Uncategorized

Being Heathen

We took an insult hurled at us by Christians, and claimed it for our own.

 

Noun derogatory

noun: heathen; plural noun: heathens

1.

a person who does not belong to a widely held religion (especially one who is not a Christian, Jew, or Muslim) as regarded by those who do.

synonyms:          pagan, infidel, idolater, heretic, unbeliever, disbeliever, nonbeliever, atheist, agnostic, skeptic; archaic paynim

(https://www.google.ca/?gws_rd=ssl#q=Heathen)

 

We had a word, Asatru, that meant true to the Aesir.  Not being a perfect word, it failed to include the Vanir, and lent itself better to Icelandic or Scandinavian based practice than Anglo-Saxon, Germanic, Germano-Slavic, Frankish, Frisian or other Germanic Neo Pagan folk ways.  Heathen had come to the term that our community used to differentiate ourselves from the Wiccans and other Neo Pagans.  Inside the Pagan community it had come to be the term both sides used to divide our two groups into separate encampments beneath the polytheist umbrella.

 

There are a lot of parts to being Heathen, some of which are easy to see, and some of which are easy to miss.  It is described as the religion with homework, for we take our lore seriously.  We are not a people of the book, like the Christians or Islamics who practice a dead faith; one that begins on page one, ends at the back cover and will never contain anything that is not already written.  We are however a people that read books.  From the lore to archaeology offering us new insights into the lives of our ancestors, as a group you rarely find a community whose lay people have that much depth of scholarship on various levels of their faith and ancestral cultures.

 

We are a living faith, which means that each community is busy coming together, celebrating, and continuing the traditions of our ancestors in ways that fit with their own communities needs and experience.  There isn’t really one right way to do it, and a whole lot of lore allows you to assert with some degree of foundation a wide number of mutually excluding things.  We argue a lot about them, partly because we love the lore and get attached to the meanings and lessons we have taken from it, and partly because the love of argument seems built into the community at almost a genetic level.

 

You can be a solitary Heathen, and lots are.  Not all are so by choice.  Most agree that Heathenry has elements that can only really be experienced in a flesh and blood community.  Living Heathen means that you understand there is a sacral purpose behind what we do when we come together.  Hospitality is the highest form of magic in that it binds strangers into friends, friends into kindreds, and kindreds into families.  A ridiculous amount of our lore concerns hospitality, and the use of it to build, correct, and maintain relationships.

 

Heathens understand community and worth in a way that modern peoples are suffering for forgetting.  We understand as our ancestors did that community is not an abstraction, it is a deliberate construction, and act of will and faith that takes the wyrd of many people and binds them through common cause so that the success or failure of the collective is enjoyed, or suffered, by all.   You can look at this on the symbolic level as how our kindreds function, and the purpose of our oaths and the sharing at sumble, or you can look at this on the practical level on how our physical communities either prosper or not based on the degree of cooperation and commitment to collective effort they demonstrate.

 

We understand worth.  Our post 1960’s culture enshrines self worth, but psychologically we suffer from the gap between our own self worth, and the worth we are held in by various definitions of community.  It can be as disastrous and destructive to be outwardly held in high esteem while you feel a crushing guilt or shame, as it is to be held in contempt or mocked when your own deeds and conduct has been nothing but upstanding.  Where your perceived worth by others and your self are at odds, you will feel it.

 

Each decision we make will establish our worth in those who see it.  This worth will be judged by the standards of that particular community based on its understanding of your relationship and the duties you held.  A given act can be seen a hundred different ways, by a hundred different slices of the community.  One person, one act, all specifications agreed, yet a hundred different understanding of how that affected your worth.  You can be held in high esteem, moderate esteem, contempt simultaneously by different parts of the community for exactly the same deeds.  Our ancestors understood this, our own generation struggles with this, believing our intrinsic self worth should be exportable to all our communities in some magical fashion.  So far as I can see, this has never actually worked.  People will judge by what they see, based on the standards they hold.

 

Heathens talk a lot, but we back it up.  We tend to do a lot of things, as once we decide we support something, we pretty much have to translate that support into a concrete action, or admit we don’t really support it at all.  For this reason many of us have served in the military, and have or do volunteer in many areas of the community.  We offer real things, rather than Facebook support for those things that we acknowledge are important.

 

We judge.  We judge and we don’t even pretend that we don’t.  Justice is depicted as blind, holding scales.  This means justice is supposed to be blind to the differences between us, and weighing only the evidence.  Heathens function in a similar way.  You will find more acceptance for gays, lesbians, transgendered, or other marginalized peoples in Heathenry than almost anywhere else, and outsiders are always shocked.  We are not the kindest or gentlest folk, we argue constantly and are quick to take offense more often than we should.  We really do hold to part of that old silly word, Asatru.  We judge above all things your adherence to this one simple question.
Are you living true?  True to yourself, true to your gods, true to your beliefs?

That above all we judge you for.  I will grant you that the vegan pacifists in our community may sound like an odd fit, but they are living true to that belief in the face of a community that compares firearms as they swap BBQ recipes, and that takes some real strength of commitment.  You show that you are living true to your ideals and we will judge you; judge you to be of great worth.

 

We disagree on language, on definition, on the names of the gods, who is to be worshiped, how they are to be worshiped.  We can and will argue anything, if you don’t believe me, someone right now is arguing that we don’t argue and utterly failing to see the humour in it.  The gods forgive us much for the laughter we bring to them, even if much of it is unintentional.

 

I have never felt prouder to be Heathen than when our great community from sea to shining sea, ignoring national borders altogether, came together as one to denounce hatred in Declaration 127.  Racism, sexism, homophobia; regardless of the mask it wears, the promotion of hatred against our fellows is hateful to the gods, and unacceptable in our communities.  We came together and denounced this spreading of hate in one voice. We are a fractious people, but I love our community as I love my own family, my sacred ancestors, the wights of the lands and waters, and the holy gods themselves.

hamaval-127

By in large, we get it right.  We could do a better job at many things.  We need to be better at recognizing the worth of our women as evenly as we do our men.  We need to be better at keeping division and hatred from sneaking into our community and turning worthy hands against each other.  We need to be better at realizing the other side of any given argument has reasonable cause to believe they too are correct.

 

We get a lot right.  We don’t’ care where you came from.  We don’t’ care what you look like.  We care that your deeds match your words, your oaths are kept, you come to raise the horn with us in open and honest love for the community and the teachings that bring us together.

Someday I hope we will get over the knee-jerk reaction against national organizations.  We are moving into the main stream of our society and collectively we have a voice that will be needed to defend our rights against those who first turned the word Heathen against us as not only a perjorative, but as an excuse to attack.

