Monday, January 06, 2014
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
The Oceans Are Dying!!
Did you get that? In response to an earlier ocean tragedy, I wrote a mythic response to the Deepwater Oilspill Catastrophe , but this time I'm just going to be straight up.
Read this article :
The Ocean Is Broken . This is not a conspiracy site. This is being carried by Yahoo.
If we pagans care about the sacredness of the earth, this is big news.
I want to know : why are we allowing business-as-usual to continue under conditions where the oceans are dying? Why aren't we out in the streets all the time, rapping at the doors of corporate, government, and UN representatives and demanding radical change?
Seriously. Do we believe in the sacredness of the natural world in which we live?
Do you really believe? Is this a play thing to you?
I want to make a serious appeal to people to STOP EATING FISH. This article makes clear that the industrial trawling of fish is one of the very strong factors killing the life of the ocean. GOING VEGAN -- or at least cutting down or even better yet STOPPING FISH CONSUMPTION -- is a GIFT you can give to the ocean. To Njord or Yemanja or Neptune, or however you conceive the sacredness, numinosity, or divinity of the ocean. This doesn't mean one has to do so for all time. We can have the Vegan argument later. But for now -- under these conditions --that is the least you can do.
But going beyond personal gifts, we have to stop the JOTNAR, the Giants, the Megamonster Fishing Conglomerates who are NOT observing the Gift-Relationship of any indigenous/pagan culture : you don't just take, take, take. A gift calls for a gift. You take what you need and nothing more. And right now, for most of the consumers of fish, you don't need it. You may like it, it may help supplement your nutrients and mostly your taste buds, but you don't need it. So let's get some radical changes placing some CHAINS ON THIS FENRIS trawling the oceans with its Sky-To-Seabed Open Jaws and SHUT THIS MONSTER DOWN.
This is not playtime anymore, but just about everything else is, yes, including beloved, always-loved, in-the-pocket-of-Gullveig business. Don't talk to me about anything else when the ocean is at stake. Don't talk to me about anything else when the very poetry of our waters is in peril. I want to see widespread, collective action that makes the "Arab Spring" of Egypt look like child's play. If we pagans mean anything, if we are actually engaging in worship rather than frivolous entertainment, we need to put our money where our mouth is and get this going. No, I'm not just talking about donating to a cause here and there, although that's good, too. I mean getting people out into the streets over this. [This is not the only Earth-related cause we should be doing this for. There are impending extinctions of important species, toxic pollution, etc., that all must be attended to. But we must switch the discourse so it is no longer a "minority" issue. We have to turn the tables on the entire way this is looked at.] This means getting tough. This is like rallying for a war. This means no longer allowing protest and in-the-streets to be ridiculed, marginalized, pushed aside by those comfortably numb who are just trawling around living a bullshit existence while the very sacredness of the planet is at stake.
And while we're at it, two fucking years ago I also wrote about the complete disaster that is Fukushima , and here , and here , and here . This thing is STILL GOING ON! I can't believe this : we've got a disaster that rivals CHERNOBYL, and it has been going on, unstopped, for TWO FUCKING YEARS. Not only that, but business as usual has just kept on going as if nothing has happened! Our government representatives tell us it's nothing to worry about -- "nothing to worry about"? We expect the representatives of industry to spit out such lies, but the government replication thereof demonstrates, if nothing else did, how in the pocket of industry all our governments are. Fukushima is serious, folks. It was serious TWO YEARS AGO. It is now EVERY DAY pouring out TONS of RADIOACTIVE WASTE into the oceans. I mean, as we speak!! POURING RADIOACTIVE WASTE INTO THE OCEANS!
At this point in time where we are at on this planet, we should be doing nothing but writing in all caps, bold print, and italics, but there simply aren't enough to underline the importance of what's going on here.
I will quote some things I said earlier (in the links above). These statements apply now more than ever :
"And no one raised a peep. Not a whine, not a whimper, not a stamping of the feet. The shields, long dusty, were kept upon their posts. The spears were snapped in two and thrown on heaps and burned. And all the while the wolves devoured.."
Do you hear what I am doing here? Let me make it explicit : I am calling you fucking cowards. I am invoking the warrior ethos, and accusing you, here, in public, as a matter of your sacred honor, of neglecting to raise the fight about the things that matter most. Do you get what I'm saying here? This isn't just rhetoric. I have just on the world wide internet called out every person who thinks they believe in warrior values and asked why they are not raising the banners to mobilize for this cause. (I'm not discussing, to be clear here, literal weapons-war, but I am discussing serious mass campaigns.)
