Friday, December 18, 2009

Away From the Worship of the Harsh

The level of contempt I have for people who would turn Odin from a God of Enlightenment into a God of War is unsurpassed. These fools blathering about trying to turn the poetry and mind-blowing intoxication cult into a "support our troops" rally is disgusting. Perhaps it just shows that all exoteric religion tends towards corruption, and the basest and most vulgar minds will take symbols, in this case of spiritual warfare, and transform it into some kind of legitimization of vulgar, unenlightened material warfare.

Now of course they will come back with a gambit of accusing me of separating the spiritual and material worlds the way Christians do, and devaluing the material world. Not at all. The material world is very much to be valued, and that's the realm of the Vanir Gods. The material world is supposed to be filled with love, with festivity, and with productive activity that leads towards feasts. There's a reason the Aesir are in the sky, in the heavens : that's to remind you that they represent the spiritual realm, a spiritual realm of fighting against jotnar, spiritual forces of cruelty and barbarity.

You can't have enlightenment and bald barbarity at the same time! Enlightenment doesn't happen in the midst of brutality. Brutality ends up creating trauma-reactions which warp and cripple a culture, and keep people in defensive, little reptilian reactions that completely hinder free thought and the free spirit.

Odin knows that it is an ill wind that blows no minds. He represents the continual transcendance of paradigm and position, the outgrowing of outdated stances, and this is how the warfare against the jotnar advances! So the more rigid, and defensive, and entrenched you are, the further away from that transcendance you are.

Now, where piracy becomes the only way to remain free, a free man will support, conditionally, piracy, but not for the sake of piracy ; rather, for the sake of that which it is serving : freedom. On the other hand, a society which becomes a war of all against all, and whether it's an innangards or not, if your innangards is constantly attacking my innangards is constantly burning the innangards and farms and fields down the way, there's not enough stability for any kind of real enlightenment to take root. Insecurity does not foster the arts. This is why kings were often evaluated on two bases alone : did they bring peace, and good seasons? Peace and good seasons : was there enough abundance to stave off insecurity, and was there enough peace to stave off fear, so that real society, real creative, loving interaction, and real arts aimed at enlightenment and improvement of life could take place? That's the whole meaning! If you weren't fighting for those, what would you be fighting for? For the sake of fighting alone? It just amazes me the people who will try to transform this authentic spirituality into some kind of monster-cult that becomes about fighting for the sake of fighting alone! As if a pantheon headed by a God who represents radical enlightenment would want a human race engaged in so much strife that it was so shell-shocked that it was completely incapable of enlightenment! What kind of Loki-misled numbskull would it take to envision this?

Warfare as a spiritual principle, on the other hand, is another matter altogether, and one of the greatest poets of the English language, William Blake, saw that that was necessary, but that was a completely different thing than material warfare, and certainly not the war of all against all. (And what a bogus gambit to simply export this strife and warfare elsewhere! A "gift" calls for a gift, and it will all come back. You can't escape Wyrd.)

This is a spirituality of radical enlightenment, of liberation, of earthiness and standing on one's own two feet, of willingness to stand up for rights and fight for them if necessary, a readiness to take back that which has been stolen, a desire to create real value for one's community, humankind, and the earth. This is what was sometimes realized and sometimes submerged in the often-dark politics and squabbles of Iron Age tribesmen. Don't use the dark places of Iron Age tribespeople to defend and cover the darkness in your own mind. Enlighten your own mind now, in the present.

It's true we're not out of the Axe Age yet, and that one does have to be savvy and pragmatic, and ready to defend that which is of value, but such a pragmatic approach, which backs the spirituality of enlightenment, is a far cry from cheering on the Axe Age.

I am continually disgusted by people whose one spiritual insight in life seems to have been that "life is harsh". That becomes their mantra, their guide, their evangelism they want to carry everywhere, and even their god they bow down before. Life is harsh, and so they glee with secret wolf-teeth every time something harsh happens, and every time innocence is overpowered, and every time they can prove themselves right that harshness is the basis of reality. Well, if harshness is your god, bow down and lick the boot that would stomp you and everyone else, for you worship the jotnar. Yes, the rest of us have figured out that reality is harsh, but that's not the pinnacle of spiritual enlightenment. Knowing this, can you find love, and festivity, and peace, and wisdom, not only for yourself, but for your family, and your tribe, and possibly your world? That might be something more worthwhile than licking your wolf-fangs at the harshness of the world : getting down and doing something of real value.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was almost upset upon reading this because my partner, whom I love and respect very much, is a US Army veteran...and an Odinsman.

He regards his service as a sacrament. He said to himself: "I have been gifted with tremendous physical strength, a sound mind and great courage. And my society has given much to me that has enabled me to live and grow and prosper. I will return their gift with a gift of my own - service protecting my society and my loved ones and those who either cannot or will not fight against those who would harm all of these. It is worth the sacrifice to me."

And my grandfather was a US Navy captain who served honorably in WWII. My grandmother was a 1st sgt. in the Women's Army Corps.

I wouldn't diss their service too quickly. These people were willing to give an awful lot to protect our freedom to even BE Heathens.

As Chas Clifton pointed out in his blog - I don't think anyone would be willing to revive Ishtar worship or other polytheistic worship in Iraq right now. Why? Because Islam is very deeply intolerant of polytheism.

Comparatively, we have it good here. And this goodness is worth protecting.

