Thursday, September 27, 2007


When we consider the way our pre-Christian Ancestors lived and believed, we can talk about the very general and broad "Heathen way of life" or "Heathen way of thinking", which is very easy to distinguish from the Christian way of living or thinking. In Heathen times, (for example) people had no misgivings about boasting or bragging on their great deeds or their fortunes; such an attitude towards living was frowned upon by the Christian church as being "prideful". People in Heathen times loved body decoration; large amounts of jewelry, bright and colorful clothing, and the like. This too was something that was looked unkindly upon by Christian clergy as being "ostentatious".

These two examples could be accompanied by dozens more; Heathens were polytheists, while the incoming Christian worldview taught of only one God; Heathens were more likely to be unconcerned with matters too far outside their social grouping or community, while Christianity was the herald of an early form of "globalism", in which Churches established outposts all over Europe, and helped bring about the birth of the nation-state, with powerful Kings (approved by Popes) ruling over immense swaths of land and many people. Even though trade and commerce in Heathen times was broad and vast, as was travel, to be a "Christian" nation put a newly-created political unit in a tight-knit tree of new political structures, which would lead to the birth of modern Europe as we know it. The world was changing; the old tribal times were giving way to the time of nations.

There is no doubt that Christianity is responsible (following on the heels of the Roman Empire's power hunger) for creating modern Europe. I don't suggest that modern Europe is itself a "bad" thing- far from it; I have always stated that I believe the loss of Heathen cultures was the negative aspect of these social evolutions- Heathen beliefs and metaphysics, because of their strong ties to the tribalist worldview, were discarded wholesale, with little or none remaining in the new Christian world. What little did remain might be described as "vestigial Paganism", and was mostly tied to ages-old patterns in yearly religious festivals, and in that sense, they persisted, albeit heavily Christianized.

Now, today, some of us realize the detriment of simply letting entire cultural traditions fall to the wayside, and attempting to replace them with foreign cultural traditions. We see the conflict and negativity caused by it; it so happens that the Christian worldview simply doesn't speak deeply and fully to the Hamingja or ancestral power-stream of Indo-European peoples. It also doesn't represent an ideal way of seeing the world, but a punishing manner of restricting human expression in the name of pleasing the God of a foreign people, and in the name of supporting a contrived philosophy of monotheism that fails to answer life's important questions and quandaries.

Having realized the detriment, we work to re-establish lost cultural traditions. In much the same manner that Native Americans have fought to maintain and in some cases reclaim their powerful native animism, so we sons and daughters of Indo European peoples have begun our own struggle to reconsider the mistakes of history and reaffirm the spiritual value of our own battered and nearly-lost Ancestral ways.

Chiefly, we seek to re-establish traditions. We look to our wise Ancestors for guidance, and we look through the mists of time to pry their ancestral ways from the grip of confusion and sometimes revisionism. We trust in the living Gods to help us in this, and in the fact of our own spiritual and organic connection to the Ancestors to guide us, and we also trust in our own minds to consider carefully the evidence given by scholarship without forgetting to consider the limits of scholarship.

The effort has gone very well, thanks to the efforts of some great people, and the persistence of some cultural traditions that point the way for us.

But the task is far from over. Sometimes, it helps to deal with Ancestral traditions in smaller chunks, rather than chasing after a monolithic ideal of Ancestral culture or belief. We can help ourselves to understand the Old Ways better by realizing that instead of dealing with one huge "culture system" or "tradition" when we study the Heathen past, we are in fact dealing with multiple cultural and religious traditions that sometimes overlapped, but were different. These various "mini-traditions" operated together to create the larger "meta tradition" that most of us think about when we think about the Old Ways.

After Christianization, some of these mini-traditions continued to function, though changed (such as the tradition of community and the Otherworld); some fell by the wayside altogether (such as the tradition of the Gods or the traditions of sorcery).

I would like to discuss these traditions, all of which we can see and feel in our precious Lore from the past, and in the pages of history. We can also make the decision to regenerate these traditions within ourselves, and thus, within our world.

The Tradition of the Living Otherworld

Arguably one of the oldest cultural traditions, Heathen people all over Europe kept a strong belief in the "Otherworld" or an extra-sensory reality in which Godly realms were found, and into which the dead had to journey after death. This idea, of an Unseen world or worlds, is one of the most universally present ideas in all primal human cultures, and it persists today in all mainstream religions that teach about heavens and hells.

It is the specifically Heathen manner in which our Ancestors felt the presence of the Living Otherworld that interests us, however- they situated many worlds and locations in the primal "internal cosmology" that was native to both them and many other people around the world. The vertical axis of reality, pictured as a great Tree, gave a structure to place the world of the Gods within, always in the highest branches, and the world of the dead, usually near the roots. Viewing this cosmological principle in terms of the earth itself, the Gods' home is placed in the sky or above it, and the home of the dead in the Underworld, below and within the earth. Other worlds find their situation in various directions, all creating a mystical mandala or mytho-poetic geography of the unseen.

The Celtic Tradition does not lack the beauty and mystery of the Otherworld- in fact, more than most people, the Celts maintained an awareness of the Sacred unseen into Christian times. The idea of a "faery world" being under hills and mounds (an idea shared by the Germanic peoples) and the idea of special times of the year being impregnated with mystical force enough to cause humans out wandering to find themselves in another world, parallel to this one, is pervasive in folklore.

This tradition, this way of seeing is crucial. The idea of boat-burials deals strongly with this notion; the "line dividing" this world and the others was often seen in the Indo-European tradition as watery; from seas to rivers, the boat becomes a symbol of the passage of the dead in many IE cultures. The watery boundary is an important clue to us today; our ancestors didn't believe that the "line of separation" between this world and the other was "hard"- it wasn't a wall, but a journey that could be taken if aided properly. The idea of a strict division between this world and the Otherworld was absent from our Ancestors' thinking; the Otherworld and this World were both parts of the system of reality, and what occurred here affected those who dwelled in the unseen, and vice-versa.

We come close to reclaiming our Ancestors' worldview when we walk in the forests or along the banks of rivers, or go anywhere, and do not think of what our eyes see as some limit of our reality- to let yourself feel the presence of the Unseen world, and to understand how it interacts in strange ways with this one, how any forest trail or river or cave can be a direct entrance into another reality- is to see like they saw. So many communities of life are there, unseen by us, but sharing this reality with us. This is a sacred awareness of truth.

Also within this tradition is found the belief and awareness (the Wyrd way of seeing) that allows mythology to come to life within us. Our myths aren't just made up stories; they are ancient, vital expressions of the strange, acausal, and dream-like sacred reality that accompanies this "other" reality that we call the "everyday world".

The Tradition of the Gods or Divine Connection

Our ancestors believed in the Gods. This is a simple and profound statement, though it often loses some important meaning when people think it or say it in the modern day. It means that the Ancestors believed in divine orders of being, which they described as the many Gods and Goddesses of their sacred stories and myths. They did not believe that there was only "one" God; they didn't think that all their Gods and Goddesses were manifestations of only "one god and one goddess". They were truly polytheists, and their world, both all that was seen and what was unseen, was full of many beings that had enough power and/or wisdom to rightly be called "Gods".

This cannot be over-stated. To be a true polytheist, and not a monotheist in disguise (which you are if you believe that all gods are really "one god") means that you have reclaimed a crucial part of the true and authentic Indo-European Pagan worldview. You can finally give the Gods the honors they deserve individually, as opposed to collapsing them all into one divine blob.

It is no more illogical that there should be many Gods than it is that there should be many human beings on this planet, or many trees in a forest, or many grains of sand on a beach. The sacred and living system of nature gives rise to things in great abundance- in no manner does this lessen the sacredness of things. For too long we have labored under some ridiculous notion that "one" God is perfectly logical and represents sacredness and holiness, but the idea of many Gods would be "illogical" or problematic.

