Tag Archives: Spirituality

One Ring to Rule them All

Politics. It’s a funny thing. Funny-strange.

I spent most of my life, not unlike most of my peers who grew up in the 70s and 80s, without affording politics much more than a sideways glance. Unlike most of my peers, I was much more concerned with my native culturo-spiritual heritage as a man of Anglo-Frankish (paternal) and German (maternal) ancestry; which is to say that I was interested in my preChristian heathen heritage. And that of course is as much as to say my ethnic heritage; the word heathen (country-dweller) being a gloss of the Latin paganus (rustic, villager; from pagus meaning “rural locality”) which itself is a gloss of the Greek ethnos from whence we get the Modern English word ethnic; which itself is a much deeper and complex concept than “race” that certainly encompasses the notion of “race” but which is neither limited to nor dominated by it.

As a Germanic Heathen, my values, my identity does not “descend from on high”. It rises up out of the soil beneath my feet, up from the halls of my ancestors and through their generations to me, and stretches up and out as far as my reach can grasp and my environment will allow. That is my domain. And the well-being of my domain, of my tribe, is my politics.

My tribe first.

This is not to suggest that I don’t care about the well-being of other tribes, or fail to realize how successful alliances with outsiders can benefit my tribe, only that I know where my priority-one responsibilities and obligations lie. No one enters into a deal that is not beneficial to them; for all that we might hope that the benefit was mutual. This is of course no different than someone saying that they put their children first, even before my children, to which I would respond, not with self-righteous contempt and holier-than-thou indignation, but rather with a pat on the back and a warm assurance that this is the foundation of being a good parent. You are behaving as you should, as one should expect of you as a parent. Nothing more, nothing less. And the same principle applies no matter the context, big or small. What is true for the parent is true for the family head is true for the tribal head is true for the head of state.

Among wiser folk, folk more in-tune with nature and human nature, folk less ideologically obsessed, such a statement as “I put my child first!” might well come off as uncouth, a statement of the obvious, and as such might be perceived as carrying certain implications that might be frowned upon, depending of course. But we Euro-descended people of the 21st century are not such folk.

No. We 21st century Euro-descended folk can, as a whole, be summed up in the prophecy of Queen Basina, the mother of King Clovis of Frankland, when she foretold that her children would be like noble lions, but her grandchildren like savage bears and wolves, while her great-grandchildren would be like dogs and small squabbling animals that would devour each other. It might have taken a little longer for the dynamic to infect the West as a whole as opposed to just the once sacral Merovingian line of France, but infect us it certainly has. We are like a bunch of stuffy old obsessive-compulsive hyper-critical grannies with nothing better to do than constantly peck and nit-pick, remembering the past only insofar as it can be used to fuel our self-righteous indignation, but utterly senile and entirely oblivious to its many virtues … the very things that have afforded the “grannies”, the weak, the luxury of their continued existence, as well as the rights and freedoms to engage in their incessant, hyperbolic whining and protest to begin with.

One has but to speak towards the historical virtues of the “white male”, or express a concern over our demographic predicament, or cite a fact that runs contrary to the “victim narrative” — or even simply exist as a “white male” — to bringing the wrath of, not only the politically correct mob, but the politically correct establishment down upon you.

Nope. In the U.S. a Christian bakery can’t refuse the business of making a cake for a gay wedding. Meanwhile here in Canada, if you were looking to become a member of our Feds, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, you might imagine that you were in luck as they have plenty of vacancies and are having difficulty filling those positions. Not so lucky however, if you are a white male. Sorry. That quota has been filled. Indeed, in an effort to fill their vacancies with non-white males, the R.C.M.P. have since done away with … wait for it … the requirement of Canadian citizenship!  And meanwhile any hint of Euro-descended peoples, and particularly straight white males, coming together to in any way discuss and/or represent their concerns and interests is denounced as “sexist” or “homophobic” or “racist” or “anti-immigration” and set upon by the mob as certainly as Pavlov’s dog begins to salivate at the sound of a bell. No actual “food” required. No actual hate required. And just never mind the fact that so-called “minority groups” are both encouraged and celebrated for doing the very things that Euro-descended folk are demonized for.

Indeed, just the other day there was what is believed to have been a “terrorist attack” carried out in Edmonton, Alberta by a Somalian refugee. In the wake of the attack our Prime Minister shared an image, presented within the context of the attack, that denounced white supremacy.

whitesupremacy

Inappropriate one might think. Definitely lacking in couth. But it comes as no great shock. We have seen similar responses as this numerous times at this point from other (or the same) politicians in the Western world; responding to Islamic terrorist attacks by lecturing us about the evils of “Islamophobia” … or even just deciding to “throw it out there” to the world that we the (Euro-descended) people (of Canada) are a bunch of low-life “racists”.

And no one questions it. Like Pavlov’s dog they simply begin to “salivate” when someone “rings the bell” of white racism; all too happy to hop on board and goose-step to the tune of the state … all the while imagining themselves to be that courageous soul with his arms crossed, indignantly, while amidst a crowd of (actual) Nazis eagerly throwing up the Roman salute … in the name of Germania.

Political correctness is after all adherence to the doctrine of the state by any other name. It is explicitly totalitarian, implicitly Leftist, and as such runs against the grain of our fundamental ethno-cultural disposition as Germanic people; as evidenced in our centuries long struggle and ultimate(?) victory against the theocratic Abrahamic (Christian) state that resulted in the separation of Church and State and the freedom of belief. But in fact, while the state my have tossed out the proverbial baby, it decided to hang on to the bath-water and carry forward the worst elements of the Christian theocracy; namely its negative evaluation of human nature and its over-bearing, “born again” paternalistic presumption to hold the one and only true path to salvation … which you are “literally Hitler” if you don’t give your mind, your soul and your undying devotion over to.

And hey! Don’t forget to ante up your “Peter’s Pence” while you are at it. Or else.

The Germanic ideal of government is of course best summed up in Thomas Jefferson’s famous quote, “That government is best which governs the least“; which shows off our ancient love of liberty, locality, and self-determination, our trust, our confidence and our sense of security in relation to our neighbour, our fellow man, that hearkens back as far as Tacitus in the historical record. In his work Germania, Tacitus expresses it in so many words here,

“Their freedom has this disadvantage, that they do not meet simultaneously or as they are bidden, but two or three days are wasted in the delays of assembling. When the multitude think proper, they sit down armed. Silence is proclaimed by the priests, who have on these occasions the right of keeping order. Then the king or the chief, according to age, birth, distinction in war, or eloquence, is heard, more because he has influence to persuade than because he has power to command.”

He hits upon it again in relation between lord and thrall here,

slaves are not employed after our manner with distinct domestic duties assigned to them, but each one has the management of a house and home of his own. The master requires from the slave a certain quantity of grain, of cattle, and of clothing, as he would from a tenant, and this is the limit of subjection. All other household functions are discharged by the wife and children. To strike a slave or to punish him with bonds or with hard labour is a rare occurrence.

 

What has become known as the “roof-tree law” in modern Germanicism is echoed centuries later in such Havamal stanzas as,

 

One’s own home is best, though it be small.
To each, home is hall.
Though he owns but two goats,
and a thatched roof, it is better than begging

One might say it is further demonstrated among the Viking Age Norse in the founding of Iceland, Greenland, and the Vinland colony! But getting back to Tacitus, he also speaks towards the heart and soul of what made the Germanic concept of self–rule, the ideal of small government, actually work,

good habits are here more effectual than good laws elsewhere.

This observation is noted within the context of marriage and fidelity among the tribes of Germania, but speaks toward a more pervasive concept that the Anglo-Saxons called thew; meaning “customs, habits” of a community, as expressed, not in some lofty doctrine, but in rather in the habits of life and social interaction of the people that make up that community. Today we might call it “social fabric”, though “social muscle” would be more appropriate. It is organic, strong yet fibrous and flexible, and it is inherently functional. Thew is what enabled our ancestors, top to bottom, to feed and shelter and cloth themselves, and each other, to extend charity to the needy, to operate under a system of law that was largely civil in nature and absolutely dependent on the parties involved, and their local community, to determine and make amends for any wrongdoing. Good habits. Common values, common vision, common history, common sense, up out of the soil, emanating from the halls of the ancestors and down through the generations to them. And it is primarily in the area of thew that a society that has become co-dependent upon the state most suffers.

