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Gods or Ancestors?

Gods or Ancestors?

Occasionally I get a comment from someone who’s convinced that the gods don’t talk to us mere mortals that often.  That most people who deal with the gods are actually dealing with the ancestors.  It’s an interesting part of Heathenry I think is worth addressing. Are Heathens receiving messages from gods or ancestors?

Actually, I think it’s both.

The Unknown Gods

Before I get into the supposition that the gods are with us, let me address the personal nature of the gods, themselves.  There are Heathens who believe that our gods really aren’t personal deities.  That the concept of a personal deity comes from Christianity and those concepts taint our modern day beliefs.  There is some truth to that.  The gods aren’t just the gods of humanity, but the gods of all things.  In fact, I suspect that there are gods we humans do not know.  We don’t know them not because our knowledge of them disappeared, but because we never knew them to begin with.  I suspect there are gods who do not deal with humans at all, who instead govern other things and animals other than ourselves.  They are never in contact with us, except maybe if we touch their realms.

Not the Gods I’m Talking About

These aforementioned gods that have very little to do with humanity are not the gods I am talking about. The gods I am talking about are the gods who have made themselves known to humans.  Who still make themselves known to humans. Odin, Thor, Freyja, Freyr, Tyr, Loki, Baldr, Skadi, Ullr, Heimdallr,…the list goes on.  We would not know them if we did not have contact with them. Sure, you could say that hearing thunder and calling it a god is the basis for Thor, but then, why bother to have positive connotations with a thunder god if he didn’t somehow look benevolently on humans?

So, we can assume that the gods we know have had interactions with humans.  Who still do have interactions with humans. When someone tells me that they’ve interacted with certain deities, I generally accept their word.  Not because I’m gullible, but because unless they give me a real reason to disbelieve them, who am I to say otherwise?  I’ve talked with gods and goddesses and I already knew some things that the people who had a UPG told me, so if something doesn’t sound right, I might have to ask further questions.

Is it a God?

I know that gods have taken other forms to get their message through to their recipients, so it would not surprise me if ancestors do the same thing.  Could an ancestor mimic a god?  Yes, I know of one case where it has happened, and not for the better. There are plenty of not so benevolent spirits out there looking to cause harm, but it’s pretty obvious when they do show up.

One way to tell if it is really a god is to consider the following:

  • Do they act like the gods/goddesses of our stories and of other people’s credible UPGs?  Yes, there have been interactions with gods/goddesses that all seem to have the same feeling.  Or are they different, and in what ways?
  • Does the deity ask you to do something harmful to yourself or others?  If they do, you may not be dealing with the entity you think you’re dealing with.  Chances are its malevolent and you need to get away from it.
  • Does the entity inform you who they are?  Some spirits do lie, but you have a better chance in deciding if you’re really dealing with the god just by research and talking to knowledgeable folks.
  • Does a Gothi/Gythia confirm your experience?
  • How does the god treat you?  Is it in line with what you know of the god?

My Own Experience with the Gods

The gods are an interesting bunch.  Some will just pop in to say hello or see what is going on, but most are reserved and only show up at times they deem is suitable. They seldom come when you call –remember, they’re not your bitches.  Even if you ask nicely, you can get complete crickets.  They may have more important things to pay attention to.  Like the entire universe.

Some landvaettir may also come into contact with you.  While you might not consider them gods, per se, they are tutelary spirits who have powers.  You may not find them as powerful as someone like Thor or Odin, but in many cases they may be able to help or harm you, depending on your relationship with them.  That being said, I am firmly agnostic when it comes to landvaettir.  I haven’t seen one, but I have had odd situations that maybe could suggest them.

The gods do occasionally mimic other gods in other pantheons.  Odin and Loki, in particular, will shape change to whatever god you believe in to give you information, if you believe in another deity and not them.  (Yes, I’ve had that happen.)  Tyr will do that too for those who he wants to be his followers.  (Again, that’s my experience and your mileage may vary.)  Depending on the person, they may do this in order to give you information you need and if you’re only open to Jesus or Yahweh, then that’s where they go.

 

Is it an Ancestor?

You could be contacted through an ancestor.  It’s not all that unusual.  If it is an ancestor who has benevolent intentions, you should definitely get a name or an understanding of who or what they are.  They shouldn’t be passing themselves off as a god. If they are, I wouldn’t want to deal with them simply because of the dishonesty.

Ancestors are pretty much what they were when they were alive.  If they were a son-of-a-bitch when they were alive, they’re still a son-of-a-bitch–maybe more so, because they’re cranky they’re dead.  Some ancestors you don’t want to deal with; others are just fine. Regardless, it should be pretty damn obvious if Uncle Milton makes a call.  He shouldn’t be saying he’s Loki or Odin or whomever–if he is, tell him to go the Hel away.

