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.