Tuesday, May 26, 2009
"Who knows the truth? Who can tell whence and how arose this universe? The Gods are later than its beginning: who knows therefore whence comes this creation? Only that God who sees in highest heaven; he only knows whence came this universe, and whether it was made or uncreated. He only knows, or perhaps he knows not."
-Rig Veda X
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Urd, the chief Norn- the supreme "Fate weaver" of ancient and modern Heathen religions, may be loosely described in terms of a "being" or an entity, a nigh-incomprehensible entity whose name gives us the word "Wyrd", and whose power, along with her two lesser sisters, weaves the web of Wyrd.
The web they weave contains all possible realities; it contains all forces, all states, all conditions, and from it, arise all entities. In it, are sustained all entities. The term "Wyrd" can be used as the name of an entity, but also as the name of a process.
Today, as in the ancestral past (so far as we can tell) Wyrd was always understood more as a process. If the most ancient peoples, long previous to our historical ancestral cultures, saw Wyrd as an entity primarily, and saw all of the causal events of the world as the will of a supremely mysterious conscious entity, that we may never know. I am not against such a notion, of course; I have entertained it at times; and so long as people understand that there is more than one way to religiously or philosophically view this question, then it is an interesting perspective, to say the least.
I do view Urd herself as an entity, naturally; and, as with the other two Norns, Urd is of a great and incomprehensible nature. Is she the web of Wyrd itself? Or is the web of Wyrd something she and her sisters weave, and thus, apart from them?
I would answer that it depends on the situation, on the moment of examining the question. In one sense, Urd is Urd, The Norns are the Norns, and the Web of Wyrd is the Web of Wyrd. But in another sense, the notion of absolute "separation" is not sustainable, especially in a spiritual/interactional worldview of wholeness. A spiritual aesthetic of wholeness stops any absolute "separation" from existing, while leaving room for relative, perceptual separation, to allow for consciousness to exist and for linear experience, growth and learning and wisdom to exist.
I believe that the term "Urd" refers to an entity, but not an entity in the same manner that the Gods are entities, or human beings are entities. I believe that the Nornic reality is a non-corporeal reality beyond our ken, beyond our understanding. I can see that our mythological symbols and stories shed some indirect light on these vast and awe-filled realities, and I appreciate these gifts from the past.
I believe that Urd wove the web of Wyrd- and, indeed, perpetually weaves it- in line with a vision She had- a vast, deep, and mysterious experience on her part- and humans have a similar experience when they have what they call an "intuitive realization".
The personal reality of an intuitive realization is the closest we as humans may come to what I am discussing: and what I am discussing is nothing short of the deep reason why things "became" as they did, why things fall as they do, pass away as they do, and are regenerated as they always are. This is Urd's reality-vision, the reality-vision of Wyrd.
It may be speculation, but it is in line with what my soul tells me; for too long, people have wondered what "inspired" or "motivated" the "creator" to create; I don't believe in a "creator" in the typical sense, but beyond that, for me, nothing makes more sense than the idea that the ultimate "source" of things was motivated not by some hot and fierce idea, but by a cool, wordless intuition, a vision of unfathomable beauty or mystery. Perhaps not even the "creator" (to use more mainstream language) knows why it created, or what creation is- and what an idea! This is the birth of an organic way of seeing the highest speculative spiritual realities.
Each sentient being within the web of Wyrd which possesses the sort of consciousness which allows for high-level abstraction, reason, and self-awareness- from the mighty Gods to human beings- are called to emulate Wyrd, in a sense, by seeking a way of living that leads to creativity and to the discovery of their destiny, and the fulfillment of it.
How do we do know the right way to do this? All discrete parts of a web "emulate" the web, in a sense; they all partake of the web's whole nature; sentient beings "emulate Wyrd" through the same sacred visionary process or experience of intuition that existed/exists in the deep- they emulate Wyrd by seeking an intuitive vision of guidance.
By living their own vision, the Gods constructed the Worlds, defeated the malevolent powers, and helped to give rise to human beings and countless other living beings. By living our vision, as humans, we continued the work of Wyrd, the unfolding of things, as conscious co-creators with the Gods and Wyrd.
From the incomprehensible, down to the level of what we see everyday, conscious life and reality appears to be guided intuitively, through vision, through something sacred and sublime. We emulate Wyrd by seeking an intuitive vision for living, and living by what we experience.
The task of "creation"- or should I say "weaving"- is therefore ongoing, and it is a privilege that Gods and Human Beings should be able to take conscious part. There is no fulfillment for us if we do not. Subtle emanations of Wyrd- spirits- individual manifestations of the intangible realities- have also come into being, and some come into our lives, for many reasons.
There is a spiritual ecology here, for every part of this world has these subtle emanations attached to it- the "wights" of the ancestral lore. There are also wights or spirit-entities that seem to come from pure mystery, and play mysterious roles. There is no limit to their variety, or the helpful situations or dangers they can present, but the Wyrd-wise can seek the visionary guidance needed to deal with them successfully. The Gods can be a part of that precious schooling needed.
But in the end, it is each individual being and their own visionary intuition that forms the core of guidance. Our deaths are the arrival of another sort of vision, another chapter of guidance onward into the intangible realities, thus the "death-vision" becomes an important part of Wyrd.
We experience Wyrd typically in terms of process, interaction, and the synchronistic combination of forces that create the patterns of our lives. This is a part of Wyrd. But Wyrd as a sacred field of reality, containing all things, a fertile pool or pond or well of possibilities, is another aspect, another perspective. Wyrd as Weaver, as entity, is another.
We and the Gods are within Wyrd together, part of a greater vision of reality than we could comprehend- but which we participate in. May the Gods help us find the wisdom to participate well, as brave and honorable people, and as people who can open the intuitive eyes needed to know our way.