Saturday, September 29, 2012

Mixed Bag

     A good thing is often a mixed bag in its beginnings, incomplete and uncertain, its full potential hazy and unprepared. Good soil must be prepared, and ploughed over, and laid out. The ground must be worked and find its alchemy. A good thing in its beginnings is not yet good, because it does not yet fit itself and is full of unembraced contradictions tossing about in antagonism. To find a place for everything within itself is not easy. It must grow into its own, and the antagonisms transformed into creative contradictions that express the wod in the thing. Then, when it has been prepared, when its out-of-control antagonisms have been mediated and moderated, when even in its motion it fits itself, it begins to express its own self-fertility.

            A good thing becomes more and more congruent with itself, in the process of integrating its contradictions. It becomes more whole and thus more wholesome. It becomes complete not in itself but through its relations with the environment, both that of the vicinity and that of the outside. A good thing has found its Archimedean place of leverage, the fulcrum upon which it may do its best.

            All things may be made good, although they do not begin that way. It often takes hard work, and confrontation, and facing things head-on. It takes intelligence and sometimes even genius to figure out just how to make a home for that which is strange, so it may become familiar in its weirdness and contribute as it genuinely longs to. Every good thing was once a mixed bag. But in time, with love and good work, it flourishes. This is the way of the world that our lore mythopoetically narrates.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Giving and Receiving With All One's Heart

The more I come into the gift paradigm, which is the genuine archaic heritage of our ancestors -- all our ancestors -- the more I come to see that the Gods are apprenticing us in communism. I am never one to shy away from speaking frankly because it might generate controversy or rattle the ignorant. No, my heathen heart inspires boldness. I see that there is a long learning curve tending us towards communism, which is nothing but a consistent, socially institutionalized affirmation of the gift-spirit, and we're allowed in this apprenticeship our half-way houses, and we can stay in the ironwoods under Gullveig's spell as long as we wish, but it will do us ill as we do so and delay us in reaping fruit beyond our imaginings. Life is about learning to grow yourself into a gift, and giving with all your heart. It's about getting fed so you can feed. It is about asking for everything you truly need to make yourself the best you you can be, so you can give that best back to the community.

And I don't really have the angst against the coerciveness of the first historical stage of communism, because for one thing I'm smart and historically knowledgeable and not duped by Cold War anticommunism like most people, and thus have the knowledge base and perspective from which to ground my conclusions. But more importantly, heathenism has taught me that strength -- force-- is sometimes needed in the defense of the good, and nowhere more particularly than against Gullveig and her cursed children, whose effects are so ill that doing whatever it takes to end their evil reign on earth seems worthwhile. For too long, war has been about monetary gain and greed, so for sword to be raised for gift and against greed makes an awful lot of historical sense to me, and a lot of people who should have known better, despite the often grievous errors of the first stage, ended up on the wrong side of history, helping out the monsters and not the gold-haters, who could have used their help, particularly in the form of loving critics ready to lambast for the sake of honing and improving. Instead, the ignorant let themselves be led by the bankers out of fear to protect their own self-interests first, and abandon the gift-perspective to increasingly commercialized Christmas. So much for the spirit of Yule inspiring us year-round. No, under the regime of the bankers, that spirit was to remain strictly quarantined, and the world carved up to ensure that no country would ever put up a wall obstructing the free movement of Gullveig's agents. These people spoke of freedom and what they meant was resentment about the Wolf being bound. And while we're at it, let's lay the crimes of anticommunism right at its feet where they belong : the Nazis, and the complicity of the U.S. with fascist forces worldwide, including experiments on servicemen and children, all brought out in the Church Committee Hearings of the 1970s. Most banker-controlled countries supported the Nazis for two reasons : 1) they were counting on them as a bulwark against communism, and admired the ruthless attitude they had towards labor in general, and 2) the Nazis, with their ridiculous "Jewish banker" conspiracy theory took the heat off most of the bankers of the world by shunting anticapitalist furor onto a small percentage of bankers, whose fellow countrymen were then scapegoated, and largely, these fuckers had no problem with this whatsoever. They were happy to have them as a little paramilitary cleanup crew to take care of dissent. It's when their britches got too big they had to war against them. Idiots : feed a giant and it grows bigger. And for the record, while we're being brutally frank here : the world was saved from that giant largely and overwhelmingly through the sacrifice and efforts of the Soviet people, yes, under the helm even of Stalin! Meanwhile, the first stage, deprived of mutual aid and the help of solidarity, indeed under the pressures (in fact being encircled by salivating, growling wolves, which necessitated militarist deformation of their economy to meet the threat)  began to degenerate, and in a few decades, imploded. So what? Still a bold trial, for all its mistakes, and fundamentally, despite these, heading in the general right direction (historically speaking, with due allowance and respect for abuses and unfortunate sacrifices), unlike the scumbags who aligned themselves with fascists just to save their petty little financial fiefdoms, or people who went all around the world killing people in the name of the freedom of their barons, under whose flag, I suppose, they hoped to eke a few breadcrumbs and table scraps. But since their barons were not gold-haters but gold-lovers, those were not hopes to be fulfilled by and large, and now most people have hunkered down into a pathetic "every man for himself in his own financial fiefdom", unable to imagine anything beyond this narrow tunnel vision and proclaiming such dark age feudalism (chasms away from clan-communist odalism) as "human nature". And meanwhile, the bogey of the "C" word keeps otherwise rational folks from claiming the obvious in our tradition and affirming the centrality of the gift. Well, not me. I'm not fooled, Gullveig!

