Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Conspiracy With The Gods

From a certain standpoint, heathenism is a conspiracy with Gods who have been partially exiled from the world by encroaching, invading spiritual forces of corruption, deception, illusion, and seduction, and aligning oneself with them in order to retake the world. The importance of deeds, then, is that they represent sheriff-actions of foreclosure of parts of the world declared by the seizer to be forfeited to the robbing powers, and reclaimed as the property of the Gods. (Not in the name of some Gods-awful theocracy, but for soul, and therefore soul's Guardians!) You declare your deeds to the Gods as a way of saying, look, I've been able to seize back this much more of the world to you, and I render it into the divine hoard to fund greater expansion of divinity into the world. You declare your deeds to your fellows to inspire and encourage them that it is possible to take back zones of soul, and to goad them on to similar spiritual audacity. We do not want an impotent, limp spirituality that is the consoling of defeated spirits, but spirituality that awakens and takes on the world itself as its field of activity. If this seems revolutionary, it should! Spirituality should represent a massive activation, and a suppressing and even ridiculing (all in good humor and with good intentions) of passivity. It is moralization against demoralization.

I wonder how many people would like heathenism if they saw it as a political contract uniting families and clans into a tribal commonwealth, overseen and guaranteed by sacred oaths to the divine, and that agreeing to those divines is affirmation of the oathed commonwealth. In other words, that what we call religion and politics are inextricably intertwined, not theocratically, but on the contrary, religion supporting the democratic process of the commonwealth (or innangards) in its relations to the larger world, so that the republics of earth become intertwined with the republic of heaven in one common destiny. Here there is both center and circumference, in an eddying toroidal vortex that blends and interweaves the best of both worlds.

Breathe. We take our breath from Odin's lungs, and when we breathe together, conspiring with the Gods, we may transform this prima materia into a hostel which welcomes the divine presences, an earth replete with numinosity and ideal, and increasingly closed off from the barren and cold. Such a breath is a prayer.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Not An Archipelago, But A Globe

Heimdall represents the dawning of that living fire of awareness in humanity that stands before its powers and potentialities, and brings craft to stand as a means of realizing this potential.

Heimdall's coming thus represented the catalysis of the next stage in human development, and thus a divine mandate that man at the beginning, in his embryo, is necessary but not sufficient. The isolated homestead, cut off from full relationship with the outside world, from abundance, and therefore from liberality, which is the quintessence of humanity, is nothing but the pigsty of a thrall : drudgery divorced from genius, stunted deformity shrinking from full development of gifts and talents. Nobility is the potential developed essence of all humanity ; Rigsthula is a genealogy of types, not of "races", utilizing kinship, as all cognition at the tribal level does, as a metaphor. The installed nobility is a vanguard put in place through the merit of its passionate dedication to transcending parochiality of personhood and association, into larger fruition and collective blossoming. The ambassadorial function of nobility, in its liberality of spirit and hospitality, is an image of where we may rise. Through this, we become political, rather than parochial, animals. But if the speciation of humanity that merely functions as a metaphor for an evolutionary typology becomes translated into literal caste-and-class divisions, then humanity becomes divided from itself, and thus by definition, frith is impossible.

Heimdall-Scef's inauguration of the Neolithic utopian village thus looks beyond the Neolithic, with the Neolithic as a crude approximation in stone and straw of a divine image etched in silver and gold. We ought not mistake the first approximation as the finale itself. It is a telos-in-modelization, according to best conceptualizations and material capacities of the time, and turning that into idolatry, all too prevalent, is only ultimately prevented by the contradictions in the system which drive it on to transcend itself. In that tutelage-period where humanity has yet to collectively blossom its nobility, and thus is divided against itself into classes, the process of evolution may be hindered and slowed by the privatizing forces of greed, which incapable of ambassadorial genius and liberality of spirit, tend towards hoarding and competition rather than expanding community and public spirit.

