Asatru, Death, Heathen, Heathentry, Uncategorized

Dead in her eyes

Goth Girl

 

Moving slow, dark eyed teen in the long black coat.  Black boots, black nails, black lips and snow white skin, she looked too deep, and looked too long.  They parted before her, the young and the old, but held their mockery until she passed, afraid to meet her gaze.  Freak they called her, witch they whispered, then shuddered as the sunlight strove to banish the grave chill of her passage, for the most ignorant among them could feel it; the dead in her eyes.

 

It had passed.  Winternights, the time of the light was dying, the time of the living waned, and the dead stirred in the mound, in the dark, and they hungered.  She felt them, the dead whispered to her, they called to her, sung to her in songs written in Hel the songs that please the two faced goddess, the corpse bride.  Songs the living should not hear sung in her bones, and the cold of the grave stirred in the shadows of her eyes.
She looked upon the great brooding trees, the majesty of their green canopy a tattered remnant, her black boots scritched and scratched through the dry leaves on the sidewalk.  The dead leaves sang to her, of dawns waking to the touch of sun, the bright dream of spring, the lazy heat of summer, dancing in the wild summer thunderstorm, then bleeding out green life, until only the gold and scarlet of death remain, and they let go of life and fall to the ground to dream of the summer past.  Falling to her knees in the pile of leaves she inhales the grave scent of their passing and feels the ghost of a hundred summer nights caress her, the warmth of a hundred summer days flickers behind her eyes, ghosts passing through her.

Rising she passes the cenotaph and the dead turn to watch her, dead eyes meet the same in icy silence.  She feels one rise and take her hand.  Cold fills her with the touch of the grave, him who died so young fills her with a chill her living flesh cannot shake, and he/she/they turn towards the coffee shop.  Her flesh hungers, his soul thirsts.  He wants a coffee, she wants pumpkin spice, and orders a pumpkin spice coffee and muffin.

Sitting at the table alone/together, she feels the blood hot coffee fill her mouth, the bite of the coffee, the burn, the warm unfolding of the layers of spice subtly blended to reveal one by one like the aftertaste of a whiskey she has never tasted, but the spirit within her had.  They revel in the warmth and sensation of the coffee, the muffin, the babble of conversation, the laughter, couples holding hands, children playing games they make up with rules no adult may know but each grasps easily.  Dead man and living girl breathe the scent of the coffee and exhale the feeling of warm, alive, and full, and the hungry dead sighs in peace, the dead eyed girl experiencing her own life through the eyes of those who have lost the chance for those little moments.
Her eyes catch those of the girl at the next table, she is always there at this hour.  The goth girl’s heart skips and a blush rushes to her too pale cheeks.  She sits here to see her, but says nothing.  Inside her head the dead man stirs, his cold dead eyes see through hers, his cold dead heart stirs the ashes of a love unrequited, unspoken, unlived because he died never having spoken.

“Tell her, tell her TELL HER, tell her, tell her tell her!”  he whispers, he screams, he sobs.  She remembers with him writing a hundred letters he never mailed to the one he loved, he remembered shaping her name with lips growing blue as his lungs filled with blood as he breathed his last a thousand miles from her smile.  She shuddered, the fear of letting it pass without ever daring tore through her like the memories of bullets her flesh had never known.

Screwing her courage to the sticking place, she got up and walked to the door.  As she passed the girl, she met her eyes, and smiled awkwardly.

“I think you are really pretty.”  The goth girl spoke, and smiled again, before blushing and ducking out, her blood hammering in her ears like thunder.  The approval of a dead man whose eyes judged the girls reaction as surprise but not rejection, echoing in her ears as the dead man slipped back into the dark.

Stopping at the playground, she felt the cold presence of the old woman come upon her, as always, the old woman felt surprise to feel a body that was not bent and trembling, that stood strong and whole, but it was the girl who felt her heart too weak for what swelled within it now.

Old eyes who had buried husbands, daughters, sons, who had held three generations in her hands, and seen them grow, laugh, cry and go forth in the world before she passed from it.  Come back again, and again for the grave was no bar to love, for while one drop of her blood walked this world, so would she look out to make sure they were well, and loved.

Tears welled in the goth girls eyes, for her own family were strange and distant with each other, never knowing how to speak to each other, never understanding each other, divided by a common language and differing dictionaries.  She felt the love of the old woman, accepting each of her loved ones as what they were, the strong, the weak, the proud the foolish, the broken, the bitter, each looked to her with love for each saw from her only love, whether she understood their lives, their journeys their goals or not, she supported them, and claimed them all.

 

The goth girl broke her own rule then and spoke to the ghost that filled her.  One word, a whisper in a graveyard, a howl in her soul.

“How?”  How do you love the ones who cannot accept you, who cannot understand you, who cannot forgive you for not being what they dreamed you would be?  How do you love the ones you cannot talk to without arguing, cannot seem to say the right things, cannot seem to not start a fight when all you want to say is I love you.

