Friday, June 26, 2009

Worthship as Practical Living in the World

The heathen principle of pragmatism impels us to look at worth-ship as a practical matter so that the idea of Gods do not become vain abstractions with no real meaning in the world, equal to any other set of abstractions and just as meaningless. To see Freyr's effect in the world, for example, all you need do is look at the fact that seeds are still fertile and still come to fruition in stalk and harvest of grain, and the flowers of the earth still bloom, and that there is greenery. If Freyr and his worthship were to be withdrawn from this world, those things would disappear. If those are things are important to you, then you show their importance by honoring that power that helps bring that about in the world. Similarly, Freya is no abstraction. The power of love to bring people together and bind them together, indeed to bind them together in unions that ultimately can produce families of lasting sustainability, is a real effect that, without her power of love, would wane, and would not be able to draw people together at all, nor to create lasting unions that could result potentially in offspring that allow the family to sustain the generations. If that is of importance to you in this world, then honor Freya. By the same token, Njord is not just an abstraction, but the bounty of the ocean and seas, of the fish in the waters. Without Njord, the oceans would have no living soul, would not produce its varied fish. There would be nothing to bring home in nets. And so on and so forth for each of the Gods or benefactors as we might call them.

Now that brings it down to earth, but to bring it even further down to earth, if it is our everyday practices of how we go about things in the world, and the rights through which we go about things in the world, that constitutes the major form of worthship, and not liturgical gatherings, then we can directly look at just precisely who we are worthshipping through their effects on those very functions which we have just outlined. So, if the way we go about doing things in the world with our economics and our politics tend towards a situation whereby the fish are lessening in the waters, and indeed fish are dying off in the oceans, then we are not worthshipping Njord, plain and simple. We are not acting as trustees for that domain which he watches over and has placed into our partial trusteeship. If our way of going about things in the world means that pollinators, who enable seeds to be fertile, are dying off, like the bees, then we are not engaged in worthship of Freyr, and in the trusteeship which he has placed partially into our hands as a trust. Indeed, if we are modifying genetics of crops which have been given into our hands as gifts, we are not engaged in the worthship of what Freyr has placed in our hands. If the way we have structured everyday life tears apart unions of love and tends to make them fleeting rather than sustainable, then we are not worthshipping Freya, and by definition we are worthshipping principles foreign to the Holy Gods.

We may indeed adapt Kant's law of the Categorical Imperative, replacing it with a Multiplicative or Iterative Imperative through which we may measure our worthship. The Multiplicative Imperative asks us this : if our actions were to be multiplied millions of times over, would those actions tend to advance or degrade the domains of those Gods we claim to worthship? It is a matter of examining and weighing our actions in terms of allegiance, of critically determining whether our deeds demonstrate loyalty to those powers we claim to find worthy. It is through such worthy deeds that we are enfranchised to participate in the liturgical ceremonies, which are merely symbolical affirmations of the principles governing those domains which are the benefactions of those powers we find holy, meaning wholesome to our lives. According to Teutonic principles, it is the federation of a thousand small kingdoms that brings about prosperity and might, not the huge top-down unitive organization that swallows up the small. Thus the Multiplicative or Iterative Imperative looks at the thousand actions of our lives to see what they add up to.

Worthship is not all or nothing. It is progressive. As we worthship, through slow, gradual immersion, our deeds increasingly align with those principles which we claim to honor. But we do no worthship at all, and therefore are incapable of gradual progression if we are not engaged in that dialectical process of aligning our deeds with those principles.

Those principles are not laid out a priori and deductively, in advance for us to merely step into line and follow with conformity, but rather to be determined inductively, experimentally, as we go along in life. The broad principles are there. Their application we must discover on our own. This is why in Teutonic law, law is always discovered, not determined in advance. Its inductive nature means it is open to empirical observation and confirmation and disconfirmation. If our practices tend to destroy the oceans, then we are clearly not following the principles that advance the domain of Njord, and we must induce the principles that are destructive in our actions (such as usury and fraudulent adhesion contracts), and thereby experiment with principles other than those destructive principles which will bring us back into alignment with that which we find of value.

