“51st Birthday” (Plus DNA Stuff) – The Rabyd Skald

Happy Woden’s (Odin) Day!

So I am 51 as of today. I can think of a lot of things to say but I really have no words other than to be very appreciative of life, family, and friends. I enjoy my life as much as possible and I find that having gone around the sun one more time hasn’t made me feel too much different at this point.  Age creeps up on you in a slow relentless bastard way.

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Historically speaking – March 18,1969 was the day Richard Mixon ordered the secret bombing of Cambodia to start.

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Barbra Bates commits suicide at age 43 – she was actress and because her day of death is the same as my day of birth, I won’t forget her. She is hauntingly beautiful.

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The world was a very different place. Led Zepplin has one of their supershows that day.

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For me, I entered the world at lunchtime and so far I have to say it been an interesting bittersweet ride but getting much better each day.

Genetics Test Results:

Recently I did a DNA test to gain a new understanding of my heritage.  It was a nice early birthday present when the results were reported a couple days ago. The results are in and I will do things in order from largest to smallest.

  1. 69% – England, Wales, and Northwestern Europe – Not surprising as this includes the Netherlands.  By studying the family tree, I can more specifically say I am English, Welsh, and Dutch for the most part.  Dutch would be about a third of this.
  2. 24% – Germanic Europe – In particular I have traced this to Bavaria. This is my father’s biological lineage for the most part on his father’s side.
  3. 4% – Ireland and Scotland – My mother back a bit does have an Irish ancestor.
  4. 3% – Norway – Yep, There is some Viking blood in there.  I haven’t been able to track this down but a lot of people who have English heritage can have this as the Vikings did spread over large parts of Europe. It’s actually unusual for anyone not to have this if you are of Northern European descent. The Viking legacy is that there is a little Viking in all of us.

I now have a list of countries to visit: England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Netherlands, Bavaria, and Norway.

Of course, then my religious heritage would be Odin/Woden/Wotan. The All=Father had many names and was worshiped throughout this area.

In a case to get more specifics I still have to keep plugging at the family tree, But now I have a more positive lead toward my actual direction.

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

“Religion, Sex, and Deconversion” – Freya’s Chambers – Sex

 

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 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.

Discussion:

When I was a person of faith and religion, sex was an uncomfortable topic for me and those around me.  Mostly because there is this whole notion of sin that is injected into the picture. Plus there was a lot of shame associated with being found to have a sexual attitude that differed from the acceptable norm.  Certainly, my sexual education really didn’t have a chance to get anything factual unless it was by accident. Being the rebel I have always been when it comes to social mores, I found myself at odd on the subject of sex and nudity in the Christian context more than once. The real issue for Christians is keeping the desire for sex inside their so-called god-given boundaries. That being one man, one woman in marriage for life. This avoids the deadly sin of Lust.

When I realized that the whole sin thing was made up, this caused me to change my attitudes about sexuality quite a bit.  Mostly things get really basic as I think that the whole ideas of faith and religion actually complicate the matter of sex quite a bit. In religion, everyone argues nuances to see how far they can push their own sexual proclivities. The discussion, if it is had at all, is one of arguing small details of ‘how far is too far’.  I mean it really comes down to looking at each sexual issue and asking does the Bible or the religion allow it?  In my own faith, the issues of masturbation and whether in marriage oral sex, anal sex and BDSM were allowed. The one thing for sure was no one is allowed to think for themselves on the subject.

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This leads to all kinds of secret behavior that in many ways is far more erotic, unsafe and in many ways weirder than outside the church when it comes to sex. The most common being that religious teens are often told little about birth control if at all, but sooner or later the young couple gets alone and things happen. Unwanted teenage pregnancies anyone?  Not to mention that while abortions are opposed by Christians, the people who actually get them the most, probably because of the unwanted pregnancies, are Christians.