The old woman reached cold arms around the living girls chest, and crushed her to her breast as she had crying children, weeping women, stone faced men, a hundred wounded souls she claimed as her own and whose pain she took with the simple and wordless embrace, the arms that would hold when the crying was done, when the shouting was spent, when the silence was crushing, when the walls closed in and left no room to breathe, her arms gave shelter, gave hope, gave love and acceptance.

Tears running down her face, black makeup making scars on a white skin grown pale with cold no living can know, an outward sign of an inward wound the living cannot see, but the dead all see.

 

Stumbling through her door, her mother looks at her, the black shadow that replaced the laughing little girl she understood and loved, alarm rose in her.  Opening her mouth to say something, then stopping, not wanting another fight, she rejected a half dozen ways to ask what was wrong, and settled for a single word.

“Honey?”  Her mother was unprepared for the dark shadow her daughter had become hurling herself into her mother’s arms and holding her so tight it almost hurt.  She felt her daughter’s heart hammering, then, slowing to a strong slow beat, as the breathing went from a almost panting to calm and deep as the grip of whatever held her relaxed and her daughter’s grip relaxed to a gentle hug.

Letting her hands fall off her mother’s back, she squeezed her hand once before passing upstairs to her room.  The dead were in her eyes, they would not let her close her eyes to life.

None but the living can ignore life, none but the living can reject love, none but the living can turn away from the beauty of a sunset, the fall of the last leaf, the first snow, the moon shining above the water, the opening of the rose.  The dead hunger, and she has the dead in her eyes.

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Aesir, Asatru, Faith, Heathen, Heathentry, Pagan, Uncategorized

Ragnarok Comes

 

The runes were cast
The answer cold
Ragnarok was come
The message clear

Who broke faith with us
Shall to the darkness
To the fire
To the ice fall

The fire raged; half the world burned
By mankind’s hand
In mankind’s greed
The nuclear Fenris shackles broke

Nuclear Explosion

The sky grew dark with ash that took the sun
The dawn brought fire that took the air
The earth groaned
Poisoned beyond salvation

Come now the Jottun
Fenris howling in the van
Surt marches
Serpent rising from poisoned seas

Alone the sons of Ask
The daughters of Embla
Face at last
The final night

No gods to lead them
No gods to save them
Those who forsake them
To stand alone

Pitiful few, the tanks did roll
Against legions beyond counting
Infantry locked and loaded
Jets screaming took flight

Sky grown black with Nidhogg’s brood
Lancing with fire to burn all that dared
The skys on the last day
No living could face them

Reign of Fire

The ground shook beneath Jottun tread
Spears of fire shatter armour
When through artillery march
Unharmed the foe

There is no hope
The young soldier cries
There is no chance
The pilot weeps

From above the hearth,
The veteran takes
The arms he lived to set aside
No longer will that be

Daughters of Freya
In the darkness scream
Not despair but madness
Dancing, move towards the line

Daughters of Frigg
Food they gather
Water they bring
Warriors will need both

Children of Eir
Bandages bring
Gloved and masked
No fighter to fall unaided

Sons of Tyr
No hope was promised
Only the right
And the will to stand by it

Sons of Thor
Laughter rings out
The final storm
Who would stand aside?

Children of Odin
Blood and madness
The feast of all ravens
March song on their lips

Hel in her fastness stirs
No prophesy to bind
Her own council keeps
Her charges set loose
Abrams and Leopard
To Jottun spear fall
Dread guns no match
For the fires of primordial chaos

Hel veiled

From the wreckage ghosts rise
Tigers in slate grey
Dun coloured Sherman’s
The guns of the dead speak

Jottnar reel,
As the first deathless fall
When the dead march
Where the living yet stand

Infantrywoman weeps
And loads her last mag
A hand closes on her shoulder
Grey and cold

Her grandfather to one side
His grandfather the other
Grey and cold the guns of the dead speak
Where the living dare stand

Surt in his fury
A sword of entropy bears
That no god or man may stand
Yet Frey grows from the earth
Antler in his hand
About him the poisoned earth
Gives forth green life
And fire burns it not

In the air the dragons scream
Red Baron soars
Bishop on his wing
Hurricane and Spitfire behind
Messerschmitt and Mustang
Phantom and MiG
While the living dare the sky
Will the dead make their slaughter

The Serpent from the sea boils
No force in nine worlds may face
All fleets shatter at its coming
Yet Thunder does sound
Where men and women flee
From warships serpent shattered
Does Thor stride to the shore
Hammer raised and joyous cry

Odin dances in the madness
Runes of victory he casts
Spear making great slaughter
Mad his laughter
Bright his eye
No hope do I offer
No hope do I bring
I am the promise only of death
Yet I am the promise kept
The battle embraced
The price paid
That no foe shall master thee
That no night shall befall
The children of Ask and Embla

Wolf Fenris howls
His dread jaws close
The Victory Father’s thread cut
By the wolf of war

Silent and bold
The son of the King
Viddar the jawbreaker
Fenris bane wrought

 

While still stand to battle
When all hope is lost
The sons and daughters of men
Shall never stand alone

The dead will uphold
Those who keep the watch
The gods will give strength
While still you dare fight

Will the dawn rise?
Will tomorrow come?
Will it to be mortal,
Then make it so

Rainbow dawn

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Aesir, Heathen, Heathentry, Pagan, Uncategorized

Not the man I was

Statue

I chanced randomly across an old piece of my writing. A children’s story I told my own children. Reading the words, I recognized the lore it was drawn from, remembered reading it to my daughters, but utterly failed to recognize the person who wrote it.