A lot of times you'll hear people say something like, "Well, communism is wonderful in theory but it is just not practical." First of all, as if your thoroughly conditioned and jaded sense of practicality meant anything to the urgency of the progress of the human race, as if past limitations automatically translate to future limitations. But more to the point, if you agree that it is wonderful, then you should be fighting to make it practical!  Do you want to live in the Axe-Age forever? Do you want to wallow in the cynicism these dark ages breed, and will you look Baldur in the face and say this is the best that is possible? Shame on you. I look to the best of the Aesir and what his return heralds, and pledge that however imperfect, I want to help create something that more foreshadows that redeeming age to come. And yes, in an Axe Age, men more werewolves than men will take up the axe against it, that is to be expected, and it will be necessary to wield the axe back against them. It will not be possible with the beauty and elegance with which Baldur will usher in the final age of worth and peace, but nonetheless, if we are worth our mettle, we can do our best to forge what outposts of Frodi's Frith we can in this age of wolves, and push the wolves back! And not settle for less. Would you not rather cheer Baldur in his Hel-chambers with the sweet mead of knowing there are some men still willing to be bold enough to fight for high ideals, who will stake out actual territory on the earth where the gift can begin to have its sway again, as a monument to him and that time to come? That is bold!

Giving and thanks-giving : this is the heathen heart. It is the standard by which leaders are measured. The folk voluntarily yield their surplus to the leader, which builds the treasury of the common-wealth, and then that leader, duly elected by the folk in Thing, redistributes that wealth according to the genuine needs of the kingdom. That is the ancient way. Tacitus affirmed it, Caesar affirmed it. That chieftain-redistribution system is the gift in social action. History proves its limitations in the conflict with the Romans were our narrowness in not extending that gift-circle more widely, and thus squabbling amongst ourselves. Our own gullibility to Loki's divisiveness undid our ancient ways, and the slow degeneration of taking on the Romans' ways, in terms of their money-system, their interest-charging, and even increasingly their private property in land rather than our ancient communal property (odal), took its toll, until we are so backwards, and have been so twisted around under the influence of Gullveig against the warnings of our ancient prophecies, that we defend the Roman ways as our own, and allow anticommunists obviously involved in their own self-interests to scare us off from claiming our heritage on an even higher level. For what proved to be prosperous for our ancestors, pooling their surplus resources to help each other, and thus contributing to the common good (and what did you think communism was?), under their more limited demographics and boundaries, could certainly prosper even more under larger economies of scale. (And what was the essence of Marx's essential observation but that while heretofore civilization has had to be the privileged edifice of limited surplus, now, with the great abundance available and possible, these glaring inequities are so ridiculous and archaic that only our own ignorance of these implications and our gullibility to being divided separate us from common abundance for all!)

Well, what does this have to do with spirituality? Everything. It's about aligning one's life with the gift-giving of the Gods, who give us so much, and from their hearts, in fullness, while we still stingily  give even in sacrifice and thanksgiving to them! It's about the community aligning its life to this higher model of giving. 