Heimdall comes to inaugurate the republic, the wide sphere of the public realm as an arena for human expression and development. This vision of public life, tied together by gifts, is grander than the narrow, privatized view of human potential, enabling a "we" rather than a "me first" which leads to a "me only". In the wake of greed follows narrowness, pestilence, and war, engendered by self-deception. (Gullveig-Angrboda, and her children Jormungand, Hela-Leikin, and Fenris, engendered by Loki. Why is Jormungand the first to emerge? Because the image of a snake squeezing to death its prey in its coils is the perfect expression of the narrow, constrictive vision of life which begins manifesting in reality once greed becomes empowered. From such a narrowness, the loss of cooperative production which would lead to abundance, is replaced by a dearth that eventually results in famine and in its wake, plague, the twin purviews of his sister, Hela-Leikin. Ravenous war, the domain of Fenris, is merely the culmination of this.)

Of course, the privatized mind, alienated from its larger human potential, sees the extension of the public sphere as an encroaching, threatening alien power, and through this sorcery whereby the mind is turned against its own powers, the war of all against all, manifested on the economic level by the replacement of cooperation by competition, is inaugurated. The enthrallment of the pigsty to make it serve the polis, and work its way up to earldom with its international hospitality, is seen with nightmare-hysterical eyes as a terrible violation of its private essence. Because greed has captured the mind, it is unable to imagine freedom outside this limited, quarantined sphere. The reach of the divine to awaken larger munificence (envisioned both materially and spiritually) is experienced as the invasion of a hostile power to be resisted. Thus thralls approach the coming of Heimdall with suspicion and behind closed doors. Thralls are from this standpoint akin to cyclops that have been made to serve the unfolding of the further development of humanity, having refused to voluntarily participate in that development themselves. In the Greek conception, cyclops were cave-dwellers, confined by their narrow conception of kinship, to competition and cannibalism, and thus were the cognate of many of our giants. A thrall has become more like a giant than a human being, but remains, despite the refusal, a child of Heimdall.

Is the "leave me alone" of "live and let live" the best we can imagine? It may be a minimum, but are we content as bold ones to confine ourselves to such meagerness? "Don't tread on me" is the slogan of snakes! Are we snakes? The vision of freedom as isolation is paltry, and lacks the boldness of blossoming inherent in the word freedom. A pantheon is about bringing energies together, in a higher place and level of organization. If we imagine that freedom is never possible in social unity and alliance, but only in being scattered, do we not implicitly invoke a vision of the Gods as separated and potentially at odds with each other if they came together? How might we then explain their strong unity, their high centralism, their very city in the stars itself? What is our true vision? Do we, as warriors, fear the clashes that might be necessary to establish unity? Do we fear and shrink before that foundational struggle? No one likes to be told what to do, least of all a heathen. Will you thereby wall yourself off from all that is bold and inspiring? Will you shun battles because they might at times involve subordination? Or do you have a stronger vision of freedom, one that can shackle itself for a time to larger vision which will release it when mature to greater liberties yet?

The utopian Neolithic village-community, endowed with redistributive laws of equity, and shepherded from its parochial centrifugality by an ambassadorial class (which represents the vanguard at the point of progress) which opens it out onto international connections (remembering that when Odin inaugurated a city, Maeringaborg, during his exile in Mannheim, it was, as the Nibelungenleid explicitly indicates, a cosmopolitan, international city), becomes the seed-form given by the Gods through Heimdall with which human beings may envision and develop their potentials. The village-community, it must be emphasized, through its ambassadorial class, imagined as a polis, as a broader-than-narrowness. The very institution of the viking as the initiation rite of young men, however it may have degenerated at times into mere piracy, is, as a project of going out into the world to explore its many customs and peoples, a testament to the internationalist flavor of maturity cultivated ambassadorially by this original vision. It may, and ought, be noted that an acorn is not an oak, and the sheafs of grain Scef brought were not the grainfields themselves. A seed contains the potentiality of its maturity, but transformatively, not in the vulgar literality of its diminutive form. No, it must fold out onto the world, taking the world up into itself, and expand, in order to grow and become what it may be. Thus, the utopian village-community, while an imperfect modelization, contains within it the vital hints necessary to blossom. This takes an act of imagination (a faculty empowered and encouraged by the song-smiths) rather than mere mechanical expansion. All of this richness Heimdall has offered us.