There are both a lot of years and a lot of trials between the young father and husband who wrote those, and the man I am now. I am a lot farther along my spiritual path, and a lot more grounded in the lore, but that is not the part that opened the gap in understanding.

You can focus on the wisdom the years bring, but something is lost as well. I don’t mean innocence, because that is the same thing as ignorance, and has zero value to me, then or now.

What is lost is hope. What is missing is an intrinsic joy that flowered from the embrace of each new challenge and change. Don’t get me wrong, I am far better at dealing with things now than then, and I will always do my duty in whatever capacity that is defined, but then I did so with joy and a spontaneous creativity to weave joy into the work to be done, to build silly traditions to put intentional love and joy in the thousand little things we had to do.

I remember being that guy, but I honestly don’t recognize him, nor can I understand or imitate him.

The old have much to teach the young, for ours are the lessons paid for by paying the price for decisions made, the good, and the bad. Ours is the wisdom of one who has a hundred times stood alone in the dark, with no way out, who has faced the storm against which you can neither stand nor run, and struggled out of the wreckage of what was to rebuild. We can teach that.

The young have much to give in return. That bit of us that wore away in the hard years, that slipped away in the empty years, that we threw away in the good years where we thought it too silly a thing to bother with; they own it still.

They cannot give it back to us, the part of us in which it burned is no more. They can come into our lives and shine with it, and we can feel the dark coals and stones that once made that hearth remember the touch of that fire, and warm us with the memory of its youthful flame.

We can tell them how to fight the good fight, we can tell them how to rebuild when all is lost, but you know what, I have to admit I long ago forgot why we were fighting for in the first place.
Who against I have covered, I can name my foes and measure their danger to the picogram, but why we cared? That got lost somewhere .

It takes the young to remind us. Yes they will learn better. Gods grant that it be no sooner that it must be. Gods grant that we who paid the price for the lessons we have to pass on will have passed on enough they need lose less, or at least lose it slower than we did. Gods grant again that as this generation learns, another rises that is filled with joy, passion, and sheer puppy stupidity.

The day we don’t have that next generation full of passion and stupid ideas is the day we will probably stop seeing a reason not to, and wipe as much of the life of the planet away in a single spasm of nihilism disguised as rational strategic decision making as we can.

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Asatru, Heathen, Heathentry, Uncategorized

Night Eyes

Night eyes base

His business suit was the sort of comfortable that you had to have experienced to understand why people pay for bespoke suits. His body was softer than when he was younger, thicker around the middle, but the size and power of it made off the rack suits more uncomfortable than the battle dress and armour he spent a decade in.

It wasn’t comfortable now. He felt his professional friendly smile, the one that distracted you from his size and the scarred brutal promise of hands that matched his eyes and not his profession all to well, start to slip. He snarled, face becoming flat planes of muscle, eyes blank and flat, stare a thousand yards and a decade away.

He pulled into the coffee shop, put his phone on the table and gestured for a coffee. He would wait out what came in the solitude that is only possible for a person surrounded by strangers, where none would dare to ask what hell he returned to, what drove the cold hard ball of stress that now filled his gut, what caused the cold sweat that even now broke across his brow, or why his hands, not the soft things of a senior manager, but the scarred brutal tools of the soldier he once was, clasped again and again, seeking to close on the fore-stock and pistol grip of the rifle he walked away from after the war.

He remembered. Hunted. The nights were the worst. He was hard and cold, disciplined and had been there before. Taught the young ones how not to make the mistakes that get newbies killed. When he told them it was OK, they believed him, and he meant it. For others he was, and it was true. Here, at night, you were always alone.

The shots were scattered. It wasn’t like the movies. Three or four shots, some shouting about vectors and ranges, a few bursts in response. The undirected fire from bombardment rockets. Sure they were supposed to be leftovers from Russians attempt here, but he wasn’t sure how much he believed that. Not now. Smuggled in, to rain on a firebase, not enough to count, not enough to really hurt, unless you had the bad luck to be under one, but someone was sometimes. You thought about it. His cheek tucked in, four rounds aimed and a shadow tumbled. Hit or scared? Don’t know, won’t know, have to keep scanning. So few of us, so much ground, and the night seems to go on forever. Cold. So cold at night, and the sweat of the day makes it worse. God I would kill for a decent meal. The greasy rations and the greasy shits they gave were just part of the misery that made every day just another slice of stress and just another chip away at what was left of him. He smelled, the sick sour smell of sweat and fear, stress and bad food. Never free of the dust, of the sweat, of the damned diesel smell of the vehicles and generators. Never clean, never safe, never relax. God I would kill for a drink, even a coffee that didn’t come in an IMP packet.

