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    Do we need Mayday (Beltane)?

    Sunday, April 21, 2013, 2:03 PM [General]

    Mayday, Walpurg, Beltane; however you name it, the rites of the May Queen, the sacred dance around the May Pole are the most deeply sexual rituals of our ancient tradition. I heard both learned scholars, and laughing free spirits both offer the opinion that we did not need this day. The scholars found it frivolous, and debated the lore concerning its practice (as most is low lore, local in origin, and quite disparate in nature). The free spirits thought us lusty enough to not need a celebration to remember our sexuality, or ensure our fertility.

    To each, respectfully, no. Mayday is a celebration of sacred sexuality, it is not simply a celebration of human sexuality, but of the fertility of the renewing earth, a celebration that invokes, offers, and ask blessings on the creation and renewal of life. Our women’s wombs, those of our hens, ewes, mares, and cows, are equally important to our survival as a people, are equally tied to the cycles of this SHARED earth, so blessings are asked on the fruits of each. Since Charming of the Plow we have prepared the earth, since Ostara we have planted, weeded and pruned, at MayDay we ask that the seeds we have put in the ground will give us grain, and vegetable; we ask the trees that we tend bear fruit. In this cycle, plant, animal, insect, man, are all one in both desire and destiny. We literally rise and fall together, and the ancients understood this. The love between man and woman, or between lovers of same gender, is just love. Love is the mental/spiritual, the “higher” aspect of the life affirmation drive. More than just the desire to procreate, it is the desire to love life, to protect life, to fight for life, to strive to improve life, to cherish and treasure it. Love is the force that provides balance and direction to the aggression or acquisition drive that is necessary for competition and survival. Love is the wellspring of our sanity. It is a well we strive in this age to cut ourselves off from.

    Our ancestors needed Mayday less than we do. They walked with their flocks, tended their fields, slaughtered and prepared their meat, walked to the battlefield and saw their warriors stand or fall in defense of their tribe. They watched the belts tighten and cheeks hollow as Yule approached and larders dwindled. They rose at dawn, and worked while there was light. Day and night ruled them, spring and summer defined their planting and calving, they lived as one with the cycles of the land, the flocks, the fields. They did not need to renew the connection between themselves and this world, because they lived it with every breath. We-do-not!

    Our year was fixed by the Christians with their solar calendar. They called those who clung to the old ways Heathen and Pagan. Both are city folks derogatory terms for farmers or hicks. Christianity moved from the centers of power outward, from the cities to the towns to the hamlets, and the farmers were the last to give up their connection to the old ways, because they were the most connected to it. This had less to do with moral superiority of country folk ( I was raised one, so cannot subscribe to that myth), than it does the truth that cities began the severing of the ties between the folk and the wights.

    Technology is a tool we use to make the world more access able, more workable, more survivable for us. Like all tools it comes with associated risks, and like almost all tools I have known, those risks are only discovered by consequence, rather than intuition. Large scale farming, by this I mean non-animal powered farming, made it possible to bring far greater yield per acre, sustainably, than our ancestors could have imagined. It created a small, sometimes prosperous, farming class, and allowed most of the folk to understand grain, fruit, vegetable, and meat only as commodities purchased from a store, rather than as whole seasons of work, worries about rain and hail, frost and blight. Our connection to the field and flock began to whither long before industry. Our connection to the wights of the land, the cycles of the earth began to weaken with the shift to urban population, and it was into this dangerous transition that Christianity was introduced to our detriment.

    The fixed solar calendar introduced by the church was accepted for convenience, because for the people that mattered (not peasants), the actual seasons didn’t matter any more. Spring was a mark on a calendar, not a time when you could plant, not a time when the rabbits danced and the crocuses bloomed first. Fall was a mark on a liturgical calendar, not a time the harvest was done, the geese had fled south. This was a sign of the growing rift between our human nature and our natural world. With any such separation between nature and practice, the disharmony brought with it problems of mental and spiritual natures, as conflicts between our natural state and societal expectations begin to be at odds.
    Electric lights freed us from the cycle of day and night, which in turn freed us from the cycles of summer and winter, even as central heating and air conditioning stopped many of our bodies from undergoing the seasonal internal changes required to harden against cold in winter, and heat shock in summer. With the loss of these conditions comes a rise in seasonal diseases, as our bodies natural defenses are not in place, and our technological air temperature control assures daily temperature shocks between our controlled spaces and the exterior temperature; while pooling disease in the temperature controlled internal air. We are completely adrift. Cut off from the lands and waters, cut off from the wights, from sun and moon, from field and flock.

    I have written previously about the phenomenon of garden gnomes, pets and houseplants; these are physical signs of the unconscious desire of mankind to connect to the wights of the land, the ancient cycles of field and flock. We need this to be sane, we need this to be human. These silly little things are signs of the very basic human need to connect with our primal nature, our animal nature, our place and part in the ancient and holy cycles of the earth. 

