A Skald’s Life – Foundational Virtues – A Viking Soul

Happy Moon’s Day

Journal Entry:

I get asked once in a while if I have Viking ancestry and if that is why I like them so much.  Truth is I don’t know. Part of the mystery of being me is my father’s side of the family in that biologically, I might be. I do know that German blood flows in these veins and the whole Scandinavian – Germanic mythology was pretty much the same, except the names were changed and later the two mythologies merged. I want someday to do a genetics test and maybe hunt down some of dad’s ancestry.  I do hope there is some Scandinavian descent in there somewhere.

Were all human and I work very hard not to think my heritage makes me better or worse for that matter than everyone else. I reject racism of all types including the type done by liberals when they want white people to feel guilty for the past crimes of ancestors. I am only responsible for my own actions, not my father’s or any of my forefather’s

I do think I have a Viking Soul.  I resonate with the warrior philosophy of the Nine Noble Virtues (NNV).  I think what they believed deals far better with reality than many mythologies.  It digs back down into my pagan roots and finds the hand axe wielding tribal warrior standing there.  Grim faced and ready for battle. The man who appreciates home and hearth when he can get it, but also longs to board the ship and set sail at least for a time to fight for something better for himself and his family. To prove his value to himself most of all and to others as a bonus.

Honor:

Honor is the feeling of inner value and worth from which one knows that one is noble of being, and the desire to show respect for this quality when it is found in the world”

Principle – Be positive about my future

I think I am just weary at this point.  I am just tired of what I am doing this semester and want it to end to make way for what is next. From an honor standpoint I struggle less with my own sense of self-worth. I struggle more with value in what I am doing and where I am going. I am also starting to address the question of looking for honor in this world I can value.  I know it is there, I just need to find it.  I need some vision of the future and the world I want to live in and then go find it and make it happen.  That is what I mean when I say I need to be positive about my future.

Courage:

“Courage is the bravery to do what is right always.”

Principle – Act with Courage at the right time.

Courage right now takes the form of being disciplined enough to get finished. I have basically a paper to do which counts toward two things and three short projects which constitute a final exam.  The first is due at the end of today and the second at exam time on Wednesday.  I already finished a take home final yesterday so that is done. Courage is facing the rest and getting them done.

Truth:

“Truth is the willingness to be honest and to say what one knows to be true and right. It is often better to not say anything at all if one cannot be honest.”

Principle – Pursue knowledge, wisdom and truth at all times.

If there is one thing I have had to consider about being a scholar at this time of exams and my capstone paper; it is truth.  The decision recently was to make this paper as close to the truth as I can make it. Regardless of whether or not that will get me a good grade. I am being given the opportunity to speak with words and in a defense so I will take it with full truth and nothing but the truth.

Morning Routine:

  1. Review Nine Noble Virtues (NNV) and Principles
  2. Review Goals
  3. Review Bucket List
  4. Full Body Stretch
  5. Meditate on One of the Virtues
  6. Breakfast
  7. Supplements and Medicines
  8. Shower and Personal Hygiene
  9. Get Dressed for the Day

I haven’t had a problem with the Morning Routine.  It’s the most solid part of my life right now. I am going to consider my meditation practices once the semester ends.

Bucket List:

  1. Go Back to Budapest, Hungary for a vacation.
  2. Get My Tattoos.
  3. Actually Get Drunk.
  4. Smoke a Joint.
  5. Hike the Northern Lakeshore Trail along the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
  6. Write My Novel.
  7. Learn Latin.
  8. Learn Hungarian.
  9. Weightlifting – Bench 225 lbs, Squat 315 lbs, and Deadlift 405 lbs.
  10. Start my own business

I am looking forward to looking at this list closer during the break. Yeah, I may have to go one semester of full-time online stuff to get financial aid for my internship so Christmas Break might be a good time to take a breath and look at this list again and rewrite and redefine it.

Weightlifting:

Still looking for a gym but the most likely candidate is the one near where I work.  I can just get off work and go there before I come home. I will probably use the time to develop a four-day split and if I end up at work five days a week for whatever reason then one will get a double.  I may have to use the new gym time for walking at least until the snow clears.  The rails to trails is just a short walk from my apartment so once spring comes I will be grateful to get out and hike again.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

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The Pagan Pulpit – Doubt but Not Denial

Happy Sun’s Day:

Announcements:

We don’t pray here – we figure God, the gods and goddesses, or whatever powers that be either know already, don’t give a fuck, or are busy with more important matters than our petty stuff. We also kind of assume that they expect us to do stuff that we can do for ourselves, and that we will do them ourselves and not be lazy. We also believe in being good friends, so we don’t presume on our friendship with the powers that be by asking them all the time for stuff while giving them nothing in return.