His eyes were open, the coffee burned his hand when his squeezing popped the lid off, and with reflexive action, he lessened his grip, and off hand replaced the lid mechanically. His eyes were open, a thousand miles away, a million years ago, and yesterday.

She sat at the counter, counting out her coins. It would have to be a medium. She couldn’t afford a large and have enough for one in the morning to wash down her meds. Payday was two days away, and she had a roof over her head, money coming in regular, she had a door that locked, and even a bed. She reminded herself twenty times an hour, because she didn’t believe it. Couldn’t believe it.

She remembered. Hunted. The nights were the worst. She was hard, cold, and focused. She had been there before, on the streets since eleven. Taught the young ones how to not make the mistakes that got the newbies killed, or worse. When she told them it was OK, they believed her because she meant it. For them it was true, she would keep them safe. The reality was, you were never alone at night, fear was always beside you, until something worse was.

Sirens she tracked. The little they had, the little they could defend would be taken away and destroyed so casually by the smirking police, fine talk of getting you help as they made sure you would be wet hungry and cold the next night, that you couldn’t keep food safe anymore, that your clean clothes ended up accidentally in the mud to ruin what little chance you had of cleaning up enough to pass for not street long enough to get a job that maybe could get you some real food, and clothes not stolen from a bin.

The voices came, the drunken loud boys out hunting. They had homes, families, futures, and yet when they got liquor in them they formed a pack and went hunting. Hunting those no one cared to defend, hunting because they were young and strong, and untouchable in the sense that no consequence would stick to them. They hunted the other untouchables, the homeless nameless ones with no one to call, no one to listen.

Cold, so cold. That sick knot of fear that gathered in the pit of your stomach and just ached. The sweat of the day made it worse. God I would kill for a decent meal, but cheap and twice was better than not enough but good. Hungry, cold, dirty, angry and scared; chip chip chipping away. Never clean, never safe, never relax. God I would kill for a drink, even a coffee that didn’t come with a Jesus lecture and some creep copping a feel at the street mission.

Loud haughty voices talked over the girl, through her, as if she wasn’t there. Voices that sang of comfort never missed, meals left half eaten, nails manicured and polished, not dirty and broken, voices that rang with contempt for any that had known anything other than opulence, security, and of course the well bathed and perfumed perfection of privilege.

“Waitress, if she is done her coffee, she should leave. There is no reason to tie up a table for someone who CLEARLY can’t afford and has no intention of being a real customer”

The words were hard edged, wrapped in superior smugness without the honesty of an open attack, but everyone knew what they were.

The girl snarled her defiance, snatching up the coin she had counted to order her coffee because be damned if she would let herself be run out because she got off the street, and these privileged bitches wouldn’t let her forget it.

A deeper snarl sounded at the next table, and her eyes caught and held the dark, ugly fury in the old man in the thousand dollar suit. For a second, he didn’t fit. Her eyes met those of something dark and cold, hunted and hard as she ever was. He didn’t set off her threat detectors, even as he rose explosively, his suit suddenly a poor fit for the naked violence that just entered the room.

In a voice low and terrible, shaking with emotion that terrified the middle class matrons into the silence of rabbits trapped in a room with a hungry bear, he spoke.

“My friend here will be eating. It has been a long fucking night, and she is not up to dealing with any more bullshit from twits too useless to have ever worked a day in their life.”

His voice became quiet then, and harder than diamond.

“Or ever wondered if they would see the dawn again”

He looked at the girl, wrapped in her pride, willing to throw his gift in his face rather than imply any weakness on her part, because sometimes pride was all you had left.

Snarling, his voice on the edge of losing control, he dumped a hand full of twenties on her table.

“Take it. Not everybody made it through the night, and there is fuck all either of us can do about that”

He stalked out, shaking, body back in the place his mind never really left. The girl’s eyes…….she had been there. Not the same place, and not the same year, but she was trapped in that damned cold night, the same as his. You always felt alone at night, and sometimes it almost broke you.

She watched him leave. The money clenched in her fist. The old man’s eyes. He had been there, somehow that suit that cost more than the room she rented was wrapped around someone who had been there too. The long night, the one that never leaves you, the shadow dawn can’t ever erase. She would take no charity, but this she would. You were alone with the fear at night, so alone it could break you. Maybe it was enough to know someone out there was alone in the dark too.

—There are a lot of people trapped in that night, even those who got out who at their lowest points find a part of them is still there, even when most days allow you to forget.  When you are trapped alone in that night, know this, even if you won’t believe the dawn will come, or you will be there to see it.  The night doesn’t lie when it tells you that you are alone.  It doesn’t speak the whole truth, because there are thousands of others, men, women, children, huddled alone in the darkness; alone with you.

