Thoughts on 2022

Happy Sif’s Day and Happy New Year!

I look back on 2022 with frustration and some sense of self-discovery. It’s amazing how much those two go hand in hand.

My frustrations stem from a lack of satisfaction with where I am and what I am doing. I dislike Texas for a lot of reasons. I don’t enjoy the politics of it; the sub-tropical climate without any season to speak of; unless you count moving from green to brown of the foliage at times. The people are friendly enough but their viewpoints on life deeply seep into Christianity. The Bible Belt is alive and well. I reminded of a Viking saying about Christians – “Don’t trust them – they talk peace but carry a sword”. Christians are on the defensive so they are apologetic and kind. Just wait if the tables ever turn. I remember the 80s and 90s all too well. Politics, Climate, Religion, and Oh, Yes. Houston is without a doubt one of the worst-designed cities on the planet. One of the costs one expects in a city is that its design would help with is transport costs. But no, Houston is designed in such a way that you have to drive everywhere, even down a couple of blocks because public transport is a joke and sidewalks are non-existent as far as I can tell. Overall, I would say the environment fits me like a size 6 shoe and I have 10 and a half feet.

Top it off, my dissatisfaction with being a public school teacher has grown to the point that I want to be done at the end of the semester. I will finish out my contract and call it good. I hear most don’t last between 2-5 years so I am in good company. For me it is a little different – this job requires me to care too much – much as I did as a pastor. This is bad for me personally for a number of reasons. I am burnt out from caring about so many. I just can’t do it much longer. I hope that makes sense. It’s not that I don’t care about people, but the direct involvement in a lot of things in everyone’s life – I just can handle based on the simple fact that I get tired of doing it. I am worn out from that, I now understand I am probably too old to get that fire I used to get from helping people like that back. I will send myself to an early grave with the stress of my emotions. I no longer can help at a deep level without it triggering a lot of the Grey for me. My empathy is killing me at this point.

It’s this fact that has triggered The Grey a lot for me. It has led to the self-discovery that when I help others, I fail to take care of myself. This is not about selfishness – it’s about self-preservation. I getting too old for this shit. I have a lot of goals I have yet to achieve and this is not the way. My self-care has suffered and I can’t let that continue.

So in Viking Spirit, I am planning on ending my raid into Texas this summer and heading back home – north – back to Michigan. I can handle one more semester as long as I know it is the last one. But also during this semester, I need to get back to my coping mechanisms that keep the Grey at bay and make my life better overall. I need to once again put myself first. Getting Back to lifting weights, proper diet, writing, reading, meditation, and plan simply being a voice in the world for the NNV and Reason. To live the Viking Life in the modern age.

I suppose the one positive of raids is the plunder is good. I have made more in the last year and a half than four full years of ministry. That said, teaching is a tough job that deserves more. I think I can do better now that I have some measure of what it means to focus on things. Just wish I had a shieldmaiden by my side to help me with the burden of life. That would have made things easier. I haven’t found any shieldmaidens in Texas, maybe they are all northern gals. So I would be headed in the right direction. Tomorrow’s post will have more details on my vision for 2023.

I remain.

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

Skal!!!

The Flexible Nature of Pagan Philosophy

Happy Thor’s Day!

A commenter recently asked if I would explain where I am now to help understand my journey from Christian Pastor to the present. I would and have been classifying myself as a Pagan Atheist for some time now. The Atheist part is easy to understand or so you would think so. Simply put I do not believe in gods, goddesses, or even spiritual beings or forces because I do not find the evidence for the existence of these things to be at all convincing.

The pagan part is more difficult to define outside the spiritual side of it. Paganism throws around terms like “sacred, divine, etc: but my previously stated lack of belief in such things as spirits and gods or even sacredness throws a lot of that aside. In this expression of spirituality, one does find a philosophy based on a genuine and real world. People looked at the world around them and came up with observations that still hold today but wherever they didn’t understand the why or how – they made things up like religion and gods.

Of all religions, paganism is grounded the most in real life to me. It upholds the virtues of mankind as central. For me, the Nine Noble Virtues (NNV) has become my code of life and there is really no requirement to believe in the supernatural to follow after the NNV. It could also be noted that the NNV provides a connection between most people as things like ‘courage’ ‘truth’ or ‘self-reliance’ can be discussed between people regardless of religion or philosophy.

