Aesir, Asatru, Heathen, Heathentry, Pagan

When the ancestors answer “Well, shit.”

It is a ritual I have done a number of times, a source of aid I have turned to enough times that I had somehow managed to forget that “the ancestors” were people, and while as a collective entity possess wisdom beyond their living limits, our ability as a species to create truly new and epic problems is one of the reasons the gods themselves haven’t grown bored with us and found a new game.

I had a question. It’s a family thing and honestly none of anyone else’s business so I shan’t be sharing its particulars right now. What is important is that it was a bit of a sticky question, the sort of thing that I could honestly have used some direction on.

I turned to the ancestors for their wisdom, and I got it, but what I got was not what I had hoped for. What I got honestly caused me to burst out laughing from my sleep, then sink into a deep cold depression. A few cups of coffee later I had two things; a much better appreciation of the problem, and a new understanding of the ancestors.

I laid out my problem to my ancestors for their guidance. What I got was first a look at the problem, then a whole bunch of colouring in around the bits I either had glossed over for reasons of embarrassment, or had forgotten to include for reasons of incompetence. Then I got a view of a couple of real land mines along what I had thought were possible routes to solutions that first, I had no clue were there, and second, were way beyond my ability to keep from going off, or defend from the attendant damage.

Then I got a very clear message. “Well, shit.”

My ancestors truly did grace me with a far better understanding of the problem. It wasn’t as bad as I thought, it was actually worse, as I seemed to have managed to overlook a few things from either optimism, or fear of admitting I was this far into the land of no good options and striding forward.

Their response quite simply was shining the light of their collective knowledge and experience on my situation, allowing me not the glimpse of the bad things my little flashlight of insight picked up on its own, but the whole glorious field of FUBAR the full shining moon of ancestral wisdom revealed. The verdict? Well, shit.

Sometimes you don’t get a pat on the head. Sometimes you don’t get a magic “get out of mistake” free card. Sometimes you get your faint fear that you may well be a$$hole deep in alligators replaced with the clear and unequivocal wisdom of your sacred, and not so sacred ancestors; “you are actually balls deep in the Daintree river, and those are five meter salt water crocodiles. By the way, they seem really interested in you. I hope you are luckier than bright.” Good information, not so much with the helpful, but good to know.

They were people. They are part of a wonderful collective of our dead and thus with a store of knowledge and wisdom that makes some of their earthly decisions seem harder to explain, but they are pretty much made of the same stuff that we are. Human problems are not like godly problems; ours are way worse.

Seriously. We can screw up anything. Any parent of a bright child will understand that intelligence doesn’t prevent stupid decisions, it changes the pallet of bad decisions from one or two, to twenty or thirty choices so spectacularly bad that actual stupid people would not be able to think of them. Human problems are like the pain scale, we are continually redefining the ten, redefining the stupidest possible. We are the brave frontier of bad decisions, and our ancestors, while proud somehow we keep managing to breed before succumbing to them, may occasionally be as gobsmacked as we are by the particulars of the strange and utterly new trouble you have created.

Go you! Well done, the ancestors are indeed looking forward to seeing how this plays out.

This would be one of those times to offer to the gods. When your particular luck holder stops laughing, and offers some advice, take it. The laughter? Take that as praise. Our gods track record in stupid choices is something that both allows them to laugh with us, and keeps them from being smug enough to laugh at us.

We offer many things to the gods and ancestors, even unintentionally. If you reach out to your sacred ancestors for aid and get something as disturbing as “Well, shit.”, or “How in the nine worlds did you think that was going to work out?” do not despair. Try very hard not to repeat, but do not despair. They were not that much brighter when they were alive either.

Now back to my regularly scheduled FUBAR. My ancestors are interested to see how it plays out.

Aesir, Asatru, Death, Heathen, Heathentry, Uncategorized

Hope in Hel

There comes a rider
Eight legs bear him
Like a coffin
On shoulders born

One eye living
One eye gaping
Wide grin showing
Poisoned gifts giving

Hel gates open
For the Feeder of Ravens
To him to gather
Unquiet corpses

Bright gifts I bring you
Stolen from the living
Bright maiden’s yearnings
Proud warrior’s dreaming

He casts before him
Like nine rings falling
A thousand fingers
Corpse cold clawing

Torn and shattered
The scraps uncounted
Yet a taste is given
A hope in Hel

Cold hearts aching
Bare fangs flashing
Torn throats shrieking
Of its bitter taste

The pain awakens
Duties long forsaken
Oaths long shattered
Unquiet lie

To the river of venom
Where memories taken
Where is forgotten
The life long past

At its banks standing
Now silent Draugr
Clutched in their fingers
Cold hope in hell

No fingers open
No hand will cast it
No thing more precious
Than hope in Hel

Cold eyes weeping
Cold hearts beating
Cold memories stirring
Of oaths long failed

When sounds the horn
All Twilight ending
What will it matter?
This faded thing

Who failed while living
Who in harm delighted
Who now has fallen
To hope in Hel?

