The Onion

 

Onion This writer refers to our current situation, in the remnants of western civilization, as the Wolf Age.    Generally one hears that we are approaching the apocalypse, but this writer disagrees as he has a different mindset.     The mindset of those who follow the Nazarene is linear.       To the Nazarene there is a creation of the physical world by a god aloof from his creation, the origination of man and the introduction of evil, lives led, death, judgement and an eternity spent in praising the creator or an eternity spent in punishment for denying the Middle Eastern god of love.    It all occurs in a straight line.   Mankind’s mother, the earth, is merely an artifact to be used and tossed away because she is not eternal.

But this writer prefers western traditions and philosophies that existed prior to the interjection of the foreign Middle Eastern religions into our western civilization, which have afflicted our minds ever since.    This writer envisions eternity as cycles without a clear beginning or ending.    A swirling eternity that always was and always will be.    Cycles of what we call time are always repeating themselves, the contents of which are never exactly the same or perfect.   In other words, this writer is describing nature.   Cycles of nature; where no straight lines exist.     The straight line is a creation of man.   However, this writer wonders if a line travels far enough will it not curve?    Even man is eventually subject to nature.   The earth is our mother because we cannot exist without her.

Man observed that plants and animals die, but return anew in the spring.   There is a rebirth, a reincarnation of sorts, if something of the previous life returns in the new life.     The old ways were similar to the many layers of an onion in which one could keep removing the outer layers and finding new ways of looking at things in each new layer.      One could looks at the old myths in different ways, peeling layer after layer.   Most will see the old gods and stories as cartoonish characters in outlandish stories fit only for a child.   This is how the faithful of the Nazarene portray the stories of indigenous peoples; it robs their traditional stories of their power.    One could dig deeper and peruse the stories and gods from a linear perspective. 

In the Old Norse poem “Voluspa,” a seeress is brought before an assemblage of the gods.   The seeress tells the assembled about the creation of the worlds, the creation of man, the coming of strife and greed into the worlds and the eventual destruction of the worlds in Ragnarok or the twilight of the gods.   There is a beginning, middle and an end; the results are known before the game begins.    One’s fate or weird is set and one moves in a straight line toward destiny saying one’s lines on cue.   The worlds and gods are concrete and tangible.   There are the evil Jotuns of destruction versus the gods of order; which is a comfortable position for the dualistic thinker- especially in our current culture.    

But one can dig deeper.    The student of “Voluspa” will be aware of, but have a tendency to ignore what the seeress said would happen after Ragnarok.    There will be new worlds, with a new generation of humans and a new generation of gods.   “Voluspa” is cyclical just like nature.     Something which is an oppositional force is not seen as evil, but as a necessary evil for destruction of stasis to allow for transformation during the cycle.    This works for relative thinkers.      The gods may be seen as synonymous with forces of nature or as aspects of one’s higher self.     The myths could be seen as stories of transformation through initiation hidden in plain view.

Varg Vikernes
Varg Vikernes

In the view of the controversial Varg Vikernes, the gods are what euro-folk should try to become in this world, after they have obtained their hamingja or ancestral honor.    In other words, the trufolk are the gods of this world.    To some that would be a very heretical statement and will certainly not be embraced by most.   However, to relative thinkers all positions are viable; they are just different levels of the onion.     The syncretic thinker understands the various layers of the onion (myths/traditions) and takes the position which he believes will best serve his people and tradition, while maintaining respect for the other positions.  Other layers are just as viable and they are still part of the same onion.

Why is this important to understanding the wolf age in which we find ourselves?    Because this writer wanted to express that there are different ways of looking at the lore, which is part of a folk soul, and they should be respected.   In the “Voluspa” the seeress said: 

          “an axe age, a sword age

shields are riven

a wind age, a wolf age

      before the world goes headlong.

No man will have

    mercy on another”

 

The above quote certainly describes the world in which we find ourselves today.   One could take a Middle Eastern linear view of our situation; that we are on a one way trip to oblivion and there is nothing we can do about it.   It is a type of thinking with an external locus of control; which is the way our enemies want us to think.    However we could look at this with a different perspective a more natural cyclical perspective.   If one takes the position that a part of an individual survives death and is reborn in one’s descendants; one’s core essence is therefore immortal.   We are our ancestors and eternity is on our side.   What will change during the cycles are the body and the personality.   Entering the different cycles during times such as the Wolf Age provides an opportunity for one to rise to the challenges presented, increasing one’s honor.

If one does what is right in difficult times, one’s honor will continue to grow making one’s core essence or hamingja stronger.    The stronger the hamingja one possesses, the more like the gods of one’s people one becomes.    If one does dishonorable things, one’s hamingja becomes weaker.    If the hamingjas of the members of a family or tribe become weaker, they as a people become weaker and may disappear altogether.     That is why the heroic epic is important in a society, to provide a blue print of how to behave in difficult circumstances.   Heroes are not to be watched as in a spectator sport, but emulated in pain and danger. 

 One may not control one’s immediate negative circumstances, but one can control how one will react to those circumstances and that is enough.    Those reactions should be based on the heroic examples of one’s own people.   One must develop an internal locus of control confidently anchored in one’s ancestral hamingja.  At the center of the onion or mythology is the hero.    If a people loses its hero, it must be recovered if they are to again become a healthy people.  The lore is a road map to find the hero.   The wolf age is the opportunity to recover the hero by peeling back the layers of the onion.  

 

Tryggulfr        

 

 

                      

Thurisaz- A Rune for the Wolf Age

thornThis writer would like to briefly touch on the topic of Germanic runes in the Wolf Age.    Many new to Germanic heathenism often take a great interest in the study of runes and rightly so.   However, this writer suggests that in the beginning most of one’s time should be spent studying the primary source materials about Germanic culture such as the Eddas, sagas, and historical writers to obtain an overall understanding of the culture in which the runes were used.    The study of a Germanic language, other than English, is also encouraged.  This writer has included several links to suggested reading lists in the blog roll for those interested.

Runes are a paradox, on the surface they are easy to understand simply as letters for writing a language.     However, the energies that each of the letters represent are a mystery.    The word rune roughly translates as mystery.   Those mystical energies pre-date the gods and were not created by them.   Odin sacrificed himself upon the tree Yggdrassil, so that he could take up the mysteries, or the runes, into himself and rise out of the chaos into godhood.   This writer does not see Odin as a god of war, but as a god of death and transformation, which is required for the cycle to move forward.

This writer sees Tyr as the god of war and Thor as the protector of the gods.    There is no doubt that Thor was the most popular god among the common warriors and Odin was much less popular among them.   However, Odin did have a cult following among certain nobles.  Other warriors followed deities such as Freya or Frey.  There were regional differences in which gods were honored and how they were honored.  The folk’s relationship with the gods was not so much an individual thing, but more of a group relationship.   The folk did not envision themselves apart from their community; because to be removed from the protection of the law of the folk was to be an outlaw or accursed.    Some tribes or blood lines were favored by certain gods and goddesses, because the gods had sired their noble blood lines and took a special interest in their well being.   All of the folk can claim descent from the gods through the god Heimdallr, therefore the gods are our noble kinsmen.

Odin did not give the runes to men, that was done by the god Rig also known as Heimdallr.   However, men must follow Odin’s example to understand the powers represented by the runes.    It is also interesting to note that Heimdallr is associated by some with the world tree Yggdrassil.   Men were fashioned by the gods out of trees and Odin hung on the tree to find the mysteries near the root of the tree.    The runes are typically carved on wooden staves, not on small stones for rune casting.   This writer is unaware of any source material which would lead one to believe that runes were historically used for divination.   Although they can be and they are currently used for divination by some.

Magic aside or not, the primary use of runes for asatruar today is personal transformation or evolution.   Personal evolution during the Wolf Age is a good idea, so the study of the runes is encouraged by this writer.     The question for the beginner is where to start.    This writer suggests one to contact the Rune Gild to begin the process.   Or one could also contact Wodenson at NRR-Northern Runes Radio, who has an excellent series on runes.   This writer is certain that there are other good sources as well, but simply buying a book will not be enough.   Even buying several good books will not be enough.  To understand the runes one must begin an organized study under a competent teacher that will take several years just to master the basics.   As always, the teacher is more important than any organization that the teacher may be affiliated with.

All runes are facets of the primal or mother rune, which is Hagalaz.   This writer has been noticing, as events have been escalating in the western world, that certain runic energies are recurring or are prominent enough that this writer has taken notice of them in daily life.   This writer has noted a prominence of the runic energies of Fehu, Thurisaz, Tiwaz and Dagaz several times in the last several months.   In this short essay the writer will address Thurisaz/Þurisaz.

The three oldest Germanic runic alphabets are: the Elder Futhark, the Younger Futhark and the Anglo-Saxon Futharc.   Thurisaz holds the third position in all three of the above Futhark systems and is the third rune in the elder futhark in the first or Freyr’s Aett in the Elder Futhark.    Thurisaz or Þurisaz in Proto-Germanic means Thor or Giant.   Thurs/Þurs in Old Norse means Giant.   In the Anglo-Saxon Futharc the rune Thurisaz is called þorn which means thorn.    Some believe that thorn is a kenning or a metaphor for giant.   Giants are primal, wild, uncontrolled, powerful energies that are generally hostile to the order established by the gods and they are especially hostile to man.   Giants are not inherently evil; they are chaos opposed to order.   The gods themselves were once giants who elevated themselves out of chaos.    Loki is not evil in and of himself, but a necessary catalyst for change to take place allowing the cycle to move forward.                

This writer has been planning on writing this article for at least one month.    During that time, the writer has noted that his Rune Gild sib, Kalki Weisthor, published an article on Thurisaz entitled Meditation on the Thorn Rune at his blog.   Wodenson at Northern Runes Radio, just did a podcast on the rune Thurisaz (and it was very good).    Mere coincidence?   Maybe, or are people picking up on something that is going on at a deeper level?

Descriptions of the runes included in the three alphabets are found in three historical poems, the Old English Rune Poem, the Old Norwegian Rune Rhyme, and the Icelandic Rune Poem.

Thurisaz is described in the Old English Rune Poem as follows:

serveimage7MVIPN3D(Ðorn- thorn) is very sharp; for every thegn

Who grasps it, it is harmful and exceedingly cruel

to every man who lies up on it.”

Thurisaz is described in the Old Norwegian Rune Rhyme as follows:

serveimage7MVIPN3D(Þurs- giant) causes the sickness of women;

Few are cheerful from misfortune.”

Thurisaz is described in the Icelandic Rune Poem as follows:

serveimage7MVIPN3D(Þurs- giant) is the torment of women and the dweller

in the rocks and husband of the etin-wife Varth-runa

Saturn. “ruler of the legal assembly.”

Thurisaz has been used in magical operations of offense and defense for centuries, and it appears to be a rune associated with life and death.    It is a sharp piercing energy associated with pain and blood loss.    But it appears to have other uses as well.   In the Lay of Sigdrifa we discover that Odin pricked the shield maiden Sigdrifa (Brynhild) with a thorn or sleep rune (Svefnthorn) causing her to fall into a deep sleep; until she was to be awakened by the hero Sigurd, who she is supposed to marry.   We find other references to the Svefnthorn in the Saga of the Volsungs, The Saga of King Kraki, and Gongu-Hrolf’s Saga.    There are hints of the Svefnthorn in the fairy tales of Sleeping Beauty and Snow White.

BrynhildIn our time during the wolf age, we find our heroine Sigdrifa/Brynhild/Europa had been placed into a deep sleep; but she has been partially awakened.    Our hero must slay the dragon Fafnir and prove himself worthy through his courage to wed the maiden.   As our heroine awakes she says:

” I counsel you eleventh; there lurks evil
Round each bend of the road:
A long life you must not look to have,
So great are the hatreds grown.

Our heroine warns the hero to always be on his guard against being bewitched (seduced through mind control), believing the words of his enemies (wolf’s kin) as truth, and avoiding  brother’s quarrels.   Our hero should only give his oath if he intents to fulfill it; and it would be better for him to perish on the battlefield than burned in his home.     Our hero must succeed in his quest; if he is to wed the maiden returning peace and prosperity to the land and the folk.    The thorn rune is in play; life, death, re-birth.

Tryggulfr