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

Tears on the Flag

215 unidentified Aboriginal students found in mass grave in Kamloops BC Residential School

Forgive me if upon the day I cannot raise the cry
I cannot sing the shining praise
Nor raise my banner high
The mother of our land is weeping
Heavy are her tears
The dead are crying in their graves
Hidden all these years

To all of us who marched away
Made war under her name
Her tears demand to know
Who stood on guard
For my first born
When you stood on guard for me?

I love our nation best of all
I am her proudest son
Yet I hear her weeping for her first born
Those we stole and threw away
You cannot raise the banner high
When it flies on unmarked graves
Her tears will keep that banner furled
Until we give justice to their name

Our nation is a promised land
A land so strong and free
Yet we built it on the broken bones
Of little children we took away

Forgive me if I cannot sing
The anthem on the day
Not when so many bones are screaming
In their unmarked graves

The day will come we raise the flag
Salute again with pride
But first we must bring justice
For all the innocents who died

Our motherland weeps on the banner
For her firstborn cast aside
Until we make it right with them
We have no right to pride

An Aboriginal child taken into the Canadian Residential School program was more likely to die than a Canadian Armed Forces Soldier in WW2

I will not be celebrating Canada Day this July 1st. I will be pouring out my offerings to the hundreds of Aboriginal Canadians ripped from their families, murdered, and thrown away in mass unmarked graves in a program that ran into the 1990’s, under the auspices of the Canadian government, the Catholic and Anglican Churches.

We made a successful attempt to kill an entire group of cultures, languages, and ways of life. We set out to destroy family structures, community structures, traditional beliefs, and we didn’t care how many Aboriginal children had to suffer or die as long as whatever remained was only capable of speaking English or French, only capable of praying to Jesus.

We didn’t care if they got sick, got beaten, got raped. We didn’t care if they simply got taken away and forgotten. The forgotten are being found as today’s technology is capable of finding the sins of the past we buried in unmarked mass graves that we like to pretend belong to Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia. They are Canadian. We did this. We were doing this while most of us were alive, and the survivors of this are all around us, continuing to be treated far worse by our criminal justice system and social services.

We live in the richest society on earth, with a constitution and charter of rights and freedoms that calls upon us to fulfill the dream of a society in which all are treated equally and well, no matter their race, religion, gender, or orientation. Yet not everyone gets to be part of this dream, those who were here first, those who welcomed our ancestors to this land now have communities that are so poor and bereft of the services that all of us take for granted they look like they should be on some other continent, not a short drive down the highway. We have the harsh statistics that show being born Aboriginal is to never be treated fairly by our social safety net or criminal justice system. We have mass graves of a cultural genocide that was willing to accept actual genocide as the cost of wiping out Aboriginal culture.

I love my country, but I will not celebrate it until we have made this right. We made a promise with our constitution, with our Charter of Rights and Freedoms that whatever we may have been when we were founded, we came together to demand something better, something fair, just, and harmonious.

I won’t salute those colours again until I see us live up to that broken promise, until those mass graves have seen justice done, when the survivors who have had their culture, their family and community structure stolen away have received our aid in rebuilding.

When the motherland no longer weeps for her first born children lying forgotten in unmarked graves, I will salute the colours again. Until then, the flag hangs heavy with the tears of the motherland, and the dead lie awaiting justice in the cold earth that was the only homeland we left them.

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

Old Fashioned Yule

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Hundred Bloody Yards


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Cpl John T Mainer, Retired

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

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

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

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

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

Pretend you were worth it.

Lest we forget.

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Aesir, Asatru, Current events, Heathen, Heathentry

Blighted Blossom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Aesir, Asatru, Current events, Heathen, Heathentry

Empaths: Service Message from Thor

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

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

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

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

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

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

He failed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s OK, really it is.

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

So, what are you going to do with it.

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

Now take that power and do something with the rage.

