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Thread: The Heathenist Error

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    The Heathenist Error

    When reading sacred texts many lay pupils often forget or simply don’t realize that the context is prophetic and thus deals with both doctrine and spiritual realization. The scriptures cannot therefore be separated from the rites, which is self-evident upon reading. The term myth in fact means “silent, secret” and is related to mystery and mystic, which originally meant “initiatic.” Doctrine is orally transmited as a sacred rite where speech is a vehicle for the “unstruck sound.” Mysteries are secret because they are inexpressible, hence the use of symbolism which is entirely scientific, complemented by the traditional sciences of letters and numbers, of which every letter symbolizes a spiritual idea and corresponds with a number which also represents an idea.

    All erroneous interpretations of scripture will therefore appear from a position that has lost sight of the Supreme Good, which is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent, or from a position which is ignorant of divine principles (such as the Norns), the Divine Law being both Eternal and Infinite, representing its Immutability and All-Possibility. Not only is tradition not polytheistic, but the many systems adapted to divination are complete degenerations (thus also the rites are not merely seasonal, agricultural, etc., which would by definition be exoteric and hence symbolic). Those who are obsessed with phenomena and magick are traditionally barred from the second initiation (into the Path of the Gods), for they take the shell for the kernel, and this is characteristic of heathenism as idolatry. It isn’t a big leap from here until one denies any higher state than the subtle and successive mode, and thereby denies all authority of the gods by negating unity and the simultaneity of the eternal. In this way, philosophical decadence works to counter tradition and mold it into one of many personal systems, which has nothing whatsoever to do with metaphysics, but is prominent in occultism, where there is no transmission in the universal order, but is confined rather to the subtle and thus the subconscious and phenomenal domain. This amounts basically to naturalism, which is essentially materialism, which states that nothing higher than nature or matter exists, and therefore denies the supernatural. Thus occultism, however much its adherents deny it, is greatly aligned with scientism and academic specialism (including anthropology, sociology, history and science of religions, psychology, etc.), of which method of inquiry into spiritual traditions and doctrines is best described as naturalistic. The tendency to see a naturalism in everything stems from the evolutionist or progressivist view that ancient man was mentally less developed, and thus misunderstood nature, which he expressed through pre-logical fetishes and superstitions. Man then supposedly evolved into a more scientific and moral person, thereby having no more need of myth and tradition other than as a moral system. Not only is this insulting to all of humanity, but it is ludicrous on the basis that myths were never meant to be read as literal. (It is said that the Vedas have 52 different interpretations!) Where is this more obvious than in cosmogony, which takes into consideration four conditions of the spirit, only one of which is material. By their improper reading, naturalists take the symbols literally, which is pure idolatry, and then falling back on their evolutionist prejudice, claim that symbolic thinking was a later development. Now, a symbol must start with the principle which it symbolizes, it cannot be the other way around. Secondary applications for symbols can be made, but this is so only because of what it symbolizes, which always must be a higher reality. (The earthly paradise and the inner and outer portions of sacred rites are prime examples of this.) But a symbol cannot represent itself; hence, the places in myth ultimately do not represent actual geographical places. The reason for a symbol is to express intellectual principles by means of aids or supports for understanding what is by nature formless and supra-rational. Naturalists, however, choose to ignore everything that is beyond their understanding, including metaphysics, cosmology, spiritual realization, etc., and reduce it to personal opinion, even though this means ignoring all spiritual authorities of unbroken traditions, instead favoring pseudo-authorities in academics, who study these traditions from the outside and arrogantly attempt to tell traditionalists what their traditions mean against what they say themselves. This in fact goes beyond mere skepticism or agnosticism and firmly into Luciferianism (negation of all authority) or Satanism (inversion of everything). Occultists, though not as naturalistic as academicists, have yet worked to counter tradition by attributing everything to the subtle realm, and by a total embrace of magick and divination have unleashed the most inferior parts of that realm. Is it any wonder why the West is collapsing when the average Westerner fails to grasp a single principle in the universal order? Such people will believe in even the most farfetched scientific theories, which last only as long as the next one comes along to replace it which is as farfetched if not more so, but still they won’t believe in the Divine, and this no doubt because of its immutability!