 

Our gods left us no single book telling us how to live today.  They left us with lore that shows us how to recognize and care for important relationships.  They left us with lore that shows us how to live justly, honourably, and successfully in a world that can be harsh, cruel, and heart-stoppingly beautiful by turns.  They left us the understanding of how to look at the world, recognize our duties, and shape the question.  It is for us to show our gods, our ancestors, and our descendants what OUR answers will be.

 

I am a Heathen.  I love this world, for all the pain it has given me, it has also given me love and joy beyond measure.  The spirits of this world sing to us if you have the ear to hear them.  The ancestors whisper to us, if you have the patience to listen for them, and the gods stand beside us as we face the challenges in our lives, witnesses to the choices we make.  This life is ours to live, our decisions and consequences our own to make and to bear, but we are all connected.  From the first sacred ancestor, to the last of the descendants yet unborn.  To be a Heathen means to accept a definition of self that stretches beyond your skin, a definition of place that extends far beyond both your birth and your death.

 

I left offerings to my house wights when I rose, poured out onto the earth of my place firsts and best of my coffee.  I live largely joyfully because of the Heathenry that has shown me how the bits of my life weave together, how my worth is built in the ten thousand daily decisions that most people never think about at all.  I travel far to be with my community at every opportunity to raise a horn, and join our voices together in celebration as the connections between us do not just bind us together, they heal not only ourselves, but our connection to the lands and waters that our cities tried so hard to strip from us.

At a certain point in your practice, you will no longer be able to separate your life and your practice.  Above all else, this is what our ancestors had that I wish to reclaim.  I study how they lived not because I want arraigned marriages for my daughters, or to settle my interpersonal disputes with a battle axe, and related weregild discussions, but because I wish to grasp even imperfectly how they saw themselves at a time when they could conceive no other way than living in harmony with their ancestors, their lands, and their gods.

 

Standard
Asatru, Current events, Uncategorized

Responsibility for Hate

torture-victim

 

I understand that people are looking at the deeds of the worthless scum of various ugly corners of our society, the pure acts of hate, acts that show a complete and utter lack of acceptance of the humanity of those they target, and it is easiest to point to the bloodied hands and seek answers for the deeds there.  That is clean up and damage control, that is not solution, that is putting band-aids on the bullet wounds.  The real loss or victory happens before the trigger pull, before the gun is picked up.  Let me share with you the lessons that were shared with me.

 

The UK and Canada have agreements to allow members of our forces who wish to emigrate and continue to serve the Crown.  Basically, you can transfer in rank and grade, but you must complete basic training in the new Army so that you and those who will be in your chain of command share a common frame of reference.  By this requirement we found ourselves with a precious asset on our basic training, we had Sgt Reynolds, Recce trooper with tours in Northern Ireland under the British flag, and various fun spots of Africa under the UN.   Given a long history of counter-insurgency work, both low intensity and high intensity, we would have expected an attitude fairly extreme towards the shooters, bombers and front line insurgents.  What we got was something far different, and a far more complex understanding of how hate works, and where it can or can’t be fought.

 

Now for those who are offended by harsh language, fuck off.  You are not going to have the capacity to accept the stark truths presented to young soldiers by old soldiers who had seen the truth not through media lenses but through their own eyes year after year.  I will give you his words, as he gave them to us, because they deserve to be heard as they were, not as anyone might “pretty them up” and lose much of their essence in the doing.

belfast-throw_1945081i

“You see some fucking 14year old with a rock or a Molotov and a mask, and you just know some poor squaddie is going to have to put a bullet in him eventually, hopefully before he kills a bunch of poor fucks just trying to have a normal life and family, knee deep in someone else’s bullshite.  Can’t do shit about that.  No one can do shit about that kid, he died about seven years ago on his grandmother’s knee when she whispered in his ear about crap that happened a hundred years ago that was probably to avenge some other shit that happened a hundred years before that, and got his bloody father killed already, and convinced him he wasn’t a man unless he avenged the last poor fuck who died avenging some other idiot who decided some shit that happened in sixteen fucking something was worth blowing up a school over”

 

“You can’t do anything for the punk kid in the mask with a gun or a bomb, the poor kid was killed already by those who taught him that the only way to live was to kill a bunch of people he never met for something they never did and had nothing to do with, just to show the world he has a dick and will find a fucking meat grinder to stick it in.  You put a bullet in the ones you have to before they hurt too many people, but you arent’ solving shit if the granny’s keep whispering.  You buy time, that’s all you do. If someone doesn’t stop the whispering, you will never stop the killing.  Don’t hate the poor little fucks, just shoot the ones who had to, and don’t start whispering about how they deserve it or some poor kid is going to suck that up and end up the next one who needs some poor squaddies bullet.”

 

It is a sobering thing to learn, that as a soldier, as the sword and shield of the people, you actually can’t stop the bloodshed, you can only decide who dies today and hope someone does something about the whispers before the body count gets too high, or the number of dead to be avenged becomes high enough people stop asking about what the point of the fight was I the first place.

We here in North America do not inherit that kind of instilled hatred.  We didn’t have the grandmothers whispering the glory of the struggle to little boys who grew up not as men but munitions.  Our culture is too diverse and broadly based for that sort of familial cultural conditioning without external support.

 

We are fixing that.

 

This last US election has been the stuff of nightmare.  The tides of division and hatred that were whipped up to drive short sighted people into power are not actually the kinds of tides you can dispense with when your port you have reached.  You have sown the wind and reaped the whirlwind, you have ridden the storm and now the storm is upon you.

 

Our media has forsaken its duty to report the story and begun to be the story.  I have watched in my own lifetime the shift from news to sensationalism that has become our media news coverage.  I have seen how the quest to capture attention has moved from providing balanced reporting to providing shock reporting.  We begin with the media attempting to make each and every story not just a single event to be examined in its own merits, but a judgement of society.  The problems from that one start at the fact the guilt/innocence of the people involved are obscured by the “greater issues” and the needs of society on those “greater issues” screw justice right up the ass and the story becomes about something other than the deeds of person involved.  The first victim is forgotten, the second victim is justice, and the third is the community as the “Greater Issue” comes under the same treatment as the initial story.

 

Politics is about swaying the public, the saying “give me a lever long enough and I will move the world” is born in physics, but reaches its purest expression in politics.  Levers in politics are shocking events that will outrage sections of the public enough to be harnessed to a political agenda to the ends of those who are shaping the message.
The demagogues of Athens and Rome gave us the true expression of the rule of the mob, as agitators showed how little it took to bring society crashing down simply by finding an event that you could use as your lever to work at the stress points in your own society to overturn it.  You would think we would learn from this.
We saw the use of the media in Nazi Germany use this lever to give us the greatest evil of our age, and we saw it enacted again in Yugoslavia proving the tools still work and the price has not changed, and still we did not learn.

