“New Journal Post Format” – Tyr’s Honor

Happy Tyr’s Day!

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”

Vision Point : Maintain my YouTube Channel with at least two videos uploaded a week and reach the goal of 100 subscribers.

Journal:

This is the first journal post in the new format. The first channge being that each of twelve virtues I talk aobut will be connected to a Norse God or Goddess. I still have these organized into foundaitonal, business and self virtuesm, but that won’t be as in your face as before.

The second part is this is much shorter. State the virute, the vision point and then journal thoughts about both and life in general.

Honor has always been a trouble spot for me. I find that much of my struggles with honor stem from the fact in order to keep mine, I have had to far too often give up my own happiness. Finding an honorable path that also makes me happy has been the struggle.

YouTube has provided me a new pulpit of sorts. I like it and so far the at least two uploads has been maintianed and I am about 58 subscribers away from 100.

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

“Viking/Germanic Paganism – Asatru (Part 3)” – The Pagan Pulpit

Happy Sun’s Day

Announcements:

We don’t pray here – we figure God, the gods, 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 given to the divine powers, they are given to an organization to support it.  Just being honest. God, the gods or whatever never sees a dime, farthing or peso of that money; it all goes to the church, mosque or shrine.

Theme Song: “Song of Odin (A Cappella)” by Alchemical Poetry 

Damn son, this kid can sing and all the parts too.  Salute.

Meditation:

Image may contain: text that says 'THE LION AND THE TIGER MAY BE MORE POWERFUL, BUT THE WOLF DOES NOT PERFORM IN THE CIRCUS #5 fivereason.com'

It depends very much on what you value: power at the cost of freedom or freedom which has a power all its own.

Text:

See the source image

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

Sermon:

My purpose for going through the history of paganism in regards to Asatru is to assess whether it is possible that the current practitioners of Asatru have as a genuine foundation the beliefs fo old.  It is also to point out that once we hit the Christian invasion that for the most part religion was not a cause for people to fight so much as needs and wants  That would change with Christianity’s arrival.

It can be simply stated that as the area entered the Viking era, religion had become far more sophisticated. The pantheon much more developed and regional differences smoothed over.  To the area’s credit, it seems that any religious differences were actually swallowed up by the mythology itself where the Vanir and Aesir both made peace and one pantheon formed.  Rituals evolve and the priesthood of the pagans established.

With the fall of the Roman Empire, the areas did gain some distinction as the Scandinavians pretty much became separated and developed their own lines of religious thought while the Germanic peoples on the continent continued to be influenced by the Empire’s final gasps.

What the Viking people became was a culture based on the old gods, fishing, herding, and some farming.  They became very adept at either trading for the other things they needed and raiding for the rest. Their gods evolved to reflect their culture and became integral parts of it with festivals, rituals, and calendar.  The population grew and the Viking leaders began to adopt the style of government on the continent known as feudalism.  This caused migration and that lead to the Vikings doing their raiding more and more frequently not just for loot but for land.

The one thing religion did id create a ‘professional’ clergy for the gods.  The hof was a place where the gods were worshiped and the idea of being a friend of the gods or a particular god is born.  Being  ‘Thorsman’ of “Maiden of Freya” is reflected in this time and some Scandinavian names still reflect this. The idea of worship in one place – the hof while the rulers were in their ‘hall’ was in some respects the first ideas of religion and state being separate but integrated.

For my part, I like this part of history because everything is unspoiled by Christianity. If I had lived then, I would be an Odin’s Man and perhaps a teller of tales –  A Skald. It would have been my desired profession to keep the stories alive. It makes me wonder if one of my ancestors was a skald or bard.

This, of course, would all change as the pagans and Christians would begin to clash.  But it should be noted that modern practitioners of Asatru look a lot to this time for their inspiration. More on these things in the coming weeks.

Parting Thought:

Image may contain: 1 person, beard and text

There will always be someone better than you at something. The quest we should be on is self-improvement. The only competition we should have is what we were yesterday.

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

“The Virgin Birth of Jesus” – Odin’s Eye – Bible Problems

Happy Thor’s Day

Discussion:

What I am about to do here is give at sample or teaser of what I am doing for my non-fiction book.  What I am doing is taking my expertise gained from a biblical studies degree, a theological studies degree and twenty years experience of being a pastor and doing a class I did many times – Life of Christ.  I am however this time doing it from a skeptics point of view.  I am doing it as a non-believer and a critic of Christianity and The Bible.