My Own Experience with Ancestors

I’ve spoken to my closest ancestors and have had feelings and intentions from them.  I’ve also had dreams with an ancestor in them, usually in the form of talking with them about certain things.  Not all dealings with those ancestors have been pleasant; I’ve annoyed them the same way I did back when they were alive. They were in shock when they went to Helheim instead of the Christian heaven or hell.  (Despite them being devout Catholics and not pagans.)  This along with other bits of knowledge has led me to conclude that the Christian beliefs aren’t real and our beliefs are more in line with reality.  Call it UPG or whatever, but I’m convinced that if there was a Jesus and if there is a Yahweh, it is a deceptive god.

Are ancestors more receptive than gods?  In most cases, yes, but you should be careful with them until you get to know who exactly is knocking on the door. Some ancestors you definitely don’t want.

So, the gods do talk to humans.  The landvaettir talk to humans.  The ancestors talk to humans.  They’re a rather chatty bunch — the lot of them.   It’s just up to you to listen.

 

When the Other Gods Call to You

When the Other Gods Call to You

You’ve been in a religion for some time.  Or perhaps you’ve not been in a religion at all.  Maybe it is Christianity; maybe it is another pagan religion.  Perhaps you’ve been agnostic or even atheist.  Or maybe you’re a Heathen like I am.  Regardless, now you’re looking at a calling and…it’s not a god or goddess you follow.  What do you do?

Getting Beyond the Shock

If you’re a Christian or someone who have been in the Abrahamic religions, this is often a complete shock.  Same goes for atheists, who are more likely to think they’ve gone crazy hearing from a god or goddess.  Depending on your religious upbringing, you may think the deity is some form of demon coming to tempt you away from the “One True God.”  If you fall for the Yahweh argument, you’ll never get anywhere with this.  Instead, you’ll turn down a potential positive and more personal relationship with the gods than you ever had with the god of the monotheistic cults.

If you’re a pagan, chances are you’re probably open to it.  But there are pantheons and there are pantheons.  For example, if you’re Heathen like I am, and you’re called by someone like the Morrigan, you’ll be arguing with yourself over whether you’ve just become “Wiccatru” and not on the straight and narrow path of Asatru.  Well, maybe, maybe not.

Who is Doing the Calling?

The first step is to understand who is contacting you.  Most of the time, as I understand it, the calls are pretty subtle.  Mine was sudden and intense.  If it’s a Heathen calling, it could be a god or goddess, it could be an ancestor of yours, or it could be a spirit of the land.  If you think it’s another god or spirit from a different pantheon, it could be one of the many manifestations of a Heathen god or spirit.  You see, many of the pagan religions came from a singular Indo-European source and the Heathen gods are often their gods, but just different names and manifestations.

Some gods and goddesses are specific to a religion, in which case, I recommend talking to someone more knowledgeable in that religion to understand what is happening.  It might be their deity or it might be something else. Without having a clear knowledge of who is calling, you just might not be speaking with the deity you think you’re speaking with.

Do You Really Want to Deal with this God or Goddess?

Once you establish who you’re dealing with, it’s up to you to decide if the god or goddess is someone you want to talk to.  Some deities have some pretty nasty reputations and they can be nothing but trouble, even if they’re from the Norse pantheon.  Then  again, depending on the god, you may or may not have a good relationship with them.

If it becomes obvious that the god you’re speaking with isn’t the god you think it is, it’s up to you to decide if you really want to deal with them. Some gods and goddesses aren’t trustworthy, and just because you’ve heard of them doesn’t mean they’re the right deity for you.  Pagan deities are like people–they have their positives and negatives.  Even my own god, Tyr, has pitfalls, although I tend to downplay those negatives because of all the positives.

My point is that as someone who is being called, it’s up to you to decide whether you should answer it.

When Not to Work with a God or Goddess

You’ve gotten a call from a deity.  Before you get all starry-eyed, think about what you’re committing yourself to.  Is this god or goddess asking you to do something against your morals or against the law?  Are they looking at having you harm someone or yourself?  If the answer is yes, then say no and walk away.  Take the high road here.  Don’t be like Abraham who was asked to sacrifice his only son as a burnt offering because apparently Yahweh gets his rocks off watching humans squirm, even though he is supposedly omniscient and omnipotent.  What was the purpose of THAT mindfuck?  Tell me that.  Don’t say to prove loyalty, because an omniscient and omnipotent god would already know the outcome.

Look, sometimes what a god wants and what you want isn’t in your best interest.  Don’t fall for the “god’s greater plan” bullshit.  If it’s a good plan, then there should be a quid pro quo.  Yeah, it’s a god, and you can still say no.  Can they fuck up your life for saying no?  Sure.  But then, they’ve shown you their true colors anyway.  Do you really want to work with a vindictive and dangerous god who is likely to harm you more than help you?

