All tribes around the world knew about them, spoke about them and believed in them.
In fact, there is not one single culture on this planet that does not know about "them"...
There are scattered pieces and remnants about these beliefs even in European culture, the garden dwarfs might be one of them. There are many old tales about the so called sma folk in Sweden. Tales of little people, gnomes, that live far away in nature... unseen, unknown, parallel to our lives. Of course these tales are archetypes and pictures of the subconscious, trying to express something that we humans have always known... somehow, deep inside of us.
That nature does have a soul.
From the Native American to the Northern European beliefs, shamanism was about practice and action, instead of believing and trusting in something that you do not have first hand experience of.
It, in fact, was all about the, "HOW", to communicate with these realms.
You might say that what they have experienced was not real. Perhaps it was all hallucinations and wild, creative fantasy.
An escape, induced by drugs or other substances. At first sight, I reckon, it is logical to think that way. At second sight, it is too superficial to look at it that way. It is the easy way out.
Because these shamans did not have wild, creative fantasies that were totally out of control. Some mumbo jumbo speeches about some weird fantasy worlds.
They had control and what they have said about these worlds, what they have discovered about them, is, in essence, everywhere, in every country on this planet, the very same message and story.
Isn't this interesting?
Modern physics has come to realize that somehow, what we refer to as reality is a very, very complex construct, not made out of some big atom balls and not made out of some mechanical robot in the background. But in fact made out of something that is far deeper and more complex than we can imagine. The Fact that quantum physics and the relativity theories from Albert Einstein do not really make much sense, when trying to bring them into harmony with each other, shall speak for it self. Our 3D Reality is a lot more complex than we assume it is!
There are many different stages of what we call material world. There are many different levels and deep below the scale of matter, there is... something that we can not measure anymore. It is not matter anymore. It is not material. It is a void that at the same time creates particles out of nothing and destroys them at the same time. It is a void that we cannot comprehend and anyone who claims that he does is a fraud. I do not understand it either. It is beyond us. Far beyond.
The realm of the quantum world goes against modern physics laws.
Heisenberg and his theory about the The Uncertainty Principle for example. Even Albert Einstein did not like what modern quantum physics tried to prove over and over again.
Even the great Max Planck once said...
"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter."
Modern physicists claim that we should refer to the construct of reality as something that is made out of Bits.
Quantum-information is at the heart of matter.
If this would actually be the truth, it has got large consequences for our view on reality and the universe. It could perhaps mean that the construct of reality is indeed a hologram. A projection.
And at the heart of reality lies something that we can refer to as ... "information".
In every single culture, shamans have said that below our world and our realm there is a world that is described as a world of darkness and void. A world that is purely chaotic and non materialistic.
There are many terms for it as well as many concepts that are trying to describe that which simply cannot be described. The shamans did not say that they own the truth and their message is the truth for everyone and everything and you have to follow it...
Everyone could, in theory, come in contact with it and they were teachers and initiators at the same time!
Kali Maa is giving birth to existence, nurtures and destroys, yet at the same time she is the mother, the essence of everything, in Hindu Mythology. Her dance is the dance of eternal creation and destruction.
Ain Soph or Ain Soph Aur in Kabbalah describes a state of nothingness and everything, the Ur-Void that is within everything and everything is made out of it.
In norse mythology there is Ginnungagap - a place of eternal void and emptiness. It is the place where creation takes place with polar energies melting with each other. Where knowledge is buried deep within that realm.
Seth in Egyptian Mythology has a lot of references to the Ur-Void and Ur-Darkness.
Of course, it is all a matter of interpretation. I am not a physicist and I do not claim to be one. But there are similarities we cannot ignore. And we should not.
There are 9 worlds in northern mythology and they all describe how these different worlds need each other in order to work and function properly. They are different levels of existence as well as different levels of consciousness.
The concept of a tree as a symbol for our reality and that of the Otherworlds is indeed very common in Europe and Eurasia.
Even Siberian shamans have said that the Otherworlds are indeed beneath the tree.
Among Germanic culture and tribes, trees were of course scared and had their own divine spirit and essence. The cults of the Celtic Druids had a very special connection to trees.
Even in Germany it was common to have an elderberry tree on the property, simply because it was believed that it was the Entrance to Frau Holle - or Hel. Many offerings were given to that tree, so that the connection may stay open as a portal and all that is negative might vanish and disappear into the Frau Holle's Reich; The World of transformation.
Even in ancient Greek the so called Hamadryades are higher spirits that reside within specific trees.
In Germany we also know the so called Maibaum, a big pole that we use as a harbinger of fertility and the upcoming summer in early May.
Trees were divine in pagan spirituality, some of them have been used as places for meditation and offerings.
Yggdrasil as perhaps the most known pagan tree that describes the Otherworlds and that which lies beyond our reality. From the depths of Muspellsheimr, a place of fire, creation, wild chaotic potential and further up north Niflheimr, a dark, very cold place full of ice.
