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

Ragnarok Comes

 

The runes were cast
The answer cold
Ragnarok was come
The message clear

Who broke faith with us
Shall to the darkness
To the fire
To the ice fall

The fire raged; half the world burned
By mankind’s hand
In mankind’s greed
The nuclear Fenris shackles broke

Nuclear Explosion

The sky grew dark with ash that took the sun
The dawn brought fire that took the air
The earth groaned
Poisoned beyond salvation

Come now the Jottun
Fenris howling in the van
Surt marches
Serpent rising from poisoned seas

Alone the sons of Ask
The daughters of Embla
Face at last
The final night

No gods to lead them
No gods to save them
Those who forsake them
To stand alone

Pitiful few, the tanks did roll
Against legions beyond counting
Infantry locked and loaded
Jets screaming took flight

Sky grown black with Nidhogg’s brood
Lancing with fire to burn all that dared
The skys on the last day
No living could face them

Reign of Fire

The ground shook beneath Jottun tread
Spears of fire shatter armour
When through artillery march
Unharmed the foe

There is no hope
The young soldier cries
There is no chance
The pilot weeps

From above the hearth,
The veteran takes
The arms he lived to set aside
No longer will that be

Daughters of Freya
In the darkness scream
Not despair but madness
Dancing, move towards the line

Daughters of Frigg
Food they gather
Water they bring
Warriors will need both

Children of Eir
Bandages bring
Gloved and masked
No fighter to fall unaided

Sons of Tyr
No hope was promised
Only the right
And the will to stand by it

Sons of Thor
Laughter rings out
The final storm
Who would stand aside?

Children of Odin
Blood and madness
The feast of all ravens
March song on their lips

Hel in her fastness stirs
No prophesy to bind
Her own council keeps
Her charges set loose
Abrams and Leopard
To Jottun spear fall
Dread guns no match
For the fires of primordial chaos

Hel veiled

From the wreckage ghosts rise
Tigers in slate grey
Dun coloured Sherman’s
The guns of the dead speak

Jottnar reel,
As the first deathless fall
When the dead march
Where the living yet stand

Infantrywoman weeps
And loads her last mag
A hand closes on her shoulder
Grey and cold

Her grandfather to one side
His grandfather the other
Grey and cold the guns of the dead speak
Where the living dare stand

Surt in his fury
A sword of entropy bears
That no god or man may stand
Yet Frey grows from the earth
Antler in his hand
About him the poisoned earth
Gives forth green life
And fire burns it not

In the air the dragons scream
Red Baron soars
Bishop on his wing
Hurricane and Spitfire behind
Messerschmitt and Mustang
Phantom and MiG
While the living dare the sky
Will the dead make their slaughter

The Serpent from the sea boils
No force in nine worlds may face
All fleets shatter at its coming
Yet Thunder does sound
Where men and women flee
From warships serpent shattered
Does Thor stride to the shore
Hammer raised and joyous cry

Odin dances in the madness
Runes of victory he casts
Spear making great slaughter
Mad his laughter
Bright his eye
No hope do I offer
No hope do I bring
I am the promise only of death
Yet I am the promise kept
The battle embraced
The price paid
That no foe shall master thee
That no night shall befall
The children of Ask and Embla

Wolf Fenris howls
His dread jaws close
The Victory Father’s thread cut
By the wolf of war

Silent and bold
The son of the King
Viddar the jawbreaker
Fenris bane wrought

 

While still stand to battle
When all hope is lost
The sons and daughters of men
Shall never stand alone

The dead will uphold
Those who keep the watch
The gods will give strength
While still you dare fight

Will the dawn rise?
Will tomorrow come?
Will it to be mortal,
Then make it so

Rainbow dawn

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Aesir, Asatru, Heathen, Heathentry, Uncategorized

Heathen Music: Review of The Black Hat Society’s album Doom Country

Doom Country

https://blackhatsociety.bandcamp.com/album/doom-country

 

Hauk Heimdallsman is one of those Heathen artists that I have enjoyed the work of for a long time, and I finally got around to buying his second album, Doom Country.  I have listened to his stuff before, usually attached to cool videos or other things that Heathen’s make, and its one of those things that bug me when I have enjoyed the gift of Heathen art and not paid the artist.  A gift for a gift is our way, and when I bought the album, I got the kind of surprise you generally get for doing something the gods approve of, more than I expected.