Today I am going to give a brief synopsis about why I think the virgin birth story is a tall tale concocted by many people who had personal and political reasons to do so.  The theory I am running with here is my own which is that there was a man named Jesus of Nazareth and that he did indeed have disciples.  That those disciples watched Jesus as he fought the religious establishment.  That establishment then did perhaps have him crucified by the Romans because they came to hate him and the threat he posed to their political and religious power.

This is where those disciples create mythology surrounding the man known as Jesus of Nazareth.  They knew the Messianic prophecies and began to retroactively go back to his life and spin things to fulfill them.  One of those things involved the fact that there was a prophecy where the Messiah had to be born of a virgin.

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel. – Isaiah 7:14

One of the things that may have very well have been true about Jesus is that his origin may have had a little scandal attached to it.  That is there was a question as to who his father was or that it was clear he was conceived out of wedlock.  As a political scientist, I can see how scandal can be turned to opportunity if it is spun right.  So, no Jesus wasn’t the product of an illicit affair or the fact that Joseph and Mary had sex before the wedding day, let’s write it this way to turn him into the Messiah.

Now in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was very perplexed at this statement and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God. “And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. “For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.  Luke 1:26-38 – NASB

Suddenly the scandal becomes an opportunity to tell the story in a different way and Jesus fulfills the prophecy of being born of a virgin.  So what is the actual evidence?

Time to Look Through the Eye:

Faith:

In order to believe in the virgin birth, you have to believe that God can make a woman pregnant which is not a stretch if you accept an omnipotent god. That Joseph was not involved and that he suddenly became cool with the fact that another man has sex with his bride to be and knocked her up.  He has to buy the story himself.

Mostly though you have to believe that Mary herself is not lying about the angel.  Because the only witness of that event is Mary herself.  Understand that even if I take the account as true, the only witness even in the gospels of the event is Mary and the only gospel that records it is Luke.  Luke is probably the last synoptic gospel to write.  One could theorize that Luke is reacting then to the fact that Mark says nothing about a virgin birth and Matthew only deals with Joseph’s reaction and no one has addressed Isaiah’s prophecy to that point.  If you believe in the virgin birth, you simply taking the word of one witness – Mary.  A girl of fifteen who finds herself pregnant in a culture that stones women who commit adultery or at the best puts away women privately to live out their days in silence.  Which is more likely at this point – God impregnated her or that she came up with a story to cover her pregnancy out of fear of reprisal?  Or she made it up later to vindicate herself after the fact when people are starting to believe her son is the Messiah.

Religion:

Let’s understand something. the virgin birth in the Bible does not stand alone as the only one.  Religions around the world have tons of virgin birth stories and Mary was not unaware of them. This is something that is well known and well published. Just look it up for yourself.

The thing is though for Christianity a lot of theology regarding sin and the biblical god is wrapped up in this story being true; so of course, they defend it regardless of how common such a story is in mythology around the world and how little testimony there is to support the actual story.

But understand that even under the Bible’s own standard of establishing every fact the virgin birth story fails.  It only has one witness Mary herself and she certainly has plenty of cultural and personal motivation to make it up.  Luke is the only direct record of it but it is still her story alone, he just records it. This fails the two or three witnesses required even by Biblical Standards, particularly the Law of Moses.

Matthew records Joseph’s response but even his response might have had a personal motivation if he either loved Mary or he was the cause of her pregnancy.  How he reacted really has only one witness – Joseph himself.  He may have simply been a man who took responsibility for his actions and we are assuming he was even around for Matthew to interview as he might have been dead.  It is easy to see how Matthew who was writing with the goal of persuading Jews to become Christians might make up Joseph’s story based on stories of others. But that makes is second-hand hearsay, not reliable evidence.

Theology:

This story absolutely is essential for doctrines such as original sin and the incarnation of Christ.  For the early Christians, they needed a story that fulfilled some of the prophecies so going back a retroactively recounting things with their own spin on it became essential for the accusation that the Jewish leaders had killed the Messiah.

