Archive | May 2013

Memorial Day Honors – A Final Toast

http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/14/opinion/greene-doolittle-raiders

I am away from the computer for a week but wanted something to honor American military courage and the bravery of our American aviation ancestors.  Too often now, we look to honor the action hero over the courage of crews of men.  These men flew a mission very likely to kill them at a moment when the psychological effects of their actions were more important than their success.

In their time, they were famous.  I have watched only portions of the film in their honor but will seek to do so again.  I also highly recommend Twelve O’Clock High, which shows the terrible courage needed in the Eighth Air Force (in which my uncle served). 

Sometimes courage is just doing your job under horrific circumstances.  Sometimes understatement comes from those who do.  My uncle’s strongest line dealt with how he took up whisky.  They debriefed the men with scotch when they returned and he was a tea totaler until a certain day.  “And then we flew over Berlin…”  From that day forward, he took his whisky ration.

On this day, I honor the men of the Dolittle Raid and the Eighth Air Force (who took casualties over 50%) for doing their job under horrific circumstances.  Honor to you and I shall drink for you this day.

A good blog post on the Vanir and thoughts on Freya

http://marispai.huginnpress.com/blog/

She is right, they tend to be white washed or “Disney-fied”.  I found her Freya portion the most relevant to me although I do think Frey has things to say as well.  Freya was the first deity I went to for actual results and I was paid back in spades.  There was pain, but it was very necessary pain.  Until recently, I saw Freya as the goddess of my “Off Duty” time but I have begun to see things run much more deeply than that.

She is Passion and Mystery and Magic but she is also the one who takes half the slain.  That makes her Death as well.  Folkvang, her hall, is most likely a kenning for a graveyard. We should not forget that Passion and Fury are deeply intertwined and the cause for much strife.  Mannsongr, the love songs of our ancestors, were dedicated to her and yet these songs were considered sufficiently dangerous that they were ultimately banned (possibly by Christians, possibly not).

I talked to a number of people who treat her with great care and fear her.  One considered Loki far less dangerous.  All of these people, however, are far more mystically inclined than I.  My connection seems a bit different (whether you see that as direct or my own mind is immaterial) and more focussed on Passion, Love, Sacrifice and sometimes a bit of Rage.

Remember also that her tears of grief for Odr fall to Earth as drops of gold.  One could argue, therefore, that sometimes Wealth, Worth, Passion and Grief are intertwined as well.

Hail Freya!  Hail the Vanir!

P.S. – In the interest of my “heathen centrist” position, here is a blog entry from a more reconstructionist source that mentions Freya at some length (along with Thor and Odin):

http://www.norsemyth.org/2013/05/a-6th-grader-asks-about-norse-mythology.html

How Ravens Came to be Black

A fine allusion to shadow work and our darker sides by Michaela Macha.  It makes me want to consider Hugin and Munin a bit more.  I normally tie shadow work in my practices to Hermod and elsewhere but this was interesting.  Plus, the image of a white raven has personal appeal.

www.odins-gift.com – Heathen Poetry, Stories and Songs

http://www.odins-gift.com/pown/theravens.htm

How Ravens Came To Be Black

Once upon a time and long ago, Odin was walking under the branches of Yggdrasil when two ravens swooped down and settled upon his shoulders. The raven on his left was white as the mists of Niflheim (for back then, all ravens were white), and his eyes mirrored the clouds. The raven on his right glistened in the sun like the snows of Jotunheim, and looked at him with bright clear eyes. And Odin called the raven to his right Hugin, which is Thought, and the other one he named Munin, which means Memory.

As the days passed, Hugin and Munin matched the Allfather’s curiosity for everything in the Nine Worlds, flying around and watching and listening to whatever they could, and in the evenings, they returned to him to tell him all they had seen and heard in the long hours of the day. They told him about the slow thoughts of the mountains, the colorful and ever-changing memories of men, and the sound of the song in the heart of everything that lives.

And though Odin delighted in the knowledge they brought, he always felt they had missed something, and he said, “That was much, but not yet enough. Tomorrow you must fly again. Try to rest now.” And the ravens slept uneasily, not knowing what they had missed, and every morning, they flew out again.

There came one of many evenings after another long day when they had once again seen all that Sunna’s shine could show, had listened to all men’s bright thoughts in Midgard, and read their waking memories, when Hugin said to Munin, “We cannot return yet. It is not enough. We must go farther.” And they flew on into the night.

And Hugin flew through the dark dreams of mankind and heard their thoughts which they dared not think during the daytime, not even before themselves. He winged through the black void between the stars where there was nothing at all, and on to the twilight world of the future, where there is equally nothing and everything at once. And when he returned, his feathers, from tip to tip, were black as the night.

