no, i’m not becoming a neopagan…

i’m still very much Lutheran.

but i have been thinking a bit about some facets of modern paganism – both the Odinist faith and the New World New Age “totem” philosophy (the way the term “totem” is used by most New Age practitioners is incorrect, which is why i put it in quotes. a better term would be “animal spirit guide.”).

i’m not saying i believe in spirit guides, or lost gods of an earlier era; i just find them useful tools for examining the way my mind appears to function. since i feel it’s good to know how one’s own mind works, and at the same time extremely difficult to truthfully examine oneself, tools like these come in very handy sometimes.

but it seems that as we grow older, our inner self gets pared down from the unlimited potential we contain as children to some central core – which then seems to expand to fill the whole of our being. i’d also posit that in cases of abuse or hardship, that paring may happen “early” and in an unnatural manner. so, the understanding of this central self is important to our relationships with the world – but since we cannot really understand the sublime, we need tools that let us grip (if only weakly) the darkling forms of our mind’s function.

anyhow, many years ago, my “spirit guide” was identified as Owl. and i guess in some ways, it still is. Owl is concerned with wisdom, balance, death and rebirth, and an ability to sense truth. which are all things that i have been connected with in the past.

but now, probably due in some ways to its Odinic connections, i’m finding myself connected more and more with Raven. the New Age interpretation draws heavily on Native American myth: Raven is a trickster, creator, observer and truth-seeker.

all of which seems to fit me better than Owl. i no longer feel i have wisdom, or knowledge of the truth. but i do seek the truth of things – and i’ve been accused lately of being too quiet, spending more of myself in observing and being than doing.

that, and Odin’s sacred bird was the raven – and i’ve found some value in the Odinic Rite’s codification of the Nine Charges, lately:

  • To maintain candour and fidelity in love and devotion to the tried friend: though he strike me I will do him no scathe.
  • Never to make wrongsome oath: for great and grim is the reward for the breaking of plighted troth.
  • To deal not hardly with the humble and the lowly.
  • To remember the respect that is due to great age.
  • To suffer no evil to go unremedied and to fight against the enemies of Faith, Folk and Family: my foes I will fight in the field, nor will I stay to be burnt in my house.
  • To succour the friendless but to put no faith in the pledged word of a stranger people.
  • If I hear the fool’s word of a drunken man I will strive not: for many a grief and the very death groweth from out such things.
  • To give kind heed to dead men: straw dead, sea dead or sword dead.
  • To abide by the enactments of lawful authority and to bear with courage the decrees of the Norns.

not so much a fan of putting no faith in the “pledged word of a stranger people” (being a big fan of giving everyone a chance), but other than that i think there’s some real value there.

but Odin’s companion ravens were Thought and Memory – sometimes that’s all i feel i have. not saying that’s a bad thing, just that i feel something of a disconnect from the actual, physical world.

yeesh, this reads kind of creepy and depressing.

it’s not meant to be, though – just musing about the way i think.

whee!

sometimes i think i think too much.

quote of the day:

Huginn ok Muninn fliúga hverian dag
iörmungrund yfir;
óomk ek of Huginn, at hann aptr ne komit,
þó siámk meirr um Muninn.

– Odin, from the Grímnismál, in the Poetic Edda

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