We also don’t take an offering here.  We figure the powers that be probably don’t need it.  Let’s be honest, offerings are not giving to the divine powers, they are given to an organization to support it.  Just being honest. God, the gods or whatever never see a dime, farthing or peso of that money; it all goes to the church, mosque or shrine.

Opening Song: Eminem – Not Afraid

With Eminem for me it really depends on the song whether I like him or not.  I like this one because it is very much a comeback song and I need a comeback song. In any case, the song has its musical moments that I like.

Poem: 

Solitude – Lord Byron

To sit on rocks, to muse o’er flood and fell,
To slowly trace the forest’s shady scene,
Where things that own not man’s dominion dwell,
And mortal foot hath ne’er or rarely been;
To climb the trackless mountain all unseen,
With the wild flock that never needs a fold;
Alone o’er steeps and foaming falls to lean;
This is not solitude, ’tis but to hold
Converse with Nature’s charms, and view her stores unrolled.

But midst the crowd, the hurry, the shock of men,
To hear, to see, to feel and to possess,
And roam alone, the world’s tired denizen,
With none who bless us, none whom we can bless;
Minions of splendor shrinking from distress!
None that, with kindred consciousness endued,
If we were not, would seem to smile the less
Of all the flattered, followed, sought and sued;
This is to be alone; this, this is solitude!

It wouldn’t be fitting not to have Lord Byron Poem when I am also quoting him for my text this week. Solitude is something I am acquainted with and something at times I desire.  He hints at what it means to be alone and it is not solitude with nature but to be among our fellow-men and not feeling anything.  Without connection to something we feel alone, even in a crowd.  Boy do I get that.

Meditation: 

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Song of Preparation: Disturbed – Prayer

Don’t normally pray, but this isn’t really a prayer but a reflection on loss and doubt in God.  I understand this better now more than ever.

Text:

There is something pagan in me that I cannot shake off.  In short, I deny nothing but doubt everything.

Sermon:

I find that the hardest thing personally to grasp at times is my turn from Christianity.  Not because I don’t think it was right decision or wasn’t in the end reasonable but the constant reminders this time of year of a holiday I no longer celebrate the Christian side of.  I got my oil changed and the guy asked me if it was OK to wish me a ‘Merry Christmas’ instead of ‘Happy Holidays’.  Do what you want to do. I am not offended. It does however remind me of something that I no longer hold sacred.  It’s not about the Mass to Christ anymore to me. It’s about family and Yule.

I, like Lord Byron, have always had a bit of the pagan in me.  I have enjoyed this quote by Byron for long time because it makes sense to me. This tug of war between the side of me that wants to place my faith fully in something and be open to all possibilities and the other side of me who is the hardened skeptic that doubts everything. It however is a tension I have come to think is beneficial.  What I want “to believe in is the world the promised it would be, not the tawdry, fouled-up mess it is.”

I suspect this pagan part of me will always be there and I don’t regret that because it means I will hopefully find a way to walk this world that enjoys the wonders of it and yet, seeks the truth of it.  No matter how ugly the reality may be I remain both hopeful and a skeptic.

Closing Song: Skyrim – The Song of the Dragonborn

Yeah, I know it is a song about a fictional character for a video game – The Dragonborn. Except the song is epic and the lyrics with the singers are also epic. A good way to build up our courage for the week ahead.

Parting Thought: 

Image result for villain in someone else's story

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

The Grey Wayfarer (Fantasy Serial) – Chapter 5 – Evil Intent (Hel)

Happy Saturn’s Day.

Hel sat on her throne brooding over the god standing in front of her.  She was wearing her black robes which hugged every curve of her body which was a shapely.  A body which the right side was simply a beautiful strong Nordic Woman with very pale skin and golden blond hair.  The left side of her body was akin to a freshly dead corpse.  Not the rotting death described in most mythology. Rather deathly pale, Lips on that side were white and her left eye frosted over in death. Hair was white as the grave.  The skin was not broken but had that wrinkled quality of a corpse that had been dead for maybe a few days.  She was a pale looking monster really. Like a living beautiful corpse.

She, however cared little for such things as most of her existence she was the absolute monarch of Helheim, the realm of the dead. Those who died of hunger, thirst, disease and other natural causes found their way to her realm.  The honored dead found their way to Odin’s Valhalla.  The rest of the dead were her’s.  Not that life in Helheim was a terrible one.  It was just life continued only in a world of grey with little pleasure.  She was sure some of its citizens still had sex but it was the dull motions of a temporary relief from boredom.  Mostly people continued to work and exist, but there was no feasting, no mead and very little laughter in Helheim. The only person who seemed to gain any happiness was Hel herself and only when the world of mortals tried to cheat her or make a deal for their souls. She liked such deals and they often actually made her smile.  Something she very rarely did as most of the time she was grim-faced. She was much like her father in her love for such dealings.

