“Happy Holidays from The Grey Wayfarer” – The Rabyd Skald

Happy Woden’s (Odin’s) Day!!!

Just a short post wishing you all happy holidays. I spent most of my morning with some of my children and grandchildren for Christmas, so this is a short post to let you all know that you are appreciated.  Thanks for reading and have a great holiday season!

Back tomorrow with another fiction post.

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

“Holiday Struggles” – The Rabyd Skald – The Grey and The Wayfarer – Part 25

Happy Frigg and Freya’s Day!

Happy First Day of Yuletide – Mother’s Night – A night sacred to Frigg and Freya so it is fitting that it starts on their day.  Tonight was the celebration of the ancestral mothers.  it is also in some Asatru communities the celebration of the virtue of Industriousness which is a virtue associated with mothers.  To the hard-working mothers out there – Skaal.

Walking The Grey 

I am definitely struggling with the holiday season more than last year and it is because I have so much on my mind about the end of this year and what I am going to try to accomplish next year. It is not so much about missing the meaning behind holidays this year as last year, but more about the year coming to an end and the one pagan tradition that I want to observe at the end of it.  – Oath Night (Dec 31).

There is also a massive amount of uncertainty to my life right now as far as the future and I am getting help with that but it seems for every question I answer in my mind there are many more.   This has caused some sleepless nights and no shortage of anxious thoughts.  I also feel like I am alone a lot and the loneliness is pretty heavy at times.  My wife, family, and freinds are great, but there are always those lone times for me and for some reason they seem infested with walking the Grey.

Blog News:

A little news from the blog front.  I order to have some more time in the coming year to write and engage in a couple other projects I am going to reduce the schedule to one post a day.  There might be a The Rabyd Skald or s special post from time to time, but for the most part, I want the regular pattern of The Pagan Pulpit, Three A Skalds’ Life posts covering the Virtues, Of Wolves and Ravens, Odin’s Eye and Freya’s Chambers.  In short, this blog is going to take on more of the characteristics of a journal and less a platform for my art.  I really need to get going on my writing for publication, reading and another project that I am thinking of launching soon.  This just simplifies things for me so I will have the time to do the rest.

Freya’s Chambers will return next week. This week there is simply too much Grey in my life even for a lighthearted look at sex and sexuality. I will also be finishing the Rogue Wizard and Space Tramp series, but not replacing them. Peace.

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

“Yuletide – The Original 12 Days of ‘Christmas'” – Odin’s Eye

Happy Woden’s (Odin’s) Day.    

Discussion:

I think it is no secret that what is celebrated as Christmas these days was originally a pagan holiday known as Yule. Yule differs from Christmas in that it has twelve days of celebration whereas Christmas centers on Dec. 25th.  In contrast, the twelve days of Yule were all about celebrating the end of the year and the welcoming of spring although it will take some time to fully materialize.  The Winter solstice is the focus of Yuletide along with a lot of drinking.

Considering that in Viking lands, this time of year is basically hunkering down and waiting out the winter.  One did have to keep oneself both alive with stored food and firewood but also entertained and safe from the Wild Hunt.  Yuletide is a twelve-day long party and the Vikings loved to party.

The 12 Days of Yuletide are:

  1. Mothers Night – Dec 20
  2. Night of the Wild Hunt – Dec 21
  3. Manni – Dec 22
  4. Freyr and Nord – Dec 23
  5. Feast of Community – Dec 24
  6. Eir – Dec 25
  7. Thor = Dec 26
  8. Skaldi and Ullr – Dec 27
  9. Odin – Dec 28
  10. Sunna – Dec 29
  11. Valkeries – Dec 30
  12. Oath Night – Dec 31

 

All of these days either have a feast associated with an event or gods/goddesses.  A lot of the traditions we see at Christmas are still associated with Yule – the yule log, mistletoe, decorating trees, etc.

