Dance in Dreams
A heathen should be able to arm-wrestle with any scholar, throw the arm down on the table with force, and reach up for another mug of ale, all while singing, but a heathen knows these little matches are not the way to truly commune. A heathen will learn the way of the monks, so that the frozen glyphs may dance once again in dreams.
Much has been forgotten, but all lies in the Well of Mimir. A heathen knows from his tales that Odr managed to move down into the Underworld and see Mimir's great Well, Thus it is only through the imagination that we may gain a peek. We are spying. We are spies upon the mysterious.
Spying is the way of our ancestors. They called it "spa". It is a kind of imagination that penetrates the veil. It does not give us whole cloth, but it yields precious patches from the larger quilt-work. Spa turns sources into magic mirrors.
Spies do not act boldly. They act carefully, trepidatiously, fleet-footed and tip-toeing through the woods. Spies do not make bold shouts. They sneak and are silent. Only when they return with information do they announce far and wide in hall. And even there they will be questioned by wise men, who shall weigh the worth of their report.
We know enough to know that men of Northern forests lived once in an age where the forest was more important than endless wars, where wars were nothing but summer raids upon neighboring cattle, a time before kings were bought and bribed by Roman officers, and folk turned thereby against folk to raid for slaves. Those were not the golden age.
We know enough to know that most of the songs on the lips of men had to pass through the horrors of endless, inhuman war with the monsters on the other side of the Rhine, whose monuments our ancestors could only see as built by giants, in whose spiritual grip those legions moved.
Thus our songs come to us, but they come tainted, through blood, sweat, defeat, despair unimaginable, and if you listen closely, you can hear the wind whisper the old melancholy spiritual of the ancestors who never made it past those first wars beyond which men began to become inhuman just to survive, hearing them beneath the celebrations of slaughter, hear men who thought of themselves as men first and warriors only upon times of trouble or summer raids, men for whom holding babies and herding cows was far more prominent, for whom the grass growing springtime in the pastures was divine and satisfying, for whom loving their wife was the only reason they took up a spear, that she might always remain free.
You have to listen hard. They knew that not only was the Wolf in the world now, tearing and rending and gulping as much as it might, but that some men became like the wolf, more wolves than men, and these collected in the Ironwoods. Their hearts became savage, frenzied with blood, others just as prey, driven by greed and fear and destructive rage.
The sad fact is, these wolfish men still live, and these days look upon the songs that have come down to us as if they were singing their anthem, their song, a glory-fest for Muspel's Sons finally found a religion for their battle-lust. These men howl, and will hold the songs in their grip, wishing they could squeeze out the sounds of the ancestors whose ghosts sing out from the page for those with ears to hear.
We can easily ween men's attitudes who remained men, for battle was Tyr's special art, and Tyr aimed to bind the Wolf through valor and sacrifice. Those who fought hoped to bind the Wolf of the South who had encroached upon the land of the living. Be bold now, and strangle it before it is too late, not by becoming like the wolves themselves, but by being willing to give all that some few hints of the ancient culture of wild freedom might still pulse in the blood of descendants.
The puzzle-pieces handed down are fragmentary. The scholars will say, there's too much missing. We cannot say anything except recount the pieces. The reconstructionists will say, There are no missing pieces! Simply fit the existing pieces together and they will show the whole picture, and then force a procrustean bed onto the pieces so they make one jumbled contrivance. But we with eyes to see shall read between the lines and see the ones who fell in the holes, and find the larger pattern.
Do not listen with wolfish ears for the sounds of battle or slaughter. Men remembered Frodi's Frith, when all men were united in peace and freedom. They remembered that Baldur had once lived in the world of life. And once a year all men might put aside their arms to remember their common brotherhood through Beloved Mother Earth. Hear rather the hoe against the soil, tending earth's fruits. Hear rather the sounds of lovers kissing. Hear rather the sounds of families in the groves, offering silent prayers to springs, enjoying fresh barbecues on the holy grounds. Here in the humble and quiet you will learn just precisely what men were fighting for, and that is what must be regained. Do not put the cart before the horse. Only fools fight just for the sake of fighting.