The trail of raven feathers, part de trois


Last night I sat up till nearly 3am reading, reading, reading… About Loki. About runes and about factions in Asatru. Mostly from the Uppsala site, which I wholeheartedly recommend. It was sent to me in a bunch of links by a friend on alt.pagan.

One thing I particularly found interesting that needs mentioning here is the concept of reincarnation. In yesterday’s post I referred to some comments about ancestral reincarnation that I’d read in an essay and a newsletter. Wayland makes the point that reincarnation is rarely if ever considered to be something that happens purely within ancestral lines. In Hinduism and Buddhism it doesn’t even stay within a species. And there’s no evidence that the Norse or Saxons were treating reincarnation anyway. So that’s clarified. That’ll learn me. I Must Do My Own Reading. LOL

Fortunately I’ve met a couple of thinking characters who are recommending history books to me. Well, for a given value of fortunate. Means a lot of reading!

In both the Uppsala site and Assembly of the Elder Troth are mentions of the Nine Noble Virtues. WTF? When did I cross over into Buddhism? ;-)

It seems really interesting to me that groups focus on these kind of purity codes and at the same time worship gods and goddesses given to all kinds of bizzarre behaviour. It’s a bit like the Greco-Roman purity and household codes among people worshiping Zeus. A bit of a paradox.

No doubt it won’t be popular, but I’m wondering how much influence behind the Virtues is drawn from the lingering influence of those Greco-Roman purity codes in puritan religion, particularly after the industrial revolution, that has influenced contemporary globalist and Anglo-Saxon culture. The idea of values or virtues that decide who’s in or out has been an effective tool for religious control of the masses, particularly the conservative middle class, while those at the top reap the most benefit and get away with gods know what. As a person develops into adulthood there ought to be all sorts of developments of personal boundaries and self-control, an ability to make moral decisions, that should cover all of this “how I live and how I interact with my tribe” stuff. But, I guess some people need to think about structure and others would prefer to accept what’s given. Might be a function of different personality types and ways of handling information.

The focus on “industriousness” is of particular interest to me in Australian post-convict culture. After white Australia was settled largely at the expense of abused criminals and poor Irish, “hard work” was about the only vector offered to the children of the convicts to redeem themselves. This is still an influence in our society and again, a tool for control and manipulation that benefits the status quo and global consumerism. Something to think about, anyway.

That the Nine Noble Virtues originate with a group that refer to themselves as Odinist is reason for pause, so far in my experience. I’ll sit with it for a while and see what turns up down the track.

Now. Loki.

For safety’ sake I’m going to mention that Wodin and Loki are considered to be quite close, often working and travelling together. Heh. What a give away. Anyways, articles about Loki sometimes refer to an idea of him being a bit like the xian Satan. Well, it seems worth mentioning that Elaine Pagels apparently (I haven’t read it first hand) treats the ancient Hebrew origins of Satan as being vastly different from its presentation within christendom. Satan was originally the adversary. Someone who could stop you in your tracks with a question or circumstance that would really get you thinking and affect the way you see yourself.

This is obviously vastly different to the embodiment of evil and sin that has been so successfully used to alienate the shadow self and resulted in projections of percieved evil on to all and sundry. With particular attention to women and minorities.

At one stage I decided that the original Satan was a good or at least potentially helpful character. There was a conversation in which I said I was going to change my name to Satan. A friend replied “That’s a boy’s name.”

All of which is really only what was going through my head as I’m reading more about the Saxon pantheon….

I probably also should mention the cross dressing gods. That really surprised me. It’s one thing to read about Zeus turning into a swan or some such… but a particular god whose priests were expected to be quite effeminate during rituals and worship was not something I’d expected to read in the Heathen sources. Maybe its simply the groups I’ve encountered so far, maybe it’s the influence of social conditioning in global culture, but many of the Asatru seem very male dominant. Cross dressing gods and very strong, independent, particularly sexually independent, goddesses are an encouraging sign.

