Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Heathenism is a Religion of Thanksgiving

Heathenism is an opportunity to participate in the real. To feel the earth underneath your feet. To look up at the sky. To touch the bark of a tree. To realize, I am in a world. What a wondrous world. And to have the opportunity to participate in this, in all of its awesome, unfathomable suchness, a suchness so grand it is both terrible and incredible.

It is about cultivating gratitude, and relationship. One is connected to all the other beings in this world through an immense, inexplicable web, and there are Holy Powers that work every day to make this world a place where beings can live. One could do little better than to spend one's life spinning words of praise for these Holy Powers, and cultivating a heart-connection to the other beings in this world.

It's as simple as taking a walk. You feel the earth beneath your feet. It's tangible. It's real. You look up and see the heavens arched above you. You breathe in the air, and it goes into your lungs. You feel your heart beat, and the blood rushing through you. Close your eyes ; your feet thump against the earth. There is something simple, and immense.

One gives thanks for the opportunity to thanks-give. To be able to be a part of this grandness and simplicity is an immense gift.

There is no thought here of instrumental thanksgiving, in order to get back. The intrinsic value of giving, and giving thanks, is the focus of one's praxis. It just so happens that the nature of the world is that the world consists in a cycle of gifts, and praise is itself fecundous. It is very lucky to be able to find that real, near-wordless, heart-connection to the beings and Holy Powers of this world, and this connecting-to-luck is what brings one more in touch with luck.

From this perspective, gaining luck is not about private appropriation of a bank of luck. It is rather a practice of immersion in the lucky, and thereby partaking of it. One blots to participate in the luck of the Holy Powers, to immerse oneself in the mystic, pragmatic awe that is the awe of being in touch with reality, and this is lucky. To be in this, to be in this fully, is to draw upon the spring of luck itself, that wells up from the deep sources of existence. From this angle, one is not drawing luck to oneself, but drawing oneself to luck, overcoming the barriers that hold us back from deep participation in reality.

Sobriety pursued with integrity and soulfulness becomes dionysian. It is in-touchness with reality that brings an amazing, electrical crackle to existence that is intoxicating. But it is the intoxication of awakening, and not dulling, connection to reality.

Heathenism is about opening your hands, and giving thanks. Thanks is a cyclic connection to the circulating powers of reality. It is a way of thinking, not with the brain, but with the whole heart, body, and soul. It is a kind of thinking that exists primarily beneath words, at the roots of words, and only gradually and with great sensitivity and reverence follows those roots up to the words that connect. It is therefore not wordless per se, but deeper than words, thinking at the wordroots which are the wyrdroots. You think/thank the world, and the world think/thanks you, in ongoing cycles.

This requires getting out of superficial wordlock, the chattering, classifying mind, that turns everything into cartoons. We shouldn't underestimate the value of cartooning ; schematizing allows us to understand the world by reducing its complexity. But that kind of thought, useful as it is, must be put aside when we approach thinking/thanking.

We may say, with confidence, that at heart, the world is Ur-Thanc, the Primordial Thanksgiving, not an abstract, noetic process of chattering thought, but the deep-hearted moving with the world with mindfulness and reverence that is the deepest kind of thought. We would insult thought's depths if we confined it to the petty cast-off's that passes for thought in the chattering mind. Through thankgiving we may move into all parts of the cosmos. This is the breath-mind, the ond, that Odin gave us, that allows us to breathe in the world, and let our minds pass onto the winds themselves to go where the currents take us.

The world is thanksgiving, an endless cycle of creatures giving of themselves, developing themselves, bringing themselves to their maximum capacity of fruition, and then giving that juice, that blood, that vitality, to enhance the beauty and megin of the world.

The world is thankgiving, and heathenism is its religion.