Asatru, Current events, Heathen, Heathentry, Uncategorized

ISIS and the AFA

What do ISIS and the AFA have in common?

Fear

Fear.  I do not mean they inspire it.  Far from it.  I was a professional soldier in the Canadian Armed Forces and understand far better than either one of these groups the reality of force projection, and the complex application of every aspect of military power, from data-space to battle-space, from logistics to lethal force far better than groups whose fundamental unifying characteristics is that they are terrified of a world too complex to be comfortable.

At the root, the AFA and ISIS are groups driven largely by men who don’t understand the world they live in, and wish to drag everyone back, kicking and screaming, to the fantasy they cherish of a simple time when men of their particular belief system ruled as benevolent dictators over a society that existed to serve their will, and praise them as they feel they deserve to be praised, for their patriarchal virtues.

The myth of the benevolent dictator is the one of the most persistent and damaging in human history, and has lead to the cult of personality that we see exemplified today in Trump and Putin.  The desire for a strong father figure to force the world to make sense is one that is common for humanity, and very dangerous.  Let us be honest about the reality of why the peddlers of these dangerous fantasies are so often successful in the court of public opinion when their promised solutions tend to prove to be failures more often than not.

Fear is real.  Fear of change.  Fear that the world may indeed be more complex than people want to understand.  They want things to be simple.  They don’t want to hear that some things they don’t agree with are necessary, and that some of what they are deeply offended by is in fact in the public interest.

ISIS seeks to impose its own harsh version of Sharia Law over the world, remove the voice from women altogether, and make all knowledge that is not contained in their scrolls to be stripped from mankind forever, so the one “truth” that remains is one that they can accept.  Not necessarily understand, they have scholars who can understand for them, but they can accept that all remaining knowledge fits neatly into the world view they are comfortable with.  There is an order to the universe, and they understand everyone’s place in it.

That their vision is a third world crap-hole that now encompasses the whole of the earth, where men live in poverty, ignorance and fear, yet are far better off than women, does not seem to bother them, because it is a world at least they understand.

The AFA seeks to “return” to a vision of a “before times” that was created by romantics in the 1920-30’s of a glorious Germanic tribal past where strong Nordic demigod men ruled over homes filled with adoring blond wives and dozens of small tow headed children of chiseled features right out of a painting of Wagnerian Opera.  Gender roles clearly defined, power vested in only the “right sort” of racially pure, doctrinaly pure, conservative men united in the purpose of keeping their world free of confusing thoughts or ideas that threaten the perfect fantasy that all is not only understandable, but controllable.

This mythological “before time” never existed, and the world was never as simple as they need it to be.  Our ancestors had no time for this dogma of ideological or racial purity as they were driven very much by the survival imperative to always get better, to seek better ways of doing everything, because each generation buried too many of their young paying the price of “the way things always were” to accept that.  Each generation of the ancestors the AFA seeks to venerate strove hard to CHANGE, to adapt and overcome.  Rather than a perfect unchanging world, our ancestors inherited a world that was trying hard to kill them, and sought each and every possible ally and advantage into making it better for those who followed after.  Like Odin, they did not come with the knowledge to succeed, but they came with the drive to find it, learn it, even steal it if they had to.

We see the success of fear marketers.  ISIS recruiting among the failures of young Islamic men who look at a world that is complicated, that requires them to learn, to adapt, to struggle, and to accept others who do not think as they do, even WOMEN, as their equals, and frequently workplace superiors.  Such recruits want a world where they do not have to adapt, to understand.  Where everything they don’t agree with can just be made to go away, where everyone who disagrees with them can just be forced to shut up.

We see the AFA and White Supremacist groups recruiting heavily, even as we see Christian Conservatives recruiting heavily across the same demographics, among the white men and women who look at the same complex world they don’t understand, but feel somehow that they have the inherit right to rule, and want things to go back to “the way they were”.  They want simple, they want a world that does not contain ideas they don’t understand or agree with.  They want gender roles they understand enforced on people.  They want those facts that do not fit their belief structure to simply go away, as if objective physical reality can be legislated because their myth says the world ought to be different than it is.

The Sons of Odin recruit from those who couch their denial of diversity in the myth of defending our culture from immigrants.  You know, I really get a kick out of that as a Canadian of European ancestry.  Do you see the “Sons of Raven” out there trying to protect the actual First Nations against us immigrant descendants?  Nope.  It seems in the Sons of Odin mythology, immigrants are non-white people, which would be more defensible if our First Nations people looked Scandinavian rather than Salish.

I am not a Son of Odin.  I am the son of James Thomas Mainer.  Soldier, construction worker, father, world traveler and deep student of human history and politics.

 

Dad and the girls 2

Dad taught me that you could not look at questions in isolation, that the “simple” solutions offered by historians in hind sight were usually complete BS.  You had to look at the politics, but the politics were driven by the economics and the history, and the history and economics are driven by the geography.  The “simple solutions” largely exist through the ignoring of facts that don’t fit in the models people wish to use, but reality does not care about how wonderful your model is; reality simply exists.  Deal with it or not, reality will continue, but your success or failure depends on your adapting to it, not how well you adhere to your model of how you think the world ought to work.

You do not succeed in life by ignoring facts that do not fit what you wish to be true.  You succeed in life by discarding those models that don’t fit the facts you can prove, and working towards a better understanding so your decisions are based on the best understanding of reality you can make.

My father understood fear, he just failed to let it rule him.  He taught me to listen to fear, like I listen to pain, or the weather report; as information to factor into my decision making, but not in any way the driving force behind it.

We live in a society that, on both the left and the right wings, has decided it is more important to be pure in doctrine, than grounded in reality.  We are living in a society that is beginning to give in to fear.

Fear of change.  Fear of that which we do not understand.

Listen closely, you can hear the howling of your ancestors that their blood should grow so thin as to fear to face the world as it is.

At no time in human history has so much information been available to us.  At no time in human history have so many been given the freedom to chose in so much of their lives.  No longer is the bulk of humanity little better than farm equipment, no more choices to make than the plow oxen.  Now we have the ability to choose, to succeed or fail in a thousand different fields of endeavor.  Now different genders, and even different levels of physical ability can each see a scope of opportunities to prove themselves and make their mark upon the world as NEVER before.  This is a time of unprecedented opportunity to build worth not only as individuals, but as societies.

Faced with the chance to build worth through choices, to prove yourself through word and deed in the greatest scope of opportunity that mankind has ever known, the voice of fear is whimpering in every corner “take away the choices, make it simple, I don’t want to understand”.

