Aesir, Heathen, Heathentry, Uncategorized

The Bet: Does love or gold rule the hearts of women?


One morning Freya had been listening to a translation of the newly recovered Hamaval.  In particular she was listening without amusement to Odin’s words on the fickleness of women.  Her ire aroused, the passionate Vanir confronted the one-eyed wanderer and took him to task.

“Your one eye has blinded you, old fool”  Freya shouted with her famous passion “It is the passion of love, not of gold that moves women.  Perhaps in your dotage you meet only those women whose affections YOU must buy.”

As all of Asgard prepared for the second round of their most famous war, the Wise Counsellor laughed deeply and long, his great white beard shaking in mirth.  Odin offered the golden goddess a challenge:

“I will wager a hundred heroes from my hall, that any woman we agree on will chose for gold over passion in the end.”

“Agreed!” Shouted Freya, “No magic from you or I shall sway this, let it only be mortal choice that holds the day.  You may speak only to the couple, nor may you set any other against them, and I will agree to the same”

The couple they agreed upon was an uptight young English woman of good family.  Her name was ancient, and her fortunes vast.  Possessed of a rare beauty and poise, she was much sought after by suitors, as there was no family lord from whom her hand could be bartered, she was free to choose.

Edwardian lady holding white cat, ca. 1920s:

Odin the victory father was watching the young lass (Cassiopeia) carefully.  She doted upon the cats that she kept, and once tossed out a young man for scaring one.  She rode often to the hunt with flare, and kept only the finest blood stock, and mocked other riders who had lesser mounts or lesser skill.  The suitors that surrounded her were the height of fashion, wearing only the best, eating only the rarest and most fashionable of dishes.  Odin saw all of this, and cast his plan.

Freya goddess of passion and magic saw with other eyes a woman surrounded by men obsessed with petty pursuits, elaborately bored with life, and obsessed with the games of social status.  She smiled casting her own plans.

Jonathan was the third son of an ancient family.  Sent to the new world to pursue his fortune, it was expected that the eager but not overly bright lad would take his remittance and stay gone, but to everyone’s shock he succeeded in mining in the Yukon, winning for himself much gold and renown, and returning to a somewhat shocked and bemused family.

Frontiersman II


Lacking guile utterly, and with the friendly eagerness of a puppy rather than the elaborate courtesy of the court, he had been corrupted by the loose frontier ways and lost most of his early graces.  His family despaired at finding a match for him, and so set for him the impossible task of Cassiopeia, whose wealth and grace were such that she would swiftly and gently send the half wild boy home to consider more modest prospects.

He began the courting journey sitting upon a well bred horse that he rode poorly; having spent the last years with mules and donkeys rather than high bred horses.  Wrapped in the latest fashions, he held a roll of large nuggets from his claim tucked in belt, and a thick wad of paper money in his tunic.

As he rode, he came upon an old man at the side of the road leading two of the most beautiful donkeys he had ever seen.  He stopped and asked the old man where he came by such beautiful beasts, and the old one eyed gent advised him:

“Only a fool would risk a great lady on a stupid and flighty horse, when a good solid donkey is available.  These fine donkeys are the finest breeding pair in all of Britain, and I bring them to London to trade for a stallion.”

Jonathan saw his opportunity and offered to trade his flighty and overbred stallion for the two donkeys, and began his ride to London.   Everywhere he rode, men and women pointed at him, and he just knew they wished they could be rid of the overbred horses and ride big eared sturdy donkey like he and his wife to be would.

As he rode further into town he saw an old man with selling meat pies.  The smell made his mouth water, and he stopped to buy one.  The taste was like nothing of this world!  He begged of the old man what was this meat, and the old man swore it was cat.  The old man said the Lady Cassiopeia was famed for her cat, but few enough men would eat it, let alone ask for it.  Jonathan swore right then he would be the first!  Riding away, he began to wonder what plague it was that left so many old men with but one eye!

Coming upon an old man standing bare chested in the street, giving his clothes to the poor, Jonathan asked what the old man did.  The old man replied that Lady Cassiopeia had said no thing spoke better of a wealthy man than giving the shirt of his back to the poor, after all they were rich enough to replace it a hundred times!  Jonathan thought Cassiopeia was the best among women, and right then gave his fine coat and shirt, and damnable riding breaches to the poor, determined to out do the other suitors.  Besides, after years of working the gold fields, he was unused to tight clothes and heat, and his massive muscles did poorly in the tight clothes of modern England.

Sure that victory was his, Odin looked in to see how Freya fared.

Freya sat beside Cassiopeia, wearing the guise of a widowed aunt.  Cassiopeia looked at the delicate men picking at the feast, sipping wine delicately while picking daintily at the food, each piece carved to be an artwork itself.  The men talked of the hunt, politics, gossip, and ignored her completely when not competing with each other to out compliment her.  With each she dueled with words and gestures, each weighed for effect in a play more elaborate than any stage, each calculated and bloodless as any card or board-game, with points won and lost in high societies game of status.

