“Revising the Ten Commandments – Part 1 – What Needs to Go” – The Rabyd Skald

Happy Sif’s Day

Well, we are coming to the end of the first year of The Grey Wayfarer and I thought I would do some things that are special for the final few days.  One thing I have been doing in my spare time is looking at videos of people revising the ten commandments from George Carlin to Atheists like Christopher Hitchens.  I have been thinking as my last public hurrah with being critical of Christianity (I am writing a book for publication on this, so from now on when I am a critic of my former faith, I expect to get paid for it), I should do the same. This will be in three parts:

Part 1 – What Needs to Go

Part 2 –  Positive Replacements

Part 3 –  Further Additions and Final Copy

The Ten Commandments are found in several places.  But I like Deuteronomy 5 the best:

# 1 – ‘I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. ‘You shall have no other gods before Me.

Well except this would have been a perfect time to abolish slavery in the whole of Israel as a testimony to its evil. It would have been symbolic of deliverance for the whole nation to be entirely free with no slavery at all. That does not happen as later commandments basically reaffirm slavery as legit and God’s people over and over to be slaves and bondslaves.  Bondslavery being condoned as a form of slavery where a person has Stockholm Syndrome so bad they wilfully become a lifelong slave.

In addition, this seems to be god trying to make people worship him instead of showing he is the only god and worthy of respect. It seems egotistical on god’s part and it is. More likely was written by a man who wanted his reign not to be questioned so he basically creates a God that is unassailable then says his reign it divinely appointed.  Yeah. goodbye.

#2 – You shall not make for yourself an idol or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

  1. This pretty much the most ignored command in all of the ten.  I mean go to any Catholic church.  But it goes much further than that – no creativity is allowed here which pretty much gets rid of creative thinkers.  Great way to keep people dumb and compliant.
  2. God is jealous but later calls jealousy a sin. No contradiction there.  Yeah, right.
  3. How is it just to punish children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren for crimes their parents committed. Talk about being a bully.  No standard of justice that is just would do this.  There is also no reverse promise that if one generation is faithful, then the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren would be blessed.

Goodbye.

#3 – ‘You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not [j]leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.

I have literally heard hundreds of interpretations of what this means. and none of them makes sense.  Of the commandments, it is the most nonsensical and controversial as far as meaning. Goodbye.

#4 – ‘Observe the sabbath day to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant or your ox or your donkey or any of your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you, so that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to observe the sabbath day.

Sounds good on the surface until you read the whole of all the sabbath laws and realize this is more about draconian totalitarian control than rest. One guy is literally killed for gathering sticks on the Sabbath. How is that eye for an eye? More like a scratch being punished by a stick to the eye. Interestingly enough Jesus does contradict this command and it is the only one the disciples and Jesus break even though he tells everyone that not one jot or tittle will pass from the law. Due to conflicting observation and overkill in punishment – Goodbye

#5 – ‘Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that your days may be prolonged and that it may go well with you on the land which the Lord your God gives you.

You have to ask yourself if the man who wrote this had an ironic tone as the punishment, for being a rebellious kid, was death, and it would be your parents that killed you  ‘Days might be prolonged’ indeed. Talk about training for someone to be an abject slave to their rulers, you don’t get better than this.  The potential for abuse is strong in this one as I have seen it firsthand.

If a parent wants honor they should earn it by being a good parent and quite frankly not demand it because of position but earn it by their character. You chose to have children so you are responsible for them.  You shouldn’t have them simply to have servants.  Goodbye.

#6 – ‘You shall not murder. 

Finally, one we can keep. But every law code has this idea and quite frankly it seems to be what we would call – ‘Duh’. I am glad it doesn’t stop all killing as perhaps someday a just war will be fought and self-defense should have killing allowed.

#7 – ‘You shall not commit adultery.

I am going to say what a lot of other commentators say on this one.  There wasn’t something you could have put here that was a more significant issue?  Like, say you should not have a slave or another bigger issue.

The punishment is pretty severe here too – death.  From painful experience, I can say adultery has its own consequences that are quite sufficient. Another case of “How is this eye for an eye?”  Goodbye.

# 8 – ‘You shall not steal.

Another one that is quite frankly – Duh and no real revelation. Law codes older than this one has this in it.  Plagiarism at its finest.

# 9 – You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Somewhat ahead of its time but not completely as it seems we have another ‘duh’ command here.  Lying to get an innocent person in trouble seems to be self evidently wrong.  Funny how the three I have kept either don’t require a divine entity to tell you them because it is obvious they are good, or that they seem to be in other law codes before this one already.

#10 – ‘You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, and you shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field or his male servant or his female servant, his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.’

What could be more Orwellian and totalitarian than thought crimes?  The second commandment makes you give up creative thought and this one makes you give up thoughts of any kind of desire.  Making you content with your lot in life even though it sucks.

It is also misogynist as fuck.  ‘Wives as possessions’ is so hot in the bible and the Law of Moses in particular. Property, not people – women equal to cattle is implied.  Goodbye.

We have THREE Survivors:

‘You shall not murder.

‘You shall not steal.

