The Christiban

I have been literally sitting here for hours, trying to think of a clever, insightful way to start this post. And you know what? I can’t. I haven’t got the heart for it. I am just too sick and tired of the antics of the Christiban.

You know, the Christian Taliban. Which is what the modern conservative movement has clearly become. In the name of their extremist Christian beliefs, they have stripped women of the right to make their own healthcare choices. (Oh yeah, they REALLY believe in small government and individual liberty. F#%^#! hypocrites.) And it’s clear they’re not going to stop there.

From the things they’ve been saying and doing, they’re also coming after gay marriage. And interracial marriage. Contraceptives, too. And they’ll be coming for minority religions eventually. Like ours.

And they’re going to try their level best to use their gerrymandering and SCOTUS advantages to subvert election law and effectively enshrine minority rule across the land. So they’ll have the “legal” power to do all this. Make no mistake. They are undemocratic. UnAmerican. And they must be stopped.

So I didn’t celebrate Independence Day today. There’s not so much of it to celebrate.

Resist the Christiban. Now. Before it’s too late.

The Wrong Way to Pray

Well, life continues to be busy. Between another bout with COVID and struggling to make ends meet in this difficult economy, I’ve had very little time for anything but the basics. And not only has that included this blog, it’s also included most things in my spiritual life. Including, lately, prayer. I just haven’t been able to find the time or energy for work that doesn’t pay. It took me a little while to spot the mistake I was making.

If prayer seems like a chore to you, you’re doing it wrong. Prayer isn’t just something you do to honor the gods, ancestors, and spirits. Nor is it just a way of asking for favors. It’s also supposed to inspire you. It’s supposed to enflame you with passion. It’s supposed to fill you with the influence of those gods, ancestors, and spirits. It should give you a sense of energy and purpose. So the fact that I was seeing it as a chore showed that I was looking at it the wrong way, and that I had stopped praying well.

So, I figured I’d take the opportunity to put this reminder out there, in case any of you are dealing with similar issues. Prayer should lift you up. If it’s not, take a step back from it, try to look at it in a new way. Approach it with a naïve mind, like you’re praying for the first time. It could help. Good luck.

Positivity Is Overrated

It’s been a lot longer than I intended since my last post. Threw my back out while working out. In many ways, being 50 sucks. Except for not being such a dumbass as when I was young. That’s worth a fair bit of physical pain. Anyway…

With apologies to Eric Idle, I’m getting heartily sick and tired of being told to always look on the bright side of life. As the latest of instance of this, not long ago, I was involved in a conversation about 80s music. One of the people in the conversation then went off on a nostalgic tangent about how she wished she was back in the 80s, when life was safe, easy, and wonderful. Are you mad, I said? Did you sleep through the entire decade, I asked? The “me” decade? The “greed is good” decade? What about the constant fear of imminent nuclear annihilation? What about the then-new AIDS epidemic? What about the severe economic inequality, the rampant racism and homophobia, and the social unrest? What about the obsessive materialism that permeated society at all levels?

“Ah, you’re just being negative,” I was told. “Of course things are going to seem bad when you focus on the bad things. Just look at the good things and you’ll feel much better about stuff.”

OK. I suppose that’s true. But so the hel what? As a heathen, that approach to life seems childish and irresponsible to me. Heathens are supposed to value responsibility and truth. Pretending that unpleasant things don’t exist is not being truthful. And if you refuse to see bad things, you do nothing to stop those bad things from happening, which is an abdication of personal responsibility.

The world seems to be dealing with much of the same crap that it was dealing with in the 80s. As the pandemic has shown, the “me” decade has given rise to selfishness and callousness on a whole new level, one willing to sacrifice the lives of children, the elderly, and the infirm in the name of some twisted mockery of the idea of individual liberty. Economic inequality is even worse than it was in the 80s. Greed is not only considered good, it is the sole animating principle of far too many in federal and state governments across the country. And how did we get to this sorry state of affairs?

By people deciding that they didn’t want to think about things that made them feel bad, and who decided to concentrate only on the good things instead. By people selfishly putting their own comfort and peace of mind above everything else.

I know that these are tough times. It can be difficult to think beyond your immediate comfort when you have to deal with so much difficulty for so long. But if we don’t, these tough times will never end. Just look at states like Florida if you want to see what happens when people put their own desire to feel good above everything else. So very many preventable deaths. So much needless suffering. And the state is no closer to ending its pandemic than it was a year ago.

Few things do more harm than always being positive.

