Flyte or Frith?

Current events have brought forth an interesting question to my mind; when have you fulfilled your obligation to uphold frith?  When is it acceptable, within the boundaries of modern Heathenry, to put aside unity to answer an offender?  My gut suspicion says that insults to your own person should usually be ignored, while insults to kin are to be answered clearly and without compromise.  As with any ethics question however, take a look at a rules of thumb just points out the loopholes.

Quite recently, I was maligned.  I’m not linking to the statement in question, nor am I answering any of the flights of fantasy it contains; I’m not turning this into a pissing contest, and I’m getting to old for this shit.  I bring it up only to provide context to help color in the lines of my question.

The statement was made about me, not my family.   Now, let us say that there are people who know who the offender is, and have enough context of the situation to identify what they’re talking about.  These people will fit into one of two categories.  If they’re a person worth my time, they’ll either know the truth, or they’ll get my side before make any sort of judgement.  If they’re not worth my time, they’ll think whatever they like.  In either case, the matter is settled.  If the insults are read by someone who doesn’t know they are attached to me…well, why do I care?  In the end, all disputes prove to be inconsequential.  Outside of a moment’s annoyance, I can move on and not bat an eye.

However, the person who maligned me was someone my wife was beginning to think of as a friend.  Moments before this baffling insult, this person also snapped at my wife over a trivial matter…a matter that this person connected to her defacement of my character.  This deeply hurt my wife’s feelings, and incited feelings of betrayal in her.

So here and now,  is my moral dilemma.  The mud has been slung squarely at my head, but the damage is being done equally to my family.  In actuality, my wife is more offended then I am; these words don’t mean anything to me.  Hypothetically speaking, what happens now?  Do I ignore a meaningless insult to my character, or do I answer someone who has hurt my wife?

I don’t know what I’m supposed to do, but I do know what I’m going to do; I’m putting the line in the sand.

I am going to go over here.  I’m going to pretend this person does not exist.  If they want to make all of these bogus claims, resort to ad hominems, and misdirect their rage at me?  They can be my guest.  It’s not that I cannot retort; I know this person well enough to go down the list, line for line, and flyte the ridiculousness of every statement they make.  However, when I consider doing this, I have to ask myself a very important question.

What would be the point?

I have no reason to malign people to even some nonexistent score; an eye for an eye makes the world blind, after all.  If painting a false picture of me somehow gets someone through the day?  They can have themselves a good old time; I’m going to be over here, ignoring their continued existence until Ragnarok takes us all.  I will wish them well and that their gods will watch over them.  The matter, as far as I am concerned, is finished.

All of this comes with a simple warning: When it comes to my family, all bets are off.

Insult my wife, demean my step-daughter, or say a word about my unborn child?  Then I will show the offender what the word “flyte” is.  The laissez-faire, “who cares” attitude is about me and only me; the moment someone utters a word of judgement about my family?  It gets very ugly, very fast.

Sometimes, all you have is your smile and your middle finger

Sometimes, all you have is your smile and your middle finger

Now, the internet is a hyperbolic place so let me put a full disclaimer here; I do not physically strike unless physically struck.  I don’t believe in unwarranted attacks of any nature, and this is not a threat of physical violence.  Period.  End of discussion.  This is not a legal disclaimer, made with a winking nod to the camera; it’s my real life, real world philosophy.  I wish I didn’t have to spell this out, but this is the world we live in.

So people of the world, have a fun time.  Share hospitality with me if you can.  Lie about me if you must.  Leave my family the fuck alone or you will learn some very harsh lessons, and you will learn them very fucking quickly.

Have a nice day! 😀

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The Killing Joke

BatPalmSo, I payed a little more attention to this superhero as hero worship thing then I intended to.  Partly because The House of Leaves is run by a pretty fantastic wordsmith, and partly because there is a tone behind certain counter arguments that is becoming concerning.

My original stance hasn’t changed, mind you.  I still, largely, don’t care.  It’s become less about the practice and more about the rhetoric.

I don’t take Scientology seriously; when it’s founder can be quoted as saying how he was going to make a fortune by starting a religion?   I don’t buy it.  Saying that I have issue with the practice or that I don’t take it seriously isn’t hate speech.  I’m not plotting to kill, injure, or systematically ridicule people who find something of merit in the words of Elrond Hubbard.

I don’t take Mormonism seriously; when God suddenly seems to changes his mind about people of African descent, I’m less then open minded.  How can the omnipotent, omnipresent God of Abraham issue a retcon and still be God?  Sorry, I’m never going to be able to accept that as anything other then a political move…and portraying it as a “revelation from God” denigrates the credibility of the faith as a whole.  Again, however, this opinion does not involve me planning to cause bodily or emotional injury to any member of the Church of Latter Day Saints.  I think they’re wrong; I do not think that they’re sub-human, beneath me, or that their existence is an abomination to my Gods.