Freya whispered to Cassiopeia,

“Do you ever dream of the days when half naked barbarians would sweep in and sweep up a woman not because of her land, or horses, or wealth.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have a man who wanted to spend the time with you, not riding to hunt, or playing at cards?   The suitors here all seem soft of hands, without a drop of passion in them, hardly the sort to rip a bodice, nor strong enough to carry a woman off without at least two servants for lifting.”  Cassiopeia just sighed deeply.

Jonathan approached the fine mannor and laughed to see the poor fools had all come in carriages, with not a single donkey among them!  Lace and waist coats seemed the order of the day, and they seemed to be eating pastries. Clearly they knew nothing of women!  Determined to make a good impression he rode his donkeys up the stairs and into the courtyard, hearing the amazed gasps at his entrance.  Seeing Cassiopeia in all her loveliness standing proud and imperious at the head of the table, he slid off his donkey and spread his wide well muscled arms and smiled.

Cassiopeia stared transfixed as her suitors and guests gasped at the heavily muscled tanned gold bearded savage standing in a breach-cloth between the two snow white donkeys.  Her eyes travelled his smiling face, down his tanned and sweaty rock hard chest and to his, frankly, hugely bulging breach clout and gasped.

Seeing she was taken by the obviously fine donkeys, he proclaimed their strength and endurance that she know they were not just pretty, for he was a fine judge of donkeys.
“I swear if you take me as husband, I will ride that ass all day, and still have strength to ride all night”

The men gasped, and some of the maidens swooned; Cassiopeia felt her heart beat faster

Gesturing to the pâté, goose, quail, and beef on the heavy tables, Jonathan remembered the old man’s words about her pride in the cat she served, and the generosity she sought in her men.  Boasting proudly he proclaimed:

“Marry me, and I swear I will eat nothing buy your sweet pussy for the whole honey-moon. I have given my clothes to the beggars in the streets, for with you I will not need them!”

Knowing that women have practical needs, and well pleased with his success in the gold fields, he slapped his breach clout where his rolled up deer-hide held his heavy gold nuggets, and gave it a tug, as frankly the sight of Cassiopeia was making it a bit tight!

Pointing to his bulging underwear, he proudly boasted:

“With what I have in here, you will never want for anything again!”

The assembled suitors were shouting now, the maidens fanning their faces and swooning.  More than a few of the servant girls were eyeing him openly and whispering, but the room grew still as stone when Cassiopeia leapt from her vantage point with a growl that could shame a leopard, tackling Jonathan to the ground in a confused kissing tangle.

One hundred heroes walked from Valhalla that evening, for all the tricks of the Evil-Worker are no match for the passion of youth. The couple lived long, passionately untidy lives littered with adventures and children.   The gods blessed their union and line, for steadfast hearts are the gods true wealth.

Donkey Kiss


Asatru, Heathen, Heathentry, Uncategorized

Never Again: Muslim Internment

Muslim Internment


My thoughts on Internment are those of a Heathen Canadian. I am Heathen, so I know a gift for a gift, is the way that we build our worth. I esteem honour, courage, self sacrifice, and give praise where it is earned. I also do not lie about ugly truths, and we have to be really honest about some really ugly truths.

Interment camps have been done before. They were not done to Enemy Aliens, they were done to non-whites, by whites, for the crime of not being white. Fear was an excuse.

Hate was the reason.

We interred this man below, and his family, as “Enemy Aliens”, during WWII. This is Sgt Masumi Mitsui, winner of the Canadian Military Medal for courage under fire. We are not a demonstrative people, what dozens of nations would hang a hundred medals around you for, we consider your duty as a Canadian Solider. When we choose to decorate someone for bravery under fire, this is a thing that other soldiers will stop and praise.


Masumi was far from the only Japanese Canadian to choose to fight for a land that was his by choice, not by birth.Of the 222 who had enlisted, 54 had been killed, 92 were wounded and 11 had received Military Medals for bravery.

We interred him as a threat, an enemy alien. Understand this, I am not saying he was as good a Canadian as I am, or you are. Neither you nor I have any right to claim equality with a Military Medal winner; his right to his honours as a citizen is paid in full, yet racists who had never served a day in their lives stripped it from him, stole his property, because they used fear to let the public indulge them in their hatreds.

When you allow Internment of the dreaded “other”, you do not look for causes, for justice, you look for those you hate and fear, and punish them for your weakness, not their crimes.

A truly Heathen concept is this: Own Your Shit.

The Internment of the Japanese in WWII was an act of racist thuggery motivated by fascism and greed, carried out like nothing other than banditry by law.

