Anahata and Utiseta, the Seidr tradition

Guest Post by Karin Vanhinsberg, Retreat Attendee/Mentor & Circle Member

I am convinced that we are always in a state of transformation, in which the pieces of experiences and truths we have collected dearly to our breastbone are flung back up into the Universe and come back down to us to reform new meanings for us.

During the Way of the Circle training I had a dream that I have previously shared and understood in one way: In Scotland, I was auditing a university course I was thinking of taking. I travelled out in a boat onto the ocean and saw to my astonishment, the very tip of a pine tree emerging from the waves. Below, students were climbing up and down what they perceived as an extraordinary sea cactus; only I- it seemed saw the magnificent pine tree, the Tree of Life that had been there long before the ocean arrived. 

This dream came back to me today when I was reflecting on a time that I tried all on my own, to nourish a culture change in my work-place. I researched and created posters, power-points and a conference day that connected professional reflection techniques to our own well-being. As I reflect today, it was like being the only one wanting to tread water while everyone else preferred to drown, like putting out a fire with a glass of water while everyone else was throwing on logs…like seeing the students climb the sea cactus and not seeing the incredible Tree Of Life.

At the fall Heart Wisdom Retreat, we journeyed by singing a Seidr song, Seidr (roughly ‘sythe’) is a shamanic practice in the Norse Tradition. The pieces now falling in this place: the Seidr practitioner, the Seer or the Volva would often journey to the Tree of Life to seek the advice of the weavers there or the Goddess Freyja or the God Oddin. Celeste, the presenter at the workshop I attended on Seidr shared that she used this song everywhere to raise the vibration of the place she was in, she would sing it in her head in the airport, the coffee shop, her work-place. What I have been reading about Seidr is that the song is a song that comes from our Heart as we “Sit Out”( Utiseta: a vision quest) on our Seat with our Staff and the Spirits. The song is what connects us to the spirits and the spirit realms. For the chant I learned, here are words with the invitation for you to find your own melody and words:

Lo lo 

Lorien lo lo

Lorien lo lo  an

Lorien lo…

The question that awestruck me today : Was the tree in my dream, was the Tree of Life- this Being who was there long before the ocean and would be there long after the ocean travelled elsewhere- was it bothered in the least by the humans going about their ‘work’ on it?  Laughingly…No; which leaves us with the choice of how we wish to see the world and be in the world. Like all shamanic traditions, Seidr invites the practice of walking with our feet in both worlds, seeing the truth and holding that space as a bridge to Unity.

But what does that really look like, feel like, and sound like in our daily lives?

Traditional Yogic Teachings speak of our heart chakra being the center between our lower, worldly chakras and our spiritual chakras, the place where we are in two worlds, the place where ‘we know we are already whole and complete’. From this place we can easily see both the Tree of Life and the sea cactus and be content with holding space for both beautiful views. The Sanskrit word for the heart chakra is Anahata, which means “unstruck silence…that sound which is always resonating without force. It just is.” (Ashaya Yoga Teacher Training Program.)

May we all “sit out” on our seat with our staff and the spirits, and from that place of wholeness, the Anahata, sing our heart song that keeps the vibration high around us; and keeps us with our feet in both worlds.

Big Love, 



A song that wanted to be shared to exemplify this Heart-Walk between the worlds is this dance of 2  hands playing their own parts separately-together on the piano keys to create Comptine d’un autre ete: l’apres midi by Yann Tiersen    


Home practice:

Enter into your heart, engaging your imagination and senses, to connect with the Tree of Life and ask:

  • What does it look like, feel like, sound like to be a Bridge of Unity in my own community?
  • Invite your spirit helpers to gift you with a song to sing, to help you keep you joyfully walking the narrow path with your feet in both worlds.

For more information on the Seidr tradition:

* An article from the 2013 edition of the Journal for Contemporary Sh…  

* Examples of Seidr songs from the heart  

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