There's nothing inherently illogical with the idea of the multiplicity of the divine, and the vast majority of people who claim that it "doesn't make sense" are (not surprisingly) monotheists, who can hardly be deemed unbiased. They also cannot be accused of ever having the ability to consider the notion of the multiplicity of the divine from outside of the monotheistic paradigm that they have mostly grown up within, and been taught not to question since day one of their spiritual lives. At any rate, the Ancestors- all of the Ancestors- knew the Gods and Goddesses and named them, and there is a great power and peace in knowing the reality of those Gods, and feeling it.

True polytheism allows for a spiritual freedom that has no equal. Every time, place, event, and phenomenon is blessed by the presence of sentient forces who oversee the eternal unfolding of the world. To worship them is to put ourselves most fully in the moment, and participate in the unfolding of things from a more whole perspective- a wholeness that is ironically found in accepting and respecting the many aspects of reality that are rightly called "divine". To know the Gods is to know the full extent of our kin, friends, and companions, and the true teachers of wisdom. There is no complete life without the Gods.

Added To the idea of the many Gods, our ancestors honored the reality of divine connection. Humans and Gods were not separated by some great gulf, but were intimately connected. Heathen lore tells us of Odin and his brothers bestowing something of their spirit on the Ancestors of all humans alive today- making all humans directly kin to the Gods. This means that all human Hamingja, all human bloodlines and spiritual lines, go back to the Gods. The connection between the Gods and humanity was also celebrated and re-created in every act of sacrifice and the sharing of sacrificial feasts with the Gods. The very idea of "sacrifice" or "blot" and divine connection are inseparable.

The Tradition of the Ancestors

The finest and most crucial works on the Pagan religions of Northern Europe have clearly revealed the fact of how central ancestral worship was to the old religions, and the common and popular veneration of the Ancestors among the peoples of Southern Europe was established. Across the Indo-European Pagan world, the Ancestral Dead were venerated as semi-divine, protectors, watchers, and residents in the unseen world, whose ongoing and mysterious existence still affected their families here in this world.

If you recall, there was no native Pagan notion of some impassable "gulf" between this world and the Otherworld; the barriers that sometimes mythologically appear between those two places can be crossed or negotiated in various ways, and at various times and places. No place is as universally accepted as an "interaction point" between the seen and the unseen more than graves and burial mounds. Death was seen- rightly- as a sacred event of "passage", forcing any place wherein death occurred to be hallowed, at least temporarily, by the passage.

Ancestral veneration has a spiritual focus for many reasons, but the primary reason is twofold: the fund of Ancestral wisdom was vital and sacred to the ancients, containing as it did the "root" of all wisdom, the hallowed wisdom of the ages that was essential to humans today for guidance through their hard times, as well as guidance on how to properly celebrate their fortunes. But the Ancestors were more than wise, and more than spirits with access to the wisdom of the deepest mysteries concealed by death; they were also representatives of a living link between humans and the first ancestors- who were the Gods themselves, or the various ancient and sacred sources of life.

Each and every one of us, whether or not we realize it, are products of ancient bloodlines that go back to the very distant, sacred, and concealed beginning of the entire human race. Few think about it, but the fact of any person's birth today is due to a direct and unbroken line extending all the way back to the "beginning"- a "beginning" which is as mythical as it is literal. The Ancestors represent the entire stretch of that sacred line through which power has descended, and right at this moment, you are the entire reason your every ancestor lived and breathed. You are the outcome of their lives; you are the living person to which their power was passed down. This aspect of our worldview is one of the most crucial and sacred aspects because more than almost any other, it situates us in our humanity, and situates us with respect to our fellow human beings and the Gods.

The Tradition of the Sacred Land

Across ancient Europe, the people held a perpetual awareness of the Land beneath them, and their sacred relationship to it. Perhaps stemming from the earliest foundation of human religions, directly from the fountain of primordial animism, the veneration of the Land is universal.

Ancient tribal bonds extended to the Land itself, and the Land's presence hovered over the people as an ancient Mother figure, or, in later times, these various "toutal Goddesses" or "sovereignty Goddesses" became at home in the Land. Anciently, however, there was no separation- the hills of the Land were simply the breasts of the Earth Mother; wells and springs were her teats, and the names of rivers and the earth itself bore her mighty name.

Her body concealed the dead in mounds, symbols of her breasts and wombs; the Underworld inside her took the souls of the dead, who continued to live closer to the roots of life.

As these primal ideas continued to evolve, the truest and most ancient form of spiritual ecology evolved with them- that of mankind's ultimate and fundamental reliance on the produce of the Earth, and of his reciprocal relationship to it. The institution of sacred kingships, well attested to across ancient Europe, were born in the understanding that human communities- and their representative the King or Chieftain- had to have the blessing of the Land, the acceptance of the Land, if they wished to live freely with security and bounty.

The spirits of the Land themselves were dwarfed by this titanic Mother who, according to Heathen lore, was the first mother of humans by way of the Two Trees- the Ash and Elm from which the first humans were created sprang up from Nerthus or the Earth Goddess, before Odin discovered them and crafted Ask and Embla, the First Ancestors who were bestowed with his Godly Spirit, making them his kin. In countless other mythologies, the first humans spring up under Ash trees, or straight from the Earth itself, in her motherly role.

Shrines around sacred wells, always seen as sources of nurture and healing as well as entrances into the Otherworld, were ubiquitous in ancient Europe, as well as temples and shrines in caves, at springs, and the like. The Tradition of the Sacred Land was one of the first traditions to undergo a strong regeneration in the modern day, possibly because it was one of the first to be struck down and ignored by the unnatural religious changes that swept Europe so long ago. It was first to emerge again from the collective souls of humans because it, more than almost any other tradition, is required for the survival of the human race into the future.

The Tradition of Community or Human Connection

Heathen Europe was a tribal Europe, and few people today can really understand the meaning of the word "tribe"- we assume so much about the word based on what normally amounts to a "Hollywood level" understanding. "Tribe" is about a fundamental connection between people, due to common lineage from a shared ancestor or ancestors, or shared cultural traits. It is a broad term, applied to large groups of people, but it implies something very specific, a fundamental bond. That bond was the bond that people once lived by. Within these bonded groups of people came clans and families.

"Tribe" was replaced later in history by large clan-groupings and then communities of families and clans that had coalesced together over long periods of time, and were still bound together by shared cultural understandings and common history. At various points, their oldest tribal identity might have been lost, subsumed into their various communities- including the settling of fixed places or locations that would grow into the most ancient cities that exist today- but "clannic memory" and their group-based sacred living ethic never vanished.

No man lived alone, or on his own merits alone, in ancient times. Despite the laughable misunderstandings many have today (based on our misconceptions of the figure of the "hero") people lived, breathed, and drew identity from the group they lived within. Without family and kin, protection was lost; survival chances were not good. Without them, any hope for justice was forlorn; ones family stood up for them in legal proceedings, came together to avenge the taking of family members in illegal death cases, collected goods to help pay fines or other penalties on behalf of a family member, supported each other through hard times or "thin" times of less resources, and they raised children together.

We have lost these most natural and crucial support networks in the modern day. When the connection between people and the Sacred Land was broken- broken first by absurd foreign notions that the Land was not a sacred thing, or a Goddess, but a bundle of resources placed there for the use of man by the big father-God distantly in the sky, the clannic groups' numinal understanding of their relationship to the Land was underminded, then lost over time and even through force. When that was lost, the feeling of being strangers on the Land itself was enough to splinter the bonds of clan or family; estrangement from the first sustaining Mother and from sacred claims of "place" would be enough to estrange one human from another. Where do we belong now? To whom do we belong? Who are we? The introduction of foreign religious notions, leading some to reject the Gods and other ages-old traditions, further splintered families and communities, across the Pagan world.

Our entire notion of "nuclear family" is a sham, a fraud invented by corporate barons in the last century who needed a mobile workforce- a hard-working man, with his obedient house-keeping wife and children who were all able to independently relocate wherever the employer needed them; the man could work all day, while the wife prepared his meals, kept his living space clean, sexually satisfied him in the evenings, and raised his children- like a soldier going out to fight, with a tiny support network behind him to take care of all his needs except for the fight itself.

Across the land these "nuclear families" went, leaving behind mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, to become isolated and never seen except around the big holidays once or twice a year, and finally to rot away unseen in "old folks' homes" or assisted living homes, or to die alone in their houses, forgotten as the neighborhood around them succumbed to urban development, or more usually, urban decay.

The two World Wars shattered more than just millions of lives- they shattered the last vestiges of the rural family-based community. After the Christianization of Europe, new communities formed based around churches, centers where a foreign religion and its harmful foreign ideals were imprinted into every new generation of European people, but communities did form, and within them much of the old clannic impulse was still kept alive- the same land was occupied by the same families in many places as it had been for centuries before.

Now strangers to the spiritual truth of their connection to the land, and strangers to the real Mother of their ancestors, these people lived close to the power of the Land and they took an unconscious comfort in it, without ever fully realizing the truth of their most ancient connections to that same Land. They felt a vestigial love and respect for their land, but it now came to be expressed in nationalistic terms, and in the simple, unspoken joys of country life.

People were born in the same place, married and died and were buried all in the same church/village center. They were literally married next to the churchyard where they would be buried along with their children one day. This kind of connection between families and their land was a final pale remnant of the old Pagan or Heathen relationship of tribe and clan to the Odal-land. After the World Wars, and with the rise of Industrialism, these villages were shattered, depopulated, and forgotten. With them passed away a vital vestige of humanity's ancient legacy.

The extended family once lived together, just as the community did. They protected one another; they shared the burdens and dangers of living life. The cost of losing these bonds of support is the veil of isolation and depression that has swept across the "civilized" world. We swallow our prozac and lithium while mocking the "uncivilized" rural people of third-world nations and other traditional nations, who all live in large family groupings out in their huts- and who, after anthropological studies, don't seem to suffer the same sense of isolation or loss of support and love that so many westerners report to feel.

The Volva, the sacred prophetess of the Heathen Tradition as a whole, predicted that in this age of the world bonds between human beings would fall by the wayside, and her prophecy has largely come true. We have replaced the bonds of family with selfish delusions, and the faster we recognize those delusions as signs of the coming end of the world, the faster we will realize how sacred our ancestors really felt these bonds were. There was simply no human world without them.

The good of the group and the fate of the group was tied together; the dead joined one another in the mound or in the Otherworld, still united as a clan. When Christianity came, with its selfish belief in the primary importance of "individual salvation", the last nail in the coffin of the ancient bond of clan was driven. It awaits revival and regeneration within the souls of each person today who can still rouse themselves to a perspective that transcends the selfish fixations of ego, and discover a broader context for human interaction and support. What is a family now? What is a clan? They are the people you find, and bond with- the people you face life's dangers with, for no man is fit to do it alone.

Some are fortunate enough to find these true kinsmen among their own blood-families, but so often today, our real family is the family we choose. At any rate, find the true family, and you will find your true path. In Heathenry today, the tradition of the Symbel most directly relates back to the ancient connection of community and true family, bringing the Kindred or Hearth together in the most fundamental way.

The Tradition of Sorcery

The most vilified of all traditions by the new religion of Christianity, the tradition of sorcery, like the tradition of the Sacred Land, probably extends back to the earliest of times, to the dimmest mornings of animistic experience on the part of human beings.

Sorcery was a fact of life to the ancients- and despite what many modern Pagans would like to believe, it wasn't a fully integrated aspect of life in ancient times. If Christians feared and hated the practice of sorcery and sorcerers, most Pagans feared it and held it in awe simultaneously. While that's a real difference, it isn't as large a difference as most think. The fundamental difference is that Christians specifically targeted practitioners of sorcery by name and reputation, and singled them out as "monsters"- while Pagan peoples clearly accepted their presence, even if they were sometimes bothered by them and even on rare occasions took their own initiative to run them off or kill them, if the situation lined up right.

Sorcery is the ultimate "outsider tradition"- a mysterious phenomenon that is born in the mysterious Otherworld, and channeled into the context of human society by a sorcerer. The sorcerer, like his ancient counterpart the primordial Shaman, is the "boundary crosser", the person able to interact with Utgard, the land "outside" the spiritual and even physical boundaries of the community, the unseen world of extra-social powers and forces.

