Personal Stance: Now With 140% Less Give-a-Damn!

When in doubt, see above.

When in doubt, see above.

While I’m doing my best to focus on positive things, a recent interaction with someone has brought to mind that there is something I might as well get out into the open now.  I’m sure anyone who knows me well can guess the catalyst, but there is no one certain target for the things you’re about to read. It is my hope that, in the future, should people have something to say about my words?  I shall have this venerable and long standing stance to help hold the line.

If my words offended any member of my readership  in any way, on any subject, this is not my problem.  My words do not contain the desire to physically hurt anymore, nor do they encourage others to inflict pain on my behalf.  They will never be purposed to demean or belittle someone on the basis of their faith, their orientation, their gender, or their ethnic background.  If you read here and view something you see it as a personal insult, that says a lot more about your person than it does about my message.

If you do happen to have an issue with my words, come to me in a civilized and diplomatic fashion and we shall talk about it like adults.  I am well aware of my fallibility; it’s an uncomfortable truth that I address every day, to the best of my ability.  My stance may or may not change, but I will do my best to show you every bit of reasonable respect and diplomacy that honest discourse demands.   If you instead sling ad hominems, brandish petty threats, and/or purposely misrepresent my words to portray in the efforts to construct a straw man for you to knock down?  I’m going to regard that a concession to the correctness of my statements, because if you couldn’t attack them?  I’m going to assume you couldn’t handle me being correct and had a temper tantrum instead.

If there were any conditions that altered that stance, I no longer recognize them; whatever your problems may or may not be, they are not my problems.  If, for any reason, you suspect that you cannot handle my opinions?  Than the onus is now on you, the reader, to avoid them.  A closely held friend recently asked me to “stand down”.  He did it politely, and I said that I would do my best.  Later, however, I realized that I couldn’t do it if I wanted to ; I never ‘stood up’.  I never came out of the corner swinging at anything or anyone; I simply stated my opinion and tried to find the best wording for those thoughts.  If someone else is offended, well, that’s just too damn bad because it’s not my problem.

A simple expression used in all spectrum of Heathen faiths is “we are our deeds”.  I look at most of my deeds in Heathen circles and I have few regrets; how I acted was the best I knew how to given the situations and circumstances of the time.  It’s how I judge myself and, likewise, is how I try to judge others.  I do not care what you did before, or what’s you’ve learned, or what you could be doing; I only care about how you’ve acted towards me and how I’ve seen you act with my own eyes.

I have not received (much) discontent or bile from the community; I suspect my time is limited in that respect.  I have plenty of opinions that the social majority of Heathnism would find offensive.  I don’t see anything wrong with Loki worship, and I venerate Loki more than most other deities.  Rokkatru doesn’t really bother me.   Krasskova and her peers are not dangerous; racists are.  People who can’t fart without the lore risk turning our faith into Heathen Catholicism,  and I regard lore-locked Heathens equally as threatening to the future of Heathenism as racists.  Take the previous two statements together and you come to another good one; I believe lore-nazis are just as much of a problems as nazi-nazis.

I have concerns about Stephen McNallen, even though he seems like a nice guy.   I have concerns about Mark Stinson, and they have nothing to do with the charges presently against him.  Christianity is more our ally than our enemy against the rise of the Republican Religion that is gaining concerning strength in the United States, proselytizing and human greed are more of an issue than monotheism ever will be, and that most of Heathenry makes too big a deal about Christianity in general.

None of these opinions are made to go after anyone; they are what I feel.  I do not have the energy, patience, or dramatic super ego needed to waste my time trolling someone for the sake of pushing their buttons; if I did, I assure you that I would  do a much better job of it.  If, here or elsewhere, I get flaccid threats and pointless accusations made against my person for what I have to say?  I’m either going to ignore them or publicly flyte them.

I do not need a permission slip from anyone for any opinion I have, for anything I have to say, or for anything I do.  End of discussion.

Sanity

This picture has nothing to do with sanity; LFMAO Spock is just awesome.

This picture has nothing to do with sanity; LFMAO Spock is just awesome.

Last Sunday, I went to a Midsummer event being held by a kindred that I had been meaning to share frith with for some time.   was more than a little nervous, and this was the sort of tension that went beyond the “I’m-about-to-meet-a-large-group-of-religious-people-gee-I hope-they-aren’t-completely-batshit” sort of way.   This was the first event I had attended in three years that did not mainly comprise people I already knew.  Also consider the large amount of personal, quasi-personal, and bystander-drama over the last year and change it’s probably not hard to tell why.

So, what happened?

