With today being my birthday, I felt that it was a good night to perform a solitary blot to Odin to renew my oath to him, as he is my patron. I am starting to develop stronger relationships with the other Aesir, but Odin was the one who called me back to my roots.
FOR THOSE WHO DON’T WISH TO READ THIS ENTIRE POST, AS IT IS VERY LONG, SCROLL DOWN TO THE NEXT SET OF BOLDED WORDS FOR THE SHORT VERSION!
It was around two years ago (give or take a little–I’m horrible at keeping track of the passage of time!) when I met a Heathen. At the time, I considered myself pagan but I had no affiliation with any particular path.
During high school, I’d tried the Wiccan path and found it lacking in substance and meaning. All of the trappings of ceremonial magic felt wrong and fake to me. It may be the right for others, but it was the wrong one for me.
To backtrack a little further, I started wandering amongst faiths when I was 12 years old. With that in mind… is it really any wonder that I ended up with the Wanderer as my patron?
I was raised as a Southern Baptist Christian, but I didn’t go to church very often when I was growing up. I only attended during the summer for one week– the “Vacation Bible School” event. And for awhile, I was secure in that faith.
But then I decided one day to attend a Sunday school service for the first time. I was 12 at the time. And they were teaching a passage in the Bible that indicated good deeds were the only necessary thing needed to enjoy an afterlife in heaven.
But that tune quickly changed, because the next passage the teacher turned to on that day contradicted that. It was a passage that stated that only the chosen people would be allowed entry. And then the discussion in the group turned to those of unconventional sexual orientation and non-Christian faiths and I found out very quickly how exclusive Christianity really was.
And it angered me. It angered me to the point that I turned my back completely on the Christian faith that very day. A friend at school said something to me about religion and I told her that I was an atheist and she then told me I was going to hell–which made me angry enough to avoid her for nearly three weeks.
While I avoided her, I met a younger girl (10 or so) in the after-school program who intrigued me because she didn’t salute the flag during the pledge of allegiance. And when I asked her about it, I found out she was a Jehovah’s Witness. Then I started talking to her more and more, because I was fascinated by such a huge difference in beliefs.
People rag on Jehovah’s Witnesses all the time, because they try and spread their faith by going door to door. But there is a lot about Jehovah’s Witnesses I respect (the door-to-door thing is not one of them). I learned that they do not believe in the concept of Hell the way other Christians do–they do not believe in an eternal torment.
And they do not celebrate “Christian” holidays because they are, in fact, not Christian in nature. It was because of the girl I met who was a Jehovah’s Witness who introduced me to the very concept of paganism. Every thing they did was in direct opposition to pagan faiths. She took me to meet her instructor one day and I remember learning that Jehovah’s Witnesses will not participate in any practice that has its origin in pagan culture.
For that, and that alone, they deserve respect. Because they are the only branch of Christianity that I know of that doesn’t attempt to claim the right to holidays that DO NOT belong to them. Christmas, as an example (for the Christian readers I am sure I have) is NOT actually a day to remember the birth of Christ.
Christmas is a STOLEN holiday. The Twelve Days of Christmas? Yeah–those are pagan. They are the Twelve Days of Yule/Yule Tide which starts on December 20th and ends on December 31st. It was originally a celebration of the Winter Solstice (there’s actually a lot more history there, but I’ll leave that for another day!)
Anyway. I learned how much Jehovah’s Witnesses hated paganism and I started doing research into it. Once I learned what it was, I was hooked. And there are a few reasons for that.
1st) There is no definitive concept of good and evil. That means there is no Satan. No Hell of eternal torment.
2nd)There is no concept of original sin. People aren’t born “bad.”
3rd) People aren’t punished by their gods for seeking knowledge. Adam and Eve story? Yeah. Make a paradise and throw your loyal followers out just because they wanted to be smart. Makes a lot of sense.
4th) It encourages self-exploration, self-evolution, and critical thinking skills.
5th) Inclusiveness. Pagan faiths do not seek to convert others to their way of thinking, but instead allow others to follow their own faiths in peaceful co-existence.
There are a few more reasons, but those are the major ones.
And, like nearly everyone who turns to Paganism, Wicca was the first branch I tried out. I have always been shy when it comes to stuff like that, so I never looked for a coven, just did the solitary thing. And it all always felt wrong. So I decided I’d just be eclectic until something swayed me.
But that doesn’t mean my spiritual journey stopped. Not even remotely.
When I was 18, I was in a very bad car accident. And there was a church sign near the scene that said “In God we put our trust” or something like that. I can’t remember exactly; it was years ago. So I decided that maybe it was a sign or something and started going to church again.