And Munin flew through the minds of men into the shady corners and cellars where they had hidden all the things they did not like, and locked them away, saying “I do not remember.” He soared through the sightless void of Ginnungagap, and on and on until he arrived at the ashes of Ragnarok which obscured this age from the next. And when he returned, his feathers, from beak to tail, were as black as soot.

The ravens returned to Odin just before the break of morning, when the night is at its darkest, and when they settled back on his shoulders, he knew all that they had seen, and they did not need to tell. And he understood what had been missing, and nodded, and said, “It is much, and it is enough. For tonight. You may rest.” And the ravens blinked drowsily into the first rays of the rising sun which glinted on their now black feathers, tucked their beaks under their wings, and slept very well.

Since that time, all ravens have been seen to be as black as a shadow on a starless night. Very rarely it happens that somebody catches a glimpse of a white raven, and should you ever be lucky enough to see one, you’ll know that you have wandered far off and back into the land of memory, before ravens came to be black.

(C) Michaela Macha. Creative Commons License BY-ND

Spiritual truths and fundamentalism

This started from a comment someone made about this story regarding a recent tragedy:

http://gma.yahoo.com/psychic-said-amanda-berry-dead-silent-berry-found-212849667–abc-news-topstories.html

In the end, I certainly don’t see the purported psychic as spiritual but a charlatan using the language of spirituality and superstition to make money off people.  However, it leads to an important lesson for those on the more mystical/UPG/Invisible Stars side of things.

Spiritual truths are individual and non-transferrable.

I have had powerful revelatory experiences which gave me the calling that started this blog.  I have to remember, however, that those truths matter most to me and not to others.  It is possible for those experiences to match or guide others but they will NEVER be universal.

Fundamentalism comes from the assumption that there can be universal truths at a spiritual level:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamentalism

Fundamentalism is the demand for a strict adherence to specific theological doctrines usually understood as a reaction against Modernist theology, primarily to promote continuity and accuracy.[1] The term “fundamentalism” was originally coined by its supporters to describe a specific package of theological beliefs that developed into a movement within the Protestant community of the United States in the early part of the 20th century, and that had its roots in the Fundamentalist–Modernist Controversy of that time.[2] The term usually has a religious connotation indicating unwavering attachment to a set of irreducible beliefs.[3] “Fundamentalism” is sometimes used as a pejorative term, particularly when combined with other epithets (as in the phrase “right-wing fundamentalists”).[

I should note that I use the term for any assumption of universal truth, not just religious.  I use it for any dogmatic approach to life.

The truths we find in life are hard won, but that doesn’t mean they become truth to others without careful examination and review.

Heathen Organization replies to murder investigation

The international group known as the Troth has an official statement.

http://thetroth.blogspot.com/2013/05/the-troths-response-to-evan-ebel-and.html

This ties to two previous posts:

https://facingthefireswithin.wordpress.com/2013/05/03/heathen-related-murder-investigation/

https://facingthefireswithin.wordpress.com/2013/04/10/are-we-responsible-for-what-is-done-in-the-name-of-our-faith/

Prison outreach is controversial amongst some heathens and racist affilitated groups are sadly common in prisons, where extremism and the need for defensive gangs can overwhelm what we take for granted in more civilized environs.  I will also admit to having mixed feelings on the subject and would be unlikely to volunteer for such outreach even if I might be convinced to contribute money or other support in time.

I am happy that the Troth is providing a response and hope other organizations will as well.

Heathen related murder investigation

http://denver.cbslocal.com/2013/05/02/clements-murder-suspect-practiced-controversial-religion-in-prison/

The wretch in question is now dead but this raises a consistent problem for us.  We are most known outside our own communities (in the press anyway) as tied to prison racists or corrupt officials.

I touched on this here:

https://facingthefireswithin.wordpress.com/2013/04/10/are-we-responsible-for-what-is-done-in-the-name-of-our-faith/

We are so small that the actions of such a man hurt us dearly.  I wish I had better answers as to what we should do but I do not.  I dreaded that the case in question or the ones in Texas would have a heathen tie.  Hel, I even had a small fear regarding Boston.  I am glad I was wrong with the rest of them.

I think, in the short term, our best option is to live our lives well.  A number of us still feel we must hide our faith to hold jobs.  While I absolutely agree that this is wrong, against the spirit of the First Amendment and against one of my oaths; I and others still need to feed our familes.  But, if we live well and are thought well of, we can be an example over time to show that we are not all wretches, demons and madmen.

Live well and live honorably.  Look at every deed.

Luck and good life to you all.