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

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

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

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

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Current events, Heathen, Heathentry, Uncategorized

We the People

 

They have bought and sold our country

They have bought and sold our law

In the House they call the peoples

Smiling whores one and all

They kill our hope with rubber bullets

Smash our dreams with their batons

Let us die in hundred thousands

Just to protect their precious Dow

Sell our sons to die for foreigners

The precious trade of blood for oil

Send the troops to smash the natives down

If they dare defend their soil

But the rage is rising strong in us

We are taking to the streets

If we have to wash the flag with blood

By gods we’ll see it clean

You sold our children’s future

Then left us for the plague

Gave the law a hunting licence

Let them hunt us down like dogs

But the rage is rising strong in us

We are taking to the streets

You stole and sold the land from us

But we are taking back its soul

Blind the press with rubber bullets

Steal our voice with poison gas

Beat our elders down with riot clubs

Covered face and covered badge

Your masters promised no consequence

When they turned you on your kin

The thin blue line of jackboots

Who forgot who they defend

But the rage is rising strong in us

Not divided black and white

We are come to take our country back

We the People here to fight

–A poem dedicated to all of those fighting for the soul of your country, and a tomorrow where black lives, indigenous lives, LGBTQ+ lives actually do matter to authorities as they do to us.

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

Wolf Age

Fenris Wolf, the destroyer of all life, the harbinger of the end strained at the fetter that bound him. He heard the rumbles, the whispers, the screams of the human world.

Sword age axe age wolf age. Brother slays brother, oaths are broken, treason wears a crown, the tree of life shivers and even the fetters binding him tremble and weaken.

With a mighty heave, Fenris breaks free. Storming to earth, he seeks the mightiest of nations, that it may tremble before his wrath, feel his hunger, his never sated rage.

To the United States he comes. Down he goes, to a land he can feel in his bones is the champion of this world, and a champion at it weakest, ready to succumb to the godslayer, the wolf of endings.

He drinks the air and a low growl takes him. Plague ravages the land, and rage, so much rage. He drinks it like the scent of a prey’s exhaustion and fear, the hunt end promise. He seeks the crowds he hears. He would make them scream, make them bleed, drink their terror as he ended their nation.

Yet, everywhere he went, fires burned. People already savaged each other, although to his nose they stank of the same tribe and folk.

Seeing a defender of the land, a gold shield upon his breast, he stalked forward, only to see this gold shield defender blast the sight from a defenseless child’s eyes, then shoot a pregnant woman. Fenris snapped his head off as he passed, unsure if he was helping or harming.

How do you destroy a nation whose defenders war upon those they protect. Who is the herd, and who the protectors when the sheep dogs ravage the flock, what is left for the wolf to do.

Drinking in the tear gas he smiles, and pads off in the direction of the hottest struggle. He feels the kill urge, the shining nobility of spirit withering under the hatred and rage. Here he will strike.

Yet who will he strike. Oh the protectors again are falling upon their own folk, Rage now on both sides, and shame, fear, hopelessness, yet still others strive to defend the folk, so few of them bear the shields of the defenders Fenris begins to wonder if he is wrong and they are somehow not all one folk as his nose and spirit tells him.

He sees a column of trucks of the defenders, bright shields and challenge sirens blow, and they rush to the crowd. Fenris lets his throat go back and howls his defiance, at last to face a challenge worthy of his fangs.

Then the vehicles plow into the herd, killing their own, before backing and retreating, cowards and murderers both. Others catch one of the vehicles and force it over, finally lighting it on fire.

Here and there a defender actually defends. Here and there one of the masked ones actually destroys. On all sides all swear they are defending, but to Fenris eye there is no difference between them; one folk destroying itself. Who is there for him to slay, what god, what champion, what leader is there for him to test himself against?

Kicking over one of the flashing light vehicles in disgust, he feels the pathetic patter of their barking weapons, unable even to ruffle his fur and he does not bother soiling his fangs on them. Lifting his legs, he lays them low with a blast of piss too good for child slaying dregs, then stalks back to the rainbow bridge and his island.

