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From Sarenth comes the following topic: “How do you connect with each of the Pack Spirits you are having me write prayers for? Have you connected in new ways through these prayers? If so, how?”
Finally an easy topic! Just talk about my relationships with 7 different spirits and how I connect with Them. Nothing profoundly intimate or difficult to describe there. Nope, not at all. It’s fine.
I’m going to tackle this one spirit at a time, so easy in this case does not mean short by any stretch.
For those following along at home, the 7 primary, in so much as such a categorization can possibly apply (which is not at all but I digress), Pack Spirits are: Earth, Silence, Pack, Howl, Sky, Hunt, and Prey. Over the next several months I’m commissioning prayers for each of them from Sarenth through his Patreon. So far I have commissioned prayers for Earth and Silence.
Without further ado, let’s get into it:
The Great Mother Below. From Whom We All Come. To Whom We All Return.
My relationship with Earth is as straightforward and complex as anyone’s relationship with the embodied goddess that is this planet. I do not pretend to understand the divine. I do not know where Jörð begins and Nerðus ends. I can’t tell you why Pack Earth is not the same as either. I can tell you that they are different in my experience. That I experience them completely differently and completely separately. Earth I experience in two ways.
First, she js the literal ground under my feet. The source of myself, and all that physically sustains my life. The food that I eat, the home that shelters me, the phone I type this on, even my physical body all come from Her. Physically embodied, She is the slow turning of the seasons as She orbits the Sun.
Second, I spiritually experience Her as The Great Mother Below. I often see Her as a great mother wolf, standing before a cavern. The cave is the Den, a central piece of Earth’s Mysteries. She is the mother wolf and the Den both. She is the Great Mother. And that does not always mean kindness and softeness. When She Howls, all tremble as She calls Her Hunt. She is the keeper of, if not the whole of the Great Cycle, at least much of it. From Her we are born. To Her we return.
And this is how I relate to Her. In the moments large and small, as foundational. The source of the physical, and keeper of cycles. As the ground beneath my feet. Hail to you, Great Mother, and thank you.
Who Is Death. The Space Between Heartbeats. Communication BetweenandBefore Breathe.
To talk about Silence with words can only ever be an approximation. I mean, it’s in the name, to talk about Silence is in itself somewhat contradictory. That said, Silence is death. The death we become for the Prey. The death we carry in ourselves that will one day claim us. Silence is an inherently liminal being. Silence is also the home of the Ancestors. Silence’s most obvious domain is the transition from life to death. But death feeds life. As much as Silence governs the transition from life to death, so to do they govern the transition from death to life. The Silence of the grave and the Silence of the womb. Silence also has associations with hidden things, within ourselves and external, intentionally or unintentionally. This includes especially nonverbal communication.
This overview is important for relating to the spirit. But primarily I personally relate to Silence in three ways. First is the simplest, I go Hunting (a journey practice) with some regularity. Part of Hunting involves entering into Silence to bring the Prey into Silence. And I interact with Silence this way regularly. Second, Silence is the home of the Ancestors. And I interact with my Ancestors and therefore Silence every day. The third and final way though, is as an initiator. Silence is one of the primary initiatory spirits in this Tradition. And Silence was the initiatory path I took for both of my initiations. This is arguably the primary way that I relate to Silence, as an initiatory spirit. Obviously I can’t talk much more on this subject. Even if I could, explaining Mysteries doesn’t work. Hail to you, Who Waits For Us All, and thank you.
The BreatheSpark of Life. Song in the Wind. Voice of The Pack.
Where Silence is death, Howl is life. Where Silence is hidden things, Howl is explicit. Howl is the home of the living. Howl is the breathe in the lungs, the beat of the heart pumping life to every cell in the body. The animating spark that drives the body on. Howl and Silence share an interesting relationship. Partners in an equal dance, a give and take. People will try to draw comparisons to Yin and Yang. I dislike this comparison because of the Orientalism and appropriation that will inevitably come with it. But done care by someone more knowledgeable than myself, this comparison might bear some fruit. But that is truly beyond my knowledge as i know nearly nothing of Yin and Yang.
Regardless, Howl is life. Howl is the breathe, what separates us from the Ancestors. Howl is also about communication and the explicit. Howl is song and word. Interestingly, Howl is also the written word. Howl is as simple and hard to describe as the feeling of breathe in your lungs and blood in your veins. Communication that leads to action, and song for its own sake.
Howl is the other primary initiatory spirit of this Tradition. I will admit, I know them less explicitly well than I know Silence. Howl is better known to me as an energy, and as a thing that I do and am than as a spirit. That doesn’t mean Howl isn’t a spirit, or that I don’t know them. But some relationships are closer than others, and I did not initiate under Howl.
And yet I know Howl as well as I know the breathe in my lungs and the words that I say. I consider myself a writer and a storyteller, have for most of my life. And Howl governs all these things. They are all around me, if I take the time to listen. Hail to you, Life In My Veins, and thank you.
The Great Watcher, Father Above. Trickster. Whose Howl Is the Mighty Sun.