Her father was the god standing in front of her throne. Loki, the trickster god. She was his daughter along with her two siblings Fenrir the Great Wolf and Jormungand the world serpent. Fenrir also dwells in Helheim, still bound waiting for the last days and Ragnarok.    The world serpent still surrounded the world, though it was the world of this island realm of Odin’s preservation magic. All Children of Loki and the Giantess Jotunn Andgrboda.  Such an unholy union produced to fierce creatures and only Hel herself even resembled anything human and to most she was a monster as well.

Her father by contrast was a hansom looking god.  His face and body one that women swooned over. His hair long and brown, his face clean-shaven and his grey eyes that would melt the hardest heart.

“Hel, are you even listening daughter?”

“Sorry father, I was thinking of something.”

The voices contrasted.  His masculine and melodic and hers otherworldly and haunting.”

“Damn girl, this is important.  This new human player could ruin everything.”

“I don’t think so father.  I would wager that Odin fears him as much as Fenrir. Frigg seems to think him the one of her dreams.  This Grey Wayfarer.”

“Perhaps, but Ragnarok can be delayed.  How many times delayed now?”

“Too many to count father.  Fenrir grows inpatient.”

“Fenrir is always impatient. Hel, my dear. I have struggled to be the king of the gods now for centuries and with no result.  I have come to see Ragnarok as the only way to have a chance of a new beginning.”

“Or end it all, father. Leave us all with nothing.”

“Better that than the eternal servitude that has been Asgard.  This Grey Wayfarer must be helped along the path toward the end we want, not what Odin wants.”

“Playing with fate father? I thought you would rather set back and see what happens.”

Her tone was sarcastic. She knew full well her father could not help but meddle.”

“So what is your plan father?  Negotiation, tricking him to doing things your way?”

“No daughter, my plan involves throwing you at him.”

“Me, but I would have to leave Helheim.  That has never gone well for me father.”

Truth was her powers were absolute in Helheim, even Odin would think twice about challenging her here.  He after all gave Helheim to her to rule. That changed the moment she stepped beyond is borders. Not powerless to be sure, but far less in power. Vulnerable.

“I know.  But it also necessary for all of us to take risks at this time.  Truth is, I will be taking a few of my own. I want you to befriend him and lead him towards our ends.”

“He will take one look at me and distrust me.  He knows the legends father.  Unlike you, I cannot disguise who I am.”

“Which is why I commissioned the dwarves to make this for you.”

Appearing in his hand was a mask. It was silver and looked the face of the woman.

“What is it?”

I put a little of my shape-shifting power in it.  Hel my dear daughter, this will make your left side look like the other.

“Interesting, but what if I refuse anyway.”

“Worried about the prophecy about you, my girl?”

Hel scoffed looking disgusted.

“What my dear girl.  Is it so impossible that you could fall in love. That the heartless Queen of Helheim might be capable for love after all?”

Hel actually laughed. It was unnerving and the walls of Helheim reverberated with its echo swallowing the mirth of it in absolute sadness.

“If that happens father, the end is truly upon us.”

Loki laughed this time.

“And that is what we want dear daughter.  Fenrir wants to bite Odin, I want the throne of the gods.  The world serpent wants to ultimately feast on the world and you my daughter, what do you want? Yes, the souls of the dead that will die in Ragnarok outside the confines of battle will be legion. Your ranks and power will grow.”

“I already have enough servants.”

“Yes, but how many are like Balder or some of the other warriors you have robbed of Valhalla.  I mean do you ever figure out why he didn’t go to Valhalla?  You have to admit you can appreciate the delicious irony of a great beloved warrior ending up here instead of Odin’s Mead Hall?”

Hel smiled wickedly.  Yes, it had been to her a delicious feast for her soul to see the one greatly loved now wondering her halls with the same lost expression as all the rest.  No feasting, fighting to drinking for Balder. Just the long night of an ordinary life with no end. He father had a point, if she could find the way he missed Valhalla and do it to other great warriors that would be enjoyable.  Robbing Odin and Valkyrie of their champions would bring a smile to her face.  This Grey Wayfarer might be just the one to show her what she needed to do that to a lot more warriors.

“Very well father.  I will do what you ask.  Leave the mask and I will use it.”

“Excellent.  Befriend him and push him our direction.  While you are doing that you will have all the time you need to perhaps uncover the secret to robbing Valhalla of its champions.”

Loki set the mask down next to Hel on the table that held her empty plate and knife. He then smiled that disarming smile at her and then turned and left.  Hel looked at the mask. To have both sides of her look the same.  To just be the beautiful daughter of Loki.  The thought made her feel ‘alive’ like she hadn’t felt in decades. This was a worthy quest. Ragnarok would come and her and her two brothers would know vengeance against Odin and the citizens of Asgard.  The Grey Wayfarer might very well be the key she was looking for.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

Rogue Wizard – The Fire of Fury – Part 3 – Temptation

Happy Saturn’s Day

Rogue Wizard’s Journal January 5th, 2019

So after last night’s encounter with Lunette and the three stooges, I went home and set up my wards.  Basically there are two types of wards I can do which, while not sophisticated, are effective.  First, there are my protective wards which basically can set magical using beings on fire. I set these up on all four walls of my apartment and in front of the door.  The other type I can do is detection wards which tell me a magical being is getting close to them.  I put this up on the outside of my apartment walls and a couple on the sidewalk leading up to my door.