We talked.  We laughed.  We celebrated our Gods and the things they have given us.  We had a good time.  Discussions were had, and when they got heated?  People bowed out respectfully.  The kindred in question, Kindred of Mann, introduced me to a new shade of Heathenry; one where both Gaelic and Norse dieties were honored.  It was a day filled with interesting things, one filled with solemnity and joy in equal measures.

On the way home, my wife pointed out something to me; she made me realize that neither of us had heard any rumor mongering, gossip, or even so much as an unkind word the entire time.  She reminded me of the first Heathen event I had taken her to while we were dating, and how it had more than she was comfortable with in terms of rumor mongering.  The thought made me ask the question of why I was comfortable enough to not notice in the first place.  How desensitized had I gotten and, in the process, how much apart of the problem had I become?

It was an important visit for me.  It was probably the most awkward sumbel I had ever taken part in; for some reason I just couldn’t find the words.  Through it all, however, I felt good.

Somewhere in the last month, I lost a little measure of my sanity.  It would be very easy to blame the oathbreaker, but I don’t think that’s really accurate.  I think this has been something building for a good long time.  The last two weeks have been extremely educational.  I’ve had to take leave from work to fight a workman’s comp claim, and I’ve taken to putting more of my time into freelance writing.  It’s almost impossible to have to change your environment so drastically and not feel some psychological recoil.  I’ve had a lot of epiphanies over the last month; Midsummer was where a lot of them started coming together.

I’d like to thank Kindred of Mann for giving me the catalyst to remembering why I take part in the community; you are all frithful folk, and it was a pleasure to be invited to celebrate with you.  Thank you, most of all, for reminding me what sanity feels like.

The Rage: Courtroom Jokes

Mr. T

So many fools, so little time to pity ’em…

Normally, I stay away from current events on here.  This is, generally speaking, because current events are a load of shit.  That being said, let me say thin the George Zimmerman hearing going on at present.

Why in the name of lemon scented fuck did that idiot of an attorney get out there, during a murder trail involving the death of a minor, and tell a knock-knock joke to the jury?  What kind of drugs do you have to take to think that is a good idea?  What’s next?  Is the prosecuting attorney gonna counter that one with…

“Knock Knock!”
“Whose there?”
“A seventeen year old!”
“A seventeen year old, who?”
“A seventeen year old who didn’t get shot by George Martin!  Yuk yuk yuk!”

What happened to our court system?  Someone got shot and that bozo is trying to break the ice like he’s at a freaking single’s mixer.  There is a question of whether a grown, adult male shot a kid in cold blood for the crime of wearing a hooded sweatshirt and being black at the same.  There is a question of whether a man was attacked in broad daylight without prompting.  Someone’s son is dead.  Dead.  There was a whole where his lungs used to be.

And this asshole is cracking jokes.  A sad day for the reverent solemnity of the dead.

Etheral Edition: To What He Is, Not What He Is Not

loki2He who bares insults forged of lies, yet only wields sharp truth in return
He whose lips are sealed, yet whose words are plentiful.
He who hath planted seeds, yet also bore a woman’s burden.
The patron of god-treasures, and the doom-weaver of God foes.

Oath-brother of the Allfather, and kin to all of Asgard’s hosts.
Watcher of the back of Thunder, and stabber of backs of Ice
Spare eyes for the One-Eyed, and Jester for the wise.

This is the Son of Lightning and Needle
This is the Trickster, husband of Strength Unending and Father of Legends
This is Loki, and now you know why I pray to Him.

My Inner Harpo Marx

Honk!  Honk!

Honk! Honk!

So, first order of business?  This blog just hit a thousand views.

Before today, I don’t think I truly understood why people made posts or announcements about that stuff.  Occasionally I’d see something on YouTube or Deviantart, where someone was thanking their subscribers or what not, and the proclamations just didn’t make sense.  I just wondered if people were getting obsessed over stupid details, and why they were fixated on meaningless milestone numbers.  I mean, congratulations and all that, but it seemed pretty pointlessly self serving.

Now I get it.

Freelance work can be fun, but it can also be exhausting and soul crushing at times.  You feel like a trained seal, honking on bicycle horns.  You may be able to play the piano and perform a flawless rendition of Chopin’s most complicated pieces, but your client doesn’t want to hear Chopin; they want Yankee Doodle Dandy.  On bicycle horns.  That can sort of wear on a person, provided that the person isn’t Harpo Marx.

My blogs, by contrast, have been absolute an absolute sanctuary.  I can do whatever I like.  If I want to Chopin on bicycle horns?  I can do that.  Metaphorically if nothing else.  I get to write for the sake of the writing.  I get to refine my own voice.  Polish the very thing that I want to make my vocation.  My work is allow to breathe, without a thought for some potentially obnoxious patron.