The motivation for this is that Jesus may very well have been a man who successfully created a movement of reform and the Jewish leaders, by killing him, had created a martyr.  It is not hard to see how the disciples, motivated by a desire for the resurrection to be true and to create Jesus as the Messiah, would stretch the truth and follow rumors and ‘urban legends’ of Jesus of Nazareth to do so. For later Christians, these become the basis for theology that allows Jesus to be the answer to the sin question and how Jesus was both God and Man.

Spirituality:

While a great many Christians, particularly women, draw a lot of spiritual strength from Mary’s Story, I look at it more as identification with a character caught in a bad situation that has a great story to get herself out of it and go from being a immoral unwed mother, to the mother of the Messiah.  I can see where a lot of women would love that idea and emotionally and spiritually resonate with it. Even those who might think it is not true fully understand given Mary’s Culture why she would do it. In the movie Saved! – the character Mary remarks in one scene how she could understand, being pregnant herself in the movie, why a girl would make up such a story.

Conclusion:

My thoughts are this, I think Jesus of Nazareth was a real person but I think after thirty years before the first writing on his life a lot of mythology and what we would term ‘urban legend’ became built around him that also got into the story.  One of the examples is the virgin birth story which appears late in the accounts like it was a reaction to criticism of Jewish leaders that the prophecy in Isaiah is not fulfilled by Jesus of Nazareth.  So Matthew records the story of Joseph with his reaction to her being pregnant and later on a little bit after that Luke does the same from Mary’s point of view.  Except this does not even meet the Bible’s own criteria of ‘two or three witnesses” as each account is only one person’s perspective and with no other witnesses.

What really happened?  Most likely Joseph and Mary had sex before they were married.  A common tale even back then.  Joseph may very well have simply decided to marry her because it was his child; which oddly enough the Law of Moses would have accepted provided he gives up is right to divorce her later. Joseph and Mary would have lived with a cultural stigma after that which would have cast her in particular as an immoral woman.

Fast forward some decades and their son actually becomes a great Rabbi and critic of the religious leadership.  He gets killed and becomes a martyr.  Mary finds herself with the opportunity presented by the new but fanatical Christians to vindicate herself and be the mother of the Messiah, to no longer be considered an immoral woman.

So that is what she did.  The story gets changed so that she is a virgin and both she and Joseph have visits by angels no one else sees and they decide to get married after all. She was a virgin until after Jesus was born and the prophecy fulfilled.  Of course, there are no witnesses to this other than Mary herself and so we must take her word for it. No physical exam, no other witnesses of the angels in question, nothing but her word.

I think the more simple explanation is she made it up to vindicate herself.  It is not something Christians want to hear but it seems to be very likely given her culture and her desire to clear her name would have been very strong.  It is just unfortunate how far people have taken this legend. I mean people actually pray to this woman now and she is probably nothing more than a woman who either told the story to save her ass or vindicate herself as an older woman who had lived with the stigma of being immoral all her life. She definitely improved her status in retrospect so the story worked.

So there it is a sample page from my non-fiction book although it will be much more extensive and much more complete and referenced. Hope you enjoyed it.

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

Crossing Bifrost: The Norse World – Alfheim

Happy Sun’s Day

Alfheim. The land of the elves. Elves do not figure prominently in the Viking legends but they do appear often as spirits in Viking belief.  The high elves live in the higher realm of Alfheim. This is the hall and land of the Freyr who is one of the gods.

See the source image

I will get more into the light elves when I talk about them more directly but part of their personality can be seen in some respects in the land they dwell in.  Much like Valheim, Alfheim has no borders.  It is not wald because of the suffix ‘-heim’ rather than ‘-gard’.  That said there is a feeling of an odd combination of wild lands couple with civilization blending in harmony.

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Norse mythology does not play this realm or its people into the stories very much if at all. It has however been the inspiration of many things in literature and pop culture.  The most notable being the feeling one gets from Rivendell in the Lord of the Rings. But it has also spawned at least one online game and probably this notion of the perfect blend on civilization yet respecting the wilds of nature is very popular.

