Thursday, August 30, 2012
Into the Shadow
Woe-worker, doer of ill, shadow-caster, traitor they call him. Abuse is the name by which he is known. In the guise of wretched faces, the monsters' own, he under cover bows beneath the yoke of doom and stone to seek the mead. Sulfur all-surrounding his nostrils, he only sniffs the rising honey-spice, cider of the flowers, the air is sweet. He dares the darkness boldly others shy in haught recoil, for he is drawn, missing puzzle-pieces truth exploded in dawn-drear times of broken ice, to know. To know is precious as beauty ; a torch in darkness flicker-cloaks beloved in her naked gown of light. He seeks for her the every hidden spark. And he would drink beneath the billows, softest splash of rippled wave, with her.
A God who shrinks not before the cry of "Devil!" when precious poetry is at stake. Riddles where eyes cannot see and wyrms of flame in peril lurk entice him downwards ; he would know, he would taste, he would toast the world entire with contraband restored to public treasury. Where there is evil, he redeems the drink of light, and leaves the shadow-troglodytes to their wretched fate. Although they too will call him a ghoul abroad in the land, beneath his dignity and position to so descend, he shall descend, and then ascend with wings the wonder-verses lend! For shadow oft entraps the light, and fear surrounds the treasure. There the bold one, unconcerned with superficial rumor, long used to loneliness of righteous rule, will dirty hands as needed so to pluck the lotus-flower root from muck.
And would we love him? And would we call him our own? Then would we flatter with mimicry, wizard-chasing truths through cloudy flames and unseen fears? The wizard falls to rise again, a newer torch in hand, that flicker-flirt enchants the toasting halls with mirth of awe. The beauty hidden in the filth and coal. The precious jewel that none retrieved for fear of seeming sinful. They, the faithless, thought him one with woe-workers! But when the mead was safe, he off-cast ghoulish guise, and let the demons chase the falling mask in torment! Unsullied, there was laughter in the halls, suspense relieved and faith restored. And that was celebration never better earned! We cross the lines, and risk the edge of treason, down in darkness, all to escort wine of wished-for eloquence back home! A wise one welcomes solitude and revile, if it revives the baby from the filthy wash, even innocence none suspected, guised in ash. Those who know, know treason is a ruse, and treasure shall return in hands once blackened.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Praise Be to Kin for Loved Ones!
Magic and Genuine Need
The basis of magic is communism. In magic, you give all you are capable of, so that you nourish, fund, cherish, and devote yourself to the gift-cycle that is this amazing universe with all of your heart and soul, and in return, you receive what you need. Not everything you "want", but what you genuinely, in your heart and soul, need, which may differ narrowly or widely from what you want. The gift-cycle of the universe is not about feeding your excess, but your enoughness. And that enoughness is plenty indeed. "Plenty" is a good word, because it carries the sense of enoughness at the same time that it carries a sense of abundance, but not overabundance or excess.
In the first world, those above the very poorest classes have gotten so used to living off the proceeds of the plunder of the rest of the world that we have become akin to giants in some sense, in a metaphysical sense if you will, whereby we feel entitled to excess, and everything we lay our eyes upon we feel we deserve, and often we will transfer this sense of entitlement to excess to the universe at large, and when these spells or prayers do not come to fruition, we sour to the notion that magic may be real.
But magic is about feeding genuine need, that which you need the most in life, not in enabling a sense of entitlement to excess. This should not be mistaken for a "bare bones" approach that discludes needs for cultural enrichment and even a fair and just proportion of luxury goods so long as they are serving one's development, because fruition is a genuine need. Whatever is needed for fruition is an investment, and there the gift may flow so that more gifts may sprout and blossom.
I have said before that the requirement of sacrifice is the prerequisite for people trained in stinginess and scathed by the fear of scarcity to re-enter the gift cycle. It is not a "cost", and it is not "payment" for gifts. What it is is a sign of dedication and devotion to the gift-cycle at large, by nourishing, funding, cherishing, and devoting oneself to it, and this devotion is both sacred, and very real. It is real in the sense that it asks for material, actual oblations, so that one's life becomes part of the world's blossoming-process.
In a sense, when one's existential activity in the world implicitly declares one's commitment to the world of scarcity and stinginess, it is as if one has made a legal declaration that one does not need the world of the gift, regardless of what one's lips are flapping, and the world of the gift, courteous and gracious, may respond accordingly.