The Upshot of Dealing with Deities

Dealing with gods aren’t always sunshine and light.  If you get a call from a god or goddess, study the Hel out of them and get a good feeling for who they are.  Talk to priests or priestesses of that religion and get their take on your contact.  Be aware that you may not have been contacted by a god, but by an ancestor, a wight, or some other denizen looking to make contact.  When you do finally establish contact, find out what they want.  If what they want isn’t against your moral code or the law, then you have to decide if you want them in your life. (If it is against your moral code or the law, run like Hel.)  Above all, keep your head when this all occurs.  You may have to step gracefully out of the relationship.  Lastly, even if the god or goddess isn’t from your pantheon, you should still accept the contact if it is a favorable one.  After all, the deity thought enough about you to visit.

The Meaning Behind the Death of Baldr and the Summer Solstice

The Meaning Behind the Death of Baldr and the Summer Solstice

One of the most iconic stories in Norse mythology is the death of Baldr.  It is probably the best known among Heathens and often recited by the anti-Lokeans as a way to justify why the Rokkatru are wrong to even consider venerating Loki and his ilk.  While I’m not Rokkatru (although I suppose someone can point to me being a follower of Skadi as being a Rokkatru), I do have a deeper analysis of why the story of Baldr’s death is more than face value.

The Story of Baldr

If you know the story of Baldr’s death, you can safely skip this section. Or, you can read it and pick my version of it apart. The story goes that Baldr, the son of Odin and Frigga, was the most fair of all the gods. So much so that he was beloved by everyone.  Everyone, of course, except Loki, who was mighty annoyed at so much love and reverence being passed out to Baldr.

Baldr had nightmares of his death.  Odin therefore went to Niflheim to consult a dead seeress to find out what was the cause of Baldr’s nightmares.  The seeress told Odin that that Baldr would die by Hodr’s hand (Hodr is the brother of Baldr).

Terrified of the prophecy, Frigga made it a mission to get every rock, stone, weapon, plant, and creature in the Nine Worlds to promise to never hurt Baldr.  Everything agreed to her satisfaction, so when it proved that nothing could harm him, the gods decided to make a game out of it.  They threw things at Baldr and the stones and spears would turn aside and not harm him.  Weapons would not cut him.  So they all gathered around and laughed while throwing things at him.

The Death of Baldr

Loki despised this, and so he went to Frigga disguised as an old woman.  He struck up a conversation with Frigga and asked about Baldr’s invincibility.  In the course of their conversation, Frigga admitted that she hadn’t asked the lowly mistletoe to swear an oath to not harm Baldr because it was weak and too young.  Loki then knew he had his weapon.  He left and fashioned a dart out of the mistletoe.

When he came back to the game the gods were still playing, he noticed that Hodr, Baldr’s blind brother, was not throwing things.  Loki offered to guide Hodr’s hand so he could throw something.  He put the mistletoe into Hodr’s hand. Hodr threw and the dart pierced Baldr’s heart.  Baldr fell dead.

Baldr went to Hel’s domain.  Odin sent his son, Hermod, to rescue Baldr from the dead.  Hel told Hermod that if everything truly wept for Baldr, she would release him.  Everything did, except the giantess Tokk, who was Loki is disguise.  Tokk told the messengers that Hel should keep what she has.  So, Baldr stays in Hel and it is the beginning of Ragnarok.  Baldr survives Ragnarok and is once more alive.

What Does the Death of Baldr Mean?

We can look at the story of the death of Baldr at face value, or we can look at it as a metaphor.  I prefer to look at it as a metaphor since our gods are clearly aligned with nature.  Even though they have distinct personalities, they are still gods of natural phenomenon.

The story of Baldr is the story of the seasons and the natural cycle of life.  Our northern ancestors revered the sun and its life-giving heat and warmth.  We know the summer solstice was a holy time for northern pagans — especially those who built monuments to the sun during the neolithic age. Baldr is clearly associated with the midsummer sun — the sun at solstice.  It is no surprise that his blind brother, Hodr (winter) slays him with the help of Loki (who is a chaos god) which brings about renewal (Ragnarok).  Baldr is the renewal of life and all the beauty associated with it.  Hodr is the old age and the impending death.  Loki (chaos and entropy) brings these changes about.

So, What Does this Have to do with the Upcoming Solstice?

You may be wondering why I bring this up with the summer solstice just around the corner.  Baldr is at his greatest power at that time, since we have the most daylight on that day.  While it is officially summer by meteorological terms, it is also the beginning of the end of increasing light.  Once the summer solstice has passed, the amount of daylight begins to dwindle until we reach the winter solstice, when the sunlight starts increasing again.

