Perhaps Jung was right in his perception of Odin. When he wrote his essay on Wotan prior to World War 2 he wrote about Odin standing in the forest, saddling Sleipnir and preparing to ride across Europe as the frenzied storm. All the while the Pope was anxiously wringing his hands in despair.
How often have we read about the destruction which comes when the Gods begin to become engaged again in the affairs of men? True; great heroes and remarkable men and women rise to the challenge and are remembered through the ages, but so too are we reminded of the tragedies which befall entire cities, nations and families. You have to wonder if we are at a similar crossroads today.
Religious ideologies are fostering cowardly actions in the name of the one god, various governments and high minded intellectuals suppose they are the best ones to be designated as the keepers of men and all the while a resurgence of faith in the violent gods of our ancestors is once again roiling at the edge of our society.
At its best this ancient memory of freedom and adventure, the quest, a desire to compete, lingers around the edge of our thoughts inspiring us to try and win at something. At its worst it manifests itself in various resentments towards political parties, religious groups and the legal systems. This mindset only serves to flesh out a victim mentality which, when coupled with a ruinous ego, gives the individual or a group of individuals an avenue of perceived development and worth. More often than not it is a far cry from anything which might resemble spiritual growth or emotional stability. It begins to fit in nicely with a faith which would have us shed this yoke of almost slavery to a system which no longer has any interest in the man becoming who he is meant to be. The gamer/keyboard warrior Viking becomes the identity. All of this has been clearly outlined by the example of Loki. The uninspired human intellect; that, though he has a seat at the table, just is not capable of employing the type of honesty which is necessary to justify his position at the gathering. It is a consistent drag upon any attempt we have made to regain or reclaim the legitimacy this ideology once enjoyed.
Not knowing where to go and the consistent trolling of individuals whose sole purpose is to make themselves look better than they are, along with the persistent character assassination of people who are good leaders and examples of Asatru, it is no wonder we repeatedly find ourselves in the same boat. Add to the mix the individuals whose mental illness is given free reign due to the lack of accountability on the web and you can see the issue. Their constant barrage of fantasy and science fiction representations of our deities and battles scenes are usually a hint that something might not be right and there very well could be a misunderstanding with regards to what this is all about. Time and again we are neatly placed into a labeled category on some societal shelf to be ignored. For these reasons and several more. But the shelf is getting crowded.
One might say and he would be right in doing so, that this is just another cycle. But is it a cycle worth repeating? This is where I believe the idea of Baldur becomes very, very important. We have been placed upon a path we must endure to ever become what we are meant to be. One way is to remember and emulate the powerful example of the Gods and Goddesses. But there is a treacherous bridge we must first traverse. All of us are in a position in our lives very few people have any idea how to deal with. We have made a decision to change the very foundation of everything we believe in with regards to the realm of the spirit. Those reasons which prompted in us the necessity of dramatic change are still present within our being. In this instance though we begin to take responsibility for them, we are no longer waiting on some outside influence to handle them for us. We have found a manner of living which will allow us to prevent ourselves from getting into some of the tougher situations we have found ourselves in. But after the honeymoon phase of discovering this new realm of the spirit is over, the real work begins. I’m not talking about homework either. I’m talking about divesting yourself of the thinking, the very best you were capable of, which brought you to such a ruinous state that it was decided to change faith altogether. Yet we are sorely lacking in the type of leadership which will allow us to reprogram our thinking. Many people will look at this and say to themselves “but I never had to go through this, I simply picked it up.” To those folk I would suggest an even stricter regimen with regards to personal development because a comment like that is merely an ego attempting to place itself above reproach.
Change is a difficult thing. For millennia mankind, and especially in the western world, has relied upon the various forms of welfare presented to us by the church and the government. Slowly but surely, the rugged individualism which allowed us to build nations and empires has been eroded by what Milton Friedman has referred to as the tyranny of the status quo. It’s a simple idea that when a president or prime minister is elected he has roughly 3 to 6 months to enact the changes he or she has campaigned on. After that; the various special interest groups will regroup and reorganize reminding everyone of the fear we all possess which suggests that we might lose something if too much change occurs too rapidly. Fear mongering at its finest while the church tells us to turn the other cheek. Radical Muslims would prefer to kill you if you do not acquiesce to their requests. And all of it appears to be designed to stifle the individual.
