Sunday, December 13, 2009

My Song of Glory for the Heathens

"Hail the troth-found folk of the heath
Great fame for their struggles borne!
Limbs of doughty kin answer their need,
The love of Gods and Disir their meed.
Great is the wisdom of Herjan's song,
Blessed with luck all who know it
Blessed with hap all who keep it;
Their joy-fires are lit behind the holt
Their fain toasts go on in secret.

* * *

This song of glory is written for the Ásatrúar who fill the heaths and forests and hills of our wide land, and any land beyond the sea. In the new Pagan era, those of the Heathen troth are many, but many more are silent, living their lives with quiet patience and sometimes quite alone. They read the Eddas and stories of old, keep faith and troth with the Old Man and with mighty Red-Beard, with The Lord of Alfheim and with his Amber-eyed sister, the Dis of the Vanir-folk. They raise toasts at high Midsummer and feel the approach of the Ancestral Host at Midwinter, and the blood of their blots spill a thousand times unheard, every moon that passes.

Listen to my song further- praise the hidden folk, the people of the Heath, the silent throng of Heathens who do not entertain the public eye or discourse, but who are the steadfast body of the faithful. It was people of the land that gave them a name and voice again, a man named Sveinbjörn who farmed the ground and composed poetry, on an island in a cold ocean; it was mothers and fathers and children that came to answer the call first. We stand on the backs of heroes, all of us; heroes not for well-praised books of meticulously researched lore nor vain attention-mongering, but heroes for simple faith and courage and respect for the true faith of their ancestors.

Heathens of this world, raising horns with hope, Where so many have forgotten, you remember. Where so many abandon the many for the one, you know the many and have their ear. Where so many surrender to despair or apathy, you maintain a fire of life and wonder inside your hearts.

The end is in the beginning; the shape of conception is the shape of the end. Where many other Pagan organizations were born in the stew of reactionary politics and faddish obsessions, Ásatrú, the great and indigenous faith of the North, was born in plowed earth, poetry, hardy souls, bravery, fields of snow, crashing waves, and glowing fire. It was born in the minds of people whose love was the finding of herbs to address illness, speaking with land-wights, and respect for the lore of old. They didn't set out to parade vulgar campaigns of change in the world; they never set out to shock the values of non-Heathens in their lands, they never set out to make foes of other faiths (though prejudices were sure to be born from others) they set out to set their souls at ease amid the pleasures of ancestral wisdom and belonging. Give a person that peace, and all else will follow.

This is the Ur-Law that all Heathens can proudly claim as their origin. This is the Wyrd woven for us by the heroes of our way. This is why all who claim the creed of the Heathens, in all its many forms, stand apart from other Pagans of our world; our strong numbers are quiet more than loud, thoughtful more than foolhardy, satisfied more than seeking, as Allfather bade them be. Like the land and the land-wights that we call kin and friend, we are as enduring as the stones.

The modern Pagan stream that thrusts itself upon the stage of the world will rise and fall on tides of amazing wonders and baleful failures, like all whirling powers of men. It will inspire and enrage, it will mesmerize and shock, and it will finally settle down to embers and fade, to change its shape to a new form for the times to come. The Heathens that belong to their own world, a deeper world, a thewful world, will gaze from silence.

My song of glory is for the lasting people, the faithful ones, the worshipers of Thor, slayer of evil, Odin, Master of Sorcery, for Frey, Guardian of the loaves of plenty, Freya, first in beauty, for Frigg, patient spinner from the fen-halls, for Heimdall, sharp-eyed watcher and protector, and for all the folk who give rightful worship to the Sacred Hosts. You are the dignity of the new Pagan era. What you believe is the ancient treasure sought by so many that was unearthed by hearts and minds, not picks and shovels. The faithless could not silence the Ancestral voices for long; here they are raised again.

What your voices say, as little as they may be heard, is the secret hope of every Pagan heart that beats this day. Few are called to the Troth-halls, but all long for the dignity and seriousness that is the religion of your everyday lives. To every Heathen that raises a toast alone, I say "you are kin of mine, we are kin together with the hosts of awe." To every kindred and hearth that passes a horn in the faith, I say "hail and might to you all- where your hlaut-bowls are spilled, there falls the greatest treasure man still possesses, true kinship." We are scattered, so unknown to most, but potent and unshakable.

May the kin of Odin endure, as they have for so long, to be the future of our new Pagan world! May those loved by the God of Thunder be safe! May those beloved of Frigg come to good ends, woven with the love of a Mother who is nurse to all the blessed young. Hail Ásatrú! Health and Blessings to the Heathens All!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

End of an Era: The Heathen Eschatology

Secularism has lamed Christian powers in the west. In the east, Islam is vomiting out its last pile of envy and spite, and soon, the forces of secularism and materialism will overwhelm even the bastions of Islam. It is inevitable, like the snows of Winter in the rafters of the world. It grows colder, colder, slowly, until the ice forms. No man or institution can stop it. None can halt the march of the ages, the weaving of Fate.

Israel, always a tiny group of people, have broken their strength through absorption into hateful populations that only gave them death and persecution, and have emerged as tiny enclaves of hopeful and socially active people who have finally had enough- like their Ancestors, they want to be left alone to keep their covenants and drink their kosher wines. With great joy, I can give the descendants of Israel the greatest compliment I accord to any monotheists: they've never tried to ram their God down my throat. I wish them well as the world continues to swallow them, too.

The age of religious absolutism is drawing closed. And it is a great time to be a human being, I must say. Now, as with any age, the forces of the previous age are resentful, and in their final, threadbare little stands of desperation, they kill, maim, grow desperate, make immense asses out of themselves on the stage of the world, but people no longer really care. I hate the twin forces of materialism and secularism, but I must say- blunt, freezing little tools that they are, they have a use.

Could Fate have woven these soul-numbing little terrors for a reason? It seems to me that they arise to address a fundamental imbalance in the human soul. If you force immense populations of people into the dark places of radicalism and insane religiosity, which certainly has happened to everyone in the last 2000 years, it seems that you exhaust the energy of the soul, and the deeper wisdom which was always there finally has to reassert itself. That deeper wisdom knows that all this insanity was a divergence from the Truth about man and this world. Like all wisdom, it is quiet and deeply immovable. You can plaster nonsense over it, but you can never really remove it.

When the fires of absolutism and fanaticism and false promises fade, only that wisdom is left, cool among the embers. The promises of the monotheistic West have failed; they have been shown to be empty, as empty as the "peace through submission" battle cry of the Muslim East. Only the dazed scions of Israel remain, blinking through the ashes, wondering just how in the HELL their Ancestral religion and God could ever have inspired movements like Christianity and Islam.

Well, those movements did more than just persecute them; those movements spread across the map like a black oil-slick, butchering non-Abrahamic, indigenous faiths everywhere, replacing the dignity of wisdom and Ancestral religion with the wicked crescent and the stark oppression of the cross. Gone was the diversity inherent in the human spirit, replaced with churches and mosques, all straining to fit everyone into the same creed. If there was ever a dark age, it was this one.

The Wolf-Age always surprises me. Of all the Nine Ages of the World, it appears to have the most room for shock and awe, for surprise, and for heroism. In the face of a Sauron-like flooding of Middle Earth, in which free peoples were locked in chains, a few lights of resistance and wisdom remained burning. And now, those lights, kept burning from long ago, have set fire to the dried out wood of the human spirit that was choked into silence and drought. The fire can't be controlled.

* * *

Even inside the largest dark age of the world, a new era is being born. And it is glorious to behold. There's something infuriating about watching the poor, empty, raging reactions of the former powers, but also something blissfully pleasurable. By the time you have to wail as loud as they do, you can be sure that their cause is dead and unrecoverable.

But that leaves us with new challenges. Once these failed experiments from the past die out, and die out they will, will the new powers be able to return to some semblance of sustainability and humanity? I can almost assure you that naked secularism, bolstered by the forces of atheism and materialism, can't do it. They are, in their own way, just as lethal as the insanity we had before. But I look at it this way- we can die under the wails of prayers and crusaders and deluded idiots, or under the syringes of doctors who think we are all just big science experiments, and societies that just sit around staring. I'll take the second way.

Or better yet, I'll create my own third way. I'll die like I lived, with the fire I feel burning in me, rejecting all of these hateful degeneracies and laughing my way to the Allfather's hall. He alone knows what truth was lost, and he alone knew why it had to happen. He alone waits for the few who remain true to the way of wisdom to burn out like stars fallen into a tar-like soup of apathy and falsehood. And those few will be called Allfather's Own; they will stand with him when the final forces of destruction come to smother all that remains of the resplendent, beautiful world that we have taken advantage of and besmirched with our pride and our willful ignorance.

Demon Materialism, Demon Despair, Demon Atheism, Demon Consumerism, blunt little blades of ice and oblivion! How I hate you. But no other weapons would have sufficed to cut the throats of the dark religious powers that held our world hostage. Your task is done. I should thank you. But I know that, in some ways, my throat may be next. Just as well. Something was going to destroy me from the day I was born. If you think you can do it, well, you know where to find me!

