“Christians vs. Pagans” – Odin’s Eye – Problems with Christianity.

Happy Thor’s Day.    


Now I am not trying to stir anything up, but I know this post probably will.  I find it interesting that Christians decry Islam for some of its more violent and politically aggressive tactics.  It seems to easy to forget that not too long ago, Christians were doing the same shit.  I would say you can still see Christians doing their level best to use at a minimal level the power of government to force their faith and morality on others.

But I have lived long enough to remember Serbia being a place where Christians killed Muslims in the 1990s. I would also say the continued bombing of Middle Eastern countries is certainly construed as (whether this is the case or not is irrelevant) as Christians killing Muslims.  So perhaps Christians should not be too hard judging Islam considering our current actions and a long bloody history of killing. coercing, defrauding and raping those who were not Christians for hundreds of years.

See the source image

The practical problem for me is that I also know the history of paganism and Christianity and it is equally as bloody.  I am not going to say the pagans were completely innocent, because they weren’t.  But it could be argued no one need have died at all if it wasn’t for Christina missionaries converting rulers and then convincing those rulers to do the above killing and coercion of those that didn’t follow suit in their realms.  If a ruler did not convert, then those around him that had would suddenly cut off trade and go to war with him.  The church pulling the strings to make it all happen like a puppet master. The church may have split on a lot of things but they still do much the same only they are far more subtle

Why is this a practical problem for me?  Because my return to paganism is much about my returning to the faith of my ancestors as it is anything else.  Christianity to those of us of European descent is an imposition, not something that we started as. We started as pagans deriving our faith by reaching put ith the spirituality we had developed to make sense of things. For me having pagan tendencies is returning to my roots and throwing off the chains of an oppressor.

Time to Look Through the Eye:

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


Faith forced is no faith at all.  Faith is internal and based on personal free spiritual choices.  If you force certain choices, that isn’t faith, it is a religious imposition.


I think the conclusion that all the Abrahamic religions are bloody is pretty fair. The fact that they use their faith to justify violence and oppression is well documented. More practically is what I have seen over the years:

  1. Families that split over faith because those that believe won’t associate with those that don’t.
  2. Moral judgment on those outside the faith leading to feelings of superiority (all disguised as humility, of course) for themselves and a viewpoint of looking at others who don’t believe as less than themselves in need of conversion from their ‘sinful ways’.
  3. Political actions that force laws on others that enforce a moral code that others who don’t believe do not accept.  Or else.

Quite frankly, compassion is not the word I would use to describe this – arrogance and pride are better words. I figure most of the wars in the western world might have not taken place if not for Christianity. Now, most of it is because of Christianity and Islam.


As a deist for the most part who enjoys the culture of his real ancestral faith, I see how much I was spending time convincing good people to do some pretty questionable things, including myself.  My theology was one of death for those who did not believe one way or the other.  I no longer see how that can be justified as no matter how hard you dance around it, a god who just kills arbitrarily or simply because people didn’t accept his message is a pretty fucked up god. My guess, people whole like to control others, love such a god though. The amount of fear you can impose on someone with such a god is quite high; and in such fear, people are easier to control. I figure the real divine is far more thorough in his judgment of each individual human than that if he or she or whatever is really concerned about justice.


Oddly enough, despite all this bloody history, I feel the pagan response is genuine tolerance until such time as they seek to impose themselves again. Then resistance is allowed.  As a pagan, I don’t go looking for a fight, but I will gladly fight and finish one to protect my right to freely choose which god myself or others choose to follow if at all. Let the followers of Abrahamic religions once again demonstrate their irrational emotionalism and hatred.  I plan to stand on higher ground than that and defend myself and others.


I live in a house divided.  I am a pagan, most of my family are Christians with a few notable exceptions.  My response to most of it is tolerance, and so far no one is yelling at me or whatever. But I know the past and I know where I stand.  I stand with my true ancestors.

I remain,

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


Crossing Bifrost – The Norse World: Yggdrasil – The World Tree

Happy Saturn’s Day

Today I want to look at the universe from the perspective of Norse Mythology.  Basically, the Norse and Germanic people looked at the universe as one big tree.  I will get into the creation myths of the Norse people later.  Mostly this post is about the world as they understood it; basically, how they thought it was.

Yggdrasil is the central tree of the entire cosmos.  It is a living ash tree and considered as such to be very holy.  Ash being very sacred to pagans.  It is an immense tree that either connects the nine worlds or each part of the tree is the nine worlds depending on the viewpoint.  I can see the theological debates in the Norse people starting with this one.

The tree itself is where everything happens when it comes to the gods and their dealings with other immortals and mortals.   The tree is supported by three immense roots that are each connected and thus fed by three major springs.

The god Odin claims in the mythology to remember when the world tree was small and young. It is also the tree he hung from for nine days to gain knowledge of the runes to aid him in his fight during Ragnarök. Based on how it is described in the ancient sources I would say I would lean toward the idea the world tree connects the nine worlds and probably serves as their skeleton that holds them together. When you also consider that the Bifrost Bridge itself connects the tree to other worlds like Asgard you begin to see this notion as well.

