Friday, August 29, 2008

Lord of Tuesday

Life is war, this we know, O Tyr, yet our minds resist it. It is peace we yearn for, Lord of Warriors, peace and comfort and love and home, yet we know, you teach, the best in life must be won, and then won, must be warded and fought for.

Life is struggle. We assert ourselves or perish, we stand up and fight or we sit down and cower. Loving Lord of Melees, you would have us on our feet, weapons in hand, and ready to take what life brings. You cry, "Bring it on!" ; we hope, at times, too, to have this courage in our lives. You would never have us cower. Proud and thick you'd have us.

Who is the warrior who ever told you a goal was impossible because the opposition was too strong? You went and marshalled your forces, then came back and spat in impossibility's face. Neither did you cower nor did you drift in castles made of air ; you live that there is a second match to any unfair fight, and you train the einheriar well, every day. Did you keep Fenris as a pet to teach them what they'd be up against? Even this challenge you took on, taming the untameable, and, ambitious, noble, when it did not work, you owned up and took one for the team.

Not a day goes by there is not some battle to be fought. Every day presents us with one. Many men waste their war-shoes chasing after unworthy or distant battles, while at home the battle falters, caves. You make us earn our keep, Tough One, but what we win, you let us enjoy.

The hagalaz roaring chaos of this world would extinguish us if we did not fight back ; to exist is to take a stand, and you do not make it easy. Every step of territory is hard-earned, and must be fiercely guarded. Foolish men goad our machismo to chase us off after what pulls us far from the trenches we must ward.

You are as real as it gets, Sparsely-Spoken-Of One. Our poets did not need to speak muchly of you, for you are ever-present, so obvious ; there, in the games ; there in the preparations ; there in the holmgangs ; there, as sheriff calling the thing ; there, as struggle in our face. You never say that winning is everything, although it's something to strive for ; you say knowing how to fight our battles well is life well lived. Reality is won at the edge of a sword. You say, make it a sword-play! And, scarred one, you know how to play well!

We pretend that life is not war, but there, the stakes present themselves again and again. Be free or cower. Fight for your freedom against the slaves or be a slave yourself. I shirk from carnage, Thick-Skinned, it is far from me, and I would not have it, but struggles, struggles there are! Unavoidable! Inevitable! And is it not liberating to just admit it! This doesn't mean we need to hack the limbs of fellow men, not except for when we cannot avoid it and remain free, but it does mean we must fight! We must fight so that it does not come to hacking! We must fight well, we must be determined, planted, belted in and ready for action.

They never call you Lord of Love, Lord, unfairly, seems to me. The werman or woman without you in marriage will falter and cower and cry, weak and unable to take the struggle for power that plays in every household. They will lose themselves, relinquish strength, fail to rise ; and some, weak, will beat, when all they needed was to stand. Who can love without a stand? You teach that taking, Wolf-Hooded. You teach that art of love.

I do not worship you as Mars, Intrepid Friend, for I do not worship the Wolf that nourished the Romans with her teats. You, Grim-Helmed, bound that Wolf. Make sure it stays bound till the day it dies, Vidar be praised! I will not suck the milk of jotunn-wolves bred in Iron Woods, who jotnar-crazed stretch out of bounds and seek to prey on all. For such your arts were not intended, and truly, Inveterate One, goblins have rasped out your name on rapine and jotunn-frenzy. Such dishonor of your holy name surely met surprise on their doomday, Sheriff of the Court of Judges! Their Niflhel-ticket was swifter than they could cry out the lost words "einheriar". Territorial God, you'd have us win room, room good and wide to live in, not eating ourselves out of house and home like jotnar then subjecting all around us for our foolishness. Your arts were meant to win us pride, and resolution, and toughness. Make us tough, but keep our hearts poetic. May we never forget the gusto of your thundering brother, nor the mead of your mighty Father of All!

You, Single Champion, single-handedly expose the lies of Romans : pacification is not peace, though most prefer this "peace" to fighting. Islam calls it "submission" ; many, unknowingly, prefer this "islam". We are on our feet. Our swords, in hands, remind all kings our might. To pacify is to extinguish is to blot out is to piss upon is to stamp insults with a boot borrowed from jotnar. None of that for us! And they say you do not love! They say you do not love!