And for the record, without getting into an uncritical defense of the Soviet Union (which would help no one -- they were human and screwed up in every way humanly imaginable, just like the rest of us, despite their boldness and great sacrifices), the word "soviet" simply means "council" ; in other words, a Union of Things. Now these Things were convened in workplaces and farms, to meet laborers where they labored, which is actually quite heathen if you ask me, but they were Things all the same. True, not Things as we have come to view them through our largely feudal sources, but trappings are just that : trappings. It's also true these councils came under the institutionalized guidance of the party, but check out Tacitus : our Things were under the guidance of our godhis, too, who were the leaders in charge of the gift redistribution system as sanctified in the holy temples and groves. Now I would never say we should take the first stage as our guide, even though we should learn from any lesson of history. But I will say we ought to begin looking at our own tradition with new eyes so we may progress the ancient vision forward.

The basic orientation holds : ask for whatever it is you need that will allow you to give back as greatly as you are capable, not measured in the stinginess of tit-for-tat, but in the largesse of sacrifice in the best sense of that term, in other words, in the full spirit of the gift. We ask our Gods for such ; they will be pleased when we create the conditions here on earth to let this come to pass amongst us as well. Money, fehu, is the beginning of the journey, where juveniles start ; odal, the care-system of the communal treasury, freely nourished and freely enjoyed, is the endpoint.

We need to progress to the point where the desire to contribute is not only greater than the desire for fame or personal aggrandizement, but is in fact the means to fame, and the method to grow the self. We have degenerated from mutual aid into privatization, and we will not move from this degeneracy to the full spirit of the gift in one stride ; no, it will take progressive implementation and amplification of the principles of mutual aid to get there. But let us walk that path, together.

I know this piece will upset some, or even many, but it is not so intended. Take what good from it you may, but lift the baby from the washwater. To look at things in a new light is no ill, particularly if it illuminates parts of the old ways over-obscured by the accretions uncritically assimilated from the Romans. You will understand, of course, however you differ, that this is the result of much thought, contemplation, historical research, and working of the tradition. One would expect no less of me. The more I came to see the centrality of the Gift to the ancient ways, which I did indigenously from meditative study of the lore, the more I opened myself to modern attempts at reclaiming this heritage, looking to facts and not bogeys to find parallels, and strengthened by the knowledge that shield must be raised to protect the valuable, and worthy fights call for sacrifice. Besides, the Robin Hood spirit is strong in the tradition, and stealing from the rich to give back to the poor was simply a forcible way of restoring the chieftain redistribution system : if they would not give freely, as they ought, then they would be made to give. Such jaded measures may be necessary against jaded men, to protect the integrity of the community.  Given the importance of the commons in these struggles, and the clear opening of the treasury by Frodi for the needs of all, and the very word "commonwealth", so grounded in the ancient ways, I see no use in being coy about the term "communism" as a means of expressing either a communal gift-giving system (as opposed to buying and selling quid pro quo) or the progressive struggle to achieve such a system.  There are in fact many currents of communal giving with which to hook up : people pooling their garden surplus to share free produce, "free boxes" where you leave surplus and take what you might need, and other such customs, new and old, through which one can come to experience and (re)appreciate the value of communal gift giving. May the spirit of Yule in the end conquer all! However it may come to pass. The brightest and boldest in us has a chance of winning out if we will speak up for it and fight for it, against all jaded naysayings. We have lived through increasingly cynical ages, and it is killing our spirits. I am a curmudgeon with the best of them, but I know my loyalty to Baldur as well when the chips are down. Give it its due consideration. We pay the price for refusing the gift.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Web of Wyrd and Pulling Opportunities Out of the Landscape

            While agriculture multiplied the productivity of an area of land, it also pulled the opportunities right out of the landscape by monopolizing an area through which previously people would have wandered, and through serendipity, came right in contact with their needs. Now, it is not all as simple as that in the real world, and a foraging lifestyle does require great attunement with nature, and tending to the "wild orchards" within one's range, but on the whole, this does hold true. There is a great difference between a "range", and transforming that range into private property that is dedicated to one purpose and one purpose alone, against which all other uses have been excluded, and living beings extraneous to that purpose are thereby transformed into either "weeds" or "pests".

            But in a wild meadow, or in a forest or jungle, or even in wetlands, there is a webwork of interwoven diversity within which opportunities abound and surprises await. The sense of being intermeshed within a serendipitous weave that, it is true, weaves both serendipity and peril together, is far more palpable living in such environments.

