Monday, January 06, 2014

Ragnvald Rebuffs the Atheist Missionaries

"You come to us and say there is a stirring and a seething in the heart of things, from which their own self doth self-rebel, and from such self-rebellion cometh strange surpassings of the self. You speak as if you bring a new truth, yet of this we have long known. The Well of Wyrd bubbleth and seethe, and from such source all things arise ; and yet they come as in a dream, and methinks ye have neglected such. We too know of vast spirit-wars ; they tell us, the old ones, that giants and gods do battle. Ever were it so. You say there was a time when earth was not, when seas were not, when trees were not, when beasts were not. Yet what man knoweth not the verses of the volva, who tell us of such times? You say we have grown from beasts, in a wondrous metamorphosis through every form, yet ruled by chance and happening. A strange and marvelous enough doctrine ; yet, look upon our glyphs and runestones. See there how beast to beast transforms, and Wyrd, of course -- what you call chance and happenstance -- rules all. Indeed there are seers amongst our Irish cousins who say we emerge up from every form. I cannot see what is new in what you speak, except ye say around the world you've scoured all the bones within the mountains, fetched and found them, tracing all this legacy of metamorphosis. Our bones you can see in the hands of a lizard. So, you say, we should leave our spirits, abandon our gods, and believe we are nothing but corpses, fire trapped in a dead frame fated to extinguish. I think no man knows by the light of day what doom his death shall bring, yet we have songs of wise men, who have said they've tread those darkest tracks beyond the fog and darkness where extinguishment is seem ; a little tread alone, they deem, will not beyond the darkness see. They say there are lands of melissine sun and trickling mead where we may meet our ancestors, be rejoined in ancient halls with loved ones. Many who have fallen then returned speak much the same. Can we know by light of day? Perhaps not, but we shall not dismiss the testimony of our tribesmen. You scoff at our hallowings of mead and wood, asserting that life is a temporary, new beginning of time, hardly old ; that all things started from a single point that burst, expansions and contractions in spasm hurling out the stars, and in those furnaces all the stone and steel we know was cooked. It is no secret that the world was born between fire and ice, nor that there from a single seed burst forth Yggdrasil, in whose canopy sit the constellations of stars. We know thus. Yet we know further than you, it seems, for for you, all your eyes behold -- yes, augmented by great instruments of smithy-work, indeed, as you have told -- seems dead, while we know that tree whose root no one fathoms is alive, through and through, alive throughout ; and perhaps you dwell too long upon the hardwood, then neglecting its xylem and its sap. This whole world lives ; it breathes ; it seethes, and even rivers, seas, and slowly moving mountains (we have heard, the home of dwarves) live. The stars are fruits ; they live. Their glowing golden, coming ripe, restores the gods from ages old and weariness, and many say a soul is but a falling star, a seed from Yggdrasil. We see you look upon our speech as quaint. You shake your heads. You cannot fathom our barbarian speech. You seek to turn us from our ways, but we shall not be turned, no, not unless by Wyrd herself, and she shall turn indeed. But her turnings are strange and intricate, never obvious, ever enigma, while we sense you are prisoners of wordlock, ever lined in lines. We shall learn your lore. Our sages shall eat it. There, our great folk-stomach shall corrode your truths and break them down until they are assimilable. We love to learn, and honor what gifts you bring, but do not come to conquer, nor seek ye to convert. We too have tales to tell and lore to learn ye. You are much an orphan, you have lost thine heirlooms ; an empty air surrounds you ; you are hollow, cannot see. We have heart and pith and strength, which we might share, if you came with lilies and laid down swords. Yet we see you are still quickened to insult. You ask our sages, great song-smiths lofted in the billow of inspiration, how we know there are gods, whom you scoff. You are a feckless upstart : where are your rhymes? How many winters have you lodged in a wizard's woodschool? How many songs do you have under your belt? How long have you reared and nourished your wonder? Amongst us, it is a duty. We observe, just as you do, but you seem to have forgotten the world has an inside as well as an outside. That inside may be sensed by those who are sensitive. Do you have dreams? What comes to you at night? Do you heed and hearken? If you did, then, when you came to a wood, some feeling would be borne within you, and at night, some dream would speak. Dunce, now I tell you, our lore is such archive of dreams, shared severally and collected by the seers, o'er countless years of ages, that your libraries have no rival. We know how to make what seems dead to you speak, for you see, it speaks in our hearts. Our poets know how the heart may speak ; they have spent long years training their tongues to ancient rhythms. They have sat beneath the stars and sipped their mead. You say this world is but one of many. Look up at the night sky and tell me, how many fruit of that tree do you see? We know this world is one of but nine, but see, we have a way of speaking : nine is to say nine thousand, nine thousand to say nine million. Nine to us is a countless lemniscate. You point to the gravel. You say to us, you are this sand. Oh yes, our bodies indeed uptake the ancient mill-grist of giants ; so we are told. But it is all shaped on a lathe you cannot see, whose spinnings you can only trace in sand. We are such sand and more. Blood and breast and breath of holy powers live within our sand-seem tree-flesh. We have ways of understanding you, may encompass you within the many steads of lore. But you? What place hath your wisdom for our knowledge? It seems all fool to you, heimsk. Many emissaries have come to us over time. We are now used to their arrogance. They come not to gather together the ancient runes shaved into the spilt mead ; no, poetasters all, minor skalds and fools, they think they've supped the cup entire, come to bring us light. Bring us light indeed! And we shall string it to our own. We can ween the value in your words, but ask, have you the heart to ween the worth in ours? No doubt our lore shall change, the world shall change, and nothing may withstand the tides of Wyrd. Yet we are all connected in a web. I wish that you could see. Dreaming was in this world long before we were, and it has had time too to "evolve", as you say, and it has shaped much of that inwardness who we are. For ourselves, we shall continue to listen. No, ambassadors, we shall not exile our poets for your sake."

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Oceans Are Dying!!

The oceans are dying!  The oceans are dying! The oceans are dying! The oceans are dying!!

Did you get that? In response to an earlier ocean tragedy, I wrote a mythic response to the Deepwater Oilspill Catastrophe , but this time I'm just going to be straight up.

Read this article :

The Ocean Is Broken . This is not a conspiracy site. This is being carried by Yahoo.

If we pagans care about the sacredness of the earth, this is big news.

I want to know : why are we allowing business-as-usual to continue under conditions where the oceans are dying? Why aren't we out in the streets all the time, rapping at the doors of corporate, government, and UN representatives and demanding radical change?

Seriously. Do we believe in the sacredness of the natural world in which we live?

Do you really believe? Is this a play thing to you? 

I want to make a serious appeal to people to STOP EATING FISH. This article makes clear that the industrial trawling of fish is one of the very strong factors killing the life of the ocean. GOING VEGAN -- or at least cutting down or even better yet STOPPING FISH CONSUMPTION -- is a GIFT you can give to the ocean. To Njord or Yemanja or Neptune, or however you conceive the sacredness, numinosity, or divinity of the ocean. This doesn't mean one has to do so for all time. We can have the Vegan argument later. But for now -- under these conditions --that is the least you can do.

But going beyond personal gifts, we have to stop the JOTNAR, the Giants, the Megamonster Fishing Conglomerates who are NOT observing the Gift-Relationship of any indigenous/pagan culture : you don't just take, take, take. A gift calls for a gift. You take what you need and nothing more. And right now, for most of the consumers of fish, you don't need it. You may like it, it may help supplement your nutrients and mostly your taste buds, but you don't need it. So let's get some radical changes placing some CHAINS ON THIS FENRIS trawling the oceans with its Sky-To-Seabed Open Jaws and SHUT THIS MONSTER DOWN.

