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Meeting the 9 daughters of Ran

Week 1: Blodughadda - Undine of Blood,
Mermaid of the River-Fed Sea

Personal Gnosis on Blodughadda UPG

Pagan Section Previous MermaidNext Mermaid Week 2: Hronn

Blodughadda Crest, Mermaid of Blood

If you don't like rambling tales, you should quit while you're ahead...

And you know , I'm not sure I should tell this tale.

If you say "this bread, when the priest speaks the right words, it literally turns to flesh. And this wine, it turns to blood," then everyone thinks you're a Catholic. If you say it was symbolic, then everyone thinks you're a Protestant. If you say "Moses really parted the sea and saved his people, for real," people think you're either Jewish or Christian. They don't say you're crazy.

But if you say "Oh, I had supper with my friend and a Pagan Goddess last week. It was pretty awesome! She chose me to be Her horse: A small part of Her came into me and used my body to eat the food and talk with my friend. And how was your weekend?" Then people think you're crazy. See the end of my Intro to the Pagan Section if you want to know why I'm sharing it anyway. But really, I shouldn't complain. I consider myself pretty lucky in life, and particularly blessed. Or maybe I just appreciate it more than some. Most of the time anyway.

You know what? Pretend I have a vivid imagination, and this is all a fantastic metaphor I'm using to explain some cool kernels of wisdom I've gathered. Grab some popcorn, get yourself comfortable, the show's about to begin.


Once Upon A Time : How I met my first Sea Goddess

I live on the island of Montreal, in the middle of the St-Lawrence Seaway, a large river that drains into the sea. My dad loves sailing, but I've never been much interested in sailing or the sea in general. I'm a city Pagan through and through.

But my journey started one Saturday in June, driving over the Champlain bridge, singing along to Blodughadda's Song on a CD of spirit songs I was trying to learn.

Soon I began trancing out, and the image of a tough looking red haired mermaid came into my mind. She said: "Tomorrow. Return. Make offering." I was quite surprised, to say the least! First, I don't normally get goddesses talking to me, not unless I'm doing a ritual, meditation or devotion. And second, spirit songs don't work unless the spirit it belongs to gives you permission, or someone who holds the song gives it to you, with the permission of that spirit. I really hadn't expected Her to answer when I sang that song. But, by singing it, I had given Her the option of answering.

Well, I'm no fool. If someone asks you if you're a god, Ray, you say YES! Wait, wrong story. Never mind.

If a goddess tells you to make offering, and She's one you're interested in learning from, you say YES! Okay, I admit I was rather intimidated, and I spent about 5 seconds debating the pros and cons, after checking with my intuition to verify that this was indeed the goddess whose song I was singing. I agreed!

I asked what She wanted: "Drop of blood". Well, blood is life, and our own blood is one of the few things that is truly ours to give. It's a little bit of our life force. I'd read it was the favored offering for Sea Jotuns, and She is the undine of blood. I thought, okay, 9 sisters who are mermaids, I'll offer a drop for each of them. I suggested 9 drops, and the deal was made.

Other common offerings we make include song, dance, food, poetry, prayer, and parties in Their honor. Just not today, for Her.

Blodughadda is one of nine daughters of Ran and Aegir, the Northern Goddess and God of the sea. Aegir is brother to Kari, god of the North Wind, and Logi, a fire god. All 9 of these mermaids are the mothers of Heimdall, watcher of the Rainbow Bridge Bifröst, sired by Odin. They are named:

Blodughadda, "Bloody Hair", mermaid of blood, and the connection between rivers and sea.
Himinglava, "Heaven Clear", mermaid of fair weather, and joy.
Hrönn, "Welling Wave", mermaid of whirlpools, and fear.
Hevring or Hefring, "Riser", mermaid of surface currents, and sorrow.
Bylgja, "Breakers" (curling wave crests), mermaid of surf waves, obsession and drive.
Unn or Udr, "Frothing Wave", mermaid of time, tides, rythm and memory.
Duva or Dufa, "The Pitching One" or "Dipping", mermaid of islands, and revealing the hidden
Kolga, "Cold One", mermaid of freezing waters, ice, and loneliness
Bara or Drofn, Billow (a large wave), mermaid of erosion, and patience.


Meeting Blodughadda

Sunday June 13, 2010

So the next day I returned, going to a park that runs along the river, and sung Her song at the edge of the water. I waited, and eventually, I saw Her, in the middle of the river. Red hair hanging like seaweed, though I couldn't make out the details in the distance. "Come into the water," She said. I did, even as She urged me to go further than I really wanted to in my shorts. I got to about knee deep, threw Her a mango that I had on hand, and using my lancet device (what diabetics use), gave Her 9 drops of blood. She still wanted more. I offered her blood meal (sold as fertilizer), which I keep in my offerings bag, and She took that. Then She started teaching me. I don't remember the exact words, but this is what She explained, mostly in very short sentences. Either that's Her style of speech, or She thinks I'm slow witted, and need to be talked down to. From Her perspective, maybe that's true.

All Waters Are One

Water Nourishes All

Water Receives All Offerings

Water Reaches Everywhere

Raven (see Wyrdwalkers, below) got a lesson on how blood is to us as the sea is to the Earth. We have a sea inside ourselves that relates to the greater sea outside. His lesson was about controlling flow and heartbeat with drumming, for healing purposes, and eventually for controlling waters outside yourself. But first, you have to learn to control your own waters.


Mine was about connectedness and feeding spirits. He had to go to the sea to meet them, but I live on an island in a river that drains to the sea. She taught me that sea spirits won't come to you on the land, you have to go to them. Were I to call to one of Her sisters directly from the land, or even the river, They would not come. But Blodughadda's power is that of connecting rivers and sea, so by singing Her song by a river, sea spirits can be reached. Every time I call to Them, I must sing Her song first, making the river part of the sea. That is because All Waters Are One.

River Offerings

If I put an offering into the river, after singing Her song, She can take that offering and bring it anywhere with Her to feed any spirit, taking a portion of it in payment. That is because Water Receives All Offerings, and Water Nourishes All. Nothing lives without water, all have water inside them and need water to live and grow. Water is necessary to sustain life.


If I need to journey in spirit to an otherworldly location, all I need to do is to submerge at least part of my body in water. Her magic can take my spirit there, wherever it is, to any place that holds water. That is because Water Reaches Everywhere, and She can find any place that has water. And anywhere I journey, if I can find water, I can find Her and thus a way back home. Of course, I'll have to pay Her price for that help. This particular ferryman takes payment in blood, as Her name implies.

I Know Where You Live

After making offering of my blood to Her, She knows me, has tasted me, and can reach me anywhere (this will apply to Her sisters, if I make offering to Them too). My blood is in Her, and the blood inside me is a sea where She is welcome. She can come inside me and speak to me because All Waters Are One, Water Reaches Everywhere, and She holds the signature of my lifeforce within Her. I can call to Them anywhere. That doesn't mean They'll make the effort to come when I'm on land, just that They can, if They want to.

The Sea Within

Now, this is more tricky, and I think will take more work with all of Them to achieve, but eventually, I should be able to reach the sea by reaching into my own blood. All Waters Are One, and my blood is just an isolated container for those salty waters of life. And though it is not something I can do yet, at some point, any body of water can become suitable for reaching any other body of water. I'm thinking of the pond near my parent's place, where I can do more private workings than by the river. But not yet.

Lazy Offerings

I also got the impression I would eventually be able to use a consecrated bottle of sea water to make offerings to the mermaids. I'd be able to offer drops of blood into that water when I needed to make payment. Flushing it down the drain might be a way to get it to the river and eventually to the sea, but that water gets filtered and processed first, so it is not acceptable. I have to actually pour it into the river myself. No laziness allowed. However, I can wait till Spring to pour it out, instead of having to make a hole in the ice.

This is what I learned from Blodughadda.

Blodughadda's Song

As I practiced Blodughadda's song, I was having a hard time remembering the order of the verses, so I made a visualization for each of those. Once I know the first line with the visual, I just look for the line that rhymes to follow it. Here is what I use:

  1. Imagine my toes growing roots, that extend from the shore into the water, and drink up the water like straws. This fills my legs with water.
  2. Feel my heart, as if it were a fruit, controlling the flow of blood as it squeezes with each beat. I focus on the blood in my chest
  3. Standing waist deep in water, see a flow of blood spreading in the water from my crotch, as if menstruating very heavily. I focus the blood in my pelvis and midsection, as well as the one in the water.
  4. I swallow, and it's like there is some sandy grit in my mouth, and my mouth is like a shore. The grit flows down into my digestive tract as I swallow, spreading into the long twisting rivers of my intestines, and into the sea of my body, spreading.
  5. I open my hands, fingers wide apart, pointing out. The blood from my fingers is the water of the rivers, and it flows into the seas of my arms and shoulders, and back again.