Never let me submit, O Lord, not while there is fight left within ; and when I must retreat, help me catch my breath and return again when least expected! Let me not squander the war-might you give, on foolish heroisms designed by cynics, bankers, and vultures, but channel it, root-deep and laser-strong, to every struggle that life presents me. May I never abuse it ; may I always use it, to advance my cause, to take my stand, and assert all the good that life can offer me, my kith and kin, and even the world. So be it, Fracas Friend!

O Heavenly Master of the Winds

O Heavenly Master of the Winds,
Give us that Motion our lives need to feel vibrant!
All-Father, Father of Wisdom,
Seeker of Truth, Magic Maker of the World's Libraries
Locked in Starry Constellations,
Raise us up towards your level of knowledge, high
in the heavens, that we might reach and touch your vast,
probing mind. We worship you with passion
for learning, growth, movement, and song.
You are brisk, and quick,
and formidably wise beyond imagine,
cloud-bearded, blue-cloaked one!
Into the depths your one eye penetrates,
like a spear your wit, wizardry sharp as a blade,
your winged spies croak and tell all.
Whisper secrets to us, Lord of Mead and Mastery,
if you will, if we prove worthy.
You have been in our hearts since children, when first
you breathed breath into us, and set us
on the path of learning. May we always walk that path
well. Truly you are the God I've always prayed to, and now,
enlightened, I open my heart to all of your worthy
and wondrous kin, with whom you share the rule
of this mighty world. Teach me how to honor them;
I will hold them fast in my heart, too, just as I hold you
high and in honor, Worthy Wizard, Magic-Maker
of the World. I seek the wisdom you share out. May we
prove worthy in deed.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Lots in the Grass

Lots playing in the grass,
Gods gave forth domains
from dice-throws cheerfully thrown :
These deeds made for kings
strung and strewn about a golden necklace,
Goddess-worn by Love's Mistress.
Charters chance-laid-out, unstrung,
unfolded out-rolled domains
of opportunity handed out franchise
free for the taking, every kingdom's
mete met out to each king by measure,
and curious, game-glad, the Gods watched
who would what where, and how.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Religion is Freedom or it is Shit, Period

Op Ed

I am a heathen ranter, after all, and so the "op ed"s on this page represent more from-the-hip rants rather than the more scholarly research I also love to present. Op Eds should be taken as such, bold opinion grounded in Teutonic spirituality.

I am tired of the fucking counterfeits and substitutes, I am tired of complacency, submission, "accepting what is" masking itself as "spirituality". I don't want to supplicate or subordinate myself before external beings who are supposedly higher than myself. I want real fucking freedom, and I want an organization that supports real fucking freedom, because without freedom, any claim to spirituality is completely bankrupt.

Yep, that's the all and whole of Teutonic spirituality, if there is such a thing at all. It's the unity of materialism and spirituality that gives it its organic whole. Without freedom, you are a thrall, and then you might as well worship anything you want, because anything you worship you will worship as a thrall anyhow, and will turn everything to pathetic enslavement.

I don't want people who are going to come to some religious meeting, submit themselves to some imaginary powers they decided they should supplicate, feel all holy, and then go back to living their boring, pathetic, enslaved lives, kowtowing to the boss, kowtowing to the banks, kowtowing to the politicians, and just generally refusing to live as free men.

I want free men who know they are free, who act like they are free, who scare the shit out of tyrants, coming together to roar, and whose roaring makes the giants tremble, and who in their roaring call up powers who roar, powers of freedom and might who only respond to such mighty roaring, not because they are jotnar of "might makes right", but rather because they have the will to "make right might", and whose freedom, love, daring, and wisdom are mighty indeed.

The State loves religion because religion generally, as a tool of mind control, reinforces precisely the kind of human dormancy the State desires : people humbling and pacifying themselves before some shibboleth who has no understanding nor concern for their freedom or lack of it, for their life as it is really lived and its real troubles. The State is terrified of spiritualities that actually strengthen people, that actually bring them together strongly, that actually train them in freedom, and good! Let the tyrants shiver!