            And if we observe the brachiating motion of our primate cousins as they swing through the trees -- and often one gets a sense of the jouissance, the sheer joy of being alive as they do so, similar to the sense one gets when Spiderman swings on his webs so freely throughout the city -- we can see in this "monkeybar"ing a kinesthetic experience of motion through a three-dimensional web, which, if you think about the treescape through which they traverse, a forest actually is. If one wanted to find an evolutionary grounding for the metaphysical belief that human beings are caught in a web or net of fate, such as the concept of wyrd in the Norse, or Indra's Net in the Hindu-influenced cultures, one might find it right here in the life-experience of moving through a rich meshwork. Anyone who has actually "bush-walked" and gone into the "thick of the bush" rather than staying on the trails knows this feeling in a palpable, kinesthetic sense. It is a completely different sense than the wide-openness of clearings and trails. Heidegger grounds "truth" in clearings, alethia, but it's safe to say that a great deal of the animals with whom we share the world would dispute clearings as comfortable places. In fact, they can be quite unsafe for animals. Hunters, in fact, often speak of "flushing out" prey "into the open". It may be that for animals, truth as well as safety would be found "in the thick/et", "in the midst of things", "in the nooks and crannies".

            Let's examine a nonagricultural environment where the demographics are not overcrowded. A gibbon is swinging and leaping through the three-dimensional meshwork of the branches. There, spontaneously, growing on its own, in differential distribution, lie fruits, of various varieties, blessings "growing on trees" (the one who first said "money doesn't grow on trees" never ran an avocado orchard!) in direct response to the sun and the soil. What is this but a palpable sense that the environment itself holds opportunities? And that simply by wandering, by enjoying one's energetic meandering through the web of the world, one will come upon ways to feed one's needs! In many of the world's eschatologies, we can see a longing expressing itself towards this condition of life which held for 99% of humanity's long evolution on earth, and certainly for the entirety of higher life itself. In Voluspa, the Norse prophecy of the overturning of the ages of ill, the new age is heralded by grains which grow themselves without needing to be sown : blessings growing from the earth itself without need to apply labor, planning, or micromanage the soil.

            But once agriculture monopolizes an area of land, nothing good will happen unless one intentionally makes it happen, and, as before mentioned, anything happening other than the good hoped for is almost automatically seen, by nature of the situation, in a paranoid fashion as an enemy. In the forest (or the wild meadow, etc.), the law is : Doing nothing, wandering about, one finds fruit. But this law is overturned in agriculture. In agriculture, this becomes : Doing nothing, wandering about, one starves. And, For anything good to happen at all, great effort is needed, and care, because the universe conspires against our plans. Where wandering exists at all in agrarian societies, it is usually in the form of a rural proletariat, or hired farmhands who wander from farm to farm, particularly at harvest times, who are indispensable, and yet who, instead of being masters of their own serendipity like the foragists, are often terribly exploited. There is as well some marginal hunting that happens amongst farmers fortunate enough to have retained some outlying wild lands, and in fact, amongst peasants who still maintain some connection to the older, more communal forms of land tenure, "the commons" are tenaciously defended -- pastures, meadowlands, and woodlands -- and there, to a limited degree, some of the older evolutionary possibilities can find expression. But the class dynamic in peasant societies often creates contradictions whereby the commons are increasingly whittled away, if not barred altogether by landlords who encroach, expropriate, and monopolize them. People in general face an increasingly domesticated landscape where the yields may prove much greater per acre (and yet we might pause here to note the fairly productive capacities of permaculture, which combines some of the serendipity of the old foragist systems with some of the design and planning of agricultural systems) than in wild forms, but often with less variety, and certainly without spontaneity. The crops do not grow on their own. (Although they once did : the Middle East/Fertile Crescent area was once home to wide swathes of meadows of wild wheat, which was so abundant that families could work at harvesting the wheat for two weeks a year and have enough for the rest of the year! And as long as the demographics stayed in proportion to what was wildly available, this remained the condition of the people. But once population expanded to the point that people needed to move beyond the range where wheat grew wildly, but where they wanted to continue to eat wheat, rather than changing their diet to suit the new environments, then intentional cultivation became a relative necessity.)

