Sleipnir – The Shamanic Riding

I will talk about Sleipnir as a shamanic symbol but first i will tell his story and how he came to be…Right at the beginning of the gods’ settlement, when the gods had built Valhalla, an unnamed builder appeared, he has offered to build a fortification for  the gods that will keep out invaders in exchange for the goddess Freyja.  After some debate, the gods agreed in this, but had placed a number of  restrictions on the builder, including that he must complete the work  within three seasons with the help of no man. The builder makes a single  request; that he may have help from his stallion Svaðilfari, and due to  Loki’s influence, this is allowed. The stallion Svaðilfari performs  twice the deeds of strength as the builder, and hauls enormous rocks to  the surprise of the gods. The builder, with Svaðilfari, makes fast  progress on the wall, and three days before the deadline of summer, the  builder was nearly at the entrance to the fortification. The gods  convened, and figured out who was responsible, which resulted in a  unanimous agreement that, along with most trouble, Loki was to blame.

The gods declare that Loki would deserve a horrible death if he could  not find a scheme that would cause the builder to forfeit his payment,  and threatened to attack him. Loki, afraid, swore oaths that he would  devise a scheme to cause the builder to forfeit the payment, whatever it  would cost himself. That night, the builder drove out to fetch stone  with his stallion Svaðilfari, and out from a wood ran a mare. The mare  neighed at Svaðilfari, and realizing the kind of horse it was,  Svaðilfari becomes frantic, neighs, tore apart his tackle, and runs  towards the mare. The mare runs to the wood, Svaðilfari follows, and the  builder chases after. The two horses run around all night, causing the  building work to be held up for the night, and the previous momentum of  building work that the builder had been able to maintain was not  continued.

When the Æsir realize that the builder is a Hrimthurs ( a frost giant tribe who live in the land of Niflheim ) they disregard their previous oaths with the builder, and call for Thor. Thor arrives, and kills the builder by smashing the builder’s skull into shards with his hammer Mjölnir. However, Loki as a mare, later gave birth to a gray foal with eight legs; the horse Sleipnir, “the best horse among gods and men. The horse later was given to Odin, and he became his horse.
Now that i have given you his story, i will talk about Sleipnir as a symbol of the shamanic ridings, the shamanic journeys.
The horse has always been a great symbol and actualy a living key in most of the cultures of the world, especially in Europe, all the way to the Mediterranean, to the far east of Siberia. For exemple, the horses take the Norse warriors to Valhalla, and in the case of Sleipnir, he helped Odin become a shaman and reach the other world, in search for the great knowledge. Sleipnir is like the galloping of the shaman in his journey, the constante sound of his hooves is like the rhythm of the shaman drum, in which he journeys to the other side searching for protection and knowledge, from the spirits and ancestors, sleipnir alludes to move fast, and to everything that escapes the fisical control, like climbing the world tree of Yggdrasil into other realms, other worlds, the great journey, riding in a altered consciousness. Like i have said, the constante sound of a horse hooves when galloping, his like the beating in a shaman drum, a magic musicality, that induces rhe shaman to go in a slowly and progressive diving in his most deep corners of his mind, the instrument that makes you flow and enter in ecstasy. The shaman rides his drum like Odin rides Sleipnir, and both free themselves from every limitations of space and time, “flying” towards the spiritual dimensions. In many ways a shaman can enter in trance, there are use of drugs ( in which i dont aprove ) but those are a rare situation, at least in Europe, there are other ways, some too gruesome, and others more safe, such as the Drum or in a state of close to death, like Odin when he cut himself with his spear, and hung from Yggdrasil for nine days and nights, losing blood, he entered in a stare close to death, and his spirit journeyed to the world of spirits, to gain the knowledge of the runes and their power, after arriving there, he was congratulated by a Valkyrie who gave him mead, to celebrate his status as a shaman. The constante sound ot the beating of the drum, takes you to a relaxation point when your body seems to fly,, just like the beating of the heart when the body and mind his calm, the constante sound of the heart pulsing, gives the baby inside of the mother, a state of relaxation, and it calms the baby, you notice this, that is why there are lots of toys for newborns, with the sound of the heart, a constante music like a drum, that can prove very useful indeed. I hope this information gave to the readers any useful information.

Best Regards

Arith Härger

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