Pacification is not and never has been part of the Teutonic mindset. Our peace has nothing to do with submission, it has nothing to do with bowing down or kowtowing or shutting ourselves up or just saying yes or accepting that things are the way they are or squashing our feelings or giving up our true convictions and desires out of fear of something much larger than ourselves.

Fuck no! We have a name for such large, intimidating beings, and I'll give you a hint, they ain't "gods"! No, they are called "giants", and our religion is aimed at smashing the hell out of them, literally. We don't terrify good people -- even good people who have made mistakes -- about going to hell, but we promise that Thor's hammer will mill to smithereens any who try to lord it over others with fear and "might makes right" (yes, listen closely, you Social Darwinists, because you have a big fucking mallet of a surprise coming right towards your face) that tries to intimidate them out of their free life. Our Gods don't take kindly to that kind of crap (and yes, I'm on a rant, and so I bloody well am using holy Anglo-Saxon four-letter words), because they want full, fruitful, free beings trying out their opportunities, making the best of the lots they've dared in the lottery of life, and enjoying what they've managed to win for themselves in a difficult life. Yes, they want us to "behave", in the sense of acting like decent human beings who can afford to be a little generous, and to share our good fortune with the worthy who are on the downswing of bad times --- after all, mutual aid means trying to even out our fortunes by pooling them together --- but they do not expect us to be obedient little citizens and workers. They aren't gods of fascism, after all. They want us to be bold.

There is a little bit of the utopian in us, because we don't just look at reality and figure out how we can mold ourselves into its preformed shape. Of course we look at reality as such on this full and fruitful earth, but we look at it like free men who are not going to acquiesce before anything. We'll choose a pragmatic excellence over an unattainable utopia anyday, but believe us, we'll choose a utopia over a pragmatic slavery and mediocrity any day as well, because at least a utopia has the chutzpah and panache to approach a reality demanding submission with a hammer. And we like hammers.

Look around. Do you know of any allodial land, anywhere? Do you know anyone who is not paying tax, tribute, rent, fee, or service on their land? Over one third of Americans live in rental housing, and even the thirty-year mortgage slavery only guarantees one fee-simple, and fee-simple is a feudal, not an allodial, property. What the hell was the American Revolution fought for if land is still being held on a feudal basis? Not even Native Americans hold their own clearly-allodial lands in allodial!! Freedom? They should pass a law that only those who hold allodial property can wave their flag, and let's see then how many people wave their flags and brag about their freedoms. Let's see some real freedom. By the way, the fact that old Teutonic law required full freemen to be odallers as well is often identified by historians as bias towards the rich. Why such a perspective? Why not look instead at what happened in land usage that made so many landless? What were the enthralling forces? Is the solution to enable thralls to vote, or to ensure more free land?

It's depressing and disheartening to live amongst people who value freedom so little, for whom marketplace items and values are more important than living like free men. Odin said it is better to live in a hovel and be a free man than to live in a mansion and live in debt, but how many follow this wise, barbarian advice? Our board rooms are filled with Lokis who think nothing of lying, cheating, stealing, and using every trick in the lawyer's book to advance their status, and our media is full of Gullveigs for whom gold-digging has become practically identified with love. Any wonder why some identify Gullveig and Freya? It's disgusting.

When you were given a spear and shield at voting age, it wasn't just to terrify the enemy. Every time this ceremony took place, every leader in Teutonic society was reminded that one more free man had just been armed, and had better keep his place to ensure rather than threaten or encroach upon the traditional rights. It wasn't an investiture that meant you went to whatever foreign country your king pointed to and said "war!", but meant that you were willing to fight for freedom within and without, at will, and if the leader inspired your strong and wild loyalty, through boldness, through integrity, through a proven record of commitment to free values, why, then, yes, that leader could expect you to follow him through thick and thin! But let that leader step one foot over the traditional rights, and he knew instantly that he was treading into very dangerous waters. They didn't tell traditional tales of regicide for nothing. They resonated in the minds of kings, and with good reason.