My day today started at roughly two in the afternoon when one of my detection wards went off.  There is no klaxon or bell or anything like that, you just know something is coming close to them.  I reluctantly gave up the book I was reading in my lab and readied my shield spell in one hand and my fireball in the other. It might be Lunette as she promised or it could be someone else. There was a knock at the door.

I relaxed a little and put on my jeans as I was wandering my apartment in my  underwear, t-shirt and socks thing.  I went to the door.  No peep-hole to look through, so I readied my shield and opened the door.

Standing there was the goth elf chick from the night before.  Her features definitely had that angled elf thing going with a very slight but sensual build.  I noticed that her hair was dyed black, as I could see the roots which were golden.  Her eyes were green, which told me contacts or illusion, as most of the time elves have silver eyes or golden.  If she could do illusion, changing her eye and hair color would be child’s play, so I was guessing not an illusionist. She didn’t throw a fireball at me last night and she didn’t stop my lightning bolts with a shield, so probably not evocation or adjuration either.  That left necromancy, conjuration, transmutation, enchantment and divination.

Well the council snaps up every necromancer they find and necromancy is outlawed.  Note, like all governments, they still keep said power to themselves.  Bastards. Despite the goth look and the skull choker probably not necromancy. Not transmutation either.  Mages who can transmute things get rich or comfortable doing it.  Diviners who are any good don’t do a lot of field work even if they are freelance. While I do divination myself, I don’t use it often, even though I am good at it.  No, this elf woman was probably not a diviner.  That left two possibilities – conjuration or enchantment.   If she was a conjurer, she would have thrown something at me last night.  A poison cloud or a demon from hell – something.  Yeah, my best guess was she was an enchantress. Good thing I am hard to beguile thanks to long hours of meditation under Mrs. W’s teaching years ago.  She was an enchantress too, and taught me defenses against their charms.

The problem was magic aside, this girl had some charms of her own that had nothing to do with magic. She was cute despite, or maybe because of, the black hair, green eyes and black lipstick. She wore her black outfit which consisted of black knee length boots, black stocking which disappeared into her short black skirt. The skirt was short enough that if she bent even slightly over, I would be able to tell the color of her underwear assuming she was wearing any.  A black button up shirt which was unbuttoned about four buttons showing ample cleavage, which was demonstrating a strong C almost D cup.  Over her shoulders was a black jacket that covered her arms. Skull choker with matching skull earrings completed the ensemble.  She was sensual, cute and darkly sexy on top of being an elf. She was temptation with black boots.

“Well, I don’t see your two friends.  Is this a business or social call?”

“The file said you were a smart ass. Grumn is nursing some burns you gave him last night and Alex is probably brooding somewhere. I am Raven.”

“Suits you.  At least the file doesn’t say dumb ass.  You don’t strike me as Council stooges, so why the attack last night?”

“Pixie was the target. We are bounty hunters and she has a high price on her head – alive or dead.”

“Yeah, probably me too.”

“Yes, actually. But we don’t go after mages as a general rule. Pixies and monsters are our specialty.  Do you mind if I come in?  I promise I will be a good girl and not cast spells at you. I just want to talk.”

It was pretty cold out.  I was pretty confident in my abilities to handle her alone.  I mean she would be in my home giving me an advantage and I was pretty sure she was an enchantress.  I would be an embarrassment to Mrs. W’s memory, if I couldn’t handle her on a magical level.  It was the sensual, cute and darkly sexy part that was bothering me.  I am a man and my wife had been dead for a couple of months now.  There is an old saw about ‘there is really only one way to comfort a widow, you just have to remember the risks’.  I could probably testify that is probably true for widowers as well.

I let her in.

My apartment is affectionately known as “Bag End” or the “Hobbit Hole” by some of the family.  That is because you have to step down six steps to get to it once you are inside the door. Half the apartment is ground level and below, the other half ground level and above. I stepped aside in the door way and let her go ahead of me, telling her to turn to the right and the living room would be in front of her. As she walked down the steps I couldn’t help but watch her move and then, after shutting and locking the door, and then resetting my ward, I followed her to the living room.

The living room had been the most sparsely furnished room when we had moved in and only recently I had received a three-piece sectional from a friend and found a high-backed reading chair.  A couple of end tables made of crates and three lamps were the rest of it. I had purchased a television hung on one wall mostly for guests who visited me after my wife’s death and I had also bought an internet connection at that time.  The TV was mostly off now, as I hardly ever watched it.

