Modified Invisibly: Changing The Hame
by Lydia Helasdottir
excerpt from Wyrdwalkers: Techniques of Northern-Tradition Shamanism
Astral body modifications are changes to your astral/energy body that make it different from that of usual people. Some you can do yourself, but the big ones generally have to be done to you by a deity or wight. It's not something you were born with yourself. Some might serve to up the amount of power you can handle on different frequencies, or allow you to even work with those frequencies. We see this whole thing from an engineering paradigm, so if you could draw a wiring diagram of the astral body, there'd be a new component.
The milder modifications are usually widening of the pipes that carry the chi around your body and reinforcing them. That's a typical low-end, low-invasiveness mod. You can do that yourself, slowly over time, from doing various sorts of maegencraft, body energy work. Maegen is cognate to the German and Dutch word for guts, stomach, and in Chinese medicine the guts are where the astral battery is kept, which I find to be an interesting coincidence. Anyway, these make your pipes wider. When one starts to build an energy defensive system, or to improve one's aura, or whatever, that's a mod. So maybe you've got a thing that's made of energy and that looks like an egg around you, and it acts like a filter or a pressure suit, depending on where you're going - that's a mod. But those are just enhancements of existing technology.
When we're talking about higher mods that are given to you, you might have a body part that has been replaced on the astral. For instance, my one hand is a Fey hand, and both my feet are Fey feet. I was badly burned, and we were working with the Fey at the time, and I made a deal that I would carry out some activities for them, and in return they gave me new hand and feet skin. This gives me my fleet running ability - it's sort of like having Fey boots that I can't take off, so I might as well call them Fey feet. This sort of thing is also in various sorts of lore - Nuada of the Silver Hand and so forth.
Then we have mods that are related to physical body modifications - tattoos and piercings and other transformations that become a physical carrier to hold the astral changes. These are quite simply wiring modifications. I've got one that connects my power chakra to my heart chakra, like a thick piece of wire on the astral. It makes sure that those two are always connected together, so I won't be evil. I used to have trouble with being either too gullible or too cruel, and when you connect those two centers, you are neither too gullible nor too cruel, because the two have to work in unison all the time.
Another modification - although some people have it as a natural extension - is that when you've done enough internal alchemy that you can manifest both the male and female, you might manifest genital bits of the gender that you physically and genetically aren't. All people can learn to do this, although it's not easy for most, but most choose not to and it's a damn shame.
Then you have things like plant-based mods. You might be working with a vine, for instance, and receive a subdermal mesh of green reinforcements to the connection between your physical vehicle and your energetic vehicle. That's actually a plant, it's not part of your body at all. It's some other creature in a symbiotic relationship with you, just as your mitochondria are symbiotic in your body. Then you've got specialty mods - for example, if you have to navigate strange spaces a lot, your patron deity might give you a little navigational beacon installed in your head. Some of these things can even show up on X-rays - there are three stones in my head that show up on X-rays! In that case, the story was a funny one because these three little emeralds disappeared out of a sealed envelope and could not be found. Then we investigated and it kept saying that they were in my head, and then the next time I had a head X-ray they were there. That was pretty weird. Since then, I never get lost, either physically or astrally. I can just triangulate.
Reiki is an example of an astral body modification. When people get a Reiki attunement, they get an astral mod in their crown chakra that makes a very big pipe out through the hands. Then you have mods that are unfriendly - infections, implants, and so on. This is where it starts to sound crazy, but if various wights can put something nice on you, then they can put something nasty on you.
How do you tell when you're getting a mod? Usually you feel really sleepy and have to lie down. When you wake up you feel weird, and if you scan your body and look at what used to be there and what's there now, you'll find that things have changed. Maybe there's an extra bright glowy thing, and you have to go find out what it does. It's generally believed to be impolite for deities or spirits to install mods without telling you what's going on, unless they own you. But it's rare, so don't assume that every time you fall asleep with a funny tiredness that you're getting some sort of magic modification or something.
You can have them checked by an energy worker that you trust, to see what they look like. But then once you have them, you can't let energy workers just work on you any more. You have to set up your energy system prior to seeing the acupuncturist, so that whatever they do to you isn't going to screw up the mods. Generally, things like craniosacral therapy are not all that helpful any more, because it will screw with the mods. But if you know about this beforehand, you can protect yourself from whatever the energy worker is doing, if they're clumsy, by roping them off and putting them in a Faraday cage for the time being. If you're very heavily modified, sometimes you just can't do certain therapies. I have a mod that, while I was getting used to it, I just had migraines for two years. Headaches and migraines seem to be a side effect of energy changes, and of Kundalini rising.
