The Aspects of ‘Man’
All spirituality have a belief in souls and that the physical is not the be all and end all. Most of which is straight forward. For example the dictionary definition of the soul is
“Your soul is the part of you that consists of your mind, character, thoughts, and feelings. Many people believe that your soul continues existing after your body is dead.”- Collins English Dictionary.
Simple right, well the Norse spirituality have a really complex belief in which a person has nine soul forms all which make up a person and seven of which correlate to a realm in the Norse cosmos. One book that covers this well is Thomas Karlsson’s Uthark Nightside of the Runes. This is also the book I heavily read in preparation for this article.
Lik is the easiest one to understand as this is the physical body and framework of a person, in the prose Edda Odin and his brothers are thought to have created man.
“While walking along the sea shore the sons of Bor found two trees, and from them they created a man and a woman. Odin gave the man and the woman spirit and life. Vili gave them understanding and the power of movement. Vé gave them clothing and names. The man was named Ask [Ash] and the woman Embla [Elm]. From Ask and Embla have sprung the races of men who lived in Midgard.”-Prose Edda
In fact the word Lik itself means body in Old Norse it is connected to the realm of Midgardr, the home of mortal men.
Ond is the spirit or breath. It is basically the great force which is the catalyst of all life. It is all around us everywhere, all of the time and flows through us in three different directions. Heavenly Ond flows from above downwards, Earthly Ond flows horizontally across and Underworld Ond , you guessed it, flows from below upwards.They all intersect at the same point at the centre of the torso near the heart. It is connected to the realm of Asgardr, the home of the Aesir gods.
Hugr is a manifestation of one of Odin’s ravens, Huginn or Thought. It represents man’s analytical thinking, controlling the left hemisphere of the brain, where all thought dealing with logic and reasoning are formed. It is connected to the realm of Ljosalfheimr, home of the Light elves.
Minni is the companion of Hugr and is the representation of Odins other raven Munin or Memory. It is however a deeper form of memory, it is the souls memory that of past deeds and ancestors, making it associative thinking. It governs the right hemisphere of the brain which covers, creativity, imagination and insight. It is also a representation of Mimmisbrunnr or Mimirs well from which flows the wise waters.
“I know where Othin's eye is hidden,Deep in the wide-famed well of Mimir;Mead from the pledge of Othin each morn Does Mimir drink: would you know yet more?”-Poetic Edda
This makes it connected to the realm of Jotunheimr, home to the Jotnar or Giants.
Fylgja is the norse equivalent of the guardian spirit or spirit guide. It appears to us in three different forms. Firstly that of an animal, and supposedly the fylgja of Man is a horse. The second form is that of a person of the opposite sex and finally its third form is that of an abstract form. This is a glowing bundle of energy in an everchanging geometric shape. A person who is clairvoyant can see the fylgja of others and can even sometimes interact. They are not subject to just individuals either they can be one for families and even groups. The fylgja follows through your life, watching over your birth, guiding you through life and helping you through death. It is connected to the realm of Vanaheimr, home of the Vanir Gods.
Hamr is the shape of our appearance. It means figure or garment and is what controls the look of outer shell for all living things. Powerful magicians can use Hugr to adapt and change their Harmr by astral travelling and taking on the form of another living thing, usually an animal. This will allow the Hamr to take on the physical look and characteristics of the animal they are encountering. Could this be a link to understanding Lycanthropy maybe? It is connected to the realm of Svartalfheimr, home of the Dokkalfer or Dwarves.
Vard is the soul double of man and is more commonly known by the name ghost. When the body dies the vard is released. It is therefore connected to the realm of Helheimr, home of the dead.
Od is the Divine inspiration or ecstasy which allows the mind to wander outside of itself, it is the expanded conciousness of man, where you experience a deeper meaning of the world. It is the force which makes up the Web of Wyrd, the very threads of existence and gives magicians the ability to World Walk.
Hamingja is the total power one person possesses, a supernatural form of power. It can be achieved to make the recipient victorious and resistant and it is strengthened when other aspects of the soul are awakened. It is a combination of both power and knowledge and it is used to empower all the other aspects.
Aswell as the Nine aspects, the soul is also made up of other connected forces. Megin for example is the power of Magick which all living things have within them. Asmegin is Divine Magick, As meaning Astral or God, this is the power that the Gods wield. Hafsmegin is Sea power and Lardrmegin is Land power and so on. Finally Ek which means I in old norse denotes the individual self, this expands during Initiation to bind with the Hamingja
So this is the Norse outlook on the soul and what makes up the living. I know it can be hard to understand but it is a difficult topic to get to grips with…