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If only birth control were taught in a proper manner, then fewer of these abortions would take place.  But that is the kind of logic that religion causes you to not even consider.  Sex before marriage is a sin and so is abortion.  You don’t need birth control because its a sin to have sex before your married and you will thus never need an abortion.  If only human behavior conformed so nicely into such black and white terms.

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This, of course, leads to the hypocrisy of the public maintenance of certain standards while at the same time privately not even at times being remotely close to those standards.  Divorce, infidelity, and abortion are higher among the religious than the irreligious and I understand now why.  There is an incredible power to guilt to keep control but at the same time, such guilt produces curiosity.

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I experienced this over and over myself as people would tell me such and such behavior was harmful and then I would start thinking about the behavior and why it was harmful.  Sooner or later I would engage the behavior and then discover it wasn’t that harmful – let’s just say if masturbation makes you blind, I should have been sightless a long time ago. If there is some physical malady that arises from watching or looking at porn, yeah, I would have that too.  So far all I could say was I developed a lot of guilt for nothing.

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Since deconverting, I have no hell to worry about, no wrath of a god that doesn’t exist.  The guilt aspect has diminished quite a bit.  Sex has become a part of life, nothing more or less.  Much more rationally approached.  I enjoy making love to my wife; we have a good time.  but, I don’t get guilty about it when I find myself sexually attracted to other females though – it’s normal.  What I do consider is consent, safety, and maturity which includes societal consequences.  In the case of my wife – fidelity as a virtue is actually much more important than it was as a believer.  Because I don’t assume it anymore and look at it as something to strengthen and improve because that is what you do with virtues.

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I personally am much more open to a polyamorous relationship, but my wife is not, so I honor that and respect it as long as we continue to choose to be together.  Because all those vows made before God, don’t mean shit to me anymore.  My religion was discarded a long time ago and with it the attitudes it has concerning sex and marriage.   What matters is fidelity and honor. For those, I stay true but rationally realistic about my own sexual desires.  I see religion colors the lenses so badly, it leads to more trouble than it is worth.

My Two Cents,

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

“Slaying God” – Odin’s Eye

Happy Woden’s (Odin’s) Day.    

Discussion:

I love the sentiment of killing gods when it comes to Star Trek’s Lt. Worf and the Klingons, in general. ‘They were more trouble than they were worth.” is one of the best lines in the whole thing. The idea of killing gods seems far fetched until you realize that the battle isn’t against all-powerful beings of various types or a single omnipotent one, but rather these gods only exist in our minds.  It is simply the process of getting rid of those imaginary beings from the way we think and views the universe.

I am still going through this process.  We tend to use the divine to fill the gaps in our knowledge.  As an atheist will tell you though those gaps are getting smaller and smaller. It is also a famous fallacy of logic to say ‘if I don’t know or understand something, therefore god.”

The god of the gaps fallacy is well documented as just because there isn’t an answer yet or something seems mysterious, that doesn’t mean the explanation fo ‘god or gods’ doesn’t have to prove itself as well. God as an explanation for anything still should be subjected to the same scrutiny as everything else that offers up a solution and not just automatically given a nod simply because it seems at the time to offer the only explanation.

Time to Look Through the Eye:

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

Meditation:

My own mind is still dominated at times by theistic thinking.  I find that this is the longest part of the deconversion process, coming to terms with the fact that I cannot assume god after so long assuming his existence.  It begins to permeate your life how many times the ‘god of the gaps’ fallacy is employed to provide a form of lazy answers and lazy morality.  My current state requires that every moral issue and every question now requires investigation rather than the assumption of the divine is a long work in process. My meditation time seems to focus here a lot.

Mystery:

Yes, there are mysteries in life, but no god really can provide a true answer.  To invoke God is not trying to solve mysteries or discover knowledge. rather it closes off inquiry and leaves an empty space in human knowledge that someone will look at later and show that in that empty space is actually knowledge and no god is required.  This probably the reason the belief in the divine and the religions that go with them is more trouble than its worth.  It retards our growth as human beings.  It causes us in our ignorance to fear that which we do not understand and engage in fearful tribalism that leads us to kill one another over what we believe fills the gaps. Mystery accepted as a god rather than an invitation to an honest inquiry will always do this.

