eosin: (Chibi sword)
Medieval Yoda and wizard
trilingual Sankt Florian Psalter (Psałterz floriański), Kraków 14th/15th century (Warszawa, Biblioteka Narodowa, Rps 8002 III, fol. 28v)
eosin: (smiling kitty)
...for the win. Made them this morning as an experiment, from a recipe I heard.
eosin: (wessex dragon)
For many personal reasons, I'm changing the purpose of this blog to postings about Anglo-Saxon Heathenry. The ASH posts will be public, and I will still probably have a few private posts as before. There are many things I want to write about, and I'd like for the essays to be accessible to the ASH community at large. I believe that the path deserves more coverage, and there are few authors covering that specific path today. I also would like to cover aspects of the path that I feel are being neglected, and I'm open to suggestions as well.
eosin: (Chibi sword)
I've been taking more of an interest in natural diet and exercise lately, and I've noticed several parallel efforts seem to be merging in the same direction, leading more and more to the Paleo lifestyle. Briefly, the diet portion is meat, eggs, veggies, fruit, and nuts, but without (or only minimal) grains, dairy, and sugar--and organic if feasible. The exercise portion consists of conditioning and skill movements that use one's own bodyweight (along with some lifting, carrying, and throwing) in natural environments, including fresh air and sunlight.

What's fascinating is that the latest research in this direction has been confirming and reinforcing these basics in various activities. In diet plans, low-fat dogma gave way to the reality that people using Atkins and other low-carb diets were losing weight successfully. Insulin spiking became more of a concern. Nutrients in meat and fat were found to help brain functioning. And so on, to the point that many diets now bear close resemblance because they work. For exercise, there's been a convergence with gymnastics, parkour, crossfit, MovNat, barefoot running, and others that utilize short, high-intensity workouts that emphasize variety and getting enough rest. MovNat and parkour are direct descendants of a structured natural movement program in the early 20th century, which in turn was based on observations of various athletic tribes in Africa.

What it all means is that we've been living a certain way for about 2 million years, and changes from that are very recent in our evolutionary history. They are so recent that we have essentially the same DNA that we did at the end of the Ice Age. The more we deviate from it, the more health problems emerge. The good news is that there are safe, fun, and socially acceptable ways of getting back in touch with our true nature.

One part of this that's been a bit surprising is the issues of shoes vs. going barefoot. Wearing shoes contributes to long-term joint and back problems, and simply transitioning to going barefoot more often naturally corrects this. In particular, for those who wear shoes all the time, making a careful progression to barefoot running wakes up the nerves and muscles of the feet so that they become more flexible and agile, as if they were starting to behave more like hands. Other surprises were things like how the amount of time one sits during the day has a dramatic effect on many other health conditions. And in looking up natural movement, I also brushed up on related info about other primates, and it was a reminder that, biologically, we are still animals.

Some sites cover the basics pretty well, such as Mark's Daily Apple and Paleo in a Nutshell, and CrossFit has a lot of variety for workouts. After looking down at the caveman from our modern society, we find that there's a lot to learn from him. It doesn't mean that one needs to run around in animal skins, but it does mean that we should be taking barefoot walks in the park or at the beach, play some fun sports, see and enjoy nature some more, climbing a tree or jungle gym, and so on. I've been making the transition gradually so that the habits stick over time. I'm looking forward to better health for many years in the future.
eosin: (hex sign)
I was doing my running along a bike path that's next to a creek. On occasion there will be some things scrawled in chalk on the path, such as directions for a running team. This time, however, there were several inscriptions that seem to be inspired by Ceremonial Magick, as seen below.

very image-heavy, may take awhile to load )
eosin: (knives!)
For those who are fans of Klingon, there's a production of it on stage in the language:

http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2010/12/19/have-a-happy-klingon-christmas/
eosin: (Druid thing)
We have a particular place we like to go to do rituals and commune with nature. It was overcast after about a week of rain, the ground was soft, and it looked and felt different today. Pics below.