This is the source of the sorcerer's strength, but also the source of the fear that surrounded them in ancient times, as well as now. The mysterious learnings of the "outside" dimension of understanding endows the sorcerer with a mystery that enchants people, but makes them suspect in any occasion of seeming bad luck or misfortune. After all, the sorcerer is the unpredictable one, the wild card, the element of chaos that exists on the boundaries of society, much like the Giants of Heathen lore existing on the boundaries of Middle Earth.

Sorcery was related to those Giantish powers "outside" of the secure enclosures guarded by men and Gods. The Gods themselves practised sorcery- Odin and Freya were both great sorcerers, Odin the Master of Runes and a practitioner of Seid, and Freya the Great Mistress of Seid, or Trance-Sorcery. Her original practice and teaching of Seid was hated by the Gods, who called her "beloved by wicked women". Odin's character, with all its great ambiguity, hint of danger, and slyness, and his close relationship to his blood-brother Loki (who was himself a master sorcerer) is directly related to his practice of sorcery.

Why did sorcery remain such a fixture, a real tradition, among Indo-European Pagan peoples, when even they, at various times and places, took time to struggle against it? Because every system contains elements of dynamism and chaos, and while the Gods struggle against the Giants for the maintenance of the world, the Giants are still every bit as sacred and necessary for the health of the whole world.

The presence of sorcery, as a reality of human interaction with "outside" forces, and an element of human cunning interacting with extra-social and otherworldly powers, is necessary for the development of human consciousness and society- even though few people truly realize this. So many of the treasures of the Gods- things they required to perform their needed tasks- were granted to them by the sorcerer Loki, through all his wild and strange behavior and misadventures.

The activity of Sorcery, and the unlimited possibilities that lie behind it, is a reminder to humans of the limits they set for themselves, and a source for awe and wonder, even while being a source of danger and risk.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Freedom and the Post-Postmodern Declaration

In my academic and professional life, I study a lot of theories and approaches to understanding reality. I am a student of Systems Theory, and I am very comfortable with this body of knowledge because I can see how harmoniously it blends with my understandings of Wyrd.

Systems Theory, and it's development of "Second Order Cybernetics", is an outgrowth of the Postmodern intellectual worldview. I used to really like postmodernism; my own thinking is heavily postmodern, in a way- I do not believe in the myth of progress; I do not see the world in reductionist terms, don't believe that there's one great "scientific truth" out there to be discovered after we apply some "old school" logic and rationality to this world, and work in a systematic, scientific way to "uncover" it; I don't accept the linear, Lockean and Newtonian worldviews.

I don't believe in revealed religious authorities; (I think they're just deluded human beings) and I don't trust much authority at all, least of all the so-called "authority" invested in huge modern bureaucracies by the so-called "will of the people".

You'd think that I was a great postmodernist. But I'm not. I have realized that I have to come up with a term to label myself in a satisfying way; I'm not much of a modernist, and though many of the features of my worldview may seem so, I'm not much of a postmodernist either, for one important reason.

I can't accept the idea that absolutes- including absolute values- don't exist. I can accept that when we deal with Systems Theory as a way of approaching therapy or counseling, that it's better to take a value-free approach with our clients; it's easier to help others if you see from the broadest, most flexible perspective possible, and temporarily shedding your own value-system is the best way to be fully present to another human being who needs your help.

But I, like all living people, believe in certain Truths that define me. And unlike the postmodernists who claim that our individual truths are all relative and situational, limited only to ourselves, and no more valid than anyone elses' truths, I think that my truths are- in some cases- far more valid than the perspectives of other people.

Let me give a small example. I'm not going to labor you with a blunt example (such as the fact that there are people who strongly believe in the moral rightness of slicing off a young girl's clitoris in brutal and compulsory "female circumcisions) but with a personal example.

I've recently met one of the nicest girls I've ever known- a young lady from Saudi Arabia that I've become friends with. I call her my "desert princess", much to her delight. My lovely friend wears a scarf covering her head, which covers her hair, but leaves her face showing. She only wears long sleeves and long pants. I've had many vibrant cultural discussions with her about the head covering and her culture, and I look forward to more. She's even taught me how to write the word "owl" in Arabic, and how to say it. (It's pronounced "BOO-ma")

At any rate, just this last night, we had a discussion about why she believes so strongly in wearing the head-covering. I made the most minor suggestion that it had to do with patriarchal fear of women, seduction, and sexuality, and a culturally inculcated guilt/shame complex over being born female; as you might imagine, she strongly rejected this idea.