But those of us in Asatru have opted to implement this ancient household faith of independence. But in doing so we have failed to recognize that our decision to implement our own goals, dreams and desires may not necessarily be balanced. Those fears we used to feel, those self doubts which have been hammered in to us are still in place. Our thinking, while it may have had a spark of inspiration to “look this way” is still revolving around the limitations placed upon us by the various platitudes of the world we have found ourselves operating in. We stand on a precipice of individuals yearning to be free, but it is not the world we need to be free of, it is ourselves. This is the rebirth of light into our lives. It can be likened to the dawning of a golden age. One we caught a glimpse of when we discovered Asatru or perhaps, when Asatru discovered us.
Ben Franklin is quoted as stating that “at some point the governments are going to have to get out of the way and let the people have peace.” In this day and age with the amounts of money involved, well, that’s just not going to happen. So we have a world stage which appears ready to enact radical change whether we wish it to or not coupled with a large and growing group of individuals, in fact the last group of individuals to build huge empires and powerful nations, who are finding their faith and heritage and beginning to shake their heads that this ridiculousness is about enough. Adolph Hitler tapped in to this same sentiment but failing to understand the power of the ideas he was dealing with it consumed him or it threatened the tyranny of the status quo to such an extent that he had to be destroyed. Any way you look at it the indication of a very powerful energy is there. One which, for all intents and purposes, appears to be out of control.
Any review of history will show a similar pattern. The tyranny of the status quo and it’s oppression of once proud or powerful people gives way to some kind of societal upheaval. But in this modern age, even though we are faced with Stone Age barbaric customs being presented as a threat to remove our freedoms, are we truly doomed to repeat the past. I don’t think so. I think that once again Odin is waiting in the forest, saddling his horse and the frenzied passions of pagan rites are fanning the sparks of inspiration in to the flames action. But are we capable of using this inspiration to enact the necessary changes within ourselves before we begin to try and foist incomplete spiritual ideals upon the world.
Some people will say that this is a sensational claim or that it is merely anecdotal in nature. When I picked up a copy of Rudgley’s Pagan Resurrection, I found similar sentiment also based upon the work of Carl Jung. As well; if we lived in a time before the dominance of social media or the internet, I would be tempted to agree with you. But in today’s age we are literally connected with peoples from around the world. We should not forget that an awful lot of credit was given to social media for the radical changes in the government of Egypt and later Syria. As an author and a co-founder for Nanna’s Hearth/ Little Thors Hall I am in contact with groups of people around the country and I see the sales of my books in countries across the globe. And it’s not slowing down. Mankind has created its own web of Wyrd so to speak and has no idea how to control it or even put it to constructive use. There is a powerful case to be made that the second Odinic experiment on a worldwide basis is upon us. Mr. Rudgely has done an excellent job in outlining it in his own book Pagan Resurrection. It is high time to look well past the surface of our faith and it’s very obvious effects on the iniate and begin to consider some of the deeper meaning present in the lore.
But given that we have a sort of fore warning as to this, we should be asking ourselves how much, if any, of this world situation has a thing to do with our faith. Number one we can’t give something away we don’t have, and given the slew of titled characters in the world of Asatru very few of which are qualified to lead a horse to water, this should be a concern for us all. Far too many people are giving themselves a fancy and sometimes obscure title as if it will make their lives seem a little fuller or their ego’s more magnificent; yet it is a recipe for failure. We are missing entirely a powerful interpretation of how not to act by Loki and the subsequent course of action Baldur must endure because of it. A selfish and ruinous ego forces the best and brightest of the gods to pursue a course of extreme hardship. New people discover Asatru and the first thing they do is reach out to anyone on the internet. They can be immediately bombarded by supposed intellectuals and self-ascribed individuals who have little or no understanding of the basics of faith let alone Asatru. New people will see hate, arrogance, false bravado and buffoonery on any given day amongst the public Facebook groups proclaiming a safe place for heathenry. What they are not aware of is the state of mind or the emotional stability of these people making these claims about each other. By that I mean that these individuals are engaging in character assassination against others primarily because they are afraid that if someone believes something they don’t they will not be as important as they think they are. These people have given themselves a title to make sure that their opinions and assumptions appear to be more valid than the next guy. They have forgotten how to tap into their being and subscribe almost exclusively to the thought process of the ego. There was a huge uproar when I outlined a good deal of this in my book about Loki, yet he is a clear example of this very same thought process. A fear that someone might be better than he is and on two different occasions he kills them. We are doing the same thing, by casting doubt upon those few who may truly know something, spreading our poison instead of becoming part of something grand.