ISIS and the AFA both represent the naked face of fear.  Fear of that which they don’t want to understand.  Fear of change.

They couch themselves in language of power, because they MUST hide the core truth, that their message is weakness, is no less than the absolute and abject surrender to fear.  Fear the world is too much for them.  Fear they are not worthy to face the world that is, they must turn back the clock to a world that is small enough that they may stand and not feel like dwarves.

To the crows with both of them!

I laugh at their fear, and embrace change.  The world is vast, contains many wonders I struggle each day to understand, growing deeper in my love of this world with every new understanding.  When I die, I will still have drank only a sip, as did Odin, of that well of ever brimming knowledge, but until my last day I will be drinking as deep as I may of that knowledge, without fear.

I am not a Son of Odin, I am a follower of Odin.  I am a lover of this world, unafraid of the clash of ideas, proud enough of my own choices not to be terrified if another chose otherwise and is also proud.  I celebrate diversity, not because I am not proud of my own beliefs, my own heritage, but because I believe everyone should be free to be as free to do so as I am.

I am not afraid.  The world is vast, and I am small, but I stand tall as I walk up and down in the world, eyes open, ears open, mind open.  I will fight as hard as I must to make sure my children inherit a world in which they have the chance to eclipse my marks because the world offers for them more choices, not less.  When I look to the past, I realize every one of my ancestors that left stories worth retelling had one thing in common; they were all facing forward, moving forward.  Not one of them was trying to look or move back.

Mimir

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Current events, Uncategorized

Car is space, hope in sight

Space Telsa

There is a car in space, a Tesla Roadster, blasting Space Oddity on his car stereo, headed for the sun.  A billionaires commercial, a total waste of money, or should you actually care?

I care

This is Falcon Heavy, the launch system Space X used to launch a car into space.

Falcon Heavy

A purpose built heavy space launch system with an eye to economics.  This is a system for sustainable space exploitation.  A system so amazing that it actually recycles its booster rockets.  I mean they launch the heavy lift module into position for its escape burn, and then detach, and fly themselves home to refuel for next time.

Booster Landing

We gave up on Space a long time ago.  Saturn and Mercury were children of the Cold War, born from nuke carrying ICBM technology we got away from when we strategically shifted from one big warhead to precision targeted wide dispersal sub-munitions for a greater megadeath yield.  Really killing a city works better with scattered smaller explosions than one big one, and we got so much better at targeting that our ICBM became useless for he space race.

We had the Shuttle

Space Shuttle a commitment to visit near earth orbit and play with satellites, but without the heavy lift to ever dream of leaving the earth orbit, or the solar system.  Space was to be exploited using the idiot children of the Cold War, a Russian delivery system which accepted crude as a substitute for craftsmanship and whose strategic employment relied less on precision targeting than the unquestionable truth that close only counts in horse shoes, hand grenades, and really, really big nuclear weapons.

So space building and large scale support required relying on Russian cold war technology, leftovers of a nearly forgotten nightmare of humanity attempting to make itself extinct.

Soyuz

It worked, most of the time.  A good overengineered Russian system that can be made pretty amazing with western quality control applied.  Expensive, not exactly reusable, but doable for the work we needed.

Falcon Heavy is different.  Not a one shot military ICBM repurposed, it is literally the DC-3 of space.  It is not the new space F-35 amazeballs if it ever works superfighter, it is the C-130 Hercules general purpose, fly every damned day, workhorse cargo craft that makes large scale exploitation of space possible

F35B MCAS Beaufort

The Voluspa is a wonderful poem, an origin myth of the Norse people and promises us two things, the gods are doing everything in their power, even committing to die for us, to buy time.  The second thing it tells us is that our wonderful life bearing world has balanced between ice and fire since its beginning, and it will fall to one last searing burst of fire in the suns dying days, before spinning lifeless and cold in the eternal dark.

The gods promised to buy time, its for us to use it and get off this rock.  If this is where humanity exists, here and only here, we are a dead race awaiting the end date.  Extinction events are not uncommon here, and if we linger long enough the sun too has a best before date, don’t be here when it happens.

Space is not just a future away from earth, it is a promise of new frontiers, of resources found by reaching outward together, rather than killing each other over slices of an ever diminishing pie here on earth.

Space is hope for the species, and hope is not something you can get your people to in a Ferrari, it is something you can reach in a bus.  The Falcon Heavy is a bus, a space minivan, a general purpose utility lift vehicle that makes large scale construction in space possible, makes expansion outward again a dream that can fire us to do something other than this.

Nuclear Explosion

Falcon Heavy put a Tesla in space, a future based on technology for sustainable living on earth, rather than delivery of nuclear, chemical or biologic agents of city killing, as has been the history of our heavy lift rockets to this day.

A billionaire put a car in space, and yes, dammit, I care.

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Asatru, Current events, Heathen, Heathentry, Uncategorized

Swastika and Runes; Heritage or Hate

There has been a lot of noise lately about the use of runes in the Norwegian Olympic team sweater.  The objection is that two runes are displayed on the sweater, Tiwaz and Elhaz, the runes for Tyr/victory and elk/protection, had been used by the Nazi’s for certain specific groups and programs (leadership school for Tiwaz, and birth/death announcements for Elhaz).

Olympic Sweater

The Norwegian Olympic team is drawing upon its cultural heritage to call for a “Attacking Viking” on the podium, calling upon their team to be motivated in a similar way to Canada’s own “Own the Podium” program.  This is drawing on what is to them, their own heritage as a positive motivational force.  Some wish to point to the fact that the Nazi’s used runes for bad things, and some Neo Nazi groups have latched on to various runes for their own mis-use, but in no way have any of the runes ever been known commonly and only as symbols of hate groups.  There is a legitimate use of these for the Scandinavians as cultural symbols.  Yes, some racists will continue to try to steal the glory and worth of the symbol for their own perverted uses, but it is clear they are trying to pervert something they don’t own.  The runes are a part of our heritage.
The Swastika is different.  We lost that one.

 

The Swastika was used by Neolithic Indo-Europeans, Vedic Hindu and their offshoot Buddhist cultures in antiquity as a symbol of sun/luck/good fortune.  It was not a major cultic symbol during the timespan our surviving lore was collected and had very limited use in the rediscovery of the faith itself in the last century.

