Somafera

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Terminology 

Alter: The alternate persona/spirit/self the somaferan becomes in the somafera state.

Berserk/Berserker: A practitioner of the berserkergang. Also used informally as a synonym for somaferan.

Berserkergang: Norse/Germanic form of somafera, almost exclusively martial in practice. Usually though not exclusively practiced by men. Also used informally as a synonym for somafera in general. (Translates literally as "going without armor".)

Bjornsterk: "Bear-strength", a berserk or somaferan who becomes possessed by (or whose internal nature is partially that of) a bear spirit during the gangr. This is a modern term, used to avoid confusion between the two distinct heteronymic definitions of "berserker": "without armor", the general term, and "bear shirt", a specific term.

Chattus: "Cat", m (f="chatta", pl. are "chatti" m, and "chattae", f) a berserk or somaferan who becomes possessed by (or whose internal nature is partially that of) a cat spirit during the gangr.

Dagaz Moment: A default pseudo-unitary state with a specific object. In the first moment anything is observed, before any thought or reaction occurs in response to it, the mind's comprehension of it is perfect. Actions taken in immediate response to it, via huvardka, will be perfect.

Deathmask: The distortion of features that occurs during the somafera state, particularly the one that occurs with practices like the berserkergang and the heroic feats. Monstrous and inhuman it is capable of bringing fear, even fight-ending fear to a psychologically susceptible opponent.

Elevation: The process of attaining the unitary state, of going berserk. Applies also to attaining a state of raised energy, short of the full gangr.

Fermi Processing: A particular form of huvardka that is so heavily associative that it amounts to parallel processing. It is the foundation for the experience of having visions, and for precognitive/prophetic experiences. In it a great amount, if not the entirety, of the subconscious mind is engaged in simultaneous modelling/predicting/problem solving, and so becomes capable of coming up with amazingly accurate predictions.

Fetch: A guiding spirit, like a totem or guardian angel. Can be human, animal, or any sort of spirit. Usually, though not exclusively, it is the spirit that possesses the somaferan during the somafera state.

Gangr: Short for the berserkergang. Informally used as a synonym for the unitary state of somafera.

Helblindi State: (Helblindi is an Old Norse word meaning "death-blind".) The other type of unitary state, resulting from deafferentation of the whole OAA. It results in the sensation of becoming one with everything, which is the same as losing all (traditional) perception. It is analagous to the terms "stillness" and "samadhi". It tends to be a state of automatic, flowing, thoughtless-yet-perfect responses.

Huvardka: A change in the subconscious (the minni, the mind-intent) that causes the somaferan's actions to naturally and spontaneously flow along a desired path without conscious choice. It is a sort of "subconscious decision making process" that is simply the instinctual following of learned patterns of behavior, resulting from simple conditioning. It's what the conscious *would* want if it were turned on. It has all of the advantages of the conscious mind with none of the disadvantages (slow, clunky, prone to error, non-unitary). The subconscious instinctive nature is dominant in the unitary state. The hypothalamus, the brain’s "master switch", will direct action in response to external stimuli according to which neural pathways are most easily activated. That is to say, the hypothalamus selects instinctive responses to external circumstances based on what one is most used to doing in such circumstances. It is a matter of conditioning, as with Pavlov and his dogs. It is this that allows a somaferan to exert control over his or her alter even while raging.

Mainad: A practitioner of mainadism.

Mainadism: Greek form of somaferan, usually if not exclusively practiced by women, rarely martial, though sometimes it was.

Mundane: Non-somaferan. Not meant in the sense of "boring", but in the technical sense of "of the physical world". Does not apply to shamans, mystics, etc.

Psychebradia: The opposite of psychetachia, it is a sense that the external world has sped up relative to the self. From an outside perspective the somaferan seems to have slowed down. It apparently accompanies becoming totally absorbed into something, without action. Psychetachia can be more easily triggered by first entering a state of psychebradia, though the superior (if more difficult) method is to be in both psychebradia and psychetachia simultaneously, in different parts of the brain.