And yet in all of this talk that has emerged since the birth of Classical Liberalism about the oppressive nature of the state, and rabidly advanced by the mob of minorities that make up the “politically correct” crowd with the ever paternal “white knights” leading the charge, where is the call for smaller government? Where is the call for limiting the power of the very instrument of oppression that they are all so sore about? Rather, as a result of the very “politics of fear and division” they so often speak out against, they work to feed the wolf, to feed the state, in a frantic effort to secure a hold, Gollum-like, of “the one ring to rule them all”; granting the state ever more power to limit the freedoms and rights of their countrymen, and utterly oblivious to the ever-changing nature of the political landscape.

Here is a word to the wise for you … when you say that all politicians are liars and cheats, that’s a good indication that you mean all of them, rather than all of them except for this one here, who is offering me free stuff and catering to my sympathies, and who is clearly remarkably different than the rest … until I am betrayed by my own selfish naivety … yet again. Rinse and repeat.

Now, it’s one thing to see European peoples in general, or even NW European peoples in specific pander to this political correct nonsense, this faux shaming that generally amounts to so much hyperbolic hot air. But it’s another thing to see people who claim to be “Germanic Heathens” do it. And it is an absolute joke to see one of these “middle grounders” denounce “fanaticism on all sides, be it Far Left or Far Right”, when in fact, for one, both Nazis and Commies are on the Left, both equally big government totalitarian regardless of the presence or lack of an ethnic component, and for another, they set to salivating at the chime of “racists” every bit as quickly, as furiously, and as unthinkingly as the rest of Pavlov’s dogs.

Does it matter to them that the Sons of Odin for example, and most pertinently their Canadian contingent, have never been charged let alone implicated in a hate crime? Does it matter that they regularly spend their free time making sure drunk women make it safely home after a night of partying, do garbage clean-ups in their local neighbourhoods, and shovel their less-than-able neighbour’s sidewalks for them? No. Of course it doesn’t matter. It only matters that their Finnish founder had a background as some kind of “white supremacist” as though, true or otherwise, he is representative of the whole. Does it matter that such outfits as the Sons of Odin or the Proud Boys can boast members, prominent members, married to non-white wives with mixed offspring? No. All that matters is that they have a positive evaluation of Western culture and Western history, which of course somehow means that they are “Far Right” and “white supremacist”. Heck, does it even matter that some of the people being branded with the stigma of “white supremacists” are … wait for it … not even white??? Nor male, nor straight, nor even of clear gender in some cases? No. All that matters to the mob is the doctrine (and udder) of the state and the threat such people pose to the prevailing narrative and the status quo.

What is most confounding about these “Germanic Heathens” that engage in this game of smoke and mirrors, is that they often cite (unfounded) accusations of racism leveled against themselves, and a desire to get out from under them, as their motivation and justification for opposing “racists”; oblivious to the fact that, as such, they are complicit in the slander by, at the very least, validating it with their agreement.  And also to the fact that, no matter how many times they address the question of racism to these slanderers, even going so far as to pull out their own token non-whites to prove the matter, the same slanderers can and do go on doing exactly what they do … slandering them with allegations of racism. This holds true for Euro-descended people as a whole of course.

Does anyone ever stop to consider where some of these so-called “racists” are coming from? Ever attempt to actually “build bridges not walls”? Do they ever stop, if they’ve accumulated enough years to do so, and think, “hey, in the 70s and 80s we were strongly encouraged by the political narrative of the time to stop having babies because doing so would result in a global apocalypse, only to be told in the 90s that because we didn’t have enough babies, we had to accept perpetual mass immigration as the only solution. Now, something isn’t right here.”?

No? Well, why not???

If nothing else, we were lied to … taken in by the good ol’ “bait and switch”. A person of honour and conscience could not simply over-look that or let it pass unchallenged, to say nothing of try to silence any such observations with socially malicious gossip. Our fertility rate as Euro-Canadians sits at .5 points below the abysmal national average of 1.6 (kids per couple) at an even more abysmal 1.1 (kids per couple). You don’t need to have a degree in advanced calculus to do the math on the issue.

Or maybe we weren’t lied to. Maybe Canada really did need to cap its population growth? After all, from its foundation in the mid-60s to its abolishment in the early 90s, the Science Council of Canada consistently advised a population cap in order to ensure sustainability and environmental health. And of course it was in the early 90s, paralleling the abolishment of the S.C.o.C., that Canada began its modern practice of perpetual mass immigration and we began taking in an average of 250,000 immigrants per year, every year, with the goal of reaching 100 million by the end of the century; a farcical and pretentious goal that flies in the face of simple logic, common sense, and every study done on immigration to date, and relies on some obscure metric that suggests a “sweet spot” of population density that, if reached, shall magically “unlock the bounty of the nation”, but which can’t actually be demonstrated, and only serves to be undermined by using existing countries that do sit in the hypothetical “sweet spot” of  population density as examples. They might as well be prophesying from the entrails of goats or predicting the Second Coming for all that they can validate their claims.

Yes, gentle reader, for those of you unfamiliar with the Scientific Method, a hypothesis is not at all the same thing as a conclusion. And even a conclusion requires verification.

This notion of a population cap was in more recent times echoed by the West Coast’s very own environmentalist golden boy, David Suzuki, who said in criticism of the Harper government and its immigration policy that, and I quote, “Canada is full“. And for this Suzuki was lambasted as “anti-immigration” by the Conservatives and such media personalities as the roundly loathed Ezra Levant. Moreover, Suzuki was left so shaken by the Mjolnir-like bludgeoning power of the accusation, which, again, actually amounts to a lot of hot air, that he hasn’t said a peep about immigration since.

In fact, those very Conservatives that slammed Suzuki as “anti-immigration” were themselves coloured anti-immigration by their critics, and despite taking in a modern record of 285,000 immigrants in a single year. Likewise, back in the 90s, Preston Manning of the old Reform Party was slammed as “anti-immigration” for suggesting that we pull our intake down to 150,000 per year, despite being able to boast 150,000 articles of evidence as to why he was anything but anti-immigration … unless of course one meant that he was anti-immigration like antifa is “anti-fascist”, ie. not at all.

I mention this to demonstrate what a farce the accusation of “anti-immigration” is. And in this it is no different than the accusation of “racism”. Indeed, both have a very direct relation to one another, serve the same end, utilize the same hyperbolic tactics and rely on the same knee-jerk reactions, and as such are more-or-less synonymous. It would also seem to illustrate the essential contradiction that exists between the Leftist platforms of environmentalism vs. immigration and economy. And there is every reason to question the received doctrine of  “immigrants and economy” as well.

Despite the oft repeated mantra that “Canada needs immigrants”, not a single study has been produced that  lends credence to the notion. According to the study undertaken by the Fraser Institute immigrants represent a net burden on the Canadian tax-payer of some $23 billion dollars per year. A similar study conducted by the Simon Fraser University, often used in (pathetic) retort to the former, concluded that immigrants “only” cost Canadian tax-payers $2 billion dollars per year, ie. but cost us nevertheless. Meanwhile the study that, until recently, sat upon the Government of Canada website,  “the Economic and social objectives of immigration: The evidence that informs immigration levels and education mix”, concluded that, economically speaking,  immigration has only negligible effect, either way, upon the country; but also drew firm conclusions that, on the one hand, immigration certainly improves the economic outcome of the immigrant, and on the other, that immigration certainly undermines the social cohesion of the host nation.

That is to say, it undermines thew … the ability of people to get along, work together, and feel at home in their surroundings. 

These questions regarding fertility rate, demographics, and immigration, the integrity and power of the state,  are real concerns based on actual data whose discussion should and shall be insisted upon by a civic-minded population possessed of right goodwill. And they are not at all problems exclusive to “straight white Christian males”. They impact the lives of women and homosexuals no less, and have already had a significant impact on the state of First Nations people within Canada … who have found their voice of 1.4 million strong eating the dust of “First Generations”, of which some 6+ million (offspring not included) have been brought into Canada over the past 25 years. And it is “predicted” that future population increase, and they are planning a lot of it, shall come predominantly from immigration (as opposed to natural increase), which should raise an alarm with any legitimate citizen of Canada.