—-One truth is given us, where there is life, there is hope. Who is not dead is not done, your chance to build your worth, or redress the harm you have done is not lost. Yet too the dead are bound to the living, and to life as well. If the living ride the iron road to Hel for the secrets only they know, what is it the living have that gives them power to change even the unquiet dead, if not hope?

Aesir, Asatru, Current events, Heathen, Heathentry, Pagan, Yule

Old Fashioned Yule

I know my daughters are doing the decorating thing, and my wife is planning things, buying things, and balancing things between the various friends and daughters so that everyone is looked after. I am rather letting down the side this year because I don’t feel the Yule they do, I feel the old one.

I loved the traditions we built up in our own family around Yule. I love the exchange of gifts, brightening each others lives and showing how much we care for each other. That part is real, that part is magic. That part I am honestly not feeling.

I am looking at the list of people I lost so far, the list of people who are dancing right now on the edge, and know we stand in the dying time. I know this is the time to call upon him as Father Yule but the Lord of the Grave is awaiting me every time I stop working for a minute.

I look at this Yule and in the time of privation, my family is doing fine. I am half blind, my broken neck half healed, I can’t sleep, can’t rest, and you know what, its OK. I got used to it. I got back to work and am doing better this year during the pandemic than most. My wife caught Covid and recovered without any detectable permanent disability. Some reduced vital capacity in the lungs, but otherwise good. This is honestly so far in the shiny outcome category that I have to sit back and appreciate an old fashioned Yule.

I have given to people, I have given to organizations that support those who aren’t doing well. I haven’t asked for anything for myself not because I am selfless, honestly I am selfish but I just don’t give a flying fuck about anything beyond keeping my loved ones cared for, and keeping enough gas in the car, coffee in the man to keep working.

I look out at a city that has never been less decorated. The public stuff has been done, but it is all the more stark because the wonderfully creative private displays, even the decorated hammerhead cranes above the skyscrapers are absent. This is a survival Yule.

We wassail hard in the heart of the dark because the grave is a breath away, and too often that breath is a wet gurgle that ends in silence. We celebrate in quiet thoughtfulness not wild abandon because this year the idea we might not be able to gather together next year is a fear we must face.

The good old days were not good. My father and grandfather spoke of them. I lived most of my fifty years in vaccine protected socialized medicine and social safety net protected invincibility from the true horrors of our ancestor’s lives. This year that immunity was stripped away.

Friends die, friends who did everything right and worked hard their entire lives look to lose their houses, their healthcare and everything they build through no fault of their own. Accidents of birth, not just of class and ability, but of nationality create a stark divide between those left to face the falling spears of the Jottun named Covid-19, and who shelters behind mighty shields while the shafts slay those to left and right.

This year I worked the longest night of the year moving ton after ton of goods by hand and by machine. I feasted my coworker on our break with food my boss will pay me back for. It was a good celebration and served to move several tons of medical supplies for distribution to those who need it.

I see the Yule Father take to the sky, clad in the scarlet and white that generations of children have learned to summon for him. I see him ride something other than the wild hunt, with gifts of joy and comfort, not a never missing man killing spear in his fist. I give thanks for the Yuletide, I give thanks for those who are still alive to celebrate this Yule with me. I offer first and best to those who passed before the tide, and who will pass before Disirblot.

We stand in the heart of the dying time, a time of privation and loss. The gods call upon us to come together and brighten each other with gifts, to wassail hard in the heart of the dark, because right now the flame of life gutters alone in the despair of that privation and loss. It is for us to bind each other to this life that we can come out this Covid plague to a time we can meet without masks, clasp hands and embrace as friends without endangering anything but each others toes.

For now, keep your masks in public, keep your chill when you can’t do what you always do this year, and wash your damned hands.

If you happen to meet my god this Yule, greet him as Yule Father or Santa. The other faces he wears in the dark of the year you don’t want to meet.