The notion of sacred trees is very strong in a lot of mythology. The idea of a Tree of Life is pretty much central to the three Abrahamic Religions.  Trees that provide life figure prominently in many other mythologies from Ancient Middle Eastern religions to China to Hinduism. The idea of sacred trees is very universal. It is no surprise here to me that the Tree of Life is literally the tree of all life.

For my purposes at this point it is important to establish that the Norse people believed that by traveling the tree one could travel between the nine world.  You could also do this by traveling the Bifrost Bridge, but mostly you see gods and goddesses travel the branches and roots of the tree from one realm to another.  Each of these nine realms or worlds was home to different races and each had a different nature.  as we further look at the Norse World we will look at each of these in detail later.

From a literature perspective, this notion of a world tree still plays prominently. In fantasy, Tolkien’s elves live in such trees and his mythology starts with two trees. This idea of sacred trees is central many other stories. I have used it myself as part of a story involving a dryad, although you can no longer read it.  My point is that this notion of old, living trees being the source of life and central to humanities existence is very human.

I imagine the source of such mythology is when a child asks how long a certain large tree in their life has been there.  Grandmother looks at the child and tells them that she can’t remember a time it was never there. She then tells the story of how she asked the same question of her grandmother and got the same answer. It doesn’t take much to start to believe the tree has always been there and always will be.

In the end, it is said that Yggdrasil will hide the last two survivors of Ragnarök and it and those two survivors will be the seeds of a new world and a new time. The tree lives on no matter what the end of the world scenario plays out as being.

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


Odin’s Eye – Why I Am a Pagan (and What I Mean by That)

Happy Thor’s Day


I suppose a definition is in order.  Pagan can be used as both a noun and an adjective and has multiple definitions and means which may or may not apply to everyone who calls themselves a pagan.  Pagan or paganism can imply some, most or all of the following:

  1. One observing a polytheistic belief system
  2. A member of spiritual, cultural or religious community that worships nature – neopagan
  3. One who is not a Christian, Jew or Muslim (negative)
  4. Irreligious or hedonistic person
  5. Uncivilized

See the source image

None of these definitions really work for me I would prefer to understand it with my own definition that kind of reflects a broader definition of pagan:

One who defines their own spirituality and comes to understand that spirituality from the world around them.

Yep, that is me.  I mean I don’t really have any belief in special revelation anymore but I do believe that people might have some sound ideas about how the divine works but that is the natural revelation of reason not the divine doing something directly to reveal themselves.


When you faith basically consists of believing there is something or someone out there but you don’t believe that we will ever know who or they are.  When you believe that the only real means we have to engage the world is yourself, then you begin to have faith only in yourself. to do the things you need to do. If I am going to come to understand the divine reality, then it is going to have to be me that does it. It doesn’t mean that conversation, reading and the opinions of others are not part of that. What it means is like I know that I am the only responsible moral agent for what I do, I also am the only real moral agent in what I believe. The reality is that for every human being there is a faith in something.


I don’t completely dismiss religion, I just know what it really is.  It men and women’s collective opinions about the divine.  I don’t dismiss sacred writing as they might have so accurate observations about what god may be like, I just know they are all the works of men and women and the divine probably has little to do with it. There is a kind of natural revelation as people talk, discuss and write about god but that is all it is. For me the jury is still out of what value religion actually has and it isn’t coming back  with an innocent verdict. One thing is for sure for me is that all of that is nothing more than a few more voices in the whole of the discussion for me now.


The thing about theology based on natural revelation is that verification of what you discover using reason is not always possible.  You start sentences about the divine with ‘If,,,” a lot.  The one thing being a pagan means is a lack of being dogmatic about what you believe. Your theology is very open to change and the changes can be quite dynamic. You are open to these changes and in fact I feel a good pagan should embrace them and meditate and think on them.  It’s a journey of discovery not a place to make a last stand and die on a hill that may not be worth anything in the end.


This means a great deal of spirituality as a pagan for me is to be open and relaxed.  My deist pagan self tells me that I can be open to let the god of the universe; if they exist, to reveal themselves to me in the world around me.  My humanist pagan self can see the ‘divine spark’ in each human being and let that tell me a little about the divine as well.  My spirituality is based more on living the Nine Noble Virtues of Asatru than it is rituals and creeds.  They simply represent a good code to live by in my opinion and ultimately it is my spirituality and no one else’s so I have to guide me to truth as much as possible accepting the guidance of others when it fits. I am The Grey Wayfarer and that is an identity I want to keep the rest of my life.


We are coming on the pagan celebrations of Yule.  Part of my spirituality is the celebration of holidays and some of the divine being revealed in them as I celebrate them.  Mostly through the concepts of family and values such as hope and joy. This brings us to the end of the year.  What a year it has been!!!  Good, bad and ugly it has been a year I will not soon forget. I want to keep walking though, I believe that the best things are still yet to be discovered are around the next bend in the path, over the next hill or across the next valley of life.   So I commit myself to the journey.

So I remain,

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