9 Pillars and Awenydd Practices

This post is a landing page for the practices and concepts that I am being taught in the 9 Pillars tradition (Norse Shamanism) –  overlain with my existing daily and weekly practices from the Incan Medicine Wheel and the new practices I’m learning from a teacher in British native shamanism – she’s an ‘Awenydd’ – a Gaelic word for musician/poet/shaman. I probably won’t do all of these every day just due to time constraints but I’m thinking they can be somewhat alternated. Out of respect for my teachers, I won’t give a detailed explanation of everything.

For the most part a lot of it can be done when meditating. I do these during my morning yoga sessions. That trinity, yoga, breath-work and visualization is creating a foundation for my path. Meditation hasn’t worked its way in there yet.

9 Pillars

Vard(th)lokkur – the art of singing oneself into trance
Practice, weekly – meditation work on Freya’s day (Fridays)

Tasks: Set up a Vardlokkur altar. I’m using my mesa for this because it’s transportable. I have another altar space in my dining room on top of my piano, but this is where I usually pray in the mornings and leave offerings. My mesa is more like a bundle with power items in it that I can fold up and put away when I’m done. It works really well as a working altar, whenever we open our mesa it is a sacred space. For this work with Freyja I have added some items to my mesa to ‘cook’ inside there: an amber beaded necklace and dried Calendula flowers.

Idnajord – grounding and living within the cycles of the earth
Practice, daily – grounding visualization with morning meditations. Morning chant – 5 minutes of ‘Idnajord’ (ith-nah-eyorth)
Weekly – walks in the forest, tending to outside altars.

Mindframe: to engage with life from a position of groundedness and focus, ‘as rooted as the rock and the tree’. This ‘reflects the spiritual focus of the volva: one who is deeply rooted to the rhythms of the Earthplane and who directs herself in her life with focus and centeredness.’

Tasks: Take time to attending to the non-human world. Rigorously observe and engage. Spend time outside: sunbathe and star-gaze, put naked feet in the earth. Be of nature.

Journal about blocks to balance, focus and centeredness.

‘Attend to and commit to memory the diverse stories of the earth’. By: learning about natural processes, observing the natural world with the same intensity that we do the human world, opening ourselves up to communicating with non-human species – this requires a willingness to hear and attend to different ways of speaking – from the macro to the micro level of existence (so planets, people, bacteria).

Bregda – generating energy in the universe. Similar to nourishing chi/qi, bregda is maintaining internal power. It’s the energy needed to get to the next step, as well as that which holds everything together.
Practice, daily when possible, with breath work during morning meditations. Also chanting the word can be used. Bregda sits in the solar plexus – it is a blue icy fire.

Tasks: Take time to visualize the blue fire in your belly every day
Encourage others and yourself through positive support
Acts of generosity. When we give freely our energy is rejuvenated
Engage with diversity
Practice optimism and hope
Practice dedication

Awenydd (Awen-ith) Training

Earth/Sun Exercise – This is a visualization is a variation on projecting roots into the earth and out of your head into the cosmos. Practice: Daily with morning meditations

Recording dreams – Practice, daily. As much as possible and when you remember them.

Task: Ask for guidance and assistance from Elen of the Ways, the ancient reindeer goddess of pathways and dreamways. Ask to remember your dreams at night. Ask, to be helped. Practice asking.

 Medicine Wheel

Kapalbhati pranayama, Shining Skull Breath
Practice, daily: with morning meditation – 3 rounds
Visualize the breath-work energizing the star rites (we were) given in the Wheel. They can be visualized as black pants, red belt, silver and gold tunic, crystal tiara and rainbow headdress. These rites shield our energy bodies, protect us. Also in Indian tradition, the shining skull breath is used to build energy and push it up the spine and out the top pf the head – so the skull ‘shines’. Visualizing this is quite an experience.

Nadi Shodhan Pranayama, Alternate Nostril Breathing
Practice, daily: with morning meditation – a full traverse from root to crown.
Visualize the breath (alternating from one nostril to the next) coming into each chakra, opening, expanding and then energizing each one. Create a rainbow body around yourself. Energize karpais, spirits or essence who live in each chakra. In the Peruvian tradition we have the serpent at the root, red chakra, the jaguar at the belly, orange chakra, the hummingbird at the solar-plexus, yellow chakra and the eagle at the heart, green chakra. See your animals, give them light and breath.


Hatha yoga – every morning for 45 minutes to an hour, followed by breath-work and visualizations. Yoga is the most important practice I have yet come across. I find it indispensable in my life on a spiritual path. I can’t say enough here.

Prayer – mornings with coffee. I pray and leave offerings.

Offerings – bring tobacco, corn meal, coins or other offerings with you at all times. When out in the world, leave offerings for land spirits, tree spirits, water etc. when speaking to them.

featured image, Winter Morning in Vancouver by Gord McKenna

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