“A Belated Father’s Day Post” – The Rabyd Skald – The Grey and The Wayfarer – Part 12

Happy Frigg and Freya’s Day

I have been meaning to write this post all week long.  I have had three days off and still was not able to muster the emotional strength to do so.  My father meant a lot to me, words can’t express it, and every Father’s Day I wish he was here so I could say “Happy Father’s Day Dad, I love you.”  After a few moments of that wish, the sadness comes and I realize that I can’t do that because he is gone.

I had my first bought with deep depression after his death.  My first time walking the real Grey and I had the hardest time with it. I was in a depressed state for at least a year and I never really came out of it until I found someone who didn’t judge me for it but actually understood and helped me through it.   That person at the time gave me meaning and purpose again and I was able for the first time to stand and keep walking.

Looking back it wasn’t my faith in Christianity or Jesus that got me through it, just the need for purpose. Reaching deep down and find the reason to keep living when your depressed is hard but the only way to not let it beat you.  That is the key to getting past the depression of losing someone close to you – finding the reason to keep living and going on.  Once I understood this, I have walked the Grey ever since instead of falling victim to it like at that time after my father’s death. I had to do that a lot last year.

I had to take those life lessons and use them a lot last year. I think it created in me my personality that is unique and I had to use one of its strengths last year I didn’t expect. I have found that my personality has this thing called ‘ the door slam’ and it is very real.  When people are no longer part of your life because they have chosen to betray your friendship or walk away from you, you can slam the door in your mind on them and never look back as an INFJ.

One man in particular last year I did this to after I found out he used my trust of him and my love for my congregation and my flame against me to get what he wanted. I literally want nothing to do with him other than to hear that he has been found out for the fraud he is.  I will smile and clap at that moment and move on with lighter steps. But I am moving on without him and I don’t miss him. The door is slammed behind me for him. The only thing I really deal with now is the trust issues are higher because of him.

I can’t do this with people I love deeply.  No matter how bad they hurt me, I can never slam the door on them.  It is always open a crack. It makes me vulnerable to them which in some cases scares that shit out of me.  In other cases, like my father, the vulnerability turns to The Grey. The helpless vulnerable state of being depressed about missing them and not being able to do anything about it. I have been fighting it regarding my father all week long.

I am coming to the hardest part of the summer as memories of last year get really dramatic and my emotional swings from last year were very intense.  This makes memories of them tough and a swirling storm of The Grey I am walking through right now.  I wish it was late August as the memories start to get happier. But I have a couple more months of this to go.  But my father’s wisdom and the lessons I learned from his death and moving on from it are still with me.

Well, this is a father’s day post so allow me a moment of conversation with my departed dad.

“Happy Father’s Day, Dad – wherever you are. I love you and I miss you.  I wish you could be here to see what your grandchildren have become – they are all awesome and your great-grandkids are out of this world.  I feel they have all been robbed by not knowing you better.  I am fairly sure you would have spoiled them with your love by now.

I don’t know if you would be proud of me anymore.  I don’t really care in some ways about that.  I just wish you were here so I could say I love you and get one more of your monster hugs that would crush my chest. I feel that still when Ed, Jr. hugs me.  He is a lot like you. I wish you could have seen him play ball – you would have loved it.  He is becoming a great father like you. Justin is a hard worker like you and has made his own life which would make you proud.  Patience – well that little one year old you used to carry, is all grown up and taking care of your wife.  She lives in the house you used to call your home and now it is hers and I know you would be proud of that. You would be very proud of the woman she has become, I know I am.

I see bits and pieces of you in all of them.  Sparks of your legacy.  I love you and miss you, but every now and then I see you in them and you don’t seem so far away. Even little Otto has your eyes and your happiness. You still live in all of them.  For that, I am thankful to you and the father you were.

I love you, dad. I always will.”

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

“Thoughts on Memorial Day” – A Skald’s Life – Foundational Virtues

Happy Moon’s Day. 

Journal Entry:

Today isn’t about veterans or those currently serving in the armed forces. Those have their own days. Memorial Day is about the dead who died fighting.  It is a time to honor those who are fallen in battle that didn’t come home. There are far too many of these graves that reflect this.

As a libertarian, I would honor such men and women by understanding the best way to honor them is not create more of them.  That there is a time where swords can be put away for good.  Mostly I look at each war that has people who died in it and see that my country sent men and women to die for some busybody and meddling cause.  I can count on one hand the wars the United States was involved with that were actually about my liberty and freedom. The Revolutionary War (perhaps), The War of 1812, WW1 (Maybe) and WW2.  The rest of it seems we had some ulterior motive other than freedom and liberty and even in the wars mentioned above, there were some opportunist policies that were implemented that in the end were about advancing power over others.

I probably honor the fallen more than other political ideologies, because if someone doesn’t come home from a war, I feel the government is to be held accountable for the reasons for that war. Warriors who die in battle should know their cause was right.