Time to Look Through the Eye:

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

Meditation:

Year’s End seems to have significance for all of us in a more meditative level.  For me, 2019 has been a ‘meh’ year for the most part.  It has had its high moments but there have also been some downtimes. Mostly though it was just the dull drudgery of existence that I don’t like thinking about as it depresses me, Mostly through meditation I am thinking about what my oath should be for 2020 which I will give on Dec 31st.  It is not wise to make oaths and not complete them.  Even ones given to yourself.

Mystery:

There is a mystery to my future that hits me at this time of year.  I have less and less connected to my past career and life and that is both wonderfully freeing and at the same time frightening as I don’t really know what I am going to be other than being a writer. The mystery of the future seems more prominent at a year’s end.

Spirituality:

If there is anything that hits me as far as spirituality, it is a sense of community. Introvert though I am, I fully conscious that people affect my life for good or ill and that means working hard to be true to those who have been true to me.  I guess in that sense as well, communion with my fellow man is important as well.

Conclusion:

Yuletide will probably grow more important to me as time goes by.  It does provide a platform to celebrate various holidays with people and that is a good thing.  For me, the reflective moments of the past and future are far more significant.  For me, this year is about Oath Night.  last year I did a very minor and safe oath, I need to take it up a notch this year.

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

“Playboy’s Christmas Cartoons” – Freya’s Chambers – Sensual Art

Happy Frigg and Freya’s Day!

Discussion:

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 the nature of some subjects be prepared for nude images as there may be some.  I avoid genitalia as a general rule but is not always possible.  

As I head into the holiday season, I am a little more pressed for time these days so my more serious discussions here in Freya’s Chambers are going to give way to a more lighthearted look at sex and sexuality with the festive nature of the holiday.

I will probably do a more serious discussion of Playboy as both a shaper of sexual discussion and Hugh Hefner’s legacy someday.  I mean it had a lot of influence on my thoughts as a teen and young adult male.  In truth though probably the magazine gets its props for 1) Gorgeous women in the buff, 2) Some interviews that were groundbreaking and 3) Its art including the cartoons which made a lighthearted jab at sexual mores, sexual culture, and hypocrisy.  For me the cartoons were not just entertainment, they had a message of pointing out how traditional views on sexuality were not normal but forced.  Humor has a way of doing that.

See the source image

Of course, culture changes so at first playboy cartoons poked at the notion that everyone was celibate and waiting for marriage for sex.  The sexual revolution of the 1960s and 1970s was largely spawned by effective birth control and if I may be very bold magazines like Playboy who made fun of the notion that women, in particular, were sweet innocent things that just wanted a good husband when it came to sex.  As research came in, it became clear that women liked to fuck just as much as men.  The only difference was they had to worry about pregnancy and stigma more.

Cartoons back then were an avenue of using humor to point this out and Playboy’s cartoons were legendary for doing just that.  One of the ideas was that women didn’t need as much coxing to engage in casual sex as people thought and that their appetite was not as high as men.  Playboy tried to shatter that with a lot of forms but their cartoons often had women having sexual desire and the guy was about to get a gift from them – a sexual encounter with them.

During Christmas, of course, this idea of gifts and traditions was employed as a central theme and the idea of women presenting themselves as gifts to men is present,  I am fairly sure I remember Hugh himself saying in response to the early politically correct crowd that was critical of his objectification of women something to the effect of “women will always be objects of desire to men, that’s how babies are made” or something similar. I am not sure what his psychological knowledge was but he read every interview with every playmate and all of them pointed out what they wanted in a man and many of them engaged the sex questions with responses that would have caused a ‘good girl’ to blush.

The traditions becoming sexualized were often done with the idea that traditions were different in other countries and that often had sexual connotations. Santa Claus, the Christmas party and mistletoe being obvious choices as well.  Playboy’s cartoons at Christmas were shall we say sexually festive.   Santa being a horny man who gives another gift to the lonely woman is also one that has humor that was present.

