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Meeting the 9 daughters of Ran

Week 4: Duva - Undine of Revealing the Hidden Path, Mermaid of Islands and Mists

Personal Gnosis on Duva UPG

Week 3: Hevring Previous MermaidNext Mermaid Week 4 1/2: Ran

Hronn Crest, Mermaid of Fear

Sunday July 4, 2010

The day was warm and sunny, and I was led this time to an open part of the shore, very visible from the path. I was only interrupted once though, by a man asking how deep the water was.

Once more Blodughadda questioned me about my intent and motives, before revealing Her sister, who had been there all along just next to Her. I just hadn’t noticed Her being there, it’s like She just appeared. The questioning seemed to be a kind of big sister protectiveness, even though Duva is said to be older. I saw Her, skin chalk white with pointy sharp fingers, hair shifting between auburn to black. She was wearing a sort of tattered white something, but my eyes wouldn’t focus on it.

At first, She said nothing, just “stood” there in the water silently, while Her big sister moved away. I got a nod when I asked if She wanted the apple, and again about the drops of my blood. I offered Her the apple, then used the lancet. Only after the 8th one did She move or speak: “Wait. Before you give the 9th, I will speak.”

She spoke reluctantly, looking suspicious of what I might want. In retrospect, it felt a bit like a game of playing hard to get, except with secrets rather than dating.

“You’ll want to know what’s hidden inside you,” She accused me sullenly.
“That depends, is it something I should know or need to know?”
“Need to know.”
“Then yes, I’ll want to if I need to.”
“You won’t like it.”
“Perhaps, but I’ll still need it.”
She didn’t continue on that thought after that, changing the subject. Nor did She later return to it.

“I am in fog and mists. I can make you lost, or reveal the path. The other one, he wanted to know how to find the path to safety. That is what I taught him. But you are not like that, and you know that song already. You like the mystery.” Then She took on a conspirational tone, one I associate with ‘it’s just us girls here, we can talk’.

“It is good for women not to say everything,” She advised. “Mystery, it is a potent thing. You must not reveal everything, if you want to keep your power. I like women who can be mysterious, secretive. They are like me. It is about choosing what to hide, and what to reveal, when to speak and when to be silent. How to hide in plain sight, and how to be the centre of attention. That is my power, that is what I teach… “ She didn’t say it, but I felt She meant “to women”, that She taught different things to men and women. Her tone and demeanor made me feel like She was including me a little bit in her notion of sisterhood, which is even more important to Her than to most of Her sisters. They have secrets, which They keep them amongst themselves, but secrets are Her specialty.

I got the impression Duva likes stories involving mysteries and hidden things, that She could be a muse for such things. And though She didn’t appear to be one herself, I think She likes mysterious femme fatale characters, and to encourage women to be mysterious and lead people on. She can be every bit as deadly as Her sisters.

In some ways, She’s closest to the Greek sirens who lead men willingly to their doom among the 9 sisters. But it’s with something desired and shiny rather than with Her voice and body, a “don’t look at me, look at that! That’s what you want, isn’t it?” It feels like She’d rather be the man behind the curtains than the one on the throne. She’s too secretive to want the spotlight. All that secrecy being wrapped up with “we are sisters, we are united, we are separate from others and we keep our secrets.”

It’s like knowing a juicy secret. You know what no one else knows, and you’re dying to tell it to impress people. But you can’t. Because once you do, it’s not a secret anymore, everyone knows it, and you have nothing. I think Duva feels that way about Her secrets: She wants to tell, and doesn’t. At the very least, She wants you to make Her feel how special She is before revealing them. You have to value those secrets. At least that’s the theory. I’ll see if that’s how She likes it the next time we speak.

I asked how I could reach Her in the future.

“I can come when you are under water, without Blodughadda’s song.” “How?” “It’s one of my mysteries.”

“You all come looking for answers, but I do not care about answers. I care about questions, good questions, questions that will lead you somewhere.”

“Since you like good questions, let me give you one: What would you like me to tell other humans about you and your sisters?” Sadly, I don’t remember what She answered.

Finally, I gave the last drop, and we parted.


After I Left

I got male admirers on my way back to the car. Did I appear more pretty… and mysterious?

On the way back, I discovered a song had been “downloaded” into me. I finally had some idea what Raven meant by that term… though I suppose it could be something entirely different for him.

It’s not like the information is easily available, it’s more like it’s all packaged up tight, and I have to unwrap it bit by bit so I know what it is. Otherwise it’s just not part of my memory, it just sits there, unconnected to anything. I wonder if I have more of such unknown packages inside me?

I don’t know that I had the ability to notice these before, or to unwrap them, but apparently I do now. A gift from Duva? Or just pointing out the basics of looking for them? As I drove away, I first thought I was talking to Duva still… but it didn’t feel the same. Rather, I had this song in me, and I uncovered it line by line, some with more difficulty than others, as I assume there’s some translation going on, as well as some poetic strictures on it.

Chords I use on mandolin: Cm Dm D#(0113) Dm


Duva’s Luring song

I speak not. I sing not.
I show not. The way you sought.
Secrets mine. In good time.
They will be. My mystery

Dazed you stare. I’m not there.
In good time. You’ll be mine
Seek me here. Seek me there.
I am fair. Your mind is bare

Follow me. Into the sea.
Up to your lips. Do not resist.
There you will find me, and there you will see me
And there I will be, what you want me to be.


