And a Time For Grieving…

Posted: March 8, 2017 by Bill Maxwell in Los Angeles, Personal

I have it marked in my calendar, right or wrong, that today is the birthday of my friend, the one who died 7 months ago.

I’ve lit a candle, sage, prayed, thought, and as my heart breaks up again, I can only hope that she has found peace and traveled to where she needed to go next.

Love you, C. Safe journeys now & forever.

A little family history

Posted: March 7, 2017 by Bill Maxwell in Personal, Theology
Tags: , , , ,

I am the son of Pol ap Finnis of the western shores. I serve at the feet of the mad Dreamer poet, the trickster who here is a Doctor and the Hunter. My mother’s mother was a Northman’s dottr. My family has traced that line all the way back to the travelers who came to Vinland. Most people call us raiders but history shows that, like the Celts to the south, we traded. Our landscape was fierce and we cultivated a fierce reputation but we also held great respect for the world.

We ever had a term describing when we were stealing things, NOT trading, and that was ‘viking’.

The process of fully taking in a part of another type of knowledge requires sacrifice and the All-Father knew this. He showed us by example. The same applies to other cultures. We can’t go a-viking on them and call it an honest haul. We have to sacrifice and in this case, we are blessed that some of the descendants of those that our ancestors met and traded with and fought with so long ago are still alive. It’s our duty as shield maidens and shield men to step up to the oldest of bonds, to the ones that were made BEFORE civilization came in and annihilated our ways, preserving our stories only as fun tales and ‘myths’.

It requires renewing relationships. It requires overcoming righteous suspicion and making amends for wrongs that are -not- our own. But we’re a fierce folk. We always have been.

And it’s always tempting to see the land as similar to our own. It’s a way to connect. But it’s -not- -our- land. To simply think it is is the cowards’ way and not ours. Love it, because it’s beautiful, and because our ancestors loved it. Protect it because we bonded with the people who were here so long ago it’s barely an echo.

Might be nuts

Posted: February 25, 2017 by Bill Maxwell in Personal

Ever have a day where you no longer feel like a branch of your family, but instead like a nut that’s fallen from the tree and is growing somewhere near the roots?

A Day in the Life of Midgard

Posted: February 24, 2017 by Bill Maxwell in Magick, Mythic Ecology, Philosophy, Theology
Tags: , , , , ,

I’m in one of those thoughtful moods this morning.

Loki, son and heir to the line of Ymir, first power in the universe and the substance, was known as the god who shakes things up, the trickster.

One of his children was an apology to Odin for messing things up (long story short: he impulsively took a bad wager, almost lost everything for the gods and managed to fix things by getting a magic horse laid. Funny story). Loki gave Odin the ability to travel through the universe at top speeds, which likely enabled some of Odin’s greatest deeds (like discovering a universal language / writing).

Loki’s more infamous children are the Great Wolf, the World Serpent and the One who Watches the Dead. They’re the ones I’m thinking about.

His sons: Fenris, the threat to Asgard, who represented heavenly wrath and anger and righteous fury gone awry, only able to be stopped (temporarily) by sacrifice and the power of dreams. Later, only the master of poets could defeat him, but at the cost of the death of words.

Jormungandr, who represented the dangers of the material world. Consumption so profound that it spanned the world and could not be stopped. A monster familiar to those fighting the “black snake” in North Dakota today (sideline). Unlike Fenris, they couldn’t figure out a way to contain it so they ignored it. Only the power of the storm ultimately overcame it.
Then there’s the daughter. Never fully born. Half dead. Hel, in charge of those who lived half-a-life, who never fully embraced their spirit, their own individual fates. She took care of their anger at being judged, at wasting their time in the Middle World. She contained their memories and desires to be made whole. And when the time came, she released them to work their own kind of judgement on the world. She was never overcome. Then again, she was the gatekeeper.

In the wake of Loki’s critique of Odin’s world made flesh, the carefully constructed balance was shattered and then re-born. Another chance given. I’d like to think somewhere, the trickster loves the new world, out of his control, and those of Asgard, and has reconciled with his adopted father, still reeling from being eaten by a wolf.

I was talking with the kids a minute ago and reflecting on how Ymir had to die, for time and the universe to start. But that was also a horrible tragedy. Odin, whose name basically means “mad poet”, won by tricking Ymir into death, by naming Ymir out of existence. Ymir’s sons reflected Ymir’s power but only Loki, Ymir’s grandson, reflected Ymir’s death. He was in the form of Odin.

And in that form, he both honored his grandfather, avenging Ymir’s death, and his adopted father, by setting the stage for a different world from the last.

He’s the villain in the story because the skalds recognized that you can’t -encourage- that behavior because it will lead to disaster 9 times out of 10. But I think they preserved it, hidden there, for us to find it when we looked.

Wait… how powerful is writing?!?

Posted: February 15, 2017 by Bill Maxwell in Magick, Mythic Ecology, Philosophy

I’ve been pondering magic a bit at the moment and what fascinates me is the astonishing gap between ourselves and what our ancestors experienced. We can, with just a few squiggles and lines cause a hallucinatory explosion of emotional reactions. For example, which causes a greater feeling of fear:

The picture?

Oh look. A tiger!

or this:

Under 21 U.S.C.A. § 8821(a)(6), your assets, in full, are to be seized and placed under federal custody, to be remitted solely at the discretion of the courts. You are to be removed for these premises and placed into custody immediately.