I can easily sit down at a table with a Muslim, a Christian, and a Pagan and discuss what it means to have honor. We all would have differences in what honor is, but the basic idea would be there for all of us as a starting point. The differences would be in how ‘honor’ would be expressed. Those differences would be obvious, but what honor is would be understood. at least at a core level.

I chose paganism because of its practical truths such as the NNV. But also the viewpoints tend to be grounded in reality. That said, how the reality I interpreted can vary from pagan to pagan in very different and unique ways. There is really no right or wrong way to be a pagan. Most do have as a core three central cornerstones, but some of these cornerstones include the belief in things that are not proven, but a kernel of truth is still present that I can uphold because I think the philosophy works.

It should be noted here that I have looked at where ethics and morality come from and I don’t find that religion is the source of these things, but rather humans create ethics and philosophy as a society for the purpose of mutual benefit for all. Religion comes along and simply gets created to uphold the virtues and philosophy of life that already exist. Religion is a preserver of traditions but often has nothing to d with creating those traditions in the first place. It also has a tendency to pervert those traditions in the name of acquiring power for both the ruling and religious classes in society. Taking the good functioning element and seizing control of it and claiming divine origin is a classic religious staple.

Perhaps an example is in order. Marriage and in particular the nuclear marriage of one man and one woman. From an evolutionary standpoint, this works. You don’t need to be religious to see that. This issue is what came first. I believe people were living in nuclear arrangments for literally millions of years before religion came along and claimed the origin of marriage and the nuclear family that followed was of divine origin. It simply worked and became something valued because it worked.

But back o the cornerstones of basic pagan belief. 1) There is a belief in the importance or sacredness of nature.2) Reverence for ancestors and 3) acknowledgment of the divine within ourselves. If I were to take the spiritualized nature out of these things it becomes 1) The understanding of the importance of the natural world. 2) Respect for those who came before us and 3) recognition of the value of each human being including myself. I want to do a post on each of these things, so I will leave these cornerstones for the moment.

The point of this post is this is my interpretation of these and that is perfectly OK in paganism. Paganism is flexible and its philosophy is malleable. It can be shaped more specifically for each individual. That to me is more realistic that a philosophy that dictates terms to the individual they are forced into. Pagan philosophy is a tool for understanding the world and our role in it, not a dictator telling us what to do.

I remain.

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

Skal!!!

Re-Imagining The Grey Wayfarer

Happy Sol’s Day!

I haven’t sat down and written in forever; partly, it is the lack of inspiration. The other part of it is the time excuse but that is what it is – an excuse. To be fair to myself, I am learning a new job that is time intensive. That said, I have made a point to keep working at work and home at home. So is it a time thing or a making the time thing and then being disciplined about it. The latter is more likely. Mostly, I have just been wrestling against my depression.

Yes, The Grey, my old traveling companion down the road of life. It is at least a consistent companion if nothing else. Mostly it stems from being alone most of the time. I make enough money to survive and get ahead on paying debts but not much after that. I spend a lot of time at home alone. I thus do a lot of thinking -gasp – and that is a dangerous pastime as everyone knows. I am wrestling mostly with my future choices. What do I want to be?

I was the Rabyd Atheist for a while but the thought that kept running through my head was “is this what I want to define me?” I now think while I remain an atheist with a great deconversion story, I want that to be it. There is more to me than being an atheist and I want to search that out what that might be.

I am a social studies teacher in high school, but that is losing its allure as well. I think after so long as being the guy who called the shots, I don’t see that as often as I feel every time I turn around someone is joggling my elbow. Teaching is a craft to be sure but I find it time-consuming and frustrating for the above-stated reason. Honestly, I would rather e writing and hiking somewhere. Is it possible to make a living with some other job and still have time for the things I enjoy? It’s something I need to research.

As to this blog, I am Re-Imagining it to be something else. I still follow pagan philosophy and the Nine Noble Virtues. The issue is the application for me these days. Putting things into practice. So perhaps It is time to journal on these efforts again. We will see. In the meantime, you can see that I am still around and alive and well, despite the Grey.

I remain.

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

Skal!!!

“Naming Day” – The Grey Wayfarer Pub – Episode 3

Happy Thor’s Day!

It’s been a month since last I wrote. I have been busy and now is the time to journal the results.