The first two tracks, West and Doom Country were pure Odin inspired poetry filtered not through the lore of long forgotten and nearly irrelevant European Viking ancestors (yes I revere them, no they do not honestly shape the land I was actually raised in ), but the wild frontiers of the old west.  Anyone who has ever listened to Johnny Cash’s Ghost Riders in the Sky understands how the lore of the Wild Hunt followed our ancestors to the great plains of North America, and how the high and the wild awakened in the poets and story tellers of the wandering tribeless peoples who would one day call themselves Canadian and American something that had slept through the long dark Christian centuries.
Johnny Cash was a great artist, but he was a Christian, and it’s a handicap when understanding what the the storm is singing, what the thunder howls and the lonely prairie and lonely mountain whispers.  To have the lore to capture the spirit purely requires a Heathen, to have the language to communicate it to the folk soul of contemporary North American’s requires not just an understanding but genuine love of our own North American folklore, the explorers, pioneers, cowboys and miners, fur traders and settlers.

 

Black Hat Society and Hauk Heimdallsman have the sound of old style bluesy country, very much a Johnny Cash with a hint of Appalachian Celt and the kind of epic narrative that made the best country ballads last across the generations.  There is a poetry to it that owes a bit to Hank Snow and Louis Lamour in the sense that you can no more separate the music from the land that spawned it than you can the people whose heart it captured.

It takes a Heathen to really understand how to write Nine Steps, for those who know and revere Thor the song is his spirit written in the dust and blood of the old west, for those who do not know Thor from either the ancient lore or modern Heathenry, then Nine Steps does a beautiful job of capturing the essence of his spirit for those who may not have known they need his inspiration and example to face their own struggles.

I know that left free on the internet there is a certain stream of Heathen that likes to go a-viking and take what is shiny and interesting through wit and will…….but do try to remember we only raided our enemies.  Among our own, and those with whom we traded the rule always was a gift for a gift, and Hauk Heimdallsman and the Black Hat Society has given us a very great gift.  I not only found my purchase worth every (broke as post Yule parent) dollar spent, but left me hungering to find out what his upcoming album will hold for us.

 

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Asatru, Heathen, Heathentry, Pagan, Uncategorized

Depression: musings on the endless struggle

It is lonely thing, to fight depression.  The hardest, endless, unforgiving struggle with your internal demons can end only in your death, promises nothing from victory but another day of battle beyond.  It tests your soul like nothing else, and it is faced alone when it is at its fiercest.  There is one who knows, one who will stand beside you in this struggle, and one whose gifts offer some little aid.

 

Depression is a funny thing.  I don’t mean there is humour in it, or if there is, it is the gallows humour that civilians seem to get horrified when they hear from veterans and others who have learned to laugh among the wreckage.  I guess you had to be there.

 

Depression is funny in that it isn’t what most people think it is.  Depression is not “feeling sad”, that is an effect, not a cause.  You don’t cure depression by thinking happy thoughts or not dwelling on bad things.  Depression, if you are actually suffering from it is the root of your thoughts, not the effect of them.

You can make yourself depressed by putting yourself in negative thought cycles, it is an act of self harm and one that those who are depressed really need to be careful of, and people who shouldn’t be depressed based on their current physiology certainly can wound themselves enough to put themselves in that place by continuing long enough, so there is that much truth to the warnings about negative thoughts.  You can also make depression dangerously worse by indulging in those cycles, because they are self harm, but thinking of sunshine and kittens will not magically get rid of actual depression.

Actual depression is a thing, an energy sap that drains you.  It is a monster that wraps you up, feeds on your energy, your will, your strength until every simple action requires almost heroic effort, and the usual reward cycle your brain offers for success does not pay off noticeably.  It is a motivational killer.

I have heard it described aptly as walking up the stairs.  Your friends, co-workers and family are all walking up the same stairs, but you are carrying an eighty-pound pack.  They are not.  You face the same stairs they do, but what it costs you to climb those stairs is greater, your reward is the same.  When they see you struggling with stairs they easily handle, you will experience the effects of shame at your struggle and failure which compound the problems you already face.  You must put in twice the effort for half the returns as other people, and for that effort receive scorn, shame, and the feelings of failure, weakness, and futility which further empower your depression.  Your pack is now a hundred pounds, and you are no farther up those stairs.

As a thought model, it is effective and evocative for those who believe happy thoughts will alter it, I suggest you fill that pack with a hundred pounds and walk up some long flights of stairs and see how long you can remain energized and positive.  Understand, they can’t take the pack off, they will not be done, there is no rest, this is baseline while depressed.

 

The gods understand our struggles, because the best of them share them.  Thor is the god best loved by our folk in ancient times.  Thor’s hammer is the sign our folk chose in this modern age, as we did when we first had to deal with folks of other faiths, to mark ourselves as Heathens.  There is a reason.  The wisdom of Thor is not the sort of deep mystical knowledge that has Odin’s followers binding themselves to trees and journeying between worlds.  Thor is a god whose lessons are accessible to all, whose nature is pure, elemental, and fundamentally more human in more respects than other gods.  His trials, his triumphs, his spirit holds for us gifts more precious, and more accessible than those of the gods with more mystical bells, whistles and sparkly trinkets hidden like obscure game quests (I say this as a collector of sparkly trinkets myself).

 

Thor is not always depicted as the brightest of gods, but he is not stupid, only uncomplicated.  Joy in the struggle is the heart of his nature, joy in the storm of life, the test of it, the sheer absurdity of it.  Thor is defined not by Odin’s scream of rage, but in the booming laughter he sounds, frequently before picking himself up off the ground.

The legend I love him for best was his fishing trip.  He was tricked into a wager by an enemy that wanted to win his dread hammer Mjolnir from him.  Thor boasted he could catch anything that swam in the nine worlds, and wagered the greatest life taker in the nine worlds that it was so.  His foe took him out in a small boat to prove it, and Thor’s cast caught not fish, not shark, not whale, or even dragon.  His cast caught the Midgard Serpent; Jörmungandr.

This is the battle he cannot win, and that cannot end.  Jörmungandr and Thor will battle at Raganarok, and from that battle both will know their doom.  Thor will strike the serpent down at the end, but take no more than nine steps back before falling into death himself from the serpent’s venom.

 

His enemy laughed as Thor realized he was trapped in that little fishing vessel in the battle that could not end, save in death.  At this point, only loss was possible, there is no bright ending in a struggle with a foe that takes all of your strength, and ever will, until they day you have no more, and die.

 

Thor belted himself to the mast and fought on.  He reeled in Jörmungandr like any fish, and when the serpent struck at him, he pounded it back, not with the hammer he was not free to draw, but simply with his fist.  Trapped in a struggle that could not end with him living, in which he could not even reach his greatest weapon, he did something that is strange; he laughed.

Depression
There was no point, was no chance, was no good end, but it did not matter.  He laughed and threw himself into the struggle with all he had.  It did not matter that it could not be won, he did not have to lose, and chose to take his joy in the struggle for as long as he may.

Neither Jörmungandr nor Thor had any give in them, but both the jotun and the boat did, and as the boat began to break up, the jotun released Thor from his wager and begged him to let Jörmungandr go before they all died.  Depression is equated with darkness by many for one of its insidious side effects; blinding us to any possibility other than loss and defeat.

Thor was not wiser than us to see a victory was possible, he did not see the possibility at all.  He just didn’t care.  He chose to fight on anyway.  He chose to accept his limitations, his circumstance, and simply shrug and battle on anyway.  He won victory, we can all win victories, even if we have no clue upon rising to fight another day what that victory is, or even always know it when we have actually achieved it.
Depression is Jörmungandr, the serpent that spans our world and wraps it in coils even a god may not break, but Jörmungandr did not win either.  Thor will not smite that serpent for us, nor will he carry that heavy pack for us up the stairs.  What he will do is stand beside us on the deck, even when it seems the serpent will shatter it beneath us, he will keep that ship afloat so long as we battle on.  He will stand beside us on the steps not only while we climb, but when we are spent, and can take not one more step, for he understands that being knocked down is not defeated.  It is simply the place from which you will rise again to fight.

Like Thor, we have no magic hammer to protect us in this fight.  We have only the will to battle on, the stubborn stupid unwillingness to give up, the defiance in the face of despair.  We do have one more thing, a small, almost unnoticed thing.  When you are feeling small and helpless, battered by wind and wave stronger than your every effort, when the darkness has closed in and you lack the strength to rise, and wonder even if you have the strength for one more heartbeat, if you listen closely, you can hear the laughter of Thor, not in victory, not in triumph, but in the awareness that he had been beaten, been tricked, and still chose, as stupidly as it may be, to struggle on anyway.

 

Depression tells us one truth.  We cannot win, for a definition of win that means we will never have to struggle against it.  Jörmungandr spans the world and cannot be escaped.  Thor tells us another truth, you do not have to see a way out to find one, do not have to think you can win to do so, and you do not have to give up just because you believe you are beaten and cannot do anything about it.  Sometimes too stupid to give up is not about stupidity, it isn’t even about hope, it is about choosing to not give up because that choice is yours to make, and the serpent may not take it from you.  That victory is yours to take; neither depression nor the gods themselves can take it from you.

Heroism is not found in the battles you may win.  Heroism is found in the battles that cannot be won, but you chose to fight anyway.  Heroism is looking the serpent in the eye and saying simply “Not today” and chosing to fight on.

 

If you are locked in that struggle without end, you do not have to enter it alone.  If you can’t think of any good reason to go on, or any point in fighting, perhaps it is time not to seek a god with secret knowledge, but a god just too stupid to give up, and too great hearted to let you stand alone.

 

 

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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

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Asatru, Heathen, Heathentry, Uncategorized

Never Again: Muslim Internment

Muslim Internment

japanese-canadian

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.

masumimilitary-medal

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.

 

 

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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

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