“Courage, Atheism and Asatru” – Of Wolves and Ravens – Courage

Happy Mani’s Day

Discussion:

Probably the most sobering moment for me as an atheist was to realize that my life is a one-shot.  This is all I get, and I need to make the most of it.  There has been a lot of attacks on atheism that courage might be difficult but I feel that atheists are actually the most courageous people in the world.  We face mortality with a great deal of reality.  We embrace what is true not what feels good.

For a long time, I kept my faith in the hope that an afterlife would give me a second shot. This a nice unprovable fiction. It feels good but it isn’t verifiably true and probably is nothing more than wishful thinking.  Time to flip this and face my convictions with courage and ask the tough questions of life and accept the reality of the answers that are true.

Asatru gave me a definition of courage I accept and still embrace.  The issue is Vikings no longer walk the earth in the old sense and Valhalla is just as much a fantasy story as heaven.  If an atheist lays down his life, he probably does it for far greater reasons than the religious.  The atheist is going to want his death to have some meaning, but more importantly their life as well. The atheist wants every moment to have purpose because once those moments are gone, they are gone. It takes a great deal of courage to live this way as well as die for something when you know that is the absolute finale.

To the Wolves and Ravens:

“Feed the Wolves, but Listen to the Ravens first.”

Needs (Geri):

What I need is more of the courage of conviction. There is a battle in this world every single day and to do the right thing at the right time is a monumental task on a daily basis. The issue is having convictions that are about asking difficult questions and then accepting the answers. This a basic need of humankind but most people don’t have the courage to do this preferring to ask simple questions and accepting answers that comfort them rather than are genuinely true.

Wants (Freki):

The reason I want courage is that truth has far more benefit, even when uncomfortable than lies. Delusion, such as the kind found in any form of tribalistic ideology, is never helpful and often ends in the suffering of a kind that has long term consequences.  The truth may be painful at first, but if courageously embraced, it will lead to the prosperity of all types.

Reason (Huginn):

For me, courage starts with reason rather than feelings. It might be nice to die for a cause but one has no way of knowing if one’s death will actually be helpful.  The only way to really determine this would be to think about it.  Courage stemming from one’s rationally held convictions is far more likely to lead to something of value.

Wisdom (Muninn):

Of course, as an atheist, I pay far more attention to the lives of others. To their words and wisdom of age as they live.  People who live a long time are not always wise, but if they have wisdom it is usually rationally evident and convicts the intuition.  One knows wisdom when you hear it and it gives motivation as well as reason. Then all that is left is to act at the right time.

Conclusion:

We don’t live in a world of such constant warfare that dying and going to Valhalla is an option like of old.  Courage must express itself differently and in the case of an atheist, it is done by conviction and accepting of the truth regardless of feelings.  The real battle one must have courage with at times is the one inside one’s own mind.

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

“Death Angel” – Rogue Wizard – The Fire of Fury – Part 19

Happy Sol’s Day!

Rogue Wizard’s Journal – October 30th, 2019

Well, the fear I have been having has taken form. I have been nervous every time we go to town and the last couple of times I felt that we were being watched.  Closely watched.  Lunette says her scouting runs every morning show nothing but I pulled my familiar raven Nevermore from his pocket dimension and added his wandering eyes to scouting and in the end, it has paid off.

The cold of fall and early winter is on the Upper Peninsula so the skinny dipping sessions have disappeared and we are spending more time in the sauna and cuddled in bed for that matter.  Our plan was to settle in here for the winter and then take off in the spring.  As safe as this place seems, the fact remains the longer we stay here the more difficult it will be to keep ourselves hidden.

My relationship with the two women is growing and we are now pretty comfortable in the presence of each other to the point intimacy of all levels is pretty normal with us. If it wasn’t for the constant danger we are in, things would be wonderful.  As it is we have to remind ourselves our little paradise on earth is under threat from some of the most dangerous magic users in the world.

Today brought to that the forefront of our mind as we finally saw a Death Angel wandering in town.  It took us back for a second but we knew immediately he was hunting for us. he didn’t stand out at first with his black overcoat like he probably would have during summer, but in the cold weather, he looked normal for this time of year.  If it wasn’t for his pale skin and pure white hair – two side effects of necromantic magic.