But the high point of the sun is the beginning of the end of the growing season, just like Baldr’s death is the beginning of Ragnarok.  Sure, we have plenty of growing and maturation of plants to come, but the waning light signals the end of spring and the beginning of maturation.  Maturation will culminate in the end of the growing season and the beginning of harvest.  The Northern Hemisphere marches toward darkness once more.

Sunshine and Mistletoe

It’s little wonder why the mistletoe is a symbol of the winter solstice, since it is the symbol of Baldr’s death.  But the winter solstice is also the symbol of the return of life.  We know that the days will grow longer again after December 21st, just as we know the days will start to grow shorter after June 21st.  So, this summer solstice, raise a horn or glass of mead to the god of rebirth and renewal.  Because we know that Baldr may “die” with the oncoming winter, but he will be reborn once again. (And the Christians thought that they were the only ones with a god who dies and is reborn?)

Let me know about your own insights into the death of Baldr and how you plan to celebrate the summer solstice.

 

 

The Gods and Goddesses of Autumn

The Gods and Goddesses of Autumn

Now that the Equinox has passed, you can feel the changing of the guard, especially if you live in the northern states. This year, it’s almost as if the gods and goddesses have had enough of the fires out here.  It is as though we’ve gone from summer to winter in one day and then the actual fall settles in.

A Time of Change

Autumn is a time of change.  It heralds the coming of winter and the urgent need to prepare for it. For those of you who buy foods from the grocery stores, chances are the changes you’ll see is more pumpkin spice lattes and Halloween candy.  For me, it’s a time to search for upland birds, can my harvest, and run my dehydrator 24/7. I’m looking at my livestock and wondering who I’ll be slaughtering so I can have more meat in my freezer.  I’m considering how I’m going to keep the fresh stuff preserved so that I can enjoy it when it is cold and snowy.  And I’m waiting for general hunting season where I can hunt deer and elk.

I truly feel that our gods and goddesses are linked to the seasons. This makes a lot of sense because our planet is governed by the laws of physics — even at the tiniest level. This makes a lot of sense if you’ve ever contemplated the overall nature of the universe.

The Gods and Goddesses of Autumn

I did some basic research, and I’ve come to the conclusion that there isn’t a lot written about what Northern gods go with what season. We can make obvious guesses for winter and spring, but fall may be a little bit questionable simply because it is a time of transition. Even so, I’m going to share with you my insights, and hopefully you have some insights as well.

Skadi

Probably the biggest goddess of autumn (and also of winter) is Skadi, the Norse goddess of the hunt and of winter. She’s the one I pretty much go to when it comes to hunting, and I feel more in tuned with her every year. She is not an easy goddess to deal with, but she is honorable and very powerful. The story about Skadi seeking retribution for her father’s death is a story which shows how far she is willing to go if you fail to heed her.

Ullr

 

Ullr is the god of hunting, of snow and skiing, and of snowshoes. Ullr was considered an important god among the Scandinavians, no doubt since snow plays a major part in their weather. I’ve read various claims that Ullr is Skadi’s second husband after Njord. The story goes that Skadi could not abide Njord’s home near the sea, and he could not accept the high

mountain tops and snow, so they divorced and Skadi married Ullr.

Tyr

 

Tyr is the god of laws, justice, and the sky. While it seems odd to associate Tyr with a season, I believe he has power over the solstices and equinoxes, given his role as the sky god and lawmaker. It has been my experience (and you can take this as an unverified personal gnosis) that Tyr governs the laws of physics. When we deal with the movements of our planet in relation to the sun, it is really all physics.

I also ran across an interesting point that in some heathen segments Ullr may be an aspect of Tyr. It seems far-fetched, but apparently Ullr was invoked during duels, which was often used to determine who was right and who was wrong. Furthermore, there is an episode in the Atlakviða which has the swearing of an oath on Ullr’s ring. I can sort of see how this might fit together, but unless I have another UPG, it’s unlikely, at least in my own mind that Ullr is Tyr.

Freyr

 

Although it seems somewhat out of place, I’m putting Freyr as one of the autumn gods. The reason I am putting him in the autumn gods is quite obvious: he is the god of the harvest. The final harvest usually occurs sometime around the equinox, or maybe just a little later. Sometime in the fall farmers tended to slaughter livestock that they were not keeping over the winter, and preserving them. It makes sense that Freyr would preside over all of this.

 

Frigg

 

It may seem to be another stretch to put Frigg as a goddess of autumn, but I don’t think so. Frigg is a goddess of the hearth and home, of the distaff, and the wife of Odin. She has ties to Frau Holle and appears to be important in all manners of the home. To me, it makes sense that as the weather gets cooler, people are more inclined to stay indoors. So, I’m likely to think that preserving food and caring for the home falls right into Frigg’s domain.