"I kneel down on the wet sand to kiss the shores, and beg Njord forgive those who have mired them, and realize, I cannot ask him forgive! For you cannot forgive those who have not repented! They have not paid their gild, they have not turned their ways!
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
An Intriguing Late Depiction of the Gods
[Adding an explicit footnote here : I made all this up. None of this is based on fact. This was a joke. I want to make that clear just in case anyone takes this tongue-in-cheek humor for quotable fact.]
Monday, September 23, 2013
Sublimity is Its Own Success
Outside, it is windy, and a moonlit night. The tall poplar tree tinkles its golden leaves in the breeze, and as I look up at it, and see the stars behind it, I feel in the presence of an epiphany of the World-Tree, and I feel the presence of the Gods. I feel in the presence of profundity in which quotidia must be situated and given perspective.
Oh, Lords and Ladies, Honored Elder Kin, I have been humbled. I have had hopes tossed and dashed. I have stretched myself towards goals which have met with defeat. And yet, in your presence, under the stars, under this epiphany of the Cosmic Tree itself, I feel, all is happening as it will, and that perhaps it is not the universe which has diverged from its path, but I from it : a risk of taking a gamble. To have taken the gamble is no dishonor. Risk is our business. But not every risk will be rewarded. That is the adventure of a venture.
Thank Gods you give me the perspective to see this is ok. There is still a fundamental rightness to the universe underneath my despair if I will attune to it. So I did not succeed fully in my hopes? So what? It may be that is not meant to be, or it could mean that it will bear different fruit than I thought, or it may be it will take longer, and perhaps different tending and pruning, to come to what fruition it may. I am not in control of fruition, only of ripening. I ripen what I may, and open my hands to let the Gods complete it according to its Wyrd. If I become attached to specific results, I lose the magic of the world.
I may not have gotten what I wanted, but look, behold : the world is still beautiful. The wind and moon say, life is still infused with something sublime, and isn't the ability to experience sublimity and incorporate it into one's life a higher definition of success? The world is an arena of struggle, of dynamism through the working out of contradictions, in which risk stands a chance of making good on a gamble, but that chance is never guaranteed, nor can we ride too much on that chance, however much we may need to feed it in a gamble. Yet we must conserve our better part to ourselves, to our devotion and service, rather than to the rewards. We give the gift -- that is our job, and what comes of it, though we may throw in our two cents and more here, ultimately, is not in our hands.
I came here to experience profound things. Much has been given. In large part, that is why I am a praiser. Existence calls out for psalms. True, it also calls out for my active kritik, and that is a gift I also will give. But I have been given profundity -- if I will take the time to attune -- and this naturally, if we are healthy, calls for gratitude.
So I thank all the Holy Powers and ask that they will deepen my abilities to serve in devotion, that my life might more and more become an incarnation of the Gift.
Service and Devotion
From this standpoint, "success" has a much different understanding than the common externalist viewpoint, and even heathens can meander into error with their pragmatist viewpoint, tempted into thinking thereby that success must correlate with external rewards in order to be success. Yet think more profoundly on the theme that Odin takes the best of heroes for himself. In other words, they die on the battle, or to put it more bluntly for those too caught up in externalism, they lose. In fact, and listen carefully here, an external defeat becomes a Victory of the Soul. Contemplate that for a little bit.
I frankly don't think the Gods have much to do with external events in this world. I think that's unfolding of Wyrd, and they interfere very, very little with that. The main advantage they provide is the advantage of consciousness. (And perhaps tilting of probabilities, subtle "riggings of the game".) They Tend to Soul. And sometimes Soul is best attended to through Humbling Events, not Rewarding Events, particularly if the Soul tries to cheapen itself by taking on a thrallish attitude towards rewards and punishments, rather than seeking intrinsic motivation. To be entirely extrinsically oriented is to lose inherent worth, and hand one's power over to others. It is not that others do not matter religiously -- we are a social creature -- but the others that matter are those who are capable of perceiving inherent worth, and it is Those people who are our fellows, and none others. From the standpoint of consciousness, those who are not capable, and hanker after externalisms alone, are metaphysically speaking, in the evolutionary position of thralls.