Aesir, Asatru, Heathen, Heathentry, Pagan, Yule



I was standing in the bar minding my own business.  That was easy, the bar was closed and I was doing inventory since we were going into lock down again due to Covid 19.  I heard what I no shit describe as the thunder of hooves, and the creaking of the old wood floor of the pub.  The pub was the first Bank of Montreal in the interior, back when this was a riverport and a happening town.  Then came the railroad, and this became a town free of happenings, and the bank became a bar.

Hooves have never been a thing you want to hear in a bank, or a bar.  Especially not a closed one, and at night at that.  I turned around and saw.  Now, for the record, at that point in the evening I had not yet been drinking.  This established, I will tell you what I saw.

Krampus.  Krampi?  Is it a horde of Krampus, a herd of Krampus, or since we switched over from the Imperial system, is it now a metric fuckton of Krampus?  I am not sure.  Whether I had a horde or a herd, I definitely had a metric fuckton of Krampus in my pub.

They were crouching, mostly because the lazy ceiling fans argued bad if musical things would occur if the seven foot plus Krampus were to straighten, with their proud goat horns standing tall.  Given a look at those horns and my ceiling fans, they were not sparing themselves, but being kind to the bar.

Cow bells hung from their necks, iron bands wrapped their wrists from which dragged chains with open collars dangling from them.  Upon their backs were heavy packs, empty now, but stretched in such a way that implied they could be stuffed pretty full.  Bundles of birch rods swung from one hand, until they piled them casually on tables as they past to pull up to the bar and the higher stools to rest their hooves in a musical chorus on the brass rail.

Faces that blended wolf and goat, with burning almost blazing eyes staring out at them smiled with weary ease.  If you are curious, a horde, herd, or fuck ton of Krampus smiling at you is not going to put you at ease.  I briefly considered peeing myself, but recalled that since I hadn’t bothered making myself coffee (and have to clean the urn again), and wasn’t yet drinking, I had nothing in me to pee.  This question got me through a few rocky moments while the Krampus sorted themselves out at the bar.

“We’re closed, shut down due to Covid by orders of the chick in charge, or the Premier, or someone.”  I offered, with what was perhaps not my most professional delivery.

The lead Krampus stroked his long goat like beard and nodded.  It is something to see when a seven foot tall naked goat man nods is great horned head from six inches away.

“Mortal barkeep, we saw that.  Had you been operating during this plague, we would have whipped you to within an inch of your life.  Thus always to the wicked.  Now that being said, you are closed to humans, we are not humans, and this is a bar.  We are powerful thirsty.  Powerful.”

The growl running down the bar argued that I had best agree.  One of the other Krampi (okay, I have decided they are Krampi) added in a rumbling laugh.

“Don’t worry, I worked every plague since Loki got horse-clap, and never got so much as a flea!”

Having thus settled the question about whether masking and social distancing rules applied to mythological seasonal demons of punishment, I took my hand sanitizer and washed my hands.  Put a fresh mask in place because damnit even serving delusions, I was going to be serving it right.  Wiping my bar with a Lysol wipe, I laid coasters out before each of my customers and with the shrug that admitted therapy, alcoholism or brain bleach would be required afterwards, I got to work.

“What can I get you gentlefolk?”  Having been thoroughly terrified by the entrance, I didn’t want to misgender anything that looked like it could dismember me and dated from a time period where casual dismemberment was an educational tool often employed by spiritual agents.

The lead Krampus slapped the bar so hard the calendar swayed and laughed like a braying goat.

“Gentlefolk!  Gentlefolk?  Oh little mortal, that is a goodly jape.  We are thy most ungentle folk, but powerful thirsty ones.”

With a grin that reached my eyes, even though my face was masked, I offered again.

“What can I get my most ungentle guests, this fist night past Krampusnacht?”

The first offered “I will have a pint of Vodka, and a bottle of Sleiman’s Honey brown.”

The second asked for a bottle of Congac, something old enough to molest in public.

I thought briefly about raising the tiny point that we are not allowed to serve any drink with more than two shots of alcohol in it, when I noticed one of the Krampuses had taken up a fire poker from the stove and was bending it into a pretty flower using only its long clawed fingers, and decided that along with my disbelief, my adherence to some civil ordinances would be waived for the evening.

Pouring out enough pure alcohol to lay a rugby team low, or land an infantry platoon in extra duty for a month, I finally decided that I wasn’t going to get another chance to ask, and might not survive the night anyway, so what the hell.