Why Heimdall? As the bringer of the sacred hearth-fire, Heimdall fosters that alchemy of expanding awareness that begins in the home but moves out in increasing concentric ripples. Fire is an activator, a bringer of light, an alchemical catalyst. The ancients imagined the fire's smoke carrying up their contemplations and inquiries to the realm of the Gods. (We need not imagine in this that they were literalists, but deeply imaginative philosophers who saw the analogies of reason inherent in nature.) In this way, particular concerns and thoughts are universalized, through that philosophic attention for which Heimdall, as the watcher, the witness, is known. As the guardian of the gates to the Gods, he wards over the passage from particularity to universality and back. Man from the standpoint of Asgard is something grander than man trapped in narrow travails and troubles ; prayer becomes a way of elevating concerns, through poetic imagination and songsmith, to a more universal level, a way of viewing the valley from the mountain. Prayer, which is nothing more nor less than this imaginative contemplation whereby we expand ourselves towards greater cosmological perspective, allowing that transcendence to fructify our immanence and particularity even as our locality and earthiness offers the transcendent divine a form and temple in which to dwell, is a power that brings us up from the tangles and brambles at the trunk, to the very height of the Tree, and from there, below to its roots. Through prayer we activate our larger human gifts, turning on the technology, as it were, through which the divine acts to realize itself through us in this world. Prayer, explicitly tracing the leaves and branches back to the trunk, and thus caressing the web of wyrd, reveals that "no man is an island", and that islandhood, therefore, is an insufficient image to encompass humanity. Humanity is not an archipelago, but, at its height, a globe unto itself, inasmuch as it recapitulates nature and harmonizes therein. Stop pretending you are less than you are ; stop believing excuses for such pretenses. The Gods call us out into our full being, both individual and collective, neither of which can be fulfilled except through each other.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Blushing before Baldur

Everyone blushes a bit at mention of Baldr, because even in the presence of his name, which alone carries the reputation (let alone his strong and bold and shining presence itself), living in an age of shame, one's best deeds themselves seem to shrink from what suddenly and obviously seems possible, what to say of those times one acquiesced to the worst ... It is not that Baldur holds us to an impossible ideal, for then he would be cruel to an incapable being, no, it is far worse than that. It is that in the presence even of his name we remember, at first dimly, and then ever more clearly, how sold down the river our own sense of possibility has become, and how much more we could be, not only for ourselves, but for the world, if we would dare to believe in the good inside of us and all things, and defend that for the treasure it is. Baldur defends that gold, the true gold, that treasure-ore that held up to the warmth of the sun, in truth and light, may slowly, gradually, beautifully shed its slag and come into its own ; and in his time here, held his sword high against any who would tarnish this process. Instead he escorted the gradual, steady, forward-looking and daring untarnishing of world, its progressive unfolding and blossoming into its treasure-nature. In his presence we feel, my God (O Bright and Boldest God!), how cravenly I have been before the world's cynicism, how far I have bowed before the idols of moral cowardice, because all that is commonly declared impossible in the human soul is, gasp and weep and pull oneself up to see, normal. It at least once was in the presence of such bravery, which boldened one, encouraging and coaxing one to dare the deep goodness within self and world, and raise the sword to match that high bar. So naturally, in the face of such uncommon confidence, such realized goodness never doubting, one feels some chagrin, even for whatever good one has eked.

But that feeling does not last long, because there is a gusto, not unlike his brother Thor's, but with a milder, even more grounded nature, that manifests as deep friendliness, a kindness that is anything but weak, that dispels shame as something untoward which prevents the will from better tending the good. Baldur is a friend for whom our excuses and hidings from our full potential, even in shame, mean little, for suddenly in that friendly glow, that knightly and powerful presence, all of the doubts and incriminations begin to melt before the inner sun glowing in everything, and one realizes, the sun in the sky (beloved Sol) is there to awaken that light within, and all one's power given up to fear is power wasted. How good it feels to rise up like a man (or woman), on one's feet, no longer craven, and come to one's full height, rather than negotiate the bogs with fools and cowards. Set the standard high, and dare it, and see how the common denominator may raise, however slowly, however asking for chivalrous sacrifice, in time. An embarrassment that is no more than the light reaching the shadows and dispelling cobwebs, he gently patiences, with a beautiful strength of benevolence in the face of newer resolve against the fallen lies of the world. Restored to that vision of could-be which is actually our original mandate, forgiveness follows the intent to set it right. For all ill is grounded ultimately in fear, which in a dangerous world of peril and opportunity may be understandable, but cowardice is the will bowing itself before fear as an idol, and that is beneath us, and to turn oneself into something less than one can be out of secret pledging to cowardice is a sin, a sin of senseless nonsense whose strength fades in the presence of Baldur. Such sin is simply unimportant before the light. Tend the light instead, Baldur says.