We don't get everything we want, and we don't need to get everything we want. This is why we do not get everything we want, because if we did, it would work against our need, and the communism of the magical universe has been set up by the Gods to observe the principle of "from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs".
Now we damn well know that this principle does not at present function sociologically in the real-world economic systems of humanity, except in those rare exceptions where the aboriginal clan-communism systems (what I have before called "odalism") still manages to limp onwards. But this does not mean that it does not function in the magical cosmos at large. The Gnostics often spoke of a rift whereby the earth-world got out of synch with the larger patterns, and even astrological systems, to account for the movement of the equinoxes proposed an arrhythmia that had developed between the realms of heaven and the realms of earth. In Chinese, early Christian, Zoroastrian, and many other systems, there was an explicit philosophy developed and spoken of that spoke to aligning heaven and earth. To be more in keeping with our heathen spirit of pragmatism, we might modify the principle to read, "to adapt heaven to earth, and earth to heaven", understanding that the differences between the larger realm of the Gods (who, let there be no mistake here, also have immanent extensions right here in the weft of this world) and our own realm are not absolute separations, but creative thresholds where we can adapt to each other in a larger dance.
The Gift reads what is in your heart. It discerns belief. We must restore the sense of this term from its modern connotation of "irrational clinging to the counterfactual" to the more ancient one of "being in love with" (be-love), and therefore loyal to. Where do we put our faith? Do we put our faith in scarcity and stinginess? Granted, this material, sociological world overwhelmingly works according to these principles now, and has since the Roman Empire and the empires before it conquered the world with their imperialistic principles ; and so, we may need to do what we need to do to survive, but do we fall in love with such ways? Do we declare our loyalty and allegiance? Where is our heart? The Gift will know. The Gods read the belief in our actions, as the heart declares itself in deeds.
In contrast to the Gift, what is trade? Trade is gift coerced upon the stingy, upon those who will not affirm the relationship and its bounty, but instead are content to take. Trade demands, you give back. It is a natural response to those who remain strangers to the abundant goodwill of the gift-giving relationship, but it must be noted that in the process, it warps and distorts the gift, because while trade seems to involve a noble egalitarian principle of equal gift for equal gift (under the constraints of, if you don't give, I won't), it limits the gushing flow of the heart under the dictatorship of quid pro quo, which has a tendency (and even purpose, actually) of extinguishing the gift-relationship and maintaining separation. This maintenance of separation keeps the hearts from touching at that level of frith which makes for beauty and true blossom, and thus diminishes the gift-relationship. Instead, it enshrines estrangement, transforming those who practice it into strangers to each other who must always observe quid pro quo, under suspicion of exploitation. And let's be honest : the Serpent, coiled upon its hoard, has squeezed that hoard out by constricting and squeezing out as much exploitation as it could out of honest folk : the usury of the wyrm has overturned the gift with exploitation and tribute ; and where the wyrm is, his brother the wolf is not far behind, war backing wealth-ill-gotten. And where the wolf is, Famine, Disease, Bone-Gnawing Poverty, the dinner utensils of Laufeysson's daughter, are not far behind either. So the fear of exploitation is a real one, but the defense mechanism against it -- quid pro quo -- will not restore the gift. A shield is a good tool with which to protect oneself, but it does not make for a feast.
When we draw into frith, when we draw into mutual relationship based on blending mind and heart, and through the development of that rich, deep, affectionate friendship so extolled in the North, find ourselves in trust, then gifts flow freely, and in fact, gift-giving becomes one of the material, ritual ways of affirming that trust, affection, and friendship. Gift-giving, as opposed to trade, affirms the frith of the world, rather than funding its estrangement. Gift-giving is therefore part and parcel of affirming and restoring peace to the world.
Contrary to accountants' projections, the universe does not work according to quid pro quo. Its flows are far too complex and nonlinear for that. In the give and take, ebb and flow of life, in its wonderfully cyclic and polyrhythmic syncopation and overlapping galloping and folding of energetic dynamics, "equality" as such is elusive. In one moment, one feels like giving greatly. In another moment, one's flow is low, and the tide gives accordingly. There are tides in life. The Gift is all that complexity that links ebbings and flowings in such a way that the tides feed each other to fund the proliferation of fruition.