 

The Persians, Hindu, Buddhists continue to use some form of the swastika even today, but then again, they did not experience the horrors that this symbol came to represent in WWII, so in their cultures, it maintains a small, clean, almost forgotten niche; whereas it has burned into the hindbrains of the sons and daughters of Europe and North America.  It had been forgotten by Europe, by the turn of the last century, and it was exhumed in a most terrible way, and for a most terrible purpose.

It was however identified by the forefathers of racial identity politics in Germany.  The groups that began the movement that would culminate in the rise of the Nazi party associated the Swastika from their very beginning as a symbol of their political/racial identity, a symbol of the pure German Folk-soul.  This was a symbol to them of the very doctrine of racial purity that would be the drive behind the greatest crimes of the Nazi party.

 

Adolf Hitler adopted the Swastika for himself and the Nazi party from its inception.  He made it the symbol of his vision, and for the first time, it became synonymous with a single political ideology, a single philosophy.  This was not the worship of Sunna, the life giving sun.  This was not as a symbol of life and luck, prosperity and fortune; no this was a very clear and defined thing.  The Swastika was the symbol for the vision of a pure German Race, united under fascist rule, with a racial destiny of conquest and rulership of all lesser races.

 

In Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler wrote:

 

“I myself, meanwhile, after innumerable attempts, had laid down a final form; a flag with a red background, a white disk, and a black swastika in the middle. After long trials I also found a definite proportion between the size of the flag and the size of the white disk, as well as the shape and thickness of the swastika.”

 

The Swastika went from being something a handful of obscure scholars could argue about, to being a household name, a symbol whose ownership, provenance, and purpose was known by all, both those who supported it, and those who opposed it.  Never has any symbol been more clearly defined for eternity by the deeds of a single generation.

Those deeds would be soaked in the blood of tens of millions of innocents, by the blood of innocent Germans first and foremost, but the blood letting would spill across all of Europe, Afrika and half the seas of the world.

 

In the generations since the Nazi’s were defeated, the swastika has been taken up again and again, not only in Europe, but on our own shores.  This has not been done by Heathen groups quietly practicing their faith, and the honouring of the sun goddess, but loudly in the streets by White Supremacist groups espousing the racial hatred and violence that marked the rise of the SA/SS Nazi street thugs in 1930’s Germany.

It is clear that the Swastika is most commonly invoked not by those who wish to worship the light and life giving sun, but those who wish to worship hatred and the blood soaked racial purity visions of histories most blood soaked madman.

 

There are groups out there who like to talk about “reclaiming” the swastika, about “taking back” their cultural heritage.  These groups often have cute little version similar to the Swastika enough to evoke its spirit, but far enough away to allow plausible deniability.  These groups also generally use the same folk-soul language and racial destiny language that you can read about in Hitler’s Mein Kampf, the stirring speeches written by Goebbels, and the propaganda films of Leni Riefenstahl.

Those who are taking up the Swastika now are very much carrying on the vision of the Nazi party, and those working to “reclaim it” are either innocent dupes, or far more commonly, very cold calculating propaganda masters, with an overarching vision of transforming the identity of European descendant peoples through the conscious reshaping of national/cultural symbols and faith.  This is the vision that gave us the success and the crimes of the Nazi rise in Germany, and we saw in the breakup of Yugoslavia that its modern adherents look to the same methods to achieve the same results.

We cannot, must not, and by all the gods shall not, remain silent and see such things happen on our shores.  The Swastika is tainted for all time.  It will never be clean again, it has been successfully coopted by the dogma’s of hatred, by the blackest desires of humanity for power-through-fear, and will forever serve as a loadstone for evil.

I will support the continued battle to take back the runes from those who would miss-use them, for they are ours and I will not permit their loss to racist scum.  In the same breath, I will sadly say that the Swastika is lost to us forever.  It is now and for all times a symbol of evil.  The first and only time it rose to burn into the consciousness of whole nations, and the whole world it was as a symbol of knowing and deliberate evil.  This has changed its meaning for all succeeding generations.  The Swastika is about hate.

Stop serving the ends of racist scum by attempting to cover their pathetic attempts to dress up their evil as anything related to our culture, or our faith, by letting them spur you on towards “rehabilitating” the swastika.  The only purpose this would serve in this, or any foreseeable generation, is empowering the rise of this known evil another time.

Tearing Swastika.gif

https://globalnews.ca/news/3997432/norway-olympic-sky-team-symbol-nazi/

https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007453

 

 

 

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Asatru, Current events, Heathen, Heathentry, Uncategorized

Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister and Traitor

There are few greater charges in Heathenry than Oathbreaker.  Few greater crimes to any soldier or citizen than Traitor.  Yet, we who have served as soldiers in the Canadian Armed Forces, have offered our bodies and our time, our blood, sweat, tears, and entrusted our honour to the direction of Canada’s Prime Minister and Parliament, have found that we have given that service not to the Right Honourable Prime Minister, who stands in service to the Canadian people for the honour of Her Majesty the Queen, but we have instead been expendable resources in the service of a liar to whom oaths, duty, loyalty, honour and law are only things that make pretty speeches, and earn poll points, not actual pledges that must be obeyed, or binding agreements.

 

At the 100 year remembrance of Vimy Ridge, our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau stood on the field in which thousands of Canadians bled and died for their nation

 

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/vimy-ridge-battle-100-anniversary-wrap-1.4062848

 

Trudeau’s speech at Vimy Ridge

 

“Think of it, for a moment.  The enormity of the price they paid”

 

They paid in full.  In WWI, on Vimy Ridge, the four divisions of the Canadian Corps fought for the first time under their own leadership and direction, and did what no other nation on earth could do.  We broke the Germans at Vimy Ridge, and won our place in the sun as a great nation, no longer a British Dominion, but a nation with its own seat at the international table.  For this Canadians have paid in blood in every generation.  68,000 dead in WWI, 47,000 dead in WWII, over five hundred in Korea, and over 1800 dead in various peacekeeping operations world wide since 1947 (excluding Korea).  The wounded tend to outnumber the dead about three to one, counting only physical wound based trauma.

 

Lord Borden, Prime Minister of Canada during the First World War, the campaign that would see our finest fighting and too frequently falling, in the mud if Vimy Ridge, Passchendaele, Ypres, the Somme, gave us two famous speeches.  In the first, to Parliament on the eve of the Vimy campaign he vowed Canadian soldiers

 

“need have no fear that the government and the country [would] fail to show just appreciation of [their] service.” The Prime Minister considered it Canada’s “first duty” to support the troops and he promised them that none would have “just cause to reproach the government for having broken faith” with its men.

