The problem with god…

Well, not so much with god, (which god, btw?) but the system that supposedly promotes him/her/it.

I’ve been stewing on this for a little while, but some Jehovah’s Witnesses knocked on my door early this morning and I was as annoyed at being roused from a decent sleep in as I was at their motives. You see, christendom hasn’t had a genuine spiritual motivation since about the fourth century.

If you go back through the Hebrew scriptures that were misappropriated to form the “old testament” you’ll notice that the Hebrews weren’t monotheists. They knew there were plenty of other goddesses and gods out there, but their deal by virtue of birth or conversion was that they’d only worship a particular one. When christendom first kicked off the founder didn’t even speak to gentiles about conversion, he was interested in motivating Hebrews to a kind of reform.

It wasn’t until the spread of christendom to Hellenic culture and Constintine adopting the religion for Imperial purposes that the whole “one true god” thing got going. It must be pointed out also that Constantine wasn’t a christian. He was only baptised on his deathbed.

For those who felt suitably drawn to connect with the Hebrew god conversion was and still is available. Those from among the Jewish tribes who didn’t feel inclined to engage in the contract were also catered for. They’d be left in Gehenna, that is the garbage dump outside the gates. Not so savoury perhaps, but it was a place outside of the group and it had it’s relevance. There were afterall, plenty of other groups and deities and pantheons to partake of.

Considering the attitude of the prophet to encourage those who would choose personally to join the christian sect of Judaism, before it became a separate Imperial movement of course, such choices were to be made by adults who felt spiritually led. This really torpedoes the whole approach of raising children to a religion by threatening them with torture, exclusion and death if they refuse a particular identity.

If christendom were true to the teachings of it’s prophet, no child would be raised with the lie that christendom is the only true religion and the Hebrew god the only true god. Every person would be able to make her or his own mind up according to their spiritual inclinations, whatever they may or may not be. And forget about running a country by religious law. That’s the one form of leadership that christ specifically forbid, not to mention theocracy also being a direct contradiction of the whole personal salvation ethic. And the fact that humans are a gregarious animal and living with the best interests of the individual and the group at heart is a universal human requirement regardless of religion or ethnicity. Sure it’s had different expressions over the ages but “don’t kill” is hardly specific to christendom, particularly since it’s been disregarded continuously.

There are many goddesses and gods out there and each individual should theoretically be free to discern for her or himself which of the many they feel drawn to, if any. There’s nothing to say that any goddess or god is any better or more capable than any other. As for heaven and hell, well, gehenna was simply a place outside the city gates. Hell was originally the German Hel, which was simply a resting place at the end of life.

The ancient Hebrews were aware of other goddesses and gods worshiped by other tribes but didn’t see fit to account for afterlife in each instance. Pre-christian Europe was replete with many and varied different heavens and hels according to the pantheons and localities. Can one god have ultimate say over the followers of another? Who’s to know what’s possible in that case, but one thing’s for sure you wouldn’t take the word of followers of a particular god who are proven liars and killers.

As a Witch and follower of the old Germanic pantheon, I’m kinda hoping to spend eternity with Freya… if I’m not reincarnated and I’m not so sure about how that would work in the quantum mechanical universe anyways. Suffice it to say that fundamentalist and charismatic christianity is on the rise, particularly in politics and particularly among young people who don’t have very well developed bullshit detectors or have grown up with experiences of violence or other abuse. That’s not because religion fixes abuse, but some churches certainly do exploit the effects of it.

With any luck those of us who are old enough and sharp enough will remain around to point out the issues with such political religion, and hopefully survive to see a more moderate day. Wes thu hael.

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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”.

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.

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

sig6-11-081

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.

Considerations

This past week has brought many curious and provocative changes to the way I’m travelling. For a while now I’ve been aware that the whole psycho-spiritual crisis kicked off by my rejection of xianity had left me in a bit of a vaccuum, meaning wise. I needed a format in which to hang my self and understand where I fit in the universe. I’m happy with the scientific rationalist explanations of the evolution of humans as a species and possible origins of the Universe(s), but what I need is a working mythology.

It was with some enthusiasm that I began exploring Heathenism and Asatru, as it is a pretty comprehensive world view. Asatru or Heathenism incorporates mythology, cosmology, magic, divination, ritual… And I’m finding that everything I’ve intuitively collected in my electic solitary life is porting over with in most cases simply a change of name. The most amazing coincidences are occurring. Yesterday I was given a set of runes hand made by a friend.

There’s been a real issue however with finding others with whom to discuss this experience. Apparently Asatru in Australia has a bad reputation for being connected with white supremacy. I have a little Thor’s hammer charm that I’d like to wear along with my pentagram. (And the way I came across the hammer is very special!) The pentagram’s okay as a symbol of where I’ve come from. I don’t mind if people see me as connected with weird arsed stories about eating babies, Satanic worship or sex with animals, but I will not be associated with racists. Having initially encountered attitudes that I thought belonged in Alabama in the 50’s, I find myself quite suspicious and critical when researching new contacts and sources.