‘You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

So the ones with the moral equivalent of ” Duh, No Shit.” made it.

Hmm.  Need to replace seven of these bad boys. In Part Two we will do that.

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

“Tattooed Thoughts” – A Skald’s Life – Self Virtues

Happy Frigg and Freya’s Day. 

Journal Entry:

The Bucket list items for self-virtues have a lot to do with heritage, even more so now that I have changed one of them (see below).  Mostly though my thoughts are on the first tattoo that I want.  It is the bucket list item with the highest probability of being fulfilled this year.

I want all my tattoos to reflect both my philosophy and my journey through life.  After my post on Odin’s Eye this week, I know for sure it will be the valknut with rune circle.  I am not sure where yet, but that is going to be it. it will be in a place that can be covered for employment purposes, but when at home it will probably be visible in some way.

Discipline:

“Discipline is the willingness to be hard on oneself first and then if needed help with the development with others, so that greater purposes may be achieved.”

Principle: Apply discipline to every aspect of life that it can be applied.

Goal: To be following a full Paleo Diet by March 31, 2020.

Bucket List: Do a rebellious act on April 30th, 2020 – Beltane.

I change the date on this to reflect a more pagan viewpoint of celebrating Beltane.  That night when anything goes will be so for me.  With certain limitations fo course.  This is about embracing heritage more than anything and coupling it with a need for one undisciplined day a year.

Perseverance:

“Perseverance is the ability to stand up and return from defeat and failure”

Principle: Keep getting up after every defeat or failure.

Goal: To engage in an exercise program that involves weightlifting, hiking/walking, and stretching/ yoga an average of three days a week from April 1st, 2019 to March 31st, 2020

Bucket List: To get at least one tattoo by March 18th, 2020.

Already talked about this but it does have a time limit, my 51st birthday.

Fidelity: 

“Fidelity is the will to be loyal to one’s Gods and Goddesses, to one’s Folk, to one’s self, and loyalty to one’s friends was as valued as highly as loyalty to one’s family.”

Principle: Be loyal to those who have been loyal to me.

GoalCelebrate my wife and I’s 30th anniversary (June 10th, 2019) with a mini-vacation (achieved)

Bucket List: Discover all the countries of origin from my genetics and visit them all by March 18th, 2029.

This is a really long term bucket list item as it is basically still ten years away.  There is just a lot to do and I have a feeling I am going to need all the time I can get to make it happen.

Higher Virtue – Wisdom:

I know here is wisdom and I am talking about doing undisciplined things and getting a tattoo which some might consider unwise.  Part of wisdom is knowing when to set things aside and enjoy life and mark the milestones you have passed with a little celebration.

Rest Day Routine: 

  1. Morning Routine
  2. Wife: Communication / Cuddle Time
  3. Blogging – Organize, revise, write a new post for the next day, 15 min. work on fiction.
  4. Walking – 1 hour.
  5. Cleaning – varies but one room of the apartment at least.
  6. Reading – half an hour for enjoyment.

I really see no problems here other than I need to do it.

Goals and Bucket List Items Achieved (Since Summer 2018):

Goals Achieved: 3

  1. Graduated College with a BS in Political Science and minors in Economics and International Business – December 2018
  2. Finalize last requirements for my degree – Internship by May 2019 – May 2019
  3. Celebrate my wife and I’s 30th anniversary (June 10th, 2019) with a mini-vacation – June 2019

Bucket List Items Achieved: 0

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

“Minimalism and Time Management” – Of Wolves and Ravens – Minimalism

Happy Mani’s Day

Discussion

One of my overarching philosophies is the philosophy of minimalism.  That is the question that this adds is very simple – do I need this or does this bring me joy?  if the answer is ‘no’ then minimalism says that you get rid fo it.  Now, this does not just apply to things like furniture and clothes, but also relationships, health, fitness, and just about anything else that this question can be leveled at.

One of the key issues is what you are spending time on.  All things take up time and the minimalist question is whether or not the time should or should not be spent. is the time spent necessary and does it bring happiness?  If not, why are you spending them on this whatever it is?

Behind the statement “Feed the Wolves, but Listen to the Ravens First” is the wisdom and reason of ravens who are looking for things that better manage time and get rid fo time wasters. This is minimalism at its best.

To the Wolves and Ravens:

“Feed the Wolves, but Listen to the Ravens first.”

Needs (Geri):

The issue of need is always a sticky issue as what a person’s needs are can be far more than food or clothing, but also relationships and other things that allow a person to function.  There is a crossover between needs and wants but the question of do I need this to function as a human being is the starting point of being minimalist and how I spend my time.

As an example, my work wardrobe is the same and I actually have four copies of it.  Why? I spend zero time deciding what to wear for work. That time is better spent on other things like writing, and actual preparing for work.  I need to have clothes for work, but nothing says I need to have something different every single day so I save time by having it pretty much the same.  You could also accomplish this by having three to four preset outfits for work that you just rotate through.

Wants (Freki):

The second part of the question involves the wolf of want.  Does this bring me joy?  Does it make me happy?  I think this part is more about all the other things besides stuff.  Relationships, in particular, are here because some relationships are not only not needed, but they are negative and time wasters.  You might find more time if you just drop some of them and improve your attitude because you are not being drained.

