Freyr’s Path: Nobility

Nobility is a reserve of inner strength – a type of character strength that not everyone develops. Ancient cultures used to assume that nobility meant being born to a certain bloodline. In modern times, we view that type of nobility as outdated and antiquated. But is it? Were the ancients wrong about nobility being a blood-right?

I’m talking about nobility today because Freyr’s path is a noble path. Yes, he is associated with fertility and considered a very lustful god in some ways, but that isn’t the aspect of Him that I wish to talk about – enough people have done that. What I find interesting about Freyr’s path is the raw inner strength it requires to walk and the noble grace that is required.

When I say raw inner strength, I am talking about mental strength. Physical strength may also be present, but mental strength is the biggest component of a person’s noble character traits. When I say mental strength, I mean a combination of intellectual and emotional strength. To act nobly, we must be able to be smart about our emotional reactions.

If someone threatens my family, then I will react to that threat. That doesn’t mean jumping straight into a fistfight. If the threat is just a threat that hasn’t escalated to actual violence, then jumping into a physical fight isn’t going to do any good. Instead, I have found it’s better to assess the situation. Has the person threatened my family as a joke or is the threat a serious one? If it’s a serious one, have I done something to provoke the threat? If not, why is there a threat being issued at all? What is the mental stability of the person issuing the threat?

In each case, there are a lot of questions that need to be asked before action is taken because the answers to those questions tell me which action to take. Acting with nobility doesn’t mean seeing a snake in the grass and then leaping to kill it immediately. It’s seeing a snake in the grass and asking, “Does this snake actually mean me harm?” Sometimes, the answer is yes. Other times, the answer is no. Even if the answer is yes, direction action is not always the best action.

Freyr is a political genius. He maneuvers the other Gods with a grace that even Loki admires, and that says a lot, considering how much disregard Loki holds for a great deal of the Gods. Freyr makes alliances – he is the Lord of Alfheim, despite not being an elf himself. That, in and of itself, speaks a great deal to me about his strength of character. Someone who is able to go into a realm and become the Lord of the Elves despite not being an elf Himself – well, that’s impressive.

To do something like that requires an incredible amount of political maneuvering, something that used to be done by the nobility of the ancient cultures. They navigated the world by striking bargains and forging alliances. Imagine our political system free of corruption and that is what nobility should be. Informed politicians making educated decisions instead of conforming to popular opinion.

In ancient cultures, nobles weren’t voted into power – they were granted power by their kings. There was no fear of losing the power, as kings didn’t grant nobility to every family who wished for it. I’m not saying no corruption existed there, but I am saying that the corruption was much less then than it is now. Because then you had one king serving his self-interests and granting nobility to those who would support him. Now, we have two parties full of individuals serving self-interests with no true central figurehead, all concerned with popular opinion and what they have to do to stay in power. There’s a huge contrast.

I suppose the best way to put this is that Freyr’s path represents what nobility could be if it were untarnished by corruption. Freyr shows how a lord should behave with his vassals, valuing every insight given and judging every option carefully before making decisions that impact his kingdom. He is a lordly ruler, which makes since, considering his name means Lord.

Some people think about nobility as the stuffy old English guys with handkerchiefs in their back pockets, interested only in the time it takes them to get away from business. But that isn’t how I view nobility. Not only because Freyr is such a shining example of true nobility but also due to my own family history.

On my mother’s side, I am tied to Scotland and a member of the Clan McGregor. The McGregor motto translates from Gaelic as “Royal is my race.” Originally, the McGregors were one of 8 noble lines in Scotland with ties to royalty. I remember my mother telling me that we were of royal blood when I was a small child, and that in the first few seconds when someone of royal blood bled, the blood was purple instead of red. That is obviously 100% false but it was still an amusing tale. But no, I did not go around cutting myself to discover if my mother was lying to me.

Anyway, to get back on topic, it is generally said that there is no actual proof that one’s blood makes them royal. That no one is born to rule. I used to agree with that, but lately, I’ve started to wonder if that’s just a product of the modern age. We are all pretty vehemently against being seen as inferior to anyone else, so any worldview that suggests the opposite tends to be shot down fairly violently.