Cowards whisper slanders against Baldur, having betrayed their own inner grandeur, and caved to the petty and ugly aroused in this world, projecting their own weakness, hiding beneath a thin veil of grizzled bravado, onto him. But it must be remembered that in his day, a glance of his eyes was enough to ward off wolves, for in those mirrors, their own cowardice was unbearable before such light. And he was beloved, however begrudgingly, even amongst giants, for however grudging, even they could not deny that he never abused his power, always gave due what due was owed, his judgements fair and wise beyond reckoning, reminding the soul of more in that moment of judgement, which was itself spur and forgiveness all in one. His clemency was strong, a trait even the lowly were forced to admire. Not a hint of weakness. All things asked willingly gave themselves over to his protection, as they knew, from long memory, he had protected them.

Shed that cynicism like a snakeskin (ah, the coiling surface of Laufeysson's kin!), and simply let the self-scourge drop : there is more important work to do. There is light to be fostered in the world. Are you man enough? Are you strong enough? Are you brave enough? Take Baldur to heart, and you will be. You will be.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Getting Your Good From Passed Love

I want to encourage a little more rigor in the evaluation of passed relationships. It is mental and emotional laziness to focus solely on the sour, and to fail to adequately appreciate and assimilate the lessons we were gifted in the relationship. The Gods put us in situations which provide opportunities for growth and learning, and relationships are not to be evaluated in terms of their pleasures alone, but often in terms of the productivity gained by their challenges. That a relationship has proven unsustainable does not mean it was unproductive. It is likely the other person stretched you in new ways, and gave you eyes to see things in a way you never did before. If not, the fault may often lie in the mirror more than in the other.

If time with a person helped you to grow, if a genuine giving happened, gratitude is appropriate. You should honor one who has helped your growth, even if it was at times through difficult testing.

We go way too easy on ourselves in these regards, letting our duty slip, and our associates, steeped in the disposable culture, are accomplices cheering on our emotional laziness, as we are encouraged to "leave it all behind", that hallmark of American denial. Leave it all behind? That is no heathen value! Rather, we honor the past, and draw out its genuine fruits to weave them into the blossoming of the present!

I say this less to excoriate and more to bolster and edify, for when we are lazy, we do ourselves a disservice. Be fair in your evaluations and judgements. That is all Baldur requires, but it is required, and is a high bar to match. Do your bitching and whining and tantruming in the company of friends or in your own privacy, get it out of your system, then gird yourself up, pull up your suspenders, and take a hard look. Put aside the "Screw her/him" reflex for a moment and perform an inner inventory of what you have gained over the course of your relationship. What did that person add to your life? We know there was plenty of material for manuring as well, but that is not the focus of this self-searching. You're looking over a particular period of your life with the object of appreciating your wyrd, grasping the lessons and strengthenings that, intentionally or not, you received. Be honest, because you're cataloging your store of resources, and you will want to make sure you continue to nourish and invest in those resources, to make good on the gains you got for your troubles. To fail to do so is to insult self, ex-lover, the Gods, and the Norns. Not a very prudent move. (No, not with shades of some kind of supernatural punishment, but the allowing of the natural consequences of self impoverishment.)

Be fair, and give acknowledgement where due. Gripes have a way of accumulating and burying the good : excavate. You'll be surprised at what you uncover and had forgotten. Sure, it might be hard work. You might have to go through a whole range of emotions and reactions. Work it through. Let your soul process what has happened, and draw gain from hard lessons and free gifts.

