Asatru, Heathen, Heathentry, Uncategorized

Soul, salmon, and inheritance

Leaping Salmon 2

Bear with me, this will take a while to get to the point, but the background is important.  We have all seen the people in our communities that just fit.  The ones who you know were born to be here.  Heathenry comes as naturally to them as a salmon takes to the stream.  You see a salmon hurling itself upstream through the rapids beside you and know that only salmon are with you on this journey.  No pampered koi, no silent sturgeon; just those born to dare the white water and stone teeth of the rapids for the Return Home.  Funny thing is, not all of those salmon look the same.  Not everything that looks like a salmon shows any interest in those rapids at all, and not everyone beside you in the torrent looks salmonish to the outside eye.

I shrugged and ignored the question a lot of years, following a soldiers stark utilitarianism.  If it works you use it, if it fails, the theory is irrelevant, it doesn’t work so toss it.  The inner scientist in me looked at those provable things and waited for another data point to come up with a new theory that worked.  Then I started my clergy training, and progressed along my magical path far enough to apply other senses and collect enough other data to get a different understanding.

Heathen understanding of the soul is complex.  We don’t see it as one thing, nor do we understand it as being one thing before our birth or after our death.  What makes us, the whole and living being that we experience is complex, formed of these disparate elements that come together and are shaped by our life experiences, by our will, by our word and deed, by our trials, by our loves, losses, and choices.  Those parts have been broken down as follows.

1. The physical body – appearance, movement and health

  1. the hugr – conscious will and intellect
  2. the hamr – image forming essence, matrix between physical and

spiritual worlds

  1. the hamingja – shape-changing force, luck, power
  2. the fylgja – spirit guardian as female or animal figure

 

We don’t conduct baby naming ceremonies until the ninth day, when the fylgja is seen to have bonded with the baby.  At this point, the baby is bound to the web of wyrd or fate, and the orlog the inherited part of your wyrd attaches to the baby, linking it to all those who have gone before, and who will come after.

It is this part of the soul that carries the inherited portion of our soul lore, the bit that we get from our ancestors in spirit.  Here is the bit that makes me intrigued.  The lore is full of examples where mound sitters have received inherited gifts from spirits they had no genetic link to, but gave full ancestral devotion to.  These gifts, in one case the skaldship that propelled a shepherd (Thorbjorn Hornklofr ) from obscurity to the position of court skald of Harald Shaggy Hair are clearly an inheritance carried by soul part rather than genetic coding.

This fits with the understanding of family and community that our ancestors practiced, where you could be born in, married in, oathed in, adopted, or simply absorbed by being beside you through the struggles of the day until your fate was inexorably linked with those around you and you simply crossed the line and became us in every way anyone could see, however far from that hearth you may have been born.  Family and community were untidy and tangled, real things, not pure constructs.  They were.  People who ought to be part of them turned their backs and left, people who were from far away, and even from the wrong side of long standing battle lines found acceptance and home with the fierce devotion of one who does not simply accept their place unthinking, but dared to shape their fate by conscious choice.

Burial mounds show the truth, genetic variation hard to equal even in today’s world of easy and relatively safe long distance travel, yet burial goods and manner indicate no differentiation between those whose genetics matches the bulk of the tribal identity, and those whose origins were clearly different tribally or even racially.  Us and them are always real to those who are drawing the lines, but the lines then were not based on phenotypical race, but on identity.

Carry forward to today.  We have the folkish vs inclusive rift in Heathenry that honestly everyone has grown sick of.  It really was an attempt from the beginning to dress racism up in pretty clothes and make it more acceptable than the KKK white hoods and burning crosses.  It carried with it misogyny and gender roles right out of the most conservative Evangelical Christian wet dream, and resembled Nazi family propaganda in a degree that would have made Gobels think they won the war.  To say it was homophobic, transphobic is really not doing justice to the degree that folkish Heathenry really found there to be only one right way to be a male or female Heathen.  You had to be pure of blood, you had to be one hundred percent cis-normative in your expression of your gender or you were just wrong.

So folkish was cast into the midden where it belonged, largely because too many of the folkish who weren’t racist misogynist homophobes were just unwilling to stand against the ones that were, so collectively we decided the folkish had failed the test of Havamal 43, and made friendship with our foes.

 

  1. To his friend a man | a friend shall prove,

To him and the friend of his friend;

But never a man | shall friendship make

With one of his foeman’s friends.

 

We did our surgery to protect our community, but we missed something.  We let those racist twits taint the idea of folk and inheritance to the point we stared to look at Othala like the Swastika with an almost unthinking rejection.