Royalty in countries with monarchies is a blood right. You are either born into royalty or you aren’t. It has nothing to do with wealth – there have been incredibly poor kings and queens in the history of the world. Doesn’t mean they were any less royal. Logic decrees that royalty must be based on blood-rights.

Most people also don’t think of blood as being all that important. Old family feuds are disregarded because “we don’t do that anymore.” And yet, when I was a child, I went to school with a Campbell. Before I even knew about the violent feud between the McGregors and Campbells – before I even knew that I was descended from the McGregors – I hated him. He hated me. We had an incredibly strong mutual hatred for the other.

By the time I reached high school, I knew about the McGregors feud with the Campbells, so I did what I could to avoid him. One day, however, completely out of nowhere, he came up to with a soda in his hand and threw it at me. I slapped him. Then I walked away before it could escalate. So, I have had personal experience with my bloodline tying me into a blood-feud that I certainly didn’t start. They are called blood-feuds for a reason – they transcend generations and the knowledge of their existence doesn’t matter. I don’t know too much about the logistics of blood-feuds and how they end, but I know they are never settled peacefully. I still get angry thinking about him, and I am generally a rational person. If it had been anyone but him who threw the soda at me, I could have laughed it off as a joke. That’s what I mean – blood-feuds make you irrational.

So, if blood-feuds are real, then it isn’t a hard stretch to imagine that blood-rights for nobility are real as well. My family line has been traced back to ancient kings of Scotland, so I know that I am descended from a noble line. In my immediate family, I grew up poor, but I never experienced the “trailer park” world that is a common story amongst many impoverished families. Instead, I was taught to behave properly. My mother insisted on proper etiquette, and I still find it disquieting when I am in public and someone does something crass. Formality matters to me in a way that it doesn’t matter to others, and I’m keenly aware of it. I’m also aware of how obnoxious it can make me seem, so I do my best to tone it down when I’m around people who don’t appreciate it. Adapting to social situations is a political maneuver as much as forging alliances or making bargains, so it fits within Freyr’s realm.

Talking about this raises a lot of controversial topics that most people prefer to shy away from, but I don’t think that is a good way to represent Freyr. He doesn’t shy away from difficult situations or controversial topics, so I won’t either. I think that Freyr’s path may be one of the hardest ones to walk because it involves understanding many perspectives and then deciding on what is good for the whole rather than for each individual, and the good of the whole must matter more. Understanding priorities is a big theme with Him, and I think the “whole vs. individual” thing is best understood by thinking of it in a family context. When parents make decisions, they try to do what’s best for their children (assuming good parenting skills) even if those decisions anger the child. Nobility, in my mind, is the same concept applied on a much broader scale.

Loki and Limits

I don’t think I’ve ever explained why I feel so drawn to Loki, aside from the fact that he’s a lot of fun, of course. The first time I really felt drawn to him was the first time I read the Lokasenna (a.k.a. Lokabrenna). Sure, he’s crashing a party and insulting everyone, but the reason he’s crashing the party is because he didn’t receive an invite – an insult of its own. I can’t really blame him for taking offense. But in the Lokasenna, Loki wields the truth as his weapon and gets accused of being a liar. I think this is mostly because Gods and humans alike don’t like having their dirty laundry aired in public – Loki has no qualms about airing it for them.

The draw though, was that he was telling the truth and being called a liar. That is something that I can relate to incredibly well, and I have a few memorable stories to illustrate that fact. When I was young – around 9 or 10, me and my sister were horsing around, and she kicked a ceiling tile loose above the top bunk of our bunk bed. I was honest with my mother, but my sister had lied and said I did it, and then I ended up getting in trouble for lying.

As a child, I used to sprain my ankle a lot, but I’ve never been one that cries when I’m in pain. I used to get called a liar a lot for that. Just to illustrate my level of pain tolerance – I have two metal rods in my right leg from a car accident from ~ten years ago. I was told that I screamed when I got pulled out of the vehicle, but I didn’t cry at all. I did go into shock (thus the not remembering the screaming).