Some people worship Batman.  As above, I can analyze this path and find places where it contradicts my spirituality and  common sense.  Also, as above, I’m not about to maim anyone who decides they want to worship Batman.

“I think you’re wrong.” isn’t hate speech.  It can cause the listener a degree of stress, no doubt.  That stress, however, is the kind of stress we all need to face at some point or another.  It strengthens us, and it is often one of the most critical parts of any hero’s backstory.  The X-Men are less profound without the detractors.  So, in turn, may I say the same for Batman, Spider-Man, and just about any other entity from comics.   You want to worship a super hero?  You want that strength and power of personality within your own person?  Good!

THEN ACT LIKE ONE!

Batman doesn’t go around, tossing ad hominems and sipping on “haterade“; he’s Batman, and Bruce Wayne couldn’t give an ounce of bat guano about anyone thinks about him or his alter ego.  He doesn’t toss out insults.  He isn’t disrespectful.  He does what others aren’t capable of doing, and doesn’t expect a thank you.  You want to put a Jungian archetype to that?  Rock on with your self; pardon me while I opt out, but you have yourself a wonderful time.

However, when you consider being disagreed with as worse then what fundamentalist groups do to anyone who isn’t themselves a fundamentalist?  You make it impossible to take you seriously as a person, no matter your faith.  It’s not about you worshiping Batman anymore; it’s about you being disrespectful to actual pain and suffering experienced by real life people.    To the side of that, I can’t take your practice seriously either; why are you worshiping Batman if you have no interest in taking on his morality and decorum?  If someone one insults Batman, what does Batman do?

What does just about any superhero do?

You want to do this?  Knock your damn socks off.  Just don’t expect anyone to take you or your ideals seriously until you start doing something with them.

Ethereal Edition: Words from the Heart

heartI don’t mind championing my successes, so long as I also own up to my failures and refrain from excessive bragging.  This is, more or less, a family tradition; my mother got it from both sides of her family, and I suspect it went back a good deal of generations.  This isn’t rooted in shame or enforced humility; she just always says that if you’re truly doing good, you’re never going to need to tell anyone because they’ll already know.  As such, I try and keep an even keel.  My successes are celebrated freely, but I try to make sure the party doesn’t go on past eight.

So it’s been sort of a whirlwind ride the past few months.  I’ve now added “freelance voice talent”, to my list of accomplishments.  This goes up there with “Step-dad”, “husband”, “freelance writer”, “expectant father”, and a host of other rather amazing things.  I know I’ve brought this up before, yet I’m still not sure it has sunk in.  Part of me is still expecting to wake up, alone; to wake up from some fever dream.  That never happens, however; every time I wake up, things are as I left them.

Now granted, sometimes I’m waking up at 2:30 am to find that I rolled on top of my wife’s hair….but you take the good with the bad.  At least, that’s what she seems to do.

In either case, what I’d like to do right now is to thank the Gods for some of the things I have.  It strikes me that this is as appropriate a way of handling things as I can muster, as I’m still filled with awe at my recent accomplishments.  These things were not done alone, however, and I think it’s high time I offer some public thanks.

To the spirit/God/landvattier who appeared to me, and handed my the hammer.  I don’t know your name, and I suspect I never will.  I thank you.  I prayed, to nothing in particular, for peace of mind.  Little by little, the hammer you offered me that day has done just that.

To Frigg, who heard a very heartfelt prayer I made while inside a walk-in freezer.  You put me on a long road, Allmother, and I am eternally grateful.  I don’t know if it was You who ended up teaching me the lessons I would learn over the next two years…but I know who I asked for help, and I know who helped me.

To Freyr, who walked with me for so very little distance but whose lessons were profound.  I think back to that Freyfaxi, and I’m not sure I will ever be able to take in all that I was being shown.  I know that it taught me a lot, and it gave me the chance to see my own honor and my own frith.  The months that came after it showed me much as well, as I saw the consequences of frith betrayed.  Thank You.

To Eir, who I often forget when my need is no longer great.  I have prayed to You often, but I often forget to thank You after the matter is finished.  You’ve watched over family by blood, family by oath, and family by frith;.  for all of this, I thank You.

To Loki, much maligned and misunderstood.  I have heard many speak our against your supposed chaos, and sometimes I can’t help but wonder if that’s the joke.  You are not chaos, but a navigator of chaos; everyone who maligns you is cursing the very oar they need to navigate the twisting rivers that they blame you for creating.  I was caught in such chaos, and it was You who helped me back to solid ground.  It was You that helped me on my way, to the life I have now.  You didn’t give things to me; You just got me to the show and pulled up the curtains before I could think about it.  The “Regarding Loki” series was done as a small thanks for this.  Yet, in thanking you?  You helped me to start becoming the writer I always wanted to be.  When I have given you offerings of food and drink, you have provided far more then my pantry can hold.  Thank You.  Words cannot convey my gratitude.