Life is about gift, and service, and devotion, and when we forget that, and fall into slaving after externals, we join the thralls, even if our personal ambition is to be king of the thralls. The king of the thralls is still a thrall, and will never actually be a king. Many, many positions in this world, including quite high ones, are only stacking and ranking of thralls. True masters without slaves or slavishness are quite rare.
This does not mean that the body does not need to be fed, nor that we should cease to struggle for that which will feed our needs and the needs of our folk -- and humanity -- and the planet -- but that spirituality gives us the ability to put things in perspective.
And sometimes not winning, not getting what we wanted, even when it was something for which we really yearned, is precisely what we need to recenter, regain perspective, and humble us to tune back into the beauty that is, rather than beauty as we imagined it might be. This is no bad faith towards the imagination, which can reveal a great deal of the virtual potential of the world, and when combined with rational planning, can be a good guide to human action and creativity. But what it does say is that reality always overwhelms hypothesis, and it is to the wellsprings of reality to which we must return again and again. Admitting defeat can be a spiritually victorious moment, one that washes away despair, and reminds oneself what one is all about, and to look towards inherent value rather than external rewards.
If we spiritual people can get our heads out of our asses -- and come now, let's admit how often our heads are way too firmly lodged up there -- and stop taking literally what was always meant to be symbolic stimulation of deeper perception and appreciation of life, we have a great deal to contribute towards the people, and toward the process of history and progress. For the values of service and devotion -- free service, voluntary devotion, not thrallish service (although we'll get to that in a second, for those who are confused on this topic) -- are some of the key psychological concomitants of the Gift, and if we are ever to evolve our societies to function more like our images of the divine, we must move them away from Gullveig's realm of greed and obsession with gold bullion, and more towards the Gift. There's always going to be pragmatists who lose their sense of principle and cave in to more degenerate and backwards aspects of people, and try to motivate people solely through material interest and the incentives of reward and punishment, in other words, to tend things solely towards externalist behaviorism. That mode may be proper to thralls, but it is not towards free people, nor even towards thralls who you are intending to manumit and emancipate. What must be in command is service, devotion, and intrinsic motivation, with reward and punishment as a tactic to be reserved for the more thrallish. Who are such thralls? Those who will not give freely. But wait -- if those who do not give freely may be coerced to give, then how is that giving free and voluntary? Because those who give freely are not coerced. The alternative to taxation is voluntary donation. (This suggests that a state that taxes people thinks of them as thralls who would not in and of themselves raise themselves up to the honor of community contribution and public service, and who therefore constitute a tax on the Gift, and thus may be in turn taxed.) Those who think they owe no service or devotion to others do not deserve to receive such service and devotion, and to correct them, they may be made to serve. This is an undignified giving that gives little honor, appropriate to a low level of honor and dignity, while free and voluntary giving merits much greater honor, from those able to value that which is intrinsically valuable. In other words, thralls are on probation, which ritually speaking has always indicated someone on their way to a higher status who must, as we see in the term, "prove" themselves, while those whose service and devotion "speaks for itself" are under no such probation and do not require such exacting terms. Under what right would we assert such a right to subject people to such probation? Under the right of ensuring that Gullveig's realm does not swallow up the world, and that the Gift may have a chance to remain in command, rather than being exiled to the furthest margins of the world -- as it now, in fact, is. Things are backwards. The songsmiths have given us poetry that indicates the manner in which we may reverse this, and follow the divine order of the Gift. Here, those with intrinsic worth are placed in a leading position over those who can only think of themselves, and who can only think of external rewards and punishments. Well, if external rewards and punishments are so sacred to them, then let them be under that law which they hold so dear, while those who hold to a dearer law may also be accorded that law which is dear to them : a gift for a gift.
Rigsthula is fairly clear and severe in this regard. The God visited three (eponymous) homes. These homes were awarded with offspring or consequences according to their openness to the visitor --- how willing they were to open their doors to inspiration -- and according to how many of their gifts they had developed and could thus share. The first house's doors were closed, and they had little to give. The second house's doors were half-open, and they had some to give. The third house's doors were wide-open, and they had much to give. The latter were made the leaders, the second the place and honor of the majority in the People's Assemblies, and the former were made to serve the rest. Let us be clear. This was a spiritualization of a social custom that in its literal societal enactment led to much mayhem and trouble. When captives of war may become your slaves, you now have a motivation to go to war in order to obtain more labor. Let's be very clear here : that's fucked up, and has no place in a civilized people. But the spiritualization here modifies the terms and takes them to a new, transformed level. Those who fail to give all they have the potential of giving -- perhaps because they have not developed that potential enough -- and whose doors are closed to inspiration -- may be made to serve others, others who naturally serve in the very sharing of their gifts. Otherwise, if this order were reversed, the truly generous would find themselves in the most disempowered and penurious positions -- as, well, in fact, many find themselves these days! The paradox is that in a society aligned with the divine, those who give without thought of reward would be those who found themselves, sooner or later, rewarded, while those who always moved with calculated manuevre in mind, acting out of stinginess and only according to expected reward, would find themselves far less rewarded. Ideally we work towards a situations where the thrallish are finally evolved out of existence, through minimizing their influence more and more.