            All animals use "implements" in a manner of speaking to make use of their environment, but for most of them, they grow these implements as parts of their own bodies : fangs, claws, digging snouts, wings, and so forth. But human beings have learned to improvise their way throughout the world, and invent the implements that could prove useful to making use of new parts of the environment, and thus, have become very successful, able to make the nests of birds (and build homes), extend the teeth of animals by placing sharp rocks on poles to make spears, and eventually, to even extend themselves into parts of the electromagnetic spectrum for which their natural senses do not extend. So there are additional creative potentialities that developed and were constantly burgeoning and bursting within human beings. Human beings were not limited to the stereotyped cycles of other beings, and thus, both exiled and freed from that "cyclic eternity". A human being is not limited to strict mimicry, but can extrapolate, modify, and rearrange. When a human being uses a nest as a model to build a home, and many of the first homes were indeed wattle and daub just as many birds' nests are, the human being can, at least over time, identify the principles involved in that building, and modify them in an experimental way, either to meet a need corresponding to the environment, or just for the sheer creative joy of tinkering and discovering. We know that human beings were being inventive very early on in our evolution, and we find traces of this (but certainly should not limit our conception of the breadth of this to) in tinkering with, and eventually intentionally manufacturing, rocks to make shaped, sharp, deliberate tools. This use of manufactured rock, which was no doubt accompanied by the crafting of wood and vine and twine and other materials which unfortunately do not survive in the fossil record, is in fact why we call those times "the stone ages".

            The inventiveness and creativity of the species meant that it was constantly discovering new ways to eke opportunities out of nature, and this very success gave it a very real possibility of overexploiting an area, which would then require, if starvation was not to wipe them out, to find new ways of eking needs from nature. Humans eventually discovered that with proper design and care, the soil could support a great deal more produce than without that care, and management began to take its first strong foothold on the planet. In fact, agriculture in some ways was so spectacularly successful that it enabled, even with subsistence farming, not only the feeding of the people farming, but a small surplus on top of things, which, if coordinated or collected together in some way, either through a market of some kind, or taxation in some form and redistribution, could become a force in its own right, despite the paucity of that surplus. In fact, the sharing-ethos developed within the social evolutionary strategy of the human race, whereby people became successful through banding together and sharing in groups, mandated that collection and redistribution became the first forms of bringing the surplus together. (The market, despite the fantasies of some "free market" thinkers, came much later. It was not original, nor would such a separated, alienated form be the first spontaneous method that would occur to people.) The tribal council led by its elected chief would usually be the agent coordinating decisions around collection as well as distribution. A centralized treasury allowed for specialists of various kinds to be supported on a more full-time basis : artisans, shamans, and increasingly, as the system got more complex, administrators to take care of the work of coordination. From these sources, the division of labor expanded, and from that, tendencies towards civilization itself, as a mass complex of coordinated specialists, and of course, without an internet or phone system to bridge great distances, there was need to collect these specialists together in a centralized location to facilitate coordination, and thus we get the arising of the city, which then becomes not only a coordination center, but a control center as well (and thus an active potential for exploitation) over the rural areas, and the split between town and country, urban and rural, arises for the first time in history. These landmark changes in the living conditions of human beings are not incidentals, but powerfully shape people's experiences, and thus, in complex and nonlinear ways, but often direct ways as well, their conceptions of the world. A forest is not a farm is not a city, and the way one lives has powerful impacts on one's view of the world. Once there is a treasury, one is not limited by the necessities of an agricultural relation to the land ; rather, one simply has to find ways of relating advantageously to the managers and grantors of that treasury by holding out some sort of service deemed useful by them.

The result of this agrarian revolution and its urban exudation (which then reacts back upon its base and takes charge through coordination) is that it clears the meshwork of nature and replaces it with linearity, identifying only the most mechanical, and obviously effective levers in the system that will serve the ruling interests. Anything not mechanical and obvious becomes the realm of fickle fate, of cruel chance, of perilous fortune, and so forth, which reduces more and more to superstition and its specialists. Those not immersed in superstition eventually separate out the mechanical, obvious effects of nature, and these eventually become codified into science, culminating in Newton's laws summarizing all the known mechanical effects of the world. And yet since the advent of electromagnetic theory, relativity, and quantum physics, we know that we are in fact enmeshed in three-dimensional (and beyond!) webworks of forces, distributing themselves in a differential flux governed by various probabilities, with the resultant vectors emerging out as the mechanical laws identified by Newton. In a sense, energetically, we know now that we are still in the trees, in the webwork, and that webwork holds all kinds of unseen opportunities for us through scientific creativity. There is thus an opportunity to reclaim the bodily, kinesthetic sense of the brachiating monkey swinging through the forest searching for opportunities, and we can see how this outlook is in emergent struggle with the other historically-developed ways of looking at things, the agrarian and urban ethos. If the cosmos is a meshwork, how can we design our societies in ways that more correspond to these opportunities? These musings provide a font for creativity in action.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Lovebodies Live in the Human Heart