We missed something.  I am not saying I have it right, but I have at least the edges of something.  We have that fylgja soul part, that inherited portion of the soul that binds after birth.  When you have been at this a while, you get the sense of those who take to Heathenry like the salmon take to the stream, they fit instinctively, they ask the dangerous questions, make the connections between the different elements, ritual, lore, community building, feast, hospitality, and personal development as if they already had the concepts they just didn’t have the dictionary for it.  We have the corollary as well, those who have a bloodline that may well stretch back to the Volsungs with the depressing vision limitations that seek to take the conservative Christianity they were raised with, and switch Odin for Jehova, Thor for Jesus, Frigg for Mary and carry on as if Heimdall wrote the gospels in Latin.

Sorry to the hard Folkish, but blood doesn’t make you naturally heathen.  A huge portion of the original tribes that were Heathen at the time of migration into the European continent are Christian right now, and many follow other faiths entirely or none at all.  A portion of those who are interested in the CULTURE of their ancestors and are proud of those traditions feel no call at all to the ancestral practice.  It is music they can’t dance too, for it moves them not at all.

What about all those fylgja from all those family lines who took the cross and cut all ties so long ago they actively deny they were ever anything else?  What if those fylgja found those whose soul parts were fit heirs to those who had gone before?  Whose hugr, whose will and intellect were a match to those who had joined with the fylgja in the past, whose hamingja called to them, whose Mod could learn and apply the wisdom of the older parts of the soul and whose Hugi could tap the wode, the ecstatic frenzy of creation and destruction that is the highest of our gods gifts.

I really do think some people were born to be part of the community.  I think it is no accident they found us, not a surprise that we WELCOMED THEM HOME, because we, as communities are wiser than as individuals and we do, on some level know our own.  Not all of those who stand in our halls match others’ expectations of who should be here.  If Hollywood were to ever cast our leadership in a movie, I seriously doubt any I have served beside would make the cut, but that is because Hollywood sells clean fantasy, not untidy reality.

Inclusive Heathenry is just that, we don’t let other peoples labels decide who fits and who doesn’t.  We got that right.  Not everyone in the community will stay forever, because we are largely a group of people that exist in an over-culture that rewards conforming to the Christian perceived norm, and to be Heathen is to accept being a salmon that is committed every day to swimming upstream, and not everyone has the drive to find this sustainable, or finds the journey rewarding consummate to the price.

Some of those salmon swimming beside us look African, look Native, look Asian, look Jewish, look Polynesian.  All different expressions of everything from gender to sexuality, from politics to diet, ten thousand differences separate us.  Maybe, but when you hit the water, you feel the salmon moving around you, you know through those senses developed that don’t rely or even notice flesh, you identify who is and who is not yours, who is of the tribe, of the kindred, of the folk, however you want to define them, and when you leap over the next rock in the rapids you take note that those you felt were yours are beside you, and if not all of them look like other people expect, they are following the call only salmon can hear, throwing themselves into the maelstrom with nothing held back seeking to Return.  They are salmon in every sense you are, they are part of the us, where all those salmony looking fish that are sitting in the lake singing psalms are not.

That part of the soul that remembers, that is seeking to return us to a better way of living with each other, a better way of living with the world, with connecting to our dead, and those yet to be born, to live more mindfully, that is what makes us Heathen.  That is found where it is found, and how it got there is something the gods aren’t sharing, and far enough above my pay grade to simply accept that it is.

We are each unique individuals.  Part of what we are is inherited, part of what we are is chance, part of what we are is experience, and part of what we are is choice.  All of what we are is ours alone, and when we die, this unique configuration, this glorious and fragile thing will be gone forever, but our words, our deeds, our choices will be untouched by the death that takes us.  We are made of so many parts, both body and soul, that there are doubtless many paths we could follow, many streams we could have chosen, but those who swim beside us today, fighting the current beside us, they are simply us.  If others don’t think all of us look equally salmony, I am reassured to note that bears are true egalitarians and are perfectly willing to take each of us as pure salmon as Loki at his slipperiest, and eat us accordingly.

The world is full of bears, the river is swift, the rocks cruel, and there are few enough salmon on the journey, treat well those beside you, learn from them as you can, share with them as you will, and perhaps more of us can return home to our gods and ancestors with the truth that we have begun rebuilding our communities.

bear and salmon

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Aesir, Asatru, Heathen, Heathentry, Uncategorized

Huginnseye

 

Silence is shattered
The raven reaves
Huginn’s beak sword side
skull-fruit did reap.