In the midst of all of this personal confusion, the world is changing. Governments rise and fall; terrorists create panic and spread fear in the name of faith. Economies are shrinking while governments are growing, entire industries are in recession and we are encouraged to buy more in order to feel complete. Asatru is not making anyone rich, nor are the principles allowing adherents of Asatru to achieve any semblance of true greatness or accomplishment. Nor is it encouraging us to play this same old game anymore. But we need to be asking ourselves if we no longer wish to play by those rules just what exactly are we trading it for. Consumerism is slowly giving way to decisions which will empower the tribe, which is at it should be. Unless, of course, it’s a new drinking horn or Mjolnir necklace. Still I’m sure you see where I’m going with this. The tides of popularity ebb and flow across the board and all the while we are preoccupied with the best manner in which to present the most complicated thought or obscure historical reference we can muster in order to demonstrate to this changing world that we might really understand something. Yet we need to begin demonstrating it.
In the meantime, there is the possibility that other people may be taking advantage of our inability to act. Given the gun shy mentality of heathens who vehemently oppose anything which might resemble an Asa-pope; usually because it means they will necessarily have to conform to a certain standard with regards to their behavior, we end up in this continuous vicious circle because some fella wants to enjoy a warm fuzzy concerning his position of self-importance on social media. And we are screwing ourselves. Even with something as simple as the Nine Noble Virtues. Every time they are mentioned someone feels compelled to express their feelings that this is a modern invention and no such thing existed amongst our ancestors. Whenever the Eddas are brought up; someone who considers himself well versed in literature begins to whine about what they perceive as the Christian influence or that they are based on the dictates written by some Roman copied from an earlier age. I wonder if anyone can see this mental and emotional process which is affecting our spiritual being. Fortunately there are some. They have embraced their roles as men, redefined what it means to be a heathen and unapologetically implemented a rigorous mental attitude of personal honesty and courage. And it’s about time.
No one wants to be labelled a follower or a sheep; we all want to be wolves and bears. Dreamers; who wish to be the ferocious destroyers of men and in charge of their own destiny. But if you walk in to any gym, there will be someone stronger, there will be someone quicker, more skilled or in possession of greater stamina. I have yet in my life see someone who has put themselves in a situation like this and not seek to learn or train to become better. Until I came to Asatru. The greater interest is in ensuring that the other person believes you are right whether or not your life reflects it is irrelevant. Anger and resentment automatically come to the surface along with fear. Put very simply this state of mind is insane. And it very much is a state of mind. We have inadvertently tapped into a state of mind which keeps us tied up in a thinking process centered on our ego which is masquerading as faith. To come out of a darkness like that; I can think of no better example than Baldur. Who appears to be the one born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and now he has to make a way through Helheim, something we typically perceive as a dark place in line with its description, he’s got to grow up. And so do we. Because if you take a look around at the manner in which we have allowed ourselves to get caught up in the media driven frenzies of any given day, it may become painfully obvious that various gods are now moving through the spirits of different people all over the world, and we are working on ensuring we are no more than a footnote in the annals of history.
In Asatru there are a few gods who are tough enough to make it through Ragnarok and give a good accounting of who they are, Vidar, Vali, Hoenir, Vili, Magni, Modi, Hermódr(who has learned the hard lesson of trusting the wisdom in another’s heart) Forsetti and Ullr. It is no accident that a good portion of these Gods are prime examples of martial duty, courage and the victorious warrior but there is one who has taken the road less traveled, and to return as their king. Do you see where we are? We have found an unimpeded avenue along which we are allowed to spread the personal poison of our thinking process. A process which had us so imprisoned in our own thoughts it brought us to a point where we had to find a better way. There is a lot more to it than growing a beard. People have for long time tried to make sense of the statements made by the mischievous one at Aegir’s’ feast. The accusations he hurls at each of the gods and goddesses is a clear example of his total misunderstanding of the interactions of the divine based upon his own personal poisons. And at that feast he has made sure to spread that poisonous influence along to us. Far too similar to the various ideas unenlightened individuals put forth as a suitable manner to worship or perceive the Aesir. We must find a way to free ourselves of the thought processes and self-images which hamper our growth so we can just appear to be cool in a make believe world online. Else we will also be bound by shackles of our own making and the poison which has so long festered in our minds will be right in our face.
When the frenzied storm of an Odinic temperament sweeps across our souls, our society or our world do you wish to be a leaf on the wind or a true oak powerful enough to weather the storm? It is time to let of the egoic thinking process which crippled us to begin with. It is time to begin using this faith to develop spiritually instead of using it to form the latest cool kids club. We must have the courage to follow our own path.