One often hears the statement, "We keep the dead alive by remembering them." But what if this is, once more, a mortal arrogance bred by our fitful myopia, and in fact, the dead keep us alive by remembering us? What if this world of matter is held together at the quantum level by a strong force deeper and stronger than the strong force, the will and memory of the ancestors? What if this world flows out of the Well of Mimir and only therefrom maintains its strength and longevity?

There are times -- granted, they are only times, and you might say it is just a mood, yet it is such a strong mood, overpowering -- when I can feel the aliveness of my friend who took his life three years ago. I will grant you that I do not feel this all the time, and sometimes I doubt, and think, this is just wishful thinking on my part, and who am I fooling. Yet I must say that in these times when I can feel him so strongly -- and it is not so much a "psychic" feeling as it is a feeling in the heart, a feeling of love -- it does not feel like how denial feels. It does not feel like I am fooling myself to console myself. It feels as if this world of ours is but an echo of a subtler world, and we hold hands across the abyss.

It's like the feeling you get in moonlight, when you are bathed in a lunar ocean of fluorescence, and everything feels not only eerie, but eerie in a way that opens the door to uncanny. Seldom blatant, yet pulsing with some secret heart, one can feel, this is a different kind of time, a different kind of moment. And peace can overtake your heart, and you can feel, wow, this is the norm ... all that strife and doubt and anguish is but some strange, momentary aberration that overcomes me.

Yet when it does, how it does consume us, yes? Seized by anguish and strife, somehow in that moment, we think that is the all of reality.

The human heart is a mystery. Somehow in the heart of love there is no death, and yet the world's bodies still ever turn in the mill, shredded back into the soil. What does not prove fertilizer for the tree's roots must sing in the sap-halls of the root-world, and the echoes of that song hold the foundations of this earth together. That is the world-view that emerges out of our ancestors' poetry.

What to do with metaphor, eh? Do those poems express a literal place, or do those images capture an essence that is experienced as a feeling-state? Does the Tree and its roots express something astrally experienced on that level, or does one's lovebody after the dissolution of the primate-form no longer exist in that way, but drifts evanescent in states of subsistence at the root of things where our metaphors of Tree and Root, Well and Sap, speak as well as any analog might, and we must simply understand that for a growing primate, and mortal to boot, that's as close as we're likely to get? These poems were distilled from thousands upon thousands of shamans' seances, after all.

Can you trust the human heart? Does the world reflect our love, in the final analysis, if not in the immediate? That is a question of faith. It is a question of what level of confidence you can glean from those special moments when you can really feel it, and how far you can extend those strange perceptions back into a zone where more normal concepts rule. Can you withstand the silliness of seeming quaint in a world of lasers and computers and honoring the tribal heart, and bringing it back home?

Wherein does truth reside? In simple things, in stones or carvings, atoms tinkertoyed to make such stuff as we everyday see? Or does it walk the halls of our hearts, leaving traces in its footsteps, ever wandering, like Odin, named Saðr, "sooth"?

My ancestors tell me that it is the well between fire and ice that brings wisdom. The atheist materialists tell me that matter is all I can trust, or ever have. The dogmatic spiritualists tell me that spirit is all I can ever trust or really have. Like fire and ice, I can hold each in one hand, and like the scales of Libra, balance them in the still point. No angst towards matter, no angst towards spirit, and blending them as one in the middle place, my heart. That sounds as close to wisdom as I am liable to get. And I am grateful if I will prove worthy of getting it.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

To Compel the Stingy

 What Scyld heard from Heimdall:

But if their hearts are hardened, void of love
For one another, gifts now foreign, strange,
Uncertain, then these craven souls shall be
Enthralled that they might give again, constrained
Against their stinginess to recompense
The doors upon their hinges closed where doors
Ought open be, to welcome guests. For fear
Has overtaken many, spoiled all
The networks gift-for-gift in Yuletime mood
That everyday took care of vital need.

