“Writing Thoughts – O For a Muse of Fire” – The Rabyd Skald

Happy Frigg and Freya’s Day!

I have been thinking of late about how much I struggle writing.  I never used to have this much problem doing it, but these days it is a major uphill struggle and I can only figure one reason.  I don’t have muse anymore. I lack that person, real or imaginary to inspire my writing and it is becoming a real problem. 

In many ways, my imagination has always personified itself into a form that I have called my muse  This was contrasted by a personification of my internal editor. My muse was always female and my editor male. Just imaginary concepts to have a conversation with while I was writing. My muses have represented that which I found important at the time.

  1. In my early days, my writing was inspired by my boyhood imagination.  My muse became a personification of that. A young teasing girl my own age who pushed me.
  2. Faith was my muse for most of my writing up until I left my faith five years ago.  I did notice this struggle at that time as well.
  3. Only one time did my muse center around an actual person and Elpis the Dryad was a personification of the inspiration Miss Salty gave me. Miss Salty remains the only actual female that was also my muse. It is one of many reasons I still have a hard time shrugging her off my heart, she is truly unique to me. She was and sometimes remains and inspiration to my writing. Or at least who she presented herself to be to me was.  Now the only inspiration she gives me is the occasional sad love poem.

This leaves me with a hole I have not truly filled back in and it makes me struggle writing. I am so scattered in my thoughts these days when I write.  I need new creative focus and I will be damned if I can figure out what it will be.  Something to set my imagination on fire so the digital ink burns as I tap the keys.

See the source image

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

“Faith Isn’t a Virtue” – Odin’s Eye

Happy Woden’s (Odin’s) Day.    

Discussion:

I have been wrestling with the idea of faith for a long time but the struggle for the last six months or so is whether or not faith has any value whatsoever. It doesn’t seem to have a purpose anymore in my moral philosophy or the way I live my life.  I don’t take anything on faith anymore and insist on solid evidence for claims.  The bigger the claim, the large amount of evidence should be expected to prove it.

Odin’s Eye as a topic head has been for the most part about the stuff that I am still trying to figure out form a spiritual point of view.  As I have pointed out atheists do have spirituality, it is just based on human experience and consciousness rather than blind leaps of faith.

The issue is one of my filters for Odin’s Eye has been Faith, and I think it has run its course. Religion gave way to Meditation and Theology has given way to Mystery.  So Faith gives way to what?   Do I need a replacement or do I just discard it and move on without it in Odin’s Eye?

Time to Look Through the Eye:

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

Faith:

This will be the last time faith will appear in Odin’s Eye.  The main reason: I no longer consider faith a virtue.  There is nothing virtuous about making absolute claims with no evidence whatsoever.  It is not a virtue to believe in something because you want or need to believe it despite the fact there is no evidence for it or worse strong evidence against it. That’s not a virtue; that is wilful deliberate ignorance and there is nothing virtuous about deliberate ignorance.  It is actually a very dishonest position to hold.

Meditation:

Meditation is the last trappings of my religious life.  But it is also demonstrable that it helps calm a person down., clears their head and allows one to focus.  By meditating on the virtues one holds true one can change one’s attitude and perspective – change the nature of one’s consciousness.  That isn’t faith-based at all but neuroscience and practical experience.

Mystery:

Dumping theology was hard because in a sense I still use the skills I learned as a theologian as far as understanding theological points of view.  I use it to debunk them now and I rather talk about mysteries of life not for the purpose of glorying in mystery but for the purpose of discovery of the answers to them. The process of doing this is really anti-faith as it isn’t about acceptance of mystery but solving them.

Spirituality:

My spirituality isn’t about faith at all, rather being skeptical.  Proof my human relationships and consciousness are accurate are important under spirituality.  This is not some blind faith, but rather a genuine attempt to understand all the world around me using my consciousness, my experience and most importantly my rational mind.

Conclusion:

This post marks the end fo faith as a virtue for me.  I see it now for what it is  – deliberate ignorance and ultimately dishonest.  It can’t stay.  The only question now is if it deserves a replacement in Odin’s Eye, or does it deserve the status of a blinder thrown off.  Have I, like Odin, plucked out my eye of faith as a sacrifice? I just perhaps need to put a patch over where it used to be and move along.

