The Heart of Wotanism
Love, which is the deification of persons, must become more impersonal every day….a love which knows not sex, nor person, nor partiality….There are moments when the affections rule and absorb the man and make his happiness dependent on a person or persons. But in health the mind is presently seen again, its over-arching vault bright with galaxies of immutable lights, and the warm loves and fears, that swept over us as clouds, must lose their finite character and blend with God, to attain their own perfection.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
It has been said that man loses his sense of direction when the compass of his soul is not magnetized by some great human star within the orbit of his experience. This truth has been intuitively understood in the realms of literature and of religion. When seeking spiritual guidance, man may follow his own personal path through Nature, science or philosophy, or gravitate to some specific religious ideal which best suits his needs. We know that man as a human being inevitably loves. Strip away all the trappings and everyday distractions of life and what is it that man is really seeking? The first is love, because without it, as humans, we feel empty and incomplete. Secondly would most certainly be the need for knowledge and or spiritual enlightenment as the means to lift oneself from a seemingly pointless mundane physical world of survival, in an effort to gain higher consciousness and thereby a better understanding of our soul’s journey and the universe of which we are a part.
In the later years of the 19th century many Europeans found themselves being reawakened to their ethnic ancestral pagan religions. This shift from the traditional religious thinking came about partly with an interest to go deeper into the mysteries as well as the need to bond once again with one’s ancestral roots, which Christianity and other alien eastern religions could not provide. The two Euro pagan religions that returned to prominence with the deepest and lasting impact were Teutonic Wotanism and Celtic Druidism, which together, fulfill the entire spiritual needs for all Europeans of the Western World. The religion of Wotanism has long been known as a warrior religion, And though it certainly does fit that description quite well, it is also balanced with a deep spirituality that respects and practices the tenets of love, compassion, generosity, high ethics and noble virtues, and the highest respect for Nature. In Wotanism it is recognized that any religion that is not of one’s own people, customs and culture, or does not contain the sufficient power to defend and sustain itself, is a suicide religion!
With a reverence towards the high warrior ethic, Wotanism is often misconstrued as being a male dominant religion that is all macho-warrior battle oriented and devoid of any sensitivity, love or sentimentality. From the surface with all the Viking trappings it is understandable that Wotanism may well be perceived that way. However, one need only probe a little deeper to find that this is not so and that Wotanism as a spiritual path is in perfect balance. The Chinese referred to the balance of opposite extremes as “Yin and Yang” and created a symbol to depict the visible essence of that balance which still remains perhaps the most perfect symbol to express that harmonious union of opposite extremes.
We find similar mischaracterizations of the many ancient European tribes as a whole, that were portrayed as male dominant, when in actual fact, the woman was the very center of the family and tribal life. Men fought to the bloody death for the safety and protection of their wife and family, farmed and hunted for the food to sustain the family, and built homes for their precious family, most always to their wives specifications. The woman’s universe was the home and the raising of the family. She was and is the very nucleus of the family unit!
In reality, the woman had the most important task of all. Preparing her children to meet the many challenges and harsh realities of life was certainly a full time and demanding endeavor! Women apparently were a tougher lot in ancient times than the women of today. They were largely responsible in preparing their boys to become competent warriors in their own way as much as the father. Trojan women for instance would send their boys off to war and tell them in parting, “Either return victorious with your shield or on it!” In those days of bloody hand to hand battle only a raving lunatic parent with a death wish for their child would tell him as he left home for war, “Oh, by the way my son! Don’t forget to turn the other cheek, and love your enemy!” When a religion bewilders or outright denies its adherents the freedom to follow their own natural instincts of self preservation, preferring them to be sheep and lambs, then that religion is surely paving the way to the eventual doom and extinction of its followers!
There are times for war. There are times for peace. There are times for love. And yes, there are justifiable times for hate as well. The danger of hate is that it can cause one to act with blind emotion and irrationality of thought. In times of hate one must remain rational, and level headed. Intelligence and patience are perhaps the best means by which to balance the scales of justice. The more we understand our emotions, the less excessive will be our appetites and desires. Mankind needs to find balance within themselves every bit as much as a religion must find its perfect center of balance.
