Liberty, Class War, and the Wild Animal Spirit of the Heathen
When the tribes had ceased their jubilee-customs of redistribution, they sowed the seeds of class war. Coming under the influence of Roman notions of private property, in which the Roman government would plunder the common folk-lands, the ager publicus, and give them over to private profiteers, became just an accepted part of life as the Germanic peoples took over the Roman empire, and filtered even into the furthest regions of Germania and Scandinavia over a thousand years, forgetting what their ancestors had told Caesar, that the redistribution customs were necessary in order to prevent factions and divisions from arising, factions and divisions which would tear society apart. We can be certain that this is an authentic Germanic statement because it echoes Voluspa, which can be seen as the tale of the degradation of the world into factions of brother fighting against brother and cousin against cousin, under the influence of the power of gold continually corrupting people. So what Caesar states at the outset of our documentation of the Germanic peoples corresponds precisely to what the later poem Voluspa says about the entire eschatology of the world : it is forces of division which tear apart humanity and bring about atrocities. These forces of division themselves stem from the rich ruling over the poor, the strong ruling over the weak, the spread of the practice of taking interest, and greed for money and property, which result from the failure to engage in the redistribution-customs.
Since this is a most basic point of law, and since they are explicitly stated as intended to counter the forces of greed, we must assume the custom mythically originated with Scyld, the great law-giver and legendary patriarch, who had already seen the signs of such division in the spread of piracy and robbery amongst his folk, and who must have instituted the custom so that the poor might be protected from the ravages of the ill, and that the good might be protected against the ravages of those intent on violence.
We discover Germanic poetry in the full of the Axe Age, in which the memories of the Bronze Age, Scyld's Silver Age, and the previous Golden Age are like shadows, mere echoes, fragmented memories of a time when things made sense, the degradation of which was the very reason for fighting in the first place, and yet which was forgotten as division tore men apart and appropriated the warrior ideal to its own notions of greed and brutality. Chivalry was the last gasp of a spirit which had long gone out, amongst a folk Romanized, Christianized, and militarized, that attempted to rehabilitate a brutal military class back into the shadows of the light of the Golden Age, yet which could not, without the tribal sociological foundations which continually upseated any settlement of greed and dearth, prosper.
Voluspa gives us the key insight into prophesying, the core theme around which everything else arranges itself. In the beginning, the Gods were not concerned with gold. They had no want for gold itself. Then the three giant-maidens came : Gullveig's three incarnations. Gullveig is spoken of as being the cause of the first folk-wars, the wars of the people, of the peoples, the people divided. This theme of division is the core theme : whenever people become divided, especially where greed is the root, and it results in the loss of reverence of human being for human being. There is the core right there. It is the core with which men fight to maintain dignity and integrity, and yet which may also split them apart, and take their warrior energies and channel them into that very degradation itself. This is the key insight in which to view history, in which to understand the history of the past and of one's own time from a prophetic perspective.
There is a recitation made by an angel, if you would, sung to us in the beginning of time, a recitation in the womb itself, by the fairy who watches over us, that personal disir assigned by the family hamingja or kin-fylgia, that wild animal-spirit that has that animal integrity which still knows the language of animals, the language of creation, of life, and it is the song that sweet feral woman sings of the orlog, of the primordial laws of creation, of the Golden Age essence boiled down into that fruit of the World Tree itself which was brought to one's mother's womb and fructified one's soul. There was a song that was sung to each one of us, a song implanted deep to remind us of that which we might forget in this world, being born into this world and its potential corruptions, a song of the law of beginnings. The implanted conscience speaks. Germania's concept of conscience was a tribal one, not one abstracted from this earth, but of contact with one's own animal nature, and the animal nature itself bringing wholeness. In wildness there is redemption. In the ability to speak the language of birds and the language of animals -- the language of creation -- we are able to overcome the division within ourselves which cuts us off from who we truly are, and cuts us off from our fellow humanity as well as other fellow beings.
This wild animal nature needs contact with the wilderness, with wild areas of forest and heath, in order to be nourished. The tribes of Germania said that cities were like nets ensnaring one into tombs, tombs where one's vital essence, one's conscience, would become strangled and deprived of vital life. It's necessary to have contact with the holy groves in order to keep that vital spirit of conscience alive. In wilderness there is redemption, and so one needs to make contact with the wild places from time to time in order to rejuvenate one's connection to the original law that speaks to one in the quiet places of nature and storm. There one's purpose will speak to one. There the causes of unnatural division will fall away, and one will know where one's true loyalties and solidarities lie.
Cities as nets ensnaring one into tombs : places of captivity, which deprive the animal spirit of vitality. Captivity degrades the essence of the soul, and so those who have been captured must either be killed in quick sacrifice, or they must be rehabilitated through a process of manumission which allows them to become free members of the tribe over time : give me liberty or give me death!
Thus we discover the meaning of being heathen : it is in the heath that our fylgia, our wild animal-spirit, speaks to us, on the other side of the Rhine, across the river where the fortresses and ensnaring tombs of the Romans are not to be found, and there, our vital conscience will begin to speak, wooed out of sleep by the wind in the woods, the lush song of birds, the silence in the hills, the resilience and strength of vegetation, and the emblematic electricity of the spirits of animals. When that wild spirit begins to speak our original nature, we will begin to hear the voice of the Gods within us, and indeed, to see and hear them everywhere, for something will have come alive. Something that had remained dormant for so long will begin to awaken, and the magic of that textured, bristling innocence will begin to rejuvenate our life from within. There, touching the spirit of re-enchantment, the prophetic imperative will begin making demands upon our life, as we look across the Rhine at the lives we have built within the walls with new eyes, and we will begin demanding the down-taking of all walls of captivity. Being heathen means discovering freedom in the wild-places that nourishes the spirit of liberty, a liberty that will reveal the original law through which divisions are overcome.
Liberty is also the key to prosperity, for it is Frey who brings us harvests and abundance. Ironically, therefore, the lust for gold only brings dearth and division in the end, while liberty and the full enjoyments it brings ushers in ages of prosperity. There are great heathen lessons here to be contemplated, and integrated into our everyday lives. Give me liberty or give me death! is not just the slogan of a fiery radical, but a truth : without liberty there is only the slow wasting away of the human spirit, and with it, all that gives meaning and decency to life.