Thor’s hammer is approved for headstones by the Veteran’s Administration. Go to the link and scroll way down to find it:
Thor’s hammer is approved for headstones by the Veteran’s Administration. Go to the link and scroll way down to find it:
If ever there was an antidote to failure, this is it. This one thing can be the dfifference between being a loser and living a life that makes a difference. I have noticed it countless times over the course of my life.
We are the species that took Nature and went one better. In effect, we use the things of nature to improve on nature. Humankind takes the expression of the Creative principle beyond its natural bounds.
We can travel faster than Nature, and have been doing so since the first locomotives and steam boats could out-race the horse.
We make heated homes where Nature is freezing. We make cool rooms in places where Nature is hot. We fly even though we were not built for flight. We can make submarines and live under the sea, even though we were not made to survive under water.
We leave the planet and survive in a place that is inhospitable to Earthly life.
Our role is to take the Creative Principle and extend it beyond the limits of nature. As we are part of Nature, perhaps we might think of ourselves as the evolution of natural life here on Earth.
The meaning of life is to live.
The American Legion College is an event where officers of the various posts can get instruction in several necessary skills. It is held every year here in New Jersey. There are courses explaining Legion programs, classes in club management and others. I took the Chaplain’s course. As chaplain of our post, I thought it would be a great help. It was.
The course explained the various duties of a post chaplain. It also discussed ways to do an even better job. Among the teachers was an Episcopal priest who specialized in working in hospitals. He gave us valuable information on making sick calls and hospital visits. The course had us working to plan a small service on Sunday morning.
We were an eclectic group. The instructor was a long-time chaplain. With him was the Department of NJ chaplain. The five students included four fellows from various Christian denominations and one polytheist: me.
You may have thought there would have been some conflict, but there was not. We had a good time together. One might not think that Evangelicals, Catholics, Episcopalians and a Norse Heathen would be able to work together so easily. We did.
This was an eye-opening thing for me. It was not about whose God is who or which denomination claims the best hold on spirituality. The emphasis was on serving our people. In the Legion as in the military, we serve people of all faiths. Our job is not to convert or argue theology. Our work is to see to the good of the people, one person at a time.
A few concessions had to be made. At the service, it was necessary that I said God rather than Gods. Though God is a plural word for me, many of the folks there are more comfortable with the singular. I did the invocation and benediction, by the way. You can be sure that both would have stood the test for any denomination, especially ours.
There is a lesson here. If we want to be accepted as a viable religion, we have to do our part. For me, that includes serving as my post’s chaplain. Our validity is going to be perceived by how well we serve the people. We also have to understand that being a very minority religion, certain considerations have to be made. Finally, it is time for us to stop regarding other denominations as the enemy. In field work, we may find that we actually need them. Maybe an Episcopal priest can help us deal with hospital staff for the benefit of one of our ailing comrades. Perhaps an Evangelical preacher can give us a few pointers of giving a dynamic sermon. And most likely of all, we can find friends where we used to see potential adversaries. Working together is not selling out. By working together, we attend to the immediate need and also fulfill the long-term goal of enhancing our reputation as a dynamic and valid religion.
I still have a lot of things to ponder. This event gave me reason to reconsider many of my own attitudes. Sometimes Wyrd does that one thing that requires us to rethink the way we perceive things.
Before I start the article, let me state that I have had a very low opinion of Dan Halloran for a long time. I will try to keep my bias out of it, but it is unlikely I will do a 100% job of it. Take this into account. My objectivity may be less than usual.
Tuesday, April 2, 2013, Dan Halloran was among six people arrested in New York on corruption charges. He is a city councilman for a district in Queens Borough of New York City. As it stands now, Dan is accused of taking bribes and facilitating bribes. The federal prosecutor gave a press conference with the usual bombast and bluster. An indictment was trotted out that described taped conversations and other supposed evidence.
This is the first day that the investigation has been revealed to the public. This is when the prosecution team puts on a show to win public opinion. Accusations and evidence sound overwhelming. One might think the accused were ready to be convicted today. Of course, what is announced today might not make it to next month, never mind being introduced into trial. Some accusations will be dismissed because they are obviously a stretch by the prosecution. Others will change as more evidence comes forth. Part of it will either change or fall by the wayside because it cannot easily be proven in court.
