BREATH OF LIFE, WEB OF CREATION
Generally speaking, we do not notice air unless it is moving, when we call it wind, draught, breath or something similar; but have you ever wondered what power might cause that movement to start? You have? Well, you are not alone. Different cultures have various names for this power behind the wind. In the Indian tradition of Ayurveda it is known as prana, the Chinese know it as ch’i and the Ancient Norse called it Önd . It is the power behind the breath of life.
The Holy Bible (King James Version) says: “In the beginning was the Word, and the word was with God, And the word was God”. This is a very profound statement. It indicates that all creation began with a word – a single sound and some believe that if this Word, God’s name, is ever uttered again, all that now exists will dissolve back into nothingness. Something of unimaginable power, then, but behind that word was the breath, ch’i or prana.
Because I am a student of Norse belief, I can explain this best as Önd; but much of what I say will find parallels within other belief systems. SMP
Önd comes from three distinct directions. Heavenly Önd causes the flow of universal energy; terrestrial Önd flows across and just beneath the surface of the earth and chthonic Önd comes from deep within the earth. Places of power, generally marked by churches, standing stones or other monuments, are points on the earth’s surface where some believe that chthonic and heavenly Önd meet.
Önd is a bit like water or wind. In fact, the movements of water and wind are manifestations of Önd and the Chinese art of Feng Shui works with these very energies, which vary from place to place and even day to day.
We often make use of Önd without realising it. How often have you faced an unpalatable situation and, knowing it had to be dealt with, taken a deep breath and dived in? Well the action of taking that breath is a use of Önd. It wasn’t the air in your lungs that you were seeking; but the power behind the movement of that air. The speed we breathe has a distinct effect on us. Breathing slowly and regularly is relaxing. Breathing quickly, especially if the breaths are shallow can wind us up and get us excited.
Önd flows through and around everything, with its own special patterns and colours. The patterns that Önd weaves are like a great fabric or web. In Norse belief this is called the Web of Wyrd whose threads are eternally being woven and cut by three mystical sisters Skuld, Verdandi and Urd, collectively known as the Norns. They work to a pattern created by a deity called Orlog. The web was originally woven by their mother, the goddess Wyrd, who gave it its name. The Norse philosophy was simple, yet very profound. They believed that the warp threads represented fate and were predetermined. They would concern such matters as times of birth, death and other major crossroads in life; the weft threads represented actions and choices. This meant that although we all have appointments with our destiny that cannot be avoided, where and how we meet that destiny is up to us. Because the web contains and connects all of existence, information about any aspect of creation can be found in any other in the same way that the DNA of every cell of a living being contains a blueprint of the entire creature, whether that cell be from the heart, brain or even toenail. Everything in existence: past, present and future, is linked to everything else and the actions of one will reverberate on all others.
Nowadays we have the Chaos Theory that states that when a butterfly flaps its wings on one side of the globe, a hurricane is created on the other. Every action, every thought that passes through our mind will affect everything else in some subtle way. How this planet works is determined by the actions and thoughts of each and every one of us, so if we want a happy, balanced earth, then we must act in balanced, responsible ways. When we vibrate the web we send ripples across its fibres through all parts of creation. Magic is the act of manipulating this web for a purpose.You may know what result you want to achieve; but how can you know what knock-on effects your actions will have? It has to be done with great care and understanding of the consequences, which may be far reaching. Many modern books of magic claim that spells can safely be used for all kinds of selfish purposes; but in truth every act of magic alters things far more than normal actions and there is a cost to this, so if in doubt, don’t.
Even the most innocent actions vibrate the Web of Wyrd and can have dramatic effects on other creatures. Imagine a sunny day in a midlands park. There is a warm, gentle breeze blowing, and you decide to eat your lunch, a sandwich, on a bench by the pond. Wavelets gently lap close to your feet and you feel that all is right with the world. As you gaze into infinity, the sandwich wrapper blows off your lap into a nearby bush. No problem, it’s only a small plastic bag. Most likely it will be picked up by a litter collector, or some public-spirited person. Those environmentalists have their uses after all. You leave, head full of the thousand and one things you have planned for the afternoon and the bag floats off out of sight and out of mind.
The wind blows some more and the bag sets off on a journey that will take it out of the park and, little by little, towards the coast. Eventually it gets blown into a small brook that carries it along on its own path toe a larger river. There it is caught up with other pieces of debris that travel out to sea.
Now much shabbier and filled with water, your bag begins to undulate just below the surface, moving along as if it were alive. A large leatherback turtle is hunting in the area. These creatures range throughout the Atlantic Ocean and are specially adapted to feed on jellyfish. It sees the bag and mistakes it for its favourite food. Swallowed in one go, the turtle might pause a moment to wonder about the odd taste; but continues on its way, wondering why the jellyfish seems to be stuck in its throat when they usually slide down quite easily. The bag sticks there for a while; but eventually moves down into the turtle’s stomach where it fails to digest. To the turtle all seems well. It is full, satisfied and content. It continues on its way. But all is not well. The bag fools the turtle into thinking it does not need to feed and it will eventually starve to death. All because you let the breeze blow a little plastic bag into a bush.
 I first learned of Önd from the writings of Nigel Pennick