The worst experience I had with being called a liar – I was 22 (about 6 years ago now), and I had gallstones. One night, I was in terrible pain, and I took two Vicodin (then prescribed for the metal rods in my leg) hoping they would help. They didn’t. I sat up all night, unable to sleep. In the morning, when my roommate woke up, I asked her to take me to the hospital. She refused, and it was fairly clear that she didn’t believe I was in as much pain as I said I was. I gave up trying to get her to take me, and I drove myself to the hospital. When I got there, the doctor who saw me rushed me into surgery right away – I had to have my gallbladder removed.

So, I have had quite a few experiences in life where I’ve been accused of lying even when I’ve told the truth. To say I never lie would, of course, be a lie, but I don’t go out of my way to lie. For the most part, I am honest. I’m not even a fan of white lies. Luckily, I’m not often asked for fashion advice, so I don’t have to worry about the “Do I look fat in this?” type of questions. Plus, people generally don’t ask those types of questions anyway.

So, I found myself drawn to Loki because I felt we both had experiences with telling the truth yet being called a liar, and we kind of instantly clicked. I mean, he likes to “steal” my socks (he always gives them back), and that’s not something that anyone but a friend would do. That doesn’t mean Loki lets me get away with lying to myself, though – I think he detests self-deceit more than the other Gods do.

What I find kind of ironic, however, is that I have a natural dislike of boundaries. I hate being told what I can and cannot do. Usually, if someone tells me I can’t do something, I find myself wanting to prove them wrong. That has gotten me into trouble over the years, but it has also gotten me out of some tight spots. The ironic part of this is that I am very good at designing boundaries. I can set rules and create systems that work astonishingly well because I am very, very good at finding the loopholes. Granted, I have trouble making myself abide by the systems that I create, but I have seen first-hand how effective they are with other people (I ran a guild on World of Warcraft for awhile, and I am currently the President of the Global Students Club at my school).

In this way, I feel that I emulate Loki. Because Loki doesn’t have a problem with rules – he just doesn’t obey them. In fact, I think the slogan “Rules were made to be broken” may have originally been a Lokean saying. There are some areas, though, where even Loki won’t break the rules. Except I think that it’s more that he doesn’t see a need to break the rules in those areas than a desire to abide by them. I have areas like that too – I will abide by certain rules until I see a need to break them. Or until the rules start to feel stifling.

I think it’s because of how similar our temperaments are, in some respects, that I find it much easier to relate to Loki than I do some of the other Gods. Loki is also much more actively involved in the human realm – I think he enjoys the human world.

Anyway, that’s my take on Loki, telling the truth, and the irony of limits. I hope I didn’t ramble too much and that all of this made sense! If it didn’t, let me know, and I will be more than willing to clarify.

Trading with Tyr

I feel that the relationships I have with all the Gods are interesting, but I have to admit that my experience with Tyr today was fairly intriguing. Usually when one of the Gods wants something from me, I get a feeling about what offering they would like. Loki likes sweets. Odin seems fairly impartial, but he does like an occasional drink. Freyja likes candles. In any case, all of the Gods like different things. When one of the Gods wants something from me, I try to acquiesce with their desires.

Today was the first time Tyr really asked me for anything. As I was leaving school today, I got this sense that Tyr really wanted me to stop at the Mexican restaurant where one of my friends works. He wanted Mexican food, so I went in and sat down. My friend was working and she came up to me and asked what I wanted. I had no idea what Tyr wanted, so I decided to leave it up to Him by telling my friend to order whatever she thought was best. I ended up with a chicken chimicanga with rice and guacamole salad. Tyr didn’t want the chimichanga, but He did want the rice and salad along with the tortilla chips that come as an appetizer.

As I ate my portion of the meal, my friend came and sat with me and asked me if I would go by Wal-Mart and get her some queso fresco because she hadn’t eaten all day and she really wanted some queso fresco. I told her I would, and she said that she would give me the chimichanga meal in return. When she asked me, I wasn’t expecting a trade of any sort – she suggested it, and I realized that Tyr was making His presence felt through the trade. Finding a balance is what He does best, after all.

