Wisdom from the past – Psalm 34:18

The book of psalms is a wealth of wisdom. For my regular readers you know I am not a Christian, I am a pagan heathen. That doesn’t mean that religious texts and doctrine are without merit. How did Bob Dylan put it? “We always did feel the same we just saw it from a different point of view”. We aren’t here for Dylan’s wisdom, we are here for the psalm.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

For those of you in faith you already have a close relationship with god. For those of us who are spiritual and or unsure? This is of great comfort. Grief will happen to you in your life, and it’s a very lonely place to be. It’s worse than anxiety really because of the profound sense of loss. Take heart, if you can, maybe the lord is with you right now, even if you don’t believe.

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Norse Mythology – How Odin created the world.

In most if not all (I haven’t studied all of them) religions/myths there is a world origin story. Now many of them are fairly silly… Norse Mythology is one of those silly origin stories. To be clear, I am a pagan but like most spiritual people I do not follow literally the doctrine of a religion per se more so the intent of the prose. Simply put, it’s been my experience that most practioners of faith seek the message rather than the literal. We often get caught up in historic nuances as many religions were taught literally.

This is mainly due to the masses being illiterate and a literal rendition of a concept was the simplest way to convey the message. Once the masses began to have available to them books and literacy we enter the period of enlightenment (in the west anyway) where individuals were able to discern the meaning rather than take literally the text. Here we are in 2022 and many of the old religions don’t translate well. I had a wise old man once say to me “Today’s religion is tomorrows myth” and what he meant was, faith evolves.

Thousands of years ago your ancestors were likely worshiping idols of gold or statues of some kind. They were wishing for and hoping for the same thing as you are now but the times dictated a different means to the same end. Faith is a wonderful ideal and if you can get there, regardless of the path I tip my hat to you. So what about the Norse mythos of how the world was created?

In the beginning there was Muspell.

The Vikings saw the world as created by Odin differently. When they looked up at the sky, they believed that it was the skull of Ymir (a god Odin killed) and the world they lived on must be his dead body, mutilated and stuffed into his skull. If that’s the case, then the oceans must be his blood, the mountains his bone, and the clouds his brains.

We find the tale of Ymir in many Edda’s and there are some rune stones that depict this episode. The leap of detail though (the body parts making up the physical world) is a creation of the story tellers at the time. They had no other way to discern how all these things got here. How do you explain why a mountain is where it is in 650 AD? You attribute it to the gods. “Why there though?” someone asks and your best guess is after killing the prior good Ymir they cast his body aside and it formed the world.

I mean do you believe the clouds are an old giants brains? I suppose it’s possible but we now know through science how water, dust sun light etc. plays roles in the formation of weather on the planet.

The point here was to illustrate to you faith is a hard thing to discuss because we often decide (rightly or wrongly) that our faiths are the word of god(s) and its absolute. We examine a little closer, with knowledge, and see that many of the stories we hold dear are part of our religions are in fact creative acts of fantasy. The overall message? God created the planet. That’s what the Norse pagans believed and many of us practicing today believe. Very similar to other religions, do we think it’s because he defeated the great giant Ymir and used his body parts? No, however we do concede its possible….

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Religion/Faith helps your anxiety

If you are a regular reader of my blog you know I am not very religious. Monotheism is a relatively new notion in the human experience, one god who over sees everything. I believe that spirituality is derived from communion with god, or gods, or the spirit of god, or gods through faith. I don’t know if there is one god or a hundred. When I look at the billions of stars in the sky and wonder about other worlds and species I wonder if it’s the same god there etc.

A little bit of a tangent there so back to the topic. Regardless of your religion or faith most people who practice an organized religion have a remarkable resource to help with anxiety. I found a good article here. This article is specific to Christianity but the sentiment is really applicable to most monotheistic/temple oriented religions.

Faith is a pathway to hope

From the article:  “It’s giving people a sign of hope, not just through our words, but the church has an opportunity to give people a sign of hope by how we live,” she said. Jamie Aten, director of the Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College, told Religion News Service that congregations now are helping people deal with a wide range of mental health challenges. And the challenges that existed before the coronavirus haven’t just gone away, according to Aten.”

This really is a universal truth. Meaning first, the mental health challenges people had BEFORE covid still exist. Second, a group support network is a valuable, to be cherished resource to help you through hard times. It is perhaps the greatest benefit of organized religion, to have a group of likeminded people supporting one another. I know all religions have their own social dynamics, I know it’s not perfect. That said it’s more than a lot of us do have. You can be extremely spiritual and still be alone.

Faith is powerful, it helps in so many areas of life it’s hard to measure. It doesn’t really matter what faith you practice either. In my experience most of the major faiths we have today have similar doctrines which espouse helping others. You should use this resource if you belong to a church, a mosque, a temple. Given the breadth of mental health issues in our society the chances are that someone in your place of worship has similar experiences or is going through what you are right now.

Count your blessing and take advantage of this resource. As a wise Christian woman once told me “god is watching”. If that’s true, he (or she) is probably waiting for you to accept the gift of others generosity. Will you take it?

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Which do you prescribe too? “Well what does Wyrd mean?” Wyrd is roughly translated to old English as fate. The word in of itself is specific but the concept behind the word is a bit more vast. The theory of fate, in relation to time is that all things that happen in the course of your life is fate. Fate is an interesting concept. It is the belief that occurrences happen via the will of a super natural being.

Therefore, many pagan’s have odd relationships with time. Its not easy to explain but if you are someone who has given over to fate, you realize that events that occur today are intertwined with things that have happened in the past and WILL happen in the future. This leads to a lot of anxiety because you truly are cognizant of the moment. You know that what is happening now is part of a larger predetermined series of events.

You begin to extrapolate out what each event means and what it could mean going forward, or, even worse, you look back to see if you did something prior to lead to this outcome. It is a maddening cycle because as time goes on, the more you subscribe to this belief system it becomes a black hole of anxiety. I envy people of faith, whatever the discipline, because it requires a portion of yourself and mind to “give yourself over” to outcomes beyond your control.

So, is time even real? Is it all a predetermined series of events that you are just a participant in? Your will is irrelevant, you’re desire an aside, I don’t know…. Here is a link for you to look at If you are interested in more

From the link: “The procession of events in the world, and in any person’s life, could only be understood with reference to fate, but fate itself could not be understood. Those who practiced the magical art of seidr could sometimes see what fate had in store, but there was no particular rhyme or reason in why some particular outcome was fated when an alternative outcome was not. Fate had no moral significance, and there were no caring or cruel motives behind it.”

Is this all folly? Have I wasted all my time worrying about things I can’t control? Or is my fate to worry about it?