Augeries of Innocense
To See a World in a grain of sand
And heaven in a wildflower
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour
~ William Blake
Lady of the Flame
Your sacred face emerges from the shadows
You’ve been keeping the wisdom for 1,000 years
They tried to quench your flame
But they are petty men, controlled by fear
A sword tempered by fire and ice
You are protectress of the land
May courage and might flow through my veins
Guided by your hand
May I drink from your well
A goblet everlasting and true
Flanked by the double serpents of healing
Your waters reveal and renew
Your cloak of blue, the world-wide sky
Poetry falls from the clouds like rain
Lady Brigid of the flame
Your burning pillar will rise again
Brazilian Believers of Hidden Religion Step Out of Shadows
Brazil has one of the largest Black African Populations in the world.
Yet by the power structures and religious oppression that has existed for years, you wouldn’t know it.
But a recent religious poll has shown a sharp uptick in the number of people who call themselves “Candomblé.”
Candomblé is an Afro-Brazilian religion similar to Yoruba.
There is an incorporation of Catholic saints and a belief in one powerful deity who is served by lesser deities.
People are beginning to bring the practice out of basements and into the streets.
However, a large part of the Brazilian population is also becoming Evangelical. Hopefully the Candomblé can continue their religious practices without too much pressure from the Evangelical Christians.
“Living Asatru” by Greg (Dux) Shetler – Book Review
9 out of 10 Vikings Approve This Book
(I couldn’t find a good picture of the book on the internet, so I just used my webcam)
Get “Living Asatru” on Amazon
I don’t have enough book reviews on this blog. Let me correct that statement, I don’t have ANY book reviews on this blog. This is a dire situation that needs to be hastily corrected. So here I go!
This is a great short, simple and affordable book on the religion of Asatru. It is a total of only 88 pages, but covers a lot of territory. It gives a basic overview of the Norse Gods, The Lore, The Runes, Customs, The Nine Noble Virtues, Holidays and pretty much anything that you should know if you want to call yourself a follower of Asatru. This is a great little handbook to have at your side if you are either just starting to learn about Asatru or want to review the basics.
It would take me forever to explain the basics of Asatru, so I’m just going to delve into my favorite parts of Shetler’s book. He stresses the fact that this is not an authoritative source on Asatru, but merely an interpretation. It’s not a bunch of commandments carved in stone, it’s a set of guidelines for living. After all, the book is called “LIVING Asatru.” My favorite part of the book is Greg’s discussion on ethics. I won’t go into all the details, you can buy the book if you want that, but I will go over some of the key concepts covered by Shetler – in terms of how to live an ethical life as an Asatruar.
According to Shetler, Örlög is a partly inherited and partially self developed component of the soul which is strongly influenced by fate. “The Örlög was determined independent of man’s laws, and is based entirely on the results of one’s actions (page 27).” Shetler goes on to say that while Örlög sounds like Karma, it is different. “While karma is distinguished by ‘good’ and ‘bad’ karma…Örlög is independent of these things.” Basically, the actions you take will cause results to happen to you – Duh! If you are honorable, you will find yourself surrounded by honorable people and if you are dishonorable, you will be surrounded by dishonorable people. If you eat that tempting, but expired hot-dog you bought at a gas station, you might get sick.
Your Örlög is your “spiritual momentum.” So what is “right” or “wrong?” Shetler says that “there are no such things (page 27).” What there is instead, is acting in a way that makes you desirable to society. If you think about it, every society has had similar – but different ideas of what is right and wrong. So there isn’t an absolute set of rules of what is “good.” Rather, we all try to act in a way that is most beneficial to our kinsmen. That brings us to our next concept.
(Dawww, look at the happy viking family. Source)
Frith is our obligation to the welfare of others. Frith itself is a kind of “peace.” This isn’t the same as a total lack of violence. Rather, it is a commitment to acting in a way that will prevent your actions from having a negative effect on those you owe frith. So who do we owe frith? Shetler explains that while we owe frith to varying degrees to all the living things around us, our blood-kin are owed the greatest frith of all. Below our blood relations are members of our “tribes.” “In modern society, we each tend to live in a number of tribes all at once – our schools, clubs, employers, sports teams and circles of friends (page 31).” The more we move outwards, in terms of how close the relationship is, the less frith owed. For example, you owe more frith to your mother than the neighborhood delivery guy. Now, you should still be nice to the delivery guy, because he effects your tribe to some degree (getting your package on time and so on), but if you had to make a choice between saving your mother’s life or the delivery man’s life, you would obviously choose your mother. In frith, the greater obligation takes place over lesser obligations.
How All This Applies to Ethics
What I enjoy about Shetler’s book is that he presents a common sense approach to morality. For example, the ten commandments present an “absolute morality” literally carved in stone. “Thou shalt not kill” is one of the Ten Commandments…and yet the bible is replete with tales of God’s people killing other people. Shetler argues that real life ethical situations are much more complex than a simple “thou shalt not ______.” Ethics in Asatru, according to Shetler, is connected to frith. What actions are the most beneficial to your kinsmen?
Now with killing, Shetler states that you obviously shouldn’t kill someone for flattening your car tires. In this situation, “the harm you inflict is way out of line with the harm they sought to inflict on you (page 38).” However, if you are in a home defense situation, the considerations are different. The costs of action need to be weighed against the costs of not acting. If someone is simply stealing something, it may be prudent not to take their life. The harm of killing this person may be greater than losing a new laptop. But if they are putting the lives of your spouse and children in direct danger, you might consider taking action.
So, there isn’t necessarily “right” and “wrong” here, but the actions that best reflect your commitment to frith and that have a positive impact upon your Örlög.
Also, by doing what is best for your kinsmen, this doesn’t necessarily mean you should pillage and raid nearby neighborhoods to feed your family. While Shetler recognizes the need that his ancestors had for such activities (poor soil and low resources), modern times are different. We now live in a heavily interconnected world, so our actions in the global community have a greater effect on one another than they did in previous times. Shetler elaborates on this more.
Shetler has many other ethical situations that apply to lying, stealing and cheating, but you’ll have to read the book to see those.
All in all, this was a very helpful and enjoyable book. Many key concepts that I had previously been confused about were made simple. Thanks Greg! If you think you would like this book, you can find it here: “Living Asatru” on Amazon.
Woodland Burials – They Turn Dead People Into Trees!
I always thought it would be cool to be sent off on a burning boat when I die.
But here’s another creative way to handle your remains. Get turned into a tree!
Cemeteries are just one example of humanity’s proficiency for wasting space.
Entire landscapes are ruined so people can preserve their dead corpses in metal boxes.
Imagine if you replaced cemeteries with forests and how much better that would be for the planet.
Also imagine all the new horror movies that could be made: “Night of the Living Trees.”
Check Out Woodland Burials – the place that turns people into trees.
Pagans Fight Fracking
What the frack is this shit? For those of you still in the dark, “fracking” is an unconventional method of releasing “natural” gas from the ground. However, there is nothing natural about it. It is a procedure by which rock is fractured by pressurized liquid to release hard to reach oil and gas. Many of the politicians in both Britain and U.S. have been telling us that fracking will be good for us. It will stimulate the economy for 100 years! It’s natural and safe! And they’ll give you a pony if you accept it…okay, maybe they didn’t say that part, but the other promises are so dubious anyways they may as well have.
PROMISES OF SHINY NEW JOBS ARE A BUNCH OF HOT AIR:
Much of the promises about new jobs are highly over exaggerated. Most realistic estimates show that fracking will add very little jobs to the market.
Let’s take the state of Ohio for example. Ohio has become a Petri-dish for the Fracking Industry. The governor embraced the industry wholeheartedly, hoping it would bring more jobs to natives of Ohio. What he found instead, is that the industry brought many workers from out of state and few of the locals in the fracked territories actually acquired jobs themselves. Fracking is more of a “boom and bust” industry where outsiders increase a town’s tourism industry for a few years before moving on somewhere else when the job is done.
STATEMENTS FROM THE GOVERNOR OF OHIO:
“You could have a situation where we are not getting the jobs, they’re taking the resources, and all their profits and they’re heading home,” Kasich said. “That is not acceptable to me. Now, we don’t have the conclusive evidence that this is happening yet, but I want you all to know, and I want the companies to know that this is an extremely serious matter, and we expect them to be responsive to the people of this state (Midwestern Energy News).”
PIPE DREAMS ABOUT THE TAR-SANDS:
A report from Cornell University bringing the over-hyped estimates of job gains to reality:
Pipe Dreams: Jobs Gained, Jobs Lost
The fact that many politicians see fracking as the “natural” alternative to common place oil production makes me realize that I don’t have enough barf bags laying around when I read the news. Fracking is a process that releases Methane Gas, a Green House Gas 20 times more powerful than Carbon Dioxide (EPA). Yeah about that Global Warming thing that’s currently happening…releasing methane all over the place might not be a good idea.
Not only is Fracking bad for the atmosphere, but it is highly destructive to local communities in terms of contaminating nearby well water, causing earthquakes, and is a ridiculous waste of water. It apparently takes 2-4 million gallons of water per well, according to the following EPA REPORT (PDF). (I recently corrected this figure, because a reader stated their concern over the accuracy of the source).
Read more facts on this creatively done website: The Dangers of Fracking
Apparently the Pagan Community in Britain has been a buzz with organized activity against Fracking. Some of the most prominent voices are Phillip Carr-Gomm, a leader in the Druid Community, and Starhawk a prolific author on books about Goddess and Earth Based spirituality. You can see Phillip speak out in the video below.
PAGAN VOICES SPEAK OUT
OUR MEN AGAINST FRACKING
WOMEN SPEAK FOR THE EARTH
RITUAL AGAINST FRACKING
On September 28th there will be a large anti-fracking ritual called “The Warrior’s Call” to protect a location called Albion from fracking. Apparently 1300 people will be attending! People around the world who can’t show up will also host their own rituals to give support.