Note that none of this is observed with any particular prejudice or malice towards the non-European populations of the world, or those existing here. There are certainly some groups, such as Islam, that I think we should certainly be more careful as setting up as our “preferred source of immigrants”, but I understand the motives of immigrants for wanting to come to Western countries, to come to Canada. Contrary to the self-loathing collectively apparent in those so eager to hurl and accept the slurs of “racist” and “anti-immigration”, we lovers of the West understand the motivations of immigrants only all to well. Namely, they know as well as we do that “the West is the best”. It’s not at all perfect, and still has some major hurdles to overcome, as this blog entry should make abundantly clear, but it’s the best thing that the world has going and, more importantly, it has evolved a process that speaks towards our collective humility, self-awareness and self-criticism, that is requisite to any hope of growth and progress. And it’s possession is why the West is the best. Moreover, while I am happy to judge groups collectively, I am also wise enough to judge individuals based upon their own merit as individuals and have in my life grown up alongside wave after wave of immigrants that had washed up on the shores of Canada. And contrary to the prevailing narrative, we all got along pretty good back in the 70s and 80s, governed on the play-ground and ballfield largely by local thew, before the state and its political correctness at last stepped in to do what it does … ruin an otherwise good thing for everyone, the young not least among them.

Finally, these questions, which amount to nothing less conscientious than questioning the state, are also a concern for anyone who has a true appreciation for ethno-cultural diversity. History has shown us time and again that in any collision or coming together of cultures within a given area that one shall dominate and subsume the other/s. It is a simple logistic reality. Whose language shall be the language of the state? Or shall the state have 12+ official languages? Whose values will it embody, who will define its social mores, what shall be it’s laws and system of laws? And what will become of its history? This is not to suggest that such “cultural conglomerations” cannot work. It is only to point out that the end product isn’t a wonderful garden of either baseline human or ethno-cultural diversity; which itself is not actually an ideal that needs achieving, but rather is the default position of human life on Earth, that only needs observing, but which has never been in greater danger than it is today.

You see, the political paradigm is no longer one of Left vs. Right, of Liberal vs. Conservative. No. The (re-)emerging paradigm is a very old one at this point. It is one of the diverse peoples and cultures and nations of the Earth vs. a pretensious and self-serving global elite and their collection of useful idiots. And its modern manifestation has been working hard, both at home and abroad, to destabilize cultures both foreign and domestic, with the end goal of establishing a global monoculture overseen by a global state … in which we mere “peasants” have all been reduced to interchangeable parts for their own convenience. And the rhetoric of these globalists and their stooges, most poignantly on the Left, betrays itself. In one instant they are demanding a respect for and celebration of diversity, and in the next they are insisting that we are all really just the same, with nary a difference between us; black or white, male or female, gay or straight, and indeed, ultimately, you or me.

You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.

And so as this long rambling entry of mine draws to a close, my thoughts begin to wander back to its beginnings and the events that have transpired over the last few days. Particularly, this time around, to the events that rocked Las Vegas and left nearly 60 concert-goers dead. In its wake I have heard the bewildered questions, “how could this have happened??? What possibly could have been his motive??? What could have triggered him???”. And I am reminded of the fact that second generation Muslim immigrants tend to be far more prone to radicalization than their immigrant parents. How is that, we wonder? After all, unlike their parents, they themselves grew up here in the West, did they not? How could they fail so utterly to integrate with Western culture? But then you take a look at the cultural landscape they have apparently been in the process of integrating with since they were born. Where did this hatred of the West come from? Indeed, where did this disdain for humanity itself come from?

Gee. I wonder.

J.R.R._Tolkien_-_Ring_verse

 

 

 

 

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After Death: Certitude or Mystery?

skeleton

The importance of the remains of the dead, their treatment, their burial, the tending of graves and honouring of one’s dead kinsfolk and heroes. It was an important aspect of the elder Germanic beliefs; with enough parallels in both the beliefs of their fellow Indo-European cultures and the associated archaeological record, to nail it down as a very ancient, very significant, and very enduring thing.

But was Hell simply the grave and grave mound? Was the soul truly and irrevocably bound to it’s remains? Was there in fact no Germanic “afterworld”, beyond life in the grave-mound, as more than one well informed person has proposed? And indeed if the remains of one’s ancestors were lost and/or forgotten so to were their souls to the kindred?

Well, I like this perspective. It’s something that began to dawn on me a couple of decades ago after reading Gronbech’s “Culture of the Teutons”; in which he drew a parallel between the cosmology of the Eddas and the physical realities of a tribe’s surroundings. And there is a lot in elder Germanic lore that certainly points in this direction.

However, while this understanding is a very good foundation — rightly shifting our attention, energy and emphasis away from the otherworld and on to this world, away from the goldstar we will get in some otherworld and on to the legacy we leave for the benefit of our community and descendants that remain in this world after we have departed, ie. world accepting — it nevertheless presents certain inconsistencies with other aspects of both Germanic and Indo-European lore; which, from subtle indications of language and elder figures of speech to ship-burials are suggestive of both a journey, and hence a destination, following death … undertaken from within the gravemound it would “certainly seem”.

For all of that, I still find that the Eddas, paint too detailed and too certain of a picture about such things. Who knows what lies ahead in that great journey taken after death? The dead … of which none of us are at this moment. As with the nature of the Tivar, I tend to dislike sharp and certain definitions of things a person doesn’t really know anything more-or-less about than anyone else. Certainly we have a sense of “life after death” … a sense that is of course the strongest in the presence of the bones of our ancestors, but if the ancient Greeks are any testament, a mound is a mound is a mound, each as the other a gate to Hades apparently, whether or not their ancestors or heroes were actually buried in “that” particular mound or worshiped at many different mounds in different localities. But no, certitude was never a promise or pretense of elder Germanicism, which was always happy to own it’s sense of things while happily letting those things be whatever they actually are apart from their sense of them. As can be gleaned in the following passage from Bede’s History of the English Nation, the elder culture knew how to honour to *mystery*,

“The present life man, O king, seems to me, in comparison with that time which is unknown to us, like to the swift flight of a sparrow through the hall wherein you sit at supper in winter amid your officers and ministers, with a good fire in the midst whilst the storms of rain and snow prevail abroad; the sparrow, I say, flying in at one door and immediately out another, whilst he is within is safe from the wintry weather. But after a short space of fair weather he immediately vanishes out of your sight into the dark winter from which he has emerged. So this life of man appears for a short while. But of what went before or what is to follow we are ignorant. If, therefore, this new doctrine contains something more certain, it seems justly to deserve to be followed.”

And in the poem Beowulf as it pertains to the death, funeral and otherworldly fate of Scyld Sceafing,

“Men do not know
truth be told, neither counselors
nor heroes under heaven, who unshipped that cargo.”

And in Book I of the Gesta Danorum,

“she drew him with her underground, and vanished… <snip> … purposed that he should pay a visit in the flesh to the regions whither he must go when he died. So they first pierced through a certain dark misty cloud, and then advancing along a path that was worn away with long thoroughfaring… <snip> … Going further, they came on a swift and tumbling river of leaden waters, whirling down on its rapid current divers sorts of missiles, and likewise made passable by a bridge… <snip> … Then a wall hard to approach and to climb blocked their further advance. The woman tried to leap it, but in vain, being unable to do so even with her slender wrinkled body; then she wrung off the head of a cock which she chanced to be taking down with her, and flung it beyond the barrier of the walls; and forthwith the bird came to life again, and testified by a loud crow to recovery of its breathing.

Did our ancestors believe in life after death? Certainly. But certitude about such things as no man can be certain about is not a selling point of the elder beliefs. As ever, truth is more about questions and less about answers. Beware the man who is certain about things no man could possibly be … for within him grow the seeds of evil.

