Friday, April 17, 2009

Gullveig and Negative Thinking

There are many lessons in the mythic narratives. Take one : Gullveig cannot be killed. Every time she is burned, she comes to life again. Kill her and she rises again. The Gods finally learn to accept her but to exile her.

Gullveig represents many different things : avarice, envy, the evil eye, curses, and most of all, fear. These are, in a sense, a natural part of life and must be accepted. Fear arises again and again. If we try to kill fear, it will find a way through the back door. But if we accept our fear and our envy, but do not allow them into the halls of power, and give them their place, a place that fits their nature : a wide, barren, swampy place at the edge of the world, then things can be in balance.

This should be a lesson to those who think they are into "positive thinking", but in fact reinforce negative thinking again and again by refusing to accept their negative sides as important parts of the whole. Healing always comes through wholeness, not through division. Negative thoughts and feelings have their place, but not as rulers who get to dominate the whole.

The Aesir always meet in council to hash things out. It is a very democratic process. Domination is foreign to their very governance. And there is a place for everything in the universe. The Giants even are given a domain where they may continue their regressive tendencies or find the long route to evolution, but they are not allowed to dominate, because given their vast negativity and stupidity, they would crush what was good. The Gods experimented with taking the best from the Giant world in and seeing if they could evolve and improve them, but these brought their regressive and domineering impulses in and tried to take over and ruin the whole thing.

Everything has a place, and thus has its proper sphere of freedom. What is evil is usurpation, when a being usurps the place that is proper for it and begins to domineer over others of another domain, imposing its own conditions on a venue which has been set aside for beings of a different climate. Pluralistic co-existence is part of the Gods' plan for the world ; imperialism is not.

So instead of trying to destroy negative thoughts, send them home. They have a home where they belong, and it is good for them to be there. Accept them as a part of the whole, but do not allow them to usurp their place and destroy the good that is in you : your openness to opportunity, your ability to accept possibilities outside your ruts, your capacity to experience hope, your power to bolster a faltering morale by gathering up your strengths, and more.

Ragnarok, in a sense, is nothing new or out of the ordinary. It represents a time when all of the domineering impulses break free from their assigned homes and attempt to usurp their place once and for all. *Yawn. They've been trying to do that since the beginning of time. So in a sense, Ragnarok simply represents the time when finally the wonderful and long patience of the Gods reaches its end, and the Giants reap the fruits not of their mere existence, but rather of their long, recidivist will-to-usurpation. There have to be good limits in the world. Ragnarok demonstrates will-to-vengeance growing out of proportion, and bursting forth to destroy the world. This is not a good thing, and a stop must be put to it. So while the Gods understand that it is human to wish vengeance, and that therefore it has its place within proper limits, the narratives tell us again and again in many different forms that letting that urge go too far is disastrous.

Psychologically, we need the monsters. They are a part of us, and they express and contain forces that are a genuine part of the difficult and often-struggling human experience. They therefore have their place, where they are allowed to romp, to gnash, to smash, to have their monster temper tantrums and to do their great sulkings and plannings, but we must follow the Gods' examples and not allow them to usurp our place. That's the time for Thor to step in and with gusto, laughter, but also strong, no-nonsense power, say, "That's enough!". We were not meant to be ruled by the Giants, but guided by the Gods.


Blogger chiggles said...

Wow, I just found your writings and quite enjoy them. I love your emphasis on autonomy and defense of that which is of value.

10:55 AM  

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