Looking back at the playboys under my bed as a teen, I would say the Christmas ones were my favorite.  Now I would say they were fond memories of the festive and fun part of the holidays that was sensual. There is playfully sexual side to this holiday and playboy through their cartoons saught to point that out.

My two cents.

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

“Before and After” – The Rabyd Skald – The Grey and The Wayfarer – Part 24

Happy Woden’s (Odin) Day!

This post is a little later than usual because I am doing a little bit of an experiment with it.  In about a half-hour, my therapist and I will be meeting via Skype and we will be hopefully discussing some of my issues so what you are getting with this installment is The Grey and The Wayfarer ‘before and after’.  So the part marked ‘Before’ is what I was thinking before I went into session and the part marked “After” is my thoughts as I reflected on them after the session.  It has really been up and down these last two weeks so I need to talk about that.

Before:

The issues I want to discuss in this session are the main two of my marriage and identity.  In the issue of my marriage, there are some things I need to discuss with my wife and my therapist is going to help me, according to our last session, as to how to approach this discussion as I am a little apprehensive of talking about the specific issues.  It’s weird because this isn’t about sex or intimacy but more about common goals, vision and what are we going to do now. What are we now with our values shifting in different directions and the objective for our lives shifting.

The second issue of identity is one of trying to figure out what I am now that I am both an atheist and no longer a pastor.  Part of this is career issues that my job coach is helping me with and I will talk on that at a different time.  This is deeper than that.  More of a foundational question.  My hope is there will be some insight as the last two sessions have been more of me talking and her digesting things and coming to understand my situation.  Hopefully, she has some wisdom, because right now I could use some and I am starting to feel confined and trapped by the situation.  That’s before.  See what happens and then I will write an after and then post both.

After:

Things worked as I think she guided my own thoughts into doing what needs to be done.  I need to really think about a direct course of designing my life as far as what I am going to be while having options.  My primary identity is being a writer, but it is going to be my second one which can be multiple things that will define me as far as other people are concerned for a while.

Also, we talked about Christmas and the family mostly.  I just don’t want it to be drama, but I also have the task of telling people I don’t pray anymore over the meals.  It’s more about celebrating the season of Yuletide and being with the kids and grandkids as much as possible. I am just there to enjoy, not be the spiritual master of ceremonies.

Of course, we talked about my marriage and all I will say about that is that a conversation between us needs to take place soon.  No more there, as no one else needs to know yet what is going on. I just now have it very clear that before the new year my wife and I need to talk about some things. ‘Need’ being the keyword.

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

Crossing Bifrost – Why Norse Mythology?

Happy Saturn’s Day

I became interested in Norse mythology as a teenager.  It was a combination of two factors.

Firstly, I played Dungeon’s and Dragons – 2nd edition.  One of the realms I created as a Dungeon Master at the time was a Norse like realm with the Norse Pantheon in full power.   My character from that realm was what would now be considered a Tempest Priest of Thor named Thane True-Blade.  He had a brother Karic True-Blade who was a devoted follower of Tyr and a fighter.  There was a female thief named Sylvia who was more or less devoted to Loki. You get the idea.

Secondly, there was the Marvel Comic world with Thor the comic book.  No, I haven’t seen the movies.  Reason? Because while the comics and D&D were instrumental in getting me involved in Norse mythology, I soon fell in far greater love with the actual mythology, than how it has been used or inspired other things.

I start each post on The Grey Wayfarer with “Happy Thor’s Day” or “Happy Frigg and Freya’s Day”  This is an example of one of those inspirations.  Our days of the week have four of them that are direct references to Norse gods and goddesses.  It could be argued that Sunday and Monday are as well, but they are also generic references to the Sun and Moon. So we could be dealing with Apollo as much as Sunna/Sol and Luna as much as Mani, depending on which mythology you want to credit. But Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday all have direct reference to Norse mythology.