For myself, my relationships are few right now but I would have to say very much necessary and they do provide some comfort and support so they do indeed provide from my happiness. My issue is new relationships as I am much more cautious about being sucked into a relationship that is going to take more than it gives. I spent a lot of time as a minister fostering relationships that were unnecessary, simply because it was expected and let me tell you I don’t want that anymore.  From a loyalty standpoint, family and friends are a different matter.  All other relationships, however, have to be carefully considered in the matter of how much time is required to maintain them.

Reason (Huginn):

I find reason is more helpful in assessing needs.  I can usually apply a pretty simple reasonable question; ‘have I used this in the last year because I needed to use it?’ and suddenly whether or not I do need it is pretty apparent.  I also can say this for relationships.  Work relationships are needed, so they stay on my lists but I am cautious about how much time I spend on each one.

Wisdom (Muninn):

The question of joy is a wisdom question because it doesn’t just involve a question of happiness but love, heart, and spirit.  There is more to joy than your own joy too.  ‘Does you having this thing give someone else joy?’ is a valid question.  I have a few things like that because other people gave them to me in trust that I would honor the spirit in which they were given.  Other things are just junk moving from one house to the next.

Long term thinking also hits this because I have a few other things that I know would give me joy if the context was right.  They may not be currently giving me joy but if things change I know (keyword ‘know’) they would.

Conclusion:

Minimalism plus time management is a healthy combo for the wolves and ravens. But minimalism properly practiced gives you more time to do other things and that is simply a fact.  It focuses my time on what is important and that is key to achieving my goals.

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

“Stoics and Epicureans” – Of Wolves and Ravens – Western Philosophy

Happy Tyr’s Day

Discussion

In Hellenistic Western philosophy, there is also a form a dualism that is a creation of two schools of thought – Stoicism, and Epicureanism. Breaking them both down:

Stoicism:  Nature is rational; man cannot escape the forces of nature but can uniquely follow its laws; A life lived this way leads to virtue; Wisdom is the core of virtue from which spring the cardinal virtues; Passion is irrational and thus strong feelings should be avoided; pleasure is not good or evil and only acceptable if it does not interfere with one’s quest for rational virtue; Poverty, illness, and death are not evil; Duty is the motivation for pursuit of virtue.

Source: https://www.thoughtco.com/stoics-and-moral-philosophy-4068536

Epicureanism: This is a little more complicated.  One person, I read listed eight epicurean councils: 1) Don’t fear God.2) Don’t worry about death. 3) Don’t fear pain. 4) Live simply. 5) Pursue pleasure wisely. 6) Make friends and be a good friend. 7) Be honest in your business and private life. 8) Avoid fame and political ambition. He also listed ten values of which the first five deal with ourselves and the second five deal; with our relationships to others: Prudence, Self-management, Self-sufficiency, Serenity, Simplicity, Friendliness, Honesty, Generosity, Cheerfulness, Gentle-ness

Source: https://churchofepicurus.wordpress.com/basic-principles-for-the-modern-epicurean/

I suppose the main difference I see is the fact that Stoicism is pretty straightforward, but Epicureanism seems to be a little more freeform – ‘chaotic’ if you will. It would explain while on one site about Epicureanism there was a list of 40 tenents.  The difference between the two basically comes down to the goal of Stoicism being happy through overcoming and enduring hardship, wherein Epicureanism happiness is found in training one’s desires.  I can see one major difference in that Stoics accepted the fate of circumstances and tried to be wise by enduring it where Epicureanism seems more at odds with the idea of fate. Some things can be avoided if one trains one’s desires. Both sides had the basic same goal – wisdom.  To be a person content with themselves.

Source: https://academyofideas.com/2014/03/stoicism-vs-epicureanism/

To the Wolves and Ravens:

“Feed the Wolves, but Listen to the Ravens first.”

Needs (Geri):

The fact there is a debate in Western philosophy probably indicates the need for moral philosophy. How one conducts ones’ self toward self and others is has a great bearing on what we need.  Needs are real and both schools acknowledge this. One side, however, seeks to endure while the other side seeks to live in such a way that they are dealt with beforehand.

For myself, it seems that need is more of a looking at life and seeing what is needed for survival.  This breaks down into obvious needs and personal needs.  Food, water and shelter from the elements when needed. Stoics would endure a lack of these needs while Epicureans would seek to avoid the lack in the first place. Other needs are more specific to the individual.  I think what I find is that I mix this whole debate in a blender and come out with something that is a mix between the two when it comes to needs.

Wants (Freki):

Passion and desire resulting from it, Stoics would decry, I would say that without passion there is little motivation to pursue much of anything, including virtue. I balance things, which is more in line with Eastern Philosophy.  We are all self-motivated which stems both from rational need and passionate desire.

Reason (Huginn):

From a rational point of view, it is reasonable to look at any philosophy and eat the meat and spit out the bones.  I can see from the Stoics that virtue is a good thing and agree with that, I, however, reject the notion of fate as it leads to a lot of evil in my opinion.  I can see the Epicurean point of working to avoid evils like poverty and illness, but I can see the Stoic point of sometimes endurance is needed.

Wisdom (Muninn):

I see wisdom in both philosophies, but their means are different in achieving the state of self-contentment or being the sage as they would call it.  I see the best example of my own blending of the two is the fact that the Nine Noble Virtues seems to borrow from both but each virtue might be seen as a blending of both schools of thought.

Courage, Discipline, Perseverance, Indstriousnesss are more Stoic; Truth, Self-Reliance, Hospitality, and Fidelity more Epicurean.  Both in their own way strive for Honor. Some of my other underlying philosophies borrow from both.  Minimalism is Stoic, lIbertarianism more Epicurean but both have elements of both.

Conclusion:

I guess it all reflects that I am kind of eclectic when it comes to philosophy.  That said My philosophy of “Feeding the Wolves but Listening to the Ravens first” has remained constant now for almost a year and I find many philosophies simply get too focused on my way of thinkingto me on a small group of ideas. There is more to life than reason or getting what you want, but together, the many dualisms of my philosophy come together and form something very coherent to me at least.  I borrow from many viewpoints to get a fuller view of the world and how to live life.

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

“Meditations – Primary Identity: Writer” – The Rabyd Skald

Happy Mani’s Day

In the Last Rabyd Skald, I basically stated that I needed to probably do some meditations on who I am.  It is a question I have not been avoiding but struggling with since my departure from my former role as minister and Christian.  I would say the Chrisitan part being replaced by “Deistic Humanistic Pagan” has been pretty solid and that identity has not been hard to grab ahold of so much as the implications of that change are still something I am coming to terms with on a daily basis.  The real problem is my role as minister being replaced by what?

For a while, I have had this idea of being a business person of some sort and being a writer on the side.  It is a practical choice because money is a real thing that you need to live life. I also have to deal with the fact the ministry has left me broke and without any retirement to speak of, so there is a need to make some money to make up for that. But that is a rational decision and to be blunt only listens to one of my ravens – Reason.  What about Wisdom? It also brings up the question of will my wolves be satisfied with such a role? Will I truly be getting what I need or want?

So my meditations have turned inward.  What is the call of my heart and what is the course that is wisest as far as encompassing my whole being?

I have to give a shout out to a fellow blogger from the other side of the world (the internet is an amazing place isn’t it) who on my last post on this issue wrote that perhaps I should simply ask the universe and wait to see what happens. You can check her out at Myst Nokomis.  I know I have found her observations interesting and at times inspiring. She is actually a blogger that I read regularly.

My conception of what she said in my mind is a little different but I get what she means and so I said to myself.  “Perhaps it is time to just silence myself in meditation and listen.”

Oddly enough the first thought that struck me is one word “Writer”.  Now the trick to being open in meditation is not to recoil at the thoughts that come to mind.  I have often said I am a writer but I have always placed it secondary to what other things I am pursuing.  The thought I had in that meditation session was that perhaps I have this backward.  That ultimately I am a writer first and something else second to pay the bills.  That what I should be focusing on is my writing and then focussing on an occupation that is complementary to that. Something that harmonizes with being a writer, not making my writing harmonize with something else.  Writing becoming the melody of my life and what other things I do becoming harmony to use a musical analogy.

I think I might be on to something as this feeds my wolves and it seems a wiser course of action.  It still has rationality to it, because if end up doing something I hate, I will not make progress in it. Writing has always been a love and something I do to express myself fully.  People who meet me personally, never get the full story as I pull back into myself.  I have trust issues born from painful experiences.  When I write, that inhibition leaves. Like all INFJs it is my artistic/non-verbal way of expressing myself that is true.

The main issue then is to be about the business of being a writer and that involves a few things but most notably setting aside times to write above and beyond the blogging that are substantial  Like at least an hour or two a day. I guess what I should start to get in my mind is writing on this blog is kind of my writing warm-up.  Then its time to be working on some projects for publication.

I have long mentioned I am a big fan of the science fiction author Robert A. Heinlein.  In the book Grumbles from the Grave, a letter where he answered the question of why he wrote is preserved.  His three-fold answer was:

  1. Make Money
  2. Entertain Readers
  3. Make People Think

As I have meditated on this over the years in think he had the right of it.  The first priority of a writer is how to support himself and his family by writing, the other two are means to that because if no one likes what you write then they won’t buy it.  If they buy what you write you won’t really be impactful unless you throw something in that makes people think, it leads to long-term success.  This is the right priority, any other way is just high minded idealism that won’t amount to much in all three categories.

This change will require more meditation, but I think I am on the right path, it certain resonates with my wolves and ravens philosophy; better than some career, then a writing career as secondary.  I think this needs to be switched and then I can look at my identity from the proper perspective.

Just a blog note to end things: there will be a post later today for my serial: Space Tramp, but I might be doing these meditation posts in place of journal posts this week.  My identity has become an important issue and I want to make sure I get this right.  So you might see two posts today, Odin’s Day and Frigg and Freya’s Day.  One a post like this at 10 am and the other some fiction writing at 4 pm. At least for this week.  