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

“Which God Have Atheists Created?” – Odin’s Eye

Happy Woden’s (Odin’s) Day.    

Discussion:

As I explore the spiritual side of atheism, I have to talk about a danger that I see atheists falling into which is creating a new god for themselves.  I am part of a couple atheist groups and one is a group fo fellow atheist libertarians.  One discussion we were having was on this very issue and one of them remarked that some people leave faith and worship of a god and only turn around and start worshiping the government god or the climate change god, etc.  I agree.

Gods of all types are usually constructs of our own minds.  When we don’t understand something in truth by investigation our mind fills the gaps with some sort ‘god’ to hold that place and we either gather more evidence to find the truth or settle for this imaginary gap filler.

A good example is when an atheist starts talking about climate change and starts saying – ‘the science is settled’.  Such a statement of antithetical to science, as science is supposed to always be amendable to new information. Yes, theories form, and scientific theories are strong (such as the theory of evolution) but science is a tool, not an omniscient force.  If it tries to pass itself off as omniscient, or the final word on a matter, then it isn’t science anymore.

Time to Look Through the Eye:

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

Faith:

Faith is becoming a difficult subject for me.  Mostly because I don’t see it as a virtue anymore and am starting to come to the point of view it is the most dishonest position one can take to simply believe something without evidence.  Then to assert it as an absolute and try to force it on others compounds the dishonesty with violence. I have noted historically speaking faith has caused far more wars than reason.

Meditation:

I meditate on virtues, the caution for me is not to make them ‘gods’ either, they need to be amendable and in a week I may be doing some editing of them for this very reason.  Noting can be so absolutely known by us human beings that should not be amendable to reason and wisdom.

Mystery:

I find there is a mystery in the world, but the danger is to use mystery as an excuse to keep my ‘gods’ instead of casting them on the fire with the rest of the nonsense. I need to never accept mystery as an answer like theologians and the religious.  Nothing is exempt from being a subject of being studied and better understood.  Nothing is exempt from criticism.  Mystery should be an identifier of these things, not a cop-out.

Spirituality:

I have wrestled with how to get the human side of atheism expressed more and one of the things is not to be so dogmatic about so many things. Humans are prone to error and so even making humankind a god through humanism is no a good idea.  I put a lot of stock in humanities’ ability to overcome their problems but also know we could fail and that will mean the end of us and the universe would be off to form something else.

Conclusion:

I simply want to avoid making anything substitute for my former faith in the same way.  Filling the gaps with faith, mystery, and causes as substitute gods is not a good idea. The results are of the same negative vein as religion.  People get religious in their fervor to the point of harming others and that same fervor can be in atheists if they take on a new ‘god’.  This is something I wish to avoid.

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

“Athiest Spirituality” – Odin’s Eye

Happy Woden’s (Odin’s) Day.    

Discussion:

Spirituality is a very broad term and even among those who believe you have to define what perspective is being used in regards to spirituality.  Christian Spirituality, Pagan Spirituality, Islamic Spirituality, Hindu Spirituality, and Buddist Spirituality all have their various difference in how to approach the spiritual nature of humanity in relationship to the divine.  But what of Atheist Spirituality.  Without the supernatural in any form is spirituality possible?  I believe the answer is yes and all these forms tap into something that is probably very human.

Sam Harris in the quote above is on to something when he gives a shortlist of 1) spiritual experience, 2) ethical behavior and 3) strong communities all leading to human happiness.  I am going to lay the last two aside because for me these are found in following virtue which I discuss extensively and strong communities is a community discussion as far as I am concerned,  What interests me is ‘what is the nature and function of spiritual experience as an atheist?

Time to Look Through the Eye:

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

Faith:

I agree that spiritual experience is a product of the human mind and a natural propensity to spiritualize consciousness.  I believe it is an awareness of the world, people and society around us and represents our attempt using our consciousness to understand it all.  It is this foundation of consciousness that I think is the root of spirituality and eventually paganism in its very early forms.  We all start I think as pagans from a consciousness point of view until something comes along to change our viewpoint.