Wotanism is built upon strength of character, knowledge, the powers of will, and spiritual enlightenment, but at the same time it understands the vital and necessary validity of both love and compassion. Foremost to any Wotanist is the love of family, folk and Nature. Wotanists are freethinkers and not narrow minded. Like many of their fellow pagans, they are lovers of knowledge, poetry, dance, music, art, beauty and spirituality. Wotanism has an equal balance in the respect and worship of both the male gods and female goddesses. As modern women become more familiar with the spiritual path of Wotanism they will find much to suit their feminine interests along with an abundance of female deities. In Wotanism both feminism and chauvinism are not encouraged. Both man and woman should always be equally respectful of each other because let’s face it, in so many ways they are each other and what is more, divinely designed for each others needs! Without each other we are never really whole. Anything which would drive a man and woman into hating their opposite gender is simply a disease of the mind! The fact that feminism and chauvinism thrive today in the modern world is the result of the discordant, sick and unbalanced society we have let ourselves become. Men and women were designed to love and comfort one another and produce children through the divine perfect union of physical and mental love. Without “Love” there is no life worth the living whatsoever! Love virtually is harmony, but take just a moment to consider what love in and of itself produces: It yields Goodness, Peace, Prosperity, Tranquility, Happiness, Success, Security, Joy, Beauty, Loveliness, Patience, Perseverance, Wisdom, Knowledge, Truth, Light, Understanding, Compassion, Justice, Generosity, Charity, Altruism, Honesty, Uprightness, Health, Purity, Youth, Life, and Perfection—all of which are conditions that are becoming less and less observed by most people in our modern societies today.
So many churches fill up with their congregations every Sunday and talk all about how kind and loving they are, then spend the rest of the week acting like devils! Man, with the help of his churches, has developed a very skewed image of himself. If humans were designed to be all loving creatures we would have done away with war and treachery thousands of years ago! People are prone to think of the Vikings as violent barbarians, but in reality, the world that we live in today is ten times more violent and ruthless then the Viking age or just about any other previous age. Wotanism, it must be made clear, was not born of the short 300 years of the Viking age, but is thousands of years old. The mystic spiritual writer Vernon Howard makes an interesting point on this subject when he states:
Most talk about love is just that—-talk. A man must behave according to his level of psychic development. No one can possibly behave on the higher level of love than the level he actually occupies. But remember, human beings are very cunning with exterior appearances of love, so don’t be fooled. By Self-work, a man can raise his love level. Then, he will behave differently, with more genuine compassion. That is an objective of the Mystic Path. We want to uplift our compassion by raising our spiritual level.”
The afterlife in Wotanism, as traditionally envisioned in mythology, unfolds around the Viking-like Great Hall of Valhalla, roofed with battle-shields and adorned with many spears. It would be easy for modern day women to get the feeling that Valhalla is completely male oriented as depicted in the Hollywood Viking movies, which grossly distorts the reality of Valhalla as a bunch of wild male warriors all carousing around a table drinking horns of mead with mighty Wotan. Valhalla, stripped of its Hollywood and mythological interpretations is simply a higher spiritual plain of existence than lived out here in Midgard (earth), the lower realm of corporal flesh and matter. When reading in books about warriors that are required to prove themselves in battle before they can ever hope to enter Valhalla, that too can become quite misleading. Not everyone is expected to fight some epic heroic war on a bloody battlefield in order to prove their worthiness into Valhalla. The battles can be of a much different reality entirely. It might be as common as fighting an illness or working hard to raise your family or a charitable act for those in need, a life lived in honor and integrity or any number of Right-Life actions. The object is to simply be valiant, fearless, honorable and intelligent in all your actions, trials and tribulations here in Midgard. As the basic Wotanist maxim goes: “DO RIGHT AND FEAR NO ONE!”