To the Allfather, and all the divine figures and heroes who align themselves with him. To Thor, whose presence was ever felt in the background.  To all the Gods who have influenced my life, but have not yet made themselves known.  To those Gods I have prayed to, and cannot name.  I offer You my thanks for all that You have given me, and all that you have yet to give me.

Even when times are tough for me and my family, I have been able to count on Your blessings again and again.  Thank You all.

Meh, or why Otherkin don’t really bother me

deadpool+should+know+by+now+he+cant+pick+up+Mjölnir+_57109b74e7cdd51a545be15ff2538ff5While looking through my Facebook feed today, I saw more then a few mentions of modern Pagans confusing pop culture for a pantheon.  There was a lot of understandable outrage and consternation.  For my part, I can’t even begin to concern myself with it; to be honest, I was more then a little surprised that anyone reacts to this at all.  Isn’t this sort of a defecto state?  Every religion has it’s camps.  Some get the message, and some pervert it; it’s a pretty standard model.  There is, of course, another school of thought…one where you are grind  your faith into a fine powder, and snort it through a straw made of  frozen bonkers.  Sometimes they think they’re the reincarnated son of Red XIII and Nina Williams, and sometimes they have a UPG that Thor is a Klingon.  In either case, I pretty much always assume that these people are around somewhere.

I try not to worry about it, honestly.

I came up into Paganism by dealing with mall rats, stoners, and the spiritually dyslexic on internet forums.   I envy most of the spiritual stories my friends tell me.  Some have tales of youthful dreams, filled with compelling, deeply personal gnosis.  Others will tell me of how the gods saved them from their own self destruction.  How I learned my spiritual dos and don’ts was from people who swore that they were reincarnated aliens from the planet Alpha Centari.  This is not a humorous jest or colorful exaggeration; this was a thing I was told on multiple occasions.  I was also told that the mall was their spaceship.  I also met several covens worth of half-vampires.  Also; the God Chronos.

I can get you all an autograph if you’d like.

So people who are aping at spirituality but taking a wrong turn at WatDaFuq Lane?  This is a phenomenon that I am more then familiar with.  I understand the offense they cause some, but I’ve seen too many of their ilk to really be able to care.  They never cause as much damage as people worry that they will, and the only personal pain I suffered was free times and (in case) one of them stealing fifty bucks out of my wallet.

Apparently, Chronos needed cigarettes and whiskey that night.

My Lokean friend has put forth that maybe some of these people have looked upon the divine and didn’t know how to handle it; that’s as good as suggestion as any I’ve heard.  There is, of course, people who make such claims for attention; I’ve got nothing to say about them, as saying anything just feeds them.

This too shall pass.  The Marvel movies (and similar materials) are doing the same thing that World of Darkness, The Crow, and the rise of Llywellyn publications did back in the mid-nineties.   We’re going to get a bunch of mad fools in here, but when isn’t that the case?  To be honest, I can’t tell much of a functional difference between Thorsmen who act like Klingons and a man who worships Klingon-Thor.  To me, this is just another strain of a familiar disease.

Frith is my Religion

buddy jesusThere has been, and I suspect there always will be, some contention over what our faith is called.  Some go with Asatru.  Some use the phrase “Northern Tradition”.  I have always preferred the term Heathen, as it seemed the least complicated.  It also involves taking a pejorative term and turning it on it’s head, which has been a proud American tradition since we used “Yankee Doodle” to mock the British.

So while I consider myself a Heathen, and I primarily venerate the Norse pantheon, I don’t think that either of these things would be the core definition of my spirituality.  They are important things, but I think that Frith has a far greater day to day impact.  Out Heathen communities and our pantheons may help define our spiritual practice, but I think that Frith defines my spirituality more then anything else.  How I interact with other Heathens.  How I pray.  How I make offerings.  How I display myself as a Heathen to non-Heathens.  For all these things, I use Frith as my compass.

Some of us speak at great lengths over innangards and utangards, and how we must give great consideration to those we allow into our lives.  Some are simple about the matter, while others get into the nitty gritty.  Mark Stinson, for example, expressed his beliefs on things in black and white, and with a great level of detail into the order of important that people should have in your life.  I can say that I understood his point and found it contained some validity, even if I also found it terribly pedantic.

To my mind, that perspective is trying to shoehorn things into a nice, neat, box; no matter how much you may want black and white, things are just going to be purple sometimes.  As such, I try to view such things in simpler terms

My innangard is made up of those who show me Frith, and my utangard is made up of those that don’t.  That is all.