    Thus we might take this opportunity to give mention to a simple perspective necessary to avoid the heathen degeneration beginning with the fact that in the Northern tradition Odin is the All-Father: every god and giant is merely an aspect of him, the Universal Spirit, who likewise is known by many names. As a sacrificer of Ymir he produced the world cycle by establishing order out of chaos; and in his self-sacrifice he beheld the runes, a sacred language concealing the mysteries, and thus was he the originator of the Nordic tradition. Whereas the gods are intellectual principles in the universal order, the giants are elemental guardians. Thus we have the spiritual and the psychic, the latter which can be redeemed, as is seen in the guardians of the three roots of the World Tree: Hel (which is here taken as the lowest point of the subtle realm) as corporeal (for which there is no symbol save that which acts directly upon it), the frost giants as subtle, and man as the mediating principle whereby primordial unity is attained. Midgard, insofar as it is set below the clouds, is between two chaoses, and thus man, since he is endowed with an immortal spirit, must at his trials attain one of many paradises such as Valhalla or Gimle, or be cast down to Hel, which is an extra-corporeal prolongation. Now Asgard can descend to Midgard as it was in the axe age, and the chosen can rejoin the cycle in oneself, even in the age of the wolf. For the axe is a tool of the gods which signifies the ability to cut up the tree and reassemble it, which is also the building of the temple; the sword however is comparable, and corresponds with the heroes who slay the dragon, and this is also the battle against the wolf.

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    I don't know if I can subscribe the idea of an "eternal soul" unless by that you mean the bloodline or the community. Or perhaps the idea that all elements of us are recycled. In which case purification has no bearing on the afterlife. It would be like perfecting an automobiles inner workings for the sake of an "after life" only to see it all rust away after the auto is trashed. Yes all parts carry on, but since they are taken apart and reassembled- death marks the end of the ascent to perfection. Ascent only carries on through the community and during a person's life.

    From my perspective Asatru is a life affirming religion. Not focused on an "afterlife" but rather in the celebration and embrace of this life and also the well being of the descendants, the blood, and the community and such.

    I also don't see any real thesis to your essay. Whereas I can agree with most of the individual points I don't see how they are tied together in an easy to understand way with a solid thesis or conclusion.

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    I was going to post the following before your reply; although it does seem to address some of your concerns I must say that I have made the prior decision not to get involved in any more "debates"; this means that there is no thesis in my post because I am not out to prove anything, which moreover, cannot be done since all truths must ultimately be proven to oneself. With that said, I completely reject naturalism of any kind including the idea that the gods are deified human ancestors or that the giants are foreign barbarians. Finally, I never wrote anything about an "eternal soul" since it is the nonhuman spirit that possesses this function, nor do I consider the Northern tradition a "religion" which only applies to Judaism, Christianity, or Islam, and that only in a limited way as to include only the exoteric side.

    -------------

    Midgard corresponds with the Universal Heart or center of the individuality from which all other states, individual and supra-individual, are accessed. In the normal human, these possibilities exist in a latent state until actualized. Midgard as the center is separated from Jotunheim by a primordial water, thus dividing the subtle influences from the spiritual, or manifestation from non-manifestation. It is here where the principle of life begins, and when identification with this center is lost the being then enters a destabilized state proper to the subtle form, and conditioned accordingly.

    Pure knowledge is nonhuman as is the origin of tradition, for the intellect is only really actualized in a supra-individual state which is prior to the creation of the universe. Initiatic knowledge is, moreover, no mere figure of speech, nor has this anything to do with psychological states.