I have been a rogue wizard all my life and am not in any way bound by the Council’s laws on necromancy (which you can see they violate themselves), but you know what magic form I have never dabbled in?  Necromancy.  It dangerous shit as it can truly exact a heavy price if you do not learn to safeguard yourself.  The most potent form of it is death spells which require the life of someone to cast.

I suppose this is also its greatest weakness and why so many necromancers don’t like casting the death spell.   You have to first bind another living creature to the spell as the ‘cost’ for casting it, then cast it hoping you did the binding spell right.  If you don’t it will take that price from you.  That’s why necromancers like immortals as if the bind their death spells to an immortal then its unlimited charges.

Normally though most necromancy takes blood or other living things of smaller size like bugs or rats.  Which is why necromancers are fond of them. They also tend to use blood magic using their own blood when possible but the blood of others if necessary.  It isn’t uncommon for necromancers to have cuts on their palms.  More subtlely the magic begins to take the color from your skin and hair. Pale is what you call a long term necromancer.

Nevermore was circling the town above us when he spotted the guy. He was tall, pale and dressed in a black overcoat. Really, right out of a movie.  These necromancer types the Council recruits are usually professional and have the same moral code as Darth Vader.  Often the same effect on people too.

I quickly told the girls to get in the truck and we needed to leave as quickly as possible without causing a scene.  We finished our shopping, loaded the truck and headed back to the cabin. We all breathed a heavy sigh of relief when we were home.

Nevermore came home a little later. I had left him to observe the man.  He stayed, seemed to track something by sniffing where we had been and then took off into the woods.

“What could he be sniffing for” Amber asked.

“Me”, Lunette answered.

Pixies have their own smell that is unique.  Lunette never wears perfume as she already smells like flowers constantly.  I love her smell but it is unique in that what would a pixie be doing here in the middle of nowhere?  There is no grove up here.  The presence of a pixie wouldn’t be too abnormal if this wasn’t werewolf territory for the most part and pixies and werewolves have a blood feud so old, no one remembers who started it. But if that smell is accompanied by two others who are human then it might set off some alarm bells.

Nevermore lost him and came home.

The time of year does not help either. Halloween is upon us and that means the worlds are crossing over and the spiritual plane will give necromancers a little boost to their powers.  All wizards really, but the undead will walk tonight and they will have an easier time spotting us. I checked my wards and we are sitting by the fire instead of in the bedroom.  The plan is to take shifts being on watch. This could get ugly. Nighttime will be the worst.

Writer’s Notes:

The series is coming to its finality. I should also note that the last parts are going to be emotionally draining for me to write. That’s the only spoiler alert you are going to get. 

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

“The Topfreedom Movement” – Freya’s Chambers – Equality

 

Happy Frigg and Freya’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.  Given this week’s topic be prepared for images of topless females. 

Introduction:

I have to say that since the first time I wrote on the topfreedom movement in the United States, they have made quite a bit of progress.  I originally examined them in my Christian blog many years ago.  Mostly the issue back then was legal.  But the real trick of any social movement is to address all concerns including cultural, social and political.  If you are not aware, the topfreedom movement is basically pressing for equal rights of women to appear topless wherever a man can appear topless.  Basically asserting that the different laws for the treatment of men and women’s chests are sexist and violates equal protection under the law.  The issue for them is equal rights under the law.

I was supportive of the topfreedom movement back then even as a Christian because unlike many other Christians I actually realized that the constitution is the law of the land, not the Bible, and even with the Bible, there is no, I repeat no, statement or even indirect reference in the Bible that says a woman exposing her breasts is a sin. From my point of view then, a Christian woman who decided it was too damn hot and took off both bra and shirt and mowed the lawn was not a sinner, she was just being practical.

But what about now without Bible as some sort of appeal to authority and being you basic deistic humanistic pagan, where do I stand on this issue now? Without the whole sin question to consider, then the issue becomes very practical and about equality.      

Discussion:

From a cultural/social point of view, this is going to be a long fight but I stand with these ladies for a lot of reasons.  Most notably to me is a simple fact that socially I feel that these ‘modesty’ constraints are kept mostly to allow the unattractive, the insecure and religious women of the world to have an advantage over those women who are attractive, secure and non-religious.  I see it every time I go to the beach and some attractive woman is wearing a very revealing swimsuit.  All the other women are judging and criticizing because they are not secure in themselves or have a positive body image about themselves. I love it when a woman asks her significant other, who is watching said attractive female, what he thinks and he says: “whatever you think dear.”  This is far more about pecking order among females than anything else. To aid them in this quest for dominance, some women turn to religious moral codes and such to force their way into the law and on other women.

See the source image

My libertarianism kicks in as well to support these women.  If an action is not about force to harm, the threat of force or fraud there is no violation of the Non-Aggression Principle and if there is no victim you can point to and say who was harmed – there is no crime. Can someone tell me who is hurt by a woman walking down the street on a hot day topless?  As far as I can tell the only thing that is harmed is people’s opinions, feelings and sensibilities and none of those things count as far as the NAP violation or a crime.

See the source image

This leads me to the legal issues that how is exposing female nipples a crime and the exposing of male nipples is not a crime?  Note that most laws talk about nipple exposure and not the actual breast itself. I have found this an interesting part of the law as the nipples on men and women are essentially the same.  It is the mammary glands that lead to the mound of the flesh a women’s nipples are on that is the difference between the chests.  However, in most places, if the woman were to put tape over her nipples then she is perfectly legal as she would not actually violate the wording of the law.

See the source image

But I started this post out with the pagan and spiritual side of this and from that standpoint, I would have to say there is something liberating and freeing to the spirit when one frees themselves from the spirit of being a moral busybody and judge of other people.  There can be no greater judgemental attitude that the one where you impose what you think is modest on another because modesty is a spiritual quality of heart and mind, not one of the dress or undress.

See the source image

The other spiritual quality is the appreciation of beauty and in particular the beauty of the human body.  I find a lot of religious believers in God will talk about the beauty of creation and then spend a vast majority of their time trying to cover up one of its most beautiful parts: the human body, both male and female.  In this appreciation of beauty, I have also started to discover something about my attitude about women and their appearance.  I have found a greater understanding that sexual desire and nudity are not always connected. Put simply just because a woman is topless it doesn’t mean she is thinking about or asking for sex anymore than a man who is topless is doing so. Personally, I have learned that real modesty is letting other people be free and if a woman wants to freely walk down the street with her breasts bare, that is her business and I should respect that and not look at it as an invitation for a sexual encounter.

Conclusion:See the source image

When I first was made aware of the topfreedom movement, only one state of our fifty had changed its laws to reflect and equal treatment of men and women regarding toplessness.  Since then there are now 35 states that have followed suit realizing that legally there can be no distinction between a man and a woman’s chest. 

See the source image

The challenge now is in these states many local governments have reacted with their own ordinances and so what the topfreedom movement focuses on there is trying to get the one legal case in that state that will bring the locals government to heel with state law. There is currently one woman bringing legal action against the city of Chicago before the Supreme Court of the United States.  That might be the legal silver bullet that brings about the remaining states and locals to realizing they can either lose money in a lawsuit every time or just let women be topless.

See the source image

The real problem, of course, is that the long term will require society some time to change. Cultural norms change slowly but inevitably.  Like when women were first allowed to show their legs and more cleavage, it takes some time for it to be more normal to everyone in a society. I see change coming for American society regarding this issue and the majority of pushback will come from women and the religious.  In time, even they will have to submit to the inevitable. Sure men will probably at first avert their eyes, but eventually, they won’t think of bare breasts, as usual, any more than bare legs. Time will tell.

Thoughts?

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

“Naked Before Who?” – Odin’s Eye – The Grey Wayfarer’s Spiritual Side

Happy Thor’s Day.    

Discussion:

On May 17, 2013, I wrote this post: Naked Before God – Part 1 – The Positive Spiritual Side of Nakedness.  It was the first post in a series of posts called Naked Before God.  At the time, I was trying to reconcile some findings I had found in my biblical study of nakedness and current Christian practice and its perception of nudity. At the end of that post, I reflected on six positive spiritual aspects of nudity.  Vulnerability, Openness, Intimacy, Genuineness, Wholeness, and Equality.

Those qualities are very spiritual when you think about them as they go to the core of who we are and how we perceive ourselves in relationship to others and the world.  Of course, the problem with this series of posts now; for me personally, is what do I mean about the word ‘God’?