This does not mean that inventories ought not be kept, as they are essential to tending and nurturing resources. What it does mean is that equality as such, in the strict sense, does not always govern our heart, and this is not because our heart is inegalitarian, but because the egalitarianism of the heart is not about strict, mathematical equality, but the equity of the differential tides over time. This is what anthropologists call "generalized reciprocity", which instead of making things equal out at each transaction, involve instead a sense of "things balancing out over time". Let the accountants attune their equations to that larger sense of balance, and economics will begin to make human sense again.
The beautiful harmony and balance of the realm of the Gods, of Asgard in its heavenly majesty, may never fully characterize this more turbulent world of ours, but that does not mean that we cannot strive to align our wonderfully imperfect world with the larger flows, and thus enter in to the greater gift-cycle. One might suggest that, all its distortions aside, this has ever been the purpose of true religion. To honestly ask, to honestly give, according to the fullness of one's tides, to meet need as one can where one finds it, and to humbly and with dignity declare one's needs to the larger gift, opening one's heart beyond one's fear and scarcity-anxiety to the larger horizons of the gift's breadth : this is the faith and the discipline whereby we enter in to the gold-hating glory of the Gods' gift-cycle. Praised be the Gift! Praised be the Gods!
Friday, August 24, 2012
Heed the Hail of Beyond
If we do not heed the hail of Beyond, that the wod within us drives us towards, then we lose enoughness in our beyonding, and in that gap, the force of greed enters in.
We've got it good. Say, a good companion, a decent home, some good connections, a good, wholesome project or two which isn't doing so bad. We're not masters of the universe, but we've got something worthwhile that can grow in its own time, a worthy garden to tend, and then ...
It's not enough. And so, we "trade up", as we say in this competitive culture so warped by commodification. We give up the good because something "better" nags at us, a "better", a "more" (more, more), that doesn't ask for spiritual growth, that doesn't ask for hunkering in and rooting, that doesn't quest us, but instead, lures out through glamour alone, and an empty, defairied glamour at that.
And we forget that that "more" that threatens to corrode our enoughness is but the tarnished echo of that Beyond we've abandoned, a Beyond we could find within the Enoughness.
To find the Beyonding in the Enoughness. That there could sufficiently define the heathen path. It's not easy, by any means. But it is rewarding.
It is not that you should settle for something that is less than you, but more that the good is so good it is not worth giving up for something that only nags. Nagging is emptiness calling out for companionship in the emptiness ... to eat you ... to pull you into Utgard, the ghostly call -- come out into the cold inhospitable. And there you lose yourself, you freeze into the ghostliness, the shock and awe of bad enchantment, chasing fulfillment like Tantalus, always out of reach. But Beyonding will be with you even in the enoughness. It will fructify it and make it grow.
I am, of course, not saying one should never gamble. Risk and daring are our way, but home is also important. It is very important. One's risks and gambles should be to honor the ancestors who live in the homeland, to honor our home-mates, our kith as well as our kin. But sometimes we get complacent with the ones we love. We let them stagnate. We do not honor the wod within them. We fail to challenge them. This is, needless to say, different than a failure to accept them and trying to naggingly criticize them into a space we'd like them to be, but more accepting them in their dynamic nature, and spurring them on a bit with loving push and emphasis, the right amount of fire and mischief and muscle and gentleness. If we let home become homebodyness, we may lose the hearth's vital spark. There is nothing saying we cannot go on vikings. But if we keep the home alive by ensuring the circulation of vital force and spiritual growth within it, then it lives in our heart even as we are out adventuring, and we neither squander it nor abandon it for illusions. Instead, we bring treasures back to it.
Bring the beyond back. Let it stir up and fructify the home, the village, the hood. Quest for it to keep your spirit alive. And let it sprout strange smiles within the hearty enoughness. Heed the hail of beyond. Hail the heed of enough.
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Those Wombs of Rock and Lava-Lore Shall Birth and Bloom Beauty
Dwarves grind down ore to reveal iridescent gem. They utilize the Mill to make beauty out of the hard and unyielding, bearing in and hunkering down into the solid walls of bedrock reality, and magma-summon crystalline magnificence, through hard, long, patient, Saturnian work, guided by the faith so spirit-strong embedded in the work, a work they inherently believe in. The offal dust they blow off as husk, fertilizer for the soil from the disappointments, for what remains is jewel.