Honor:

Honor is the feeling of inner value and worth from which one knows that one is noble of being, and the desire to show respect for this quality when it is found in the world”

Principle – To possess a feeling of inner value about myself and my future with a desire to find the same in others.

Goal: Maintain a daily blog streak of one post per day for an entire year (365 days).

Bucket List: Hike the Northern Lakeshore Trail along the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Honor is something to die for. Having value in yourself is something that all the fallen should know at that moment of death.   That what they were fighting for game them value as a person.  Otherwise, they died for nothing.

Courage:

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

Principle – Act with Courage at the right time.

Goal: Cross one thing off bucket list every year. Deadline March 31st

Bucket List: Go Back to Budapest, Hungary for a vacation.

Warriors are in a sense always courageous.  But what puts the icing on the cake of courage for the fallen is that their cause was right.  That they were acting in courage for the right thing at the right time.

Truth:

“Truth is the willingness to be honest and to say what one knows to be true and right. It is often better to not say anything at all if one cannot be honest.”

Principle – To Be Honest, and Speak Truth to Myself and Others.  To Be Silent in the presence of Fools.

Goal: To Write a Non-Fiction Book by March 31st, 2020

Bucket List: Learn Latin by March 31st, 2020 to the point I can take a test and show my self proficient.

Truth is unfortunately in the case of war only found out after the fact. It is also often in the case of war proven that the cause fought for was less than honorable. Lies about the cause being fought for are what dishonor the fallen the most.  They need to be brought to the light because the truth is important and then the next time the war drum sounds, it will remind us to look to see that the cause is just and right and honorable.

Higher Virtue: Love:

In the end, though the warrior that fell for the cause of loving those he left behind saves all honor, demonstrates courage and fights for something true.  That a greater love no one has than the one who lays down his life for that which he loves. For this possibility and reality, we honor all regardless of the cause they fought for.

Morning Routine:

  1. Review Nine Noble Virtues (NNV), Principles, Goals and Bucket List
  2. Meditation – 3 min.
  3. Check Communications and Email.
  4. Paper Journal: Create Daily Log and To Do List.
  5. Stretching / Yoga
  6. Breakfast, Medications, and Supplements.
  7. Shower and Personal Hygiene
  8. Get Dressed for the Day

June is coming and I have made a commitment to live through that month in a disciplined manner, I am going to need it.

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

Skaal!!!

The Pagan Pulpit – The Book of Rabyd 3:1 – “You Need to Use Your Head for Something Besides a Hat Rack”

Happy Sun’s Day

Announcements:

We don’t pray here – we figure God, the gods, and goddesses, or whatever powers that be either know already, don’t give a fuck, or are busy with more important matters than our petty stuff. We also kind of assume that they expect us to do stuff that we can do for ourselves and that we will do them ourselves and not be lazy. We also believe in being good friends, so we don’t presume on our friendship with the powers that be by asking them all the time for stuff while giving them nothing in return.

We also don’t take an offering here.  We figure the powers that be probably don’t need it.  Let’s be honest, offerings are not giving to the divine powers, they are given to an organization to support it.  Just being honest. God, the gods or whatever never sees a dime, farthing or peso of that money; it all goes to the church, mosque or shrine.

Opening Song: ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ – The Neptunes Remix

I suppose it wouldn’t be a playlist for the pagan pulpit without some reference to something controversial – like having sympathy for the devil.

Poem:

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This is hard for me. The truth of this little poem; as much as it hurts, is still the truth.

Meditation:

Song of Preparation: “Safety Dance” – Men Without Hats

Hats and a maypole for Beltane. Easy call here.

Text:

“You Need to Use Your Head for Something Besides a Hat Rack” – The Book of Rabyd 3:1

Sermon:

Chapter three of the Book of Rabyd represents some of the sayings and ‘-isms’ that have dominated the Raby Family for years.  They are not necessarily principles or wisdom but just stuff that is around our family that we just say as part of our particular family collective.  This one is from my father and I have no idea how many times he said it to me.  “You Need to Use Your Head for Something Besides a Hat Rack” was on his lips every single time I did something stupid.  It was a polite way of him telling me I should use my head to think rather than just have it occupy space and hold up my hat.

My father was not an educated man.  He was dyslexic or at least we think so.  He was a blue-collar man who had a gift for manufacturing.  He learned machinery and grinding early in his factory work days and knew math very well.  He just could never read very well.  These days, he might have been diagnosed early and he might have learned to read much better.  He was, however, a math genius in his own way and he believed highly in learning and common sense.

I don’t actually use this expression of his much myself.  I, however, hear it all the time in my head.  I always hear it when I am about to do something stupid or have not thought things through before I am about to act on them.  Most people don’t wear hats these days so I wonder if somebody would get it, but I certainly do.

