This is a post written by my partner, who runs his own pagan page on Facebook. You can find the link at the end of this post.
Chaos, Abyss, Nothingness, Emptiness.
In numerous Mythologies and Philosophies, The Void is the great emptiness whence all life, matter, radiation, and the very fabric of the universe came from. It is our primordial, ancient origin, existing beyond time, beyond logic, beyond all that we know and can observe. It is ageless, deathless, lifeless. It is the personification of Nothingness, an immense, swirling chaos, incessant, ever-evolving. The Void is bound by no law, by no order. Empty, silent, a perpetually rolling Ocean at the centre and core of the totality of all existence.
It is almost fallacious to describe The Void; its very Nothingness refutes the use of language. To attempt to define it in words would be to impose a construct onto to something that, by its nature, is construct-less, infinite. The Void cannot be truly described, observed, or felt.
The Void is something to experience.
It is known by many names. The Germanic peoples call it ‘Ginungap’ or ‘Gap var Ginunga’, meaning “The Yawning Void.” It is the great, swirling chaos found between the timeless realms of Múspelheimr, the Land of Fire, and Niflheim, the Land of Ice. Ginungagap is portrayed as a dark, chaotic water, whence all life came. A place of dark, powerful, chthonic magic, it is the Void into which Ódinn, the All-Father and Ruler of the Aesir Gods peered in his quest to gain knowledge of the runes, the occult, and the arcane.
To the Greeks, The Void was known as Khaos (χάος), the primeval nothingness whence the first, chthonic gods arose. It’s name has an etymological root in the Greek verb χαίνω , meaning “gaping, to be wide open,” and is thus somewhat related to the Ginungagap. It was Pherecydes of Syros who first described Khaos as water, formless and undefinable. Hesiod later portrayed it as a formless, ever-changing matter, from which the gods arose. Heraclitus called Primal Chaos the true foundation of reality. The first gods, borne of Khaos, were Erebus, the Primordial God of Darkness, and Nyx, the Primordial Goddess of Night. Eros, the Primordial Goddess of sexual love and procreation, was borne soon after, and thenceforth was all existence made.
In the Slavic creation myth, prevalent across most of Eastern Europe, the Void was a swirling, dark water. Rod, the divine creator, who existed alongside the Void (as an embodiment of the Absolute, opposed to the Nothing), created an Egg which became the world. The world, the tangible matter of our existence, is thus surrounded by the Great Nothing.
In Finnish mythology, found across the Uralic regions, the World is once again Egg-Like, surrounded by the darkness and lifelessness of Tounela, the Land of the Dead. It is not the Void, but shares a similar link.
According to one Celtic creation myth, in the beginning there was no time, no gods walked the earth. There was just the sea, echoing the Greek and Germanic concepts of The Void as an ocean. It also recalls the third verse of the Germanic poem Volupsá:
“Ár var alda þar er Ýmir bygði, vara sandr né sær né svalar unnir, jörð fannsk æva né upphiminn, gap var ginnunga, en gras hvergi.”
Translation: “Of old was the age when Ymir lived; Sea nor cool waves nor sand there were; Earth had not been, nor heaven above, But a yawning gap, and grass nowhere.”
A lifeless, incessant, perpetual, dark, empty expanse of Nothing. Known to Mythology and Philosophy, the Void is a powerful, perhaps the most powerful, force and source of nigh-on limitless power. It is a Chthonic, chaotic power, not to be taken lightly.
Deities Associated with The Void:
- Ódinn – Germanic All-Father, Ruler of the Aesir Gods, God of Wisdom, War, Magic, Runes, Death, Sovereignty, who hung himself from the World Tree, Yggdrasil, by his spear Gungnir. From his lofty perch he spent nine long, windswept nights peering into the Ginungagap, the Void, in search of arcane knowledge and runic wisdom. On the 9th night, he took up the runes and a number of powerful spells, screaming as he did, ritualistically reborn.
- Gullveig – Germanic primal Goddess. She appeared to the council of the first gods bearing gifts of magic and sorcery, ritual madness. She was pierced with three spears and burned three times, and after each, she was resurrected. A goddess of the lifelessness of Chaos, the power and magick of The Void.