First I Had to personally move into the top-floor apartment. It was actually a simple affair with a single bedroom for my king-sized bed with some room to spare and a fairly spacious bathroom next to that. The entire front was an open loft-like arrangement with a kitchen, dining nook, and a living area which I devoted to my books a reading chair, and a sofa for guests. No Television. Comfortable and functional. Honestly, I spend very little time here except to get some sleep, eat, and do some reading at the end of the day.

The basement is more of my second home now. It is my alchemy lab in truth now. Several tables with chemical and alchemical apparatus covering them. One whole wall is now devoted to ingredients for my potions. Part of it though is my brewing equipment for my own alcoholic beverages. In particular, I have chosen to go with Mead. Mead is expensive and for good reason – honey. But I have discovered one thing about it as well. Because the ingredients are in some senses precious – the potions I make with mead have been shall we say more potent.

Now the real trick to alchemy is the magic part. It has to be drawn from your own inner philosophy and inner most beliefs. Theology does not work for me anymore and is quite frankly unstable as nitroglycerin as far as results. It’s the fact that theology is made up for the most part and lives in a double fantasy of sorts. It requires a lot of cheats and leaps of logic to get it to even be usable and even then its effects can be quite weird. It’s why the cure for vampirism eventually failed as theology is my magic force that doesn’t hold the magic that well. The cure had a shelf life and then the magic didn’t work at all once I didn’t believe.

So as I am setting up my lab I was also experimenting with products to sell and I have found that from a physical base form point of view mead is damn good at holding magic and tends to actually act as an enhancer of magical effect. So my mead production began at once. Thankfully the base magic I add to it makes the fermentation process go even faster. The base magic in general is the simple philosophy of living a virtuous life. The basic effect of the mead is that it quickens thought and reflection as well as having enough kick to knock a frost giant on his ass.

The rest of the magic is to take this base mead and add different ingredients and effects to make it more specialized. I have a lot of experimenting to do but the alchemy is working again and for that, I am thankful as I want a local brew to sell.

The bar itself is now nearly complete. Stools are redressed in grey vinal with a silver sheen and the five booths are much the same. The bar is restocked and the small cooking alcove is fixed up and stocked as well. I redid the bathrooms as they were pretty much trashed. I basically made two unisex bathrooms with nice fixtures and set up to do pretty much everything regardless of the sex of the occupant. I am just thinking ahead on that I suppose.

Finally, I added some touches from the old pub. I had my silver shield and shotgun shipped in and placed them under the bar. The painting of Miss Wine from the Pub. Her naked reclining form fits right at home here in the pub. Last I knew she had left the US to take an undisclosed job for the Shields. It must have been pretty hush-hush as even I couldn’t get info on it and I have pretty high clearance. That said, the painting was done by a man who knew his oils and made her beautiful and restful. Last, of all, I put up a small sign next to the painting – “Clothing Optional”. Some things will never change for me.

Outside there now hangs a sign which up to today was covered to prevent it from being read. But today I removed it as it is the official naming day for the pub. Both sides have the same scene of an old man traveling a path. Above him fly two ravens and two wolves are on the path with him. The word along the top and bottom: “The Grey Wayfarer”. Not so coincidentally, this is also the name of my new Mead “Grey Wayfarer Mead”.

I am happy with the place and the grand opening is in two weeks. Now all I need to do is hire some staff.

Author’s Notes:

Starting something new, forward in the timeline, but returning as something low-powered is tough unless there is a good explanation.

In this case, it is the bartender who has changed. He is having to rediscover and rebuild and so his power is diminished and his friends are scattered requiring him to make new ones (although some old characters might make a guest appearance). This means the change is causing a reset.

I remain.

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

Skal!!!

Nine Noble Virtues – “Discipline”

Happy Odin’s Day!

Discipline – “I do what is necessary and right of my own accord without bribe or threat.”

I know of no person who has accomplished anything without discipline. Discipline I doing the right and necessary things over and over again. A person does this not because they are bribed or coerced, but because simply that they are the right things to do, they are necessary to do.

For me, the focus has shifted to being a little more specific. To do the right and necessary things out of habit. Daily habit. This means coming up with routines.

As overall virtue, discipline helps us all in more than the daily accomplishments of life. Its connection with honor is unmistakable as doing what is right without bribe or threat is also an aspect of honor. The habits of a person’s life lead to a disciplined life of honor. It is one of those virtues that crosses over into a lot of areas.