By emphasizing spiritual values of service and devotion, which support the consciousness and practice of the Gift, we can counteract the more cynical policies which are presently in command, and become a force towards renewing and healing the world.
Nonimperial pagan peoples, at least within the Indo-European provenance and concentric circles radiating therefrom, do not exhibit divine codification of social mores and customs, which remain the provenance of the Thing process, or in other words, the People's Assemblies. The People's Assemblies have a divine function, that of judgement, or kritik in the old sense of jury-judgement, with all the critical consciousness that involves, towards custom, and the negotiating of that into law. The negotiating of that into law : it is a dynamic process that respects custom and usage, but not in a reified sense ; a sustainable, but not a reified sense, and that is an important distinction. There are thus two terms here : custom, and judgement. Custom may tend towards law, but it is not law in a full sense until kritik, critical jury-judgement, with all its full assessment, audit-powers, and full appreciation of the good and the bad, is applied, whether that be through the legislative power of the assembly or the judgement power of a jury more specifically. The divine function is exercised in the process of kritik, but not in ever-evolving custom. But we do see such attempts to divinely codify custom in some religious traditions. We see this codification in Judaism in the Mosaic Laws. We see this codification in Islam with the laws of Allah and the Sharia law. We see this codification in the Bahai faith in its codes of morality. All this does is reify forms which are themselves social compromises or treaties from previous social developments, while not facilitating their further development, as things are always in development, and even providing for amendment processes, which is very important, if not done in a dynamic way, can still be obstructive. Usage, habit, which people fall into, is part of life. Habit and courtesy are the ways in which societies primarily regulate themselves, and only secondarily with oversight by state organizations (when they develop to the state level), but it's important not to reify this, yet codification does this in an obstructive sense. The customs of the people are not divine. They are human. They are understandable compromises made in the process of social struggle over meaningful arenas, but since everything is in motion at all times, Wyrd will not remain confined to customs, and therefore custom cannot remain so confined. This means that Gothis or priests of the Aesir must also be inciters of their people to social movement and dynamism. When we think in these terms, Socrates' service to Apollo, whose oracle of Delphi told him he was the wisest man in Athens, consisted precisely in his being, as he put it, a "gadfly", which was a kind of fly that bit horses and woke them up with a "sting" when they were sleeping. Inciters awaken, and not always pleasantly.
The observations of Caesar and Tacitus that the Germanic people as a whole were just beginning to move from a pastoral stage to an agricultural stage is very important. Even if archaeology indicates a long tenure of agriculture in the area, the classical observation suggests that there was some sort of pastoralist movement that was fairly prominent amongst the Germanic peoples of that time. What exactly caused this we don't know. There may have been various movements of people, and so forth, in which people were uprooted, that supported some movement towards pastoralism, but it would appear there was a fairly strong thrust towards it. Now if we look at what Morris Berman has provided us with in his synthetic analysis of pastoral peoples is that pastoralism, while being derivative from agriculture, is often a movement against agriculture, in the sense that it is a movement against the stagnation and settling down that is a tendency of agricultural societies, and a movement towards agitation, social mobility, and freedom. The fact that this was on the move in some of the formative periods of Germanic paganism is significant inasmuch as it has impacted upon the theology of these peoples. In fact, it has. It has a long history and rooting in the ultimate pastoral origins of the Indo-European peoples that can be seen across many Indo-European branches. The very concept of "wod" that we see incorporated into Woden indicates this storming, moving, dynamic kind of energy, which in and of itself might be anomalous to find in a fully settled, agricultural nation, and it may very well be that the notion of the pact between the Vanir and the Aesir may be a reflection in the religious realm of compromises between pastoral and agricultural modes of production, with the pastoral, mobile, nomadic element in the ascendancy, even though, as we have seen, in the war between the Aesir and the Vanir, the Vanir prevailed on the field, actually. They held the dominant forces, as might an agricultural nation that was invaded by a minority of pastoralists -- assuming that that is what happened, although it is one recurring theory -- another is that pastoralism developed as a revolutionary movement against agriculturalism, and those two theories are not mutually exclusive -- they could have happened together