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.

Home

It would be neat to have a photo of a redhead to go in here. Edit: Found one! LOL Since I’ve been doing Blot for Thorr I keep seeing redheads everywhere. Wonderful! Going from monotheism, though it be some time ago now, to polytheism is an interesting move. For one thing, there are plenty of Heathens (Heidhni?) who feel a strong affiliation for one Goddess or God… Yet almost everyone worships all the Aesir and Vanir at appropriate times, not to mention respect for landwights and ancestors. All of elohim seems to be well covered. ;-)

Currently I’m feeling this great affinity with Thorr. He’s a protective influence but without being smothering or dominating. Feels wonderful. The situation raises some questions about whom I’m following or who is doing the directing of all the little coincidences that are piling up in my life. Getting to know the Goddesses is also worthwhile, though admittedly I haven’t been doing as much of that consciously.

Most Heathens write about their Goddesses and Gods being ‘elder kin’ rather than slave drivers. They’re not jealous, controlling or foul tempered. Nor is one expected to give up control of one’s own life in service to them or for any other reason. The connection feels much more like a partnership relationship. This approach reminds me of the subject of process theology, whereby the will of the individual was theoretically rehabilitated and seen as useful, to be engaged in the development of spirituality as distinct from the ‘I am an unworthy worm and I submit unquestioningly’ school of worship. If you’ve read any of Aleister Crowley’s thoughts you’ll recognise an ironic influence here.

At this point it should be mentioned that there were a variety of views on God in christendom, there were plenty of sources to point to Jesus’ God being Fatherlike, with the unfortunate shift in practise toward him appearing more as an abusive father… There’s such difference between what I was studying in theology at Whitley and what seems to pass for popular belief in xianity. All up I spent 9 1/2 years in that study, and I can tell you I saw an enormous diversity! I have no regrets regarding dumping christendom, however I feel obliged to acknowledge the open mindedness and hard work of the professors at Whitley. Embracing Heathendom is probably not the outcome they expect for most students, however, if you’re analysing faith and belief, why remain subject to a faith that was forced on you if it isn’t working for you and has been quite harmful?

Getting to know the Aesir and Vanir is not as much of a challenge as it would seem without the kind of authority that ‘scripture’ is touted to be. There’s plenty of scope for one’s own experience and development in relationship and as mentioned above they aren’t jealous about these things. This is rather something new for me, the realisation that although I’m currently feeling this great sense of Thorr’s presence, it doesn’t infringe on my awareness of Odin or Freya at work in my life. And Odin is very much at work!

Last night after all the family related stuff came up again, specifically thinking about adoption and life on the margins, I went to bed in something of a temper. Feeling rather despondent… Funny how that seems to be becoming a sore point. When I was younger it was simply a fact of life. Now it bothers me when people are discussing family and origins. I’m more and more reluctant to have the subject arise in conversation. Anyways, I went to bed early and was feeling considerably unhappy about my circumstances. The conversations about family and origins had lifted the lid on a whole seething mass of unresolved issues. Odin seemed to say to me that this would be something to deal with. I was not happy and laughed at him sourly “I deal with this every damn day!” Then in Terry Pratchett’s Witches Abroad which I was re-reading for about the fourth time, the page opened to a mention that witches never run away from things they fear. Pffft. Synchronous events can be confronting at times.

Today while reading further on runes and runelore, I dived into an essay about Othala, the rune of inheritance, family connections, lands… All the background of humanity that comes to you down through the generations. Needless to say it felt rather like I was having my nose rubbed in it. Meditating on this rune and exploring it’s importance in my life should be fun… for a given value of fun. LOL. Probably connects substantially with the experience of the land claiming me that I was recounting in yesterday’s post.

Suffice it to say that if any information about my origins comes to light now, after years of searching and invariably heartbreaking dead ends, it would be a bloody miracle. I’m not sure if that’s what the Allfather has up his sleeve, is anyone, ever? Anyways, it’s certainly an intense journey.

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.

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?