It was shit, an act that stains our national honour even now. A hundred yeas ago, some of the men we interred helped our nation come of age in the blood and mud of Vimy Ridge. We rewarded them by stealing their lands and businesses and locking them up as “threats”.

Never, FUCKING NEVER, again.

Tyr, Leavings of the Wolf, Most High, Keeper of Honour hear this rede; it shall never come to pass that my nation will stand by and let her citizens or subjects be interred not for what they have done but for who they are.

Thor, Defender of man, know that if we do not defend our own against hatred, we do not deserve your protection against our foes.



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

They Walk With Us

They Walk With Us (but we stopped paying attention)

They Walk WIth Us (front cover)

I was asked why I was driven to write my book, They Walk With Us. The answer honestly has been riding me like a hag for years now; we need to relearn to pay attention to our world. I am not kidding. We walk almost oblivious through this world of ours, focused so hard on our phones, on our jobs, on our opinions of this or that about the world that we are so close to blind that the fact that our society functions at all becomes something of a minor miracle. I can’t fix that, and won’t pretend to.

I am a Heathen, an Asatruar, or one who is true to the Aesir and Vanir, the gods of my northern European ancestors. To be a Heathen is to be world accepting. That means a few things, some of them so simple you miss how profound they really are. To be world accepting means that you accept the world as it is, not as it ought to be. To be world accepting means that you accept that the holy, the horrific, the magical and the mundane, the living the dead, and the yet to be are all experienced here. This world. Here.

Are their other worlds? Yes, but you aren’t on them, so pay attention while you walk this one, you are missing almost all the important bits, and you don’t have that much life to get it right, so work harder at it. Is there life after death? Who can say, there is definitely death after life, and as I alluded to, it is approaching quickly, so again, hadn’t we best get on with actually living this one in this one chance we are given?

The touch of the gods, the spirits of the land and waters, the embrace of our ancestors, the magic and beauty of the world, and the very real power of the bonds we forge between each other are felt here, in this life, in this world, and we are choosing to miss most of them.

Occam’s Razor tells us the simplest explanation for a thing is most likely the correct one. It is a wonderful tool, except when you actually start paying attention it can make it hard to accept your preconceptions of a world without wonder, and force you to consider the fact that there may indeed be more hands than the ones you see shaping the events of our daily lives. There have been too many times where lives have hung in the balance, where the course of lives turned on a series of low probability events strung together in a way that strains the possibility of coincidence alone a fair bit past the point of credibility. Can I swear I have seen the hands of the gods at work. No. Can I swear that I haven’t? No.

When you read the lore, when our gods are depicted as walking among us they did so unseen until they left, with their presence more inferred than explicit. They did not speak from burning bushes or toss thunderbolts about when they walked with us, they offered choices where none were present, and added a little immediacy to the consequences of those choices, for good or for ill. They strained probability in ways that would give contortionists back trouble, but they seldom broke it, and left us to either learn from it or not, again as we chose. Little miracles, second chances, no more than that.

When I studied the martial arts, and when I studied biology, a simple truth seeped into my awareness; to use vast amounts of power to accomplish a thing is easy, but to use such elegance that little, or even no external force at all can accomplish the same thing is awe inspiring. To use a thunderbolt to accomplish something is more impressive to those who have not called fire from a battery of 155’s. To accomplish the same end with almost no power is awe inspiring. The hand of the gods in this world is implied in the elegance of the improbable not the flash and thunder of the impossible, which in fact usually equates to the untrue.
When I was driving to visit my father in Hope in winter time, I was in an area beside an ice covered lake that the road passed a few hundred feet above. As we passed a bare stretch, a car coming the other way lost control and spun across the ice and my path. I avoided him with the skill of too many years driving on ice, and watched him hit the only tree in 150 meters of road and escape a plunge of hundreds of feet through the ice and the cold of the grave. He was badly hurt, sustaining injuries that could easily kill him, except that I was an Industrial First Aid attendant with a full kit, who just happened to be passing the second he needed help, when we hadn’t seen another car in half an hour. I stabilized him and called an ambulance in an area where I have cell signal perhaps one time in twenty. I was an hour from the nearest Ambulance station, but I got one inside of twenty minutes in an ice covered spot in the middle of nowhere.

This fellow had been on his way to church and couldn’t believe his bad luck. I laughed at him, and explained to him how hard the gods worked to keep him alive. I pointed out the series of low probability events that were required to all happen at once to end with his being packed off in an ambulance with nothing more than a concussion that would be gone in a few days. It was not impossible, but the required chain of lucky breaks combined were extremely unlikely. Little miracles. The hands of the gods or just random chance? I can’t say, but I am more thoughtful for asking the question, and more appreciative either way.