A heathen following a traditional heathen pantheon must affirm the value of the oceans and their fertility, the integrity of seeds and harvest, the importance of love and the abolition of any sorts of institutional structures that might impede its bonding and sustainable power, the significance of the vitality of the air itself, and its ability to bring us through inspiration the wisdom of All-Father, and the inviolability of the Earth itself, except through limited ritual invocations of plowing and digging customs that are sustainable. This limits mining and tillage operations to ritual zones regulated by an awareness of ecological awareness. We must modify our conception of what a priest is. A priest of Jord, therefore, might look more like a game warden, who stays aware through empirical and intuitive observations of what the seasons require and what is sustainable and sets out rules for harvesting. A priest of Njord might do work akin to that of Greenpeace in its heyday, and so on and so forth. We tend to see priests as liturgical officers of separated ecclesiastical spaces, rather than administrators and ministers of a diverse quasi-State (but voluntary and non-coercive) apparatus. In general we tend to see ritual as a separated domain of irrelevance, having little more effectiveness than the theatre, and with all due respect for the theatre, the theatre tends to have little pragmatic effectiveness in the real world, but we would be closer to the mark if we began to see the ritual domain as akin to the legislative : the charting of domains and the laying out of differential fields of activity, each of which is vital to the functioning of a healthy and wholesome community.

If juridical and legislative action is the main way in which we perform religion, then the next step is a principle of separatism, separation from those juridical and legislative organizations that do not affirm primary heathen principles of law and rights. Of course, such separatism would have to be balanced on a case-by-case and local basis with the other important heathen principle of pragmatism, but while pragmatism may bend principles to meet the changing winds of circumstance, it cannot break them. It must stay true to heathen principles of organization, primary of which is the popular assembly.

The popular assemblies ("Things", "Folkmoots") do not "enact laws" : they affirm rights, they adjucate the expression of those rights in specific cases, and they better the expression of those rights, as they come to be better understood through time and through digestion of the accumulative case material. They thus do not come together to order anyone around, but to affirm and adjucate the rights of its standing members, those being households and clans, and establish forms of trusteeship whereby they may engage in mutual, free benefaction. The annual reallotment of factors of production, primarily land, is apportioned by the folkmoot, often through its Gothis and Kings.

Such organization is essential to heathen worthship, which is not the modern hypocrisy of giving liturgical lip-service to one set of principles while living according to an entirely different set of laws. The restoration of true heathen worthship involves at its very heart the restoration of those forms of polity which were essential and original to the Teutonic peoples, and through which they worthshipped their Gods. The organization of the Roman Empire, constituting a coercive, paternalistic form, was a foreign set of principles to the heathen worthship, and indeed was said by native seers and prophets to represent a foreign form of worthship which would bring about slavery, and which was contrary to the principles set down by the heathen Gods themselves. Thus organization which is Roman in form is contrary to heathen spirituality and religious ethical living. The heathen spiritual foundations began to crumble the moment that the Roman Empire began to set up and support client-kings who would exercise authoritarian rather than titular office, acting as coercive powers and in the image of giants, rather than as trustees of the popular assemblies, as they were natively meant to function. People would voluntarily give to their leaders who would redistribute that surplus wealth as needed, and thus became known as "gold haters" for the fact that they would not stingily hoard it, but act as charitable trustees of the tribal treasure-hoard.

The function of a kindred or heathen free-church, therefore, is the distribution of charity in variable forms throughout a community that is separated from the secular civil society, and forms its own polity. It thus operates as a fully functioning tribe ; or at least, its purpose is to build up to such fully functioning autonomy in free association with other such polities and tribes. Its purpose is to facilitate charity or mutual help through free, rather than coercive, association. Many apply to paternalistic slavemasters for benefits but thereby enthrall themselves. A free-church is an attempt to provide mutual benefit through free activity and free association, and a heathen free-church (or "kindred" commonly called, although it is more akin to a guild of thingmenn from various authentic kindreds) does this through heathen principles and worthshipping in very practical ways those powers we find Holy in the world.

2 Comments:

OpenID svartesol said...

As one who is fulltrui to Frey, I have often said genetically modified food is a blasphemy of Him. I have an organic garden and I see keeping that as no less a devotional act to Him than raising a horn.

Thank you for this post, and for being one of those who gets it. Our worthscipe of the Gods is not merely just to hail Them with words, but to let our deeds be a Blót, things They would find worthy and in keeping with Their interests.

1:11 PM  
Blogger SiegfriedGoodfellow said...

Hail, Svartesol! GMO is blasphemy, and arrogance that we know the Ingwaz (DNA helices) in plants better than the Gods who implanted and evolved them there. And the keeping of an organic garden is indeed a powerful way of Bloting to Frey. It's really important that people get this. This "religion" is a full way of life.

4:30 PM  

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