[Author’s Note: The following is an extract from a rather personal letter I’d written some years ago. It attempts to establish a unified metaphysics for the presentations of the animal forms of the Fylgia of humans, the Vahanas of the Gods, etc. Its ‘core idea’ is that the essence-tial spark of the nature at the heart of the being whose animal-form associate it is – this ‘quality’ finds visual expression as the result of the medium it is radiating out through. Rather like how sound-waves are carried to us via air or water (specifically – how ‘speech’ gives literal voice to ‘thought’ which represents its core inspiration and kernel), and how waves of pressure and force generate visually apparent ‘ripples’ within liquid (following the immersion of an object within same – a wake may be generated with movement, likewise). The medium these reified and externalized qualities are perceived through – is, of course, the wondrous ‘Maya’ which is the fabric of reality itself.
In short – when we see (or we ‘see’) such a manifestation, we are in fact seeing something core and intrinsic to the human or God which the ostensibly semi-separate visage is associated with. Externalized, and projected outward through an intervening veil of intersubjectivity, which provides both the transmission-media … but which also shapes that which is perceived (or, at least, its perception) in consequence. And therefore, which may potentially lead to our perception of the expression being modal to our own informational schema. To a certain point – I suspect that we see that which we ‘think’ we should see, in order to convey that quality the best to us. Although I emphasize that that is ‘to a certain point’, and the objective reality of the elements being represented and perceived means that it is never truly subjective. Indeed, at most it may always be something of a ‘negotiation’ process between our perceptions and what’s being perceived (including those rather hard-headed “I can’t see it, because I don’t think it’s real, therefore I see nothing‘ sorts…). One where, of course, the greater real-ness of the Divine has the considerable, controlling stake therein. And may therefore mean that we wind up seeing things entirely other than we had, perhaps, expected. [In fact, now that I think of it, this has a broader saliency for religious / mythic visions and iconography – particularly in terms of the Weapons of the Gods, for example]
It is presented here, largely without alteration, because it represents a rather intriguing exploration of several otherwise seemingly disparate concepts across both the Vedic & Eddic Indo-European spheres. Now I am aware that the way I’m using ‘Purusha’ & ‘Prakriti’ in this analysis is … different to the more usual metaphysical understanding for these elements – this is Shakta theology, after all; and people often forget just how mutable and multifarious some of these one-word terms actually are across three thousand years and thousands of Sages’ points of view. So whereas the ‘standard’ view of Purusha & Prakriti effectively has the former as the ‘Male’ element within the ‘Female’ universe, causing the latter to teem with life and movement rather than merely just ‘existing’ … these Shakta perspectives go entirely the other way around, maintaining the older Purusha as Universe conceptry – but also observing that the investiture of the essential spark of life and the fires underpinning each action … are actually Devi-empowered, Devi-granted – something seen via the Kundalini Serpent, and for that matter right there in the Vedas viz. my favourite RigVedic Hymnal inter many alia. And with a certain degree of parallel support in other, more Westerly IE mythoi – an interesting example of which being Athena’s investiture of Menos into Diomedes and Achilles, causing obvious external manifestations for both of these great men in the form of coruscating flame from their eyes or brows. [-C.A.R.] ]
“In Nordic metaphysics and mythology, there is the concept of the Fylgia. The word itself, means something akin to ‘accompaniment’, although more literally “follower”, and with a broader sense of a “Guardian Spirit”, a part of the soul, a force of vitality, and a ‘reflection’ [but not in the illusory sense] . I suppose we might therefore think of the Fylgja acting in a more active sense as a guiding spirit, akin to a guardian angel. It protects you and advises you and guides you towards a more virtuous and desired future. It is also a being that also exists independent of you – it can leave and return. This is possible, in no small part because it is, effectively, of the Clan, even though it will also associate with particular individuals, likely the Chieftain of said kin-group. As you may recall from our previous conversations and explications upon the subject, so much of the Nordic metaphysics around ‘soul’ is irreducibly ‘communal’ rather than a matter of the individual. Although once again, to return to one of the leitmotifs of this overarching piece, there is an arguably useful employment of the Sanskrit analytical pairing of Prakriti & Purusha to be deployed here. The Clan’s menfolk, obviously, being the Purusha – either individually or collectively, and the Fylgia – along with various other ‘metaphysical’ bonds of empowering kinship, which are irreducibly interlinked to the Clan’s “soul-well”, – being the Prakriti, or Prakritis, in question. This, curiously enough, further resonates the Brahmacharini-portion of the NavaRatri Cycle, and other such incidences, when we consider the integral importance of the Soul-Well for the concept of Fylgja to begin with; as the Fylgja, effectively, are ‘persistencies’ of some of the best of the womenfolk of the Clan, ‘come forward’ to safeguard, empower, and otherwise ‘render mighty’ their descendants [recall the wording of the relevant lines of the Devi Sukta of the RigVeda, and also the general empowerment of VAK, of Shakti within Us … and, for that matter, now that I think upon it, my earlier referenced point around the elements that are ‘brought forth’ out of the Gods and Their Weapons to congeal as Durga – and how these are actually elements of Durga that had been ‘loaned’ out to the Gods in question, rather than what some presume, around Durga effectively being a congealment contingent upon masculine divinity, instead of the other way around].