Odin was halfway down the bridge, spear in hand for the final meeting at the end of days, but Fenris is too disgusted with the utter failure of the night.

“Relax, one-eyed lord of war. There is no glorious struggle no valiant meeting of champions for us to end the word in. Just stupidity and waste. I am going back to my island. Rouse me again when they figure out who their enemy is, because right now there is nothing I can do they will even notice. They are already destroying themselves.”

Odin led him back to his island and resealed the fetter that bound him until the end of days. Fenris looked at him and glared.

“At the end of days, I will kill you, and you will never know if you saved those fools or not. Having seen them tonight, I wonder if you aren’t luckier not seeing what they do with the chance you buy them.” Fenris almost laughed.

Odin snarled but had no answer for the wide white grin of the wolf.

I wonder if we have one.

—–Ragnarok or the end times myth of the Norse is preceded by an age of strife, where brother turns against brother, oaths are sundered, peoples war with themselves, and all the ties that bind us to each other are thrown away.  Then comes Fenris to begin the Twilight of Gods and Men, the end times.

Those who should be defending the people are going to war against them.  The forces of “Law and Order” are operating outside the law, bringing only strife, disorder, and spreading both hatred and plague, division and rage with ever blow.

We are doing the wolfs work, or at least our leadership is.  We need to do better.  As long as justice is something that is extended or withdrawn at a whim, it is not justice at all.  As long as only some of our folk are protected, but not others, due to their skin, their gender, their sexual preference, their politics or their religion then we are not a free folk, but an occupied one.

Yes black lives matter, native lives matter. Until this is practiced not just promised, no one gets to say all lives matter without choking on the lie.

Fenris Wolf II


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

Two Gods Meet in a Bar

Two Gods

Outside the crowd cleared from the protest and counter protest. Loud had been the shouting, violent the clashing, and utterly absent was anything resembling community, communication, or reason.

Odin stared into the dregs of his cup, rage bitter upon his tongue. In a voice that rasped like a blade upon a whetstone he spoke.

“Nine days and nights I hung upon the tree that I might steal learning for my children. Gunlod’s wood and bower I dared that they may know inspiration. A century or more I walked this world to teach them hospitality and how to build a community beyond family or tribe, and now they use my runes for hate, my name chanted by the wilfully ignorant as they tear apart the communities their ancestors built”

Jesus sighed and touched Odin’s glass, and blood red wine filled it to the brim. He nodded as Odin drank deep and sighed deeper.

Jesus spoke like the call of a trumpet on a clear morning, yet his words echoed with sadness and pain, not glory and hope.

“I hung from the cross, and three days burned that my children should be free of judgement. I walked among them for years to teach them to feed the hungry, house the poor, cure the sick and in my name they destroy food for the homeless, profit from sickness, and turn my churches into businesses that take what little is left to sell hope to those they took everything else from, all the while condemning all those I asked them to raise up.”

Odin laughed, a cold gallows sound, and signed Laguz above Jesus’ glass. Rich golden mead filled the glass, and Jesus drank deep like it was his last supper.

In the corner, two women were venting.

“The police destroyed all the food, and gave us another fine” Said the younger one.

The elder responded “We fed twenty before they did, and they didn’t get all the blankets we gave out either. I am sure we can get enough donations to cover the fines. Does this mean you won’t be back next week?”

The younger one slammed down her glass and replied hotly

“They aren’t stopping us! It’s not right. No one should go hungry when there is enough to go around. No one should die on the streets when we can make a place for them!”

Odin and Jesus eyed the women, smiled and turned back to their drinks.

Jesus whispered softly

“They didn’t all forget”

Odin responded

“So we continue”

—-I wrote this piece over a year ago, when the war on the poor was the face the Trump administration was showing to us.  Now it is the war on the disenfranchised, an open war on people of colour, and everyone who dares to stand with them.  This is perhaps more needed than ever.

May the gods help us learn to live with each other as fellow citizens, as one people, not let us be turned against each other so that we may easily be exploited and used by our true common foe.

