Monday, December 24, 2012

True Prosperity - Real Wealth

In a recent post, New Year's Resolutions, the quip was made that I would mention various forms of prosperity; this is it.  Sorry, I am not plugging another get rich quick scheme.  There are enough of those con jobs in the world; we don't need any more and, if you are expecting that, you will be disappointed. Also, if you think that I will reveal a clue about how to win mega-bucks in the lottery, stop reading this post and turn on the Cartoon Network.  Listen up:  true prosperity has nothing to do with the size of your bank account.

The media has zonked many people into thinking that big bucks and ownership of a fleet of automobiles, a half-dozen mega-homes, and a yacht or two are the signs of real prosperity.  If anything at all, those things are lead weights around the neck of true prosperity.  And, when people become immersed with the material world, they lose sight of what's really important.

1) If you are in great physical and mental health, you hold true prosperity within you.  It is a gift not to be wasted, taken for granted, or ignored.  If your children are healthy and well, that is a cherry on top of your prosperity sundae.

2) The awesome love of a spouse is worth more than all the gold and silver in the world.  Love moves mountains, and when mountains are moved, treasures are revealed.  If you have this blessing, you are indeed prosperous.

3) Good family ties are like having a room with an awesome view.  It lets you paint a picture worth a thousand words.  That picture helps you to reflect on your life's blessings - a virtual gold mine.

4) A true friend is a real bonus in life; true friends are as rare as fresh water in a desert.  If you are fortunate to have a true friend, you are rich man.

5) If you can pay your bills, buy good food and decent clothing, have a roof over your head, and can put a few bucks away for a rainy day, you are prosperous.  And, if you can go to a ballgame, movie, or a show, you are doing quite well.

These are some of the simple things in life that many people blow off in their rabid quest for material wealth.  How many automobiles can you drive at one time?  How many houses can you live in at one time?  And the yachts?  Remember, all the stuff that sits around not being used still requires maintenance in one form or another.  And that maintenance costs money.  A person can spend more time taking care of material stuff that what is really important is left to rot.  This is what happens when we judge prosperity by how many toys we own.

Where a man lives does not determine the quality of life being lived.  The type of vehicle driven does not determine the size of a man's heart.  The price-tag on a man's clothes does not make the man; that is up to his words and deeds.  Peace of mind, love, family, and true friends are priceless.  If you have these things, you are prosperous.

                                              Copyright @2012 Terry Unger    



Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Winter Night's Dream

The Season has begun, but I did not want to wait until it was over to post this 'old chestnut' of mine.

                                                             Yule Musings

                                            Yule is over, but not without thought,
                                            Of memories bright and not store bought.
                                        On the First of Twelve, my log burned Red,
                                            Too early I thought, to retire to bed!

                                            A faining I wanted, to honor the Tide,
                                            In my hallowed space, no need to hide.
                                            At this time, honor the Always Past,
                                            Doing in the present, to make it now last.

                                           That Eve's fire burned brighter than ever,
                                             My soul took flight, free of its fetters.
                                        Was it the flame, alcohol, or new herb burning,
                                        That made my soul seek, and wont for yearning?

                                           The snow, I saw, was crisp and bright,
                                         But no cold I felt, on this winter’s Night.
                                        The wind picked up, and howled with rage,
                                             Just like a wolf, bound up in a cage.

                                           In the distance, along with the wind,
                                         I heard voices, calling, we are your kin.
                                       In the lead of this throng, no fat man in red,
                                    But an eight-legged steed and a thin man instead.

                                          His hat was large, and flopped it did,
                                          A patch over one eye, a cover, a lid.
                                  At his side rode two beauties, decked in gold and blue,
                                     The stars reflected on them, with sparkling hue.

                                        As they drew closer, the howling increased,
                                        At the moment, I thought, my life would cease!
                                         The One Eyed Leader, sensing my fear,
                                        Looked at me with longing, making me dear.

                                He spoke to me softly, as the Host howled its might,
                                        To those unaware, to cower in fright.
                                     My name is Wodan, the Tru` Northrn’ King,
                                       It is to my people, real freedom I bring.

                                     He placed his huge hat, up on my head,
                                       Covered me full, but I felt no dread.
                                 I was under the Cloak, how long I’ve no note,
                                   But saw many things, some worthy of rote.

                                   Ancestors many, their struggles I witnessed,
                                  Down a long blood line, survival of the fittest.
                                   So many did come, and presented to me,
                                  I understood, I was them, and were they me.

                                  I saw the triumphs, and trials of the past,
                                   Knowing now secrets, revealed at last.
                              The hat, then removed, returned to owner’s head,
                                An arm now ‘round me, with fullness of stead.

                              The Wheel of the Year turns ‘round and ‘round,
                                   From its’ turning, real Truth can be found.
                                  Wodan spoke as I woke, from my slumber,
                                    I need your help, to put so much asunder.

                                   But how, said I, a poor man at most,
                                 Help you, All-Father, head of Asa Host?
                                  Listen now, and listen well, he replied,
                               Even a poor man has riches, he cannot hide.

                                  Build you a temple, as Fahrenkrog told,
                                 Within your heart, and you will be bold.
                                  It is within your heart that we gods reside,
                                   Brick and mortar, we cannot abide.

                          With this boldness of heart, your courage will flame,
                             Speak one to one, and then none remain the same.
                                  Stand then, with us, your Oldest of Kin,
                                   Bl`ot and Sumbel, let the new light in.

                                 Light the Yule Logs and Bale Fires too,
                              Practice the Old Ways, new life given to you.
                            But remember, my son, your words, and deeds,
                                For Urda’s well threads all, and so the seeds.
                          My mind drifted slowly, back from All-Father’s words,

                               Back to my place, in our strange, weird, world.
                                     In my lap, a bouquet of flowers blue,
                                         To my delight, fresh and new.

                                   Are the gods real, you ask to yourself?
                                  For me you can put that away on a shelf!
                            We honored them once; it’s time to honor again,
                    What are you waiting for, oh northern soul, a ride on Sleipnir?

First appeared in my book, Beneath Valhalla – Opinions of an Iconoclast copyright @2009
                       Re-edited for my blog, copyright @2012 Terry Unger

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Merry Yule To All

                                           Have a Merry Yule and a Prosperous New Year

                                        And May the True Reason of Yule Dwell Within You.

                                                 Plant Your Seeds and Nourish the Soil,  

                                              Pull the Weeds and Harvest Your Dreams.    

Monday, December 17, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

It's that time of year for us to be honest.  No matter how you shake it or bake it, the Holidays bring out the best and the worst in people.  On Thanksgiving Day, friends and family gather around a feast and give thanks for all that they have.  The following day, Black Friday, many of those who gave pious thanks the day before, are willing to beat the hell out of others just to get what they perceive as some kind of bargain.  And that buying frenzy continues until midnight, December 24th.  On New Year's Eve, it seems that all the amateur drinkers hit the streets and cause all sorts of mayhem (see my post - My Top Ten Reasons To Stay Home New Year's Eve, 9/3/2012).  Then sometime between December 25th and January 1st, many folks attempt to do something worthwhile for themselves and others; they make New Year's Resolutions.  

For a few reasons, or, maybe because it's just the end of one year and the beginning of the next, people resolve to make course corrections in their lives.  While many people do this, there are some that are cynical enough that they just don't bother.  Those that do want to lose weight, become a better parent, spouse, a better person, or make more money, etc.  Unfortunately, most of those resolutions fall woefully short of their mark.  I believe that this happens because of either poor planning or the lack thereof.  There are two times a year when good planning helps us reach our goals, our resolutions for improvement.