For the folks who have had problems with Dan, this is a day to gloat. There has been a lot of gloating by Halloran’s enemies. Among the Heathen community, he has quite a few people who dislike him. Dan has alienated people through his own actions. His enemies are not there by reason of theological differences or organizational disputes. From what I have been told, most were personal.
Gloat for a day, and no longer. As much as it is schadenfreude for Dan’s enemies to see him publicly humiliated, this is a tragedy. Dan Halloran was the first Heathen (for those who regard Theod as Heathen – some don’t) to achieve a significant public office. New York City is the size of a small country and its City Council is notable. It is harder to get elected there than it is in most other cities in the world. Even those of us who are not fond of Dan were glad to see a Heathen in office. Heathenism could greatly benefit from having our people in prominent places.
Dan is a very glib and personable individual. He is good at conversation. The man is intelligent and has managed to get himself a law degree, among other things. Certainly, he was able to get the backing and then get elected to office. His disgrace is a tragedy in so many ways. Of course, this was not Dan’s first political faux pas. A couple years ago, he accused the Sanitation Department of having a work slowdown in the middle of a blizzard. Halloran was wrong. Early, during and shortly after his election, he tried to downplay his Theodism. Dan attempted to focus people on his Irish Catholic roots. Many Heathens feel he sold out the Gods in order to win the election. Certainly, Dan failed to solidify his place within the larger Heathen community.
Now, Dan has been indicted for bribery. That is a serious charge in this region. Many a prosecutor made his reputation on corruption cases in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut. Our own Governor here in New Jersey, Chris Christie, had been a successful federal prosecutor who handled several cases involving corrupt politicians. If anything, Dan is up against the wall. And so we have the tragedy that the highest-ranking Heathen elected official first alienated so many Heathens, and then went on to get arrested for corruption. Like the song says, “You’ve blown it all sky high…”
We all lost something. In a religion so small that every adherent is an ambassador, we lost the opportunity to see ourselves presented publicly in a good light. By the same token, a man who had the talent to be a force for good within Heathenism instead became divisive. At any time over the years, he could have made the decision to be a positive force. Dan obviously did not do that. He has far too many enemies in the Heathen community and has gained the unwanted attention of federal law enforcement.
There are people who do not appreciate what they have.
Some individuals cannot gain anything significant in their lives until they have lost everything else. Maybe that is what it will take for Dan Halloran to realize what could have been. If he gets nailed for the whole thing, he will lose his freedom and his law license. Sadly, some folks do not learn until they hit rock bottom. And even then, some still do not learn.
Let us pause and reflect and learn the lesson. Our destiny is of our own making. Our Wyrd is the result of our own input. Let us all take a moment to appreciate the good things we have and the good circumstances we have created for ourselves. Gratitude is the attitude that puts it into perspective. The things for which we are grateful are the things we use and cherish and protect. Let us resolve, then, that we do not allow our ambition to overshadow that which is good in our lives and ourselves. What good is it to gain if we have sold ourselves out in the process? What good is success to a person who has traded his virtue for a quick advantage?
Somewhere in here is another lesson about wasted talent. The irony is that the actor who narrated the lines about “wasted talent” in the movie “A Bronx Tale” is in jail. Right now, jail is a distinct possibility for Dan Halloran.
Personally, I do not want to see anyone end up in a jackpot or go to jail. It tears into everything. The family of the jailed individual suffers in their own way. Jail visits are not like going to see someone at the hospital. They involve waiting, paperwork, clanging barred doors and sometimes entail searches. Even phone calls are difficult. Meanwhile, the family has to make ends meet. If the jailbird was the main earner of the family, it can be a real hardship. Add the hassle of attorney fees and other legal costs. It adds up to a lot of unpleasantness.
I take no joy in seeing someone hit bottom. That includes Dan Halloran.
Here is a link to an article about this issue in a Pagan online forum:
The most difficult challenge for Heathens in these times is making a complete departure from both the beliefs and the Mindset of Monotheist religion. We have to dispense with the ridiculous morality, its god-concept and its silly devil, and its sanctimonious piety. Heathens must dispense with such things as sin, religious guilt, divine retribution and fear of the Gods. Our way is free of such nonsense as blasphemy, schism and heresy. We have no sabbath, we have no stigma against swearing, and no God of ours is going to be upset if we befriend other deities. Likewise, there is no stigma of original sin and no sense of us being unworthy to any spiritual entity, Gods or otherwise. We do not honor our deities by groveling and cowering and self-abasement. We honor them by standing tall and using our abilities. Sex is not a religious issue, but a personal and practical matter. Finally, this life is to be lived. It is neither a test nor a place where we endure hardship so as to buy a better situation in the afterlife. We live here, knowing the afterlife will take care of itself when we get there. Heaven and Hell and Judgement Day are Monotheistic myths, not the reality of the next life.
Science claims to have no explanation for psychic and spiritual activity, and so officially refutes it. That does not change the experience of many over the ages. The fact is pretty much established that such activity exists. In today’s parlance, it is called “paranormal.” It embodies everything from ghosts and apparitions to omens and prophetic dreams. The closest the average person comes to it is a hunch or gnawing feeling which, if followed, either leads to some benefit or prevents from entering into a dangerous situation.
Soldiers, policemen, criminals and some others claim to be able to sense when they are being watched. The feeling is like having a steel wedge in the back of the neck. How can this be? Vision works the other way around. Light reflected from an object is perceived by the watcher. The light goes from viewer to observer. So how can an observer’s gaze be felt? Nonetheless, this odd sense has proven itself to many.
Part of this sense may be attributed to the physical senses noticing small things out of place or hearing faint sounds by those in hiding. How does it account for cases where a hostile observer is hundreds of yards away or is watching remotely via a video camera? What does he project that is felt by those he observes? Is it a projection at all, like electromagnetic waves, or is an entirely different process happening?
How often have people felt the presence of a departed loved one soon after his or her demise? And how many accounts of this are in ancient texts? This was common knowledge to the Norsemen of a millennium ago. A portion of the instances can be attributed to psychological factors, but not all of them. That there is an afterlife is an accepted fact, especially among those who have had this experience. Consider, also, those who have had the near-death experience.
We know that something is out there. The evidence might not be up to the standards set by physicists and chemists, but there is an awesome amount of it for which no scientific explanation exists.
Science knows much, but by its own admission, it does not know everything. Look at the number of theories that have been overturned over the centuries. The cosmology of the NeoPlatonists saw the Universe with Earth at its center. Our modern cosmology sees the Sun at the middle of our Solar System which is not near the center of our Galaxy of the Universe. The science of a millennia ago claimed that Creation was ordered by single God or Gods. A century ago, the Creation was believed to be a Steady State. The currently-accepted theory is called the Big Bang. The point of all this is that as much as science knows, it can always learn more and improve its findings. This it does through its various processes of research, exploration, experimentation, etc.
By its very nature, science is best at working with objective things. These can be weighed, measured, observed and subjected to pressure, heat, motion and such. Subjective things do not lend themselves to science’s favorite methods. Moods, emotions, intuitions and inspirations are subject to neither weight nor linear measure. We cannot evaluate Love and Wisdom by mass, length, depth or density. The inspiration felt for a work of art is not amenable to tests in a physics laboratory. Chemists have no means for assessing the properties of intuition, spirituality and emotional sensitivity. Even psychology and sociology cannot do this, at least in their current stage of development. And then we can also ask: how does one measure aesthetics? There may be a day when all of these can be assessed by science. For now, we need a different skill to perceive the subjective side of reality.
Science’s inability to come to terms with subjectivity does not negate its value. We benefit from science in many ways. Many discoveries are opening new fields for spiritual research. We recognize that spirit and matter are not separate, and that this life is as spiritual as any other. Therefore, insights into the physical world will have spiritual ramifications, and vice versa.
At the same time, we must develop our spiritual senses. Our minds have the means to assess subjective things. Within ourselves are the means of assessing the quantity and intensity of Love, Wisdom, Understanding, Jealousy and Anger. Our innermost selves have the capacity to measure aesthetics in ways that are meaningful and can be shared with others. Science and intellect do well with objectivity, but the emotions and intuitive faculties make the human spirit the master of understanding subjectivity. No amount of scientific instrumentation can match the ability of the child to comprehend moods and feelings. At this time, the human factor is the only factor which can draw useful conclusions about subjective matters.
The enlightened human can benefit as much from his own subjective faculties as he can from their intellectual counterparts. Intuition and inspiration work with reason and science for the wise. There is no conflict between thought and feeling, just as the subjective realms do not stand in opposition to those which are perceptible to science. Physics and psyche complement one another. Reason and intuition work together. We know well that reason without intuition becomes stagnant. Intuition without reason tends toward stupidity. Reason with intuition is the formula for wisdom, and the wise are never stagnant! Hence one is free from superstition and unenlightened intellectualism.
Science and observation are affirming that our Universe works according to various principles. Even the chaotic events rely on the same principles, or they could not occur. These natural laws govern movement and the properties of things and energies.
Spiritual law is much the same. In fact, spiritual law is just another aspect of a corresponding natural law. These are principles, not the edicts of some emperor-god in an Astral throne room.
The Gods adhere to spiritual principles the same way we do with their natural counterparts. They cannot alter the spiritual law, though they can apply it to work favorably for them. Nonetheless, the principle does not change. Even if they could, the Gods would not attempt to change the underlying principles. The Gods have to live according to rules, just as we do.
The presence of principles assures consistency. They allow us to have sciences. Consistent principles of natural law are the heart of science. Physics, chemistry and other sciences exist because of them.
An example of principles involves iron. Put an iron plug in water and it will sink. Take the same iron, flatten it into a thin sheet and them make it into the shape of a bowl, and it will float. Had the iron broken the natural law? No. It is an application of the same natural laws that allow it to float. The same goes for rockets. It is possible to build rockets to overcome gravity and reach outer space. Does this somehow contradict the law of gravity? No. It is the application of another natural law that allows the rockets to soar. Doing so does not change or somehow eliminate gravity.
A hot air balloon may seem to defy gravity, but does it? It rises only so far. Ballast and heat keep it at a certain altitude. Gravity is what keeps the balloon from rising higher. If the balloon releases ballast, it will rise higher. Ballast is an application of the law of gravity. It uses gravity to maintain a desired altitude. In effect, the balloon is acting in accord with natural law. It applies a specialized application of those laws in order to fly.
There is no escape from principle.
The superstitious ancients would consider their luck to be an action of an outside force. It might be attributed to a God, demon, imp, or some other entity. Bad luck might be attributed to the wrath of an offended deity. Good luck might be considered the result of a divine or demonic favor. Ancients tried to placate these entities with sacrifices and worship so as to gain good luck. The people were unaware that the situations they faced were matters of natural laws and principles rather than the whims of spiritual entities.
We realize, though observation of cause and effect, that divine caprice is a poor explanation. The laws work on us because of what we do and how we apply them, whether it be consciously or unconsciously. Proper application of principle is what gets us results. Neither we nor the Gods are exempt from principle. The Gods have their place in the scheme of things. Even they cannot help us if our actions are causing bad consequences. We must make hte chanegs that bring good results
The goal for us is to make good applications that bring us worthy results. When we work in accord with principle, the results are good. It really is that simple.
A few ideas:
If your goal in life is fitting in, you are fucking up.
Your commonalities make you mediocre. Your differences make you unique.
The same principle that makes iron sink is also the principle by which it can be made to float. This is an example of the following:
Any natural or spiritual law which limits us contains within it the principle by which the limitation can be overcome.
It is the nature of the Creative Principle to produce ever more complex forms. Our universe started with simple particles that expanded and merged into atoms, and atoms into molecules, and so on. Look where it is now. Mankind started with simple sticks and caves and through the process we call civilization came to the complex societies of today. Look anywhere and you can see the increase of complexity over time, from undersea coral reefs to rain forests to modern cities and their many institutions. The evolution of our Universe and ourselves promises greater variety in the future.
I look at my own times. As a child, the most technological thing was a crude black-and-white television. Our area had more television stations than most: seven channels. Communication over distance was by land-line telephone, radio or a letter in the mail. People played board games. There were no answering machines and no portable telephones. Getting extra information required a trip to the library.
Today, people can watch television, play games, communicate worldwide and get information via devices that fit in the pocket. The average cable or satellite television system offers at least 100 channels. Technology is increasingly complex and it is more available with each passing month. No matter where I turn, I see more complex things. Automobiles, home computers, and appliances are but the tip of the iceberg. Mankind is adding to the complexity of life. All of this evolved from simple subatomic particles that first appeared as our Universe about 14 or 15 billion years ago.