May the Hammer of the Gods continue to strike and crush those who smother the human spirit. May it turn on the giantish powers of modernity that have delivered us from one evil, only to threaten us with a new one. Let the great ice come, the great fires, and let all that we know and love freeze and burn to dust and ash. That too, has to happen.

But in the midst of it, let the fortunate few know the great joy of truth! If the final hurrah of the world must be this way, let's make the best of it. It's what the Gods would do, and what the Vala tells us they will do. How divine- to keep the hearth fire burning bright with joy, while the tide of darkness rises. If you are beginning to feel annoyed, dismayed, angry, scornful, or dismissive of my words, you are already feeling what I am saying, more than just reading. And that's good. May the Hammer of the Gods protect you, too, whoever you are.

The Doom of the Powers is coming. Whatever was good in this world will sleep in the deep places of the tree, safe from the destroying fires. Hel will give up her dead and all of the lost of this world, and they will see what the Vala has seen- new rivers pouring through new virgin wilderness, and the eagle flying again, swooping to catch fish anew. She has seen a new heavens and a new earth, and the Mighty Gods coming to their assembly again. She has foreseen it, because she has seen it many times, in my worlds before this one.

All worlds must in time be stained with darkness, but all worlds must undergo their purification and rebirth, too. A person is like that as well; each of us will be renewed. Glorious freedom! On those green fields and under that new sun- who will be the daughter of the sun currently above us- I look forward to speaking with you again.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Who Really Abandoned their Duty to the Truth?

This is a five minute long video of a Catholic Priest, Father Robert Barron, and his comments on the "Danger of Turning Religion into a Toy".

The Danger of Turning Religion into a Toy

This is my response to him and his short talk.

* * *

This man has life and spirit, I can see that. But he also has the typical Christian narrow focus.

He begins with the assumption- which he takes as solid, literal truth- that humans are "hardwired" for "God"- and, in the place of God, he uses synonyms like "Truth", "Beauty", and "Good". That's very Neoplatonic of him, and I wouldn't mind that so much, except that the Pissed off God of Israel is not "Truth", "Beauty" and "Good". The God of Israel, which this man means when he says "God", is a being, an entity, not abstract universal qualities like "Truth", "Beauty", and "Good".

A being, an entity that gives laws and has a will and gets pissed off and floods the world to destroy sinners, is not a "quality". An entity- even a God- cannot simultaneously be a quality like "Truth", anymore than I can be a person and simultaneously a "happiness" or a "peace". It's like suggesting a square can be round. It's not possible. We're conflating qualities or aspects of reality that cannot merge without absurdity.

Now, let's drop the ancient Hebrew superstitions out of the equation, and give up on their hopelessly inane tribal theism. Let's give the priest, for one moment, the conclusion that "God" equates with "Truth" and "Beauty" and "Good". Now, we have something closer to the old notion of the Greek Philosophers, a notion of "The Good", or the "God of the Philosophers" as my professors once said- something distinct from the Hebrew "God of Revelations".

Let's say that the priest is correct and humans are indeed "hardwired" for finding the Truth, beauty, and the Good. His Christianity swoops in once more and prohibits him from allowing that people can discover Truth, Beauty, and Good in any way other than adherence to and agreement with his own dogmatic principles and beliefs. You can have "sorta" Truth, but it ain't "Ultimate Truth" unless you're proclaiming your faith in Jesus Christ, and (ideally) attending his church.

That's bosh. That's malarkey. Truth, Beauty, and Good are universal qualities that have countless manifestations in human lives, and a presence in all places, in all ages, worldwide. These qualities do not cluster exclusively around a single recent religion's triumphalist and exclusivist claims and mythologies. These revealed religions that want to stake total claim on Truth don't want to share, (it would certainly be financial bad business for them to share) but fortunately for us, their claims mean nothing. Truth was here long before them and will be here when their malignant organizations are washed away to dust by the tide of time.

But my critique of this man's message goes a bit further. I agree with him on some things that he says- people who give up on the natural quest for Truth and Goodness and assume the "who cares" stance that characterizes so many of the lost and degenerate of our age DO harm their souls- on this, the priest and I are in total agreement. He's also correct to say that people who repress this urge for wholeness and truth feel those repressed aspects of the soul "re-emerge" in harmful, twisted form.

But there's an issue here. He says that people who put aside "God" and the search for "God" see that repression re-emerge as addiction, or a lust for power, or what have you. He goes on to say that these things will never be enough, and indeed, I agree with him again. But how in the world does a person "have" God? Is he suggesting that the search for God actually ends, and that some blessed people have "found" God, and now, don't have addictions or lust for power, or lust generally, and none of the other false, shallow fixations that characterize so many people?

Precisely where are these saintly, happy people? I've known countless Christians, and they aren't all sitting around blissfully happy, "With" God, in lieu of all those other sorry alternatives that the poor unenlightened masses have.

This man talks a good talk about the benefits of "having" God in lieu of the shallow alternatives, but I've yet to meet anyone that appears to have seized on this holy state. EVERY Christian I've ever known- including pastors and priests- had one or more of the following: addictions, annoying personalities, troubles, rudeness, judgmentalism, depression, questions and doubts, greed, lust for power, pride, ego run amok, and any of the other issues that characterize Human Beings.

And, ironically, I don't truly hold these things against them- they are humans. But they are humans who make fabulous claims of having achieved some wonderful state above others, by virtue of their amazing Christian Truth. But it's bosh. Their own lives and minds and appearances don't verify their claims. All they really seem to have is a strong certainty that somehow, they "have" God, due to their "faith" or adherence to the dogmas and teachings of religion. Even when they can't "understand" God fully, or when things are hard for them, they have this "faith" that they've still achieved some great leap towards the Truth that others have not- but which others need to.

You'll forgive me for saying what's obvious to most, but I don't buy their claims, or his. Nothing I have experienced thus so far, and nothing I have read about Christian history and its impact on this world, leads me to believe that these people have a profound Truth that the rest of us lack.

They DO, however, have a disturbing and unwise story that they espouse, an aggressively evangelistic story of monotheism, anthropocentrism, human exceptionalism, triumphalism, elitism, and absurd, unqualified eternalism that many of us lack, but which most of us have already seen through on a philosophical level.

When I see things like this, it makes me appreciate how wise my Ancestors were, and why the organic Heathen religion is so important and relevant today: it can spare us from this particular brand of madness.

The "Truth" is not a colossal idea or set of doctrines that describe how the universe works to people, and the "Truth" is not a single monolithic idea or even a being; the "Truth" is not hidden, despite how the Philosophers and later the Monotheists want to present it that way (the better to position themselves to be able to "reveal" to others how to find it, thus winning a great measure of pride, fame, and money for themselves). The "Truth" reveals itself from moment to moment through every day of our lives, in every experience.

To hunt, to shelter from cold and heat, to raise children, to grow food, protect your loved ones, create art, build buildings, explore, compose poetry, make music, seek excellence in your crafts - all of these human pursuits are the Truth about what we are. We come to know the Truth about man and this world by experiencing it, not having it taught to us with hopelessly absurd metaphysical claims that can't be verified until we've died. Truth about human life never hid from us; we became convinced that it was hidden because we sadly allowed ourselves to believe a story that told us that we were flawed and lost.

We became, like spoiled children, unwilling to accept that the most obvious things could be our Truth. We wanted angels with trumpets and eternal bliss, not the simple pleasures of life, the love of family and kin, the great joy of surviving and thriving in this world. No longer content to be humans, we have to be Gods ourselves, or eternal spirits living in heaven. The absurdity of these things have poisoned our history for 2000 years, and poisoned our societies, our world, and threatened our survival. May the Gods guide the new generations of Heathens on the right course!

May we never forget what happened the last time Christians were given the power to "teach their Truth" to people who were brave enough to resist it:

Snorri Sturluson in the saga of St. Olaf chapter 73, describes the brutal process of Christianisation in Norway: “…those who did not give up paganism were banished, with others he (Saint Olaf) cut off their hands or their feet or extirpated their eyes, others he ordered hanged or decapitated, but did not leave unpunished any of those who did not want to serve God (…) he afflicted them with great punishments (…) He gave them clerks and instituted some in the districts.”

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Indigenous Paganism and New Religious Movements

Is the general term "Pagan" on the verge of a redefinition?

At the "Parliament of the World's Religions", some new and somewhat exciting/controversial statements were made by some of the persons who attended in the name of "Pagans" worldwide.

Let me begin by saying that I don't believe anyone or any small group of people can sufficiently and adequately "represent" Pagans worldwide. These people who appeared on the behalf of Pagans were not elected to go, or any such thing. Even if someone could "represent" Wiccans or other New-Age spiritual movements, Asatru and other such religions- which are always painfully lumped in with the rest- would certainly not be represented at all.

I'm pleased to report that, despite this strange and unsatisfactory state of affairs, that one of the Pagan attendees, Andras Corban-Arthen, made a very positive and somewhat profound statement about religious identity and classifications for modern Pagans. What he said is worth being reprinted here, and I shall do so by quoting online journalist and Pagan parliament attendee Ed Hubbard:

* * *

"...So the term Pagan itself is being redefined from this old Christian based definition. Part of the Teaching of Traditions series, created with the help of Pagan Trustees, describes Paganism as follows: “Paganism” is a collective term that most aptly defines Indigenous cultures of pre-Christian Europe, the Celtic and Germanic Tribes, The Balts, The Scandinavians, The Basques, The Slavs and many others.