I hope you enjoyed this piece. No doubt, you can think of some other gods and goddesses of autumn. I’d be interested to hear what you have to say and who you would recommend.

Heaven, Hel, and Valhalla, or Going to Hel in a Handbasket (Part 1)

Heaven, Hel, and Valhalla, or Going to Hel in a Handbasket (Part 1)

One of the things that keeps cropping up from time to time is the question of death and what comes afterwards. As a person who is past middle age (unless I get to live more than 100), it’s a question that preoccupies me a bit more. Once we shrug off the mortal coil, our very short lives seem pointless if there’s nothing afterward.  So, I’m going to tackle this in a scientific and possibly philosophic view.  Stay with me on this. It may be a bit on the ugly side.  And, it’s probably going to be several posts.

What Science Has to Say About an Afterlife

I was pretty sure what science had to say about the afterlife, but I wanted to make sure before I gave you some antiquated information. So, I decided to check the Interwebs for anything new on the subject, and apparently, there is. Seems there was a study finished in 2014 that looked at out of body and near-death experiences. As a scientist, I look at the conclusions people have drawn with full skepticism and will try to couch it in terms of logic.

Q: I told you. You’re dead, this is the afterlife, and I’m God.
Capt. Picard: [laughs scornfully] You are not God!
Q: Blasphemy! You’re lucky I don’t cast you out, or smite you, or something. The bottom line is, your life ended about five minutes ago under the inept ministrations of Dr. Beverly Crusher.
Capt. Picard: No, I am not dead. Because I refuse to believe that the afterlife is run by you. The universe is not so badly designed
.” — Tapestry, Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Scientists and God

First, let’s look at what scientists believe in terms of a god.  In 2005, about two-thirds of the scientists surveyed admitted they believed in a god, and presumably, an afterlife. This surprised me, because a large portion of what we see in the news suggests that most scientists are atheists, when they are in fact not.  You end up seeing more atheists (about 38 percent) in the natural sciences such as physics, biology, and chemistry and fewer atheists in social sciences (about 31 percent).  So, even in the disciplines such as physics, brilliant people such as Stephen Hawking who claim their is no god or afterlife are in the minority. In another study, some 76 percent of doctors believed in a god and 59 percent believe that we have an afterlife waiting for us.

Now, whether there truly is an afterlife isn’t a matter of opinion.  There either is an afterlife or there isn’t — it’s not a popularity contest where the most believers choose their fate after death. You may be the only person who believes that we all become weevils on the great celestial potato in another dimension, but if you’re right, you’re right, and the rest of us wankers are clearly wrong. The reality is that with our current technology, we won’t know until we die.

Studies Suggest Something Else — Maybe

In 2014, a study concluded that actually searched for an afterlife.  About 40 percent of people who were clinically dead and resuscitated had a near-death experience. One man who was clinically dead for three minutes could recall accurately the work being done to resuscitate him even though technically the brain stops working about 30 seconds after the heart stops. His experience was the “out of body” kind, where he was hanging out in the room “watching” everything.

So, this may be proof that when you’re “mostly dead,” you’re still a little bit alive and aware.  Or it might simply be a delusion that our minds put together when we get jumpstarted.  Who knows?

Mostly Dead, or When are We Actually Dead?

To confuse matters, after you die, you aren’t totally dead for days, if not weeks. The body goes through a type of rally where stem cells reactivate and try to get you living again, even if it’s a lost cause. Some researches found live stem cells in cadavers that were 17 days old.

This, of course, gives us a gigantic problem.  Science isn’t really sure when we’re all dead.  When we die, we’re mostly dead.  To quote Miracle Max, “Mostly dead is still slightly alive.”

“Miracle Max: He’s only mostly dead. If he were all dead, there’s only one thing you can do.

Inigo Montoya: And what’s that?

Miracle Max: Go through his pockets and look for loose change.”The Princess Bride

I bring this up because it begs the question of when our spirit/soul/souls actually leave. Do they leave with the loss of our conscious selves, or does it leave with our bodies once they’re actually “all dead?”  Or do they hang around in the grave?

 Lost Souls

I haven’t even touched on the quantum theory that information cannot be destroyed. Or the fact that our linear view of time is simply our way of dealing with reality, but in quantum theory, time is mostly irrelevant.  In some part of the universe, everyone is alive.  The fixed points are causes and results.

After all this much ado about souls and afterlife, scientists can’t seem to agree on whether there is an afterlife or not. It pretty much falls under the “we have no credible evidence of souls, afterlife, or gods.” Perhaps that is the place where religion fits in — where science can’t answer.  If, at some time science provides us with an answer, either yea or nay, we’ll probably have to look at our ancestors’ views as a way they explained the world around them — just like we do today.

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Blots: Are We Doing Them Wrong?

Blots: Are We Doing Them Wrong?