 

To be completely clear, as the dead and broken of the conflict mounted into a cost more terrible than any in the history of our nation, or our Empire at the time, the question of Canada’s commitment to its wounded was specifically addressed to Parliament, to the House of Commons, the representatives of the Canadian people, from the mouth of our Right Honourable Prime Minister

 

The “maimed,” “broken,” “the widow and the orphan” would each be protected because, the government re-assured its soldiers, “Duty and decency demand[ed] that those … saving democracy [should] not find democracy a house of privilege, or a school of poverty and hardship.”

 

Not just our wounded, but the families of the fallen would be cared for, reguardless of cost, as they have paid the ultimate price for this democracy, for this nation, and as we love both, so must we match that cost paid in the blood of our finest with the lesser coins of honour, respect, and material resources of one of the greatest and most prosperous societies on earth.

Back then, we had Prime Ministers who deserved the title of Right Honourable.  Now fast forward to Stephen Harper, the Conservative who pioneered the expendable Canadian Solider, who stopped the collection of statistics he didn’t want to answer for (want to know the Canadian Veteran suicide rate? so do we, but unlike the US, no Canadian leader will have to answer for statistics we stopped collecting).

Justin Trudeau during his campaign promised a real change.  In his own words:

“A Liberal government will live up to our obligation to Canada’s veterans and their families. We will demonstrate the respect and appreciation for our veterans that Canadians rightly expect, and ensure that no veteran has to fight the government for the support and compensation they have earned.”

Justin Trudeau Promise

I name him liar, traitor, oathbreaker.  Those were his words, that was his oath.  These are his deeds.  He took over as Prime Minister, and directed Crown lawyers to battle against Veterans Rights advocates who were demanding the promises about care for our veterans actually be followed through.

A recent PPCLI veteran asked our “Right Honourless” Prime Minister a why his government, rather than honouring the promise of his office, the Prime Minister of Canada, or of his own person when running for office in the last election to see that promise kept, is fighting to break the promise, and not spend what is needed and owed to care for those Canadian veterans and their families broken in service to our great nation.

Trudeau’s answer to why his government opposes Canadian Veterans in court asking for Canada to honour their commitment to care for their own veterans who had been wounded in service to Her Majesty’s Canadian government, acting under the direction and orders of her Prime Minister.  This is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s answer.

Trudeau Oathbreaker

“Because they are asking for more than we can give right now”

 

Those are the words of our Right Honourless Prime Minister

Right Honourless Justin Trudeau

Do not fall prey to the distractions of waving the false flags of the Kadhr payment, or this or that pet project, aid package, or social program that one political faction or another wants to link to this issue.  Consider simply this.

 

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

 

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved, and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders Fields.

 

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders Fields.”

John McCrae

 

We have broken faith.  Our dead may not rest.  The torch is not fallen from our hands, the men and women who even now put their lives, their skills, dedication and honour as an offering to the great Canadian people have not failed their watch, nor their test.  It is we, we the people of Canada who have failed our defenders.  We failed those who served in their pride and power and came back broken, we failed those who served in life, and fell down into death in the sure and certain knowledge that their sacrifice was not in vain.  We failed those who gave their sons and daughters, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers into our service, and received them back either broken, or in flag draped coffins.

The Right Honourless Prime Ministers, in succession from both sides of the political divide pose over the graves of our dead whose sacrifice they defecate on, pose in front of the serried ranks of our proud men and women whose bodies they will expend to buy poll points, and whose wreckage they reguard as safe in the current political climate to ignore, as their polls indicate that outside the month of November, Canadians can be counted on not remembering our politicians had oathed in their name to care for.

They shall not sleep , though poppies grow, in Flanders fields.  In Kandahar,  Korea, Cyprus, Syria, Congo, Kosovo, our dead stir.  Spirits who rested sure and certain that though they fell, they could trust that we who remained would see their brothers and sisters cared for, their dependants cared for, the oath we gave in exchange for their life blood, kept; these spirits stir now for our leaders oathbreaking denies them even their rest.
Shame on our leaders for making it so, but greater shame on each and every one of us, FOR WE LET THEM.  One after the other we teach these leaches that they may break faith with our living defenders, our dead, and those who gave their health and power to our service, and we will reward them for it.
Damn you Justin Trudeau, Stephen Harper, and in fact every Prime Minister since Lester Pearson first whored us out for his political prestige.  Damn us for letting you.

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Aesir, Asatru, Current events, Faith, Heathen, Uncategorized

Courage and the draft

Invictus

The world came to Toronto in 2017 to see the Invictus Games.  This is the single most Heathen sporting event in existence, and one of the most important to me.  The Invictus Games celebrate the athleticism, drive, and determination of our wounded warriors, our soldiers who marched away to war in our service and came back less than whole.

More than the Olympics, the Invictus Games celebrates those who have had the courage to overcome, who have dared to meet the harshest blows of this world and to rise again, unconquered, and claim their greatness.

70. It is better to live | than to lie a corpse,
The live man catches the cow;
I saw flames rise | for the rich man’s pyre,
And before his door he lay dead.

71. The lame rides a horse, | the handless is herdsman,
The deaf in battle is bold;
The blind man is better | than one that is burned,
No good can come of a corpse.

Our gods teach us that wyrd weaves as it will, there is no judgement in it.  Wounds do not steal your worth, nor do they steal from you the chance to continue to build it.  Wounds are not shameful, but rather the markers of the challenges you have faced in your life.  If you faced your challenge well, then the scars are marks of hard won pride, not shame.

The Celt believed only the whole and perfect man could be King, that somehow a scarred King would wound the land.  The Norse believed almost the opposite; for the accepting of the cost of your service marked you as a man or woman who was worthy of the power in their care.  Odin gave his eye for wisdom, Tyr his hand to show the worth of his word was more than his sword arm, and Thor bears still the millstone in his skull that battle chanced to put there.  There is no shame in bearing wounds, or loss; our highest gods bear their scars and wounds openly, and dare us to do the same.

This is the reality of the warrior culture so many Brosatru miss while swilling cheap beer and boasting of their guaranteed place in Valhalla, based on little more than mead hall boasts and heavy metal lyrics, rather than any deeds of service to the folk.  The reality of a “warrior culture” is the acceptance of loss as a cost of life.

