The most important of all the soul parts a Volva/Vitki can come to know (as well as master) is the concept of self; that part we refer to as “me’ or ‘I”. In Jung teachings this part is known as the personality or Ego, which in some western and eastern philosophies is a soul part we are encouraged to ‘conquer’ or supersede, or Gods forbid; destroy.
The Norwegian word for I is called Ek. In the book “ Elhaz Ablaze: A
Compendium of Chaos Heathenry by Henry L., He describes Ek as “The part
of the Soul in my understanding it is one’s everyday personality, which
needs to function well so that it can deal intelligently with, and make
meaningful use of, the other Soul parts.”
I tend to agree with Henry that the understanding of our own workings with in our unique personalities is very critical to furthering ourselves as Norse mystics, and it falls into the ancient Oracle of Delphi’s only warning before approaching the Limitless: “Know Thyself.”
Our ancestors revered above all other traits that each person be a self-sovereign, independent soul; but they equally held sacred the idea of being a attributing member of the collective tribe. Here lies THE secret to being a successful human being; that you can fully know yourself (all your strengths and weakness) and at the same time turn this knowledge into useful traits that benefit your survival along with the furtherment of the tribe.
This concept is no different when we are a Volva or Vitki, and conversely, it is of more importance. As a Pathwalker, Witch, or Shaman, Our ‘tribe’ becomes much bigger; we meet and co-create with a plethora of other beings ~many of which are not human like in the least. If we approach these other entities without having a handle on what triggers us, what blinds us, our weakness, or our points of vulnerability; we become at worst a very easy target to dismantle and destroy, and at best; ineffectual in our esoteric work.
I am from
the mindset our mission is NOT to destroy our sense of self, or Ego,
quite opposite, I think we are who we are for good reason, and to be the
most powerful individuals we can be, we must learn to master those
parts of selves that might inhibit our successful dealings with the
world outside ourselves. Moreover, when we understand those things
within our self-identity that can be a weakness, we then can examine
them and manipulate them so they constantly work in our favor.
In my previous book, I have an exercise for turning our ‘shadow selves” into an ally. I akin our shadows to the monster under the bed, and I suggest an exercise to take this monster out of the darkness of our rooms and bring them into the light of day; taking the shadow out on the playground and coming to know it by exploring it in a friendly lighthearted way, much as we would do with a childhood companion.
This approach also of knowing the Ek goes for the parts of ourselves
that give us much pride and joy. When we excel at something this is a
very good thing; as it benefits us and the cosmos around us as a whole.
We evolve successfully, and in doing so the world evolves with us.
However, (and this is where the whole idea of being ‘ego-less’ in other
traditions stems from) if we let that pride of self-accomplishment turn
into a type of enamored-with-myself-ness, we then run the risk of
becoming ‘egotistical’; self-centered, petty, self-righteous, and blind
to the important workings of others in the world around us.
We develop a overinflated sense of Ek (I) thinking we are the only God-selves in the room.
This can be very dangerous and limiting, as we will fail to acknowledge our weak points, bulling through those things we really can’t (and shouldn’t) be attempting in comparison to our skill sets, thereby setting ourselves (and others) up for a world of hurt.
So how do we really learn to “know” ourselves and have a healthy well-functioning Ek?
I have a 3 way approach to this very vexing quandary of knowing our selves; i.e. the notion we know our parts and every aspect of the motivating factors that cause us to act within our lives:
1) Observation. By simply observing with an open mind and unbiased attachment to what it is igniting our reactions to any given situation, we can begin to decipher what makes us tick. We learn to see what triggers us, where we are the most beneficial, and where we are own worst enemy.
We can then make comparisons to the environment outside of our Ek and judge by collective experiences what behaviors and thought patterns best serve the Cosmos as a whole, and those who repeatedly seem to be unbeneficial and destructive. The most powerful times of observation is when we sit with ourselves alone, in deep meditation.
2) Experimentation. After simply observing the complexities of our individual Ek’s reactions to others, we then begin to experiment with change. (For better or worse) We begin to play with the notion we can change our reactions or thought process, and in doing so we experiment with habitual experiences by approaching it differently through experimentation of handling the situation differently. Empathy plays a huge role here; as by placing our awareness in the shoes of another being, we begin to see our view isn’t the only one in the 9 worlds. Having the power of empathy actually allows us to observe how things might be perceived when it isn’t viewed by our own personal Ek. This takes A LOT of openness and willingness to be vulnerable as well as ‘wrong’ on how we instinctually have lived our daily lives until now.
3) Application. All the observing and experimenting is for not if we cant learn how to apply these new insights and kennings. Once we have had that ‘aha’ moment of a part of our Ek we wish to change, we simply must work at doing so. Every minute of every day; until it becomes a true change. Habits are a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up, and this goes for habitually being and reacting from the Ek. (I-ego) For example: it can be daunting and scary to give up our knee-jerk rage, as that gives us a feeling of power and righteous entitlement. However to truly know power, we must know how the antagonist provokes us-a.k.a through empathy. Therefore, that rage must be understood (why/where it comes from) as well as what it’s most productive use can be for Ek and the world if wielded. So we must apply our observations and experiments that have come to show us what triggers our power of Rage, and why we allow it to be unleashed. [For most people it is simply because Ek says it feels good, powerful, or righteous to unleash a blind fury, yet it always leads them to disaster-because they lashed out unprepared, didn’t have the might to back it up, or it causes more harm than the situation demands.] Through experimentation, we begin to see a controlled rage funneled through empathetic understanding gets us father and more things accomplished. Through application of this insight we begin to have less stress, more friends, and less injuries due to explosive, selfish, tantrums.
~Learn the Ek part of you and you will know the deepest of the esoteric mysteries!