The Law of the Land
The kind of buildings we build, the kind of buildings we are allowed or not allowed to build ; the way we farm or are allowed or not allowed to farm ; the way we hold land or are not allowed to hold land ; the land we treat other species with regard or disregard as a whole, by fair or unfair harvest ; they way we loan as brothers or loan as usurers, the way we trade fairly or unfairly ; the way the settlements grow or are imposed upon the land, and the justice or injustice with which they do so --- we will be asked whether we gave our hand and pledge to these laws. We will be asked whether we bowed down under a yoke not given by our ancestral Gods of the Earth and Sky.
The valleys and mountains shall be examined for their wholeness, and all the spirits of the land shall give testimony, and the voices of the Earth shall not be silent. The opportunities we have laid out, their character and integrity ; the benefits we have granted and received ; the allotments we have yielded for people to live their lives --- all shall be examined according to right. It is never enjoyment or gain which are condemned, but rather the Gods, loving pleasures, closely scrutinize them for their wholeness and richness, and poorly-grown pleasures dessicated by bitterness, gutted by ungainly greed, and unbalanced with the whole of the good life spoil the flavor and make poor and miserly the offerings given.
We are not judged by perfection, though we ought reach to better ourselves, but by the standard of the good life, which differs by time and clime, and yet which is also all too easy to fall from. If we fall and get back up, not too much is lost, and much may be regained, but some falls are difficult to climb up from, and some may be disastrous. There is weight to our choices ; there is gravity to the laws to which we give our pledge. If the rede by which the land of the land is allotted is faulty, if the design and purposes and principles are out of alignment with the good life of wholeness upon the Earth, there will be injustice and misery unexplained throughout the land, as would-be pleasures are lost, never known, and fruits that would have been, rot unseen, with taste buds languishing in blandness that might have been flavor and color. Right, rights, the justice of the land is no abstraction. It is good lives or the absence thereof. It is benefit for all, or benefit for few with misery for many. It is good feasts and conviviality, or walls and separation. It is roots reaching the soil's aquifers, or shrivelled dessication just barely hanging on, knowing not why nor wherefore.
Look on your town and its layout, the way human hands caress or slash the Earth, and see before your eyes the hymns or curses that are cast before the Gods. The prophets do not condemn the rich for their parties, but for absconding them from the folk, who ought share in the feasts. The feasts are for all, and those who have stolen them, ought give them back, if the Gods would be pleased.
Bad law separates us from our powers, it severs us from our fruits, it divides us from our brothers, it removes us from our cousins, it cleaves wyrds that might have blessed generations with kindreds convivial coming together in grape and barley, loaf and loving, song and dance, so that rather, in poverty of full enjoyment, looking up at skies seeming barren, hearts ask emptiness of the Gods, and why.
The law is a lake, a river flowing over the land, distributing blessings, layering up soils alluvial and fresh, yielding crop and succour, or dearth. Why the leader of the law assembly was linked to fertility? From the law flows blessings or curses. From the law the folk speak or are silenced. From the law are long tenures or early graveyards, perennial parties or too-soon partings. Friends who would have come together, wives who would have met husbands, children who could have been, lovers lost in the shuffle, magic made in meetings and matings and marvellous concord and discourse. Look out upon the lay of the land and see where the law has flowed or obstructed the hills and the valleys, caressed or cut the Earth's contours, blended or broken the lush scenery, honored or outlawed the movement of creatures and peoples upon her face. Look and see whether walls or welcomes have been erected, and there see, not but with eyes, but with Odin's eye of vision deep within the well, the worship your folk do offer.