This is not playtime anymore, but just about everything else is, yes, including beloved, always-loved, in-the-pocket-of-Gullveig business. Don't talk to me about anything else when the ocean is at stake. Don't talk to me about anything else when the very poetry of our waters is in peril. I want to see widespread, collective action that makes the "Arab Spring" of Egypt look like child's play. If we pagans mean anything, if we are actually engaging in worship rather than frivolous entertainment, we need to put our money where our mouth is and get this going. No, I'm not just talking about donating to a cause here and there, although that's good, too. I mean getting people out into the streets over this. [This is not the only Earth-related cause we should be doing this for. There are impending extinctions of important species, toxic pollution, etc., that all must be attended to. But we must switch the discourse so it is no longer a "minority" issue. We have to turn the tables on the entire way this is looked at.] This means getting tough. This is like rallying for a war. This means no longer allowing protest and in-the-streets to be ridiculed, marginalized, pushed aside by those comfortably numb who are just trawling around living a bullshit existence while the very sacredness of the planet is at stake.

And while we're at it, two fucking years ago I also wrote about the complete disaster that is Fukushima , and here , and here , and here . This thing is STILL GOING ON! I can't believe this : we've got a disaster that rivals CHERNOBYL, and it has been going on, unstopped, for TWO FUCKING YEARS. Not only that, but business as usual has just kept on going as if nothing has happened! Our government representatives tell us it's nothing to worry about -- "nothing to worry about"? We expect the representatives of industry to spit out such lies, but the government replication thereof demonstrates, if nothing else did, how in the pocket of industry all our governments are. Fukushima is serious, folks. It was serious TWO YEARS AGO. It is now EVERY DAY pouring out TONS of RADIOACTIVE WASTE into the oceans. I mean, as we speak!! POURING RADIOACTIVE WASTE INTO THE OCEANS!

At this point in time where we are at on this planet, we should be doing nothing but writing in all caps, bold print, and italics, but there simply aren't enough to underline the importance of what's going on here.

I will quote some things I said earlier (in the links above). These statements apply now more than ever :

"And no one raised a peep. Not a whine, not a whimper, not a stamping of the feet. The shields, long dusty, were kept upon their posts. The spears were snapped in two and thrown on heaps and burned. And all the while the wolves devoured.."

Do you hear what I am doing here? Let me make it explicit : I am calling you fucking cowards. I am invoking the warrior ethos, and accusing you, here, in public, as a matter of your sacred honor, of neglecting to raise the fight about the things that matter most. Do you get what I'm saying here? This isn't just rhetoric. I have just on the world wide internet called out every person who thinks they believe in warrior values and asked why they are not raising the banners to mobilize for this cause. (I'm not discussing, to be clear here, literal weapons-war, but I am discussing serious mass campaigns.)

"I kneel down on the wet sand to kiss the shores, and beg Njord forgive those who have mired them, and realize, I cannot ask him forgive! For you cannot forgive those who have not repented! They have not paid their gild, they have not turned their ways!

They’ve thrown oil into the waters. They’ve spread toxicity of radioactive Balrogs into the wash, and still, still they continue! How can they be forgiven? No. No, I pray Njord that he might clean and keep free the fishes that our kind bath in filth! I pray that he might, in his sea-going sleuth-ways, open our eyes to powers to which we’ve been blinded, with which we might restrain polluters, and keep undesecrated his frothy gardens.

This is Njord’s body. His soul, like all our souls, is larger than his large body, but is infused by will and wish into every molecule of wet. Will we desecrate his liquid-wine eucharist, his brine which is epiphany beyond the shores?"
We cannot be forgiven until we have turned from our ways. We are remaining PASSIVE -- PASSIVE -- PASSIVE -- while Njord's body is being killed RIGHT IN FRONT OF US, and why? Because of GREED, because we have allowed MONSTERS -- giant corporations and conglomerates of fishers -- to TAKE CONTROL.
A lesson here. When you try to take control of everything (yes, even in the service of Gullveig -- she is not all-powerful), you begin to lose control of everything.
It is not enough to stop eating fish for a time until the oceans replenish themselves. We have to give the oceans a chance to replenish themselves. And the only way to do that is to LEGALLY BIND FENRIS, and if our governments won't do that, then they need to be washed away with the tide. We the masses must stand up for the oceans.
We the masses must stand up for the oceans, and those who should be spearheading this should be pagans, if pagans are anything other than recreationalists proclaiming sound-good platitudes for the sake of feeling good. Here, politics and paganism cannot possibly be separated. Remaining "apolitical" means throwing in with the destruction of the ocean. Yes, in fact, it is that simple. Pagans should be at the forefront of the vanguard of causing mass upheavals overturning everything that interferes with the biospheric womb of mammalian (and other) life.
The future will curse us if we don't.
I mean, if there is a future.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

An Intriguing Late Depiction of the Gods

The gods are made of chocolate, and actually inhabit a triangular realm of bells, living in rapture-wigwams of aromatic steam. Snorri quotes the skaldic line, "The mouth-savory regin, melted brindle honey-blend, dwell in bane-of-branches' water-kiss," for which the commentators add the bit of archaeological trivia of an unearthed stash of cacao found in a post hole outside a farm in Iceland, discovered in the 1800s, where were also found horse bones and a feather. Further, Saxo, speaking of Drvin's dream-journey to Asgard (called there the "star-castle of assembled sorcerors", but it's clear what he means), says that Drvin, in a kind of ecstasy, instead of bowing (as was wont), rushed forward in the hall to touch the feet of the gods, whereupon "their substance clung to his fingertips as of melted wax", and curious, he licked his fingers of the "earth-colored dew" that had deliquesced from their feet, "astonished to taste a meal marvelously like honey" (Elton translation), whereupon the entire castle "began to ring like a thousand bells", and he ran from the castle, which "was gabled, but moreso as he fled, he saw, a gable of gables"? Was the castle in fact a pyramid, and this Saxo's only way of describing? We can't know for certain, but that it was triangular is beyond question given his description. Now, as to whether all heathens of this time literally believed the gods' flesh was cacao, or whether this was a conceit on the part of various chieftains in the west who had received envoys from South America (evinced in the post hole evidence), we can't be certain, but it does seem an imported notion, as we know chocolate was called in its native realm "flesh of the gods"; how much more so, we might imagine, to late Dark Ages Scandinavians, who had never tasted it! This was a late development, no doubt, but we can only speculate, had heathenism cohered even a few centuries more, how much more our talented skalds would have played upon this metaphor. The "rapture-wigwams of steam" is evidently a blend of the notion of the Vafur-flames that surround Asgard, combined with an image of mist from waterfalls, but the imagery is at base American, and PreColumbian, depicting votive shrines around a stepped pyramid complex. Was such merely the description of the traders who came out of the canoes carved out of giant hardwood logs, or does it indicate in addition that some Vikings had reached, or been blown by storm, to the Americas even prior to Leif Ericsson? We can't know for certain, but the small traces we have are at least suggestive.

Just seeing if anyone is paying attention. ;)

[Adding an explicit footnote here : I made all this up. None of this is based on fact. This was a joke. I want to make that clear just in case anyone takes this tongue-in-cheek humor for quotable fact.]

Monday, September 23, 2013

Sublimity is Its Own Success

    Outside, it is windy, and a moonlit night. The tall poplar tree tinkles its golden leaves in the breeze, and as I look up at it, and see the stars behind it, I feel in the presence of an epiphany of the World-Tree, and I feel the presence of the Gods. I feel in the presence of profundity in which quotidia must be situated and given perspective.