I had a read of Henry’s article on masculinity and Australian culture, and I find that I agree with most of what he’s saying there. That the socially enforced gender roles are potentially harmful and can keep people from really developing themselves. Being stuck to having to be seen as tough or aggressive and so forth prevents a valuable integration and self-knowledge. It also totally screws up your idea of personal boundaries. Building on that I’m trying to understand why people see a need to be so exclusivist and nasty about “who can share our faith”. As if it were a human’s job to defend the gods… As if the gods weren’t able to draw people into spiritual understanding and experience without needing to get the all clear from a self-important gang leader.

We live in the midst of global monoculture, which is admittedly pretty awful and treats humans as mere grist for the mill. Another consumer unit to be manipulated by advertising and the mass media into buying, voting and hating according to the will of the publishers. It’s difficult, even if you are consciously aware of it, to filter out all the overlearned stereotypes and emotional triggers in the sea of information we’re constantly bombarded with. And the enforcement of social constructs is absolutely brutal.

As an animal, the human species evolved in groups. Over 6 million odd years we didn’t survive because we were smarter, stronger or faster. We prospered because, in spite of what corporate culture would tell us about competition, we co-operate. We are a group animal. And acceptance within our group is one of the strongest motivators for us. We need to be needed. We need to belong.

On a tangent, the human species evolved in Africa. White skin is a very late evolutionary mutation. If you’re seriously going to search back for the common spirituality of “our ancestors” you ain’t going back to anything white, baby, you’re going back to black. And it can’t be that different from other indigenous spiritualities since a pentecostal minister was able to port demon exorcisms and trance states from his experience in Africa in the 70’s back into churches in the US without anyone blinking an eye. Except the psychologists on the fringes trying not to wet themselves laughing.

Over the years the influence of puritan religion and the lingering after effects of the Greco-Roman purity codes, not to mention the idea of humans as sinful, tainted creatures, has led to a distorted understanding of ourselves. The things we don’t like about ourselves or percieve as “bad” according to those religious codes, are repressed. The shadow side of our nature, everything we don’t like or consider unworthy, still remains as part of us even if we don’t integrate it. And in this repressed state, we tend to project our shortcomings onto others. For example, rather than seeing myself as short tempered and trying to find healthy ways of dealing with that, I see anger in others and am critical of it. Homophobia works in a similar way. Rather than having a good, honest open look at my sexuality, I direct all manner of hatred, abuse and discrimination against “poofters”. All of this also screws up our personal boundaries and concept of self-control or autonomy. If we’re “broken” how can we trust ourselves to develop morally? How can we learn to understand our own limits and let others be responsible for theirs?

I think that’s where the racist attitudes are stemming from. This combination of an unyielding, abusive monoculture and the lack of permission to journey within and know thy self in wisdom. How often have you heard “new agers” described as selfish or self absorbed? How often have you heard people in the midst of personal crisis told to “get over it”? Our culture does not encourage personal development. That would make us all wiser about what we think and buy and we can’t be having with any of that! ;-)

So here we have a situation in which people are feeling alienated and manipulated. We’re stuck in the suburban siege and we’re in pain.

Fortunately there are many systems around that have helped humans throughout the ages to journey through this stuff. We may have to dig for it now and be brave in stepping out into that exploration, but it is available. One of the great things about Paganism and Heathenism is that they incorporate many of the best tools for self-development from ancient and recent sources. That the tools seem so similar in so many different religions and spiritualities is testament to the need humans have had for them throughout our evolution.

While I’m pretty unhappy with the idea that the spirituality I want to devote myself to is associated with white supremacists, as a bit of a compensation there is within the faith plenty of avenues for people caught up in that sort of repression and hatred to deal with it and develop more healthy wholeness. Unless they’re simply using Asatru or Heathenism as a pathetic excuse to cover their racist attitudes, if they’re following the gods at all, eventually they’re going to be led to confront the anger and inner turmoil.

The journey of discovery, dealing with issues like sexuality and social roles is one of the most painful and difficult, and one of the most valuable, that any person can undertake. That’s why the metaphor of Odin hanging on the world tree in search of wisdom can be so powerful for us now. We need it more than ever.

Although I despise the racist elements in Odinism and Asatru, it isn’t my job to defend or protect the faith. The gods can look after themselves. If a person is drawn to a spiritual practise it’s for a reason. If they need to travel that inner path dealing with inner hurt, emotional conditioning, past memories and present fears, as many of us do myself included, then good luck to them.

It’s just a bit ironic that I threw off xianity because of all the harm I’ve seen done in that system, to find this one similarly beset by problems. I guess it’s all human behaviour. The gregarious animal, in possession of a frontal lobe…

Which leaves me with my little Thor’s hammer, wearing it inside my clothing where it can remain personal. And I remain, for now, the solitary eclectic.

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….