In Their Ancient Hymns: the Ethnogenesis of the Germanic Peoples

In their ancient hymns (which amongst them are the only sort of records and history) they celebrate Tuisto, a god sprung from the earth, and Mannus his son, as the fathers and founders of their people. To Mannus they asign three sons, after whose names so many people are called; the Ingaevones, dwelling by the seashore; the Herminones, in the interior; and all the rest, Istaevones. Some, borrowing the liscence that pertains to antiquity, maintain that the god had more sons; that thence came more denominations of people, the Marsians, Gambrians, Suevians, and Vandalians, and that these are the names truly genuine and original.” (Tacitus, Germania)

Such is what we have of the first recorded ethnogenesis myth of the Germanic peoples. It is preserved in the works of both Tacitus and Pliny, both hailing from the 1st century A.D., and was, presumably, considered “ancient” by the tribes of Germania at the time of it’s recording. Indeed, certain aspects of the “myth” as we have it predate the emergence of Germanic culture in southern Scandinavia by over a  thousand years, as we see in the case of the figure Mannus and his Aryan (aka. Indo-Iranian) cognate, Manu. Of this Manu, who’s name, like Mannus’, means “man, human”, the Mahabharate states,

And Manu was endowed with great wisdom and devoted to virtue. And he became the progenitor of a line. And in Manu’s race have been born all human beings, who have, therefore, been called Manavas. And it is of Manu that all men including Brahmanas, Kshattriyas, and others have been descended, and are therefore all called Manavas. Subsequently, O monarch, the Brahmanas became united with the Kshattriyas. And those sons Manu that of were Brahmanas devoted themselves to the study of the Vedas. And Manu begat ten other children named Vena, Dhrishnu, Narishyan, Nabhaga, Ikshakus, Karusha, Saryati, the eighth, a daughter named Ila, Prishadhru the ninth, and Nabhagarishta, the tenth. They all betook themselves to the practices of Kshattriyas. Besides these, Manu had fifty other sons on Earth. But we heard that they all perished, quarrelling with one another.

Both Mannus and Manu gave their name to us men, both had kingly children that rose to glory among their respective tribes, and both had many other son’s of, ahem, “lesser fame” and/or more local significance. If one goes on to relate Mannus to the Viking Age Heimdal — not an uncommon comparison based on his Eddic appellation “Father of Mankind” — and factors the Rigsthula into the comparison — which tells of how Heimdal fathered and united the various castes of men into a cohesive tribe — the match with Manu is complete. But really, the existing Mannus-Manu correspondence is already quite remarkable and adequately demonstrates the ancientness of (certain aspects of) the lost hymn.

On the other hand, the geography of the tribes would suggest that other elements of it were more recent and pertained specifically to the Germanic peoples; being no earlier than the first waves of migrations that spread and established Germanicism throughout Central Europe and gave rise to the Herminonic (interior) and the Istaevonic (everywhere else) branches of the Folk as found in the hymn. Needless to say perhaps, the Ingvaeonic tribes were made up of those people who remained in the ancestral homeland along the seashores of southern Scandinavia. This would date these elements of the hymn to somewhere in the ballpark of the 1st century B.C. at the latest, and certainly no earlier than the advent of the Celtic Iron Age and the corresponding collapse of Nordic Bronze Age culture (c.500 B.C.).

As such there does seem to be considerable truth indeed to Tacitus’ assertion that this hymn was ancient. It demonstrates a deep awareness of common heritage and shared identity that walked hand-in-hand with the evolution of a “Common” or “Proto-” Germanic tongue (c.500 B.C.) and which, to various degrees, endured the evolutionary divergence of the Germanic language into its various branches , the Migration Age, and even “the Conversion” (ie. of the Anglo-Saxons). It was in fact this enduring memory of common heritage that inspired the first Anglo-Saxon missionaries to evangelize their Danish and Continental brethren in the late 7th century A.D.

For those more familiar with Eddas, the Ancient Hymns seem at first glance an odd thing with little to no relationship to grand and “otherworldly” nature of the Viking Age Creation myths or even to the Anglo-Saxon Caedmon’s Hymn. And sometimes this is cited as evidence of the great changes that took place within Germanic culture between the Iron Age to the Viking Age … and usually for some less than honest reason that has to do with validating the misappropriation of Germanic culture for modern culturo-political ends as exemplified in Universalist Asatru, and which dismisses the numerous commonalities that thread the weave of Germanic identity together and which endured it’s spread over time or space … thus allowing for the quantification of a thing as Germanic. But really, trying to force the Ancient Hymns into the Voluspa or Gylfaginning or Caedmon’s Hymn is to mistake an ethnogenesis for a genesis. The former tells of the origins of a people, the latter the origins of the cosmos. As such, they are not different versions of the same thing. Rather they are different components of the same thing, as can be seen by those with a due familiarity with such legends that tell of the origins of tribes and aetheling (royal) houses as found in the Heimskringla or Gesta Danorum, and related in the tales of such figures as Ingui, Scyld Sceafing and Merovech. The ancient hymns are the “rainbow bridge” that link the abstract, otherworldy mythology to the more concrete and historical evolution of the people. This in the same way that the Old Testament “Genesis” gives way to the legends of the Jews, their rulers, their earthly ordeals, and their own (ethno-culturally specific) evolving relationship with the “divine mystery”.

Tuisto and Mannus

As for the figures to be found in the ancient hymns — Tuisto, Mannus, Ingui, Irmin, Istaev (and the others) — while I have already touched on Mannus above, he is named alongside Tuisto as the co-progenitor of the Germanic people. Linguistically speaking, the name Tuisto is obscure. It could be a corruption of the Proto-Germanic Tiwisko (son of Tiw/God) as Grimm suggested, or it could be some concept built upon the fairly evident Proto-Germanic twa- root, from whence we get the Modern English word two (as in the quantity) … such as twin or twist (the latter of which means dispute/conflict in all of the Germanic languages save the English). While I have been very much inclined to see Tiw himself in Tuisto over the years, and so preferred (and in fact formulated) the possible relation of Tuisto to twist (dispute; ie. Mars Thingsus, TyR is not a Peacemaker), it seems today far more likely that the name was either Tiwisko or Twin. Either would suffice, as either one will ultimately point us back in the direction of the other.

And here is why; the notion of co-progenitors is very well established in the creation of new tribal identities among the Germanic peoples and their various Indo-European relatives. It can be seen in Aggo and Ebbo for the migrating Lombards, Roas and Raptos for the migrating Asdingi, most famously in Horsa and Hengist for the migrating Anglo-Saxons, and even perceived in such Vandal co-rulers as Ambri and Assi, and Vinill and Vandill. In the greater Indo-European world we see it in Romulus and Remus for the tribes of Rome and in Castor and Pollux among the Greeks, and most specifically among the Spartans who modeled their dual kingship after the Dioscuri (Sons of God) wherein one king ruled the peace and the other ruled at war. Such a dual kingship among the Germanic peoples, made up of a priest-king and a warrior-king, is observed in the literature as early as Tacitus, and so contemporary with the “Ancient Hymns”, and as late Jordanes, rears it’s head here and there throughout the better known legends and histories of our folk, eg. Hrothgar and Halga, and can even be gleaned in the relationship between the strongly martial Carolingians and the more sacral Merovingians of France. Moreover, the iconography of the “Divine Twins” and the supremacy of the intimately related “cult of the sun” saturates the rock-art and twinned deposits of the Nordic Bronze Age and continued in high style on the Gallehus Horns and the “twin dancers” of Anglo-Saxon art.  

anglosaxonalcis

While Tacitus names Mannus as the son of Tuisto rather than his brother, this seems more likely some form of mistake in interpretation. Take for a handy example that the Aryan Manu is remembered as the father of mankind, while his fellow Aryan, Yama (Twin), is remembered as the first mortal to have died. One could be left with the impression that Manu is Yama’s father. And yet, in fact, Manu and Yama are remembered as brothers. As such, I tend to favor the theory that Tuisto and Mannus are in fact brothers, a Germaniversal expression of the “Divine Twins” as the co-progenitors of tribes and peoples.      

The Ancient Hymns and the Elder Futhark

Here it is interesting to note that the Germanic mystery alphabet, called the futhorc by the Anglo-Frisians — but more widely remembered simply as “the runes” — was formulated over a time in which the Ancient Hymns were pervasive; marking the “alphabets” beginnings with the experimentation found etched on one of the Negau helms in the 2nd century B.C. and ending with the fully crystallized elder futhark of the 2nd century A.D. This is curious because at least two of the eight staves that make up the 3rd aett or family of the futhorc share the names of the deities of the Ancient Hyms. Namely, Mannus and Ingui.

runesymbol

Now, I am certainly not the first person to have made this observation. And this certainly fed into my desire to equate Tuisto with Tiw, as Tiw’s rune stands at the head of the 3rd aett. The notion began to fall apart however when the notion that Tuisto and Mannus were actually brothers fell into the mix and proved itself the stronger. Nevertheless, as mentioned above, Castor and Pollux were themselves known as the “Dioscuri” or “Sons of Zeus/God”, likewise were their Baltic (Latvian)  counter-parts called the “Dieva deli” or “Sons of Dieva/God” … of which Grimm’s Tiwisko (Son of Tiw/God) would represent a Proto-Germanic cognate of in the singular.