“So,” I said as casually as anyone can in a bar filled with Norse Yule punishment demons.  “How was Krampusnacht, a lot of kids to scare?”

The laugh around the room made me feel like a lone bunny tethered in a grass field of wolves.  I revisited the peeing myself question, still lacked the ammunition to proceed.

The lead Krampus drained his pint of Vodka, gestured for a refill and sipped his Sleiman’s surprisingly delicately and answered.

“We punish the truly wicked, we visit upon them the torments of branch and brand, fang and hoof.  We scare the piss out of the little buggers.  Not all of them.  Not the worst of them.  Just the borderline.”

The laughter around the room shook the walls until dust settled from the rafters and the hanging martini glasses and racked steins began to sing and chime.

I tried wrapping my brain around that one, and failed. 

“What do you mean, not the worst?”  I said, unable to contain myself.

The third one down the bar reached over, terrifyingly long reach if you are curious, and rapped me solidly between where my horns would go, if I had any.  As the gong like noise of my skull being tested like a melon reverberated through my head, and my neck tried to decide whether it would hold this impact against me later, the third Krampus down amplified the first one’s statement.

“Grab yourself a bottle, mortal barkeep, and have a pull.  This will be hard to swallow without a little liquor to smooth its way down the fjord of denial to the harbour of wisdom”

That was too much poetry from a demon for me to take sober, so once again the laws and possibly my future employment were going out the window.  I took down a bottle of mead.  Tears of Skadi it was called.  I grabbed my horn from below the bar and poured the whole thing in.

Reverently I raised the horn and said “Absent friends.”  I poured a little into the spillway of the bar.  With a roar, the Krampi raised their own glasses, steins and bottles, then splashed a generous amount on the floor, shouting “Absent friends”.  Ah well, I was going to have to mop to get rid of the crap their split hooves was leaving on the floor anyways.

I took a long drink of the mead, and let my breath go.  For the moment, the fear slipped away, and the magic of it filled me.  That one toast called my dead to me.  Friends, lovers, comrades at arms, family.  They came and joined us in the feast, joined us for the telling of tales and sharing of jests.  Ancient Norse demon or middle aged barman, we all had our fallen comrades, our dead, and we all raised a glass to their name, to keep their memory ever bright.  Screw the little details about species and absolute impossibility of existence, we were comrades tonight.  It was enough.

The Krampus waited as I refilled a second pint of vodka, another of Whiskey, two bottles of Congac and one curl horned Krampus was on his second bottle of Everclear.  Not going to ask for his keys. Not really betting they drove in the first place.

Sipping on his second vodka pint, the lead Krampus stroked his beard and explained their ways.

“We don’t come to the good kids, they are scared enough and scarred enough by the bullshit you humans do to each other.  We don’t’ come to the normal kids, ones like you that can be right bastards at times, but stop short of choosing to be monsters.  Honestly we don’t have time enough for all the little turds like you used to be.  You either smarten up or someone sticks a knife in you.  Not our problem.”

So far I scanned it okay, but my question remained.

“Why not the all bad ones?”

The Krampus turned to me, and his eyes burned.  So clear.  I took a convulsive swallow of my mead and tried to stir my courage enough to hold his gaze as he replied  very softly.

“Lad, you are asking the wrong question.  The question you ought to ask is why we come for the borderline ones.  Why do we beat them, why do we scourge and flay them, why to be teach them fear and send them home again?”

There was a hunger, a feral need, a howling blood red urge for violence that beat the air like a chopper’s rotor.  I felt fear wash over me, but my own courage was perhaps less the answer than my curiosity.  A man has to die of something, better to be audacity that ignorance.

“Why then.  Why beat the borderline ones and not the truly evil?”  I challenged.

Long clawed hand flashed across the bar and dragged me close.  The hot breath of Krampus and his spittle spattered my shirt as his eyes and voice both cut through me.  The claws on the ends of those fingers that wrapped my neck were pressing above my carotid and jugular, the promise that a mistake here would be my last.

“We take the borderline and we whip them, terrorize them, scourge and flay them.  We beat them with our birches and we visit upon them with every lash the memory of every wrong they have ever done.  We feed them the terror they have given others, the pain they laughed to inflict.  We let them feel and taste what they have done to others.  We visit upon them in one night what they have given to others.  We let them understand what they have been.  We show them the face they offer their victims.”

