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A Heathen’s Path

| November 30, 2010 | 1 Comment

by Baldurjór AOR

In the writing of this article it is my hope that my experiences will help others of the Folk whom are standing in anticipation at the gates of the razor-wired city to succeed.

First, let me begin by saying that reality and the strength to face the decrees of the Norns are of utmost importance here.  We will not immediately find the same level of camaraderie that we’ve become accustomed to within the vacuum world of prison.  Nor should one leave the walls expecting a hearty, “Heil Comrade / Kinsman/woman!” and a full horn of mead from the Heathens in the outside world.  For such high expectations will fall short of the harsh reality.  If you were already a member of a free-world Hearth or Kindred to begin with then this may not apply to your situation.  For those that have discovered our ancestral heritage and path while serving time, this is something to remember.  You must prove yourself by your deeds.  One can say they are honourable and true to the ways of our ancestors.  But people will remember deeds far longer then words alone.

To paraphrase Edred Thorsson in his book ~True Brothers~, “Leaving prison and re-entering the free world is akin to experiencing a personal Ragnarök.”  Not to diminish Ragnarök, but to give one a sense of the change that is taking place within their own lives.  Everything that one has become accustomed to comes to an end, and their world begins anew.  It is up to the individual to decide whither or not they possess the strength to succeed or fail. We, as Heathens, live by a code of honour and pride.  Self-reliance should truly mean something.  This should mean something deep within the Heathen themselves.  Rather then be used as a mantra-like rote that one will spout out when questioned as to what our faith is about.

As for me, I was released on Mother Night of 2254 R.E..  This has also added new meaning and perspective within my life as well as the season.  I saw this as an end of the cycle that I was in, and a chance to begin anew.  Mother Night generally symbolizes the shortest day of the year, flanked by the longest nights.  It was at this time of the year when our ancestors in the northlands would know that if their food stores were less then half gone they would be able to survive the long winter.  This was then a time of celebrating and rejoicing.  From then on Sunna begins to make her slow march northward to bring new life, growth and warmth to the lands.  This kind of depth and personal understanding can be done whether one uses the 4, 8 or 12 yearly blót cycle.  All it takes is some inner reflection.  This can be the hardest thing for most people to do.  But to focus upon ones weaknesses in an attempt to strengthen and minimize them is a healthy aspect and trait.  For it will help in the world out here.

There is a transition phase that all of those whom have been down for any stretch of time must go through.  Your daily life and movements are up to you now.  Remembering and reflecting on the lessons of our ancestors, will help one forge a new and brighter path.

High expectations are good to have, as a point of destination.  But be realistic in your day to day lives.  You may have paroled with B.A. in marketing.  Do not expect to move to the head of any corporation or company right off the bat.  You may even have to flip burgers for a time.  Do not let this discourage you.  Keep your eyes fixed upon your goal.  But at the same time work like a Heathen.  Meaning, work better and more efficiently, never come in late, be willing to do overtime or be on-call if necessary and possible.  Your deeds will shine through.  When a better, more goal- related job comes along your deeds will be related to the new employer via contact or résumé attachment/ letter of recommendation.

You must always remember that you don’t control everything within your life.  It is what we do in a given situation that truly sets us above the norm. We can function on the same level as others, or else crumple in decay.  I had this cold slap of reality just a mere eleven days after my release.  Case in point; when I was first released the building that I was living in; one morning literally had the rain pouring into my particular unit.  The building’s owner’s moved my wife and me to a different unit within the same complex.  So as per the rules of parole I called to let my agent know that I had been moved, and why, in case he wanted to make a house visit.  After the rains stopped, the owners of the building cleaned up the mess and dried out the unit.  That night we moved back.  Again I made another call to my (PO) to bring him up to speed.  That night the rains began again, along with it pouring into the unit.  Again, we were moved to a different unit, one that happened to be bigger and out of our price range at the time, (only one of us was working).  Same drill as before, I called to bring my (PO) au fait.  When the rains briefly stopped, I told the owners that I wanted a different unit in our price range.  They complied and I did the (PO) drill again.  At this point the agent got mad and told me that if I didn’t quit moving he was going to violate me which would send me back to prison.  This was three weeks now after I had been released.  I didn’t want to go back on something that was beyond my control.

Needless to say with all this going on my stress levels were quite high.  Even thoughts of absconding were beginning to creep into the edges of my mind.  Yet running is not my way.  So I weathered the storm.  Hoping for the best, yet being prepared for the worst.  So, since I am typing this shows that I didn’t go back, and I have grown stronger because of this experience.  Even if I had  been violated, which anyone on parole knows can happen at any given time, I could have walked back within the walls with my head held high knowing that I had done everything as nobly and honourably as I could and in keeping with the 9th Charge:

- To abide by the enactment of lawful authority

And to bear with courage

The decrees of the Norns. -

I also think that the following particular part of the Petition in the Odinic-Rite’s Book of Blotar puts this most adequately and eloquently:

Baldur, inspire us with truth and the love of mercy and justice, and grant us strength to bear the decrees of the Norns, for into close hearts they see.