Raven looked around the room which was clean and functional and she looked at the reading chair and the sectional but then smiled and took a seat, crossing her legs in one part of the sectional right across from the reading chair.  I smiled and sat down in the reading chair.  In the pale light, I can pull off the old wise wizard in his throne look when I sit in it.  In my black t-shirt, jeans and socks probably not so much. Raven spoke first.

“Spartan.”

“Yeah, I am a minimalist, so if I don’t use it or it doesn’t give me joy, I don’t usually keep it.”

“I see.  Edward…”

“OK.  Let’s get one thing clear.  There are only certain people who can call me Edward.”

“Oh, sorry. I am not trying to offend you.”

“I know but I want that established.  Only my grandmas, who are both dead, my mother and my former love interests can call me Edward. With my wife dead, that leaves three people – all women and you are not one of them.  Call me Ed.”

“Is one of them Lunette?”

“Yes.”

“Then the other would be..”

“Don’t say her name.”

“OK, like I said I am here to negotiate, not offend you.”

“Negotiate? If you are walking around and the Council is not after you, then you are connected to a House or a mystical being like a pixie or elf or other magical creature.  You’re an elf, your grey troll friend is well a troll and then Alex must be…”

“House Saturn.”

“Well Shit.  So why isn’t he coming after my ass?”

“Because we also represent a group of revolutionaries.”

“Revolutionaries?”

“Yes, we want to abolish the house system and the Council.  Free up the practice of magic to everyone who wants to do so.”

“Singing my song.  That said, let’s say I am a suspicious person and I don’t believe you for a second.  Because I am a suspicious person and I don’t believe you for a second.”

“That would be wise and you don’t have to yet, Ed.  We expect people to be skeptical.  Hopefully you will give us a chance to prove ourselves. The fact is once we recognized you, we realized you could make a powerful addition to our organization. Even Grumn saw the need to forgive you for the burns.  You’re very powerful, that’s why the Council fears you so much.”

What followed this was a ten minute conversation.  What I gleaned was that dissatisfaction with the Houses and the Council had been growing for a few decades. I of course am still skeptical of overthrow because I know they have survived for a couple of millennia.  I also gleaned that I was indeed behind the pixie lines which made me a little safer from the Council but not completely.  The Pixies were having trouble holding the line because the local grove was not supportive.  They might have to retreat.

“In any case Ed, the Council would think quite a bit before they came after you.  You scare the hell out of them. It’s bad enough you can do two schools of magic with expertise but throw in a third one at good level and they wet their pants.  Top it all off with the fact those first two are abjuration and evocation.  Shit, that makes you a Battle Mage.  There hasn’t been a genuine Battle Mage in any of the houses for well over two hundred years.  Add in Divination and they think you have eyes on the back of your head. In short, they don’t want to lose a bunch of mages to take you out. They know what you did to House Mars and House Venus and you did that as a teenager; so they bide their time and wait.”

“Well, fuck ’em. Listen, I get all that. Which is why me openly backing your revolution might be just the motivation to spend those mages’ lives to kill me.  The Death Angels failed and now my wards include protection against necromancy, so they are not going to be have an easy target.  If I join a group and give up my solitary introverted life, they might think it is time to take me out.”

“You have a point, but with the group you would have resources and allies. Something you don’t have right now.”

“I have Lunette.”

Raven sighed.

“Do you?  She is an outcast with the pixies and the mages don’t trust her either. Hell they want her dead. I have the wanted poster hanging on my board back at the office and it’s fairly clear the money is the same dead or alive. It’s also a lot of money. You might ask what she is up to and consider she might need you more than you need her.”

I frowned, but remained silent. She stood up and told me she had to get back to the office.  She wanted me to think about what she said.

“You know Raven, I want to violate a rule I have about asking women their weight and age but…”

“115 pounds and 54 years old. Elves live on average five times as long as humans.  I am half-elven so probably three times as long.  Physically I am roughly eighteen human years old.”

“Oh, well that explains it.  So it’s easier to pass yourself off as a teenager with the goth thing?”

“No, I just like black and being goth allows me to wear a lot of black.”

I laughed, she smiled at me and I showed her to the door. I locked it behind her.  She had been true to her word and not cast a spell.  Well except the one her hips made as she walked up the stairs anyway.  She had given me a lot to think about and a few questions to ask Lunette the next time I saw her.  Hopefully, I will see her soon. Definitely an interesting day.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

A Skald’s Life – Self Virtues – New Identity

Happy Frigg and Freya’s Day

Journal Entry:

I am writing this a couple of days early to clear my weekend schedule for both school and I promised that I would give you a double dose of fiction this Saturn’s Day.  I am not sure of the Pagan Pulpit on Sun’s Day. That will greatly depend on how things go this week and the early weekend.  My perception of this week is that it has been a busy one but what I want to talk about at this point is how my identity is changing into something else.

