Brad (Folkbuilder Coordinator for the AFA) and his lady, Gili, have stayed with us the last couple of days as we prepare for the Asatru Folk Assembly's big upcoming event. We knew that yesterday would be a powerful day when we watched an eagle circling over the house. I've never seen an eagle here before. For that matter, I'm not sure I have ever seen an eagle, so encountering one yesterday morning was certainly unusual.
Soon we were in the car and driving up to Lake Tahoe to show Brad and Gili some of local scenery. We had just passed Emerald Bay when an osprey (see my post on July 8th for more on ospreys) flew right in front of the car, carrying a sizeable stick for its nest - another wonderful sight.
Arriving at Taylor Creek, we walked the nature trail through the meadows and marshes. We passed through groves of quaking aspen which strongly reminded us of the birches that play such a powerful role in Northern lore. As we strolled, we examined our mode of awareness - trying to experience natural things as they were, unmediated and without expectation, attempting to sense the divine in the world around us. The aspen themselves had a presence that was almost tangible. I could understand how our ancestors sensed the numinous "Birch Goddess" behind the phenomenon of the birch tree. When we had finished the walk I felt calmed, relaxed, my soul nourished. When we paused for lunch, I jotted notes on how people might replicate our experience at Midsummer.
An hour later we were at Eagle Falls, where we felt the might of the rune Laguz in the roaring waterfall. We were getting in the car to depart when a woman, who had volunteered to take our picture, recognized our hammers. She told us about her friend, a woman of Scandinavian descent, who wore a hammer and was due to have a baby any time. Getting an AFA business card from the car, I wrote the Berkano rune on it and noted that she should invoke Freya and Frigga for a good birth. Nothing may come of it for the AFA, but who knows? Besides, it was the right action in the situation.
Significant birds, new ways of perceiving the holy in nature, another connection for our ancestral way...It had been a day of power, giving us a new awareness of the wonders of this world in which we live.
May we - all of us! - have many more!
Asatru Folk Assembly