Click for forest pics )
It was fun, and we'll be returning there in the near future.
eosin: (Wealtheow)
Our cat Wealtheow has a mind of her own, and likes to arrange various things in the house certain ways, especially at night while we're sleeping. Here are a couple of pic of her recent handiwork, untouched by us after finding them this way.

toys )

These cat toys were arranged like this about a foot from the bedroom doorway, almost like an offering of sorts. Other times, she'll place the green fuzz balls at the hallway intersections, perhaps for a visual guide for when she sprints across the house late at night. She'll also place a plastic ring on a green fuzz ball like a halo, rearrange the placement of objects on the altar, and so on.
eosin: (Wuldor)
In a recent discussion, it occurred to me that many pagan paths with balanced worldviews have gods with light and dark sides. This is something that has its opposite in modern Christianity--you have very clear, obvious, and stereotypical light and dark sides, where one side doesn't really have the features of the other. Within European pantheons, many gods have light and dark sides. Within the Germanic paradigm, it appears that all of the Vanic gods have light and dark sides. However, there are Heathens who treat the Aesir only as light gods, regardless of their behavior, and all giants/etins as dark gods, regardless of their behavior.

Some examples of the two sides of the Vanic gods are:
Ingui-Frey: Fertility, peace, prosperity, stable relationships...but also a dangerous killer, via sword, antler, or bare hands.
Freya: Sensuality, magic, fertility...and a scary battle goddess.
Nerthus: Mother Earth, with all that it brings...and a receiver of human sacrifices.
Wuldor: Bright, wise, skilled...and a relentless hunter that will insure one's doom.

There are some who treat Odin as Jehovah and Loki as Satan, but Germanic paganism isn't part of Judeo-Christian thought and practice. It may be a convenient substitution for converts from Christianity, but it isn't really authentic or historical. And if one considers death to be part of the cycle of life, then the 'dark' traits of gods are part of a balanced whole.
eosin: (The Emperor)
Hi, all. It's me, the same Eosin from LJ. LJ admins have made several bad decisions about the site, so I've migrated here to Dreamwidth.

I'm still Anglo-Saxon and relate to the Germanic gods. I'm still running my local sword group, with particular emphasis on historical wrestling techniques. I'm a member of AODA and working through the curriculum, as I see it as complementary to the Heathen side of Anglo-Saxon practice. When the island was conquered, the Angles and Saxons didn't slay everyone (except for in a few areas); they had massive intermarriage with the locals, and the fused culture is as much who they were as much as the particular form of language that came to be spoken across the land. The Saxons historically worshiped in natural settings, and this reverence for nature is something that too many people--and too many pagans and Heathens in particular--tend to forget.

Politics? I'm a conservative-leaning independent. I tire of the dishonesty and backstabbing of Big Names and Big Parties. I evaluate each issue on its merits. And if I'm presented with a very persuasive and well-founded policy argument, it's possible that I'll change my mind on that issue (it's happened before). But most mass-media talking points bore me, as they are usually weak or incomplete, and often deliberately dishonest. I have more respect for cranky people who are up front about about who they are and what they believe (even if I disagree with them completely) than I do for slick empty suits that have no morals. And I vote according to each issue.

I have a variety of other interests as well, though I'm more likely to post about them occasionally.
eosin: (Wuldor)
Stating the obvious, I've moved over to Dreamwidth. I'm not quite as affected by the security issues in LJ, as most posts I make are public. I may make some filters in the future that take advantage of the security features, but I'll get to that as needed.

So for some clarity, yes, I'm still Anglo-Saxon, and yes, I'm also a member of AODA practicing revival druidry. Put simply, I find that the druidry rounds out the British-Isle-Pagan experience, and many AODA activities are things I was doing on my own many years ago. I see no conflict, especially considering things like the common root between 'Druidh' and 'Drycræft'. I'm a follower of Ingui-Frey, with an additional leaning toward Wuldor. I identify as Vanic, not just because of the gods, but also how the historical Vanic (Funnelbeaker era, etc.) culture informs my practice. I still run my historical European martial arts group, and it's been getting more focused and effective.

So now I'm here. Say 'Hi' or something. :)
eosin: (Default)
Many of us have already seen in Heathen circles lots of wild accusations of oathbreaking, usually over something trivial. This post is about something different.

It occurred to me that there are several types of Oaths of Office for various government workers, from the President and Congress, to cops, to soldiers, to attorneys and judges, to the multitude of civil servants, and even newly minted citizens. I got curious and looked up the texts of the various Oaths of Office for the above people, as well as how breaches of such oaths were handled in the past. I found that the vast majority of public officials are blatantly violating their oaths, and are subject to criminal prosecution.