And I still hated everything I heard. People were still exclusive and judgmental. Then I moved to Asheville and attended a 7th-day Adventist church for a few months. They believe some odd things, but the more I went to church, the more conflicted I got.
So I went to the library one day and just prayed for guidance. And I found a book by Neale Donald Walsch called “Conversations with God” which was pretty interesting. Especially because in that book, the “God” there spoke about there being MULTIPLE gods even in the same breath that he said that he was the Christian one.
I know that book angered a lot of Christians because of that implication, but you know what? It was eye-opening for me. Because it allowed me to think of things on a different level. It introduced the concept of polytheistic thinking into my life, and for that, I am thankful.
I continued going to that church for a few more months, no longer conflicted. But I knew I didn’t believe in what they were teaching. I still considered myself pagan. I’d never stopped considering myself pagan. I had just started wondering if I really knew what I needed to know about Christianity and found my answer through that church. Because while I attended it, I read the Bible from cover to cover (though I don’t remember all of it, considering how much is in it).
But I know that, at the most, I can only ever see the Bible as having a few decent moralistic stories woven in amongst all the hypocrisy contained within its pages.
And then I moved back from Asheville to Boone and started working at McDonalds. That’s when I met my first Heathen and he told me what Asatru was and what it was all about. And after one of our conversations, I started having a dream that I didn’t understand. It was one of those repeating dreams–and it’s the only repeating dream I’ve ever had–so I knew it was important.
In the dream, there were three important things: The number 9, triangles, and a longship capsizing with me drowning underneath it. I always woke up when the drowning happened–and in the dream, I was a man.
I talked to Chris, the Heathen from work, about the basic elements of it. I didn’t tell him exactly what it was about, because I was very self-conscious of everything religious at that point in time and didn’t want him to think I was trying to “copy” or “steal” his faith or something inane. I should probably mention the fact that I have ADHD comorbid with General Anxiety, so that never helped with my search for spiritual truths.
Anyway, he told me about the Valknut and the Nine Noble Virtues and I did some research and learned what Asatru was. At the time, I was still taking a martial arts class (I can’t afford it atm or I’d still be going!) and noticed that the symbol for the class was a triangle with an eye in the middle. Yeah… signs were popping up everywhere.
And then… I started reading the Norse myths. And every story I read, I could identify with Odin. All of his actions resounded with me at a very deep level, and it was then that I knew that I had found my calling. And it was scary, because I’d gone from having no idea of where I was heading to suddenly crashing straight into being called.
I’d gone from wandering to having a solid direction and it took me some time to wrap my head around that. But eventually I did, and I swore my life to Odin, because he is my patron. There are other gods that I have started developing relationships with, because I am not a monotheist, and the ones I am currently working with (aside from Odin) are Thor, Tyr, Loki, and Bragi.
I know there’s a dissent in the heathen community about Loki, but Odin kept his company quite often. I think Odin saw in Loki things that other people have difficulty wrapping their minds around. The two of them were great companions and Odin never policed Loki’s actions unless Loki did something dishonorable. And Loki almost always made amends for the wrongs he committed.
But Loki is a topic for another night! This is already a fairly long post.
BACK TO THE ORIGINAL TOPIC:
I did a blot to Odin tonight to reaffirm my oath to him as well as to completely denounce all the trappings of any Abrahamic faith that may have been left in my psyche, as I didn’t renounce Christianity the first time I swore my oath to him.
Before I performed the blot, I spent three hours working on a piece of art –A Valknut surrounded by a full set of the runes–that I burned in our wood stove at the end of the blot. During the blot, I began burning a mulberry wine candle, which is still burning and shall continue to burn until it burns itself out.
Here are the words I spoke to Odin tonight, for all who follow my blog to bear witness:
“Hail Odin, the God of Wisdom and Sacrifice. I offer you the smoke, the light, and the heat from this candle and the art I created in your honor.
For it was you, Valfather, who called me to this path. It was your pain and your sacrifices, echoing down through the generations that allowed me to find my place in this world.
On this day, my 26th birthday, I am hailing you for two very important reasons.
It is on this day that I am renouncing, for once and for all, the trappings of the Christian and Abrahamic faiths.
And it is on this day that I am, once more, swearing my life to you. I will live my life dedicated to your teachings and will follow them to the utmost of my ability.
I will make sacrifices for knowledge and wisdom, for it is the province of thought and logic that you rule that has turned my will to follow you into iron.
I will follow you to the ends of the earth and to the end of time itself. I am forever and always in your service.
I swear this on my honor and on the honor of the generations to come. May my descendants stay ever stalwart to the path leading to Valhalla.
Hail Valfather. Hail forever.”