See the source image

For myself, I would say once again the ideas behind this realm came to me indirectly. Part of it I used in the now gone – Grove of the Red Tree as a setting for part of the Hedge Wizard of Redberg. That said there is this notion personally I have of a place where the comforts of civilization meet the wonders and beauty of nature. Alfheim fits that very nicely. I suppose there is some poetry I have done with Alfheim as the feeling I am after.

As for the elves that live there, they, of course, are everywhere.

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

Skaal!!!

Crossing Bifrost – The Norse World: Vanaheim

Happy Sun’s Day

Basically the Home of Vanir.  I will probably do a different post of the fact that the Vanir and Aesir gods are different gods but the mythology joins them at some point so they are one and Vanaheim, the realm of the Vanir, becomes part of Asgard the realm of the Aesir.  The gods associated with the Vanir tend to be fertility and nature gods and goddesses and their realm reflects that. Except for the only thing we really have to go on is that the ending of the word removes the boundary which indicated Vanaheim might be a little less civilized and wild.

See the source image

What we have is a realm were the Vanir who are mostly fertility an nature gods and goddess would feel at home.  Wild and untamed in some ways where they could play, enjoy the natural beauty of their realm and as fertility gods and goddesses – make love.

See the source image

As a writer, you can see elements in other literature of a wild but wonderful place.  One might think of Tolkien’s Elves in the Lord of the Ring Series but I am thinking the real we will talk about next Alfheim.  That said there is something mysterious about this realm because we know so little about it.  It speaks very well of nature’s nature.

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I have been hiking enough to feel this type of mystery where even an old familiar path can surprise you with something new. An event that took place during a thunderstorm that leaves a fallen limb where none was before. An animal on the path.  There is a wild wonder to it that speaks of Vanaheim.

See the source image

In my writing, I have yet to take a character of any type to Vanaheim but I can see its potential as a place of wild wonder, sensuality, nature, and mystery.  And not necessarily always calm and serene.  Thunder, snow, and rain are part of nature and so part of Vanaheim. I suppose in retrospect, I drew much of my inspiration for the Red Tree Grove of The Hedge Wizard of Redberg (now gone) from the imagery it has, but through other sources that were indirect. I will very likely use this idea of a wild natural place of freedom again.  It also presents a contrast between the high point of civilization that is Asgard but the contrast isn’t a war, but both sides of the coin of human experience.

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

Skaal!!!

Odin’s Eye – Religion Problems: The Growing Unaffiliated ‘Religion’ in the USA

Happy Thor’s Day

Discussion:

In the United States where I live, the number of religiously ‘unaffiliated’ is growing. What is shrinking is White Protestantism and Catholicism particularly with Generation X and the millennials.  Below is a good statistical graph of what is happening.

https://www.statista.com/statistics/245453/religious-affiliation-in-the-united-states-by-age/

In short, older people are clinging to what they know and were taught, but younger people saying ‘fuck that shit.” It also true that as people age death and what follows it becomes more of a thing to them.  But that does not account for the fact that a change is strongly evident. That Protestantism, particularly among whites but truly across the board, is shrinking in the United States and Catholicism as well.  What is happening?

There are a lot of things that one could say here, but for me, I understand one thing for certain – that information is far more available and then there is no way to prevent people from getting alternative opinions. If one has an internet connection, you can find alternatives opinions and arguments against any religion and faith with ease. The two generations that have enjoyed this state of affairs the most are the Millenials and Generation X.  Both of these groups have had the luxury of when any opinion is offered of being able to find a counter opinion in seconds and not just one counter opinion but many.

Of course, Christians fear what means. But in truth, this country was not founded as a Christian one but a secular one based on reason. It could be argued that we are simply returning to where we came from. I question whether this is a bad thing at all.  As we look through the eye today I can only tell my personal story of becoming one of the Unaffiliated. I don’t know if it is typical, but I think it might be the pattern for most.

Time to Look Through the Eye:

Faith:

In the case of Christianity, faith rests on the story of Jesus Christ being true. Not just parts of it but all of it.  Without this, faith is simply not possible.  Paul’s argument in the 1 Corinthians 15 is true in that regard that without the historical resurrection, Christianity is founded on nothing. The problem is that the gospels are problematic as I pointed out in this post: Odin’s Eye – Bible Problems: The Four Gospels. Because of this, the real Jesus of Nazareth is obscured by disciples who created what amounts to a tall tale with no historical verification. In many cases, stories are told alone without even the other gospels to back them up. Once the truth of this was apparent to me, I realized my faith in Christianity was based in large part on nothing but unverified stories that were no better or worse than the stories of any other mythology.