I lost my job when I had a serious back injury that will leave me with permanent chronic pain and disability. Yes I know it ought to be illegal, but the joy of the law, rather than morality, is you can honour the letter of it by violating its spirit like a naked nun in a biker bar. I had lost everything, as the combination of pain, spasm, drugs, and months without sleep had driven even my family from me (for really good reasons, honestly). So, like any good Heathen, I have duty still, I will do my best to meet it somehow.

Miracles are something I don’t believe in, yet I also don’t believe in failure of duty, so given no options but miracles to fulfill my duty I set about striving for one. I got more than one, and in ways that stretched probability beyond the breaking point.

I sought a way off the drugs, to master the pain and spasm. I used the path of ordeal as hinted at in the lore of our people, not because I expected it to work, but more because if you are stuck hanging on the metaphorical tree for nine days and nights (or ninety as it were), you may as well poke about in the branches looking for runes, since you found the spear and noose so easily. I got something. If I could explain what, I could retire a millionaire, but I will settle for being drug free and with pain and spasm that are actively suppressed while I am conscious to a level I am not even aware of them. A little old lady working a grindstone in a vision handed me a bundle of something wrapped in rags, and when I opened this bundle the ability was in my head. Not asking anyone else to buy this, but that was my experience and it worked. I admit being pretty much functionally crazy at the time, so I am willing to allow that this didn’t actually happen, except of course that I have these abilities that I can’t account for and really can’t see how I could have spontaneously figured them out without noticing. Occam’s Razor is still hacking madly at the walls of this one.

I went back to the Army with the Rangers, because if you could do the job, they could care less about anything else. Oh I could do the job. Pain and I are old friends, especially in the field, and given a rifle and rough country I am as close to paradise as you can get with your clothes on. Looking for work civvy side there was a job that paid shite wages as a temp position on the opposite side of the city where honestly it would eat a good portion of the wage just to get there and back. Yet, I wanted it. I did the initial interview, and got the temp ID tag to go to the meeting. I forgot to turn it in on the exit. Although I have never done this before, I put the tag on my altar and prayed for that job, even though it was on the low end, temporary, and on the high cost end of the spectrum of jobs I was seeking. I got called back for a second interview. I had no money gas in the tank, and no money in the account, actually I had one dollar and nine cents in the account. I was delivering papers as a side job and the cheques were late, again, and I didn’t have the money even to gas up to do my papers, let alone cross the city to do the interview. I was snarling in rage as I pulled up to the pump and set it for one dollar nine cents pre authorized fill on a forty liter tank. I was lost in my thoughts as the gas pumped, waiting for it to stop, and it didn’t. I filled my tank on 41 cents. The price on the pump read 1.09 cents per liter. I got the interview, got the job, worked four months on a two month temp position as the bottom man on the totem pole, got cycled through each of the positions in turn, and then they fired the manager, and offered me his job as a permanent position for quite a bit more money. This actually happened as I have set it out. I do not claim this is the work of the gods, but I tell you, it saved my family, and it was a miracle (or series thereof). This series of events has deeply enriched both my family, and my spiritual practice in such a way that I have a hard time not seeing them as inexorably bound together.

I have passed through life being present to save or change lives by random chance a hundred times, because honestly it’s a big planet and stuff is going on all the time and my skills are fairly broad and hardly unique so you have a decent chance of having someone useful nearby. That part I hardly ever give thought to. Sometimes the world presents you with not only a chain of circumstances, but words of power and truth that open your eyes to choices you could never have seen on your own with such absolute elegance of effort that you are hard pressed to see how anything other than deliberate design my a master craftsman could be at play.

The big religions of today talk about big miracles happening long enough ago and far enough away that there can be no question of proving them yea or nay. Our ancestral tradition had the gods moving in much more subtle manners, their miracles those of opening possibilities, of bringing us to the opportunities and leaving it to our own hands and will to see if we will seize the opportunity, if we will take a deeper look at the choice before us and choose worth over expedience, and know the difference in success between following right strategy or simply tactical expedience. Our ancestors walked through the world as the most practical people in history, but with the open wonder and joy that came from knowing the gods and ancestors walked with us. I think I have come to the same understanding. It is my hope that through my stories, I can share with people some of the wonder I see in the world around me, and open your eyes to the shadow of the hands of the gods, wights and ancestors in the world around us.

I am convinced that this world is infinitely more wondrous than we give it credit for, that our gods and ancestors, and the spirits that share this world with us are in fact there for all of us to see and know, only we have got out of the habit of looking. Perhaps together we can start to remedy that.

John T Mainer


CanAm flag

I am going to break a whole bunch of taboos and tell you the truth. In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is not king, as the saying goes, but rather the sight of the one eyed man is a threat to those whose understanding of the universe does not contain the sights they have seen, the colours they describe, the light so bright it burns, or the darkness whose reality they have no context for. PTSD is NOT A MENTAL ILLNESS, it is an injury that is aggravated by the a society that has a great deal invested in a shared delusion state that is not in fact based in reality. The blind are invested heavily the universe they know and understand, the universe the one eyed speak of is both incomprehensible and threatening. Those that speak of sights they have seen are not gifted, are not heeded, they are deemed freakish and flawed, and shunned for the fact they cannot.

