Monday, May 12, 2008

Unwyrd

My spouse left me recently, and this has given me pause to think about the old concept of "unwyrd". Unwyrd is something that was not supposed to happen. It is a mistake, something unnecessitated, undestined, made by choice or the result of a series of choices and accidents. If it were merely an unavoidable mistake, it would be called "bad wyrd". But unwyrd suggests it was avoidable, and moreover that it has negative repercussive effects on the rest of the flow of wyrd. A precedent has been set down that is like throwing poison into the well. It must be discovered, challenged, and thrown out, as if it never were, for it was never meant to be.

Here is what I want to know : is there a way to heal unwyrd? Is there a way to undo what should not have been done, to restore the "time-line" -- or wyrd-line -- to where it should be? To me, that would be true magic, to conquer the tragic, to not allow tragedy -- often pathetic tragedy -- to win, again and again and again.

Magically, I'm not as interested in making things happen -- innovative work -- as I am in undoing the things that were not supposed to happen -- restorative work. In fact, I think restorative work -- getting things back on track -- may be more important than mere innovations.

One must develop the ability, of course, to distinguish between an unavoidable or necessary tragedy and an avoidable or unnecessary tragedy. It is my sincere belief that there are many unnecessary tragedies that end up making a difference. And it is towards the avoidance and healing of these -- ie., making a real difference -- that our actions should be directed. This is the heroism that our ancestors admired, a boldness that does not passively acquiesce to happenstance and give it the stamp of necessity, but subjects happenstance to scrutiny in order to crack its nut and get at the kernal, in order to improve one's lot.

It is a mistake to assume that Wyrd implies total predestination. Some things are necessary, and the rest improvises around those points. There is considerable room for the extemporaneous, yet this realm of choice has considerable weight. Our choices and actions make a difference. There are real consequences for past actions and inactions, with inactions -- failure to thrive -- being almost more important than actions. Wyrd works with what we will give it. Skuld imposes a debt, a scild, which is precisely that which we need to worth, to bring into blossoming : our potential. Tacitus speaks of ancient Germanic warriors who acknowledged their debt in coming into this world, and their desire to make good on that debt. If we do not pay that debt by worthing, the Norns have much poorer thread with which to weave, and the fabric is frayed more easily. The Norns work with that which we give them, and we should not be misers with them. Here Jesus' parable of the Talents is most apropo. Give unto Wyrd, as you would have Wyrd give unto you. Failure to thrive, as Eric Wodening has suggested in We Are Our Deeds, is a sin, and in fact, may perhaps be at the root of the word "sin" itself, denoting a stagnant state of static existence that refuses to grow and blossom. If we will not blossom, the world will not have the fruits it needs to be a rich and prosperous place. Failure to thrive is a major cause of unwyrd, and it is completely unnecessary. The work we need to do to worth ourselves is work we dare not neglect or shirk. In Wyrd Megin Thew, I called this kind of work wyrdweorce.

Besides the positive scild of our inner potential, there are negative debts or scild which we will be made to pay. Our job in life -- to phrase things somewhat prosaically, but, I will argue, accurately -- from the perspective of wyrd is to pay off our debts. In this way, we become freemen. Negative debts or scild is quite akin to what Asians call "karma". Buildup of karma or scild accumulates, and then can have a tendency to emerge to the surface in emergencies because of our failure to deal with them. The Norns may say to us, your failure to TCOB is not our emergency, although it may be yours. Wyrd accumulates, builds up, and then suddenly turns, the resultant of all kinds of forces and choices. When we choose, we co-choose and to a degree co-create the world we will all have to live in. Paying off our debts is the best way to be prepared for the future. Perhaps that is why Skuld is associated with the future.

There are many aspects of my breakup that represent a reckoning of scild or karma, and not particularly karma I created, but karma that long pre-existed the relationship. To that extent, such a working-through of karma was necessary, but there are other aspects of how things occurred which I will never believe were necessary. The companionship was too good, too solid, and much too supportive to warrant the kind of unwyrd that has resulted. It is true that I had critiques, but those critiques required only correction, fine-tuning, modifications, not abandonment of the entire enterprise. And I feel in many ways like an outlaw, an outcast, although I still retain my kith and kin, but the woman with whom I made a hearth and a home is lost from me, pulled back by her family Disir in some working I do not understand, and the loss is tremendous. I do not wish to start from scratch again and yet it seems as if this is what I must do.

I wrote a comment on Swain Wodening's blog a couple months back about Beowulf as a warrior who fights to rid the meadhall of the monster who robs it of its joy, the joy that gives life meaning. I tried to fight like Beowulf to save this, but ironically, despite my commentary, I was powerless to stop this. I still can't stop feeling that all of this has been tragically unnecessary. I have seen a number of events in my lifetime that have felt to my heart as being unnecessary, as being unwyrd, many of these involving relationships. I have seen distractions and matters of small import separate people who clearly belonged together. In other cases, I have seen unworked-out family unwyrd creating snags and sabotaging the good, family debts and liens which had they been worked out and paid with skill and proper effort, may not have necessitated the separation of good couples or friends. You can't say these things are "meant to happen", because that erases the entire meaning of heroism, which is using our wits and our will, our might and our main to improve our lot, and that means taking an active, rather than a passive, stance towards happenstance. Happenstance is not necessity, although it may be the result of many bad choices. The point is, we don't have to choose bad choices.