Now to see if I can find a photo of that one eyed raven who used to hang around here….

Pebbles in the path

This morning has seen some interesting turns. Yes, I’m still on about Heathenism.

I’ve joined a couple of email lists to get in contact with a few Asatru and Odinist groups… and encountered a curious phrase about “sharing ‘our’ common ancestry”. A bit of a problem for someone who’s Irish Australian and part Aboriginal. This should be interesting :D

To be honest the focus on ancestral reincarnation is not of itself a problem. There’s many peoples who’ve held this view. I was probably simply being a bit thin skinned about percieving myself as excluded from the “real” group on account of this shared (or not) heritage thing. But I speak English and look white… so we’ll go with it from here and see where it all leads. And I do very much feel the sense that it is leading somewhere important for me.

Last night I picked up Miranda Green’s book on Celtic Goddesses again. Miranda is a fantastic writer. I’ve also seen her featured as an expert on Tony Robinson’s Time team which I enjoy when I can catch it. It’s kind of a survivor archaeology… a dig that operates to a time limit. Shame about some of them, but the history and anthropology it brings up are fascinating. So yeah, here I am reading about all these brilliant Goddesses and heroines like Boudica, with comments from the Romans about ‘o my gods how tough/independent/forthright are these Celtic/Gaulish/Saxon women!’ Not a direct translation by the way ;-)) It’s all very fun except for the bits about human sacrifices. And those made to the Goddesses of war were particularly gruesome. It’s a bit like reading Tom Clancy decrying contemporary female terrorists.

Today while I’m online pursuing my trail of raven feathers, I come across pages about the Saxon Goddesses. Well, I must say I’m pretty pleased. These girls certainly give Epone and Maeve a run for their money. Which is to say they are no less wonderful images of strong, independent and capable females. What a pleasure to read after living with what the Protestants did to Mary.

Here’s the link to the Goddesses on the Assembly of Elder Troth site. These quotes are heavily snipped so if you enjoy them, visit the site for more.

Freya is probably the best-known and best-loved of the goddesses today. Her title simply means “Lady”; her original name is not known. Freya is the “wild woman” among the deities of the North: free with her sexual favours (though furious when an attempt is made to marry her off against her will); mistress of Odin and several other gods and men; skilled at the form of ecstatic, consciousness–altering, and sometimes malicious magic called seidhr; and chooser of half the slain on the battlefield (Odin gets the other half).
This goddess drives a wagon drawn by two cats, perhaps large forest-cats such as Lynxes, and is seen today as the patron goddesses of cats and those who keep them. As a battle-goddess, she also rides on a boar called Hildisvini (Battle-Swine).

I keep a few cats, particularly black cats, so there’s double the appeal with Freya.

Frigga:

Wife of Odin, Frigga is the patron goddess of the home and of the mysteries of the married woman. She is seen as Odin’s match (and sometimes his better) in wisdom; she shares his high-seat, from which they look out over the worlds together.
Despite the likeness of names and the similar relationship to Odin, Frigga should not be confused with Freya, who shares none of her essential traits. Her only departure from strict social behaviour is that during one of Odin’s journeys away from Asgard, she is said to have taken his brothers Vili and Ve as husbands; however, this probably shows the queen-goddess as the embodiment of sovereignty. Her name is also not directly related to the English slang-word, though the two derive from the same original root (“love, pleasure”).

Actually it’s worth having a read anyway. These girls really get around! Kind of disappointing that Anglo-Saxon culture has deteriorated into a globalist locker room after having originally embodied these awesome female archetypes. There’s certainly plenty here for me to work with, with my visualisation and magic.

Further reading on Heathenism.

