Spirit: Instinct, Intellect and Emotion PART 1

| June 4, 2011
Spirit: Instinct, Intellect and Emotion PART 1

By Tyrsegil Bloodketil

Spirit is the vitality of being, the essence of existence without which life would not be possible. Conversely, spirit cannot exist without matter, marking the reliance of the physical body and spirit upon one another as integral. In the purest Pan-Aryan spiritual systems the significance of the spirit comprises the core of sacred teachings from the Old Norse önd and odh (Germanic wod) to the Sanskrit prana and atman (Germanic athem) representing the Breath of Life and Self respectively.

Spirit however is not merely an aggregate of elements to be distinguished one from another and analyzed apart from each other despite there being three distinct components which comprise its whole. The existence of these constituents does not precede that of the spirit for this latter is a form, a pattern from which the parts neither come before or after nor determine the design, but instead fixes the fragments according to the inherent nature of the whole.

Knowledge of the pattern, of its laws, set, and structure could not possibly be derived from discrete discernment of the individual elements exclusively, but only through their relation to one another and the integrity of the spirit. This animating or vital principle is comprised of instinct, intellect, and emotion, the complete balance of which is the ultimate reality of Godhead, the purpose of Odhinism, and the peak the Path of Odh leads to.

Intellect and emotion are easily identifiable for most though rarely understood completely either in their individual capacity nor combined context. Together they make up the Ego or Self of the individual which is influenced by, experiences, and reacts to the physical world or environment. The Ego is meant to be a mediator between external effects and internal instincts, the intermediary of the outer and indwelling influences that ultimately guide ones life, monitors and filters ones field of consciousness.

The Ego is primarily a product of nurture as its development depends almost exclusively upon education, experience, and sensory stimulus in contrast to the nature of inherent instincts. This is why culture and tradition play such an important role in the evolution of the Ego and Folk as a whole. Ego is the means by which we perceive the world according to our individual weltanschauung as well as that of the communal conscious. In this way Ego is the reflection of everything we are told and taught, mirroring the reality we consciously create for ourselves.

Consciousness itself has two aspects from which all awareness arises: Emotion is the state of experiential conscious and sensational feeling not directly attributable to a particular stimulus stemming from the five physical senses and generally becomes manifest as impulsive or reactionary responses, while intellect is the complex cognitive capacity of thought, reason, and understanding from which rational realization emanates. The intellect monitors urges, the emotional aspects of the Ego, ensuring a proper balance between desire and necessity; it is definite, relying on precision to perform properly while emotion remains equivocal and involuntary, impulsively reacting to outside influences, though both are essential to individuality.

Plato referred to the intellect as the “nous” and believed it to be the first and purest emanation of the One, regarded as the self-contemplating order of the universe. In much the same way many elder traditions refer to a “self-existent” or “self-created” one, often identified with the supreme Godhead, such as Brahma and Odhinn, marking consciousness, more specifically the intellectual pursuit of knowledge and wisdom, as a primary path to supraconsciousness.

The intellect discriminates, divides and opposes, processing information from the environments, emotions, instincts, etc. interpreting this input ideally to resolve issues or decide upon the most rational response to a given situation. Problem-solving, goal-setting, strategic planning etc. are all results of intellectual integration and rationality. The intellect is naturally inclined to coherency and consistency which predisposes it to maintaining a single position on a particular issue, reflecting ones opinions, convictions, prejudices, views, beliefs, etc. from an individual perspective according to ones own perception and weltanschauung; it makes assessments that determine whether one is an advocate for something or in opposition to it and the very definition of “keeping an open mind” is allowing the intellect to properly process input without becoming mired in a narrow-minded or limited view of the world around it. Such limitations lead to stagnation and stasis in the growth of the spirit such as we find prevalent since the predominance of monotheism over the natural spirituality of Odh.

Discernment is essential to ones development as it allows the separation of the useful from the unnecessary while at the same time the intellect is the ultimate uniter, bringing together the emotion and instinct into conscious awareness allowing one to act in a reasonable and rational manner according to their inherent nature.

Emotion on the other hand is essential to spiritual nourishment for without feeling and sensation the intellect would lack integral input from which to base its beliefs and the physical body would remain free from pleasure, pain, lust, love, hate, sorrow, etc. necessary not only for surviving but thriving as well.  Emotion is undoubtedly connected to memory in that we tend to retain memories of things or incidents to which we have an emotional connection, such as traumatic experiences, sexual stimulation, near death encounters, etc.