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

“Taoism: Yin and Yang” – Of Wolves and Ravens – Eastern Philosophy

Happy Tyr’s Day

Discussion

In the rotation, I deal with eastern philosophy directly once, but to be honest there is a lot of Taoism in my philosophical viewpoint.  Particularly the idea of balance or what the Taoist would call yin and yang. The chart below kind fo displays the basic difference.

One might say the whole concept of Wolves and Ravens represents Yin and Yang, but it isn’t that simple because in Taoism some things in my philosophy cross the lines to the other side and some of the things might be considered on both sides depending on how they are applied. For me, you might say the Wolf of Need and the Raven of Reason are Yang, but the Wolf of Want and the Raven of Wisdom (which involves a lot of intuition based on experience) are Yin.

If I take anything from Taoism it is the idea of the balance of life. Of keeping things level instead of overdoing one thing at the expense of the other.  The parallels to this idea are in truth in every philosophical system I can think of as well as a large chunk of the nature of each mythology.

Probably this is found in two other notions: 1) Order (or Law) vs. Chaos (or Liberty) and 2) Good (benevolence) vs. Evil (malevolence).   A Taoist would try to strive for a balance between these and be truly neutral about both of them.  I tend to be more Chaotic but neutral about the question of good and evil.  You might say I boil it down to the issue of law vs. liberty and lean heavy on the side of liberty, but the whole good and evil question might be invalid.  I say ‘might be’ because I am still thinking and meditating about it.  The one thing is that I am deliberately unbalanced right now from a Taoist point of view in regards to law vs. liberty. Mostly because I can see how the law is far easier connected to doing harm in the name of good intentions. Whereas to me liberty brings about a respect for the humanity of the other persons in the world which often benefits all.

I would say at that point the Taoist and I reach a fork in the road and I wish them well and then take the fork in the road that says ‘liberty is better than law’.  That said, balance in other aspects of my life is influenced and reflects an understanding of Taoism.  Balance is a constant consideration of mine.

To the Wolves and Ravens:

“Feed the Wolves, but Listen to the Ravens first.”

Needs (Geri):

The need for balance is illustrated in what happens when the balance is not maintained.  I can speak from painful experience of the consequences of not maintaining the balance between self-love and loving others as an example.  Too far on self-love and you become a narcissist and too far in the love of others makes you a living martyr that eventually leads to self-destruction.  Neither is desirable and the balance keeps you functioning both in the love of self and others without the extremes of either. The need for balance is pretty clear from a preservation standpoint.

Wants (Freki):

A proper balance is also wanted.  It leads to greater success. I have known many men and women who their life was their work and in the end, they never enjoyed once the fruit of their labors.  Because they didn’t know how to relax and enjoy the fruit of their labors, their health suffered.  On the flip side, I have known people who gave themselves over to hedonism without working at all.  Their laziness leads to poverty and quite frankly a lack of honor.  The ultimate expression of this is the thief who lives on the labors of others.  The one who learns to balance work and enjoyment will be the one who is truly successful and that is something I definitely want.

Reason (Huginn):

Reason comes into these things as you have to think about things fairly regularly to observe if balance is being maintained.  Balance doesn’t come easily or without a lot of thought behind it.

Wisdom (Muninn):

I would say Taoism as a philosophy has a lot of wisdom to it, but I would evaluate things ma little differently as far as what needs to be balanced. That said, the principles are very universal and wise at the same time and I have no trouble listening to them and applying those I think leads to wisdom.

Conclusion:

I suppose Of Wolves and Ravens is indeed my own form of Taoism.  Balancing need and want with reason and wisdom.  But there is an imbalance built-in to that – listening to reason and wisdom first. A little asymmetry is good for us actually so that is something else to consider. Next week is western philosophy and I think there is a debate there that is about asymmetry that will be good to look at when considering this.

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

“A Virtue By Another Name” – Of Wolves and Ravens – The Higher Virtues

Happy Tyr’s Day

Discussion

Having finished a discussion of all the Nine Noble Virtues of Asatru (NNV), we flip to Side B for “Of Wolves and Ravens” which is ten other philosophical discussions: The Higher Virtues, Eastern Philosophy, Western Philosophy, Love, Minimalism, Economics, Justice, Political Science, Libertarianism and Wisdom. The fact that I do this rotation at least twice a year is no accident as there are other philosophical guides to my life that form a significant part of my philosophy of life.  A philosophical framework, if you will.

This week is supposed to be the Higher Virtues and it still will cover them, but I want to share a discovery I made while reading Essential Asatru by Diana Paxton.  I got to the section near the end on Heathen Virtues and was excited because I was interested to see if there was anything new to discover. This, after all, was why I started gravitating toward Asatru in the first place – the NNV.   What I read as short but impactful because it introduced the simple truth that there were more than the NNV as virtues of Asatru and that there was something also called the Six Goals of Asatru.  In addition to all this, some of the NNV had other names which gave a different spin on their meaning.  While there wasn’t a lot of depth in the book, the simple statement of this was enough to get my wheels turning.

