Aesir, Asatru, Current events, Death, Heathen, Heathentry, Uncategorized

Husk or Horn

 

Nothing last forever
Save in story and in song
It took one final heartbeat
Then in the silence he was gone

Something fell to rest
Cold and empty on the ground
The question hangs upon the air
Was it husk or was it horn?

There was a time that he was brimming
Full of laughter full of light
Booming laughter
Surging blood in love and rage

The last drop has fallen
Cold and empty now he lies
How will he be remembered
In all that now remains

The husk gave all unwilling
Like a miser must be torn
Coin by coin and drop by drop
Broken and empty will he fall

The horn is raised high uncaring
From hand to hand is thrust
Stranger friend and lover
Drink deep wild and uncaring

Spilling over beard
Falling over thirsty breast
Burning with a passion
That makes cherry blossoms weep

To Hel’s own hand
The horn did pass
High she raised it
ere she drank

Head thrown back in ecstacy
Spilling from the corpse slack lip
Throat working as she drank it down
River of fire into the icy sea

Careless in her revelry
life wine spilled over unmarred cheek
Paint her cold white breast
As deep she drank his last

A sigh she gives
No tear she sheds
The horn is empty
Reverently laid to rest

Drink Mead

For Kirk Douglas 1916-2020, who brought Vikings to live so well, and for every one of those who have shared in this long winter seasons of those they have lost in their lives.

We are given just this

78. Cattle die, | and kinsmen die,
And so one dies one’s self;
One thing now | that never dies,
The fame of a dead man’s deeds.

We will all lie drained of life upon the earth.  Those who seek only to avoid death will fall as empty husks; life unlived when death claimed them anyway.  Those who embrace life will fall like the drained horn, to the cheers of the hall, their name shouted so loud it will ring in the halls of the dead to announce their coming in well earned glory.

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

Envy you your Devil

Yes indeed I’ve heard your good news
Its just that I don’t care
I’ve nothing against your Jesus
But I’ve gods and goddess fair

No I do not need salvation
Only coupons get redeemed
But I envy you your devil
So much it makes me bleed

We Heathen’s have no devil
Nor will Loki play the part
For all the ill we do then
It was born within our heart

For I gave myself to frenzy
On the cup that Odin bore
But that cup was filled with my rage
And my eyes that guide the fist

If Frey bless my manhood
Or Freya fire my lust
It was my tongue that seduced her
And my spear that broke my vows

Loki may have laughed
When I lied to dodge the price
But the lie was my invention
The cowardice my call

The Mother knows I chose it all
The One Armed knows which oaths I broke
There is none who bares the shame but me
Of those deeds I would deny

Jörmungandr spans the world
But the venom spewed was mine
If it burned worse than fire
It came from out my heart

I don’t envy your forgiveness
Nor do I seek to dodge my price
There’s no denying that I did it
But by gods it wasn’t twice

No devil made me do it
For the failings all my own
My gods they show no mercy
Not to them they call their own

For each and every failing
All of those who paid for me
Not man or god can change it
Not the fear and not the rage
Not the failings of half measure
Not the trusts that I have broken
Nor those resting in their grave

I carry all the shame of it
It doesn’t balance all I’ve won
The two don’t touch each other
We’re not accountants doing sums

I will one day face my ancestors
With all my pride and all my shame
One thing I beg my gods each day
My ancestors every night

Let me never in my cowardice
Ask to be freed of my price
They day I take your devil
The day I claim it wasn’t me
Is the day I don’t deserve the ones
Who died to keep me free

Freedom isn’t free you know
Oh it has a bitter price
It demands you own your failings
It demands you own your lies
The day you dodge the shame of it
Is the day your freedom dies

For your total lack of mercy
For your cold and bitter truth
I thank my gods and ancestors
If in life I earned some worth

Thor-Vikings-Odin-Loki-panels-1566510-1920x1080

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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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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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Aesir, Asatru, Heathen, Heathentry, Uncategorized

Returned from Moot

Althing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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