I looked into his eyes and saw it.  Saw in his eyes the look of fear, the flinching, the pain and humiliation as the shadow of hands rising and falling crossed the face of fear.  My hands.  Their fear.  I felt the shame rise in me.

Who was the demon here?  They visited their punishment upon those who stood poised to choose to become monsters.  We visited our punishment on those who could not defend themselves.  Those in our power.

I let my eyes fall.   I understood.

My voice was husky, rasping, and the gall in my mouth called for a long pull of the horn to taste clean again, but I had words to spit out first.

“That is why you don’t come for the truly wicked.  They would not care.  It would not bother them to see the harm and taste the fear they themselves inflicted.”

I felt the hand release my throat, and looking me in the eyes, a grin twisted his strange goat face, and he lifted his glass to me.

“Now you know little mortal barman.  There are indeed demons and monsters abroad on Krampusnacht.  Only some of them are Krampus.”

Asatru, Current events, Heathen, Heathentry, Pagan, Uncategorized

A Hundred Bloody Yards

Private John Parr of Church End
Sixteen years he knew
With Middlesex Regiment scouts he marched
For his homeland and his King

In Belgium then at a place called Mons
He met his bitter end
Against German scouts he chanced to fall
The first of our war dead

Twas 1914 and summer shone
The fields were gold with grain
The best and brightest of the Empire marched
So few would see home again

The Great War opened up its maw
Great Fenris, the corpse wolf howled
Four years and sixteen million dead
Churned that golden earth corpse foul

11 November 1918, two minutes from armistice
George Lawrence Price of the 28th Canadian
Last son of the empire fell
In the shadow of the first

Four years and a hundred yards
Between the first and last
Sixteen million Great War dead
For a hundred bloody yards

At St Symphorien they stand the watch
Fenris the ever hungry bides
Lest our leaders forget the price
Of a hundred bloody yards

Cpl John T Mainer, Retired

There was a thing called “The war to end all wars” that didn’t. It ended a generation of young men, beggared nations, and laid the groundwork for a greater and more wasteful stupidity we would name World War II as we at least admitted we were not done asking our best and brightest to die in the thousands and tens of thousands to hopefully buy a chance to do better the next time.

World War 1 began and ended one hundred yards apart. The first and last soldiers of the British Empire fell literally within sight of each other. Millions dead, nothing settled, for a hundred bloody yards.

Now we hear a lot of jingoist rhetoric, a lot of people talking about settling their political differences with bullets not ballots. We approach Remembrance Day. 11th of November we will summon the dead of our endless wars to the cenotaph, to give thanks for their sacrifice.

When we face those honoured dead, you had best wipe that snarl of hatred, that howling blood hungry maw with which you bay for the blood of your neighbors. You face those who died to keep you free, to keep our homes safe. Do not piss on their memory by raising your arms against the descendants of their orphaned children.

We have given the best men and women of our generation to the fires of war for as long as my family has kept records. They marched away hoping to return, but trusting that if they fell in foreign fields, those who remained would keep faith, and protect the people they left behind.

Pretend you were worth it.

Lest we forget.

Aesir, Asatru, Current events, Heathen, Heathentry

Blighted Blossom

Sing sweet Idunn
Sing through the sobs
Sweetly she stretched in sunlight
Joyous dance in the breeze
Beneath her branches
Gathered the lost to her shelter

Come the storm and shattering
Broken and bereft
Yet green grew at the breaking
Sun loving she sought
Rise again rise again loving
Sweetly to the sunlight
Her blossoms brightly blooming

Through struggle and storm risen
Strong and supple
Bright limbed and heavy blossom
Deep rooted and loving
Dreaming of the fruit
She will bring forth

Sing sweet Idunn
Sing through the sobs
For the blight has touched the blossom
Fought so long to reach
The full sun of summer
Now ash sears and blights
Where blossom hung in promise

Bitter dew is gathered
Tears stain the swaying leaf
Petals fall in silence
Bright dreams litter the floor
Bare branch shall never hold
Rich fruit in loving boughs

Sing sweet Idunn
For her shall never know your richness
Grown strong in the broken places
Danced joyous in each post storm dawn
To be blighted in her full blossom
All her victories naught but jest
Blossoms and dreams
By blight made foul and rot

—–Some news just hurts. There is no wisdom that grants it perspective, for each new layer of knowledge deepens your awareness of the wound suffered, and your helplessness to do anything but witness the blood fall.