Meditation:

It is the product of some form of meditation, using this term in the broadest sense involving thinking and feeling at length about a subject, that change in our consciousness is achieved. Spiritual change is more about psychology than the supernatural.  We change our ethics and perspective because we come to different conclusions as we meditate on issues and thoughts. This is spiritual in the sense it involves our psyche, but might not have anything to with powers and forces outside ourselves.

Mystery:

This is one area where there is a lot of mystery.  Sure a lot has been discovered by science, but the social sciences, in my opinion, still lack that germ theory moment where a breakthrough happens that changes our understanding of the nature of the subject dramatically.  Until then, the mystery is there but it isn’t an excuse but rather a motivation to open up our consciousness even more as we seek to understand it.

Spirituality:

For me, the foundation of my spirituality is both pagan and atheist.  It is the primitive attempt to understand the world around me using nothing more than my own sense fo consciousness.  I, however, believe that this is the product of the human mind and imagination, not supernatural forces. It is this kernel of truth that survives that I used to surround with religion but now is my own godless and religionless mind.

Conclusion:

I have thus no problem using any religious idea that I feel reflects this.  Following the Nine Noble Virtues, for instance, is a good example of taking something like virtue and using it to provide a framework for philosophical thought while discarding actual belief in the gods of Norse mythology.  I sense as I use religion for this purpose more universal truths will surface like this, but I don’t need to be religious or religiously spiritual to appreciate them and utilize them.  So yes, atheist spirituality is a thing.  It is spirituality focused on humanity and the world we live in rather than spirits or gods.

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

“Pagan Holidays: Winternights / Halloween / Samhain – Part 3” – Odin’s Eye

Happy Woden’s (Odin’s) Day.    

Discussion:

No photo description available.

Say hello to the Brothers Grimm.  I don’t know if I can call myself a pumpkin artist yet, but I have to say I enjoyed the artistic moment of creating these two more than I thought i would.  I haven’t carved a pumpkin since my kids were little.  It is an enjoyable experience and next year I want to plan it out better.  The Brother’s Grimm represents fear and joy, two very palatable emotions at Halloween.

As we get closer to Halloween I have to say I am enjoying this holiday personally more than in years past.  I like writing about things magical and strange and so the holiday fits me.  My personal history with Halloween also factors in as for many years I was told I couldn’t celebrate it because it was Satanic. I never completely bought it, but it was a constant nagging in my life from Chrisitan culture.

See the source image

More properly now I know this has nothing more to do with Satan than it does with God.  Samhain and the pagans that celebrate it has very little to do with either and is more about welcoming the coming of winter. The Wild Hunt is released and the time for hearth and home is at hand.  The time for appeasing the spirits and honoring the dead is more what this has to do with than anything else and the Abrahamic traditions of Satan and Yahweh have nothing to do with it.

Time to Look Through the Eye:

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

Faith:

The real issue of faith in the holiday known as Halloween, Samhain or Winternuights, to those of a more Norse persuasion such as myself, is this belief that the veil between our world and the spiritual one becomes thin which allows the two to merge or cross.  While not a believer myself I find this idea fascinating.  It represents something that I cannot get over this idea of multiple worlds that collide sometimes, alternate realities that when they merge they create another alternate reality.

For me, it is the changing of the tide so to speak as one season moves into another as winter and summer collide to create fall is in its own way ‘magical’.  Sure it is a more naturalistic explanation of things but the concept is the same.  The continued faith that Summer will give way to winter and then Winter will give way to Summer in their turn.

See the source image

Meditation:

Halloween causes me to meditate more on the joys fo life and celebrations I have missed out on because of a Christianity I no longer believe in.  If I see anything in it now, it is the desire to enjoy life and celebrate its seasons and moments with a little more fervor. At least as much fervor as an INFJ type can muster.  I find it interesting as I meditate on how religion can rob you, the greatest thing I have lost is the celebration moments and fun times simply because some world view wanted to tell me not to do this or don’t touch that. If my meditations have led my thoughts into any direction it is the freedom from religions’ persuasive power to bind one’s thoughts when such binding is not necessary.

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Mystery:

I will be honest, this filter of Odin’s Eye has become problematic as an Athiest.  I mean having a theology degree can be helpful down the road as I write books challenging theology, but for a life filter that looks at life’s intangible elements, the artistic and ‘spiritual’ side of it, theology is becoming more and more useless to me.  Its a set of clothes that no longer fits. This relates to Halloween in that it is this time of year that calls me to be different.

So today, in the spirit of Halloween, I announce a change from Theology to Mystery as part of Odin’s Eye.  More in the spirit of the Viking Runes and trying to find their meaning. The mystery is something that might always be there but is something I will no longer use as an excuse, just an identification marker of that which I don’t understand that I am trying to discover its secrets. It fits far better with my concept of myself which is rapidly evolving.

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Spirituality:

I guess I have a lot of tolerance spiritually speaking for the pagans of this world. I get you guys far more than any other religion and at least I think you are starting with the right place – looking at the world around you and within yourselves. Looking at what both are for yourself and not what some supposed ‘man of god’ tells you.  I respect that level of individuality a lot.  Probably the most spiritual thing a human can do is be themselves.

See the source image

Conclusion:

In the future, I think Halloween will remain my favorite holiday and I plan on celebrating with the same enthusiasm next year as some others celebrate Christmas.  I know now this holiday represents my turning into being an individual instead of a religious robot more than any other.

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

“Pagan Holidays: Winternights / Halloween/Samhain – Part 2” – Odin’s Eye

Happy Woden’s (Odin’s) Day.    

Discussion:

I am going to talk about modern Halloween and why it is now my favorite holiday.  Mostly it is because for a long time I was told as a Christian that it was satanic or full of witchcraft.  It is a Wiccan holiday in its original form but also pretty basically pagan as well.  Much fo what we see is hold over symbols from a bygone age that survive in large part because it is a fun holiday.

In the United States, the retail business has realized something – it is the second most money grossing holiday of the year.  Literally, second only to Christmas now.  Easter has fallen to third and Valentine’s fourth. It has become more than a holiday for kids trick or treating.   Adults here have very adult Halloween parties without the kids.  I mean you are dressed up as something else and often people cannot tell who you are if you do it right.  Add alcohol, candy, and sensuality and you get the modern American US Halloween.

Most 0f the pagan roots of this holiday are lost and that is probably, on the one hand, Ok and on the other hand. something for those of us that like to dig deeper is missing.

Oh, yeah I am using the pin-up girls again for this one. This time though vintage classic ones that I love.  It’s not very politically correct, but 1) it’s Halloween and 2) I don’t give a fuck what the language-thought nazis say.

See the source image

Time to Look Through the Eye:

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

Faith:

I am going to deal with the more Wiccan holiday of Samhain in this one that is now modern Halloween.  This is actually the biggest festival of the Wiccan calendar and thus most celebrated.  It’s opposite number and Spring festival is Beltane.  You might say these two festivals bookend Summer and Winter.  A festival of the dead, spirits and thus full of the familiar phrase – trick or treat. This reflects their appeasement of those prankster spirits and thus have them pass over your place.  The Jack-o-Lanterns and many other customs reflect this.

I don’t believe in the supernatural but I find the whole holiday interesting because it is such a quilt work of different pagan traditions that it is fun to guess where which tradition came from and how it came to be.  I have faith this is a fun and interesting holiday.

Meditation:

Like  Beltaine, I feel that this holiday reflects the very human need to blow off steam.  We can’t be good all the time and sometimes you just need to go and be a little naughty and mischevious.  Beltane is perfect for this and Halloween even more so. My meditations on human nature simply lead me to think that people need to stop being so good for a couple days a year and Halloween is one of those days.

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Theology:

Growing up this was Satan’s holiday. We didn’t participate or were told not to.  my father this was bullshit, Chrisitan though he was.  He was the one that told me that there is a great deal of difference between what something was and what it is.  He felt what Halloween is now was more about having a good time and in some respect connecting with your neighbors.

Of course, the average Wiccan doesn’t believe in or worship Satan any more than they do the Chrisitan god.  But people have a way of trying to make you inferior for a stupid reason like they don’t do holidays like this while you do; so you are morally less than them.  Got sick of this shitty theology long before I left Christianity.

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Spirituality:

I do find the idea of appeasing the spirits to be an interesting spiritual concept in paganism. The one area of Norse mythology that is rich but extremely complicated so I don’t address it is the whole issue of earth spirits, elves, and dark elves.  It would be a fascinating study and probably relates to Winternights and Halloween a lot. I just look at it with awe as to how complicated it seems.

For myself, the connection with the past, the spending time with people as a community celebrating something is enough.  It is these connections and having fun with them that denote my ‘spirituality’.

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Conclusion:

Why do I like this holiday so much?  Because of all the holidays in the US calendar, it has nothing to do with God, Christianity, Patriotism, or anything like them.  It remains truly pagan despite Christianity making November 1st All Saints Day.  Halloween gives November 1st the middle finger and that just makes me smile.

I also like the grey side to Halloween – the naughty side to it.  It gives new meaning to the words – ‘trick or treats?’ and that is very Ok with me. Just remember sometimes the answer to that question is – yes.

See the source image

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

“Pagan Holidays: Winternights / Halloween – Part 1” – Odin’s Eye

Happy Woden’s (Odin’s) Day.    

Discussion:

Last year I had very little time to discuss my favorite holiday – Halloween but also I was just developing in my understanding of pagan holidays and what they meant to me. At this point, with The Grey Wayfarer heading into its second year, I think and feel it is time to look at what we are celebrating at this time of year and have a little fun.

In pagan terms, Halloween translates to Winternights for the Norse Tradition.  Winternights runs from October 29th to November 2nd so there is more to it than a single day although the Winternights Festival is October 31st.  Winter begins officially for pagans on this day and the Wild Hunt is said to be released.  It is at this point all the darker beings and spiritual forces are venerated or perhaps it is best said – appeased from the Norns to Hel the goddess of the dead.

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This is after all about honoring the dead from the past year and harvest which is basically the beginning gathering dead plants and butchering animals that won’t last the winter in preparation for winter.

There is a custom I find interesting in regards to harvest and the Norse religion.  Leaving the last bits of the harvest – the ‘last sheaf’ as it were – for Odin.  The god of the dead and all-father gets part fo the harvest to signal its end as he is the one said to lead the Wild Hunt. The point being that roads and fields no longer belong to humans but to The Hunt.

See the source image

Time to Look Through the Eye:

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

Faith:

When I look at winternights from a faith perspective, it is not so much a celebration of all the spiritual forces for me but of the finality of life as being part of life itself.  Everything comes to an end. The Hunt becomes symbolic of how the winter washes the leftovers away and begins life anew in the Spring.  Nature is a wonderful force of life, death, and renewal and we need to have some awe and wonder about that.

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Meditation:

I have been asked what meaning in life that an atheist can possibly have.  It is a good question as many people think without life after death life doesn’t mean much.  I would say then they haven’t really defined for themselves or discovered the meaning of their life. As an atheist, I define my own meaning and that is what scares people.  People who think others should be controlled would not like this as they use either religion or politics to do so.  For me meaning has been found in my times of meditation as I build my life myself.  People who understand this level of liberty are truly free.

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Theology:

Theology’s only use for me these days is to point out flaws in theology. It is a fun exercise to be a theologian who is effectively an atheist.  In a sense, I start theologically now from zero and people need to show me how and why I should add to that. The issue for winternights is that I look at its celebration as recovering a lost heritage not some reference to gods or goddesses in any other way than that.

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Spirituality:

Holloween offers me a chance to be in connection with my fellow weirdos as far as the general spirit of the holiday. I don’t have much money, so a costume is out but I think that my own addition to the creative spirit of this holiday will be to carve a pumpkin or two.  Someday, I want to join this and other celebrations with a full heart and effort.  But I feel some major change is needed both in the realms of practicality and in mind and heart.

See the source image

Conclusion:

This opening part has been about the holiday.  The next two will be some of my personal thoughts as we get closer to it and the final part will drop the day before Halloween itself.  You might even get a few personal pictures as we head toward and through winternights.

One final note:  you have probably noticed all the wonderful pin-ups in this post. I love pin-up girls as an art form plus they are sexy as hell, and Halloween has a lot of them. This week all of them come from one of my favorite artists – Matt Dixon.  I prefer the more vintage classic artists, but Dixon has his own style that is edgy and I like that. 

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

“Evolving Spirituality” – Odin’s Eye

Happy Woden’s (Odin’s) Day.    