    Now comes Mayday. Derided by the Christian church for centuries (they really frothed at the mouth about it), as nothing more than an excuse for public lewdness and licentious behavior, and by modern heathen scholars as being just another excuse for fluffy-bunny Wiccans to get naked and screw, it is in fact far more than that, and yet pretty much exactly that.

    Our genetalia may be the last functional link between our primal selves, our animal nature, and our waking mind. Our sex drive may be the one part of our modern selves that remains connected to these ancient cycles. As a soldier in a gender integrated army, I learned that surviving almost getting killed sometimes lead to absolutely frantic life affirming sex. Nothing tells you that you are still alive more than the act of love, nothing purges the touch of death from your mind and flesh more than the act of creation. Soldiers and sailors on leave have a reputation for heading for a booty call first thing, and there is a reason for that. Sanity requires that reconnection with life after walking with death. We are not separated by the grocery store, or by our technology, we remain connected through lust and love, through desire and affection. 

    Mayday comes and we gather to crown the May Queen; Freya walks among us, the symbol of desire, of female sexual power, of love manifest, of life renewed. The May Pole is erected (pun intentional), and the great symbol of Frey’s golden life giving penis rises in the center of our towns and villages, and we dance around it with wild abandon, binding with ribbons the potency of the male with the desire of the female, binding male and female fertility together. As the sun goes down it was traditional for couples to go into the fields and show the gods exactly what they were wishing in their fields, for nothing can invoke fertility like the life affirmation of love. This is not tawdry and trite, this is a connection between our human sexuality, sacred sexuality, and the cycles of life and renewal of the earth. This is the sanity reset button. This is a bringing back into balance of those internal cycles that have drifted apart from our natural rhythms due to our technological disconnect from our natural world. 

    Do we need Mayday as an excuse to celebrate love; honestly, we have never needed it more.
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    Mayday (Walpurg)

    Friday, April 20, 2012, 10:33 PM [General]

    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    Bare-sark

    Saturday, November 19, 2011, 10:45 AM [General]

    Woden softly whispers

    Skadi’s snow does call

    Sanity and safety

    Will not long hold me thrall

     

    Somewhere in the darkness

    Deep within the wood

    The wild hunt is stirring

    The wolf in me does call

     

    Spear on seat beside me

    I weave up to the mountain

    From rain and snow in lowlands

    To snow and ice at height

     

    There within the forest

    I let the madness slip

    Throw off law and order

    Sanity and speech

     

    Clothes I leave behind me

    Barefoot in the snow

    Wearing naught but fury

    And the war-spear in my fist

     

    Deep into the forest,

    Far from electric light

    I dance within the darkness

    To the pounding of the blood

     

    The battle-glad does call me

    The wild hunt does call

    Skin burns like new drunk whiskey

    Limbs numb as night-long drunk

     

    Snow in silence shields my steps

    Night my white limbs cloak

    Madness makes me lightning swift

    Age cast off with clothes

     

    Moving shadow paces me

    Spirit or illusion thought

    ‘till crash of shattered undergrowth

    Branded bear my running mate

     

    Side by side we raced the night

    Leaping undergrowth and log

    Deer flew from our snarling race

    And the thunder of our blood

     

    At last I came to forest edge

    War-spear in my fist

    Clothes and sanity await

    My life at end of chase

     

    Stumble now to don my clothes

    My fury strength now fled

    Down from the mountain I must go

    Laughing to myself

     

    Somewhere out there rides the hunt

    Somewhere Woden calls

    Peaceful is my soul this morn

    Who danced in Woden’s night

     

    John T Mainer

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    Heathens (Asatru) and Community

    Friday, June 24, 2011, 2:23 PM [General]

       There has been much talk in the heathen community about intentional community, or forming heathen only townships.  It was inevitable once our numbers reached a certain point for the draw of being able to live in a community of people whose ideas about duty, faith, and community were shared, rather than as a minority in communities whose Christian trying-too-hard-to-really-be-a-majority tend to view us with suspicion.   I have always been against participating in such communities, because I believe heathens and heathenry is required to bring our communities back into the balance that they have lost between individual freedom and personal responsibility.

          Christianity gave a community model based on external authority, you had to do your duty as a Citizen because Yaweh would punish you eternally if you didn’t, or because it was what he said was the right thing to do, depending on your nature.   During the post WWII generations, the unquestioning adherence to authority came under attack, and personal liberties were taken back from the State and its pillar, the Church.  This was good, but while removing  external authority for belief and choice, that generation separated the ideas of individual rights in the community from individual responsibility to the community; a separation about as natural and sustainable as separation inhalation from exhalation.  You either breath both in and out or you don’t breath at all, you either enjoy the freedoms that your responsibilities towards your community have earned or you swiftly have neither the community nor the freedoms.  There is no way to do only one part and not the other if you wish to survive.