Aesir, Asatru, Death, Heathen, Heathentry

Old men and the Abyss

I will take all your strength
The skill from your hands
The lore from your mind
The fire from your blood
I will leave you nothing
I am the ruin of all you have become
I will unmake you
Before the end

Thus spake the abyss
Ever hating
Ever hungry
Ever closer

Once I was invincible
Or perhaps I was a fool
Skills and arts were mine
Mastery was earned and proven
Before the first shattering
Or was it the second?

Thus met the abyss
Ever hating
Ever hungry
Ever closer

At first I rose defiant
Carved power from my blood
Wrote saga’s in my pain
Took up those arts I mastered
Took up the battle unflinching
Less in power
Less in skill
Haunted by what I was

Then whispered the abyss
Ever hating
Ever hungry
Ever closer

Every dawn my fangs taste you
Every dusk a step closer
The strength of your limbs bleeds away
Your skills fade and falter
Half the man of yesterday
Twice what tomorrow will leave

Then laughed the abyss
Ever hating
Ever hungry
Ever closer

Yet in the cold light of dawn I nodded
Naught but tatters for banners
Naught but ashes for dreams
Yet the wreckage of me remains
And from that wreckage
A truth

The strength I had is fading
The skill I won goes with it
Yet on the day of my ending
Cold the dawn
Bloody the dusk
You will find me striding forward
Catch me only dying
And kiss
My cold dead ass

–For it is given to Heathens to know that they will die. We do not seek death, nor do we bestir ourselves much to avoid it should it rise in our path. Our gods call upon us to live fully, to live truly, and to make of our lives such a thing that that which age, infirmity, and death can claim is so small compared to the life that we have wrought we will not even notice its loss.

I am not what I was, and the abyss draws closer with every breath. Yet I have those I love, and duty yet to do. If the abyss wants me, it can kiss my hairy heathen ass; I have much yet to do.

Aesir, Asatru, Heathen, Heathentry

Truth of Fools

King have I been, seer have I been
A healer, a poet and a sage
Yet in the truth is thus
I will meet my end with a grin
In blood and in the rage

There is a race of kings you see
But that blood I do not claim
There is a race of thralls
And safety well they love
Yet I am of the other race
Of Carls was I born

We who are called to the doing
Some to the crafting
Some to the killing
All born to the challenge
Pride and power
Blood of the Carl
Truth of the fool

I am not what I was
Yet what I am is Carl
A thousand gravestones in my eyes
And I the one who remains
Who bet my life a thousand times
On skill, on luck, on pride
Rose from the battle
Rose from the grave
With a little more pain
Just a little less sane
Blood of the Carl
Soul of the wolf

Throw myself in the struggle
Bet my life on the razors edge
Bet my pride against blood
And live to walk away
Walk from my doom
Walk from my end
Until laughing I turn back
For one last roll of the dice

I will have no kings howe
Nor a thrall’s safe sick bed
I will go to my end clad in power
The blood from my wounds
Carl red

Seer I have been
Of the hanged one’s truth learned
We are all of us corpses
Awaiting the day of our wyrd
Let it find me laughing
All my strength in the fray
Take me in my fury
Kill me in my pride
Scatter my ashes and forget my name
For a Carl’s true place
Is in the doing

Aesir, Asatru, Heathen, Heathentry

Tentacles and Terror

You get tired when sleep is denied you. You get so that the screams of everyone who can’t deal with what they are going through stops being background noise and starts feeling like an ocean.

I come from a people that loved oceans, to seek the places that are, or were, or may be. To go where the map has not been made, to the places others failed to return from.

Along the seas of rage and fear I sailed in a mind whose defenses I did not bother to raise, for my soul was my sail, and as the waves broke green upon the prow and the mast of my sanity groaned and the keel of my identity snarled, and the dark corded lines of my training sang songs of overstrain and danger.

Far beyond the shores of sanity, at the edge of the abyss where the sea drops away to places that are not always there, but not always gone either something stirs.Before the ages of man, before the steps of the dinosaur, when the first trilobite formed an eye to behold the horror that was already ancient, they sang their songs of madness in the deeps, to drive the first creatures onto land to escape.

To this place my ship flew swift over darker and darker waves, until an island raised up from the sea like the nightmare mockery of Atlantis sinking.

He who ruled there rose up in infinite dark hunger, and stirred his tentacles into a mind shattered into a thousand splinters, and tired beyond tired.Doom he promised and madness, soul destroying knowledge that would blast my reason beyond salvage and warp my flesh beyond human.

“Yes” I snarled, reaching for the howling maelstrom with a hunger that would shame Fenris Wolf.

I looked into the abyss of madness and it looked back into me.Dark tentacles drove into me, seeking to ravage and destroy those bright memories that made me human, but dark roots and blood stains covered them.

The whispers of his words fell before the laughter of the hanged one, the howling of the frenzied one, the thunder that was the shattering of sky, of shield, of souls for the strife bringer.

“What the fuck is wrong with you?” A voice like a chorus of a thousand lost souls screaming shook my bones, and blasted the surface of the sea into mist two fathoms high.

I laughed and pulled at the maelstrom, clawing at it with my hands and devouring it like a starving wolf on his still twitching kill.Dark tentacles sliced into me, shattering, slicing, punishing, seeking now to kill not to bind, and from the shattering darkness bled to cloak an absence that was a figure made in negative.Power lashed out and was consumed.

Ancient and unclean power rent my soul with claws of inhuman will and undying hatred.I died screaming, laughing, in ecstasy, in revelry, screaming, silent, straining, sighing, each blow shattering me like a fist in the water’s reflection of a face.Like the water, I reformed.

The laughter of ravens, the sobbing of the broken, the howling of the lost, the chanting of the wise, and the cold eternal hunger for all that was not known bled to fill every wound that cut me.

Ancient beyond ancient stared at the thief of knowledge, the rider of Hel’s road, and knew that each and every death he gave whispered secrets his secrets to the one eyed upstart.

“Begone fool. I would have used you better, and killed you cleaner than this” The Great One said, then sank again.

Great winds caught the sails of my soul, and the churning of the island sinking back into the depths below the depths whipped the sea into a frenzy my serpent howled and writhed to cross, the great keel that was my identity was carved of Yggdrasil, and he who rode it into madness was its master, as he was mine.

The sail that was my soul was in tatters, the mast that was my sanity shattered full length; yet nine bands of gold girt it, the rings of all riches, and what was stolen filled my holds for the god of cargoes, the first and best of all thieves to know.

What was lost, I cannot say. What was gained, I do not ask. There is no rest, no comfort, no peace, no ending, but there are places the map does not run, secrets the wise do not know, and uses still for madmen and fools.It is enough.

Aesir, Asatru, Current events, Heathen, Heathentry

Empaths: Service Message from Thor

I have been listening to a whole lot a people who are suffering right now because of a gift that they have, empathy. The gift of empathy is nominally a very important one for those who serve their community, but right at the moment, it comes with a huge drawback.

We have a perfect storm of negative emotions right now. Covid 19 pandemic brings with it risk of death, loved ones in danger, loved ones lost. It brings with it loss of social outlet, loss of community, loss of connection. It brings with it HUGE political division, and the threat of persecution no matter what course of action you take, someone is going to see this as an attack on their way of life, freedom, and even faith. We have the simmering racial tensions that have been accumulating since the election of a President who endorses open racism in a way not seen since the howling mobs of McCarthy era pre Civil Rights movement North America now boiling over with the Black Lives Matter protests proving the old acceptance will no longer be swallowed. We have economic hardship and uncertainty not seen since the great depression and a breakdown of our traditional alliance system that kept us safe since the end of WWII.

If you are an empath, the whispers you pick up from people, that let you know they are angry, or hurting, or scared are what give you the chance to see where help is needed. It is not a whisper right now, it is a scream. It has been a scream that has been growing in volume since Yule and will continue to grow for a long time before it even begins to back off.

We have wise goddesses, and clever gods, but sometimes the lessons we need most come not from the brightest gods, the most magical goddesses, but from the most mundane, the most straightforward and frequently fumbling god; Thor.

Thor is the working folk’s god, the common persons god. He makes mistakes, he learns, adapts and finishes the job. Right now I hear my empathic friends drowning, and I understand what they need, but it is Thor that gave us the tale and lesson.

Long ages ago when the gods travelled in Jottunheim, tests were given to them by Uttgard-Loki. Thor was given the test to drain a drinking horn. His task seemed simple for one as great at the table as Thor, for his appetite was matchless in the nine worlds. He took up that horn, as only one with great and matchless strength could, and he threw back his head and drank as no man or god before or since has been able to do.

He failed.

He had not picked up a giant horn of mead, but a horn that connected to the sea itself, and he was struggling to drink down all the worlds oceans. Not even Thor is vast enough to contain all the waters of the nine worlds and the endless fountain of the mother of waters. He failed. He put the horn down and backed away, admitting this task was beyond him.