This makes a pretty good body mindfullness meditation, even without the song.

(see references below for the song words)


Meditations on Connection


"Great," you're thinking. "She had a fun time with an ancient sea goddess. What good is that to me?"

Fair enough. Let's find applications for all this.


The Problem of the Curiously Floating Head

Raven's lesson involved learning to drum in time with his own heartbeat. Now, I'm not totally sure what Blodughadda intended this heartbeat drumming to do, though I have pretty good idea. I can also take the prescription and ask "What would this be good for?"

The answer is, it's extremely useful for those who tend to live in their heads, detached and dissociated from their own bodies.

Say, what are you feeling in your body right now?

If you didn't know before I asked you, there's a good chance that like many people today, you're mostly living in your head. This is not necessarily a bad thing, it's good for analyzing, making some decisions, evaluating options. But if that's all you do, it's a sucky way to live. You're not a computer, and your life shouldn't be reduced to acting like one. Life is about living and experiencing. Making choices is just one part of that, and like Odin's twin ravens Hugin and Munin, you have Thought and Memory at your disposal. But you are not your thoughts and your memories, just like Odin is not his ravens. The ravens serve the person.

If you want to see what happens when you become a floating head, just go to my Floating Head page.



But onto the exercise now. We'll try to re-attach your head to your body.

1) Find your pulse on your neck with your fingers. Don't use your thumb, it has a pulse of it's own, and that just gets confusing. The neck connects the head and body, which makes for a perfect metaphor. Also, it's the easiest place to feel your pulse. If you start to feel light headed, you're pressing too hard. Press more lightly, so you don't reduce the flow of blood to your brain. Worst case scenario is you might faint, so do this sitting down. But it's almost impossible to accidentally make yourself pass out like this.

2) Start counting mentally with your heartbeat, 1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4. Or if your pulse is fast, mentally say the word "and" on every other beat. It becomes "1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and..." It's best to do this counting silently at first, because moving your mouth makes it harder to fell the pulse. REMEMBER TO BREATHE!!!! Do this for a while. The next part gets trickier.

3) Gently tap out your heartbeat with a finger of the other hand, on your thigh, or some other part of the body. And when I say gently, I mean very gently. You'll notice it makes it a lot harder to feel your pulse on your neck, and to make it even worse, tapping your heartbeat actually seems to change your heartbeat! You can alternate 4 counts of feeling/listening to your pulse, and 4 counts of tapping while feeling it. Keep counting and REMEMBER TO BREATHE! When you get good at this, and it does take a little while...

4) Gently tap out your heartbeat with your whole hand. This is harder than it looks. Moving your hand moves your arm and shoulder. It's all connected, so your body starts to sway to the beat of your own heart. As you get better at it, you can progressively turn the taps into slaps, so it makes a sound too. Eventually, make it louder. There, you're drumming your own heartbeat! Do this for a while, at least 5 minutes. When you stop, notice how you're feeling. You'll notice that there's a lot less chatter in your head, and you're a lot more aware of your body. Colors may seem brighter. You may even still be aware of your own heartbeat. You are in your body now, or at least, more than before.

If you wanted to relax your body, you could ever so slightly slow your drumming, and take your heart along that beat. Or, to wake yourself up by slowly making the beat faster. But you have to follow your heartbeat for a good 5 minutes before you can start making changes to it.

5) Tap your heartbeat on a drum. If you have a drum, (many things can be made to serve as a drum, such as an empty cooking pot or pan), you can go even further. With a drum you can start relating to rythms outside yourself. First you bring your heart to the same rythm as something outside yourself. Then you start changing that rythm very slowly, and keep checking that both your heart and the outside rythms are following yours.

Why would you want to do this? Well, if you're doing healing, you first tune to your own heartbeat. Then you tune yourself to the other person's heartbeat. You're getting yourself in sync with them. Exactly what you do with that I'm not sure, I'm not there yet.

An easier way to synchronize with someone is to match their breathing. But that's part of the magics of Air, which is another topic. Both this and the pulsebeat attunement can be used with a friend, to understand each other better, or with a lover as a prelude to sex. It's one way to create unity, and you can even experience something like limited telepathy while doing this.

