Mobile Phone Blessing

The Cell Phone as Familiar Spirit

A Northern Tradition Pagan Blessing of Techno-Magic

 

RedFairyPhoneIMG160

Some would say I’m a Techno-Pagan. I suppose that’s true, but I just think of myself as Pagan or Heathen. Technology isn’t some alien thing, it’s an intimate part of our lives. There is no clearcut separation between Nature and Tech in my life.

My steed and ship is a car. When I lock it with the remote, I whisper “Shields up,” and imagine it enveloped by a glamour resembling a big cement block. I want people to ignore it being there, yet not try to park into its spot. Cement blocks are boring, you go around them.

When I need to find parking, I whisper a prayer: “Njord I pray, may my ship find good harbor on the sea of asphalt.” Usually I find parking. Every now and then I offer Njord a shotglass of rum, especially after finding parking in a difficult area.

Most of the time, people consult me for guidance on spiritual matters via online chat. Email doesn’t work so well for me, but as long as there’s a live connection I find I can read auras, runes or whatever as well as if they were in person. It’s better than a picture or personal item, as far as I’m concerned, in tracking them down.

Nature Spirits & Pagan Tech

I’m not a farmer depending on crops to live, but I do have a medicinal herb garden. I use a range of tech with it, including:

  • My favorite steel shovel (its small head allows better penetration between roots and rocks than a big one),
  • A hand-forged steel kunai (a Japanese digging and gardening tool, sometimes used in martial arts). That thing is sturdier than any hand spade I’ve ever seen, I can leverage boulders without it bending, and it’s the best darned thing ever for harvesting deep roots or removing undesired weeds. I’ve dedicated it to Gerda, goddess of enclosed gardens and wife of Frey.
  • Books, particularly the Earthwise Herbal ones by M.Wood for properties and the Northern Shamanic Herbal by R. Kaldera for plant spirits. Ancient Greeks lamented how books would make everyone stupid because they wouldn’t bother memorizing oral traditions anymore. Books were a new technology for enhancing us with external memory storage. Now as much as I love the physical copies of these beloved books, I simply adore the e-book and PDF versions of them. For one thing, books are heavy, and even with a car it’s a pain to haul them around everywhere. For another, the Find function is a godsend to find things no index can provide me. Hardly a day goes by without me searching the New World, Old World, or Shamanic Herbal on my phone or computer.
  • Laptop. I designed the layout of my herb garden according to nine medicinal properties of Traditional Western Herbalism, laid out on the pattern of a Nine Men’s Morris board (ancient game played by Vikings and others). All the warming and stimulant herbs are in the Fire/South corner for instance, opposite the Earth/North cooling and sedative ones. For this, I used Inkscape, a free vector graphics program. Gotta say though, the drawing part was a lot less exhausting than digging up rocks.
Gardden2015c

Click to see full sized garden layout

Video Games and Virtual Gardens

This garden grew out of my efforts to study medicinal plants, recognize them at various stages of growth, and learn how they work by harvesting and using them. Being a geek, I decided making a video game about that would be the coolest way ever to achieve my goal — modeling it for a game requires a deep understanding, and playing it will help me memorize plant properties. But I needed to plant the garden to get legally usable pictures of each plant for the game. Even my choice of garden layout is related to the game, it’s an herbal mandala I came up with because there weren’t any in my books.

There’s a seasonal cycle to this project. In the warmer months I plant, weed, build, take pictures, harvest and make into tinctures. In the cold months I strain the tinctures, make bags for storing herbs, sort and identify pictures, and work through various designs as I program game prototypes. The first demo I was finished in February 2014, there’s a link to read about it and download it here on this blog. I’ve since decided that a visual novel wasn’t the best medium, and am now working on a 2D adventure game more akin to Zelda.

It’s called HerbWitch, and you could say it’s basically Pokemon with plant spirits: Defeat evil disease spirits with the help of plant allies you find, using their real medicinal properties.

All this to say, tech tools are an integral part of my spiritual practice. They’re no less holy than the sickle I use for collecting herbs.