For about two decades I have been a pastor and Christian theologian.  None of that is true anymore, that identity for all practical purposes is a dead one.  I mean my Master’s Degree in Theology is still there as well as my Bachelor’s in Biblical Studies/Ministry, so I could pass myself still as a theologian, but not a believing one.  I suppose from a certain point of view that makes me a dangerous critic of Christian doctrine and theology because I can’t be accused of being ignorant of what Christians believe.  Not that I want to be such a critic; as in truth, I would rather start focusing my time on things that are more personally productive. I would rather focus on developing a new identity.

My problem is I feel very much like I am back in college making that decision for the first time.  There are differences as I know I am probably more experienced than I was thirty years ago, as well as ‘wiser’, whatever that means.  My issue is what am I now?  I know somethings that have not changed – I am still a husband, father and grandfather.  I am still a good friend.  I just don’t know what else I am right now.  Options:

Professor – This would mean a master’s degree in economics probably and then Ph. D work.  The issue I have with this one is continued financial aid and debt. I then would have a long-term career possible, if I made tenure so I could retire when I wanted to retire. I guess this one is on the top of the list because I have been told I am a good teacher and so that is the issue here in that it would fit me well and past experience in public speaking and teaching would not be wasted.

Business – This is an option because the pull of money is on me fairly strong as I need to make a bunch money in order to make sure retirement is even possible.  I could get an MBA at Ferris as the have a completely online one as well.  Corporate ladder or start my own business?  There are options here that are very flexible.  I know people from long experience, so that would be an asset as well.

Lawyer – Like it or not, my Political Science Degree is also preparation for a legal career. There are plenty of law schools in Michigan, so there is that.  I can’t put it off the list because with my own practice I can’t be fired either. I really do need a career path where I am in the driver seat as far as employment.

Writer – I have already had one career that starved me on occasion, so being a writer has purely emotional appeal, not a financial one.  It has risks. I would have to have another job until it could pay for things.  It also has the advantage of being non-ending.  I could do it in retirement for that matter.  Right up until they put me on my viking ship to burn as it sails out to sea. I am the Rabyd Skald after all.

I just don’t know which of these could be my identity or even a combination might be in order. I just don’t know. It has to fit me to be an identity and that is the challenge for me right now – finding what fits. The one thing I know does not fit anymore is ministry.

Discipline:

“Discipline is the willingness to be hard on oneself first and then if needed help with the development with others, so that greater purposes may be achieved.”

Principle: Apply discipline to every aspect of life that it can be applied.

Once school is done I will have to do a reassessment of the areas in my life where discipline might be need.  Right now it is just obvious what needs discipline. The real problem right now for me is my old gym is closed and I need a new one and that means I will probably not be able to lift for a bit while I find a new one.

Perseverance:

“Perseverance is the ability to stand up and return from defeat and failure”

Principle: Keep getting up after every defeat or failure.

Defeat and failure are something I try to avoid but my attitude about them is far more positive which is to say – once you have failed you can’t go back and fix it.  You can only move on by getting back up and moving forward.  I think this is something I may need to remember soon as I am struggling very much in one class and I don’t know how it is going to come out.

Fidelity: 

“Fidelity is the will to be loyal to one’s Gods and Goddesses, to one’s Folk, to one’s self, and loyalty to one’s friends was as valued as highly as loyalty to one’s family.”

Principle: Be loyal to those who have been loyal to me.

I haven’t really thought about fidelity much this week as I have not had much time to be anything but loyal myself.  I guess the only struggle I still have is what to do if I ever cross paths again with certain people.  I simply do not know how I will react.

Weekly Routine: 

  1. Weightlifting – 4 days per week.
  2. Cleaning – 3 days a week.
  3. Walking – 4 days a week

I miss weightlifting this week but I am using the extra time for homework. Cleaning and walking were on target, so that was good.  I do need to find an alternative walk site starting next week.

Nutrition:

I need to define a couple of things.  A Cheat Meal for me is basically a period of time (a half hour to an hour) where I can eat pretty much any food and drink any beverage without counting it toward carb count for the day.  A Carb Count is a single serving of carbs outside a cheat meal and during the day,  Right now with five Cheat Meals and a Carb Count of five a day, I have a lot of room.  As the weeks  go by however this is not going to remain the case.  By the last month things will be very tight.  I need to remember those pictures are coming on my 50th birthday.

Weekly Recap:

Foundational – All good here, I guess I am simply just putting my head down and trying to finish the year out as best I can. When 2018 hits the rear view mirror, I will probably let out a cheer.

Business – I am really looking forward to the job search and finding this new identity for myself.  My real issue is surviving it financially until then. Thankfully these virtues are not a problem for me for the most part so I keep doing what I need to do.

