Sunday, January 25, 2009

To Feel An Iron Pot

To feel an iron pot, held in the cold, running water as the sponge scrubs the last meal's remains.

Now is there anything more to being a heathen than this?

Is there anything more to worship than this?

Let's focus on the Need rune. It is a rune our ancestors knew well.

They were rich in poems, wealthy in metre and good breeding reared from common sense the likes of which we can't hardly imagine.

But materially, the world could be a hard place No Wall-Mart. No 7-11's.

You made it with your own hands, you traded part of your herd for it, or you put on your war-gear and seized it for booty with risky hands gambling against death.

An iron pot was something.

And here you are, they're just a dime-a-dozen.

Can you trade eyes with your ancestors? That might be a righteous gift they could give, the gift of their eyes. Prophecy was called "spying". Could it have something to do with borrowing the eyes of owls, ravens, deer, -- ancestors?

Begin with nothing. "Why are there beings, why is there anything at all, rather than nothing?" Heidegger asked.

Look at what you hold in your hands. How would you generate this, from nothing?

What value does that iron pot have to you now?

How is it that there are good things in the world? This is a heathen question. The Christians may ponder how evil came into the world. We ponder, how is it that good came into the world? For we know it can be scarce, and rare, and precious.

The Gods are the ultimate sources of good. Let the philologists deny the etymological connection between these two words to their heart's content ; the heart knows that "good" and "God" are connected. With their establishing acts, the Gods laid the groundwork for opportunity, for real possibility and potential, and ploughed the barrenness to allow the first seeds to grow. Those were pioneer days. The land was rocky and rough, days before the dwarves delved down.

Orlog-less we were once. No original nature of our own. No warm and willful blood, no imagination, no breath to take in the scent of ancient stardust. Those three gifts the Gods gave us, and if they never gave another gift, if they had withdrawn from the world never to return, those gifts alone are almost enough. Those seeds brought to fruition mean success for the human race. Good breeding is nothing but the full development of these fruits : spirit, soul, and animal vitality.

From these come arts. The animal vitality must be there. The soulful imagination or odr must grasp things passionately and hold them in its hands to develop skills. Ever were arts hands-on, for from soulful-mind in-the-world came manvitt, common sense, the first best skill, but from there, as the hands and the mind of the crafter came to hold and to shape the various things, holding them in hand and in mind, skill began to find itself, Þá nam ek frævask ok fróðr vera ok vaxa ok vel hafask, orð mér af orði orðs leitaði, verk mér af verki verks leitaði (Havamal 141), "Then I reached fertilization, and became wise, and grew, and got some good, as word by word I examined words, and deed by deed I tried out deeds."
Nam ek frævask, "I took possession of the fertilizing power within me." Vel hafask, "I held well." Things began to hold, to take hold, to really become manageable. One word led to another, one deed led to another. Things began to build. One thing led to another, and before you know it --- there was a verk, a masterpiece. Odin shares with us here what happens as we begin to fertilize the spirit, soul, and animal vitality within us.

Invite your poetically-rich, materially-poor ancestors in from time to time. Let them comment on the things you use, the things you hold. Feel them there with you as you wash the pot from the last meal you ate, and let yourself feel everything that went into that pot coming into your hands. Feel the iron ore in the earth, or falling from the heavens as a meteorite. Feel the miners delving up the ore from the earth, smelting it in the forges. Who were those folks? What were they feeling? What got imbedded in the work? How did the pot end up in your hands?

You might not be able to factually document all these steps, but your imagination, your soulful mind can go there. Feel what it took to get the river, or the aquifer, into your faucet. For the moment, let the water be cold. Warm water feels better, but feel the river as it is, and let it flow through. And the sponge? Where did the sponge come from?

There were whole lineages of intertwined folks who allowed you to come to this moment, who ensured you had the wealth to be able to have an iron pot, a faucet, and a sponge. People worked hard, they sacrificed, they endured hardships not of their creation. Where did they get the strength to do that? How did they in their hearts call upon the Gods to further develop the temperance and rugged creativity they needed to get through?

Yes, your ancestors are involved in this too. And the Gods as well. For without the Gods' bold precedents, what footpaths would there be for gumption? The Gods give gumption. They dared ; so might we.

It's all there at your sink. It's the only altar you really need, if you know how to use it, ef þú nemr, ef þú getr, "if you take it, if you understand it".


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