Tacitus, Germania :

Frumenti modum dominus, aut pecoris aut vestis, ut colono, injungit.
"A certain measure of grain or cattle or clothing was imposed upon them by their lord, like a tenant-farmer."

The thralls, who had broken the chain of the gift-redistribution cycle which Tacitus previously described :

Mos est civitatibus ultro ac viritim conferre principibus vel armentorum vel frugum, quod pro honore acceptum, etiam necessitatibus subvenit.

"It is the custom of the communities to voluntarily and man-by-man bestow on their chiefs cattle and crops, which are accepted as a mark of honor as well as to assist them in their needs."

To break the gift circulation that is the heartblood of the community, and how it feeds needs -- whether under mark of fear or of greed -- reduces the wealth of the community, creates strife, closes doors, and the Gods wish open doors. Those who do not come up to their full robustness, the fruiting of all fertility within their grasp, particularly those talents Gods-given, may be compelled to give where they are stingy. This interferes with some people's tainted, corrupted notion of freedom, but this just shows they do not understand freedom at all. It is a fullness meant to fruit the larger folk.

The Generosity in Wyrd

Wyrd is so giving. So very incredibly giving. Because she's weird, and well -- that's how life works out if you too are weird, and are in tune with how squirming, sometimes spastic, often protoplasmic life can be, and in surprising ways. She will land you in situations you never expected, that somehow incarnate, in strange ways, something your soul always needed, even if you didn't recognize it.

Live life with as pure a heart as possible -- oh, it's ok to grumble, too -- and the strange way of life, amidst the storms we don't understand, will bring you strange gifts that touch your soul, gifts you never anticipated, yet which you find, in time, you really needed.

Wyrd is giving, and in her own uncanny way, merciful.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Handful of Earth

So. The crunch of bones in a coyote's mouth
is where this carrier of experiences goes,
and those experiences : wind, cobwebs,
Hidden reminisces in someone else's dreams,
Corner space in the basements. Well.
That's kind of humbling. The humus from rotting leaves,
a handful of peat, some lime. Wings and tails,
ears, fur, claws and nails, noses, gills,
the whole apparati, every one, melts
in the compost's unseen flames, underground
microbes : all deliquesce into soft cradles
for flies' beloved young : tomb-wombs
for soon-to-be-winged things ; the fart
of belly burst, the last bloating ; moths nested in hair,
with beetles ; finally, earth, earth, root-nourishings,
ever-presence in the soil ; that clay manikin
washed away by rain at last : the last remnants,
mocking poppet, gone. The buried jawbone
kissing the clay. All elements in dispersal,
osmosis, seeping -- filaments stretched thread
to furthest heavens, tethered bedrock to
the cosmos' fulcrum : webbed, wide-webbed,
sap of the tree, sweet inner taste of mead in cellars,
rest in the place of dwarves, silent drone
in the ancestors' halls with hollow sound of wind,
ancient sunlight splashed against heathstalk.
Between the interstices of fear, the peace lodged
in the rented loft of acceptance and reverie.
There the dead sleep, peaceful amidst us,
the carrier long gone. A handful of earth.

This is not denying afterliving (in fact, in a profound sense, life is but preliving, a gathering of material for a grand masterpiecing), but attempts to depict the dreamlike reverie of aftering as it overseers the likeness's return to the holy earth, afterbody experience having a more dreamlike quality : evanescent shimmering.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Wise Up

The spirit of the deep in the sensations, the metaphorical translation of the dormant intelligence sleeping in the stone (once in magma-days much more awake), the grasping through the imagination of the life declaring itself at the base of our perceptions, from the nooks and crannies of the world really breathed in with full awareness and presence. It is thus a truth to the deeper feelings speaking in the foundations of profound perception. To animate and make manifest (through imaginative theatre and ceremony, as well as poetry and narration) these feeling-perceptions as reflections of a truly animated world bursting with life is to keep truth alive in its depths against the dominance of surface impressions which too often not only rule, but suppress the deeper sides of being human. All over the world people have felt this sense of presence burgeoning and bursting from the things around them, and although the imaginative forms with which they have clothed them have differed, the profundity and innocence of their insistent declarations ring true, if you know the register in which to hear them. Sometimes in the long unwinding of ages in spiral and shadow, this register is lost even to those who carry on the tradition, but there are usually at least those few who know, who are sensitive to how life calls out to them, offering treaty and the opportunity for relationship and allegiance, a mutual aid in recognition of sharing presence on the planet, who will speak this to the rest of the people in imaginative forms, and thus restore the tradition to the register in which it truly rings. 