And this has some rather interesting further #NAS potential when we consider the strong linkage between, say, Hamingja, and other such ‘Luck’ concepts as “Kripa” [after a sort], even ‘Shiva’. ‘Shiva Cha Me’, ‘Fylgja Cha Me’, Disr Cha Me, indeed. Exploration rendered more intriguing still, once the ability of the Fylgja to appear, if necessary, in non-anthropomorphic [i.e. something resembling an animal, although likely supernaturally so] form – as this perhaps moves from the observational-labelling of ‘Prakriti’, to the rather underexamined [in terms of its potential coterminity with the former concept] clade of Vahana.
What am I getting at? Well, the animalistic form the Fylgja may appear in, is an emanation or a projection of the akashic imprint which binds it and its man, revealing something deep and true about him in its chosen shape and nature. I would contend, although this is a somewhat speculative development in #NAS theology and metaphysics, that something not at all dissimilar can likely be observed [albeit perhaps with a much more ‘direct’ linkage/emanation principle going on in at least some instances that I can think of] when it comes to the Vahanas of the Gods and Goddesses, the form and attributes [and yes, naming – names have huge potency, it must always be recalled! a pun there, potentially, also .. twice over] also are so closely keyed to something fundamental and intrinsic to the Deity in question, as to be a further ‘projection’ and ’emanation’ out of this Akashically resonant and recorded quality. The grandest example of which, for my mind [this, too, is a deeply resonant statement, if you think about it and look closely], is most surely the Tiger/Lion Dawon, Who Is Vahana of Mother Durga; as not only does the veer-y name reputedly mean ‘Bravery’, but the fierce and fiercely protective nature of these Big Cats for their children, especially [along with their lethality, terrifying nature and roars [there’s that ‘Garajit’ concept again!], beautiful visages of exotic yet exquisite colouration and shape, dedication, intelligence [recall all those instances of Tigers turning the tables on trappers and hunting the hunters with chilling admirable success; or lions doing likewise, occasionally in larger formations – tactics, you see, as well as strategy], ability to dominate even the most formidable of prey [including men, even elephants, and most definitely, water-buffalo; you see what i did there – you may recall from the GHOST DIVISION portion covering Rakshasas & Brahmaraksasas, how it is not at all coincidental, to my mind, the frequency with which Tigers have formed the therianthropic thematic elements for various artistic depictions of same .. even Kali Herself has Tigress visage form in some South Indian traditions and dances, if I recall – All-Devouring capable, indeed, it would appear!], all whilst looking incredibly, indelibly, invincibly Regal!!!] , is a quality [indeed, broad-spanning suite of such] of clear resonance and descriptive laksana [I couldn’t think of an English word to go there; although ‘significance’, in the older sense of ‘signifer’-saliency/prominency/aptness/accuracy may be someways proximate to striking distance for what I mightily mean here], that it is not at all hard to see how or why the Tiger/Lion is Durga’s Vahana. Indra’s Airavata [‘Storm-Cloud’] is similarly obvious – and not least due to what can happen due to the phenomenal levels of testosterone which flow through a bull-elephant’s body when they’re heated by one form of passions or another, their bellowing sound, their ground-shaking trampling of the feet, the lightning-arc tusks, and thick, grey, impenetrable hide which nevertheless conceals a notable intelligence and communicative ability [perhaps this recalls, also, Lady VAC’s empowerment of Lord Indra in the relevant RigVedic Hymn!], and the overarching power and”
And that’s … that’s where I ended the actual cogent sentences of that portion to the draft letter. It was almost two years ago, so I am not quite sure where I had intended to take it next. The draft-notes make reference to an array of briefly touched upon concepts, and a few Vahanas of particular Gods and what They might therefore represent (particularly the Ravens of Dhumavati & Shaani; as well as one of the dimensions to Nandi for Shiva – ‘Happiness’, literally; there are, of course, an array of others as I have explored in certain else of my work). As well as an assertion around my long-standing view about Lord Skanda riding a Raptor (as in … the sort of dinosaur), due to the intelligence and tactics of the creatures – although also noting that the Rooster’s role as an alerter, a warner and watchman of a sort, is nevertheless rather valid (and the ‘all-seeing’ connotation of the ‘thousand-eyed’ Peacock tail perhaps presumably likewise). I probably sought to draw the two skeins – that of Fylgja and Vahana – back together , expressing an indissoluble linkage-of-saliency. Even if the Fylgja might happen to wander off from the individual male bearer due to getting fed up with his actions – because it’s the grander, greater and broader Clan which She is a reified expression in relation to (just as, I suppose, we all are in a certain sense .. the products of our heritage (and forebears) via this expressive medium of life and human form and psyche).
Now, of course, I must emphasize that in the intervening years, our understanding upon multiple points raised within this excerpt have grown, occasionally quite significantly. And so if you are seriously interested in several of the areas which I drew from in its course, I’d encourage looking at my more recent works for a better explication of them. I should also probably actually do a more comprehensive overview of the comparative elements and general schema for the Nordic / Germanic afterlive(s).
In any case – one hopes you enjoyed a brief digression through a portion of an unpublished b-side to my mind. I was at a pretty … strange time in my life when I was working on this – hadn’t slept much more than an hour a night for much of three months, for instance, and some heavy emotional timbre was also enveloping and flowing through me at the time. Hence why it does some of the … stuff that it does, around multiple exclamation-marks, parentheses within parentheses, and escalating length of sentences.
I am also, for that matter, not sure what it says about me that this was actually part of a love-letter