- Loki – Germanic God of Mischief, Chaos, Trickery, Truth. Loki is an enigmatic God. Father of Lies but also a God delivering uncanny truths and scathing insight, he is seen as a God embodying the punishing, harrowing realisation of the true nature of things. He is opposed to the order and sanctity of the Gods, and brings about the Ragnarok by way of the death of the Light God, Baldr. He is a Giant, and his giant kin, primal beings of Ice and Stone, are chaotic, ancient begins tracing a lineage directly to the primal giant Ymir, the first being.
- Hella – Germanic Queen of the Hel/Helheim, the Underworld and Land of the Dead. Half Living, Half Dead, Hella is an extremely powerful deity, who is believed to have invented the Runes. Ódinn had to sacrifice himself to win knowledge of them, passing momentarily into Hella’s realm. Hel is located underneath the Earth, in the Land of Niflheim, near to the Great Yawning Void. She is a powerful, Chthonic deity.
- Jörmungandr – Germanic monster in the form of an enormous, world-encircling serpent. It is the archnemesis of Thórr, the Thunder God, and will be slain by him at Ragnarok, the Germanic apocalypse, however, its poisonous blood will claim the life of Thórr. A chaotic, thriving beast who rises from the waters at the coming of the great battle.
- Khaos – Greek Personification of the Void, seen as a Goddess in her own right. Associated with all the properties of The Void; nothingness, lifelessness, deathlessness, emptiness, non-existence, creation, destruction.
- Hecate – Greek Goddess of the Moon, Witchcraft, Sorcery, Necromancy, Crossroads, Ghosts, Herbs. Akin to Gullveig, Hecate is a dark, ominous Goddess associated with the New Moon. Her chaotic, defiant, chthonic aspect, stemming from her mother, Asteria, the Titaness of Nocturnal Oracles and Falling Stars, links her strongly with The Void and Chaos.
- Dionysus – Greek Olympian God of Wine, Ritual Madness, Ecstasy, Chaos. Identified with Akephalos, a Daimon who performed the great headless ritual to spite the gods immortality. Known as the bornless one, Dionysus would perform feats of madness and chaos to prove the true nature of the gods.
- Typhon – Greek monster in the form of a hundred headed, winged, fire-breathing beast, cruel and fell. The offspring of Gaia, Mother Earth, and Tartarus, the Personification of the Dark Underworld, Typhon was born in anger and hate. It challenged Zeus for control of the cosmos, being a bane to mortals and gods alike. Zeus cast it out with thunderbolts.
- Zirnitra – Slavic Dragon God of Sorcery. A large black dragon whose names means ‘magically empowered,’ Zirnitra or Zir is a mightily powerful god of magic and sorcery, who dwells beneath the earth, constantly flowing and moving, with a strong connection to darkness and chaos.
- Cernobog – Slavic God of Darkness. Can be seen as the personification of literal darkness, of the evil, chthonic nature of it. Either way, Cernobog is a cruel, Plutonian God associated with primal darkness, and thus, the Void.
- Leviathan – Satanic representation of Chaos. Representing the West and Water, Leviathan, in LaVeyan Satanism, is a Crown Prince of Hell and its gatekeeper. A giant, writhing serpent, Leviathan dwells in the waters of chaos. A terrifying, powerful, Demonic entity, who rises from the deep at the End of Days.
The Void is a powerful source of magic, truth, intuition, knowledge, wisdom, ancient and primal forces, and birthplace of the occult and arcane energies that permeate this world. Gods who dwell in it or use its power are enemies of the Thunder God, the defender of order and righteousness, the Supreme or Ruling God, and the Light God, existing in a cosmic balance, a harmonious opposition.
Use the Void for primordial, chthonic magick. Use it to purge yourself of thought, of limitations. It is there to remind you of the underlying essence of existence, the great nothingness and swirling vortex of limitless power whence we all came and whither we shall return.
But before entering the Void, bear this piece of sagely wisdom in mind –
Wer mit Ungeheuern kämpft, mag zusehn, dass er nicht dabei zum Ungeheuer wird. Und wenn du lange in einen Abgrund blickst, blickt der Abgrund auch in dich hinein.
Translation: “He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.” – Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, Aphorism 146.
[Written by The Wanderer, click here for his page.]