For people who understand the real meaning of the Yuletide season, the keeping of a true Yule involves the reviewing of the past 12 months and the planning of a prosperous new year; it is a true heartfelt effort.  This prosperity can take on many forms, too many to mention in this post.  The real point is that proper planning is essential or the resolution is nothing more than empty words.  The second period of review and planning comes during the individual's birthday cycle/season (see my post - Life Cycles - 5/28/2012).  The planning and execution are the same for both seasons and, one season can be used to reinforce the other.  But all in all, there is a thing or two that are needed for success.

A person needs to be honest about his or her personal review.  Here, honesty involves not just deep reflection, but taking ownership of all short-comings.  The next step is the want to and resolve to do better.  The final step is the actual planning.  Again, honesty is necessary.  The truth is, you will not succeed in one giant leap; that thinking is a recipe for failure.  Something that I refer to as step planning and working within your personal realm of availability is required.  Understand that when you advance your personal realm of availability you advance your plan.  

When we put a man on the Moon in July of 1969, we did so by taking one step at a time, learning from our successes and our sad failures.  We did not just put three guys on the top of a rocket, blast off, and hope for the best.  It was step planning and working in the realm of availability (the realm that we have attained through the execution of the plan - we grew).  When it comes to our personal rectification and goals, we must do the same.  Step planning and working within our personal realm of availability is a recipe for success.

However, it does help to have a bit of intestinal fortitude.  You may be stalled in your forward progress; do not be discouraged - it's normal.  We humans do not know when the cross-currents of life will affect us.  Look at it in this manner:  that stall/setback tells you that a possible adjustment to your plan is needed.  And, that is not a bad thing, so chuck the discouragement.  It's also a great time to remember how the Yuletide and your birthday cycle/season can help you.  So why be discouraged by words that lack positive action?  What's the popular saying, " Just Do It!"  So, plan it and do it!

                                            Copyright @ 2012/2016 Terry Unger              

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

History Yule Love

Many people find history boring, which is something that I do not quite understand.  They dismiss past people, places, and occurrences as something not needed to know.  But, they are wrong.  When we ignore the historical past, we can repeat some of the past's negative happenings in our present.  Moreover, learning from the past by studying it should not be considered boring or a joke, but one of the few things that can lead us to a better life.  In our time, history is aided by the scientific disciplines of archaeology  anthropology, and entomology.  These three sciences give the 'color commentary' to many historical periods; they help bring the past back to life.  And these disciplines shine light into some of history's darkest corners.

There is a postulation held within the social sciences that it takes only three generations for a population to forget its culture and folkways.  When massive social change is forced upon a man, he unwillingly (in most cases) swallows it and practices his native social ways in a more private manner.  His son is born into the change and does benefit from his father's practice of some of the old ways.  The problem is that the new order has taken root and suppresses the native culture.  By the time that the grandson is born, he will experience nothing but the new, foreign social order.  What survives in memory becomes known as folk-lore.  A classic example of this is the Christianization of southern and northern Europe and the creation of the Christian festival known as Christmas.

Centuries before the supposed birth of Christianity's founder, the pagan south celebrated the feasts of Saturnalia and Sol Invictus.  Both of these holiday feasts were held usually between December 20th and the 25th, and involved gift giving, merriment, and the celebration of the re-born Sun.

In the heathen north, the folks celebrated Yule, a twelve day festival centered around the Winter Solstice.  And guess what?  Yule featured gift giving, merriment, and the celebration of the re-born Sun.  It's now a good time to mention that there were several pagan/heathen gods supposedly born on or about December 25th to a virgin, lived, suffered and were killed, only to rise from the dead on the third day as the savior of men.  We know this because of  history that is backed up by the sciences of anthropology, archaeology  and entomology.  It is not a fairy-tale, wishful thinking, an attempt at state building, or any form of blasphemy (oh please!).  It is historical fact backed by solid science.  But in order to survive and then thrive, Christianity grafted on to itself the previously mentioned festivals (and many more) and made them their own, while at the same time doing its best to suppress the festival's origins and practices.  They had a much harder time suppressing native customs in the heathen north.

If you enjoy burning a Yule log and decorating a fir tree, thank those ancient heathens.  If you like all the holiday greenery - the ivy, the holly, and the mistletoe, do likewise.  If you enjoy the gatherings, the eating, the drinking, singing, and other good things that come with this season, don't thank the Church, thank those ancient heathens.  And if you take your kids to see Santa, understand that Santa too, has his origins in the heathen north, and not coca cola.

                                               Copyright @2012 Terry Unger



Monday, December 10, 2012

On Toothpaste, Chocolate, and More

The other day a friend of mine told me about a commercial he saw on television.  The advertisement involved the selling of a new toothpaste and came with the warning that many of the foods we eat contain acids.  These acids, as the advertisement tells us, eats away at our teeth's enamel, so we should buy the toothpaste to protect our teeth.  That night I saw this commercial while watching late night news; it is a piece of work.

Let's get serious.  Many foods that we eat contains acids of one sort or another and going without them is not a smooth move.  I believe the manufacturer of that toothpaste does not want us to stop eating those good foods, but really just wants us to buy the toothpaste.  On the other hand, I am old enough to remember when eating a few things were considered a no-no because of how those foods adversely effected our health.

Many years ago we were told that egg consumption was bad for our health.  The reasoning was that eggs contained bad cholesterol and this bad cholesterol contributed to heart disease.  In response, a few products were developed that just contained egg whites.  That was many moons ago.  Now, eggs (the entire egg) are being hailed as a great source of protein and vitamins.  What has changed with eggs?  Not a damned thing.  It is still the incredible egg.  What has changed is medicine's understanding of cholesterol and how it really works.

Again, many years ago were told that the consumption of beef in general was harmful to us because of the saturated fat.  That saturated fat, we were told, contained large amounts of harmful cholesterol that would cause heart problems.  That was then.  Now we know that on half of the fat in beef is a monounsaturated fat known as oleic acid - the same fatty acid found in olive oil.  And, most of the so-called saturated fat in beef decreases the risk of heart disease by lowering the LDL (bad) cholesterol or, by reducing the total cholesterol ratio, and that's a good thing.  Beef is still a great source of protein, B-vitamins, and the needed minerals, iron and zinc.  Nothing really has changed with beef.  What has changed is our understanding of fat, cholesterol, and the benefits of meat in general.

The cloud of Prohibition still exists.  There is nothing wrong with the moderate consumption of alcohol, especially for those folks over forty.  When you blow away the cloud, you will discover some amazing facts.  The moderate consumption of alcohol helps to reduce the chances of heart disease, lowers the risk of diabetes, and it appears to reduce the risk of dementia (please take note to the word....moderate).  What has changed with alcohol?  Other than more varieties, not a damned thing.  Once again, science has improved itself in another area of our lives.

Personally, I have a hard time if I do not jump-start my day with some coffee.  But, I do remember a time when coffee was rated as a devil; caffeine gave a person high blood pressure, which is a precursor to heart disease.  The facts today show that people who drink coffee are less likely to contract type-2 diabetes, Parkinson's disease, dementia, heart disease, and some forms of cancer.  And it has little to do with caffeine.  Coffee, whether it be decaf, half-calf, or all out full throttled, contains anti-oxidants that deal with all those nasty things.  Coffee has not changed, but thanks to scientific research, we have discovered coffee's benefits.

Chocolate still gets a bad rap, probably from the sugar (darker is better).  Sorry, it's been discovered that  moderate consumption of chocolate helps to reduce the risk of stroke, protects your skin, improves mood and vision.  It's the anti-oxidants in the cocoa, silly!  Another triumph from science.

While all of the above can be liberating for many, moderation is a factor.  And since we are all unique, moderation will vary.  Get the facts for yourself and if you think it necessary, consult your doctor.