I’ve been racking my brain about what to write this week.  So, naturally, the idea comes to me while I’m feeding my goats and other sundry critters.  Heathens do a lot of offerings and blots, but are they the right ones? And can we scientifically talk about “offerings” in the context of a more enlightened age?  Actually, I think we can, and I know I’m going to ruffle a few feathers with this, so hang on.

Let’s Talk About Wights

One of the critters we give offerings to are the wights.  Wikipedia states:

Wight is an English word, from Old English wiht, and used to describe a creature or living sentient being. It is akin to Old High German wiht, meaning a creature or thing.

Now, granted, the concept of Wights in our beliefs tend to touch on those magical spirits that inhabit homes, land, and other places.  Technically, our gods could be considered wights, as well as humans, as the Anglo-Saxon term actually suggested a human being.

I’m rather agnostic when it comes to wights, although I seem to have had what could be construed as possible encounters with them.  But for the sake of argument, I’ll talk wights like I believe in them.

Your Car Wight

Okay, with me so far?  So,  let’s say the wights are the essence of some sort of “thing,” whether it is a tree, stone, a piece of land, or whatever is around us.  We can consider animals as part of the “wights,” in my not so humble opinion, and we may be able to consider everyday objects as wights as well.

“Wait a second,” you say.  “There aren’t wights when it comes to computers, dishes, or cars.”  Oh, I would heartily disagree.  If you’ve ever worked on cars, airplanes, computers, or some other mechanical device, or operated them for any length of time, you damn well know each of them have their own distinct personality. You can drive five of the very same model and same year of vehicle and get a different impression of each.  Even from the factory.

Now, you may argue that cars obtain their “personality” from the persons who assembled it on a particular day, the flaws in the parts they might have, and the owners they have.  Okay, so how is this different from something living?  We obtain our basic genetic code and personality from our parents (Mom had something to do with our assembly), the flaws we have (you have arthritis or maybe a healed broken bone?), and the experience and care we receive growing up.  Hmmm.  That sounds like there are correlations here.

“But my car isn’t sentient!” you say.  “It’s a man made construct!” I’d agree with you, only to a point. Everything we see and use has been created from the same natural materials that came from stars. The metal that makes up the car was mined.  The fuel it uses is from plants and animals that rotted millions of years ago.  Everything in a car — every molecule — came from nature.  We did not create the mass, although we can rearrange molecules and change them into different compounds.  So, if you subscribe to wights at all, you have to consider your car is a wight.

Does My Car Need Offerings?

This is a silly question, but one that you’ll have to look at seriously.  We certainly do make “blots” to our cars. We even have some very prescribed rituals for making sure they are satisfied and will give us a gift in return for our gifts.

Our frequent blots to our cars: we go to the gas station for fuel.  We offer our hard-earned tokens that symbolize our energy equation (money) in exchange for other energy (fuel), and we have a special requirement for how to provide the offering (open the fuel cap, prepay at the pump, insert the nozzle, etc.)  Less frequent blots: changing the oil, rotating the tires, getting a tune up, etc.  Often, these blots occur at a particular seasonal time: change summer tires to winter tires in the fall, change winter tires to summer tires in the spring, tune up the car late spring for summer trips, etc.

We offer these “gifts” in exchange for our car’s gift: transportation.  Still don’t believe the car is a wight?  People talk to them all the time.  They name their cars.  They grow attachments to them. Some people trust their cars better than they trust their spouses.   I remember back in college friends comparing the top end speed of their Volkswagen Beetles. Same era and virtually the same cars, yet they were very different.

Now, did these wights talk back or go rescue your ass when you got stuck with a bad date?  Of course not. That’s not within their operating parameters.  But they have quirks and behaviors you can’t ignore (especially when they hate cold weather).

Let’s Take This One Step Further

So, if you’re with me that cars and computers and airplanes can be wights, then it’s not a farfetched conclusion to look at what we give them in return for gifts. We give them something they need in order to perform properly.  When I look at my goats, I know I need to feed them hay and minerals plus give them water, and assuming the goat kidded, I will get milk in return.  Gift for a gift.  Now, let’s look at our nature wights and our gods.  This now brings me to the question: if we give offerings, what are we giving the gods and nature Wights that they need?

In other words:

What the fuck does a god or land wight need with mead?

See my problem?  We could make up some woo-woo stuff about the essence strengthening the land wight or the god appreciating the sacrifice. But I’m not sure that really works. In fact, I would argue that it may not do anything for the land wight. And a god? If a god is the essence of what he or she represents, I’m wondering if sacrificing things that have no bearing on what the god is would even be appreciated.

Now I may be full of shit here. But I notice that more often than not the gods favor those in particular areas who have made a fair amount of effort toward whatever they look to gain. Sure, there is blind, dumb luck like those who win who play the lottery, but with the exception of maybe the Lokeans, most of us don’t depend on randomness in our lives.