So I finished eating and boxed up what Tyr wanted to bring Him as an offering when I got home, then went to Wal-Mart and bought my friend her queso fresco. When I got home, I found a tree and laid the food out beside the tree, then covered it with the leaves that surrounded it. That is how I normally leave food offerings because I feel it honors both the Gods and the land spirits where I live when I do so. Tyr was happy with that, so I felt fulfilled. I don’t know about other people, but when I leave offerings that are accepted, I get this sense of what is almost bliss.

Anyway, I started thinking about what I had to go through in order to obtain Tyr’s food, and I think that part of the offering itself was the trade that was enacted between me and my friend. I do find it interesting, though, that Tyr wanted Mexican food but didn’t just ask me to pick Him something up the way the other Gods might. It makes me wonder if all of the offerings I end up giving Him are going to be preceded by some sort of barter like the one that occurred between me and my friend. I’m okay with the answer to that question being yes because the experience was another one confirming the very real presence of the Gods in my life, and I count all such experiences as blessings.

Sigyn in Runes

Sigyn is one of the goddesses that gets some of the least love in the lore we have, but I found myself drawn to her for the role she played when Loki was bound. While everyone else deserted him, she stayed and suffered with him. Sigyn did everything she could to ease his pain, catching the venom in the bowl until the bowl could no longer hold it.

Others have said that Sigyn was cruel because she didn’t free Loki from his imprisonment, but she didn’t have the power to free him from the chains of Odin. I’ve never felt that Loki ever held that against her, and I’ve always gotten the impression that he is grateful for the respite she was able to offer him.

In my experience, Sigyn is one of the kindest, warmest goddesses of the pantheon. She’s a quiet homebody, but she has a big heart. And she’s incredibly loyal – who else would have stayed by Loki’s side, watching him suffer through such an ordeal while helpless to do anything about it? And yet, she doesn’t mind the fact that Loki sleeps around. The impression I get is that the reason she doesn’t care is that she knows that she is the woman he always comes back to – after all, she is his wife.

Because there isn’t much lore about Sigyn, it seems appropriate to do a rune reading of her name. The only story we have about her is the story of her role in Loki’s torment after he’s bound, and that doesn’t really say much.

Sigyn’s name breaks down into the follwing runes:

Sowilo, Isa, Gebo, Jera, Nauthiz

Sowilo is the rune of the sun, of success, and of victory. The sun is a nurturing force, and I’ve always found it interesting that the Sun is a goddess in Norse mythology and a god in other mythologies. In any case, this rune describes Sigyn’s warm, caring nature.

Isa is the rune of ice, or of stillness. In rune work, it usually indicates a time of stagnation, although I personally prefer to look at such periods as times of consistency or stability. From that viewpoint, Sigyn is very consistent in her attitude and manner – a perfect counterbalance to Loki’s chaotic nature.

Gebo is the rune of partnership or gift-giving. Here, Sigyn’s hospitable nature can be seen. As I have said, she is a warm goddess and always welcomes visitors. There’s a serenity to her that the other goddesses don’t have, and I find her presence to be one of the most comforting.

Jera is the rune of harvest, or of plans come to fruition. Perhaps in her original function, Sigyn was a grain goddess, but that’s something we may never know for sure. Too much of her lore has been lost.

Nauthiz is the rune of need or need-fire, which indicates resistance or friction. I think that it is this element in Sigyn that allows her to handle Loki’s inconsistency. He is very different from her, and she from him, but they have learned to work together out of necessity.

As I write this, I realize how much of Sigyn’s lore has been lost, and it saddens me. She is a goddess worth knowing, and yet, she is one that few know at all.

 

Odin in Runes

I’ve been going through “Teutonic Religion” by Kvedulf Gundarsson, as well as “Runelore” by Edred Thorsson, and I came upon an interesting idea. It seems such an obvious thing to do that I almost feel silly that I never thought about doing it before. Gundarrson states that the runes of Wodan’s name shows Odin’s nature, and I found that pretty interesting. Of course, I think to get a full picture of Odin, you’d have to do a runic analysis of every single one of his kennings, and that would be an incredibly difficult feat.

Since I have “Runelore,” I decided to consult it for some more in-depth meanings of the runes because the simple meanings don’t do justice to an analysis. I’m going to stick with “Wodan” rather than “Odin” because I feel that the runes that make up Wodan give a more complete impression of him than the runes for Odin, considering Odin is the English version of his name.

