- File Size: 23261 KB
- Print Length: 346 pages
- Publisher: mandrake (August 4, 2014)
- Publication Date: August 4, 2014
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00MF92BEM
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #777,661 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Seidways: Shaking, Swaying and Serpent Mysteries Kindle Edition
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After about 10 pages I decided that Fries is the greatest author on Germanic magic alive. He is able to consider so many perspectives, casually avoids the rigidity of authors such as Thorsson that I found so discouraging as a newbie, and is very open about where research stops and personal opinion starts. His ideas are extremely unorthodox, and the extent of "authenticity" can be questioned about this book in various ways - but Fries never pretends to be anything he is not, and this open honesty is far more preferable than the pompous pretend-authenticity of many other books about historically inspired magical practices.
When I finished the book I immediately read it again, and took about 40 pages of notes. Anyone who knows me would find such conscientious reading totally alien to my usual habits!
His descriptions of seething experiences brought up so many memories of experiences I have had during my life, experiences which I have known were magical and which I loved and longed for... but which I felt unable to explore, to grasp a hold of. Well, Fries gives plenty of encouragement and ways into the conscious induction of trance and seething and I have been regularly and spontaneously delving ever since!
This keen attention and love of the experience of spirit, not just the the forms and images of it, is what makes this book so powerful. It correctly assesses mythology to be a door into that which cannot be said, rather than an end in itself.
His summary of different cultural practices is also extremely interesting and helpful. He is clear that all cultures are not interchangeable, but he is also clear that there can be similarities across culture. So rare to find an author with the political good sense to recognise that culture is neither hermetically sealed nor dissolved into the new age sewer!
This book has also helped to awaken my latent connection to snake energy, which I have felt for years and never been able to make sense of. Given that I see Odin as a snake god (Bolverkr, anyone?), I have been given a huge new lease on life in my relationship to my patron god.
A lot of people I know have bought this book at my urgent insistence, I get very aggressive about it. YOU have to read this book. If you get 10% of what I got from it, then you've easily gotten your money's worth.
Most of the book is dedicated to showing how different groups of people used shaking and dancing to indicate that they were in a trance and hence their soul was traveling through the spirit world. Various groups from around the world have used shaking and swaying. Our most noted would be the practitioners of Voodoo. When the practitioner is entranced it usually a sign that the participant has been taken over by a deity or Loa. The Skakers are another group of people who shook when in a trance and this meant usually that Jesus had entered them and was speaking through them. Other references are made to Ancient Druid practices and other Asian communities that use shaking and movement.
Of course shaking is not for everyone, and when practicing it one should be cautious and well prepared. One should be wearing comfortable clothing for moving around. One should not eat too much or drink too much liquid as that could make your stomach churn. Eating too little could cause you to feel light headed and sick. Best practice is to abstain from eating two to three hours before doing this and good idea to have a water bottle on hand that is sweetened with dextrose to keep your sugar levels from getting too low.
Included in this practical section is a meditation on connecting the earth dragon with the sky dragon. Then there is some discussion on shape shifting and the Martial Arts in the far east and how shamanic techniques may have been used to formulate the five animals of Shaolin Kung Fu. Animals movements can help people enter into a magical state of consiousness. A practice that the Viking Berserkers used to practice.
Another exercise that Jan Fries gives over comes on the tale end of Tliesyn and the Cauldron of wisdom. While II will not go into the story here I will say that using a poem of taliesyn using the words Iam could help one enter into a trance state. The book is not loaded with exercises and the author is going to let you make up your own based on what works for you.
Jan Fries is not into Dogma. He knows that cultures and people move about and influence each other. When that happens they borrow techniques and stick to what works. Even if you don’t shake you will enjoy this one anyway.