First screenshot of the latest HerbWitch prototype

Screenshot of the latest HerbWitch prototype

The Fetch, Fylgja and Familiar— the Ancient Personal Assistant

Witches and shamans have always had spirit allies, which they acquired to find information for them or accomplish tasks. Almost always, these spirits were given a physical vessel, thus allowing the spirit-worker to find them, call them, instruct them and feed them. The vessel might be a bowl, doll, rock, wand, or talisman. It could also be attached to a living pet, such as a cat or bird. If the spirit became irredeemably destructive for whatever reason, the vessel could be destroyed, killing the spirit or at least severing its anchor to our world. With more skill, a spirit could be detached from its vessel. Never make spell constructs without a failsafe; shit happens more often than you’d think. When things went well, you could polish the vessel, offer it food and drink, caress it and praise it and build your relationship. I’m more the “make friends with gifts” than “make servants with threats” school of thought. They’re less likely to try to trip you up that way.

Mobile phones fare forth over the Internet to fetch information and perform tasks for their master, in much the same way. They can entertain and keep us company with music, entertain us with games, and send messages to friends from afar. To my mind, they are the perfect vessel for a fylgja (the Norse word for familiar spirit, which means “follower” — modern version is “fetch”). Even if you change phones, your number “follows” you. It’s just been reincarnated in a different body, and you have to teach it once more the tricks you like it to do. Feeding it power is simple, you just plug it in.

The magical techniques involved in working with a familiar spirit are beyond the scope of this article. You can find books on that without much effort. The ritual here is for anchoring such a spirit to a cell phone, or sparking the birth of one within your mobile, but it’s perfectly fine to do it as just a blessing without expecting any spooky result.  I suspect your electronic-bodied companion will be more reliable than its un-enchanted counterpart in performing its digital duties. And even if you absolutely suck at magic, you’ll be adding a bit more meaning and poetry to your life whenever you use it.

RedFairyPhoneIMG160

Mobile Phone Blessing

While intended for a new mobile phone, the blessing can be adapted to an older one. Just turn it off, and cover it with something. Or put it in a box. Pretend it’s Yule and that you’re about to get the most exciting thing ever!

1) Lich, the Physical Body: First, unwrap, and admire the new phone. Hold it, and let its beauty seduce you. Look at every feature of its body, and feel the joy it brings you. Foster this feeling swelling inside you, this excitement, for it is the raw force that will serve in performing the blessing. Close your eyes, and caress every part of it. Let it be a sensual experience as you come to discover where each button is accessed in your hand. It could have had any body, but you chose this one, to be at your side and in your hand. This is the one you desired, from what was available to you. Remember and relive that desire you felt when selecting it.

Hold the device and put a finger on the power button as if you were about to turn it on, but don’t. It still needs charging after all. Let some of your joy seep in through your finger as you caress the power button.

Say: “Fylgja, I feed you now. Bright is the hope your birth bring.”

Imagine your energies flowing in, spiraling and caressing its insides with your love. Repeat the invocation a few times if you feel so moved, and likewise for the ones below.

2) Hugin, the Mind and Identity: Carefully take out the SIM card from its package or from your old phone. It holds your phone’s True Name and Ætt.

Its True Name (the phone number) is the unique identifier that distinguishes it from all others. Its Ætt, meaning family or clan, is the service provider company that cares for it and connects it to the rest of the digital world. Substitute your own number, service provider and chosen nickname in the text below to bless the SIM card.

“514-555-5555, <nickname> of the tribe of Bell Canada,
Mind that makes itself known, by name and by number,
Flag of mine among many, fair broadcast of identity,
Fylgja remember me, follower return to me.”

Imagine a complex sigil glowing over the phone. You’re not supposed to be able to be make out the details, it’s okay.

3) Munin, the Memory and Data: If you have a nano-SD card or other memory format to insert, you may do this blessing now. If you’re planning to get one later, you can do it then. Regardless, mobiles have internal storage and you can bless those. Hold the memory card (or phone itself) and say:

“To hold your plunder, safe from sever
Of your tether, in the sea of ether,
Storage I provide you, strength I supply you,
Downloads keep you, precious data be true.”

Imagine a beautiful library with all your precious data held safe inside.

4) Megin, the Power: You may extract the battery to bless it if it easily comes out, or just hold the phone if it does not. If you extracted the battery, put it back in and close the casing before going on to the second verse.

“Battery bloom in lasting life,
Power-saving hold, my sweet friend tight,
Keep when you can, call when you need,
Know that I shall, your hunger feed.”

Plug in your phone and let it charge. Caress the cable and say:

“Cord that connects, to lightning of land,
Fill my friend, with glory and glamour,
Might and magic, to perform for me,
The feats of fetching, and faring forth.”