Below them the darkness, void and emptiness of Ginnungagap existed. When the realm of Ice and Fire met with the void of Ginnungagap, the first Ymir was born that kept himself alive by drinking the milk of Auðumla, the Ur-Cow. A very ancient sign of fertility.
From then on the first man and woman was created. Two polar energies become one within the eternal void and darkness.
There are 9 worlds called
1. Menn : Miðgarðr. Which is our realm and our reality. The place of the humans.
2. Aesir : Ásgarðr. Place of mighty and wise Gods.
3. Vanir : Vanaheimr. Place of the Vanir, for example Frigga, that are very wise, old and can predict. the future. They do have some kind of connection to nature spirits and its elements such as water
4. Jötnar : Jötunheimr, the place of the Giants.
5. Álfar : Álfheimr, the home of the wise and beautiful Light Elves.
6. Náir the Underworld and the realm of Death of Goddess Hel.
7. Dvergar (nature spirits): Niðavellir/Svartálfaheimr, Black Elves that are very dark entities and perhaps a connection to destructive and also dark powers, a place where Loki does have an important encounter, so it has been said. They do have connections to the darker and chaotic side.
8. The coldest place with fog and Ice: Niflheimr. Home of the mythological race of the giants, hrímþursar
9. The wild chaotic power of Fire: Múspellsheimr.
These Realms are places of evolution and creation. The Gods themselves do have very complex relationships and are not always in harmony with each other. But they need to work with each other in order to keep creation going. They unveil something that is deeper. Those Gods are complex symbols and powers. Modern people, and many people make that mistake, is that they take norse mythology literally.
They think that Thor was a real physical god with a Hammer in his Hand and Frigga had a big Wheel... do not make that mistake.They are complex symbols and pictures for our human mind in order to grasp a function in nature or within the human soul. They unveil a message that nature is more than it meets the eye. And that we are a part of it.
Certain powers in the Universe and Nature are important, such as destruction and Death, for without them, nature could not transform life, rebuilt, recycle and create new life forms, and rise above its old existence. It is necessary to achieve growth. These places are different stages of consciousness, within us and outside of us, that can be reached in this life and beyond. Each and everyone of this place is a place of evolution, growth and learning. No good and evil can be found here, of course some Gods personify destructive and chaotic forces that are related to death and darkness, but then again, without them, this reality could not exist for they are one part of the coin, they are needed in order to create something new, something better, something that is more developed.
Shamans have traveled these places by practice and meditation. Not all shamans have used drugs, and I should note that. What about drumming and dancing and meditation? What about prayers and offerings?What about reaching out to nature and ask with fire, and elements and meditation? And receiving the messages in dreams or visions?Drugs are and were not always "the reason" why shamans had these experiences. And how could they ALL be hallucinations, when they all say basically and in essence, the same thing and talk about the same places? Does not matter if its in Australia or in Northern Scandinavia. Telepathy?
I do not think so!
Consciousness does have different stages and levels and as I said every place does have its own unique inhabitants and spirits, and thus, reflecting a unique stage of consciousness.A spirit can be described as the greek δαίμων" or simply Daimon. A Daimon is first and foremost not evil simply because it is an Daimon. A Daimon is a being that is higher evolved and thus closer to the Ur-power that we call God, meaning that God is a very high stage and level of consciousness. A Daimon is thus a being that inhabits these places because it is in tune with its personal level of existence and stage of evolution. Does it make it evil? Does it make it good?No. A Daimon does not have an Ego because they act with a higher purpose. They cannot be evil or good because they do not have human consciousness. They do not have an Ego.They teach or are guardians of special places.
The place for these kinds of energies would be Hel and her Underworld, the initiation place of transformation that is needed so that we can rise up on the evolution ladder. This is what the shamans experienced and what they have been taught all over the Globe.
Some of the intiations for example included climbing through deep and long caves and long meditation. And reaching the Otherworlds there in your dreams. After all this is where we could find Pan himself, or in austarian Dialect the spirits of the Bergmandln, where only Kraeuterfrauen and Hagazussa knew about their existence and how to reach out to them.
An infamous Theory, the Uthark, is an initiation Rune-system that starts with Uruz. It is a cycle that is never ending, descending deep below the Realms of Hel and below and rising up and all over again. The Runes are more than old symbols and are certainly a lot more than just letters of an alternative Alphabet.
They are keys and there are many traditions and rituals surrounding them.
They have an exoteric meaning and an esoteric meaning. They were, so it has been said, perhaps the most important and even powerful tools of initiation for traveling the Otherworlds. Beware and do not fool around with them.
The next time you are out in nature, try to feel calm and be at ease, open up yourself... maybe you might get a glimpse of what these very wise men all around the world have tried to tell us for thousands of years.
"Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve."Max Planck