If we want things to change for the better, we need to see the negatives, and do something to change them. So please, when it comes to making decisions that can affect the people around you, try to show some compassion, some care, and some personal responsibility. These days, doing so includes doing the following things: Get vaccinated. Wear masks around others. Wash your damn hands. And try not to be an enormous dick.

“Cancel Culture” is not Censorship

I was thinking of doing a post like this, but as Hilda Odinsbjorn has already done so, I might as well just link to hers.

Hilda Odinsbjorn

I once knew a libertarian who believed individual companies should be able to decide who they serve. If, for example, a wedding cake company didn’t want to make a cake for a same-sex couple, his opinion was that they shouldn’t have to. So why is it, then, that these same people go all to pieces if a company such as Twitter chooses to de-platform somebody for being racist or inciting a riot? Is that not just a company acting as an autonomous entity in the free market?

We consider it perfectly ok for a store, for example, to ban an individual for stealing, causing a ruckus or screaming hate speech. Why can’t a media platform ban an individual for going against the rules? Besides, it would be far worse if they were banning someone for being part of a specific culture or sexuality. Banning a whole community of innocent people…

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Two Kinds of Sympathy

In a recent conversation on another post, a fellow Odinist was talking about stanza 71 of the Havamal, which reads, “The lame can ride horse, the handless drive cattle, the deaf one can fight and prevail, ’tis happier for the blind than for him on the bale-fire, but no man hath care for a corpse.”

He said that he thought it shows a certain sympathy toward the less than able-bodied, though with some of Odin’s trademark cold utilitarianism. I think he makes a good point, and wished to expand upon it in a post.

There are two kinds of sympathy. The most common kind, what most people mean when they say “sympathy,” seems the most warm and helpful type. It is full of easy assurances that everything will be alright, thoughts and prayers, and good vibes. The second kind of sympathy seems on the surface to be cold and even heartless. Odin has little of the first type of sympathy to give, that’s true. But that makes sense, because it’s the much less valuable kind. It’s all empty promises that the person showing this “sympathy” has no way to keep and reassurances they have no real reason to give. It’s nothing more than a palliative, the sort of sympathy you show to a child who does not have the capacity to understand what is going on.

The second kind of sympathy has real value. It offers real reasons for hope, a perspective that can teach you take comfort and find joy where you can, even if it is a cold comfort and a bittersweet joy. It offers real help for those in need. And this is part of why I am an Odinist. I see little value in superficially positive pablum, and Odin offers no comforting lies for children. What he does offer is something I can actually use to make my life better.

Some see Odin as a cold, calculating, heartless god. That view is rather far from the truth. Look at the Voluspa, which tells of the god learning of his impending death at Ragnarok. He does not do anything to escape his death, but he does try to fight to preserve something of the cosmos for others. He teaches. He inspires poets. He tries to lift people up, make them stronger, wiser, more capable. He helps those in desperate circumstances. Odin loves. He just does not express it in a way most people are familiar or comfortable with.

A Different Kind of Courage

Death is the topic of today’s post. If that bothers you, now is the time to stop reading.

I had COVID-19 earlier in the year, and wound up with long haul COVID symptoms. Mostly, it was confined to a slight shortness of breath and racing heart rate. Then came September and October, when most of the west coast of the US was on fire. The extended smoke inhalation made things so much worse. Since October of last year, I have been so severely short of breath (and energy) that I got winded going up a flight of stairs or walking a block. Gasping for breath, sweating, I was in severely bad shape.

I’ve lived a rough life. There have been many times where I was pretty damn sure that I was going to die. An unavoidable fight with a gang. Black ice on a cliff road with no guardrails. Getting robbed at gunpoint. Getting shot with a hunting bow and arrow. I have learned how to face death with a certain amount of equanimity and courage.

This was different. Suddenly being almost completely incapacitated, and facing the possibility that the damage was permanent, I came face to face with my mortality in a new way. You see, no matter how bad the odds I had faced before were, I still had a fighting chance each time. This? This was no chance at all. I’d never really faced death like that before. Seeing nothing that I could do to change my fate, my equanimity and courage deserted me.

After an initial bout of depression that followed this, I got into learning what I could about my condition. And I learned that some COVID long haulers do get better with time. I also learned that scarring from smoke damage can be healed, in some cases. I have been doing what I can in the time since to help these processes. And I am a lot better now. I am not healed. But I am improved enough that I have hope that I will fully recover, in time.