            Heathenism has always been about personal responsibilities.  Neither our kings nor our gods commanded our conscience; always we remained responsible for our own choices and for our own success and failure.  Our Hamaval is not filled with rules to obey, but guidelines and strategies for building and sustaining community, for building and strengthening relationships, and  showing us how even wealth and status should be used to both improve your worth or standing and improve the community.

          Worth that glorifies and individual and serves the community, is a heathen concept.  Heathen ambition serves the community, because it defines its success by the status granted by the community for its deeds.  In enhancing your personal worth as a heathen, you are advancing the fortunes of your whole community, and justly reaping the rewards.  Not so with outward North American society.  Worth and status are something our society is struggling to deal with now.  We have rid ourselves of the rule of the aristocracy, and of the nobility, but after centuries of preaching humility as a virtue, those who seek celebrity in this age are not often worthy individuals.  We have a secular society that worships celebrity in its own name, while hungering for worth it will not find within celebrity.  We have a society that teaches children that there are no winners or losers, that everybody is equal, or at least we must pretend they are.  In this way we have stopped rewarding success, stopped granting glory to those who achieve, stopped recognizing worth in those who are advancing the community.  At the same time in the adult world, competition continues to be fierce, and success going only to the winner.  Success being separate from worth because of a childhood without context for worth being born from success in community supported  struggle, modern success is deemed equivalent whether the means and ends are worthy or not.  Secular and Christian society having stripped away worth from success have replaced community leaders with personal ambition.  Rather than ambition serving the community, now it is hurting it.

         We heathens are like chrome in the raw iron of ill forged communities.  Under the fire and hammer of life, a little chrome can act to harden the raw iron, and turn it into the steel our ancestors once knew.  Last night I was called by my neighbours because there was a suspicious van, all blacked in, lurking just out of the entrance to our 44 unit complex.  The local wives sent their children to summon me, and I went to find out who was lurking.  While I was seeing to this, another one of the husbands was dispatched to back me up, because we have each other’s backs in this community.

          Having a celebratory beer afterwards, we saw one of the children in the complex have a serious bike accident, and I attended  as an Industrial First Aider to deal with the spinal/head trauma, backed up by another parent who was also a trained first aider.  I called for supplies, and whatever child was at hand grabbed what we needed from their own unit, and for an hour or so we maintained our casualty while waiting for our “20 minute” ambulance.  After packing parents and siblings off in the nearest minivan to follow the ambulance, the mother of the injured child asked if  I could go into her house, grab her keys and lock up her place for her.

           In fourteen years of living as an open heathen, soldier, community volunteer in this townhouse complex I have been part of forging what is the modern equivalent of an ancient heathen village.  Our kids play in our own playground, under the eyes of the collective parents.  While not all children have parents who care enough to modify their behaviour, or are able to protect their children, the community as a whole has leaders that it turns to, to make sure that all women and children are safe, and our little communities interest are protected with local school boards, city and utility planners, and that those in need are getting the support required from the community and government agencies.  I am one of those leaders, but by no means the only one.  Through years of struggle I have proven my worth to the community, and shown those who would join me how to find their worth in the doing.  Each heathen is a torch; Kenaz, from torch to torch light is kindled.  Where once I stood alone, now I am assured that even when I am not there, others will stand in my place.

             In pulling heathens out to form our own communities, we would be taking the chrome out of the iron, leaving it weak and ill forged where it could have been strong and flexible.  Rather than being a key part of strong and vibrant communities, we would be little functional knots in a sea of struggle.  Our security lies not in withdrawing from community, but in helping to build and heal them.  Our nations have forgotten the meaning of worth, the duties of citizenship.  The folk are no lesser now than they ever were, they just need teachers and leaders to show them how to do what the best of them hunger to do already; build community.

    John T Mainer

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    Pride and Fear

    Sunday, May 22, 2011, 10:48 PM [General]