Our society has worthy goals, the peace, prosperity, security and safety that are our stated goals, these are good and worthy goals. Our society prides itself on equality, and on justice. These are all good things. Our society has the firm belief, almost religious conviction that violence is not the answer. These are all good and worthy goals, this is not the reality that exists.

What do you tell the woman who has been raped, the child that has been abused? We tell them that they are paranoid and broken because they are unwilling to put themselves into the same situation in which they were attacked. We call them irrational because they look at crossing the campus at night in terms of risk, when those to whom ignorance of the risks is their only armour scoff at the danger that they have not themselves encountered….yet.

We tell our children that violence never solves anything, but the reality is that our police carry weapons that are designed to use force ranging from blindness, through unconsciousness, and yes indeed, death as a direct implementation of the Crown’s need to protect the public through the application of violence to stop the abuses of the law abiding citizens from the criminals who look upon them as nothing more than prey. Our jails are not filled with criminals because it is unthinkable for people to be victims of crime, they are filled with criminals because the risk of violence is real and present. We have laws against willful promotion of hatred in this country because……well basically a whole lot of people seem to want to stir up hatred. We cannot claim that hatred and violence are not real while we have expensive state agencies that exist, and suffer from chronic overburden, to deal with the results of the bad things we claim are not real concerns.

Then you have the soldiers. To be a soldier is to serve your country through the application of deadly force in pursuit of the policies of your elected officials. Soldiers do lots of other things as well, but make no mistake, peace is something that soldiers leave behind through the establishment of order through the application of controlled violence. When violence in the hands of those who have no urge to accept peace is your problem, the application of violence in the hands of those who desire an end state of peace is actually a big part of the solution. It is not the end stage, but convincing the enemy that he cannot win through force is required for the tool of negotiation to actually be of use.

Soldiers and those who work outside Canada’s borders in failed states, in long standing war zones, see humanity at its worst, stripped of all vestiges of innate civilization. There is a reality that we have the morality we can afford; the closer to the edge of survival a people stand, the closer to home the lines of who you look out for become, and the farther away the boundaries of what you will do tend to drift. The “great generation” who lived through the world wars remember this, and carry its scars to their grave, even in lands where the society did not break down.

The term inhuman gets tossed around a lot, almost as much as human rights. To be honest, the only human right is to die. Everything else is a privilege which is made possible through the collective efforts of a society whose ability to function is based on its collective wealth, its collective will to employ it towards the common good, and its ability to defend that common wealth from those who would take it. Society exists because we can afford it, we desire it, and we defend it. It is not a right, it is not a natural or real thing, it is an artificial construct that is kept alive by our continued investment in it. When that construct breaks down, humanity is a whole lot different than we are comfortable seeing it.

Soldiers do not live in the comfort zone, they live in the reality, with the skill set and discipline to walk into the chaos that is, and do their best to hammer it into a field expedient approximation of a society so that others can look at building the resources to afford, the will to sustain the society that soldiers can only ever provide the naked killing power to defend. We both kill and die to buy time for society to either get its collective crap together to build a self sustaining structure, or finish tearing themselves to pieces fighting over the scraps of what they once shared. We know what our tools can and can’t do, we are the surgeon’s knife, or the butcher’s cleaver, not the sutures or the dressing. We do the hard and necessary things, we get dirty in ways that extend way the hell beyond the physical dealing with the terrible things that our society really really doesn’t want to admit exist.

We are the one eyed men and women in the land of the blind. We look down the same roads that you do and we see the signs that indicate the roadbed has been tampered with, and our bodies and minds react because that is all the warning of an IED you generally get. We look at the movement of people and vehicles around us and are always calculating threats, cover, exit lanes. This isn’t paranoia, this is preparation. While the people around us stumble along in the dark, oblivious to the dangers around them, and frequently victims to them, we who are sighted see the dangers, and heed the Havamal.

1. Within the gates | ere a man shall go,
(Full warily let him watch,)
Full long let him look about him;
For little he knows | where a foe may lurk,
And sit in the seats within.

Odin Picture
Odin, the one eyed god, the Victory Father, is the inspiration of the Havamal and the first words in it tell us to be aware of the dangers of this world, and look well before you move through it. This awareness of danger as a reality of our world has been lost as our society has mistaken its goals for its reality, its destination for its position. In this land of the blind, those who are aware of the dangers, because they have encountered them, are deemed to be mentally ill, when the reality is they are simply one eyed men and women in the land of the blind. Damned and doomed to be seen as flawed because they can see, deemed to be irrational because the reality they have lived through, the life they have lived, does not fit in the shared delusional state of the nation of the blind that refuses to accept that there are sights they in their eyeless state, cannot see.

