go into this work expecting to be coddled and held.
Fenrir typically likes to be offered blood and voluntary pain, which is why horsing him can also be viewed as ordeal-work:(http://www.spellsofmagic.com/read_post.html?post=423612). Ordeal work can roughly be defined as the use of intentional/meaningful pain and endurance to force the body and consciousness into the desired altered state. An ordeal or traumatic experience is used to stimulate some sort of change. This work can be one of the more "scary" ones to those who do not understand its purpose, and to those whom would abuse it. When the word pain is used, it tends to mean "non-injurious pain": large amounts of severe pain are not typically used. Rather, enough pain to stimulate the body is all that is needed.
There are various types of ordeal workings: cutting, branding, flogging, bruising, tattooing, scarification, whipping, piercing, etc. However, not all of these are often used and it is important to note the dangers with using some of these. Safety is a must! Rubbing alcohol, sterilized equipment, someone with medical training, etc should be used. A person doing these types of workings should be skilled and practiced in them. There isn't some special book or six-week program you can go through to learn the processes and safety techniques required in something like this. It has to be learned from experience. Another thing to note is that not all ordeal workings deal with physical pain or trauma. There can be fear ordeals, or trust ordeals, or trial ordeals, or simple endurance ordeals.
Having said all of that, it is not uncommon for ordeal work to be incorporated into the Horsing of Fenrir. To get into the right state of mind for channeling, a person may choose to give a blood offering to him. A large amount of blood is not needed, so don't go overboard with it. They may choose to inflict pain in another way, to achieve the state of mind they are seeking and to make it easier for channeling to occur. That is all up to the Horse, or the individual doing the channeling. None of that should be done unless specifically required by the Horse themselves and with their permission and consent.
Before attempting to horse Fenrir, you'd obviously want to make sure you have a good connection or relationship with him on some level. He's not the kind of deity you would want to just call up out of the blue with no prior connection/background to and hope for the best. It would be advisable to give him an offering before beginning the entire process. He enjoys raw meats and blood- if you're a hunter, you could always go hunting the day before you attempt to channel and offer him whatever your catch was. The Horse may choose to partake in eating some raw meat to get into the state of mind as well. Another common offering to Fenrir is the emotion of fear- Much like his sister, Hel, this is a state of mind he seems to enjoy as well. How you go about that one is up to you, as it depends on your fear and what you are willing to experience. Again, stay within the comfortability of the Horse- the entire channeling is up to them and they should have the say in what occurs.
The Actual Horsing Experience
Typically, when someone chooses to horse Fenrir, they do it in a group setting. This is so that the person who is actually channeling can be watched over by other members of the group, for safety of the Horse's body. I would never suggest that a person attempt to horse Fenrir on their own to begin with. To start, you'd likely build a fire or light candles and place them around the Horse. Often the Horse is chained down, to symbolize Fenrir's own binding. A reenactment of his binding can be done as well. If you choose to do that, you would need three chains of varying thickness. Starting with the thickest chain, you would wrap it around the horse (lightly) and allow them to "break" free from it. Once you got to the thinnest chain you would tie it very tightly, and secure it, so that the Horse could not "break" free from it. (Of course, this is all with the Horse's permission to do so).
If the Horse is not comfortable with physically being chained down, there are other things you can do to get around this. You could draw a circle around wherever the Horse is and fill it with the six impossible things that bind Fenrir: mountains roots, the beard of a woman, the spittle of a bird, the footfall of a cat, the breath of a fish, and the sensitivity of a bear. Now obviously some of those things are not easily obtainable, so you would find something to symbolize each item. Raven K suggests a few things: Yarn can be used as the "chain" itself. Crushed granite can be used as the mountain's roots, beard shavings or hair from a woman's face can be obtained (though that's not an easy task), bird spittle (easiest if you know someone with a pet bird), cat footprints (dip the cats feet in food coloring and let it walk on a cloth), water from a pond, and a teddy bear. Simple enough!
Once the chain has been established, the Horse will put themselves into the proper state of mind needed for channeling. This is where trance-work comes into play. The group will often begin drumming and singing vardlokkur, or some invocation to Fenrir. However, as Raven K stated once, there really is not a specific invocation you can sing for Fenrir. The most fitting type of call, he says, is simply howling/growling and making animalistic sounds- which I can concur with. The Horse will "ride" the beat and the sounds into the needed trance, and from there is where the channeling would occur. What goes beyond that, I cannot really say. The experience is different for everyone. Raven K suggests: "They often howl, and will speak in very rough hard words if they speak at all". It's also not uncommon for the Horse to become very angered and attempt to lash out, and struggle with the binds.
If you were channeling Fenrir for the sole purpose of using that state of mind in a practice like berserking, you obviously would not need to go through the whole binding/chaining process. And you would not be attempting a full on channeling experience either. You'd likely want to incorporate a shadowing aspect into your berserking, so you could tap that mentality of Fenrir (the emotions) and release that through your work. Typically, berserking like this would involve getting yourself into a worked up state of mind, drawing in all those emotions and feelings and energy from Fenrir, circulating them through yourself and mixing them with your own emotions/feelings/energy, then releasing it through some sort of physical activity (such as kick boxing, wrestling, that sort of thing). It's a good exercise for learning to manipulate energy, and for learning about self control- and it is not quite as extreme as full on channeling.
After the channeling is over, the Horse should immediately be removed from the binding (if there is any) and brought out of the circle (if there is one). It's not uncommon for them to be extremely tired, as Fenrir's raw emotions and energy has a tendency of wearing one out. If you are part of the group watching over the Horse, you should seek to immediately get them some food and water, and allow them to rest. They might have some interesting things to tell you about the experience once it's all said and done. Then again, they might not. It can be a very personally revealing thing, and some Horse's like to keep what happened to themselves.
Sources and Additional Info:
A Moment With Fenrir by by Elizabeth Vongvisith
Jotunbok by Raven Kaldera