    Hail,
          Witnessing the latest of a long line of Christian doom-sayers make a fool of himself and his whole flock (sheep a fair comparison), I was struck once again by how the fear of the end times brought with it a rising hatred towards those they perceived as different.  Homosexuals, single mothers, and those who disagreed with cnservatives on any topic from prayer in schools to abortion rights were demonized and vilified.  Not how I would expect one to greet the coming of a god of peace, but hey none of their stuff makes any sense to me.
        Those hating the loudest seemed to also be stressing how humble they were (boasting about your humility is really funny, but sense of humour is lacking in many fundamentalists, even our own), but both their praise and their attacks seemed solidly rooted in one common factor; fear.
        Our own community is the most conservative of all the pagan faiths.  We are family centred, we do marriage and mortgage and carpools.  We are not counter-culture, we do military service, community volunteering and organizing.  We don't do polyamory the way the Wiccan community does, and most of our vices are those of the average person in the communities in which we live.  We look like good conservatives on paper, but we just don't hate.  Why not?  Fear.
         I saw a funny little cartoon recently, Asterix and the Vikings.  These Vikings were sure the only thing they lacked was fear, and they set out to raid until they found some.  That is funny on the surface, but there is a truth in it.  I am a heterosexual, but even as a young soldier, viewed homosexuals not with fear but with thanks.  Like a man seeing two others he must share a six pack with, finding out one doesn't drink beer means the two beer for me just turned into three beer for me; if the other fellow isn't a beer drinker either then the whole six-pack is mine!  That pretty much summed up my attitude towards homosexuality.  Most guys will admit lesbians are just women who have figured out how hot women are, something men understood LOOOOONNG before fire and the wheel (which we developed largely to impress women), so again no worries.
           I looked around the heathen community and saw a fair number of openly gay people, and i wondered why are so many openly gay people so accepted in such an otherwise conservative group?  The answer was fear.  We don't have it.  Heathen's accept personal responsibility for our choices and actions.  The devil didn't make us do it.  Porn didn't give us impure thoughts, and a gay English teacher didn't corrupt our little minds.  We accept our choices about our own sexuality as our own, and therefore do not see another persons sexual orientation as a threat.
        I'm not saying that you can hold a dissenting view and not have to defend it.  Heathens respect those who believe strongly in what they are doing, and who are prepared to defend their stances.  I pass the horn from hunter to vegan in my symbel, each having a point of view rooted in their own understanding of their personal responsibility and morality.  Each thinks the other is wrong, but respects them for living Tru.  In the same way we hail a lesbian couple who practice with us, because they dare to love proudly, openly, and without shame.  They live Tru, and we honour them the way we honour anyone who lives Tru; true to themselves and true to our gods.
          Our gods do not ask us to be humble, but to live proudly.  We are asked to set the bar high, and grow to reach it.  We boast our success, but we claim our failure just as loudly, for we own our mistakes as we own our triumphs; without fear.  We accept responsibility for our choices.  This means we are not lessened by another's success; we do not snarl when another boasts a triumph, we raise the horn and salute him, taking inspiration from his or her success to fire us to greater deeds for ourselves.  We are not threatened when a man or woman choses to love differently than we do, for we do not derive our manhood or womanhood from them, but from ourselves.  Without fear we can accept.
          We fear those things that can harm us.  There are enough of those to go around.  We have no time to fear things that do not concern or affect us, and it is beneath us to consider it.  Why do heathens have such diversity in our communities?  Because by accepting our responsibility for ourselves we are not threatened by people who may be different from us in some respects.   Without fear and its attendant labels, we must judge each person for their own deeds and merits.  This is what makes our community so strong and so diverse for there is more worth to be found than you would guess, and in places you might not have thought to look.

    John T Mainer

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    May Day Magic

    Sunday, May 1, 2011, 4:11 PM [General]

    This is the story of young Andrew McLain, of oaths taken at twilight, faery dating, sacrifice, and the healing power of love.

     

    Andrew loved Jenny with all of his heart, and most of his lower regions.

    Jenny liked Andrew, but had been known to be fond of Kurt, and his lower regions as well.

    On this fine Mayday, Andrew had called upon Jenny with a diamond ring,

    only to discover Jenny taking Kurt for a vigorous canter across the sofa.

     

    "Damn all women anyway," he snarled as he stumbled out into the twilight of the first of May.

    He stopped at the forest edge and howled out his youthful pain to the listening woods:

    "Screw women, screw springtime, and SCREW LOVE!"

    He staggered into the woods, not heeding where he went. Opening the bottle of Champagne

    he´d brought along and still had in his hand, he poured the foaming liquid

    into a ring of mushrooms at the base of an old oak muttering,

    "This was supposed to toast our love, but now there's not a woman born I'd share it with!"

    Then, with a cry he hurled the diamond ring into the woodland stream, screaming:

    "Take that love, and screw you too! I say, screw every inhuman one of you!".

    Dangerous words already on a Mayday evening, made worse by how he ended it......

    "Gods, I'd rather die than love again. Let love just take the heart she ruined anyway!"

     

    There are strange things that lurk in the forest deeps.

    There are things that walk the borders between the night and day, things ancient and inhuman; just listening and ever so hungry.

    There are two powers that even gods must bow to: Love and fate.

    This is a story of both.

     

    Andrew stomped his way further into the campus forest, kicking mushrooms and ferns as he passed.

    Little noting the sun dipping below the horizon, he stalked into the Mayday night, into the dark primeval forest, and another age.

    On certain days, when the world hangs between dark and night, between the seen and unseen, the hills open,

    and the paths to Alfheim open again. In the dark of Yule, the knights of the Wild Hunt ride behind the coursing wolves

    of the Allfather, but in the wild night of Mayday, on Walpurgsnight, it is Freya who leads the ladies of the elven court

    in a wild hunt of passion, the stuff of dream and nightmare.

     

    Andrew stopped and turned, aware at last that something was amiss.

    He heard a sound like sirens in the near distance. Not quite sirens, not like trumpets, more like the conch shells he had heard in Hawaii.