Our whole people lived with this.  Women bore their children in the sure and certain knowledge that many of them would die, and that each birth, they too might die.  Farmers, fishermen, and craftspeople understood that when they took up their tools, a single mistake or mischance could cost them limb or life as surely as any warrior of the line of battle.

We lost that.  Our medicine has been a boon to us, for which I thank the gods and ancestors every day, but it came with a lie.  The lie that we are immortal, that death and injury are banished, and if they should confront us in our lives with their presence, then we have been betrayed!

We have been betrayed only in the teaching of that lie, and this treason we commit to each generation, making them less able to cope with the hard things wyrd weaves for all of us in our turn.  Loss of a loved one, loss of health to chronic illness, loss of limb or ability to serious injury; some or all of these our children will face, prepared or not.  Our only choice is that last one; do we prepare them, or not?

My middle daughter was the one who was most likely to follow me into the service, as she inherited the temperament I had from my father, and he from his.  This will not be anymore as she suffered a permanently disabling spinal injury when rear ended by a truck.  Just eighteen, and permanently disabled; to what extent, we will not know for a while.

Back Pain

I first encountered life changing injury during my time in the Armed Forces.  I volunteered to make of my body an offering to the folk, hoping to offer only my time, dedication and skills, but aware that I could also be offering my health, or even my life.  We don’t really think or talk to much about the various ugly places between hale and whole, and valiant dead, as the middle ground is far scarier than either of the extremes.

You don’t think so?  Well, perhaps when you have seen enough death, and enough crippling injury, you will realize that the dead do not have anything to fear, but the living often do.

The athletes of the Invictus Games are important to us because they bring back pride, power, and most of all, VICTORY to those whom wyrd has woven permanent loss of limb or ability due to injury.

Most important of all Odin’s bynames is Sigfather; Victory-father.  It is not death we fear, for death waits for us all, and can no more be run from than can the coming night.  It is defeat, loss, and the humiliation that attends each that we fear, it is powerlessness, despair, and the shame attendant on weakness.

We are our deeds.  These words ring through modern Heathen practice as the root, the central tenant we all share.  Some understand the whole culture of building worth, and have the full lexicon of terms by which we know how what we do shapes how both we think of ourselves, and how our community thinks of us.  Judgement is a truth we accept;  like gravity, denying it does not make it go away, or make for wise decisions through pretending its not there.

The disabled are left with the corollary of this.  We who have always measured ourselves and found ourselves worthy based on the number and power of our deeds must find ourselves worthless in our own eyes when the chance to do those deeds is stripped from us by fate.

Suicide rates do not come from no where, they come from a despair that looks upon a life and sees no worth in it, nor potential for worth in it.  This is where the disabled are most vulnerable, in the sense of worth that should be the greatest source of their strength.

Our ancestors understood this.  They did not expect the wounded to battle for the same things, or the same standards as the whole.  They expected them to contribute, to give their all and to build worth in the doing; they literally could not understand the mindset that rejected the reality of a lost limb and judged the wounded person by the standards they met when fully able and whole of body.

The lame rides a horse, hand-less is herdsman.  You cannot build your worth through the deeds of before, but there are other deeds you are well suited to meet, other needs of the folk that you can meet.  No one accounts Tyr or Odin as less worthy due to their loss, rather they look upon their deeds in spite of that as inspiration to drive them to find their own greatness with the body and ability they have now.

The soldiers of the Invictus games were volunteers to the field of battle, but they were drafted, as it were, into the ranks of the disabled.  Those of our children, siblings, spouses and friends who find themselves struck down by disease or accident are likewise drafted into this challenge.

The soldiers of the Invictus Games are assumed to be courageous, as they volunteered to risk their lives and health in the nations service.  The truth is, they are among the most vulnerable.  No one who has not served can know how much it shapes you, how the awareness of giving one hundred percent of your ability and strength, to achieve a mission at all costs, and know that you are operating at a level most will never achieve even fleetingly, changes you forever.  Once that is stripped from you, you are not returned to the civilian you were, you are simply a soldier who can no longer live up to the image of ability that had become the pillar of your self identity.

We lose a lot of wounded warriors, which is why the Invictus Games came to be.  The Sig-Father, our father Odin, is not just the Battle Glad, he does not simply love us for the clash of arms, and the feast for his ravens that are the fallen.  Odin is the Victory Bringer, the Wise Counselor, the bringer of inspiration, poetry, and the wisdom of coping in all its wondrous, and wondrously flawed forms.

It is time to heed his counsel, to bring back Victory for our wounded, for our disabled.  Time for them to not hide their scars, empty sleeves, or wheel chairs, but to wear them as proudly as any medal, for they are the spoils of the victor, the survivor, of the strong.

Wyrd weaves as it will, there is no judgement in it.  One of my favourite words when it comes to living with the bad things that happen in life is FISH.  Short for “Fuck It, Shit Happens”.  The gods have never judged us by our success or failure, they have judged us by how we face our challenges, and how we meet our responsibilities.  Victory in the battle is Odin’s to give, but victory in your challenge is YOURS to take.  Who wins or loses may be beyond your strength to decide, but how you meet that challenge is beyond the power of any god, Queen or President, beyond any Parliament or law, it is literally only your own decision that will or can determine how you meet that challenge every single day.

Stop letting the memory of what you were steal from you the chance to find out what you can be today.  Stop mistaking the wound that wyrd wove into your life as being the results of your battle; it is not your loss, but it has changed the nature of the victory that is yours to win today.  Heed the Victory Father, if you are still breathing, you have not lost.  Find your victory conditions, and fight for them as hard as you did when full strength and speed were yours, and you will build your worth not only to yourself, but to the world.

My daughter will never be as she was before the accident.  She is not now weak, nor should you pity her.  She has much less strength and flexibility than before, and will pay a price for each breath and each step that would make a strong man tremble, but she will pay it, because she is not done yet.  She is not beaten, has not accepted defeat as written in her wounds.  I hope I can help her find the ways to define her victory conditions so the will and drive that made her so strong and capable again become a positive, rather than a weapon to use to hurt herself.  The strongest and most able among us are the harshest in punishing themselves when wyrd takes from them the ability to meet their own standards.  My daughter is strong and proud as ever I was, and I hope less foolish.

