Monday, April 19, 2010

On the Nature of Idols

This is something of a little known fact, but Abraham’s Father (yes the Abraham of the Israelite and Ishmaelite nations) was a maker of Idols. One day, Abraham was left in charge of the shop where his father’s idols were sold, and Abraham, in a monotheistic zeal, smashed all the idols but one and left the stick in the survivor’s hand. When his father returned, the poor man grew angry and asked what happened. Abraham replied that the large idol had smashed all the others. His father replied that this was impossible, as the idols were made of stone and wood, were not alive, and couldn’t do such things. Abraham said exactly and then asked his father why he worshiped them.

Every time I have heard this story, it is used to prove the genius and faith of Abraham, who realized there was only one true living god. After all, if idols are only base representations and have no power, why pray to them? Better to worship the single all powerful god, praise Abraham for his insight and wisdom.

Sadly, all I see is the ignorance of a boy who failed to understand the true nature of the idols. It is true, as his father said, that Idols are not living things in and of themselves. But those who pray to idols do not pray to the materials they are made of, but rather the being they represent. The idol functions as a visual aid to picture the being one is trying to communicate with and as I direct line to that being. To use a modern analogy, the Idol is a phone.

Little idols and symbols one carries around are like cell phones.

This becomes clear if we look at the function of both phones and idols. A phone is not a living thing, yet it connects you to a person who maybe two feet away, a state over, or on the other side of the world. So too are idols to their respective gods, who might be wandering around or in their homes in which ever place that may be. Praying to an idol served the same function for our ancient ancestors in communicating to their gods as a modern cell phone does for us in communicating with our friends.

Perhaps the story of Abraham is what most people make it out to be. Or maybe it’s the story of a son who failed to learn about his people’s ways from his father and learned something he thought was better. It surely is a story about the destruction of property and loss of business and hours of hard work for Abraham’s father. Still, let us not forget the story of the broken Idols, for they were but the first in a long line smashed by the followers of the monotheistic path. And like a broken phone, it made it that much harder to contact our friends the gods, which we are only now beginning to rebuild.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Of Alchemy, The Days, and The Gods and Goddesses

As a student of Alchemy and Magic, one is gifted with a wide array of information, and it is often difficult to figure out what is correct, incorrect, or somewhere in between. Also, one has to deal with special problems, especially if one is slightly specialized because of a religious leaning. While one might think this is a problem relating only monotheists, and their desire to avoid dealing with pantheistic systems, it is also a problem for those following ethnic traditions. Someone following Asatru, while not having any problems with the Olympians, still prefers to call on his Germanic gods rather than the Greek.

This is a problem I have come to face in my alchemy, when it comes to planetary-day-time alignments. The vast majority of this is based on the Greek Pantheon, and if I’m to invoke the Gods in my alchemic work for the power they have over those planets and days, I’d rather do so with my ancestral gods.

To this endeavor I feel I have succeeded in the most part, thanks in part to work already done in linking the Gods of the Norse and Greek Pantheons. Here is what I have so far.

Sunday is the same in the Norse and Greek, with Sunday actually gaining its name from the Norse in their colonization period. Therefore, we shall leave it alone. It is associated with the Sun and Gold, and in alchemy is not generally linked to a deity. However, my limited knowledge of the Greek says that Apollo is the sun god and so it may be linked to him alchemically. If this is the case, then for the Norse one faces the problems of linking the Sun to the Norse Sun personification Sol, or with Balder, who is associated with light and beauty. One is tempted to lean towards Balder, but his residing in Hel’s hall causes slight difficulties in this. For now, I shall lean towards Sol, who is the lesser known until such time as I have an answer.

Monday is also the same, again having drawn its name from the Norse. I shall leave it alone. Associated with the Moon and Silver, the Norse goddess of Mani, who is the moon, fits the best. I’ve heard that Heimdal the watchman is associated with the moon, but for now I shall remain with Mani if the need for invocation or evocation arises.

Tuesday is the day associated with Mars and Iron in Alchemy. Associated with Ares in the Greek and Tyr in the Norse, this is a perfect one to one alignment and their nature as Gods of War, and the link to iron, works perfectly.

Wednesday is associated with Mercury, both the god and metal. It draws its name from Woten, or Odin. The Greek/Romans associated Mercury/Hermes with Odin, and Hermes has a very close link to the origin of alchemy in his form of Thoth. That Odin is the God of wisdom works well, for he gave the runes to man and is always seeking knowledge. His nature is like that of Mercury as well, so this association works well for our alchemic needs.

Thursday is associated with Jupiter and Tin. In the Greek, this is Zeus and in the Norse is match by Thor, who gave his name to this day. Both Zeus and Thor are associated with lightning and are considered the most powerful of their respective pantheons.

Friday is perhaps the second most complex, as there are conflicting sources as to if it is named for Freyja or Frigg. To answer this, I turned to the traditional alignments and see that Friday is associated with Venus and Copper. Venus being the Roman name for Aphrodite, the goddess of love, sex, and desire. As her Norse counterpart is Freyja, I shall then go with her, rather than Frigg, thou there is some debate as to them having at one time been the same, so those who follow in my steps may choose either at their will, since both are similar in their aspects, with Frigg being more associated with the married woman as opposed to the single.

Saturday is the hardest to figure out. In the Norse it is called “Washing day” and given no divine equivalent that I can find. In the Greek/Roman it is associated with Saturn and Kronos and the element of Lead. I couldn’t find anything to mark a direct equivalent. I have considered the giant Ymir, whose body was used to make the world, do to his story being close to the story of Kronos, but have since decided that his being both dead and the earth don’t work well. Further research into the god Saturn shows him to be a god of the harvest and land fertility. This would link him to Freyr in some ways, as he is the Norse god of Male fertility and associated with the land. Since both Saturn and Freyr are gods of the harvest I would lean towards them. However without a direct knowledge of Norse astrology this is up for question, especially considering that Freyr and Freyja have the same job, just for the different sexes, indicating they may share Friday. I would also consider Hel strongly for this day, except she is in the same job as Hades, who is a completely different God all together. It could also be Nijorthr or Njord, the father of the Vanir Freyja and Freyr, but as he is a god of the sea that would set him along side Neptune/Poseidon and removes him. For now, Freyr seems the best one that I can find to meet the job of Saturn, despite the vast differences in their stories. I may change this after further research.

In summary a chart of these associations would look like this:

Sunday = Sun = Gold = Sol (Norse God)

Monday = Moon = Silver = Mani (Norse Goddess)

Tuesday = Mars = Iron = Tyr and Ares

Wednesday = Mercury = Mercury = Odin and Hermes

Thursday = Jupiter = Tin = Thor and Zeus

Friday = Venus = Copper = Freyja and Aphrodite

Saturday = Saturn = Lead = Freyr and Cronos

Friday, April 9, 2010

An Introduction to the Norse Alchemist

Alright, here's where I'll be posting my stuff on Alchemical and Magical theory and practice. Should I get to be in a position to perform some experiments, here's where I'll be posting details and results.

Before the advent of Modern Science, Magic and Alchemy were the acknowledged and respected paths to gaining knowledge of the world around us. Modern Science actually arose from the practices of Alchemists, but instead of being driven by a desire to improve themselves both physically and spiritually, Modern Scientist looked only with greed upon the world, seeing the base and mundane that they could manipulate to their will and proceeded to vilify and discredit that which had come before, much in the same way the Christian Church did to the Pagan and Heathen traditions before them, or the Renaissance did to the Middle ages.

My goal is to learn and follow these all but lost paths to knowledge and power.