Monday, March 07, 2011

Freya and the Bees (Eve Ghost's Op Ed Piece)

My friend, fellow heathen, and rock star Eve Ghost responded to my recent post about Freya, "Loveliness', by challenging my idea that Freya herself is really free, and that it is simply a subjective matter in these days of freeing her within our hearts. She suggested that perhaps objectively the mythic scenario of the Frost War is recurring, and we must pay attention, lest we lose love, fertility, and the preciousness of our planet.

Eve makes a powerful point when she becries the rapid losing of our bees. This is no theoretical but an actual problem, with immense implications for fertility.

Here we must ask, have our notions of love become so anthropomorphized that we have forgotten the love Freya has for all of her mother's creatures? And can we ask for Freya's love if we will not imitate that expansive love? Can love survive without roses? Can roses survive without bees?

The actions of human beings have become so powerful that we have become planetary agents for diverse forces. How often are those forces the Gods? How often are they bumbling idiocy, greed, and megasized consumption? We are no longer simply passive recipients of spiritual forces, but actual active agents, and our collective deeds now have great import.

Eve's points are poignant, pressing, and relevant, concerning issues and matters that all pagans and heathens, as well as anyone else who cares about the spiritual-material destiny of this planet, ought to be wrestling with. I hope you will take these ideas to heart, and very, very seriously. I asked Eve to write up her ideas, and I proudly present her words as a guest Op Ed piece, along with my followup commentary :

It began with dead bees.

Or dying bees, as it were.

Upon my arrival in California, I noticed something, something that haunted me. It was the bees that all too frequently were found on the ground, writhing around in a sickly manner. I saw far less of them in the air than I did in the ground. This affected me more than I could have predicted. It literally made my heart ache, and this was before I understood what was going on.

Or perhaps it began when I was still in Minnesota, when Freyr's once relatively reliable guidance dropped out of my life quite abruptly. I felt abandoned. I still had Freya, but eventually she dropped out too, leaving me frustrated and alone. I felt it was something I had done wrong, for some reason I had driven them away. Clearly, I would suffer from their disappearance.

I have watched great love stories wither and collapse without rhyme or reason. We have seen the collapse of true love in favor of reality series inspired drama-fests. Marriages are disposable, friendships are hardly nourished by honor, loyalty and respect in this day and age. Of course, all of this is debatable and relative.

What can't be debated is this: the impending collapse of agriculture and the fertile quality of the land itself. We have allowed giants, represented by corporations, to take ownership of DNA, the essence of life itself. Monsanto can tweak seeds and lord over them with little regard for their consequence and so we have GMO corn that can wreak havoc on peoples' immune systems, we have GMO soy that blows into the next field and contaminates heirloom crops (and results in law suits that unfairly victimize farmers). We have legislation that makes seed saving, a practice that farmers have performed for generations upon generations, illegal.

These same jotunnish corporations are being intrusted with the “green revolution”, to strip native populations of livelihoods that have worked for them for years and use technology to force the land to yield cash crops that were never intended to grow there. Force people from their ancestral lands that populations knew how to graze their animals on without resulting in harm and make them use farming practices that in time strip the land of any use what so ever.

Other corporations will get away with using pesticides in the name of agriculture that murder our bees. Where will be we be without Freyr's mighty legion of bees? Will our crops be pollinated by butterflies? Probably not, they're dying off too. Without Freyr's humble servant, the bees, we are all, in effect screwed.

Now let's take into account climate change. As climates shift and weather “weirds”, we are going to find even less arable land as deserts form where once there were none and crops that once were hearty like the oranges of Florida, succumb to unthinkable winter freezes. And what did we do to reign in the giants who spew death into our atmosphere, to reign in our own use of fossil fuels? We've done too little too late and the fertility of the earth will pay for it.

Look at the inexplicable winters we're having, these progressions into colder and colder weather while in other regions, the permafrost melts and trees topple over. Look at the oceans rising, the huge chunks of glaciers falling into the sea.

And look at how we as people treat each other. We've launched unthinkable wars run behind the curtain by multinational monsters like oil companies and the military industrial complex. We've seen torture of our enemies become actual policy, although thankfully it is abating. We see peoples basic rights even to land and homes stripped away in favor of the profits of bank-giants and mall building developer giants. We have dumped all of our precious resources into war, bailing out banks that fund monstrous endeavors, we've let big agra business run the show, we're sucking the water dry to bottle it and sully Freyr and Freya's father's domain with the islands of dead sea awash with plastic that ensue. We are running out of water, arable land, love for each other and time. And without love for each other, respect for each others freedoms, we're pretty much fucked as far as caring.

