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Finding redemption in the Barns

Last night I sat in the barns, as I do twice a month. To hold a lokk-seidr circle.

I’ve been doing this for about 7 years now, the people have changed over time, how we connect has morphed and deepened, yet the process remains very similar.

We chant as a circle (the lokk) to create an altered state of consciousness (seidr). Currently we are focusing on experiencing one rune of the younger futhark each month. Then I lead the group on a drummed shamanic journey- using the months rune as a doorway, and often weaving some chanting into the journey. We come together to share our experiences, and then chant once more as a circle. The chanting at the start and end is an integral part of the experience. We are connecting on a personal level, but also very much as a group. The chant is woven by everyone there, it is not me leading.

I am not teaching as such, though I start the session with some reflections on the monthly rune, because our experience can’t really be taught. What we do, how we experience the group is so personal it's sometimes hard to capture in words. But as this month we are exploring Odin, the wordsmith, I thought I would try.

Last night as people shared experiences of their journey I felt the magic of what we create. Each journey was so unique, yet had a particular feeling. We were connecting to the oss rune, and Odin- so words and conversation, and element of teaching seemed to weave through everyone’s journey. As people shared I realised how we all had simple compassion and acceptance for each other. No one was judged- for their experiences, no one was ranked or criticised. Each person in the moment was offered group compassion and acceptance. Everyone was validated in a gentle, and authentic way. The kindness of the group almost took my breath away.

As a group I realised we were mirroring what we all need internally, to just sit with ourselves compassionately, without judgement. An odd word came to my mind, not one I would normally use or think of. “Redemption” (possibly influenced by currently binge watching the Handmaid’s Tale!).

As I contemplated this word (“the action of saving or being saved”) I realised that was exactly what we were doing. We were modelling what it feels like to be compassionate and accepting within the group, giving each person the permission to be compassionate to themselves.

Redemption is not about being saved by another, a divine presence or God. It is an internal journey, experienced quietly within ourselves. The only way I can express it is that the group process gradually, over time, influences the internal process.

So that a more gentle and compassionate internal state can be found.


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