This isn't a matter of being a member of political party X or Y; it's a matter of going along with massive violations of the Constitution, statutory law, common law, and due process, all in the name of 'going along to get along'. The problem with this (besides the breach of trust itself), is that it allows the power of government to be used as an amoral hammer by corrupt people, and that without real limits, there is no end to the corruption. And the whole idea of 'differences of opinion' only has weight when there is honesty about relevant facts. If facts are deliberately distorted or ignored when government officials invoke their power, then they have violated their oaths (or worse--treason may have been committed).

And so we reap the bitter harvest of injustice, disrespect for the law, disrespect for our governmental institutions, damage to our legal system, damage to innocent people, outright treason, etc. Legally, huge numbers of people deserve to be prosecuted and imprisoned. Morally, many of those people need to be hung for treason. And this isn't just an academic argument; there is more of this kind of perfidy going on now than at any time in our nation's history, and things can get really ugly when large numbers of people decide that it's a lost cause, throw in the towel, and revolt en masse. And there's a lot of unrest right now.

Oaths matter. Say what you mean and mean what you say, especially when the public trust is involved.
eosin: (Default)
A peeve I've had for a while is the refusal of public officials to do their legal duties, whether out of cowardice, laziness, political expediency, sedition, etc. I'm posting this now because of the sheer number of derelict officials who are brazen in their misconduct. This is definitely not limited to a political party or to a single religion or other group. Not surprisingly, I believe in regular and equal enforcement of our laws; not just for the general sense of fairness, but because existing laws are surprisingly strong if officials have the will to enforce them.

Some easy examples are things like ignoring looters, or participating in looting, during a natural disaster. Other examples that are more common are refusal to enforce laws against disturbing the peace, incitement to riot, loitering, public urination, assault, etc. against one group or another, despite public outcry, because "Well, you know, group X has it rough...". This gets particularly nasty when obvious violent hate crimes are done (e.g., a group of youths from identity X openly state they will attack someone from identity Y that evening and make good on their threat) and there are no arrests, or no charges are filed, or charges are inexplicably dropped, or charges are reduced to something trivial, or sentencing is reduced to something trivial. I'm not referring to rumors BTW, I'm referring to incidents that make the local paper and the 6 o'clock news because of the damage done.

Other outrages include things like real estate fraud, where a con man pretends to be the owner of a property, files the phony paperwork with the county recorder for ownership (which doesn't bother to check records and then hands the property to him), rents it via a Craigslist ad, and neither the police (who know where he lives) nor the county recorder will do anything about it, even after the con was done to a dozen victims. With multiple victims and a paper trail for everything, one would expect a quick arrest and and easy trials.

There are many low-level annoyances as well, such as where a public nuisance is specifically banned, but the refusal to enforce it is explained with the excuse that "Well, somebody somewhere else said it was OK." Or where a burglary suspect in a spot with frequent burglaries is witnessed and reported, but there's no response while he's there. Or where a spot with drunken teens, drug dealing, and noisy homeless guys late at night (all at the same time and place) get's the police response of "Move to another city." Or where phone and internet harassment/stalking by a company employee gets the response of "Oh, well, that person has a disability."

There's a reason why we've had the phrase 'law and order' rather than just the word 'law'. Laws are instructions on the use of force, usually with police or other public officials, and they exist to have some level of order to protect society. Without order, there is a slide toward third-world conditions--not just countries, but also in lawless areas within a country. Any official who has power does so with the public trust, and when that trust is clearly violated, they should be removed from power. If an official is particularly hostile to doing their job, they should be removed swiftly, via recall, impeachment, etc. This is sorely needed with many legislators, judges, police chiefs, mayors, deputies, and others. So when I hear others say "Vote out all incumbents.", I understand how they feel.
eosin: (Default)
In an age when sexual TMI is becoming a bit too common, it's refreshing to see people who understand the difference in public and private behaviour. Yesterday, I was looking at the entertainment section of the Los Angeles Times while taking a break from work. Normally I don't read the LA Times because the 'news' stories in there are usually just over-the-top leftist spin and hand-wringing, but sometimes there's some interesting stuff there. Apparently Newsweek is even more ideologically driven than the LA Times, as one of their columnists was upset that a gay man by the name of Sean Hayes plays the role of a straight man in 'Promises, Promises'. To Sean's credit, he simply does a great job acting in the role, praises his female co-star for her acting skill, and won't discuss the issue further in public. The issue came up again recently because Sean hosts the Tony awards, and ZOMG he's still a gay guy playing the role of a straight guy in his current gig. The columnist also complains about Jonathan Groff in 'Glee' for the same reason and OMG WTF another gay guy playing the role of a straight one.

