25 February 2007
Because my place of work is owned by people who are pretty strongly Christian, and though they don't seem to have a problem with Hindus, Muslims, Jews, and Buddhists working for them (to name some of the religions that have been represented at the company), it's been made clear to me by others in the company that it's not wise at all to advertise that I'm a heathen--especially since several of our customers are pretty stolidly funformentalist Christian and have been known to try tracting employees who they know aren't Christian.
I've been able to hide behind company policy ("Thanks, but company policy doesn't allow the distribution of literature on the property. I appreciate the thought, but I'll have to decline"), but that only takes one so far, really. The closest I've ever come to putting up the big flashing neon hammer over my head was when I smilingly told one chap "And may Odin bless you, too" after he replied with "Well, may Jesus bless you then" after I politely told him that I couldn't allow him to leave tracts in our place of business and that "I have my own beliefs, thanks."
I find myself forced to ask how long I can go on perpetrating what I feel is a charade. I mean, it's not like I'll get strung on a rack and have a bowl of burning coals placed on my gut until they burn right through or anything, if I advertise that I'm heathen. But at the same time, I don't want to borrow trouble.
21 February 2007
But he's getting better.
...not by much, but he's getting better.
I'm sitting in the computer room, listening to "Odin Lives", and Mike walks into the room.
"What are you listening to?"
"Odin Lives" -- it's a weekly radiocast that gets posted up on the web. Since I have to work when it's on live, I listen to the archived broadcasts.
"You're still doing that Norse thing?"
Michael, I said as I turned to face him, I started on this journey when I was 11--after twenty-plus years of spiritual wandering, I finally came back to where I started; with the gods of our* Germanic ancestors. It's more than a "thing" with me. I'm cool with you not sharing it, but please don't belittle it.
"Well, you belittle the Church."
In the past I have, yes. But I have long since gotten off that bus--when was the last time I said anything snarktastic towards the LDS Church?
He says nothing.
"Is this (he waves in the general direction of the latest two copies of Idunna) why you want to start homebrewing?"
I'd like to be able to be able to offer something that's not store-bought to the Aesir and Vanir, yes. Well that and I'd like to give some mead or beer to friends as gifts.
"Oh." His tone was one that indicated that the penny's finally beginning its long, slow drop.
19 February 2007
I personally don't know what's more sad: the lawsuit, the bulk of the items being asked for in the lawsuit, Asatru "prison outreach" to begin with, or the steady stream of effluvium issuing forth from the keyboards of the Christianists and other assorted ignorami in their haste to bash us.
It's hard to refrain from giving in to my baser instincts and leaping headlong into the fray, but really what is there to say? Nothing. I even agree with those comments that point out that the guy is a murderer who really doesn't deserve the time of day, much less "dragon's blood incense", "abalone shells", and "a wooden wand". I mean, did we read "Rites of Odin" a few too many times? Seriously, I'd like to know.
In any event: the sad hilarity of the article and its complete and total ignorance of what Asatru even is gets totally overshadowed by the complete and total idiocy of the commenters who do their level best to show off their gross ignorance by spraying such wonderful things as this:
"What color do you have to be to be included in this "religion?" I have been "inside" and have seen these Asatru followers, and they were all white. But then again, so were the Klu Klux Klan. Go figure?"
Because of course, Nidhoggr-fodder like Michael Lenz and various members of white supremacist organizations is such a representative sample right?
I don't see the point of "prison outreach", in any event. Very few and very far between are those inmates who aren't violent offenders, murderers, wife-beaters, robbers and all-round thugs. Why are we tru folks "reaching out" to them? Why are we going against everything that the ancestors believed in by "ministering" to those who would have been bog-fertilizer a few centuries ago?
Why? Why can't we just let the Christianists have them?
Somebody explain this to me, please.
09 February 2007
I toned down a lot of the talk, because I know that not everyone who visits the Virtual 'Cue Shack cares for meta-religious discussion. But I think I got the point across pretty well. ;)
A couple friends of mine asked why I went up on the mountaintop a while back, why I left when all kinds of juicy stuff started coming down the pike and people were surely hanging on my every word about such things as Vote For Rory and Sid Crosby getting chucked from a Dallas nightclub after the ASG cos he’s underage.
I didn’t care much about any of that. I was more concerned with my complete and total inability to get upset over the Hurricanes’ performance so far this season–performance that is decidedly less than stellar.
Had the Cup win somehow made me less of a fan? Had I lost my desire to see my team win? Was I still in shock?
And then it hit me: What had happened wasn’t the win itself. It was the Cup. Specifically, it was my finally getting to lay hands on the Cup.
As I said on HLOG:
You cannot touch that thing after your team has won it, can’t dip your hand in the pool of history and emotion that the thing is bathed in, and come away unaffected by it in some way. Anyone who says otherwise is either lying or dead inside.
There’s a a word for that pool in Old English: mægen. Main. It’s a spiritual energy that every living thing has. To relate it to hockey: it’s what makes a playoff game so electric. It’s what spurs a team on to great deeds. Objects absorb mægen from people that use them, that touch them–ask any craftsman who uses the tools that his (or her) parents and grandparents used if they feel like their ancestor who used those tools are watching over them and guiding their hands, and I guarantee you that the answer will be “yes”.
I keep coming back to the image of Mike Keenan sitting in his living room with the Cup, staring silently at it all night and letting its spirits quietly tell their stories to him until the sun rose and he was finally moved to tears. It’s such a powerful image, seeing somebody so moved like he had looked upon the face of God and touched the stars.
When I silently ran my fingers over the upper rings and bowl of the Cup back in September of ‘06, I plunged my hands into that deep pool of mægen like so many others have done before. In those few moments, I reached back through the years and shook hands with Howie Morenz and Bill Barilko and Maurice Richard and Georges Vezina and Sid Abel and all the other einherjar that have won the Cup and since moved on to play in the Eternal Game, and I came away forever changed by it.
The moment was epiphanic, an amazing moment of revelation where I finally felt like everything really was going to be OK–like an explorer cresting a rise and seeing the Seven Cities of Cibola laid out in front of him with the Fountain of Youth in the middle. I can honestly say that I wish every fan could experience it.
I still feel like I’m not properly articulating how it felt to be quite honest, but hopefully all of you will one day get to experience the wonder for yourselves.