“Thoughts on Health” – A Skald’s Life – Self Virtues

 

Happy Frigg and Freya’s Day

Journal Entry:

I have been thinking a lot about health these days as I have hit some milestones regarding health.  1) I just passed my third anniversary of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and 2) I stepped on a scale at the gym and for the first time in roughly a decade, I fell below 282 lbs to 281 lbs. The first of these was a wake-up call as far as nutrition was concerned as I had relied heavily on exercise to keep my weight under control and it was not working as well as before.  The second is representative of losing 67 lbs. in the last year and watching my sugar scores drop accordingly.

I have to say the first thing I had to chuck was the traditional government recommended nutritional guidelines because after doing them for roughly a year, I was getting nowhere. So headed a different direction by basically dumping the idea that regular interval carbs were going to help me.  In fact, I felt it was kind of weird that the answer to having an insulin resistant body was to give it more work to do.  I found there were some doctors who agreed with me and the video below is one of them who did a TED talk. I share this for anyone struggling with diabetes, you may have to do what your doctor and nutritionist says is wrong but actually works.

So I went Paleo for the most part.  I have my cheats so I can enjoy some of the things I love to eat from time to time but it is for the most part severely limited to a couple times a week.  The results speak for themselves. That said healthy living is more than about living better and hopefully longer. I find what I have to do to get there each day is a direct reflection of my Self Virtues of Discipline, Perseverance, and Fidelity.

Discipline:

“Discipline is the willingness to be hard on oneself first and then if needed help with the development with others, so that greater purposes may be achieved.”

Principle: Apply discipline to every aspect of life that it can be applied.

Goal: To follow A FULL Paleo Diet Plan from April 1, 2019, to March 31, 2020.

Bucket List: Do a rebellious act on April Fools Day, April 1st, 2020.

Nutrition is the main focus of health when it comes to discipline.  The discipline of going to the gym when I can and walking are both almost automatic for me.  The real struggle and the real key to long term and lifetime results are watching with discipline every single day what you are putting into your body.  It really has stretched my notion of discipline being applied to specifics such as exercise and events with a time limit.  I now extend the idea to the overall lifestyle which is much more important.

Perseverance:

“Perseverance is the ability to stand up and return from defeat and failure”

Principle: Keep getting up after every defeat or failure.

Goal: To engage in an exercise program that involves weightlifting, hiking/walking, and stretching/ yoga an average of three days a week from April 1st, 2019 to March 31st, 2020

Bucket List: To get at least one tattoo by March 18th, 2020.

In weightlifting, we talk a lot about pushing to failure. It is intentionally taking that last set until you can’t do another rep.  It is intentionally failing so that you can get results through perseverance. It has changed my perspective about failure as a tool for getting better results. To intentional push things until you can’t do anymore – you fail.  Then the next time you do that same thing you often find you can go a little further, lift a little heavier, etc. Probably a mindset that is applicable to more than weightlifting.

Fidelity: 

“Fidelity is the will to be loyal to one’s Gods and Goddesses, to one’s Folk, to one’s self, and loyalty to one’s friends was as valued as highly as loyalty to one’s family.”

Principle: Be loyal to those who have been loyal to me.

Goal: Celebrate my wife and I’s 30th anniversary (June 10th, 2019) with a mini-vacation

Bucket List: Discover all the countries of origin from my genetics and visit them all by March 18th, 2029.

In all of my health pursuits, I find that this is where I feel the most loyal to myself. I am not doing healthy things for anyone else.  I won’t say no one else benefits but the bottom line, the person who most directly benefits from me eating right and exercising is me. There is no feeling like being healthy and that is totally directed at me.

Higher Virtue – Wisdom: 

The wisdom of all this extends far beyond all the health results that will allow me to live long enough and healthy enough to dance with all my granddaughters at their weddings (the oldest of them is five and the youngest is one).  It goes far more into a spiritual vein as well as all the things I do are leading to me the wise paths of discipline, perseverance, and fidelity.

Weekly Routine: 

  1. Weightlifting/Stretching – Minimum 3 days per week.
  2. Walking – Minimum 3 days a week
  3. Job Search – Minimum 3 days a week
  4. Cleaning – 3 days a week.
  5. Writing – 3 times a week
  6. Latin – 3 times per week
  7. Cheat Meal Count: 3 per week.

I really want a full week of routine this coming week.  I need to prove this is practical and not a time consuming or realize things need to be changed so they are both practical and not time-consuming.