Just because you can’t see us, does not make us less there.  The night is long, dark, and cold, but never so dark or so cold as to not leave room for the bonds between us.  Know that you are not alone.  Reach out when it gets darkest, and if you can do no more, let others know that you face this night with them.  It is enough.

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Aesir, Asatru, Heathen, Heathentry, Uncategorized

Returned from Moot

Althing

So once again Freeholders all ganged to the Althing, as has been done for the last couple of decades, where we gathered from all corners of British Columbia, from the Island to the Interior, with members come from Washington and guests from as far as Oregon to join with us in the magic of moot.

It is magic.  You really have to come back and let the filters and walls you surround yourself with at all times slam back down into place before you realize just how potent, how magical is a frithful moot.

On the first day, we have friends gathered from a half a dozen local hearths and kindreds, both within the British Columbia Heathen Freehold and allied to it. There is the expected politeness you get when groups that know each other as individuals across a web of connections and through online interaction or through the recommendation of mutual friends work to establish a brand new personal rapport.

That doesn’t take long.  The Heathen Freehold has been around a long time, and our thew is somewhat of a freight train, steam-rollering all attempts at rigid formality and internal subdivisions with the power of its tradition of welcome. Spiritually it is the equivalent of that friend whose grandmother greets you at the door, whisks you inside babbling a mile a minute, relieves you of coat, pushes snack and drink into your hand, wonders if you are eating enough, peppers you with the ingredients list of what she just stuck in your hand and confirms what she got of your dietary restrictions to make sure nothing was lost in translation.  As a welcome, many feel the urge to roll an immediate saving throw, but the difference between making and failing the saving throw (in gaming terms attempting to resist getting steam-rollered by the welcome) is just going with it, or laughing, shrugging, and just going with it.

Everyone brought too much food and booze, because each person is trying to give in proportion to what they receive, and each thinks they are getting back more than they are giving.

3. Fire he needs | who with frozen knees
Has come from the cold without;
Food and clothes | must the farer have,
The man from the mountains come.

4. Water and towels | and welcoming speech
Should he find who comes, to the feast;
If renown he would get, | and again be greeted,
Wisely and well must he act.

5. Wits must he have | who wanders wide,
But all is easy at home;
At the witless man | the wise shall wink
When among such men he sits.

This is why we have come, as it says in the Havamal, we have come to feast together, to mingle our thoughts, to make connections, share speech and wisdom, to learn of each other, and most importantly, to work.

We gather in large groups around the fire, or in the hall to share wisdom and lore, to discuss matters of lore, of ethics, of ritual meaning and practice.  We gather in small groups to discuss matters of life, family, struggles and trials.

The Freyr announced at opening hallowing that Althing is one continuous ritual, that we begin it with the opening ritual, continue through the blot and feast, but continue the ritual right up until the last cigarette butt is policed up, the last recyclable is recycled, and the site is left far cleaner than when we found it.  Then he closed the ritual, and extended the protection of the moot until our own hearths we reach; everything else that happens in the middle is sacred, is empowered with the intent of an offering to the community, to each other, the wights of the lands and waters that host us, our dead, and the holy gods.

We shared deeply.  I mean this in all levels.  One of our more esteemed members is a service man who comes to us a long way, with only the gear he can fit in his issue kitbag.  His service is an offering already, which everyone but him already sees and acknowledges, yet he too is always striving to match visibly the contributions of those who brought their own transport and carrying capacity.  His monster solar charger was always attached to at least two phones, recharging those of us who were looking at our camera/research tool with fear and alarm as its power levels dropped.  He was first with his wallet and back when it was time to make a run for wood and propane for the fires of hearth and hall.

Books, tools, pots, pans, cloaks, blankets went all directions as each person who encountered a need had whoever was nearest without a thought offered what they had that would address that need.  Not just old friends, not just members of the same hearth within the Freehold, not just even members of the Freehold.  The sharing went with the sort of freely offered freely taken spirit that Odin and Freya would both have no problem recognizing as their own.

There was no division between those who had a “right” to be here and those who were “just guests”.  All stood equal in fellowship, all stood to be judged on their words and their deeds, to be met with laughter and jest, with solemn respect and full attention, whose words were not only sought, but welcomed and weighed carefully.  We care little for the labels of others and the ideas that others have over proper decorum; one strong lass casually tosses a sailor man over her shoulder and goes for a stroll because she had made the brag, and in this company their can be only one response.  Wild applause followed, and full points for the sailor in question who kept his laughter from unseating him from the shoulder he was on, and who has a plausible defense for where his hand was to steady himself.

At night it was different.  At night, when the firelight dimmed as the fire turned to sullen coals that gave heat, but only enough light to deepen the shadows, small groups formed to share the darkest parts.  The old wounds, the new wounds, the deep wounds.  The secrets you dare not speak in daylight, that you dare not admit to your own mirror for fear you will see your own reaction.  We shared when the light was deep enough that we could no longer see ourselves, but we knew the forms silhouetted in the sullen ember light, knew and trusted them enough to bare not our bodies, which is honestly nothing, but our fears, our wounds, our struggles.