This expression being 3:1 in the Book of Rabyd is more about my love for my Father than anything else.  I want the expression preserved for my kids and grandkids and all the rest.  I think it is a very polite and creative way to tell someone to start thinking and using your head. I know he was proud of me when I graduated college but he did not live to see me get my master’s but I could not have made either without this expression rolling around in my head.  Thanks, Dad, I still miss you.

Closing Song: “Walpurgisnacht” – FAUN

English lyrics version:

In honor of this past week being Beltane, I include this song.  The song is definitely a Celtic flavor I love.  Included the English translation version second if you are interested in the words.   Truly pagan for the pagan pulpit on this one.

Parting Thought:

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I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

Odin’s Eye – Pagan Holidays – Easter, Walpurgis, and Beltane

Happy Thor’s Day

Discussion:

From a Viking point of view, May Eve or April 30 represents the final day that Odin hung upside down on the World Tree and gained the knowledge of the runes.  It is a festival time that commemorates his sacrifice for humanity.  If you think this is suspiciously familiar with the Christian holiday of Easter, you would be right.

All mythology has within it some story of a god who sacrifices for humanity, this is hardly a unique concept and a very popular one with humans in every myth it is employed.  The End of April is a special time of year for pagans of Northern European heritage known as Walpurgis with its celebration of April 30 Beltane and May Day with its maypole celebrations. First, though, we should look at Easter and the elements of paganism in it.

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Easter.  The very name is stolen from Eostre the fertility goddess.  The pagan holiday revolves around fertility with rabbits being fertility symbols for obvious reasons and the egg as well-being the symbol of the beginning of life. It is funny to watch Christians with candy rabbits in their homes and coloring eggs and spring-like Easter traditions.  Probably harmless, but it shows how much the traditions of paganism can survive and adapt. The whole end of April though is pretty much about fertility to pagans and the actions that bring it about – namely sex and lots of it.

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Walpurgis. This a time of year at the end of April that stretches from April 22 to April 30 representing the nine nights that Odin hung from the World Tree. It is the official end of the Wild Hunt on April 30th. Six months previously it had started and now it ends.  On May 1st – May Day – young couples dance around the maypole and oaths of marriage are taken which lasts one year and a day.  Walpurgis is a time of other oaths as well.

Beltane.  There are other traditions around this festival time.  Most notably Beltane which is the night of April 30th itself. The end of winter is official and Summer begins.  The most notable tradition is spending the night in the woods ‘a-maying’.  Basically having sex and you could pretty much have sex with whoever you wanted.  Even married couples could for that single evening lay their wedding bands aside and have sex with whoever they wished. You could also stay at home if you didn’t want to participate.

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May Day.  May First becomes the maypole festival portion where young couples, who probably had sex the night before, dance around and give their oaths of marriage. These oaths lasted a year and a day.  The idea here that is unspoken is that married couples might split at this point, or retake their vows that would last another year and a day.  Must have made every year an interesting thing for married couples joined this way.  No one and done but a renewing of vows each year.

Time to Look Through the Eye:

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Faith:

If there is one thing we can all have faith in it is humans like to fuck have sex. This time of year actually celebrates that rather than calling down condemnation. Spring is about the death of winter and the birth of summer.  Fertility has a large part to do with that and is also celebrated along with children.  The one thing I can draw some faith from is looking at nudity, sex, and sexuality as a positive spiritual expression rather than taboo.  It is a welcome change.

Religion:

It takes religion to destroy the joy of life. One of those joys is making love and religion always tries to set standards, but in truth, there is no rational reason to forgo sex other than not wanting an STD or a child. Outside this, religion is basically a way to control sexual behavior and in my mind, this is the great distinction between religion and paganism.  Paganism isn’t interested in controlling the sexuality of others.  Far more practical, free, and less cult-like.

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Theology:

As a deist, I no longer have the appeal to authority that once was so necessary to dictate terms to people’s sexual relationships.  I don’t want it and it is a waste of energy in my mind to be judgmental of people’s sexual habits or living arrangements. With this absent, a theology of sex and sexuality is not difficult; it is simply non-judgmental. If you look at the nature of the world of sexual guidance, you will see it all.  From faithful monogamy to harems to interchange of partners whenever the mood strikes – animals literally do it all.

In the end, I leave it to each person’s own moral sovereignty to determine their living arrangement and sexual partners.  Control of sexual expression is just no longer part of my theology. My issue is wisdom in such arrangements and whether or not people are going to try to steal from me to pay for the consequences and results of such unions.  My only other moral concern is that each person is engaged with their full free will consent.

Spirituality:

Personally, I have always found sex to be as spiritual as it is physical.  Oneness is the best way I can describe it.  The fact that it is also physically enjoyable is pretty cool too, but its the intimacy often after sex that I enjoy the most.  That moment where you are naked in each other’s arms having spent all to make love. That moment is the best part to me spiritually speaking.