Milton Erickson, founder of Ericksonian hypnosis, used to match his breathing with clients, and also pay attention to their heart beat (he could notice the veins pulsing on the person's skin!) In NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), matching a person's posture and breathing is known as Mirroring. NLP teachers used to make their students practice mirroring each other very extensively, but that's not the case anymore. Rumor is, it freaked out too many students when they found themselves sharing the same thoughts. Nevertheless, it's an awesome way to get into someone's head to get an idea what they're feeling and thinking.

But those are more advanced topics. For now, the main point of this is getting in tune with your own body.


Meditation of the Week : Invisible Rivers

Consider the rivers around you. Consider how things are connected by flow and rythm.

Look at the roads. Consider how they carry people, the food that you eat, and the things you need to the stores. Is there a rythm to this flow? Is there a change in flow at different times of day? At different times of year? Is the flow ever blocked? Rivers used to be the roads of fastest travel, and the means of transporting food across great distances. And sometimes, the sea was the only path available. At one time, it was trains. Now it is trucks.

Consider the water that comes to your house, half of it conveniently warmed in a sort of ever-heating cauldron, so that you can have hot or cold water at will. Where does it come from? What channels does it take? Where does it go when you are done with it and it drains away? What happens to it then?

Consider the electrical wiring in your house, that feeds each of your electrical devices with fire, and brings them a form of life. This computer you're using now, for instance. How does this particular river branch out through your city, town or region? Where is the head of this river, the source of it? How is it made? Is it burning fuel that makes your electrical river flow? Is it nuclear power? Is it dams that fuel it, the rushing of water turning a great wheel to move the power? Along what branching channels does that power flow?

Consider the internet. We are the source, and the recipients of this information, going from you, to your Internet Provider, to a Hub, which sends it to another hub, another provider, another person. We are feeding each other information. Consider television, and radio, where there are clear sources, and your own way to receive them.

Perhaps your house is heated by fuel, natural gas, oil, coal, or some form of wood. Where does it come from? How does it get to you?

But where are all those invisible rivers? Look up, they're running along poles. Look down, they're underground. Look around, they're corridors and stairs and streets and roads and highways.

What about the rivers of fire: The sun, all our energy comes from there, pouring down like constant rain, half of every day, and reflected by the moon at night. Cosmic rays and light of stars, they come down on us, through us, from every direction, at every moment. Think of the atmosphere, the great umbrella that protects us from the most deadly of these rays.

Rivers of wind... how does fresh air flow to where you are? If it didn't flow, you'd suffocate. Is it ventilation, or windows? And where does it come from, how complex are the flows of air around the planet? Think of the plants, the source of that vital part of the air for us. How does that oxygen flow to us? Are we leaving enough land for them to sustain our rivers of air, so we can live?

This week, look around. Notice all these rivers that keep you alive. Notice how connected you really are.


When you notice any of these rivers... remember Blodughadda.

Hail Blodughadda, Undine of Rivers and Sea!


Relevant Events This week

Wednesday June 16, 2010 : A feast for Loki


Pagan Section Previous MermaidNext Mermaid Week 2: Hronn

Offsite References

Mastering Water: The Nine Undines describes Raven Kaldera's experience of meeting the nine undines, as well as the lyrics of their spirit songs. This page is one chapter of Wyrdwalkers: Techniques of Northern-Tradition Shamanism, sold through Asphodel Press,

Mastering The Elements is also useful here, and part of the same book.

Nine Sisters' Shrine. is an online shrine to these and other Northern sea deities.

Nine Sea Songs and Other Tides (CD) is just 5$, if you want to hear how they sound.

His CD includes: The song of the 9 sacred herbs, Blodughadda's song, Himinglava's, Hronn's, Hevring's, Bylgja's, Unn's, Duva's, Kolga's, Bara's, Farbauti's, Logi's, Jormundgand's, Jord's, Rind's Groa's Charms (2,3,4,5,6,7,9), Candlemas Hymn (futhorc song), and Surt's song.

The Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda are, as always, the basic historical sources in the Northern Trad. Many editions of them are available online.

Even if you're talking to spirits, you need to read them so you know who's who and what Their story is. Granted, the Prose Edda was written by a Christian 200 years after the end of Pagan period, but getting information from Gods is rarely easy, and at least you'll know enough to ask good questions.


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