Being silent is a big deal to Her. That’s probably why the song has distinct silences. There’s a strong sense of feminine wiles to it, and it feels like it’s not really intended for men unless they are ergi (a Norse term that loosely means “effeminate”). Right below where I’m writing this, there is a paragraph sitting there, which explains what the song does, and how to use it. I already wrote it, but as I’m preparing to publish this page, I find myself reluctant to post it. It’s not the self-consciousness I feel about posting my spiritual experiences, It’s something else, a reluctance to part with this secret. I want to share it, and I don’t. You can probably figure it out from the lyrics anyway, you don't need me to spell it out.

You know what? Buy me a drink, and maybe I’ll tell you…

I don’t really understand it, but it feels like Duva likes me. Blodughadda is always quizzing me, almost bullying me, with protectiveness of her sisters, or perhaps She’s trying to make me understand my motivations better. She always seems to be talking down to me, like I’m some sort of idiot which She has the misfortune of having to deal with. I still think She’s way cool, regardless of Her attitude. Hronn was helpful but businesslike. Hevring was fairly friendly. But Duva was at holding me away at arm’s length, then seemed to take me into Her confidence. When She talked to me during the second part of our chat… it felt very intimate. I really felt like I was getting advice from my trusted big sister. I don’t have any siblings, I don’t even know what that would be like. But that’s what I felt.

Perhaps the fact that I live on an island helps, as Islands are Hers. But I don’t just live here. This place is Home. There’s a lot of quibbling about whether one’s loyalty lies with Canada or Quebec first, at least in this province, due to the fact that we’re French in a sea of English speakers. I’m a Montrealer first. Everybody else can take a number.


A Water Form

Raven associates Duva with fishes of all kinds. To me, Her animals are invertebrates, such as squids, octopi, jellyfish, molluscs (like muscles and oysters), and crustaceans (like crabs and lobsters). At a later meeting, when I asked if one of the Sisters would send me a teacher, so I could learn a water animal form, it was Duva who answered my prayer. I am very grateful and I learned more than I could have hoped for. It also gave me a more personal connection to sea life, to care about it and want it protected. Also, it gave me a taboo. Generally, if you work with a specific animal spirit, either you must eat of that animal… or you can’t eat it anymore. I wasn’t sure which one it was after my experience, I wasn’t told. So I imagined eating it… and felt nauseous.

Right. Taboo it is.


Musings on Duva: Secrets, Mysteries and Masks

We all have secrets, things we don’t want people to know. Why don’t we want them to know?

Sometimes, secrets can’t actually be expressed in words. Sometimes, the only way to learn it is by doing, by paying the price for it. Some secrets aren’t secrets at all. They’re mysteries, and mysteries can’t be explained with words.

The joy of a new mother, the anguish of an addict, the discomfort of being transsexual, the pride of saving a life, the confusion of insanity, these are all mysteries. Books have been written about each of these, but if you haven’t been there, you just don’t get it. You can’t know what it’s like, no matter how sympathetic you are.

True mysteries have to be experienced, and all of us have those. Some of them are like painfully bleeding wounds, garish and grotesque to behold. Others are like a suit of armor that protects us, or a glow of power that enhances us. Actually, the most painful ones are also the ones that tend to be the most empowering, assuming you survive and recover from them. Our wounds define us, and determine what kind of help we can give to others. What wounds do you have? What have you gained from them? If you simply resent them, then you can’t use them.

We choose what to hide and what to show, making our masks. What masks do you wear?

Are they meant to hide you, or show specific parts of you? Every mask hides something, and shows something else. But do your masks show at least part of your truth, or just convenient lies? Have you started to believe in your masks, and forgotten who you are underneath?


Meditation of the Week

The image I made for Duva shows an oyster revealing her pearl. The pearl is the treasure, often hidden away. But that treasure comes from a grain of sand falling in, grating at the soft flesh, and irritating the oyster. To protect herself, she coats it in layer after layer of shiny nacre. The same nacre is produced when the flesh of the oyster is cut, which is how cultivated freshwater pearls are produced. This nacre is the same thing that the shells are made of, and the oyster produces it to enlarge her shell as she grows. Nacre is both the treasure, made to recover from a wound, and the armor that protects the sensitive inner being.

Consider what wounds you have had, which you turned into pearls.

I once had a nursing student as a client, who wanted to have the memories of childhood abuse removed, or at least altered, with hypnosis. I had a suspicion, and  as I looked into it, I realized doing so would be a disaster. There was one key memory I found, of when she decided she’d become a pediatric nurse. As a child, she saw children on TV, they were hurting, and she wanted to help them, save them. She couldn’t save herself from the abuse… but she could grow up and help other children. Had I removed the memories of abuse, she would have entirely lost what motivated her to help children. She would have lost her sense of purpose in life. We did do some work to make the memories easier to handle, but we left them in place. They were the source of her pearl.

And what about you, what are your pearls? I’ve found a few of mine.

Hail Duva, Undine of Islands, Mists and Mysteries!


Relevant Events This week

Monday July 5th, I was inspired to write a poem about the creation of the world from a Jotun perspective. I called it “Creation, Take Two: A Jotun’s View.”


Week 3: Hevring Previous MermaidNext Mermaid Week 4 1/2: Ran


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