Self – Right now staying disciplined is tiring but I know it will be worth it.  Fidelity and Perseverance are now more central so I worry less about them right now anyway.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

Odin’s Eye – Objections to Christianity – Part 3 – The Cross and Empty Tomb – An Imaginary Solution to an Imaginary Problem.

Happy Thor’s Day

Introduction:

I know I will probably get a reaction out of this one and I am not trying to be provocative.  I am simply trying to get people to see the logical problems of Salvation through Christ.  Once you dismiss sin as a made up concept, you could say that it is really unnecessary to go after ‘God’s’ solution to the problem, but the whole of Christianity revolves around Christ’s work on the cross and the resurrection to save people from sin and from eternal damnation. You might say it is the core doctrine no matter what flavor of Christianity you live by so it deserves some attention.

Faith:

Of course the first thing each flavor of Christianity stakes out is how said salvation is achieved with Christ.  The faith verses works controversy starts right away in the first century. James and Paul go at it right in the Bible.  Now I heard multiple explanations from both Protestants and Catholics of why James and Paul are not arguing about the same thing really but they practically quote each other with only one variation.  One says salvation in Christ cannot be of works so no one can boast, and the other one says that without works it is impossible to show faith. No matter how you logically try to get them to be ‘defending the same salvation only from different directions”; it is contradictory.  One is saying that works has nothing to do with salvation, and the other is saying it does.

So what this really shows is that even in the Bible and among early Christians, they had disputes and disagreements about how this works and thus it points to the Bible not being inspired by God so much as it records those early debates among the faithful about how salvation worked.  That makes the Bible very human and also not the Word of God because if God had actually wanted to tell us how this works, because it seems it would be the most important thing for us to know, he would have made it plain, straightforward and quite frankly non-contradictory.

Religion:

Of course every flavor of Christianity goes even further with specifics and added on things to the doctrine of salvation in Christ.  The Catholic Church plain out tells you that you can only be saved from death through them and no one else.  Many Protestant denominations will tell you the same.  My former denomination would tell people that they had the whole gospel, not just part of it.  Salvation is complicated by religion because religion seeks to use these ideas to keep people grateful and faithful for telling those people their version of ‘the truth’.

Theology:

Religion aside though, my objections are theological – what kind of God do we have, who claims to be merciful and loving, but demands for his followers to be forgiving without condition but doesn’t do so himself?  It also brings up the question of ability to forgive in that we are expected to forgive each other without condition because we can, even as sinners. Yet, a holy God can’t simply forgive without sacrificing his only begotten son in one of the most cruel ways ever devised by man.  He must have this sacrifice or he cannot forgive at all  and I must have faith in it and the resurrection or he will not forgive me specifically.  Worse yet if I don’t forgive others as a Christian, he won’t forgive me. He can choose to not forgive others and still be a holy god, but if I don’t forgive, I cannot be saved?  So I as a ‘sinner’ have not only a greater expectation than my creator but also I am more capable because I can do this forgiveness without conditions, but he cannot?

This bit of ‘logic’ pales in comparison to the fact that in order to forgive us he must sacrifice himself to himself, to appease himself to save us from himself. See the problem? Well Ed, what if then the whole doctrine of salvation as it currently stands is man-made and that isn’t the real one?  My response – exactly and that is probably true from the start of Christianity to where it actually stands today.   It seems to me that this idea is just as man-made because a supreme being could have come up with the simple plan to just forgive people. As Jesus is praying in the garden “if it be possible, let this cup pass from me” we would see the opening up the heavens and God saying -“You know what, I have a better plan – let’s just forgive people like I expect them to forgive each other.” That would be just, logical and consistent.

There is also another theological side issue – How much of a sacrifice is it really for Jesus if he knows for certain (which he indicates three times in the gospels) that he will rise from the dead?  Honestly, if he knew that and most people who have faith believe he did and the text certainly seems to indicate he did, then it isn’t that big of a sacrifice? He knows he is not going to ultimately be dead in the end, so why not do it as there is no ultimate risk to him?  In the end Jesus is risking nothing himself as God, just going through the inconvenience of temporal suffering.  Why? To make a point? What point would that be, when there is nothing actually sacrificed in the end?

Spirituality:

I guess this leaves me with the question from a spiritual point of view as to what salvation is? Or does it?  I mean, if there is no such thing as sin, there is no need to be saved from it. Of course then I could be left with the question of what the real divine reality might expect from me?  I guess only thing then is to live a good life regardless of what that divine reality might be. Marcus Aurelius rightly observes, in my opinion, this in his famous quote on the good life.

See the source image

Of course you are kind of left to things yourself as to define what virtues you will live by to attain that good life. In short, what is defined as a good life is left to you.

Conclusion:

So with number three down, I am left with my final objection to consider at the end of this month concerning Christianity and the Christian god. Namely that the justice of the God of the Bible is suspect, particularly when it comes to the doctrine of final destination – aka Hell.

