Happy Thor’s Day
Well, the time has come in the rotation of Odin’s Eye to deal very directly with my own personal spirituality. There is no wrong or right way to practice spirituality as a pagan. One simply looks at life and the universe and seeks to both understand its spiritual nature and develop spiritual strength within through doing so. There are common themes in the spiritual life of pagans to be sure, but the ways of practicing paganism are as individual as the people that do so.
So when a pagan talks spirituality, they use their own metaphors. For me, the concepts of Wolves, Ravens and other Viking metaphorical language are my way of describing abstract concepts. The wolf is symbolic of that part of me that is filled with passion whether that passion is based on need or want. It contrasted with the idea fo the Raven which is the rational and wise part of me. The two work together to pick and follow the best path for me.
‘The wolf within’ is the concept of that part of me which is wolf itself. As a Christian is used to deny and try to subjugate to slavery this wolf. Now I let him roam free. That wolf is the sum of all I want and need. The hunger and fury of being a man in this world. If there is anything that I recognize now, it is my wolf within is not inherently sinful or evil and I let him live free and roam free. Funny thing is, he is not all bad. Like anything else in human nature, I have found him to be the motivating force of my life and the one that is truly strong when I need strength.
This is an important spiritual concept for me right now. That if there is a wild and untamed side to me, that is a good thing. It is just a question of how to best utilize it.
Time to Look Through the Eye:
I have always felt that if there is something to have faith in, it is my own passions. Passion drives us, but it can be a double-edged sword. That said, I have found that my intuition is something more right than wrong. That intuition didn’t come from my reason or wisdom; although they certainly chimed in, it came from the gut level uneasiness that the prowler of the wolf within creates. It is this sense of danger that comes from the wolf, not the clear seeing raven of reason. When it comes to the danger these days, particularly with regard to danger in relationships, I find the wolf is far more my friend and something I place my faith in to be both wary and watchful.
Religion always has a moral code based on whatever the founder of the religion says is right or wrong. Sexual desire becomes lust. Industry becomes greed. There is no end to this and it is more often this notion that so-called ‘baser’ instincts are labeled as sinful or evil than other things. Fulfilling needs and wants becoming bad or evil. This notion of higher desires and lower ones is inherently religious. I don’t find any desire sinful anymore, just a question of whether is it is wise to engage it. I can understand all virtues engage all desires at some point and thus engage them all in their proper time and place. In pursuing virtue rather than religion, I can find the profitable in any need or want, even the base power of rage or hunger. I don’t have two natures to feed one and starve the other. I have a single nature that at times resembles a wolf and at other times a raven and sometimes both at the same time.
I view mankind theologically as what they are. Every part of us has a purpose in that, and what others consider sinful, I see as human. That is not to say there is no morals or ethics, but I can draw as much spirituality from passionate sex as I can from reading a book on logic. All things that a human being wants or needs can be the door to spiritual strength and enlightenment. All desires, needs, thoughts, and experiences are righteous to me. Ethics and morals for me is something that involves it all, not simply what supposed revealed religions says those morals and ethics should be. All parts of what it means to be human have the potential to lead to spirituality. We are not divided in nature as human beings; it is all the same human nature and no part of it is inherently good or evil.
So here is the central path for me right now. Learning how each feeling, desire, need, thought and experience can lead me to greater growth of my spirituality. To do this doesn’t just mean I embrace the raven but also the wolf that is inside myself. To feel is just as spiritual as to think, and I have found this transition enlightening. I grow spiritually when I hold my grandson; when I lift weights; when I make love to my wife; when I hang with friends; when I work. When I am doing anything really there is a potential to see something with my spiritual eyes and grow and gain the strength of spirit I need for each day. That includes when I let the wolf out to hunt and play.
The image remains for me of myself as a Grey Pilgrim. Part of what it means for me to be grey is not to label any part of my nature as dark or light. It is just at times I am a pilgrim that is following his wolf’s heart and not just his raven mind. There is no difference between the two of them when it comes to who will give me the greater potential for spiritual understanding and growth. The wolves and ravens don’t just walk with me, they are inside me and I embrace them. They are what help me find my path and passionately pursue it.
Continuing to Walk that Path,
The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.