Those who suffer from PTSD have survived the sorts of trauma, not always single events, but often the accumulated stresses of pressures beyond what the mind can simply resist without bending or breaking, and they have survived. They have lived through experiences that do not fit in the comfortable world that our society strives to build, through shared intention and investment. The fact that these are either the people this society has failed to protect, or those who have paid the price for serving under arms to protect the place in which such a dream of peace and security could exist, just makes it so much less excusable for the treatment of those who bear the scars of the things society cannot accept.

The majority is not actually naturally right. What you have lived through is real, and trumps what others believe ought to be possible. I get very tired at the degree of aggression shown by the mental health professionals to those whose reality really does extend to places they cannot even contemplate, and therefore simply refuse to accept are real. I get very tired at the stigmatizing of the one eyed men and women in our society, for the crime of having seen what the blind have not.

In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is judged to be insane, but he is still right. Blind is still blind, no matter the numbers who agree there is no sun, no stars, no moon, you simply cannot pretend not to have seen what you have seen, to know what you paid the hard ugly coin to learn. Nor should you.

I am done losing people to satisfy the delusions of the blind.  I honestly don’t care that the good people of our society don’t like to think about bad things, or have illusions about reality that other, frankly better, people have already paid a terrible price so that you have the freedom to be wilfully blind.  Play time is over, it is time to grow up.  The world is a complicated place, there are some things in it that you won’t understand, some terrible things that must be done, and you probably won’t understand why.  There are people who have been part of the same society that you are whose lives have contained events you absolutely cannot understand and really ought to stop pretending you can.  Stop trying to make the blind pretend they have not seen, stop stigmatizing knowledge and sanctifying ignorance.

We lose people to PTSD because in the land of the blind, the one eyed men and women feel they have no place.  We lose people every gods damned day because they make you uncomfortable and you make that abundantly clear.  I am done pandering to your delusions.  I am done protecting your comfort.  The men and women who come back are not ill, they are carrying a burden for you.  You don’t have to understand it, in fact most wouldn’t wish that on their worst enemy.  One thing, and one thing alone is required of you, make them welcome, let them come all the way home.  In the land of the blind, let the one eyed man have a place.

Odin is the one eyed god, the god of the price paid, the Victory Father.  That is the face I wish our returning soldiers to know.  He is also the Feeder of Ravens, the Hanged God, the Gallows Lord, who feeds his wolves and ravens from the dead warriors.  This is the face that more and more of our soldiers are finding, not on the fields they returned from, but in the home they could not fully return to.  Be part of the solution.  Let the fallen of our wars be measured on the day the guns fell silent upon the field, not when the last veteran falls in the silence of his solitude.


Cpl. Nathan Cirillo: What He Died For

Maple Leaf Forever

Watch of the Fallen

Wodensday began black and cold on the west coast, as Odin’s rage lashed the West Coast with the full fury of his storm, but I did not yet know why.  Hours later, I learned the source of the Victory Father’s wrath; Cpl Nathan Cirillo who stood guard over the fallen at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the National War Memorial in our nation’s capital in Ottawa.

The rage in the hearts of the folk I work with was terrible to behold.  The service folk, current and former that I work along side all hungered for the chance to answer such an insult with blood and fire, but caution was in our words as well, for we who served remember for what we all fought, and for what Cpl Cirillo died; our shared dream of Canada.

Make no mistake, to attack uniformed Canadian soldiers is not an attack aimed at individuals, but at the nation itself, for the crime of being a nation that believes in freedom to believe, to worship, to love, and to dream as you choose.  We dare to be one people, though of many roots, embracing differences in the knowledge that each group within our mighty federation brings with it new strength in common cause.  That dream is what is being attacked.

I served, as did Cpl Cirillo, because I loved the dream that is Canada, and was ready to embrace the challenges and dangers of service to the Crown for the defense of my fellow citizens.  No one joins up to die for Queen and Country, we join up to give back, to stand the watch, as others stood the watch before us, that others could know the freedom that we love so fiercely.  Some of our sons and daughters watch will stretch to eternity, for they fell in service.  They fell in the service of their nation, in defense of its folk and its freedoms.

In my faith, such are known as Einherjar, the valliant dead gathered to the heroes hall, Valhalla

 Vafthruthnirsmal: 41. “The heroes all | in Othin’s hall Each day to fight go forth; They fell each other, | and fare from the fight All healed full soon to sit.”