So What Would Be an Appropriate Offering to the Gods and

Wights? (Or would Thor like a Tesla Coil?)

If we take the gods as personified metaphors, then we need to look at their function and see what strengthens their role.  Wisdom and creativity are two things that Odin would like.  Tyr is obviously the god of laws, so doing something toward upholding law and order is appropriate.  But then I start getting silly and seeing within my mind’s eye Thor’s glee at a Tesla coil.  Yes, somehow, I think he likes those.

When it comes to wights, the offering should be appropriate to the wight. If we can, we need to understand what makes that wight and that particular environment thrive.  That might mean clearing out noxious weeds on a piece of land, or maybe providing water during a drought, but in all honesty, I believe that if there are wights, wights are limited by the physical constructs they cling to. That means that they can only do what is prescribed by their form. A tree wight, for example, can only do things that trees do — in the relation of gifts and giving. It can accept things that the tree can use, and it can provide what the tree can provide.  Anything else is asking something beyond it’s reasoning.  It’s like asking a dog to explain particle physics to you.  Assuming the dog knows particle physics (which, with the exception of a couple I know, don’t), the dog can’t tell us that he knows because he can’t speak our language due to lack of a soft palate, shape of the tongue, and possibly the inability to understand English. (Although most dogs I know have a limited human vocabulary.)  So, I suspect is the problem with asking the wrong thing from the wights.

So, Where am I Going with this?

So, am I telling you to stop laying out offerings?  No. Am I telling you that my way is the only way? No. Am I thinking that we’re doing blots wrong?  Maybe.  We got the concept of offerings from our ancestors, who may or may not have had an understanding of what the gods and wights wanted/needed.  After all, while there are many good things we learned from our ancestors, our ancestors got shit wrong all the time, especially when it came to science.  So they could’ve just anthropomorphized the gods and wights and assumed they wanted things that people want. But do the gods have needs that we as mortals can satisfy?

And then the question remains is, are they at all interested in what we give them?  I mean, Odin doesn’t need Twinkies.  (Neither do I, but no one sends a package my direction, either.)  It may simply be the act of giving the gods something we value that works, and not necessarily the item. I can accept that.  But I do ponder the implications of today’s musings and wonder if we’re going down the wrong path with our blots.

Then again, the whole idea is the goats’ fault, since I was feeding them. You can blame them.

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Are the Gods People?

Are the Gods People?

Heh.  This one is sure to get me in trouble with some folk.

A lot of people are pretty convinced that the gods look like something out of Marvel, Wagner’s Opera, or <name your preference here>.  Some followers of northern paganism, including Asatru, Heathenry, and even Odinism, are constantly insisting that the gods are at least human looking and have physical forms that look like…well, like white people.  I’m going to drive a truck right over that belief.

Why the Gods Appear Human — Warning UPG Ahead!

It’s laughable to think that the gods are human.  They can take human-like forms, but they certainly aren’t human any more than the natural elements being human.  Because they’re Norse and Germanic gods, it’s not surprising that to most people they look, well…, like something out of Lord of the Rings. This, I suspect, is more because of cultural biases rather than actually what the gods look like or are.  They relate to us in ways we can easily accept.  If that means looking like an old guy like Gandalf the Grey with an eyepatch and two ravens on his shoulders, then that’s what Odin will look like. We have a cultural understanding what Odin is going to look like through our stories. Odin may look differently to another culture.  In fact, unless he had a specific reason to look like Gandalf, he would look like whatever was appropriate to the culture of whom he spoke to. If that means that he needs to show up as Christ, an African American, or a fruit cake to tell us something, that’s probably what he’d do.  At least, that has been my experience with Odin. As usual, Your Mileage May Vary (YMMV), and if you actually deal with the gods, you may have different experiences.

What are the Gods, Exactly?

I tend to think of the gods as natural entities and metaphors for what we see in nature. Their power is over certain natural phenomena. I’m not quite pantheistic, but I think I can make a case for it. But that’s another subject for another time. When we look at all the gods, they all have natural phenomena associated with them. Thor with thunder springs to mind, but there are certainly others. Sif with the earth and harvest. Freyr with male sexuality, fertility, and agriculture. Tyr with laws and the heavens. Odin with creation.  Some, like Frigg, goddess of marriage and the household, are aimed more toward human constructs, but given they are universal, we can think of them as natural.

So, are the gods their elements?  I suspect they are, or at least strongly linked. I know they’re not human or in human form, but I suspect they can manifest themselves in whatever manner they need to be.

Where are the Gods?