    The sound came again, this time with the baying of hounds and the faint strains of laughter.

    It sounded like the fox hunts you saw in some old movies, but what would something like that be doing in the University forest?

     

    With a start, Andrew saw a dozen slim silver steeds with belled and richly tooled harnesses sweep into the clearing.

    Gowned ladies of eerie beauty and cold perfection sat easily in split skirts in high saddles with lances sheathed by the right knee.

    Inhumanly cold beauty stared at him from all sides, cold white faces and bloodless lips in a smile that could teach a cat cruelty,

    and eyes that burned with smouldering passion.

    “Look,” rang a voice like a silver bell ,“The night’s stag!”

     

    While slim white hounds circled him, Andrew protested he was no stag but a man.

    Each denial made the perfect inhuman beauties smile wider. Finally, surrounded by stags and mounted ladies with drawn lances,

    a final figure rode astride the neck of a golden boar the size of a rhino. More beautiful than the pale elfin beauties,

    this woman burned like fire in the night. Shining white skin, with a golden necklace burning bright in the hollow of her half-bared breasts,

    her laughter rang like birdsong at dawn, and her smile brought a stammering blush to Andrew’s angry features.

     

    “Now then, young man,” purred the golden woman with a sensuous smile,

    “You poured out an offering at the Faery ring, and threw a golden offering in my sacred waters, and made strong oaths before us.

    You summoned my ladies on my holy night, and you promised to 'screw my women, to screw the springtime, and to screw love'.”

    Laughter rang from the inhuman beauties around him, and set the hounds to snarling again.

     

    “My women ride, the spring is newborn and hungry this evening, and I am love.

    If you would play stag in these woods, little man, you will need more than rage. You will need Hoof and Horn!”

     

    Her voice echoed strangely and the women began circling and chanting, “Hoof and Horn, hunt till the morn!”

    Over and over they chanted and circled until Andrew fell down, confused and burning.

    His hands and feet merged into stags split hooves, and proud antlers sprung from his brow.

    With a shout Andrew sprang from the circle and burst down the trail, desperately fleeing the spears of the women, and fangs of the hounds.

     

    On through the forest Andrew bounded, his muscles bunching and stretching with effortless power.

    All the rage of frustrated love burned within him, and he fed on the thunder of his blood, growing in power and rage with every bound.

    Soon his pride and power could not abide the chasing hounds, and he spun at bay. Flicking his antlers left and right, he smashed two hounds

    against the looming trees, and spun with his hoof to catch the hamstringing third. He charged among the hounds with the fury of his frustration

    and humiliation, reclaiming his manhood in fury and blood. At last he stood at bay in the clearing, the living hounds slinking behind their mistresses.

     

    “The stag is come!” shouted the golden goddess on her gleaming boar.

    “Come to me!” she called, throwing off her cloak and shining in naked glory before him.

     

    Maddened with rage and lust, Andrew lunged. In a cat-like move, the boar danced aside, and Andrew’s proud antlers

    became stuck in the tree, with his legs raised in the air in his aborted lunge at the naked rider.

     

    One by one the circling ladies cut at him shallowly with their lances as they passed. Roaring his rage, Andrew wept,

    once again tricked and humiliated by women, he waited for the final thrust that would end his pain.

     

    One by one the maidens slipped from their gowns and from their horses. Trailing fingers in the wounds they dealt him,

    they stroked his strong thighs and heaving chest. With burning kisses and lightning touches they transformed and enflamed him

    until he stood, a naked man, blooded but unwounded, crowned with a proud stag's crown.

     

    Down they pulled him to the earth, and the golden goddess brought him low with a single kiss.

    She whispered to his fevered ears in tones of honeyed fire,

    “Love is death and rebirth, love is pain and healing, love is forgetting and forgiving, love is my gift and my worship both.”

     

    With a cry she mounted him, with a cry he answered. With laughing maidens kissing and caressing,

    he did as stag’s duty, and knew a man’s healing. As the night ended, and twilight again lit the trees,

    Andrew cried at last, and let go his rage. He whispered her name softly, and she smiled.

    Freya stood with her elfin maids, and looked down at her lover, her prey, and smiled.

     

    “You will know a long hunt, my stag, before you find your mate.

    Run you as hard for her as you ran from me, and you may yet find her.

    Fight half as hard to get her as to flee me, and you may win her. Love her just as fierce as me, and you will please her.”

     

    Dawn found Andrew standing by the Faery ring. He looked down on the Champagne bottle he had thrown to the ground;

    thougthfully he picked it up. Dropping to his knees, he also retrieved the cork and wire from the green ground, and other bits of garbage.

    Finally standing up and stepping away, he made one last heartfelt, if clumsy, bow to the now unseen powers he had known.

    With a smile he turned and walked into the dawn and his future, whistling a love song.