Blindness blessing
He leaves me not
For blue fire dances
Like Aurora on the ice
No memory does he bring
Just the pain beyond pain
Shadowed wings hie
To the tree
The hanging tree
The noose draws tight
Skull eye raped
Neck groan the gallows grip

For the runes I won
I reach with fumbling hands
And failing sight

Elhwaz slips from me
Strength fumbled from failing hand
Algiz bites my reaching hand
Wisdom failing
I howl my rage
Thunder shakes the heavens
The tree lashes
I scream defiance
Lightning lights the raven
Eye gulper
Wide beak laughing

Lighning flare
Ansuz burns
Inspiration offered
I hurl my rage
Rune-writer’s will
Feed the flame
Scar the tree
Nauthiz mars Ansuz

Needfire burns me
Inspiration rejected
Rage becomes the battle-bliss
Wunjo blossoms
Rage joy
Pain and pleasure drunk
The raven laughs
My laughter booms
The thunder quieter

Huginnseye flaming
Sight broken
Tree bound
Nauthiz to win power
Wunjo for the struggle
Ansuz the madness
The vision no eye can see
Wisdom no sane may hold

When cut my thread
Fear my coming
For I am too much
His creature

—–For those who are the Tree-Hanger’s own, those days the chronic pain o’er tops the controls we set upon it, usually when one pushes the flesh past the limits that will can ignore the costs, you get to discover where your current 10/10 resides on the pain scale.  Oddly enough, you can find Him there.  Stupidity has a god, and his laughter helps me find enough anger to survive paying the price of my own idiocy, again.

Raven Eye

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Aesir, Asatru, Heathen, Heathentry, Uncategorized

Anything but Valhalla

It was my fault, if you want to be picky about it.  I blame the freaking Nazi’s, but it was my choice in the end.  Two limp dick losers were upset they couldn’t get a date because they were just that much of an ass that no woman was deluded, desperate or drunk enough to find them attractive, even in their most post breakup bad decision phase.  You have to work hard to be so repulsive to the opposite sex that you can’t get laid in a brothel with a thousand dollar bill wrapped around your Johnson, but these two were just that bad.  They called themselves Incels, involuntary celibates, which is the technical term for can’t get laid with a thousand dollar bill wrapped around your dick in the worst red light district known to man.  They added to their idiocy by embracing the white power movement and Neo-nazism that convinced them that university liberals were training women to hate men (even if the same universities were filled with women dating men, logic was not their strong suit).

Rather than not treat women like undomesticated farm animals, or do something radical like bathe once in a while, these two limp dick losers decided to take their anger and a half dozen guns each and go shoot up a university girls dorm.

They picked a “smart day”, meaning one where the girls were moving in for the second semester, so some men were moving around the tower, usually carrying something heavy from parking lot to room.  They didn’t really have a plan, beyond shooting every woman they saw, and hadn’t really worked out what to do when the girls locked the damned doors when the shooting started.  Not just Incels  and Nazi’s, but idiots.  I was helping my daughter move in, and like any infantry worthy of the name, moved to the sound of the guns.  I was retired, having given up playing hero for a living when my knees ran out of cartilage and the list of joints with arthritis included everything from neck to ankle, but my daughter was in this building along with a lot of girls just like her, and no way in hell those guns were getting any nearer without my doing anything about it.

In the end, it was too simple.  They were trying to shoot there way into a room, but hadn’t figured out yet that bullets are like pool balls, they bounce beyond your initial aim point, and concrete hallways can return those rounds to sender with a heck of a spin on them.  One of them was screaming and cupping a tiny little wound on his outer leg.  Honestly, it was barely a scratch, but he was whining like it was the end of the world.  I began to sprint down the hall at them, saying nothing.

They both looked up as I pounded towards them, and the big one who was unhurt began to fire in my general direction.  I felt something hit my back, probably caught a ricochet, but I haven’t got time to worry about that.  I take a second to the head and my vision goes red, my world goes silent and I lose my sense of up and down.  It didn’t matter.  I hit the one who was crying about his little nick, and I fall with the rifle between us.

We hit the ground, him on the bottom.  I smash the rifle against what I think is his head again and again until the wet feeling under my hands and the resistance on the rifle stop.  I turn towards the blur in the hallway, and punch out three shots along what I think is the intersection of the blur and the ground.  At least one takes him in the ankle because he goes down.  I walk the rest of the magazine along the blur above the ground.  I can’t see him well enough to figure out when end of the blur is important, so I walk nine rounds up from end to end, and the bolt locks open.  I can’t breathe any more, and things are getting so dark and cold.  I press the rifle into the hollow between what used to be the head of the idiot I landed on, and his chest.  I think I already pulped his skill, but just to be sure, I push my weight onto the rifle and into the soft bits of the throat until I feel the cartilage crush under me.  If he was alive, he won’t be for long.  I let the darkness take me.