I personally still find being an at-home nudist beneficial.  I am actually quite private about it with no real exhibitionist tendencies being introverted as I am.  That said, I am as comfortable in my own skin as I am in clothes.  Actually sometimes more comfortable because of the spiritual qualities I outlined so long ago still remain true despite my change in faith/religion/spirituality. My issue is redefining how this means to me spiritually.  The change is not the spiritual qualities of nudity so much as the notion that the Christian god is the one I am naked before is no longer true to me.

I suppose this is going to take some time and meditation to redefine, but the problem seems to be that some of these spiritual qualities are dependent on there being some divine force to be naked in front of in the first place. There is also the issue of whether such a divine force gives as shit cares about it.  Yet, I feel at these times that I have spiritual peace or at least a better possibility of spiritual peace than at others.

Time to Look Through the Eye:

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

Faith:

I know it sounds strange, but I feel that my faith in myself grows in my times of spiritual meditation and part of that is connected to the fact I meditate in the nude. All the spiritual qualities combine at the time. I am open to the universe around me and vulnerable to it. I can see myself for who I truly am (genuineness) – equal to every other man and woman.  There is a non-sexual feeling of intimacy with myself and the world I don’t experience otherwise. I am the whole and true me and me alone.  This faith or whatever you want to call it has lead to a lot of inner healing for me. To those of you out there who practice ‘magic’, is this magic?

Religion:

Of course, I have to from time to time shuck off the shackles of my former religion which trains people to be ashamed of being naked.  I now believe this is what leads to a lot of body image problems and poor self-image problems for people. There was a fear developed in me from an early age by my past religion that if I was naked I should be ashamed of it, my body and being naked automatically lead to sexual sinful thoughts. None of this is objectively true, but if you are going to dominate and manipulate a person, engaging in shaming people for who they are in truth is a good start.  Nudity and sex are great targets for this.  I don’t buy any of it anymore but the indoctrination still has a few things that cause irrational fear that I have to throw off.

Theology:

It is interesting that in pagan theology, there seem to be a lot less moral codes about nakedness.  If anything, there is at worst neutrality about the subject, or at best blatant positivity about its benefits.  The naked pagan walking in the woods is probably a common and an accepted image.  We are human and come into this world naked.  It is our most natural state and foundational spiritual state, and so it is considered beneficial by most.  Whatever power that be that made/evolved us, doesn’t seem to mind our nakedness, so why should we.

Spirituality:

If there is a spiritual challenge to nudity for me now it is twofold. 1) The dumping of artificial man-made social mores that no longer apply to me.  2) Coming to terms with the fact there is a call in my heart to more social nudism.  The first I find it easier every day I spend in the buff doing normal and everyday things. The second is the simple fact that much of the spiritual qualities I have outlined that nudity possesses are incomplete without others to experience them with you. It is a value shift for me that is probably been long in coming, considering how long I have been addressing the subject of spiritual nudity. It isn’t a question of spiritual negativity anymore for me, but a practical question.

Conclusion:

The main question of this post still remains as to who I am naked in front of anymore. If not god, then who.? Do such powers even care? Mostly I think I am naked with myself and coming to terms with the fact that I am very comfortable with it and becoming more so every day. It is a part of my daily at-home activities particularly when I am alone. Only time will tell if I gain a more spiritual understanding of myself and the people and world around me as a result.  There is a part of my journey that now involves walking this path.

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

“Different Values” – The Rabyd Skald – The Grey and the Wayfarer – Part 15

Happy Tyr’s Day:

Yeah, I know.  It’s another week without “Of Wolves and Ravens”.  I need to get back to it for my own sake but right now the Grey is a ‘normal’ thing.  I knew July, in particular, would be difficult because of all that happened during this month last year and the reason is the memories are not necessarily bad ones.  It’s kind of like reading a story that has a lot of good things in it and happy times but you know a tragedy is going to hit at the end. Like following your favorite character in a story only to have them die suddenly.  It is that kind of emotion when you look at the story arc in retrospect.

The difference, of course, is the story is mine and I am the character so it is all too real and personal.