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Conclusion:

I continue to find pagan holidays and customs to be more practical and more realistic than religious ones.  There are more freedoms here and as such less unnecessary guilt and no shame.  If a relationship goes forward, it does so by constant yearly assessment rather than one and done. Sex is and it is not evil or dirty. Rather it is a natural thing to make love and the only concerns are children (which in paganism are celebrated), STDs and consent. Our modern world has actually made the STD and Children questions a matter much more manageable. Rape, of course, is universally condemned or at least it should be.

I find this holiday the most liberating from my past.  Even though I will be at home with my wife on Beltane because of my vows are ’til death do us part’, I find the notion of releasing religious judgment makes things less stressful and opens the door to a lot more friendships. Enjoy Beltane with your lover. Peace.

Continuing to Walk the Path,

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

Skaal!!!

The Rabyd Skald – Weekend Musings and Writing Plans

Happy Saturn’s Day

By way of announcements:

  1. There will be no Crossing Bifrost today as I am very much near the end of the semester and I am trying to complete some extra work for school plus get my Routines back on track.  Possible finish off another class’ work today.  For the same reason and as a gesture of respect to the Christians out there doing their Easter celebrations, there will be no Pagan Pulpit this Sun’s Day either.  I have said my piece on Thor’s Day about the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth in my post on the subject.
  2. What will happen is this post on some writing plans today as well as some other wandering thoughts.  Tomorrow on Sun’s Day I will post the next installment of Rogue Wizard.  I also plan on canonizing a poem I wrote last week sometime this weekend as well.

Well, time for a few musings and wandering thoughts.

This is the first Easter season where I honestly can say I haven’t been stressed out.  I am no longer a minister so I am not preparing a message or getting a service ready.  I have to work at my job, probably because all the Christians asked for the day off, but I am good with that. I actually have more peace about it than anything else.  I just wonder if I will be working alone.

I am hopefully going to get my first walk in of the season today.  I have been waiting for a sunny day that is above 50 degrees and so today may be the first hike of the wandering skald. Hiking is a real spiritual thing for me and I am looking forward to the walk.  After that as long as it is above 45 degrees walking will take place.

The Grey has been thankfully very light right now. It is more of a dull boring sensation than depression.  More of an annoyance than anything else. I guess part of that is I have come to look at my memories of this time last year as more of a challenge o picking out the good and discarding the bad.  That will be far more difficult this summer, but right now it isn’t that hard.

Writing plans:

Part of getting back on track with all my routines is setting my writing goals.  Most notably my goals for my novel and my non-fiction book. I think I have narrowed things down a bit.

For my non-fiction book I am going to do something involving the Bible and Skepticism.  My former Christian friends might not like it but I am thinking of doing a harmony of the gospels from a skeptics point of view.  I guess announcing this at Easter is fitting in some ways as it marks a turn of thought for me.  The book will be more designed for the popular press written in something that anyone with a basic education can understand but I may do another version that is scholarly first then rewrite it for publication.

For my novel, I am going to go pure fantasy.  I had an idea a long time ago of five friends who after growing up together in a small medieval fantasy city decide to take up adventuring together in an old blog that is now deleted.  I am thinking though it might make a good novel.  It is the kind of story I would like to read so it should be fun to write.

Here on this blog I am moving slowly forward with Rogue Wizard.  I must say that The Grey Wayfarer series is not so much halted as it is me taking some time to continue my research into Norse mythology before I continue with it.  That series is more about quality than quantity. I am therefore taking a lot more time with it. Rogue Wizard on the other hand is placing myself into situations as the main character is basically me on a divergent timeline. This makes it easier to write.  I have noted since I decided to engage my memories instead of avoid them, I have found it easier to write in general.  Sill need a new muse, but I will find her somewhere I am sure.

Enjoy your weekend, there should be a Poem and A Story somewhere for you.  This week coming up I will be talking about the Pagan Holiday Walpurgis on Odin’s Eye.  This is the May Eve celebrations.  So for you pagan’s out there do not fear, we will get past this to our own stuff.

As a final announcement, on Thursday I passed 200 days straight blogging.  With this post today it will be 202.  So I have 163 days to go for a whole year.

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

 

Odin’s Eye – Christianity Problems – The Resurrection and Eyewitness Reliability

Happy Thor’s Day

Discussion:

I suppose a disclaimer is in order.  I am writing this post as test pilot of the kind of things I could probably put in a book as an ex-believer, former pastor, bible scholar and theologian.  The kind of things that would cause many Christians to say: “That’s sad, I will pray for you.”  Spare me, I have a better plan for you. Read this post and tell me where I am wrong.  The point is I could write a book (and may do so) about the problems with the life of Jesus Nazareth, this would only represent what would probably be one section of a chapter. There is definitely many more things I could say.

