Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Great Race

Anyone familiar with Germanic/Norse mythology knows the tale of Sunna and her brother Mani.  Sunna in her horse drawn chariot pulls the sun across the sky while her brother follows her and does the same with the moon.  But there is a sad note to this story.  Sunna is pursued by a wolf that goes by the name of Skoll; Mani is chased by the wolf Hati.  At the end of the world, Ragnarok, these wolves will finally overtake Sunna and Mani.  And they will consume both sun and moon, plunging the world into darkness.  According to the mythology, their fate is sealed.  But what of yours?  

What kind of Great Race are you running?  There certainly is nothing wrong with success and obtaining wealth.  These questions, however, one should ask of himself:  how are you going about your quest?  What sacrifices are you making and did you make - granted, there is no gain without sacrifice. But, have you alienated your spouse, children, and family?  What have you given back in the ways of generosity and hospitality to your family and community?  It is written in The Havamal, a very old and wise text that a generous man is looked upon with favor but a miser is not.  In our modern world there is one more question that should be asked:  is running the rat race really worth it? The answer is that it can be if you properly set your moral and ethical compass in a positive light. One way to do this is to weigh your goals against the Nine Nobel Virtues of Asatru.  Check out the Nobel Nine.  You will be glad that you did.    


Friday, April 17, 2015

Thundering Silence

The black clouds gather suddenly, sending their ominous message to those below.  Stillness envelops the earth's surface, a precursor of what is to come.  One drop and then two, turns into a heavy drizzle.  The winds pick up, and thunder rolls just over the next hill.  Now the rain falls, like it is coming from billions of buckets.  The wind speed increases, and whips the rain so it flows sideways.  That thunder is no longer over the next hill, but is here, making itself known.  It's explosive crack sounds like artillery fire and it shakes the ground.  Lightning now accompanies the thunder and illuminates not just the sky above but the ground below, leaving some with the feeling that they are living in a black and white horror movie.  The fierce wind, thunder, and lightning make a few folk think that Wodan is off on his Wild Hunt and Thor is slaying giants.  Young children cling to their mother's breast while the family hound refuses to go outside to relieve himself; it is enough to make the "great Charlemagne" tremble with fear.  It seems like it will never end but it is over as quickly as it began. And then, there is nothing but the stillness of silence.   

This is a Gulf Coast Texas spring storm.  Fortunate are those who can appreciate this Thundering Silence, what it brings, what it means, and what it can become.    

                                                   copyright @2015 Terry Unger     

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Power of a Word

Some time ago I wrote an essay, When Words Weigh More Than Bricks and published it on this blog, 10-14-2012.  Even though it was a short piece, it was well received.  The essay hammered away at how negative words between spouses and parents to kids can have a gross negative impact.  The message was to think before you speak and if need be, run around the block to blow off  steam before you opened your mouth.  Truly, I believe that I gave some sage advice.  But, there are a few words that still exist within our English language that continue to create a problem for a growing number of people.  And, they need to be put into their proper place.  These words are Heathen and Pagan.  

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition defines the word Pagan as:  

1: HEATHEN  1: exp : a follower of a polytheistic religion (as in ancient Rome).  2: one who has little or no religion and who delights in sensual pleasures and material goods : an irreligious or hedonistic person. 

The same source describes Heathen as;  

1: an unconverted member of a people or nation that does not acknowledge the God of the Bible  2 : an uncivilized or irreligious person.  

As I understand it, Merriam-Webster ties in locality (geography) as a source for these names.  Heath refers to a wild, expansive, and uncultivated land with poor soil.  This word has old German and old English root sources.  Pagan references a country dweller, a suburbanite country bumpkin.  The word has it origins in the Latin, paganus, originally meaning a civilian.  Roman Legionaries, at times, used the word paganus to refer to some civilians as"slackers," or useless people.  Both words existed before the beginning of the Christian era.  Unfortunately, as time passes, things change, including the meaning of words.  

The three Abrahamic, monotheistic religions quickly latched on to these ancient words and used them to describe anyone who did not adhere to their vision of the one true God; one god, not just above all others but the only real god - all others being not just false but devils in disguise.  In short order, it did not matter where you lived, if you did not embrace their god, you were in biblical terms, an abomination and had to be dealt with, either through rigorous conversion, or execution.  The use of these words in such a derogatory manner continues into our modern times. 

The Pagans and Heathens of the past, like those in our modern era, certainly were not godless.  Today just as in the past, Pagans and Heathens have more Gods than the fingers to count them on.  And dear reader, whether you like it or not, six out of the seven days of the week are named after Germanic Gods and Goddesses - I do not believe this to be an accident.  Pagans and Heathens today, as in the past, certainly are not and were not hedonistic: all of that wild and goofy sex stuff comes from sexually repressed monks and the biblical authors that came before them.  On the contrary, the word best suited is altruistic. Pagans and Heathens in the past as well as in the present feel a connection not just to the  Earth, but to all life in general.  So, life is good, worthy, and wholesome.  To the Monotheists this was then, as it is now, a threat to their unfounded belief, and thus their very existence.  Here is a tasty tidbit: the word ain't can be found in the same Merriam-Webster Dictionary. It is included as a valid word based on its vigorous usage over a period of time by the populace, just as the words Pagan and Heathen are still defined by their false, monotheistic definitions. There was a time not that long ago when the word ain't was vigorously discouraged. It was considered to be something verbally used by the ignorant, and not a real word.  The words Pagan and Heathen today are still used in a negative and derogatory manner and it is time for attitudes and definitions about the words Pagan and Heathen to change into a more positive light.  A reading of my old essay, When Words Weigh More Than Bricks could be a start.  You could say, boy, ain't that the truth!   

                                                       copyright @2015 Terry Unger



Unity of a Forgotten Kind

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