    © John T Mainer

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    Torah isnot for bread

    Thursday, March 24, 2011, 8:59 PM [General]

    I had a discussion once with a Jewish friend of mine while working in a lab at UBC. As a pagan, I found myself on the same page as my Jewish friend when she explained their dictum "Torah is not for bread", that is, that you should not make your money teaching the words of your god, but through your earthly labours. Your teaching the wisdom of your god should be your gift to your community, not a source of wealth.

    When I look at the Christian/Muslim/Hindu/Sikh hiearchical religions, I see a few things that are obvious, and one that is less obvious, that I dissagree with. The vast concentration of wealth, the huge and usually coercive political power of the great churches are the two obvious things I have a problem with, but they are built upon the third which is quietly even more terrible. The third thing that each of these great churches have in common is a parasitic priestly class who are selling the concept that you require their aid to gain access to the divine, however he/she/they are known to you.

    I do not get paid for acting as priest. I shell out money hand over fist to put on events, or to travel where pastoral duties of marriage, baby naming, or funerals require the specific training and personal attention of the (elected) leader of our faith community (Heathen Freehold Society of BC, registered Non-Profit). The rest of the time I serve to arbitrate disputes, to network people in the community who are thinking of putting something together, and to show people who are interested how to educate themselves (or help with problems encountered) so they can not only speak to the gods themselves, but offer the rites in their own home, or as host to the community. I actively seek out and support those who want to put on other events because they are not my economic competition, they are sharing the burden. We are encouraged to support each other for the benefit of the community, because we do this out of love, and out of our own pockets.

    My neighbor is a "Youth Pastor"; functionally a priest with a formal theological training and certification, who holds a paid full time position to officiate and organize in the church. He makes his bread from Torah. While I was paying over a hundred dollars to host my Ostara ritual, he was being paid close to that for leading his church in their own services. A collection plate was handed around for the funding of the church buildings, the staff of the church offices, the payment of its priests (though not called priests for some reason), with a tiny amount left to spend on charity.

    Our event was funded by my bread winning, fed people with my food and the pot luck that makes the pagan community standard. We had a collection jar for the Canadian Red Cross Japan Relief effort. I would say 100% went to the Red Cross, but honestly I topped the ammount up again out of my own pocket, so more than 100% of the colection went to charity.

    His church teaches you need to get to Jesus to talk to God. You need to pay the priest to get to Jesus. There is no motivation for the paid priesthood to teach the people how to lead their own services, because they would be out of a job. It is sold as being about community building, and in the sense of funding a municipal bureaucracy it is one. The best of these religious municipalities, or churches, really does try to give some of the money it gets back in to the community to make a difference. However, in any professional priesthood, the most successful professionals, will be terrible priests. The best administrators and fund raisers will rise high and run thier churches like any successful business, to increase their revenue, and amass greater secular and economic power to put forth their own agenda. Corruption is pretty much guarenteed, as the church becomes a political lobbiest, and often through advertising monies, a demagoge. What is at the base a structure of faith, becomes at the apex a structure of naked power politics.

    No bread for Torah. Priests should serve their community for the love of the word, and the good of the folk. When you receive gold and power for speaking the word of your god, you will be swiftly served by those seeking gold and power.

    There are lots of groups and individuals in every faith that get it right. They wield no political power, or economic clout. They are not "successful" churches. They are successful and harmonious people, wise and true celebrants of their many faiths. Earn your bread with your labours. To be sacred, prayer and instruction must be a gift and a joy, not a paycheque.

    If the Asatru and Jews are on the same page, we must be on to something, right?

     

    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    MayDay Magic

    Monday, March 14, 2011, 9:00 PM [General]

        "Damn all women anyway" he snarled as he stumbled into the twilight of the first of May.  He stopped at the forest edge and howled out his youthful pain to the listening woods,

    "Screw women, screw springtime, and SCREW LOVE"

    This is the story of young Andrew McLain, of oaths taken at twilight, faery dating, sacrifice, and the healing power of love.

         Andrew loved Jenny with all of his heart and most of his lower regions.  Jenny liked Andrew, but had been known to be fond of Kurt, and his lower regions as well.  On this fine Mayday Andrew called upon Jenny with a ring only to discover Jenny taking Kurt for a vigorous canter across the sofa.

        Opening the bottle of Champaign he had brought, he poured it into a ring of mushrooms at the base of an old oak muttering

    "this was supposed to toast our love, but now there's not a woman born I'd share it with"

    with a cry he hurled the diamond ring into the woodland stream screaming

    "take that love, and screw you too. I say screw every inhuman one of you". Dangerous words already on a Mayday evening, made worse by how he ended it......

    "Gods, I'd rather die than love again. Let love just take the heart she ruined anyway"

     

         There are strange things that lurk in the forest deeps.  There are things that walk the borders between the night and day, things ancient and inhuman; just listening and ever so hungry. There are two powers that even gods must bow to ; love and fate.  This is a story of both.

