Bear versus the armchair viking association

Where to start? LOL Anyone who’s investigated Heathenism or Asatru is probably aware that there are small pockets of white supremacists using Asatru and Odinism and Heathen as cover for their retrograde attitudes. It’s a real problem in Australia, they seem to control all the mailing lists.*

A while ago I was joining up and sussing them out. Left most of them because I don’t enjoy constantly engaging homophobic he-man armchair vikings. I want to join a Heathen or Asatru discussion list to hear opinions about Heathen spirituality. In Australia you get some nutter quoting conservative christians or muslims to support homophobia. Great.

Last night I was having another wee tantrum and mentally composing a “fuck you all, see you in Hel” email that I was going to retire on, and return to my Solitary practice.

“That’s it! I’m now officially Agnostic!” I bawled as I stamped my widdle tooties and pouted. “To Hel with these white supremacist neanderthals!”

I could almost feel Thor huffing at me. “Oh really? After all this time needing my help and protection, now you don’t believe in me?” Freya for her part was somehow giving me a big warm hug. I’m a bit bi so a warm hug from a wonderful Goddess like Freya is all the more welcome for the innuendo. The night before I’d felt something similar. An encouragement to trust in the Universe, trust in the Aesir and Vanir. They’ve led me well so far…

This morning it occurred to me that the Aesir and Vanir probably don’t want their followers stuck in the past recreating and repeating the same old mistakes. Why should there not be room for us to grow, learn and evolve? It’s not as if there’s enough info to comprehensively recreated ancient Saxon or Norse culture anyway, the christians did too much damage when they forcibly converted the North. And that’s a whole ‘nother post in itself, the internal incongruity of christianism.

It pisses me off when people act as if we should be as true as possible to bronze age society, as a cover for being homophobic and conservative. When they quote brutal religions to support their ideas it seems simply ridiculous. Why would you leave christendom for something you think is better, only to bring along so much harmful cultural baggage? Surely if you’re going to go to the trouble of redefining your spiritual perspective, you’d go the last few steps of reviewing the effects such religious pathology has had on your understanding and values? Why use ancient Greco-Roman purity codes and household codes if you’ve swapped to Heathen or Paganism? Jordsvin has a fantastic article discussing all this, btw.

Another problem is that with these throwback ideas is that the same post-christian anglo social construct, which rejects homosexuals and defines masculinity as violent and militaristic, subverts women. He-men are often defined in contrast to sex class women who serve only as disposable incubators for the next generation of “warriors”. Any trait or expression culturally defined as feminine or effeminate is rejected as being unworthy.

Considering there’s quite a bit of evidence for cross-dressing and other “effeminate” behaviour in cultic worship of deities like Odin and Ingvi-Freyr, and stories of Loki and Thor cross-dressing, not to mention the sense of humour the ancient Saxons and Norse seem to have had, it’s a wonder anyone who’s seriously homophobic or misogynist would even consider Heathenism.

Well anyways. There are plenty of others out there who want to deepen their experience and understanding of Heathen spirituality without resorting to retrograde neo-nazi bullshit. You can’t always walk away from discussion groups that are dominated by such lunatics, where would you end up?

*Possibly because Australian culture is still so androcentric. You know, home of “Damned whores and God’s police”.

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Directions

Happy Summer, btw. :D

Well, the past week has been interesting. Following my meditation on the Othala rune, ‘estate’ that can also refer to inheritance, I had some curious experiences. In summary some aspects of my life have been clarified for me. There’s pretty much a grounded sense now about my identity, a feeling of “You Are Here”.

When you shift around a bit between groups and interests you end up being pretty eclectic and also a little compartmentalised. It can be a bit of a challenge to pin yourself down, especially when others seem to have a particular passion, interest or vocation/career that they use as an anchor for their identity… what do us floating eclectic types do?

I find myself back with Ansuz, and Freya. I find myself feeling more certain about who I am and what I do. I find myself accepting the place I’m in and person that I am currently to be an acceptable starting position for moving forward to experience more of life and learn more about the shall we say ‘spiritual options’ available to me.

Not at all what I’d expected from runic studies… No, that’s not quite true, it simply isn’t what was expected of this particular meditation. It has, however, built on the recent transition and growth in a very positive way. Grounding is always useful. Particularly in a post modern consumer world where we’re being pushed and pulled emotionally all over the place by various influences. “Start Here” is kinda helpful. In another way it has completed or at least furthered the answer to questions of meaning that have been lingering and torturing me for quite some time.

It isn’t an attachment to any particular construct or organised system of thought. It does, being runic, fit in my exploration of my new Asatru faith…. and it is as mentioned another constructive step forward. And it is offering a platform for further experience in areas I’d only vaguely trialled previously.

