Ellen Lloyd - AncientPages.com - The best and most straightforward way to explain Utiseta is to say it’s the Norse version of the Native American vision quest.
Like Native Americans, Norse shamans believed it was possible to open the door to the spiritual world and by doing so, we can find the true purpose of life. Utiseta served as a method that offered guidance to those who needed to discover the path in life.
In Northern Europe, Utiseta was an ancient meditation technique practiced by Norse shamans. Before the arrival of Christianity, shamans played a significant role in Norse society. Shamans were respected and famous for their unusual powers because they mastered seidr and possessed the ability to alter destiny.
A völva was feared. Left image credit: Maris Orelia Right: Goddess Freya was the most powerful völva.
In Norse mythology, the Völva was a very powerful female shaman and seer.
She held an important place in the ancient Viking society and her powers were so strong that not only Vikings feared her prophecies, but even Odin, the greatest of all Norse gods who consulted her to learn what the future had in store for the gods.
Ancient people believed that practicing Utiseta gave a person knowledge and understanding of invisible worlds and the subconscious mind. Utiseta focused on connecting with nature, which is why the meditation technique had to be practiced in a quiet and lonely place, usually far from habitation.
During the Viking Age, Utiseta or “sitting out,” ritual was specifically used to communicate with spirits. A person who practiced Utiseta was believed to "sit at the crossroads": between the worlds.
"Uti-seta can also be seen as an encounter between someone who seeks knowledge (the pupil) and someone who has knowledge (the kennari or teacher). That meeting will take place at the point where the paths of teacher and pupil intersect: the crossroads." 1
“During the course of the útiseta, the quester would continue to sing her experiences and offer galdr (incantations or poetic songs) to the spirits. These periods of singing and chanting would be alternated with long periods of silence to receive the spirits’ wisdom and to feel the connections being woven with the unseen and the natural worlds.” 2
“Utiseta can, in some cases, become “faring forth”, or “journeying”, which are both northern-tradition terms for what is modernly referred to as “astral projection”. This occurs when a specific part of the soul leaves the body and travels to Otherworlds (or to other places in this world) while still being connected to the physical form.” 3
Utiseta was intended to guide a person and help him or her to find the right path. Those who were lost could find answers by reconnecting to the subconscious mind that is considered by many scientists to be a shadow of the “real” conscious mind. The unconscious mind contains our biologically based instincts. While we are fully aware of what is going on in the conscious mind, we have no idea of what information is stored in the unconscious mind. This is also one of the reasons why scientists think there is a mysterious, powerful ‘second intelligence’ hiding behind our conscious minds.
Utiseta can help us to unravel the mystery of our hidden second intelligence.
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Connecting with nature is a process that results in inner peace and a better understanding of oneself. In Northern Europe, nature was always a place where you went to seek answers. In ancient times, people in Sweden practiced a tradition known as Årsgång – a Year Walk. During the Year Walk, it was custom to visit the forest on Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve.
People in ancient Sweden believed a walk in the forest could foretell future events.
In a country like Sweden, where nature played an important role in daily life, it seemed logical to assume that omen-seekers could acquire knowledge of the following year by visiting the forest. But one had to be very careful because supernatural beings that resided in forests, lakes, and mountains could be harmful.
Utiseta has not been forgotten and there are still those who practice this ancient meditation technique. The legacy of Norse Shamanism is alive.
Written by Ellen Lloyd – AncientPages.com
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