Nobody likes death or the idea of ceasing to exist. Nobody.  In large part I think this is why every major religion has an afterlife story. In Christianity an eschatology of where people go after they die. We want to believe that we go on and so we create religions to say when, how and why we would go on. None of this has any real verification as no one has really come back from the dead to tell us the reality of what is after death. Well, unless you can prove Jesus of Nazareth actually did so.

For four decades I believed he had.  It is this central belief on which all of Christianity lives or dies.  Even the Bible understands this as in 1 Corinthians 15 it is very boldly stated that if Jesus did not rise from the dead, then the Christian faith is vain. Everything in Christianity hinges on the resurrection being true.

For years I was therefore a faithful apologist of the resurrection.  I understood the stakes. Without this event, my faith was nonsense.  Today; when it comes down to it, I have more doubts now than belief. For a long time I hinged my faith that the eyewitnesses were telling the truth. They may well have thought they were telling the truth, but were they actually reliable witnesses or subject to the same problems that plague all eyewitness accounts?

Here is the problem – everything that we know about the resurrection is based on eyewitness testimony, and it has been proven that eyewitness testimony is unreliable at best. Then you have the fact that such testimony was not solicited for being permanently written down for many years after the fact. Even by conservative christian scholarship there is a gap of twenty years between the events and the first gospel. That’s a long time for the eyewitnesses to get their story straight and they still don’t pull it off.

Eyewitness testimony has the following problems: https://www.simplypsychology.org/eyewitness-testimony.html

  1. Stress / Anxiety – Stress level can have a negative impact on memory.  Depending on the nature of the stress.  While people can remember aspects of events involving weapons very well, they forget others more readily if experiencing personal stress because their personal stress level is very highly distracting to their focus.
  2. Reconstructive Memory.  In memory recall we DO NOT remember things like a video tape.  In reality there is a lot of interpretive action in memory and we remember the gist of the event to the value judgment we placed on it more than the events. We store the information in the way that makes most sense to us. Because this is very cultural and societal it can be full of prejudice and bias. This is reflected in the fact that as people change their values, the memories change in how they are recalled. We reconstruct memories in a way that reflects our belief in the nature of the world.
  3. Weapon Focus – The funny thing about having a weapon pointed at you is that you remember the weapon and nothing else around it.  You might ask how this applies, well when you get focused on one thing you are seeing the other things tend to get blurry.  So the question comes – was the sight of an open tomb an object focus?
  4. Leading Questions – this is normally an issue with legal matters in testimony, but in the case of the gospels the claim is made that the writers of the gospels were interviewing eyewitnesses – did they during such interviews ask leading questions?

So, the question then becomes how accurate is any account, even four of them, when all those accounts are based entirely of eyewitness testimony many years after the fact?  There is a high probability that a large amount of the second problem entered into the accounts as the disciples interpreted the events according to their values and beliefs in the world.  The believed in miracles and they wanted Jesus to be alive.

I could argue that the whole thing might be made up.  But let’s for the sake of this argument say that on resurrection morning the disciples did indeed see something and the interpreted that as Jesus of Nazareth risen from the dead. Let’s assume that their gospels are the eyewitness testimony they claim to be and see what problems could be there.  Let’s assume thy are not being deliberately deceptive, but perhaps misjudged what they saw.

  1. Stress /Anxiety – the disciples would have been under a great deal of stress that would have affected their memory. They were mourning and were by their own accounts in fear of the religious leaders. In the case of the women who first went to the tomb grieving and distraught.  When they arrive at the tomb, it is empty, the guards are gone and there is no body.  Interpretation, because they wanted it to be true – so badly to be true – Jesus rose from the dead.
  2. Reconstructive Memory – this is the big problem. The gospels themselves when it comes to the resurrection accounts are varied and quite frankly at times contradictory.  I am not saying there was a conspiracy to defraud but an atmosphere of want the story to be true to the point that accounts of seeing Jesus alive were probably everywhere. The gospels themselves provide evidence for reconstructive memory.  Mark stops after saying the resurrection took place, the longer version being a clear addition.  No events are actually recorded so you are left with the oral stories floating around.  Matthew and Luke record the events but they don’t agree on some details.  Like who saw Jesus first as far as who was in the group of women. Both of them record Peter being the first to reach the tomb with no second witness.  John says ‘no the way it happened was I was there and I outran Peter to the tomb.’  This lack of continuity in the accounts is a direct refection of not only that memories of the resurrection are being reconstructed, but the stories are told differently to reflect each gospels writer’s own interpretations of those memories; whether their own or the testimony of others.  Worse yet, if we follow even conservative scholarship on the dates of the gospels – we get a gap of time of at least two to three decades where interpretation of bias have influenced those memories over time.  Cementing the values with the memories and altering those memories.
  3. Weapon/Object Focus: If the disciples find the tomb empty, that tomb would become the object focus of the discussion. They would focus on it and try to explain it.  They many to choose from, but their founder Jesus of Nazareth told them he was going to rise from the dead.  They wanted that to be true very badly so the empty tomb becomes – Jesus rose from the dead like he said.  Later when the accounts are being written, ‘angels’ make that statement, and memories reconstructed with additions and changes.
  4. Leading Questions: The problem here is that when the gospel writers are doing their research; they being believers talking to believers would have the high possibility of doing two things.  1) Asking questions that basically assume the story is true looking for confirmation, not honest inquiry and 2) asking softball questions that are leading to get the story they want.  No author of the gospels is a skeptic but rather they assume the story is true and there is no other account but theirs anywhere.

