The Nine Doors of Midgard by Edred Thorsson
I have read The Nine Doors of Midgard – A Curriculum of Rune-work by Edred Thorsson (Stephen E. Flowers). Reading this was a natural follow-up to the previous books I have reviewed: Icelandic Magic (review), Rune Might (review), and Revival of the Runes (review).
The Nine Doors of Midgard – A Curriculum of Rune-work is, as the subtitle suggests, a guide for practical applications of Rune magic. As I have stated before, I appreciate the amount of practical techniques Flowers presents in his works; I am always in search of techniques I can add to my meditations. Thus, I can, without further ado, highly recommend the book for anyone who wishes to start practising rune magic. For those who are unsure about the term magic, I discuss it briefly in this video: A Heads Up – Also, What Do I Mean By ‘Magic’?
As the title of the book suggests, the curriculum consists of nine doors – each door is a period of training, the training gets more complex for each door (and is dependent upon the training of the previous doors.
The Raido Rune Poem
The author presents a number of rune poems, each gives some insight into the mystery of the corresponding rune. One of the poems dear to my own heart is the following:
[Radio] Riding is in the hall
to every warrior easy
but very hard for the one who sits up on a powerful horse
over miles of road.
Paul Waggener mentions this poem in his Rune course as well. I, too, appreciate the wisdom in it. The insight is similar to the one presented in the great speech ‘The Man in the Arena‘ by Theodore Roosevelt. In its essence, it highlights the difference between talking about the things you will or could do and actually embarking upon a quest. This poem can be useful to keep in mind when dealing with doubts or detractors. You will find that those who are riding on a powerful horse (i.e. being on their own quests) are not the ones trying to denigrate your own efforts. Keeping this poem in mind is also valuable if you feel like things are not quite going exactly according to plan, they seldom do! As the poem says: riding (being on a quest) is hard. If it is not hard – time to set a higher pace!
A Beautiful Blessing
Under the title The Meal Stave, the author presents the following beautiful blessing to be used for drinks:
‘Drink of power, loaded with the force of life – flow into me and fill my being with energy without bound!’Edred Thorsson – The Nine Doors of Midgard. Page 32.
As I write this, I am enjoying my daily espresso and decided to bless it with the words above. Blessings like this have the added bonus of bringing gratitude (a high-vibration emotion) to one’s consciousness. In blessing my drink, I appreciate it more. Gratitude leads to happiness.
Biology of the Runes
The following no-nonsense explanation is given regarding the use of the Runes. I have mentioned blood memory in several Podcast episodes, and this ties into the concept quite well:
‘But why the Runes and not Chinese characters or Egyptian hieroglyphics? Most Gilders know the answer here. Because we are of Wōden (descended from him as our ancestral sovereign god-head), it is through his gifts – in their original forms – that we will most easily gain access to the hidden magical realms of ourselves and of the objective universe.’Edred Thorsson – The Nine Doors of Midgard. Page 42.
Germanic Soul and Metaphysics
The author notes that Asgard is the realm of consciousness and that focus on this realm is the highest form of consciousness. The nine realms of Germanic cosmology are connected to different aspects of the human being; this is a highly interesting discussion, and one that is relevant to many of the workings detailed in the book (I will meditate further upon these concepts and elaborate on them at a later point).
Moreover, he notes that ancient Germanic psychology does not only speak of a single soul but of a number of them, which are connected to the cosmology and together make up a whole person. As we have noted before, the author is not a fan of Christianity, and shares the following critique of the Christian view of the soul:
‘The “substance” in which the Runer works is the soul or psyche. The soul has become less and less well known in our culture as Christianity – with its primitive, unsophisticated, and confused psychology – slowly destroyed our knowledge of our souls and thus of ourselves.’Edred Thorsson – The Nine Doors of Midgard. Page 22.
On a personal note, I am greatly delighted to have discovered the depth and complexity of ancient Germanic metaphysics. Up until recently, I was unaware of this – thus, I can conclude that it was a good call to follow Odin’s encouragement and continue to seek spiritual wisdom. As I mentioned in a recent Podcast episode, I was hit by a certain energy a while back. The energy caused my hunger for knowledge to increase greatly. I cannot explain it in any other way than as a blessing from Odin.
Becoming familiar with the various realms is important when it comes to the practical applications of the Rune magic, as noted in the quote below. Moreover, this shift of consciousness is sometime the goal with certain meditations.
‘The normal ego-consciousness, the subjective I-focus of the self, is in or near the center of the soul, in or near the Midgard-center. Since this is where the magician normally lives, this is indeed the ideal center for this focus. However, when there is magic to be worked, this center can be shifted from the center to the apex of the soul – to the Asgard-center, if you will.’Edred Thorsson – The Nine Doors of Midgard. Page 162.
The author presents several useful meditation techniques. One of those is Elemental Breathing, which (briefly summarised) entails visualising yourself being surrounded by a sphere filled with an element (fire, for example). Your body is a vacuum within that space. As you breathe, visualise the element entering you with each breath. Breathe until you have absorbed all of the fire. I will experiment with this meditation both in the Temple of Iron and in other settings.
The author notes that in the Indo-European system (from which the Germanic and Indic systems are derived) breath was considered a source of spiritual power. This is worth keeping in mind when doing pranayama exercises – they are not foreign to us, which can be good to point out should someone say that they belong to another spiritual tradition.
As stated above, I can definitely recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the Runes and/or Germanic cosmology and metaphysics. It contains both interesting insights as well as plenty of instructions for practical applications of Rune magic. I enjoyed reading it and will continue to experiment with the techniques. Thank you, G, for the recommendation.
Onwards and upwards!