If the relationship wasn't completely abusive (in which case it is appropriate to keep them outside your law), see if in time a friendship can be salvaged. Don't be swayed by the easy maxims of the disappointed and lazy who say, "It can't be done". Do your determined, persistent investigation before you come to that conclusion. In time, past lovers can make great friends. Get over the sting and the bite, and they may prove themselves tried and true. Romance may not ultimately have been the reason for drawing you together. A different kind of fruit, more mild perhaps but still sweet, may come of it. Why turn down potential fruit? A heathen dares the difficult, and looks the impossible in the eye and stares it down, with faith in Gods who know "it is only a matter of time, skill, and wits" until all giants are ground down on the mill and made to serve some useful purpose.

Live and love in that spirit.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Families? Or Tribes?

I hate to burst anyone's bubble in nuclear family-worshipping America, but the family is not the primary social organization of Homo Sapiens. It is, rather, the band, and the tribe. In other words, Aristotle was right : man is the political animal, the animal that lives in the polis, the level of social organization that transcends the family and which requires complex interaction of people from different lineages.

This is really important to emphasize, because first of all, it represents actual social organization amongst our ancestors and everyone else on the planet, with the extended family clan-band, organized into local, clan-interacting tribes ; and secondly, and far more relevantly, because it was the fascists in the last century who were the big "family values" folks, with the Christian Right following closely in their footsteps.

No, I'm not telling you to hate your mother and father. Au contraire. Your mother and father are links in much wider chains. Pick up a textbook, for example, on Australian Aboriginal kin terminology, and realize that complexity in social organization is the particular genius of humanity, as humanity. Looked at in this anthropological way, Aristotle was correct, at one level, even though the "polis" as a literal burg or town is not the only way of creating this trans-family organization. The polis was, in many ways, an advance over agrarian ways of life, which for all their idylls, had many disadvantages. Anyone who has studied the agricultural revolution and the dislocations and cripplings this created for humanity, in addition to its advances, understands this, as important human elements lifted up into expression by the hunting-gathering way of life were left behind for more settled ways. Anyone who is not familiar with these studies had better come up to speed : let's get with it, folks! Mannaz is a critical rune, so catch yourself up with what scientific anthropology has discovered and compiled about our species. Moreover, the contradiction of agrarianism, with its settled mentality, stifles one of the most important energies relative to our spirituality : wod. In fact, many anthropologists believe that the pastoralist way of life was subsequent to agriculture, as a reaction to its oversettled ways, as people packed up with a few goats or sheep and allowed themselves to wander again. (Pastoralism also has its own contradictions. There is Fire and Ice in everything, and the key is to find the right balance.)

The disadvantages of the agricultural revolution are important to understand, because it is that revolution that ultimately generated the dynamic between the cities and the countryside, because cities are, in part, places that people flock to to escape from the boredom and dulling of their human potential to be found out on the farm and in plantations. (It's far more complex than this, and, I want to make this clear, farm life has a great deal to offer, particularly when a native nobility provides a microequivalent of some of the cultural advantages of the polis in their courts and halls.) Slavery is primarily a feature of agricultural peoples.

Any time the vast complexity of human potential is blunted by a social system, that social system is ultimately headed for revolution of some kind, even if that takes thousands of years, because there is an evolutionary imperative to developing all the gifts the Gods gave us. While it may be true that the Australian Aboriginals refined and developed our particular human talent for social complexity to a savant pitch, there is no doubt that the genius is common to us all. There is a yearning inside humans to reach out to their potential. This is why isolated family farms, cut off ages ago from larger tribal connections, will not satisfy everything in everyone, and why they will produce movement towards cultural centers where the possibilities for interaction are much greater. Tribal forms can provide many of these satisfactions without the need for literal cities, but the interactions and the satisfactions they provide must be present.

It may seem obvious to common sense that families are the basic unit from which the species reproduce and from which we have emerged, but reality is often counterintuitive to our common sense. In fact, a study of our closest biological relatives, the primates, indicates that reproduction happens within the context of the band, with male-female bonding a relatively transitory phenomenon, perhaps becoming perennial in some instances. The family as a coherent male-female pair with children exclusive to them is an emergence out of this matrix. The family is, therefore, not primary, but subtractive from the primary social matrix. We can see, therefore, that there is nothing wrong with families, as they provide certain kinds of satisfaction we enjoy, so long as they are not cut off from the larger band and tribal organizations.