 

We have our media creating sensation and division from tragedy.  Rather than seeking reasoned discourse, they seek to whip up the public passions, because that gets market share.  Facts matter less than passion, truth matters less than purity of message and inconvenient facts that do not fit the message are casually cut as the message not the truth is the important thing, the “greater issue’ whatever the pet cause of the extremist groups who are feeding off, and in turn being fed off by the media always feel their needs are more important than the truth.

We have our grandmothers whispering hate in our seven year olds, only this time they come at us through TV and radio, talk shows and sound bytes shared and reshared around social media where our tendency to look only at feeds that match our own opinions give us a false sense that what we are hearing represents the whole of the truth, rather than the heavily slanted and sculpted message of your own faction, tailored to your demographic by modern demagogues as skilled as any Athenian , and as amoral.

media

If you shout fire in a crowded theater, you face the penalty for those who are injured in the resulting panic.
If you lend voices to the extremists in all communities, falsely presenting the impression that these extremists represent the commonly held views of communities alien to you, you have successfully shaped the view of that community as hostile and a threat.  You have filled the Molotov cocktail, you have filled the bottle, you have stuffed the wick down into the gas, and you have come to them to ask if they intend on directing those bottles to the target that you yourself have created in the minds of each side.
The problem with the false images of the media’s messaging, is that one you throw the Molotov cocktail or rock, real people are hurt and killed.  If it bleeds it leads is not the whole of the expression.  We need it to bleed if we want the lead is the corollary.  You will not get airtime or market share to explain that you really wont have the real reasons for why an event happened until the trial is over and month of investigation are completed.  You get market share if you can stand in front of police tape and give an answer that is sensational, shocking, largely reguardless of the facts of the matter.

 

If you shout fire in a crowded theater you get charged.  You stir up divisions in the community until various sides are spilling blood and burning theaters down you get elected, you get great market share, you get to say that you were right in what you said would happen.
Make no mistake, this is about media creating the news, not reporting it.  The politicians and social media use the tools the media gives them to move their demographics, but they do not spin them out of whole cloth, they take them from the media, from our glorious independent fifth estate who somewhere in the 1990’s lost its integrity and any desire to fact check before publication and broadcast.

 

What are we going to do about this?

 

What are you doing about this toxic messaging?  I know I am as guilty as any for this, it is easy to find an answer in a sound byte that captures your outrage, it is seldom a good answer.  Real answers are seldom sexy and satisfying.  Real progress means accepting that people can be different from you in ways you really don’t like and yet are no threat to you.

Real threats exist.  Bullets do solve some problems.  Please keep the numbers that must get solved by bullets to a minimum by restricting them to the actual criminal sociopaths, the truly evil who are a problem in any generation, but a small manageable ones.

Kill the whispers.  Kill the whispers that seek to make hatred a foundation of young men and women’s world views.  Kill the whispers, or by the gods acknowledge that the blood that covers the ground when some poor fucking squaddie or police officer has to do their job and kill, that blood doesn’t just stain the poor trigger puller, that blood belongs to every one who spread the whispers.

Standard
Heathen, Uncategorized

Working Around Scary

Massage.jpg

Recently I had a massage at a health spa that went a little sideways.  The worker who was doing the massage was a very good masseuse, she was also empathic and a really poorly trained energy worker.  To make it even worse, she had learned Yoga from people who ignored the spiritual aspects of it, so she had unlocked a whole lot of tools she had no idea how to use, and doors she had no idea how to close.  Being a dear sweet little thing, she wanted really hard to open herself to others and use her energy for healing.  Awesome.  Live among the most privileged in our society who have lived their entire existence pampered and sheltered and you will only have to worry about the true predators who stalk those reaches.  However, there are a fair number of us other folk who will scare the spots off you for various reasons.

Some of us are veterans either of military or police who cannot shut off their situational awareness, their focus, and the constant threat assessment of their surroundings.  We radiate like predators because we never really turn off that part of us that is always seeking, evaluating and prioritizing threats in our environment, and preparing contingency plans, more or less reflexively for dealing with them.

There are those who are in physical pain, whose bodies when you touch them are alive with the energy of pain on a level that to us is simply the chronic pain background noise, about 3-4 out of ten, if we have to think about it, but largely ignored outside the first few minutes after waking.  If you have not suffered serious injury or disease states that leave you in agony that will never, ever stop, you can’t help but be overwhelmed when you touch pain like that.  If however, it goes on long enough, you really can get used to anything, and we do.  We will be aware of the pain as you work each center, and even as the pain spikes we feel the relief that the massage is bringing and react positively even as you feel the pain increase (well yes, but only when you are working it, in your wake it is much better).

There are those who suffer PTSD from serious trauma.  Some again are veterans, some are sexual assault victims, some are survivors of serious physical trauma or long debilitating/humiliating disease.  There are wounds that leave scars in the mind, stains and twisting in the energies.  These are marks of the survivors and the reality of the coping mechanisms that got us through, and may or may not be great for functioning at the moment.  Life is a work in progress, healing a journey that actually ends in death not wellness, as you never really finish from some wounds.  Step by step, day by day you get better, and hopefully you are still doing it when you die.

OK, so that is the set of problems, so, what is the solution.  Training.  OK, here is your quick and dirty training for how to work among the scary.  I don’t mean just people who intimidate you, I mean how to remain positive and focused, around people whose condition, energy, emotion and physical pain levels cause you to panic, withdraw, or take actual harm.

Starting with the assumption you are in a therapeutic situation and you are not simply willing to use your shields to shut yourself down, cut yourself off from the awareness of others.  Let us assume you actually wish to keep your empathic senses open, and use your energy to interact with and theoretically help someone whose own state or nature disturbs you.  We are going to review Grounding, Centering and Shielding inside the specific context of therapeutic interactions.

I generally center first, relying on myself more than any external anchor, but for those who are not used to dealing with hostile, frightening, or painful energies it might be helpful to start with grounding, so there I will begin.

Grounding:  My tradition and training uses Yggdrasil, the world tree.  The tree visualization does not actually require you to believe in Yggdrasil, nor understand the nine worlds in the structure of Heathen traditions, you simply have to know what a tree looks like, how it is basically structured, and that it roots in the ground.  If you have seen a tree, then you know enough for this to work for you.