The Ego as emotion and intellect is a ball of energy, discharging at a rate of vibration consistent with a particular thought or feeling and congruent with the color spectrum. The astral body or “aura” is the manifestation of an individuals mental and emotional vitality and it has been said is the origins of the Germanic Doppelganger and the Old Norse Fylgjur as well as Carl Jung’s theory of the Anima/Animus. A strong emotional response, whether positive or negative will often vibrate to the level of that feeling manifesting on the physical plane as adrenaline, sexual arousal, loose bowels, etc. Conversely a “thought” consists of electrical energy traversing the neurons of the brain and they emanate outwards often measured as “heat” around the head. Thus the physiological aspects of intellect and emotion are readily apparent and interestingly find correspondence with the color spectrum: just as red has the highest rate of vibration, so too does anger or thoughts of violence (i.e. “he saw red”) in contrast to love or happiness which corresponds to violet, the lowest vibration in the spectrum. The vibrations of supraconsciousness are too rapid for discernment by conscious means much the same way ultraviolet rays are invisible to the naked eye.

The energy of the spirit also vibrates at a pace too high to sustain itself on the physical plane without something to contain it, house it, and become the vehicle for its manifestation. Symbolically this has been represented by the cauldron Odhroerir, both the container and contents of inspiration in the same way the body and spirit are integral to one another’s existence here on Midgardh. In terms of physics, the spirit could be compared to antimatter in that while it is theoretically possible that matter composed of the antiparticles of electrons, protons, and neutrons could be as stable as normal matter, they could only exist in isolation from it. The same could be said of the spirit for while the collective could manifest itself on the physical plane (i.e. in the form of a God) it is only theoretical simply because the energy and power that would emanate from this force would be too great to exist in the world without destroying everything around it and thus the “particles” (individual spirits) that desire manifestation must be isolated and contained in a physical form capable not only of holding it for a duration of time but keeping the spirit separate from the collective. In this the body is but a temporary vehicle as it ultimately erodes and decays from the spirits desire to rejoin the collective.

Understanding the Ego as energy in this way can further demonstrate how the spirit can be considered vitality or the Breath of Life.

Instinct however is the core of spirit. Like the aforementioned protons and neutrons of quantum physics, instinct is the nucleus around which the Ego as intellect and emotion revolves. Instincts are innate and inherent inclinations, tendencies, and predispositions present in particular peoples as a whole as well as individuals. These primal proclivities are phylogenetic at their foundation, properly referred to as the collective unconscious, and embody the primeval patterns of archetypical constructs found in the spirit of specific groups. Carl Jung believed the archetype to be exclusive to a particular people, a genesis of sorts that embodied the essence of a deified individual and/or deed.

Instincts can be defined as the aggregate knowledge and wisdom of our ancestors. Reflexes are physically manifest instincts and like the former the latter are protective by nature, ensuring one is safe and their needs are being met, automatically directing your body, mind, or emotions to act or react in a certain way to prevent injury or neglect or to repeat a learned behavior. To ignore or disregard ones instincts can be and usually is as detrimental as neglecting to defend oneself when in danger. In this way reflexes can be seen as short-term memory that acts in concert with the physical body, while ones instincts or collective unconscious is the long-term memory of the Folk, the philogenesis from which one draws inspiration and intuition. Anyone who understands the concept of cellular or muscle memory can comprehend how genetic memory is immanent and incontrovertible. Just as reflexes and habit can be learned through practice, repetition, and ritual, so too can the genetic memory be accessed through meditation, trance, etc. In addition just as short-term memory must be processed into the long-term and can only store limited amounts of information for any length of time, so too are the experiences of ones life assimilated into the collective unconscious of our Folk prior to being lost upon the death of the physical body. In these we find substantiation for Plato’s assertion that “all learning is but a remembering.”

Perhaps the best explanation on instincts and their importance can be found in the words of Carl Gustav Jung:

“Instincts are highly conservative and of extreme antiquity as regards both their dynamism and their form. Their form, when represented to the mind, appears as an image, which expresses the nature of the instinctive impulse visually and concretely, like a picture. Instinct is anything but a blind and indefinite impulse, since it proves to be attuned and adapted to a definite external situation. This latter circumstance gives it its specific and irreducible form. Just as instinct is original and hereditary so too its form is age-old, that is to say archetypal, it is even older and more conservative than the body’s form.

These biological considerations naturally apply also to Homo sapiens who still remain within the framework of general biology despite the possession of consciousness, will, and reason. The fact that our conscious activity is rooted in instinct and derives from it dynamism as well as the basic features of its ideational forms has the same significance for human psychology as for all other members of the animal kingdom. Human knowledge consists essentially in the constant adaptation of the primordial patterns of ideas that were given us a priori. These need certain modifications because in their original form, they are suited to an archaic mode of life but not to the demands of a specifically differentiated environment. If the flow of instinctive dynamism into our life is to be maintained, as is absolutely necessary for our existence then it is imperative that we should remold these archetypal forms into ideas which are adequate to the challenge of the present.”

It could be said that our instincts are the primordial and ancestral archetypes personified as Gods and Goddesses, making the collective unconscious of our Folk the Pan-Aryan pantheon. Instincts have their origin in necessity and survival, though over time become second nature to subsequent generations. This familiarization ultimately leads to the elevation of those qualities and characteristics deemed good and worthy, perpetuated and reinforced through habituation, and deification of individuals who seemingly embody these aspects or instincts. In the same way that different periods of time necessitate varying degrees or modes of survival, so too do the deities of that particular period represent that need and the contemporary psyche of that people. Religion itself is relevant only to the context of time, appropriate to specific intervals from which it held significance. Spirituality is the nourishing of the spirit by means of necessity, implying that spiritual nourishment does and must change to fit the needs of the time, thus instincts, like spirituality, lose their inherent value when removed from their historical and cultural context without proper understanding of modern application.

An example of this is Odhinn, whose very name signifies “Sovereign Self” and in whom we find the ultimate expression and realization of supraconsciousness, or Godhead. The pursuit of knowledge and wisdom has always been an instinct inherent in our Folk since the dawn of consciousness and Odhinn represents the purest manifestation of this. At the same time most of which was considered mysterious or worthy of pursuing an understanding of during the heyday of Odhinic worship proper has become second nature to the Heathen of today, leading to claims of Odhinism being outdated or antiquated. While this may be true to some extent, to a larger degree Odhinn and Odhinism embody the Timeless Truths of Arya and in at least one regard the very instinct our Folk cherish so highly in the pursuit of wisdom at any cost. This is an archetype as instinct and can be found strewn across the European landscape.

By the same token many attempts at correlating deities whose similarities seem to speak to their being synonymous or one and the same fail due in large part to the separation of time and geography for no matter how alike they may be, evolving apart from one another distinguishes them. Take for example Odhinn, Zeus, Lugh and Jupiter: in the extant mythologies they are all very much alike, though they also have a number of distinct differences, leading many to the conclusion that each is unrelated to the other. In reality all  have their origin in the instincts of our Folk accounting for their commonalities, though the distinctions can be attributed to era and locale – they reflect the period and place they were popularized in and at the same time attest to the very spirit of our Folk by demonstrating the power of the archetype (or instinct) present in the collective unconscious to continually manifest itself.

With that in mind however it must be noted that as Carl Jung has made abundantly clear these archetypes are unique to a particular people and comparisons beyond the philogenesis will meet with failure and futility for the most part. Though Thor is a God and Herakles a hero, their similarities are unmistakable, but nobody could compare either to a Zulu warrior or Bantu deity for the very essence of European and African spirits are distinct, separate, and unique unto themselves, as they should be. The archetype is most certainly specific to a group as most things of an unconscious instinctual nature are. Therefore instincts can be said to be the very philogenesis of a people, particular to them and define them through the evolution of the archetype(s) and to which their spiritual systems are a manifestation.

The spirit of a people is quantifiable according to the degree of energy each element expresses and expends. As with the three components comprising the spirit itself, there are likewise three types that individuals and groups alike may be separated into corresponding to the various degrees of instinct, intellect, and emotion demonstrated in their personal and collective cultures, traditions, and practices.

Type A: Emotives are those who live according to their instincts with an emphasis on emotional expression such as singing, dancing, sexual license, etc. living in the moment, enjoying the here and now with little regard for tomorrow and place marginal importance on intellectual ideals or laying the framework for the future by undertaking such endeavors as building civilizations, lasting governments and societies, or devising firm philosophical systems.