Firstly was the additional virtues that Paxton says some heathen groups have: Equality, Friendship, Strength, Generosity, Kinship, and Wisdom. Wisdom is already one of my Higher Virtues. but the other five merit some discussion.  The ideas of Friendship and Kinship are not fully explained but as I see those words I know that in large part represented by the Noble Virtue of Fidelity.  I treat my friends like family and Kin but the result is the same for all – I am loyal to those who are loyal to me.  Equality and Generosity I would say I have as background understandings of Hospitality and the Higher Virtue of Justice.

One meditation that was good was on Strength.  I could imagine the NNV forming the three strands of the higher virtues of Love, Justice, and Wisdom.  Then Those three strands forming a strong rope – Strength in a multiple-corded rope of virtue.  In a sense Strength is one of the major goals of being a person who follows a code like the NNV.

The Six Goals of Asatru I had never heard of before and it tells me that there may be things inside these Asatru Brethren groups that art taught and encouraged that don’t make it outside them very often. Not secret but not as popular with the general public.

The six goals are: Right, Wisdom, Might, Harvest, Frith (Peace) and Love.  It should be noted Love and Wisdom are already considered by me as part of my three higher virtues. Right, I have dubbed Justice. Frith is a new one for me but it means Peace both personal and community. I feel this is a worthy goal and one that would be the result of Justice, Love and Wisdom are acting their part.  Might and Strength are related. almost the same but the first refers to the strength of the community as a goal and the second personal moral strength, so there is that connection.  Harvest is an interesting one that goes very much with the Virtues of Self-Reliance, Industriousness, and Hospitality.

More significant for me is that Paxton gave different names for some of the NNV that offered a different perspective on how to look at that virtue. Courage has the second name of Boldness.  Truth and Honor remained the same, but Fidelity was called Troth which is a very unique word to use and thus indicates its value to the community. Discipline is called Self-Rule, so the idea of personal sovereignty is a part of the idea of Discipline. Hospitality was the same but given some of the other virtues above it becomes very much defined more concretely with more facets. Industriousness is the same. Self-Reliance becomes independence which the goal of Self-Reliance but I can see where it is a virtue in and of itself. Perseverance becomes Steadfastness which adds as I have remarked before the virtue of standing in the midst of adversity not just getting up from failure; it shows this virtue is also a means to victory, not just a response to defeat.

There is a lot to think about here but for now, my definitions will remain the same as changing those is a soul searching decision. I may, however, look at my higher virtues and meditate on them and some of these new ones more to establish a clearer picture.

What’s the point? Some might ask, well…

To the Wolves and Ravens:

“Feed the Wolves, but Listen to the Ravens first.”

Needs (Geri):

Men need a code.  Women need a code.

I can tell you what, people should be very glad I found the NNV and started to follow it last year.  If I had not I would be a monster without a code of conduct – destructive to both others and myself. I had that ‘women suck’ moment right after the Breakup with Miss Salty and I can tell you I came very close to becoming the Wolf in both the spirit of Fenrir and the predator at that moment. Chaotic, evil and full of rage.  I can think of nothing scarier than an empath that is malevolent.

The NNV came along and also filled a need for making sense of myself and getting me some sort of focus that I needed.  Otherwise, the wolves would be loose right now and men who wronged me would be targets and women in general objects for my use. In a sense, the NNV helped me find my true self and bring the wolves into my service rather than running wild.

Wants (Freki):

A code also allows you to start focussing properly on what you want and how to properly get it. Otherwise, you have no plan and follow it to the end. Focusing on the virtues you think is important begins to retrain your brain to follow after them and how to achieve them.  This is something you want, trust me.  No greater progress in your life will be achieved until you first find out what you value.

Reason (Huginn):

Mostly though, the NNV brought me back to a reasonable meditation on life and principle. It has brought me to Asatru as a form of spirituality, but it is a rational spirituality, not one that is making shit up. It is focused on value, goals and my journey has purpose because of it.  I am not wandering lost.  I may wander, but I am not lost, I am engaged in the purposeful pursuit of virtue wherever that journey may take me.

Wisdom (Muninn):

I find there is greater wisdom in the wisdom you discover for yourself than in ‘wisdom’ that is dictated to you.  No Wisdom is one size fits all, so to speak. The best wisdom is confirmed by virtue and experience combining into something that allows you to live better.  Wisdom may indeed be the highest virtue of them all, but it is also the result of living a code of virtues that you value.  For me, it started with adopting the NNV into my life.

Conclusion:

Essential Asatru has me thinking about virtue a lot since I read that section.  I am looking at it once again very holistically.  Mostly though I am glad I adopted the NNV and began to conceive them in a way that was helpful to me in a very dark time.  It allowed me to see myself as a human being again and more importantly helped me see others as human beings again.  I still have serious trust issues with my fellow humans, but it is getting better.  A lot of it has simply been about being true to myself in the full truth of following the NNV as best I can.

I leave you with Marcus Aurelius:

See the source image Still Walking,

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

Skaal!!!