Hanged Man Tree

Lightning strikes the earth, the sun lashes it, the ice claws at it, but the earth is vast beyond useful measure and these energies literally ground in her without effect.  The scope of the earth is such that the most terrible energies can be released into her with no measurable effect.  We ground in the earth like rivers do in the sea, she received from us that which we cannot hold, even as she anchors us firmly in place.

See the tree in your mind, feel your hands as branches, your skin as bark and leaf.  You feel the energies absorbed by your leaves, buffeting your branches.  Take in the energy, let it flow down through you to your roots.  Sink those roots deep into the earth, feel the calm quiet dark of the earth.  Feel the slumbering life within it.  Let the energies wash over you and release them into the earth.  The earth is vast beyond comprehension, and the energies that are too much for you pass almost unnoticed through your roots and into the living earth.  You feel the energy bleed into the earth, even as you feel your roots sink deep into her firmness, locking and anchoring you in place.  You are grounded, anchored, and able to weather the storm of energies you may encounter without fear.

Centering is next.  You can center in yourself if you do not wish to involve external aid or powers.  If you choose to do so, take the time to breathe in slowly and deeply, focusing on your internal power, your awareness of yourself.  Let the external world become less important and reach deep within your own awareness of yourself.  With each breath in feel your power flowing along your limbs.  Feel it flow outward from your chest through each limb, up your neck to your crown, flowing through your body and into your feet.  Feel that energy defining you, your core self, core awareness.  This is you, only you.  Hold that in your mind, know yourself, and prepare to deal with energies that are not self, awareness of other.  Do so from the strong foundation in your self.  If you are spiritual or religious in practice, as many of us are, a secondary part of any healing work, be it counselling, or physical healing, is the Call.

If you seek the aid of other powers, however you define them, be it the earth itself, your ancestors, your gods (or God if you are of that persuasion) it is time now for you to Call.  The act of opening yourself by intent is not the same as a simple prayer.  This is a working.  This is a job.  A task.  You are making of yourself a tool to do a specific job.  When you Call, you are not asking for a generalized blessing, you are actually asking for a very specific aspect, that part or aspect of your god, your spirit, your ancestral guide, or higher power however you define them, that most corresponds to the work you want to do here.  Intent isn’t everything, but if you get it wrong, the rest seldom goes well.  Be clear and be honest about what you are asking for.  If you feel you are in danger of being overwhelmed, you open yourself to your god with the specific and clear intention of allowing their essence to fill you, to anchor you, so that you may work without fear or harm, to allow you to open fully without being overwhelmed by energies more powerful or simply of alien nature to your own.  Self care is critical in any and all healing work, get that wrong, and you have added to the injured, rather than healed anyone.  When you have Called, prayed, invoked or simply focused your awareness on your connection to the divine, you are ready for the next step.

Grounded in the earth, centered in yourself, your connection to the divine, if you use it, already established with the specific intent of your working you are now ready for shielding.

Shielding in the healing process is different from regular defensive shielding.   Rather than simply deflecting or protecting yourself, you seek something a little more complex, nuanced, and ambitious.  Rather than blocking all the dangerous energies, you want to simply keep them from damaging you, while allowing you to experience them, to know them, draw them out, and where appropriate and safe, use your established channels to ground safely any dangerous excesses that are released by your work.

Shielding in the healing context.  The visualization that is most useful to you will depend on your Call, or your centering technique.  One that I found useful was to extend the tree imagery.  I let my shields, my rejection of Not-Self flow over me like bark on the tree.  Flowing from my center, augmented by grounding in the far greater presence of the divine that I have opened myself to, my shields are a hard skin of bark against which the energies I touch in the person I work with will be felt.  I can feel what touches the bark, but it is my choice what I allow to pass inward, to feel, to experience, and yes, to channel downward and ground in the earth, or channel inward to the aspect of my god I have invoked to aid me in my work.

I am good at pain, so I tend to allow the awareness of pain to be drawn into me, because I am better at processing it, and by doing that I can free up the person I am working with to process and deal with actual change or healing, as the simple handling of pain is a massive energy drain unassisted.  It is not my pain, and will not root in me, but can be channeled with little effort into the earth, or offered to my god.  Odin works well for ordeals, including healing ones, so pain is a coin that will buy healing in certain contexts.  If you are not good at pain, allow the pain to flow down your shields and ground it through your roots into the earth.  The earth is so vast it can drink all the pain that ever was and be unchanged.  You do not need to experience it if that will interfere with your ability to do your job.  Be aware of it, be aware of the shape and intensity of it, the changes in it.  You must always and ever be sensitive to spikes in pain and/or fear because you cannot know what changes inside a person’s mind and body will be made by even the simplest alteration of the balance of stresses under which they live.  You don’t have to understand their internal landscape, just sense when what you are doing is causing distress, and be able to avoid pushing at those fault lines.

Standard shields will allow you to cut yourself off from the awareness of the other person’s will, their pain, their emotions.  In a healing context, you will often find the need to open yourself to those very things to an extent to follow the most important dictate in any healing process “DO NO HARM”.  You cannot ensure you are doing no harm, if you are shielding yourself from all the effects you are having on your person, for this reason, you must actually use your sensitivity to a degree.
Center in yourself, shield yourself so that you can be aware but not harmed by the energies that are under your fingers.  Remain centered in yourself, go as slow as you need to, but you must always and ever remain centered in yourself, with clear understanding of what is coming from you, and what is coming from them.  Ground deep in the earth, bleeding off not only excess and dangerous energies from them, but those energies that will snap up in you in response.  Do not be ashamed of fear, shame, anger, or other emotional responses to the energies of another’s pain.  Own those responses that are yours, ground out the energies that are harmful with every single exhalation, give them up to the earth, but be aware of where the response came from in you, and be prepared to deal with the emotional consequences later, preferably with help from those who share your tradition and practice.

I am not going to give you instruction at how to work with someone else’s energy.  That is something you really need to seek a far wiser teacher for, and you had best have developed specific and real skill sets before you attempt it.  I will say two important things; do not ever work with someone else’s energy, pain, or emotions without their express permission.  That means INFORMED consent.  If they don’t know that they are naked in front of your eyes, you are violating their reasonable expectations of privacy and you are actually in a position to do much harm through the violation of trust.  Second, what we can do for others is help them deal with effects, free up their energies to deal with causes.  We can’t make wounds go away, we can’t undo damage.  Don’t ever trivialize people’s wounds by thinking you can simply magic them away.  That is not what we can do.  What we can do is useful and important.  We can reduce the negative effects of their burdens on them, and make easier their efforts to remodel their own bodies, mind and emotions on a gradual step by step basis.  If you make someone feel better, that is not a problem gone, that is a blessed moment of relief that may enable them to make steps toward meaningful and lasting change, but do not pretend you can “fix people”.  It insults them, trivializes their trauma, and makes mockery of the real and lasting good you can actually do.