Spirituality:

Perhaps we should take from the ficitonal Klingons the call to action to kill these gods which have been, in my opinion, more trouble than their worth.  They were at one time our first and worst attempt as a human race to uncover the knowledge around us. But spirituality is not divine, but rather very human and for that, we can only look to ourselves to uncover the truth about it. Given the amount of plundering, raping and killing done in the name of religion, it is perhaps time to revolt in our minds and kill the gods and discard them as more trouble than their worth.

Conclusion:

I find that the god I once built in my mind is not so difficult to slay as it is so large and touches areas I hadn’t thought of before. It is more ways and methods of think that need to be changed and having the courage to face my life alone and discover the mysteries of life through following after what I need and want while listening to the caws of reason and wisdom.  The mysteries of life are there to be discovered not feared as some ‘god of the gaps’.

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

“Conclusion” – (Asatru – Part 26) – The Pagan Pulpit

Happy Sol’s Day!

Announcements:

We don’t pray here – we figure God, the gods, goddesses, or whatever powers that be (if any) 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: “And Winter Came” – Enya

Meditation:

Image may contain: 1 person, possible text that says '"To me, the main thing about living on this planet is to know who the hell you are and to be real about it. That's the reason I'm still alive." -Keith Richards'

Text: 

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If you want more details about Asatru, I can’t recommend this book enough.

Sermon:

The rest of Diana Paxton’s book is mostly about the current state of Asatru in the world with its various associations. If you are interested in that sort of thing, I recommend getting the book and looking into it for yourself. I want simply to close this series which I will probably put under its own page in the Pagan Pulpit.

Today day I simply want to reflect on a journey through this series which took many months and was interrupted by various events. I basically do the pagan pulpit because I needed a platform to express myself in writing and I am finding this and my Youtube channel makes me feel like that aspect of having a lecture and pulpit is returning.

I have enjoyed this close up look at Asatru, I feel that as a religion it is far superior to most although the only parts I follow personally are the Virtues and some of the Northman ethics.  Whatever I do next will be in reflective contemplation of this.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed this series.

Parting Thought:

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I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

“Asatru Virtues” – (Asatru – Part 25) – The Pagan Pulpit

Happy Sol’s Day!

Announcements:

We don’t pray here – we figure God, the gods, goddesses, or whatever powers that be (if any) 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: “Pagan Fire” – The Dragon Fire Drummers

Meditation:

 

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

Text: 

See the source image

If you want more details about Asatru, I can’t recommend this book enough.

Sermon:

If you have followed this blog for any length of time, then you know about the Nine Noble Virtues of Asatru.  Honor, Courage, Truth, Self-Reliance, Industriousness, Hospitality, Discipline, Perseverance and Fidelity are very much a part of this blog and my life as a whole now.  My becoming an atheist did not affect that negatively.  If anything it highlights the need to have some sort of system to think and evaluate each moral decision.  The virtues serve this capacity well.

Living Tru is about following the virtues most of all.  They will be a part of everyday decisions.  Rituals and practices occupy a space of time. but the virtues are at all times. There is no time of not living virtuously.

When people ask me why I didn’t just follow Christian virtues and just be an atheist Christian, my answer is almost always the same- the pagans have better ethics.  Sorry, Christianity has done a lot of evil in the name of its faith and justified it in name of doing it for Christ.  In paganism, the virtues offer no such excuses nor faith in the gods. You follow the virtues or you are not virtuous. No excuses or exceptions.

That said how the virtues can be interpreted has some grey area as life is not black and white. Rather life is a mess and the virtues try to offer some way to sort that out and stay on a stable path. To live Tru is the goal. Waling Tru the mission of The Grey Wayfarer

Parting Thought:

 

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I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

“Germanic Magic” (Asatru – Part 23) – The Pagan Pulpit

Happy Sol’s Day!