And so we find the rune of Tiw standing right where we might expect it if the theory holds water. But where then is Tuisto? I would suggest that he is to be found in the “ehwaz” stave, which means horse and stems from the same Proto-Indo-European root that gave us such other appellations for the Divine Twins as the Lithuanian “Asvieni” and the Sanskrit “Ashvins”. And so we have in the first four staves of the elder futhark the notion that Tiw (Glory father) and Birch (the fertility principle, ie. the earth, a cow, a mortal woman) gave rise to the Divine Twins as embodied in the staves for Horse and Man; even as Zeus fathered Pollux on the mortal woman Leda (and on her Pollux was made the brother of mortal Castor by the King of Sparta).

These four staves are then followed by the staves named for Water, Ingui, Day, and Homeland; which all but tell the same tale made evident in the legends of Scyld Sceafing and Merovech … of the sea bringing (Water) a divinely favoured one (Ing) who, with the wisdom of the gods (Day), went on to establish a homeland/identity for the folk (Homeland) … or, alternately, who went on to establish a homeland/identity for the folk (Homeland) and the dawning of the first day (Day).

I dunno … it all falls into place a little too conveniently to be casually dismissed.

Well, my time is burning, so I’ll have to leave the sons of  Mannus for another time; which mostly means Irmin as I’ve already dealt with Ingui here while the others brothers, Istvae included, are far too obscure for anything more than sheer speculation and passing commentary.

Be whole!

 

The Germanic Hell

Much as with the word Heaven, there is really no need qualify the word Hell with “Germanic” as Hell is a Germanic word … no matter how many L’s you throw in it. As with Heaven, it would be more technically correct to speak of the “Christian Hell”; which itself is properly known as Sheol or Gehenna. Biblically speaking, Sheol is simply the grave, where the dead await the Resurrection and Final Judgement of the Biblical God, while Gehenna (named after an old Jewish garbage dump) is the more familiar “lake of fire” that those who don’t make the cut will be incinerated in and which we commonly association with the “eternal torment of Hell”. There really is no “otherwordly” afterlife within Biblical Christianity, only the “promise” of the Resurrection and Judgement Day, and then the recreation of an earthly Eden which shall follow in its wake.

7. If any one, in accordance with pagan rites, shall have caused the body of a dead man to be burned and shall have reduced his bones to ashes, let him be punished capitally.” (Charlemagne, Capitulary for Saxony)

Hence the Christian contempt for the practice of cremation; which was seen to deprive the Biblical God of his/those in Sheol of their rightful judgement.

As we have it, the word Hell stems from the Old English word Hell (Hel, Helle) and has cognates in all of the Germanic languages from Gothic to Old Norse, all of which stem from a common Proto-Germanic root *haljo, which itself stems from the Proto-Indo-European root *kel(2), meaning “to cover, conceal”. On its most concrete level it refers, like Sheol, to the grave, and on a more abstract to the “underworld of the dead” as portrayed quite explicitly (ie. as Hell) in the Norse-Icelandic Eddas and implicitly in the sagas of the same folk (eg. Helgafell) . To those of our ancestors who gave us the word Hell it was simply “the place where the dead go”, both literally and figuratively, ie. under the earth, and more akin to the Greek concept of Hades then any of our received Christo-Germanic notions.

Of course, when an outsider asks about the “Germanic Hell” they’re not really asking about the Germanic Hell at all. What they’re really asking about is the, ahem, “Christian Hell” and if there is a place like it in native Germanic belief? And the answer of course — given the degree that native Germanic culturo-religious sensibilities have shaped popular Christianity in the West — is yes. Naturally. And our most glaring evidence of this comes from the Eddas themselves, which speak of Niflhel and the grim hall that sits upon Nastrond (the Shore of Corpses),

38. A hall I saw, | far from the sun,
On Nastrond it stands, | and the doors face north,
Venom drops | through the smoke-vent down,
For around the walls | do serpents wind.

39. I saw there wading | through rivers wild
Treacherous men | and murderers too,
And workers of ill | with the wives of men;
There Nithhogg sucked | the blood of the slain,
And the wolf tore men; | would you know yet more? (trans. Henry A. Bellows)

While some like to pass bits like this off as “Christian influence”, similar beliefs can be found throughout the Indo-European world such as in Naraka of Hindu belief and Tartarus of Greek belief; in both cases standing “far from the sun” and places were the wicked are punished. Furthermore, it is a curious fact that in both Old English and Old High German Catholic poetry we find Gehenna being glossed as Wyrmsele (Hall of Serpents) and Wyrmgarten (Yard of Serpents), respectively. As there is nothing in Biblical Christianity that might fuel such a conception of an otherworldly realm of punishment, the “hall of serpents” motif can only reflect one that is inherently Germanic in nature.

Looking at early Germanic culture itself we see an earthly paradigm in Germanic legal customs and the practices of the Thing; where most crimes could be paid for, literally, via fine, but under which some crimes were, naturally, deemed so wicked that they were handled by “the priest-king”. According to Tacitus,

..they may not execute, they may not imprison, they may not even flog a criminal; those are the obligations of the priests alone, who do so not as a form of military punishment nor at the general’s bidding, but in accordance with the will of the god that accompanies them to the field of battle.

The same can be seen in the judgement of the missionary Willibrord by the Frisi-King, Radbod, for said missionaries acts of sacrilege on Fositesland. As per Tacitus’ statement regarding capital offense, the judgement was not rendered based on the will of the king, but rather on the casting of lots, ie. the will of the gods. So, as to the notion of “divine judgement” in and of itself in Germanic belief, it is evident enough within the context and actual practices of the Thing. As for punishment, while I personally dislike the notion of active and prolonged punishment — in-keeping with the general legal customs of the Thing, ie. fines — what follows must be acknowledged as what follows. The North Germanic Loki for example didn’t just happen to slip and fall into his bindings in the underworld. He was put there. By the gods. For all that one might argue that, in terms of the concrete practices of actual mortals, we are obliged to ask permission of the gods, legally speaking, in executing our fellow tribes men. But here we carry out the actual punishment, be it execution, imprisonment or flogging.

As for an abode of punishment, I once again refer to Tacitus’ comments on the fate of capital offenders,

Penalties are distinguished according to the offence. Traitors and deserters are hanged on trees; the coward, the unwarlike, the man stained with abominable vices, is plunged into the mire of the morass with a hurdle put over him. This distinction in punishment means that crime, they think, ought, in being punished, to be exposed, while infamy ought to be buried out of sight.

The distinction is pertinent and immediately calls to mind the distinction the ancestors drew between a man-killing and a murder; the latter of which was a far more serious offense and defined as a secret killing, ie. that went unclaimed by the offender. It is also reminiscent of  Jacob Grimm’s assertion in his Teutonic Mythology  that, “it is said of fortunate men, that God saw them, and of unfortunate, that God forgot them“, and the duality of glory/obscurity as expressed in Germanic heroic poetry. And of course this aligns with what the Eddas tell of the realm of the shameful dead as standing “far from the sight of the sun” and existing within the aforementioned Niflhel; itself meaning dark, misty, obscure (nifl-) Hell.

So, we might well say that the bog — or even more poignantly the snake pit, ie. Ragnar Lodbrok — is the concrete reality that the mythical abstraction of “Wyrmsele” is based upon. And that the fate of the shameful capital offender in this world was a reflection of their fate in the after death; even as the “name undying” was a reflection of one’s fate in the after death.

All of this brings me around to my personal beliefs regarding the shameful dead; which, as noted above, do not hinge on any kind of active punishment at all and is more inline with the practices of shunning and moreso, full outlawry. It has often been noted that, among the Indo-European peoples in general, and the Germanic peoples in specific, wretchedness, to be left alone and without a tribe or people, was commonly  regarded as being the worst fate that could befall a man. The pains of wretchedness are laid bare in such painfully eloquent Old English poems as the Wanderer. To be forbidden entrance to the halls of the gods, denied a place even in the halls of one’s own ancestors, and to be left alone at the mercy of the “otherworldly wilds”, to wander wretched and assailed, without respite, until the last vestiges of your humanity is shed and the stuff of one’s soul biodegrades back into the nothingness of Ginnungagap that it, ultimately, issued from … such to my thinking is the fate of shameful dead. No one punishes them per say. They simply lose faith in them and so turn their backs on them. And what follows follows.