Last night I wandered back into usenet after gods know how many years. It’s even worse of a mess, if that’s possible. The Pagan and witchy newsgroups are a lot of fun if only for the disparaging of all the xian trolls in there. I was laughing with tears in my eyes. Perhaps I should get out more ;-)

Anyways, further in this reading about ancient Saxon history and contemporary Heathenism… The various groups seem pretty certain that the current Heathen groups… (Heathen being a Germanic reference similar to the Latin Pagan, meaning people in rural areas who adhere to the old (pre xian) religions) are not reconstructionist like 19th century witchcraft but maintain an unbroken line of historical continuity. Experience has taught me to do my own research, so I’ll reserve comment on that one for now… with the exception that it seems possible, not necessarily probable or even plausible, that in some rural areas in Scandinavia elder traditions may have continued like herb lore and folk beliefs did in other areas of Europe hiding under the skirts as it were, of enforced christendom.

What’s important for me at the moment is finding a mythology that works. This doesn’t mean I’m intending to throw into it balls and all as if it were scientific rational reality. Mythology is the stories we tell ourselves that couch our understanding of the universe in which we live. In other posts I’ve mentioned ideas like the Jungian collective unconscious or developmental ideas about the nature of quantum consciousness. Most of humanity seems pretty simply explained in terms of animal behaviour qualified by the development of the frontal lobe and opposable thumbs. Our need for stories and understanding is a result of us living in tribal groups for most of 6 million years and having the capability of imagination and verbal language. Simple. (;-))

But as I posted yesterday, it doesn’t give me much shape for the emotional attachments I have to the natural world in which I live or some of the stranger experiences I’ve had.

So. Bring on some more reading.

Fortunately this morning I came across an ostensibly Heathen web site which includes some blogs. The writer of Henry’s journal is a psychologist as well as a Heathen, and has a curious way of mixing his world views in a way that rings a few bells for me. Here’s someone who’s doing some critical thinking within his spirituality and talks about not being “lore-locked”.

And that’s probably the main issue I’m having with this field of enquiry right now. Having escaped xian dogma I have no intention of falling for another one. I’d much prefer to go into it with my eyes open. The other problem is of course the links in a few areas with Asatru and white supremacists. Not to mention that it seems terribly male dominant. Fortunately there’s the archetype of Freya… That’s worthy of a bit more research before I discuss her, but she’s a bit of a saving grace for someone like me.

So I shall continue to follow Woden’s trail of feathers and see what the mailing lists & ors turn up. Now I’m wondering if I should enrol in that Psych degree or opt for history and archaeology instead LOL. And go buy some runes. Just what I needed, another “new-age” consumerist spending spree. Gear Aquisition Syndrome sets in again. *sigh* ;-)

The local Hindu temple near where I live has occasionally put out the following slogan: “God Is One, Though The Wise Call Him By Various Names”. Now that’s a subtle and very interesting point of view to hold. Viva the pan-Indo-European connection!

This slogan recognises the ultimate interconnectedness of everything (which is the spiritual truth of monotheism at its best), but also the significance of individual beings’ unique spirit (which is the spiritual truth of polytheism and animism at their best).

Re-renewing?

This year has been absolutely the worst experience with depression ever, and I’ve had some bad ones. I’d write that I feel like I’m emerging from it but I thought that in early October too and turned out to be wrong. It’s probably simply another matter of biding my time and letting everything do what it needs to. Whether I understand what “everything” is or not.

Since April I’ve been wrestling the worst and blackest experience of emptiness and deep, deep misery. Fortunately there are odd occasions when the sun comes through. Like the present. I’m told that it’s “transitional”. There’s simply more stuff lingering around from past experiences that needs some sort of psychic regurgitation to feel dealt with. What I have is not simply depression but Borderline Personality Disorder that looks (and feels) a lot like PTSD. Rather than extending from an episode of trauma in the adult life, it develops during childhood.

The idea that all of this is somehow hard wired because of being a result of childhood trauma has been, pradoxically, a relief. There’s a kind of legitimacy now. Someone else gets it, which means that although I’m mental and it is all in my head, it is also very real.

