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The Vessel Of Our Dreams


occult  adj. 1.  Of, or pertaining to, dealing with, or knowledgeable in supernatural influences, agencies, or phenomena.  2.  Beyond the realm of human comprehension; mysterious; inscrutable.  3.  Available only to the initiate; not divulged; secret:  occult lore.  (American Heritage Dictionary)

What exactly is the Northern European Folkway in Vinland?  That’s open to interpretation, and sometimes is anybody’s bet.  It is, for some, the vessel of their dreams.

Some see in it as the milieu in which to act out the decisions they’ve made already.  They’ve discovered themselves to be gay, so they leave a milieu in which being gay is a sin – the Christianity of their family – and spend their time fishing amongst the strophes of Lore for things that reinforce their decision. 

Some see it as an extension of their secular politics.  Just as there are those who resent the Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) for being Abrahamic, that being the ethic of the Sons of Abraham, whom they don’t particularly like; there are also those who are feminist of one extreme or another who plot a course through Northern European heathenism as a non-patriarchal social system; and those of the Left or the Right who see AllFather either as an ethnic expression of Ronald Reagan or of Bill Clinton. 

Some just like to drink mead.

Then, there are the “fiddlers’.

Not content with luck as it presents itself, they seek to learn “hidden knowledge”, to visit Oz to see if they can see what the man behind the curtain is doing.  Not content with their luck, they seek to know not only how the Game of Life is played, but how to exploit any loopholes they might uncover.  These people seek the source and strength and nature of the “supernatural influences, agencies, or phenomena” of the first definition above, and wish to visit and study those things “(b)eyond the realm of human comprehension” in definition two.  Humans are curious animals, and who wouldn’t want to have an “in”?

Still, the time spent trying to spot the puppeteer’s strings might be better spent trying to figure out the simple in’s and out’s of daily life.  Wisdom, as I’ve often counseled, is a knowledge not of sprites, wisps and bogeymen, but of people.

There are still more who trade in being “the initiate”, for whom the “occult” or secret and hidden, and therefore powerful, “lore” is the goal.  They see the Folkway as a religion, and more, as a “mystery religion”, akin to Mithraism or Zoroastrianism.  Furthermore, they see certain aspects of it as interchangeable with like aspects of other people’s folkways.  That, and they see no harm in picking and choosing from amongst the components of our spiritual and cultural heritage to combine them with other “spiritual tools and toys”. 

They are the Dumbledore’s amongst us.  They seek nothing less than the manipulation of luck.

Knowledge of the inner workings of this clock we call Life, being able to name the gears, to shake hands with the Gods, is one thing.  Some, however, seek to manipulate the hands and tweak the mainspring. 

Today’s knowledge of the runes, for instance, owes a debt to Guido von List, the 19th Century magus and author of The Secrets Of The Runes.  He was, though, more than a runester.  He was an occultist.  Along with the runes, he studied the Kabbala, Rosicrucianism, Masonic ritual and history, and delved into the seedier aspects of Pan-Germanic neo-heathenism of his time, involving racial purity to retrieve the “psychic powers” once held by the “Aryans”, and avid anti-semitism.  Atlantis and invention were components of some of his notions, borrowed from Helena Blavatsky’s theosophy and given a Viennese accent.  Part of what he advanced involved levels of initiation, classes of believers, and an aristocracy of achievement amongst the spiritual elite.  Herr von List was well-regarded in his day, and is opinion amongst our Folk today ranges from “Guido Who?” to near worship.

It is well to remember that witches were once sewn up in sealskins and rolled down rocky hills into the sea FOR A REASON.  People of the Saga Age understood a good bit of the mechanics of the spiritual better than we do today, having an uninterrupted history living amongst the ethics of the Lore we’re only today rediscovering.  If they would rather snuff someone who might be able to produce a whammy that would give them winning lottery numbers, they must’ve had good reason (beyond there not having been lottery in Tenth  Century Iceland).

Maybe what they understood were the ways of luck.  It is something to consider.

The Folkway of our people, and it’s laws as we come together to reconstitute them, are very human and accessible things.  Our chieftains serve a very real and very practical, day-to-day ethic.  They seek to help people through the affairs of life, of marriage, of interpersonal conduct, and to deal with disputes.  Some might posit that such dealings might benefit from a well-crafted spell or a cosmic mickey poured generously into andover the altar, but that is suggesting that right and judicious conduct isn’t enough.

Why is addressing occultism apropos here?  It is because too many, over the years, have dabbled when they should’ve committed.  In a discussion of heathen life one soon encounters the law, and attempting to manipulate luck is an attempt to circumvent the law.  It is the act of a cheat, of a thief bent on picking luck’s locks, of an outlaw.

Some would add to luck, some others circumvent it, not by actions according to the rules of the game, but by invocation, invention and recitation of arcane formulae.  The Folkway, for some, is a vessel for their dreams of secret wonders. 

This may be so for some.  I wish them luck.