The runes for Wodan are:

Wunjo – Joy

Othala – Inheritance

Dagaz – Dawn

Ansuz – Ase (Odin)

Nauthiz – Need

I’ve provided the simple one-word translation for those who aren’t familiar with the runes. Now, I am going to go more in-depth with each one and explain why those runes explain Odin’s path so succinctly.

Wunjo

Thorsson has quite a bit to say on the subject of the runes, and his interpretation of Wunjo is an intriguing one. What struck me the most about his interpretation of this particular rune was this: “The wunjo marshals diverse but sympathetic forces and/or beings to a common purpose.” Overall, it’s a rune that promotes harmony and peace – an aspect of Odin that few people appreciate. This is the aspect that gives Odin his All-father status. He is a leader of the community, looking for ways to keep his people prospering and healthy. I also find it interesting that Thorsson uses the phrase “sympathetic forces” because Odin rules runework, which is a type of sympathetic magic.

Othala

On Othala, Thorsson has this to say: “Othala describes the essence of the mystery of the ebb and flow between states of order and chaos – the great cosmic state of flux. However, it celebrates the state of balance obtained when forces of consciousness have established their enclosures interacting with the powers of the exterior darkness.” This is obviously a much more metaphysical interpretation of the rune than “inheritance.” It still refers to inheritance because families are enclosed units within larger groups, and the smaller group turns to the larger group while maintaining its independence. Othala, according to Thorrson, indicates a sacred enclosure – a rune that marks sacred sites. I’m still working on wrapping my head around this rune because it is very much a rune that speaks to the deeper aspects of magic. That it deals with magic in any form is enough to give it a strong relation to Odin, but the fact it speaks to the deepest type of magic truly ties it to him. After all, he is known for his working of magic, and is, perhaps, the foremost authority on it (along with Freyja, of course).

Dagaz

Dagaz is an interesting rune because it’s the rune of extremes. While it translates to “dawn,” in runic work, it is often translated as “breakthrough.” This makes sense, if you consider dawn to be the sun breaking through the cover of darkness. According to Thorrson, “Dagaz is the ‘[Odian] Paradox’ – the sudden realization (after concerted conscious effort of the will) that perceived opposites are aspects of a third idea that contains both….This is the simultaneous, bidirectional will that is almost unique to Germanic magical lore.” And here we have another rune that ties Odin to magic. In fact, every rune in his name ties him to magic, so it’s easy to see why he’s considered the god of both inspiration and madness. Extremes can drive people to do crazy things, but Dagaz is a useful rune because it allows the path between extremes to be seen clearly. Dagaz indicates a balance between the creative and destructive forces of the world around us, and Odin works desperately to maintain that balance.

Ansuz

This rune should be pretty self-explanatory, considering it’s the rune of Odin himself. “Ase” means “God,” and specifically refers to Odin. It is also the rune of communication, the rune that links the divine world and the human world. This is where Odin’s ecstasy comes in most clearly. Thorsson’s interpretation is one I like quite a bit. He states, “On a cosmological level, ansuz describes an ecology of energy. It is the medium through which power is received, the receptacle of that power, and the power itself when expressed through the inspired mental state.” In this rune, I can see Odin perhaps the most clearly. If you’ve ever met a person who was incredibly calm but just knew that there was incredible power brimming underneath the surface of that calm – that’s the type of ecology of energy that Thorsson is referring to. Power leashed by the will. In fact, most of the time, when I encounter Odin, he is incredibly calm and collected, but there is a vibe that he is dangerous when provoked.

Nauthiz

Nauthiz, or need, is an interesting rune. When doing runework, it generally indicates a lack of something that is needed, but in magic, need is what calls forth the strongest and most potent forces. This is referred to as need-fire in the rune poems, and we certainly see Odin acting out of need often enough in the myths. He is in need of a solution to Ragnarok, and there is nothing and no one that will stand in his way until he finds the answers he is looking for. This is Odin provoked into action, and he is dangerous when provoked. As an example, one of my friends had a difficult encounter with him. To keep a long story short: My friend’s friend swore an oath to Odin and then broke the oath and banished him from her life, so Odin started showing up on my friend’s doorstep, demanding she do something about it (despite the fact my friend doesn’t follow the Norse gods). In other words, Odin’s will isn’t something that is easy to thwart, and he will find a way to get what he wants. It is in this aspect that Odin is the most dangerous.