The first Pagan presentation of the Parliament helped begin this change of identity and was called “People Call Us Pagans-The European Indigenous Traditions”, by PWR Trustees Angie Buchanan, Andras Arthen, and Phyllis Curott. The opening of the description is as follows: As the World confronts environmental devastation, we are beginning to appreciate the wisdom of Indigenous peoples who have lived thousands of years in sustainable harmony and spiritual connection with the Earth. After hundreds of years of suppression, most Westerners have forgotten that their ancestors once shared this wisdom as the Indigenous traditions of Europe. *

This concept of Paganism as being based deeply in European Indigenous Traditions has fascinated and found ground among American, European and Australian members of the Parliament. It helps move Paganism from being a New Religious Movement to an Indigenous tradition, and offers many more opportunities to reach out at the parliament.

As described by Andras Corban-Arthen most forms of modern Paganism can be described as part of the New Religious Movements as they were formed in the 20th century, yet there are several Pagan ethnic traditions that have survived Christianization. One such example is Romuva of Lithuania. It is these ethnic traditions that fit better into the description of Indigenous traditions, instead of New Religious Movements. It allows Pagans to be part of both New Religious Movements and also recognized as part of the Indigenous traditions. By accepting that Pagan Traditions are indigenous to Europe, then individuals must take another look and it presents them with a different paradigm of what Pagan stands for.

Further, Andras Corban-Arthen points out that Wicca, for example, cannot be seen as an indigenous Pagan faith practice and is instead a modern syncretic movement. Under this description Wicca therefore would not fall under the definition of Pagan, and would be squarely a New Religious Movement, while British Traditional Witchcraft could be considered a Pagan and Indigenous faith tradition. "

* * *

My hat off to Andras' bravery! The blast-back from Wiccans and others who do not fall under the heading of "indigenous" has already begun, and promises to be a raging debate for a long time to come. Here is my take on the entire topic of who is and is not "indigenous", and why the term "indigenous" is so important:

The only reason anyone gets worked up over "indigenous" is because they think that people saying "we belong to an indigenous faith" are trying to claim some legitimacy over others. But as a person who belongs to the indigenous faith of the Germanic people of Europe, I am not using the term with that intent.

Despite the attempts on the part of some peoples to try and stake an exclusive claim to the word, "Indigenous" is defined simply as "originating in and characteristic of a particular region or country"- and it also means "inherent" or "innate". Asatru did originate in the Northern regions of Europe, and it is characteristic of what pre-Christian Europeans of those regions were doing. Further, we believe it to be the inherent, innate religion of people of Northern European extraction. That's all. That's what it means, and I reject as political manipulation any other attempt to give this term "indigenous" any other meaning.

Wicca originated in England, but cannot be said to be "characteristic" of anything that historical Pagans or witches in England were doing before it, as the structure, while workable and sufficient, is new, pioneered by Gardner and other contemporary occult groups. I don't doubt Wicca's power or efficacy in the lives of the people who believe in it, and Wiccans are certainly allies to all Pagans today in the struggle for recognition. Also, Wiccans, insofar as they pray to Pagan Gods, ARE "Pagan", as I see no further definition for "pagan" needed beyond "People who believe in and/or worship Pagan Gods and Goddesses."

What qualifies as "Pagan" has been debated a long time; for the longest time, anyone who wasn't a member of an Abrahamic religion was classified as Pagan, but Native Americans, Buddhists, and others are offended by the word, for their own reasons. Now, it seems to be used for European non-Abrahamic faiths, and that's fine by me. I don't mind it at all. But the "indigenous" distinction is important to me, because all Pagans/New Religions cannot and must not be lumped together as a whole. That would be insulting to the truth about them all- different varieties of Pagan have different histories, different worldviews, different focus, and these things are very, very important to their thoughtful membership.

If we want an intellectually honest appraisal of the situation, we have to cease the lumping and start studying the great variety that we've all inherited.

I would like to end by saying that it's sad that such a distinction and conversation never happened in the mainstream of the Pagan community until unelected "representatives" of the "Pagan" world went to a parliament of world religions and brought it up. But however it had to come about, the conversation is now out and ongoing.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Wolves of Winter

When the weather turns lethal, you have no choice but to be smarter and tougher. It's 18 degrees outside right now, with snow as far as the eye can see- and more snow and ice-rain expected tomorrow. I'm excited. This weather makes you turn inward, and then makes you turn back and push against the powers that be- it makes you assert your will, makes you realize how unimportant so many of the things we get worked up over really are. Before this winter is over, -10 to -25 degrees is possible. All that stands between me and death is burning oil, wooden walls, the fellowship of my household warm bodies, and our own creativity.

The Ancestors were hard and tough, largely I think because they had to compete with other humans in bloody combat, but also because they had the cold to teach them. The Ancestors didn't have any illusions about the cold: it was a manifestation of Wyrd, of power from another world- the world of Niflheim, Ice-Home. It was the breath of Giants; a life-killing force that could and would overwhelm the world if contrary forces didn't balance it out. Luckily, contrary forces do exist.

Some of the Natives of this land weren't off mark about this either; to the Sioux, Waziah the Giant lived in the north and blanketed the world with white snow and cold- but that cold was a purifying power. It helped people, as much as it presented a danger. And that's part and parcel of organic wisdom; the contrary forces in nature had a place and a purpose that served all beings as well as hindering them at times. Part of living a happy life was to integrate these two poles of every power.

The Goddess Sunna has followed her track away to the distance, leaving this land I'm in now in the grip of cold powers. She'll come back, but until she does, the wolf-wights roam this place, eaters of the living and the dead. Frost giants don't tread here, else we'd all be frozen into blocks, but their breath and their awe-full distant presence now shrouds us in ice. Matter slows down; the wind now bites, and even sounds are swallowed in the sucking darkness. I've never "heard" such a silence as what exists on top of this snow at night.

It reminds us why the Godly work of creation is so precious- without warmth, creativity, technology, intelligence, artifice, artistry, and willpower, we'd all vanish into this darkness. In this time, your humanness stands out in sharp contrast to the gaping maw of raw nature, when she assumes her giantish face of cold. You find out more about yourself. And in the primal ice crystal-filled night space, Jolnir- Odin, the Yule-Father- rides his horse across the broad sky. His wisdom is like this darkness, because it was born in darkness. He can celebrate the sunny side of life alongside the frozen side, because he knows both sides of his being. May we all learn from his example and embrace the cold alongside the blessings of spring.

People have seen my winter side; they have seen the dismal depths to which my person can be driven. And people have seen my summer side, the caring person who is capable of much loyalty and compassion. I am two-faced and two-natured, like Allfather. I offer a cup of mead to my ice-blue Other Self. In the heat of the deep south, my other self was confused; it emerged in irksome, troublesome ways. Here it can run and play on brilliant white fields of virgin snow.

The wights of this winter won't overcome me and mine because a wolf lives in us that is just as strong- pure, savage, resentful wolves of will. This cold will discover a will-force in us that will make it rage in impotence at our inventiveness and undaunted drive. If this winter is cold and hard, we will be colder and harder. The next time some lame problem crosses my path, it will pale in comparison to the devouring cold. What the Gods have placed in us is an undying light that shines through extremes of cold or heat. We are undefeatable.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

The Season of Memory

A Heathen Sorcerer's Walk Through the Sacred Season of the Yuletide

* * *

There is snow falling, and a bright, large moon riding across the sky between great continents of cloud. When a man stands outside on the dark ground, on pale fields of snow glowing in moonlight, it's like standing in a dream. Shadows are never more black, and moonlight never more radiant, than when it becomes trapped in web-works of ice and shines out in a pale radiance.

The most powerful part of any walk in the winter night, to me, is the sight of houses from a distance- they are dark, too, but their windows glow in the most inviting orange and gold hue. Each of them is a warm center of life, their walls holding back the life-withering cold and ice. In a sea of freezing power, these ships of glowing life drift in place- seen from the shadowed sky, they would make the dark landscape seem aglow with golden stars.

All around me, in the village, in the woods, in the countryside, are islands of golden warmth, each of them the hearth of a family surviving another winter. Human life is persistent; its allies in the struggle for life are likewise persistent- fire, masonry, beams of wood, stone, and ingenious contraptions of wire and pipe that bring water and electricity in through the worst storms. We are enduring beings. We have endured countless winters.

From one window, a cat peers out at me. That tabby-colored cat sits in pure bliss, legs tucked under his furry chest, eyes narrowed into that tranquil meditative relaxation that cats seem to specialize in. The cat dozes in the warmth, totally unconcerned about the falling flakes of ice and snow that cascade down in front of its face just inches on the other side of glass. How many other cats, throughout the ages, have sheltered next to the warm fires of their masters in this time? That cat is a fellow traveler through time and history with me. I'm glad to see him so warm.

There are candles and wreathes and colored lights dancing about in places. The Winter Solstice time is here, and in the middle of all this frozen desolation, people are preparing to celebrate something as old as humanity itself. Most don't have any clue how far back it goes- most wouldn't think of it as going back before the birthday of Jesus, but these same people drag trees into their homes in this season, keeping alive a Heathen tree worship that certainly pre-dated the Nazarene by a great distance in time.