Another thing is I keep running into people from my past life as a pastor.  People I haven’t, in some cases, seen in over a year keep finding their way into my life. I play it cool but inside I would rather be far away. That journey is over and I want to leave the pain of it behind along with the people in the story as well.  They turned out to be characters that are not dynamic at all, just who reveal their true nature when someone doesn’t measure up to their expectations.

Of course, this leads to my real problem which is coming to terms in all aspects of my life with a different set of values I now possess.  What is important to me has changed and not in small ways but large ones. A loss of faith and a reevaluation of life will do that to you.  The questions that trouble my mind are ones that would make the writers of Babylon 5 proud: Who are you?  What do you want? Why are you here?

My oldest son recently observed I seem to be searching for something.  Something I haven’t found yet.  The young man has good insight.  I don’t call myself the Grey Wayfarer because it is just a fun persona. It is in many ways the philosophy of my life and one identity that seems to fit me with the expression as the motto of my life: “Not all who wander are lost”. It seems that my values involve a lot of searching and becoming something, but the one thing they do not involve is stagnancy or being unchanging.  For me change, and the chaos and joys that go with it, is becoming more of a desire than a fear.

The Grey is the thing that causes me to be stagnant at times, unchanging and that is the devil of it. The demon I understand.  It is why it is so important to force myself to change when I am depressed.  To keep doing something and keep walking through it is my therapy.

Perhaps that is why I write every single day.  Writing is a lot of things but I would never describe it as stagnant.  It is flowing and changing constantly. The creative process is like that. It is when I can’t write that I worry about me.

The point is also that the Nine Noble Virtues call one to improve and get better.  You can’t be a follower of the Nine without changing.  Every single one of them calls for change and so change is an essential part of my foundational philosophy.  The problem may be that some people in my life are too attached to where we are relationally, and to be in a relationship with me requires you to walk with me from time to time, and where I am is never the same.

I am sure there will be another The Grey and The Wayfarer post very soon.  Hopefully, it won’t fall on Tyr’s Day again.  But this week was some good insight into what makes me keep going because, as I will probably write next time, there are a lot of forces trying to compel me to quit and give up. The Grey is strong, but my desire for change is stronger so I keep walking and seeking what I am looking for.  I will know when I find it what it was.

I remain.

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

Skaal!!!

“Songs About the Wolf Within” – The Skald’s Lyre

Happy Saturn’s Day

Musical Journal:

In the fantasy genre of literature, the wolf and werewolf are very symbolic of the wild untamed side of the human experience. There is a sensual and animalistic point to the image of a wolf or a man/woman transforming into a werewolf.  In the world of music, there are songs about this animalistic side of humanity and they often use the image of the wolf. It’s not coincidental that this is so the image of wolves and men is an old one and a very powerful one.

This Skald’s Lyre is a little different.  It is about a type of song that relates to the human experience coupled with one of my favorite genres of books and film – fantasy.  In particular the world of fantasy horror and the wolf and werewolf image.  The music attempts to capture this essence in both lyrics and setting the tone with the music. It often does a very good job at both.

Personal Significance:

Today I am not going to list my personal significance with each song as that is not really the point.  For me, there are simply some good songs that call to my animal side or remind me that I have one. For me, the image of the wolf is center to my heart and self-identity so that fits too.

I have had two conversations with women about men that reflect this point along the sexual side of things. Hey, whenever I write about sex it always gets attention.

1) “What the world needs are fewer wolves and more gentlemen.” – my response was pretty simple. “My dear, a gentleman is nothing more than a patient wolf.” Sorry, there is no such thing as a man who has an interest in a woman where raw sexuality isn’t present. You can keep it domesticated on civil but that raw energy is what powers all the other aspects of the relationship.  As an author once said – “everything is about sex, except sex which is about something else.”  A gentleman is just a really patient strategically-minded wolf looking for a certain type of woman to bed. He is simply a patient hunter.

2) “Men are all dogs.” – I had two responses to this.  a) So are women, women are just as horny and sexual as men.  They just like men to work at it to get them because they want to feel desired. Nothing wrong with that, but to take the high minded route that women aren’t just as interested as men about getting laid is just hypocritical. b) Men are all canine to be sure, but some of them are more domesticated than others.  Some of us seek to be more true to our ancestors and be the wolf. We are just honest about it.  If being a wolf means I am a truly masculine male, then that is my desire.  As a woman, you are either going to accept that and lose your fear of it or you are going to try to domesticate your man out of fear of his wild side and in my opinion, make him less of a man. You would probably be better off accepting his wild side and work more on embracing your own.