This is evident in "home schooling", which has many perks to recommend it, but one of its drawbacks has often been an impoverishment of social contact amongst people so raised. (Not to mention that, let's face it, so much of this movement has simply become a way for regressive Christian Rights to resist coming into the 20th century : yes, I said the "20th" century, because they are a far distance from the 21st. Public schools, for all their imperialist indoctrination, and yes, that needs to be resisted, at least teach people the basic facts of modern life, and, more importantly, they provide (however messed up these may be at times) significant social contacts.) Don't think so? Talk to people who were raised in home schooling and then went to a real school, and what it's like to actually have friendship circles now, and how goddamned stifling a confining family life can be. (Readers familiar with my style will understand how dialectical I am, and that I push provocation to overcome rigid thinking at the same time the core legitimacy is affirmed ; I support home schooling, conditionally, and find it has many interesting possibilities to offer. Many succeed, although many don't, in overcoming these contradictions.)

If Aristotle is right --- and he is, albeit modified from an ethnological level, which shifts the terrain to kinship complexity, and corrected of its citystate-imperialism --- then emphasizing the family is just not going to do it, because, a) the human spirit reaches beyond this level of organization to something more complex, interesting, and satisfying, and b) it is not the evolutionary unit of human survival, and thus does not satisfy the requirements for social cohesion necessary to sustain us over eons of time.

Thus, it is the extended family (ie., the clan or kindred) and the theod which should be emphasized. No, and with all due respects to the lofty formality of the theodists, the theod doesn't need to be organized as an Anglo-Saxon tribal kingship, but a social contract of some kind between extended families is the idea. And, let's get more real : a theod is simply an organization corresponding to people who share the same language, and thus, it expands out to embrace the nation itself. (No, for Gods' sakes, I am not encouraging nationalism, but inter-national indigenism that takes up the human potential developed in the primal matrix and attempts to raise it to higher levels, without distorting its proportionality. So far, "civilization" has produced lopsided images ; which doesn't mean it won't, with some intelligence and democratic input, eventually succeed in raising things to a much higher level, in a way that corresponds to our innermost potential, and which doesn't distort the innate proportionalities of that potential.)

Put concretely : question your neolocal-supremacism. Look at Mexican families, for example, where children and grandchildren often live under the same roof as their parents, along with aunts and uncles. Those households are extended family households. In a certain sense, they are a collection of families as we understand them in the nuclear sense. And they offer many advantages. So : do you make fun of people who live with their parents, who live with their grandparents? Do you support and understand those who choose to affirm the extended family system, or do you automatically assume there is something wrong with those who do not choose neolocalism (the anthropological word for the situation -- a minority-choice in the history of humanity, by the way -- when people leave their parents' homes to go live on their own)?

Mannaz : the ways of humanity. They are complex, but ultimately satisfying to learn and to fulfill.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

On Wizards

A wizard goes beneath and beyond. A wizard has penetrating sight, and sees through. A wizard assimilates and grasps learning(s) at a much deeper and less literal level than most. A wizard is comfortable with contradictions and riddles.

For these reasons, most people can't trust or understand wizards. They are strange to them. They may love them, if they feel their benefit, but they don't essentially "get" them. A wizard remains inscrutable.

It is a different kind of path, one that trusts dreams, one that reads at the dream level and thus experiences texts at a richer depth and breadth. Part scholar, part philosopher, part naturalist, part oneiromancer, part riddler, part poet, part necromancer, and part conjurer, they ponder, they posit, they interconnect their intuition and their intellect, coming to trust the wisdom of the former and the brilliant intensity of the latter, and the rich intergrowth between them. A wizard lingers after dreams in the dark and coming light, pausing before the day's demands to let the wisdom of dreams have at least its half-sway. The wizard has less certain knowledge than illuminating puzzles in which a deepening confidence develops, akin to knowledge. In fact, it is a kind of knowledge. A wizard often pores through books, surrounded by them, even immersed in them. Books layer the complexity, giving the mind grasping-points from which to bring up insights from the depth into articulation.