Psychetachia: The sense that time flows slowly in the outside world relative to the somaferan. From an outside perspective it seems that the somaferan is functionally unusually quickly. Due in part to adrenaline, in part to the higher electrical activity along nerve paths, and in part to depletion of serotonin. It has two forms. One is a speeding up of the brain alone. The other includes a physical speeding as well, an increased reaction speed. Psychetachia can be quite extreme, causing (for instance) falling objects to seem to float to the ground lazily.

Somafera: The art and science of spiritual/physiological transformation. More specifically the attainment of the unitary state and the subsequent alteration in physiology in such a manner as to increase one's natural abilities. (Such as heightened strength, speed, sharpened reflexes, etc.) May or may not be martial in practice.

Somaferan: A practitioner of somafera.

Spirit-horse: A somaferan who has no animal self but instead is possessed by or transformed into a spirit, god, or some such thing. The term is borrowed from Voudoun, where practitioners who become possessed by the lwa (minor gods) are called "horses", as the lwa are said to ride them. The prefix "spirit" is added to distinguish such somaferans from those who simply have a horse spirit as a fetch.

Svipal: A somaferan with multiple alters. Translates as "changeable".

Thusbet: A personal demon, of sorts. Frequently appears in visionary states to torment somaferans, especially during deep spiritual states. Occasionally though not frequently the spirit that possesses the somaferan during the somafera state.

Transformation: A word describing going berserk or entering the unitary state, not commonly used.

Ulfhedinn: "Wolf-coat", (pl. "ulfhednar") a berserk or somaferan who becomes possessed by (or whose internal nature is partially that of) a wolf spirit during the gangr.

Unitary State: A specific state of physiology and neurology defined by the following three criteria:

  1. Deafferentation of the Orientation Association Area (Posterior Superior Parietal Lobe). As this lobe of the brain is responsible for creating the sense of self, its deafferentation (shutting off) creates a loss of sense of self and absorption into a different reality. Responsible for the phenomenon of possession which is the hallmark of the gangr.
  2. Simultaneous activation of the sympathetic nervous system (responsible for fight-or-flight, revving up) and the parasympathetic nervous system (responsible for relaxing, healing). Normally antagonistic to each other, their simultaneous activation is responsible for much of the special abilities of the state of somafera.
  3. Unification of the functioning of the mind, meaning that the left and right brains function as one; the ego, superego, and id are unified, Shadow and Persona become one, etc.

Vanawod: A somaferan who does not have the experience of being possesed or transforming into anything, who instead simply experiences a derangement of the mind accompanying the other changes of the state. "Van" is a common prefix in many Norse languages for "crazy", and wod is "fury", and spiritual energy. This is a modern term, created because no ancient one is recorded.

Wod, Chi: Two different forms of internal energy. Wod tends to be wild, raging, and fiery. Chi tends to be still and balanced. An excellent analogy is found in consideration of an electric circuit. If you would increase the current in the circuit there are two means of doing so. One is by increasing the voltage of the battery, forcing more current through the same resistance. The other way is by lowering the resistance, causing more current to "fall out of" the battery. The first way is like wod, the second like chi. Note: do not overstress the difference between wod and chi. To be technical, the definition of chi (Chinese in origin), includes wod-like energy. The definition of wod (Norse in origin) includes chi-like energy. Both are simply different words for internal energy, and are actually synonyms. It's just that in practice the fiery aspect of wod is traditionally emphasized, and the balanced aspects of chi are traditionally emphasized. Biologically speaking, both forms of internal energy (as well as all other forms) are thought to be primarily the result of adrenaline, serotonin, and the cumulative effect of psychological/neurological blocks, inhibitions, and predispositions.

Wod State: One of the two types of unitary state, caused by deafferentation of the left hemisphere of the OAA. It is not to be confused with wod energy. (One of the problems of using ancient terminology!) It is in this state specifically where the phenomenon of possession occurs. It produces a sensation of becoming one with whatever the focus was that produced the unitary state. It is analagous to the terms "positive stillness" and "positive samadhi". It tends to be a state of furious energy directed at whatever the focus of the experience is.


Disclaimer: The information and practices described in this site are the result of years of study and dedication to the understanding of the risks involved. These descriptions are provided for purposes of information only. Actually trying to practice anything described in this site would almost certainly lead to injury, perhaps even serious injury or death. We strongly advise against it.

All content Wayland Skallagrimsson, 2013