“Always Working” – A Skald’s Life – Business Virtues

Happy Wooden’s (Odin’s) Day

Journal Entry:

For some people, work seems to be a dirty word.  As much as I can complain about work and at the end of the day, I am happy and ready to go home, I take a lot of ownership in what I do. There is a sense of accomplishment at the end of each day so that is something to draw honor from.

There is also a sense that I am always working which comes from following the Virtues of Self-Reliance, Industriousness, and Hospitality. In a very real way, they become part of this lifestyle of working to build my life into something free, productive and compassionate. Working to have those things that make life have value.

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: To achieve and maintain personal independence and advocate for independence in my family, state and nation.

Goal:  Find a new, better paying job by the end of June 2019 or before.

Bucket List: To own and run my own successful business or company.

I don’t mind my job right now I just know that if my wife and I are going to have self-reliance in the future, it needs to change into something that is more personally fulfilling to me and quite frankly of a higher income. Getting debt free and building what we need to be independent is a central thing with me so finding a new job that does that is central to my focus right now.  The ultimate goal is to work for myself.

Industriousness:

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

Principle: Work with the enjoyment of work itself.

Goal: Finalize last requirements for my degree – Internship by May 2019 – May 2019 (achieved)

Bucket List: Write A Novel and Get it Published.

I have decided that the nine goals I set every year will not be renewed until March of each year.  I will just strikethrough the goals on the blog until then.  The idea then for goals is to set nine one year goals each year and work to achieve them.

The novel is started and I am enjoying it so far.

Hospitality:

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

Principle: To share out of my abundance to help people where I can with their life’s journey.

Goal: By March 31st of 2020, to be the leader of a support group of some kind.

Bucket List: To own my own home by March 2024.

I am not sure about the goal here.  I guess if I am looking at it from a hospitality point of view in the context of Asatru it might be to join a Kindred.  That said I might achieve the same result from just creating a group to play Dungeons and Dragons. Once I know where my career is going a little better, then I might be able to know more about what I can do.  Owning a small home that is isolated and provides a private meditative environment is still on my bucket list.

Higher Virtue – Justice:

Justice seems to be more and more about living as a just person to me.  It perhaps is perhaps this idea of living justly that is giving me a lot more peace with things these days.

Daily Routine:

  1. Wife: Communication / Cuddle Time
  2. Blogging – Organize, revise, write a new post for the next day, 15 min. work on fiction.
  3. Reading – half-hour. Priority order: work, school, pleasure
  4. Study / Homework / Research: half hour per day minimum or until all necessary work is completed.
  5. Personal Business: record financial transactions, savings plan actions, budgeting, appointments, other actions, etc.
  6. Check Communications and Email after 2 pm but before 4 pm.
  7. Weekly Routine Items
  8. Nutrition: Daily Carb Count – 2

So far so good this week.  The real issue is as I expected which is my own level of discipline,

Still walking,

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

Skaal!!!

Crossing Bifrost – Races and Creatures – Giants

Happy Saturn’s Day

I suppose the imagery of a giant is pretty universal but as we will see there is a controversy about it when it comes to Norse Mythology. Giants are the primary antagonists in most of the stories of the gods in Norse mythology.  The frost giants take prominence but there are also other types of giants.  Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition’s Monster Manual lists six types of giants – Cloud, Fire, Frost, Hill, Stone and Storm.  It might be argued that all of these have some  from ideas found in Norse mythology.

See the source image

But the question starts pretty early as regards if the Norse people actually conceived these giants as ‘giants’.  The problem is one of translation and when Christians began to translate the word for ‘giant’ they may have bastardized it by adding the Greek mythology concepts and used the word for ‘giant’ that reflected this change.  What you see then is a mutation of the original Norse Idea and the Greek idea of titans.

See the source image

The original concept in the Norse may simply have been beings that represented the forces of Chaos. When you look at some of the giants you get that – Storm, Fire, Frost, Hills, Stone and Clouds are forces of nature that are both large and powerful.  Both needed for survival, but also feared because of their destructive nature at times.  The “giants” are simply personification of these forces.  They may or may not have been large humanoids to the Norse people.  It would make more sense if they were not.

See the source image

The reason I say it would make more sense if they were not, is  the simple fact that the gods and goddesses mate with giants and produce offspring. Sex between two individuals of great difference in size becomes problematic, unless the Norse people didn’t really have the concept of giants being large humanoids but rather simple humanoids that personified certain powerful natural forces.  To the Norse people the gods and the giants may simply been the same size just representing on the one hand forces of order and civilization (the gods), and on the other, the raw natural forces of the world (the ‘giants’).