The name given to the supposed Galilean miracle-worker- "Christ"- has come to dominate what people in the west call this season of ancient power- Christmas- and the "advent" so awaited by the traditional faithful is nothing more than the appearance of this miraculous child. But older names for this time lurk below the surface, known to all who "Toll the ancient Yuletide carol."

* * *

When I stand in the cold and dark of the Yuletide, I always become introspective about the vastness of history and the chasm of eternity that yawns behind it. This time of year, more than most, sends my mind and imagination on a journey through the story of the West. That story begins in places that most people would shrug off as fiction more than fact, but fact it is- every bit of it. If you could have seen it, you would see more golden circles of fire glowing on snow under the veil of night- because ages ago, in the coldest and most distant of places, that's where the ancestors lived and held back the cold and dark.

They had tents, lodges, roundhouses, and villages, all glowing with healthy blazes that were beacons of survival in the frost-gripped world. They wandered a world that was not conveniently mapped out for them or easy to conceive of by whirling a plastic globe around. To the north was mountain; the east, forest; to the west rolling hills and valleys, and south, more forest, stretching as far as the eye could see. The life-giving flow of a river cut through nearby, and the Goddess of that river provided much for them. What was beyond what the eye could see? They didn't know. They would discover what; they were brave and always on the move. Where did the river come from? Who were the other people, the strangers, stalking through the forests south?

The ice and snow that blanketed their world, it was not just the predictable result of a meteorologists' report; it was magical power. It was the footprints of giants, the breath of giants, covering the world with their brutal power. It was power from a world of ice which lay far beyond, and the one day, they knew, the powers of light and life would shift and banish those cold powers, at least for a time. There was a struggle in the cosmos about them, which paralleled their struggle right here in the village or camp- to enclose themselves with safe circles of fire and strong men and women, safe in the sacred enclosure of kin.

There was nothing in the world that didn't hold some fascination, for all of it was mystical or magical power of a kind. For these people, the presence of something mystical or magical wasn't such a shock; they lived in a world full of Gods, a world full of powers. Some powers were human and animal; others were immensely greater. All were part of a web of power which excluded nothing. There were magical treasures, things humans could create or obtain, which granted safety or skill or power to their owners or their groups. There were places of power in the landscape to be found, the work of previous hands, either lost groups of human beings or perhaps the Giants themselves.

It sounds like high fantasy, but it is reality, plain and simple. This is our origin. Not just these people or their technologies, but their worldviews- their belief in the awesome sacred powers which surrounded them. When we forget these people, or consign them to a realm of fantasy, we forget so much about who we are. For who we are is partly determined by who we were- and in fact, I might say, the very best parts of us owe so much to who we were.

If we want to know where we are "going", as a culture, as massive groups of people whose bloodlines run back to those distant times, we have to look back to the ancients, for the clues to our final destination are found in our beginnings. The end is always present at the beginning, and the beginning at the end, because life and causality finally and ultimately describes a great circle of power. We aren't in an "open ended" universe, and we never were. We are enclosed in power and destiny, though it is a vision so massive as to seem quite bottomless to the person who lacks the poetic vision to really look.

My journey continues, through more dark trees and snow-covered fields, down the course of great rivers, to a southern sea that encloses the reaches of many glittering ancient civilizations. People here placed stone upon stone and raised monuments of awesome power. Here, they raised temples and gleaming cities by the water-lanes of commerce. Here, they forged ideas of philosophy that transcended their own concerns and attempted to embrace the entirety of things. Here, the Gods still lived and still joined with mortal men in the great work of destiny.

* * *

For countless generations, these societies- so different from the people of the Northern fires, and yet, so similar in other ways- wore out their Fated time, and achieved reaches of glory which have still not been matched by our vain modern day. Something of the old mysticism from time's first human dawn still lived in these ancient cities and cyclopean temples. Among the Romans, the great reign of king Saturn the Sower was commemorated in the darkness of December; the rites and celebrations of the Saturnalia were simultaneous to the joyous birth of the Persian savior Mithras. Life wasn't just enduring; it was being reborn, a new golden age was being celebrated, at the deep of winter.

These rites were half civilized and half barbaric- at times wild, orgiastic, yet solemn and profound at other times. Don't mistake me- the barbarism was found in the solemnity, not the celebration, for only people out of touch with the sacredness of the wild ever innovate the technologies and social systems that truly harm this world. But the ancient struggle of the wild and the structured pranced on in its mesmerizing leaps then, as it does now.

These Pagan people are my Ancestors, and yours. They are who we were, and in so many ways still are. I embrace them, all of them, and I love them. I appreciate their wisdom, their aesthetics, and I know their hopes in dreams by having a long look at my own. Without these great and brave people, nothing we have now would exist; not this language, this computer that I am staring at as I type, not our social values of democracy and humanitarianism, of liberty and scientific inquiry, our spirit of philosophy and our very souls. The very glass I lifted to toast with tonight, under a fresh sprig of mistletoe, was raised first by the Northern people from whom I gain this flesh and blood.

My journey has to take a dark turn now; the ragged ruins of the world around me still have some of the old wisdom glowing in them, like heat and light in the embers that remain after a majestic building is burned down. And the edifice of the ancient world's true life was burned down by fear and ignorance. Let us never forget the awful power of these twin forces- ever more devastating than any modern nuclear weapon, more pervasive than any political unrest. The precious Gods that once wandered with the Ancestors through the same snow that is under my feet, and who were once praised in temples of great majesty, were once abandoned by Kings and people of power, and gradually, by the commoners that followed them. Not everyone left the Gods behind, but many did, and soon, it was the sword that assured that only one way of believing would be allowed.

This shift wasn't simple, nor fast, nor did it reflect only a drama in the human mind; the world fell to ruins around it. Rome was undermined by it; Rome burned to the ground over it. The next fifteen hundred years are called "Dark Ages"- and not for no reason. The lamps of Greek learning were dark. Civilization's order collapsed. Literacy was lost. Ancient cultural arts and achievements were lost. The great spirit of the Northern folk was torn from the land itself and crowded into dirty villages and towns and cities, and into churches, whose harsh bells drove the spirits of the land away in disgust and fear.

There was no more magic to be found in the landscape or the mountains or in the worlds of Gods; that magic was categorized as satanic trickery and a snare of diabolism. No longer could the sun or moon or stars, or wells or groves of trees be a merging point for human souls to enjoy their connection with the sacred All; now, Popes wrote documents containing the penalties for those who enjoyed these ages-old activities.

* * *

When I look at the crosses on the church buildings near me, I see the cruelty of these ages staring back at me. I see the cross of ignorance, which has crucified countless people of my blood and of the same legacy as me. I see the old solar Gods, blazing out from their own ancient crosses, and even bloody dead Gods from Pagan times who emerged from their own deaths to the great joy of their followers, now sunk low while Jesus reigns from on high, morally pure, ready to judge the quick and the dead.

I see the continuation of the most distant and degenerate form of Roman Paganism in those churches. I see great hopes for eternal happiness, and I see despair. I see ages of ancient power echoing in the cross, that old power forming a great austere background of force that informs the entire edifice of Christianity, but which is ignored fully by the faithful themselves. That power, they reason, is God; that power is the Holy Spirit. A rather simplistic final product for so many centuries of hope and fear, of blood and conquest, of dead Gods and risen Gods, of decadent Roman courts and of dark incense-filled temples and churches covered with colorful mosaics.

Christians have never been free of the Saturnian Pagan Yuletide. Their savior gained a birthday on the winter solstice, taking for his company an ancient cavalcade of divine figures; Christians were latecomers to the ancient power of the season. But they joined, and added a new dimension to it. That dimension is, to me, the least of all; it is the least wise, the least compelling, and the most superficial. But it is the most pronounced, today- especially when you walk through the snowy village in your head, like I am now.

I see the nativity scene, complete with big plastic camels poking up with their humps out of the snow. Camels in the snow- Semitic shepherds and Persian astrologers huddled around a plastic manger, covered in snow, in a northern forest, in the front yard of a family whose surname is "Bachmeier"- as Teutonic a surname as you can get. There you have it. While the sacred Yule-season of their ancestors is glowing in power around them, the Bachmeiers place faded plastic statues of Near-Eastern goat herders and Persians and camels in their yard, and pray to an ancient Hebrew man, and the ancient God of Israel- who was never worshiped in a Yule or a Saturnalia.

Does Father Bachmeier know about Sigurd and Sigrdrifa, or Arminius? Does he know about Jolnir or the Disir of this time? Does he know what the "Weihnachten" really stands for? Or does he really sit around singing about Angels and Bethlehem and Jerusalem? We have truly lost our souls when a person even needs to ask these sorts of questions. We have lost our true senses. Thank the Gods for remaining with us through these dark times. Gods, we are coming home- but excuse us; some of us have lost the way. They'll take a little longer getting there. We know you understand, and remain with us anyway.

* * *

There is something about the West- our great spirit, our great contribution to the world- which is tied into our theism. We've always believed in Gods. Recently, we've betrayed the living Gods for the spiteful Monotheism of the ancient Hebrews, but as I said before- just wait. The end is in the beginning. The Gods are not gone, nor done with us, nor we with them. We are going through a painful growing phase. We are the ones that changed, and not so long ago, all things considered.