Religion is freedom, or it is shit. It should be a training ground in the civics and practice of being free men. It should encourage the roaring of boldness, not the submissiveness of those who cower. It should en-courage, not terrify. And it should inspire us all to band together and drive the giants, whomever they might be, out of our communities, so we can truly begin to enjoy an innangards again. And no, it won't be perfect, but it will have such pragmatic excellence, that it will be a good we will be proud to proclaim. I think any other kind of patriotism might very well be considered artificial and unrealistic.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Baldur the Bold

Let us do away with the image of Baldur as a milque-toast, for his very name means "bold", and inspires bold action. Havamal has two descriptions that are undoubtedly illustrations of Baldur meant to edify and inspire folk into the best they can be :

Þagalt ok hugalt skyldi þjóðans barn ok vígdjarft vera; glaðr ok reifr skyli gumna hverr, unz sinn bíðr bana, "Discreet and carefully-charitable and bold in a fight should the children of a theoden (king) be ; Cheerful, bright, and joyful should every man be, until he undergoes death." (Havamal 15.)

Mildir, fræknir menn bazt lifa, sjaldan sút ala; en ósnjallr maðr uggir hotvetna, sýtir æ glöggr við gjöfum, "Mild, gentle, graceful, liberal, and bold men live best, seldom bear forth grief and affliction, but the uncourageous man is frightened by everything (literally, every spirit, being, or wight), the stingy ever wail against gifts." (Havamal 48.)

I have translated with the perhaps annoying habit of listing every nuance of the word in question, because it is necessary to convey the full meaning of these words.

Let us consider these statements as descriptions of Baldur's character, as they match what we know of him. To be discreet -- Þagalt -- is to be careful with one's words, and exercise consideration in what is said, both for the sake of prudence as well as the sake of caring about offending another. Hugalt means to be prudent or careful, but it also means to be charitable, and thus denotes someone who is kind and giving, but is no fool or sucker, either. This is the hallmark of the discerning giver. Vígdjarft means "bold in battle", "daring in a fight". This is no coward. This is not someone afraid to fight when it is necessary. If one is to be the son of a king (and here we have a reference as well to Baldur as the son of our theoden Odin), one must be willing to defend justice and right in the kingdom, and thus one must have a stout and valiant heart willing to take on ill wights who threaten the peace of the kingdom. Since Baldur is a defender of the sun and moon, we are probably seeing a thinly veiled reflection of him in Helgi Hjorvardsson when Helgi fights Hati (whom we know is a wolf who pursues the sun and moon) and his daughter Hrimgerd, who disturb the peace of the world by harassing the heavenly lights.

It is important to note that this boldness in battle is linked with Baldur's careful giving, his thoughtful words, and his cheer, brightness, and joy. We are not dealing with someone weak here, but someone so powerful that their giving and bright nature shine for all to see. (And he is so beloved that Hrimgerd, in the Helgi Hjorvardsson episode, is willing to forfeit the wergild for her father's death in exchange for a night with Helgi/Baldur.)

Havamal 48 tells us more, again linking boldness with more gentle qualities, for it is their combination that allows mildness, graciousness, and generosity to share forth from a man, for those who cower and are frightened by everything become stingy and unwilling to demonstrate generosity.

Heill Baldur the Bold! Hail his strong, wise, and merciful judgements! May we ever, day by day, become more like him in our lives, living mildly and courageously.

All translations and the illustration of Baldur copyright 2008 by Siegfried Goodfellow.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Flagellants

Frodi walked out of the prairie against the woods to see a group of dissheveled, slovenly peasants in burlap rags dragging themselves along. He had to adjust his eyes, because he wasn't at first sure that he was seeing what his eyes told him he was seeing. These peasants were whipping themselves! The leader had a big flail and was whipping it upon his back with a vengeance, as if to set an example. They were moaning some kind of litany.

"We are so sorry! We are so sorry! We are so bad, we are so bad. We beg for forgiveness. Please see fit to forgive us."

Frodi stepped out into the middle of the road in front of them, his hands on his hips, his head cocked. "What are you doing?"

"We are whipping ourselves," the leader said, as if all were obvious.

"I can see that," Frodi said. "Why?"