After resolving the meaning question, I guess I kinda expected that so many other areas of my life would fall into place. That hasn’t happened yet, and there’s still plenty of requirement for management and filtering, however there’s some sense and purpose to the whole thing now. Not to mention a future.

Moving forward is always good. This feels very good. Heh, a bit Raidho, really.

Friday rain on the garden

We haven’t had any rain out here for weeks. Maybe months. The whole place was looking so very, very dry. Then last night great gusting winds blew up and brought us a bit of a downpour. It had been so warm, Summer weather already, so there felt like that electric sensation of wild power in the wind.

The veggie patch looks like a disaster area at the moment. After last year went *so* well I had dreams of planting up the same salad veggies and putting in capsicum and eggplants and other mediterranean things… The available ground was enlarged by about 12 square metres, which was pretty back breaking, and now it’s all buried under self-sown parsley and coriander. It’s been so dry and carting water is *heavy* work! We had salad with dinner the last couple of nights and it seemed very odd to have to go to a shop and buy lettuce. Unnatural! The kids were reminiscing about last Summer’s big bowls of salad… Well, when you have teenagers impressed by green stuff, you’re doing something right.

Out the front of the house the flower garden is surviving. Things are slowly growing and flowering… most of the herbs are doing pretty well. The sage flowered, which was stunning.

I probably shouldn’t digress on the tangent of housing development in the area, it will only make me angry. But this is what we get when we build, build, build with no thought whatsoever for the natural situation of the land we’re building on. It’s a dry place. We need water. Why are we packing in more and more people in a place where there’s so much problem with resources? This is terminal stupidity. At the very least all the new homes ought to have grey water systems and tanks… but while our utilities are privately owned the profit agenda gets in the way of sensible management. Like John Brumby wanting Melbourne Water to build a pipeline to take water from the Murray-Darling, a river that is virtually dead in the (lack of) water. At the same time he’s still allowing logging in old growth forest and catchment areas, a practise which is well known to reduce water catchment. And since 90% of the Earth’s oxygen is produced by the oceans, the next step of course is to begin messing up that whole eco-system for desalination. *sigh* The guy must be nuts, or so hamstrung by corporate interests that his two faces can’t bear to look at one another.

Anyways, enough of the politics. People will simply have to learn the hard way. What’s sad is that the land is harmed so badly in the process. Moreso since we’ve been aware of land management issues like these for more than forty years. Changing light bulbs is one thing, but when are we going to make some seriously constructive changes? And what’s with that baby bonus?! There’s six billion people on the planet, idiots!

Ahem. Yes. Where was I?

Back to my original tangent, what’s been happening around here lately. Well, yeah, the garden finally got some rain and I’m reconsidering now whether to make the effort and put in some more seedlings. Tell you what, it’s given me an awful lot more sympathy for subsistence farmers. Imagine having to grow everything you eat? Whew.

Other than a bit of garden maintenance, most of my time has been spent in discussion with my Shaman friend and exploring more runes and Heathen texts. Recently I’ve had a soul-retrieval and Reiki attunement… so I’m feeling a little beaten up in an odd way. Probably settling in to more balanced energy flow. This week in the tai chi class I was all over the place and couldn’t remember anything, which has never happened before. Still, it’s all building on the experience of connection I felt in plugging myself into this “new” ancient worldview.

Last Monday I went to see my psychologist, and was somewhat circumspect about describing all these new experiences, but she was very positive about it. The biggest hurdle I’ve faced in the last couple of years is the whole issue of meaning. Humans can’t live without meaning. And it needs to be personal. After a long battle with depression and everything else, things have clicked on that basic level and now everything else can shape itself constructively around that centre. Heh, and I am rather clinging to this in hope! ;-)

What were her words? A person needs to centre their lives on themselves and their own perception of meaning, not merely be subject to outside controls and influences… We’re talking about resolving the great psycho-spiritual crisis here. The “spiritual emergency” it’s also been termed. Heh, one other person who’s worked his way through it said “I don’t recommend it!” LOL Certainly it’s a tough thing to go through. A lot of people don’t survive.

It’s no wonder then that there’s a few symptoms of stress still floating around. At night I still can’t sleep, though any time I sit down in the day to meditate I drop off like a stone. And there’s a funny looking rash all over my hands. The usual apres stress stuff, like getting a cold after your exams…

On a more positve note, the runes work is simply stunning. I hadn’t been going to pick them up, since I already have magic, divination, symbolism etc. Then Odin said to me “You’d be good at it.” Anyways, simply reading about the things started something off. They do have a reputation for having a life of their own. I’m happy to agree with that now. Hmm. Let me try to decide how much detail to write here LOL. Let’s say I’ve had a few experiences with trance and rune magic and it’s pretty bloody impressive! The things take root in you somehow and it becomes something organic. Not to mention that they kind of intuit themselves when you’re meditating or um, what’s the word? I keep thinking casting like spell casting, but with runes people say casting when they mean divination. I think it’s runegaldr. Using the energy and symbolism of the runes to effect magic. With drumming :D I’ve never felt power like it. Wow!

Heh. Well, it has been a pretty busy week. I’m looking foward to the weekend to put my feet up a little and drift in the currents. We’ll see how long that lasts. : )

Edit: While reading a Reiki manual I came across the following that is something of a clarification. Often people talk about killing off the ego in an effort for self-development. A point was made some years back during Tarot studies, of all things, that annihalating the ego might be counter-productive, since, according to Jung, it is the seed of the self. If you kill off your self, who are you? Such destruction works well in a system like mainstream christendom, where people are supposed to submit to an overwhelming other… in general it fails to happen and people end up with all sorts of hang ups and emotional damage, but back to the subject. The author of the Reiki manual made the point that when Buddhists speak of “ego” they mean the “conditioning” you’ve been exposed to that is often not helpful and gets in the way of you living your own, more evolved life.

Now *this* seems like a much more intelligent way to look at spiritual growth. We examine our emotional attachments, our memories and the various ways in which we’ve been conditioned by parents, society, perhaps trauma… We learn where these things create or maintain “buttons” in us that are easily pushed, and we recalibrate in order to move forward. Sounds so simple!

Anyways, I was going to have the weekend off. Have a good one.

Art for gods’ sake, or I don’t like the drugs…

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There’s been some ideas floating around in my tiny mind for a little while now, images for more artwork.

Last night I popped a couple of painkillers and stayed up late listening to Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie and Nine Inch Nails working on this. It’s in progress… The thought of including reference to a couple of runes, like Sig and Berkana came to mind, but one hears horror stories of newbies playing with rune magic and getting their fingers, if not their whole arms, incinerated. So I intend to play it safe with that stuff. Alluring though it is! Are they moth wings I feel growing on my back?

I’m one of these people who goes fast on downers. It’s not unknown, though probably not common. Something about the drug clears my mind and enables some sort of focus on the creative process. It short circuits the emotionally conditioned restraints and repression. Though insightful readers might also observe that it would take pain killers of some sort to have one want to stay up till 2am painting and listening to metal… ;-) Heh. There’s that twitch again.

A friend of mine who’s a well qualified psychologist has commented to me regarding the numbers of people with PTSD symptoms who use opiate pain killers. She feels it’s something to do with a physical, muscular memory of a traumatic event. Training of various kinds, martial arts drilling, sports practise and even music, can create muscle memories. Apparently there’s a more sinister form we’re predisposed to. The fact that the body’s own endorphin receptors closely match the opiates might have something to do with the preference. My friend tells me that she knows of many people who, regardless of any other anti-depressants or prescription medications they might be taking, seem to end up back with the pain killers from time to time.

Not that the similarity in function between the body’s receptors and the drug is any accident. No miracles here. More like thousands of years of co-evolution. For how long have humans cultivated and taken drugs? For how much longer before that were they used (and still used) from the wild for inducing altered states? You wonder how much of the modern human brain is a result of systematic experimentation over generations during our evolution. It’s certainly not a new thing. Criminalising it, however, is. While there would no doubt have been cultural frameworks for such use, the demonisation and criminalisation of drug users in the global kleptocracy seems to be out of all proportion. Apart from creating folk demons to vilify in order to further enforce social control, what’s the point of being so nasty to people who are simply trying to anesthetise themselves? The good old limited news knee jerk in operation. And generations of politicians get themselves re-elected by enacting laws against people they define as “other”, with little or no thought to the social ramifications or the reality of life and community.

And this becomes relevant yet again, as the Victorian Government (no pun intended ;-)) has recently begun demonising biker gangs (again) so as to attempt to validate another push for law and order. No effective point in it at all. You can’t fix a problem with the same thinking that created it. Law and order in this instance is simply smoke and mirrors for a Government that’s on thin ice come the next election, regardless of any better alternative.

Note also that some atypical opiates are recognised as being effective anti-depressants… But when the patents expire, they aren’t nearly so sexy.

There’s also a pretty well established connection between creative types and altered mind states. From Victorian poets getting stoned off their nuts on Opium to contemporary Heroin use among muso’s… Not that I’d advocate unrestrained usage… There’s potential for damage and addiction to consider. We probably need that cultural framework for drug use to set the stage, so to speak. In this as in so many other situations the person taking responsibility for their own experimentation needs to have a basis of self-control and development in order to use an altered state constructively.

Now this is a bit of a tangent, but one that would do well to address. A lot of religious and spiritual teaching seems to take a template of behaviours or virtues and attempt to apply them to a person from the outside. The Greco-Roman purity codes in christendom being a prime example. In puritan religion they’re completely off the chart. The current tendency for Governments to try to legislate morality is another case. The controls are operating externally so that the standards of behaviour or thought are being forced onto a person from the outside, like a stamp into concrete. It’s an external impression, rather than one that develops from within. And it’s generally effected with the aid of a truck load of emotional manipulation and what boils down to psychological abuse.

It’s a vastly different approach to cast off all that expectation and follow one’s own nose. Think of every prophet or spiritual journeyman who’s reconsidered the church’s teachings and decided to wander off in search of their own meaningful spiritual experience, their own relationship with and understanding of god. There’s a whole history of people run out of town on the end of pitch forks or brutally murdered, an effective lesson to anyone else who gets ideas about freedom. One needs to be very, very brave indeed to travel paths not approved of by controlling interests.

Again it’s a painful, awful experience, but hugely valuable, to focus on the internal self, and develop to the point where limits and behaviours are an expression of the inner self and desire for balance and creativity, rather than simply toeing someone else’s line. Naturally not everyone wants to devote the time and suffering to such development. Equally as naturally those benefitting from global culture would probably be horrified if too many people desired to become conscious of the manipulation and control that goes on and attempt to develop their own inner compass. Not only is it highly valuable for the individual concerned, but what they are then able to contribute back into the community is vastly superior in terms of it’s creative contribution. If said community is willing to move forward. ;-)

That’s the curiosity I have with the Nine Noble Virtues in Asatru. Yes, some people are going to want that kind of guidance and a source of centring for their moral code, an agreed upon series of objectives for the sake of security. But why, if one has access to the freedom and tools for magic and development, would one cast off one set of chains in exchange for another? If you’re going to go to the trouble of changing so much of what you’ve been brought up to believe, surely it’s worth the trouble to go another mile and sort your core values from the inside out? It does, however, take an awful lot of emotional energy to maintain the kind of effort it requires to filter, even semi-consciously, the influences operating on people these days. Every ad will try to push a button somewhere in you. And they’re hugely sophisticated. All of which is not to say that the Virtues are not a good thing in themselves. It helps to have a frame of reference for any group interested in spiritual practise and development. I am simply clarifying my own approach of “do as you will shall be the whole of the law.” Not one that goes over well in convict culture. ;-)

And while I’m jumping around all over the place on wild tangents I thought I’d wonder out loud about a thought that came to me this morning some time. I had a bit of a moment with the Hebrew god, basically a parting of the ways. Thanks, seeya and all that. In some way I feel there was a connection there with something, however manipulated and inappropriate it may have been. Spiritual connections are always powerful for me and perhaps we both got something from my journey of questioning and discovery… Certainly the Hebrew god as I came to understand him had way too much in common with Odin to be coincidence. I’ve been on the hook for a long, long time. Someone, I think it may have been Jordsvin, made the comment that “It wasn’t my own faith, it was someone else’s that I’d picked up along the way.” That makes a lot of sense. My expression would be that it wasn’t my faith, it was someone else’s that was given to me when I didn’t know any better.

After all, Odin’s claimed me now. I had this amazing vision whereby the Hebrew god sort of pulled my soul away from himself and released me on the breeze like a spider borne on a thread of silk… Odin reached out his hand and caught the thread, which he passed to Frigga who, smiling, wove me into the work on her loom. Now that’s magic.

Makes you wonder exactly who is underneath all the weird and not so wonderful stuff people have done with the spirit that inspired christendom… I mean, these days I’m not so sure about the whole Jesus thing at all. Street corner prophets were a dime a dozen in Roman occupied Palestine. There is so little original material of anything in the New Testament as well. It seems to me possible that the sayings and stories might well be sourced from more than one person or tradition. In addition the idea of the last supper and the crucifixion and resurrection are not part of the earliest writings. They do follow the practises of the Mithraic cult and were introduced later. Much later still came the idea of Jesus as the Christ, hundreds of years after the fact. Crucifixion didn’t make Jesus the Christ, a meeting of Roman bishops and powermongers did, 400 years later.*

So now if the man or men were not as they’re popularly described today, which is very likely, who exactly is the spirit behind the whole deal as we see it in operation today? Given some of the teachings around, some of them seem to be pretty vicious deceptive spirits. Somewhere in there also is something like a Buddha consciousness and somewhere buried under all the social conditioning, Imperial politics and self-interested dogma is elohim. And you can go look up that word in some progressive source before you jump to conclusions :D

Anyways. Just a thought. ;-)

*Which doesn’t derail the metaphor, similar to Odin hanging on the world tree, that we become more than we are through these journies.

links

The blogroll or list of links is updated to include some Heathen sites I’ve been reading from recently.