It is these references along with many others in the western world that draw me to Norse Mythology,  Christianity didn’t erase them all and in fact sometimes embraced them and made them their own.  Our recent celebration to Christmas; for instance, is full of things that are borrowed and plan out stolen from Norse Yuletide.  Those symbols had other meanings but Christianity has taken them and repackaged them for their own use.  I find it however interesting what has survived and why.

Much of western culture and heritage is Norse and no, I don’t find that anything to be ashamed of. In fact, there is a lot to be said for the lessons that Norse Mythology were teaching to its people. Religion shows what cultures value and try to pass on and so studying Norse mythology can help us see what those values were and how they were taught generation after generation.

Unlike the atheist who does not see any value to religion, I don’t take that course.  Religions develop for reasons and not all of them are about manipulation or control.  Part of paganism for me is that there are ‘universal’ truths and principles that religion guards and promotes which benefit society and often at some point they are turned into religion or become part of a religion mostly in an effort to preserve them. Religion for years was also the place where science at a low-level and philosophy was created and preserved and part of that is mythology.  Stories that illustrate those principles and truths. Stories that teach are the stock in trade of mythology and that is not always a bad thing.

There is also the simple fact the Norse Mythology has had tremendous impact on modern culture particularly pop culture involving fantasy writing and movies.  Elves, dwarves, giants, etc. all owe their inspiration to Norse mythology. Comics, movies, art and many other things draw on Norse Mythology.  My writing is definitely influenced by it and has for a long time.  But I am not alone there – Tolkien, CS Lewis, Robert Jordan, and many others join me in that regard.

There is also the fact that  I simply find the Vikings bad ass warriors and a lot of why they did what they did was their mythology.  It is a mythology formed in the harsh realities of the ice, snow and cold of the North.  I understand how these relate all to well having lived in the North of North America all my life.  So I suppose there is a natural resonance with such mythology for me as that mythology of the Norseman provides a common ground. A spiritual connection based on a commonly understood environment, if you will.

My methods of approaching this are much less systematic as those of say Odin’s Eye or Of Wolves and Ravens.  What I think I will find more beneficial is a topical rather than chronological methodology in Crossing Bifrost.  Topic Headings will include, but are not limited to, the following.

The Norse World – Yggdrasil (The World Tree) and Its Realms – Asgard, Midgard, Hel, etc.

Norse Races and Creatures – Elves, Dwarves, Giants, etc.

Norse Gods and Goddesses – Odin, Freya, Thor, Frigg, Loki, etc. This would also include god monsters like Fenrir the Great Wolf and the World Serpent Jörmungandr.

Norse Symbols and Objects – Thor’s Hammer Mjolnir, The Valknut Symbol ,etc.

Norse Culture and History – Probably a little more difficult to define  but topics here might involve how the Norse Mythology influence Viking Culture and History.

Basically I will probably have a sub page under Crossing Bifrost for each of these where appropriate and them probably follow an alphabetical listing on each sub page itself.   The one requirement basically is that it has to relate in some way to Norse Mythology to be posted here.

Hope you enjoy my journey of discover on this subject. If you learn something along the way – well that is good too.

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

A Skald’s Life – Business Virtues – Family Values

Happy Wooden’s Day. It is also the 7th Night of Yuletide.  This night is sacred to Thor and Children.  There is an idea here of resurrection and renewal.  The idea of continuation in this night with children being the future and Thor’s sacrificing his two goats with his hammer for food and then raising them back to life the next morning as part of the mythology.  Thus the basis for the virtue of Fidelity, which is remembered tonight,  which is continuation and legacy.

Journal Entry:

I guess the only thoughts worth considering this week were the continued questions of faith with the whole Christmas thing. It is very strange, in a getting used to it sense, to not be celebrating Christmas in the sense I used to celebrate it.  That is celebrating the incarnation of Christ.  I just don’t buy that anymore. So I move along with people wishing me Merry Christmas and me saying ‘Happy Holidays’ in return and not getting bent out of shape about it either way.  There is a pagan part of me that wants to say ‘Blessed Yuletide’ back but perhaps this isn’t the time for me to do that yet. I have a lotto sort out yet regarding my faith.

The truth is though I want any holiday to be a time of community and family. So it is better not be an ass about it and move along given that most of my family is Christian including my wife.  It was weird Christmas Eve as it was the first time in a long time that I wasn’t at a candlelight service.  Instead I let my wife go alone and I stayed at home.  I spent the time thinking and meditating on a few things.

The one thing I will probably be doing in between writing fiction is working on The Book of Rabyd.  You can find an older incarnation of this book here: The Book of Rabyd.  The design was a book of principles, wisdom and sayings of the family passed down through the years.  I was reworking it on the Microphone.  I am going to try to rework it again as it needs to be updated. It is the basis for the values of the family.  It is also my legacy to my children and grandchildren.

The one thing though that starts today is the active seeking of a new job.  Time for me to be about the Business Virtues and pursuing my goals.

Self-Reliance:

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

Principle: Work to be self-reliant in all things.

The issue as always is to be independent.  To not be reliant on others for my life and lifestyle. This extends to my family as well, and that it is just my wife and I in practicality.  The hope is to be debt free and prosperous to the point we don’t need anyone’s help to stand on or own two feet. So far so good, but more needs to be done for the future’s sake.

Industriousness:

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

Principle: Work with enjoyment of work itself.

Funny thing is as much as I bitch about work with my fellow employees, I actually am starting to enjoy working for work sake. Now I just need to find something I enjoy doing as well for its sake and mine.

Hospitality:

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

Principle: Be ready to be hospitable to those who truly need it.

You know, we are getting to the point where fiends over for dinner and a movie is not beyond the realm of possibility.  if I only had some friends that were local. I hoping through a new job to find some.  I just still have this problem of trusting people after being betrayed.

 Daily Routine:

  1. Communication / Cuddle Time
  2. Blogging
  3. Reading / Study – 1 hour per day minimum or until all necessary work is completed.
  4. Writing – 1000 words/day outside the Blogging.
  5. Empty In Box
  6. Financial Transaction Input

This new routine is working out better.  I still think though that another change is in order in the writing department. That’s why I added the Writing part.  Time to start working on that novel and perhaps my career as a writer.

Goals: 

  1. Be transparent with my wife to improve communication
  2. Finalize last requirements for my degree – Internship.
  3. Find a new, better paying job by the end of January 2019 or before.
  4. In 2019 have  a clear budget and financial plan working by the end of the year.
  5. Maintain a daily blog streak of one post per day for an entire year (365 days).
  6. Keep gym membership going somewhere and lift weights minimum of four times per week and walk minimum four times per week through end of 2019
  7. Follow Paleo Diet completely and use intermittent fasting until the end of 2019
  8. Cross one thing off bucket list every six months (Deadlines July 1st, and December 31st of 2019)
  9. Be in the best shape I can be by March 18th, 2019 (50th birthday), take pictures.

# 3 is front and center and # 6.  Both I hope to get going very soon, Once Number 3 and 2 are finished I will consider myself on my way to my new chapter of my life.  Goals: achieved since Summer 2018: 1

Budgeting: 

  1. Basic Emergency Fund – $1000
  2. Debt Snowball
  3. Fully funded Emergency fund
  4. Invest 15% of income into retirement
  5. Pay off Home Early
  6. Build Wealth and Give

I think the real reason we are following this is because both of us can agree to it. It will work we just need to up the income side of things.

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

Skaal!!!