    Oh, Lords and Ladies, Honored Elder Kin, I have been humbled. I have had hopes tossed and dashed. I have stretched myself towards goals which have met with defeat. And yet, in your presence, under the stars, under this epiphany of the Cosmic Tree itself, I feel, all is happening as it will, and that perhaps it is not the universe which has diverged from its path, but I from it : a risk of taking a gamble. To have taken the gamble is no dishonor. Risk is our business. But not every risk will be rewarded. That is the adventure of a venture.

    Thank Gods you give me the perspective to see this is ok. There is still a fundamental rightness to the universe underneath my despair if I will attune to it. So I did not succeed fully in my hopes? So what? It may be that is not meant to be, or it could mean that it will bear different fruit than I thought, or it may be it will take longer, and perhaps different tending and pruning, to come to what fruition it may. I am not in control of fruition, only of ripening. I ripen what I may, and open my hands to let the Gods complete it according to its Wyrd. If I become attached to specific results, I lose the magic of the world.

    I may not have gotten what I wanted, but look, behold : the world is still beautiful. The wind and moon say, life is still infused with something sublime, and isn't the ability to experience sublimity and incorporate it into one's life a higher definition of success? The world is an arena of struggle, of dynamism through the working out of contradictions, in which risk stands a chance of making good on a gamble, but that chance is never guaranteed, nor can we ride too much on that chance, however much we may need to feed it in a gamble. Yet we must conserve our better part to ourselves, to our devotion and service, rather than to the rewards. We give the gift -- that is our job, and what comes of it, though we may throw in our two cents and more here, ultimately, is not in our hands.

    I came here to experience profound things. Much has been given. In large part, that is why I am a praiser. Existence calls out for psalms. True, it also calls out for my active kritik, and that is a gift I also will give. But I have been given profundity -- if I will take the time to attune -- and this naturally, if we are healthy, calls for gratitude.

    So I thank all the Holy Powers and ask that they will deepen my abilities to serve in devotion, that my life might more and more become an incarnation of the Gift.

Service and Devotion

    To be in service. To dedicate oneself to life, to the divine process of living the human challenge, with devotion that looks to service as primary, intrinsic motivation, releasing external rewards as motivations, understanding they may come as they will if they will, but the process of living, and being in service, is enough. This is fundamentally what it means to understand "sacrifice". It is a giving up, a letting go, a release of attachment to result, and letting the divine process adjudge on its placement and value. For us, the worth is in giving, as it is with the divine powers who are the bestowers of gifts, who give when and as seems wise, according to their wisdom, and not according to behaviorist notions of punishment and reward.

    From this standpoint, "success" has a much different understanding than the common externalist viewpoint, and even heathens can meander into error with their pragmatist viewpoint, tempted into thinking thereby that success must correlate with external rewards in order to be success. Yet think more profoundly on the theme that Odin takes the best of heroes for himself. In other words, they die on the battle, or to put it more bluntly for those too caught up in externalism, they lose. In fact, and listen carefully here, an external defeat becomes a Victory of the Soul. Contemplate that for a little bit.

    I frankly don't think the Gods have much to do with external events in this world. I think that's unfolding of Wyrd, and they interfere very, very little with that. The main advantage they provide is the advantage of consciousness. (And perhaps tilting of probabilities, subtle "riggings of the game".) They Tend to Soul. And sometimes Soul is best attended to through Humbling Events, not Rewarding Events, particularly if the Soul tries to cheapen itself by taking on a thrallish attitude towards rewards and punishments, rather than seeking intrinsic motivation. To be entirely extrinsically oriented is to lose inherent worth, and hand one's power over to others. It is not that others do not matter religiously -- we are a social creature -- but the others that matter are those who are capable of perceiving inherent worth, and it is Those people who are our fellows, and none others. From the standpoint of consciousness, those who are not capable, and hanker after externalisms alone, are metaphysically speaking, in the evolutionary position of thralls.

    Life is about gift, and service, and devotion, and when we forget that, and fall into slaving after externals, we join the thralls, even if our personal ambition is to be king of the thralls. The king of the thralls is still a thrall, and will never actually be a king. Many, many positions in this world, including quite high ones, are only stacking and ranking of thralls. True masters without slaves or slavishness are quite rare.

    This does not mean that the body does not need to be fed, nor that we should cease to struggle for that which will feed our needs and the needs of our folk -- and humanity -- and the planet -- but that spirituality gives us the ability to put things in perspective.

    And sometimes not winning, not getting what we wanted, even when it was something for which we really yearned, is precisely what we need to recenter, regain perspective, and humble us to tune back into the beauty that is, rather than beauty as we imagined it might be. This is no bad faith towards the imagination, which can reveal a great deal of the virtual potential of the world, and when combined with rational planning, can be a good guide to human action and creativity. But what it does say is that reality always overwhelms hypothesis, and it is to the wellsprings of reality to which we must return again and again. Admitting defeat can be a spiritually victorious moment, one that washes away despair, and reminds oneself what one is all about, and to look towards inherent value rather than external rewards.

    If we spiritual people can get our heads out of our asses -- and come now, let's admit how often our heads are way too firmly lodged up there -- and stop taking literally what was always meant to be symbolic stimulation of deeper perception and appreciation of life, we have a great deal to contribute towards the people, and toward the process of history and progress. For the values of service and devotion -- free service, voluntary devotion, not thrallish service (although we'll get to that in a second, for those who are confused on this topic) -- are some of the key psychological concomitants of the Gift, and if we are ever to evolve our societies to function more like our images of the divine, we must move them away from Gullveig's realm of greed and obsession with gold bullion, and more towards the Gift. There's always going to be pragmatists who lose their sense of principle and cave in to more degenerate and backwards aspects of people, and try to motivate people solely through material interest and the incentives of reward and punishment, in other words, to tend things solely towards externalist behaviorism. That mode may be proper to thralls, but it is not towards free people, nor even towards thralls who you are intending to manumit and emancipate. What must be in command is service, devotion, and intrinsic motivation, with reward and punishment as a tactic to be reserved for the more thrallish. Who are such thralls? Those who will not give freely. But wait -- if those who do not give freely may be coerced to give, then how is that giving free and voluntary? Because those who give freely are not coerced. The alternative to taxation is voluntary donation. (This suggests that a state that taxes people thinks of them as thralls who would not in and of themselves raise themselves up to the honor of community contribution and public service, and who therefore constitute a tax on the Gift, and thus may be in turn taxed.) Those who think they owe no service or devotion to others do not deserve to receive such service and devotion, and to correct them, they may be made to serve. This is an undignified giving that gives little honor, appropriate to a low level of honor and dignity, while free and voluntary giving merits much greater honor, from those able to value that which is intrinsically valuable. In other words, thralls are on probation, which ritually speaking has always indicated someone on their way to a higher status who must, as we see in the term, "prove" themselves, while those whose service and devotion "speaks for itself" are under no such probation and do not require such exacting terms. Under what right would we assert such a right to subject people to such probation? Under the right of ensuring that Gullveig's realm does not swallow up the world, and that the Gift may have a chance to remain in command, rather than being exiled to the furthest margins of the world -- as it now, in fact, is. Things are backwards. The songsmiths have given us poetry that indicates the manner in which we may reverse this, and follow the divine order of the Gift. Here, those with intrinsic worth are placed in a leading position over those who can only think of themselves, and who can only think of external rewards and punishments. Well, if external rewards and punishments are so sacred to them, then let them be under that law which they hold so dear, while those who hold to a dearer law may also be accorded that law which is dear to them : a gift for a gift.