“Asatru and Discipline” – Of Wolves and Ravens – Discipline

Happy Tyr’s Day

Discussion:

“Discipline is the willingness to be hard on oneself first and then if needed help with the development with others, so that greater purposes may be achieved.”

Principle: Apply discipline to every aspect of life that it can be applied.

I have to give the website Ravenbok credit for their views on Discipline and their contrast with legalism because it is spot on. Discipline is about being hard on yourself first and letting others be free to do as they see.  The disciplined person seeks to improve themselves and doesn’t presume to have the answer when it comes to others.  The disciplined person is motivated by the happiness he finds in changing himself to be a better person. To be disciplined requires one to focus on self.

The legalist, by contrast, thinks happiness will be found in changing others into their vision of what they think is fair or right.  So they attempt to dominate and control through law in its various political and religious forms.  The legalist disciplines others but does not lift a finger to discipline himself.

That is not to say that as a leader the follower of Asatru does not discipline those under him or lead them in disciplined activities to improve the company or team.  The main thing is that the disciplined person leads from the front by disciplining himself first and never asking people to do something they have not demonstrated a willingness to do themselves. To achieve greater purposes requires people who focus on changing themselves first and then each other through example, not coercion.

“It is the exercise of personal will that upholds honor and the other virtues and translates impulse into action. If one is to be able to reject moral legalism for a system of internal honor, one must be willing to exercise the self-discipline necessary to make it work.”

Website: Ravenbok – The particular page is: The Values of Asatru

To the Wolves and Ravens:

“Feed the Wolves, but Listen to the Ravens first.”

Needs (Geri):

I very much need discipline for a lot of reasons but mostly it keeps me walking life.  There is a connection between Perseverance and Discipline that is so integral to my self-concept that I need the discipline to keep putting one foot in front of the other.  Without the disciplined action, I have done all these years to improve myself, I doubt very much that on a couple occasions, I would have gotten back up.

Wants (Freki):

Discipline is also something I want as the actions of it allows me to focus on the one person who can make me happy – me.  Discipline is what helps me make progress on me and do something else that is essential – mind my own damn business when it comes to others.  I can only change me and I would be presumptuous to think that I have the right or the knowledge to effectively change others without demonstrating how that change works in me first. Self-Discipline taught me that.

Reason (Huginn):

It is an emotionally immature person, in my humble opinion who seeks to control others.  Even if said person has good intentions, they will probably cause more harm than good because they are not knowledgeable in and of themselves to know every possibility or what the other people might consider good.  Reason says it is better to focus on self so that one is not a burden to others and to be in a position to help.  You don’t do that by forcing others to be charitable for you.  You do it by disciplining yourself so you can be charitable yourself.

Wisdom (Muninn):

I think the path to wisdom and thus happiness is the road which requires a disciplined mind and pace to walk it.  The wise man is a disciplined man and visa versa.

Conclusion:

On a more personal note, discipline gives me a lot of tools that I fight The Grey with.  Depression often takes a lot of tools to beat it.  Most of them are formed and created through discipline. My victories will come, but with every one of them, I will look back and say that discipline gave me the skills, strengths, and abilities to win them.

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

Skaal!!!

“Different Values” – The Rabyd Skald – The Grey and the Wayfarer – Part 15

Happy Tyr’s Day:

Yeah, I know.  It’s another week without “Of Wolves and Ravens”.  I need to get back to it for my own sake but right now the Grey is a ‘normal’ thing.  I knew July, in particular, would be difficult because of all that happened during this month last year and the reason is the memories are not necessarily bad ones.  It’s kind of like reading a story that has a lot of good things in it and happy times but you know a tragedy is going to hit at the end. Like following your favorite character in a story only to have them die suddenly.  It is that kind of emotion when you look at the story arc in retrospect.

The difference, of course, is the story is mine and I am the character so it is all too real and personal.

Another thing is I keep running into people from my past life as a pastor.  People I haven’t, in some cases, seen in over a year keep finding their way into my life. I play it cool but inside I would rather be far away. That journey is over and I want to leave the pain of it behind along with the people in the story as well.  They turned out to be characters that are not dynamic at all, just who reveal their true nature when someone doesn’t measure up to their expectations.

Of course, this leads to my real problem which is coming to terms in all aspects of my life with a different set of values I now possess.  What is important to me has changed and not in small ways but large ones. A loss of faith and a reevaluation of life will do that to you.  The questions that trouble my mind are ones that would make the writers of Babylon 5 proud: Who are you?  What do you want? Why are you here?

My oldest son recently observed I seem to be searching for something.  Something I haven’t found yet.  The young man has good insight.  I don’t call myself the Grey Wayfarer because it is just a fun persona. It is in many ways the philosophy of my life and one identity that seems to fit me with the expression as the motto of my life: “Not all who wander are lost”. It seems that my values involve a lot of searching and becoming something, but the one thing they do not involve is stagnancy or being unchanging.  For me change, and the chaos and joys that go with it, is becoming more of a desire than a fear.

The Grey is the thing that causes me to be stagnant at times, unchanging and that is the devil of it. The demon I understand.  It is why it is so important to force myself to change when I am depressed.  To keep doing something and keep walking through it is my therapy.

