Bjorn-gil Felag; Rancho Cucamonga, California  
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HVEL CLEANSING

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[NOTE: This article written by another (credited below) provides a highly useful way to access runic streams for cleansing the hvel.]

  When taking a sauna for ritual purposes, the method I have found best is as follows. Go into the sauna, making sure it is not too hot or cool. Spread a cloth of rough linen on the bench and sit in silence until the first sweat begins to rise on your body. Then chant, slowly and softly, "Uruz...uruz...uruz..." Repeat the rune-name nine times; cast a ladleful of water on the stove; chant "Nauthiz" three times; cast a ladleful of water; and finish by chanting "Berkano" nine times as you beat yourself with the birch-whisk (top of head to soles of feet, leaving out no part of the body). Repeat this process thrice over.

Depending on how hot the sauna is and how experienced a sauna-bather you are, you may be ready to get out at this point, or you may wish to sit and consider each of these runes in silence, perhaps using the birch-whisk again. When you are ready to leave - a feeling you will know when it happens - go and plunge at once into cold water. If you do not have a lake or even cold swimming pool to dip in, an ice-cold shower is the next best choice. In wintertime, many Finns delight in breaking a hole in the ice on the Baltic or the nearest lake so that they can swim there after sauna. If circumstances permit, a mighty shout should be shouted as you leap into the water or dive naked into the snow. Move fast and thrash around. If the water is not frozen over, a short swim after sauna is pleasant and healthy; otherwise, you should be able to tell for yourself when it is time to get out. If your dip is in a swimming pool, you must shower thoroughly in fresh water before getting back into the sauna, as otherwise the evaporation of chlorine in the enclosed space can present a serious health hazard.

After the cold-water phase, go back into the sauna and cast more water on the stones. This time, repeat the triad along the following lines, casting water on the stones and beating yourself strongly with the whisk after each formula:
Uruz, uruz, uruz; uruz, uruz, nauthiz; uruz, nauthiz, berkano. Nauthiz, nauthiz, nauthiz; uruz, nauthiz, nauthiz; uruz, nauthiz, berkano. Berkano, berkano, berkano; uruz, berkano, berkano; uruz, nauthiz, berkano.
Chant the whole sequence three times over. Again, you may be ready to leave and leap into the cold water when you are done, or you may choose to sit longer.

The third time into the sauna, the formula is:
Isa, laguz, uruz, berkano, berkano, berkano, nauthiz, kenaz, fehu.
This may be chanted in a weaving pattern:
Fehu, isa, kenaz, laguz, nauthiz, uruz, berkano (thrice)
or in a snake-pattern:
Fehu, laguz, isa, nauthiz, kenaz, uruz, berkano (thrice) as you feel yourself moved. Repeat chant, whisking and casting water at will. When you are done, sit quite still for a little while and simply feel the might around you soaking into you.

After the last cold plunge, stand in tree-stance (full elhaz) and chant, "Above me Ase-Garth's awesome might, Roots below in Hella's halls." Bring your feet together and spread your arms out straight from your sides, intoning, "All meets in Middle-Garth's might." Still with feet together, press the palms of your hands together in front of your solar plexus, fingers pointing upwards. Gazing straight ahead, bring your hands very slowly up. As they pass in front of your face, gradually form a triangle with thumbs and forefingers; follow it with your gaze until your arms are fully stretched above your head. Part your hands, bringing your arms down in a full circle until your palms meet again, fingers down, then bring your hands slowly back up to the first position. As you do this, see yourself as a shining birch tree (women) or leek (men), rooted deep in the ground, bringing a stream of glowing white might up from your roots through your body, up above your head as a springing fountain of leafy branches or broad green leaves, and flowing down around you again so that you stand completely within a sphere of white light when your palms meet at the bottom of their path. Breathe slowly and powerfully in as your hands move up from your solar plexus, breathe slowly and powerfully out as they move down. Do this nine times. Finish by raising head and hands to the sky again, blessing the gods and goddesses for the fair worlds and the might we share.

Finally, pour yourself a glass cup (the "rime-cup" of our forebears) full of a thirst-quenching golden beer, {or even non-alcholic cider}. Trace the runic formula Ansuz-Laguz-Uruz in the froth, chanting the names of the runes as you shape them. Lifting the rime-cup high, sing "ALU - ALU - ALU" and drink deeply.


CONTRIBUTORS :
KveldúlfR Gundarsson, Warder of the Lore.
In Idunna V, iii, 20, Holymonth 1993, pp. 12-16.

Eric Wodening

ON-LINE SOURCE :
 Our Troth; Chapter XL; Sauna 
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