Questions of Faith, and changes

Its hard to believe its been over a year since I’ve published anything here at all.  And even then, it was perfunctory.

The last several years (3-4 years maybe more) have been in some respects, a test of faith for me, and the gods testing me.   I can’t say where it started specifically, other than the general lack of growth I’d experienced for several years.

I should have known that was a sign.

I’d grown comfortable in my faith.  Blots, Sumbels, FSG, an occasional festival somewhere else, it was heathenism “by the book.”

The Norse gods hate it when we’re comfy, particularly the traveller.   The rune Wunjo tells us that if we’re comfortable, we don’t move, so we need to be made uncomfortable in order to grow.

So where did this forced growth start for me?  There were several things that happened across a year or two.

The development of “Scribe, Philosopher, Mystic” . with Eric S.   It’s amazing how something that started out as a joke, turned into a class, and then a view on approaches to religion.   I still refer back to our talks all the time to explore where I am at.   I’ve learned a lot.

  1. Starting my study of Seidr with Laurel Mendes, and the Mid Atlantic Spae group. – I cannot begin to explain how much this has changed my perception of the nature of things.  The skills that I have learned became an interesting set of lessons since I started down the path of a Seidmadr.
  2. The death of my father in 2015 – The death of my father 2015, unexpectedly, and in front of me, as I performed CPR on him, haunts me even today.
  3. The death of several friends – I realize I am hitting that age where friends begin to die, but its been tough.  For the last two years every few weeks, its another friend.
  4. The frustration with my current book – I’ve written three versions of my book, and each one, when I get done, I’m dissatisfied with.   Its not writer’s block, its frustration with my product, which is different.

My wife used to be a part of a tradition where there was a level of initiation that was “indicated” based upon crises of faith and chaos.   I ask myself if I’m going through that now.

So why am I writing this here, now?

Over the next year, I’m going to tackle each of these topics, in an attempt to get a handle on them, and I’ll write about them here, in hopes that they may help someone else.

 

 

 

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FSG 2016 – Lectures

Here is my lecturing schedule for FSG 2016 –

Every morning 9am – Blots

  • Tuesday Night after ritual – Opening Blot
  • Tuesday night after opening blot – Opening Sumbel
  • Wednesday  1:30 PM – Make your own Rune Set
  • Thursday 1:30 PM – Advanced Divination Techniques
  • Saturday 10:00 AM – RunValdr
  • Saturday 8:45 PM – Closing Sumbel
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Norse Mythology –  and Ragnarok

Depending upon your particular interpretation of the Norse myths, the concept of time can be linear, or it can be cyclical.   It all stems from one particular section of the mythology centering around Ragnarok:

The Cyclical theory

In the Elder Edda after Surt’s fire consumes Midgard, there is the following stanza:

Lif and Lifthraser
Will lie hid
In Hodmimer’s-holt;
The morning dew
They have for food.
From them are the races descended.

This clause tells us that after the end of the earth, two will survive and cause a rebirth of the earth.   Further down we see:

Neither the sea nor Surt’s fire had harmed them, and they dwell on the plains of Ida, where Asgard was before. Thither come also the sons of Thor, Mode, and Magne, and they have Mjolner. Then come Balder and Hoder from Hel.

So if we believe this particular version of the elder edda, the universe is somewhat cyclical.   It’s not cyclical in the classic celtic sense, where you have a constant cycle that repeats itself, but you have the end of one era, and the beginning of a new one that is different.   So you don’t have a constant repetition of the same cycle, but an evolutionary process.  The thought is the universe post Ragnarok, will be better than the pre-Ragnarok universe.

So why do the northern Europeans think this way?

It’s important to remember that at the core of all northern European philosophy are two core concepts:

  1. Movement
  2. Industriousness

When we think of our lives we don’t want to be static, we want to constantly be moving towards some goal.

Also, we don’t want to be “spinning our wheels” repeating the same task time and time again.   One of the challenges of the celtic cyclical belief structure is that it doesn’t leave any room for improvement in the universe.   The universe is in a constant cycle, and when the cycle “reset” you’re back at square one.

The Northern European model believes that there is an “end times” (or there may be several) but after the end times is “over” there’s a rebirth that can be better than the previous age.

So I tend to think of Ragnarok as a “cosmic” reset where we say “OK, we didn’t do it perfectly this time, we’re going to reset things, and try again.”  The Gods are reborn, etc.

The linear model

Now, some would argue that those sections of the elder edda that talk about the survival of Lif and Lifthraser is a add on from the Christian era, and that the original mythology didn’t contain this.

Let’s explore the implications of this particular belief.

If we believe that there is Ragnarok, and that ultimately the universe will end, and everything will be destroyed, what does that mean?   Does that mean there’s no point to living a good and virtuous life since we know ultimately it will all end?

If we believe this “ultimate destruction” model we have to tell ourselves that the benefits in being virtuous occur now, and in the afterlife before Ragnarok.   And there is truth to this.   If we live a virtuous life on Midgard, then when we proceed to the next life, we’ll be in a place that will be beneficial to us.   If  I live a hospitable life, I hopefully will end up in Aegir’s hall, which honestly, for me, sounds like a pretty good place to hang until the end of time.

And the end of time will come, and we don’t know when, but we accept that it will come, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t value in us being good people before then.

 

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