                                                 Copyright @2012 Terry Unger  



Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Another Kind of Wassailing Song for Yuletide

 I am not really good with poetry.  This is my feeble attempt to give all of my pagan and heathen friends a gift of song for Yule.  And, to all who just like to sing!  I think that the music from the above video is spot on.

                                                Another Wassailing Song for Yule   

                                  The melody is the same as The Gloucestershire Wassail

                             The lyrics are a heavy adaptation from the above by Terry Unger.

                                         Wassail, wassail all over the land,
                                         Our prost is true and our drink’s not bland. 
                                         Our horn is made from a champion bull,
                                         And With this horn, we’ll drink our fill.    

                                        Here’s to Wodan, to his good eye and sound ears,
                                        May Wodan help us to get many good years. 
                                        Prosperous these years, as we’ll ever see,
                                        With our wassailing horn, Wodan, we'll drink to thee.   

                                        Here is to Frigga with her big blue eyes, 
                                        Oh Frigga, do help us to make a great mince pie. 
                                        A great mince pie, the best we've ever tasted,
                                        And with our wassailing horn, none will be wasted. 
                                        Here is to Thor and to his strong hand,
                                        Lord Thor you help us all over the land.  
                                        With this mighty help for all to see, 
                                        Lord Thor with our wassailing horn, we'll drink to thee. 

                                        Here is to Frey and to his good ship,
                                        Lord Frey, help us to fill our fields past our hips. 
                                        And with crops good and full for all to see,
                                        Lord Frey with our wassailing horn, we’ll drink to thee.  

                                        Here is to Freya and to her long hair,
                                        Lady Freya, give us many days fair 
                                       And with these days fair for all to see,
                                       Lady Freya with our wassailing horn we’ll drink to thee.   

                                       Hail to the returning Sun and to its warm light, 
                                       This promise of life diminishes the night. 
                                       Now these days grow long for all to see,
                                       Mighty Sun, with our wassailing horn we’ll drink to thee.  
                                       We praise our Yule with 12 good nights,
                                       It is our season that brings us the light. 
                                       This season Yule grows bright for all to see,
                                       And with our wassailing horn we’ll drink to thee. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Holiday Gifting

Every year, the challenge becomes greater.  The media starts to tell us what we need to buy before summer's end.  Our kids are brainwashed with what are supposed to be the hottest toys, while adults are hammered with everything from jewelry, furniture, and automobiles.  And many folks are convinced that they must buy this stuff to make others happy.

Many people feel guilty if they do not spend enough to buy that special 'thing' for someone:  the special 'thing' that will put them in debt for at least 12 months.  But that, I believe, is a carefully crafted conditioned response, meant to empty your pockets, among other things.  I can remember when large jewelry chains used to advertise diamond engagement rings; the prospective groom was instructed that he'd need to spend a percentage of his annual salary - that percentage was not in single digits.  It was done in a way that made the man feel small and inadequate if he did not 'measure up' to the percentage.  Our kids are brainwashed to believe that all those hot, new toys are their right to have, just for asking.  Well belly up, mom and dad!  All of this is shear bullshit, bullocks, and so much more.

Loving and caring for others should not be about the dollar amount of the gift; it should be about the sentiment and meaning behind it.  And so often, that sentiment can be expressed in the simplest of ways.  I suggest a reading of my short story, The Snows of Yule - A Different Kind of Holiday Tale, posted on this blog, 11/28/2012, to gain a more introspective view of gifting.  Also, a read of my post, Thanksgiving, posted 11/20/2012, can only help.  But, there is another idea, another course of action available to help with gifting.

Spend your money locally.  There are artists, craftsmen, and merchants in your town that can offer you many one-of-a-kind gifting opportunities that you will not find in Wal-mart.  When you keep your money local, you support and promote the local talent and merchants.  That can be the greatest gift over the long haul.

                                                Copyright @2012 Terry Unger


Unity of a Forgotten Kind

The world and all it contains, both seen and unseen stands with mankind in a state of consubstantiation.  Our ancestors understood this as...