I think that this exercise is worth doing for the other gods and goddesses as well, so I may eventually break down all of their names like this. I encourage everyone to do this, as I really feel that going through the runes in this way not only enhances understanding of the runes but also enhances the understanding of the gods themselves.

Tyr’s Path

I’ve talked about Odin’s path and Loki’s path, but they aren’t the only paths I follow. Considering it’s Tuesday, it seems appropriate to discuss Tyr today. Tyr is an interesting god because he’s one of the gods that doesn’t have a lot of surviving lore. The best known story about Tyr is, of course, the role he played in chaining Fenrir and how he lost his arm in the process.

Tyr, who raised Fenrir and was essentially best friends with the wolf, was the god instrumental in chaining Fenrir. I’ve heard a lot of interesting interpretations over the years, most falling into the category of “Fenrir was a danger that needed to be contained,” but there were others along the lines of, “If Fenrir was never chained, he would have never posed a threat.” One assumes that Fenrir was an immediate threat – the other, that Fenrir was turned into a threat. I haven’t really reached a conclusion one way or the other because both sides have merit.

And that’s really where Tyr’s path begins – looking at both sides of an argument. Or, in cases where there are multiple perspectives, viewing the situation from every perspective. In a way, this is a talent that every polytheist has to develop because we’re dealing with multiple deities with vastly different personalities on a daily basis. The only real option is to adapt and learn to deal with it.

Because of that, I try to look at the story of the chaining of Fenrir from Tyr’s perspective. Odin, someone whom he highly respects and trusts to tell him the truth in all matters has told him that Fenrir is a threat. Tyr, viewing Fenrir as one of his best friends (the two were practically inseparable before the chaining), is in turmoil because he knows that Fenrir could pose a threat. But he doesn’t know that for sure. So, at first, he resists the idea. After all, they are best friends, right? Then suppose something happens that makes Tyr start doubting his friend – something unusual in his words or behavior – and Tyr starts to wonder if maybe Odin is right. Tyr’s primary duty is to keep the universe balanced – to maintain order. The Irminsul is his symbol for a reason – he is the scales. If Tyr felt that the universe was in danger of falling out of balance, then his duty has to come before his friendship.

Tyr doesn’t make excuses when he tricks Fenrir into being chained. He doesn’t lament the loss of his arm. In a way, it’s like he knows that he has to make a sacrifice to balance out the terrible fate he is inflicting on his best friend. Sure, the loss of an arm isn’t equivalent to being chained up for eternity (or until Ragnarok – I’m still not sold on the apocalypse, to be frank), but it is a sacrifice. A payment of a debt, perhaps. It’s hard to really figure that all out because there has been so much lore lost.

Moving back to what it’s like to walk Tyr’s path – it’s not easy. I don’t think any of the paths the gods set before us are easy ones to walk, and why should they be? Life is a journey, and journeys are boring if nothing ever goes wrong. We get our best stories from our worst happenstances, ironically enough. And the good and bad have to balance out. That’s where Tyr’s path really comes into play. Walking his path, I’ve learned, is about viewing events from all sides. When something goes wrong in my life, that’s when I need to look for an opportunity to turn it around and make it better. When something goes well in my life, I’ve learned to be thankful and wary – good is necessarily succeeded by bad and vice versa.

I feel, in some ways, that Tyr’s path is really about utilizing your personal luck (hamingja) as best as you can. Some people argue that doing good deeds for the sake of doing good deeds is selfish, but that’s a convoluted statement, and I think that doing good deeds is essential to maintaining positive luck. If it’s selfish behavior, it’s selfish for all the right reasons. Conversely, becoming more aware of the effects that my actions have on others has given me insight into what deeds aren’t considered good ones. I think this varies for everyone, based on your own set of moral standards, and I think that’s okay. We’re all different, we all hold different values, and the gods – considering how varied their own personalities are – surely understand that. After all, I can’t imagine Odin and Loki getting along if they didn’t have a healthy respect for the different approaches to morality taken by the other.