But something around us isn't changing. This snow- this night- it is the same. Night is night, in any age. Her darkness has touched the face of every human being that has ever lived. The same water that fell as ice onto the ancients melted and rose again to freeze again and fall onto me, now. Nature, majestic Nature, She is forever young and forever ancient. She is something we all have in common. She has seen many religions come and go, many civilizations rise and fall. She is common grave-mound and tomb to us all, and to all things. She is common mother to us all. Want a truly enduring religion? Worship her. In her is the essence of all religions arisen before or arisen recently. She is the true Godhead of creation and destruction. In her, all things come to pass. In her, all things are made new.

We Westerners are "Godists" if there ever were any. While the highest philosophical ponderings of the East lead people away from God or Gods, we hang on to our "big man in the sky". I hang on to my ancestors' "big men and women in the sky and under the earth", but that's just me and a few others like me. And I am, of course, risking the comical here- the Gods aren't men and women. Something about the spirit of the West is found in theism, found in our own belief that one day, we have to journey beyond this world to face a mystery.

For some, that mystery is in judgment. They will die and cross the final veil hoping for their heavenly retirement plans to be cashed in, and fearing that perhaps they won't be. It will be for the judge to say, after all. For others, that "final" mystery is another long journey to be back again at the beginning, and among the people of the beginning- the ancestors. And from there? Who can say?

But I can say one thing- the dead are not gone, not taken from this world, and nor is there an escape from the world. The supreme selfishness, the supreme lack of wisdom of any religion would be in how it teaches escapism of the soul or spirit. I will be dead and yet alive in the land, in the rivers, in the mounds, in the sky, in the winds. I know this, because I've seen it. I will be present to this collection of sacred powers then for the same reason I am now- because there is no other place to be. In the enclosure of life, of power, this is it. See the snow with your earthly eyes; see the trees; when you are dead, and seeing in a new way, they will still be there and so will you, though how it will seem to you then, only the dead can know.

* * *

I'm walking now, in my head, remembering a real walk through snow; I know that my journey is ongoing and won't end, ever. I'm moving through the forest now like the ancestors, and remembering them in the season of memory, the great Yule season.

While my Christian neighbors are singing happy birthday to Jesus, I will be sitting around a fire with the Ancestresses, with the Yule-father and his host, with my family and with the giants of the great cold. A collection of sacred kindreds is precisely what this season is- along with any other season, truth be known. But this sublime cold and dark cracks open a special kind of perception for those who can brave it long enough. In this darkness, we can really go back to the beginning. And we must go back to the beginning if we want to complete our circle and be whole.

My Yule-wish for all of Europe's sons and daughters- and truly, anyone else- is this: do not live on the "timeline" of the soteriologist- live in the natural circle of power which no God can create. This world did not "begin" one day at the whim of a creator, and will not "end" just as quickly; it is not an arrow-shot story with a single conclusion, but a woven circularity of eternity that has no ending. I want you all to be whole, complete, and joyful.

Your completion is not found in Judeo-christian triumphalist religious fictions, but in this very snow, this very world, in the spirits of those who came before you and who believed in the Gods. Do not isolate yourself behind the walls of churches; let the world become your temple, as it was for your ancestors. Reject the lies of human exceptionalism, and take your place as equal kin to the land and the wild beasts and the Gods.

Understand that the womb is the most sacred thing, and that our Greatest Grandmothers are the beings to whom we owe all of this. If you discover a religion blaming women for the downfall of the world, or crushing women underfoot- commanding them to subservience or silence- reject it as an enemy of the common sacred life that we all share.

Our ancestor-women were not weak women, second to men: they were women of power; seeresses, valkyries, spear-disir, women who ruled as queens, women who raised children in brutal and dangerous circumstances, who held the keys to our homes and hearths, and who remembered our sacred stories and passed down rare wisdom through many generations. They wove the threads of our Fates as certainly as they wove the sails on the ships that carried our ancestors to glory and renown, or as certainly as they wove the linens and wools that our people wore to survive in the cold and weather.

As dark irony would have it, even the Abrahamic barbarians owe their entire existence to the women they accuse of mothering sin and death, and whom they punish for leading men astray to sin with lust. For the women in those faiths, trapped without choice, or simply ignorant of the great legacy to which they belong, I wish for freedom and justice.

For those women outside of that bondage, I wish them the strength to remain outside of it, and raise strong daughters and sons like themselves, to make our new Pagan future a great one. May the strength of our woman-kind make us whole and strong, now, as always.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

A Short and Concise Introduction to Ásatrú

I wrote a very short introduction to the Ásatrú faith for all who are interested in learning more about it. It is part of a general information portal about Ásatrú and Heathenry that I am putting together. It can be found here.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Faining-Galdor for the World of Wyrd

Hail, entire beam-work of the ancient roof of the sky;
Hail, Wyrd-spirit that penetratest from sky to earth,
From bright-homes above to dark-homes below,
And from the broad, plowed earth
Even into the midst of the Nine Worlds,
To the uttermost bounds of Ice-Hel.

Hail, Nornic spirit that fills me and shakest me...
That which shakes the branches of the Needle-Ash,
That which moved the great cow and the father of giants.

Hail, beginning and end of irremovable Nature:
Hail thou whose weaving moves the fire and rime,
The iron and stones, the winds and salty waters,
Those elements which untiringly render service
To the rightful order of All.

Hail, brightly shining Sun of Life,
Whose radiance gladly gifts warmth to all,
Hail, Moon shining from the night-roads
With a white face of fickle brilliance;
Hail all weal-wights of wind and sky,
Hail hap-wights of earth and rushing stream.

Hail great, great incomprehensible web of Wyrd,
Essence of the worlds, formed in a circle.
Hail to you, spinning and twisting in the unseen,
Having the form of water, of earth, of fire,
Of wind, of light, of darkness, of beast, God and man,
Star-glittering, damp-fiery-cold spirit.

As you be forever whole, we will fain know our wholeness.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

The War for the West

PHOTO: A gang of patriarchal white racists from "The Lord of the Rings"

Are you ready? Strap in.

Racist Anti-Racists call Lord of the Rings "Too Eurocentric"

Here we go again- another case of me always being the last to know some things. Last night, I got a message through one of the many groups I belong to, which discussed the famous "Southern Poverty Law Center"- a group in Alabama that claims to be a "watchdog" for "hate groups."

In reality, as I have long known, but only now feel the need to say, the group itself is staffed from the top levels down by racist "anti-racist" African-Americans (formerly called "blacks" before the current tide of political correctness hit us.)

There was a time when I thought maybe the SPLC was doing some sort of good work as a watchdog organization- but as time has passed, I have become aware that their guiding ideology is nothing more than hatred of anything that casts Europeans or European-Americans (once called "whites" before the current tide of political correctness hit us) in a positive light, or celebrates the European and Western cultural values that have made our civilization as great as it is.

And the SPLC has rankled my last nerve by linking to an article that vilifies the Lord of the Rings trilogy- the recent hit movies made by Pete Jackson, based on J.R.R. Tolkien's great works- as "eurocentric", "patriarchal" and racist. They didn't do this recently; the article was written as the final movie in the trilogy was in theaters- but I didn't become aware of it until now. And well, when anger hits you, there's no time like the present!

In the past, I'd take a lot of crap without speaking up- the pervasive miasma of "White Man's Guilt" affected me like it affected most white males, owing to the programming I received at the hands of the media and the American radical left. But times, they are-a-changin', and they've been changing. My eyes are open now to what is happening in my life in a way they haven't been before.

This doesn't mean that I'm ready to start goose-stepping, but I am ready to say what I feel needs to be said, despite the fallout that may occur when the knuckle-dragging politically-correct morons catch a small wind of my rant.

Tolkien's Legacy

Let me start by saying that J.R.R. Tolkien's work was an amazing body of literature, winner of dozens of prestigious awards and declared by many in national polls to be the greatest work of fiction of the twentieth century. Although Tolkien was a devout Catholic, his knowledge of Old English and Anglo-Saxon literature and the mythologies of the Germanic peoples of Europe was profound (he was a philologist and professor, after all) and his work drew on some of the most enduring mythical and spiritual aesthetics that inform European civilization.

It is my complaint that his Christianity led him to create a world and worldview in which an over-simplistic and unqualified dualistic vision of "good vs. evil" exists (which in Tolkien almost always equates with "beautiful vs. ugly") instead of the more authentic Heathen worldview which underlies the mythologies- one where Gods and Giants do struggle against one another, representing forces of order and chaos, but with a clear notion that both sides are necessary to the cosmic wholeness and unfolding.

But we can overlook much when we look at the way Professor Tolkien's work regenerated so much latent power and imagination that was locked in the soul of the West! Thanks to his work, the entire field and genre of High Fantasy was born- bringing fresh imagination and enjoyment of its sacred realms to countless people.

To be fair, Tolkien's work has always had a bumpy reception- but the article linked by the SPLC crosses the line in a rather absurd way, in my view.

The Pale Patriarchal Penis People Strike Again

The article that inspired this response of mine was written by Andrea Lewis, a San Francisco based writer, who decided that the final installment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy- "The Return of the King" needed to be called "The Return of the Patriarchy."