What I am saying is that the whole notion of these ‘giants’ being large humanoid like creatures might be a later addition.  This would explain why later writers had to give some of the gods the ability to shape shift and change size.  But the original myths may not have had this at all. The my simply have been referring to ‘giants’ as those being who represented the great powers of nature.

See the source image

To me this makes the parings of some of the gods and giants interesting because it represents symbolically the need for the forces of civilization and humanity, if you will, to sometimes cooperate and draw strength from the chaotic forces of nature.  That sometimes the ‘children’ of these paring represent both sides of that equation such as Loki pairings with the giantess that produced Fenrir, Hel,  and Jormungandr.  All of these Children have their chaotic element but there is also the ability to think and speak beyond the base animal that they represent in the case of Fenrir and Jormungandr. Hel herself is human like but represents that primal force of Death, but also her realm is orderly and well thought out.

It is why in Norse mythology all of the gods and giants are the product of a an original giant.  That out of the primal forces of nature came the forces of order and chaos. Both are necessary and both can be in conflict or in love (lust) for each other.  To me it speaks of how the Norse people could recognize that; in all things, some necessary things were present. Fire is a primal natural force that is dangerous; but without it, civilization and technology is simply not possible. The earth and hills can be wild and dangerous places; but without the earth we mine and the trees we cut down, we would not have tools or shelter. The mythology reflects this idea of necessary harmony, even tough at times those forces are a threat to each other.

See the source image

In our world the giants represent much the same.  Large chaotic forces that must be fought and overcome. The show up in a lot of places in fantasy mythology.  But the idea of being primal natural forces is pretty interesting and we see that too.  For me though I prefer if the giants remain as the larger than life humanoids. It just makes the battles more epic. Courage is a necessary thing when facing them. Every movie or book that uses them reflects this.  Or on rare occasions we find a giant that is actually gentle who desires to help but his great power can unintentionally cause harm.  Thus even when we bend such forces to our will, there is still a danger because of their nature.

All important lessons taught to us through the giants.

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

Skaal!!!

Crossing Bifrost – Races and Creatures – Dökkálfar (Dark Elves)

Happy Saturn’s Day

Dark elves in Norse mythology are the elves that live under the earth. The are called Dökkálfar in the Scandinavian tongue. They dwell in Svartalfheim which is realm just under Midgard.  It is one of those realms that is debatable as this is not one of the nine worlds in some people’s’ minds.  But it a realm that is perhaps part of another.

All elves are kind of demi-god in status and the Dark Elves are no different.  They have incredible powers and the dark elves had powers that as time went by became more malevolent in nature than benevolent like the light elves that dwell in the realm above Midgard. The dark elves are described initially as swarthy. But as time goes by you get the pale red-eyed version that is common today in most people’s minds.  They were also connected to the realm of Helheim and the dead.

These dark elves were often connected to wrong things happening.  From tangled hair to strokes, they were the cause of these things.  They had a dark and strange magic to them. As Christianity became more prevalent they became associated with the underworld.  Mostly this is what causes confusion about the dark elves. because they are not always seen as malevolent. but often are cast as the outcast role as well.  A cursed but powerful race is a common theme.

In modern times this plays out in probably the two best known examples of dark elves – The Drow in the Dungeons and Dragons universe which are malevolent worshipers of the Spider Queen and the Dunmer in the Elder Scrolls universe which are more of a changed and cursed race.  Outcasts and mistrusted though is a common theme for both because both races have some unique and at times troubled morality.

The inspiration for both these and other incarnations of the dark elves stretches back into Norse mythology with the Dökkálfar. When you read about Drizzt in Forgotten Realms or are playing your Dunmer character in Skyrim, you are part of a tradition of a race of beings that stretches back to the middle ages.

From a writing standpoint, I have used dark elves very infrequently. I hesitate because this race is often complex and more that the simple black and white most races have with morality.  Is there hatred of the surface dwellers justifiable?  Is the curse placed on them of being mistrusted justified?  It becomes a complex riddle when developing characters especially when you are trying to create a main protagonist that is a dark elf. I am looking to my first novel for publication and I am thinking of a dark elf character as the main protagonist.

Contrary wise, next to the Nords, my favorite Skyrim Race is the Dunmer. I play dark elf characters quite a bit.  Mostly because they can be very Chaotic and freedom loving and also remain completely flexible as far as goods and evil, so they can do good and evil quests with equal rational reasons for their character development.

I find them fascinating and as protagonists and antagonists the one thing you can say is they are formidable advisories. I don’t imagine that they will part from the realm of fiction anytime soon. For that I am very glad.

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!!!