   Rigsthula is fairly clear and severe in this regard. The God visited three (eponymous) homes. These homes were awarded with offspring or consequences according to their openness to the visitor --- how willing they were to open their doors to inspiration -- and according to how many of their gifts they had developed and could thus share. The first house's doors were closed, and they had little to give. The second house's doors were half-open, and they had some to give. The third house's doors were wide-open, and they had much to give. The latter were made the leaders, the second the place and honor of the majority in the People's Assemblies, and the former were made to serve the rest. Let us be clear. This was a spiritualization of a social custom that in its literal societal enactment led to much mayhem and trouble. When captives of war may become your slaves, you now have a motivation to go to war in order to obtain more labor. Let's be very clear here : that's fucked up, and has no place in a civilized people. But the spiritualization here modifies the terms and takes them to a new, transformed level. Those who fail to give all they have the potential of giving -- perhaps because they have not developed that potential enough -- and whose doors are closed to inspiration -- may be made to serve others, others who naturally serve in the very sharing of their gifts. Otherwise, if this order were reversed, the truly generous would find themselves in the most disempowered and penurious positions -- as, well, in fact, many find themselves these days! The paradox is that in a society aligned with the divine, those who give without thought of reward would be those who found themselves, sooner or later, rewarded, while those who always moved with calculated manuevre in mind, acting out of stinginess and only according to expected reward, would find themselves far less rewarded. Ideally we work towards a situations where the thrallish are finally evolved out of existence, through minimizing their influence more and more.

  By emphasizing spiritual values of service and devotion, which support the consciousness and practice of the Gift, we can counteract the more cynical policies which are presently in command, and become a force towards renewing and healing the world.

The Agitators

    The word "aesir", which has come to denote the Gods, has originally a meaning of "inciters", "agitators", those who stimulate and whip up against stagnation, because there can be such a tendency towards stagnation in people, specifically in relation to home and comfort and so forth (and as much as heathenism values home and hearth, there's a reason why the word for fool is "heimsk" -- homebody. It is the viking that makes an adult out of someone, by removing them from parochial stagnation and showing them the ways of the world). The goal must be to find a way of making a home and establishing comfort in such a way that it remains dynamic, electrical, and alive, so that it is not killing the divine force of life and creativity that flows through all things. Relative to values of stagnation, they are troublemakers who stir things up in order to get the blood flowing more lustily. (No wonder Loki at first he thought he might make a home amongst them! But note his error : not troublemaking for mayhem, but for the prime spiritual good of keeping life in motion.)

    Nonimperial pagan peoples, at least within the Indo-European provenance and concentric circles radiating therefrom, do not exhibit divine codification of social mores and customs, which remain the provenance of the Thing process, or in other words, the People's Assemblies. The People's Assemblies have a divine function, that of judgement, or kritik in the old sense of jury-judgement, with all the critical consciousness that involves, towards custom, and the negotiating of that into law. The negotiating of that into law : it is a dynamic process that respects custom and usage, but not in a reified sense ; a sustainable, but not a reified sense, and that is an important distinction. There are thus two terms here : custom, and judgement. Custom may tend towards law, but it is not law in a full sense until kritik, critical jury-judgement, with all its full assessment, audit-powers, and full appreciation of the good and the bad, is applied, whether that be through the legislative power of the assembly or the judgement power of a jury more specifically. The divine function is exercised in the process of kritik, but not in ever-evolving custom. But we do see such attempts to divinely codify custom in some religious traditions. We see this codification in Judaism in the Mosaic Laws. We see this codification in Islam with the laws of Allah and the Sharia law. We see this codification in the Bahai faith in its codes of morality. All this does is reify forms which are themselves social compromises or treaties from previous social developments, while not facilitating their further development, as things are always in development, and even providing for amendment processes, which is very important, if not done in a dynamic way, can still be obstructive. Usage, habit, which people fall into, is part of life. Habit and courtesy are the ways in which societies primarily regulate themselves, and only secondarily with oversight by state organizations (when they develop to the state level), but it's important not to reify this, yet codification does this in an obstructive sense. The customs of the people are not divine. They are human. They are understandable compromises made in the process of social struggle over meaningful arenas, but since everything is in motion at all times, Wyrd will not remain confined to customs, and therefore custom cannot remain so confined. This means that Gothis or priests of the Aesir must also be inciters of their people to social movement and dynamism. When we think in these terms, Socrates' service to Apollo, whose oracle of Delphi told him he was the wisest man in Athens, consisted precisely in his being, as he put it, a "gadfly", which was a kind of fly that bit horses and woke them up with a "sting" when they were sleeping. Inciters awaken, and not always pleasantly.

    The observations of Caesar and Tacitus that the Germanic people as a whole were just beginning to move from a pastoral stage to an agricultural stage is very important. Even if archaeology indicates a long tenure of agriculture in the area, the classical observation suggests that there was some sort of pastoralist movement that was fairly prominent amongst the Germanic peoples of that time. What exactly caused this we don't know. There may have been various movements of people, and so forth, in which people were uprooted, that supported some movement towards pastoralism, but it would appear there was a fairly strong thrust towards it. Now if we look at what Morris Berman has provided us with in his synthetic analysis of pastoral peoples is that pastoralism, while being derivative from agriculture, is often a movement against agriculture, in the sense that it is a movement against the stagnation and settling down that is a tendency of agricultural societies, and a movement towards agitation, social mobility, and freedom. The fact that this was on the move in some of the formative periods of Germanic paganism is significant inasmuch as it has impacted upon the theology of these peoples. In fact, it has. It has a long history and rooting in the ultimate pastoral origins of the Indo-European peoples that can be seen across many Indo-European branches. The very concept of "wod" that we see incorporated into Woden indicates this storming, moving, dynamic kind of energy, which in and of itself might be anomalous to find in a fully settled, agricultural nation, and it may very well be that the notion of the pact between the Vanir and the Aesir may be a reflection in the religious realm of compromises between pastoral and agricultural modes of production, with the pastoral, mobile, nomadic element in the ascendancy, even though, as we have seen, in the war between the Aesir and the Vanir, the Vanir prevailed on the field, actually. They held the dominant forces, as might an agricultural nation that was invaded by a minority of pastoralists -- assuming that that is what happened, although it is one recurring theory -- another is that pastoralism developed as a revolutionary movement against agriculturalism, and those two theories are not mutually exclusive -- they could have happened together in various forms. Yet despite the dominance of the Vanir in terms of numbers and therefore the infantry on the battlefields of that war, ultimately Odin, after a period of exile, was accepted back in, because the people saw the value of the Aesir. There was an exile of the nomadic elements, but they were brought back in because they were seen as valuable and essential to the divine alchemy, and this is surely, in the ideal realm of virtue, a reflection of social forces. This is very significant, because it infuses Germanic-Scandinavian paganism with a dynamism that is very important, and which imparts to it an almost modern feel. We understand that the dynamism of pastoral, nomadic peoples is very different than the dynamism of an industrial system, and yet, there is a degree to which industrialism, on a higher level, stimulates and integrates to some degree a nomadic mobility , which is why it has been opposed by so many settled forces. Revolutions have built themselves upon this mobile basis, whereas fascist organizations have always tried to support the more settled modes. This may be why it was under the domination of the Vanir during Odin's exile that Ermanerich, a more imperialist, dominating king, was able to come into such power and dominance. There may be archetypally here, symbolically, impregnated a very important message, that we need to be careful about too settled a way of life, that the "peace" of the Vanir tends towards a more settled kind of peace which, taken to an extreme, can become its opposite, by becoming a compelling towards domination, which as we know, can generate war in a civilized dynamic.