I couldn't find the original article at ""- the laughable name of the SPLC website- (their search feature really sucks) but I was able to find it easily enough through a Google search at another "tolerance" related website here.

What problems did Ms. Lewis have with the movie? What could have inspired the SPLC to link to her? I'll let her speak for herself:

"The "Rings" films are like promotional ads for those tired old race and gender paradigms that were all the rage back in author J.R.R. Tolkien's day. Almost all of the heroes of the series are manly men who are whiter than white. They are frequently framed in halos of blinding bright light and exude a heavenly aura of all that is Eurocentric and good. Who but these courageous Anglo-Saxon souls can save Middle Earth from the dark and evil forces of the world?"

...Because you know, we can't have anything that seems too white or "Anglo-Saxon" being portrayed as heroic. Why, we'd be pushing a harmful "Heroic White Guy Stereotype"! And the last thing we want young white males today seeing is a movie that might put it in their heads that they, too, can be heroes, fighting for good causes, being self-sacrificing and brave.

Could those "old race and gender paradigms" have a role in why Western culture survived and succeeded as well as it did? I believe that anyone who digs deep enough- and isn't a devoted ideological and racist enemy of European-born cultures- will see that similar "paradigms of race and gender" have existed across the globe; the idea that other "races" were of lesser value or equality did not begin or end with European cultures- that attitude is found, historically, in Asia, Native America, and Africa, too, throughout all ages.

The notion of "gender roles" has seen a lot of variance, but again, Europe wasn't the only place women were expected (in many areas) to take on motherly roles, and to avoid fighting. Tolkien wasn't being racist when he wrote the world of Middle-Earth the way he did; he was being true to an authentic historical tradition, to add realism to his setting.

Ms. Lewis apparently takes the "war on white" so seriously that even white hair is a problem:

"On the good side, even the mighty wizard Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen) is sanitized and transformed from the weed-smoking, rather dingy figure we first meet in the "The Fellowship of the Ring," into Gandalf the White, who, by the time of "Return of the King," has become a powerful military leader complete with pure white hair and an Eisenhower attitude."

It's amusing to me that a man like Eisenhower, who risked his life leading armies to help overthrow a true racist menace like NAZI GERMANY, has a name that is now used by an ethnic woman as a slur. And it's especially amusing that Gandalf should be a more appealing character to her when he was "dingy and weed-smoking." White characters that are too clean-cut are a menace!

...But the Rainbow Coalition is Here To Save the Day

Ms. Lewis continues her racist manifesto/movie critique by introducing us to a movie and a trilogy that she does enjoy: The Matrix. Since this is the best part of her article, I'll have to let her explain why she likes it so much more:

"Say what you will about the convoluted storyline of the "Matrix" trilogy. At least those films give women and people of color some characters they can relate to.

From its earliest scenes, "The Matrix" flips mainstream Hollywood's minority representation manual on its head. A multi-cultural group of hackers dressed in black leather and sporting funky hairdos are our heroes; Secret Service-type "agents" in suits and ties are the bad guys. Neo, the trilogies' central figure, is played by mixed-race actor Keanu Reeves. His savior and mentor is Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), a powerful leader who also happens to be a black man. The wisest figure in "The Matrix" is The Oracle, a warm and witty African American woman. The films are also infused with a strong sense of Asian style and culture, exemplified by the character Seraph (Collin Chou), the Oracle's protector, who is both a martial arts expert and Buddhist meditation practitioner.

...Most of the really bad guys in "The Matrix" are Eurotrash, including the very snobby Merovingian (Lambert Wilson) with his French accent, the dread-locked, very British albino twins (Neil and Adrian Rayment) and the Oracle's evil counterpart, The Architect, (Helmut Bakaitis), a rather stuffy and pompous white guy with white beard and white suit who reeks of imperialism."

The message is clear: so long as the villains are all white, and the heroes are black or multi-racial, we have a real festival of wholesome goodness on our hands! And it always helps to have a smooth Asian theme, to take the edge off of that oppressive Western feel.

From top to bottom, this woman makes it clear that any positive portrayal of Europeans or white people is not desirable. Black actors were cast in movies early in the 20th century and often totally presented as caricatures of real black people, and presented as oafish or undereducated or criminal, or just servants of whites- and I'm willing to bet that Ms. Lewis has screeched about the deeply ingrained racism of this fact somewhere in her other writings.

Apparently, the hate-card doesn't have two sides in Ms. Lewis' mind. If I had to guess, I'd guess that she believes that the historical wrongs of European and American cultures against other races and cultures now gives those others permission to engage in the same rampant racism and discrimination right back, to "balance the scales a bit".

Unfortunately for her, and for all of the racists like her, it doesn't work that way.

Ms. Lewis spends a good deal of time complaining that Lord of the Rings presented few strong female characters, and praising the Matrix for presenting lots of hot female ass-kickers- and I noticed that a woman's race is unimportant. She praises Carrie-Anne Moss (Trinity) for her role as a strong woman, even though Carrie-Anne Moss is certainly "whiter than white."

Lewis' war, it seems, is not just on white men, but on "patriarchy"- a catch term used to criticize deep patterns in European-born cultures these days, but which is a cultural feature found all over the world- very strongly in Asia, and also in Africa, where it has existed from the earliest of days.
I'm not saying that "patriarchy is perfect"- but I am saying that the issue isn't so one-sided as radicals like to present, particularly not when they have their own agenda beneath it all. That agenda- held consciously and even unconsciously- is power- the same motivation they claim to hate in the "patriarchy."

The Will To Power

People reading me may wonder if I'm being a touch unfair. I don't see anything wrong with women or people of different ethnicities desiring to see strong, positive presentations of their own "kind". But must these presentations also accompany dismal presentations of other cultures or ethnicities? Why is the praise of one forever conflated with the detriment of another?

I think Nietzsche said it best when he discussed the "will to power" inside of cultures and even races- and individuals. When one person or group is repressed, their natural human will to power is not repressed; it simply seeks a new outlet. The capacity in human beings to twist and bend realities to suit their expression of power is amazing- our entire sense of "morality" in the west, he believed, was about that will to power emerging in ways that seem paradoxical.

I can't go into that here, but I can say with near metaphysical certainty that these "politically correct" movements are not movements that have everyone's best interests at heart. They have a certain, select group's best interests at heart- and that group is not the mainstream.

That group is the rag-tag union of all people who don't have the numbers and historical power to match the powerful mainstream, and their cries for "tolerance" (which are almost always a joke, bearing in mind their own personal intolerance) and their cries of "racism" and "insensitivity" are not as purely innocent as they seem.

These people are just as power-hungry and desirous of expressing their own personal power as the mainstream; they are every bit as racist and culturally elitist as the mainstream. There are no "good guys" in this game, just people who are better or worse at manipulating politics and opinions, stuck amid many people who are being marginalized for the crime of belonging to a majority group.

Why am I even making such a big deal out of this woman's article? Because an organization with the size and political power of the Southern Poverty Law Center linked to her and held her article up as representative of what sort of ideological thinking motivates them. The SPLC made this opinion piece into a piece of support for their perspectives and worldview, and that's when it came to my attention. And this is just the last in a long line of crap I've seen them pull, all in the name of "tolerance".

Their "tolerant world" has no place for white males like me. When I do well in life, it's not because I went to school and worked for years to get the good grades and advanced education I got- it's because I am riding on the back of the white male patriarchy that hands me the world. When a person from a non-white ethnicity does well, gets out and works, it's because they had drive, ambition, and bravery to face the deep hatred that the "man" has for them.

But no one handed me anything; I worked hard. Despite what these people think, there is no "white people club" out there, where all whites secretly share a bond of help and brotherhood. People with "white" skin have stood in my way on every level, in the pursuit of my goals. I'm just more competition for them, and for everyone.

World Culture War II

A deeper issue emerges here: what they call "culture war". That phrase means many things to many people, but now, I know what it means to me. Western culture- the culture designed and shaped by Europeans, in large part- is now marked for destruction, by forces outside of it, and by forces that are within it.

The forces that want to destroy it are not heroic avengers of "past wrongs"- they are not great "equalizers"- they are following the same blind urge to power that the "European villains" once followed to succeed as well as they did.
They just aren't as good at it, outwardly, as Europeans were historically, so their tactics have intuitively evolved to continue the fight in a new form.

It's all the same thing- the justifications have just changed. There's a new tune of justification, a new battle-hymn, wrapped in notes of resilient sadness and the long-suffering "nobility" of the "downtrodden." The hymn sounds different, but it seeks to establish an empire all the same.

Some of the forces that now stalk the legacy of the West justify their assault in religious terms- they wish to replace the "Godless, satanic" West with true religion. The instruments are different, but the song remains the same.

In the same manner that the Pagan cultures of our Ancestors were undermined by forces from outside, but also by traitor converts from within, Western culture is being degraded in the same manner.

For me, this is not at all a racial issue- it is a cultural one. The people who still want to see this situation in terms of “race” are usually part of the problem. This is about something far greater than race- it’s about cultures of liberty versus cultures of tyranny, and both of those cultures contain many people of many different racial backgrounds.