Solid in their work and their ethic, they blow out the innocence from the ore so it may bloom. Dwarves were known for their virtue :
'Absit ut inter nos unquam regnaverit hace fraus! non tam longaevi tunc essemus neque sani. Inter vos nemo loquitur nisi corde doloso, hinc neque ad aetatem maturam pervenietis: pro cujusque fide sunt ejus tempora vitae. Non aliter loquimur nisi sicut corde tenemus, neque cibos varios edimus morbos generantes, longius incolumes hinc nos durabimus ac vos. Non mihi diffidas, faciam, mihi quod bene credas.’
“Forbid that amongst us we should ever be soured by the rule of crime or fraud or deceit! To that very degree, one experiences neither longevity nor health. Amongst you, nobody speaks without a deceitful and cunning heart, and because of this, they do not reach a ripe and mature age ; according to one’s trustworthiness is the span of one’s life. Do not speak in any other way except as if it preserved your heart, nor eat such foods as beget illness ; because of this, (our discipline), for a long while we have remained unharmed and alive, and so might you. Do not despair in me, for I make things happen for he who trusts well.” ( The Protest of the Dwarf, in Ruodlieb XVIII, 18 – 26, translation mine.)
Closer to the lava-flows, where the earth churns and boils its minerals until they are cooked, and cooled by the breath of dwarves, they oversee the matter-streams, in touch with the dynamism at the heart of stones, alive to the dormant sparks still sleeping in the rocks' springs.
They live at the foundational bedrock of the living cosmos, the substratum from which the roots of the galaxies-tree, branching out into endless flowers of milky ways, emerges. Stars are their ovens from which matter is baked, plasma-cooked fusion to fusion, stepping up and down the periodic table, and brought out into the cold of space to cool and find their own. They are the deep alchemists of the prima materia, and do not brook interference or interruption in their Great Work, for from the roaring chaos of the flow brought blizzard to solid ice, they carve out the crystalline building blocks for worlds. Their foundational proximity to core gives their heart and word solidity. Upon their sparse terseness and gruff rede-of-the-deep one may place one's trust. The no-nonsense of the beneath shines through as well-worked gems. Are not stars the scintillating gemstones they necklace weave above the bosom of Love? For Love descends and fills the depths with delight, so those wombs of rock and lava-lore shall birth and bloom beauty for all.
On The Dwarves
Have Faith In Possibility
The elvish in us never loses touch with possibility, and has a rich sense of that possibility, of opportunities literally embedded in the fabric of things, like secret, unseen sparks that linger just out of reach to those who do not stretch, yet which may be grasped through extension.
Of course, things do not always turn out exactly as we anticipated (and in many ways, thank the Gods! we are still yet poor dreamers!), because we are dreamers in a multifactorial, ever-synapsing and switchboarding mesh of twist and turn, in which the things that have come to take on weight carry weight, and groove out their carve in the etching tumble with a will and weight of their own, and against this inertia, our sense of possibility can sometimes despair, and even turn to cynicism.
But to grow that elfin sense within, we must vie it against its disappointments, enlivening as a form of prayer or meditation again and again to the virtual everpresence of possibility. We cannot know in any one situation what outcomes will be. Outcomes are not given to us in advance, but gambles. We are given gambles. What we wager shows our faith. It takes faith to wager difficult, counterintuitive choices, because doubt speaks crosswise, but the audacity and the panache of the gamble is often measured against its contrariness to the grain of doubt, which so easily etches itself upon easily-disappointed creatures such as ourselves, locked still in a linear view of things whereby we expect our desires to come to us in straightforward ways, rather than strange, marvelous, and altogether awesome ways. Note our ambivalence towards awe : if something is full of awe, we call it awful ; if it participates in awe, we call it awesome. Our ego is awesome bruised in the fulfillments awe brings.