Goals and Bucket List Items Achieved (Since Summer 2018):

Goals Achieved: 2

  1. Graduated College with a BS in Political Science and minors in Economics and International Business – December 2018
  2. Finalize last requirements for my degree – Internship by May 2019 – May 2019

Bucket List Items Achieved: 0

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

“Moving from Religious Slavery to Rational Freedom” – Odin’s Eye – Deism

Happy Thor’s Day

Discussion:

I remember as a pastor helping people through so-called tests of faith.  Now as a more deistic person in search of a rational divinity, I would say that it wasn’t so much a test of faith, but a person running into legitimate problems with their religion and their rational mind trying to get them to see that.  A lot of the times this doubt of ones religion is interpreted as doubt in one’s faith and that is only partially correct.  Regardless it is not a bad thing, but rather our own mind trying to help us see that we have bought into a pack of lies.

Religion doesn’t seem to have very many positive purposes.  It is used to control and manipulates through fear or by creating imaginary concepts that are passed off as read to change people’s thinking and thus their behavior. Occasionally a religion might talk about virtue or character that human beings should have or exercise and in that regard religion might do something positive.

For myself, this transition into being a deistic humanist with pagan tendencies is about firstly a search to see if a rational god can be found.  Secondly, I am trying to throw off the trappings of religion to embrace a more spiritual and practical philosophy of living my life. I work to be spiritually attuned to the world around me but rationally grounded.  Mostly though I seek to be free of religion’s negative effects and thus freer.

Time to Look Through the Eye:

Faith:

I have faith that there is something beyond ourselves.  We talk of romantic love for another person but there is no rational reason to believe it is anything more than hormones being exchanged.  Yet, there we are talking and very much believing we fall in love, that making love is more than just hedonistic pleasure for the purpose of procreation, etc. Concepts such as beauty and friendship fall into this category as well, there is more to human senses that the five senses and more to determine what is true and real other than the rational mind. I have faith that this is so still.

Religion:

I avoid religion as much as possible. I find people who are religious to be inherently self-righteous as much of religion centers on “we have found the truth about the divine”.  It is this belief that leads people to think they have arrived in some place that is superior to others whether they openly say so or not. They find themselves looking at others either as poor wretches who still need to find ‘the truth’ or ‘sinner in the hands of an angry god’.  There are inherent condescension and hubris to any religious belief.

Theology:

My theology as a deist pretty much does not have a divine entity or entities that intervene in human affairs. I won’t say that I don’t believe miracles are possible as even Einstien conceded in his probability based universe, all things are possible no matter how unlikely.  I have just seen too much as a Pentecostal believer to believe miracles are as common as they say.  I have seen a tremendous amount of con artist fraud and sleight of hand magician’s tricks to buy that it happens. I don’t fall into the deist problem of believing in the larger miracle of creation and not believing smaller things called miracles can’t happen, but I also have found that most miracles have a rational explanation and usually it is some form of deception followed by a large amount of confirmation bias.

Spirituality:

I would consider myself no longer religious but spiritual.  My rational mind is part of that spiritually.  I just think there is more to mankind that a computer lodged in the head of a biochemical body. If there is any spiritual practice that has changed for me is I don’t spend a lot of time praying, if at all.  I realized that people when they get a result they wanted often cite that as proof prayer works.  I challenge such people to rationally do an experiment for a bit.  Keep a record of everything you pray about and be absolutely honest about how all of the things on that list are ‘answered’ I know when I did this about 20% of the things I was praying for came about.  80% either didn’t happen at all or things went a completely different way from how I was praying.

No, I spend more time thinking and meditating on things to understand them these days rather than praying.  I find it leads to far more freedom of thought and a better way to navigate through life’s challenges.

Conclusion:

I became a diest because of ignorance.  I think the human race simply does not know enough to dismiss the possibility of the divine. What I also am fairly sure of is that most religions are irrational and are basically attempts to either fool people or control their thoughts and behaviors using appeal to divine authority to do so.  I search for a rational divine, not one which is defined by others through religion.  It has been a very liberating choice.

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

“Thoughts on Freedom” – A Skald’s Life – Business Virtues

Happy Wooden’s (Odin’s) Day

Journal Entry:

Governments don’t grant freedom.  Religion doesn’t grant freedom.  The right to liberty and freedom simply is, it is others who are arrogant in their presumption that they have the ‘right’ to take it away or grant it.  If you need permission to do something from the government, religion or any other force, you are not free to do it. If we are going to say liberty is an inalienable right, no permission is needed for it to exist. The best we can do with the government is hope it will defend our liberty.  The best we can hope from religion is that it minds its own business about the way we live our own life.