Time to Look Through the Eye:

Faith:

Was this eyewitness thing  the death nail to my faith.  No, but it has raised more doubt than faith that Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead,  Why?  Because it is highly feasible that with the high expectations or need for comfort, that people made the story up because of wanting something to have faith in. My best example of this is Mary Magdalene seeing Christ after the other ladies leave. She is very distraught (Stress), she is focused on the empty tomb (object focus) and she sees what she perceives is the gardener and then ‘discovers’ it is Jesus (reconstructive memory?). When you add the problem of that no one but Mary experienced this with no other witnesses, it is highly like people who see aliens when they are alone.  With no collaboration, you really have to dismiss the story.  I have more doubts than faith anymore because most stories of seeing the resurrected Christ have these problems.

Religion:

In the end it was my religion and profession that kept me at it, but the doubts kept getting bigger.  This issue of eyewitness testimony actually came up in my Easter sermons because I was wrestling with it.  The more I wrestled with it and looked at the gospel accounts, the more I realize these problems were very possible and that either many of the stories either had no collaboration, no outside collaboration or the witnesses were not named and thus could not be followed up on.

Theology:

If there is any part of the theology I wrestle with it is life after death and its relationship to giving life meaning. Paul’s argument in 1 Corinthians 15 is that the only meaning to life would be ‘eat and drink for tomorrow we die.  But I would argue that philosophers have taken on that point and have done so somewhat successfully.  Don’t get me wrong, their answers aren’t perfect, but they are there to be considered.

Spirituality:

I think most of us deists still cling a little to the possibility of life after death. The possibility that the universe has a grand purpose created by a designer.  That said we are very interested in spirituality that reflects reality.  We want something deeper that is real not the result of flaws in human reasoning and observation.  For me this basically means I place more emphasis on enjoying and living a good life now, because life after death is a true unknown and not something I want to focus my spiritual life on, especially if it turns out that it doesn’t exist.

Conclusion:

Well, I hope you enjoyed this little test pilot of what kinds of things I could write if I was so inclined.  The real issue I wrestle with is truth, how much more important is truth to the value I place on fidelity and respect of others.  I have to think on it more, Because the Life of Christ would be a great topic for me given my education and experience, the problem would be most of my family and friends might disown me or at the very least find it awkward to invite me to family gatherings at Christmas and Easter.  I will have to meditate on it more.

Continuing to Walk the Path,

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

Skaal!!!

Odin’s Eye – Pagan Holidays – Ostara (March 20-21) and St. Patrick’s Day

Happy Thor’s Day

Discussion:

March 20-21st is the Festival of Ostara, the Spring goddess.  She is Germanic but not much else is known about her. In Viking Culture Spring is also associated with Freya and Thor, both divine beings of fertility, and that is exactly what most of this festival is about. It is about renewal, fertility and rejoicing about the end of winter and the beginning of the Summer half of the year.

If the name Ostara seems slightly familiar, it is because its other spelling is Eostre, which after the Christians get a hold of it becomes – Easter. Even some of the Easter traditions are based on the pagan ones.  Most notably egg coloring and hiding and then letting children go seek them.  Flowers, rabbits an other spring symbols are here as well.  The rabbit is used because it is the animal that is often most associated with spring as it is often the first animal you see, and for its fertility. Hibernating animals also get a look as well, as they come out of their sleep.

The festival has a lot of traditions involving children during the day and adults at night.  The various sources I read seem to skirt around the night time rituals of the adults, which kind of indicates fertility rites are probably present. That’s sex and a lot of it . Not surprising, as at this time in a lot of pagan mythologies, the sun or storm god has sex with an earth or nature goddess and she conceives to give birth at the end of harvest. Love making takes place a lot during this festival.

See the source image

I mention St’ Patrick’s day because there is also a lot of pagan elements in it.  In fact I would say historically this is when the Christian powers that be figured out that by adopting pagans symbols and traditions they could get more conversions.  Or they could justify wiping out the pagan elements, they wanted out and keeping stuff that supported their viewpoint.  The Celtic Cross is very much a part of this combining sun worship with the cross.

