Often in a magical setting it is necessary to know how to relax. Things happen that will upset you, or freak you out. Too, the techniques used in relaxing are also needful to be able to meditate or go into trance. Rynemen or Runesters learn this when they learn runic meditation while learning the runes. It is very basic to them. Other practitioners of Germanic Heathen magic with the exception of sp? workers (who need to know these techniques to go into trance) rarely have a chance to learn proper relaxation and meditation techniques.
Wiccans refer to all of this as grounding and centering. They do this by first centering. "Centering" for them is merely "proper posture" as is fundamental to all forms of meditation. To "ground" they visualize all negative energies flowing into the Earth, and feel positive energy flowing back to them from the Earth (some merely get rid of the negative energy and do not bother drawing energy from the Earth). This practice ultimately comes from oriental martial arts such as Tai Chi and Aikido. Anyone that has studied meditation and the martial arts though, and in our own religion,. Rynemen, know that there is far more to "grounding" than merely sending negative energy into the earth. In most martial arts, "grounding" involves making an energy connection to the Earth, followed by "centering" or focusing one's self on one's self, as well as proper breathing exercises. The process which I will refer to here as breathing involves a three step process that goes beyond mere visualization, and involves the intake of ??em as well as miht and m?gen from the Earth.
Relaxing the Lich
In order for breathing to work, one must first relax the body's posture. Try to keep the spine straight and try to relax one's muscles. Start with the one's in the shoulders, and continue down the back, relaxing the muscles. If you still feel tense, do not worry, this is what the breathing is for.
Calling up Miht and M?gen
Many places in the lore refer to calling on miht and m?gen from the Earth. This makes sense, as Earth or Eor?e (Jor?r) is the mother of the God ?unor (Thunor or Thor), god of physical might. ?unor is also known as "the hallower", and the creation of sacred space is very related to this exercise in that one is trying to keep negative energies out. This step is two fold. One should first, mentally call on the Earth for miht and m?gen. This is important as it is often seen in the ancient Anglo-Saxon charms as a crucial step. Remember, you are calling on a Goddess, so be respectful. Next one must visualize the miht and m?gen flowing into them from the Earth. Any negative energy you have should be pushed out. If it is not, visualize it melting back into the Earth, where she will deal with it for you.
Breathing in ??em
Once one has relaxed their body, and drawn in energy from the Goddess Earth, they need to begin proper breathing. Proper breathing is a central part of most forms of meditation for good reason. Breathing is the one instinctive bodily function the human mind can control at will. As the body's parts are all in some way linked via the nervous system, the soul's parts are as well. One of the gifts of Woden, Willi and Weoh (Odin, Villi, and Ve) was Ond, the Old Norse word for "divine breath."
By using proper breathing, one can slow a rapid heart beat, relax the muscles, and calm the mind. Most schools of meditation teach this is best done by breathing in deeply from the gut (the diaphragm) and exhaling very slowly in a very regular and steady way. Breathing is connected to ??em or the "breathe of life" given to Man by Woden (Odin). It is compared by such Heathen scholars as Kveldulf Gundarsson to the silver cord of other traditions, and is related to the Hindu concept of prana. In Hinduism, prana is the "divine breath," and considered the life force of all living things. The ancient Germanic concept is basically the same as that of prana, and therefore breathing exercises similar to some of those practiced in Yoga will work in a Germanic context. As stated above, one must breathe in deeply from the gut (the diaphragm) and exhale very slowly in a very regular and steady way. As one is doing this, they should envision breathing in not ordinary air, but ??em, the divine breathe of life (just as Yoga practitioners visualize prana being breathed in). It is ??em that ties the body to the soul, and prevents any unexpected out of body experiences. By breathing in more ??em, one can further relax the body and ease the mind. In fact breathing exercises alone can induce a light trance.
Why are Relaxation Techniques Needed?
Relaxation techniques are needed simply because many of our practices are different, and people react differently to odd and new things. Many folks will attend an "oracular siedh" or sp? with little knowledge of what to expect, and wind up startled, scared, or worse from the experience. It is very necessary then that anyone that attends such a rite or similar rites (be they galdorcraft, witchcraft, or sp? craft) be given, in the very least, instruction in the techniques above. Finally, breathing is fundamental to the work of rynemen sp? workers, and thyles as well, albeit in different ways. most rynemen learn the runes by meditating upon them, which requires they relax, perhaps even go into a light trance. Sp? workers regardless of what techniques they use, must go into a deep trance to communicate with the spirits they journey to or invite to them. Finally, thyles must use these techniques to achieve deep trances to connect with the ancestors or Gods. Germanic Heathenry has long been biased against "grounding," as it is a "Wiccan thing." However, its roots are firmly based in Hinduism, a religion whose practices are related to our own, and who even now have concepts greatly resembling our own. In truth, Heathen sp? work may owe more to Indo-European trance work from which Yoga may derive than any borrowings from the Sammi.