    Another claim we must deny is that the fall of man is a Semitic idea, but the fall which is the loss of identification with the center is entirely self-evident because man is no longer born in a state which is in communication with the divine. Once the spiritual influence has withdrawn completely that tradition is dead (hence, the old gods became demons). Therefore the only way to once again gain the spiritual influence is through attachment to a traditional initiatic organization but not a pseudo-initiatic one. The way one can be sure of the latter is to ask where the founder of the organization received his initiation. One cannot give something to another that he does not possess himself, nor can one initiate oneself. Moreover, for an organization to be legitimate it must have at all times at least one “master” who has completed the lesser mysteries (reintegration of the primordial state), and we would go one further and say that it must also have one who has attained the completion of the greater mysteries. This is my advice to all, what one does with it is strictly your business.

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    So what exactly of the thousand-and-one things you mention in passing would you assert to be "The Heathenist Error", specifically? Since there is no line of argument, just a multitude of statements, I am finding it hard to counter-argue any points because you state premise after premise, then make small conclusions but draw no overall conclusion.

    PS: You might wish to consider more generous use of the "Enter" key for the purpose of this forum to structure your points a little better.
    -In kalte Schatten versunken... /Germaniens Volk erstarrt / Gefroren von Lügen / In denen die Welt verharrt-
    -Die alte Seele trauernd und verlassen / Verblassend in einer erklärbaren Welt / Schwebend in einem Dunst der Wehmut / Ein Schrei der nur unmerklich gellt-
    -Auch ich verspüre Demut / Vor dem alten Geiste der Ahnen / Wird es mir vergönnt sein / Gen Walhalla aufzufahren?-

    (Heimdalls Wacht, In kalte Schatten versunken, stanzas 4-6)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sigurd View Post
    So what exactly of the thousand-and-one things you mention in passing would you assert to be "The Heathenist Error", specifically?
    Heh, that's a good point, perhaps I should have called it Heathenist Errors to account for the multitude! But this sentence says it all in a nutshell: All erroneous interpretations of scripture will therefore appear from a position that has lost sight of the Supreme Good, which is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent, or from a position which is ignorant of divine principles...

    Nothing personal...it's just a simple critique of Heathenism that has been made many times before by many other critics in slightly different terms.

    Besides, I would hardly call this a thesis paper, and I am not really sure how anyone would get the idea that it is, and if I had written an extensive detailed thesis paper I wouldn't post it here because I doubt anyone would understand it much less want to read the whole thing.

    I do like your advice on the enter key though

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    After more consideration on the enter key suggestion, if you read closely you’ll find that the reasoning does follow. One must ask oneself are spiritual truths like profane facts that can be proven by scientific methods or are they spiritual realities that are only realized by other methods? In order to prove spiritual truths by scientific methods one must first turn the doctrine into something it is not which is no longer science but a hoax (gods are not "personifications of nature"). It is important not to confuse the sacred and the profane, therefore. Doubt is the enemy of faith. Spiritual doctrine must be accepted by followers as is without change, for if followers change what they will that is a heresy. This is how all traditions were and still are. So spiritual teachings are not thesis papers because followers must be expected to accept doctrine without personal alterations since especially much of its truths are way over the heads of most. This is the problem with reviving dead traditions, paganism as such isn’t a tradition, because all we hear in these circles is that there is no truth, there are no wrong interpretations, do what you will. There is no such thing as an individualist tradition but that is what some people are saying here and even that individualism is in the Germanic blood. I assume it is in every animal’s blood including all humans but does that make it right or a decent instinct to give in to? I would think not. Those who would follow their base instincts surely do not need a spiritual path to follow, for these two are in opposition, hence a goal of spirituality is to cross the sea of passions not drown oneself within it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by exit View Post
    This is the problem with reviving dead traditions, paganism as such isn’t a tradition, because all we hear in these circles is that there is no truth, there are no wrong interpretations, do what you will.
    This is not at all true of the Heathens that I have met or discussed things with. What I've witnessed is a desire to practice the religion of our ancestors more of less the way they practiced it. There is no "do what thou wilt" in Heathenry, and many of us, as I'm sure you recall from our debate threads, are somewhat hostile to non-textually based interpretations of our texts. There most certainly are wrong interpretations of the Lore and we've done a damn good job so far of keeping the loonies out of our folds.
    "Ocean is more ancient than the mountains, and freighted with the memories and the dreams of Time."
    -H.P. Lovecraft