Odin, Victory Father, I ask your blessing that you teach our wounded ones how to define and fight for their victories every day of their lives, that when they chance to fall, their lives will shine with worth, and their deeds will be many days in the telling.  Tyr the most holy, as you understood the choice between your honour and your power could have only one answer, help those who have had much of their power stripped from them to understand that honour is still theirs to win.  Thor, defender of mankind; laughing god of the common man and woman, please teach those who have been laid low by fate to rise again, to laugh again, and to strive again.

No one volunteered to be wounded, to be broken.  Those who are disabled to a man were drafted into this state, and yet this does not mean that they do not possess courage!  Those who rise each day to a struggle greater than the whole may know, and frequently for stakes far less rich than the whole compete for, require more courage and more strength to rise each day and do battle.  To those who rise to this every day, may the Victory Father be with you always.

Heed the lesson of the Invictus Games,

Invictus Motto

 

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Asatru, Current events, Heathen, Heathentry, Uncategorized

Frith Forge Report

Frith Forge

I get that this is my blog, but sometimes I have to admit, that other peoples words really are more important, and today I am going to share Amanda’s.  She is a friend, a colleague, and one of those amazing women that make Heathenry worth practicing.

What is Frith Forge?

 

Inclusive Heathens/Asatruar gathered from around the world in Werder/Petzow Germany October 5-8, 2017 for our international conference, Frith Forge! Representatives from Germany, USA (including Deitscherei), Norway, Sweden, Denmark, United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland, Spain, France, Switzerland, and the Netherlands attended. Those of us who could attend became (in true frith and friendship) a council of elders, organization leaders and international representatives, Stewards, Clergy, academics, and curious individuals. Discussions were outstanding, highly intelligent, inspiring, joyful, intense, deeply respectful. We created a healthy fertile ground from which future collaboration can grow from robustly and with warm enthusiasm. For me personally Frith Forge was an enriching, magical, deeply meaningful, and transformative experience of the highest magnitude. I am inspired to permanently continue to offer my support and build upon what we have started. Even our most skeptical of guests reported back that it was “mind-blowing”. We created a powerful connection among us that we will nurture with conscious and ongoing collaboration in our “working group” that we may decide to formally establish as an umbrella organization to support inclusive Heathenry/Asatru initiatives. Frith Forge inspired a stronger sense of community and strengthened fruitful collaboration among our inclusive organizations. Frith Forge was not just a one-time event. It is an on-going initiative that supports our inclusive ideals and so much more. Come join us.

 

Organizations/groups formally represented at Frith Forge included:

 

The Troth (USA based/international), primary sponsor. Verein für Germanisches Heidentum e.V (VfGH) (Germany), co-sponsor. Distelfink Sippschaft (USA). Alliance for Inclusive Heathenry (USA). Asatru-EU. Forn Sed Sweden. Eldaring (Germany). Åsatrufellesskapet Bifrost (Norway). Asatru Schweiz (Switzerland). Asatru UK (United Kingdom). Pagan Federation, Deutschland (Germany). Pagane Wege und Gemeinschaften (Germany). Ár nDraíocht Féin (ADF) (USA based/International). 9 Werelden (Netherlands). Nordisk Tingsfællig (Denmark). Ásatrú Ibérica (Spain). The full program can be viewed online at https://events.thetroth.org/frith-forge/2017 also gives summaries of the other excellent presentations and biographies of presenters.

 

The vision of Frith Forge was received more whole-heartedly than I anticipated. Frith Forge was an idea that came out of The Troth’s International Relations and Exchange Program. We wanted to have an international conference. Building on that I envisioned that it should be an international conference among INCLUSIVE Heathen/Asatru organizations and individuals that should meet in frith and build alliances. Once at Frith Forge we gave a lot more power to the impressive shift away from the angst of “You’re doing it all wrong. You’re not the boss of me.” to the frithful and curious tone: “This is how I do it. How do you do it?”. The Asatru-EU and others at the International Asatru Summer Camps had begun that shift prior to Frith Forge. I am so grateful we were able to build upon that foundation. Gods we need more of that in the USA and in online discussions! We need more of that everywhere. Frith Forge was particularly successful in bringing together the inclusive American and European Heathens/Asatruar. In the future I hope to see groups and individuals from more countries able to engage in person.

Though most or all of us in attendance have “been around a while” we all still learned a lot. It may take a little while longer for us to start articulating exactly what it is that we learned. I can’t emphasize enough how inspiring this conference was. I brought with me and shared the concept of “Social Vaccines” that protect us from and reduce implicit and explicit bias. A concept I learned from an amazing woman I work with, Nilanjana “Buju” Dasgupta, Director of Faculty Equity and Inclusion, and Professor of Psychology at The College of Natural Sciences in The University of Massachusetts. Earlier this year I attended her Distinguished Faculty Lecture on the concept of “Social Vaccines” and shared it at the beginning of the Round Table discussions at Frith Forge. In exchange I learned that it worked, the social vaccine and our dreams for Frith Forge worked!

 

From my personal perspective:

 

Frith Forge is probably the most meaningful and worthwhile Heathen/Asatru event I’ve ever been to. Some highlights for me included Diana Paxon’s presentations at Frith Forge. She masterfully described everything I wish I could articulate. Stay tuned for the video of her new presentation “Balancing on the Rainbow Bridge: How to we reconcile ethnic pride, inclusive ideals, and Heathen traditions?”. I am deeply grateful for Haimo Grebenstein’s masterful ritual leadership and work prior to and for Firth Forge and The Sacred Sites Tour of Germany that followed. The rituals were amazing and transformative. Everyone who attended was so interesting and cool 😉! I am grateful for Rob Lusch Schreiwer’s leadership in The Troth. His hospitality and dedication are deeply appreciated. I’m grateful for all of you who supported Frith Forge in person or in spirit from your homes, and those who will continue the work we have done. Looking ahead I’m particularly grateful for Robb Lewis for spearheading the “working group” and potential umbrella organization that is developing from this so that our efforts and connections are nurtured and maintained as effectively as possible.

 

Will there be another?
As Frith Forge should be “rare and special”. Perhaps once every 3 years. Details to be determined.

 

What does this mean for Troth members- or why should the regular individual troth members care- what’s in it for you basically? How can you get involved?

 

You might have attended Frith Forge or will appreciate the videos of Frith Forge presentations that will be posted online. Perhaps you would like to join us online and chat with many of the attendees of Frith Forge and many other Heathens/Asatruar from around the world by joining The Troth’s IREP discussion group on Facebook or join us in person at the International Asatru Summer Camp July 28-August 4, 2018 in Jugendherberge Eifelsteig, Gerolstein, Germany .