She told me that she only showed her hair (and therefore her full beauty) to her husband, and to relatives that could not marry her, because women had special duties in her culture- to take care of their husbands. If a woman failed in this, husbands (she claimed) could wander, do "bad" things, and seek female company elsewhere. The last thing she wished to be was a temptation to some other wandering scoundrel, and thereby a partner in some possible infidelity against some other woman.

She really believed that it was best that she should cover up; this way, men couldn't look at her as a sexual object; they'd be less able to judge her on physical looks only, and forced, in a manner, to deal with her as a human being.

I smiled and was pleasant, but inside, I was in pain. The sheer disgust I have for the harm, the real wrong, that has been done to this girl was hard to conceal. Without realizing it, she has been manipulated by men into hiding her natural, simple beauty, because she believes herself to be a natural object of temptation, and she believes men to be, on some level, just sex-crazed scoundrels, out on the prowl.

This reflects what we know about Islamic cultural mentalities in many parts of the world- if Christianity's great downfall is guilt, Islam's is fear of sexuality and sensuality. This is a well known fact, discussed at length in many fine works. But in Islamic society, the harm, the damage, the slavery of women lies in the way many of them have just accepted that they should cover their bodies to help men to control themselves.

Okay, when did it get to be the burden of women that men might not be able to control their cocks? Why must women suffer for men's inability to control themselves? Why must women cover up? And what's more disgusting to me is the fact that these men have trained their women well- the women really, genuinely believe that they are doing right to cover up- in fact, like my desert princess, they feel that they WANT to do it.

My desert princess told me that women in other cultures (Muslim women) who don't cover up "know that they are doing wrong" and should be covered. My heart felt like it was going to break.

Now, let me return to my rejection of the postmodern notion that there is no way to pass judgment on other people's values and customs. Yes, in the postmodern world, all opinions and worldviews are equally as valid. My belief that my desert princess should be allowed to walk around, dressed as she likes, with her beautiful jet-black hair flowing free, is, to the postmodernists, every bit as valid as her culture's belief that the seed of temptation needs to be covered up- and it's women that need to do the covering.

But I know in my heart that these cultural conditions that have affected my friend have robbed her of a special freedom, even if she does not see that. And I don't care what any so-called "philosopher" or "learned person" or "debate champion" wants to tell me; I don't give a shit who thinks that I'm saying that my values are more important than hers, or that I'm trying to push my values onto her.

Because that's what a valueless way of seeing the world does. It tells us that we all have to withhold our own judgments, even when our hearts cry out. It tells me that my belief in allowing young women to grow up with their sexual organs intact, is just as valid as the belief, held by many in other parts of the world, that young girls should have their clitorises removed with a knife. It tells me that my belief that my desert princess deserves a chance to feel the wind in her hair- that hair put on her head by Great Nature and Fate- and laugh and run around with her friends down the middle of a busy street, is just as valid as the bastardly view that she needs to hide her beauty because of how it may tempt men.

I don't think that "views" that rob other people of freedom or life are "just as valid" as my own. That's right- I'll yell it to the sky, and tell anyone to their face: I believe that some views are more valid than others. And I don't think that this is simply my conclusion; it is the conclusion of a Truth that transcends cultural concerns.

This truth is beyond the petty stupidity of "learned men" who have thought themselves into voids of moral irresponsibility; this truth is the common protector and the common sanity of all people who are unafraid to live life, to be human, to expect fairness, who love freedom, and who love Great Nature for what she is. We cannot allow ourselves to run on autopilot anymore; we have to question cultural teachings and norms. We cannot allow foul restrictions and practices that rob other human beings- or ourselves- of our Nature-granted freedoms to persist. And we begin the process of stopping them by rejecting them in our minds and hearts, and not supporting shallow and near-sighted intellectual movements that give them any validity.