But as the anarchists will point out, the very fact that government exists is an affront to the idea of rights and liberty specifically.   I agree with them theoretically.  I have always felt the problems with anarchism are not the theory and philosophy of it, but rather the practical application.  It overlooks one key thing about human beings – we are inherently tribal. I think the founding fathers of the United States using their reason recognized this, so they understood that government is a necessary evil and tried to create one that actually protected the rights of its citizens and one that was so restricted as to not encroach on rights quickly or without restraint.  Smart practical men, but they knew over time even their system would fail if it wasn’t maintained by people who value freedom and liberty.

For me personally, I am free because I am free.  I alone bear the responsibility of my actions and The Book of Rabyd 2:2 kicks in a lot. It is the following of the virtues of Self-Reliance, Industriousness, and Hospitality that do more to maintain and follow after freedom than anything else.

Self-Reliance:

“Self-Reliance is the spirit of independence, which is achieved not only for the individual but also for the family, clan, tribe, and nation.”

Principle: To achieve and maintain personal independence and advocate for independence in my family, state and nation.

Goal:  Find a new, better paying job by the end of June 2019 or before.

Bucket List: To own and run my own successful business or company.

Liberty and Freedom are the two reasons why I work so hard for self-reliance.  Anything else is dependence and it can lead to slavery.  The cage can be guided but it is still a cage. The more you are independent through being self-reliant, the more options you have that are created by you and that leads to freedom.

Industriousness:

“Industriousness is the willingness to work hard, always striving for efficiency, as a joyous activity in itself”

Principle: Work with the enjoyment of work itself.

Goal: Working on it.

Bucket List: Write A Novel and Get it Published.

This kind of freedom and liberty doesn’t just come to you, you have to work to create it.  It doesn’t mean you have to work harder but that may be involved.  You can work smarter or create something that does some of the work for you.  But freedom and liberty are found in the fact that you have chosen the work for yourself and that you enjoy it.

Hospitality:

“Hospitality is the willingness to share what one has with one’s fellows, especially when they are far from home.”

Principle: To share out of my abundance to help people where I can with their life’s journey.

Goal: By March 31st of 2020, to be the leader of a support group of some kind.

Bucket List: To own my own home by March 2024.

Being prosperous enough through liberty and freedom with the other two virtues, allows you to be generous.  I think this is the one missing element of the entire capitalist structure. This is not the fault of capitalism but rather capitalists who succumb to greed rather than hospitality which would lead to greater overall prosperity.  If you can’t let go of what you create then you truly are not free of its control over you.  Slavery takes a lot of forms and one of those forms is being a slave to having to own and control everything.

Higher Virtue – Justice:

The best way to live creating justice is to live in liberty not just for yourself but for others as well. Justice means you let people be free to pursue their own path and don’t interfere or meddle in any way. You respect freedom and liberty as forces enough ot let others have it.

Daily Routine:

  1. Wife: Communication / Cuddle Time
  2. Blogging – Organize, revise, write a new post for the next day, 15 min. work on fiction.
  3. Reading – half-hour. Priority order: work, school, pleasure
  4. Study / Homework / Research: half hour per day minimum or until all necessary work is completed.
  5. Personal Business: record financial transactions, savings plan actions, budgeting, appointments, other actions, etc.
  6. Check Communications and Email after 2 pm but before 4 pm.
  7. Weekly Routine Items
  8. Nutrition: Daily Carb Count – 2

June 2 starts another full week for me and I am going to try to be in a position to put all my routines into action more fully. I have a few goals that depend on these routines so I need to get better at getting them complete.

Still walking,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

“Asatru” – Of Wolves and Ravens – The Nine Noble Virtues

 

Happy Tyr’s Day

Discussion:

I started following the Nine Noble Virtues of Asatru simply because they were a good list of virtues I wanted in my life.  In large part, it was my constant meditation on the Virtue of Fidelity that eventually brought me back to my wife. These nine virtues are now a very essential part of my own spiritual practice using my understanding of what it means to be a pagan.  What it means to be an honorable human being for that matter.

What I began to discover is that Asatru is a whole very new and modern form of neo-paganism. It attempts to recapture the pagan root of the Germanic and Scandinavian world before Christianity took over. The video below is a very good overview of what Asatru is as a religion by a man taking a very informative view on it.  He recommends a book that is on the way to my house at the time of this writing. I want to learn more out of curiosity sake if nothing else.

My own practice has very little to do with the religious aspects of Asatru.  I follow the virtues.  I find the stories of Norse Mythology and the various practices of Asatru inspiring and fascinating but ritual and religion are not a central thing to me.  My issue is living a good life following after virtue.  I must say though if I was ever going to be ‘religious’ again – I would pick this one.  More practical than most of them.