     

           Andrew stomped his way into the campus forest, kicking mushrooms and ferns as he passed.  Little noting the sun dipping below the horizon, he stalked into the Mayday night, into the dark primeval forest, and another age.    On certain days, when the world hangs between dark and night, between the seen and unseen, the hills open, and the paths to Alfheim open again.  In the dark of Yule the knights of the wild hunt ride behind the coursing wolves of the Allfather, but in the wild night of Mayday, on Walpurgsnight, it is Freya who leads the ladies of the elven court in a wild hunt of passion, the stuff of dream and nightmare.

     

         Andrew stopped and turned, aware at last that something was amiss.  He heard a sound like sirens in the near distance.  Not quite sirens, not like trumpets, more like the conch shells he had heard in Hawaii.  The sound came again, this time with the baying of hounds and the faint strains of laughter.  It sounded like the fox hunts you saw in some old movies, but what was it doing in  the  University forest?

     

         With a start, Andrew saw a dozen slim silver steeds with belled and richly tooled harnesses sweep into the clearing.  Gowned ladies of eerie beauty and cold perfection sat easily in split skirts in high saddles with lances sheathed by the right knee.  Inhumanly cold beauty stared at him from all sides, cold white faces and bloodless lips in a smile that could teach a cat cruelty, and eyes that burned with smouldering passion. 

     

    “Look” rang a voice like a silver bell “The night’s stag!”

     

         While slim white hounds circled him, Andrew protested he was no stag but a man.  Each denial made the perfect inhuman beauties smile wider.  Finally, surrounded by stags and mounted ladies with drawn lances, a final figure rode astride the neck of a golden boar the size of a rhino.  More beautiful than the pale elfin beauties, this woman burned like fire in the night.  Shining white skin, with a golden necklace burning bright in the hollow of her half-bared breasts, her laughter rang like birdsong at dawn, and her smile brought a stammering blush to Andrew’s angry features.

     

    “Now then young man” purred the golden woman with  a sensuous smile,

    “You poured out an offering at the Faery ring, and threw a golden offering in my sacred waters and made strong oaths before us.”

     

    “You summoned my ladies on my holy night, you promised to screw my women, to screw the springtime, and to screw love”

     

    Laughter rang from the inhuman beauties around him, and set the hounds to snarling again.


    “My women ride, the spring is newborn and hungry this evening, and I am love.  If you would play stag in these woods little man, you will need more than rage.  You will need Hoof and Horn!”

     

    Her voice echoed strangely and the women began circling and chanting “Hoof and Horn, hunt till the morn” over and over they chanted and circled until Andrew fell down, confused and burning.  His hands and feet merged into stags split hooves, and proud antlers sprung from his brow.  With a shout Andrew sprang from the circle and burst down the trail, desperately fleeing the spears of the women, and fangs of the hounds.

     

    On through the forest Andrew bounded, his muscles bunching and stretching with effortless power.  All the rage of frustrated love burned within him, and he fed on the thunder of his blood, growing in power and rage with every bound.  Soon his pride and power could not abide the chasing hounds, and he spun at bay.  Flicking his antlers left and right, he smashed two hounds against the looming trees, and spun with his hoof to catch the hamstringing third.  He charged among the hounds with the fury of his frustration and humiliation, reclaiming his manhood in fury and blood.  At last he stood at bay in the clearing, the living hounds slinking behind their mistresses.

     

    “The stag is come!” shouted the golden goddess on her gleaming boar.

    “Come to me!” she called, throwing off her cloak and shining in naked glory before him.

     

    Maddened  with rage and lust, Andrew lunged.  In a cat-like move, the boar danced aside, and Andrew’s proud antlers became stuck in the tree, with his legs raised in the air in his aborted lunge at the naked rider.

     

    One by one the circling ladies cut at him shallowly with their lances as they passed.  Roaring his rage, Andrew wept, once again tricked and humiliated by women, he waited for the final thrust that would end his pain.

     

    One by one the maidens slipped from  their gowns and from their horses.  Trailing fingers in the wounds they dealt him, they stroked his strong thighs and heaving chest.  With burning kisses and lightning touches they transformed and enflamed him until he stood , a naked man, blooded but unwounded, crowned with a proud stags crown.

     

    Down they pulled him to the earth, and the golden goddess brought him low with a single kiss.  She whispered to his fevered ears in tones of honeyed fire

     

    “Love is death and rebirth, love is pain and healing, love is forgetting and forgiving, love is my gift and my worship both.”

     

    With a cry she mounted him, with a cry he answered.  With laughing maidens kissing and caressing, he did as stag’s duty, and knew a man’s healing.  As the night ended, and twilight again lit the trees, Andrew cried at last, and let go his rage. He whispered her name softly, and she smiled.

     

    Freya stood with her elfin maids, and looked down at her lover, her prey, and smiled.

     

    “You will know a long hunt, my stag, before you find your mate”

    “Run you as hard for her as you ran from me, you may yet find her.  Fight half as hard to get her as to flee me and you may win her.  Love her just as fierce as me, and you will please her”

     

    Dawn found Andrew by the Faery ring.  He looked down on the Champaign bottle thrown to the ground, he picked it up.  On his hands and knees he removed the cork and wire, and other bits of garbage.  Backing away, he bowed awkwardly.  With a smile he turned and walked into the future, whistling a love song.

     

    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    Winter Victory

    Thursday, December 23, 2010, 11:49 AM [General]

     Proud bull, old and scarred
    past prime but wise and strong
    many cow and calves trail him
    evidence of summer victory

    Lean wolf alpha leads the pack
    wise and cautious hunter
    many wolves and hungry pups
    tell of his summer's victory

    Easy days of plenty gone
    hope that died with summer
    those standing in winter's heart
    call seeing dawn a victory

    Forage scant and snow knee deep
    the herd grows weak and slow
    the old bull tires from breaking trail
    for calves mired in the snow

    No more to course and kill alone
    the young wolves in their prime
    must learn to live and die the pack
    in this war called winter-time

    The hungry pack in silence sprints
    the frightened cows give cry
    A ring of fangs and hungry eyes
    the old bull to defy

    No thought of life left in the bull
    such thoughts with summer fled
    to buy the herd from ancient foe
    his winter victory

    Young and proud with arrogant youth
    the alpha to defy
    lept for snow bound lunging calf
    under the herd bulls hooves to die

    Alpha met the old bulls stare
    across the bloodied snow
    the ancient dance had but one end
    as both these old ones know

    Herd and pack would see the spring
    the price spilled in the snow
    With pain and loss is life dear bought
    in winter victory

     

    0 (0 Ratings)

    Where are the MEN?

    Friday, October 1, 2010, 11:34 PM [General]

    Rant warning: Asatruar about to get on pulpit and call down the wrath of the gods on his own gender.

    Last night I was tired from pulling down a 22hr day, and looking forward to my 2hr sleep. I had stripped down and snuggled my naked backside in the comforting covers when I heard the distinctive and piercing screams of a woman in both agony, and imminent fear of her life. As a man, without any thought at all, I donned some shorts and grabbed my vest (OK it had flashlight, phone, and emergency med kit, but I'm a soldier and First Aid Attendant and a certain minimum preparendness comes standard), and ran to the sounds of the screams.

    Our complex holds 44 units, with 36-40 men of fighting age and adequate physical power. Everyone heard, many came to the door/window to peak through. Only myself, and a woman (round like a bowling ball and almost a foot shorter than me) actually ran to the woman in trouble. Having chased off the domestic abuser, and with my female cohort on the horn with 9-11 (she was the ONLY one to even call), I proceeded to make sure all kids were OK and got back in the house, and dealt with her injuries and reassured her she would be defended until the police arrived.

    The police finally arrived half an hour later (wouldn't approach until they had two units, OK the cops are cowards too), and once the police were on scene the complex suddenly sprouted people. Once I handed her off to the amublance and ran through my second interview (one police, one ambulance), my neighbors suddenly wanted to talk. They sent their women to find out what was going on, the men stayed inside and peaked through the blinds, perhaps ashamed to answer the question of "WHERE THE F#$K WERE YOU WHEN YOUR NEIGHBOR WAS SCREAMING FOR HELP".

    My father is disabled and can barely walk, yet he has stopped women from being beaten and raped (granted his absolute willingness to kill the offending men does make a bit of a deterrant). I am over forty, with permanant damage from spinal injury, and well past my prime, but by Odin the day will never dawn that I  will allow a woman to be beaten or raped while I still draw breath to object. There are a dozen men who were a)nearer b) younger c)stronger d)knew her better. Not one of them stepped one foot out the door, every single one watched through the blinds.

    Thank Freya that women are stepping up to the plate, because I very much fear I may be the last MAN in the this whole complex. Where are all the MEN? When did it stop being a man's duty to protect women and children from any harm, even at the cost of your life? When did "Women and children first" become "Women and children fend for themselves"? What kind of sexless thing can stand by, listening and watching a woman (and a friend) suffering abuse in the street right in front of their window, and do nothing. How can you shave the next day, look into the mirror at a coward who was willing to watch a woman's humiliation, pain and possible death, and not simply cut your own throat?


    If I am an anachronistic heathen, then I will go to my gods proud to be so. I will face my ancestors a man, one who they will recognize as such. I don't know what males today think of themselves as, but whatever it is will be hard to explain and justify to their ancestors who were actual men.

    I have been called a barbarian, but the truth is quite the opposite. Civilization was built by men willing to use force to defend what they though ought to be true. Modern man seems inclinded to feel civilized behaviour requires you stand back and let barbarians destroy the civilization that birthed you, and the citizens it exists to defend.

    Bah.

    End of rant.
    Weapons free, return fire.

    0 (0 Ratings)

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