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

A Hero Comes

Kings

I was sick and tired of politicians and weaklings telling me the freedoms so many died for should be given up because some pansy got afraid of a cold.  I knew the times called for the courage of our Viking ancestors, and so I sought to get approval for ending this false imprisonment of a lock-down from the holy gods themselves.  I went to the witch of our kindred.  I asked her to see for me, to see if I would be heard if I sought the High Ones for guidance.

“Tell me seeress, what do the omens say.  Will I be heard?  Will I see the High Ones, and place my question before them? “  I asked, ready to lead the fight against the lock-down, given the Victory Father’s blessing.

The Seeress stared long and hard into the vastness only she could see, then cast the runes before her almost negligently.  She looked upon them as they fell, and laughed.  She looked then to me, turning swift as a striking adder, and told me thus.

“When you stand before the High one, thrice will sound the call, ‘A HERO COMES!’, then shall you know your answer, from the gods, and from the lips of the valiant dead, the einherjar!”  She cackled, and cackled until a cough took her, that wracked her body like a storm, and caused the scarf she wore over her face to flap like a raven’s wing.   I of course, wore no mask, because I am not a coward.

I bowed to her, to thank her for her service, and strode home to prepare myself for the ordeal.  Three days I went without sleep or food, only black coffee to keep me awake, and I cast myself loose upon the winds of the soul, to let my spirit ascend up Yggdrasil to Asaheim itself, to the fields where the gods themselves do sport.

There it was I saw two gods playing cards, with a goddess beside them, watching, laughing, and graving notes upon a tablet in her hand.

The Sigfather, Odin himself brooded as he looked at his cards, then pushed a set of golden rings into the center of the table.  Loki Laufeyson smirked as he looked at his card, then pushed carelessly two twinkling jewels to match.  Saga, goddess of story and song chuckled and shook her head, knowing whose hand was indeed the stronger, and saying naught.

Striding before the three high holy ones, I bowed deeply and waited to be recognized.

Loki glanced at me first, and the fire of his gaze roared through me like every dream I ever had twisted into a single knot of flame, tearing through my mind.  I cried out and fell to my knees.

“Aren’t you supposed to locked down or something?  I was sure your mortal Jarl said something about that those little talky boxes you use”  Loki asked mischievously.

Picking myself up from where only my lack of flesh had kept me from spilling my guts of all the bile in them, such was the ravages of Loki’s casual gaze, I summoned my courage, and rose to face the holy gods and lay my defiance before them as offering of my courage.

“It was a politician who ordered the lock down, my lord, not Odin’s.  I seek the will of the gods, and him who is Father of Victory as to the rightness of this lock down.”

 

I trembled at the audacity of my words, but I saw Odin himself glance up from his cards, before Loki burst into laughter.

“Of course it was not Odin who locked you down.  Take my word for this, when Odin locks you down, you stay locked down whether you like it or not.  I should know.”

Loki laughed again and shook his head, I turned to make my plea to the Victory Father, when he spoke, and his voice sounded like the death knell of nations, like the fall of hope itself.

“SILENCE, a hero comes”  Odin spoke, and his living eye blazed with cold fire that froze me in terror that made me glad I had no flesh to shame me with its reaction.

One came stumbling forward, dressed in blue medical scrubs, a mask hanging from her neck, rough wounds on her face showed where such had rubbed her nose raw, bruised her cheeks like blows of an abusers fist, and her eyes were two dark tunnels into Hel’s own realm.

Loki cast his cloak about her shoulders, as Odin pressed his own horn into her hands.  Saga it was who took her by the shoulders, and guided her past the two gods, who bowed as she passed.

“Drink deep, drink deep child of Eir, for your fight is over, and your watch complete.  Know that in this place no sickness like you fought, no sickness like felled you at last, may blossom, and all that it stripped from you in life shall be restored.  Come to the hall of your mistress, and tell me of your story noble hero, the battle you fought so long and well”

I felt the shame, that I remembered mocking those who called those healers heroes, when they stood weaponless, and faced an enemy too small to even see.