I center most of my personal paganism on following a life philosophy that leads to prosperity of life. Whether it is the prosperity is foundational, business or for myself. If there is a god, or gods or whatever, I am fairly sure they expect me to handle my own issues.  There is no real wrong or right way to a pagan after all so perhaps my paganism is as much about my philosophy of life as spirituality. This actually fits well with Asatru so there is a lot of common ground between me and those who practice the more religious aspect of Asatru.  Both of us find the simplicity and challenge of the Nine Noble Virtues to be central to achieving personal peace and prosperity.

To the Wolves and Ravens:

Needs (Geri):

If you have ever lost your faith in something or left behind an old religion, you will know the need for finding something that grounds you and gives you ethical and moral focus. In my case, I found the Nine Noble Virtues fairly quickly to be a value centering philosophy that didn’t require the religious element.  There was a hole in my moral and ethical philosophy, a real need, and the NNV filled it quite nicely.

Wants (Freki):

I wanted something solid and simple as a philosophy to live by.  I got sick of the multitude of interpretive points one could give to Christian scripture and you could pretty much make the Bible say whatever you wanted with very few limitations. I also wanted to dump the whole appeal to authority issue and while the NNV are solid virtues, they can not be looked at authority so much as a guide.  The only authority I have for my moral philosophy and ethics is myself and so finding something solid to both meditate on and provide a basic framework for that was a big want.  The Nine Noble Virtues have performed well in this role.

Reason (Huginn):

The Nine Noble Virtues all have the reason element I was looking for.  There are very good solid rational reasons to embrace each virtue.  They have good results that lead to peace and prosperity.  They are rationally practical That said it still takes a lot of thinking to employ them and implement them.  They are not easy always in application but they work.

Wisdom (Muninn):

See the source image

I come back to the wisdom of this quote by Markus Aurelius all the time.  Virtue is its own reward in this life to be sure.  It creates solid memories for your loved ones and for yourself leads to prosperity and a good life. The afterlife, if there is one, simply becomes a matter of whether there is a good or evil judge on the throne.  The good judge should see ones’ virtue and reward it, the evil judge needs human defiance.

Conclusion:

Over the next nine weeks, I will be returning to the Nine Noble Virtues one at a time.  Every time I do this there is a spiritual awakening of a sort.  I may not be a religious follower of Asatru, but I respect the virtues that all of those who follow it try to live up to.  It is something I will continue for much of the foreseeable future.

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

“The Last Sermon” – The Rabyd Skald – The Grey and the Wayfarer – Part 11

Happy Moon’s Day

One year ago today (May 27th, 2018), I preached my last sermon as a Christian pastor. When people ask me how I am doing, I am doing as well as can be expected, given the time of year and the memories involved with it. Part of that is leaving the identity behind of ‘pastor’.  This week is dotted with a lot of emotions, but leaving the ministry behind for good was bittersweet and it speaks to me of waste.  The thought that I have wasted 20 years of my life crosses my mind a lot.

My last sermon couldn’t have been more ironic. I was in an affair preaching on adultery from the ten commandments. My basic message was that if Jesus’ words on adultery were the facts, then we have all failed and we just need to cling to grace because that is all we got. No one is going to make it if the standard is not lusting.  No one could meet that standard.

Emotionally this was my most difficult sermon ever. I just wanted the service to end and go home. Neither my flame at the time or my wife was there and I felt alone and just sick of being a pastor and all of it. I went home, the woman I was having an affair with told her aunt about it.  I told my wife and the rest is a painful history.

I wouldn’t have minded so much but when it came to my last church, the message of grace seemed completely lost, even though I had been preaching it for nine and a half years to them. Lots of wasted words from my point of view. The man I entrusted my resignation to engaged in a plan to basically make things to be much worse than they really were.

For the record once again, I have never actually had sex with the woman I had an affair with, in fact ever.  At the time of my resignation, it had barely graduated beyond “I love you” and holding hands at a prayer meeting that looked normal to everyone else.  People made this to be much more than it was and that hurt too.  Because the man in charge let it happen on purpose. He told me he didn’t want gossip to spread through the church which is very sensible. He also told me he didn’t want to drag the woman into it either to protect her, something that was my concern as well. But once he had my resignation I had revised removing that confession line at his request, he called the woman up within probably minutes of me giving it to him and asked her permission to tell the story.