The Old Crusaders went East; the New Crusaders come West

The force that threatens Western culture from the outside in these days is Islam; the forces that are within are people like Ms. Lewis, and the SPLC, and all of the radical left who, while enjoying the liberties that a bunch of dead white men bequeathed to them, seek to destroy the entire edifice, to replace it with one where they have power and authority. And their justification for this cultural genocide? The history of wrongs inflicted by some Westerners on others in the past.

When I was in my first year of college, I read "Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali", the story of a king of Mali who had to journey across his land fighting against evil sorcerers and monsters, to regain his birthright. I really loved the book- in the (very African-African) hero Sundiata, I saw the nobility of the Hero archetype from many cultures. Race was never a consideration for me. I found the same thing when I read the Iliad, and when I read other books that contained eternal visions of heroes.

It never would have occurred to me to criticize the Epic of Sundiata because it was too "Afro-centric." Sundiata's "manliness" never offended me or bothered me. I didn't think of Sundiata in my head as "blacker than black" and make some leap to this being a bad thing. Why? Because I love the hero, whatever his color- he represents the wall of safety that stands between his people (or her people, for there are female heroes from even early mythologies) and the cultural destruction of their people. Because the book "Sundiata", like the "Iliad" or "Lord of the Rings" isn't about race. It's about culture and cultural conflict.

The political correct-o's will say that I'm an enfranchised white male who has only reaped the rewards of Western white culture, and never had to endure its negative backlash. But they'd be doing precisely what they accuse "racists" of doing- judging me by my appearance.

Some of ancestors- Irish and Sicilian- endured the scorn of Americans when they came to this country. The Irish particularly were mistreated, and died poor, overworked, and malnourished in many places. No one denies that Western societies (in common with all human societies) have historically contained elements of unfairness and inequality, or that they continue to do so, in ways.

But we are more than our history, and we always have been more than our history. Western culture cannot be measured solely on the basis of what some government policies at some times have been.

In the day and age where an African-American man sits on the throne of the President, we have to consider that Western culture contains more than just a difficult human history- it contains VALUES that are crucial to the survival of liberty in this world. It always contained those values, for they could not have emerged from nowhere, and they didn't just emerge during recent civil rights movements.

Thank the Pagans for Liberty

The days of the Greeks and Romans, and the Celtic and Germanic peoples gave us a few things that some might consider important: democracy, government by the representatives of the people, pluralism and cultural/religious tolerance as a social cornerstone, the root of humanism, limitations on the powers of kings, trial by jury, and (in the case of the Northern Europeans) a woman's right to divorce her husband at will. A few other pesky things like the origins of natural and physical sciences come to mind- as well as the medical profession.

The age of Christian rulers and the power of the Church was a setback- women did lose the liberties they had enjoyed before in many societies- they lost many freedoms, and I think it's fair to say that the sciences (especially medical science) did take quite a vacation because of the Church. Tolerance for other religions was also shot to nothing.

But that age- that dark age which was directly created and maintained by Christianity (despite what some want to claim) didn't last- it ended, and a rebirth happened: a rebirth of the same values and spirit of liberty and seeking inquiry that made Europe great originally.

And these values are still with us- even the dark power of organized religion couldn't destroy them or stamp them out for good, and the fringe lunatic protestants that flowed from the church (many of whom today still oppose science and pluralistic tolerance) can't stop them.

As a culture- we westerners- we believe in Liberty. Our women aren't placed under long drapes of cloth, not able to feel the sun or wind in their hair. Our women aren't socially (or actually) killed when they have sex outside of wedlock, or just happen to be raped without enough witnesses to prove that they weren't being "immoral".

Our women don't have to have their brothers or fathers to escort them around in public. Our women can drive cars. They can own businesses, property, and go to school as much and as long as they like. We aren't jailed for having pictures of naked women, or executed by hanging in public squares for being homosexual.

We don't slice people's hands off for stealing, nor do we execute women for "witchcraft". Thanks to the Chrisitan phase of our history, we once did some idiot things, but we outgrew it- we evolved- we had a cultural and secular “enlightenment” that Islamic culture is yet to have.

We can all state our opinions in public. We can have any religion we want, or no religion. We can read whatever we want, write whatever we want. Our leaders have massive checks and balances on their power, and our political offices change hands constantly, to stop any one person or group from getting power and keeping it. Policies that we don't like can be voted down, or voted out within a few years time.

Shock Speech

THIS is what the West has done for the world- it has stood for, and achieved, liberty. Liberty, like Justice, is a high-level virtue and dream that must be fought for, and it is a powerful struggle to maintain it. But we've done it. And every Westerner has a right to be proud- whether you can claim the founding fathers of the Western world as your genetic ancestors OR your cultural ancestors (or both) they are still your Forefathers, and their legacy is yours, too.

But Islamic culture would, at a moment's notice, see this all wiped away. I say "Islamic culture" because even in the so-called "liberal" Islamic nations, some or all of the horrors I listed above are prominent. This isn't just over-generalization. The political correct-o's love to say "Islam" and "Radical Islam", as though there was a difference- but all Islam is radical, when compared to the secular and liberty-loving West.

Muslim radicals are not the "fringe" of Islam. When most Americans hear of disasters in Muslim countries, they are appalled. Our government always offers aid. When 9/11 happened, Muslims worldwide danced in the streets- as a surprising spokesman will mention at the end of this article. Some people will try to qualify what I am saying here as hate speech, but it is far beyond such a simplistic thing.

It's shock speech; it's the shock that everyone should feel when they realize that Western culture is facing a foe, a fierce and determined cultural foe that does not share its belief in liberty, and the West isn't doing too well right now- partly because we've had our "white heroes" taken from us, and seen those same heroes called "racist" or "patriarchal". Tolkien's "Heroes of the West" are not just fixtures from his stories. They are an almost prophetic call to stand up for what the West means, before it is lost.

We need to stop allowing people to be shamed and insulted just because their forefathers were white and successful. This is not "racism"- this is my culturally-ingrained sense of pride and fairness talking. This is me demanding that I be treated for my own merits, not just the fact that I am a descendant of these great men.

There is no shame being a part of Western culture, and especially no shame in being genetically related to the people who originally created it. They made a luminous light for the whole world, and without them, this world would not be what it is. The value of liberty would not exist as it does now.

Gimli Speaks

John Rhys-Davies, the actor who played "Gimli" in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, risked his career to speak out against the threat posed by Islamic culture to the liberty-loving West. He was very brave to do so, and very right. I end this rant/article by quoting him, for he says it best.

"I BELIEVE in racial equality not racial discrimination. All I was commenting on was that there are cultural changes taking place in Europe that I consider to be unacceptable. The fact that a minister of the French government has to fly to Cairo to talk with one of the religious heads in one of the mosques to get his approval for a ban on headscarves can be seen in two ways. One, is how wonderfully culturally sensitive. The other, it seems to give an authority to a wholly unelected figure well outside Europe's jurisdiction.

I am really proud to be living in a society that accepts women as our equals, that accepts civilized discourse that allows people to hold different opinions without coming to any act of violence.

Here in America when that earthquake happened in Iran the reaction of everyone I knew was horror and dismay, the reaction of everyone when they heard that the old woman had been brought out alive long after they thought there was anyone there was absolute awe at the extraordinary capacity of the human spirit to survive. Contrast that with people jumping up and down and clapping at the 9/11 disaster in certain countries.

I don't think that Western society is opposed to Islamic society at all. I think a very important part of Islamic society is opposed to Western society. It is time that ordinary Muslims stood up to be counted.

...When we are prepared to overlook certain things because we don't want to rock the boat, this is wrong. The greatest act of racism is to expect that other people will not behave according to your values and standards. Yes, I am for dead, (traditional) white male culture. It's pretty damn good, pretty damn marvelous, pretty wonderful. That's not to exclude other cultures, but it's not to diminish mine."

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Ule's Farmstead

Good day, sacred kindreds all:

I am helping a friend and kinsman to get through the process that we call "Heathen Formation"- the Idavoll Kindred's term for the process of being inducted into Heathen culture and gaining knowledge and insight into our way, before being formally inducted into a community of Heathens.

To help him, I've created another blog called "Ule's Farmstead". I mention it here because some of you may care to view the "perspective essays" that I am writing for him, as his Redesman or Advice-man, during this time of formation. You may consider it a full intro course into the basics of Asatru, as I know it and we know it.

The blog is here: Ule's Farmstead

And currently, two essays are up- one is about "Being True to the Gods" (that's the first one) and the most recent one is called "Faining: Righting and Rowning."

I hope all who are interested get some use out of them. I'm going to keep making posts here, too, of course. But a lot of my Heathen writing time will be going to the Farmstead for the next few months.

Raise the Horns!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Pagans of Principle: The Path of Heathen High-Mindedness

A while back, I shared a link to a story about revivalist Polytheists in Greece who were enduring the unsurprising scorn of the Greek Orthodox Church. A quote from that story is with me today- a Bishop of the Orthodox Church mentioned that a "few" of the Pagans were "Pagans of principle"- his words. The rest, he said, were more involved in the recension of the Old Ways for (basically) pageantry and pedantics.