Anyway, I was starting to feel like this was becoming an Odin and Loki blog, and that was never my intention. I haven’t discussed any of the goddesses yet because I have a harder time working with them, due to certain circumstances of my past, but I do walk the paths of Sigyn and Freyja. I’m not quite comfortable with Frigga yet, which goes back to the circumstances I alluded to, but I’m working on it.

I’m curious, though – if any of you walk Tyr’s path, and what your thoughts are on that path.

Why I’m a Polytheist

I’m reminded of a conversation I had a few months ago at my school. I was talking to one of my atheist friends about morality, and a girl joined in from where she had been listening. I could have brushed her off as being rude, but I enthusiastically encouraged her to join the conversation because I like seeing things from multiple perspectives. Considering the subject matter, eventually faith was brought up, and she mentioned that she was Christian, so I told her that I was a polytheist. She started asking me questions, which surprised me. In my experience, most Christians aren’t super open-minded. She said she looked at college as a way to explore new things and get new perspectives on life, and I could accept that as an answer. A lot of the questions she asked centered on what it was like to be a polytheist, but she never actually asked me why I’m a polytheist, although I’m sure the question would have eventually come up.

There are a few reasons that I am a polytheist, the first of which is that I’ve multiple experiences with the gods. Loki steals my socks and shows up in the weirdest places. Odin starts me thinking in rhyme. Tyr reminds me that balance and harmony are important. Sigyn demonstrates loyalty and compassion. Freyja teaches me the deeper esoteric meanings of the runes and reminds me that women are powerful forces. Freyr shows me the delights of the wilderness and how important it is to really enjoy life. The gods and goddesses are all around me, so it’s pretty hard not to be swayed by that.

But there are other reasons. One of which is that we, as a species, are drawn to groups. We’re social beings. We build communities in order to survive. In each community, there are smaller sub-groups, but the community still holds together as one. There is, however, more than one community. We continually divide ourselves into smaller and smaller groups. Multiplicity isn’t just a way of life – it’s the way of life we all live, in some fashion or another. Looked at in that context, polytheism just makes sense.

Also, I have noticed a tendency in the gaming world to pray to the rng gods. This is usually said as a jest or out of desperation, but it’s always phrased to the gods. Always plural. We are drawn to plurality like moths are drawn to bright lights (especially the one in my room. I can’t figure out how they keep getting in my house).

I have also amused myself by comparing the gods to the computer programmers who make MMOs run. I mean, take a game like World of Warcraft. Hundreds of people work on the game in dozens of different departments to make it what it is. One person can’t do the work of a hundred. So why are so many people so willing to turn to faiths that insist there be only one God to do all the work. Where’s the logic in that?

I’m sure some people will claim things like “God is omnipotent” so of course, he can do everything. That’s a neat little package of an answer that doesn’t really give any sort of answer at all. My response to a claim like that…”Why would anyone want to do all the work alone?” Also, as an interesting aside – the original Christianity was a polytheistic faith, not a monotheistic one. I wonder what the world would look like now if that had never changed. I have a feeling it would be a lot less stifling.

It still amazes me that Christians act like they are the oppressed. I can’t remember how many times I’ve heard Christians say that they are afraid to talk about their faith because they are afraid of being laughed at. In my experience, even when people are uncomfortable around Christianity, they don’t ridicule Christians – no, rather, they stay quiet and try to stay under the radar in order to avoid persecution. I know that not all Christians are persecuting people for beliefs that don’t match theirs, but the truth is, the majority of Christians act like there is no other faith that is acceptable because that is what their faith teaches. Live and let live isn’t a policy written down in those scriptures, but it would make life a lot less stressful if it were.

Anyway, I didn’t mean to go on an aside about Christianity, but it happens. I do live in the middle of a Bible Belt, and I am as susceptible to stress as everyone else. I was just thinking about the reasons that I’m a polytheist, and the biggest reason, for me, is that it feels as if we are naturally inclined to believe in multiple gods. Oh, and the fact Loki keeps stealing my socks. Seriously. What is with his sock fetish?

%d bloggers like this: