“My Spiritual Symbolism: Valknut with Rune Circle” – Odin’s Eye

 

Happy Woden’s (Odin’s) Day.    

Discussion:

My struggles with magic aside, I do believe in the power of symbols. Not magical power per se but more of a power to encapsulate thoughts, concepts, and ideas into a single pattern or image.  For me, these become very powerful focuses that keep me steady in my thoughts and philosophy.  They also remind me of what is spiritually important.

I adopted the valknut as my replacement for the cross right after leaving Christianity.  I had become fairly certain that at least the Nine Noble Virtues of Asatru were going to be my new moral code, so I looked for something to symbolize that and the symbol of the Valknut was almost always present in any website I was studying at the time and so made it my own.  The fact that it is connected with Odin and death rituals (burial) only solidified this.  The Grey Wayfarer (me) often wears a pendant of the valknut around his neck on a chain.  Mine also has a circle of runes around it like in the picture above.

Both the valknut and the runes are mysteries as to their full meaning.  Much has been lost thanks to the invasion of Christianity and the subsequent purge that followed them of all things pagan. The valknut and runes apparently were too pagan to find their way to being incorporated into Christian worship and so were actually expunged.  A few examples survive and so what we know is very little.  The valknut is associated with Odin and burial because we find them on gravestones.  Runes are everywhere but they don’t seem to be about language although some modern pagans have made it so.  From a scholar’s point of view, they are largely a mystery as well.

What this meant for me is that I was left to give this symbol and the runes around it their own meaning. So…

Time to Look Through the Eye:

“To see the truth, change one eye for another”

Faith:

I am a deistic humanistic pagan.  First and foremost I fall on the side that says while religions are bunk and made up for the most part, I don’t dismiss the idea of a supreme being, beings or force of the universe being a real possibility. However, I believe that the only real source of overcoming my own and other human problems is myself and other humans. I am pagan because my spirituality basically draws me back to the spiritual roots of my ancestors. It is far more about heritage than religion for me.  The valknut and runes are a good symbol of that as both call to my Germanic and (hopefully) Scandinavian roots.  It is at least the faith and spirituality of my own spirit regardless of biological genetics.

Meditation:

I suppose my meditation times that I have used the valknut and rune circle are the ones that have given both new meanings for me. Firstly the nine sides of the three triangles became representative of the Nine Noble Virtues.  Later, the nine formed the three triangles of the Higher Virtues of love, Justice, and Wisdom.  All of them are interlocked and the three triangles, if you look closely, cannot be separated fro meach other.  It thus forms a single spiritual path of following virtue, a single symbol – the valknut.  It also because of its connection to Odin serves as a reminder of the finality of life. Virtue is the only thing that gives that life value.

The rune circle around it is all 24 known runes. In many ways, it symbolizes the mysteries of the knowledge of the universe to me. By following the path of virtue, I begin to understand these mysteries better.

Theology:

One of those mysteries is the divine.  Part of that, to be honest, is to assess whether such divine entity or entities exist.  As a diest, I fall on the side of agnosticism that says we don’t know enough to dismiss the idea of the divine, so I believe more in its possibility than it is not possible.  I will give the atheists their due in saying they could very well be right, but at the same time, I don’t think I can myself close my mind, heart, and body off to the idea that a creator or creators exist. It seems too ‘dogmatic’ of ‘fundamentalist’ to me so to speak.

The issue then is to find meaning either way – for me, this is the following the path of virtue as a means to coming to better understandings of the world around me and perhaps finding the answers I seek.  I am a pilgrim searching for truth, wherever I find it.  I am the Grey Wayfarer

Spirituality:

I find spirituality in Virtue.  Virtue allows me to connect with myself, other people and the universe and all it contains. How can one not be connected when following after virtue? For me, this symbol reminds me that part of understanding the universe requires connections.  The path is what connects and virtue is the path.  In meditation, this symbol has proven to be the best focus when I am looking to understand this connectivity to everything else.

Conclusion:

As I meditate more on this, I am sure more things will come to mind.  I have plans to make my meditation time more ‘ritualized’ in that I may have other foci and even some candles and incense.  Regardless, the valknut and rune circle will always be central to it. The centerpiece if you will regardless of what becomes my first meditation altar.

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

“Kicking the Bucket” – A Skald’s Life – Foundational Virtues

Happy Mani’s Day

Journal Entry:

This week I consider my bucket list. You know that list of things you want to do before you kick the bucket. This list is the major milestone I want to hit before my death and i think it is important to have long term goals and that is what they are.

People ask me without Christianity how do I have hope.  I ask them why they would assume that just because I don’t believe in the Chrisitan version of the afterlife any more that I wouldn’t have hope?  If you always looking to the beyond for your justification for living in hope now; I would say you are too heavenly minded that you’re no earthly good. Hope for me is not about life after but the life I have now.