    The existence of a priesthood, and specifically a priesthood of poets, or songsmiths, as Ynglingasaga puts it, is the concept of rallying the people around a more inspired segment of the population, more inspired and therefore more advanced. There is a kind of dual relationship, or bicameralism, if you will, between the vanguard function of the priesthood, whose job it is to stay inspired by the dynamic, inciting forces of life, and the people, particularly as assembled in their sovereign People's Assemblies, so that the people make their decisions, but they are guided by the inspiration of the more advanced segments of the population. They are not advanced in the sense of being elitist, but just in the sense of being more forward thinking, more on the pulse of dynamic turbulence, and so forth, in which everyone can come into the movement. It is a nonexclusive kind of advanced segment. It aims at rallying, rather than excluding, other segments, and of course, debate happens over this in the People's Assemblies, and through this kind of debate, there will come to be a social and legal dynamism, as more conservative forces struggle against more advanced forces. And we need that struggle -- and not only do we need that struggle, but more specifically and critically, we need that struggle to be led by advanced elements, the songsmiths, inspired by the Inciters. This is how life is driven onwards towards progress.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Growing Old Is An Honor

We must learn to remember that growing old is an honor ; we earn those grey hairs as we grow and entwine into the world. Oh, Grimnir knows we may need our masks to move about in the world of unfriends, but all old things rejoice and come to recognize us, the new kids on the block, as we grow old. Done right, done properly, our maturity properly pursued, we ripen, we become the effervescence of conviviality shared in dozens and hundreds of symposia and sumbles, if we let our heart feel out and access what free expanse large mind is capable of. The more I pray, mind-drift love to love in adoration and will to hale in whole, how I mature.

Singers of Soma!

Singers of Soma! Songsmiths of the sweet, fennel- and camomile-fed mead! Wax thy windswept minds, gyrate in the cosmic tumble, dilate thy expanses with rippling-out horizons sweeping past the stars! O ancient ones, who long ago the heavens' open portals contemplated, letting mind become big mind, and heart big heart, you found the skaldic speech to sing the divine in every thing, sing on, and speak our hidden wizard-riddles found in day or from beloved night! Hallowed, held in awe, and venerated -- rightly so! For noble is the mind that freely wanders in its wonder. Wondrous are riddles laid out in sweet verse! Royal is that heart taking its lotus throne, surveying all in blissful leisure and benevolence! Rightful is that high, human place, lord of stars, humble servant of divine expanses, made noble with breadth of love extended out to embrace all things! Web-tenders, strumming on the tendril-harp that hangs between the stars and every thing within the heavens' grasp, attending to attunement to beyonds beyond mundane and everyday concerns! Not that those are unprofound, O sages of the mystic mead, but when opaque, conceal their essence : you encrystal, open eyes transparent to their window-skin, within which spin the wooly, tangled lights of heaven's torches!

Throw Your Weight In -- Where It Matters

It is necessary to resist and struggle with someone you love over important issues, where it matters, and not simply cave in order to create peace. Peace, while important, is not so important it is worth caving over where important values will be sacrificed in the process. If you let someone you love do something stupid or counterproductive without even so much as a struggle, how much do you love them? It may sound "authoritarian" to speak of "letting" or "not letting" someone else do something, but sometimes you need to exercise the authority you do have, from within your power, to do good, and here it would be foolish to not do so, because people do not always make the wisest choices, and people often need to be strongly challenged to bring out their best -- or at least their better.

This is the lesson I've learned by listening to my mother in struggle with others. She often is right, and it often is taken as authoritarian by them, and that perception is just a cop-out if in fact -- as it most often is -- it is simply love in the form of tough-love. There are times where there is no point having any weight if you don't throw it around -- for good. The world has plenty of weight of its own, so if you don't throw in yours, how will you ever help tilt things in a good way? Should one behave as if one were weightless simply for a peace which in fact is capitulation of significant values?

There are times and places where love demands you hold your ground and stubbornly refuse to allow another to go against their best interests -- just as yes, there are times and places where you must let people make their own mistakes and learn from them. It's true that ultimately one has no strict control either way, but it is not respecting their agency if their decision is not tough enough to withstand serious scrutiny and dogged struggle : let them develop their agency in a tougher medium and come out with a more honed will.

It's not that we shouldn't be concerned about authoritarianism -- the imposition of will upon another that is arbitrary, ego-driven, and not in their broadest best interests -- we should. But will and the clash of wills is an important part of life, and we do not help people develop their agency if we surrender before their merest assertion. Let assertion be steeled in strong will and clash of wills, where it matters. And yes, where we throw our weight around, it damn well better matter, and we damn well better have scrupulously examined our own motivations to ensure their purity. And there is no point to strife for strife's sake, or giving others hell out of either pettiness or selfishness. But there is a place in genuine frith for strong, loving assertion of will.

Be Choosy : Attune to Your Good Arrangement

Attunement and misalignment figure as important factors in our happiness or lack thereof : some of the world's problems are external and economic, but many have to do with people not finding their home,  and remaining estranged from their nature(s), placing themselves where they do not belong rather than where they do. This "where" is not just a matter of place in space, but navigation of the web of possibilities. Many things that present themselves ought to be sidestepped, disidentified, left aside. We belong where we belong. Love is basic. There is a place in the heart where you are home, and one must use this as a homing device to move closer to where one belongs. 

It is not that you cannot explore, but that you must keep returning home, and in that way remaining fidelitous ; while on one's travels, one must be able to identify one's kind amongst the multitudes and distinguish these folks from others, to whom, however charming or intriguing, one does not belong. Step too far afield and you can lose your critical mass and momentum, which is your core. You must hold to your home even as you travel widely. One must maintain the seed-pattern from dispersal even as one must enrich from its consolidation with crosspollination. One must braid in life, gathering and twining the essential, and pulling in new elements on that basis and structure.