MORE LINKS ON PAGANS AGAINST FRACKING BELOW
The Pagan Anti-Fracking Movement.
The Pagan Anti-Fracking Movement in Historical Context
Albion Anti-Fracking Movement (OBOD)
Sign up for a Frack Free U.K. Greenpeace
PAGAN LEADERS AGAINST FRACKING
RITUAL AGAINST FRACKING SEPT 28:
Seasons and Memories
‘Spring passes and one remembers one’s innocence.
Summer passes and one remembers one’s exuberance.
Autumn passes and one remembers one’s reverence.
Winter passes and one remembers one’s perseverance.’
~ Yoko Ono
Image: Tree of Four Seasons by Josephine Wall (josephinewall.co.uk)
(This post was originally done by the Order of Bards Ovates and Druids on Facebook)
Perhaps you were drawn to this post because you thought I said “Food Dessert.” Sorry, I don’t have any cakes or muffins for you. However, there are entire neighborhoods where the residents have nothing to eat but Twinkies and Convenience Store hot-dogs. These neighborhoods are called “food deserts.” In these neighborhoods the only places to get food are corner stores, fast food and gas stations. Food deserts and poverty are a vicious cycle. It’s hard to escape poverty when you don’t have the health or the energy to do so – having to walk 10 blocks to eat a salad makes that a little difficult. It’s also difficult when a bag of carrots costs more than a quarter-pounder with cheese.
However, there are organizations and people out there trying to combat the evils of obesity and saturated fat while wielding carrots and celery sticks as their weapons of choice. I supplied some information below.
Vegan Food Truck Tries To Make Food Desert Healthier
Eliminating Food Deserts in DC
Growing the Pagan Community
In a previous article I asked if Paganism was the fastest growing religion in the United States. While it is a very quickly growing spirituality – one of the quickest world-wide – our numbers are very small. About 0.3% of the American population considers themselves Pagan. This number also remains small in various other countries around the world (except if you want to include Hindu India and other Ethnic Traditions)
So the first question to ask is this:
Would it be good for Pagans if the Pagan Community was bigger?
My personal answer to this is YES.
More Religious Tolerance for our Community
Imagine a world where a church would be on one corner and a temple to Artemis on the other. Imagine trading Yule and Saturnalia cards at work along with Christmas cards as if it were no big deal. Imagine the idea that you could tell your friends, family and co-workers that you are teaching your child the Runes and the wisdom of your ancestors without anyone bating an eyelash.
Why is Hinduism an accepted religion while in many ways, a tradition like Asatru is not? Because Hinduism has millions of followers world-wide. Yet both traditions have multiple Gods.
If a community is small and elite, few people will know about it. There are still many people out there today who believe that Paganism is associated with Satanism as well as a whole host of other myths. There are also people out there who don’t believe we should ask for rights or recognition – or even have the right to exist for that matter. A wave of anger and annoyance rippled across the Pagan Community earlier this year when the Fox News “report” on Paganism ended up being a barf salad of stereotypes. Did they do their research on Yahoo answers?
I’m not saying I wish EVERYONE was Pagan. I just wish we lived in a world where more people knew what our community represented so that the people who do want to be Pagans can practice their religion openly and freely.
What Would Public Acceptance Look Like?
FOR ONE IT WOULD LOOK LIKE LESS OF THIS CRAP! Also…
The ability to take our holy days off from work.
The ability to wear our religious insignia without retaliation.
The ability of Pagans to follow their beliefs in the work, military, school or yes – even prison – environment without retaliation. (I mention prison because there is a large amount of pressure on prisoners to attend Christian themed recovery/rehabilitation programs.)
The ability for parents to pass their beliefs onto their children without fear of someone calling CPS. (Rare but sometimes happens).
Some Ideas For Growing the Community
Have more public awareness events! Check Meetup.com for Pagan Pride Days in your area.
Start a club at your university/college (if you are going to one).
Have an open booth/event where you discuss paganism at your university/college.
Start a blog!
Express your spirituality in art and music.
Get out of the broom closet! (Unless this action might put you in physical danger or get your kids taken away…then find a comfy broom to sit on).
Be more open about your beliefs with your friends and family. (I’m working on this.)
Don’t be afraid to teach your children about Paganism. Not saying you should “brainwash” them, just saying that it doesn’t hurt to explain your beliefs while giving them the freedom to explore other faiths as well. Patheos has a good article on this.
You don’t have to be a missionary or a Jupiter’s Witness throwing lightning bolts at non-believers…as cool as that sounds. But I think if we are more willing to share our beliefs with our local communities, we’ll help to spread tolerance for Paganism in a natural and organic way.
The Three Tasks of a Druid
To live fully in the present;
to honor tradition and the ancestors;
to hear the voice of tomorrow;
From the Order of Bards Ovates and Druids