As Earth is the ground beneath our feet, so Sky is the great blue dome over head. As Earth is the Mother Below, Sky is the Father Above. The sun is the maw of Sky in Howl. The moon is his maw in Silence. He governs the winds, the air, the turnings of day and night. He brings the rains that make the Earth fertile, and the storms that drive us to shelter. Lightning is his teeth and the crack of thunder his booming laughter and the beating of his mighty paws upon the Earth. Sky is also the air around us that all things breathe. How is this different than Howl? He is the air itself, not the breathe. Beyond that, I am not certain I can explain it. Sky is the meeting point between our little rock orbiting the sun and the vast universe beyond. The window in and the window out. Some Ancestors live in Sky.
If there is a specific trickster among these spirits, I would say that spirit is Sky. Limiting our gods to roles is counterproductive, but Sky seems to have a trickster streak, both mythologically and personally.
As with Howl, my relationship with Sky isn’t as close as it could be. That may be changing in the near future, but as it stands now, our relationship is a bit less close. And yet still, I know him. I stand under him every day. I journey through him all the time. Much of how I relate to him is as intermediary, space, and (like with Earth) as the world around me. Hail to you, Trickster on High, and thank you.
Danger Incarnate. Will Manifest. The Pack In Motion.
Hunt is perhaps the least personified of the Pack Spirits. Hunt is the spirit of what the Pack does. It’s not obvious from their name, but Hunt governs a much wider range of activity than merely hunting for food. Hunt is work we do for money. Hunt is patrolling your territory for threats. Hunt is exploring new territory. Hunt is also play. Often play with purpose, but play nonetheless. Hunt is power. Hunt is strength applied. Hunt is danger. The danger of threats faced, and the danger you are to those threats.
My relationship with Hunt is interesting. Hunt was another major part of my initiations (arguably Hunt is a necessary piece of every initiation, as initiations are necessarily action). But I interact with them less as spirit I speak to and more as a spirit I try to embody and engage with knowingly. A current or energy that I try to intentionally engage with every day. A comparison might be drawn here to a Heathen concept of Megin. As a rough comparison, it’s not bad. Hail to you, Who Drives Us All, and thank you.
Most Honored. Who We All Become In The End. Partners In The Great Cycle.
My relationship with Prey is complicated. And flatly I’m not comfortable talking about the more intimate parts of that relationship, Mysteries aside.
But. Talking about Prey more broadly and less intimately is still important and possible.
Prey is not just the spirit of animals. Plants, minerals, anything that must be consumed for life to continue is governed by this spirit. The salt I put on my french fries, the oil they are fried in, the potatoes themselves are all Prey. And so too is currency. Just as working a job to feed your family is Hunt, so too are dollars Prey spirits.
Another, very important note is that the relationship with Prey is not one of domination. In certain, specific situations it might be, but overall the relationship of Prey to Pack is one of give and take, not of domination and destruction. That is NOT to say that Prey spirits necessarily willingly and or joyfully give up their lives. That is not the case. Prey fight like hell, run like hell, hide like hell. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the relationship is entirely antagonistic, and certainly isnt one of domination. Aside from the damage you can do to yourself and your relationships, the fact of the matter is that we are all Prey in the end. Silence will claim us all. We will all be consumed. We are all Prey. And. We are all Prey because our bodies are physically made up of the Prey we’ve consumed to sustain ourselves. In a very real sense, the Prey we consume become part of us. Such are the ways the cycles go.
This is the primary way that I relate to Prey on a daily basis. I say prayers every time I eat. I pray to the Prey spirits I consume to sustain myself. I do what is in my power to pay proper respect to the spirits that allow me to continue living. Hail to you, Who Feeds the Cycles, and thank you.
Bonds Among And Between. Home Within-Out. Home We Carry and That With Which We Defend It.
Pack is the central spirit. Around which all else moves. The axis mundi. Bonds Among and Between. The Home We Carry Within. Pack is home and how we defend it. Both the action of creating bonds and the state of being in them. They are action and being, together at once. Pack is everything to me. They are the lens through which I see the world, how I interact with literally everything. They are impossible for me to describe properly. They are the First Mystery and the Final. The central spirit of all that I do. Hail to you, Who Keeps Us All, and thank you.
I’ve talked a lot in this post about what these spirits are in the world. And that’s important because that’s how I experience Them and how I relate to Them. But there are two more things I want to touch on.
First, a blog post cannot possibly begin to describe or explain my relationships with these spirits. No more than it could describe a relationship with a spouse, parent, child, or lifelong friend. And there is much that I cannot say even if I’d wanted to. Further, these are active, ongoing relationships. They grow and change and shift. My understanding tomorrow is different than my understanding today.
Second, an important thing to note is that these spirits are not strictly external. They can also be thought of as a soul-map of sorts for this Tradition. Hunt isn’t just an external spirit that we can engage with. It is also a piece of us, and we of them. As most of these spirits come in pairs that work together and balance each other, Earth and Sky, Howl and Silence, so too are they both great spirits externally and also pieces of ourselves. The universe reflected in the individual and vice versa.
To close I do want to quickly address the final bit of Sarenth’s topic: am I connecting in new ways with these spirits through the prayers he’s writing?
Truthfully, no. Requesting these prayers is devotional work and I am very grateful for the fact I am able to do so. But the prayers written so far are not new territory for me. Beautiful. Valuable. And I am grateful for them. But not new.