Over a thousand years of being the undisputed masters of the spiritual destiny of the West has made most Christians of any stripe very condescending; this is nowhere more apparent than in the way most devoted Christians automatically assume that one cannot be truly and perfectly principled and moral (or even truly at peace) without Christianity.

I don't have to tell most of my readers this; they've likely already experienced this attitude in people firsthand. But what the Bishop said inspired me today; I've been thinking about what it truly means to be a "Pagan of principle", and I've been just as inspired by how the Heathen path as I know it allows modern people to be just that- truly principled people- with what I feel is the most historically grounded, realistic, and visceral "code of morality" out there today.

Most Asatruar follow some variant of what they call the "nine noble virtues"- and many times blessed be these virtues, and all who take them as friends and guides to everyday life! Those who do, without a doubt, are good, honest, courageous people motivated by noble goals. When one examines (along with the many great authors and researchers who have examined) the seeds of historical reality to see what the authentic Heathen "code for living" was, one gains quite a reward. The nine noble virtues- in their many forms- serve well to approximate it, particularly in the universal insistence on guest-friendliness and loyalty to kin.

But I've thought long and hard on the "root" of the nine noble virtues, and the roots of the honor and social codes of the Ancestors; it is easy to see, if one is prepared to see, how the true origin of our Ancestors' behaviors in life-situations is the ancient and powerful notion of High Mindedness.

Let there be no doubt or obscurity on the matter: our Ancestors, and therefore all of us, are the People of the Sun. We are the descendants of the Ir-men, the people of the Tyr-pillar, the people of the Great Tree, the people who sprang from the blood of humans and the spiritual power of Gods. The solar disc- the glaring eye of Odhinn's triumphant Eagle, represents the victory of consciousness over the dim and dark powers that would drag all order and beauty down to Ur-chaos.

While we live, we live with the consciousness of the Gods in us. After we die, the Godly form bestowed on us by Allfather and his brothers, guided by the light we have preserved in this life, lives on. No greatness or nobility is ever truly lost. While we live, we are in possession of a precious gift, the most ennobling and precious gift that any wight or sentient being can have.

And it is this gift- this solar consciousness which has within it the entire conscious pattern of the Nine Worlds, and the possibility of unfolding into a direct and complete consciousness of wholeness- which is the best power any being can boast of having. It is this light of Gods and Men that gives rise to the notion of "High Mindedness"- the true human being, the true "Heathen of principle" is beholden to nothing but the highest principle in the Raidho-order of reality: the principle of constructive and beautifying cooperation and preservation.

It is stitched in the weave of Fate that we human beings were meant to apply our Godly consciousness, our minds, to the path of cooperation with one another, as the Gods cooperate to create and maintain and defend the great work of the Nine Worlds. There is no room for doubt here; we are creators like the Gods, by virtue of our gifts, and furthermore, our gift is not for us alone, but something that can and must be shared- the human "high mind" of solar-awareness is meant to protect and beautify this world, our lives, the lives of others, and to preserve what is good.

Co-creativity and Co-operation are part and parcel of the same mystery. No society worth the name ever arose on the merits of one man or woman; no society ever thrived or survived on anything other than high-minded cooperation and preservation. We have an enormous creative power and potential, and few understand that this luminous field of possibility, smoldering inside of most, but illuminating others, is the radiant presence of Allfather's spirit, which is the spirit of the Gods.

You feel it when you sense and appreciate beauty; it is why we feel so at peace when we arrange our homes in tidy ways, with beautiful, meaningful things displayed proudly, and welcome guests in. It is why we strive to build our lives around beautiful displays of nature, and neat, safe neighborhoods. It is why we create and appreciate art, music, poetry, and the like.

People talk much of "proof" for the existence of Gods or the Godly spirit, but no person who has experienced the power of creativity and orderly, beautiful aesthetics need worry over such proof. One moves in the current of Man's Fate and moves towards Man's highest intended destiny when one appreciates the beautiful things in this world and in other people.

People sometimes ask me why the "animals" (meaning "non-human living creatures") don't have this "high mindedness"- and accuse me of being "anthropocentric"; and to those people, these days I answer: they have it because we have it, and we humans are natural consecrators: we can consecrate non-human living beings, bless them, share with them, preserve and protect them, all because of our gift. We are in a web of connection and interaction- the divine light burst through fully consciously in us; it now flows from place to place and fills the web. The question becomes: will you become a willing channel?

We were meant to share our power, our special abilities. To beautify this world, preserve its many lives and forces, and live in harmony, in balance with it and with one another. When we violate this innate, Fateful directive, we see the emergence of the ugly, the destructive, and the perilous. We see and feel the difference. We know the face of the vicious wicked; we know it all too well. Only the insane can't see it and recognize it for what it is.

If there was a definition of "insanity" that I could accept, it would come down to this simple but profound thing: it would include those who have lost (or never had) the ability to sense and feel the difference between what is ennobling and what is degrading; between what is truly, spiritually healthy and what is baneful. What I am discussing is a feeling, something deep inside that guides and shelters and protects. Something innate guides the healthy people of this world away from the violating powers and the scourge of the horrid and perilous; something makes most people naturally resist the shackles of the unjust and the oppressive.

I love to think of the powerful values of the Ancestors: to have open generosity and undaunted courage; to be steadfast in friendship and uncompromising in enmity when facing the destructive and the ugly; to be faithful to kin, to one's lord, and faithful in love- to have family pride and pride in the Ancestors, keeping Troth with the sacred powers... such high-minded values rest within the ancient Teutonic belief in inexorable Fate, and the need to endure the needful and unavoidable challenges that will arise to any who stands for such high and noble values.

As I said, for me, all of these values go back to "High Mindedness"- which means to climb the rays of Odhinn's Sun-like mind and to come to understand the nature of one's own internal illumination, and to realize that we can rise above the destructiveness and greed and peril that characterizes the state of Nature's raw, red talons and which characterizes the state of the Thursic powers that still course through the deep places of the world and the cosmos.

We humans are the blossoms of the MANNAZ mystery, the vessels of and participants in the work of the Gods in our own world, with a duty to spread the light of the possibilities of the High Mind to all things. We begin with ourselves, celebrating the victory of light in us, and from there, we radiate it like the sun radiates light to all the world.

This is what freedom is: to be free of the darkness of the Thursic worlds is to be free of the selfishness that would prevent us from being generous; to be free of the unconscious drives to destroy and dominate that would prevent us from being loyal to friends and self-sacrificing for the family and community; to be free of the ignorance that prevents us from seeing ourselves as parts of a greater whole, and part of an ancestral line, allowing us to see with wisdom how the Web of Wyrd contains us all and to be proud of the greater story of which we are a part. The solar mind of the great Eagle of Odhinn has given this freedom.

We can be merciful; we are free from the unforgiving law of the talon unless we have no other recourse to it for the good of all. We can be compassionate; we can be thoughtful; we can be open-minded to many sides of many issues, weighing with wisdom the merits of what confronts us in life; we can be patient and we can be better than the bulk of those who seek only insipid self-glorification and wealth at any cost. We can see entire societies in this world based on fear, not high-mindedness; it is an eternal truth that fear is the polar opposite of the solar-minded attitude.

We see entire societies based on fear of sexuality and prudish, (sometimes violent) unthinking adherence to the words of dead scriptures; we see entire societies where the value of human life- especially female human life- has all but been lost. The way of high-mindedness is the way of life's value. Life is the seat of the solar force; it is the "high seat" of every possibility of beauty and power- and thus, no "tradition", no matter how venerable, can justify the wanton destruction of life, injustice, or the imprisonment and mistreatment of entire genders or types of people. Those who fight against these sorts of injustices fight with the righteous wrath of the Aesir- they are the true spiritual princes and spear-disir of our times.

A person who can be free in this High-Minded way of being, and increase and preserve the beauty and harmony of this world, that person is the most principled human- none can claim to be more so. And none will have a more honored seat in the Halls of the Gods when the Fate of death finally sends them to the Hel-way and then to the Doom-ring.

I do not offer promises of reward in the afterlife as some incentive; the Ancestors did not, and I do not- I offer only the truth that each person who engages the High-Mindedness that is Man's greatest gift will make him or herself into a sun in this life, and that light will shine beyond the boundaries of this life, because that is what suns and stars do. Those who remain in darkness will have only the darkness of the self when death closes their eyes and all other lights have failed.

This is not "reward for services rendered or obedience tendered"- this is "prepare your destiny now through your nobility- or lack thereof." No white Christ will let you off the hook for your own darkness- and no true "life of principle" is possible for those who have not taken full responsibility for their own light.

For those who imagine our Ancestors to have been violent, brutish people who allowed only warriors fallen in the act of battle to go to Odhinn's drinking hall, think again: it is well proven- at least to my satisfaction- that the ancient Heathens believed that men who were slain in combat and who died with the bloodstains of atrocity on their hands did not merit Valhalla. Those interested further in this point should see Rydberg's "Teutonic Mythology" for more information and evidence. Now, as in the distant past, the heavens are reserved for the stars- light for the light, and darkness for the darkness.

May the Ginnregin keep you all very safe. Let your minds join Odhinn's great victory, and be one of the heroes who helps keep the world safe until the end of Worlds.

Follow unwaveringly the course of Raidho-beauty and Wunjo-life.