Type B: Cognitives are in contradistinction to the first type as they follow their instincts in relation to intellectual pursuits, placing a high regard on intelligence and increasing mental acuity in addition to that which generally stems from such activities, though often at the cost of emotional numbness. This type, while building advanced machinery, great philosophical schools, technology, etc. often lack simple feeling, rarely demonstrating emotion in common ways such as music, poetry, humor, dance, et. al.

Type C: Equimotives seem to have the most balanced approach to life as they utilize the instincts, intellect, and emotion equally and are almost always among the minority for their sheer spiritual outlook is rare among the worlds population. These Folk have produced some of the greatest intellects, whose genius has manifested in the sciences, philosophy, technological advancement, etc. as well as art, music, poetry, plays, et. al. while maintaining their inherent and instinctual nature.

All of these types can be observed on both an individual as well as collective basis. The archetype is the initial pattern, the form from which later foundations are laid. With the distinctions of sociobiological differences among the peoples of the world comes an archetypal understanding of these various groups, all readily apparent in the individual and communal instincts, the personal and collective unconscious.

It should also be noted that it is not the representation that is inherited but the instinct to give a particular archetype life.  It is only through a conscious effort (even imaginative) that the archetype takes on a definite physical or material form. The true nature of the archetype however, like the instincts themselves are incapable of becoming conscious nor of finding realization in the individual intellect for the mere act itself is one of enlightenment and transcends the mundane in achieving awareness.

The Self is an archetype and it is to the degree that each individual realizes their inherent divinity (or lack thereof) and imposes their will upon the world (or not) that determines their place in the philogenesis. The importance of self-realization cannot be overstated as it is the underlying core principal of every elder Pan-Aryan philosophical and spiritual system from the Sanskrit atman and Germanic athem, to the Old Norse Odh, whose realization are identical to Brahman and Odhinn respectively.

The means by which each of us express our spirituality is through our personal Self or Ego, as our spiritual essence strives to realize itself in physical reality, to be known and gain recognition, thus manifesting as will to power. Spirituality is first developed through recognition of the divine, contemplation of the mysteries, questioning the deeper aspects of life itself and actively striving for answers. Due to the complexity of the spirit and its lack of physical or visible representation spirituality has traditionally found life through myth, metaphor, symbol, lore, legend, analogy, and parable in an attempt to explain, understand, or communicate meaning and substance. In this way we emit spiritual energy by allowing ourselves to remain open to the divine while nourishing the spirit through natural means and methods.

A uniquely relevant motif of European spirituality is the sacred quality of acquiring a good reputation or worthing oneself through great deeds and actions. This is in contrast to the world-renouncers who declaim individuality, calling for the destruction of the Ego as the only means by which one may attain absorption into the universal or all encompassing “one”. Instead, as a Folk we have traditionally sought to balance the individual Ego with the instincts of the collective unconscious and reflect this harmony of the spirit in the physical world. To be complete the spirit must maintain a balance between the Ego and philogenesis and this is essentially accomplished through custom, culture, tradition, ritual practice, etc.

Initially the spirit operates on a purely survival mode of existence as the Ego is yet undeveloped, depending almost solely upon instinct for guidance. Our consciousness (in this case Ego) is barely aware of itself, like a newborn babe who first opens his eyes, likely curious about where he is and how he arrived there. In this we find the “child-like wonder” that recognizes the divinity in all things for all things are a mystery to be unraveled. It is easy to imagine our most distant ancestors witnessing lightning strike suddenly for the first time and seeing in it a divine act.  Over time and through understanding nature and her laws Folk began to lose that original sense of wonder and in so doing true spirituality became religious, profane rather than divine.

The innocence of the spirit before it is corrupted by the “real world” is what modern man lacks. This consciousness, like the child himself is similar to raw clay, in need of molding and form. It is this purity which Odhinism proposes to preserve and maintain, allowing the spirit to properly grow and thrive in an environment conducive to cultural and traditional European spirituality, one from which Godhead may be attained. Without appropriate nurturing the Ego will become selfish and self-centered misconstruing the survival instinct to mean “me, my, mine”, separating itself from the communal conscious completely and building a center of egotistical individuality indifferent to their own inherent instincts, let alone those of others.