The Sigfather turned his single eye to me, and glared.  He seemed to be waiting for me to muster the courage to speak my defiance, my call for his support to break the shameful lock-down.  As I screwed up my courage to speak, Loki spoke instead, and his voice was a thousand whispers and screams woven together, causing me to tremble in fear at the hearing.

“Silence!  A hero comes”  He said.

 

An old rail thin trucker wandered up, jeans, button down shirt covered by an open vest, an armoured corps ball cap pulled down low over his eyes and a lit cigarette dangling from his mouth.

“Well that could have gone better.  I guess I bet wrong again hey?”  The old mans grin was unapologetic as he looked at the two looming gods.

Odin spoke, asking him a question in a voice like low rolling thunder.

“Did you know what you were risking, dead man?”

The old man adjusted his hat, then wiggled his hand from side to side as if to say “yes and no”

He dug his work boot toes into the soft grass of the Asgard field almost embarrassed.

“Well its like this,”  He said. “When it all started, I figured it was just a flu, don’t be such a baby about it, so I didn’t really pay attention.  Someone has to drive truck or nobody is going to have anything anyway right?  Then some of the guys from the Veterans group started to get sick, and a few died, and I guess I took it a bit more serious.”  He grinned, giving that the lie.

“Thing is,” The old man said, looking suddenly serious. “I got nobody really left.  I mean I have a cat, but that old bastard has half the females in the apartment building feeding him on the sly, so I don’t figure he’s going to miss a meal if I croak, but some of the guys, they got families.  It’d be a hell of a thing to take this back to your family.  I mean, someone’s got to do the damned thing, but I figured it ought to be someone who hasn’t got as much to lose.  Besides, not a chance a disease named after a light beer going to kill a drinking man, so I figured I was safe.”

Loki grinned, grabbed the old man by the arm and pointed him towards a hall that rang with loud voices and drunken singing.  “Lets see if we can’t wrap you around something a little stronger than a Corona old man, and you can tell me a few more lies”

 

I felt the shame in me, like their losses made my bold words suddenly taste like dung in my mouth, dung and foolishness.  Odin again turned his eye to me, as if daring me to speak.  I writhed beneath his gaze like I hung upon the tree with his spear not his gaze through me, until he spoke and freed me.

“Thrice this is, a hero comes”  He said in a voice as fell and terrible as the last echo of an sniper’s shot.

 

I saw who came, and old woman, scarf hanging down around her face, a face drawn and tired in ways I hadn’t allowed myself to see.  A face I knew for years, a face I counted as kin to me, and more precious to our community than I realized until I saw her shade approach me.

“One last time do you journey, little mother.  In honour of your service all the days of your life, If you can answer one question for me,  I will answer one question for you.”  Odin spoke now as the Wise Counselor, not the Battle-glad.

My own seeress, my own priestess, she who sent me upon this journey struggled to kneel before Odin as he stood tall as a tree, unmoving as a stone.

“Ask me your question lord”  She said, and her eyes held no fear or doubt in their rich brown depths.

Odin asked “How did you come to your wyrd, for did my seeress know not what awaited?”

She looked at me and smiled, then turned to Odin and raised her arms and voice in defiant pride.

“Took my doom where I earned my bread and my worth both.  I cleaned at the hospital every week for the last twenty years.  I will be dead a hundred times before I will leave that task to another just because it got dangerous.  I was careful, I did everything right, and still it got me.  What is your wyrd, even the gods must bow to, there is no shame in that, and no victory in running from it.”
Odin laughed, booming thunder that drew answering lighting to split the sky, and the flashing light threw back a shadow of the insolent maiden who found Odin in her heart before I was born.  He placed a hand upon her head, in blessing and spoke, still chuckling.
“Well were you asked, and well did you answer seeress.  Is there a question you would ask in return?

A second time, she glanced at me before turning to the Victory Father.