For me, being as wolf-like as possible and staying honest about it is something I strive to both focus and embrace.  This isn’t just about being honest about being masculine or sexual but also about the stronger emotions of anger and rage.  The desire to fight for what you care about and desire. So on my playlist are a few songs about this wolf side of things – the animal within and that animal for me is the wolf.

Playlist:

Bark at the Moon – Ozzy Osborne:

Wolf and Man – Metallica:

Animal I Have Become – Three Days Grace:

Night of the Werewolves – Powerwolf:

Úlfhéðnar – Dervhengrym:

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!!!

“Asatru and Courage” – Of Wolves and Ravens – Courage

Happy Tyr’s Day

Discussion:

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

Principle – Act with Courage at the right time

As I was reading the Asatru website Ravenbok on Courage I realized that there is one aspect of courage that even that website admits that most followers of Asatru fail at and that is having courage about what they believe. It is this folding to the prevailing Christian culture or whatever other religious culture exists and not coming out and telling people you are pagan is what they are talking about here.  Courage is lacking in this regard although anyone who wants to know where I stand simply has to read this blog and its The Pagan Pulpit.

Just for the record, I am a diest humanist that has very pagan tendencies when it comes to spirituality.  I don’t really have a problem saying it.  Social acceptance be damned!  Perhaps this is one area of Asatru I do better in.  I don’t proselytize as that is not very pagan but if someone asks, I sure as hell will tell you where I stand.

But I get it.  For literally millennia the Abrahamic religions have hunted down pagans and killed them.  Hell, the Bible has in the book of Joshua that not only justifies this Genocide but clearly paints a picture that the biblical god would not be pleased with his people unless they killed every man woman and child.  Well, except virgin girls so the men could make them their wives. In this atmosphere, it can still be hard to have the courage to say you’re a pagan to people who have demonstrated historically that they will come up with multiple and twisted reasonings to subject and kill those that disagree with them.

For myself, I follow the virtues of Asatru and they remind me Courage is a commitment to do the right thing at the right time, every time. That includes when people ask me what church I go to tell them –  I don’t go to church.  My place of worship is every place that I am and my act of worship is to act at all times according to the virtues of Asatru.

Website: Ravenbok – The particular page is: The Values of Asatru

To the Wolves and Ravens:

“Feed the Wolves, but Listen to the Ravens first.”

Needs (Geri):

Courage is the most needed virtue in the face of Fear.  Courage is a choice and a needed choice if one is going to do anything.  Our world gives us lots of things to fear. Politics and religion encourage us to fear because it makes us easier to manipulate. Courage is the needed choice to be free.

I need a lot more courage in expressing my self verbally. I guess it is my personality.  The few other INFJ types in know all have the same problem.  Being natural empaths we don’t want people to feel bad because then we feel bad ourselves. So we find alternate ways of expressing our feelings.  In my case, I find it far easier to write my feelings than say them.  That way I can’t feel people’s reactions to my written words.  I need to overcome this to a point that I can face those feelings bravely.

Wants (Freki):

It is this freedom that gives the desire (want) to embrace liberty and self-reliance. Better to live free and die than to bow in chains.  You need and want courage because it is the means to liberty and freedom of choice. Otherwise, your fears will lead you into chains.

I know there is a freedom o open expression.  I have had it a couple times where I and the other person could talk freely about what we felt and ti was very liberating.  I just have to have the courage to take the steps I can on my side to get there.

Reason (Huginn):

That said, there is a great deal of difference between foolhardy and courage.  There is no courage in paying a price or dying for nothing. Courage should cause us to fight for the things that matter.  Part of real courage is reason.  Rational courage is what we are making choices about not being afraid of the things in our way of a better life, not knee jerk martyrdom.

When it comes to expressing myself verbally,  I know what I need to do.  I know it is reasonable and wise.  That is not the problem.  It is, in the end, making the choice to be brave.

Wisdom (Muninn):

Some times the wisest path to walk is the one that involves facing our fears and overcoming them.  It gives us the strength to face later challenges.  Courage has wisdom to it when it is used for a purpose because it leads to the building of character.  And no one has ever built character into their lives without acts of courage.  Fear and cowardice only lead to the things people despise in their more rational and wise moments.

Conclusion:

‘I walk with courage. I follow the old ways. I strive for honor. I know what I stand for.  I am proud of that.  I am heathen.’

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

“Me and Mozart to Metallica” – The Skald’s Lyre

Happy Saturn’s Day

I am currently planning on doing a lot of research on Norse Mythology in order to do a few Crossing Bifrost posts with a little more knowledge behind them.  I am instead going to implement one of the changes I proposed which is to create a series of posts on music.  This will be subtitled The Skald’s Lyre and will most likely appear with Crossing Bifrost on Saturn’s Day.  I miss discussing music and I want to get back to it.  The one effect this will have on other posts is that the Pagan pulpit will probably only have one song now on Sun’s Day.

I find music to be far more spiritual the older I get.  It has always had an emotional effect on me and I can’t go for too long before I find myself looking for something to listen to either motivate men or calm me.  I have also discovered over the years I am far less devoted to a particular kind of music or a particular era.  I am most interested in musical discovery; that is the discovery of new music from any era that I can enjoy and from which I can draw inspiration.

My musical journey like most people started with my parent’s music.  They both grew up in the 40s and 50s so that music was a regular part of what was on the radio.  My mom was a band member in high school and so she focused on classical music; so I cut my teeth in understanding music as a child on Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, and Brahms.  I liked it, particularly Mozart. I don’t if she realized it but she sowed the seeds for my metal baptism later.

Dad was more of an eclectic guy when it came to music. He liked the 50s do whop groups, country (and by country I mean old country, not this new stuff that is more pop with a country twang) and he was the one that introduced me to Johnny Cash.  Both my parents were young adults during the 60s, and so that music was also around too. My dad must have had a thing for Janis Joplin and Iron Butterfly as he had their albums.

Of course, we went to church and the old hymns and gospel were there as well as some new fangled worship music later.  My problem was as I went through school, I never settled on anything.  Until my first day in high school.

I entered the doors as a freshman full of fear.  I have been introverted all my life. I was tall and skinny.  I had started playing football, but I had no real athletic talent. I was nerdy and kept to myself except for the few friends I would keep close because of church or school.  That first day though I walked in and half the school as wearing Def Leppard “Pyromania” t-shirts.  I bought the album a few days later and listened to it. My parents had gotten cable so I hit MTV and saw all kinds of what would be later known as Hair Metal.  It was not this that drew me, but I would close my eyes and hear Mozart, just played very fast and with electric power.

After that metal was a part of my life. We played it in the locker room before a football game so I began to understand the emotional power of music.  ‘Back in Black’ by ACDC became the unofficial school song as ‘red and black were our school colors and our home uniform for football was black, head to toe. Hard Rock, Metal and 80s Pop were aa part of the equation for me as a teen of the 1980s. When I hit young adulthood a band called Metallica would dominate my music in the 1990s.

Now you need to understand I lived a double life with music from my Freshman year in high school on.  I had an extensive Chrisitan Rock and Metal collection; which while it irritated the fundamentalist pastors I had at the time, they wouldn’t completely tell me to knock it off because of the lyrics.  That was my public music.  When I was away from the church and in my own room, there was a collection of devil worshiping secular music and Playboys under my bed.  It was this music, and perhaps even the Playboys, that brought out in me the side that was true to a part of me that church told me to repress.  I just never could shut that off and so I became a headbanger. A Christian one in public and a secular one in private.

I have always listened to what I want since becoming an adult. I like and prefer things with strings and multiple part harmony.  I like a lot of things my parents liked and since then I have a lot of very eclectic tastes.  I have never really gotten to be the old man shouting at the kids around – “That isn’t real music.”  Even as a metalhead, my only gripe is other metalheads who start decrying different types of metal as not real metal. What a bunch of noize.  If I like it, I like it and these last ten years I don’t think there is a genre of music that I don’t have at least one song in that I can enjoy.  That said. if I want inner peace, some form of metal, alternative music or a sappy love song hits my playlist.