Well, at least I will see my family in Hel.  I will see those who passed before me and await the day long hence when my wife and children pass on to join me.

You would think that would be a safe bet.  I thought so.  I lost.

I had the strangest impression as I faded out.  I swore I saw my old basic training Mcpl riding a great warhorse, a dappled grey on grey, like gunsmoke in fog.  When she got closer, I noticed she was not actually Master Corporal Koskinnen, but as much as I always thought she looked like a Valkyrie, it turns out I found Valkyries looked a lot like her too.

As I started to fade out, I croaked “Not Valhalla!”  I didn’t want to spend an eternity preparing for war, an eternity of blood and slaughter, endless pointless drill and battle, killing each other every day, rising from the dead to drink and revel all the night.  Good gods, It would be like being back in the infantry doing a workup that lasted until Ragnarok with no leave, no pay, and no freaking rest.

She leaned down from the horse (how the hell do you get a horse that is about seventeen hands high into the second story hallway of a university dorm tower?) and grabbed me, pulling me up, in what my hallucinating mind saw as out of my body.  As she did, she whispered to me.

“Not Valhalla, I promise” She said as my light went out for good.

Valkyrie horse

I awoke with a start, there was a strange feeling in my body, I couldn’t put a name to it, but something in my brain told me it was wrong.  Something in my lower regions told me to stop thinking and pay attention, because it was certainly standing at it.

Three things attempted to get my attention more or less at once.  First, I was somewhat less dead than I really ought to have been.  Second, I was naked, which was obvious as certain parts of me had decided saluting the third thing in the room was what we should be doing, and proceeded to do just that without the use of my hands.  The third thing I noticed was Her.

Falcon cloaked, as in her cloak was made of falcon feathers.  I don’t mean sewed of Falcon feathers, I mean it rustled like the wings of a Peregrine Falcon, if one topped out about six foot three with long blonde hair, blue eyes that blazed like lightning on bared steel and a frontal armament that let you know that this was the template that all mortal breasts attempted to match but never could.  Between them nestled a necklace of amber and gold that shone with light from a sun that was not actually present inside this large wood hall, but I guess when you are Brisengamen, you can shine with sunlight without such trivial needs as an actual sun.  There was a slight small smile on her lips, terribly expressive lips.  Pale pink and mobile they promised things it wasn’t good to think about, and yet one look at the light burning in her eyes reminded you this was Freya, the woman of every dream, including nightmares of man.

Her voice rang out then.  It wasn’t loud.  Nothing crude like that, but her voice sang in my blood, in my bones, and my heart hammered and my poor frigging cock and balls did their best imitation of living stone.   Her voice filled my mind, vibrated the air in my lungs as my ribs hummed with its echoes and the phrase echoed from a scream to a whisper a thousand times and a thousand ways through a brain suddenly filled with ten thousand images of her and I from her astride me in sexual climax, her tearing the beating heart from my chest and eating it before my eyes.  In each, she shone with golden fire a thousand times brighter and hotter than the sun, and in each I felt my body shuddering and shaking in a climax beyond any I had known in life.

“Do you know where you are?”

Honestly, if that is what I get from a short phrase, gods help me if she ever has to explain something to me.  I don’t trust myself to speak, but her question had the power of a command, and besides, fear has never ruled me, nor good sense or anything resembling wisdom, so I answered.

“Fólkvangr, your grace. Hall of the Einherjar who serve the Van-Dis, Brisengamen’s Mistress, the Lady; Freya”

I lived an idiot, and died and idiot, so there was no reason to switch from what worked at this point.  I rushed on to finish my thought before her beauty drove it out of my head.

“I cannot be here Lady.  I am a married man, and my wife will not understand my being here.  I mean Valhalla I could write off as away on Ex, she put up with that in the Army when I was alive, but she knows the most beautiful women in the Nine Worlds live in your hall, and that those who you gather are yours until Ragnarok.  No way she is going to believe I am not at least thinking about……”

She threw back her head and laughed, arms thrust high above her shoulders and the Valkyries gathered around her laughed as well.  I felt their eyes on me, and my eyes on them and with the mortal flesh and its age and damage given limits removed it seemed every cell of whatever I used for a body here was already presenting its own plan for what I would like to do with whom for all the women in the room, and from the predatory smiles on all their faces, both the Valkyries and Freya read each of them like a book, and marked the pages of the ones they would like to reread in more depth later.