I do not believe this universe is a mill intended to grind us down, and that erosion is our only fate. It is true that the Mill grinds, but it is meant to grind down those too big for the world's own good, those who have thrown in with the monstrous. Does that mean the Mill doesn't grind the rest of us at all? Perhaps as a raw gem is ground, to polish it and render it multifaceted, bringing out its inner integrity and beauty. We may be disappointed countless times, because we start from ourselves and never bother to tune in to the web, to feel the vast aliveness and strange wonder of the crisscrossing currents and conduits about us, and lose our sense of the possible for what we merely want, or moreoften, think we want, which is too often pissant.
Realism means to acknowledge what has happened, but it doesn't require us to etch it onto our souls. When things happen that should not have happened, we are not required to believe in them. Belief implies being in love, and being loyal to. We are not obliged to be loyal to events which we can sense rose lower than they were capable, of which there are many fallings-short in this world, that failed to meet their skuld, their should. We acknowledge them, watch their linking in to the chainmail lightning-and-wind-weaving about us, as they fade into the fabric, but we are not obliged to believe in them, as if they were our own, or moreso as if we belonged to them. Many events we will meet, but not all will be our own : we must let them pass, and not cling on to them. Other events, reflecting deeper possibilities, do speak to us and call us by name, a name washed in whitest water, a name cleansed of all filth, a designation that speaks to a deeper sort of fulfillment. These we may call our own and pledge loyalty to, and often, against the cynical grind of the world's disappointments, these good things will call for loyalty indeed.
The Gods hold out the possibility of thriving to us. They want us to be fulfilled, to be a part of the fruition of the world, of weaving a richer and richer fabric of vibrancy, a Brinsingamen net of jewels where each facet gleam-reflects its spark of light to add to the awe-overwhelm of iridescence. Of course, we know that we are still students, bumbling learners tripping over our own toes, and how often we fall short of that full thriving. Our mistake would be to conclude that our own blundering proves that possibility is forever out of reach, or an illusion. Great things await us. There is a magic in the heart of things we have yet to learn to tap and cultivate, and bring up from source. That sounds naive to jaded ears, but often our best daring begins with the naive, and daring to stick to an innocence that brings ridicule, but which pursued unravels the green sap of ever-renewing life. What will you dare?
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Let Drift Happen
Your secret dreams are not barred from you, but come from the crossroads, strange out of the way places just outside of town, and require open definitions of self ready for renewal.
Let web-of-wyrd dream-reflect in neural net. Squirm-shift between interstices and drift within the fabric. Breathing room within lattices allows passage. Mind permeates all about. Beyond yourself, beyond categorizations. You are the protoplasma outside taxonomy.
Radical openness to being inherent in neotony and ongoing imprinting by world itself beyonds us across categories. Neither human nor animal nor plant nor mineral, but all of these and between. Not to be pinned down. Mercurial, as Odin moves, squirming between fish and bird and serpent.
Walk outside, warm air, move to where knees say crouch, hold knees, look about, close eyes. Mind soars. Outside routine lies currents truly current, and ancient. Like wisps of smoke, easily they corridor you into the ancient meander. Easily you are something other than you are. Truly your chance lies in the luck outside. "You" as the accumulation of what you have been is husk. Ask Odin to breeze one as seeds with parachute wings out from husk, into the world's blur-squirm, high-speed, slow-motion retina traces. A body is nothing but a set of possibilities for motion.
Urd is kinder than thought. Things work out just right, in the strangest ways. Everything is messed up and beautiful. More beauty awaits. This drama has not yet ended. Our adventure just begins. Doom speaks the blind ore, counterfeit of the sun, which cannot see beyond its day to the day beyond. A communist world of weirdness, where rye shall self-sprout, and the oak again yield up its nonbitter fruits. For we shall be blur, such color and vibrancy bled into world-flow itself, rejoined to the universal gift. Gebu. For when we are so undefined, the world's crannies await to niche-embrace us into unforeseen labyrinths. We are the nomads moving from form to flow through uncanny vital force. Drift happens. And in those drifts, the secret treasures. The never-imagined wonder. The ambiguous opportunities. It is yours, for free sharing, if you will undo your clinging. Is your hoard a soul-lock? Who owns whom? Self may step out from self at any time, any age, and youth begins again in that chrysalis-blooming, wing-unfolding moment. Fly. And if you do not fly, then skate. For the elves skate. And the elves are light and wink-behind-the-woods beauty, such mischief giving tiny hints in the bright eyes. All will be well ... in the strangest ways.