You don’t have to shut yourself off from people whose energies and intensity is disturbing to you.   To be empathic, to be able to share another’s pain is an immensely useful tool in making real and positive differences in their experience.  The twin principals of “do no harm” to them, and “self care” for you are best served by only opening yourself to intense or dangerous energies, or powerful personalities in a therapeutic setting after you have grounded, centered and shielded yourself in such a way you can work safely, respectfully, and honestly with whoever you are working with.

There are lots of people out there who are apparently getting their abilities unlocked by those with no spiritual awareness at all.  This is dangerous.  It is blind people telling you how to find the sun, and telling you how wonderful it feels on your face.  Those with sight are perfectly prepared to endanger themselves, and utterly unprepared for the really simple steps in working with sunlight safely.  If you happen to be, or know one such person, pass this along.  If you are one of these people and require instruction, there are lots of really gifted practitioners, I am not one of them, but I can and will put you in touch with them for further instruction.  I am just another working stiff, struggling to get my own training up to snuff for the jobs I already do.

Standard
Asatru, Heathen, Heathentry, Uncategorized

Feast of Crow

crow-eating

This is the time of year that our gods call us to look inside and have a hard look at what we see.  This is a very special feasting time, the Feast of Crow.  This is the time where we look back at our words, and decide how many of them we will have to eat.  Over the years, I have had never shied away from expressing my opinions, stating and defending my beliefs against all comers, and I do fairly well, sometimes because my ideas are just right and holy, and others because I am just a better fencer than the poor bastard who has the right with him, but not the skill to prove it.

 

Few things taste as sweet as victory upon the tongue, sweeter than mead, equalled only by the kiss of a fair maid, and yet the corollary is there as well.  To realize that your victory was false, to realize your victory must be now denied tastes like ashes upon the tongue, eating your words, the feast of crow.

 

Huginn and Muninn, Odin’s ravens called Thought and Memory are birds of a particularly relentless nature.  They are guides, seekers, messengers, but above all they are carrion birds to circle the raven’s feast, the dead, the dying, and those who are yet unaware of their imminent reduction to food source.  In what capacity are they hounding me right now?  A bit of all, I suppose.  Illusions die hard, and when they die at last you have a few choices, pretend you never held the illusion and pray no one calls you on it.  Which some do, but honestly, it leaves you inferior in every conversation that follows for you at least know your words ring false.  Alternatively, when your illusions die, and you are faced with a truth you have long and loudly denied, you may choose to accept this truth.  That is fine, but what about your words?

 

Those people who have stood against me in defense of the truth they knew and went down against my words not due to their cause but my ability to sway a crowd, I owe them now a debt.  I was wrong, they were right, and it is not enough that I know this, I went on record with my views, and those who wish to weigh the worth of those who stood against me will remember the loss and hold them the lower for it.  In fact they should be held the higher, as they were right and I was wrong.  This balance must be addressed, or my own worth will be built on falsehood not fact.  Not honestly a risk I choose to accept, nor a debt I wish between me and those who were in fact always correct.

 

So, prepare the Feast of Crow; if one is going to eat crow, to eat my words.  It goes best with a nice mead to ease the burning, and to speed the laughter which reminds us all that if we can’t take a joke, we probably are one.

 

Lets have a look at some of the more famous arguments I have held over the years that I now find myself on the opposite side now.

 

Prison Inreach:  Oh how I held the view that the outlaws had no place among us and the cast out should be cast out, that is that.  Ah, but what then?  What about when the outlawry is over?  Right now only the White Supremacist literature is getting to the prisoners, and we weep and wail because Heathenry is being seen as White Supremacist due to the growing prison popularity.  Hmm, if we want the people in prison not to be recruited by the White Supremacists, and the people who are attempting to incorporate Heathenry into rebuilding their lives, so that they may re-enter society as fully functioning members able to build and establish the kind of worth that would make them worthy additions to a Kindred, we would actually be well advised to see the prison heathens had access to good information, that those who would learn to make worthy choices will be shown what our community understands as worthy choices.   We need to be involved in Prison Inreach, not so much primarily for the inmates, but for our broader community.

 

Magic is Ergi.  Oh in the pride and power of my youthful invincibility did I spout often and loudly about how magic was unmanly, how use of anything beyond your iron will and hard hands was cheating.  That one I held with the kind of self-righteousness that proved invulnerable to any external evidence.  The gods are nothing if not whimsical, so in time I was given all the chance to examine this internally that I could dream of.   I was given a spinal injury that I would be on medication for pain and spasm for life; a medication which made me a danger to anyone near me.  I had become the threat I needed to protect my family against.  I turned to magic, to an ordeal to seek from my gods and ancestors an answer, and I received it.  Oh yes, when I could not afford to lose, I turned to magic, and it worked.  So many years of arrogance to chew through.  For as much as my voice has some weight in the community, and I have heard some use my words to mock those who use magic, know this, I live now because of it.  If I remained a threat to my family, I would have eliminated that threat with the will and hand I was comfortable with, had I not dared to seek other methods, that once I labled ergi; unmanly.  Duty is not ergi, but hubris is.  Doing my duty meant learning to live, embracing the tools required, reguardless of their source.  That, not cheap machismo, is the answer of a real man, not a boastful boy.  I was that boastful boy, until life showed me how far up my ass my head was lodged.  There are a lot of words to eat there, so I will be chewing a bit.

 

No bread for Torah!  I love this one.  I have a whole lot of reactionary in me, as many who had Christianity rammed down their throats start out.  I have done my best to weed out most of the bits that jump out and smack me in the face as obvious.  The rampant corruption of the Church, its abuses and outright evil provide a very firm foundation for a strong anti-clerical bias in Heathenry, and I still agree with most of it, but we have a tendency to throw the baby out with the bathwater.  I don’t believe Heathenry should be a way to fill your coffers, I don’t want Heathenry ever to be just another big box store, catering to its carefully plotted demographic, a product like a hundred others for sale from the pulpit.  That said, Heathens are not Wiccans, we are not a counter culture, we are an actual culture, and one that is moving forward and expanding.  Our priests and priestesses are not required for 90% of what we do, but that other 10% that requires a professional level clergy occur at widely separated places, leaving our small absolute number of functioning trained priests and priestesses to cover a whole lot of ground and do a whole lot of work, at a huge financial cost.  I love to offer my work to the community as a donation, but I must limit the level of that donation to what I can afford to spare from family and employment.  At some point, I began to notice we were beggaring and burning out our serving ritual providers and hosts.  That is not “A gift for a gift” that is not reciprocity, that is community parasitism.  Holy crap.  We have all been getting our Torah, and not ponying up the bread.  You know, that is not good enough.  Asatru and Heathenry should not be run like a business where profit is the main concern.  We are not Christianity, their model is not ours.  That being said, I don’t expect the would be leaders and volunteers in the community to sacrifice their success on the altar of our needs.  That is unworthy of us as a community.  People should be paid for work we seek them out to provide due to their professional level skills.  It doesn’t’ end with priestcraft.  Artwork and craftwork as well should be rewarded to the degree that we think it important to our community.  If we love that which is made my a Heathen artist, be it a physical thing, or a song or artwork, we should make sure we PAY the artist what it is worth.  I don’t care if you can get it free, if you want your community to have it, you see the artist got paid.