Thus, my final comment about Postmodernists, and the morally vacant pseudo-intellectuals that support them is this: Fuck 'em. Fuck them. How's that for a good debate finisher?

Yes, I know postmodernism was born in the despair that followed the two World Wars. I know that the world was depressed, that few people really believed in the power of progress or reason anymore. I know that people began to question everything, and they were right to do so- but they didn't end up in a good place; they questioned themselves right out of the responsibility they had for being human and seeking the truth.

To say that the truth is that there is no truth is absurd. There's a truth, and I've lived it, I've seen it. And it wasn't a bible or a koran that I saw it in; it wasn't a copy of the Eddas or the Sagas, nor was it a Buddhist Sutra. It wasn't in how I helped others or in how I loved the trees and the animals. It was in the face of my daughter, and in the love I've shared with other human beings, and in how we have lived free of the undue restrictions imposed on other human beings by tyranny and stupidity.

There is no greater thing to live for. I don't care what your Lama or your guru tells you; I don't care what your priest or your pastor tells you; I don't care what mom or dad told you, or what the philosophy professor told you. There is no greater thing to live for.

I am now officially "Post-Postmodern". I will take what good the postmodernists accidentally did for the world, and to it, add the best of the modernistic notions of value. I will also take the further step of plunging back into the pre-modern world and taking from them the structure of religion and clan-centric or community-centric ethics and realities, and bring them back to life in the modern day, which I have been doing for many years.

Time is no straight line; it is a circle. Pre-modern... modern.... postmodern... and where next? Where does the mind travel in its search for a sane way to live? Right back to the pre-modern. We've come full circle. Now the evolutions of the mind and understanding that the circle has given us, and the workable models of the ancestral past, can join forces and create a post-postmodern world, first within the individual, and then within the world.

Maybe Post-postmodernism should be called "Neomodernism". Maybe "Radical Social Traditionalism". Or perhaps "Modernism 2.0", or even "Qualified Modernism". Or maybe "Neodidactic Antiquarian Social Science". How about "Neoclannic"? Nah, that's too specific, but it needs to be a subset of this approach. Maybe I'll just call it "Operation Piss Off The Planet", because that's what its destined to do. And I'm okay with that.

So, there you have it- let the pinheads pile in to tell me how I'm the second coming of the same great ideological idiocy that nearly destroyed the world before. They'd simply be wrong. Call me an ideologue for daring to say that there may be better ways of treating people, and for saying that freedom- which is not as relative and complicated a concept as they want to make it out- is better for all. People naturally seek freedom when they don't have it- all of nature shows us this, even among non-human creatures. That spirit has kept this world flowing.

What do dominant religions and cultures do to combat the rebel spirit's urge to freedom? They claim that humans are inclined to sin and concupiscence and that the "natural urgings" of humans are towards bad things, not good- HA! That disgusting reverse-logic engineering, that nature-hating BULLCRAP has done enough damage to humanity. I reject it as I reject all things cruel and deceitful.

If anything will destroy our world, it'll be people who really think that it is humanly possible to flee from our duties to be moral people and people who believe in and uphold values. The postmodern worldview has gone bad; it has rotted. It's good fruits have become poison, and they need to be replanted in better soil. Never again should we return to the ridiculous simplicity of the modernistic delusions, but never should we have dropped all hint of value and truth in pursuit of an empty world without hope.

I hope that one day, my desert princess will let her hair down, let it fall before the eyes of every man she crosses paths with. If they have a problem with her beauty, they can fuck off and die. They need to deal with their issues, and not take them out on women. What weak, scared, and miserable men!

This world has no place anymore for people who are so weak; we are not going to sit around and allow them to train their herds of women- and strip those women of freedom and dignity- all to satisfy their poor, oversensitive, frightened little souls. Let them fly more airplanes into office buildings; their cultures have nearly expired. And it's happening in much the same manner that Christianity expired; people got a taste of freedom, and realized the difference between freedom and the illusion of it. Once you've had that taste, there's no going back. But no matter how far you go, wisdom will have to accompany you, or you will run aground.