The importance of instincts is revealed the day we’re born. The desire to survive and the newborn babes’ persistence to do so stem from a spontaneous instinct to continue to exist. The child quickly learns what needs to be done to receive physical care, nourishment, etc. and though helpless, a baby must rely exclusively on instincts merely to get a foothold on life, let alone have a chance at living it. As the child grows his Ego begins to develop according to both his nature and nurture and this period determines who and what he will become. If one wants to reinforce the instinctual predispositions and cultural practices their Folk hold in high regard they will rear their children in an environment conducive to such desires. If on the other hand one does not care enough to raise their children properly, carefully nurturing them appropriately or worse find themselves enamored with an alien philosophy then these young Folk will struggle internally as well as externally to find an identity, let alone a spirituality that nourishes their nature. Instead they will adopt the empty existence of environmental influences exclusively, neglecting the internal nourishment necessary for spiritual survival.

Whenever an importance is placed on striving for supremacy over nature, be it mans attempt to control the forces of the physical world or pushing aside the indwelling, the individual is shackled to succeed by suppressing instinct, for the collective unconscious then becomes a distraction from which nature cannot be mastered. The phylogenetic cocoon of inherent instincts allows the Self to develop properly, to metamorphose into a spiritual being, eventually expressing the Ego as Sovereign Self provided the individual does not disconnect themselves from the collective unconscious completely.

We all like to convince ourselves that we are somehow above other animals, that we are ‘civilized’ or superior to them in some way and perhaps there was a time that we were, when Tradition was contemporary throughout the tribes of our Folk, though now there is much to be learned from the natural world. If animals are considered simple because they must rely on their collective instinct solely for guidance then where does that leave modern man, dependant upon individuality to dictate his direction; Ego, material gain, and personal desires the only motivating factors most even consider? At least animals stay true to their species, never abandoning their inherent nature for individual gain, whereas we are destroying ourselves with the very thing that separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom – the intellect and emotion as Ego that allows for the will to power.

It is the collective spirit as instinct, intellect, and emotion more than anything else that separates man from the rest of the animal kingdom, in that “wild” animals have a limited capacity to think and act for themselves beyond the boundaries of the communal construct, thus are dependant on instinct almost exclusively for survival. Modern man is the exact opposite in most regards for in their attempt to elevate their individual ego to prominence most have severed all ties to their respective phylogenetic instincts, relying instead on individuality to guide and define their lives with little to no regard for kith and kin, let alone ones community or Folk as a whole. This creates a spiritual imbalance which ultimately is reflected in the societies these individuals inhabit and can be seen most notably in the overall decline of western civilization during the reign of monotheism.

There has been a long-standing debate over which is more important or has a greater impact on ones development: DNA or environment. This is commonly referred to as Nature vs. Nurture, for good reason and while neither side has as yet been able to present an unimpeachable argument it is becoming more readily apparent that the essence has the edge on the elements or so the evidence of sociobiology would seem to show.

Nurture can be defined as the sociological factors which influence or determine ones development, personality, worldviews, cultural attitude and outlook, though it should be noted that there are two distinct types of culture that shape an individual identity: inherent and social. The first is hereditary, passed down from one generation to the next through the genetic memory, while the second are learned behaviors one adapts throughout their lifetime for interaction with others. These latter are effectively influenced exclusively by environment and comprise the sensory input from a variety of sources including entertainment, public and private gatherings or activities, associations etc. among a myriad of other interactions in social settings. In essence then nurture encompasses all outside influences, from family and friends to society at large, everything one sees or is taught to the experiences that mold each individual – all of which impacts us on a conscious and even subconscious level and serves as development of Ego.

Nature on the other hand is that unchangeable aspect of the spirit that marks a person as unique, divine, or part of a greater whole, the evolution of which depends upon embracing that nature in a manner consistent with its growth and natural development.

It may be wondered then how all of this relates to true European spirituality or more specifically the Path of Odh and in order to understand the significance of our inherent divinity it is necessary to first examine and comprehend what are commonly referred to as the “creation” stanzas of Voluspa.

Old Norse

Authors Translation

unz thriar kuamu

or thui lidhi

oflgir ok astkir

Aesir at husi

fundu a landi

litt megandi

Ask ok Embla


önd thau ne attu

Odh thau ne hofdhu

la ne laeti

ne litu godha

önd gaf Odhinn

Odh gaf Hoenir

lá gaf Lodhurr

ok litu godha

Until three came

of those gathered

mighty and kind

Aesir at home

found on land

seeming to lack megin

Ask and Embla

without Ørlag

their race had not vitality

their head had not Odh

blood nor disposition

nor godlike appearance

vitality gave Sovereign Self

Odh gave Invoker

blood gave Fire Generating

and godlike appearance





Category: Lore & Ritual

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