 

You might also appreciate reading the recent article in The Atlantic, “What to do when racists try to hijack your religion”. This article mentions Frith Forge and includes interviews with Hilmar Hilmarson, Frith Forge speakers Diana Paxson, Ulrike Pohl, and Karl Seigfried. The article reflects on one of the reasons why we created Frith Forge to begin with. This article also speaks of Karl’s Frith Forge presentation, “A Better Burden Towards a New Asatru Theology” which includes a call for inclusive Heathens to write original theological essays which he will edit and compile into the first international anthology of the public theology of Heathenry.

 

Hopefully soon we will all be benefiting from some books translated into English from other languages and vice versa. This is in ‘the works’ stemming from our Frith Forge working-group. Or maybe you have or will enjoy future tours like the Sacred Sites Tour of Germany. The Troth is always appreciative of volunteers who would like to engage to help us make a difference. If you would like to volunteer you can contact me as The Troth’s Volunteer Coordinator at Volunteers@thetroth.org, or AmandaLH@thetroth.org. I also recommend staying connected using the IREP Facebook group or contacting me directly as Program Coordinator for IREP at IREP@thetroth.org. Let us know what’s going on in your area, and any ideas you would like to see made a reality. Let’s continue to engage in Frith together. Like my new friend Solveig from Germany said: “In a strong community we can ward off heavy storms – like the one that rampaged over our heads (at Frith Forge)”.

 

In Frith and Service,

 

Amanda Leigh-Hawkins

High Rede Member

International Relations and Exchange Program Coordinator

Officer Liaison

Volunteer Coordinator

New Steward for Western MA, NH, VT, ME

www.thetroth.org

 

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Current events, Heathen, Heathentry, Uncategorized

On women, gays, immigrants and others who dared to succeed; calling out the cowards.

Calling out the Cowards

 

You know, the inside of my head is a strange place sometimes, I do understand that.  I am a thoroughly modern man who is deeply and passionately committed to the progress both of our science, and our society.  There is no arguing the fact that the bedrock of my essence would be as home in a water filled slit trench with only my FN at hand and firing arc before me, or telling tales around the fire in a tenth century hall, sword draped on the bench beside me.  Odin forces us to look at ourselves often, and be honest about what we find.  Its a hard habit to break, and causes you to apply the same standards to others.  It makes me look at what people are saying from two distinct points of view.  The modern one hears the words, knows the context and what part of societies dialog each side is spouting.  The ancient one strips away the pretty words, and lays bare the arguments.  Some arguments stand strong, others become farcical, or worse clear lies, when the pretty wrapping and glamour is stripped away, and only the core truths remain.

I look at rhetoric from the left, from the right, from the religious conservatives, from the social activists of so many different stripes and when the glit and glamour is parsed away, there is one common thing left lying on the table, the heart of the majority of all sides arguments.  It lays before me like a turd, and the truth from it rises like a stench.  Fear.

 

Never had I thought there was so much cowardice driving our society.  Cowardice, behind the shouting, behind the screaming, behind the threats.  Not righteous indignation, not a passion for justice, not religious zeal, but pathetic pant-wetting fear.

 

Why?

Freehold Oath Ring

I look at my dog tags, they mark my service, the honours I have won, the duties I have completed, the traditions I shared with all those generations who served in their time before me.  I try to understand how my dog tags could be changed if another person in uniform was a woman, or gay, transgendered.  I hold the stamped aluminum and stainless chain and note no magical changes.  Just to be sure I check my fathers dog tags, and my grandfathers identity disk, and note they are likewise unchanged.  It seems what others are called to serve has no effect on my service at all.    The tags of the women I served with weighed the same, I imagine a number of those I served with were gay, I don’t really know, or care honestly, we were there to do a hard job well, and could give a rats ass who you relaxed with in your down time.  The tags of the gay’s would, I suspect weigh the same as mine almost as if it made no difference at all, these gender and sexuality issues that are supposed to be such a dire threat.  I know for a fact that we had atheists, heathens, pagans, Christians, Muslims, Jews, Sikh, and Hindu, as well as Innu and Aboriginal members.  Oddly enough, that didn’t make a difference either.  It is almost like you have nothing to fear from someone being different from you, it will not lessen your honours, your accomplishments, or your duties if those who won the same through the same efforts were in some particulars different than you.  At the end of the day, we got the same terrible coffee, which we sipped in the same Melmac cups, shivering in the same cold and damp, sharing the same stupid grin because somehow we all chose to be here, and it seemed like a good idea at the time.

 

I look at my arm, still strong, my bank account…….well a lot less so, but the pay going into it is stronger than ever.  I look at women, immigrants, open homosexuals, people of different races and religions than my own succeeding, and I look again.  Oddly enough, my arm is still as strong, my pay still as healthy, it is almost like no amount of success by another person takes anything away from me at all.

Why then the fear?  Why the howling hatred?

 

A woman attains a position that none of the speakers had sought, or were qualified to hold, and whose previous holder not half of them could name, and now suddenly the manhood of every person in the room is threatened by some woman thinking she can serve in a position of power.
Just to be sure, I took a ruler in to the bathroom for my next leak and assured myself that my penis was not actually diminished in any dimension by a woman achieving a high social, political, or economic position. I checked again later when it was in full deployment, and yes indeed the success or failure of women had zero effect on the might, majesty or general sense of fun of my penis.  What then is the fear that seems to grip so many men that a woman succeeds at something other than looking decorative and raising kids?

 

I took a look at those homosexuals we are supposed to be scandalized about.  Not hard, I have lesbian friends, gay friends, and they fall in the married, unmarried categories about as evenly as the straight friends, with a smaller amount being divorced; most likely due to the lower length of time you could be legally married, so I expect the divorce stats will catch up within a generation.

 

I have carried out exhaustive research, and I can only conclude that two lesbians, or gay men having sex in their own bedroom with their own spouses in no way affects my sex life with my wife.  Not for better or for worse, its almost like its none of anyone’s bloody business, any more than what is going on in the bedrooms of my heterosexual neighbors.

 

Why the fear?  Why the terror that “gays are getting married”.  Unless you are a member of that community and your fear is that you lack formal wear, or dislike having to thumb through the bridal registry to find an appropriate gift, I really can’t see it affecting you at all.

 

I hear the same bile being spewed by the left, quick to attack any person who can’t tick at least six different boxes in the ethnic/linguistic/gender/orientation/raised by bonobo monkey in vegan commune forms.  Again, so terribly threatened that someone who does not self identify as a transgendered Martian wombat with a gluten allergy might succeed and somehow magically take away……honestly nothing from anyone else.

 

Enough with the cowardice.  Be honest.
Those who are screaming “whore” at a woman for the crime of succeeding in a man’s world do not really think she took their job away.  She took away their excuse.  Her success does not take away a single accomplishment of theirs, she simply makes them afraid to look in the mirror and admit that they are not proud of their own accomplishments at all.

 
The bitching about women in the military, gays in the military blah de blah de freaking civilian COWARD bullshit blah.  Here is the thing, we are an ALL VOLUNTEER force, and we go to war.  People who serve for any length of time lose cartilage, gain arthritis, a series of disorders relating to pushing your body beyond its limits for long periods of time exposed to conditions which are unsafe, and materials that are flat out dangerous.  We get people who come back less than whole, and people that come back draped respectfully in flag draped coffins.

MAIN-MAIN-Nomi-Golan

One female IDF soldier, one crowd of religious fanatics.  One soldier, and the only possessor of functional gonads in the whole crowd.  Literally, there is NO man there her equal.

What we don’t get?  Volunteers.  No seriously.  Recruitment is never keeping up with demand.  Why are you bitching about should women be serving in the combat arms from your sports/titty bar seat.  Did you get your candy ass down to enlist?  No, then shut up.  That woman/gay/trangendered whatever the adjective SOLDIER chose to serve, made of their body, skills, and time, an offering to the nation of their birth, and you didn’t.  You find that when you look in the mirror you feel that seeing a woman, a homosexual, bisexual, transgendered person to whom you would like to feel superior is actually performing to a level higher than you hold yourself to, now makes you look in the mirror and be less impressed with what you see.
Not their problem.  Your problem.  Deal with it, and leave everyone else out of it.

 

You see a woman rising to levels of career success that you didn’t have the skills, the education, the drive, the follow-through to achieve and you look in the mirror and choose not to ask why you didn’t, because it takes courage to face the fact that you just didn’t want it as badly, or didn’t prepare as well, or honestly never thought about stepping outside your comfort zone long enough to risk everything to try.

 

You see women daring to have the same sexual freedom as men, and expecting to be able to share the same level of consequence as those men (who have a 0% accidental pregnancy rate from casual sex), and what?  Do you think them having birth control pills will raise your chance of getting pregnant?  I was raised in the Bible Thumping capital of farm land but frike nowhere, and we did not hold with sexual education classes, or birth control.  No sir, we lead the country in teen pregnancy and had STD rates that made New York’s club districts look safe.   Sex is a constant, consequences are variable.  Disease is unnecessary, generations of teenage mothers dropping out of school to raise the next generation of teenage mothers who will drop out of school is unnecessary.  Poverty, shame, and the horrible treatment of the resulting children are unnecessary.

 

Having a woman choose to make sexual or reproductive choices other than those you would make does not take anything away from the choices you made, except perhaps in your own eyes.   Children make mistakes, adults should be doing their best to make sure they don’t ruin or lose their lives over it.  Teenagers have adult drives, child level experience in making choices, and no the results should not kill them, nor leave them caring for children before they ever had the chance to find out what kind of life they could have made for themselves.

 

Final note on the whole “sacred motherhood” bullshit; I actually do think motherhood is sacred, and yet I have significant experience with how the good “God Fearing” people react to a breast feeding mother, or someone who has to (god forbid) change a diaper.  The pro life crowd only seem to care about embryo’s; they sneer/jeer and even spit on unwed mothers, and are not exactly supportive of mothers or fathers who actually are caring for their babies on either incoming or outgoing ends.

 

One again, it seems that the reality of the birth control question, abortion question, and indeed sexuality questions (LBGT or even just hetero non-monogomous) all boil down to how threatened people feel that someone can dare to chose other than they did.

Fear.  Outright cowardice.

Someone else’s career success, relationship success, family planning choices, spiritual path, and dietary choices have NO AFFECT on me.  They do not take anything away from me.  I don’t lose my ability to enjoy a steak if my boss down the hall is a vegan.  I do not make any less money if the black guy who was born in Trinadad before coming here makes more than me.  I am just as safe when the hands holding the light machinegun are male, female, gay or straight.  All I care about is that they are trained and motivated.

 

Stop giving in to the fear.  Its time to grow up, nut up, and shut up.  Your life is your own, your choices and consequences are your own.  Some people lucked out into better opportunities, and I wish them the best of luck with them, I will play the card’s I am dealt, and play to win.  Some people got a hell of a lot worse starting hand than I did; I didn’t deal it to them, and wish them the best of luck with it.

 

If you are threatened by the happiness of someone else, I don’t care whether it is personal, professional, spiritual, or whatever, you aren’t actually angry at them, you are angry at how their happiness makes you feel about yourself.  A coward will lash out at the person reminding them that they don’t love themselves.  A brave person will look in the mirror, find out what it is about themselves they can’t love or can’t face, and deal with it.

Stop making your fear of your own failures everyone else’s problem.  You aren’t even being honest about who you hate.  Its not that immigrants succeed that scares you, its that you failed.  Its not that a woman succeeds that scares you, it is the truths about why you either didn’t or couldn’t do the same that scare you.  Stop making your fears everyone else’s problem.

 

Live your life, love your choices, own your struggle and be proud of your own journey.  When we sit around the fires, listen to the tales of others and take pleasure in their tales, knowing that they do not take away anything from your own.  Be ready to tell your own in turn, because you chose to make of your life a story you won’t have to be ashamed to tell to anyone.  Be worthy of pride, and you will not fear that anyone else can say the same.  I wish all of you success in your life. I really do.  Your success costs me nothing, your happiness costs me nothing. I wish you long life, success in love, and no I don’t give a rats ass what you look like, or who you love.  It doesn’t matter.  My beard will be as bushy, my arm as strong, my mead as sweet, and my wife as curvy.  Its all good.

Enough with the cowardice, own your own damned lives and quit whining about other peoples.  They are not your problem, and if you had the balls to admit it, you would be dealing with your own problems not creating unnecessary ones for everyone else.
The world gives us enough real struggle, enough real pain, and few enough chances for anything resembling a good outcome.  Stop screwing up what good we have, just because you are terrified to look in the mirror and find that you might not be proud of what you see.  Fix you, leave everyone else to their own struggle; really, they have enough trouble on their own.

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