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Hedge Sitting

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The initiate begins the rite in the early morning, by abstaining from all food for the day, as a devotional act to the landwights and to Nerthus their queen. If the initiate is conducting the rite solo then he reads the following at the start of the fast, minus the parenthetical words. If the initiate is being guided through the ritual then the following is read to him, with the parenthetical words replacing those that immediately precede them.

"In honor of the wights of the land; the alfs and huldrafolk, and in honor of Nerthus their queen I (you) shall abstain this day from food. I (you) shall starve the old life out of myself (yourself) that when I (you) arise to journey to the tree I (you) may be a new creature."

During the day the initiate should spend some time in meditation. Near evening the initiate should perform another meditation and should then rise and proceed to the tree the ritual is to be conducted under. The tree should be selected according to the following criteria:

Most desirable is a botrad. A botrad is a tree that has an alf or other landwight living in it. A botrad can be told either by unusual size (indicating unusually vigorous life energy) or by the presence of a natural hole or hollow in the tree.

The tree can also be chose by type. The sense of Ve that results will be subtly different in each case.

Oak for holiness, healing, power.
Yew for death, life, and altered consciousness.
Pine for clarity and endurance.
Birch for healing, fertility, luck, numinous power.
Ash and elm as ancestors.
Cypress for purging, purification.

The trip to the tree should not be rushed, and the tread should be slow and even. If the initiate is guided, the guides should ring bells and beat drums in time with his steps. If the initiate is solitary, then he might ring a bell or beat on a small drum himself.

Once at the tree the initiate should pour out three libations of wine, brought for that purpose. At the first he should say "For the wights of this tree." At the second he should say "For the wights of the land." At the third, "For Nerthus their queen."

Seating himself under the tree the initiate should put himself in an open meditative state, breathing slowly and evenly, from the diaphragm. As the initiate begins to feel the Ve, which is a sense of the sacredness, and life, and spirit of the land, this might be supplemented with more rapid breathing, up to and including hyperventilation. While breathing the initiate should have the following read to him, or must read it himself if necessary:

"Before generations came to be and the human race was multiplied there was Ginnungagap, the void. The part that faced in a northerly direction was filled with the weight and the heaviness of ice and rime and there was a vapour and a blowing inwards from it. But the southerly part of Ginnungagap cleared up in the face of the sparks and molten particles that came flying out of the world of Muspell. Just as from Niflheim there arose coldness and all things grim, so what was facing close to Muspell was hot and bright, but Ginnungagap was mild as a windless sky. And when the rime and the blowing of the warmth met so that it thawed and dripped, there was a quickening from these flowing drops due to the power of the source of the heat, and it became the form of a man, and he was given the name Ymir. When he slept he sweated. Then there grew under his left arm a male and a female, and one of his legs begot a son with the other, and descendants came from them. These are frost-giants. The next thing, when the rime dripped, was that there came into being from it a cow called Audhumbla, and four rivers of milk flowed from her teats, and fed Ymir. For sustenance the cow licked the ice, which was salty. And the first day as it licked there came from the ice in the evening a man's hair, the second day a man's head, the third day there was a complete man there. His name was Buri. He was beautiful in appearance, big and powerful. He begot a son called Bor. He married a wife called Bestla, daughter of the giant Bolthorn, and they had three sons. One was called Odin, the second Vili, the third Ve. Bor's sons killed the giant Ymir. And when he fell, so much blood flowed from his wounds that with it they drowned all the race of frost-giants, except one that escaped with his household. Giants call him Bergelmir. Odin, Vili, and Ve took Ymir and transported him to the middle of Ginnungagap, and out of him made the earth, out of his blood the sea and the lakes. The earth was made of the flesh and the rocks of the bones, stone and scree they made out of teeth and molars and of the bones that had been broken. They also took his skull and made out of it the sky and set it up over the earth with four points, and under each corner they set a dwarf. Their names are Austri, Vestri, Nordhri, and Sudhri. Then they took molten particles and sparks that were flying uncontrolled an had shot out of the world of Muspell and set them in the middle of the firmament of the sky both above and below to illuminate heaven and earth. They also took his brains and threw them into the sky and made out of them the clouds. The chief holy center of the gods is Yggdrasil, the great tree whose branches spread out over all the world and extend across the sky."

"To the coast then came, / kind and mighty,
From the gathered gods / three great Aesir;
On the land they found, / of little strength,
Askr and Embla, / unfated yet.

Sense they possessed not, / soul they had not,
Being nor bearing, / nor blooming hue;
Soul gave Odin, / sense gave Hoenir,
Being, Lodhur, / and blooming hue."

At the conclusion of this reading the initiate should be left alone to experience the Ve.