 

Our women are respected.  You know, that one hurt the most.  Its not as true as I thought, not nearly as true as it should be.  One of the pernicious leavings of the cannibal cult, the misogyny of Christianity lingers in dark places within Heathenry.  Our women have the broadest range of expression of their strength and worth of any community (faith or geographic) that I have ever seen.  We have the most amazing women in the world in our ranks, and justly famed are many of them.  That being said, they do not actually get equal respect for their deeds.  They do not get equal hearing of their words.  I actually thought we were doing better than this, but I accept that I saw we were better than others, and thought this meant necessarily good, and I was wrong.  Ok, we can and will do better, but you don’t’ fix a problem you pretend isn’t there, so wake up my brothers; our sisters are not being treated as they deserve.  That is on us, so fix it.

 

I have probably been wrong about other things, and yes ladies and gentlemen, will most likely be wrong about more if I survive into the new year.  I will never stop fighting passionately for what I believe in, but I will hold myself to this; when and if I realize that you were right, and I was wrong, I will tuck my beard into my belt, and sit myself down to a nice feast of crow, and eat the words I spoke.  I invite all of you to look back on all those things that you once held as true, and ask yourself how many of them still hold true, and see if there may be a plate covered in black feathers waiting for your dining pleasure as well.
The Yuletide is here, crow has no calories and the mead is medicinal.  Join me in this repast, and we will face the new year a little wiser than the old.

Odin Picture

Standard
Asatru, Faith, Heathen, Heathentry, Uncategorized, Yule

North-man at Yule

1984-inorance-and-want

I am a North-man.  If you are thinking horned helms and swords, you are watching too much TV.  I mean I am a man of the north, a man who has lived a lot of my life in the high and the wild, in the places where you can break a steel tool by trying to pick it up when the weather gets too cold, where you sometimes need a tiger torch to free a tire mud-welded to the pavement when the wind shifts and five above becomes twenty below again.

 

Come the winter, the days get short, the nights get cold, and the rain comes.  You burn through twice as much calories just keeping your body normal as you adjust to the chill, and maintain the normal activity level.  Everything is wet, and stays wet.

 

I was a soldier for a lot of years.  I learned to love living rough, spending weeks or months living in the mud, dust or snow, but this left me with an understanding of the realities of the seasons that the comforts of home and plenty take away from most of us. The realities haven’t changed.  For a lot of people the truth still remains the same.  Winter is the dying time.  It is always trying to kill you, and the day you make a mistake, get wet and don’t get dry, don’t eat when you burned off the reserves you had, or, gods forbid, get sick when you were already marginal, it wins.

 

When I was a child, the Irish Rovers were a favourite of mine, and when I thought of Christmas songs, I thought of the Little Match Girl.  Nothing to me sang of the truth of the season more than the song of Little Match Girl.  The little match girl dying in the cold was a truth our ancestors stepped over in the cities every winter through the ages that left us with such historical legacies as public work houses, debtors prisons.

I am a Socialist.  Most of Scandinavia is, for the North teaches that it is always trying to kill you, that if you do not stand together, you will die.  It teaches you that you are responsible for your own first, but for others in the community as well, for alone, none of us is enough.

 

I am not a Communist, in fact I spent my salad years training to shoot at them, a war that may be fought yet if things keep going strange out Ukraine way.  I am a believer in our constitutional monarchy, with rule through representative democracy, a division of powers between federal and provincial levels to balance collective needs and regional differences.  I don’t believe we, as one of the richest nations on earth should have starving children, or those to whom falling thermometers may mean not waking in the morning.

 

I am a Heathen, not one of the Christians this song was written for.  We do not suffer from the need to believe the world is as it is not.  We do not have a trouble understanding the reality of the season is in fact the reason for it.

 

Cold and dark sap at the connections we have to life.  Cold and dark drive us inside, away from each other.  A time of privation and solitude, of depression and loss.  A time the weak will die, those who have no strong connection may well stop fighting and pass even when they have the strength to go on.

We are commanded by the gods to wassail hard in the heart of the dark, to brighten each other with gifts, to exchange hospitality with each other and make merry.  The flame of life is guttering until we fan it bright and hot again.  This is the Yuletide, the meaning and the purpose of it.  Odin as the Yulefather is a gift giver, but his punishment for those who break hospitality, for those who forget the reason for his laws are justly feared.  We are in this together, forget it at our peril.

 

Those in our society who work the hardest, give the most.  Those who are rich are farthest from the cold, the dark, and the cost.  Those who have clawed their way up from it, or who have survived blows or tests that they feared might cost them all they had built look up on those who have little and understand that any help they give can make a difference.

 

A gift for a gift is the basis of heathen practice.  Reciprocal gifting relationships are the foundation of our practice.  We are reminded in the Hamaval of the uses of the wealth we have, little though it may be. For our friends we show our appreciation by exchanging gifts, and guesting, that those relationships we have found important to us are recognized and strengthened.

 

  1. Friends shall gladden each other | with arms and garments,
    As each for himself can see;
    Gift-givers’ friendships | are longest found,
    If fair their fates may be.

 

We look to our folk, to our people, to our community and we see those who have less than us, who do not enjoy the bounty that we do, and to them we offer not charity, not a beggar’s token, but a gift from one person to another, a recognition of another person as worthy of such a gift.  We do not give to those lesser than us, we extend a gift to those we hope will one day be in a position to extend a similar gift to another in need, when they are in a better place. Paying it forward was our tradition a thousand years ago, and I hope it to be still a thousand years from now.

 

  1. No great thing needs | a man to give,
    Oft little will purchase praise;
    With half a loaf | and a half-filled cup
    A friend full fast I made.