I’ll tie this up with a pertinent poem I wrote back in the 90’s,

Oft flies the eagle / beyond the udal of men
seeking those sights / unseen by sons of Ing.
Tired he takes rest / atop a steadfast tree,
Then sails on, skyward, / continues his search.

Hwaet! There is a frozen plain / no joy to be found.
The wind is lonesome, / it wails in wrath,
Stirring up wights, / armed well, and wicked
Who fling into flesh / their fiery spears.

Above, soot-grey clouds / grim the skies greatness
And yonder loom dark peaks / dreadful to behold.
No tirfast sun, here, / shall ever be seen.
No home nor hearth / shall warm your heart.

Here wander the souls / worthless and withering,
Forgotten by men / forgotten by gods.
The wulf in this wasteland / nothing weens
Save evil will / save stagnant wyrd.

Germanic Belief: Culture, Religion, and Identity

A friend of mine was asked the question the other day, “Can I be a viking, embodying their courage and values without following the gods?” To this my friend, a man not so well versed in the lore (relatively speaking of course), but with a strong and sharp intuition, replied (in so few words) that, “yes, our way of life is our religion“, and this was followed by some comments from others that our ancestors had no concept of “religion” as “that set aside as sacred”.

Of course, Germanic belief was a holistic belief system, which certainly marked the distinction between “what is set aside as sacred” and “what exists in the world of men”. Our limited modern vocabulary and intimate cultural familiarity with the proselytizing, would-be “universalist” religions, often leaves us unfit to the task of defining, or even understanding, intuitively, “ethno-cultural” or “heathen” belief systems.

The basic distinction our ancestors noted was between the innangeard (the community) and the utangeard (outside the community), from which point the innangeard could be further “divided” into the “esegeard” (Asgard, the divine community) and “middangeard” (Midgard, the mortal community). As such, it is true that they really had no sacred-profane dichotomy, but rather dealt in terms of wih (the sacred, that which is set apart), holy (the sanctified community), and unholy (profane, outside the community). They understood that holiness — which stems from the same native Germanic root as such other Modern English words as whole and health — was the temporal product of the hallowing power of wih. As such, holiness, the product of the consecrating power of the gods, can be seen as the totality of a community’s ethno-culturo-historical identity … as we can see in the Tacitus’ comments on the ethno-genesis myth of the Germanic peoples, in the Eddic myths of Creation and the shaping of Ask and Embla, in the Rigsthula and various king-myths and genealogies, as well as the various “hero myths” (and/or indications there of) that show such things as language or mead or letters or beauty, etc. as having a “divine” or “sacred” origin.

In short, our native culture is, not a wih thing by any means — which is what we would deem to be properly “religious” and so the prime concern of priests — but rather a holy thing. It is whole.  The great mystery of divinity given temporal form.

That said, if one was a good community member and participated in the community’s rituals/identity, then, at least within the context of Germanicism, it really didn’t matter what god or gods an individual did or didn’t pray to; as the experience of the first Catholics and Catholic missionaries among our ancestors, who generally extended to them every hospitality, clearly attests. And afterall, the focus wasn’t the maintenance, growth and development of the individual — bad apples were jettisoned rather than indulged — but rather the maintenance, growth and development of the community itself. If the community was strong and healthy, it follows that the generations that spring from it will also be strong and healthy; while any rot would of course have to be prune off lest it spread to the entire community.

Indeed, hearkening back to the early Christian-Germanic relations once again, one can see that a refusal to participate in the big rituals of the community, namely the sacral feast and/or toasts, by consuming at least a morsel/draught, was, at times, a big no-no among out ancestors. We see this as early as the Migration Age Goths (eg. Sabas) to as late as the Viking Age Norwegians (eg. Hakon the Good). We see it inverted among the Anglo-Saxons, where the missionary Mellitus was driven from Essex for refusing to share his own “sacred feast” with the 3 brother-kings that reigned there (as the missionary did with their convert father), and we see it early in Christianity’s history with the Romans as well. And really, if you are in a community, but have no interest in taking part in it’s identity, one has to wonder, what are you doing there??? Other than “perhaps” intending to subvert it?

Personally, I have for a very long time now said that I would rather the company of a Christian or atheist with strong Germanic values and cultural background than a (self-proclaimed) “Heathen” who might certainly, ahem, “have the (names and stories of the) gods”, but who would be utterly unrecognizable to our common ancestors. People are too preoccupied with “the gods”, ie. myths/fantasy-tales. And indeed without an understanding of the culture that supported those myths, from which the myths evolved, a person is going to “read them wrong” every time. Well, a lot of the time, and in regards to all of the finer points anyway.

In the final analysis, I personally would have to say that a person can certainly be a, ahem, “viking” without being preoccupied with priestly matters. One could in fact say that you were primed for it at birth. And remember, your heritage is your heritage. Would you ask your neighbor for permission to collect the inheritance your grandfather left for you? Would you neglect it because of the mockery some other made of the inheritance they received from their grandfather?

Heathen Hiking and the Beauty of Gerd

As a young Germanic teen my first acquaintance with the native gods of my ancestors came via the Red Thunderer; called Thunor by my English ancestors, but better known today via the Old Norse form of his name, Thor. Not only had Thunor remained the most popular of the gods in popular culture, but there was a direct connection to him in the prairie thunderstorms that frequently raged overhead. Indeed, my maternal grandfather, a Churchgoer of (West) Polish ancestry himself, used to say in reference to the thunder that, “the Old Man is cracking his whip again”, which to my heathen ears always sounded like a reference to Thunor (or Perun?) and the belief that the sound of thunder was the rumbling of his chariot as Redbeard drove it overhead.

Around the age of 18 my immediate family and I relocated from the Manitoba prairies to the shores of southern Vancouver Island. Little did I know that we don’t get thunderstorms here. Sure, there have been some rumbles in the far distance, and the odd and isolated crack of thunder over head, in the two and a half decades since I first landed on these shores, but … even if you put them all together they wouldn’t even come close to what we had on the prairies. And it left me heart-sick for a time. But of course, southern Vancouver Island had it’s own charms that struck me from the moment I got off the ferry; the moderate winters, an abundance of trees, the sight of the mountains in the distance, the smell of the sea and proximity to the coast. Really, it was love at first sight. And so it didn’t take to long for the rationalization to grow in me that the reason why southern Vancouver Island doesn’t have thunderstorms is simply because Thunor loves it so much. And/or it was under someone else’s protection.

Indeed, it was here on southern Vancouver Island that I first understood and had my first inspiration regarding Ingui-Frea’s love for the nature-spirit Geard.

Over the past year my wife (a relatively recent migrant from the prairies herself) and I have taken to hiking this beautiful land we’ve come to call home. And that in fact, as opposed to the usual, is what this blog entry shall be about; the sharing of some of our experiences and pictures from our various hikes here about … in celebration of the beauty of Geard.

This first pic is from our very first hike (Sept. 2015) in East Sooke Park … looking south from the top of Mount Maguire (268m), out over the park itself and the Straight of Juan de Fuca, toward the mountains of Washington state.

eastsooke1

This next one gives you an idea of the kind of terrain and elevation changes we were eastsooke2regularly dealing with that day; minus the number of tree roots that covered most of the trails and demanded your constant attention. That is my son sitting at the top of the pic there, while mi’lady struggles with this (end of the day) ascend … itself one of many. To make this day — which carried us all the way down to the Juan de Fuca and then back — even more toilsome (but no less fulfilling!) … we had only purchased our hiking boots the night before! And we covered at least 12 km that day. If you ever thought Thjalfi got off easy after committing his act of sacrilege against Thunor, well, a hike like this will give you a lightweight idea of the type of terrain he frequently ranges through on his many journeys … and no matter the season or the weather at that!