Discipline can also be shared with others. Discipline is given as a virtue to others through training, teaching, and instruction. None of us learn from others without accepting their discipline of what they tell us to do.

I remain.

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

Skal!!!

Nine Noble Virtues – “Courage – Fear is a Choice”

Happy Odin’s Day!

“I will face my fears and defend my family and kindred from all dangers”

As a Christian, I was sold on the notion that perfect love casts out fear. Until you realize that the organized monotheistic religions all live and continue to exist based on fear of hell or punishment. There is no real love in it. So love doesn’t really cast out fear.

There is also the statement that Fear is not real. But the statement kind of indicates fear is a choice. I am not sure about that completely, but I get the sentiment that we choose in some ways to let fear paralyze us. It is a choice to be fearful. Or perhaps we chose to deal with our fears by either submitting to them or dismissing them and forging forward despite them.

The only part of this philosophy I truly follow when it comes to the Nine Noble Virtues is to face my fear and defend those who I love as an action. Courage is the force that overcomes these. Courage is the choice to defend rather than to run.

I remain.

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

Skal!!!

Nine Noble Virtues – “Nine to Three to One”

Happy Odin’s Day!

When I first started this blog I would talk about the Nine Noble Virtues (NNV) and then talk about the three higher vitrues of Love, Justice and Wisdom. I still beleive in these higher virtues I will jsut talk about to them less becasue as I have tried ot live my life by the NNV I now recognize that these higher virtues simply are more and more just a result of living the NNV. It’s simply a matter of growth.

This has led me to seeing that all virtues in the NNV form the threefold cord of Justice, Love and Wisdom. These three virtues form the Noble Life. This is the one goal – a life that is lived in nobility of character and humanity. The Nine form the Three and the three twist into the life that is lived in nobility. A Noble Life is the ultimate goal of the NNV.

The big thing for me as why I follow this philosophy is that anyone can do this. Wealth or skill or experience does not matter. What matters is that one pursue virtues to get to the noble life lived. Nine to three to one.

I remain.

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

Skal!!!

“Solitary” – A Poem

Happy Mani’s Day!

“Solitary” – A Poem

I travel the world alone

Solitary

I search and wander

Solitary

I am not lost

Solitary

I look for knowledge and wisdom

Solitary

To protect what I love

Solitary

But I do it alone

Solitary

Because none but me should bear the cost.

I remain.

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

Skal!!!

Nine Noble Virtues – Interconnected

Happy Odin’s Day!

The Nine Noble Virtues (NNV) each have their own purpose. The surprising thing is how much they overlap and often two or more virtues work in you t the same time. Discipline, Industriousness, and Self-Reliance often work together to bring prosperity into one’s life. Fidelity and Self-Reliance provide a balance between not being a burden to others while at the same time being a support to family and friends.

For me, there have been other aspects. I used to group the virtues by function in the past, and I no longer do that. The idea that some virtues are more in tune with love or justice or wisdom was something I thought until I realized that by living the nine virtues, all nine lead to being a person with these qualities. It’s a simple change, but in my meditations, I realize truth can be about love, justice, or wisdom. sometimes all three at once. I realized I was limiting what each virtue could do by such assumptions and categories.

This actually simplified things rather than complicated them. I now can meditate on the NNV without really keeping each one of them in a box. I don;t have to have a filter as to where they must go. Life meets virtue and what virtue might be the most helpful at that moment could be any one of them. It’s both freeing and simplified.

I find myself these days meditating on this interconnectedness far more than each virtue on its own. How do they twist into that cord or symbol that is the whole of being a virtuous person? It’s refreshing in some ways.

I remain.

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

Skal!!!

Routine Adjustments and Forming Habits

Happy Sol’s Day!

So what is the vision for myself I am trying to base my goals and thus what habits do I need to form on daily basis to achieve them? So we start with my vision of what I would like to see myself be. This has a few new elements seeing I am now single and working toward better things for me without consideration for a significant other. This has its own challenges because I am doing it with one income and without someone to run it through as a filter. I do consider that last part to be a bit of a weakness of being single.

My vision for myself has some specifics in that I value strength, masculinity, rationality, virtue, and quality of relationships over quantity. I also believe these work together and fortify each other. Thus the reason I used the quote from Henry Rollins for this post. One strength leads to another. So what habits do I need to achieve this?