This is a quick update… Heh, not much to say in public today. Not while people are taking ideas from here and posting lengthy replies to emailing lists filled with people I don’t really want to associate with.

Here’s an article from Freya Aswynn. Troth to the Aesir. Good article. Interesting site.

Further ponderings, devils and saints.

Sitting here listening to Marilyn Manson as I type. Mostly “user friendly”. LOL It’s an abusive relationship. Listening to his stuff (And I thought I had trouble getting over my old man!) makes me feel, well, almost normal. I doubt he’d care much apart from it being insufficient attention ;-) Actually, he’s not that bad. For really sick, try Rob Zombie. (“Great American Nightmare” reminds me of a recent post on a certain mailing list…) I would probably be too scared to sit next to him on the couch ;-) The sound of Manson’s music is so sleazy, though. Gets you in. Great grooving music. And you could probably add a wink to that one too. Yeah, baby.

Still following links… Gorm the Wired (home of the famous Viking name converter) has a weird and wonderful site. He generated a name and a proverb for me… Jorunn the beserk. Hah! My mother will laugh. And: “Don’t wait up late for love or an honest man.” Hmmm. Well, I could have told you that. ;-)

If I haven’t done so already, I need to put in a big plug for Diana L Paxson’s site Hrafnar. The articles page is particularly interesting for me. The group is an Asatru fellowship with particularly good sources on magic and the goddesses. I’ve found it hugely helpful in pursuing connection with understanding the women of the pantheon. Not to mention the huge body of magical freedom. Thanks Kraka for the link.

Had a “moment” with Frigga last night. Very positive. There were a few thoughts exchanged but it basically boiled down to “trust us.” That is pretty much what I intend to do. *Yay!*

Some time ago I was discussing with Unspeakably Violent Jane about the effects of memories of trauma. After years of dealing with this stuff, either I got fed up with being patient with meditation and therapy or I was at the right point to move… And got stuck into some Craft to shift things in my favour. I am well pleased with the results!

Now to deal with the darkness. *sigh* If it ain’t one damned thing it’s another. ;-) I’m winking a lot today. Might be developing a twitch. I’ll thank Brian* for that. :D

The real hassle though, is not so much that I feel I’m screwed up. I constantly run into people who are far, far more mental than I am yet appear to be able to hold down a job and a life of sorts. I blink and wonder what on earth is going on. It’s probably not a novelty among ‘net denizens to feel like the odd bod on the fringes who can see things nobody else seems to want to. The real issue is that I’m consigned to life on the fringes in consumerist terms. The powers that be in the Global Kleptocracy would see me as a non-functioning unit. They can’t make much profit out of me. Yet there’s a lot here that’s useful. Guess it depends on your perspective and idea of “profit” and “value”. I must remember to not think in dollar terms. :D

Jane was right. It is a matter of screening your information. The trick is to apply some screening internally. And that is a trick when you’ve had one station going all your life.

Good thing there’s magic to re-tune the thing.

That brings me to runes. Someone made the point that they weren’t intended for divination so much as magic. Well, I guess I’ll find out! Heh. This is fun. Today %-)

*Marilyn Manson’s real name is Brian. Whoda thunk it?

Sympathy for the devil

This might be largely motivated by my feeling angry at Odin at the moment. Heh. What a novelty. The idea of wrestling with the gods is not new, but for some reason I’m one of those people who steps up every damn time.

I’m feeling quite sympathetic for Loki. He has a bad reputation, some people seem to see him as the Norse equivalent of Satan, though that would seem to be a christianisation of his role. What I don’t get is that some of the really bad stuff he got up to was Odin’s idea anyway. The whole Baldur trip… Who’s idea? Hmm.

It’s probably not a novelty either to feel a bit sympathetic for him, chained in Hel having poison dripped on him. Maybe others who feel like they’ve been a bit worked over feel the same? Who knows.

So here’s a link to some poetry and other stuff in honour of Loki. Odin’s fall guy.

Loki’s date with the “virgin” Mary.

Poetry.

Wiki.