I don’t care how unpopular this article is, I feel strongly about it.
I just saw a dude in a forum ask, “Do you have any ancient hobbies that persisted from a past life into this one, mine is blacksmithing.” I’m paraphrasing.
If I were fostering a person who thinks like this as a student, my first response is to want to stop them right there, make them carry buckets around the stave church or temple, climb a couple of mountains, wax on wax off, paint the fence and then see if he’s still willing to be a student of mine.
Blacksmithing wasn’t an Ancient ‘hobby’ more than it was how you protected your family from enemies and ate. You can’t apply today’s cultural thinking to the ancient world. You cannot understand or get close to the ancient gods by over romanticizing them.
The other day I was on a Heathen forum and noticed a post where someone asked if craving three plus pounds of beef per week was “Norse” or not. He mentioned that it ran in his family. Because it was related to family he wondered if it was part of Norse genetic predisposition to eating unhealthy amounts of beef.
Just today I saw a thread about Norse folks wanting to start and build a Village. Everyone was in, no one cited the fall apart rate of intentional communities which is like 90% or so according to my friend at Mobile Loaves and Fishes Community First Tiny Home Village.
There are so many times when an intentional community founder faces failure after failure, with mixed success. Dealing with the transient nature of all the faces coming into and passing out of the community, each dramatic blowup taking a toll. Not many people have what it takes to put themselves on the line for a pagan community, let alone an intentional one you can’t get away from. Organizing people is straight miserable sometimes. You only do it because your skillset was built for that job and no other, and as a result, no doing it is like an artist not painting.
What is wrong with this kind of romantic thinking? Dead serious question, answer in the comments please.
I think employing this kind of thinking is deciding to fail before a person starts. Be it a village, or their understanding of a culture.
Paganism isn’t your way to escape into fantasy land where you get to use it to justify your existing biases and comforts, especially surrounding identity.
If you were to pierce the mists between worlds, you would find yourself cowering wishing for parent’s embrace to hide in.
For a long time, pagans have been, sometimes, almost as anti-intellectual as people like anti-vaxxers, trumpsters, and the general conservative movement when it comes to critical thinking. You see it in how a few of us fight and show pride and righteousness over theist pagans vs atheist pagan arguments. Both sides profess the inability to understand the other, or worse, both sides profess the other’s inability to understand them. You see it in the articles shared from sources named higher-consciousness.com, or awakeningyourthirdanus.com. Pagans can be so into their fantastical worldview, that they often cannot see a person’s ill agenda. And that’s what we call dangerous ignorance.
This kind of ignorance is dangerous for two reasons:
- People who think this way NEED to see the world this way or that throw tantrums.
- People who think this way get themselves and people who care about them into dilemmas.
You know that if you are unwilling to use experiments to test your spiritual techniques, that you are afraid your critical faculties will start to disbelieve them or explain them away as unique mental phenomena only happening in your head.
Because I was willing to reject 99% of mystical phenomenon as junk mental phenomenon, I stumbled upon the 1% I could always trust that reveal insight in the real world.
Now I am a theist because of it. But before that, I had hardened myself through nihilistic hell for 20 years and in 2015 I had seven trance experiences where I transcended ordinary reality.
I am ready. I am ready to face all the facts and reject what isn’t provable in life. I am ready to be an adult and to not escape into fantasy. To use paganism as an avenue to better the Middleworld. Because my belief is unbreakably immortal, because I found belief in the heart of disbelief, I don’t need to entertain fantasy to wish the gods into existence. You don’t either.
Enchantment is the execution of shifting your culture from the colonialist westernized one installed in your mind now, and slowly replacing it with a different one.
In this process, we do not ignore facts and we elevate critical thinking above all else. When something is difficult to think about, we bring our minds to that because we do our shadow work.
We know what our defense mechanisms are and when we notice ourselves doing one of them, it is time to sacrifice ourselves to ourselves. As Odin did upon the Ash and the Finnian warriors did upon Birch trees for 9 days. And we do it as many times as is necessary until what is left is of the highest of craftsmanship.
The kind of thinking generated by over romanticism is the kind of thinking that gets you into trouble when playing around with wild plants in your magics.
Ancient witches, cunning folks, and magicians somehow, believed in the fantastical while executing enough critical thinking to avoid administering poisons directly to people, to know when to plant and harvest, to build wooden chariots and smelt Iron. The thinking used in online forums, though, is not only lesser than ancient smarts, it’s significantly less compared to modern standards of critical thinking.
The answers are right there, we just chose not to see them. Our tendency to over romanticize via religion, any religion, are blatant coping strategies. Don’t cope, transform though refusing to cope anymore. Transform though battling yourself.
Don’t be a romantic thinker, be an enchanted big thinker. There is a big difference. One shows up. One isn’t swayed by whims. One doesn’t let themselves get in the way of attaining their romance.
Start that village, do your blacksmithing, enjoy meat, do magic, practice devotional worship to invisible beings, but do it in ways where you aren’t bullshitting yourself.