The problem with this for me right now is that I recognize this as a process. Because of this habits may need to be added once I recognize the need for them, and others might need to be dropped. This is an evolving list and one that is going to change with time and further consideration. Thus the Daily Routine. Each item is designed to bring me day by day to some part of the vision. It’s interesting that this almost eliminates the idea of goals, now that I think of it, other than the goal is to create habits that create the vision of what I want to be.

The Grey Wayfarer’s Daily Routine (as of 5-15-22)

  1. Get up and Make the Bed: Goes to Mental Health. I can say at any time of the day I have made my bed. It’s also nice at the end of the day to climb into a made bed, even though the other side is empty right now. I miss cuddling the most. I usually get up 3am.
  2. Meditation on the Nine Noble Virtues: Goes to Virtue. Basically, I read through them three times out loud. This is my way of coming to a better understanding of the virtues and thinking about how to apply them.
  3. Full Body Stretch: Goes to Strength of Body and Masculinity. I also put on my headphones at this point to listen to Viking Wisdom and Warrior Wisdom.
  4. Weight Training: Goes to Strength and Masculinity. I am still usually listening to Wisdom and Motivational stuff on my headphones. This is Monday through Saturday Only.
  5. Breakfast and Supplements: Goes Strength and Masculinity. My Diet is Cave Man (Paleo).
  6. Shit, Shower and Shave: Physical Health: Part of the Viking Wisdom I listen to is the expression about not worrying about the simplicity of Dress but rather worrying about health and Hygiene. Being clean and hygienic of body is more important than what you wear on that body.
  7. Get Dressed for the Day: Mental Health: This is the first mental acknowledgment that I am going to have to go outdoors so I need to prepare. It should be noted that 1 through 6 are done in the nude. I sleep naked as it leads to a more restful night of sleep for me. When I get up I fail to see the point of getting dressed to just take it off again to take a shower. I am comfortable in my own skin and tend to be an at-home nudist anyway. I have also found this leads to a good mental state of “This is me in the raw, what I am stripped down – what am I capable of like this?”
  8. Get ready for work: This is Monday through Friday only. It leads to financial health but there is a mental shift going on as well. I have a separate work routine. I will probably go over that at some point.
  9. Record YouTube Video for The Rabyd Atheist. Edit and Post. Goes to being socially strong. Having a voice in the world. I used to do this later but a practical concern caused me to change it to earlier. That concern is that after school the kids in my apartment complex play loudly. So Yesterday I made the decision to record as soon as I am ready for work. Even if I have to go to work right after I record I can pick this up later. Usually, I have plenty of time, as my routine (the more I get used to it) goes faster and takes less time.
  10. Write Post for The Grey Wayfarer: Goes to Mental Health and Social. I also have a vision of myself as being a philosopher writing out his wisdom at the end of his life. I am the guy who played LIFE the board game and wondered why retiring and becoming a philosopher was a bad outcome.
  11. Study: 30 mInutes: Right now this comes before reading because I am trying to finish my training for my teacher certification and working on it for a half-hour a day seems reasonable
  12. Reading – 3 chapters. God for me as the scholar and it starts to mark me coming down from the day. I find reading both engaging and relaxing. Mental Health here as well.
  13. Cleaning: 30 mInutes. This is more of a mental thing as well. This is also more of the spot cleaning of a room or rooms as on Sunday I have a full reset cleaning I do. Keeping my environment clean and in line with my tastes goes a long way toward fighting my depression.
  14. Personal Business: Mail, email, paying bills. I am probably going to morph this into planning and budgeting as I have a financial goal of getting debt-free as soon as possible.
  15. End the day: Take off my clothes and climb into bed. My alarms are all set through Alexa so. Sleep and reset.

Over time this should start to shape me in a lot of ways into a strong person of mind, body, and social responsibility. The only thing I am trying to add is a routine about staying connected to my family but in many ways that are in their hands as all my kids are welcome to interrupt my routine to talk to me. One of the perks of being my children. They are far busier than me so they all have permission to interrupt my life to talk to me.

I suspect that some of this will be changed over time and added to and subtracted from. There are two other routines in my life – Work and Sunday Rest. More on those next weekend.

I remain.

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

Skal!!!