The Skald’s Lyre will have different kinds of posts.  Sometimes I will focus on an artist or band. Sometimes I will focus on a particular song or group of songs. Sometimes I might focus on a particular genre of music.  I might follow a theme in music or even reactions to some songs that I have loved for years but some other person is hearing for the first time. The subject will be basically music I am listening to at the time and what I feel and think about it.

To close this week though I will leave you with a historically significant song.  This song was the first song to ever be played on MTV: “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles:

Perhaps it will be as equally prophetic for me.

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

The Pagan Pulpit – The Book of Rabyd 2:3 – “Whenever You Find Yourself on the Side of the Majority, it is Time to Pause and Reflect.”

 

Happy Sun’s Day

Announcements: 

We don’t pray here – we figure God, the gods and 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 see a dime, farthing or peso of that money; it all goes to the church, mosque or shrine.

Opening Song: “No Rest for the Wicked” – Godsmack

No real official video for this song, but here is the lyric one so you can sing along.

Poem: “Salt in My Wounds” by Edward W, Raby, Sr. – Written April 13, 2019

See the source image

 

Once you were the spice of my life,

You kept me from spoiling

You were the flavor I needed

You made life less plain

 

Then you left me

laying in a pool of my own blood.

Leaving a wound

a void from your knife

 

Now memories of you are salty

Burning as they are applied to the scar

Salt in my wound

Preserving the pain.

 

-Ed Raby – April 13, 2019-

 

Without a doubt this was the easiest poem I have ever written.  At least as far as time and feeling are concerned. Took me literally just five minutes.  It’s still rough, but I suspect it will be Grey Wayfarer canonized very soon. 

Miss Salty, as I called her, helped me through a lot.  She is definitely wiser and smarter than her years would say.  But this whole thing in reflection was a doomed voyage like the Titanic. Right now memories of this whole thing are bitter-sweet. Salty like she was.  They hurt and yet I hope they bring about some cleansing like salt removing infection.

Meditation:

 

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Yep, which is why I don’t trust either party. The Wall for the right and Rich Wall Street on the left are not real threat in my opinion.  Mostly fear mongering using a supposed noble cause to seize power.

Song of Preparation:  “Cult of Personality” – Living Colour

I once heard these guys live via radio.  The guy who was announcing made the remark that they were the loudest band he ever heard in concert. Good intro.

Text:

“Whenever You Find Yourself on the Side of the Majority, it is Time to Pause and Reflect.” – The Book Of Rabyd 2:3

Sermon:

This time through The Book of Rabyd, I am trying to quote as many different people as I can.  Mark Twain was pretty much destined to be on this list and it was only a matter of time.  This is my favorite quote from him and is truly a principle of wisdom.

Tribalism is inherent in the human species.  Survival trait. We band together to take on common threats and deal with common problems. The issue is that it can also lead to a mob mentality. It can lead to just bowing down to the culture, group think or what everyone’s opinion is.

This quote is a regular reminder to all of us who prefer reason to mindless pandering.  The issue is to take action on what makes sense and is most reasonable and this quote reminds us there is nothing inherently reasonable about the majority.  The only quality they have is more numbers. The majority is not proof of truth or rightness.

For me there is a reminder here that I am both a free citizen and a responsible citizen. Free because on thing that can enslave is tribalism and cults of personality. Responsible, because from time to time you need to be the thinking one that calls into question the actions of the mob.

There are institutions that thrive on this tribalism but they can, in my humble opinion be boiled down to two things – government and religion.  Both of these tap into people’s passions rather than their reason and thus are manipulative by nature. They tap into people’s inherent tribalism and mob mentality to get actions people think are the right thing but are actually the desires of those who would seek power either through politics or faith.

The lesson then is never let your loyalty to the group outweigh your loyalty to yourself and your principles. Something I hope gets carried on by those who I call my family is the ability to question anything and everything, even if the majority thinks it is the best course.  I would rather have my descendents known for being rebels and original thinkers that people who just went along with the crowd and the mob.  That they would be people of Courage, Self-Reliance and Truth

Closing Song: “Of Wolf and Man” – Metallica

I am thinking of making this my personal theme song. A lesser known work of Metallica but still one of their best.

Parting Thought:

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Stay strong pagans. Keep going.

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!