by Gothi Arinbjorn OR
When the shaman awoke, he called to the men and women of his tribe, roused them from sleep, and when they had gathered, he danced and sang his dream. His people sat enthralled and when he had finished, they asked what the dance was called. CHANGE! was his answer.
The above is a paraphrasing from The Circle of Ostara’s Odinic Mythology taken from the Myth of the Dawn Time.
We can read in our myths and tales that after the first of us were carved on that ancient beach by the skilled hands of Odin, Hoenir and Lodur, our people multiplied, but lacked some of the higher senses that we today know. Soon the Gods sent Heimdall among us to teach us how to worship and sacrifice, how to count the years and seasons, how to live and love, fight and conquer. With Rig’s teachings we moved from a child-like existence to that of true Mankind- the Asmegin or God-Makers.
We lived in accordance to Mundelfore’s rhythms; we felt the flow of time and its cycles within our blood. We were ‘tuned-in’ to our world and our Wyrd. And the only constant to be known then was CHANGE.
But then a mist came in from the south, a fog that spoke of stability, of time and space immaterial, of eternity. The lowly heard speeches of never-ending peace and the removal of hardship, the high-born kings were told of eternal power. Those who carried the black mist told of a time without time, of a place far beyond where everything and nothing existed… and by force of arms, gold or law, all were forced to breathe deeply of the black mist until no one knew the difference.
Thus has the world continued.
But then some of our people opened their eyes. They saw that others struggled against the mist and sought out higher ground, and once free from it they again saw the world as our ancestors did. But we have breathed of the mist for so long that it has almost become a part of us. It has infused our world and our minds with its falseness and blindness, and like any addictive and harmful substance, we will feel its effects long after we have halted its ingestion.
There is much to the mist that poisons our folk; its design (as I see it can be of no natural form) is manifold and sinister.
I wish to focus on one aspect of this foulness, one that affects me on a personal level despite my best efforts at times.
In his book, The Well and The Tree, Paul C. Bauschatz describes the differences between the “Germanic” (which we can expand to Indo-European) reckoning of Time and Space and that of the Semitic people. In short, the I-E people see time like a river, constantly flowing, but yet fluid enough to have varied speeds and depths, and always relative to Space. Time flows differently in the Blessed Realms of Asgard and the glittering fields of Hel or even beyond the Na-Gates of Nifl-Hel. How numerous are the stories of those who venture forth into the mythical realms for what seems like an hour, or an evening, or a day, only to return to Midgard and find years have passed? Yet one thing remains constant, and that is that Time moves forward. The Gods will wither without the Golden Apples of Idunn and Ragnarok creeps ever closer… Urd and her servant-sisters see that time as decreed by Orlog moves forward and few are those that see past this flow, either up or downstream.
In Semitic Myth, Heaven or more appropriately the reality AFTER this world ends, is devoid of both Time AND Space. The Messianic Time, when Yahweh would return, would be marked by the cessation of all time. Time would simply no longer exist- this is the true definition of Semitic “Eternity”- and the Space this world occupies, as being neither important or necessary to Yahweh, would blink out of existence.
So, where does that leave us today?
Our world is moving faster and faster towards singularity. Technological improvements (I will not say advancements as true invention is rare) come faster and faster with the “New and Improved” always over the horizon. While at the same time we seem to be seeking stasis within our world environment and political spheres. Our desire to hold onto the Past for fear of what the Future may bring has lead us to hold tight and venerate time periods long since passed as “better”, or “simpler” (1950’s pin-up style and diners, renaissance fairs or Viking enactors). We seek to artificially preserve the “natural” beauty of places like Niagara Falls (though I do appreciate the irony in that). Our governments spend millions of dollars protecting species and subspecies of animals (for now, we will ignore the more dubious uses of the EPA) that, given to Time’s natural flow, may just lack the adaptability to survive anyway (I am not saying that endangered species should not be protected from human interference, but a balance must be struck between halting evolution and the natural way of things). All the while they fund companies that produce GMO crops with accelerated growth cycles.
We use chemicals on our faces to fight wrinkles, dyes to cover grays, surgery to cut the weights and chains Ellie (Giantess of Old Age- even Thor could not beat her, yet Oil of Olay will!) hangs from our more fleshy parts… All in an attempt to stay the hands of time.