Every faith recognizes the worth of those who fall in service to the folk, with Christianity giving us the quote “No greater love hath one man, than to give his life for others- John 15:13”

He stood his watch unflinching, and fell in service to his folk.  His ancestors will embrace him in all honour.  What remains is the question of what we will do in his name.  He served, as did all of us, to defend the people, the freedoms, and the dream of Canada.  Through wars that felled whole generations, conflicts that scarred the earth for generations, Canada has always been willing to pay the price for our freedom, do not flinch now.

Terrorism requires fear.  Canada has never yielded to it.  Do not fear to fight hatred with our military might where it threatens the helpless and the peace of nations around the globe.  Do not fear to fight hatred dividing our community at home, for the day we choose to sell our freedoms for protection from fear, we become unworthy of the sacrifice of such as Cpl Cirillo. This is a time to be brave enough to come together across our differences, not let our unity go into the grave with our fallen.

The song of my fathers “The Maple Leaf Forever”, the chorus of the anthem of my own service “We Stand On Guard For Thee”.  One of our sons is fallen, his watch is done, we must now stand on guard in his place.  He died for the dream that is Canada, so in love must we all stand together and be worthy of it.

Einherjar II


Einherjar blot: Remembrance day

Do you hear the call, o my brothers?  Do you hear, o my brothers and sisters who fell that we for whom you marched away call you back?  Einherjarblot, Remembrance Day.  At the 11th hour of the 11th day, we call to you who answered once, and did not return.

Victory Father, Feeder of Ravens, great Odin whose hall rings with the stamp and clash of our honoured dead, release them to us.  Battle-glad, High One, we ask you let them return to us for but an hour, that they may answer the roll when their brothers call, that they may see strong sons and proud daughters speak their name, and give them praise, that they may take their place beside the brothers and sisters who marched with them, and lived to return.

 Van-Dis, golden goddess, mighty Freya whose hall rings with the laughter and boasts of our honoured dead, release them to us.  Lady of love, fire of passion, guide their steps to the torch that burns, that from their failing hands we took and still hold high.  Let them hear the praise sung of them, taste the offerings poured to them, see the strong and frithful land their dear blood bought.

 Black Ran, she of the deeps and endless hungry dark, eternal and hungry sea grown rich and dark with the blood of our fallen, release them to us.  Faithful Ran who loves best those she clutches to her breast, those who fell broken by their service into your waiting arms, we ask for but an hour.  Let those who fell in service now return when their comrades call.  Back to the light above the waves, and hearths forgotten, to hear their  name ring again, to receive the glory that is their right, and our only offering, before returning to the sea in which they fell.

 Noble Disir, guide the sons and daughters from halls shining gold, or silent dark.  Return them to us for but an hour.  The torch we took from failing hands is burning, and held yet high.  We yet keep faith with those who fell, and bid you aid them return to us.

 Hear our call, my brothers.  We call the roll of honour; the sons and daughters who answered their nation once, and are silent now.  Return to us. 

You did not grow not old, as we that are left grow old

Age does not weary you, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning,

We will remember you.


Mingle now with your comrades again

See the hearth fire burn, and laughter sound

Know that we labour to preserve what you defend

When to honoured grave you do return

We will remember


Alfarblot: Alfar blot, or Halloween

Odin Offering



For those of you who are hard reconstructionists, understand that I know the Alfar Blot was held toward the end of the harvest season, and was a family centred, woman led ritual that was secretive enough to be almost totally lost to history.  It was not Samhain as the Celts understood it.


Having established that I know the murky history of the Alfar blot I am a man, thus not pretending to be party to, nor leading women’s mysteries, I celebrate the Alfar blot in a way that is in keeping with my personal thew of adapting the secular holiday observances that we share as a society, and bringing back to them the sacral elements that have been lost.  I strive to put the reason back into the season, and teach my children that they can celebrate the holidays with their friends, while adding a sacral awareness and spiritual learning from the different levels hidden in the pagan  bones on which the modern consumer muscles and thin Christian skin are stretched.  We all celebrate the same, it is just that Heathens remember why.


One of the things that is forgotten by most of the Icelandic Saga reading heathens is that Odin and Frigg (or Frau Holle as some places known) were also gods of the harvest.  Odin began in many ways as a god of death, and of the harvest.  Holle’s symbols of the twin sickles represent the harvest, but also death in its proper time.  The god and goddess are tied to the harvest (as  appropriate to Alfar blot), are depicted as leading the wild hunt (there is nothing more appropriate to Halloween than the Wild Hunt), and in Odin’s case, remembered as lord of the dead, necromancer, and winner of secrets from the dead and the underworld.