“Victory Father, I ask, now that I am fallen, who is left who can serve my community, who can teach those who grow restive that it is not time to venture beyond the walls where arrows they cannot see will leave them only nameless and meaningless corpses for your ravens”

 

I threw myself to my knees beside her and took both her hands in mine.  I turned to face the All Father, to see him extend his own ring that I may join my own hands to the seeress’ on the first of all Oath rings and speak my pledge.

“Upon your soul and my own do I swear, I will teach those who grow as restive as I, who would be as foolish as I, to stay locked down, to keep our distance and take all measures we are bid, that those who died to buy us time will not be dishonoured by our foolishness.  I swear before my gods, my ancestors, and before you my seeress, you will not fall in vain.”

Odin drew her to her feet, and I know not where he took her, for I fled back to my flesh as if I had wings greater than his own ravens.

Heroes had fallen to buy us time, heroes would fall in numbers beyond bearing to buy us time, and to keep food on the table, power in the homes, and fighting the desperate fight to save who can be saved on the front lines of the disease.

It fell to us, to the living, to make sure the number who fall are no greater than they must be, that we who survive do the hard necessary things to preserve those the fallen died serving.  It is not the courage to beat your chest, and wave your gun, but a far more terrible courage, a far steadier, colder courage like that of our ancestors before we won the great gift of our medical science.

 

 

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

Ghost Story

[Trigger warning, this is a ghost story not about long ago and far away, but here and now.  This is about a reality we are all having to adjust to.  This will be something a number of us are going to have touch our lives way to closely.  Stop reading now if this will cause you injury]

I had been working on the loading docks, keeping the medical supplies coming in for the hospital. We were having to be so careful handling everything.  It took longer, gloves and masks, they were hard to work with, and they got torn sometimes.

At first we didn’t take it that seriously, I mean, we didn’t see sick people, the rules were just a precaution.  Then some of the crew started to get sick, and our regular drivers started getting replaced.  Then it was no joke.  The supplies started coming up short.  The news was getting pretty bad.  I guess they weren’t keeping up inside, I mean, the hospital was going full bore, but we kept seeing the doctors, nurses, and techs looking like a thousand miles of bad road.  Stumbling around like zombies, faces looking like they got beat up, and too tired to care.

You don’t get used to seeing them, the docs, the nurses.  Standing in the doorway, cigarette hanging out of their mouth, tears streaming down their face, no expression at all.  They finish the smoke, put on their mask and stumble back inside.

I guess that is when we realized it was not just another bug.  Hours were getting long, because our crew started to get sick.  First Benny, then Tomas, then…..me.

I have been sick before, but this just took it out of me.  I was so tired, then the cough wasn’t so bad.  I thought I was getting better.  I went to sleep feeling OK, but when I woke up, I could barely breathe.  I stood up and collapsed, as soon as I was standing, I started to cough and blacked out.

I came to in the truck. One of the reefers.  What the hell was I doing asleep in the back of a 53 ft refrigeration truck?  I got up, I screamed.

“Hey, what the hell, who dumped me in a goddamned truck!”  Then a few things hit me.  I could yell, I had no trouble in my throat or chest.  I was dressed in my work clothes, high-vis vest and boots, even though I swear they had to cut my boots off me when I collapsed.

I wasn’t cold.  I was in a refrigeration truck, and I wasn’t cold.  What the hell?

I saw a cigarette light up in the truck, and by its light I saw a dumpy old woman, probably in her sixties.  She looked a little apologetic as she waved the cigarette in the air.

“Figured it out yet?  Sorry about the cigarette.  I gave them up almost twenty years ago, but I figured it couldn’t hurt, considering our circumstances”  She smiled and gestured around me.

Oh god, we were sitting in a refrigeration truck filled with DEAD BODIES.  I opened my mouth to scream as I tried to jump off the package I had been sitting on, now that I knew what it was.  I fell, and in the darkness, somehow I could see the tag clearly.  A name.  My name.  My body.