There is the distribution of the world the way it is, and there is the distribution of the world the way it could be in the future -- a vast pool of sacred sharing --, but the former is all we've got for now, the material out of which to weave our lives. And from that distribution, we have to pick the best elements and best people to collage into our bouquet. For time is not infinite, and we ought not impoverish ourselves, nor our potential happiness. If there are people out there who could enrich our finite life, then we ought to seek and be with that enrichment, and not impoverish ourselves out of some narrow sense of charity whose effects are uncertain. Many live surrounded by wealth but partake of none of it. Many hunger globed about by fruit they either fail to recognize or disdain to allow themselves. Happiness is not a given, although much may be given, for we may squander the resources we do have, or drown the spark of light within us, instead of feeding it, nibble by nibble, with oil to fuel its illumination. Yet it is imperative we give those we love the greatest, truest happiness we can muster, for then the happiness may be multiplied. There is no guarantee that in dark times, prior to the restoration of Frodi's Frith, all our talents will be recognized and utilized, so we must do our best to disseminate our gifts the best we can, and preserve them. They are a net with which we may draw in many akin to us. Beauty that is genuine, especially that which comes from within, ought be respected, and given its due weight. There is an arrangement in which we can flourish, even under bad times, if we will seek it, and let it unfold out of our soulfulness, rather than let the world's warpings poison our imagination ; nor ought we think all arrangements equal, plunging ourselves in with indifference. Who we call to us, how well they will hold and preserve the treasury, holding every investment, endowment, and subsidy therefrom as precious and not to be squandered, but utilized to enrich capacities, so the treasury might be added unto and further enjeweled, makes a difference. Those who come who would waste from our treasury, and drain it to no good end, feeding the worst and not the best in themselves, feeding their withering and not their furthering, ought not be allowed to be sinks. For it is by pooling the best of what we have, and not our worst, that we enrich each other. But if there are toasts to be had, whereby gathering we might pour our smiling into each other and drink of our laughter, then that ought happen, and it is a gift unto the world, however small. For things are pulling together or fraying apart, and that which shall cohere shall prosper. That which drains not but drinketh full to fully feed has earned what subsidy we might afford, aside from our self-reliance, and that of our kin and what kith we have pooled, but that which would scatter to the winds what has been carefully gathered treats vital glume as mere husk, and belongs not in our silos. There are silos of the heart whereby those willing to save the circle, nourishing and nurturing its vital cycles, may feed. But those who would break the circle should not be given vittles, other than castoffs, what bread a beggar might be given from hospitality. But let even the lowliest beggar observe the mutual regard of hospitality, and turn not thief upon the house. Even the lowliest, if of good will, has something to add to that treasury from which he might seek to feed. A gift ever calls for a gift, not as petty payment, but to fund the sacred circle itself. Let one take full stock of one's treasury, and account for every use thereof, as if a gift from the Gods, for all is. If we would tarry a while a hoard from the Great Flows, we ourselves ought render reason for such grant, and what good may come therefrom. The Gods are ever willing to fund what good may be eked from the world, if we will render good and due account. Much is given on credit whose dividends are carefully watched from within the heart of things, who whisper back and give account to the Earth, and all the Gods. Frith may be enlarged, and its treasury extended to all who are capable of it, but let not a cent be rendered unto Utgard, or any who hail therefrom. All initial gifts are loans, returned in coin of good will ; he who returns ill for good will is no friend. A mistake, small in effect, here and there is no big deal, for all stumble, but he who falters with the precious is more risk than gain.

Consolidate Your Joy

Great healing is possible through love : turn your shamanic abilities inward, and love this beautiful animal. Your care and tending it needs. Be true to the love within you. 

Disidentify from that which is not you. Reconfigure around your core and throw out the irrelevant. Be true to your beauty and tenderness.

Too much of life is wasted in fear, and even worse, dread. Learn to enjoy. It is meant to be enjoyed. Do your joywork, which fundamentally consists in pruning that which is not joy, and discarding husk from glume. Then enjoy the glume! But it also means, take time to prepare the feast ; one is worthy of a feast, and the feast is worthy of preparation. Give it due affection and attentiveness : nurture the feast. Then enjoy it. 

Maintain lustiness for life and gusto. Build and replenish and restore gusto : it is your very best resource. This even while life will disappoint many of one's ambitions. Life is not here to fulfill one's ambitions, though it often will meet prime needs, and that often abundantly. Your ambition is subject to your portion of fortune, which ultimately, despite one's best efforts at gambling, is beyond one's control. One's adventures are not guaranteed, even though they are often quite worthy of trial. Sometimes persistence wins the prize in time, sometimes it does not. Ventures are variable in the world's turning. One ought achieve what one can achieve, if it is worthwhile. Yet what is fundamental are not the vagaries of risk, but the authenticity of one's true needs in life : for love, for belonging, for rest and rejuvenation and nourishment, and last but not least, authentic enjoyment and fruition. One must fruit in order to live, but the distribution of one's fruits remains variable, despite how vital their fate to one : here one must develop the deep, abiding faith of the oak in its acorns -- somehow oaks will continue in the world, some variation, some roll of the acorn dice -- while others will worthily feed many, and much become compost besides. There is great beauty and poignant generosity in the oaks. Surely there is wise and old gusto there! Is it nurtured on melancholy? Perhaps. But tempered on faith, perhaps its very lifeblood. Much good comes out of abiding in enjoyment of being. And that is good.

Revel in the sumptuousness of the body's rich experiences, and how it may indraw, as into a vortex, the vibrant variety of the world's singing. Enjoy the deep relaxation of laziness, whether anyone thinks you merit it or not, never ceding your kingship to any, whether they believe all are kings or not. Stay true to that kingdom and its democratic sovereignty -- a democracy not of submission but of multiplication of talent and gifts. Sell out your essential nobility to no one : it is your birthright to reach for with your good will and worthy deeds, and let none say otherwise -- we all have it. Avoid scathe that degrades it, even at good cost -- you will be glad you did. Don't buy into a thrall's worldview, but remain nonetheless a humble king, true to the earth and its pleasures. 

Consolidate your virtues and strengths. Let them nurture your deficiencies into strengths, and not let the latter degrade your strengths. Consolidate, and sum up good things. That is worthy.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Frey's Youth

Frey's Youth

as portrayed in Saxo Grammaticus' History of the Danes, compiled here by Siegfried Goodfellow from Oliver Elton's translation, with some original translations at significant joints between segments to tidy up the seams. All of this is straight from the lore.

Part I

Frey's Birth

    Njord's woman bore a son, Frey, known as the Generous, who became from his very cradle and earliest childhood such a darling of all, that he was not suffered even to step or stand on the ground, but was continually cherished in people's laps and kissed. Thus he was not assigned to one upbringer only, but was in a manner everybody's fosterling.

Frey elected King of the Elves

    Frey, aged seven, was elected as king [1] by the unanimous decision of the Elves. But they held an assembly first, and judged that the minority of the king should be taken in charge by guardians, lest the sovereignty should pass away owing to the boyishness of the ruler. For one and all paid such respect to the name of Njord, that the royalty was bestowed on his son despite his tender years. He showed himself so generous that he doubled the ancient pay of the warriors: a fashion of bounty which then was novel. For he did not, as despots do, expose himself to the vulgar allurements of vice, but strove to covet ardently whatsoever he saw was nearest honour; to make his wealth public property [2]; to surpass all other men in bounty, to forestall them all in offices of kindness; and, hardest of all, to conquer envy by virtue. By this means the youth soon won such favour with all, that he not only equalled in renown the honours of his forefathers, but surpassed the most ancient records of kings.

Frey's Guardianship Under the Sons of Ivaldi

    Volund, also, and Egil and eight other men of mark were not only entrusted with the guardianship of the king, but also granted authority to administer the realm under him. These men were rich in strength and courage, and endowed with ample gifts of mind as well as of body [3]. Thus the state of the Elves was governed with the aid of regents [4] until the time when the king should be a man.

Frey Given Over to the Giants

    But when he was in his twelfth year, Volund and Egil disowned his sway, and tried to rebel openly. As a result [5],  the yield of crops was ruined by most inclement weather, and a mighty dearth of corn befell. Victuals began to be scarce, and the commons were distressed with famine. Whether it was that the soil had too little rain, or that it was too hard baked, the crops were slack, and the fields gave but little produce; so that the land lacked victual, and was worn with a weary famine. The stock of food began to fail, and no help was left to stave off hunger. Then, at the proposal of Egil and of Volund, it was provided by a decree of the people that the old men and the tiny children should be slain; that all who were too young to bear arms should be taken out of the land, and only the strong should be vouchsafed their own country; that none but able-bodied soldiers and husbandmen should continue to abide under their own roofs and in the houses of their fathers. When Egil and Volund brought news of this to their mother Gambaruk, she saw that the authors of this infamous decree had found safety in crime. Condemning the decision of the assembly, she said that it was wrong to relieve distress by murder of kindred, and declared that a plan both more honourable and more desirable for the good of their souls and bodies would be, to preserve respect towards their parents and children, and choose by lot men who should quit the country. And if the lot fell on old men and weak, then the stronger should offer to go into exile in their place, and should of their own free will undertake to bear the burden of it for the feeble. But those men who had the heart to save their lives by crime and impiety, and to prosecute their parents and their children by so abominable a decree, did not deserve life; for they would be doing a work of cruelty and not of love. Finally, all those whose own lives were dearer to them than the love of their parents or their children, deserved but ill of their country.These words were reported to the assembly, and assented to by the vote of the majority [5]. So the fortunes of all were staked upon the lot and those upon whom it fell were doomed to be banished. Thus those who had been loth to obey necessity of their own accord had now to accept the award of chance. So they sailed first to Bleking, and then, sailing past Moring, they came to anchor at Gothland. In the end they landed at Rugen, and, abandoning their ships, began to march overland. They crossed and wasted a great portion of the world.

