Meeting Himinglava: A Shamanic Vision

Herring Cove Beach, Cape Cod: June 2005

sunclouds2We left home with the weather warning throbbing in our ears: an entire solid week of rain. I wondered if I ought to cancel and postpone, but it was the only week that my boyfriend and assistant Joshua was able to get off from work, so I forged ahead anyway. Yet when we got to Herring Cove Beach, the very tip of Cape Cod and the furthest east one could get in this state, it was beautiful. The sun had been hot throughout the entire drive, and by evening when we arrived it was cooler, but still gorgeous. The sea was as warm as it ever got, and the glasslike waves sparkled in the sun.

This time, I knew better about what gift to give. I sat on the sand and drummed and sang to call her - I sang Rudyard Kipling's "Harp Song of the Dane Women", which made reference to her mother, in the hopes that she would like it. When I felt her presence, I had Josh prick my finger, and I walked into the waves with my offering.

Himinglava is the youngest and prettiest of the sisters. I knew it was her as soon as I saw her, as would be the case with each of them, even though I would have no idea which sister I would be facing until she arrived. She was long and slender and graceful with long curly hair of a chestnut-orange that glowed coppery under the perfect green-glass waves. Her eyes were just like Blodughadda's, the same color of the sea behind them and changing with that water as she moved. She had teeth, though, and claws, and those strangely inhuman features - the wide face and mouth, the wide-set eyes. She giggled, but I had no delusions that she was harmless. She flipped out of the water and turned back in, and I saw that her lower half was a dolphin's tail.

She is the fair-weather goddess, which means exactly what it says. She is fickle, and the worst wound that she can give some poor seafarer is to desert him completely just when he thought that everything was clear sailing...and leave him to the tender mercies of her sisters. She can arrive just as suddenly, in the wake of a storm, bringing a calm sea and an ironically bright sun to gleam on the wreckage. She is about the sea's relationship to the sun, and although she is the youngest sister, her eyes see back to the very beginning, when the sun's rays reached down through the water and stimulated life.

Himinglava's Lesson

dolphins2Under the water, the sun is not like it is in the air. It is a faint light, fainter the deeper you go, that gives life yet may come or go without warning. If you chase it to the surface, suddenly you're in the air...and most of what lives down here cannot live up there. So if you break through to bask in the sun, it can kill you. Even if you're of the kind who can breathe beyond the barrier, you can't jump high enough to get to it, and it will always be beyond your reach. Not to mention that too much exposure can burn you.

That's what joy is about. There are places where it's dark, and there is no joy, and life grows up there anyway without light...because they make their own light. Where there is no sun, you have to make it yourself. The sun comes and goes overhead, and you can only see it from afar, and that's a good thing because to get to that much joy would destroy you. The waters of your being protect you from that ecstasy, because there's a part of you that would risk self-immolation for it, and something has to hold it back.

Joy is a gift, and so it is never deserved or undeserved. It comes because the Universe feels generous. To go on about whether or not you deserve joy...that's foolish. It will come and it will go, and it is not controlled by your merits or follies. You be glad when it comes, and when it goes you know it'll be back eventually, and that's all. And if you find yourself in the dark place where it never shines....make your own light. See those sparkles on the water? Cup your hands and hold them, What, you think they're just tricks of the light, you can't hold them? Of course you can. Now bring them into yourself, up your fingers and into your arms. When you sing this song I'm giving you, release some of them into the air, or better yet, onto salt water.

This song will bring fair weather and disperse darkness, whether it's the sky or your head, but it won't last, because it never does. Don't curse it when it goes away. Let it fly, so that it will want to come back to you. Release the sun to the western horizon, and it will reappear the next morning. But if you're watching where it went, with nostalgia and regret, you'll have your back to where it comes up, and you'll miss it. So always be watching for it in someplace opposite to where you saw it last. Remember that.

Himinglava's Song

Hear a sample


Green as glass and green as glass, the sun shines through the wave,
A window on the sea to see the light in the deepest cave.
The weed leaps wanton 'neath the wave like the maiden's chestnut mane,
For sun and sea and song the spell from which all life once came,
And I bid this darkness to depart in Himinglava's name.

Blue as glass and blue as glass, the shining waters flow.
I catch the silver sparks that glint on endless indigo.
Fair weather maiden's touch a feather's softly falling flight,
The clouds disperse and fly before the sun's eternal might,
And I bid this darkness to depart in Himinglava's sight.

A CD containing this and other shaman songs is available from Asphodel Press.