These writers need to get a frickin' life...seriously. Whether someone is out of the closet but doesn't make a big deal out of it like Al Rantel (a gay conservative who was on KABC), or someone likely a closeted gay like Johnny Weir (the figure skater) who refuses to talk about his sex life in public, I respect guys who choose to behave like gentlemen, especially if they're under public pressure to talk about private stuff. And yes, I include straight guys who won't blurt out last night's TMI with their squeeze. If we want porn, there's already plenty of it on the internet ('cuz it was made for porn, you see...), we don't need it to permeate everyone's conversation, especially with public speeches.

So here's to guys with class, gay or otherwise. Let us hope for more of them in the future.
eosin: (Default)
There is a trend that I've noticed within the Heathen community, but it applies to most pagans as well. Basically, many pagan paths today (particularly reconstructions) that are disconnected from their original historical ways of life often substitute the practitioner's current values, beliefs, and way of life to 'fill in' for the ones of the original pagans of the past. In other words, it just so happens that the witches of centuries ago were Communist vegan pacifistic polyamorist nudists just like today, and it just so happens that the pagan Norse were all macho chest-thumping mead-puking fight-picking brutes just like today, and so on, and so on...

Of course, to be fair, we see the same thing in less-informed versions of Christianity, where of course Jesus was an outright Communist, and of course his primary purpose was to encourage random law-breaking of all kinds, and of course he preached forced conversion, and of course he was a supporter of Big Business, and of course he was a supporter of Big Government, and of course he was a supporter of anarchy, and of course he supported every sexual deviance known to man, and of course he supported crushing levels of taxation, etc.

Good-sounding bad history is still bad history. But more importantly, if one is to be honest about a historical pagan path, one needs to go beyond ritual and basic theology, and look at the way of life that a god's worshiper followed. Gods of fertility and agriculture weren't just about saying "Food and Sex, Yeah!!!", but about being in touch with the land, it's properties, the local weather patterns, visiting critters, the practical significance of agricultural holidays, and other important details. A hunting god would be followed not just by someone who says "I like archery", but by someone who learned the ways of the local wildlife in great detail, spending a lot of time in the field pursuing his quarry. A war god would typically be followed by some kind of man-at-arms who spent a lot of time getting thumped in practice, far more than the amount of time spent with exaggerated bragging.

Technology has changed over time and affected the way we live compared to yesteryear, but we're still as human as before, and the role of the gods in their spheres of influence is still the same. We would do well to work with a god or goddess that's relevant to how we live, as well as learn something about the prior worshipers of the same, especially with experiencing what they did before. Conversely, I believe it's disrespectful to invoke a god simply to justify one's own bad behavior and pretend that it's somehow divinely blessed.

I acknowledge that reconstruction is hard, but it's far more honest (and far more interesting) to look at all the details of living that a follower of a particular god would typically do, and try them out if practical.

Easter fun

Apr. 27th, 2010 09:39 pm
eosin: (Default)
I was driving by a Catholic school today, that still had Easter stuff on their electronic sign. It mentioned 'He is Risen'. In a sense, they're right ...

Rejoice in the Lord (i.e. Frey), for He is Risen! (according to surviving statuary, one part is very risen) Happy Easter! (yes, She is quite happy this time of year) Let us gather and celebrate! (and we do celebrate, more than some would suspect) Spring is here, bringing with it the Lord's (Frey's) bounty. (and much booty)

I'm tempted to make some T-shirts showing an erect Frey, with some text like 'Praise the Lord' and 'He is Risen' underneath the text, and showing up at the next Harvest Crusade put on by Calvary Chapel. Oh, yes, I know the Lord, more than they know. :)
eosin: (Default)
In doing some research on dance, an interesting question occurred. In Heathenry, what god is associated with or represents dance? It's a bit strange that, although dancing at feasts and celebrations is common, we never really hear about a god involved in dancing, or influencing dancing, or anything similar. So as UPG, a couple of ideas come to mind. Most gods don't seem to be the dancing type, so that makes this more difficult to figure out. It could be said that Thor is a happy god that welcomes celebrations with drinking and feasting, and perhaps simple dancing out of joy could be part of that. But what about more graceful, skilled dancing? The elves come to mind, and it would be hard to argue with the association elves have with elegant dancing. If one looks to the lord of the elves (Frey), something interesting emerges. As a warrior, he represents skill more than fury. As a god of fertility, He makes many things in the world come to life in Spring. In sensuality, He represents healthy masculinity and virility. And as lord of the elves, He reflects their qualities.