Irish Pagans view of this varies, Some mourn the day because it marks the persecution of Irish pagans where they were driven out, killed or went underground.  Others see it as a time to say ‘I will celebrate the day pagan style’.  The big thing is the mythology that St. Patrick drove out all the snakes from Ireland.  It is kind of like the tall tale that Paul Bunyan logged off North and South Dakota and that why there are no trees. There were no snakes in Ireland in the first place and there were no trees in ND and SD either.  The only holidays in my opinion that is more ironically a combination of pagan and Christian ideas is probably Easter and Christmas.

Time to Look Through the Eye:

Faith:

I have faith that nature will do her thing.  I mean do I look at the Spring as a goddess – no.  I believe in science, so there are natural forces at work.  That said, I don’t think a holiday celebrating the end of winter and the beginning of summer is a bad one.  It has a positive mental aspect to it.  I suffer from mild depression that turns pretty dark at times in the winter, Spring begins to overcome that. I start my walks and getting outside again and that is something that builds my heart and mind, as well as my body.

Religion:

This time of year also marks the contention between Christianity and Paganism in Europe which spread to the United States. Like it or not this contention has led to a lot of heartache, persecution and war. I would also say the problems have largely come from Christians, Paganism has no ‘correct’ way of being a pagan.  No, dogma or religious order to force on others. For that you need to turn to the Abrahamic religions.  They are the ones with missionaries and zealots who have to ‘convert’ people to their faith by any means necessary.  St. Patrick’s Day is probably a sore spot for Irish people for this reason.

Theology:

A theology of renewal and fertility is something that as a Deist and Pagan, I can look at with a smile.  In Christianity, sex is given a feeling of being dirty or a necessary evil.  Not so in pagan ‘theology’.  Sex is something good, loving and a necessary good for the purpose of enjoyment and fertility. It is a stark contrast. I would say when you see a religion or theology trying to control or direct your thoughts about sex or your money, you have cult behavior.  Yes, I would say Christianity is loaded with this cult behavior, as well as almost every religion I know. Paganism seek to control neither, and so what many Christians consider ‘cultish’ is actually the furthest from it.

Spirituality:

I must say that I gain a lot of spirituality from some of the concepts behind the idea of renewal.  I can’t wait to get out walking again this spring.  There is a renewal of my spirit that comes with it. I would also say that sexuality and sex itself has a spiritual good side that I resonate with the pagans far more than the Christians.  Making love to my wife from my side of things is one of the most spiritually good and wonderful things I know.   I don’t look at it as dirty or sinful at all.  Now even more so, it is an expression of pure joy and love to me.  Ostara is something that reminds me of that as well.

Conclusion:

I like to be reminded of things that are important. Spring is important for not only its time of planting seeds and cleaning, but for its spiritual side of renewal of the soul and life.  It is important to remind ourselves of the joys of sex and sexuality and their results -children. There is something here that reminds one of taking a good cleansing breath, feeling your mind and heart open up and feeling right with the world.  Of taking your lover’s hand and walking to a place of lovemaking and spending time not only having sex, but also renewing your relationship and starting anew with new dreams for the year ahead. I like it, it feels good.

Continuing to Walk the Path,

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

Skaal!!!

Odin’s Eye – Religion Problems – Relics (St. Valentine’s Day Post)

Happy Thor’s Day

Discussion:

I am going a little out of order here and the original design of “Religion Problems” was to hit other religions besides Christianity. But it is St. Valentines Day, so I am drawn to the holiday because of what we do with it.  But in the area of religion, the subject of relics is an interesting one.

Even as a Christian I wrote about St. Valentines Day as being something of a weird holiday when you look at it rationally. I wrote a post on it back in 2013:

St. Valentine’s Day – Maybe I Should Get a Tattoo

From that post I quoted Wikipedia:

The most popular martyrology associated with Saint Valentine was that he was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians, who were persecuted under the Roman Empire; during his imprisonment, he is said to have healed the daughter of his jailer Asterius. Legend states that before his execution he wrote “from your Valentine” as a farewell to her.

The other thing is his relic:  A skull (said to be his)  with flowers that bloom from it.  I mean according to the church no one just puts these flowers on the relic, they just appear. The idea that this regular miracle builds faith in the Saints and in the faith they served is a pretty common theme in the use of such relics regardless of religion.

Time to Look Through the Eye:

Faith:

So the question of miracles comes up with relics. I mean the blooming flowers thing would be impressive, if it is true.  But notice something right away in the picture of this relic.  It is carefully preserved in a box and that box probably has a back door.  I wonder what that would be for? It would be too simple have someone reach in when no one is watching a replace the flowers from time to time. Having grown up in the Pentecostal church I have seen the height of sleight of hand to get people to believe and to me the most rational explanation for blooming flowers is not a miracle, but placement when people are looking the other way.  That is very easy for any illusionist. I saw people doing this all the time to ‘prime the pump’ of faith.  Sorry, this is a ‘miracle’ that may not be so miraculous.

Religion:

I also find it interesting that this use of relics is even present in the three major monotheistic religions. All of them have as a base the commandment about idolatry and no matter how you shake and dance, veneration of an object is idolatry.  In the case of relics,  this idea of a spiritual force infecting an object, is definitely on the idolatry side is given a pass. because it ‘builds faith’.