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    Quote Originally Posted by Psychonaut View Post
    This is not at all true of the Heathens that I have met or discussed things with. What I've witnessed is a desire to practice the religion of our ancestors more of less the way they practiced it. There is no "do what thou wilt" in Heathenry, and many of us, as I'm sure you recall from our debate threads, are somewhat hostile to non-textually based interpretations of our texts. There most certainly are wrong interpretations of the Lore and we've done a damn good job so far of keeping the loonies out of our folds.
    Everyone claims to be restoring the purity of the texts: pagans/heathens, Protestants, reformers and restorers of all traditions, etc., but that doesn't mean diddly squat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by exit View Post
    Heh, that's a good point, perhaps I should have called it Heathenist Errors to account for the multitude! But this sentence says it all in a nutshell: All erroneous interpretations of scripture will therefore appear from a position that has lost sight of the Supreme Good, which is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent, or from a position which is ignorant of divine principles...

    Nothing personal...it's just a simple critique of Heathenism that has been made many times before by many other critics in slightly different terms.

    Besides, I would hardly call this a thesis paper, and I am not really sure how anyone would get the idea that it is, and if I had written an extensive detailed thesis paper I wouldn't post it here because I doubt anyone would understand it much less want to read the whole thing.

    I do like your advice on the enter key though
    Hmm interesting post, exit. In all fairness I've read the thread up to here and will proceed with further reading thereafter. Suffice it to say though I felt strongly enough about some of your assertions that I felt compelled to comment at this point.

    I must admit that I have trouble agreeing with much of what you posted for the simple reason that you seem to be applying a Judeo-Christian analysis, especially its language, to a thought/spiritual system/Old Custom that is completely devoid of this kind of analysis or language. Specifically the use of the term "Scripture" is disturbing to me as are the concepts of "Omniscience", "Omnipotence" and "Paradise" even. There are other similar concepts that have caught my attention let's say. What are considered our "sacred texts" is not Scripture and this is, in my humble opinion, one of the major underlying philosophical flaws in your treatise. I get the sense that you subscribe to a theory that is more in keeping with the concepts of a 'Sofia Perennalis'. And if it works for you as a spiritual path, great. But speaking as one who is a hard polytheistic heathen, I think that you render a disservice to those of us who don't subscribe to the more ephemeral concepts of a Universal Spirit, especially equating Odin as such. For many of us who are hard polytheists, the All-Father is but one more of our Gods, albeit a very important one. And to try to "tidy up" a polytheistic religion by rendering it a monotheistic one is exactly the very "Heathenist Error" that you denounce.

    In my opinion, one cannot fully grasp the depth of heathen thought using an overlay of Judeo-Christian thought and its processes, especially its theological language. It's tantamount to using the concepts of Newtonian physics to understand and describe Quantum Mechanics. It doesn't work!

    Frith...Aemma
    Last edited by Aemma; Friday, November 7th, 2008 at 08:02 PM. Reason: wording...added the word "speaking"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aemma View Post
    I get the sense that you subscribe to a theory that is more in keeping with the concepts of a 'Sofia Perennalis'.
    Indeed, but the perennial wisdom is not Judeo-Christian, but rather beyond all secondary forms. The terminology could hardly be described as Christian since all of these spiritual ideas predate the three Abrahamic religious forms in general (Christian terminology is actually "beatitude, state of grace, salvation, rapture" which I never used). I also don't see how a tradition could belong to one's own person and not to me as well. Are modernist views right because they're modern, here now? And are perennialist views wrong because they're eternal?

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