Those who are empaths and have undertaken the task of serving their community grow in strength and endurance as they deal with the pain of others, taking it in to themselves, that in the sharing of the pain, they can share their own skills and teachings to process the pain and work through it.

This begins with tiny sips, and over time and when you have the physical and emotional resources to do the work, can proceed to glasses of pain, or even large horns of suffering.

Thor could not drink the sea, you cannot swallow the burning of the world and the screams of a people who are busy losing their mind under the strain of the perfect storm know as 2020.

Stop trying to be Thor, even he failed at this test. We are not Christians, we don’t admire martyrs, we shake our head at wasted lives, and unnecessary loss.

Wine tasters do not sit at the table and down barrel after barrel of wine, they take a mouthful, swirl it around to understand it, to learn it, and then they spit it out. They understand they CANNOT drink an ocean of wine and don’t try. They take in a taste, learn what they can, and get rid of it.

A whole long time ago we all learned grounding, centering, and shielding to process energy from ritual. These are the basic 101 skills any practitioner picks up. A lot of years ago when I was a young soldier I learned the coping mechanism of compartmentalizing serious incidents to be dealt with when I had the time and processing power to deal with it.

These are both self defense mechanisms, coping strategies to address Thor’s little drinking problem, the sea is vast, and we are not. We can drown in what we take in, we can be overwhelmed if we don’t take measures to limit what we take in, or at least balance it so we let go as much as we take in so that we do not drown in the ocean we are drinking.

What are you doing to LET GO what you are taking in?

I know many of you are playing “Suck it up buttercup” and internalizing your communities screaming so you don’t spill it out on others and hurt them. That is Thor swallowing as fast as he could, he was a god, and FAILED. You are not a god, you are drowning right now, and need to stop.

Some of you are working really hard on your shielding to block it out, and that is a good coping strategy.

The problem is this, you ARE an empath, you can’t help but taste the wine, to understand the source of the pain that spawned the scream, no matter how much you know you have to block it out. We who have the gift took it up to serve, not to be safe.

Being safe is a learned behaviour, 2020 is a bitch of a teaching moment.

You are picking up a whole bunch of heavy right now. Lets do something with it.

First, taste it, or listen to it, however you process it, but do not swallow it. You will drown, you will lose yourself and save no one. Take in enough to learn the pain of others, to share their struggle, and to see what you can do with it in terms of processing. Learn, don’t drown.

Spit it out, let it go. If its pouring into you, let it flow through you and out again. This is the time to practice your centering. Look inside yourself and find all the bits that are you, claim them. Find the bits that are not you, and gently let them go. Some of the pain and fear will be yours, those you can keep and deal with, the rest its not yours, so let it go. Center in yourself, be the rock that stands in the middle of the river, don’t let yourself get carried away by it and smashed at the next cataract.

Now all the pain, fear, rage, despair; the thousand colours of nasty that are actually yours have to be dealt with.

We have already gone over the fact that we are all cut off from most of our social outlets, most of our support structure, so in a lot of ways you are dealing with the biggest load of your life, with the lowest supports you have ever had.

That’s OK, really it is.

Letting the emotions go, the pain, all that stuff that you have finally pushed outside yourself has left you with a whole lot of your own pain, fear, rage, despair, hopelessness, and of course exhaustion.

So, what are you going to do with it.

Rage is useful, you can feed hopelessness, despair, fear, self hatred, feelings of inadequacy, into the mouth of the rage that comes from that storm of emotions of all the terrible, unfair, unjust, and just plain wrong that has been our year so far. Feed it to your rage and take it back as power.

Now take that power and do something with the rage.

Do you want to pour it into art, song, verse, political rants? Do you want to shape it into a magical working and wield it like the hammer of Thor to smite Covid-19, White Supremacy, corruption or any of the other serious wrong that needs smiting. Do you want to channel it into your fists and work it out pounding the heavy or speed bag, do you want to pound it into the pavement as you run, or build the winter wood pile looking at each wood billet as your least favourite politician and let the sweet fall of the axe bring a bit of relief.

You can’t just take it in, you need to actively work it out.

Thor could not drink down the sea, neither can you. I will not ever ask you to stop being empathic, to give up your gifts, for you are the ones cursed or blessed with the ability to heal the rifts in the community, the wounds in our souls. Don’t drown. Thor put the horn down when he could drink no more and stepped back.

Be smart as Thor, and put it down before your drown. Step back and survive for the next challenge.