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By: Garman Lord


Wassail All!
Garman here.

At this point I can't say I know what the argument is really about, since I wasn't in on the beginning of it. However, there are certain things about it that seem to me so obvious that I have to wonder why nobody else has ever referred to them. I get the impression that it is something based on conflicting interpretations of the EDDAs. Somebody is interpreting something about the nature of a god, based on the EDDAs, that somebody is disagreeing with, based on his own interpretation of the same lore. That's EDDA-Bibolatry, pure and simple, and in a case like that, there is no right or wrong; both parties are equally guilty of the same sin.

This seems to happen all the time in Asatru, and nobody ever "gets it" that you can't do that with this kind of lore; it's offensive to the gods, and unlucky. The EDDAs and sagas are not theological works, and you can't theologize from them. They are useful for what they can teach us about certain of the elder ways, if used with care, but you can't base interpretations on them; they are too late, weak and corrupted for that. And you can't use them for passing judgments on the natures of the gods, especially on the basis of mundane standards of interpretation. How are you going to judge the nature of, say, Tyr, from silly old stories that just happened to survive? We are mere mortals, with mortal ways of thinking and understanding; Tyr is a god; he-llo...

Admittedly, this is a bad habit that has been inculcated into Asatru from earliest days by some of its earliest lore masters, mostly academics with advanced degrees, like Thorsson, Chisholm, Gundarsson, and raises that same old question as I raised before, about Asatruers behaving like a religion that doesn't really believe in its own gods. You really have to ask yourself, how appropriate is this type of approach to heathen theology, really? How lucky has it ever been for even the best qualified of those who indulged themselves in it, and how lucky could it hope to be for those even less qualified who have followed in that same path?

Thorsson, today, isn't even in Asatru anymore; he's off there somewhere in the Rune Gild, Temple of Set, whatever, both strictly magical organizations, and I'm sure he would be first to attest that his own Woden would be a very different kind of Woden from the one you and I believe in. Chisholm used to be in the religion too, of course, back in the old proto-RoT days. Today, he pops up maybe once every ten years for a brief appearance some unexpected place, only to promptly disappear again, and who knows where he really is; probably the same place as Edred is, meaning not your Asatru or mine, whatever they may be. Gundarsson? Last I heard, he was off living in some Irish castle, writing fantasy novels for the European market and hunting march hares with an elephant gun, and who knows when Asatru's gods or folk will ever see him again? Or maybe my info is just out of date? If anyone has ever heard, then, of any Asatru person or aett or concern that has ever prospered from any kind of theological or theosophical EDDA-midrashim, EDDA-gematria or whatever, without engendering foolish strife amongst men and ending up lucklessly cast out from amongst gods and folk, then please tell me the story, since I've never heard it.

The fact is, deriving theological god-interpretations from silly old stories affronts the gods every time because it amounts to what might be called the "Loki-fallacy." Remember Loki, the wight who has so generously offered us all so much theological god-lore in the form of the LOKASENNA? To look at the LOKASENNA and then look at Asatru, you would think that Loki founded a bloody religion in middle earth; for half of the Asatruers out there, the LOKASENNA is their Torah. Ever read Alan James' THE TRIAL OF LOKI? It's really a terribly beautiful story; it depicts a Loki deteriorating into madness before our eyes, as he takes every godly attribute, which, himself being unworthy of such company and therefore unable to understand godly doings on their own level, he twists into something filthy, banal and mundane. We've seen the same dynamic ourselves in this very hall, of course, as someone who can't measure up to the level of discourse gradually deteriorates, flinging mud and hurling insults, finally sinks away, down to his own level in the end, until he is finally, mercifully, gone. And yet, doesn't half of Asatru do the same thing? For the average Asatruer, LOKASENNA is a revelation. Loki is finally telling the "truth" about all the false godly pretensions; if Loki is on trial and Asatru is a jury, the average Asatruer is ready to acquit! To them, as to Gundarsson, following Alice Rhodes, Loki is just some harmless merry madcap trickster god; comic relief. I wonder, did any Asatruer ever think to ask Loki, bound down on his rock, what he might think of all that? For whatever it may be worth, I, a Theodsman, once did, and the answer I got wasn't funny and it wasn't pretty.

This luckless foible and insult to the gods really is an Asatru phenomenon; thankfully, Theodism has never been guilty of it. Not because we're any smarter than Asatruers, either; just, one might say, "luckier." We started out as Anglo-Saxon; the EDDAs are of course Norse, so we never got into them, and thus were never tempted to try to turn them into some kind of scripture to theologize upon; lucky us. But however that may be, I can only say that when it comes down to two men who should be friends, both of the gods and of one another, falling out and fighting and becoming enemies for life over some ridiculous theological question of interpretation of a god nature based on something like the EDDAs, it's the sort of thing that could only happen in Asatru, and I'm sorry, but I really just don't get it.