I started to cry, but the tears wouldn’t come.  I guess, I was figuring out I didn’t really have eyes anymore, so the dark didn’t bother me, but I couldn’t cry anymore either.

“What is going to happen to us?”  I asked.

The woman smiled sadly.  She chuckled then and lit a second cigarette to pass to me.  I guess its not like I have to worry about cancer anymore, so I took it.

“I used to be a school teacher, when I was alive, so you will forgive me if I am a bit pedantic.  Did you mean us, our bodies, or us as in”  She waved vaguely at the us that was standing amidst the corpses smoking the ghost of a cigarette in the cold fog of the make do mobile morgue.

I shrugged, I was curious about both.

She didn’t seem at all surprised as we started to drive away.  She pointed at me and shook her finger.

“I am guessing you don’t have any family close, or if you do they aren’t really all that well off financially, yes?  I know my ex wouldn’t care I was alive or dead, and certainly wouldn’t lift a finger to pay for burying me.  The rest of my family, well, we lost touch.  Back when I could still touch”  She looked sad briefly.

I spread my hands and told her “Look, I have a family OK, but it takes everything I have just to keep a roof over my head and my sisters.  She has kids to look after, and without me I don’t even know how she is going to keep them looked after.  It’s not that nobody cares, its just, you know, we only got so much.”

The woman nodded.  We rode in silence for a while, until a few more of the people began to rise out of their body bags and the woman went to talk to each of them.  For once, I didn’t have to listen to lectures about no smoking areas.  Being dead, I guess you learn to cut each other a little slack.

We were taken to a field set in among some trees.  Our bodies were put into caskets and stacked in a large trench.  The man behind me, a tall thin man in what remained of a rumpled suit began to get angry.

Drone pictures show bodies being buried on New York's Hart Island amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in New York City

“That isn’t right.  Stacking us like that, dumping us in a big trench like so much garbage!”  He yelled.

Another man started laughing, his face oddly relaxed.  He was older than any here.  He smiled and it was enough to make me step back, even dead.

“They buried a lot of soldiers that way, when it got bad, and the living didn’t have a choice.  Waste time on the dead, and join them, or bury them double quick, and make sure they didn’t die for nothing.  Honestly, if they had time to fart around now with us, somebody is screwing up”

I could see a few people agreeing with the old vet, but I wasn’t no damned soldier.  I was about to object when the old woman touched my shoulder and spoke to all of us.

“I spent the last weeks like everyone else.  Alone.  I had screens between me and all of you.  I could have been in the next bed, but you know, I never saw your face.  I didn’t see the nurses faces, the doctors faces.  We were all alone.  Right up until the end.  We were all together in this struggle, but we were forced to face it alone.

We don’t have to lie alone.  I like the idea that all of you will be with me.  We don’t have to be alone anymore”

She was smiling.  She was dead, but she wasn’t scared.  Somehow that made it OK for the rest of us.

I watched them put our bodies in the ground and cover us.  I looked back and half of us had disappeared.  The rest were standing around looking confused.

One of the girls, about sixteen or so by her looks, tugged at the old woman’s arm and asked her.

“Isn’t there like, someplace we need to go.  Is someone going to come and get us?”  She sounded a little worried, like she was keeping a handle on it, but it was beginning to freak her out a bit.

The old woman laughed, and patted her on the arm.

“Oh its alright dear.  I have someone, but she wanted to let me have some time to make sure all of you were OK.  If you want to come with us, she can make sure you get where you need to be.  She has never failed our kind.”

Behind the old woman rose a figure, taller than any human.  The face she turned to them was corpse pale, slack lipped with a cold dead eye that seemed to strip all the colour from the world and leave in its place a world of cold mist and shadow.  Completing her turn, the tall woman’s other half was revealed, fair as a maiden proud as a queen, and the last and final mercy any could know.

She extended a hand, and the young girl took it.  Together, they followed her into the mist, and out of the world.

Hel in Shadow

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