 

 

 

This one’s from our 2nd hike, from Goldstream up to the summit of Mount Finlayson (419m). As this pic demonstrates, we always seem to find “the interesting” way from point A to point B on these hikes (but always make it to point B nevertheless!).

goldstream

At the height of Mt.Finlayson we met the acquaintance of a fellow hiker … an old gentleman of, I believe, Dutch background who had been hiking the area for at least a decade and whom I suspect was one of the mysterious “elves of Mt. Finlayson” as they are known hereabouts. He guided us to a number of interesting viewpoints at the summit, to one of the caches that exist around the mountain (and island) — containing small random items that a person might find useful on a hike, eg. energy bar, light, matches, bus ticket, gum, etc. — and finally showed us the easy way back down. Many thanks, Edwin (as he called himself)!

We soon returned to Goldstream to explore around it lower elevations. This next pic shows Mt. Finlayson in the background (and my lovely wife in the foreground), and it’s companion shows of Goldstream itself.

goldstream1

goldstream2

I would show off the Goldstream Trestle, but why, I ask, give free publicity to one’s arch-enemy??? Okay. I guess now that I’ve piqued your interest I’m obliged. But how is it my arch-nemesis? Well, understand, I am “fine” with heights. I mean, sure, heights scare me, but that is why courage exists, right? You man up and get’er done. But the Goldstream Trestle is … different. Here is a pic I snapped of it from atop Mt. Finlayson … back when I imagined it would be fun to hike out to and walk over.

goldstreamtrestle

I’ll beat you yet, Goldstream Trestle!!! Just like my wifey did our first time out. :/

Here is a nice pic of our first hike along the Gowlland Todd range. You can see Mt.Finlaysson, where we began the day (and would end it), standing proudly in the distance near the top center of the pic. We covered about 20km that day.

gowlland

This next pic was taken from Pickles Bluff in John Dean Park (280m). It looks southeast across the rural lands of Saanich Peninsula. I think it is a really nice shot, and was the saving grace of this otherwise unspectacular, ho-hum hike.

johndean

This next one is from our Mount Wells hike, and is another example of our ability to find the most interesting ways around. In fact, we didn’t even go up Mount Wells on this hike, but ended up going up it’s neighbour, Mount MacDonald (439m) by accident. And then we lost the path to get back down, but found this interesting and rather vertical path instead. You can see my wife there, sitting just beneath the horizontal log on the left. Do you think she’s a keeper, guys?

mountmacdonald

This next one is from our Sooke River hike. I recall the rocks having been very slippery that day. Fortunately, our obligatory offerings to the land wights, combined with some common sense, quick reflexes and a bit of team work, kept things within the realm of “embarrassing mishaps easily shrugged off”. No one got dunked. No one was injured.

sookeriver

sookeriver2

sookeriver1

Nice shot from our return trip to East Sooke Park in March of 2016. This time we entered over the appropriately named “Endurance Ridge” trail head, made our way down to the (eastern) coastal entrance of the park, along its coastal trail, and then back out over Endurance Ridge for a total of some 18 km. This pic was snapped early in the day from atop Babbington Hill (228 m)

eastsooke4

eastsooke5

This next pic is a nice shot from, less a hike, and more a power walk, we did from Horth Hill, near the northern tip of the Saanich Peninsula all the way back into the city of Victoria … covering about 40 km that day. The view is from the shores of the small township of Sydney.

horthhill

Here is one from another power walk (with hiking spurts) of some 30 km along the island’s famous “Galloping Goose” trail. This scenic little rest stop was in Roche Cove Park.

rochecove

And here is a pic of downtown Victoria as seen from the southwest. It’s a very peculiar view, ie. the mountain in the background, taken from the southwest

victoria

This next one was an interesting hike along an old flowline that carries on from the resivior at Mount Wells all the way out to the Sooke Potholes. I was able to deal with the (significantly) lower trestles that the flowline at times passed over, incidentally.

flowline

And this one is from a hike we went on with some of the guys from work. Here we were about half way to the summit of Heather Mountain (1338 m), about an hour or so drive up island. Above this point we climbed into a rain-cloud, which made things interesting, but which dampened our hopes (haha) of getting some shots of the breathe-taking scenery from the peak.

heathermountain

heathermountain1

heathermountain2

And here we are (below) at the summit of Empress Mountain, which, at 682 meters, is half the height of Heather Mountain, but which is nevertheless the tallest elevation within the Greater Victoria region. This was our second attempt to reach Empress Mountain after we lost the trail on our first attempt a week earlier and really had no reasonable means of progress with the amount of daylight we had. We covered about 26 km on this hike.

empressmount

While we have come across our fair share of deer and rabbits on our hikes, and certainly spotted a number of turkey-vultures, hawks, and even the occasional bald eagle — with one of the latter gliding by about 15 to 20 feet over head on one occasion! The Mighty Eagle Lives!!! — this time out we had our first run-in with a black bear. And it’s an interesting experience to be sure! I had heard something rustling in the bush as we made our way back to civilization, and I was, for a moment or two, quite sure that there was an intersecting trail coming up and we were going to run into some fellow hikers. But I quickly got a sense that it might be otherwise and so picked up a couple of sizable rocks as we continued down the path. Of course, it wasn’t so much an intersecting trail that we were approaching but a dried up creek bed and no sooner did I look down it then I heard a big commotion in the brush and saw an adolescent black bear leap up a tree. Yes, thats right! I tree’d a bear! My wife wanted to stop and get some pictures (of course), but that lasted for as long as it took our furry friend to let out a loud huff of impatience and slide and inch or two back down the tree.

bear

And this brings me to our return trip to the Gowlland Tod Park; which began at 8am in the morning, carried us up the interurban trail to it’s northern entrance, and then was intended to carry us back down south to Bear Mountain (neighbouring Finlayson) by sunset. However, we decided to head south, not along the summit trail, which we had hiked before, but rather along the “Rabbity Trail”; which runs along the shores of the Finlayson Arm and

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Finlayson Arm, looking north

is NOT called “rabbity” because of anything to do with speed. Rather, the trail itself, which hugs the steep slopes of the range, hops up and down and up and down and up and down for it’s entire length. Moreover, while it is fairly well marked along it’s northerly length — and, as it turned out, along it’s southerly length — it’s middle grounds is a no-man’s land of “your best guess is as good as mine”. Not that we were ever lost, understand. I mean, south along the coast is south along the coast. It was all a matter of, beyond the lack of any well defined trail, obstacles and their impediment to progress; coupled with only so much time in the day. It’s not a place where you’d wanting to be wandering around at night even with a head lamp. The range slopes right down to the water at a pretty impressive angle after all, and the margin for error is simply to high, and the progress too slow, to bother wit the risk. And

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these guys followed us for a couple of hours. Interesting conversationalists! 😉

so, at around 8pm that evening, twelve hours after our day began, with about half an hour of daylight left, we decided to look for a decent spot to spent the night. And after a quick search we found an outcropping of rock that would do. It was about 10′ x 10′ and covered in moss; half of which I tore away so as to have a place to build a fire. And after two abortive attempts — as a born and bred city-boy, this was my first outdoor fire, etc. — the sense of impending panic gave way to patient resolve and before long we had our fire going … which not only afforded my lady with enough additional warmth to get a few hours sleep, but gave me a focus for my attention as I “stood watch” for the night. Apparently this made me “magical” <blush> and indeed, I had plenty of time to contemplate the sheer luxurious practicality of a simple fire. And you know, despite the many spooky noises I heard all around me that night, some straying pretty close to camp and certainly around the nearby area I was gathering wood from, and despite the lack of a good supper that evening or breakfast that morning, the experience is mutually regarded as our best hiking experience to date. Certainly, it could have been colder, we could have run out of water, and it might have rained early that morning — as was the forecast, and which would have made it incredibly difficult to hike out the next morning — but the word serendipitous seems quite appropriate here. As it was, having back-burnered some stress over how we were going to proceed the next morning (having lost all signs of the path heading south), we picked found the path within ten or fifteen minutes after setting out and it continued on, southward and well-marked from that point forward, until we finally made it to Bear Mountain, at about 9am … 25 hours after we’d set out. We must have covered about 35 km in total.

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Finlayson Arm, looking south

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This of course emboldened us to strike out for a planned over-nighter a couple of days later, during the Perseid Meteor Shower of 2016; this time with a tarp for a shelter, some cord and a few spikes for shelter (should we have needed it), and a few simple camping luxuries not the least of which was FOOD! For this we struck out for Scafe Hill (165 m), a few kilometers north of Thetis Lake and well away from any light pollution.