And I have learned something, and that something is what I am trying to talk to you about today. After all, I am a man of Odin. It’s kind of my job to try to teach about and help with death.  Obviously, even if I do fully recover from this, I shall someday have to come face to face with this again. I will, after all, one day be old enough for my strength to start failing. Just like everyone else. And there ultimately won’t be anything to do about that. I can see that I need to start cultivating the traits that will allow me to face mortality in that way with equanimity and courage. Not really sure what those traits are. I guess figuring that out is where I start, then. I advise you all, no matter how young you are, to start figuring that out yourself. You don’t want to come face to face with all of that unprepared.

New Music from Barenkrieger

I am happy to announce that Britt Perkins has a new album, Follow the Bear, with her band Barenkrieger. It is, in a word, awesome, and that’s a pretty meaningful word coming from someone who grew up in the 80s.

Perkins, a former member of my old berserker forum, is a hell of a singer. Her voice is both beautiful and powerful, and well suited to this kind of music. Hauk Heimdallsman’s shredding guitar gives the music that driving, get-the-blood-pumping power that is the reason why I listen to this genre, while also showing a slower, more haunting approach in the places where it’s needed. Also, I really love a good bass line and Dylan Cronin really delivers that. These three are real professionals. Aside from these elements, I would say that I really appreciate how the music is not just technically proficient, the lyrics are also often deep and meaningful. Heathens should find a lot to relate to.

I’ve been a fan of heavy metal practically since metal was invented, and I’d say that if you like metal, you should give this album a listen. You can download the digital album here: Just $5.

Stand and Fight

Well, the time is upon us. I beg of all true heathens to stand and fight to protect not just our people, but all the people of this nation. No matter how long the lines, no matter how personally inconvenient you find it, I beg of you to go and vote that traitor Trump and all of his sycophantic enablers out of office. Enough of us have died. This is our last chance. Stand and fight.

Issues with Ancestor Worship

I want to talk about worship today. Heathens have a lot of different ways of worshipping. Some heathens are intensely devoted to one of the pantheonic deities. Some are involved with the whole pantheon, but not one deity in particular. Some worship local spirits such as the landwights. Some worship their ancestors. Whatever their focus, for most heathens, worship is a matter of paying respect to, learning from, sacrificing for, becoming empowered by, and doing the work of the focus of their worship. A lot has been written about the gods and the landwights in heathen worship, but not enough has been written about ancestor worship. And, because it needs to be, that’s what I’m going to do today.

Ancestor worship is not a huge part of my religious life. My ancestors were, for the most part, rather unpleasant people. Horse thieves, murderers, bank robbers, treasonous Confederate guerillas like Quantrill’s Raiders, and genocidal maniacs like Charlemagne. But there have been some admirable ones too, including engineers on the Apollo 11, a volunteer with the Flying Tigers, explorers, mystics, and artists. So I have always included an element of ancestor worship in my own practices. It was not easy for young me to figure out the proper way to do it, faced with such a, shall we say, mixed bag. And as I was a young heathen in the early 90s, there was not a lot of guidance on the subject, for heathenry was much smaller and more underground in those days.

After much thinking, especially about what the Nine Noble Virtues indicated, I decided on some things. From what I could see of heathen ancestor worship in those days, I did not like the two dominant approaches to this problem. One way heathens of the day took was to just decide that everything their ancestors did was worthy of respect and praise, and to define their sense of right and wrong in a way that allowed them to feel pride about everything their ancestors did, no matter what it was. I have always had contempt for people who went this route. Defining your sense of right and wrong entirely so that it makes you feel good and prideful is pathetic, the act of a lazy narcissist with only a tangential relationship with reality. This is the route favored by Folkies, white supremacists, and douchebags everywhere.

The other common solution was to pick and choose which ancestors were honored, hailing and taking pride in the best and pretending the rest did not exist. This whitewashing of one’s family history seemed dishonest and irresponsible to me. The Nine Noble Virtues counsel honesty. This way is not honest. The Nine Noble Virtues counsel courage, and standing up to do what is right even when it is difficult to do so. This approach is cowardly. The Nine Noble Virtues counsel industry. This approach is lazy.

Instead, it seemed to me that if I was going to take any pride in the good parts of my ancestry, I must also take a measure of responsibility for the bad parts. If I want the counsel and spiritual energy of my ancestors, my family orlog, I must take on ALL of my inheritance. I must pay for the gift I receive from my ancestors by paying a part of their debts.

Of course, ignoring my ancestors altogether seemed a valid approach too. No reason why a person should be in any way responsible for the debts of their ancestors, BUT, if that’s the approach you want to take, then you have no right to go feeling pride in your ancestors, or praising them at sumbel.