There’s been some debate as to whether a particular god is only in Northern Europe, or whether Northern Paganism extends beyond the lands whence they came.  If we look at the actual roots of Norse Paganism, we can see it actually evolved from Proto-Indo-European Paganism.  And that evolved from nostratic paganism.

I’ve shown this evolutionary tree of religion before, but I want to talk about nostratic paganism for a moment. As far as I know — and people can certainly point me in better directions — there isn’t really a lot of evidence concerning what people actually believed some 17,000 years ago. We know people believed in an afterlife and certainly gods to worship and sacrifice to, but given our ancestors didn’t have a written language then, we really don’t know exactly what tribe worshiped what. And while we know that our ancestors made the jump from animism to paganism, we don’t really know when exactly or how. We do know that our ancestors probably worshiped a set of gods because later iterations seem to suggest they came from one root.  So, we’re looking at the same gods being worshiped (or similar gods being worshiped) across various cultures. Yes, the names change, and some of the roles change, but we see similarity between gods of various pantheons.

It seems unlikely that if we discovered our gods during the nostratic paganism times that our gods would be rooted in just one geographic location. And if they were in one location, we’d probably be looking more south than north. But this doesn’t make sense.  Natural phenomena doesn’t change simply because it’s in another region.  Hence, I think it’s unlikely we’re dealing with different gods.

Making the Case with Thor

Let’s take Thor and lightning (and thunder).  I use Thor as an example because he’s easily understood and thunder gods exist damn near everywhere.  Thor as a thunder god is one of our most powerful and revered gods, and yet, he has names throughout different cultures. But lightning is lightning, and thunder is thunder. While lightning may come in various shapes, it’s pretty much the same thing. I suppose you could argue that there is ball lightning, volcanic lightning, more violent thunderstorms with lightning, and even sprites, but I’d argue that it’s the same thing, just behaving differently according to its environments. Look at lightning and you’ll see pretty much the same phenomena.

If we argue that the thunder gods are different in the Western hemisphere than the Eastern hemisphere, then we should see marked differences in the thunder and lightning in the United States than in Asia or Europe or Africa. But we don’t.  We see that the behavior is the same.  The thunder and lightning follow the same behaviors as put forth by natural laws (physics aka Tyr).  So, Thor is Thor, whether he is called Perun, Zeus, or the Thunderbird.  It does, however, make me wonder if Thor is an Earth phenomena or whether he governs all lightning.  No, I haven’t a UPG on that yet, but I suspect Thor isn’t tied to just our little rock.

Physics, Ethics of Reciprocity, and Tyr

We also see that the natural laws extend well past the borders of northern Europe. If Tyr’s laws didn’t

exist everywhere in our Universe, we’d be in a terrible mess. Imagine if gravity existed only in some parts of the world and not in others. That alone would be a scary thought because there wouldn’t be attraction between masses that would hold them together. Or energy isn’t what we understand it is. Or anything that we have come to learn about the universe suddenly disappears.  There would be places on Earth where everything and anything goes. Or maybe gigantic rifts in space time because there are pockets of things that don’t follow Tyr’s laws.

On the human side, I suppose one could argue that Tyr doesn’t exist in all places as the embodiment of humankind’s laws.  And you might have a case.  And yet, we see at a basic level other religions point to codes of conduct that they approve of. “Golden Rules” if you want to take the Christian term, or Ethics of Reciprocity.

Do all cultures have Ethics of Reciprocity?  I suspect so in some form.  Whether they’re followed is iffy — humans aren’t exactly the best when it comes to doing the right thing.

So, there you have it, my take on the gods. 

Intelligent Design and the Heathen

Intelligent Design and the Heathen

Now it’s time to me go after the Intelligent Design folk.  Because basically, it annoys me.

The Set Up — Or Why I’ve Gone Off on a Rant Today…

A friend of mine on Facebook actually posted the gravity waves from two black holes swallowing each other up some billion years ago were translated into sound as C major was proof of the Christian god and also proof of intelligent design.  I almost made some sort of snide comment such as “Odin did an okay job, but if he really wanted to get our attention it should’ve belted out Beethoven’s 5th…”  But I didn’t, mainly because I still value the friendship enough to not be my normally snide self.   But I probably dinged the relationship a bit by calling bullshit.  Yeah, that just happens if you know me.

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Rune Casting

Rune Casting

I’m a rune caster.  I’ve given some pretty amazing castings that were spot on, which is why I’m going to talk to you about them.  Everything within my scientific brain says they shouldn’t work.  And yet, everything I’ve experienced seems to point in the direction that the runes do work.  I once asked a friend who was getting his degree in Physics why it seemed to work.  He shrugged and told me that it was probably just the ambiguity of the runes.


He might be right.  What’s more, it’s likely that subconsciously my brain keeps track of the rune stones and how they feel.  So, when I do a reading, I’m actually tapping into my subconsciousness.

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