Many reading this will have hopefully read Orwell’s 1984. In it, one of the simplest and profound tools used by the Party to control the masses is the erasure of time and history. The War that rages just beyond anyone’s senses, save the odd explosion or plane overhead, has been going on since anyone can remember. Only a few “remember” in half-dream reflections a time before the war, but no one knows how long that has been. There are other “benefits” to a state of constant war illustrated in 1984 but we will leave it at this for it could be said that our own world is heading in this direction, and has been for a long time! Since 1776, the US has only seen 21 calendar years without war; the longest time without war was the isolationist period during the Great Depression (1935-40).
These and other factors are moving us toward a point where time will no longer matter. The media to which we are all subjected to, in large or small part, stretches out the traumatic, damaging events of our world while abbreviating the good or informative, again, always looking towards the “next”. We have super-cities that “never sleep”, 24 hour TV and 24/7 businesses, daylight savings time…
Sure, there are conveniences to this, but at what cost to the natural rhythms of life? Where are the Rights of Passage? Where is the coming together of the home and family when you can get a burger in 30 seconds on the way to the babysitter?
Personally, I have gone weeks without knowing what day of the week it was, let alone the date. I would (and still do) judge time in relation to artificial constructs; I will have the day after tomorrow off because I have worked the previous three… I have today off so tomorrow I do my volunteering… And all of this works until I insert an actual deadline like a bill, a blot or even moot planning… That “Oh %#$@, that’s in three days!” moment becomes all to frequent.
I have also seen in my own life that when my recollection of Time is getting worse, so does my mindset and attitude. This last year was by far not my best and looking back as I climb out of the haze of depression I see Cause and Symptom cycled with each other and Time was usually the axis upon which they turned. The last 18 months or so are a blur in my head. I can pick out events and points, but putting them in relation can be difficult because wrapped in one of the forms of that black mist I had forgotten Time.
I now look out into my world and see the effects of this loss in those around me. Without Time we do not know the seasons: how many shoppers would be dismayed with the fruit selection in December if not for global distribution? Without Time we do not know ourselves: How many ADHD or ADD kids could have productive learning experiences if those in charge of them understood their individual rhythms and not had the crutch of chemical quick-fixes? What else in our world could be remedied or “brought back in line” if we only had a clear view of Time and Space within it?
Time IS relative and subjective. When we are with those that we love, it seems that Mundelfore and his Giantesses move all the more faster, while they will slow to a crawl when pain or sorrow have come. But this is how it is to be- we learn to appreciate the fleeting and analyze the arduous. We appreciate the dire colds of winter and excruciating heats of summer in there turn and live accordingly. We seek out companionship, we revel in the cool evenings of spring and all the while- deep in our minds- we feel the Change come.
In the shaman’s dream, he learned of Change, and today that message remains. We must seek change and embrace it for in doing so we evolve. There is not a story or myth in which our gods seek stasis or the cessation of Time or Movement, in fact every one showcases Change and Evolution. From Thor and the Giants to Heimdall and Loki, to Odin the first to take Wyrd into his hands and create his own Change. The winds he sends today echo this and this is why he is sometimes misunderstood as “chaotic” or “destructive”, Change can be as destructive, scary and terrible as Ygg himself but without it we would still be logs drifting the ocean.
I will end this with a quote from Chris Claremont’s Wolverine (I know, an odd source, but the Folk Soul resonates where it will) that I have carried for years, and often kick myself for forgetting when needed:
The key isn’t winning or losing, it’s making the attempt. I may never be what I ought to be, want to be — but how will I know unless I try? Sure it’s scary, but what’s the alternative? Stagnation– a safer, more terrible form of death, not of the body, but of the spirit. An animal knows what it is and accepts it. A man may know what he is — but he questions. He dreams. He strives. Changes. Grows.
Hail the High Gods
Hail the Keepers of Order
Hail the Winds of Change
Hail the New Awakening
Sources and Inspiration:
Odinic Mythology part 1– The Circle of Ostara
The Well and the Tree: World and Time in Early Germanic Culture – Paul C. Bauschatz
The Power of Myth – Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers
Wolverine – C. Claremont and F. Miller
Teutonic Mythology – Viktor Rydberg
Category: OR and Odinism