Religion:

My religion was no help here in preserving my faith.  Nor was my experience or education in Christianity a bolster to my sagging faith.  In fact, my traditions repeatedly informed me it was dangerous to ask such questions.  My response was: ‘if my religion cannot handle questions and the god they proclaim cannot stand the scrutiny of logic, then both are weak and not worth serving’. Religion as a general rule doesn’t like questions and would rather have people blindly follow than analyze the doctrines and theology.  My problem was I have always been a rebel in that regard; and when it comes to theology, I am a guy with a degree in theology and that journey actually drove me to realize that all ideas about the divine are strictly opinion based on man’s thoughts about god.

Theology:

As a theologian, I thought a lot about God.  Mostly the problem was how to get the god of the Protestant Bible to make sense. The best I could do was to abandon the idea that god controlled everything; because if he did, then he was an evil fuck.  No matter how you shake and dance, the god of scripture seems very human. Being jealous and acting in ways that would make tyrants look benevolent. He creates man knowing he is going to suffer and do evil things and then yet punishes them for the way he created them. The god of the bible promotes a certain morality, commands it even, and then breaks it himself.  Over time, this and my other Four Major Objections to Christianity formed out of my theological struggles and I simply could not reconcile them.  In the end, I found myself a pastor without any faith.

Spirituality:

The hard cold truth is that our spirituality is chosen.  It cannot be imposed and the reason I was a Christian all those years was not that Christianity as faith, religion or theology could prove itself true.  It was because it was how I chose to engage the spiritual reality that I perceived around me.  Once this truth dawned on me, I left Christianity to follow a more spiritual path without religion imposing on me the thoughts of others. I find a lot more peace about it these days.

Conclusion:

I don’t know how typical I am here but I do know one thing.  All of this journey was possible because my access to information and counter-arguments was right at my fingertips. Books, articles and web pages in abundance offered up alternatives to the arguments Christians used to defend themselves and their beliefs and in the end, they prevailed to the point I could not accept Christianity anymore. I think this is basically what is happening in American as a whole.  It just took longer for me to join the religion known as “Unaffiliated” than others.  It is a new path for me, but one I new cheerfully embrace.  I consider it an honor to be a part of a time where religion is in retreat and perhaps there is a new chance for Reason to reign instead. Or at the very least where people can be Unaffiliated and free from religion’s control.

Continuing to Walk the Path,

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

Skaal!!!

Crossing Bifrost – The Norse World: Helheim

Happy Saturn’s Day

One of two realms of the underworld, depending on which way you divide up the nine worlds, Helheim is the realm of the Dead and the sphere of power for the goddess Hel.  Hel is the goddess of the dead and their caretaker. This place only really shares the name I common with the Christian notion.  It is a far different place than the Chrisitan Hell or Hades.

See the source image

Most notably there is some debate as to whether this place is even about punishment. The Viking concept of the afterlife doesn’t seem to have much in the way of moral good going to paradise and moral bad going to punishment.  Rather, it is how one dies that seems to determine eternal destiny. In the case of those who go to Helheim, it is more about the fact they did not die in battle but died of natural causes.

See the source image

This is why the Realm of Helheim is so differently described.  It is in much of the mythology, just an underground place where life continues much as it did before. People do much the same as they did before when they were alive – drinking. fighting, eating, fucking, sleeping, etc. It is just that is all that it is – a continuation without end.

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Later on, other writers add to Helheim being a cold, misty land – like a cold marsh with stone islands or a place of drab grey.  The notion of a river that encircles the place that cannot be cross once one enters the fence surrounding Helheim is there too.  A dog known as Garm guards it and a giant whose name is translated “Corpse Eater” watches over it. It seems a lot of this darker version of Helheim comes later when Christianity is more prevalent and is probably due to that influence.