    Thus his guardians, called up in the draft, deserted with the army into exile ;  therefore, the brothers Westmar and Kolo were sent for to minister to the  raising of the king. The wife of Koll was Gotwar, one of Gullveig's aliases, who used to paralyse the most eloquent and fluent men by her glib and extraordinary insolence; for she was potent in wrangling, and full of resource in all kinds of disputation. Words were her weapons; and she not only trusted in questions, but was armed with stubborn answers. No man could subdue this woman, who could not fight, but who found darts in her tongue instead. Some she would argue down with a flood of impudent words, while others she seemed to entangle in the meshes of her quibbles, and strangle in the noose of her sophistries; so nimble a wit had the woman. Moreover, she was very strong, either in making or cancelling a bargain, and the sting of her tongue was the secret of her power in both. She was clever both at making and at breaking leagues; thus she had two sides to her tongue, and used it for either purpose.

The Torpor of the Land and the Crimes of the Giants

    Westmar had twelve sons, three of whom had the same name — Grep [7] in common. These three men were conceived at once and delivered at one birth, and their common name declared their simultaneous origin. They were exceedingly skillful swordsmen and boxers. The sons of Westmar and Koll, being ungrown in years and bold in spirit, let their courage become recklessness and devoted their guilt-stained minds to foul and degraded orgies. Their behaviour was so outrageous and uncontrollable that they ravished other men's brides and daughters, and seemed to have outlawed chastity and banished it to the stews [8]. Nay, they defiled the couches of matrons, and did not even refrain from the bed of virgins. A man's own chamber was no safety to him: there was scarce a spot in the land but bore traces of their lust. Husbands were vexed with fear, and wives with insult to their persons: and to these wrongs folk bowed. No ties were respected, and forced embraces became a common thing. Love was prostituted, all reverence for marriage ties died out, and lust was greedily run after [9]. And the reason of all this was a torpor and stasis that took over men's bodies, for people stopped working the land, and their bodies befriended those vices which flow out in all directions from such stupor [10].

    Meanwhile, the land of the Elves, where the tillers laboured less and less, and all traces of the furrows were covered with overgrowth, began to bristle with dense, horrifying stands of deformed trees [11], as its pleasant, native earth had its grassy crops stripped away. What were once acres fertile in grain were now seen to be dotted with stakes resembling trees, and where of old the tillers turned the earth up deep and scattered the huge clods, there sprang up dark woodlands covering the fields. Had not these lands remained untilled and desolate with long overgrowth, the tenacious roots of trees could never have shared the soil of one and the same land with the furrows made by the plough. Thus the present generation was amazed to behold that it exchanged a soil which could once produce grain for one only fit to grow pinecones, and the plough-handle and the cornstalks for a landscape studded with gallows-like trees.

    This idleness brought wantonness among Frey's courtiers, and stagnation begot lewdness, which they displayed in the most abominable crimes. For they would draw some men up in the air on ropes, and torment them, pushing their bodies as they hung, like a ball that is tossed; or they would put a kid's hide under the feet of others as they walked, and, by stealthily pulling a rope, trip their unwary steps on the slippery skill in their path; others they would strip of their clothes, and lash with sundry tortures of stripes; others they fastened to pegs, as with a noose, and punished with mock-hanging. They scorched off the beard and hair with tapers; of others they burned the hair of the groin with a brand. Only those maidens might marry whose chastity they had first deflowered. Strangers they battered with bones; others they compelled to drunkenness with immoderate draughts, and made them burst. No man might give his daughter to wife unless he had first bought their favour and goodwill. None might contract any marriage without first purchasing their consent with a bribe. Moreover, they extended their abominable and abandoned lust not only to virgins, but to the multitude of matrons indiscriminately. Thus a twofold madness incited this mixture of wantonness and frenzy [12]. Guests and strangers were proffered not shelter but revilings [13]. All these maddening mockeries did this insolent and wanton crew devise, and thus under a boy-king freedom fostered licence. For nothing prolongs reckless sin like the procrastination of punishment and vengeance. This unbridled impudence of the soldiers ended by making the king detested, not only by foreigners, but even by his own people, for the Elves resented such an arrogant and cruel rule. Inward resentment vexed the hearts of Elves, secretly indeed, but all the more bitterly.

[1] Grimnismal 5 :  Álfheim Frey / gáfu í árdaga / tívar at tannféi, "The Gods gave Frey, in days of yore,  Alfheim as a tooth-gift."

[2] Note that already, even prior to the Mill, Frey is linked with a kind of communism, making his treasury open to all.

[3] Volundarkvida, prose introduction :  Völundr ... var hagastr maðr, svá at menn viti, í fornum sögum, "Volund was the most artistic/skillful of men that men knew in the old sagas."

[4] Volund is called vísi alfa, a "leader of the elves", as well as alfa ljóði, "prince of the elvish people".

[5] This folk theme of bad weather and loss of fertility due to strife amongst the fairy-folk appears again and again in European literature, and is accurately reflected in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream : "But with thy brawls thou hast disturb'd our sport. / Therefore the winds, piping to us in vain, / As in revenge, have suck'd up from the sea / Contagious fogs; which falling in the land / Have every pelting river made so proud / That they have overborne their continents: / The ox hath therefore stretch'd his yoke in vain, / The ploughman lost his sweat, and the green corn / Hath rotted ere his youth attain'd a beard; / The fold stands empty in the drowned field, / And crows are fatted with the murrion flock; / The nine men's morris is fill'd up with mud, / And the quaint mazes in the wanton green / For lack of tread are undistinguishable: / The human mortals want their winter here; / No night is now with hymn or carol blest: / Therefore the moon, the governess of floods, / Pale in her anger, washes all the air, / That rheumatic diseases do abound: / And thorough this distemperature we see / The seasons alter: hoary-headed frosts / Far in the fresh lap of the crimson rose, / And on old Hiems' thin and icy crown / An odorous chaplet of sweet summer buds / Is, as in mockery, set: the spring, the summer, / The childing autumn, angry winter, change / Their wonted liveries, and the mazed world, / By their increase, now knows not which is which: / And this same progeny of evils comes / From our debate, from our dissension...".