Theology:

Miracles in general are often attached to things in my opinion that really are not a miracle. The idea of genuine miracles being possible I do not dismiss, I just also have a very specific theological definition of miracle that is basically an act of the divine that does something both unusual and unnatural. Babies being born, beautiful sunsets, etc. are not miracles by that definition.  To prove such a thing would require actual rational observation. When you do this with most relics, you find the sleight of hand and illusion aspects every time.

Spirituality:

I guess from a personal spiritual point of view, I don’t really have a need to have relics prove faith or theology.  I engage both with my spiritual side but it is much more internal for me as a pagan.  Relics and ritual have always be a bugaboo for me because, I can see that they can be easily turned into something where people are psychologically manipulated. It can have absolutely nothing to do with real spiritual or divine power. Relics are a good example of that kind of manipulation, if you ask me.

Conclusion:

On a lighter note, I prefer the modern version of Valentine’s Day.  A day devoted to expressing love toward your significant other. A day where you remind each other how much you love each other.  In that respect I can give a nod to the holiday. But relics – no. Just no.

Continuing to Walk the Path,

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

Skaal!!!

Odin’s Eye – Pagan Holidays – Oimelc and Disting (February 2nd)

 

Happy Thor’s Day

Discussion:

Interrupting the normal order of things to make remarks about pagan holidays.  This time of year we shift from The time period of Yule which began in December to the time of Imbolc or Oimelc (it has a lot of names, depending on the pagan culture it comes from).  The day that kicks this off is Disting which is February 2nd but it really starts at sundown on the 1st.  This time begins the time of Spring and looking forward to new life.  The day Disting is about the celebration of the souls of women in your family and this was the traditional time that lambs were born to shepherds. So the beginning of life begins with motherhood, even if there is still snow covering the ground.  It is a time of celebrating cold, ice, healing and the hearth.

In Viking myths this may refer to times where the Ymir gave life out of the ice.  There is also a lot reference to any god or goddess celebrating life, hearth and planting and each of theri spheres is celebrated as well. It’s a time of preparation; so as Winter ends, the spring activities are ready to begin.  In Viking society “The Thing” happened at this time as well, which is the time of law and justice.

Mostly though Disting itself is about honoring mothers and grandmothers who have passed on but who still watch over the generations.  There is an idea of respecting ancestors of the female side of the line.  In this regard I have many women who have passed on that I want to remember.

Time to Look Through the Eye:

Faith:

I suppose when one considers ancestors there is a discussion of the afterlife. Over my time as a Christian, I was always sure of what this entailed, but these days I have to concede that no one really knows what lies after death, except maybe the dead themselves.  Assuming there is anything to know.  My aunt who was a great mother and my grandmother Alice fit the motherhood motif of this Holiday. If the pagans are right, then perhaps they both watch over all of us.

Religion:

There is a simple but profound ritual connected to Disting. It is above all a cooking holiday.  The Norse Goddess Nerthus being celebrated here. She is the goddess of fertility peace and plenty. Most of the ritual involves cooking of bread, feasting, celebration and  lighting of red candles for the mothers who have passed on. Given that chariot riding Nerthus is a fertility goddess, I also imagine couples might pray at this time for children and might go home and have sex in honor of the goddess and the possibility that she will bless them.

Ritual religion has always been a problem for me, but I can get into the spirit of winter merrymaking and celebration of women who were mothers who have passed on.  There is a spirit to celebration of the beginnings of life I can respect here.

Theology:

There is probably a theology of after life in every major religion.  The specifics vary widely.  I can only say that the door to the afterlife is death and none of us really know what is on the other side. I do believe there is something there, but that is all it is – belief.

What Disting does point out theologically is that in the case of sexuality, pagans are very much about masculinity and femininity .  There is no gender fluid but two sexes both strong and clearly defined, but there is also a lot of room to express both culturally in may ways.   What you have is an equality of sexuality that is dual and so far in my studies I would have to say balanced.  This holiday is about celebration of those feminine sexual traits that we consider honorable, and that is something I can relate to very much.

Spirituality:

The spiritual side of me can at least remember the things about women of my family who have died, and it keeps them alive in memory.  That is a good thing to do.  It is important to remember that legacy isn’t simply genetic.  That there is a spiritual side of motherhood and femininity that is celebrated in my heart with this holiday and on February 2nd I will probably take a moment to remember those of my line who were great mothers and examples of being good, strong women.

Conclusion:

I like these pauses where I look at the pagan holidays and seasons.  The pagans have a better understanding of the cycle of regular change better than most people.  I like that they really have six times of year and holidays to kick them all off.  There is also a closer understanding to real life with the pagan side of me, and these holidays bring that out.

Continuing to Walk the Path,

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!!!