Let me tell you about “HB”.  HB is a young lady who I work with.  She is devoutly Christian, and is studying to be a missionary in Norway.  We have discussed spirituality and religion many times, and we have done it in a spirit of respect and with the legitimate desire to learn the perspective of other faiths.  How she regarded Jesus or how she felt about my faith was irrelevant; she showed me Frith.  She has been considerate, helpful, and a true friend.  I’ve been there to call her on her bullshit, and she has been able to remind me of the family I have waiting for me at home when I get more then my fair share of garbage at work.

If my innangard is a house, frith is the cement that binds the bricks.

There are Heathens I know that I don’t talk to if I can help it.  One such example is an unrepentant white supremacist;  I don’t go to events at their house, because I will not mix wyrd with someone who looks down on my Hispanic step-daughter.  There is another couple that has chosen to remain immersed in petty feuds that everyone else put down years ago; I wish them nothing by joy and happiness, but that doesn’t mean I seek them out.

I will take the Frithful Christian missionary over oath-breaking, racist, or overly dramatic Heathens any day of the week.  I am inclined to believe our ancestors would as well, and I suspect our Gods have no issue with such a thing.  I do not care who or what you pray to, or whether you pray at all.  You show me respect, hospitality, and goodwill?  Then I will seek to match your example.

You do not need to be a Heathen to act with Frith, and not all Heathen actions are attempting to be Frithful.

The Depths: On Worship

The picture is unrelated to the topic, but it was just to hilarious to pass on.

The picture is unrelated to the topic, but it was just to hilarious to pass on.

I treat the divine in a way that is similar (but not identical) to how I regard any true teacher, whose instruction I might be under.

The gods have my respect, regardless of their methods; it would be stupid for anyone to disrespect a force  stronger then yourself.  While respect is given freely, veneration is not; who I worship and pray to is, by definition, sacred.  I will not defile myself by showing to devotion to beings whose values I find abhorrent.  I do not denounce them; I simply make it clear that their way it not mine.

I am in no position to make demands on the gods to provide me things, just as I am in no position to command an educator to teach me on a given subject  If I am coming to them in their home, what right to I have to command such a thing?  By the same token, I have no reason to grovel; any teacher, mortal or divine, that needs one to shame themselves is not a teacher I wish to be influenced by.  Indeed, the opposite is also true.  Ask yourself if any great educator has a place for soulless, spineless, weak-willed fools.  Of course they don’t, and I don’t believe it to be any different with the divine.  When they speak, they have my attention.  If they ask for something, I give it freely as long as it is within my power to do so.  When I am helped by their actions, I express my gratitude.

It is very simple, and I have found it very fulfilling.

To the best of my knowledge, I have no Fulltrui.  This is a state of affair which I more or less hope endures, as I suspect it’s work I’m not cut out for.  Don’t get me wrong; it’s a calling for which I have a great level of respect.  I also have a great level respect for snipers, programmers, and wet nurses; I just don’t have the knack for those vocations.

However, I do not need a patron to venerate the divine, or to build up connections with it.  Indeed, I would posit that there is something truly noble and worthwhile about making this connection when you have no god claim you as their own.  You did not need to be found or saved; you came because you wanted to.  Every moment you stay, and act with dignity and honor?  Those are moments and connections built up with your own agency.

Sacredness is where you find it.  I often can find it just like this.

Where-are-the-breaks-oh-god-what-the-hell-is-going-on-ack!

Weatherwax SignIf you read my last post, you’ll know that things are strangely looking up right now.  Lest you, dear reader, think I made a deal with the devil?  It’s honestly pretty balanced.

On the one hand,  I’m starting to develop a freelance writing career, looking forward to my wife giving birth to our child, writing a D&D campaign, establishing my blog readership, looking into voice work, and writing a deal that will have my wife and me enter into a potentially profitable tournament pod for Magic the Gathering.

On the other hand, me and my wife are so financially boned that we’d need a case of red pens to write down our finances.  The state of New Jersey, which handles the child support for my step-daughter, seems to not know how banks work.  Also, phones.  They seem somewhat dodgy on what checks are too, come to think of it.  Short version: New Jersey can kiss my ass.   I also got screwed for a promotion at work, because of reasons, and my schedule keeps getting cut because my manager isn’t really versed in how to read his own writing.

These and many other things are going on, both good and bad.   In either case, I’ve been pretty damn busy.  If I’m a less active blogger for the moment?  That’s why.

I have some articles planned.  Very soon we’re going to be talking about how Atheism is becoming what Atheism hates the most, how I’ve experienced beneficial chaos due to the actions of Lokeans,  we’ll take a look at the devotionals I got published in the Rune Pebble, devotionals to other gods as the moment strikes me, a humorous take on why I really couldn’t possibly have a diving patron, and much more!

In the mean time, however, I humbly request your patience as I try and figure out how the hell to work this strange beast called life.