Of Wolves and Ravens – Philosophy on a Schedule

Happy  Tyr’s Day.  It is also the 6th night of Yuletide.  This night is sacred to the goddess Eir and Healing.  Eir being one of the Valkyrie who was famous for her healing skills.  I know today is December 25th and is sacred to all you Christians out there.  It used to mean a lot to me in this regard as well. So Merry Christmas and best wishes for the New Year.  Today we pagans celebrate the virtue of Discipline mostly in regard to taking care of one’s self in regard to health.

Well, this will not be a normal Of Wolves and Ravens.  As promised I am establishing a pattern for writing Of Wolves and Ravens. With a pattern I have a pretty good chance of being disciplined in writing it each week. I will be doing the same for Odin’s Eye and my New Series on Saturday on Norse Mythology. Haven’t come up with a unique title for that yet, but I will.

Topics I want to include here in Of Wolves and Ravens must meet the requirement of being a philosophical discussion. So included here is discussions of the Nine Noble Virtues of Asatru, The three higher virtues – Love, Justice and Wisdom.  Discussions on Minimalism and Libertarianism will here as well.  I must say this would be a good place to discuss economics and political philosophy so that will be here as well as regular western and eastern philosophy.  I think a ten week pattern is in order.

Week 1 – Nine Noble Virtues and The Higher Virtues

Week 2 – Honor and Eastern Philosophy

Week 3 – Courage and Western Philosophy

Week 4 – Truth and Love

Week 5 – Self Reliance and Minimalism

Week 6 – Industriousness and Economics

Week 7 – Hospitality and Justice

Week 8 – Discipline and Political Science

Week 9 –  Perseverance and Libertarianism

Week 10 – Fidelity and Wisdom

I think this pattern will be a good one as it will keep me covering a lot of different topics and not getting stuck on too many.  I will try to bring modern events and other things into the discussion as much as possible.

I want to change the nature of the Wolves and Ravens as far as Need, Want, Reason and Wisdom which will still appear at the end and make them more personal to myself. Taking the discussion about whatever topic is there for the week and putting it into practice personally is the goal at that point.  This should keep me writing and more importantly changing for the better as I continue this journey I call my life.

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

The Pagan Pulpit – Happy Holidays

Happy Sun’s Day.  It is the 4th Night of Yule.  This day is dedicated to the gods Freyr and Njord. It is about peace and having a good upcoming season. Tonight is about the virtue of love and the developing a sense of community.  Compassion, forgiveness and mercy are all present in this night of Yuletide.

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: Halford – Get into the Spirit:

Halford is the lead singer for Judas Priest.  I really like the fact that metal music can do this kind of thing.  Do something different.  Some of his takes on classic hymns at Christmas are superb.

Poem: “Yuletide Prayer” – Jenna

See the source image

Meditation:

Image may contain: one or more people, text that says 'To be honest, I'm doing perfectly fine without the people I had to walk away from. Jekyll Doesn't Hide'

Just something personal I have noted in my life. I actually feel far less stress.  I haven’t enjoyed the holidays like this in years.  Just saying.

Song of Preparation: Pentatonix – Carol of the Bells:

What a great group these people are. I can’t say enough of how I have enjoyed Pentatonix over the years.

Text:

“Happy Holidays”

Sermon:

Just a short word today – Happy Holidays to all that come here and read my stuff.  I trust you will find this holiday season full of peace, joy, hope and love. Enjoy the season and live life fully in the coming years.

Skaal!!!

Closing Song: “Baby It’s Cold Outside” – Lady Gaga and Joseph Gordon-Levitt:

You probably can tell where I stand on this controversy,  This is clearly two people who have the hots for each other and there is this game they are playing back and forth.  Seeing  in this version Lady Gaga is playing the part of the person trying to convince the other to stay, is she trying to rape him?  Sorry, the notion is ridiculous.  both of these people want to go at it with each other. It’s not undo pressure, it’s actually cultural concern by what outsiders will think that is the issue.

Gods, I don’t know when Puritanism became politically correct, but it needs to be stopped.  Let’s be honest this is got to be another example of political correctness being something we need to discard as the language and cultural fascism it is. Are we really going to get to the point where flirting and seduction is going to be considered rape itself?