There's a lot of debate as to whether it's better to open one's chakras from the top down or from the bottom up - the water method or the fire method. We generally think that it's safer to use the water method, dripping slowly down from the Source to gently relax and open the chakras, so that when it opens all the way down to the root chakra, everything is already open and relaxed. Whereas the more Hindu method, the fire method, winds it up from the bottom up, smacking into the next chakra, and you feel it - "Wow, something happened!" - and if you do it by the water method you don't get these dramatic effects. But what can happen is that Kundalini will hit the next chakra that isn't open, bounce back down and come out, and manifest itself through the chakra below it. Let's say that the heart chakra is blocked, and the Kundalini comes up, and smacks into the heart chakra. It will go down into the power chakra, and you'll manifest all sorts of power chakra imbalances, like tyranny and inappropriate severity. If your throat chakra is blocked, the Kundalini will come up and bounce off of that, and come out your heart, and you'll have emotions you can't talk about, you'll be put upon, unable to speak with command, and get taken advantage of all the time, because your heart's wide open, inappropriately.
A seer can usually see your mods, unless they're cloaked. The other thing is that there's only so many ports, usually, and often the ports on some people are taken up by attachments on either prior relationships or earlier hangups and traumas. If you scan your body, you'll see them as these little feeding tubes coming in. For the most part, you need to unhook them and send them back. That's a perilous thing, though, because sometimes when you unhook them, if the person who put it there was feeding from you in this way, then they'll notice that you've noticed, and that you've unhooked it, and you will get a lot of attention that you didn't really want. But generally these tubes are just emotional ties to parents and lovers and such. If you don't want to be that disconnected from them, you can send out connectors from your heart level which you control, and which hook into their heart instead of involving your power center. How do you notice it? Chi follows zi, energy follows the attention. Sometimes they will remanifest if you invite them back.
Some mods you can override and some mods you can't. Generally the ones that deities provide are not easily overridden. I've also seen things like big information and energy downloads in the back of the head or neck, or other species/race body parts - I've got Jotun blood, but I've got a Fey hand and feet, which gives a lot of internal conflicts. There's a guy I know who is basilisk totem who has a very hot furnace, and he could suck in poison and burn it up in the furnace. He could extend spikes on his back; his armor was always switched on and he looked like the Batmobile. But he didn't realize that he didn't need that, and that the armor will switch itself on when there's incoming nonsense. So we taught him to switch it off at will, and now he has shimmering skin that looks more like fish scales. It's more approachable and sensitive, and he can get more information...because when you wear plate armor, you're blind and clumsy, and you get tired quickly, and it's dark in there are you can't get sunlight, and you look like you're looking for a fight, which means that you usually get one. So now he looks astrally like a human with slightly shimmery skin, which is more inviting, but when you become aggressive toward him, with energy or with your hand, the heavy black chitin-type armor will pop up automatically as it's needed. That makes it much easier for him to run the system and to get fed. Another thing that he's got is extendable finger-spikes - green ones for feeling the energy, black ones like blades with tiny hooks to reach into someone's energy body and hook out what shouldn't be there, stainless steel ones like hypos to suck things out of someone's arm, and guides in his wrists to let him know what the poison is before he lets it into himself. But sometimes you'll see scared people with monster armor on, and they can't take in energy, and they get starved.
To integrate mods, do energy work that runs your energy through your whole body, over and over, including through the new stuff. Draw pictures of yourself with the new stuff, or wiring diagrams to get used to the fact that it's there now. Use them a lot. They are basically prosthetics...so how do you get used to a prosthetic? Get out of the wheelchair and walk around on it more and more often. Some can be switched on and off, some are permanently on. Some are like hardware, some are like software - like being able to decode languages quickly.
Keep your tongue up. If you keep your tongue up on the roof of your mouth, the energy will come down around and make a cycle instead of blasting out the top of your head. That can help with a migraine, keeping your tongue up. It's in all the decent ch'i-gong books, but it's just this minor thing that everybody says, "Oh that can't be important!" It's interesting to just do breaths with your tongue up, just do a breath that runs from the bottom of your spine over the top of your head and down the front of your body. Do that twenty or thirty times, then put your tongue down and do the same, and see how it's different. And if you're overexcited and want to go to sleep, you can run the energy up the front and down the back of your body. Try that tongue-up and tongue-down.