in various forms. Yet despite the dominance of the Vanir in terms of numbers and therefore the infantry on the battlefields of that war, ultimately Odin, after a period of exile, was accepted back in, because the people saw the value of the Aesir. There was an exile of the nomadic elements, but they were brought back in because they were seen as valuable and essential to the divine alchemy, and this is surely, in the ideal realm of virtue, a reflection of social forces. This is very significant, because it infuses Germanic-Scandinavian paganism with a dynamism that is very important, and which imparts to it an almost modern feel. We understand that the dynamism of pastoral, nomadic peoples is very different than the dynamism of an industrial system, and yet, there is a degree to which industrialism, on a higher level, stimulates and integrates to some degree a nomadic mobility , which is why it has been opposed by so many settled forces. Revolutions have built themselves upon this mobile basis, whereas fascist organizations have always tried to support the more settled modes. This may be why it was under the domination of the Vanir during Odin's exile that Ermanerich, a more imperialist, dominating king, was able to come into such power and dominance. There may be archetypally here, symbolically, impregnated a very important message, that we need to be careful about too settled a way of life, that the "peace" of the Vanir tends towards a more settled kind of peace which, taken to an extreme, can become its opposite, by becoming a compelling towards domination, which as we know, can generate war in a civilized dynamic.
The existence of a priesthood, and specifically a priesthood of poets, or songsmiths, as Ynglingasaga puts it, is the concept of rallying the people around a more inspired segment of the population, more inspired and therefore more advanced. There is a kind of dual relationship, or bicameralism, if you will, between the vanguard function of the priesthood, whose job it is to stay inspired by the dynamic, inciting forces of life, and the people, particularly as assembled in their sovereign People's Assemblies, so that the people make their decisions, but they are guided by the inspiration of the more advanced segments of the population. They are not advanced in the sense of being elitist, but just in the sense of being more forward thinking, more on the pulse of dynamic turbulence, and so forth, in which everyone can come into the movement. It is a nonexclusive kind of advanced segment. It aims at rallying, rather than excluding, other segments, and of course, debate happens over this in the People's Assemblies, and through this kind of debate, there will come to be a social and legal dynamism, as more conservative forces struggle against more advanced forces. And we need that struggle -- and not only do we need that struggle, but more specifically and critically, we need that struggle to be led by advanced elements, the songsmiths, inspired by the Inciters. This is how life is driven onwards towards progress.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Growing Old Is An Honor
Singers of Soma!
Throw Your Weight In -- Where It Matters
Be Choosy : Attune to Your Good Arrangement
Consolidate Your Joy
Monday, May 06, 2013
 Grimnismal 5 : Álfheim Frey / gáfu í árdaga / tívar at tannféi, "The Gods gave Frey, in days of yore, Alfheim as a tooth-gift."
 Note that already, even prior to the Mill, Frey is linked with a kind of communism, making his treasury open to all.
 Volundarkvida, prose introduction : Völundr ... var hagastr maðr, svá at menn viti, í fornum sögum, "Volund was the most artistic/skillful of men that men knew in the old sagas."
 Volund is called vísi alfa, a "leader of the elves", as well as alfa ljóði, "prince of the elvish people".
 This folk theme of bad weather and loss of fertility due to strife amongst the fairy-folk appears again and again in European literature, and is accurately reflected in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream : "But with thy brawls thou hast disturb'd our sport. / Therefore the winds, piping to us in vain, / As in revenge, have suck'd up from the sea / Contagious fogs; which falling in the land / Have every pelting river made so proud / That they have overborne their continents: / The ox hath therefore stretch'd his yoke in vain, / The ploughman lost his sweat, and the green corn / Hath rotted ere his youth attain'd a beard; / The fold stands empty in the drowned field, / And crows are fatted with the murrion flock; / The nine men's morris is fill'd up with mud, / And the quaint mazes in the wanton green / For lack of tread are undistinguishable: / The human mortals want their winter here; / No night is now with hymn or carol blest: / Therefore the moon, the governess of floods, / Pale in her anger, washes all the air, / That rheumatic diseases do abound: / And thorough this distemperature we see / The seasons alter: hoary-headed frosts / Far in the fresh lap of the crimson rose, / And on old Hiems' thin and icy crown / An odorous chaplet of sweet summer buds / Is, as in mockery, set: the spring, the summer, / The childing autumn, angry winter, change / Their wonted liveries, and the mazed world, / By their increase, now knows not which is which: / And this same progeny of evils comes / From our debate, from our dissension...".
 The power of this woman in the law-assembly is noteworthy ; Paulus Diaconus says of Gambara that she was a mulier quantum inter suos et ingenio acris et consiliis provida; de cuius in rebus dubiis prudentia non minimum confidebant, "woman of such sagacious nature that her counsel was prophetic ; of whom in critical matters, her wisdom was relied on in a way anything but minor." In Germania 8, Tacitus says of women, inesse quin etiam sanctum aliquid et providum putant: nec aut consilia earum aspernantur, aut responsa negligunt. Vidimus sub divo Vespasiano Veledam diu apud plerosque numinis loco habitam. "They believe them to have a divine and prophetic nature : nor do they decline their counsel, nor disregard their replies. We saw in the open air, in the days of Vespasian, Veleda, regarded by most as of divine rank." Tacitus also speaks of a people far to the East of Sweden who are femina dominatur, "ruled by a woman", and who share with some of the Swedes the custom of Matrem deum venerantur, "worshipping the Mother of the Gods". Indeed, both Paulus Diaconus as well as the Origo Gentis Langobardorum invoke a tradition whereby Gambara appealed to Frigg, Odin's wife, the Mother of the Gods. Adam of Bremen independently avers in his Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum that Postea longis terrarum spatiis regnant Sueones, "Beyond the boundless regions of land over which the Swedes rule," lies a terram feminarum, "land of women". One of the scholia states that Anundum ...navigio in terram pervenit feminarum, "Anund arrived by ship in the land of women" ; Anund or Onund, as evidenced in Volundarkvida, is another name for Volund.
 This is a giant name, demonstrating that Westmar and Kolo were giants.
 Note the dark carnivalesque misrule with which the giants here overturn everything Frey is known for : Freyr ... mey hann ne gretir / ne mannz kono, / oc leysir or haptom hvern (Lokasenna 37), "Frey ... maidens/virgins nor men's wives causes he to weep, and loosens every bond."
 The coincidence between the waning of love and the waning of the land's fertility is noteworthy. The forcing of love -- which is not love at all -- will not force the land to be fertile, another lesson.
 There is a fascinating connection here between healthy sexuality and working the land, as if they mutually reinforced each other. Indeed, working the land is literally a labour of love, and thus reinforces love. But love is also needed for the land to blossom. Failing to be in rhythm and tending with the earth produces unnatural lusts -- which let us note are solely defined as those which are coercive. Working the land has a regulative effect on people, putting them in touch with the seasons, which lend a sense of proportion through their rhythms. In this one passage, we get a furtive inview into an often hidden Indo-European philosophy connecting love and the land. (Indeed, such a sense goes well beyond the Indo-European peoples and is inclusive of many archaic peoples.) The torpor is also due to the fact that this terrible weather and loss of crops happens, according to Saxo, during a time when Snow was considered king -- in other words, when Winter ruled over all, and the seasons ceased to turn and change. Shivering and shuddering in the freezing weather, the lack of the active life, and particularly of tending the land, stirs up cold, sadistic impulses. Consent and celebration, on the other hand, are natural attributes of love.
 As the giants move in and impose their cruel, cold behavior on the landscape, the fruiting fields of the elves begin to resemble more and more the barren Iron Woods -- picture here the horrific, dark trees of the maleficent forest in Disney's Snow White. This is not to say that Alfheim did not have its share of lush, alpine woodlands, but the picture painted here is of bent, dead trees spreading pallor and darkness ; there is as much resemblance between these deformed remnants of trees and the former groves and orchards as there is between the giants' mass rapes and genuine, heartfelt love.
 Saxo is obviously educing a second source here, a variation on the house-of-horrors theme above. Notice the cognate similarity on some levels with the riotous behavior of Penelope's suitors in the Odyssey.