So when the rites of remembrance come around, I not only hail and speak the deeds of my honorable and praiseworthy ancestors, I also raise the horn to the bad ones, and speak against them. I praise the worthy qualities of my dead, abusive father and also speak contemptuously of his weakness and violence. I praise the cleverness and freedom of my bank robbing Old West kin and also denounce their evil ways and the harm they caused. I acknowledge the power and conquests of Charlemagne, and also pour out the rest of horn I raised to him, a grave discourtesy and insult, because of his genocidal ways. I hail all of my ancestors. I even have a small bead basket from a tourist trap in Kenya on my ancestor altar, because it was made near the Olduvai Gorge, where the human species evolved, so it is a way of bringing my mind to focus on ALL of my ancestors, going all the way back.

This approach has consequences in my day to day life, as well. Sometimes, when it is hard to do the right thing and nobody will ever know if I don’t, I remember my grandfather who crossed the sea to go protect China from the Japanese invasion by signing on with the Flying Tigers, risking his life to help people who were not his people when nothing in the world was forcing him to do so, and I draw strength and resolve from him. When living in poverty becomes difficult, I recall the wild and free lives of my outlaw ancestors, and draw strength from them.

And this approach also means that when I have seen Folkie jerks trying to drive newcomers off of heathen forums because they were not 100% white, I had to step up and speak up for the newcomers, and argue with a bunch of jackasses about how the old lore does not in fact support their racist bullshit and actually opposes it, despite how very much I hate wasting my time arguing with halfwits. My approach means that whenever an important matter affecting disadvantaged people came to the vote, I took the time to go vote despite being an anarchist who tries not to vote as a matter of principle. My ancestors who rode with Quantrill’s Raiders have a debt to pay, so this seems an appropriate way of paying part of that debt.

And that, Gentle Reader, is what real ancestor worship means. If you want to draw pride, wisdom, and strength from your ancestors, you have a right to. That is what orlog means. But with that right comes a responsibility, and the requirement sometimes to make sacrifices and be courageous. Thinking badly of those of my ancestors who were bad people does not require me to think badly of myself. I can take pride in the good parts of my ancestry not despite the bad parts, but because I recognize which parts are bad and work to oppose them.

The Wake of Magellan

Hello there, Gentle Reader, today I am going to talk to you about Savatage’s song, “The Wake of Magellan.” Well, not really, but what I have to say today starts with that song.

I have been listening to a lot of 80s and 90s music lately, and came upon this old classic metal piece by one of the 80’s and 90’s most memorable metal bands (today, many of the band’s former members are in the Trans Siberian Orchestra). It is named “The Wake of Magellan,” and is about a sailor in the days of tall wooden ships, who is contemplating leaving the horrifying world he lives in and just sailing off into the ocean, leaving the world of humans behind, even if it means his death.

One of the lyrics in it really resonated with me: “Don’t hear the sound of tyrants / Surrounded by the silence.” This describes my own approach to life in this world. My life growing up was rough. I’ve never had a place in the human world, and have frequently been told, often violently, that I don’t belong in it. As a young man, I decided to agree with the people who kept telling me this, and left the human world as far behind as I could. In the decades since, I have lived on its margins, having as little to do with it as possible.

There’s another lyric in that song that really stood out to me when I recently revisited this song: “As I contemplate this stand / What I do / Is who I am.” And that is a true statement. That is a very, very true statement. In fact, it’s a downright Odinic statement.

I have always looked with suspicion on people who form their identities around labels that just happen to apply to them. Like people who are all about (and so very proud of) being white, or American, or Fundamentalist, or what have you. These things require no effort, understanding, or sacrifice. If they were food, they would be candy: all sugar, no nutrients. They are nothing more than cheap, effortless ways to feel pride.

That is truly pathetic. What kind of a loser gets their entire sense of pride and identity out of an accident of birth, something that he or she did nothing at all to earn? This is not what Odin teaches. Odin values people who DO things. Warriors, conquerors, heroes, leaders, poets, adventurers, they are all people who are defined by what they DO, not by some meaningless accident of birth. Odin values ACCOMPLISHMENT, and the kinds of people who get their identities from actually DOING things. And that is as it should be. It is only accomplishment that deserves respect. I have lived my life on this principle.

As that song also says, when you’re out on the ocean, you “Don’t see the storms are forming.”