"Isn't it clear? We are sinners. We have sinned. We have displeased the Gods. We have displeased the Gods."

Frodi smiled an ironic smile as he said, "I can quite assure you that you have most likely done nothing to displease the Gods. Who puts such thoughts into your heads?"

"The priests," the leader said. "The Gods have sent the giants to punish us. If we will show our remorse, and punish ourselves, they will not punish us."

"But you are doing their work for them," said Frodi, puzzled. "Friend, the Gods did not send the giants to punish you. The Gods did not send the giants at all. Something has gone horribly wrong, and you could be part of the solution, instead of whipping yourself."

"What are you talking about?" said the leader angrily. "You speak madness."

"I understand what I am saying sounds foreign to you. But the Gods don't want to punish you, nor do they want you to punish yourselves. The Gods, believe me, want you to be strong, and full of joy, with a sense of purpose, proud of your accomplishments, ready to celebrate them, and most of all, they want you to be free.

"I know why you are whipping yourselves. This is no life to live. I get that. Your hearts tell you that a life that is not free does not make sense. Well, friends, where I come from, everyone is free, and no one has to live with giants. We drove them out long ago."

The leader was displeased, but there were some gasps in the group. One fellow cried out, "Really?"

Frodi smiled. "Yes, really. Think of the love you feel for your family, how close you feel to them, how much you want to spend time with them and do your best for them. The Gods want you to feel that feeling, and the Gods feel that kind of love for you. They don't want you to punish yourselves. They just want you to be your best, so you can shine, and be fruitful. But you can never truly be fruitful if you aren't free. Don't do the giants' work for them. Come with me. Come into the woods. I will teach you how to free yourselves, how to rediscover your smile and your laughter. I am building an army of joy that will drive out the giants for good."

A few shuffled towards him, hearing the beacon of hope. The others scowled, and went off whipping themselves, including the leader, who looked quite angry at losing some of his men. "The sheriff shall hear about this!" he cried.

"Go ahead," Frodi laughed. "You tell him that a man in green came out of the woods and offered to free your folk. See what he will say."

As Frodi and his new converts moved into the woods, some nervously asked him if they were in danger.

"Well," Frodi said, "in a certain sense you are in danger every day you're alive. That's what makes life exciting. But you're less in danger than you were before, because you weren't really living. Now you've begun a pathway which will make you feel, every day you manage to stay alive, more and more alive. But if you're worried about his threats about the sheriff, don't. We will soon be so far into the forest they will have no idea where we went. And I will show you others."


"Many others. We have begun to form camps in the woods. We're beginning to steal back what the giants and their sheriffs have stolen from us all. We're sharing it amongst ourselves, and anything we have left, we share with those still in the villages. The giants rule mainly through fear, and keeping everyone separated. We are bringing people together, and slowly, we shall build an army that shall drive out the giants from here all the way to the farthest oceans and back. And then everyone will live in peace."

"Is that possible?" one asked.

"Come and see," Frodi said. "Come and see for yourself."

He led them further into the winding woods, deep into the greenlands, where they began to smell the roasting of venison from a nearby camp. Their eyes opened wide.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Tribal Warriors, or Imperial Soldiers?

Op Ed

You decide : are you for tribal warriors or imperial soldiers? I'm not saying we don't have good soldiers, loyal and dutiful. That is not my point. Of course they are! Our imperial army is one of the finest. My point is, as a Germanic, what do I have to do with an imperial army?

We've had many loyal soldiers. Show me the true tribal warrior these days. Has there been one since the Revolutionary War? Someone who will really fight for freedom? Someone willing to water the tree of liberty with their own blood in the pursuit of the blood of tyrants?

I'm a wizard, not a warrior, but I would like to be shown some true tribal warriors. I've seen a few. Earth First!ers willing to put themselves on the line for the trees, Black Block Anarchists unflinching and without fear taking on stupid imperial riot cops, but such inspiring examples are few and far between. I'd like to see more warriors actually willing to challenge that which encroaches upon liberty. Some of those within the now largely-defunct militia movement who were not racists may fit this category as well. Some of them called themselves "patriots", and patriots they very well may have been.

If anyone in America really understood and honored tribal warriors, they'd have a hell of a lot more sympathy for and solidarity with the Afghans, for example. Or almost all Arabs, who are just about as Germanic as you can get, if you strip away the Islam. Heathenism must be in tension with Islam by necessity, for Islam is anti-heathen, but Arabian culture, especially that of the Bedouins, is very similar in many ways to the ways of our ancestors : the raids, the poetry, the custom-law, the tribal chiefs. Throw in a few goddesses into the mix and you'd have something very close.

No, I'm not advising some uncritical support for the "other side". But the "other side" suggests the limes, and when speaking of the Roman limes along the Rhine, I will ask : Which side of the limes are you on? Are you on the side of Imperialized Germany, or Free Germany? Do you support the brave soldiers who go to squash the rebellion of those barbarian tribal warriors? Or do those warriors remind you somewhat of your ancestors, and allow you to take a much more nuanced and complex position?

I don't care whether this bluntness alienates anyone -- as anyone knows who has read this blog, I don't stop to care about that when there is a truth nagging at me to be told, nad I just trust people's ability to disagree if they have a problem. I'm not presenting so much here a position as I am a series of important and critical questions, which I understand people are going to take different positions around. But a good provocation, well-meant and intelligently presented, is often necessary to get people thinking in new ways.

Holy Intoxication

Intoxication is meant to be holy in our tradition, not desecrated. That is why Odin advises moderation in drink. Substances are meant to be teachers, not masters. They are powerful, and to be respected, not overdone --- which is very, very difficult in an alcoholic culture, and we live in an alcoholic culture.

An alcoholic culture is the result of two things, mainly, as I diagnose it : a refusal to honor Tyr, and a refusal to honor Freyr (and note, significantly, how Tyr defends Freyr in Lokasenna). We don't fight the battles we need to fight to be truly free, and then not being truly free, we lack joy and put too much burden on substances to make us feel better. Overburdened and thralled --- no matter how high the paycheck, one can still be a well-paid thrall if the burdens are chains --- we lose the ability to have fun.

Growing up in an en-thralled culture, a culture ruled by the giants, means that maturity is twisted into a denial of those abilities children spontaneously have --- play, joy, fun (Freyr qualities) --- and the culture compensates with chemicals.

But placing that high of a burden on chemicals pushes the chemicals over into side effects and addictions, making the original situation worse by adding illness on top of it.

In short, behaviorally, in our deeds -- which matters most -- we dishonor Odin, who won us the mead but advises moderation ; we dishonor Tyr, who would have us fight our real fight against tyranny ; we dishonor Freyr by not pursuing his wisdom on how to access childlike states from a mature position.

I don't want to insult anyone, but let's face facts and be truthful --- to have a mortgage is literally to be a thrall, a 30-year bondservant. It may be preferable to renting, no doubt, but it is not a state of full freedom as our ancestors saw it, nor does it approach allodial as our ancestors advised. We are burdened with tributes, taxes, and expenses that bind us far beyond our present capacities, and whatever the advantages of this clearly not-fully-satisfying option -- an option many choose for perception of a lack of better choices, it's also clear it makes being mature more of a burden than a fruition and fulfillment. What happened to the land in America which was supposed to have been restored from feudal status to full allodial rights after the Revolution? What have we, unjealous of Tyr's fierce warding of thew, allowed the lawyers and politicians to steal away from us in their gradual, obsfucating encroachments? And how has this robbery injured us? And do we fight back? Do we do the duties of Tyr? Do we look down our noses at activists while cheering on Imperial soldiers who have invaded a sovereign nation in the Middle East because we citizens foolishly believe that is heeding the call of the warrior rather than fulfilling the manipulations of Rome? The soldiers who go may go with honorable and even heroic intent, and their duty in service of that intent ought to be honored, but how honorable is a citizenry that will not fight for its rights?

The Gods have not allowed Jotunheim to encroach on Midgard ; we have. And worse, we often send our soldiers off to crush those who are -- unlike us -- trying to fight their battles. But rest assured, supporting such uncritical militarism will lead to a situation where those same soldiers will be used against us if we begin to fight our battles : labor history is full of such unfortunate realities built on the jotnar policies we ignorantly defend.