Announcements:

We don’t pray here – we figure God, the gods, goddesses, or whatever powers that be (if any) 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: “Rún – SKÁLD

Meditation:

Image may contain: fire and text

Text: 

See the source image

If you want more details about Asatru, I can’t recommend this book enough.

Sermon:

Magic is a word that conjures up a lot of imagery and there seems to be a definite difference in the understanding of those who practice it in the real world and those who write it in the fantasy literature genre.  In the real world magic is a more earthy and practical day to day stuff. Germanic/Norse magic is probably not as central to the practice of Asatru as it is in Wicca, but it still plays a vital role. In considering Germanic magic there some elements to consider – the magical workers themselves and the terms used most commonly, Runes, Seidh, and Deity Possession.

In Asatru, the magical workers are pretty much a part-time lot.  I suppose if you had the means to pursue magical practice full-time most might consider it but most are part-time in the practice like poets and songwriters. The term for a woman who practices magic is Völva and the term for a man who does the same is Thul.

There are specialized terms for the various practitioners of various types of magic beyond this. This includes terms for those who practice dark magic. Gand is the general term for magic and Galdr is the word for a spell and covers most of the verbal and ceremonial magic.  There are lots of types of magic but in Germanic magic – most, however, deals with the spirits of the dead and the spirits in general. Music is assumed to have a magical quality to it. That’s why skalds are not just bards but magical practitioners as well.

Runes are sometimes invoked in divination but seem to be in Asatru more of the standard offensive and defensive magic. They are old to the point of being ancient and there are currently 24 major ones although other runes are present.  No one really knows what they mean anymore. It probably the fact of Chrisitan persecution that may have destroyed many of the works of magic that the Germanic pagans had that could be helpful but no longer exist. Each rune has its own power and each rune often ahs its own patron deity associated with it.  Although the runes as a whole are associated with Odin the most as he is the one who is said to have brought them to knowledge from his nine-day ordeal on the World Tree – Yggdrasil.

The second division of magic outside the runes is Seidh. Divination or prophetic vision is mostly associated with women.  These days it concerns things involving trances and things similar to shamanism. This could include illusion and shape-shifting as well. Most notably though it is given the term – second sight. The reading of omens as well.  There is so much here that I am barely scratching the surface.

One rare thing to talk about is the idea of a deity manifesting its personality in a ceremony through a worshiper.  It is not mentioned much in the lore or practiced much in Asatru by my source’s own admission.  But it does rarely seem to happen. I’ve seen such things in my Pentecostal faith where people are said to be speaking in tongues or prophecy but this is a little different in that this is said to be Odin speaking through a follower. I must emphasize this is very rare today and debated among the followers of Asatru.

While as an atheist I pretty much dismiss these things, I find it a fascinating thing that religious cultures can have so much in common and yet feel they are so divided. The idea that psychologically both as individuals and groups we can believe things like magic is an interesting phenomenon and one that crops up often in any religion.  Asatru’s is much more complex, subtle, and sublime than most.

Parting Thought:

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

“Some Special Announcements” – The Rabyd Skald

Happy Sol’s Day!

I have to apologize for no The Pagan Pulpit this week,  but I have been wrestling with a question all day and it involves identity. The specifically is: What have I always been?  Today has been a day of thinking on this question and watching the Marvel Superhero Movies. Sometimes with my wife and sometimes alone. I was still wrestling with this question when my Facebook feed had this memory from a year ago today.  I don’t believe in fate or destiny or anything but this a remarkable coincidence and I think I have found my central answer to the question of what I have always been and always will continue to be. It is summed up in the threefold point of this quote above.

  1. To be a person who pays homage to the facts no matter where they lead him.
  2. To be a person of free and clear thinking – no gods, no masters – just reason and free thought.
  3. To be intellectually decent at all times which to me is being comfortable with “I don’t know” while at the same time saying “I am going to try to find out though”.