 

We say when we make our sacrifice, “From the gods, to the earth, to us.  From us, to the earth, to the gods”.  We seek by our offerings given to the land to complete the gift cycle, to close the circle between the gods, ancestors, wights of the land, and ourselves.  We cannot pay back the gods for their gifts, so we show our gratitude by using those gifts to help those the teachings of our ancestors, and the wisdom of our gods and goddesses have shown us are in need.  We honour our gods more by showing we respect their teachings than by offering the most potent of powers gifts that can have only symbolic meaning to them, but make real benefits to those in need.

 

  1. Better no prayer | than too big an offering,
    By thy getting measure thy gift;
    Better is none | than too big a sacrifice.

 

Heathens don’t choose between helping those in need and brightening the lives of those that are important to us.  Both are important, both are part of what it means to keep the Yuletide.  We wassail hard in the heart of the dark.  We reach out to those who have gone silent, we renew the bonds that tie them to their community.  We look out our window at the cold and damp and understand not everyone has a choice to be on this side of the glass, and that is actually not OK.  I celebrate the Yule tide, I drink and feast, I gift and renew my ties with family and friends.  I also do what I can for those in need, because there is not a lot except wyrd (fate) between me who gives the gift this year, and those in need who receive it.  The north teaches you that the night is cold, dark, long, and ever so hungry.  Those who face the night wondering if they will see the morn are never far from my thoughts this time of year.  The dead are close to us at Yule, and those who are not tightly bound to life are too apt to join them.

 

We make our light blaze in the heart of the dark, we feast in the time of privation, we offer gifts in the time of want, because we will the folk to see through the dark times until the returning sun.

yulefather

Standard
Asatru, Heathen, Uncategorized

Staring Into the Abyss

abyss

 

“He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And when you gaze long into an Abyss, the Abyss also gazes into you” Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil Aphorism 146.

 

I will give credit where it is due to a fellow Heathen service man, Luke Burroughs for clarifying something I had been struggling to wrap my brain around.  A feeling that grows as distance from the bad times extends, and one over which no amount of logic listing all the ways those bad times were indeed actually worse than you prefer to remember them at casual recollection.  Still, there is a pull, a draw, a power to those times that calls us, a need they fulfilled that I had trouble putting into words, until Luke identified it. The eight characteristics of optimum human experience.

 

  1. The task is challenging and requires skill.
  2. All ones focus is required by the task.
  3. Concentration is possible because the task has clear goals.
  4. Task provides immediate feedback.
  5. Total focus removes from awareness the worries and frustrations of everyday life.
  6. You experience the feeling of complete and effortless control of self.
  7. Total focus on goals allows you to lose your sense of self, a lack of self consciousness which frees you to express your skills and will.
  8. Sense of time is altered – hours pass by in minutes, or seconds can seem like eternity.

 

Here is the scary part, a lot of the worst bits fall into this category.  The battle for immediate survival focuses the human consciousness like nothing else, not even lovemaking.  When you have the training and skills to actually respond to the challenge of a life or death situation with the application of an extremely well developed skill set layered onto a character that not only thrives in, but demands challenge, you enter a state of heightened operation that is like nothing else in existence.  You are not superhuman, you are human expressed in its penultimate form.  Perfectly expressed potential; strained to the utmost by a challenge that demands, and will accept nothing less than one hundred percent of your will, skill, and native ability.

 

I drifted into Industrial First Aid after getting out of the service, and I am really good at it.  I don’t suffer critical incident stress like most people, but I do suffer from a bit of depression when it is done.  It is like I was half alive, half awake, just drifting through life until life or death was on the line and I came alive again.  When it is done, and my skills are no longer required, I set aside that state of being again, and THAT is when the depression calls.

 

We who fought with monsters did not become monsters.  We who stared into the abyss learned we are really good at dancing at its edge.  We are really good at facing challenges that demand everything we possess, in which the stakes are human lives, and in many ways, the future of our people.  What we did required everything we have, justified every sacrifice, and even if it cost our lives, it was worth it.

Now, we draw a paycheque, facing challenges that are more like wading through a swamp of more or less shitty ideas with a range of outcomes ranging from slightly better, to slightly worse as the corporate tortoise shambles forward in its ponderous, nearly sightless, largely unresponsive plod towards the next quarter report.  Our responsibility is to stay safe, our tasks require us to bring our skills to the table, but work inside an environment in which results or goal oriented thinking is often less useful than consensus building and adherence to process.

 

Nothing we do matters enough to be worth risking your safety for.  Our primary goal is to return home safe at the end of the day.  Very little we do will have results that provide any sort of realistic feedback, often praise is drawn for utterly irrelevant actions while truly important accomplishments are ignored or rebuked.

 

The bad times were bad.  Don’t glorify them, they sucked, they cost too damned much, and they left scars that won’t ever be fixed.  That being said, they mattered.  We mattered.  We were fully alive, fully focused, and what we did fulfilled us in ways that the mediocrity of the day will never do for us.
When the apocalypse comes, the bulk of humanity will be unprepared.  Good, while they are panicking, they won’t notice too damned many of us, young and freshly out, mature and supposedly knowing better, or old tired grey beards who look up with shining eyes and wolf grins because by the gods, we can live again.  There is a tendency for those who get out to focus on things that others never think about.  Its unhealthy on both sides, civilians need to pull their head out of their backsides and pay attention to the world, and prepare for when things go wrong, so they can deal with them, and not be simply statistics and burdens when things inevitably do go wrong.  Veterans need to let go.

 

Let go the need to matter.  The bulk of humanity really exist quite happily without a higher purpose, without a goal worth dedicating their lives to, without anything worth sacrificing themselves for beyond their family. Mostly your family’s needs are best met by NOT sacrificing yourself, but proper self care.

 

When you have stared into the Abyss, and found inside yourself the power to stand on the precipice between life and death, to play your skill, your strength and your willpower against death itself, it is really hard to take seriously someone telling you that you needed to fill out a report that you would not be able to meet your deadline, rather than actually meeting the deadline.

 

What we learned to be, what we learned to do, is the problem now.  The rest of the world actually likes this swamp of unfocused existence.  Likes to simply be, rather than existing to achieve goals at any cost.  The really scary part is that they suck at survival, for which they need us, but they are actually better at living that we have become, as we let a lot of things go as unessential that turn out to be important to being whole and healthy in the long term.

 

We have stared into the Abyss, we do not fear it, and it has learned to fear us.  Now we look at the great milling herd in the office and look not to cut through them in the most efficient manner possible, but to mingle with them, sharing your thoughts and theirs, laughing with them, bitching with them, allowing yourself to look for how to use your skills and ability to help them better make actual progress, while keeping inside the structure they have built for group effort. When you are used to running with wolves, understanding you are now part of a team of plow ox is really important if you want to get that field plowed, the seed sown, and your family fed.  Slow, steady, plodding progress gets the field plowed, the team safely and sustainably through the day.  It is not that demanding, and you can literally do it forever.

wolf-and-ox

 

It is hard when you have burned so very bright, to bank your fires to candle light, but that bright blaze burns out and falls to darkness in minutes, and your family needs your light through the long night ahead.