In the week’s that followed he did everything possible to make sure that gossip and rumor were exactly what happened. He deliberately dragged the woman into it (made possible by the fact we had broken up at the time and we were not talking to each other)  to do this and used her to get to me. I looked like I was hiding something, which I wasn’t. He looked like the hero so he could feed that ego and hero complex of his. He used it in the following weeks to paint a picture of me as a monster, the woman as a victim and him as the white knight that was here to bring the monster down. What a load of bullshit he piled up. All of it. 

In the end, he used the emotional hurt and anger of the congregation to get me fired and no severance given. I was never informed of anything that was going on officially until it was all over. The whole process was done without me being asked to speak on my own behalf one time.  ‘Grace’ and ‘Mercy’ at their finest.  That’s sarcasm if you can’t tell.  Bitter Sarcasm.   

I have forgiven the congregation for this.  They were misinformed and misled by a man who has to be in control of everything because he is personally insecure. People like him are in every church and the real cause of problems and why churches don’t succeed and have the reputations they have.  I have even forgiven the woman’s busybody aunt who did the most to engage in gossip. She was just acting in anger and hurt and I very much understand it.  She actually had good reasons to act the way she did, even if her actions were not very Christian.  Whatever that means. 

But the man himself – if there is any force of justice in the world I hope he has to experience the betrayal, manipulation, lies, theft of honor, and all the rest of it that he visited on me himself.  That karma visits on him the exact same thing he did to me. If nothing else I hope he lives a long and miserable life surrounded by no one at the end of it. That would be an end which he deserves because of his very utilitarian view of friendship. His friends no longer seeing him as useful so they simply don’t show up to help or comfort him. That would be truly fitting. 

As far as me and The Grey, this ‘one year ago thing’ is bothering me but I am moving through it. I refuse to go down to this storm.  I want to walk through it laughing at it. Mostly though, I just want a new sense of identity beyond the pastoral ministry thing.  It’s garbage to me now. An old cloak I have discarded. The white hat, the cross, and white cloak no longer suit me.  I prefer grey vestments and vulknut medallion now.

Mostly, my wife and I are trying to build some new memories. I worry about her as she has to get used to a man who is in many ways, not the same as he was. A man who is damaged in some ways, trying to heal as well.  Who will never completely heal and will no longer be what he was.  I want her to be happy because my own happiness depends on it.  I just don’t know about my side of it a lot.

The last sermon I preached in the church was ironic but also fitting.  The whole thing of pastoral ministry is adultery in my opinion now.  A pastor’s church is a mistress.  One that takes a lot and gives back very little and much like a real mistress drives a wedge between you and those you love as a pastor. A smart man gets out a lot sooner than I did.

I walk The Grey right now.  It is this time of year last year where every day has some significant event and memory that makes it difficult.  It probably won’t stop until the summer is over. I am just trying to live my life and living it in joy as much as possible.  If it wasn’t for the guilt and pain I have associated with these memories of last year, it would be easier.  The thing is I have come to accept that this walk is my path, but I can’t control the weather. I wish I could.

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

 

“Thoughts on Memorial Day” – A Skald’s Life – Foundational Virtues

Happy Moon’s Day. 

Journal Entry:

Today isn’t about veterans or those currently serving in the armed forces. Those have their own days. Memorial Day is about the dead who died fighting.  It is a time to honor those who are fallen in battle that didn’t come home. There are far too many of these graves that reflect this.

As a libertarian, I would honor such men and women by understanding the best way to honor them is not create more of them.  That there is a time where swords can be put away for good.  Mostly I look at each war that has people who died in it and see that my country sent men and women to die for some busybody and meddling cause.  I can count on one hand the wars the United States was involved with that were actually about my liberty and freedom. The Revolutionary War (perhaps), The War of 1812, WW1 (Maybe) and WW2.  The rest of it seems we had some ulterior motive other than freedom and liberty and even in the wars mentioned above, there were some opportunist policies that were implemented that in the end were about advancing power over others.

I probably honor the fallen more than other political ideologies, because if someone doesn’t come home from a war, I feel the government is to be held accountable for the reasons for that war. Warriors who die in battle should know their cause was right.

Honor:

Honor is the feeling of inner value and worth from which one knows that one is noble of being, and the desire to show respect for this quality when it is found in the world”

Principle – To possess a feeling of inner value about myself and my future with a desire to find the same in others.

Goal: Maintain a daily blog streak of one post per day for an entire year (365 days).

Bucket List: Hike the Northern Lakeshore Trail along the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Honor is something to die for. Having value in yourself is something that all the fallen should know at that moment of death.   That what they were fighting for game them value as a person.  Otherwise, they died for nothing.

Courage:

“Courage is the bravery to do what is right always.”

Principle – Act with Courage at the right time.

Goal: Cross one thing off bucket list every year. Deadline March 31st

Bucket List: Go Back to Budapest, Hungary for a vacation.

Warriors are in a sense always courageous.  But what puts the icing on the cake of courage for the fallen is that their cause was right.  That they were acting in courage for the right thing at the right time.

Truth:

“Truth is the willingness to be honest and to say what one knows to be true and right. It is often better to not say anything at all if one cannot be honest.”

Principle – To Be Honest, and Speak Truth to Myself and Others.  To Be Silent in the presence of Fools.

Goal: To Write a Non-Fiction Book by March 31st, 2020

Bucket List: Learn Latin by March 31st, 2020 to the point I can take a test and show my self proficient.

Truth is unfortunately in the case of war only found out after the fact. It is also often in the case of war proven that the cause fought for was less than honorable. Lies about the cause being fought for are what dishonor the fallen the most.  They need to be brought to the light because the truth is important and then the next time the war drum sounds, it will remind us to look to see that the cause is just and right and honorable.

Higher Virtue: Love:

In the end, though the warrior that fell for the cause of loving those he left behind saves all honor, demonstrates courage and fights for something true.  That a greater love no one has than the one who lays down his life for that which he loves. For this possibility and reality, we honor all regardless of the cause they fought for.

Morning Routine:

  1. Review Nine Noble Virtues (NNV), Principles, Goals and Bucket List
  2. Meditation – 3 min.
  3. Check Communications and Email.
  4. Paper Journal: Create Daily Log and To Do List.
  5. Stretching / Yoga
  6. Breakfast, Medications, and Supplements.
  7. Shower and Personal Hygiene
  8. Get Dressed for the Day

June is coming and I have made a commitment to live through that month in a disciplined manner, I am going to need it.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

Crossing Bifrost – The Norse World: Vanaheim

Happy Sun’s Day

Basically the Home of Vanir.  I will probably do a different post of the fact that the Vanir and Aesir gods are different gods but the mythology joins them at some point so they are one and Vanaheim, the realm of the Vanir, becomes part of Asgard the realm of the Aesir.  The gods associated with the Vanir tend to be fertility and nature gods and goddesses and their realm reflects that. Except for the only thing we really have to go on is that the ending of the word removes the boundary which indicated Vanaheim might be a little less civilized and wild.

See the source image

What we have is a realm were the Vanir who are mostly fertility an nature gods and goddess would feel at home.  Wild and untamed in some ways where they could play, enjoy the natural beauty of their realm and as fertility gods and goddesses – make love.

See the source image

As a writer, you can see elements in other literature of a wild but wonderful place.  One might think of Tolkien’s Elves in the Lord of the Ring Series but I am thinking the real we will talk about next Alfheim.  That said there is something mysterious about this realm because we know so little about it.  It speaks very well of nature’s nature.

See the source image

I have been hiking enough to feel this type of mystery where even an old familiar path can surprise you with something new. An event that took place during a thunderstorm that leaves a fallen limb where none was before. An animal on the path.  There is a wild wonder to it that speaks of Vanaheim.

See the source image

In my writing, I have yet to take a character of any type to Vanaheim but I can see its potential as a place of wild wonder, sensuality, nature, and mystery.  And not necessarily always calm and serene.  Thunder, snow, and rain are part of nature and so part of Vanaheim. I suppose in retrospect, I drew much of my inspiration for the Red Tree Grove of The Hedge Wizard of Redberg (now gone) from the imagery it has, but through other sources that were indirect. I will very likely use this idea of a wild natural place of freedom again.  It also presents a contrast between the high point of civilization that is Asgard but the contrast isn’t a war, but both sides of the coin of human experience.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

“Basic Pagan Principles – Responsibility of Belief” – The Pagan Pulpit

Happy Sun’s Day

Announcements:

We don’t pray here – we figure God, the gods, goddesses, or whatever powers that be either know already, don’t give a fuck, or are busy with more important matters than our petty stuff. We also kind of assume that they expect us to do stuff that we can do for ourselves and that we will do them ourselves and not be lazy. We also believe in being good friends, so we don’t presume on our friendship with the powers that be by asking them all the time for stuff while giving them nothing in return.

We also don’t take an offering here.  We figure the powers that be probably don’t need it.  Let’s be honest, offerings are not giving to the divine powers, they are given to an organization to support it.  Just being honest. God, the gods or whatever never sees a dime, farthing or peso of that money; it all goes to the church, mosque or shrine.

Theme Song: ‘Úlfhéðnar’ – Norse Viking Music

If you want to get the most out of the Pagan Pulpit.  Put the theme song on a loop and then read the rest of it. The Ulfhedmar were the wolf warriors of Odin.