But there's more. Not only would one consider dance to be something that Frey does, but the style would be influenced as well. We see Him being associated with stags and referred to sometimes as the Horned God, and there is the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance. Although it is a simple matter to wear horns and dance, it would seem to be a substitute for a dance that mimics the movements of a stag. And if one thinks about what kind of movements would be used by elves, it would make sense that there would be that resemblance.
eosin: (Default)
I've got a number of friends, online and IRL, who fall into the category of 'loveable ditz'. That is to say, they are good-hearted people who blindly follow an extreme ideology, because they substitute good intentions for critical thinking skills. No, this isn't limited to a single ideology, and this does not include people who actually think about the real-world consequences of decisions. It's the people who intentionally limit their circle of friends and media sources so as not to have any uncomfortable cognitive dissonance. But hey, they mean well. :/

They can be quite annoying, although the really loveable ones work tirelessly for the benefit a certain group of people or cause, so one is left with the bittersweet combination of seeing almost saintlike dedication along with the horrifying knowledge of what results from their efforts. This means that sometimes one can chuckle when they spin their wheels at some truly useless endeavor, but that quickly turns to disrespect and disgust when they have some power and try to produce either some totalitarian horror from the past, or else the chaos and resulting misery of real anarchy. Rational people will avoid either of those two situations.

I'm actually subscribed to some left-wing, right-wing, and libertarian mailing lists, so I can see what's going on, and get a more nuanced perspective on important current issues. This has brought a lot of clarity, although some logical conclusions will probably scare the piss out of some people if they heard just blunt summaries. Good decisions require rational thought and the discipline to follow through with a plan. How to prevent getting stuck in an ideology? Listen to counter arguments; it will either point out mistakes which can be addressed, or it will reinforce what you already know, thus sharpening your arguments either way. This will help avoid the 'McGovern' syndrome. When McGovern lost in a landslide for Nixon in 1972, many journalists said out loud "I don't understand it--everyone I know voted for McGovern." They were right, as they were so limited in social and media circles that they lost touch with everyone else who thought differently.
eosin: (Default)
Some people who have dug themselves into a hole just don't know when to stop digging. As some of you can guess, I've been in a flamewar with a notable Stav practitioner, who displays a stunning combination of historical ignorance, scientific ignorance, juvenile straw-man arguments, and attacks on integrity. Rather than admit the reality of the issues surrounding Stav, there is the delusional insistence on the back-story of Stav, the denial that the founder whose credentials are in Japanese arts is actually teaching those same Japanese arts, the naive idea that using a round stick with Japanese methods actually teaches authentic Norse sword technique with no changes, the profound lack of awareness of the amount of documented relevant history, the complete ignorance of how martial arts were actually practiced in Europe, etc.

Do the terms 'fake', 'fraud', 'delusion', or 'dishonest' not have any meaning to this guy?!?

Apparently not. From the flamewar:
"Even if you don't realise its importance, others will."
...and from the guy's website:
"Stav is not a reconstruction, nor an attempt to escape into the past. It is a living tradition with its roots long into the past. The primary aim in practicing Stav is to see reality."

Ah, yes. Stav is so incredibly and divinely inspired that it transcends history, kinesiology, physics, human nature, military science, and everything else that informs us of reality. That way you can see reality. Yeah... sure... uh-huh...

Those of us who actually study historical European martial arts from original sources and practice them diligently have a hard enough time as it is dealing with public misconceptions. But this sort of crap makes our job even harder. Fear not, though--I've only made a couple of posts and fired off some emails on this topic. I've spent far more time and attention working on Ringen (the historical combat wrestling system), and it's freakin' awesome. Discoveries keep happening on an ongoing basis, and the guys in my study group are loving it. I believe that in the long run, success is the best revenge, so as our group improves, delusional noisemakers of various kinds look more and more ridiculous by comparison.
eosin: (Default)
I originally didn't want to make this post, but some things have changed. So here goes.

Click for a realistic critique on Stav )
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