But perhaps we remain enthralled to that which we are indebted, and so long as the debts remain unpaid, we are thralled to the force of determinism in the collection of those debts. Gurdjieff spoke of human beings as automatons or robots puppetted by determinancy, completely unfree without some effort to liberate themselves. In a sense, this is a very heathen standpoint. It also happens to be a good psychoanalytic viewpoint. To the degree that we have not liberated ourselves from the debts, liens, and deficits of the past, we remain within their subjection. When a debt comes to the surface, we often panic and make poor choices, not knowing how to deal with what is coming up for us. Frankly, it is quite difficult to deal with such emergences/emergencies, and quite easy to make poor choices under the circumstances. Those in debt are often tempted towards get-rich-quick schemes.

This is why liberation, education, and a dedication to personal (and community) growth is so critical, because it affects our ability to make good choices, and our choices affect our wyrd. Without the determination to make the best choices we can, unwyrd is almost certain to strike us, and that means facing misfortune or tragedy that is both unprecedented and unnecessary. But while unprecedented, it may become precedent, and indeed will become unprecedent, something one does not want the rest of one's wyrd building upon. Unwyrd represents lost opportunities, and heaven forbid that we should rob life of any opportunities. We need all the luck we can get. The more educated we are, the more we liberate ourselves from past debts, deficits, and prejudices, and the more we seek to enrich ourselves, increase our skills and mastery, and succeed in thriving, the better off everyone around us will be.

For let's face it. Bad choices and unwyrd do not just affect one person. They affect everyone who knows that person, everyone who loves that person. Foolish choices and unnecessary misfortune can wreak havoc with a social network or kinship system. We owe it to everyone to be our best.

Still I will ask : is there a way to heal or undo unwyrd? Something in my heart of hearts knows this should be possible, implausible and unrealistic as it seems, but I just don't know how. If something shouldn't have happened, must we believe in it, invest in it, give it power and strength and official approval? We can accept a fact without acquiescing to it. We must trust our hearts. Even if we do not have the power yet to do something our hearts tell us must be possible, the Gods have that power, and perhaps, in time, if we prove worthy, they will teach us, or share with us some hints. Because one thing I know is true, and that is that the Gods want this to be the best of all possible worlds for all of us. And that requires that we keep learning, keep growing, keep choosing deeds wisely, but perhaps most of all, keep the faith.

Keep the faith, friends. I am doing my best. In time I will heal from this unwyrd.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Swain Wodening said...

As you well know, I can sympathize with your pain. For me it was a year in March we were divorced. It will be two years at the end of this month we have been separated physically.

The only thing you can truly control in this world is yourself. Therefore, if there is a solution to your problem, that is where you will find it. Myself, there were many causes for our breakup, most of them resolving around our illness of which I will never be cured. However, I can control it, so that is what I sought to do. Counseling, therapy, medications, now anger management classes.... I sought to do everything I could to gain control of my emotions. Thus far, I have not gotten the result I have hoped for, and still hope for. But regardless, I have vastly improved myself, and thus taken back parts of me that were thought long lost.

I imagine your situation is not so extreme, so it should be easy to focus on yourself, and changing things that could bring the relationship back. And if not, well, at least you have improved yourself.

8:39 AM  
Blogger SiegfriedGoodfellow said...

Wassail, Swain! Thank you for the well wishes and the expression of sympathy. Of course, I extend the same to you. I am glad you have been able to reclaim parts of yourself. That is excellent.

For myself, I don't think I have any control over bringing the relationship back, but improving myself is always an imperative. Freyr keeps reminding me that in the midst of all that, I also need to remember to enjoy myself!

Even if there is no objective meaning in this, there will be meaning because it will be forged, out of sheer determination, and turning the situation, as bad as it is, to the best it can be for me. That's not hubristic optimism, for the best such a bad situation may be for me may be simply getting through it so that I am ready for new love, and Freyr (and his sister) teach that there is abundant love out there. But it won't fall into our lap. We've got to go out there and quest for it ... and most likely it will come to us when we're doing our wyrdweorce. Still, nothing beats some good loving, and the comfort of having a helpmate there as a strong partner.

Each of us can only follow the Gods, have faith, and do what we can to worth ourselves. I consider it an honor that an author of your merit would visit me and speak good words in hard times. Thank you.

2:06 AM  
Blogger R.S. Rowland said...

My sincere thoughts go out to you. Tis a bad thing to lose love. The adventure begins again though...have fun with it!

Freyr Bless!

~Shawn

7:55 PM  
Blogger SiegfriedGoodfellow said...

From your mouth to Freyr's ears! Thank you. I hope that Freyr will bless. I hope to be having fun again soon. Thank you for stopping by and leaving your good words.

12:50 AM  

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