Friday, September 14, 2007

And Now For A Little Heresy...

I want to throw a little heresy into the mix by suggesting that the arch-heathens (the strange word we modern heathens have for our pre-Christian ancestral heathens) did not have a perfected form of worship of the gods. I want to suggest, in fact, that in some ways, they had only developed "prototypes" of full worship of these gods, not only in their worship-forms, but even in their conception of them. That suggests that the images and descriptions we have received are incomplete, but "seed-forms" awaiting further development.

That's heresy because much of heathenism is backwards-looking. Much of this is justified by Bauschatz' admittedly brilliant The Well and the Tree, and Bauschatz should remain a potent source from which to imbibe wisdom, but he remains one and only one theological approach. I will stand my ground and assert that he is an important theological approach, but that he is the only way to approach heathenism is a falsehood. Especially suspect are his approaches to time in Germanic culture. He focuses almost exclusively on Urd, and emphasizes her as part of the past, what "has become", to the exclusion, I think, of Weorthandi (Verdandi), "worthing" or Becoming. The idea in The Well and the Tree is that that which has already been laid down in the past become layers that condition the direction of the present becoming. So far, so good, but the book implies that it is an almost deterministic kind of conditioning, and loses the teleological power of Skuld. Skuld may or may not be a definite "future", but Skuld definitely has a teleological pull, and thus, one may counterpoint Bauschatz by suggesting that it is not Urd, but Skuld, who holds the predominant position, because it is her Promise or Potential which pulls Becoming towards what it may Become. From that standpoint, what "has become" is merely a prototype-layering, the development of seed-forms. Undoubtedly, seed-forms are immensely important, but far more important is their fruition.

(Indeed, the entire creation mythology should caution us against the idea that the Origin or First Time is the best time. Perhaps in the Biblical Genesis, but in the Norse creation, the beginning times are full of raucous, imperfect Chaos that requires a great amount of Shaping and development before they find their full proportions and goodness. Thus, the first is but a vulgarity, the prima materia that is necessary but not sufficient for things to become as they must.)

I believe that the seed-forms our ancestors gave us are potent, and full of potential. That means, in a sense, they are full of sculd, of "should", of an obligation-to-develop, a necessity-to-blossom which means they are not in their full flowering. Thus, I am immensely grateful for the image and worship of Freyr that my ancestors developed, but those were only mere beginnings. The God of Freedom has yet to be fully realized, whether that is in our conception of "him", our worship of him, or our realization of him in our everyday lives and in society. We are still struggling towards that realization, and I think we must never forget that.

Our ancestors' forms remind us that Freedom is essentially related to Enjoyment and Fulfillment, as Freyr is also the god of Pleasure and Fruition (Harvest). As I have demonstrated many times over, Freyr in his Frodi-phase also demonstrates the necessity to rise up with strong, subversive joy against tyranny which would deprive us of freedom, enjoyment, and fulfillment. All of these are excellent images. They are pointers that point towards something more essential. But I am afraid many modern heathens approach the degradation of idolatry inasmuch as they sometimes mistake the finger for what the finger is pointing at.



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