Touching my lips gently to stop my babbling, Freya shook her head and glanced over at one of the Valkyries.

“Sina, before our young recruit says anything else more foolish, see that he is armed and armoured appropriately.  He might do well to focus on something a little less frightening, like two hundred thousand elite berserkers trying to cut him into cat food for my babies”

Freya swayed out of the room with the sort of prowl you would expect of a cat, if they topped out around six foot three, wore cloaks that thought they were wings, and gave off the same light and heat as the mid day sun on an early summer morning.  There were two actual golden cats following her, or cougars, they shifted from one moment to the next as if unconcerned with consistency.

Sina, for that was the Valkryie who brought me, took me to the armoury.  I could choose from any weapon ever made, and some that perhaps hadn’t been.  In the rack was Hella, my first battle rifle.  Long replaced by a soulless 5.56mm for modern service, my first love had been my FNCIA1, a 7.62x51mm semi automatic wood and steel weapon already a generation old when it came to my hands.  I lifted it down, and saw the serial number was my own.  I felt a sudden weight settle over me, as my old webbing suddenly draped me.  I checked my pouches, my magazines were empty so I set about filling them with ammunition from the stripper clips in the box on the table before me.  I strapped a longsword through the back of the webbing, as there was an oversized frog on left hip and right shoulder top for a right side top draw, and something told me that battle here would frequently end in quarters too close for my rifle.

I turned to Sina and told her firmly, my mind and body anchored by the weapon of my long service into the hard channels of duty that ruled me my entire life.

“Sina, I am serious, I cannot be in this hall.  I am married.  My wife won’t understand.  I have to go”  I spoke with great seriousness, and she regarded me with the calm of an RSM who has heard every version of every complaint, fear, objection and request that any troop could possibly come up with often enough to not be able to fake surprise at any of it.  She just nodded.

“You could always just let yourself get killed.”  She offered.

Not the stupidest bit of advice when you thought of it.  Getting killed got me here.  Maybe getting killed gets me out of it?

I nodded, she took down a Heckler & Koch MG5 light machine gun with box drum of ammunition as if the whole assembly weighed less than my rifle, strapped a second and third drum to each hip and grinned something that a shark would be terrified to see in the mirror and threw back the bolts to the great gate.

We made our way into nightmare.  If every war ever fought intersected into a mad maze where you could step out of Gordon’s Khartom facing Arab camel cavalry, to find yourself taking fire from a Panzer IV 75mm gun, roll into a trench to find yourself nose to shield with a Roman legionnaire at close quarters.  I took fire from a line of Arquibisers I swore were under Gustavus Adolfus himself,  fought house to house in a Belgian stone village of uncertain vintage under constant 7mm fire and occasional grenades.

In the end, I caught some nerve gas from some Frog 7 rockets of Soviet manufacture.  I saw Sina go down, starting to twitch as the droplets hit her.  I grabbed the autoinjector from her helmet and rammed it home, then reached for my own.  I had taken a gladius blow to the helmet before I had been able to clear my own sword and drive the pommel through the open faced helm after my tackle took us both to the ground, trapping his sword beneath his tower shield.  I guess I didn’t notice he had shattered my auto injector, because my own was broken and empty in my hands as the numbness set in.

I died of nerve gas in a corner of a world war three we never got to fight, choking out my life as I grew too paralyzed to breathe, watching a Spad and Fokker biplane duel in the sky above me.  At least I was free of Fólkvangr.

This time I woke up bouncing.  Bouncing up and down as I was being carried over the extremely athletic shoulder of Sina.

“I died!”  I tried to shout, not actually possible while being carried over someone’s shoulder, it came out as a loud sort of grunt.

Sina patted my ass and chuckled.

“Yes, but very well, and very late.  We are all very impressed.  Good first day.  You even saved my life, so I claimed you for first night.”  She offered happily.

“I am married!”  I protested again.  She tossed me casually to a fur draped couch of really excellent carved wood construction.

Striking a pose with hand raised and the other over her heart she intoned very seriously.

“Forsaking all others, until death do us part.  Well, you parted twice, now we party.  You should have known dying won’t get you out of Fólkvangr; after all, its dying for love that got you in”

She had a point.  Getting killed more than twice gets you quite an appetite.  I had begged for anything but Valhalla of the Valkyrie as I lay dying in my daughter’s dorm hallway.  Fólkvangr is not Valhalla.  The gods have a sense of humour, and a hell of a determined set of recruiters.

If my wife does not understand, she can kill me every day for as long as she likes and it still won’t interfere with my duties.  Freya bless me, its all in the benefits package.  I kid you not.

Goddess Freya forest

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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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