Alcoholism is the classic sign and after-effect of colonized peoples. When fair fight and ability to meet challenge with right effort and will has been frustrated beyond remedy, when existence itself is clearly burdensome, what fun but through escape? But while fun is very much encouraged from our Gods, escape (unless as a strategic retreat, as per Germania 6) is cowardice that ill befits the call of the warrior.

Do you think Tyr wants folks constantly on the battlefield? What insanity! He wants you to recognized the unmarked battlefield you're actually on, and to fight it there and fight it well. Where are you not standing up for yourself? Where are you running from a fight that could make a difference? Where the odds are too oppressive, how are you organizing to build your forces slowly and possibly secretly to be able to make a good engagement when the time comes Fight these battles, and the big wars will seldom have to come. Cowardice towards these battles means thralldom to legal, economic, and imperial burdens.

The Gods want us to experience intoxication -- there is no doubt about that, and even for those of us not natural poets through the gifts of sacred substances -- but only as whole, full, strong, and free people standing proud on our own two feet, enjoying and not running, and therefore able to be moderate.

Hymn to the Breath Lord

With study and meditation I honor the Lord of Breath,
The Keeper of the Winds,
The Seeker of Wisdom,
O Riddler, O Master of the Heavens,
O He who scrutinizes scratches in the beechwood.
I, too, seek the riddles in the darkness,
offer these oblations to the Lord of Wod,
rushing turbulence of unaccountable inspiration,
make magic with puffs of breath uttered poetically.
Wizard-lore, old lore, sacrifice through study,
I give myself in rapture unto the pursuit of wisdom,
and worship the highest heavenly father.
This brag is a true one.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Life Isn't Fair ; Now Who Do I Blame?

It's true that life isn't fair, that rewards and outcomes are uneven, and things are not always reliable or consistent. These vagaries of fortune have always caused the most serious quandaries for the moral mind of mankind, and with good reason, for troubles vex us. Philosophers have pondered theodicy -- the so-called "problem of evil" for some time, but the matter of having someone to blame, whether it is God or the Devil, is a quintessentially human solution to a problem that cannot be fully solved.

On the other hand, our Northern ancestors did not subscribe to this solution to the theodicy, because they never imagined that there were any entities that had ultimate control. There were some Big Guys (and Gals) who had a lot of power, power they had mainly won back through brave deeds from a sometimes hostile, often random universe, but there was no one who was "in charge" of everything that happened. No, not even the Norns, who are recorded as weaving and as recording and notating fate, but not controlling everything.

If no one's in charge, there's no one ultimately to blame. Rather, our orientation, rather than being on blaming, is put back on DIY (Do It Yourself), and figuring out what you can do. After all, if the Gods won back some order and fortune from a chaotic universe through brave deeds, then that demonstrates that at least temporary victories are possible through the same means. It's true that there's plenty of jotnar to blame for all kinds of events, but they are simply expressions of a universe that, if not hostile, is more capricious than anything else, a universe that can have a decidedly Lokean flavor to it. This follows from the fact that the world was created from the remains of Ymir, whose name, according to page 727 of Cleasby/Vigfusson, means something like "Howler" or "Roarer". Ymr can also mean to "whine or cry", which renders the synthetic meaning of "Screamer", the image of a randomness so complete it was like a howling blizzard. Out of this monstrous chaos where nothing was ordered, the Gods created a world, a good world, but a world still ruled by the vagaries of fortune, of wyrd.

If there's no one to blame, then we need to focus our attention on actions and attitudes which will render victory from the entropy and create an ordering-possibility, which might be an interesting new way of defining heill, which does not so much guarantee success as it provides for its possibility. Success (ie, sig, victory), on the other hand, boldly won, in however small a way, does render heill, because anentropic goodness has been freed from the grip of entropic forces.