 

 

Standard
Asatru, Faith, Heathen, Heathentry, Uncategorized

Anger as a tool for Healing

barbed-wire-rosethor-cloud

It is dogmatically accepted in post 1960’s Western thought that anger is universally wrong, much as the axiom that violence never solves anything, the statement’s dogmatic acceptance has allowed it to somehow become a pillar of a society that it never built, and whose contributions have been as much negative as positive.

 

Anger has many negative and terrible expressions, and uncontrolled anger is almost universally destructive of self or others.  Anger is a lot like fire, when uncontrolled, misdirected, or in the wrong place, it is terrible and destructive.  Similar to fire, when controlled, properly directed, and in the right places it warms, protects, and drives necessary change.

 

When you are hurt by someone else, a large number of forces begin to work on you.  Fear driven by the situation and potential for future harm, anger that you were hurt, a desire to hurt back the one who hurt you, a desire to placate the one who hurt you that they not do it again.  In a largely Christian society, the social pressure to forgive, to accept the hurt without retaliation can be a real social pressure.  The perception that to avoid confrontation at all cost is somehow the worthy course of action has become the supposed hallmark of our peaceful civilization.

 

The problems stemming from accepting hurt without allowing anger to do its work grow in proportion to the frequency and severity of the hurts accepted.  When I swing my fist, my right to swing it ends at your chin. At that point, it has ceased to be my right to swing my fist, and become an assault upon your person.  Once you have been struck, my intentions suddenly matter less than you think.  You have been struck.  This fact cannot be taken out of the equation.  This is not going away, and there must be a reaction from you, even if no one but you will be aware of it.

 

Once you have been attacked by another, suffered pain, fear, loss, humiliation or other affront, your self has been attacked.  Your flesh is not the only portion of you that can take damage, not the only thing that may be wounded.  A physical attack is not simply experienced as trauma to the flesh, but to the mind and spirit as well.  What can be harder to spot is attacks of either non-physical nature, or of a physical nature that are more harassment than direct damage.

 

Thor is the defender of social boundaries, his rune is Thurisaz, which literally translates into thorn.  It is funny that the great god Thor is represented by the thorn, but in the spirit of the maxim that “good fences make good neighbors” the god of social boundaries, the god of frithful societies, is the god who makes good fences that will leave you bloodied if you try to push across someone’s boundaries.

thurisaz

 

Anger is the thorn, a thorn that bites the striking hand, and the thorn that galls our backside into getting off our tush and making sure our boundaries are defended.  Anger is a message.  Be very careful when you dismiss this statement.  I care less about who else you deliver this message to, it may be that the only thing you accomplish with expressing your anger is letting you know you did so.

 

The social pressure for good people to not start a confrontation, not escalate, to keep peace at all costs runs strongly counter to the Heathen principle of Frith, or right action towards others, and indeed, towards ones self.  It is not Frithful to accept without rancour attacks upon your person; your body or your dignity.  Frithful is to act appropriately towards each other, and one who attacks you is deserving of your anger, not your forgiveness.  More importantly, you need to deliver a message, and the primary person you are addressing is yourself.

To accept an insult to your dignity, or an attack upon your person without anger is to accept that YOU do not believe you are worthy of defense.  This must not be allowed ever.  I am not stating that it is productive in all situations for you to fly off the handle and initiate a verbal or physical altercation when you are so attacked; tactics if nothing else argue that you must always be aware of the threats around you and a realistic understanding of consequences should be part of your decision making processes at all times.   I AM saying that you are always listening. If no one else in the world is listening to you, understand that you are.  When you allow an insult or an assault to pass without anger, you are whispering to your Self that you were not worthy of defense.  These whispers are as terrible a poison as anything Syglin keeps from Loki’s brow, for they eat at the heart of you.

 

Anger can be a powerful motivating tool to change. Anger at your physical shape can drive recovery from the most terrible injury, or fight you through the most lingering and debilitating illness.  Anger can force you to look at the ashes of a failed and abusive relationship, be it personal, familial, or work, and drive you to make the changes necessary to secure that security of the person that will allow you to at last be proud, whole, and without fear of attack.

 

Anger at your own actions can also cause you to do the hardest thing of all; take behaviours that have been comfortable and successful for a long time and learn to set them aside, learning new ways, however painfully, that do not cause you to transgress again and leave you shaking with rage at your own actions.

 

Flowers are loved, swaying branches are much sung of, and the green leaf itself figures prominently in much art and fashion, but it is the humble thorn that we must turn to and offer a small bow.  The thorn is the instructor of the bleeding hand, the slap of cold rebuke, the punishment for the line crossed.  It is the thorn that makes a space safe, for it is the defense of your boundaries that makes your self sacrosanct.  You may batter your way through thorns, for enough force renders any wall eventually breached, but what you can never do is deny the barrier was there, deny the border was defended.

 

Anger, like thorns, is a message to the outer world that your boundaries are worthy of respect, and not to be lightly ignored.  Anger, like thorns, tells yourself that you are not only worthy of defense, but that your defense was real and worthy.

 

Shame and fear are thieves that steal your power.  Despair and sadness sap your will and strength, removing your ability to cope, to make changes, at the very time your situation is most desperately in need of changing.  The cold that seeps through your flesh as shame, fear, despair and sadness leach the life from your limbs, the light from your eyes, the swiftness of your thoughts will fall before the blaze of your anger, properly directed it can power the changes necessary to get you to a place where you can set anger aside, and remain warmed by brighter emotions.

 

When you are hurt, be it physically or other, you will have anger. Either you will own this anger, direct this anger towards those targets that deserve it, use this anger to spur the changes necessary to improve your situation, or this anger will direct itself.  If you smile and swallow your helping of gall, if you cast your eyes down and accept your fear, the fire of anger will burn inside, but it will burn you. It will not be guided by you, commanded by you; rather it will consume and punish you for the crime of not defending your Self.

 

Thor is not the god of peace, he is the defender of social boundaries, the defender of the folk.  His rune is not a flower, but a thorn.  We do not worship peace, for an unjust peace, peace bought at the cost of acceptance of abuse is abhorrent.  We seek Frith, proper action, appropriate action towards everyone we deal with.  We seek frith, and when frith is breached, anger is an appropriate response, for it can be used to drive the change necessary to restore frith.

rose-on-the-wire

Standard