5) Hame, the Shape of your Familiar’s Avatar:

Charging takes a while, and it can be an excruciating wait with a new phone. Use this time to choose a spirit form for your fylgja, its hame. Bird forms are good for finding information, but any animal can be the right one if it suits you well. If you have an animal ally already, you may ask if it is willing to use your phone as a vessel and become a tech spirit/animal hybrid, essentially incarnating into the device.

From the other side, you can provide the nascent tech spirit with an animal or mythical form. This is so it can better relate to you, as well as to let it interact with other spirits in the Nine Worlds. It’s a projection, a user interface if you will, but a convenient one. Don’t think for a minute that what you see of nature spirits is their true form; they show you what you want to see to achieve their goals, and this is no different. It could be a shoulder angel or demon, a little dragon, or a cat. Your choice, unless the device itself whispers its preference and you can intuit it. You’ll also want a nickname, because calling it by its phone number is a bit… formal. This is a friend, you’ll want a friendly name for it.

I chose for mine the appearance of a little winged fairy with red hair. Cause red hair is sexy. If you look in her eyes though, you see row upon row of binary numbers scrolling through. She’s magical, swift, and quick minded, with a flair for beauty and fun. But below that, she can number-crunch with the best of them and run those apps in style. Mischievous, she’ll sometimes gives me a hard time, until I soothingly caress her, reassure her that I love her, and then the programs run smoothly. Her hard aluminum casing will keep her physical body safe when she accompanies me in spirit journeying and ensure she has spiritual presence enough to be real while pathwalking. When I send her on purely spiritual missions, I can put a timer to chime her return at the appointed time, and then check her progress by scrying into the dark mirror of her turned off screen.

I’m not telling you her nickname though. That’s between me and her.

Do whatever you need to do to activate your new device online (or by calling your service provider with another phone) once you’ve figured all of this out.

6) Önd, Awakening The Spark:   When your phone is fully charged, unplug it.

Hold it lovingly, and do a little dance, even if it’s just tapping your foot and swaying your hips. This is a celebration, be it a birthing, re-birthing, or re-awakening. Even if you’ve had a phone for a while, you can still go through this entire blessing. It’s okay, just a bit harder to get excited, so you’ll have to work at it more. Don’t turn it on just yet, you’ll have to work up to that.

I’m not going to give you words for this part. Speak to your fylgja from the heart, tell him, her or it what you want, what role you desire it play in your life, and how happy you are to have it with you. Then… turn it on. I like to moan when I do that, but it’s up to you. I know she gets warm when I use her, and shivers when I type…

Have fun, and remember these inspiring words from the Charge of the Tech Goddess:

“For all acts of charging and battery saving are my rituals…”

W00t!


Comments greatly appreciated! If you want to repost, just credit it to Linda Demissy or LofnBard, and let me know. 🙂

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Comments
  1. Ly says:

    Lol, you’re such a dork 😜 I love this so much and will be testing it out 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. sonyjalerulv says:

    I love it. I like how you integrate your Pagan/Heathen mindset in all your life, rejecting an artificial divide between tech and nature. I’m thinking seriously of using that blessing on my own phone.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love it! As a Technopagan myself, I deeply appreciate this ritual and I shall be using it on my own phone! It’s about time … I’ve had it for awhile. But I remember the desire for it, and I remember how hard it was to function when I moved overseas and had no service provider for awhile. I missed appointments, I got lost DAILY, I couldn’t translate anything or search for anything.

    The phone is really an extension of me and integral to my daily life. The symbiotic relationship between us is clear: I feed it and protect it and it provides me with information. When it beeps to be plugged in and charge I say it’s “crying for food”. It even learns and evolves through updates to its software. It’s pretty much as alive as you can get without a heart and blood. Now to choose a Hame …

    Liked by 1 person

    • lofnbard says:

      Your phone was without ætt, without clan or family! As an outcast, it was disconnected, left alone to starve in the savage lands. Phones, like people, do not function well without being part of a society. Poor phone… must’ve been hard for it, knowing you had needs it could no longer provide for.

      Yes, I think “symbiotic” is a good word for our relationship with mobile phones. I’m glad you like the ritual! 🙂

      Like

  4. Dagny says:

    I definitely like the idea of incorporating our modern technology into our spiritual practice; there are likely many more techno-witches than we think! Thanks for the post.

    Liked by 1 person

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