See the source image

In my own writings, I chose a middle path between the two.  My notion was the continuation of life but in a place where that continuation no longer gives much joy or comfort. A grey world that is dull and not interesting in the slightest.  A life that is just being alive but not living fully. No battle, no songs, no celebrations or holidays.  Just the same thing over and over all day and every day.  If Boredom and/or Depression could be turned into a place, that is what I chose to portray Helheim being.

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If there is historically anything to look at it is as many scholars present that the view of Helheim changes as Christianity becomes more and more prevalent.  It becomes darker and more sinister.  Probably to reflect the ‘moral character’ view of the afterlife. It shows how the stories of mythology change base on what surrounds them and that is a good lesson to learn.  Even when the stories are written down, how they are emotionally perceived changes with time and other influences.

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

Skaal!!!

Crossing Bifrost – The Norse World: Midgard

Happy Saturn’s Day

The ‘Middle Garden” or “MIddle World” is the realm of men.  It is the place where men dwell and live. It like Asgard has protections built around it to protect it from the Giants.  It is on the same level as some of the other realms we will talk about like Svartalfheim and Nidavellir.  The land of the dark elves and dwarves respectively.

As the name implies, it is the middle realm of all the realms and thus has a way to access each of the other realms.  It was formed out of the giant Ymir’s body and thus became the middle world connecting all others. At the same the defense keep partially protected the theory being that Midgard, the realm of men, is striving to be more like Asgard with its civilization and culture, while at the same time affected and protect from giants by both the fence created by Ymir’s eyebrows and the wilderness that is as hostile to giants as it is to men.

In Norse culture, building a fence around one’s farm or another property was symbolic of creating order within and protecting that from without by the fence. Midgard in miniature if you will.  The notion of taking from the wilds what is needed and then fashioning it into order and protection is very present here as Midgard strives to me more like the high realm of Asgard.

One important part of Midgard is the notion of the Midgard Serpent Jorganmund (one of Loki’s children) that encircles it threatening to squeeze it into oblivion.  Thor battles the serpent on several occasions to keep this from happening.

Every mythology has a creation story where the realm of men is made.  It is always lower than the realm of the gods in some way but still very important.  In Norse Mythology, it is the realm of men and struggle between the chaos of the cosmic forces of the giants and the order and structure that is found with the gods.

Every story has a place where most of the action of the story takes place.  In the case of Midgard this mostly true as the Mythology takes place a lot in Midgard but also the other realms get their share. Midgard seems however to be the place of travel and struggle.  The place where men take the wild world around them and shape it into something they can use and grow with as a race.

During Ragnarok, it will sink into the sea and be the bones for the new world that hopefully rise from its depths.

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!!!

Crossing Bifrost – The Norse World: Asgard

Happy Saturn’s Day

Over the next nine weeks or so I am going to talk about the nine worlds of Norse Mythology.  The main point being to learn about the stage on which the players of Norse Mythology act.  I will start with Asgard.

Asgard is the realm of the gods known as the Aesir and is the realm of the sky connected to Midgard by the Bifrost Bridge.  It is the walled realm in which the gods dwell and are protected.  Outside this wall is Midgard the realm of mortals.  Asgard is the highest realm of the world and is divided into 12 other smaller realms each with its own hall and principal god. The most important of these was Valhalla, the residence of Odin, king of the gods.

The Walls of Asgard are part of he mythology as a they were built by Blast.  Blast using his great steed built the walls in almost six months.  Loki the trickster god, tricked his horse away from the work so Blast had to finish it on his own and thus failed to finish on time and thus forfeited payment (the sun and the moon).

In the Middle of Asgard lies the plains of Ida where the gods meet to discuss and decided important matters each day.  There are two halls here – one of the gods and one for the goddesses. The Well of Urd is also in Asgard underneath the one root of Yggdrasil where the gods meet each day as well.

Asgard represents all that is highest and most civilized in the world.  Carved out by the gods against the chaos forces of the giants and represent all that can be accomplished through bringing those forces to order.

Every mythology has in their system of belief a place to go after death that is the highest one can achieve.  In the case of the Nordic people, that place was Asgard and the hall of Odin – Valhalla. I will deal with the Halls of Norse mythology at a later time.

From a story point of view. There needs to be a place that people are always trying to get to that is the best both in life and in death. It is an old theme and very common. As we look further at the other realms they will always be contrasted with this one – Asgard.

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

Skaal!!!