The rest of the schedule for Odin’s Eye for 2018 is as follows:

December 13 – Why I Am A Pagan

December 21 – Yule

December 28 – Objections to Christianity – Part 4 – The Justice of the God (Hell)

Then it will be on to the New Year.

I want to note at this point that once mt last objection is laid bare, I will be putting all four of them in one page so that if anyone, want’s to attempt to answer them, I will gladly hear you out and respond at that point.

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

A Skald’s Life – Business Virtues – New Adventure

Happy Woden’s (Odin) Day

Journal Entry:

I am deeply involved with my final paper which will be used both for health economics and for my political capstone.  I am writing this entry on Tuesday morning to clear my schedule for the week. I also have about ten other small projects for other classes so  I am pressed for time so I am going to make this as short as possible,  Of course, I am reminded as a preacher that when I said I was going to keep this short, that meant nothing at all.

If there is anything I am trying to tap into right now it’s my spirit of adventure.  I want to look to the future with the eyes of the viking boarding his ship and planning to go out there and find new shores to explore and conquer.  I really am looking at 2019 as a fresh start into something new. Something I can get excited about as I look at it.

It is this spirit of adventure and about to engage on a new adventure that allows me to look at things now as preparation for it.  It allows me to see things with a light of optimism and hope.  Something I haven’t had in a while.  I am sure The Grey will return, but I hope there will be a light within that allows me to see the water in front of me.

Self-Reliance:

“Self Reliance is the spirit of independence, which is achieved not only for the individual, but also for the family, clan, tribe and nation.”

Principle: Work to be self-reliant in all things.

Right now everything is focused on getting my last paper done and studying for the final exams. I will be finished with everything Next Wednesday so as of this post there will be only a week left.  Time to focus,  the tie to celebrate is drawing closer.  ultimately this is about being more self-reliant in all things. For that I need an education that I can market in the real world.

Industriousness:

“Industriousness is the willingness to work hard, always striving for efficiency, as a joyous activity in itself”

Principle: Work with enjoyment of work itself.

Work is work for me right now.  I do enjoy taking a situation (in retail your don’t really produce anything, you have a situation) and then improving it.  To know when I walk about the company is in a better position to make some money because of my actions is a pretty good feeling.  I also enjoy work for its sake and I always want something to do rather than stand around.  That said I do enjoy walking out and going home and pretty much work ends and I don’t take it home with me.  You have no idea how good a feeling that is until you have been a pastor and then that constant responsibility falls off your shoulders.

Hospitality:

“Hospitality is the willingness to share what one has with one’s fellows, especially when they are far from home.”

Principle: Be ready to be hospitable to those who truly need it.

Still working on this.  I guess I try to make myself ready to help whenever I can or see the need.  I am not very much into charity which I just give money to it.  Mostly, I don’t have money to give anyway so helping with action is a far more beneficial thing to me.

 Daily Routine:

  1. Communication / Cuddle Time
  2. Blogging
  3. Reading – 1 hour per day.
  4. Study / Homework – 1 hour per day or until all necessary work is completed.
  5. Empty In Box
  6. Financial Transaction Input

Mostly solid.  looking back last week.  There was a couple of times financial transactions didn’t get entered that day.  But for the most part is was solid.  Next week the study, homework and reading will shift to what I want to do, not what I have to do and that will be great.

Goals: 

  1. Be transparent with my wife to improve communication
  2. Graduate with Political Science Degree in December 2018.
  3. Find a new, better paying job by the end of January 2019 or before.
  4. In 2019 have  a clear budget and financial plan working by the end of the year.
  5. Maintain a daily blog streak of one post per day for an entire year (365 days).
  6. Keep gym membership going somewhere and lift weights minimum of four times per week and walk minimum four times per week through end of 2019
  7. Follow Paleo Diet completely and use intermittent fasting until the end of 2019
  8. Cross one thing off bucket list every six months (Deadlines July 1st, and December 31st of 2019)
  9. Be in the best shape I can be by March 18th, 2019 (50th birthday), take pictures.

I should make note that # 2 will be replaced after I graduate on December 15th.  That said, I won’t get my diploma until May or June because of the need to finish my internship.  As I mentioned yesterday, to pay for that may require me to stay a full-time student for one semester which means more classes.  Those class have to have a couple of qualities. 1) They need to be online so I don’t have it drive to campus. 2) If they could be something that pads my resume, so much the better. I still plan on looking for a better job by the end of January.

Budgeting: 

  1. Basic Emergency Fund – $1000
  2. Debt Snowball
  3. Fully funded Emergency fund
  4. Invest 15% of income into retirement
  5. Pay off Home Early
  6. Build Wealth and Give

Yeah, still stage 1.  The real key to going forward here is a new job or a second one.  I would rather have the first, but I have no problem doing the second until if find the first.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!