Meditation:

Image may contain: 1 person, text

It is important to know the difference.  One requires sleep and the other requires action.

Text:

The most basic tenant of paganism is that it is your own responsibility, not the responsibility of any government, institution, church or other people, to choose what you believe in regards to spirituality, values, ethics, the nature of Divinity, etc.

Source: http://exotic-pets.yoexpert.com/exotic-pets-general/what-are-some-of-the-basic-principles-of-paganism-2192.html

Sermon:

In Paganism there is no appeal to authority to justify your actions. This would violate the first of the basic tenets which is that each person is responsible for their own beliefs. This is called the Responsibility of Belief.

The first point of this is to accept your responsibility for what you believe. It is yours and no one else to decide what you believe and how you practice your spirituality.  It is yours alone and there is no one to blame or praise for where your spirituality is or your conduct regarding it. No blaming God.  No “God told me to do this.”  You act on your spirituality and take full responsibility for the results – good or bad.

The second point is to emphasize what cannot be used as a scapegoat.  The government is not responsible for your spiritual state, nor a religion, institution or community of people. None of these things can be responsible for where you are in regards to the spiritual part of your life.  Just you and only you.  Your spirituality is the product of your own choices and journey.  They should not be dictated to by anything else nor should you blame anything else for them.

The third point is the scope of what we mean when we say ‘spirituality’.  It involves all things that touch spiritual life, ethics, morals, values, the nature of Divinity, etc. These are all yours and no one else to take responsibility for.  If it can be considered spiritual in some way, then you are responsible for it. This is why I find most things have a spiritual side to them because they involve ethics, morals and simply a spiritual sense to them. There is more to this than pagan rituals and feelings.

There is no “Be patient, God isn’t finished with me yet” in paganism. No “I am waiting on God to make me more patient, loving, etc.”  If you feel you lack spirituality, a moral compass or ethical understanding; it is on you and you alone to fix that. That is the essence of Responsibility of Belief.

Parting Thought:

Image may contain: 1 person, text that says '"Now, every time I witness a strong person, I want to know: What darkness did you conquer in your story? Mountains do not rise without earthquakes" -Katherine MacKenett ITheMindsJournal THE HEMINDSJOURNAL'

The great face down the struggles of life and use them to become stronger.

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

“Weightlifting with Disturbed” – The Skald’s Lyre

Happy Saturn’s Day

Musical Journal:

My weightlifting routine is filled with music.  It is the only complaint I have with my new gym is that their music is less than motivational and inspiring. Maybe it is to those who like soft Christian rock but being a deist/pagan in spiritual orientation and needing something a little more forceful to get me going, I find the need for my own playlist when I hit the weights and true to form it is metal.  Heavy Metal.

This last year I discovered Disturbed.  Now they have been around for a lot longer than my discovery of them and I have heard their songs several times without knowing who they were.  This last year I have listened to them a lot.  Mostly in the context of weightlifting as I find their music intense and motivational.  The subject matter of some of the songs resonates with some emotional states I have had over the years.  I find that their music was one of the go-to choices as I struggled through last year’s crisis and as we have now come full Circle that same time of year, I find myself listening to them again and it is still therapeutic.

Personal Significance:

The Skald’s Lyre is simple in its execution.  Journaling the significance of the band in my life overall and then talking about some of the songs as far as their personal significance to me.  Then I will give a playlist.  Do with that as you will.  Mostly I am writing this to myself.

  1. Down with the Sickness is probably the Disturbed signature song and represents their music overall the best.  For me, it is the constant call to not be caught up in the sickness of society. It is also a great way to start a weightlifting session.
  2. Stricken is a song that resonates with my hurts and pains about a relationship of a year ago. It reflects the part of my heart that can’t seem to let go of this relationship and I hear it and remind myself of that.  I have found a lot of acceptance of part of who I am in this song.  A guy who falls in love and never completely gets over it regardless of how long it has been.
  3. Ten Thousand Fists – Great rebellion song.  A Good Jam too. For me, it is a solidarity song for all of us that have left the Christian faith.
  4. Voices – I have actually learned to sing the fast-paced lyrics to this song. Combined with the message of the video, I like how even though the voices talk to the guy, he doesn’t act on them ultimately.  He just goes to a concert and burns the rage off having a good time.  A simple lesson I have had to remind myself of often this last year.
  5. Prayer – Speaking of leaving the faith, this was a theme song for me this last year.  “This is how we pray.  Living just isn’t hard enough. Burn me alive inside. Living Just isn’t hard enough.  Take everything away”  How you say that last line makes all the difference.  Is it a statement of information or a request?
  6. Sound of Silence – I love Simon and Garfunkel’s version don’t get me wrong but this one is straight up haunting.  The vocals are off the chart. The message is something I am familiar with and it will probably start to creep back into my playlist for walking after the second of August as it represents that time very well.