Discussion:

I have found a great deal of fascination in defining spirituality in terms of evolutionary development.  I feel that religion is in many ways a codified attempt to explain where people were at certain times in their understanding of spiritual evolution.  The problem is that religion has a tendency to anchor us to that moment.  We don’t move on from there once someone says: “This is spiritual Truth” with a capital T.

We should recognize that these moments of spiritual understanding are not capitalized but are a moment of truth at is both evolving and fleeting because there is other truth with a small t to discover and the truth we are at that moment is just the next part fo the path that leads to other truth.

Spiritual evolution demands that we explore the truth and keep moving from one part of it to the next. This is something that I am learning right now and I am hoping my time stagnated in Christianity hasn’t robbed me of my chance to be a better person. Is the next step for human evolution to take our growing and developing consciousness to the next level?

Time to Look Through the Eye:

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

Faith:

I am effectively an agnostic/atheist that explores spirituality because I think that inside spirituality, and to a lesser extent religion, is that spark of genius that given enough time might lead to human beings evolving to another level of consciousness.  My start in this began with Asatru but much of what I do in meditation is straight-up psychology and neurologically proven stuff.   Religion and spirituality do tap into something that neurologically works and I have assurance, not faith, that this is true. Much of what we know scientifically now is someone looking at what humans spiritually thought once upon a time and then science going and investigating if it was true. In this, they discovered some faith was bogus and other faith had the spark of truth that led to a greater understanding.

Meditation:

My meditation times have been taken up mostly with virtue and thinking on this concept of my own personal spiritual evolution. I feel very free of shackles right now when it comes to spiritual things.  myu definition of spirituality is more about human consciousness and the idea right now is to explore my own consciousness with restrictions.  I guess that is why I view my exploration of paganism as part of that because paganism acknowledges that each person is unique in their spiritual capacity and understanding of the world around them and they are not trying to proselytize anyone.

Theology:

Right now, theology is not something I can use that much as someone who has no effective belief in god. From an evolving consciousness point of view, I also am not looking to an imaginary friend to help me, but rather if there is any ‘god’; to be found it is this thing inside my head that makes decisions, engages the world around me and stretches out in relationships to others.

Spirituality:

My spirituality as defined as an exploration of my own consciousness and in bringing to myself a new understanding of who I am and that part of me that I still am learning about.  I want to stay truly with understanding myself and why I do what I do.

Conclusion:

I don’t know what truths I will discover but this journey as The Grey Wayfarer has its bright moments.  Those moments are usually spiritual in the sense of understanding human consciousness spiritual.  There is a lot more road ahead of me to walk yet, and this is what makes me get up every single day.

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

“Meditation Altar” – Odin’s Eye

Happy Woden’s (Odin’s) Day.    

Discussion:

Over the last couple of weeks, my mind has drifted in meditation and part of the issue is of course foci.  I don’t have many and there is also something to having a ritual in meditation that helps you down-center and then clears your head in order to open it up to thoughts and feelings that are more focused.

I was reading another blog a little while ago and this is why my head has been thinking of a meditation altar of sorts with a few rituals to focus and calm down. Then I can concentrate on virtues and any other thoughts about the coming day.  If you want to read the source document for my thoughts: ” Welcome to My Altars” – Myst Nokomis.

Of course, this leads to another discussion as meditation seems to indicate that I might be believing in something beyond and I have to reiterate that meditating does not necessarily indicate that one has spiritual beliefs. A book I would recommend for those who believe that meditation can be something outside the spiritual is How Words Can Change Your Brain by Newburg and Waldman.  These two guys are neuroscientists who study brain patterns and basically developed a meditative technique based purely on meditation on positive virtues.  It works in that it allows a human brain to very much focus on those virtues and it takes as little as three to five minutes.

Time to Look Through the Eye:

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

Faith:

Meditation for me then is not necessarily about faith.  I follow Asatru for two basic reasons.  Firstly, I am a practitioner of the Nine Noble Virtues and try to apply them to my life.  Secondly, I am trying to recover my lost pagan heritage in terms of culture and religion.  My meditation is more about the virtues and my studies of mythology and religion of the Vikings are pretty much about the second.

Meditation:

Meditation is about me awakening my mind and emotions.  It about concentrating on the things that matter to me and how to engage the world around me. I turn inward in order to deal with the outward better when I come out of meditation.  My desire for a ritual and an altar of sorts is about consistency.  Religion has tapped into one thing if I take Newburg and Waldman’s book seriously, and that it understands the importance of routine and repetition.  That’s the point for me.