 According to Tacitus, to refuse hospitality was a nefas, a violation of divine law. Indeed, Havamal, Odin's words to men, begins with the codes of hospitality. We are getting a very clear picture of the brute behavior of the giants, who lack all virtues and manners of civilized beinsg living in organized communities : they fail to respect matrimony, virginity or hospitality, and they take joy in the sufferings and torture of others.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Odin encompasses transparadigmal multiplicity, which is not a unity, at least not in any sense that we understand it, but an actual nexus of incompatible, simultaneous hinges between various either-or worldviews. The wizard is as close to a con-man as you can get, except one with integrity, dedicated to vagabondage, the passionate abandon into multiple-level, progressive brainwashings. The wizard knows that only with enough brainwashings can the mind get clean, being wrung out through one paradigm after another. The wizard is an enormous practitioner of "as if', gaining depth through exploration and commitment -- 100% commitment, yet at the same time, commitment with an ironic detachment. The wizard knows that the best way to know something is to throw yourself into it 100%, in order to know everything you can about it, and then, almost abruptly, to throw the whole thing out, to kill it, discard it, and forget about the whole thing. Only when it has died will anything good begin to grow from it. Only when you gain the ability to call "bullshit" on that which you most believe will you finally earn believing it, as it sneaks up from you and welcomes you arisen from the grave. Each new perspective, each new worldview, each new paradigm is taken up, eventually cast down, and then weighed against and woven into the others, so that there is a rich, resilient, polyfibred weave. No one knows precisely what the wizard believes, as the wizard is in the process of knowing, which requires not knowing. The wizard as a matter of course goes into beliefs and perspectives which seem beyond the pale -- dangerous, forbidden, absurd, taboo, outrageous, beneath notice, beyond possibility -- and often with greater furvency and earnestness than a true believer, having suspended for that time all other background paradigms, however they may conflict, until it has been so imbibed and assimilated that it may be killed and allow digestion and fermentation to do their job, pulping and yeasting it into useful, delirious mead. This immersion, requiring suspension of loyalties while at the same time maintaining essential integrity, is not easy, and involves tremendous amounts of struggle, for unlike the con-man, for the wizard, there are things that really matter, and they have to do with life, and so holding together all the conflicting strands in creative, perilous abeyance is a tormenting work for such a reflective being, who must learn also to forget, knowing when to forget and when to remember, having set up, however haphazardly, various cues in diverse nested ways, to trigger recollections that reset from present brainwashing parameters, all while learning all one can from each, towards some great work that is not yet fathomed but greatly intuited deep within. The wizard is a viking surfing out on the greatest sea of all, the great tempest of chaos, willing to risk those waves in order to assimilate to them, and enrich one's being with the infusion of vibrant untamedness, whereby one can create a far more dynamic order. One elevates structure and plan -- but then lets them go to seed, and there, in that jungle reclaiming the urban project, there one sets to work, sets to art, loyal to neither chaos nor order but only their intertwined, bastard synthesis, never perfect, letting chaos nourish rationality, and giving the hillbilly, or the wild man, the keys to the city. The wizard learns the weird lesson that only by being willing to risk betraying everything you love can you learn a loyalty beyond loyalty that can sustain you, and nurture that which you love the most. This, again, is not some easy formula ; it must be achieved, throughout, with some code of honor, however askance or mercurial, maintaining basic integrity throughout the full course of shapeshifting. Yet shapeshifting is impossible while maintaining rigid notions of integrity, at least those that keep one locked in limited self-definitions. The ability to play the fool -- to be the fool -- to even be the outcast -- is important, because only within that which is considered absurdity from a rigid point of reference promises any escape-velocity from that fixed perspective. (And obviously the point is not to do any absurdity or to compulsively, unintelligently lust after every transgression as many anticonformists do, losing both sense and heart. Linearity in either direction -- for or against -- lacks the squirming quality that is yet the integrity of weird. One must have the puckish love of an itinerant scholar for Stanislavskian truth that seeks, however unlikely the direction, value, and value to benefit, ultimately, the commonwealth. The Wiccan Rede here is a tremendously wise guideline, however one may wager the perilous. Many things lie close to weird, or seem to -- some are scary, some are creepy, some are wacky, but only weird is weird, and there, in that weird place, that weirdness only s/he can be, full of the virtues of both mystery and plethoric laughter, will the wizard discover what it means to trust. And from trust -- a deeper trust than betrayal and loyalty -- the love for life that animates the wizard at every turn can manifest throughout and despite all the conflicting panoramas.)