I put myself, my work, and my real life thoughts out there for people to read.  In return, people have come to read my work over a thousand times.  Some of these people I do not know, and never will.  Some of them has subscribed to my blog.  I have regular readership from Sweden and Germany.

So later today, when I have to say “yes, I can write this pandering tripe you have requested”?  I know that I have my blogs to return to.  I have more than asylum; I am my own sovereign fiefdom.  It is small, but it is mine.  It is precious to me, and it is the result of my own hard work.  It a subtle reminder that this, someday, will no longer be a hobby.

Last time, I spoke about the month of silence that some Polytheists are observing for the duration of July.  I understand and respect their reasoning, but I will not be taking part.  First of all, this blog is more than a discussion over my religion.  Certainly it is that more often than not, but sometimes it’s also me telling silly stories about watching My Little Pony with my step-daughter.  Sometimes I talk politics.  Sometimes I just talk.

The other reason is quite simple, and equally as personal.  Simply put, writing has become my solace.  This is my escape, to remind myself of what I could be.  I haven’t received the hate-mail that some of those guys have, but I suspect that it wouldn’t change thing if I had.  If someone hates what I say, let them; it doesn’t effect my words one way or the other.  Better than that though?  They can’t truly criticize me without reading what I say.

If your reading my work?  Than without realizing it, you’ve made my day a little brighter.

Or, to put it another way?

Thank you everyone who has come into read what I’ve had to say.  It means a lot to me.

Faith, Agency, and Dogma

Pope CarlinI have heard there is a war on belief.

In the appropriate context, I can understand the sentiment.

Just to be clear, I’m not agreeing with right wing nut jobs who insist that Christianity is under siege by Koran wielding psychos; there are more reasons for Muslims to be afraid of Christians then the other way around.  Now, if we’re talking about the very act of having a strongly held belief leading to contention?  Different story.

When I originally started writing this, it was before a few heavyweights in the Polythistic Pagan world decided to take a month off.  Half in protest over their treatment by the quasi-agnostic hero worshiping and half out of having something better to do, some people have decided that they will be taking July off to recenter themselves and opt out of the pissing contest that a lot of the debates have turned into.  I’m not going to comment on the matter further; it just seems to display my point very well.

A lot of people look to this disquiet and antagonism that springs up around religion, leading them to think that faith and hostility are inseparable.  What it actually comes down to, in my opinion, is agency.  Specifically, agency within your own faith.  The capacity to say “Yes, I believe in a thing…but not because a pastor/high priestess/Discordian Pope/Non-Discordian Pope told me to believe in them”.  The ability to explore what you believe and why you believe it without guilt, shame, or restraint.

A friend, dubious of my own faith, once asked if I believed in the literal creation story depicted in the eddas.  If I believed that Ragnarok was coming, and similar things.  At the time, I stated that I wasn’t sure.  That was a question I had to answer for myself.  I could have gone to any number of fellow Heathens, asked for an answer, and than taken that answer as my own.  That I didn’t, however, gave me a stronger and more rational sense of faith.  Taking ownership of what I believe has made both my faith and rationality stronger forces within my own person.

That process of self-analysis and theological exploration was invaluable; it protected me from a dogmatic consideration of the lore.  It made me consider their weight both separately from everything else and as a part of everything else.

In short, it gavee me a belief as opposed to a dogma.  It gave me, as Kevin Smith might put it, an idea.

It is my belief that all people who truly take their religion and faith seriously do this.  This includes Athiests; to parrot the words of another as if they were your own is idiotic, whether you believe in infinite divinity or none at all.  It isn’t the belief in a god that leads people to the horrors in humanity; it’s the dogmatic consideration of any belief.  How many mistakes, horrors, and evils were done in the name of science because no one decided to consider things for themselves?

That’s not a cheap shot, either.  Go look up “Scientific Racism“.  Believe me, if we didn’t need religion to have ethics?  Than we didn’t need it to be petty, monsterous, or amoral either.  The capacity for either was apart of the human condition long before we were were born, and it will exist long after we are gone.

Some people say that monotheism is the enemy of modern paganism.  Some people with say atheism.   Some people will reverse this statements to their opposites.  No matter how you fill out the madlib, I can’t agree.  Religion and faith are living, breathing things.  They take the shapes we give them, and they are closed fists or opened hands so long as we make them that way.

Dogma is a record.  It does not live; it records what was once alive.  It is a historical record devoid of context, dragged into the present by the bizarre notion that the older something is the better it becomes.  It is the slow moving poison that leads belief to death.

That is the enemy.  Of religion.  Of belief.  Of everything.