Theology:

For all practical purposes, I have no active belief in any god, goddess or force. It makes me academically an agnostic epistemologically and an atheist in the reality of my belief. If I have belief in anything then it is in humanity itself of which much of mythology is nothing more than personification of human forces of various kinds and the forces of nature that human beings relate to regularly.  Humanity is my ‘diety’ if you will and I express that understanding through Asatru and relate best to Norse mythology. It’s not that I don’t hold myself open to other views.  It is just I am still seeking and looking for the rational divine if it exists.

Spirituality:

Spirituality is about virtue, relationships, mind, emotion, body, and connections.  As such my one spiritual practice is meditation.  I don’t pray anymore.  I don’t fast or any of that stuff.  I simply seek to get my mind and heart right at the start of every day and then live my life. In truth, this is probably the essence of all spiritual life.

Conclusion:

On a practical side, I am going to make a meditation altar that involves as many of the senses as possible. Sight, smell, touch, sound, etc. I think the more I connect my meditational thoughts to as many senses as possible the more they will be both remembered and have a positive effect on my life.  That, I suppose, is another thing that religion does tap into that is very human.

I need something that can move and be put away, probably has symbols, candles, and incense. For sound probably I will have to use my phone and earphones.  I guess what would constitute a taste fitting for meditation might be a question I have but I will think about it.   The main objective being to have tihs in place before the month is out.

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

“Haustblot – A Fall Festival (September 22nd-23rd)” – Odin’s Eye – Holidays

Happy Woden’s (Odin’s) Day.    

Discussion:

This holiday actually was celebrated a few days ago.  Haustblot or Fallfest is associated with the end of the harvest season.  Perhaps it would be better to say it celebrates the beginnings of the end of the harvest season which will continue right up to Winternights.  This is a minor blot or festival and so it is not given a lot of fanfare per se.  But it does mark the beginning fo the fall season.

A lot of gods and goddesses are honored at this point and reflected on.  Anyone of them that is associated with the harvest or fertility is on the list. Being the beginning of fall in the northern hemisphere it is celebrated as we are starting the journey to Winternights and ultimately Yuletide.

If there is any hold out to how this holiday is celebrated it is the idea of a bonfire usually made from the lighting of the hearth in each home and then each family bringing a torch from that to light the common fire for the community. Pretty rich in symbolism.

Time to Look Through the Eye:

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

Faith:

I think that faith that nature will continue to provide is a key element of this beginning harvest festival. Of being thankful for the powers that be or nature for providing what is needed ot sustain life through the winter. Those in four-season climates understand the importance of the harvest more powerfully than most as it means the difference between life and death.  Whether this is faith or simply a trust in the cycle of life is a good question.

Meditation:

I think a lot of this festival begins a time when the virtue of industriousness is on the one hand needed to bring in the harvest and the other hand celebrated because the rewards of this harvest are coming in. The fruit of one’s labor leading to the continued survival of yourself and your family and community is celebrated. Important things indeed.

Theology:

I suppose there is a lot of spiritual things connected with the harvest that our world of modern science has explained and allowed us to do even more and be even more fruitful. The spiritual side of this seems to be important to remember as well. To be grateful to those that do grow and harvest for the rest of us is something to be considered.  There is a connection between everyone at some point and it is often not noted because we never see one another. But in then I can eat because someone else took the time to grow and harvest the food I pay for is central.  Human connection is a theological concept.

Spirituality:

I am continually humbled by the world I live in. Life is both strong and fragile. I am reminded not only of life but death.  Things harvested are in the end dead but the give life to others as they are consumed. There is s simple truth to this that is embraced.

Conclusion:

While not a great blot or festival – Haustblot is a good moment to pause and reflect. it a good moment to take a deep breath as fall begins and then get about the business of doing what needs to be done to prepare for winter.

This completes the first time I have gone through the cycle of pagan holidays. focusing on the Vikings as much as possible.  I am going to continue doing this as each year I feel my opinions of these things will of course change. It has been very interesting this first time though and I plan on getting deeper into things each time I go through it.

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!