Most people who get involved in a belief system expect loyalty to it at its literal level, for that is what they grasp. A wizard grasps its wisdom and thus can enter into it with passion and erudition, and yet never be fully "of" it. Wizards have this mercurial quality of betweenness. They are thus suspect to those caught in literality and particularly superficiality. Their betweenness gives them a liminal quality that can evoke projection on the part of others regarding all their fears of liminal spaces, including traumas that have occurred in this space. The wizard must carefully sidestep these inevitable projections, never identify with them (ie be caught or caught up in their spell), and instead, allow each person to dispel their own bad enchantments in time. Needless to say, a wizard must aim at the highest integrity, willing even ascesis in its service, but all along with the savvy to remember that "no good deed goes unpunished", in the sense that that which people do not understand, they fear, and that which they fear, they actually misunderstand.

The wizard fails to conform not out of rebellion but out of a deeper loyalty and service to holy powers generally unrecognized, and as such, simply can't be bothered with much of the ordinary drivel. A wizard must be willing to intellectually explore dangerous places to gain knowledge. This "Faustian" imperative is balanced by its loyalty to the deep that keeps it attuned, rather than seeking the vainglory or manipulation of the surface-world. A wizard is a free thinker and a free spirit, whose thoughts can go anywhere, wandering the universe with the mind, even descending into the dark dales beneath the mountains to retrieve the mead absconded by monsters. The search is for wisdom, whose wells of bright, deep sadness refresh the world, and the wizard seeks to refresh the world through such conjuring.

Because of all this, the wizard must declare allegiance to powers deeper than those acknowledged by the usual loyalty-politics, which the wizard, however sympathetic, stands outside of. A good folk recognizes, however it may spook them, that a wizard serves deeper imperatives, and stand aside, out of the wizard's way, letting the work be done, glad when they can get benefit. But much is obvious to the wizard's eye that is not to the ordinary, and the wizard ought become accustomed to the bafflement and misunderstanding that will often result. Some will confuse the wizard, because of the conjuring, with wizardry's close counterfeit, the con artist. Sometimes there seems but a hair's difference, but the wizard is always in service, to something awesome and wise, that is sought for benefit, for general refreshment, while the con man is only in service to himself, utilizing illusions not to riddle and illuminate, but to manipulate. The wizard uses tricks as devices to evoke deeper truths (and sometimes to evade the dangerous projections and prejudices of the uninitiated), not to defraud. The integrity a wizard represents is mandatory, even if it is an inscrutable one, even if at times it partakes of the tricksterish.

A wizard can hold positions that seem contradictory but are not because the wizard either knows their deeper connection, or trusts it will unfold with time and further investigation. This trust of hunches, though not infallible, becomes a good guide for the wizard. The wizard because of all this is transideological, transcultural, transsystematic, and this slipping in and slipping out quality of transcendence can be quite unnerving to those secure in one worldview and paradigm alone. The wizard juggles paradigms at will.

A wizard gives strength to what serves life, to the degree and for the time that it does serve life, and thus may have many irons in the fire and several horses in the race. Many partial systems bring out truths more whole than they can fathom, and thus are useful (in the beneficial sense) articulators and movers.

Only a culture that has a word, unweird, which means unlucky, as the Anglo Saxons did, can fully understand and appreciate the importance and significance of having wizards, who are riddlers, shamans, poets, mystics, druids, and philosophers all mixed into one, without entirely being any of them. A wizard is very special, but a wizardless culture might not know it.

Wizards are likely to be characters, slightly eccentric, erudite, arcane, baffling, good natured with a strange edge of the sinister, which is simply the echo of the peril the wizard risks for knowledge, perhaps with a dash of the curmudgeonly or crabby, yet generous, filled with good will, and a genuine, careful, non-naive love for all creatures in their special faults.

What good is a wizard, you may ask? Someday you might have the joy of knowing that, if you build milieu welcoming to them. When you grow that flower, the wizards will come to taste the nectar, and your culture will then feel rich, flavored, grounded, and suffuse with the magic of the ordinary, whereby the miraculous beauty hidden in all things unfolds its grey garments in exquisite indulgence for all to see. Then the spirits will dance, the spirits in trees and rocks and meadows, and the ordinary at last will achieve its fitting synthesis with the extraordinary. This could be yours.

See also this on wizards.