The future is not “dealing with it” or “getting over it” or even really “moving on”. It’s management. Coping with life and people and nothing more. This way of thinking is providing some space for me currently to take a breath and look at what changes I’d like to make and how I might go about such. This is something I’d categorise as A Good Idea. I don’t care what Satan’s little helpers over at News Limited think of this perspective. Anyone who makes money out of exploiting people who are struggling with psycho-spiritual questions and mental illness deserves what’s coming to them. That means you too, Rudd. Bloody Sydney Anglicans.

In the midst of all of this, I’m trying my own little tricks within my own worldview that gives me access to magic and witch craft. Without going into too much detail, good, healthy male archetypes and a solid sense of self empowerment and self-control are not only beneficial but effected through magic ritual. Developing healthy male and female archetypes is obviously going to be a challenge and a help to someone dealing with child abuse. A male who isn’t necessarily an agent of destruction and a female capable of independence and, well, capability… Bring on the ancient deities. (BTW, anyone need a friend for Beltaine?)

I’m not sure how much to write about the internal stuff. I’d like to rant on about every little thing I’ve been experiencing lately spiritually, but that seems somehow to cheapen it.

After reading Richard Dawkins I must admit I was deeply influenced. Heh, I even became facebook friends with P Z Meyers because I appreciate the critical thinking of Atheism. Meyers’ wit makes me want to convert. :D However, I need a world view that will help me make sense of my own experiences, so there needs to be some scope for either something like a quantum mechanical collapse of super consciousness… Like that proposed by Amit Goswami, or a collective unconscious such as proposed by Jung. Since mainstream religions don’t do it for me, and even supposed alternatives based on Hinduism and Buddhism can somehow import a lot of right-wing judgmental assumptions into “new age” belief systems, it’s right back to the drawing board for me.

Witch craft provides the option of the eclectic. Take what you need and leave what you don’t. Together with some Uni training, this provides the space to read and research and measure theories against one’s own experiences this is very liberating! Some might opine that this disconnects an individual from any organised or authorised moral code, and nothing outside such a system could really be legitimate. The problem is that such “authorised” belief systems these days unfortunately include an awful lot of assumption and enforced emotional attachments through psychological manipulation and conditioning.

That’s why there’s little point engaging a religious person who feels that abortion is wrong because a foetus is vulnerable. Every human who’s physical existence can be threatened by another person or circumstances is equally as vulnerable as the unborn foetus. The trouble is that forcing a woman to give birth to a child she can’t feed and who won’t be supported socially is going to maintain the vulnerability not only of the child but will potentially endanger the rest of the family as well. But the emotional conditioning in organised religion and particularly in the kind of right-wing charismatic conservative thinking so prominent in the West today detrimentally affects the thinking of a person who may otherwise want to question the assumptions taught to them about such values or situations. Emotional conditioning, overlearned stereotypes, social conformity… It’s a lot of overhead to try to deal with in order to discuss personal choices.

If you’re going to step out from under the umbrella (or jackboot) of authorised moral thinking, you’re going to be going out on a limb. If you’re dealing social and personal management issues you’re half way out there already. It’s a big responsibility getting your head around a way to understand the Universe. That might be why the myth of the long, dark night seems to continuous in human experience. From the Mithraic last supper, death and resurrection, to the christian version of same, to Odin hanging on the world tree for nine days seeking wisdom… Doing the psycho-spiritual crisis and reinvention is clearly no novelty for the human animal.

And I’m going to use that to segue clumsily into a reference to my current reading on Saxon (not Anglo-Saxon) history and spirituality, and the contemporary Heathen reconstructions of Norse and Saxon spiritualities. Because Odin is cool ;-) (Heh, for me. For the moment.(Spot the theology student!))

Where all this goes, who knows? It’s keeping my head above water. I do actually feel like there are some constructive changes going on somewhere in there. Stay tuned for the next rant… :D