As I deist I concede the atheists might be right and this is all I get. I also hope there is a life after death but I am not going to act as if that is guaranteed.  My bucket list is a reflection of the things that I want so that my life now is enjoyable and the purpose I create with them for my life is my own creation. I find a lot of hope in this.

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 by March 2024.

This is the beginning of my hike bucket list as the first goal.  If my ultimate goal as an old person is to hike the triple crown this is a good training hike to prepare for the idea of how to do something long term.

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 by March 2029.

This is a desire to visit a city I have seen for a few days once again and view all of its places. I loved this town as it did not feel like a city to me.  More of an experience.  I want to experience it again but this time for a couple weeks and enjoy it.

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, 2021 to the point I can take a test and show my self proficient.

A short term bucket list Item and one I am considering changing.  Don’t get me wrong Latin is an awesome language to learn but I am thinking that if I am going to learn a language every couple of years, languages that are actually spoken now might be more beneficial and then learn Latin at a later date.

Higher Virtue: Love:

I am very focused on the fulcrum of self-love right now. my understanding that this is what makes all my other loves possible and stronger is the motivation.  Mostly though I need to start focusing on my goals and bucket list because this is my life and I need to start living it and loving it.

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 a Daily Log and To-Do List.
  5. Stretching / Yoga
  6. Shower and Personal Hygiene
  7. Get Dressed for the Day

This part got shorter.  I don’t do breakfast and people freak out about it, but you know I have found that eating from what most people would consider 11am to 7pm is sufficient for me and intermittent fasting has proven, when coupled with my Paleo Diet, to improve my fat loss and weight management.

I remain.

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

Skaal!!!

“A New Pattern?” – Odin’s Eye

Happy Thor’s Day.    

Discussion:

When I started this blog, I intended Odin’s Eye to be about my spiritual journey.  Probably more about my change in spiritual viewpoint or vision.  The pattern I established was pretty straightforward at the time although I established it a month or two after I started:

Deism, Bible Problems, Humanism, Christianity Problems, Paganism, Religion Problems, The Wayfarer’s Spiritual Side, My Theological Objections to Christianity Revisited.

I also established that on every pagan holiday, I would stop and comment that week on it.  That has been a fun journey in and of itself.  But it is also about to come full circle with the closing of the first year of this blog on September 30th.  Fall begins on September 22 and the pagan holiday is Mabon or for Vikings – Haustblót.  After that, the cycle starts again on October 1st.  I intend to continue to talk about pagan holidays but I want to get as truly Viking as I can the second time around.

Outside this though, I have had a pretty good debate running with myself about changing the pattern of the posts for Odin’s Eye.  Most notably do I want to go through the whole Chrisitntity issues again?  I am thinking of saving all that for a book or two, so what really is the purpose of Odin’s Eye? Well, it is about spirituality and my spiritual journey. At the same time, it is a place to pose spiritual questions to myself and perhaps you the gentle reader.  I guess the main thing is to stop talking about the spiritual past and embrace the spiritual present and look to the spiritual future.

My first step in revising the pattern was to eliminate the negative in a lot of ways and also to get rid post types that go over old ground.   This leaves:

Deism, Humanism, Paganism, The Wayfarer’s Spiritual Side

The more I thought about it though, the whole deism and humanism questions are pretty settled for me and boil down to two fundamental truths. 1) I hold the possibility of divine power or powers, and 2) I believe that to solve human problems, humans are going to have to do it themselves.  The powers might help or might not, better to be self-reliant first.  I am not sure I really need to discuss these anymore with myself.  I side very much with enlightenment thinking for my rational and more practical side. But eliminating these two posts leaves me with only two:

Paganism, The Wayfarer’s Spiritual Side

I don’t think that is sufficient enough of a rotation to keep me off my soapboxes.

It is really the whole Asatru and Pagan side I struggle with more. Getting a grip on the wisdom and intuition side of things that involve is the struggle now.  It is the nature of this struggle I would rather talk about now.

If I go the spirituality and paganism route the list of topics changes dramatically and gets quite long actually.  The thing is that some of my other post types handle a lot of this but what lies outside on the fringe where Odin’s Eye can help me come to a better understanding of these issues. I began to realize after while this topic is so big, and for me largely unexplored, there is really no way to establish a pattern.

So I am going to do something uncharacteristic for me.  Be open each week to any topic with only the boundary of it has to be something spiritual that is not necessarily covered by other things I do on the blog. I short these topics are going to come more from my times of meditations than a rational pattern that I simply follow.  I am opening myself up once a week to letting the topic be spiritual in nature and not chosen so much as it becomes an interest through meditation.

I am going to remove one filter for the Eye and replace it with another. Religion needs to go as it is negative in a sense, filtering out the religious aspects of things was a part of looking through the eye.  I no longer seek to do that, but discover the fuller spiritual truth of something.  I am going to replace religion with meditation.

Time to Look Through the Eye:

“To see the truth, change one eye for another”

Faith:

When I put any subject through the filter of faith, what I am asking at that point is what I believe about that subject?  The introduction tells people what I know about a particular subject, but faith is an exploration of what I believe about it. The idea is to set up where I am, then the other three filters follow which will possibly change that belief.

Meditation:

Meditation is the first filter.  It is calming my mind and opening up to what the powers, universe, whatever might inspire me to think about that topic.  Words, questions, thoughts, etc. that come from my times of meditation on the subject.  Then asking how these affect my beliefs about it.  It going to require me to keep my paper journal handy during every meditation session, but I think it will be worth it.

Theology:

Once I get to this question it is more about how this topic influences my understanding of the divine. Simple but a necessary question for me as someone who still practices theology. For me, the delving into the spiritual side of things is motivated in part by theology and understanding the divine.

Spirituality:

This is putting everything in a context filter.  How is my overall understanding of spirituality affected by this now?  Have my beliefs about this subject changed due ot putting it through my spiritual filters? What is my overall spiritual viewpoint now?  It is the bringing it altogether filter.

Conclusion:

I, of course, will have some concluding remarks about each subject and I might pose a few questions for you the gentle readers that might have a greater understanding of certain subjects I am struggling with. A good post wrapup will be what I am looking for here.

I am hoping these changes will be effective in helping all of us understand the spiritual side of life better.  Of Wolves and Ravens is about philosophy, but Odin’s Eye is about Spirituality and as such needs to have more spiritual methods of finding what to talk about.

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

“Freya’s Chambers: Introduction and Opening Thoughts” – Freya’s Chambers

Happy Mani’s Day

Disclaimer:  The topics covered in Freya’s Chambers include serious discussions of sex, sexuality and related issues.  If it isn’t your thing; you can move along, otherwise enjoy and feel free to discuss.

Opening Remarks: 

In today’s modern world, sexuality is a difficult topic, to say the least.  The issue of gender and identity ignites more heat than light and I am not sure that today I am going to help with that.  That’s not the point for me in this post anyway, but more to get a grasp on my own thoughts on the subject by introducing a running discussion. I also want to introduce to you a new topic area which, in keeping with the Norse theme of the blog, I have titled simply “Freya’s Chambers”. Freya is the Norse goddess of war, love, sex, and fertility. It will have its own page and will appear periodically whenever the yen strikes me to write on subjects relating to sexuality in pagan thought.

I need also to point out at the beginning that these are my thoughts on the subject and don’t necessarily represent all pagans, deists or humanists.  In fact, that is part of my motivation for writing on these topics is to sort pagan sexuality out a little because viewpoints on these topics are varied.  The main issue though is that for most pagans, sexuality and spirituality are linked because sexuality is a part of life and living and thus part of the universe that is sacred. Sexuality is as much a spiritual reality as a physical and cultural one. Sacred Sex is a part of the spiritual viewpoint of pagans.

I also have to note that my deism and humanism kick in here as well as the fact I don’t dismiss the findings of biology, psychology or science in general when it comes to talking about gender, sex or sexuality.  I try very much to realize that we do have some scientific findings on the subject that presents both facts and truth in these areas.  I also realize that there is much that is not understood, and this dwells in the realm of spirituality and theory and these also factor in for discussion.

One final note, I was very well known as a Chrisitan blogger who wrote extensively on what the Bible says about sex, nudity, sexuality, and gender.  I have to warn you that my departure from Christianity has changed a lot of my viewpoints.  I have no appeal to authority anymore when it regards these topics.  Mostly I rely on my reason and experience on the deist/humanist side and my intuition and wisdom for the pagan side.  Some might comment at this time that it looks like I am trying to archive male-female balance in my viewpoint.  I am not sure about that but one thing is for sure, that you will see a massive viewpoint shift in these topics compared to what I used to write as a Christian.

So what will be some of the topics in Freya’s Chambers?  Well, sex and sexuality are broad topics to be sure, but below is a shortlist and a little discussion of where I am currently on some topics as examples.  This is not an exhaustive list of course, but I think it will give you a good idea of what you might encounter when you see the suffix heading “Freya’s Chambers”.

Sexual Identity: 

See the source image

I am going to say that if I take science into account, this whole discussion of gender identity for me kind of crystalizes into a few indisputable facts: 1) If you have a penis you are male, 2) If you have a vagina you are a female and 3) males and females are different.  Even pagans have ingrained in there viewpoint the idea of feminine and masculine spiritual forces.  It is part of the mythologies, part of the spiritual viewpoint.

For me, it is also a question of acceptance of self.  You don’t find spiritual peace by trying to be something you are not. Part of achieving spiritual peace is embracing who are and part of that is accepting that you are a man or a woman. There are exceptions to this dichotomy, even genetics tells us that, but such exceptions are rare and not the statistical norm.  The vast majority of us are male or female and that is not just physical but also sociological and psychological

Note this is about identity for me, not orientation.  Personally whether or nor someone’s sexual orientation is a choice or ingrained in who they are is irrelevant to me.  It matters little to me as a deistic humanist pagan, and as a libertarian, who someone has sex with as long as it is mutually consensual. Their business, not mine. I trust that each person can make those choices for themselves, and I am not qualified in any way to judge them right or wrong in their choice.

Nudity and Nudism:

See the source image

Leaving Christianity has allowed me to basically discard the whole tightrope walk of trying to look at nudity and where you fall into sin. Sin is gone in my thinking, so nudity is now looked at as purely as rational and pagan issues.  Things are actually quite free and open now for me on this topic.  Most pagans don’t have a view of nudity as wrong, just sometimes culturally unacceptable by others and in certain contexts. The human body is a beautiful thing and the naked human form should not automatically be seen as sexualized.

Don’t get me wrong there is a sexual side to nudity. To say that seeing a naked human being does not arouse sexual attraction at times is simply to deny reality. But just because a man or woman is naked; it does not follow that they are asking for sex.  Some people learn to distinguish between sexual intent and nudity and some people don’t.  For me the two can be together, but not necessarily.  It really comes down to context. Just because a person is naked, it does not mean that I can look past respecting them as a human being.  I should see their humanity first, then other things and only if it is clear those other things are presented to me.

For me, being an at-home nudist, I have discovered freedom I accepting myself to be very powerful.  I have to also admit, that I sometimes feel far more comfortable in my skin than in clothes. There is also the dual call in my heart, my inner wolves of need and want howling if you will, to shed my clothes both outside and with others. If my self-discovery has grown this much simply at home, I wonder what else could be discovered in other contexts. It is something I wrestle with because of past religious indoctrination and current relationships.

Masculine-Feminine Balance:

There is a reason I am not Wiccan and it was my perception very early on, even as a Christian, that Wiccans are imbalanced as far as gender. There is much emphasis on The Goddess and little else that is masculine.  Hell, their male practitioners argue whether they should be called witches or warlocks.  I just find Wicca to be very feminine and strongly so.  It is why Asatru is my choice because it is much more balanced.

Achieving balance for myself mostly involves making sure I embrace the strength of being a man within my self and the strength of the feminine around me. I get most of the later from the women in my life whose influence can not be understated.  I am very masculine with all that goes with it.  To have feminine perspectives in my life to balance that out is appreciated at all times.

Equality: 

See the source image

The whole ‘God the head of man, man the head of woman’ Christian viewpoint I have discarded like the patriarchal trash it is.  Talk about men writing a book to justify their male dominance over women, and you will not get a better example than the Bible.  I am egalitarian in my orientation and that means I will point out equality in both directions.  However, you also better be able to demonstrate the inequality is real with things like research.  That said, the genders have different strengths in and of themselves, but I don’t feel that one gender should have cultural, legal or social advantages over the other because of them.

For instance, on the one hand, women can rightly say that their roles in society are often forced on them.  There have definitely been some issues as far as to pay, opportunity and the like. On the flip side, the fact that men get longer sentences for the same crime and dower laws still exist requiring a man to take care of his ex after they split, but no such condition exists the other way, is also not equality.  In the United States where I live it has only been recently been challenged that men can be drafted for war but not women.

Going back to nudity above, I side with the ladies in saying if a man can take off his shirt and go bare-chested in certain public places, so should a woman.  On the flip side, the laws are less harsh when it comes to sexual misconduct when a woman exposes her genitals than a man in some states.  My point is that the whole social, cultural and legal world has these inequalities and I fight for their removal but it goes both ways.  It might be summed up in the simple example we need to move from saying: “it is not right to hit or rape a woman” to “it is not right to hit or rape another person”.

Gender Roles:

See the source image

Inequalities aside, genetics, science and such tell me that males and females not only are different right from birth, but they also tend to gravitate to different roles in society naturally. Some of these tests have been interesting as girls would dress up the trucks in dresses and boys would turn the dolls they were given to play with into action figures.  I don’t think we can escape the fact that in society women and men embrace certain roles naturally and some roles are just not possible by one gender or the other. We need to be equals as far as legal and societal rights; but in the end, some things just come naturally to one gender or the other.

I take on the feminists on this issue a lot where, for instance, they complain that there are not a lot of women CEOs.  I point out to them there doesn’t seem to be a lot of women coal miners or sewer workers either. It gets comically interesting when it is revealed that what a feminist considers equality doesn’t involve jobs that are dangerous or dirty most of the time. It is pretty clear that men gravitate toward the dangerous and dirty while women like secure and clean.  It is also clear that on dates, the man is still expected to pay for things, etc.  I think feminists reveal a lot of hypocrisy on this one and even women can see it, which is why many women refuse to identify themselves as feminists.

Sex:

See the source image

If you ask me the one thing that keeps me believing in the spiritual side of life above all others – it’s sex. Sorry, there is more to sex, at least to me, than just fucking.  Perhaps my perspective has been limited by the fact I have only made love physically to only one woman in my life, or perhaps it is why I feel that way.  One thing I do know that more is exchanged between us when we make love than bodily fluids.

I will talk about sex from time to time in a spiritual context. In this, you might also see the idea of sexual attraction as well. Under this topic, you might find other things like the effect technology has had on sex, etc.  I have had a few experiences of a sexual nature outside sexual intercourse with more than one woman along these lines, so there are notes that could be made.

Conclusion and Final Word: 

Throughout you will see me make note of changes from what I thought before as a Christian and now what I think that I am using more of a deistic humanist pagan mindset. I probably will never speak this broadly again and will take one topic at a time from now on. Mostly today I was pretty much shooting from the hip.  New posts in this topic suffix will probably be deeper in thought.  Mostly though there is a lot of changing things in my mindset that I am trying to crystallize and the best way for me to do that is to put them on digital paper.

Welcome to Freya’s Chambers.

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

The Family ‘Pagan’? – Odin’s Eye – Paganism

Happy Thor’s Day.    

Discussion:

Them: “So you’re a pagan?”

Me: “Sort of, I have pagan tendencies”

Them: “Pagan tendencies?”

Me: “Yeah, I believe the pagan spiritual concepts are pretty interesting, but I am not much into religion anymore, so I am not into that part of it.”

I know this conversation because I have had it a couple times.  To say you are spiritual but think all religion is made up is a hard thing for people to grasp. I mean I have my rituals of meditation on the Nine Noble Virtues and my ritual of putting on my pendant for the day but that is pretty much it. Mostly I look at paganism spiritual concepts as a way to address the possibility of spiritual reality.  In truth, I lean toward the deist side of things with an unknowable divine creator(s). The paganism simply allows me to reach out with my own sense of love and spirituality and address the question of what that divine creator or creators might be.

The issue of course for my family is that they are mostly Christian with a few exceptions.  Mostly though I think they have trouble dealing with their long-time husband, father, and grandfather, who used to be a devout Chrisitan, who now doesn’t even go to church or even pray anymore. n short I have a far easier time adjusting to them than they do to me.

Time to Look Through the Eye:

“To see the truth, change one eye for another”

Faith:

My faith these days is more about lining up my spiritual philosophy of the Nine Noble Virtues with real life.  Living virtuously means more to me than the whole mythology of choice thing. I like the Norse myths but the idea that any of those gods actually exist is the real of fantasy and no better or worse than any other mythology out there.  For me, Norse mythology is closer to my ancestral roots and resonates with me more. But I ain’t praying to Odin or Thor. If there is any concept I like it is that we don’t pray to them.  If there is a divine power of some sort, I would rather have this attitude of standing with them rather than bowing before them.

The reality of my faith is that if there is a god or not is irrelevant to it.  If there is my pursuit of virtue should be honored. If there isn’t living by virtue in this world has its own rewards.  Either way, this is the reality f choice when it comes to faith.

Religion:

My pagan religious aspects are few:

  1. I meditate on the Nine Noble Virtues every morning along with my goals.
  2. I put my pendant around my neck for the day after taking my shower.  Mostly this marks the end of my morning routine.
  3. I try to view all of life as a large spiritual lesson.
  4. I celebrate holidays with my family and do it more with a pagan mindset, which is very easy as Christians have stolen most of the symbols for their holidays from the pagans.

I suppose you could add that I study pagan spirituality and religious practice as like reading about the Norse myths. I suppose if I were to ever join a Brethren it would be more for companionship and common interest. Not really all that different than most people in the church.

Theology:

Human beings are emotional, physical and rational.  My theology simply adds spiritual to the mix as a way of tying that all together.  There is a unified cohesion to things when you add the spiritual to me. That’s pretty much it.

Spirituality:

That spirituality is what gives me my pagan tendencies as I follow the basics of looking at life through a spiritual eye from time to time. Paganism is very much a matter of individual spiritual taste and I embrace that.  mY pagan tendencies fit me and who I am and that is pretty much Ok with every pagan I know.

Conclusion:

I guess i am content to be the family ‘pagan’ for now.  I don’t have too many problems with it. So far things are simply awkward when people want to talk about church and Jesus and I don’t really live in that context anymore.  Nor do I wish to ever again.

 

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

“Christians vs. Pagans” – Odin’s Eye – Problems with Christianity.

Happy Thor’s Day.    

Discussion:

Now I am not trying to stir anything up, but I know this post probably will.  I find it interesting that Christians decry Islam for some of its more violent and politically aggressive tactics.  It seems to easy to forget that not too long ago, Christians were doing the same shit.  I would say you can still see Christians doing their level best to use at a minimal level the power of government to force their faith and morality on others.

But I have lived long enough to remember Serbia being a place where Christians killed Muslims in the 1990s. I would also say the continued bombing of Middle Eastern countries is certainly construed as (whether this is the case or not is irrelevant) as Christians killing Muslims.  So perhaps Christians should not be too hard judging Islam considering our current actions and a long bloody history of killing. coercing, defrauding and raping those who were not Christians for hundreds of years.

See the source image

The practical problem for me is that I also know the history of paganism and Christianity and it is equally as bloody.  I am not going to say the pagans were completely innocent, because they weren’t.  But it could be argued no one need have died at all if it wasn’t for Christina missionaries converting rulers and then convincing those rulers to do the above killing and coercion of those that didn’t follow suit in their realms.  If a ruler did not convert, then those around him that had would suddenly cut off trade and go to war with him.  The church pulling the strings to make it all happen like a puppet master. The church may have split on a lot of things but they still do much the same only they are far more subtle

Why is this a practical problem for me?  Because my return to paganism is much about my returning to the faith of my ancestors as it is anything else.  Christianity to those of us of European descent is an imposition, not something that we started as. We started as pagans deriving our faith by reaching put ith the spirituality we had developed to make sense of things. For me having pagan tendencies is returning to my roots and throwing off the chains of an oppressor.

Time to Look Through the Eye:

“To see the truth, change one eye for another”

Faith:

Faith forced is no faith at all.  Faith is internal and based on personal free spiritual choices.  If you force certain choices, that isn’t faith, it is a religious imposition.

Religion:

I think the conclusion that all the Abrahamic religions are bloody is pretty fair. The fact that they use their faith to justify violence and oppression is well documented. More practically is what I have seen over the years:

  1. Families that split over faith because those that believe won’t associate with those that don’t.
  2. Moral judgment on those outside the faith leading to feelings of superiority (all disguised as humility, of course) for themselves and a viewpoint of looking at others who don’t believe as less than themselves in need of conversion from their ‘sinful ways’.
  3. Political actions that force laws on others that enforce a moral code that others who don’t believe do not accept.  Or else.

Quite frankly, compassion is not the word I would use to describe this – arrogance and pride are better words. I figure most of the wars in the western world might have not taken place if not for Christianity. Now, most of it is because of Christianity and Islam.

Theology:

As a deist for the most part who enjoys the culture of his real ancestral faith, I see how much I was spending time convincing good people to do some pretty questionable things, including myself.  My theology was one of death for those who did not believe one way or the other.  I no longer see how that can be justified as no matter how hard you dance around it, a god who just kills arbitrarily or simply because people didn’t accept his message is a pretty fucked up god. My guess, people whole like to control others, love such a god though. The amount of fear you can impose on someone with such a god is quite high; and in such fear, people are easier to control. I figure the real divine is far more thorough in his judgment of each individual human than that if he or she or whatever is really concerned about justice.

Spirituality:

Oddly enough, despite all this bloody history, I feel the pagan response is genuine tolerance until such time as they seek to impose themselves again. Then resistance is allowed.  As a pagan, I don’t go looking for a fight, but I will gladly fight and finish one to protect my right to freely choose which god myself or others choose to follow if at all. Let the followers of Abrahamic religions once again demonstrate their irrational emotionalism and hatred.  I plan to stand on higher ground than that and defend myself and others.

Conclusion:

I live in a house divided.  I am a pagan, most of my family are Christians with a few notable exceptions.  My response to most of it is tolerance, and so far no one is yelling at me or whatever. But I know the past and I know where I stand.  I stand with my true ancestors.

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

“Basic Pagan Principles: Recap” – 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 given 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: ‘Völuspá’ – Einar (Live @ Castlefest Winter Edition)

Nice to hear the song written by an artist sung by that same artist.  Guy has a great voice.

Meditation:

No photo description available.

 

Text:

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

Sermon:

The above link will take you back to the original source for many of my thoughts on this series.

To recap the basic pagan principles:

  1. Responsibility of Belief – That the responsibility for what you believe about religion and spirituality lies with you and you alone.
  2. Full Personal Responsibility – That you and you alone are fully responsible for your actions and personal development.
  3. Everything is Sacred – That everything in life has a spiritual quality to it and sacredness to it.  You should respect that.
  4. Freedom of Choosing a Diety – That what diety you create and follow is your own choice.
  5. Scope of Consciousness – That consciousness is greater than the five senses, that there is a spiritual part of consciousness that exists.

When I say I have pagan tendencies to people this is what I mean.  As a deist, I am very much rational about the whole faith and religion question. Knowing that nearly all of what is termed religion is made up by human beings so pick what you want (Principles #1 and 4).  My humanist side though states that we alone are responsible as human beings (Principle # 2). My pagan side says that spirituality exists and therefore I need to respect the spiritual quality of all things (Principles #3 and #5).

I have personally enjoyed this series and meditating on its principles.  It has been enlightening, to say the least.  Next up will be me going through a book on Asatru I have been reading and digesting.

Parting Thought:

 

Image may contain: one or more people, text that says 'ç±³ Never push a loyal person to the point where they no longer give a damn Proud Odin's Sons'

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

“Basic Pagan Principles: Scope of Consciousness” – 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 given 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: “Fulga” – SKALD

Translation: https://lyricstranslate.com/en/fl%C3%BAga-fly.html

A fun little song here.

Meditation:

Image may contain: 1 person, text

Text:

Most pagan religions believe that consciousness extends far beyond the restraints of human form and physical existence. All life forms contain some level of consciousness, from the smallest insect to the giant redwood trees growing in the forest. Furthermore, consciousness does not end when we die, rather it survives death and exists simultaneously on multiple levels of reality.

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

Sermon:

Working the idea, pagans simply acknowledge there is something out there that is spiritual in nature beyond our normal five senses and reason to understand. That there is a part of existence that extends beyond biology and chemistry. That our own consciousness goes beyond our physical form.

Some pagans go to the point that saying every living thing has this as well.  Others go even further and extend the idea to everything that exists, that everything has a spiritual side to it and spiritual reality.

This part of pagan belief also extends to the idea of life after death.  There are so many different views here it is difficult to make any general statements and the author of our text wisely noted that pagans say we exist beyond death in a multitude of differnt levels.

I believe in science and reason.  There be no denying that science and reason are powerful tools in learning to live in this world effectively.  To learn how to achieve what we want and need very much requires reason and knowledge.  I, however, do not think that reason or science addresses all reality.   That there is something more to know is one of the tenents of science and perhaps we simply haven’t figured out how to measure the reality of consciousness.

The one thing for sure we can say is that science cannot explain a lot of things yet if they are honest and perhaps these things may be considered spiritual in the sense they remain mysteries. Once discovered the rational scientific people may discover that there is a spiritual side to man after all; they simply didn’t have a way to observe or measure it.

The reason I remain a pagan in this regard is that I hold open to the possibility of a spiritual reality that cannot be understood by normal means.  There is something more to love than biology. Something more to attraction than physics. Something more to the beauty that the eye of the beholder. I still think that without this idea of a spiritual reality, you have a very dead meaning to a life where life’s only purpose is life itself.  So I wander as a seeker looking for it.

Parting Thought:

Image may contain: text

Learn to be wise and you will always be free.

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

“Basic Pagan Principles – Freedom of Choosing Deity” – 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 given 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: “Krigsgaldr” – Heilung

Good beat to this one. It’s actually in English so enjoy it.

Meditation:

Image may contain: one or more people, text and outdoor

This idea extends very much to a man’s religion and spirituality.

Text:

In all pagan religions, it is up to the individual to determine what Deity means to them, who or what Deity is right for them and how they ultimately develop their relationship with their chosen Deity. Pagans have many different ideas about what encompasses Deity and how their Deity is represented. It is up to the individual, through study of their religion, meditation and in some cases prayer, to determine what image of Deity is right for them.

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

Sermon:

I am very much interested in Norse Mythology. I love the stories of the gods and goddesses of that pantheon because they resonate with my northern soul and are very cool to put it simply.  The question comes: do I actually believe that the gods and goddesses of Norse Mythology – do they actually exist?  I would say a rational ‘no’ but at the same time, the pagan idea is that we all conceive of the divine in our own way and it is very possible that divine powers like the Norse pantheon exist.

In reality, we all do this to the divine, the pagans are simply honest about it. I spent 40 years as Christian and half that time as a pastor and I can tell you each individual Christian conceives of the god of the Bible in a very unique way.  What happens is each Christian resonates with a different part scripture, usually with a single author or book/passage in particular, more than others and they conceive of their version of the Christian god that way. If you talk to 100 Christians about a certain aspect of the biblical god, you will get 100 distinct answers.

Pagans just honestly say this is normal and that what is really happening with all of us.  They take the honest step and say each person’s view of the divine reality is going to be unique and that is what should be. Let each individual decided for themselves what the divine is like and how to relate to it. Talk about a spirituality form that doesn’t have the religious aspect of control to it.  The ultimate freedom is here where you get to decide what the divine might be like and how to both approach them and worship them if at all.

I don’t think it takes too long for people to see how I do this. I resonate with Odin a lot.  The pilgrim side of Odin in particular.  The wanderer looking for truth and knowledge where ever he can find them for me is a powerful and truthful image that relates to me very well. I don’t pray to him because it is my concept and I recognize that.  Could I go to a pagan blot and offer up a cup in his name? Yeah, sure. But it would be about community and reaffirming my commitment to the ideals I hold dear for my life.

Odin’s myth is the creator of mankind, so I can look at him as a diest would look at the divine.  Thankful for being created, but pretty sure he has more important things to look after than my petty stuff. I need to take care of that shit myself.  Going back to the Responsibility of Action as one of the other principles. Yes, I do conceive of deity in my own way, but as a pagan, I simply can also accept that others do the same and that is OK as well.  We all seek for the divine, if they exist, in our own way and it is not wrong just the reality of what we do as human beings.

If there is any lesson to be learned here is that we should all just relax when people have a different concept of the divine reality.  We shouldn’t force ours on them or accept it when they force theirs on us. We are all just pilgrims looking for the divine in our lives. We shape the understandings we have of that ourselves and that is alright by me as a pagan.

Parting Thought:

Image may contain: 1 person, beard and text

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

“People as Sacred” – Odin’s Eye – Humanism

Happy Thor’s Day

Discussion:

A humanist is a person who sees human beings and the human race as the central thing to solving human problems.  A pagan is a person who finds spirituality in all things.  I want to talk about how these two intersect.  For me, people are both the solution to their problems and sacred as part of the universe.  I don’t look to political or religious forces to solve human problems.  Both of those things tap into tribalism hard and push us to fear and hate one another. If you looking for the evil that might exist, you don’t have to look too far into any political or religious organization and you will find some.

As a humanist, I don’t think political ideology solves problems. Speaking as a political scientist, I can tell you that politics is about putting groups of people against one another to gain power, not solve problems.  Unless you see solving the problem as subjecting other people to what you think is right and forcing them, politics and government is not the way to go.

As a pagan, and former Christian, I can see how religion is used much the same way as it influences culture to label things ‘sinful’.  Once again, this is then used to put groups of people against one another as ‘the righteous’ put themselves against ‘the sinners’. Using shame, shunning and general looking down noses at others because ‘they don’t have the truth of our faith’, you can see once again how this is used to control people through fear and manipulation. Sorry, religion tends to create more problems not solve them.

It seems if human beings want actual solutions to their problems, they might want to look at themselves and stop joining religious and political groups that are not about solving problems but rather are about control.  Time for an alternative way of looking at people that might actually solve their problems.  Time to start looking at people as sacred.

Time to Look Through the Eye:

Faith:

Having faith in human beings to solve their own problems is difficult at first.  Both the above forces fo government and religion do some pretty good PR to label some people as the problem and having the need for others to control them. I always marvel at political and religious leaders ability to label whole groups of people as the problem and not themselves of course.  They are the solution.

I can say that if you sit back and really think about it there are two things I can have faith in: 1) That things are getting better all the time for humanity, and 2) That a whole bunch of people are trying to convince you that things are getting worse for their own gain.  But if I look at it objectively and consider people being sacred. You can have faith in each individual human being to solve their own problems if they are given the freedom to do so. Letting people be themselves is the most sacred and loving thing you can do for someone else.

Religion:

Religion, in general, sees humans as problematic or having problems.  Paganism sees them as sacred. Not problems but wonderful parts of the universe. Religion involves chains and spirituality involves removing them.  The first step in seeing people as sacred is to stop thinking they need religion to help them overcome their problems.

Because each person is sacred, they hold within themselves the ability to solve their problems.  Religion always tries to get a person to look to the divine, or faith or something outside one’s self to solve the problems they have but in truth, each person’s decisions will either lead them into problems or out of them.  Religion makes a lot of false claims and promises they cannot prove, but one thing you can know for yourself is there is always a better path that you can take as a human being if you tap into it.

Theology:

What needs to change is our understanding regarding humanity.  As a Christian, I taught mankind is sinful and only god can get them out of the problems that cause. The problem is there is no evidence that sin even exists outside the say-so of the Chrisitan preachers. That theology certainly does not look at people as sacred, that is part of the goodness that is creation.

As a pagan humanist, my viewpoint of humanity is very much changed.  Each person is unique and the most sacred thing they all have is the ability to choose their own direction.  To choose their own path. It is this that must be guarded and protected as the previously mentioned forces of politics and religion will always try to take this away.  What makes a person sacred is their ability to sovereignly choose for themselves the path they want to walk.

Spirituality:

The spiritual side of all this is that to walk this path we have far more going for us in helping us to do do this.  That in addition to their being a rational and logical side to life, there is an emotional and passionate side.  There are also the factors of driving needs and wisdom gained through experience.  All these combine into a spiritual walk that allows us to use all we are as human beings to set and guide the choices we make.

Part of that is respecting that people are sacred and walking it as a spiritual path is to guard it for ourselves and respect it in others. To interfere in a person’s choice, even benevolently, is to look at them without this respect for the fact that they are sacred and what makes them sacred is their ability to choose for themselves what path they are walking.

Conclusion:

In the end s much as sometimes I can think people are stupid in their choices, I respect that their ability to choose is sacred to them.  It is what makes each individual unique to me and worthy of a measure of respect.  Now, this doesn’t mean all choices are good ones or even benevolent and some choices can be stopped if they violate this principle.  A choice to force, coerce or defraud someone is one that does not have this respect of another person’s sacredness. It should be stopped. But there are many choices that I would not make but they are not violating the principle of sacredness so I should not interfere.

It is amazing to me what peace of mind comes when you leave people to be sacred in their own lives. The freedom from the desire to control and manipulate is a wonderful one. It also brings about the simple truth about yourself – you are the product of your choices.  Those choices are sacred no matter if they were good or bad because as a human being you made them.  That is freedom with responsibility.

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!