It is not only what we do in a given situation, but what we impart with this that is a key to an honourable life.  To put the often times hard question to ourselves; are our deeds proactive or reactive?  We must learn to laugh in the face of adversity, even at times when it is the toughest.

I couldn’t land a job for the first 3 months that I was out.  I filled out more job applications then I care to remember.  But it never stopped my drive.  In fact it only made me more determined to succeed.  I finally landed a very good job as an apprentice electrician and worked at that job for several months until the job ended.  Then not being one who just likes to lie around.  I started working at a day labour place and putting in applications when I could.  Then I landed the job that I have presently.  Which, in a round about sort of way, is a part of the training for my goal that I need.  While it may not be the goal that I have my eyes on, I am still learning some valuable lessons while at this job.

One of the most important things to do is to show the parole officers that you are like clockwork.  Make it so they can almost set their watch to the times of your reports.  They will also see that you are a productive member of society with a job, and even between jobs that you still can find a legal way to earn money.  It is then that they will realize that you are not a risk factor, and their sights will be more focused on those whom are out and are still being a menace to society.  One thing that I did, and it was literally one of the hardest things for me to do was display Heathen hospitality when my parole officer visited my house.  I offered him a cup of coffee or a soda, (and had them ready just in case).  Now although I know that they aren’t supposed to accept.  This small deed will set you apart from the rest of the crowd.  Test out the theory if you don’t believe me, it will get noticed.  They are so used to people being on the defensive that a bit of Heathen hospitality will separate you from the others.

I was lucky that I was in a place where there is a very good and strong Heathen community.  But I met these people first on-line, and did not hide the fact of my past.  I was honest and up front about why I had done time.  Since then my actions have proven that I do not fit into the convict boogie-man perception that the general public seems to have.  This might be in part due to Hollywood’s depictions of prison and convicts in general.  There have been a few on-line who didn’t accept me or anyone else who has ever done time.  But these seem to be a minority within the Heathen community as a whole.  Most Heathens realize that we can all make mistakes.  So long as someone isn’t a shame criminal, then in general a chance will be given.

On-line is one place where, if you must go it solitary for a while, you can still interact with other Heathens.  Not all the lists are good ones, some are just weird, others do it as a flavour/religion of the month type of thing.  But after a while you’ll be able to whittle out the junk lists.  Some geographic areas have a Yahoo groups list, which has a lot of good conversation and ideas.  Others might be members of an organization that has these computer lists or forums.  All it takes is time.  If you are true to your ancestral path it will show, I can promise you that.

In closing I’d like to take this time to state that all in all it is up to you to succeed.  Ultimately it is up to us how we return this gift for a gift.  For we are only given a few things in this life and they are, namely:

“Hávamál”

18.

Soul they had not,    sense they had not,

Heat nor motion,    nor goodly hue;

Soul gave Othin,    sense gave Hönir

Heat gave Lothur    and goodly hue.

It is by these gifts that the High Ones have given us, amid the patterns that the Norns have woven, through which we must work. The returning of these gifts in the actions and goals of striving for not only the betterment of the self, but for that of Faith, Folk, Family, and community as well.  It is in these life long actions that I believe the following stanza’s can come into fruition:

“Hávamál”

77.

Cattle die,   and kinsmen die,

And so one dies one’s self;

But the noble name    will never die,

If good renown one gets.

78.

Cattle die,    and kinsmen die,

And so one dies one’s self;

One thing I know    that never dies,

The fame of a dead man’s deeds.

Remember that your deeds and actions vibrate not only upon your thread within the Web of Wyrd.  But its effects ripple out across the Web affecting those in contact with you and beyond.  Be sure that your actions are of a noble, honourable and pure nature.  That which befits our noble bloodlines, back to the Gods themselves.

Good luck on your journeys.  May each one who reads this be able to glean something from my work and experiences and be able to apply this within their own lives.

Source of quotes:

1. The Nine Charges of the Odinic Rite
2. Odinic Rite’s Book of Blotar
3. The Poetic Edda – Henry Adam Bellows (translation)

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  1. Gunther AOR says:

    Excellent article and very true! Life is difficult for a person that has no or a couple misdemeanors much less a person that has done any significant amount of time. My elder is now still on high control and he is doing excellent. He did ten and now is married to a wonderful woman and they have little Magnus! He should be discharged in July. So stick to your program there are some folks out here that are willing to help. The Odinic Rite is in my opinion the best in regard to giving guidance and having a support system in place to help out. Good to read you’re story brother and certainly encouraging. A good friend who also is a member of the Odinic Rite is coming up for release, I will have to print this out and give him a copy. Take it easy brother.
    In Frith and Solidarity,
    Gunther, Hama

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