When music gets into my life it tends to crop back up at times of memory. Certain times of year reflect certain music. Mostly they are connected to things that have happened to me and the music I was playing at the time. These next few months are going to suck for this, but I feel Disturbed will help me pull through The Grey of it.  They were after all pulling me through it at the time.  It also doesn’t hurt that they are high energy and get me through a weightlifting session faster than anything.

Playlist: 

Down with the Sickness

Stricken

Ten Thousand Fists

Voices

Prayer

Sound of Silence (cover)

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

“The Grey Wayfarer’s Creative Writing Rotation” – The Rabyd Skald

Happy Frigg and Freya’s Day

In this post, I want to lay out more specifically the rotation for my fiction writing regarding this blog in particular. My current work on my novel is something I will keep quiet and separate for obvious reasons, but this stuff is public and more about practice in writing than anything else.  I also have found some inspiration for other things.

The reason I write fiction is basically, it is far more therapeutic that even journaling. I tend to daydream a lot and writing fiction is what brings those dreams to life to a certain extent.  It is the first step in seeing what is my head becoming tangible.  In this process, I find a lot of peace and joy.  It has long been one of my main defenses against the Grey.

This blog has two canonized Serials: Rogue Wizard and The Grey Wayfarer Serial. I am not sure about the second, but the first is experiencing a renaissance in my mind.  It might take a bit to get this pattern rolling but Rogue Wizard will definitely be a part of it.  As for the Grey Wayfayer, I feel this is good but it is very hard to write because I focus on the quality of it so much. I probably just need to stop overthinking it.

There is a place for both short stories and poems her as well, I just have never really put much thought into what to write.  There are four canonized poems here so far and I have a few others floating in my head. Short stories are a little hard for me as I like details and longer story arcs but one thing I think would be a good exercise is to take fairy tales of old and give them a modern feel and perhaps take their lessons and modernize them.  Making children’s stories into adult stories is a fascination for me.

My daily blogging routine goes something like this.

  1. Review and place yesterday’s post(s) on a page
  2. Review today’s post(s) and give it a final edit
  3. Write and edit tomorrows post(s)
  4. Create the ‘bones’ for the post or posts to appear in two days – basically, outline and hunt down the featured image for it.
  5. Give 30 minutes to writing extras like The Rabyd Skald posts or creative writing

People ask me how long it takes to do this and it really depends on the writing and editing of tomorrow post. But I get up a 1 am usually for work and fit it all in before I leave for work at 2:45 am. This includes my morning routine first before blogging. Sometimes I have to spend the half-hour creative writing after I get home from work but for the most part, the regular blogging gets done in a little more than an hour.

I have been blogging so long I have learned the value of set form and rotation. I have also learned the value of keeping a notebook so I write thoughts and ideas down when I have them.  The outline of each post has been running in my head for a while before I actually sit down to write so they often write themselves.

What I need is a rotation of creative writing for the blog so that half hour stays on point and starts accomplishing something.  Firstly I think what should happen is that Rogue Wizard will be every other creative writing post.  I like this series and my ideas already have my alter ego well into spring. So what remains is the other stuff.

Proposed Rotation:

  1. Rogue Wizard
  2. A Poem
  3. Rogue Wizard
  4. The Grey Wayfarer (serial)
  5. Rogue Wizard
  6. Short Story
  7. Rogue Wizard
  8. Other series

Yes, I do have in mind another series, I am just not sure what yet.  Perhaps a Retelling of fairy tales with my style and adult viewpoint.  I have some time to think about it. That is the other thing.  I am setting a time limit for these creative writing posts to 2 or 3 days.  Two days for the poem and short story ones and three days for Rogue and the other two series.  This should keep me moving.

Don’t worry about my novel or my other book. I find myself using the extra time I have to work on both of them far more than scheduled at times. I am enjoying the novel in particular as right now it is all about world and character development. I just want to have some sense of order here so I get some creative writing practice with this stuff. Who knows, maybe it will become something that is more than that.

One more thing, I am moving Crossing Bifrost to Sunday afternoon.  I want The Skald’s Lyre to be my Saturn’s Day thing from now on.  Basically a double post on Sun’s Day with the occasional double of creative writing every two or three weekdays.

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!