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  • Writer's pictureAndreas Kornevall

Time as a Water Cycle

Originally published in

In old Norse, the name for the incomprehensible mystery is Ginnungagap. When said out loud, the word rolls over your tongue like an old boulder-stone and the vowels open your jaw wide. Try it and widen your eyes when you say it. Don't worry about the correct pronunciation, let the vowels do their magic. Feel like a mad sorcerer when you say it, you are invoking the mother of light; the name of the first cause. It has neither existence, nor non-existence. There are no shores in the Gape, only anonymity, an emptiness without a frontier. GINNUNGAGAP.

Much virtue has been added to the great Gape in the East, with wind horse flags flapping in the high passes praising its virtue. We read in the Eddas (The Grandmothers) that the primordial caught fire, and likened to an alchemical vial, there was an opposite force there to cool the flames - Ice. From these opposing temperatures a baby was born. The name was Aurgelmir (an Androgyn), meaning: the screamer. Souls scream before they learn to think, we hear this holiest of galder (mantra) in every infant. The original sound of all language.

The forgotten Goddess appearing from the Ice world, Audhumla, nurtured the first baby. All Northern lands suffer for forgetting her. She is without any songs or tributes. She is the holy cow - blessings to the Brahmans in India keeping her praises alive.

'And this prayer of the singer

continually expanding,

Became a cow that was there before

the beginning of the world'

- Rig Veda

Audhumla carries a life giving milk; the milk that she has been giving to all living beings since the beginning. A drop of her memory is still alive in the name of our galaxy, the milky way. An older name for our galaxy is the Cow's Lane.

From all these beginnings, perhaps the most mysterious of all are the beings of Time. Where time is free and eternal, it has no purpose, it counts no stars nor follows any movements. It is when we have decay and death that time reveals itself. From the armpit of the screaming baby, Mimir (Memory) was born and Memory had a daughter called Urd. Urd the Goddess of Life and Death, the Goddess of the cycles of time, and all time flows toward her like currents of sea, she is all the past. The memory of yesterday is transformed into Urd-water, she collects each wavelet and fills the great Well of Memory. This water in turn grows the eternal Tree, Yggdrasil, the great Anima Universalis.

The Well of Memory is the source of all ritual and ceremonial life. Through ritual we return to the well and to cyclical time. The water cycle springs upwards from there through the trunk of Yggdrasil like sap and outwards to the flowering time, which is the ever present. The leaves grow in the present, until the water sinks back into the well carrying all the experiences as it flows into the submerged depths. It flows down to feed the roots, and then the cycle repeats itself again. The eternal tree is vulnerable to our forgetfulness. Forgetfulness causes drought, and empties the well that feeds the Tree. With remembering we can grow its leaves. Too much forgetting is an ecological disaster. This Urd-water can be seen as the original mirror of the world, not the artificial mirror which is there to flatter us, but instead, the water mirror that reflects what has truly been and what is.

The flowers of the Tree are tended by Urd's younger sister, Verdandi. Through her, the flowers grow in the ever present. The movement towards the future is presided over by the third sister, Skuld, her face hidden and cloaked. When the future is hidden, we have to awaken our awareness to the choices we make; to be aware of our speech and action. Our morality becomes significant within the confines of a hidden future, just as time is precious when the world is finite and as we partake in shaping the future, we are accountable to what is happening to the world we inhabit. At the end of life, we travel towards the past, like flowers falling in the autumn light, our lives become memories, feeding the deep roots of time in the great well. All loss is praised from these waters, old parchments say there are two swans swimming on its mirrored surface, signifying the symbol of Frey - the God of Love.

The well of memory is the source and the place where all stories live, from the wreckage of our time, it shows us that new flowers are being readied to bud, new paths begin to form. This water cycle is also an anthropomorphism of the Universe, we too carry this well inside of us, these memories. When Sophia (wisdom) was looking for Bythos (The One), she sought the dark water at the deepest part of the well. There she entered, and her descent into that darkness precipitated her ascent into wisdom. The All-Father (Odin) sacrificed his eye into the deep well and it was there that he learnt a hidden knowledge. His eye is still there looking into the depths of time. This mythic thinking is a vocabulary of our sensations, of our innate and natural understanding of who we are. We learn that there is a watery substance in us that can feed the roots of life. If we have the courage to submerge ourselves and gaze into the deep well within, we will emerge with the flowering time.

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