I @&^%$! hate the human world. ESPECIALLY its politics. So I have lived like Odin does, wandering outside that world, only coming back to it once in a while. I have wanted this blog to mostly be about spiritual matters. With some exceptions, I have tried not to get too caught up in current political matters. They are not concerns of my world.

However, the dumpster fire that is currently the modern world, particularly America, has become too big to ignore. And what I do is who I am. Even if the people of the world are not my people, I cannot ignore them while things are like this. So this old sailor is heading back to shore, and the sound of tyrants.

There is little I can do, practically speaking. I am poor, and mostly caught up in a struggle to survive, which is not easy to do living outside the human world. But I do have a platform here, and some kind of audience, however small. And there are voices in the heathen world saying and doing some truly awful things right now. So I have a duty to take a stand. Maybe my voice can reach one or two young ones before they are taken in by alt right Folkie bullshit.

Wake up people. We no longer have to worry about the American government turning into an authoritarian regime because it ALREADY IS ONE. “President” Trump brought in the military to teargas and shoot at peaceful protesters with rubber bullets, American citizens who were exercising their First Amendment rights, just so he could cross the street to have a photo op in front of a church.


Trump and his nine-times-damned group of supporters and enablers are traitors. They care nothing for the people, for the Constitution, for the law, for basic human decency, or for anything else. I don’t give a damn about the rigged Senate “trial.” Anyone with half a brain knows Trumpy sold this country out to the Russians in the last election. We heard the tapes ourselves. With my own ears, I heard him invite the Russians to use hackers to alter the course of the 2016 election, just like everyone else did. He betrayed this country to a foreign hostile power, and the damn Republicans stood by and did nothing.

With my own ears I heard him try to pretend the coronavirus now ravaging our world was a Democratic hoax, and use that as an excuse to refuse to take the steps that could have prevented this plague from spreading like wildfire across this country. More than 100,000 Americans have since died preventable, pointless deaths. That’s more than 33 September 11ths, FFS!  And the Republicans provided cover for him, helping him shirk his duties to the American people, all so they could try to jolly the stock market into staying high so they could win the next election and keep their cushy jobs. Trump betrayed the country, and tens of thousands of Americans died as a result. Their blood is on his hands, and no two ways about it.

I have watched him push policies that crush poor people, especially non-white poor people, making their lives unbearable, policies that militarize police, encourage racist police policies, and make the police completely immune from accountability. I watched him, and his Republican cronies, worsen the conditions that led to George Floyd’s death. And when, as is completely predictable for any group of people pushed beyond all limits of endurance, social unrest followed, his response is to go for Kent State mk. II.

And here we are, people. The “President” is speaking of American streets as a battleground, sending troops to illegally attack innocent civilians exercising their Constitutional rights and is threatening to do worse. He is trying to cut unemployment benefits and prevent financial support for anyone who isn’t rich in order to force poor people back into dangerous work places, where thousands more WILL die from the coronavirus, so he can goose the economy and win reelection. He is trying to keep in place the racist laws and policies that killed George Floyd and so many others, ensuring that there will be so many more. Hel, he’s trying to make them worse! And they only have the political power to do this because of decades of truly un-American shenanigans such as gerrymandering and other forms of voter suppression. They cannot win democratic elections, so they have subverted the democratic process. The Republicans have actually lost every election for a LONG time now. They only keep getting into power by profoundly un-American and anti-democratic political tricks.

We are in a battle for America. Trump and his supporters are traitors. Traitors to America, and traitors to the human race. They obey no law. If they are not stopped, NOW, this country will become fully, openly a tin pot dictatorship, with the last remnants of the democracy this country once was swept aside.

I used to hate the Democratic and Republican parties equally. I used to see them as equally criminal. I still see the Democrats as criminal, but they are still criminal in the ordinary, pedestrian way that politicians have always been criminal. The Republicans, however, have slid into outright cartoonish super-villainy.

I $%^#! hate the Democrats. They’re a bunch of corporate shills and liars who don’t believe in the things they say, by and large. They use people to get elected, and then forget about their promises to any but the rich. But I am still getting out there in November and voting a straight Democratic ticket. It’s become a matter of survival. Look around you. This is what a country looks like just before collapse.

I am $%%@ angry. And if you’re not, then you’ve either had your head shoved firmly up your ass for some time now, or you’re one of the people I’m angry at. Trump is a traitor. His enablers in Congress are traitors. And if, after all of this, you still support him, then you’re a traitor too. And in that case, don’t bother writing to me with your arguments, outrage, or vitriol. I will just delete your comments and ban you.

I do not hear the words of traitors.

And because this world is effed up enough that this still needs saying: