bloodteethandflame

A life in threes

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Thoughts for Thursday: Are there Nazis in Valhalla?

I saw this meme a few Thursdays ago shared on FB in one of the larger Pagan groups (of which I am a member).

At the time, I assumed that it had been shared in that group simply because it features Thor…and it was Thursday.

So I didn’t think much about it beyond that, because let me tell you, it can be difficult to find a variety of good artwork featuring Thor.

However, within these last two weeks, I have seen this meme shared within various Heathen and Pagan groups over a dozen times.

In that, I will admit that I have been constantly reminded of it simply because it has been cluttering up my FB feeds.

Though after the third or fourth time seeing it shared, I began to idly wonder if there were Nazis in Valhalla…

But again, I’ll admit that I didn’t think too deeply upon it.

Because, like most memes, I noticed that while it garnered a lot of likes and shares, there was little to no commentary on the premise of whether or not the meme was based on some sort of ‘fact’.

(Yes, sometimes I am the sort of nerd that sees particular memes that share ‘historical’ facts that I know to be untrue…but usually I’ll scroll past. Once in a while, a particularly popular meme will spur me to research a particular topic to satisfy my own intellectual curiosity, but other than that, I don’t put stock in the historical accuracy of Internet memes. I doubt most memes are created to foster intellectual debate; most memes strike me as a vehicle for opinions.)

~~~

And so here it is again, on another Thursday, and I awoke to see that the first post on my feed concerned this meme.

Yep, after a week, someone in one of my groups decided to do a dump post meant to call out zir opinion on several ‘popular Viking memes’ – including this ‘No Nazis in Valhalla’ meme.

Evidently this particular meme was the one that set zir over the edge.

So, this meme generated a rather intense discussion upon whether or not there would be Nazis in Valhalla, which touched briefly upon the essence of Valhalla as a training ground for Ragnarok, the role of Valkyries, and what’s most interesting to me, a debate/speculation upon the spiritual beliefs of Hitler.

So…spurred on by that discussion – and based upon the two main premises that Valhalla is a training ground for Ragnarok, and that the Valkyries choose the ‘best’ and most capable warriors – my thoughts wandered in the direction of whether or not the morality/political stance of a warrior ** was part of the equation.

Now, based upon what I’ve gleaned from pursuing a liberal arts education (majoring in English history and minoring in linguistics), as well as the many books, articles, and all the academic discourse I’ve heard and read over the last ten years regarding Norse society, my first response was that there would be no Nazis in Valhalla.

And I will admit that the case against there being Nazis in Valhalla was based upon my vague recall of meme-worthy factoids such as

  • the existence of the plain in Niflheim where Nidhogg eats the unrighteous (murderers, rapists, et al)
  • the much-shared factoid that Eric the Red was so violent in deed and in temperament that he was banned from both Scandinavia and Iceland, and therefore was inspired to seek settlement elsewhere (i.e the New World/America)

And in response to my understanding of what I’d gleaned from that liberal arts education, I felt safe in making that surface conclusion that the Norse may have looked upon the beliefs and actions of the Nazis as violent and unjust.

But then, it occurred to me: as history notes, the Nazis saw their nationalistic goal to overtake Europe as just and righteous, as they felt it was their destiny/birthright as a nation and a race.

And I do not believe that many historians would dispute that the Nazis had any personal qualms about attempting to achieve their nationalistic goals by any means necessary. (“The ends justify the means…”)

And so it is that the Nazis perceived themselves as just, as righteous, as doing ‘right’ and that single-minded determination to achieve their destiny/goals by any means necessary led to genocide and a world war being waged in response to their attempts.

And oddly enough, a stray thought about Odin kicked in:

One of Odin’s by-names is “Glad of War.”

Not “Glad of Righteous War”

or

“Glad of Just War”

just

“Glad of War.”

Though the consensus of the discussion concerned the purpose of Valhalla being a place where the most skilled and competent warriors are to be gathered and trained for Ragnarok, no one speculated upon Odin or His agenda at all, so I do not know why this thought occurred to me at all.

Glad of War, glad of war, glad of war….

And yet, I could not shake it.

So which is it?

Are warriors chosen for Valhalla based upon their skill *and* their morality?

Or

Are they chosen based solely upon their skills and abilities?

And if warriors were to be chosen solely upon their skills and abilities, perhaps only then there could be Nazis in Valhalla.

Hmmm.

What do you think?

Caught.

Sometimes I write letters that I never mean to send.

Letters to the Universe full of all my most private thoughts and ideas as a means of working things out in my head.

Sometimes if my words are especially negative or melodramatic, I burn them, as a sort of ritual of release.

This morning I burned a two-page double-sided letter to the Universe, detailing my latest feelings and thoughts  of self-loathing, sadness and anger.

The letter burned rather quickly and damn near completely…except for a small scrap of paper on which clearly could be read three words:

you

seem

caught.

 

If that’s not a fitting observation from the Universe, I don’t know what is.

Perhaps I am caught, indeed.

 

Drunk on words.

So, after several days of writers’ block…  I suddenly have the urge to post.

You see, I just finished dinner moments ago, but while I was eating, I was doing the very thing that I’d always told my children not to do: I was reading — on the Internet. (But, mind you, i wasn’t being rude or ignoring anyone in deference to the Internet; rather, my son was ignoring *me* during dinner, as he was busy being his typical gamer self and rushing to finish his own dinner so he could get back to the latest mission on WatchDogs 2.)

So I was reading anxious waves’ blog, and I must admit, I was positively gorging myself on her blog also while enjoying my dinner.  Feeding my mind while feeding the body.

And let me tell you, I was getting positively drunk on her words !

Have you ever read something so well written that it suddenly gives you the urge to write yourself?  That’s how you get drunk on words, my friends, and that’s what was happening to me right then.   But the difference being that anxious waves deftly plies her craft: her posts are tight, succinct and remarkably well-written.  She appears a delightfully sober writer whose words flow and shift within the structure of her paragraphs in a controlled and purposeful fashion. Her graceful prose walks purposefully and confidently down the sidewalk.

Meanwhile I am drunk with language, playing fast and loose with the words, and the structure of these sentences is likely meandering haphazardly all over this post, much like a drunk person stumbling down the street.

Well, comparison is the thief of joy and thus, when I consider my efforts, I begin to notice that I could have written this much better than I have done…but I am grateful anyway.  Her blog has inspired me, and perhaps  given me that much-needed nudge towards doing some actual writing rather than sitting on my hands and yearning for perfection.

and in that, I find only good things.

 

 

 

 

DailyGood: The Power of Emotional Agility

http://www.dailygood.org/more.php?n=6962

What I would say

…to you if only you would listen:

lifeisadifficultexam

I see that you are struggling, and perhaps you might assume that I have never struggled…and yet I have.

Everyone gets caught up in looking through the wrong end of their telescope at times.

 

of violent hands (a prayer)

Yes.
Yes.
So much yes.

“A life with gods is a life of violence. You will be dragged. You will stumble, fall and be felled. You will be whipped, marked, stolen. You will have things taken from you. You will have parts of you cut away – sometimes so softly that they dissolve like dust in the light…”

(link here)

Storm.

This past Saturday, the area where I live experienced some pretty crazy weather.

First, it rained.

Then it hailed.

Then the wind picked up.

The combination of these three weather phenomena caused a lot of damage in my neighborhood and the surrounding area.

Though the NOAA refers to Saturday’s weather as simply a ‘wind event,’ my husband V and I watched as this ‘wind event’ uproot a 15-year old tree in our backyard, which then twisted and smashed through two panels of the wooden fence behind it:

IMG_3597

The only reason that the tree didn’t hit the back of the neighbor’s house is that the lower branches snagged on one of the broken fence posts.

The wind also tore shingles off the roof, cracked the rain- gutters, tore off several of the gutter pipes, and two more fence panels further down the fence-line.

IMG_3594

As you can see, the rain flooded the backyard and that white stuff in the foreground is… the accumulation of hailstones.

The hail ranged in size from peas to navy-beans:

IMG_3595

Hail pelted the storm windows for about 40 minutes, tore holes in many of the window screens, cracked the glazing, and scratched and/or pockmarked the glass of several windows.

This ‘wind event’ also blew off most of the foliage on our hedges, and destroyed a good portion of the smaller plants in our front garden.

The rest of our neighborhood didn’t do so well, either, between all the flooding, wind-damage, and debris that battered pretty much all of the houses in our neighborhood.  Shingles, deadfall/debris, and broken fence panels are strewn throughout everyone’s yard.  It would seem that nearly everyone in the immediate three-mile radius suffered some sort of damage during Saturday’s storm 😦

IMG_3600

~~~

The adjuster from the insurance company and a roof inspector came today to discuss the replacement of the roof of both our house and our patio, as well as the repair of the fence.

My biggest concern was the water damage to the interior ceilings, as there is now a single crack in the plaster of the ceiling in the kitchen that  now requires a bucket to catch the thin but steady leak of water when it rains.

But we are grateful.

Things could have been so much worse, and we are grateful that only the roof and the fence were the only damages.

Thankfully, insurance has offered to cover most, if not all, of the required repairs.  Anything that was damaged is certainly replaceable.

We were shaken, but we are OK.

Hmmm

‘I’m not sure which is worse: intense feeling or the absence of it.’

Margaret Atwood

Month for Loki, Day 17: Almost to the day.

Recently, I came to the conclusion that if I was going to keep blogging in this blog, I might as well make things official by – I dunno – purchasing myself a site name.

So I did.

And in preparation for that, I was moving files from one site to another, and I found myself reading over some old entries from July 2013 concerning some thoughts on polyamory and relationships.   And it strikes me as odd, perhaps even funny-odd, that I wrote a post in July 2013 on this very topic (polyamory and relationships) – almost 2 years to this day.

Here is the portion that I am referring to, written on July 24 2013:

So, I’ve been pondering a lot over the lessons that I have learned here.  

(scene missing!)

What followed there has been redacted.

Sufficed to say it was a lot of pondering on the importance of feeling valued, being seen, and some musing on the nature of our poly relationships.

There was discussion of love in relationships in terms of arithmetic : feeling diminished by others’ relationships versus feeling that love is expanded by sharing in a poly relationship.

But mostly what V and I talked about was how one particular relationship in his life wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be (his admission), and he may finally be seeing a person for who they really are.

And the question was asked: Can two people ever feel equally valued?

I think so.

And I brought up how I feel it in the Lokean community.

Yes – as it is in any community of people – there can be certain interpersonal issues that abound (such as lack of communication, and jealousy* sometimes rears its ugly head at times) — but in the end, there’s this:

Loki is a God.

And yes, that does mean that there is enough of Him to go around.

To that end, I realize that it is tremendously meaningful to me to find that community wherein I can share my joys and struggles with others who are His.

I am not diminished by the fact that He loves anyone else.

Maybe, it’s hearkening back to the polyamory discussion, but I love that He loves all of us.

I am gratified where-ever and when-ever He finds praise, and if nothing else, I am glad of any amount of love for Him.

~~~

 Jealousy can create a sense of feeling diminished, and some of the hardest shadow-work that I’ve ever had to do has to do with working through my feelings of jealousy.

Yes, even though I am polyamorous, I will admit that I have experienced feelings of jealousy at one point or another in every single one of my relationships with other human beings.

I have felt anger, pain, and fear in the process of my relationships, and boy howdy, don’t you know that He surely noticed that:

https://youtu.be/PDl6iuku_mw?t=131 **

And so, I pray to let go of my anger, and open to trust.

I pray to let go of my pain, and open to joy.

And I pray to let go of my fears, and open to love.

I repeat this prayer consistently.

I need to.

Perhaps I will not make it through this month for Loki writing brilliant posts that are liked by others every day, but I will do my best to show who I really am and that is someone who loves and trusts Loki to be what and Who He is.

And I realize, almost two years to the day that

His love for others does not diminish His love for me.

The roles that He seeks in others does not diminish my role to Him.

Other’s devotion to Him cannot diminish my devotion to Him.

If devotion is done out of love – and I would hope that it would be – love can only be multiplied rather than diminished.

 

 

 

**But, you know this post isn’t supposed to be how incredibly patient, loving and yet relentless He was in pointing out every.single.instance of my own hypocrisy/self-denial to me, through various and often slightly painful means.  Let’s just say, I got through that process with most of my sanity and the better part of my sense of self intact.  There’s a reason that one of the heiti with which I hail Him is ‘Relentless One’ ❤