As we approach the winter season, the natural pull is for us to focus on those deep needs of self mastery that began in the active warm summer season.
Many Heathens choose these quite, introspective seasonal times to learn more deeply the written history traditions and lore that teaches us much about our Ancestors and Gods, or perhaps they hone in a creative art, like weaving, blacksmithing or mead making.
But what about working on the most important part of ourselves we own?
Lyke means the actual physical body. When we get involved with higher spiritual pursuits it’s very easy to overlook this crucial soul part, and this month’s lesson is to remind you without it, we wouldn’t be! Your Lyke IS your most sacred vehicle, so it’s the most important ‘soul’ part you own!
(old Norse)Lyke is also spelled Lich. Lyke is pronounced lee-keh; where the old English name Lich is pronounced leekh.
Like all parts of us, it goes without saying our body is like, super necessary to do ANY work, spiritual or otherwise yes?
As a Heathen, one of the first things we are taught is to revere our physical selves, and its soul part with all its functions is sacred and Holy.
But with todays 21st century living and all its Modern marvels, to honor and use our bodies in the holistic way they are meant to be used can be a daunting task that requires much in the ways of self sacrifice, work, discipline and discomfort.
For me personally, I cant connect as well with my Ancestors and the Gods if my body isn’t used in the process as well; so that means dedicated daily time to keeping my Lyke strong, supple and fit by using it, training it and treating it with as much hospitality as I would a honored guest into my home.
I have learned to turn my workouts into a offering to the nine worlds-and I use the discomfort, pain, and power I experience as my proof I am prepared to face hardships; starting with the first interface I use for my connection to the Norse cosmology ~my Lyke.
*This morning before my workout, I read from one of my favorite fitness places on line (https://norsefitness.co/blogs/motivation/this-approach-to-hardship-will-change-your-life) this inspirational post which really captures the importance of us using our own self care and the PHYSICAL training of our Lykes is step #1 on how we face all the adversities in our lives:…….” Adversity is generally seen in a negative light. Hardship, setbacks, failures, and pain are things we all try to avoid. And when we inevitably are forced to face them, we look to for ways to stay distracted rather than learn from it.
Learn from these obstacles. What if these things were used to our benefit? What if times of weakness bring a new found level of strength?
Pain is meant to be embraced, not ignored. This does not mean condoning self-pity or accepting failure as a pattern. It means taking responsibility, and most importantly, taking control.
Strength requires a certain level of intensity to achieve. Pain, loss, and challenges are a gift. They give us the intensity needed to propel forward. Most of us don’t see strength as a life or death situation. But life – and a weak one at that – is the most threatening and serious situation of all. Is your life one that reflects strength, both mentally and physically? Or is it one that cowers away from adversity, avoids conflict, and seeks comfort?
Comfort is complacency. Comfort is weakness personified. No one has ever achieved anything worthwhile by staying in place, no matter how good their intentions. Comfort means accepting mediocrity, resigned to being average, and devoid of purpose. Your choices brought you here. Choose to do more.
Ask yourself, what would it really take to start chasing a better existence? Would you blame another person, or the situation itself, or how the world slighted you? You could, but you’d stay exactly where you are, and the world would keep going without you. The pain that you make every effort to avoid is THE EXACT LESSON you were meant to learn. Use it accordingly.
Pain is necessary for action. Embrace it, stop running from it. Use adversity as a reminder of where you never want to be again. Use it as a reason to keep fighting towards something better. The alternative means defeat. You’re not done, and you’ve rested enough. Pain is your reminder that it’s time to move forward. A better existence is out there, but you are the only one with the ability to find it.
And when you find more pain along the way, you’re going in the right direction.”
Very Powerful words, yes?
So for our total selves in the Norse tradition, I choose to honor the component parts of a living person as follows: 1) the physical body (lich); 2) the mind(hugr) 3) the etheric energy or energy field (aura) that surrounds our physical body (ham[r]); 4) personal awareness of consciousness or identification of self, sometimes called the ego (EK) ;5) our actual spirit self that is our astral ‘double’(Fylgja) 6) the higher “god” self (Disir) and 7)the breath of life or spirit (önd); 8) divine consciousness and inspiration (öðr)and finally; 9) our ‘luck’ or inherited traits and behaviors known as hamingja.
Each of these parts creates a working and cohesive whole; and if one is overlooked, we can’t know our full power in my opinion. That means much time and insight are needed via getting in touch with ALL your parts! This post it’s our bodies; and this outward manifestation of ourselves is the essential part of our being that has its own intelligence and provides us our interface with life and all things mystic!
The physical body, whose parts appear and function in the same way regardless where we hail from or what we believe, has its own kennings and instinctual ways of performing which allows us understanding of the world around us; both seen and unseen! As we have discovered thus far, the parts of the soul can be divided up in a number of ways, depending on cultural or (as in this case) personal preference, but as physical proof of our existence, the body itself must be approached as a scared and holy soul part.
In 1985, I read a book called “The Body Electric” Robert O. Becker, a pioneer in the field of regeneration and its relationship to electrical currents in living things, tells the fascinating story of our bioelectric selves., which in many ways challenges the established mechanistic understanding of the body. In his iconic book, Robert explores new pathways in our understanding of evolution, acupuncture, psychic phenomena, and healing.
It is through understanding the body (Lyke) as an organism that houses its own intelligence, its own muscle memories, it can repair itself, fight off microbial invasion, and it generates its own biomechanical energy and heat; we come to see our Bodies are miraculous self-sustaining entities in their own right. Our bodies are just as sacred as our Disir, our Fylgja, or any of our other 9 soul parts!