At this time, we drank less or not at all, for the work of the mead was to help us to reach this place of honesty, of trust, and now what fires the blood and mind is the depth of trust, the depth of pain, and honestly the depth of rage as you hear of the struggles and wounds of those you now both know and treasure as your dearest family.

When the dawn returns, and we strive to keep bacon so hot from the pan it still sizzles from burning our fingers while we chew it, while we move to the blessed group effort of caffination station that a half dozen guests field expedited to address a lack of central coffee supply, we caught each others eye.  How big a thing is it, to have shared the thing you dare not even think about in daylight, lest your own coping ability be threatened; to have shared that, and have the first time you see those who shared it with you in the darkness meet your eye, give a sharp FIERCE nod.  They listened, they heard, they took it in.  Far from judging you, they share your burden with you, will take from you a part of what you carried, as you took a part of what they carried so the weight thus shared will no longer twist and crush you where your own strength was not enough.

The bunnies that were raised from birth to be our central feast provided the blot blood to hallow those who gathered, to mark our own before the gods and the land.  Altar skin for our newest kindred is now drying from its skinning, as previous feasts had furnished altar skins for other hearths of the Freehold.  The offal of the bunnies was given far from our camp site to the wights of the land, and of the sky.  Wolf and raven, coyote, and from the sounds of it, bear have ample cause to be thankful for our guesting within the forest that is their own, all while our own food was kept safely stored where it would not draw those same animals into our moot, and into strife.  Hospitality is about the details, making sure your guests are safe, your hosts are safe, that no unintended harm is given.  Effort is required to learn the physical needs, dietary needs, medical needs and see these are addressed.  Some members may be neuro-diverse, requiring those with the skills for such communication to facilitate their communication with others that they may be a part of the community, that they contribute to the community because to see your WORK valued and praised is to know you are not accepted conditionally in spite of what you bring, but welcomed honestly because of what you bring.

I don’t sleep.  I have a laundry list of symptoms from nearly getting killed a time or three that makes it impossible for me to do more than rest, properly supported, and pass out once every three days or so to get some exhaustion driven sleep.  At Althing I slept, not a lot, but every night.  I slept because my body was lost in the magic of the moot, its limits were no longer my limits.  I had none of the supports required to sleep, I should have awakened crippled, not cheerful and bacon hunting, yet the magic of moot works on all levels, physical, spiritual, mental.

Then we return.  I learned enough to schedule a collapse after unloading and before work.  The magic of moot was still with me and I slept again for a few hours.  The whole of this last week I have been recovering.  The magic of moot may fill you, may transform and uplift you, but you have only the ass you were issued, and it didn’t magically grow younger while you were dancing around.

I am changed.  We all are changed.  What we took in will take months to finish processing.  The touch of the gods was immediate, viscerally palpable, undeniable.  That which we shared will be unfolding within each of us for months afterwards, so spending a week letting my body recover from its spiritual journey seems fair.

My shields are up again, the walls between my awareness and others are back in place, but the connection to those I shared moot with passes through those walls without effort or notice.  We protect ourselves from the world, not from our own.

Frigg, the Norns, the Disir are all depicted as weaving.  Hospitality is our greatest ritual, our highest mystery because it is that sacred form of weaving, weaving individuals into a people, into a family.  Weaving through those connections between us not only a folk that is whole, but individuals that grow into whole and healthy balance by learning to share with each others to grow strong in our broken places, to let the words of another fill the blanks in ourselves.  We do not come together to form community because we cannot function as individuals; we are all almost scarily functional in our daily and professional lives.  We come together to form community because together we make something that is far beyond any of our strength, compassion, wisdom, and joy; but whose touch leaves each of us stronger, more compassionate, wiser and happier than we were alone.

The Althing is over, to our own hearths we have returned, but we are not who we were when we came together, we are the better for it.Odin Tree

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Aesir, Asatru, Heathen, Heathentry, Uncategorized

Three Kings Bindrune: In defense of Inclusive Heathenry

 The  leader of the Cascadian Freehold brought a request when she joined us at the BC Heathen Freehold Althing.  She sought aid to make a bindrune to protect Inclusive Heathen groups, her Cascadian Freehold, our Heathen Freehold, and The Troth among others, from both racist elements and political elements who wish harm to our halls and our goals.

Begin with Othala, signifying family, nobility, inheritance and home; this is our home, a place where all who come in frith can become family, no matter what labels the outside world would use to divide us.

