Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Our Royal Monarchs

What I fear is a heathenism that is a museum where the Gods are treated as pinned butterflies rather than Flying Monarchs, where rite is rote, the script-reading from conceptual mind's abstractions. I fear neat and clean mental categories mediating between us and actual experience of the Gods in wild nature. I fear the sterilization and castration of uncontrollable holy powers.

We need experiential contact with the Gods. We need outdoor communion. We need guided visualization which helps us to feel the living presence of each of our Gods. Do you say the ancients didn't do this? They didn't need to. They were in touch ; we are not.

What do I mean? Before you dedicate a horn to Njord, go out to the sea and splash some salt water on your face. Ride a small craft and feel the power of the waves. Allow your body to channel the intelligence of the ocean up through your intuition, and feel that soulfulness of waters whose warmth and character we call Njord. Whole-body, whole-hearted, whole-minded experiences are necessary so that "Njord" is not just an abstract concept or cartoon character, but a living essence whose personality and numinosity exceed any lore-tale and any telling whatsoever, which are only tellings that stemmed in the first place from brags spoken about forces a poet knew well in his or her heart : Yea, this is what Njord might have done ; and so in lore, he did so. Its value to you ought be to help you reverse-engineer the tale back to source. Today we need more lore to do it, to direct the mind's attention to coral reefs and the fish beneath. Njord was associated with abundance : look into the seas and behold the great bounty of flora and fauna, in schools and shallows, depths and upon the waves, and not, significantly, all for you and your kind, but Njord's, and jealous and fatherly over it he is --- though he is willing to share with those who approach his home, the waters, whether salten or fresh, as a guest with proper thews of hospitality. Know the octopus, know the sea lion, know the mackerel and the anemone. These are his children. They are not your commodities or raw supplies to take as you will for whatever you will. This has nothing to do with political correctness and everything to do with the primal law of hospitality. Be a good guest, and he will share. Be a good trading partner, and he will share more, adding teachings and craft, the appreciation of a good sailing vessel, the skill of carving or steering it, the sheer ecstasy of riding out upon the waves. Cultivate relationship ; be a frequent guest. Go fishing. Hang out at the pier. Go to an aquarium and learn about marine life. Spend an evening at the beach. Dwell at tide pools. Engage in marine activism on behalf of the ocean and its creatures, and speak up in it's defense. Let all this permeate and fill you. When you have accomplished all this and more, then come back and toast your bragi to Njord. It will then mean something. And you will more readily unlock the meanings in the lore as well.

Likewise, before or as you blot Jord, put your hands into the soil, into mud. Make some wattle and daub. Work with clay. Garden. Do all this while opening yourself to the spirit and intelligence in the earth, and seek to feel Her, a living personality, not an abstraction, not a lifeless mechanism or substance, and most certainly not a mere metaphor. Do not force your imagination but do open it to any impressions of Her great wisdom and beauty and intricacy that may come. Then when you make that offering, it will be so much more meaningful. It will ring and resonate with the richness of these experiences and more.

We must remember that the lore provided a schematic, a rubric, a bare outline that is barren without being filled in. It is there to provide a shape for genuinely real experiences and feelings, but if you don't seek out those feelings and experiences, you will be verbally manipulating mere words accompanied by feeble mental images. Pinned butterflies. The soul seeks the Royal Monarchs in Flight.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Henry said...

As I see it, mythology is like a trail of bread crumbs inviting us to follow into the wilds of direct experience with the numinous life of the world.

If we stop following the crumbs and start worshipping them as though they were the end and not the means, however, then our spirits wither and we never actually encounter the meaning to which the myths merely hint.

As always you seem to have a knack for saying what I need to hear.

10:49 PM  
Blogger SiegfriedGoodfellow said...

Well said. As I recall, the word "lore" itself traces from a word that means "to track", so your vision of the bread crumbs aligns precisely with our ancestors who shaped the very word! You are in alignment with the well. Lore leads you, if you will follow, to the source ; then, another saw applies : you can lead the horse to water, but you can't make 'im drink. If we do not drink, whence our thirst? If we will not be sated, whence our longing? I, as I hope is well known and apparent, give close, careful, and long-meditated attention to the lore, but my intent is to draw us closer to springs. I don't know about you, but I am thirsty, and these wells are full of nourishing and sweet fluids! Praise be to the Gods!

3:33 PM  
Blogger Ravenix said...

The image of pinned butteflies is a very good one, and I fully understand your fear. I think people tend to get bogged down in the lore instead of going out and experiencing things for themselves. Even I've been guilty of it lately.

3:06 PM  
Blogger SiegfriedGoodfellow said...

Lore is important. Studying it is of value. But it only really comes alive with experience. If you talk with Brian Bates, who wrote the Way of Wyrd, he'll tell you the research ge did on the Anglo-Saxon past really didn't come alive until he began walking the wilds of England. Then it was as if the land told him what everything he was reading meant.

8:14 PM  

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