Perhaps that is why I write every single day.  Writing is a lot of things but I would never describe it as stagnant.  It is flowing and changing constantly. The creative process is like that. It is when I can’t write that I worry about me.

The point is also that the Nine Noble Virtues call one to improve and get better.  You can’t be a follower of the Nine without changing.  Every single one of them calls for change and so change is an essential part of my foundational philosophy.  The problem may be that some people in my life are too attached to where we are relationally, and to be in a relationship with me requires you to walk with me from time to time, and where I am is never the same.

I am sure there will be another The Grey and The Wayfarer post very soon.  Hopefully, it won’t fall on Tyr’s Day again.  But this week was some good insight into what makes me keep going because, as I will probably write next time, there are a lot of forces trying to compel me to quit and give up. The Grey is strong, but my desire for change is stronger so I keep walking and seeking what I am looking for.  I will know when I find it what it was.

I remain.

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

Skaal!!!

“Thoughts on Freedom” – A Skald’s Life – Business Virtues

Happy Wooden’s (Odin’s) Day

Journal Entry:

Governments don’t grant freedom.  Religion doesn’t grant freedom.  The right to liberty and freedom simply is, it is others who are arrogant in their presumption that they have the ‘right’ to take it away or grant it.  If you need permission to do something from the government, religion or any other force, you are not free to do it. If we are going to say liberty is an inalienable right, no permission is needed for it to exist. The best we can do with the government is hope it will defend our liberty.  The best we can hope from religion is that it minds its own business about the way we live our own life.

But as the anarchists will point out, the very fact that government exists is an affront to the idea of rights and liberty specifically.   I agree with them theoretically.  I have always felt the problems with anarchism are not the theory and philosophy of it, but rather the practical application.  It overlooks one key thing about human beings – we are inherently tribal. I think the founding fathers of the United States using their reason recognized this, so they understood that government is a necessary evil and tried to create one that actually protected the rights of its citizens and one that was so restricted as to not encroach on rights quickly or without restraint.  Smart practical men, but they knew over time even their system would fail if it wasn’t maintained by people who value freedom and liberty.

For me personally, I am free because I am free.  I alone bear the responsibility of my actions and The Book of Rabyd 2:2 kicks in a lot. It is the following of the virtues of Self-Reliance, Industriousness, and Hospitality that do more to maintain and follow after freedom than anything else.

Self-Reliance:

“Self-Reliance is the spirit of independence, which is achieved not only for the individual but also for the family, clan, tribe, and nation.”

Principle: To achieve and maintain personal independence and advocate for independence in my family, state and nation.

Goal:  Find a new, better paying job by the end of June 2019 or before.

Bucket List: To own and run my own successful business or company.

Liberty and Freedom are the two reasons why I work so hard for self-reliance.  Anything else is dependence and it can lead to slavery.  The cage can be guided but it is still a cage. The more you are independent through being self-reliant, the more options you have that are created by you and that leads to freedom.

Industriousness:

“Industriousness is the willingness to work hard, always striving for efficiency, as a joyous activity in itself”

Principle: Work with the enjoyment of work itself.

Goal: Working on it.

Bucket List: Write A Novel and Get it Published.

This kind of freedom and liberty doesn’t just come to you, you have to work to create it.  It doesn’t mean you have to work harder but that may be involved.  You can work smarter or create something that does some of the work for you.  But freedom and liberty are found in the fact that you have chosen the work for yourself and that you enjoy it.

Hospitality:

“Hospitality is the willingness to share what one has with one’s fellows, especially when they are far from home.”

Principle: To share out of my abundance to help people where I can with their life’s journey.

Goal: By March 31st of 2020, to be the leader of a support group of some kind.

Bucket List: To own my own home by March 2024.

Being prosperous enough through liberty and freedom with the other two virtues, allows you to be generous.  I think this is the one missing element of the entire capitalist structure. This is not the fault of capitalism but rather capitalists who succumb to greed rather than hospitality which would lead to greater overall prosperity.  If you can’t let go of what you create then you truly are not free of its control over you.  Slavery takes a lot of forms and one of those forms is being a slave to having to own and control everything.

Higher Virtue – Justice:

The best way to live creating justice is to live in liberty not just for yourself but for others as well. Justice means you let people be free to pursue their own path and don’t interfere or meddle in any way. You respect freedom and liberty as forces enough ot let others have it.

Daily Routine:

  1. Wife: Communication / Cuddle Time
  2. Blogging – Organize, revise, write a new post for the next day, 15 min. work on fiction.
  3. Reading – half-hour. Priority order: work, school, pleasure
  4. Study / Homework / Research: half hour per day minimum or until all necessary work is completed.
  5. Personal Business: record financial transactions, savings plan actions, budgeting, appointments, other actions, etc.
  6. Check Communications and Email after 2 pm but before 4 pm.
  7. Weekly Routine Items
  8. Nutrition: Daily Carb Count – 2

June 2 starts another full week for me and I am going to try to be in a position to put all my routines into action more fully. I have a few goals that depend on these routines so I need to get better at getting them complete.

Still walking,

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

Skaal!!!