Autistic rationalists who have never even attempted to give this level of perception a chance do not have the tools to be able to understand the register that rings the tradition alive, and thus in their incredible anthropological insensitivity and arrogance, simply mow over the whole thing, as if it all were useless, pernicious superstition, rather than sifting through with great respect for the wisdom of the ages, to peel it from the irrational exudations which have covered it in layers of ignorance. Something still lives, and a living feel for life itself is important to develop in people. This can be done rationally, but there is nothing wrong with these heirloom forms which have for millennia brought out these deep echoes and resonance of the primal environment from the heart of humankind. So if we speak of elves and dwarves and other things which sound nonsensical to your ears, it may be your inability to conceive the register we invoke when so speaking -- that does not disconnect us from the real world, but actually directly connects our intuitive feelings with deeper perception of the world -- that is crazy and kooky, and not us. Wise up, in the ancient way.

Working In The Ruins

Heathens : you can make fun of us because we work with the crumbs and hold the fragments in our hands, blowing on the dust to make them live ; because we search in the ruins as if they were gardens, frolicking in the archaic where no one else will go...What possible relevance could such backward looking have?  What do you hope to get from such rubble? And don't you realize that so much has been lost that it is hopeless? 

But you see,  something lives within us that these things simply evoke. They were alive in us all along, though dormant, and these things, these fragments of runestones and snippets of old poems, awaken them. And so we study them to bring them out further. We could not be true to the depth and breadth of our experience if we did not use this vocabulary and develop it.  No doubt we add onto it to meet our needs in the present, but that is the function of all tradition.

To simply  say that there are spirits in the world  conjures the image of  gaseous anomalies rising up ghostlike.  The richness of the wights that are perceived in the world is hinted at in the imaginative forms that have survived : gnomes, dwarves, goblins, trolls, kobolds, elves, sylphs, etc. They're not all vague and gaseous and will-o'-the-wisp, although those exist too. They express the rich character and diversity and variety of the feelings found in confronting the world of life.

You may say these are perceptions enriched by being  marinated and drenched in dreams,  and we will say so what? Is it not in dreams that the roots of our perceptions,  which we do not notice in waking life, are brought out into their fullness? And if we bring out that dormant richness and add it to our perception of the world, so that we are actually able to articulate a deeper perception of the world,  what is wrong with that?

You may look at us and say,  what a bunch of silly Tolkien admirers. We will say,  Tolkien had a profound understanding of the ancient world ; moreover,  how could he be so popular if he did not appeal to something deep in  people? What is the base of that long-lasting appeal, but that it speaks to the heart of many? He combines fairy tale and epic into that combination the ancients called saga, and despite the scientific orientation of modernity, there is still charm felt in fairy tales, still something vital spoken to in those forms, and the really perceptive recognize this ethos in the wild world of nature when they sink down and perceive it from a more soulful place. And in the end, though you may scoff and mock, being heathen is about being more soulful in the world, and finding there the charm (and fortunate peril) one finds in fairy tales and dreams.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

From Jormungrund Up

The bottom up. Jormungrund. The urbrunnr. The sources or springs in the depths, everything developing and rising up from these roots. Everything from the grassroots.

The basic matter-alchemy starts here, and the world as we know it is an epiphenomenon of this more basic ground, from which it emerges.

Even the heavenly gods are subordinate ultimately to the chthonic gods. Odin receives his basic powers from Mimir. Wyrd is strongest. That which dies becomes the substrate for new life, in constant recycling and circulation.

Matter begins in the interaction between two opposites, hot and cold, fire and ice, and out of this matrix, the entire world-tree of cosmos grew, and from it, the Gods.

A materialist conception : ultimately the Gods themselves the epiphenomena of the cosmos, which itself emerges from the matter-in-motion generated from the interaction of fire and ice.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012


Immerse yourself in majesty. Let mystery wash over you and through you, to rejuvenate your bones and refresh your tissues. The heart has need of majesty. The great outdoors recharge the soul, and reclaim the juice of youth. Just as vitamins are needed for a body, so wonder is a nutrient, not just for the searching mind, but for the soul as well. Feel the Gods' presence in the marvel with which they have differentially charged the world. Open yourself : you will feel it. You will know green sap again.