I have been all these things regardless of form, belief or persuasion all my life.  I strived to be these things and a believer in Christ and now as an atheist. In large part is was these things that lead me to atheism when answers could not be found in my faith.  Or when I painfully concluded that my faith was a glorious fiction or worse completely false.

These three principles have been my core since I first picked up a comic book and saw representations of heroes who despite all the powers they were granted tried above all to be true to the ethics and morals that made them into heroes. Get past the special effects and you get a very human core.

Today I have decided to continue to follow them and remind myself of them more often.  The Virtues remain because they are reflections fo these central tenents of life. But I also have always been a preacher and teacher and this is something I wish to be again.  The pulpit, lectern, and message may change; but to proclaim what I feel is factual, true and right remains a passion.

With this reminder of this continuing commitment I have a few announcements:

  1. The Grey Wayfarer will continue much as it is except I am pretty much breaking it down to be a journal of my progress.  The Pagan Pulpit, Of Wolves and Ravens, Odin’s Eye, Freya’s Chambers, and my three Journal Posts will remain with the occasional The Rabyd Skald thrown in. But this is going to be it here because I want to turn my attention to my writing for publication and another project I will announce shortly.
  2. The rest of this week will however not have journal posts or the normal slate of posts, rather I want to finish out all my ficitonal series on this blog. I am doing this to clear my slate and give myself a little philosophical downtime.
  3. I want my family to know that up till now I have been very passive with my anti-theism and my conviction that belief in God or gods or whatever as a means to base your life is nonsense.  That changes today where my anti-theism, while it will remain compassionate, is going to turn active. Very active. All of you are free to believe as you see fit but understand I will be working hard to show that Christianity is false, that the Bible is just a book and a bad one at that, and that we would be better off without religion in our lives.  I am sure some of you will not like what I am about to do as you are believers, but I feel compelled by reason and intellectual honesty to do this.
  4. By active I mean I will be writing books to this effect, I will be blogging here with the desire at times to show how any person can live without god very well; thank you, and I will be joining organizations that oppose religion in politics and government.  I also am about to start at least one new project devoted to this task.
  5. That project will be to start a YouTube channel as a new more vocal pulpit for my viewpoint.  I don’t any specifics yet, or if it will even work, but I feel compelled to convince anyone who will listen to give up the make-believe and start living in the real world.   I am particularly focused on young people who are considering the ministry as a career and being apologists for the Christian faith.  All religion is poison to me and I want to tell people why using this platform.

If I can convince one young person to not follow my mistake, give up the ministry and embrace doing something truly useful for humanity, then I will consider my mission a success.  Of course, the more I can convince the better.  I also hope to make some money with this to at least justify my time doing it.

My main goal is to get back to being a preacher and proclaimer of what I feel is reasonable, factual, truly free in thought in a spirit of intellectual decency.  That “I don’t know” is a good thing to say when it is true and yet maintain that insatiable curiosity I had since I was old enough to read and look at the word with inquiring eyes. I am simply a pilgrim on this journey we call life, and I don’t think I can enjoy it as much if I don’t take the opportunities presented to warn people of my mistakes and false understandings of the world.  To tell people what are dangerous paths to take and the dead ends seem like a decent thing to do from this traveler of life to others.

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

“Holy Days” (Asatru – Part 22) – The Pagan Pulpit

Happy Sol’s Day!

Announcements:

We don’t pray here – we figure God, the gods, goddesses, or whatever powers that be (if any) 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: “Diese Kalte Nacht” – FAUN

Lyric Video:

Meditation:

Image may contain: text

Text: 

See the source image

If you want more details about Asatru, I can’t recommend this book enough.

Sermon:

It was a surprise to me how little I had to change things regarding holidays after I dropped my Christianity in the scrap heap and embraced a more pagan view of holidays.  Much of what was pagan, has been absorbed by Christianity. But mostly the holidays reflect the time of the changing seasons.  The circle of life.

In venerating the gods and goddesses, the followers of Asatru are simply giving their proper nods to the gods of each time of the year. Mostly there is the notion of Winter and Summer with the transition times more popularly known as Fall and Spring.  The issue of holidays is not so much one of noting special events although that does happen for heroes like Leif Ericson but rather about noting the change of the season and the unchanging cycle.

These are the Blóts of note and have their celebrations that are mostly festive although there are some somber occasions particularly in remembrance.  But the feeling I get this is more about the celebration of life, honoring the dead and giving devotion to the friends known as the gods.

For me, this was a logical step as I wanted to step away from Christian holidays as I have no desire to be reminded of them.  However, I did need to have reasons to celebrate with family and freinds and this is important from a community standpoint even as an atheist pagan. So the holidays are the Viking ones to me and so Yuletide comes soon.  They give a time of reflection and reminders of the changing times as well.

Parting Thought:

Image may contain: one or more people and text

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

“Pagan Athiest?” – Odin’s Eye

Happy Woden’s (Odin’s) Day.    

Discussion:

I am an atheist who wears a Thor’s Hammer on Thor’s Day (Thursday).  I meditate on the Nine Noble Virtues of Asatru because it is quite frankly the best list of virtues from my point of view. My moral philosophy is based on a concept of Odin as a wanderer with his wolves and ravens.  Everything about my ‘spirituality’ centers on the simple concept as presented here within Odin’s Eye – changing one form of sight for another.  Mostly discarding the fear of Christianity and embracing the powerful reality of reality.

So yes, I am a pagan atheist.   I borrow from paganism a lot of things that are simply far more true than most things elsewhere.  I just don’t believe in gods, goddesses or divine powers.  The essence of paganism with its wonder of creation, its respect for life, the individual, free-will, and nature, I can very much embrace.

See the source image

I suppose my former faith would say I have become liberal in a lot of things.  I would say this is true for a lot of things, but I also am more human.  More accepting of others as human beings.  I have studied too much history to be a socialist/ communist as those economic systems violate the laws of economics and fail.  I also don’t follow the gun control notions as I have long studied the history of tyrants and one of the first actions of wolves is to take the teeth away from the sheep.  But other than that, I can respect human beings and their freedom a lot more as an atheist who also has borrowed his ethics and little of his understanding of the world around him from pagans.

Time to Look Through the Eye:

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

Meditation:

My meditations still remain on the Nine Noble Virtues as well as my moral philosophy and outlook on life.  Insight into my life is a desire here and the world around me and its reality not the fantasy of made-up notions.  I find this is far more useful to my life in practical ways of applying virtue to my life are beneficial consistently.

Mystery:

There is still much to be discovered, I don’t know everything and never will.  But perhaps I can contribute something useful to knowledge or human progress before I am gone.  Something that will also allow me to be remembered for a little while after I am gone. All I know is that I still have a sense of mystery about the universe, but it isn’t fanciful just a wonder that is far more powerful than any religious wonder I have had because it is grounded in the real world.

Spirituality:

I still long in some senses for a sense of community that is more close to myself.  it is probably the only area of spirituality I still need to work on. On the other hand, I have a huge case of trust no one.  My only hope is that the atheist/pagan community understand loyalty a little better.

Conclusion:

I guess I can look at religion for its fruits and decide as an atheist what ideas have been preserved by religion that are actually good. I mean I believe most things that are good were created by us humans and various religions grabbed them when it suited their purpose and used them.  I now know that by simply being social creatures, humans have developed virtues ethics because they aid with survival and prosperity.  Honestly – ‘live long and prosper’ is indeed our motivation and being a pagan atheist I can see what does that clearly.

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

“Blót and Sumble” (Asatru – Part 21) – The Pagan Pulpit

Happy Sol’s Day!

Announcements:

We don’t pray here – we figure God, the gods, goddesses, or whatever powers that be (if any) 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: MANEGARM – ‘Blot’

An absolutely beautiful song. English translation below.

Sacrifice:

At the hills of the kings
The trees of the gods are standing
An ash tree so proud and strong
A link to the land of the gods
A gate to ancient worlds
Made open with life
A sacrifice made with nine hanged
Whose flesh the ravens prey on
The fields that are here, bear the wounds from the years of famine
Seeds are vanishing in their path
Hear our speech
Bring our sacrifice to your table
A sacrifice to honor you, we give life
We give blood
Give us your crops
Let it the starved earth grow
Give life to the barren north
The fields that are here, bear the wounds from the years of famine
Seeds are vanishing in their path
Hear our songs
Help us to suppress the grime of Sweden
Give us wind in our sails
Cure our broken dreams
Let the tree sprout
Give new life to the root of the tree
Let the ravens eat this sacrifice
Let the ravens eat this sacrifice

https://lyricstranslate.com/en/blot-sacrifice.html

Meditation:

Image may contain: 1 person, closeup, text that says '"THE HARDEST THING TO EXPLAIN IS THE GLARINGLY EVIDENT WHICH EVERYBODY HAS DECIDED NOT TO SEE." - AYN RAND'

Text: 

See the source image

If you want more details about Asatru, I can’t recommend this book enough.

Sermon:

Probably the two most common things that I understand quite well because religions all have them are 1) Festivals and 2) Services. In Asatru, the words are Blót and Sumble but the concept is the same.

Blóts are festivals that involve sacrifice.  There are lots of these that either focuses on a particular deity or centered around a holiday. Blóts vary in style and elements depending on the worshipers much like any religion but there are a few common elements to all of them. 1) Preparation, 2) Focusing, 3) Invocation, 4) Offering, 5) Blessing, 6) Sharing, 7) Completion.  These elements are commonalities and I have seen them in pretty much any type of religion when it comes to the celebration fo holidays.

A sumble is more of a regular meeting for the purposes of meeting together as a group of worshipers. It is far less formal than a Blót although it can be part of a Blót.  Basically put, the master or mistress of ceremonies fills the horn with ale or mead and then announces the focus of that round of the sumble and then either gives the horn to the one taking the role of the Valkerie or just to the next person. The person drinks and then gives it to the next person or speaks with the focus of that round in mind.  This is the time for toasts, boasts, and oaths.  One tradition has the first round being the focus of praise to the gods, the second round is to remember the honored dead and the third to give oaths as an example.

Oaths are a special case because the sumble has certain responsibilities to the oath-taker.  Most notably to challenge the oath if they think it too large or difficult.  The group is responsible to make sure oaths are reasonable. They are also responsible to praise fulfilled oaths and penalize or fine oaths that fail.

I have to say that there are two things that happened this week that are of note in regard to Asatru and religion in general. In my group of former ministers turned atheist/agnostic, we spoke this week on social values of religion and how it can hold families, cultures, and societies together. part of that was the mention of holidays and services. People need some symbols and practices to note their tribe and culture and religion often fills that role. The substitute for me is Norse paganism.

See the source image

The second thing that happened was during work.  Thanksgiving I had to work and it is Black ‘Friday’s start so I was there helping with setting up and on the second half of the day checking receipts as people left the store.  During that whole time, I was wearing my Wolf Hammer (above) as it was Thor’s Day.  I received about five comments on how cool it was and two of those specifically mentioned how they appreciated other religions being represented at this time of year, one mentioning Yuletide. One guy even showed me his hammer tattoed to the top part of his chest. I never met any of these people before in my life, but the connection was there.

This illustrates the power that blóts ad sumbles undoubtedly have to build community and connection.  Something that has been missing from my life. Something I probably need to recover.  I really don’t connect with Christians that well anymore.

Parting Thought:

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I remain,

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

Skaal!!!