Othala Rune
Forming the point of the spear is Elhaz, for we protect this place of inclusion and frith, this hall we have come together to build.
Elhaz rune
Forming the shaft of the spear is Ansuz; inspiration, leadership, the king rune of Odin the Victory Father for we are inspired by his laws of hospitality to build and defend this place for Inclusive Heathenry, and with his blessing will defend it.
Ansuz rune
Adding Ansuz to Othala’s base produces a secondary rune of Tiwaz. This is Tyr’s king rune, signifying honour, justice, for he is the lord of law and honour both. Tyr is lord of The Thing, for under his protection do we draw together in peace to speak, to make laws and settle disputes.
Tiwaz Rune
Forming the base of the spear is Wunjo, the rune for joy and completion, for it is our joy as much as it is our duty to do battle to defend Inclusive Heathenry and the principals of inclusion and frith in our local and national secular communities as well.
wunjo rune
From the tip of Othala to the base of Ansuz we draw now Ingwaz, the king rune of Freyr, for the lord of peace we call to bless our works, for though we stand with spear in hand to fight if we must, it is peace we seek to win, to defend, not only for Inclusive Heathenry but from the example of our halls to spread this peace to our allies, our neighbors, and all our lands.
Ingwaz rune
From the two lateral points of Ingwaz add Elhaz pointing outward to either side, for we defend our halls from all those who wish us ill, just as we extend our protection to those who stand with us, or those who are attacked not for what they have done, but for the label hate filled men chose to hang on them.
Framing Othala with Ingwaz reveals Gebo; the rune of gifting which was the missing piece for the final charging galdor

Elhaz is given twice, the first is the tip of the spear Wunjo to drive home Anzuz to power, Tiwaz to guide, Othala to hold, Elhaz to strike.

The second Elhaz flanks Ingwaz and frames both Othala and Gebo.  This is the shield, Elhaz to ward Ingwaz for peace, Othala for home and folk, but with Elhaz flanking this protection extends to our neighbors, both our allies in the struggle and those who have no defenders.

This is a defensive bind-rune, but a soldier knows defense is turning aside the enemies attack and destroying his ability to launch another.

Charging galdor as follows
“Othala

Home is the hall without division, from all corners come, all hearts welcoming, all hands defending, one folk of steadfast frith.

Elhaz

King stag defending, what is ours we hold, who is ours we defend.  Seek harm to no other save those who attack

Ansuz

Holy Odin inspire this hall as host, good counsel be offered, bright passions be fired

Tiwaz

Holy Tyr bear witness. Peace holy who gather, let justice be sought, let the right be upheld

Wunjo

Joy is the task that is done, the fight that is won, the deeds matched the words

Ingwaz

Holy Frey the peace-good, King-stag and frithful, your peace we would know, your gifts we would share

Elhaz

King stag defending, for those who battle beside us, for those with none to defend them

Gebo

A gift for a gift, for the peace we have found peace for others we seek”

Three Kings Bindrune
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Aesir, Asatru, Heathen, Heathentry, Uncategorized

Accidental God

Odin Tree

[Not saying this is how it came to pass, just a dream I had in the hours before midnight and dawn, right as I was waking]

 

I do not know who they thought they were summoning, but they made a mistake and released me from the chains that bound me since the worlds were forged.  Dark and hungry I rose, rose to the summoning meant for another.  I did not know who they thought to call, but they called to me, and I cannot be bound by any mortal naming, not fully, as I was born before this world was formed, and my whole name is not in it.

 

I break across the worlds, but with only part of my name used, not all of my power comes with me, and I am but a shadow of my full glory as I fill the darkness of the moon lit grove with something deeper and colder than winter’s night.

Chanting rises at my coming, and cheering both.  I stretch out my dread arms to test the limits my would be masters have imposed and find…..nothing.  They have called me but not bound me.  I bare my fangs in fury, do they think me so weak they need no protections from me at all?

As I bare my teeth and snarl, so do the warriors raise their weapons and beat them on shields, so do the maidens and matrons howl back in answer and a wave of their pride, their fury, their madness answers my own.  Meat is brought to me still on the bone and I tear at it, two strong men bear a roast boar to me and I take it in my hands and tear at it with jaws greater than a bears, they shout in answer.

As I see a shadow creep to my side, I suspect at last the trap will spring, and their bindings they will lay upon me.  Instead a child of less than a dozen summers lays a crown upon my head, woven of holly and ivy on supple evergreen, bound with human hair.  Power is in it, power of a whole community, power offered freely.

I turn from my feeding but do not strike, cannot strike, for I have been gifted without deception, been honoured without insult, I will not be the first to break faith, as in my name no place was oath-breaker, no matter how many syllables of terror and blood it may sound, in no part of my name is liar.

 

As I stare, the mother of this child stands before me and pours into my mouth a potent brew of honey.  Sunlight has blessed the honey, the fruit of every flower of the field, every tree and grass, yet in the magic these humans have wrought is decay and death, transformation and destruction.  Potent alcohol courses through it, for this is sunlight as shadow, birth and death, death and transformation.  Mead they call it, the light rendered as darkness, fire flowing as water, death from life, joy from suffering.  I drink deep.

 

They come for my blessing and I put my mark on them, deep inside in the blood and darkness I burn myself into them.  One day they will betray me and I will destroy them.

I dream again, for now I do not lie bound in torment but rest between the worlds feeling the new thing working within me, new bonds growing, connections forming.  I dream, who never dreamed all the ages of the world.  A thousand lives I dream, the lives of all those I marked, the fair the foul the foolish, I dream them all.