At the harvest, the last bushel would be left for Frau Holle, or Frigg as a gift in return for the bounty of the harvest.  For this reason, the last of the seeds (uncooked) from the gutting of the pumpkins were placed at the offering stone in our front garden.  Alfar blot begins the week before Halloween with the offering of the last of the harvest to Frigg or Holle.  The pumpkin that was mine was doomed from beginning.  As this was to be a sacred offering at Alfar Blot, the knife used was my blot-knife.  Large and heavy, the knife has drawn blood many times, from sacrifice and struggle, has known holy oaths, and even bound broken limbs.  It has power of its own, and sometimes knows its purpose before I do.  Without really any thought, my pumpkin was carved in Odin’s likeness, with the rune Ansuz  in place of his sacrificed eye.  The rune of inspiration burned with the light of the fire of knowledge in token of the eye Odin gave for knowledge held in the underworld.  It seemed a fitting sight to greet the dokkalfar on the first night of their return to the world; and a fitting token of sacrifice for Alfar blot.


The night knew much good looting and company, spirits were high, and the gods gave us a night twice as warm as any in the week before, under hours of grey dry windless sky between the preceeding  and following downpours.  The gods shaped a night for children and alfar, for the wild untamed things that stalk the borders of reality to dance and play, and pass unknown among each other in shared greed and good clean wild passion.  At the end, my daughter asked for a prayer that her job would be un-cancelled, for she needed the money.  In turn I promised One Eye a fitting tribute from my hand should he see fit to grant her the chance to win her gold.  So, the Victory Father saw fit to un-cancel her job, and thus my debt is incurred.

I had a pumpkin carved to the Battle-Glad, the Feeder of Raven’s, the God of Spears, from which I must make both a sacrifice to the Wise Counsellor, and to the wights.  Well clearly we can’t feed the wights an intact pumpkin; unless I’m holding out for trolls.  And the god of battle wouldn’t be well pleased with an offering that was not of his arts, of his service.  Well, if the army taught me one thing, it was that Halloween and pumpkins means RANGE-EX!  Yes, nothing is better for feeding the birds than live rounds and dying pumpkins.  While traditionally the sacrifice was done with 7.62mmx51, 5.56x.45mm or 12 gauge (slug for a choice), in civilian practice, I have somewhat more liberty to perform more traditional feats of skill at arms.

The answer, of course to take my bow and spear, and make my offering to the Battle Glad.  I have had a really stressful week, so with arms in hand I drew full, and called upon the Feeder of Ravens.  Four arrows did I have, and I began

Lord of the Hunt, storm rider, master of madness, accept our offering this Alfarblot-draw

Loose….. through the mouth

All wise, Wise Counsellor accept our offering and guide us this season-draw

Loose…..between the eyes

Feeder of Ravens, Battle Glad accept our offering and favour our arms-draw

Loose… the living eye

High One, Victory Father a gift of praise, of joy at arms! Draw

Loose….Anzuz pierced, the Eye That Is Not

Sacrifice Bowshot


Fetch the Freyr’s Spear, the King-Spear of the Freehold.  In the way of our ancestor, give voice to his name, and hurl the spear.


Strike!  Again Ansuz is pierced, granted the thing now looks like Thor put a hammer through the eye, and the spear is about a foot deep in the berm beyond the pumpkin-skull, but as an Omen of the favour of the God of Spears, it is a strong one.

Eye that is Not


The rich flesh from inside the pumpkin, broken free by spear and arrow is pulled free by finger and left beneath the trees of the range: To the Alfar, to the great spirits of this place, the small wights of the land, the ancestors sleeping beneath the earth, accept this offering from my hand, and in the name of my family.


To the offering statue at my door, and the trees that ward it I bring a portion.  To the wights of my home, of the land that sustains us, to the bright Alfar that ward us, the dark Alfar that respect our boundaries and trouble us not, accept these gifts of our hand, and from our hearth.


It is time to clean my weapons, to remember the ancestors who taught me knife, and bow, axe and spear, rifle, pistol, hand and sword.  To the men who taught me honour, and thus to be Heathen.  To my ancestors I offer praise and pour offerings at the hearth, speaking the names of my honoured dead, remembering their lessons and stories.  Next I go to the kitchen to clean, and remember the Disir who taught me family and place, love and duty, loyalty and respect, and thus how to live Heathen.


Alfar blot is done.  The sun sets, blood still stains my fingers from the string, stinging from the cleaning work that followed.  It is a quiet thing, a private thing, a rite that has no meaning for most, but much for me.  Born of the thew of my family, of my own practice, it is a family rite rather than a custom of the Freehold.  It is perhaps not the way my ancestors would have celebrated, but I don’t think they would fail to understand what I have done, what I have tried to offer, what I have felt.  Without their guidance, and in times strange to their eyes and ways, I have done as I can to keep the relationship between my family and the wights, the alfar, the ancestors, the living kindred, our community, and our gods.  I am not a man apart from my community because of my faith, we are not a family apart from our community because of our practice.  We are modern Heathens, Canadian Heathens, a new thing upon this earth, as our ancestors were ever a new and growing thing upon the lands they discovered and made their own.


John T Mainer.