Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Logos, Wod, and Woden

The Greeks called the sense-making capacity, the ability to sort, sift, think-and-feel things through, in order to reach understanding, "Logos" (or "The Word", articulation-ability, or, in heathen terms, the rune Ansuz). Logos approaches chaos, feels through chaos, and finds the order within. It allows the chaos to be spoken. Such speech is a kind of Spell. Logos makes the difference between senselessness and sense, being able to confront the abyss and speak it. It is like a word in a time of turmoil that speaks to the heart and brings comfort through understanding, empathy, and really speaking to one's condition.

Logos properly speaking is a cognitive, emotional, somatic, and existential process at its core involving one's whole being in an encounter with experience, sifting it through, weighing, arguing, listening, considering from multiple vantage-and-view-points, so that the sense entangled and enmeshed in the phenomenon itself -- so intricated, so prevalent, and so "obvious" that it resists attention and articulation -- may emerge. The more we are willing to bring of ourselves to the encounter, the richer the results will be. Logos may thus be called a kind of intersubjective encounter with phenomena.

Odin is Wodenaz, literally "Master of Wod". He thus represents the meeting of Vata / Wod and Logos (Wit / Wisdom / Ansuz). He is able to find the sense in the rush and flow of life's turbulence, not by straightening them out, but through direct experience and encounter. He is the sense in the wind, the intelligence of the riot, the order in the chaos, that which coheres in let-go, wandering mind in the throng. This is not cold, rigid, rule-bound logic, but dynamic exploration of the adventure the world's wyrd offers through chance and chaos. This is a daring, exhilarating kind of investigation, always half on the edge of accident, teetering on a balance beam, and yet with the agility and grace of a trained Olympic gymnast. Carlos Castaneda alled this "controlled folly" (rather than foolish control), an ability to improvise with the world's wyrd, roll with the punches, play things by ear, able to turn "on the jazz" of the world's squawking cacophany. This is Odin as Coltraine, Odin as beat poet in the thump of bohemian den, and yet a beat poet who can hear the speech of birds, and the whisperings of rivers, counting the stars and knowing the usefulness of soil just by sifting it in the hands. All of this through the "magic" of what we might call, as many of the ancients did, "Logos". But this magic of articulating and speaking the sense of things our heathen ancestors called "ansuz", a very important rune.
In summary, Odin is He Who Speaks the Windstorm.


Blogger Brainwise said...

I loved the image of Odin as Coltraine, and even as the beat poet. There is something wonderfully succinct about the use of these more recent art forms to bring alive Odin's relationship to poetry and inspiration. Well done!

I also like how you tied "Logos" to "Ansuz". And I have a question: Regarding the Logos vs. Mythos dichotomy, what rune (or other Heathen concept) would you tie to "Mythos"? Perthro?

2:21 PM  
Blogger SiegfriedGoodfellow said...

That is a very good question ... my first impulse is to say that the "Logos" I am invoking is a deeper, Gnostic Logos that is not opposed to Mythos. Should we call it a pre-Socratic Logos? Because it is a sense-making capacity, and not yet the more particular "logic"-oriented sense-making, it coheres into the chaos and makes sense of it from within. I would certainly not want to banish poetry from Ansuz. Ansuz is not just "good raed", although it is most certainly that ; we must also remember Ynglingasaga 6, "Mælti hann allt hendingum svo sem nú er það kveðið er skáldskapur heitir," "Spoke he all in rhyme, such as that which is now recited which is called skald-craft (poetry)." Ansuz is "byþ ordfruma ælere spræce", "the author and origin of all language and discourse". So, my first impulse here is to not separate Logos and Mythos, as Ansuz is the origin of all speech and poetry, and in itself has wisdom and wit (sense) infused into it.

4:12 PM  
Blogger Brainwise said...

Ah, I like that, and can definitely see the sense in what you say (using the pre-Socratic Logos).

In this sense, Mythos and Logos are less of a "Yin or Yang" kind of thing, to borrow a misinterpreted "opposites" concept, and more along the lines of being two sides of the same coin. Or, perhaps, the twin edges of a spear point. The shared aspects and the overlap are more important than what makes them distinct from one another.

I have a renewed sense of Mythos and Logos now ... and I'm going to have to spend some more time sitting with it.

7:03 PM  

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