And if you'd known my grandfather, you'd realize that he's the last person you'd call "unenlightened." A more scholarly and gentlemanly and erudite man you're not so likely to meet; after all, he was a schoolteacher before he enlisted in the Navy.

But then I got to the end of this essay and it started to make more sense. LOL!


11:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RE: "There's a reason the Aesir are in the sky, in the heavens : that's to remind you that they represent the spiritual realm, a spiritual realm of fighting against jotnar, spiritual forces of cruelty and barbarity."

But...Skadhi is of the jotnar. I do believe that Tyr's father is of the jotnar. Gerd, Freyr's beloved, is of the jotnar.

They can't ALL be "spiritual forces of cruelty and barbarity" especially not Gerd, with Whom Freyr fell insanely in love with. Besotted. Beside Himself. Gerd must be something really amazing indeed, if He adored Her so much that He sacrificed His sword to have her.

What do you think?

11:11 AM  
Blogger SiegfriedGoodfellow said...

First of all, I'm sorry if I upset you or you felt insulted. It was not my intent to slag on military personnel. My main point was to critique those who would try to turn Asatru into a militarist religion. Secondly, I critique militarist organization and ventures on the basis of whether they are honoring the heart of the heroes, the values of the country, the sovereignty of other peoples, and are based on credible threats. Personally I cannot think of a militarist adventure since WWII that met such criteria, and it upsets me because of the heroic heart of many who so dedicate themselves, as you testify with your partner's high words. Such nobility deserves to be honored not with Vietnams or Mexican-American Wars but a war like the Revolutionary War, or the War of 1812 when foreign troops were on our soil. Regardless -- we can have civil disagreements about which engagements are honorable. I do not doubt the sincerity, dedication, discipline, and sacrifice of the many fine men and women in the service. But we have to be realistic, and can't turn reverence for high ideals into an uncritical stance towards actual effects in the world, and so we have to evaluate the actions of people and not their intentions. If someone wants to support a venture based on intelligent appraisal, fine, I have no problem with that, but if they wish for me to support that venture when I in good conscience cannot support it, then I find that obnoxious and will push back against its coercive atmosphere. And the problem with such rhetoric, of course, is it ignores how often service-people themselves critique and/or reject a particular engagement. The either/or of uncritical support or disrespectful protest doesn't meet the nuances of real life. Many people go out into the streets to protest a war BECAUSE they have loved ones in the military who they don't want to be placed in harm's way unless it really matters. Assuming that every time they are in harm's way it really matters simply because some leader sent them there is to really place leaders in some undeserved demigod position. (And I'm not alleging you're doing this -- only clarifying my position.)

As far as Iraq and intolerance, there's no guarantee that U.S. military presence is going to render it more tolerant. If anything, invasion tends to cement the most conservative elements. Radical Islam did not have a hold under Saddam Hussein's regime, which held many different peoples together. It didn't have Western freedoms, of course, but are we really going to commit ourselves to invading every nation that doesn't have Western freedoms and try to force it down their throats? Are we ready for that kind of commitment? And wasn't that what Napoleon wanted to do, to extend the liberties of the Revolution to the whole world within his reach? I mean, I suppose we can have a debate as to the heathen character of Napoleon.

6:17 AM  
Blogger SiegfriedGoodfellow said...

I think it's more heathen to support people liberating themselves. That could mean giving them material support, arms training, etc., but when several towns revolted against Hussein's regime in Gulf War I, the administration turned its back on them.

I think boycotting countries that suppress freedom has both logic and elegance to it. A free marketplace of ideas is important.

I see warriors defending the liberties that allow us to be heathen when those liberties are actually in danger. They are not in danger simply because some leader says they are in danger, and frankly, the leaders of this country have proven themselves to be so bankrupt that believing the opposite of everything they say -- as simplistic and uncritical as that would be -- would probably be far closer to the truth than the spin and nonsense that spews out of their mouths on a regular basis.

And again, please : no insult to your partner or to your grandfather. I'm sure they are both honorable and enlightened individuals. What I was talking about was the insecurity that war-zones create. It's difficult to seek enlightenment when you don't know any second if your house is going to be destroyed, or your farm burned, or your family threatened. And war is very, very hard on soldiers. It can create lasting traumas that severely disrupt their lives, and make it very difficult for them to find peace. It is that which I am critiquing, and certainly not the honor and record of people like your kin.

6:18 AM  
Blogger SiegfriedGoodfellow said...

On to the Jotnar question : I am speaking of them as a nation and not as a race. Any nation with a particular bent can have a significant minority of exceptions who stand out from the rule. When it comes to the Giants, those are the ones the Aesir seek to either recruit or form alliances with. The very presence of a Giantess named "Grith" ("Alliance", "Cease-Fire", "Treaty") testifies to this.

Skadhi has jotnar blood, but she is mainly elvish. In any case, regardless of the interpretation, she aligns herself with the Aesir. Gerd aligns herself with the Gods.

But on the whole in Indo-European mythologies, exceptions aside, the Giants do represent the kind of position I have outlined. Hymir, Tyr's foster-father, is indeed a jotunn, and was clearly at one point in time part of the treaty-attempt on the part of the Aesir, otherwise they never would have fostered Tyr with him, but that alliance has long been broken. He is hostile to the Gods.

We can debate the alignments of various individuals, but as nations, the Giants are monsters and cannibals who represent everything we fear.

Hale on your house and your kindred.

6:18 AM  

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