Just as within both family and tribe, the feminine and masculine must always find a perfect balance and when it comes to religion it is no different. In Christianity, the Catholics retained much of their pagan traditions because they understood that it was necessary. Knowing that there must be both a male and female polarity balance in a religion, they made their Virgin Mary essentially into a convenient female goddess to counter the masculine Jesus figure. The protestants on the other hand worship only the masculine and go with the Semitic bible line that women are inferior to men and must live only as servant to the male. Thus, the protestant religion remains severely lopsided. Kahlil Gibran made this keen observation about the saintly mother figure: “The most beautiful word on the lips of mankind is the word “Mother”, and the most beautiful call is the call of “My Mother”. It is a word full of hope and love, a sweet and kind word coming from the depth of the heart. The mother is every thing—she is our consolation in sorrow, our hope in misery, and our strength in weakness. She is the source of love, mercy, sympathy, and forgetfulness. He who loses his mother loses a pure soul who blesses and guards him constantly.” The same holds true with the Mother goddess. The world that we know is a mix of flowing male and female energies and to deny one is to deny the unequivocal universal law of polarity.
Love is not what the conditioned human mind wants it to be, but always what it really is. A false desire for love to be this or that is like adding paint to a river in order to give color to a waterfall. Love must be left alone by the mind; it must be permitted to be exactly what it is. Love left alone, glows in all its natural beauty.” ~ Kahlil Gibran
Wotanism does not instill upon its people to conform to some ridged priori dogma or harbor unnatural fears that should they stray too far from divine law, that they will certainly burn in some horrid terrible hell forever and ever! Nor does it burden anyone with the cruel and highly un-natural idea that all humans are born sinners! As if a new born baby is supposed to know the difference between right and wrong! In Wotanism there are presented sound and practical codes of ethics which serve as suggestions, towards values and virtues that can generate healthy and valiant character traits for one to live by. These codes of ethics are handed down from our wise and knowledgeable ancestors and correlate with the divine law of our tribal ethnic gods. To force someone to conform to a teaching through fear is highly un-natural and produces un-natural results.
Our consciousness of the Absolute, is achieved progressively as the mind moves through the three stages from art, to religion, and finally to philosophy. Art provides “a sensuous semblance of the Idea” by providing the mind with an object of sense. In the object of art, the mind apprehends the Absolute as beauty. The object of art, moreover, is the creation of Spirit and as such contains some aspect of the Idea.” ~ Hegel
One will find infinite room for expression in art and beauty in both Teutonic Wotanism and Celtic Druidism. The arts play an extremely important role in any religion or folk community. The arts serve to inspire and stimulate high ideals of love of beauty and harmony while providing endless pleasure to its audience. Art scholar F.W. Ruckstull (1925) made this salient comment on the subject of art:
For art as nothing else, sets up rich ideals of mate selection between man and woman. It teaches men and woman what is and what is not beautiful, what to select and what to reject in each other. And mate-selection between man and woman is the supreme cause of racial glory and decline. Art absolutely creates for us our ideals of human beauty and inner excellence. And our ideals of beauty and inner excellence determine the basis of all evolution, mate-selection. Beauty is thus Nature’s flaming banner of her own evolution. And if, as we have seen, ideals of physical beauty can, through marriage selection, change the faces of men, so can moral beauty, by the same process, change the minds and hearts of men. Art is thus man’s highest contribution to the evolutionary process.”
Wotanists do not live in a vacuum self consumed as a tribe and blind to the world at large. The future of all mankind, the planet and all living creatures are a vital responsibility which cannot be ignored. We may have inherited a world of discord but it does not have to remain this way, in fact it cannot! The entire planet will not survive very much longer unless the nations of the world work together to make significant inroads for World Peace and Harmony among ourselves and with the planet that we inhabit. If the planet dies all of humanity dies with it! Harmony is the absence of discord and discord is what is leading all of mankind and the planet to it’s certain death should we continue to ignore the obvious!
Truth is within ourselves; it takes no rise, from outward things, whatever you may believe. There is an inmost center in us all, where truth abides in fullness; and around, wall upon wall, the gross flesh hems it in, this perfect clear perception—-which is truth. A baffling and perverting carnal mesh binds it, and makes all error: and to know, rather consists in opening our way whence the imprisoned splendor may escape, Than in effecting entry for a light supposed to be without.” ~ Robert Browning