Enjoy the holidays and keep warm with the one you love.

Parting Thought:

See the source image

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

Odin’s Eye – 12 Nights of Yule

Happy Thor’s Day.  Also happy first day of Yuletide – Tonight is Mother’s Night which is a celebration to honor the goddesses Frigg, Freya and Disir. It marks the Winter Solstice eve.  The official last day of the year in some Germanic and Celtic Traditions. Today we remind ourselves of the Virtues of Motherhood and Industriousness. 

Introduction:

I had an awkward conversation at work about Christmas.  Basically people wanted to do a secret Santa thing and to be honest I am way too broke for that right now.  I basically said my religion is complicated.  This post will drop on December 20th which is the first day of the twelve nights of Yule or Yuletide.  This is a really complicated time for pagans in that different pagan traditions celebrate the end of the year in many ways.  The Germanic, Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian traditions all get mixed up here in the united States, but most of what you see as far a traditional ‘Christmas’ is actually Yuletide symbols and traditions from those pagan traditions, mixed with a story about a baby in Bethlehem and presto – Christmas.

That said this holiday had a long-standing tradition before Christianity arrived, which is about ultimately a Celebration of the Winter Solstice and the rebirth of the sun.

Faith:

My faith is complicated on this subject because to be quite honest one of the main reasons I say I am a pagan is so I can celebrate holidays with everyone else. I have no problem celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, or any other holiday at this time of the year along with Yuletide with the pagans.  I look for the commonalities of faith in this holiday and in large part it is about final ending and starting the New Year.  It is a season of hope and joy regardless of tradition and so that I can join in with my fellow humans and celebrate the end of the year and the rebirth of the new one.

Religion:

The pagan traditions that survive at this time of year are quite extensive, from decorating trees, to the yule log to Christmas carols.  Kissing under the mistletoe is a favorite of mine. The resurrection theme in Christmas is just as prevalent in the idea of the resurrection of the sun only Christians will talk about the future resurrection of the son of God.   Gift giving predates Christianity as does holly and even fruit cake,

I find the fact that the whole twelve days of Christmas thing is actually a response to the twelve nights of yule. The actual tradition is very complicated but I found a good web page on Nordic Wiccan about it called The 12 Nights of Yule. Next year I may do a series about this holiday marking each of the twelve days as I find the whole thing fascinating. I am kind of new to this pagan thing, so I am still learning and the more I learn the more I enjoy the mythology behind it all.

Theology:

I suppose the real powers that be don’t mind us humans celebrating that which makes humanity great even in the middle of the darkest time of the year.  Us northerners have four seasons and it gets darker and darker and then as winter continues it gets lighter and lighter and eventually the sun’s rebirth will cause life to return to us in Spring.  The idea of rebirth is an old theological concept and it isn’t just found in Christianity or Paganism.  Nearly all religions have a concept of rebirth.  This idea of hope in darkness and joy in the midst of darkness is pretty common too.

Spirituality:

I am not sure how I feel about Christmas as an X-Christian other than the story is nice.  one of the things I may start doing is looking at certain Biblical stories and pointing out why they are problematic and the whole Nativity story is really problematic.   I also think that on a human level I can learn spiritually from any faith that genuinely tries to celebrate spirit of joy and hope. It is a family holiday and a time to remember some important things. I guess I like the fact it is a time of celebration from a standpoint of Yule rather than a single day.

Conclusion:

I like Yule and I like the concepts it is trying to both teach and uphold.  I think if I had more time I would have liked to dig deeper into this for this year, but it will just have to be a time of wonder, joy and peace for me this year. As I go through next year, part of what I will be doing is researching all this.  As a  writer of fiction, I smell a lot of potential stories in all this. A time to enjoy my family and life.

So I remain,

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

Skaal!!!