Where are we in the myth cycle? Is time cyclic, and how does time work in our heathen mythic landscape? Many pagan cultures had stories of earth moving in cycles of destruction and rebirth. Now physicists seem to agree that time might not be linear as we think. Hell, they now even posit that there's an alternate reality where gravity doesn't exist that's messing with our own plane of existence. So who knows? Do we always get to the end of the mythic cycle, culminating in Ragnarok or does time jump around? Do we always replay the scenarios in the same way? Does it matter?

Where some might jump to the conclusion that we're headed toward Ragnarok, I think what's really happening is the frost war running through its cycle. Again. Freyr and Freya have been held hostage by the giants. We will see a decrease in the natural fertility of this planet, we may see climates changing the earth beyond our recognition at a rate not seen since the extinction of the dinosaurs. But maybe it's not the end of the world as we know it, maybe we just need a hero.

[and my response : ]

Fantastic piece!

We do need heroes. We need the human soul, Odr, to reach out across the wide spaces and rescue Frey and Freya from the Ice Giants. But it means we need not only Svipdag but a Halfdan, too, a true king who will draw all the scattered tribes together against the world order that has aligned itself with frost. This king will be on the side of organic agriculture and farmers (Groa). This king will show a great understanding for the mysteries of existence (the runes). This will be a true philosopher-king who understands that leadership is a privilege and a trust that flows from the Gods with the folk as beneficiaries and which must respect each God's domain.

This king will dare to speak out against the spiritual principles that have turned against the Gods : our arrogant technology (Weland) that thinks its magic and its devices more important than holiness and devotion to the earth. He must also speak against that part of us that wants to mess with everything (Loki), and which led us to this problem in the first place, distinguishing such a meddling, disruptive spirit from true inquiry and holy wisdom. Of course, that spiritual principle which always tries to frighten us with scarcity, and leads towards greed and hoarding, thus creating the very terror we feared (Gullveig) must be countered as well, which is particularly hard in an age where much of that self-fulfilling prophecy has come true. Nevertheless, by demonstrating true generosity, the king will set the tone for how that spirit will be countered.

And it explains the rune sequence I got in my mind when I meditated on this issue, Wunjo, Raidho, Odal : Victory via the Road to Odal. The king must spearhead the movement against worldwide feudalism, and create tribute-free zones that are unbeholden to corporations or to government. A new relationship with land, akin to how the Native Americans saw it : a sacred trust, with every creature and growth upon it connected in some way to our luck, to be held in extended families generation after generation so it is well cared for as a home and not treated as a commodity on the open market (all characteristics of odal land.) Those stewards who actually care for the land and intend to do so for the generations to come and not just for their short-term profit must be seen as the true and only kind of nobility (Athelings). This king must never lord it over others but be merely the leader of the assemblies of sacred liberated zones (odal). The idea is then to free up tiny zone after tiny zone and link them. While the spiritual prophet (Svipdag) helps restore our relationship to the true fertility of Love and Joy, which will eventually renew us, but whose journey through frost is hard and takes a long time, on the material level we are liberated by greening little plot by little plot (a gardeners revolution : Groa), every restored area of organic permaculture a little victory. Together these form a unified spiritual-material strategy.

Proceeding square foot by square foot if necessary, we can plant flowers that are nourishing to bees. Even people with apartment balconies can plant such flowers to help the bees. We can make sure we garden organically, because pesticides are not only killing us with outrageous rates of cancer, but the bees as well. As cell phone and microwave radiation may be implicated in bee die-off, we can shield our gardens with various materials, including constructing faraday cages near or around the gardens, if need be. We have already spoken on this blog about the nature-preserves that were traditional on the property of our Indo-European ancestors ; setting aside a part of your yard or balcony as a bee-refuge would be a way to invoke the rune Algiz, or sacred protection, in a very concrete way.

The myth also suggests we must be careful about too much separation and hatred between our spirit of spiritual quest (Svipdag) and true material-political leaders actually working hard, but inching step by inching step, to restore fertility and freedom on the practical level (Halfdan). The former is likely to get impatient and furious with the latter. The latter is likely to fetter the former, try to hold the seeking spirit of inspiration back (Halfdan tying up Svipdag in Fetters' Grove). This is disastrous, and the material leaders must always strive to respect the spiritual leaders, otherwise the search for revenge may distract and deflect from the true task. Vengeance must be surrendered on the altar of love, joy, and fertility, which is what it is all about.


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