Life is a gamble. It always has been, and it has been even for those immensely powerful and benevolent beings we call Gods, but they show us how to face life's gamble with courage, determination, strength, audacity, and bravado. There is an element of defiance that the Gods admire, and so, it would seem, does Wyrd as well. Audacity is a noble stance in the face of a sometimes fickle distribution of fortune, and fortune, it seems, often smiles upon the bold. We get no guarantees by being bold, and indeed will often slip over the edge into foolhardiness, many times courting failure by daring to take risks, but we will win more, and more quickly, than those who always play it safe, and, additionally, even when we fail, we will fail nobly, in a stance that does not cower in submission to a dangerous universe, but stands up tall and proud even when one is terrified inside, and rely on the strength of the Gods' megin, and face fate, though trembling inside, with courage that refuses to bow down.

Who do I blame? We all understand the impulse. And it would be untrue to say that element didn't exist in our tradition, because we're all, after all, human, and it's quite human to want to blame. Despite attempts to blame it all on the Christians, demonology (we can call them jotnar or trolls, but they were demons all the same) was just as rampant in our culture as it was in any other folk culture, and the Gods indeed were seen as vanquishers of demons. But it was placed in a heroic mode such that even with demons, the goal was to boldly take back what had been taken away, so that another piece of wholeness could become possible in the world. Then we also have the records of bitter warriors who blame Odin for not giving them the victory, again, as if he had complete and total control over everything. But our Gods are Allies who have great power, not puppet masters. Thank the Gods for that!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Gods Who Admire Audacity Allow Us To Make A Difference

Heathenism is a philosophy of difference, which is to say not only do things matter, but our decisions can make a difference in this world. Many philosophies are philosophies of indifference that posit that the universe is completely indifferent to our decisions, and moreover, that we should cultivate indifference to what happens in this world, becoming completely passive and acquiescing "to the way things happen".

That's a thrall's mindstate in heathenism. A heathen has far more faith and gumption to "acquiesce" to anything. A heathen believes in the power of daring, and believes in Gods who admire audacity, and in fact, so long as it stays somewhat in balance and governed by other important values, they cultivate it in their followers.

From a heathen standpoint, the universe is something to be struggled with, and moreover, that struggle is literally creative, because it creates new opportunities, and pulls out potentials that would have remained dormant without struggle. We are not required to "accept" or "acquiesce" to anything, and everything is up for some kind of creative challenge. That is how we grow and learn new things. We are people who boast. If we didn't boast, we'd never get the chance to brag, and we like to brag, because it gives us a sense of satisfaction to have secured something from the world that was once believed to be impossible. Our mythic history tells us without such gumption, wit, daring, and even willingness to use tricks, the universe would be a less abundant place.

What is the point of doing good deeds and living with honor if it makes no difference whatsoever? To be a good little slave? What kind of philosophy is it that wants adherents to be conformists to the status quo? Odin is an eternal enemy of status quo*, because it is not what some petty mind has established as "as is" that truly matters or is lasting, but the flows and undulations of Wyrd itself, which is more powerful than anything, before whom entire empires fall.

You may say, well, surely, we must acquiesce to Wyrd. No. Even Wyrd itself is to be challenged. That is what daring and boldness are all about. The only way to discover the nature of anything is to be constantly testing its limits, and in the process, to be surprised to discover that its nature in fact surpasses our limited concepts of it. Some might call that "science". I'd simply call it the cultivated audacity of a free people. Through our boasts and deeds of daring, we discover the true extent and creative depths of Wyrd. Wyrd is deep, and vast, and contains more than enough lots for there to be room for every endeavor. Wyrd is bountiful and precise, exacting and forgiving, elastic and full of domains finite but broad and full of potential. More importantly, Wyrd is always renewing itself, recycling itself, in new combinations that open up new opportunities. There is room for our daring.

And it can make a difference. If we're lucky. That chance is what makes the entire endeavor worthwhile.

* You may say, but Odin was a patron of kings! Ah, yes, but keeping in mind what I have said about Odin as an enemy of "status quo" as such, you now have a unique insight on the profoundly different nature of true Teutonic kingship to ponder. Plug it in and see what happens : If Odin is an eternal enemy of status quo, and Odin is a patron of kings, then the nature of Teutonic kingship is ... Try it on and see what happens! Kings too must be audacious and bold.