The call comes again, faint for so few have the power to call at all, and the way between the worlds is made fast against my kind.  No one may compel me now, for I am whole and strong as not for ages long forgotten, no power can compel me, but  I am curious.  I will go.

I come at last to another clearing, I step my foot upon the ground and know this to be hundreds of leagues from where I was first called.  Around me hang offerings from the tree, animals and men both, the men and women are grim the children weeping, they call to me and I answer.

The men come with weapons, armed for war, spear and axe, bow and hammer, crude swords and farm tools set on long hafts to reap men not grain.  They call to me, they seek my aid, I sneer, what do they think me?  I do not give but take, I do not heal but kill, I do not create but destroy.  I am the ending of things, and will promise no protection.

They lay their weapons before me and their hearts as well, their prayers I hear, and rock back in shock.

None pray to live, none pray to be spared the blades and fury of the foe.  None pray for glory or fame.  They ask that I take their fear, they ask that I witness their stand, take the blood they shed as offering, ask that if they fall I remember their end.  They offer me their deaths, bind themselves to me in the doing, and bind me to them by doing so.

I put into them my rage, my fury, what I take is their fear.  I will drink their pain as I drank their mead, I will take their falling blood and the blood they shed as my offerings and I will glory as they fall, but I will remember.  In ages beyond number, long after these worlds are collapsed into the crushing darkness of the void, I will remember.

I lose myself in the glory of it, those who drank deepest of me threw aside their shields and gave themselves unto the spears of the foe to draw closer to them.  Men in bright armour my people did not own, with great metal bossed shields and bright steel weapons broke as my chosen gave their lives to break a line.  I was with them, those who embraced their fear and sought only their death found me with them every stride.

They called me Victory, they who won the day in blood and fury gave praise to me for what they spent their own blood to earn.  They left the weapons they could not match upon the field as spoils to me, hung the enemies they took from the tree that they may be shared with me.  As they bound the dead to the tree, so they bound me.

The women offered to me for wisdom, to guide their children that they know better fortune than they did today, but what vision have I for such.  I was no oath breaker, and I was bound by their gifts to gift the same.  Old I was when the world was forged, and if I was not that which they needed, I was a thief, for which I was bound, having stolen that which my kind was never to know, so let me steal again what I needed.

Bound myself to the tree for I would trade the eternity that was mine for the knowledge of this world and what will and could be.  The tree is this world, extending all times and all places within it, but the tree was of the founding and will be of its end, and to bind yourself to the tree is to bind yourself to endings; me who was before the beginning to bind myself to an ending so I could see what could be.  I saw, and could not stop seeing.  I screamed and raged, for the end of all things I saw, and me with it.

 

I walked among them, the fools who died for me.  I gave them scrap of what I knew, whispers of things that might be, warnings of things that might be.  They called me mad, they called me witch, they called me often.  I whispered in the ears of warriors who would be chiefs, to chiefs who would be kings, to warriors who would topple kings, to maidens who would rule kings.

I felt the call, I was called by the blood of the child who crowned me.  I came from the storm, spare and wild, half mad and half tamed, for she who had the right to call asked the price of her gift.  She asked for a life.

I stood before her as she begged for her child, but I was a killer not a healer.  I was the bane and not the boon, I was the ender of things, the destroyer of all, what could I do.  For all that I knew, for all I had paid, I had seen only endings, not hope.  Yet, she asked.

The child burned, and death was in her.  The mother begged, and asked me to save her.  I told her truth, I am killer child, not saviour.  She slapped me then, as no living man would dare, and told me to kill what is in her.

I kissed her then, full and hard, for she saw what I did not.  I was the killer of all, and so killing I did.  I reached into her child and what was hers I left, and what was not I killed.  The child called out in fear and pain, but I raged in her blood like icewater breaking the dam, sweeping the killing heat before me like a shattered dam before the flood.  My power scoured her, taking poisons and tearing them down, taking pus and ripping it from its pockets to be carried by the flood as I drove it free of her.

Turning to the mother that dared to lay her hand on me, I saw what grew within her, of her but not of her, a tumour that would grow and consume her, and laughing, my eye burning bright, I thrust my hand deep inside her and tore out that which grew.

I took their pain and used it to power the binding of their flesh, as I was bound to the time of this world now, so was the time of this world mine to call and a month of healing I wove through the wounds in them that I tore.

They call and I answer, they call and I come, they keep faith with me and so I am bound by my nature to keep faith with them.  I am or was a thing more terrible than they fear in the darkness, but I am not that alone any more.  Given to me their hopes and dreams, their fear and pain, their victories and their trials and I have eaten them all.  Each one binding me to them, and them to me.

Names they give me, names that change me, as what I give them changes them.  Bound we are, each to the other. I am the thing they called, I am the thing they made, they are the people I marked, they are bound to me and I to them.  I was eternal and limited, but for them I bound myself to time and fate, and became so much more than should have been possible.

 

I was a thief first and will steal them from the death I bound myself to accept.  If I am not what I was, what I am you should fear.

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