[6] The power of this woman in the law-assembly is noteworthy ; Paulus Diaconus says of Gambara that she was a mulier quantum inter suos et ingenio acris et consiliis provida; de cuius in rebus dubiis prudentia non minimum confidebant, "woman of such sagacious nature that her counsel was prophetic ; of whom in critical matters, her wisdom was relied on in a way anything but minor." In Germania 8, Tacitus says of women, inesse quin etiam sanctum aliquid et providum putant: nec aut consilia earum aspernantur, aut responsa negligunt. Vidimus sub divo Vespasiano Veledam diu apud plerosque numinis loco habitam. "They believe them to have a divine and prophetic nature : nor do they decline their counsel, nor disregard their replies. We saw in the open air, in the days of Vespasian, Veleda, regarded by most as of divine rank." Tacitus also speaks of a people far to the East of Sweden who are femina dominatur, "ruled by a woman", and who share with some of the Swedes the custom of Matrem deum venerantur, "worshipping the Mother of the Gods". Indeed, both Paulus Diaconus as well as the Origo Gentis Langobardorum invoke a tradition whereby Gambara appealed to Frigg, Odin's wife, the Mother of the Gods. Adam of Bremen independently avers in his Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum that Postea longis terrarum spatiis regnant Sueones, "Beyond the boundless regions of land over which the Swedes rule," lies a terram feminarum, "land of women". One of the scholia states that Anundum ...navigio in terram pervenit feminarum, "Anund arrived by ship in the land of women" ; Anund or Onund, as evidenced in Volundarkvida, is another name for Volund.

[7] This is a giant name, demonstrating that Westmar and Kolo were giants.

[8] Note the dark carnivalesque misrule with which the giants here overturn everything Frey is known for : Freyr ... mey hann ne gretir / ne mannz kono, / oc leysir or haptom hvern (Lokasenna 37), "Frey ... maidens/virgins nor men's wives causes he to weep, and loosens every bond."

[9] The coincidence between the waning of love and the waning of the land's fertility is noteworthy. The forcing of love -- which is not love at all -- will not force the land to be fertile, another lesson.

[10] There is a fascinating connection here between healthy sexuality and working the land, as if they mutually reinforced each other. Indeed, working the land is literally a labour of love, and thus reinforces love. But love is also needed for the land to blossom. Failing to be in rhythm and tending with the earth produces unnatural lusts -- which let us note are solely defined as those which are coercive. Working the land has a regulative effect on people, putting them in touch with the seasons, which lend a sense of proportion through their rhythms. In this one passage, we get a furtive inview into an often hidden Indo-European philosophy connecting love and the land. (Indeed, such a sense goes well beyond the Indo-European peoples and is inclusive of many archaic peoples.) The torpor is also due to the fact that this terrible weather and loss of crops happens, according to Saxo, during a time when Snow was considered king -- in other words, when Winter ruled over all, and the seasons ceased to turn and change. Shivering and shuddering in the freezing weather, the lack of the active life, and particularly of tending the land, stirs up cold, sadistic impulses. Consent and celebration, on the other hand, are natural attributes of love.

[11] As the giants move in and impose their cruel, cold behavior on the landscape, the fruiting fields of the elves begin to resemble more and more the barren Iron Woods -- picture here the horrific, dark trees of the maleficent forest in Disney's Snow White. This is not to say that Alfheim did not have its share of lush, alpine woodlands, but the picture painted here is of bent, dead trees spreading pallor and darkness ; there is as much resemblance between these deformed remnants of trees and the former groves and orchards as there is between the giants' mass rapes and genuine, heartfelt love.

[12] Saxo is obviously educing a second source here, a variation on the house-of-horrors theme above. Notice the cognate similarity on some levels with the riotous behavior of Penelope's suitors in the Odyssey.

[13] According to Tacitus, to refuse hospitality was a nefas, a violation of divine law. Indeed, Havamal, Odin's words to men, begins with the codes of hospitality. We are getting a very clear picture of the brute behavior of the giants, who lack all virtues and manners of civilized beinsg living in organized communities : they fail to respect matrimony, virginity or hospitality, and they take joy in the sufferings and torture of others.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Transparadigmal Multiplicity

    Odin encompasses transparadigmal multiplicity, which is not a unity, at least not in any sense that we understand it, but an actual nexus of incompatible, simultaneous hinges between various either-or worldviews. The wizard is as close to a con-man as you can get, except one with integrity, dedicated to vagabondage, the passionate abandon into multiple-level, progressive brainwashings. The wizard knows that only with enough brainwashings can the mind get clean, being wrung out through one paradigm after another. The wizard is an enormous practitioner of "as if', gaining depth through exploration and commitment -- 100% commitment, yet at the same time, commitment with an ironic detachment. The wizard knows that the best way to know something is to throw yourself into it 100%, in order to know everything you can about it, and then, almost abruptly, to throw the whole thing out, to kill it, discard it, and forget about the whole thing. Only when it has died will anything good begin to grow from it. Only when you gain the ability to call "bullshit" on that which you most believe will you finally earn believing it, as it sneaks up from you and welcomes you arisen from the grave. Each new perspective, each new worldview, each new paradigm is taken up, eventually cast down, and then weighed against and woven into the others, so that there is a rich, resilient, polyfibred weave. No one knows precisely what the wizard believes, as the wizard is in the process of knowing, which requires not knowing. The wizard as a matter of course goes into beliefs and perspectives which seem beyond the pale -- dangerous, forbidden, absurd, taboo, outrageous, beneath notice, beyond possibility -- and often with greater furvency and earnestness than a true believer, having suspended for that time all other background paradigms, however they may conflict, until it has been so imbibed and assimilated that it may be killed and allow digestion and fermentation to do their job, pulping and yeasting it into useful, delirious mead. This immersion, requiring suspension of loyalties while at the same time maintaining essential integrity, is not easy, and involves tremendous amounts of struggle, for unlike the con-man, for the wizard, there are things that really matter, and they have to do with life, and so holding together all the conflicting strands in creative, perilous abeyance is a tormenting work for such a reflective being, who must learn also to forget, knowing when to forget and when to remember, having set up, however haphazardly, various cues in diverse nested ways, to trigger recollections that reset from present brainwashing parameters, all while learning all one can from each, towards some great work that is not yet fathomed but greatly intuited deep within. The wizard is a viking surfing out on the greatest sea of all, the great tempest of chaos, willing to risk those waves in order to assimilate to them, and enrich one's being with the infusion of vibrant untamedness, whereby one can create a far more dynamic order. One elevates structure and plan -- but then lets them go to seed, and there, in that jungle reclaiming the urban project, there one sets to work, sets to art, loyal to neither chaos nor order but only their intertwined, bastard synthesis, never perfect, letting chaos nourish rationality, and giving the hillbilly, or the wild man, the keys to the city. The wizard learns the weird lesson that only by being willing to risk betraying everything you love can you learn a loyalty beyond loyalty that can sustain you, and nurture that which you love the most. This, again, is not some easy formula ; it must be achieved, throughout, with some code of honor, however askance or mercurial, maintaining basic integrity throughout the full course of shapeshifting. Yet shapeshifting is impossible while maintaining rigid notions of integrity, at least those that keep one locked in limited self-definitions. The ability to play the fool -- to be the fool -- to even be the outcast  -- is important, because only within that which is considered absurdity from  a rigid point of reference promises any escape-velocity from that fixed perspective. (And obviously the point is not to do any absurdity or to compulsively, unintelligently lust after every transgression as many anticonformists do, losing both sense and heart.  Linearity in either direction -- for or against -- lacks the squirming quality that is yet the integrity of weird. One must have the puckish love of an itinerant scholar for Stanislavskian truth that seeks, however unlikely the direction, value, and value to benefit, ultimately, the commonwealth. The Wiccan Rede here is a tremendously wise guideline, however one may wager the perilous. Many things lie close to weird, or seem to -- some are scary, some are creepy, some are wacky, but only weird is weird, and there, in that weird place, that weirdness only s/he can be, full of the virtues of both mystery and plethoric laughter, will the wizard discover what it means to trust. And from trust -- a deeper trust than betrayal and loyalty -- the love for life that animates the wizard at every turn can manifest throughout and despite all the conflicting panoramas.)