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scafehill

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sunrise the following morning

And so it has been a year of hiking for us; in which time we walked the length of the Saanich Peninsula and been every where between downtown Victoria, the western edge of East Sooke Park and Horth Hill, navigating two successful over-nighters in the process, one of which just happened to be impromptu. I think we’ve earned our “Regional Explorers” merit badge!

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And you know, when I sit back and reflect on why it took me so long to get out and hike this breathe taking portion of the world that I have now lived in for so long, I need but look to my love … to know it would not be the same without her at my side … the very personification of the spirit of the land.

Hail the sea-shore! Hail the Ingvaeones!

 

 

Of Blood and Belonging II: The Troth and the AFA

King Penda himself did not forbid the preaching of the Faith to any even of his own Mercians who wished to listen, but he hated and despised any whom he knew to be insincere in their practice of Christianity once they had accepted it, and said that any who despised the commandments of the God in whom they professed to believe were themselves despicable wretches.” (Bede, the Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation)

And so another tremor has recently shaken North American Heathendom, emanating of course from the same tired old tectonic fault line that has divided Heathendom here since its earliest days in the original AFA. I speak of course of the co-joined twin monstrosity of race and politics.

This time out the tantrum began with a position statement issued by the AFA and its new leadership. It ran as follows,

Today we are bombarded with confusion and messages contrary to the values of our ancestors and our folk. The AFA would like to make it clear that we believe gender is not a social construct, it is a beautiful gift from the holy powers and from our ancestors. The AFA celebrates our feminine ladies, our masculine gentlemen and, above all, our beautiful white children. The children of the folk are our shining future and the legacy of all those men and women of our people back to the beginning. Hail the AFA families, now and always!

I first got wind of the statement on the Facebook page of the British Columbia Heathen Freehold, which I had helped to found in times past and maintained an honorary membership within. When I read the scathing critique posted along with the quote — and by a man I had come to expect a little better from — I was immediately struck by the lack of proportion between the AFA’s statement and the general reaction of Freehold; which ran the entire gamut of slurs from racist, sexist, misogynist, “transgenderophobic”, and even supremacist, only to move on to “beyond cooperation”, daring to “speak for all of Heathenry”, and even “not Heathen”.

Now, personally, I grew up raised by fairly typical, fairly modern Canadian values supplemented by frequent interactions with people from all sorts of differing backgrounds and regular viewings of Star Trek. And when I first stepped into organized Heathenry back in the early 90’s — having spent several years isolated in my beliefs as a Germanic Heathen — it was into the Ring of Troth or simply “the Troth” as it calls itself today. As a result I got to hear all about who the racists in Heathendom were. And while my initial reactions to this racism within Heathenry were as thoughtless and knee-jerk as anyone else’s, it didn’t take too long for my own personal experience with schoolyard social politics and accusations of racism to kick in and give me pause to consider. And when I finally took the time to sound some of these “racists” out on the matter, I received not only a conscientious response, but … membership pamphlets as well (where applicable).

This is not to say that Heathenry isn’t a sorted crowd in which you might find just about anything that you already can find in spades in greater society. A real microcosm. You’ll certainly find people who are aggressively  fixated on race; though I would add that, in my experience, you’ll find far more of them on the “universalist” (the Troth) side of the Asatru equation than on the “folkish” (AFA) side.

Anyway, I like to think that I have a fairly broad spectrum of experience to draw on when it comes to what is and is not racist. And to the extent that I’ve long since come to the conclusion that its meaning can be stretched as broadly and as thinly as one needs. And more often than not is used precisely to service some other, completely unrelated agenda. It’s one of those words that illicit a very negative emotional response in us Westerners and in particular us Germanic peoples, stirring up all kinds of negative pseudo-historical associations that we then attach to the accused. And because those associations seem so terrible to us, we accept them without question … out of fear that if we didn’t, and we were wrong in that, we would be complicit in … whatever morally reprehensible act they stood accused of.

The accusation of “racist” is no different than that of “witch”. And really, most of us European peoples outgrew witch-hunts centuries ago and tend to adhere to the principle of “innocent until proven guilty”; though I understand that mob-rule in (North) America is making a comeback. The same can be said for a lot of these “-isms” that are floating around these days. Indeed, if it were any other minority group was so maligned by the use of such inflammatory language, it would likely be condemned, technically or otherwise, “hate speech”.

I have little justification in my personal experience to see it as anything other than. And the fact that it is being carried out against “white people” does not somehow make it acceptable, much less moral or in anywise enlightened or progressive. Would we have reacted the same way in regards to a group that wanted to keep their identity (as a group) exclusively homosexual? Exclusively female? Exclusively African-American? Exclusively Sioux? No. We would in fact applaud and encourage them, and commonly do just that. As such, act-ually believing in such liberal ideals as fairness, equality, and tolerance — the latter of which is reserved, precisely, for people you might find yourself in strong disagreement with — I cannot but affirm the AFA’s right to define itself as it deems fit. This has nothing to do with whether or not I personally would find acceptance among them, or whether or not any of my family, friends and loved ones would. As none of us are looking to join any Heathen organization anymore than Trothers are looking to join the AFA, it is something of a moot point. Or so  I would think. What it has everything to do with is their right. Which is also my right. And your right as well. To choose your associations without be maligned and slandered for those choices.

So then, where do I draw the line of tolerance? Well, as a general rule of thumb, I think that the boundaries of traditional law are a good place to start; wherever that stops short of this “hate law” nonsense of course. If someone is obeying the law then, all else being equal, and no matter how different, I owe them at least my tolerance. Mind you, reciprocity is always the guiding principle and there is no cause to suffer socially malicious potshots being taken at oneself or others.

“Gift for gift, laugh for laugh, lie for lie”, after all.

I see nothing in the AFA’s statement that maligns women or gays or other ethnicities. It states their focus on the traditional family, traditional gender roles, and European ethnicity, plain and simple. Nor do I see any attempt by the AFA to “speak for all of the Heathenry”. They made an organizational statement that clearly pertained to their organization. In contrast I’ve seen, in reaction to the statement, the Troth and its affiliate the B.C. Heathen Freehold hurling all sorts of inflammatory remarks, and presuming to speak themselves, as loudly as possible, of what is and is not Heathen.

On a peripheral matter, we have the Troth’s own by-laws,

Membership in The Troth is open to men and women who profess and practice Heathen religion, where this membership affiliation is based on religious or cultural reasons, not for racial or political reasons. Discrimination, as defined above, shall not be practiced by The Troth, its programs, departments, officers, or any affiliated group, whether in membership decisions or the conduct of any of its activities.

While this certainly sounds completely reasonable to me — though I personally reserve the right to discriminate against whomever I want and for whatever reason I see fit — I do find it rather odd that they encourage affiliation “based on religious or cultural reasons, not for racial or political reasons”, when in fact they were founded on a platform of “political correctness” (leftist ideology) and thus are inherently preoccupied with race and particularly the, ahem, “white race”. And indeed, on a more local level, I have never found the universalists all that concerned with religion or culture, to the point of actively discouraging any attempts to understand the indigenous worldview of our ancestors, of the people and cultural context our religion issued from and is defined by.

In my recent conversations on this matter, a Freeholder stated, in outrage, as an attempt to prove that the AFA is racist, that, “they have even come right out and stated that Asatru is an ethnic religion!!! What are you, stupid???” I could only laugh of course, as “Asatru” is patently ethno-culturally Germanic in origin, as a matter of fact, and huge swathes of those who profess Heathenry today, be they folkish or universalist, do so out of, ahem, “ancestral sympathies”, ie. it was the native religion of their NW European ancestors.

But this is the level this charade is played out on, ie. that of a moronic child.

Needless to say perhaps, in the wake of the discussion on this matter with various Freehold members, I dissolved my association with the Freehold.

Even as I began this blog entry with a quote, so to shall I leave you with one in.

The mercy that was quick in us but late, by your own counsel is suppress’d and kill’d: You must not dare, for shame, to talk of mercy; For your own reasons turn into your bosoms, as dogs upon their masters, worrying you. See you, my princes, and my noble peers, these English monsters!” (Shakespeare, Henry V)