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The Importance of Ritual

odin7452,280 words

French translation here

The culture comes from the cult, and without the cult, we’re just kidding ourselves.

Radical Traditionalists are excellent critics. They can analyze the collapse of a civilization. They can pinpoint the mistaken premises that have led to the wasteland of modernity. They can discover in the most minute expressions of pop culture or contemporary vocabulary the egalitarian rot that is poisoning even the most petty social interaction.

Yet criticism is only a means. The objective is not just to bemoan the Kali Yuga but to restore – or failing that, create – an organic society that can facilitate the upward development of the race. This requires something beyond intellect, criticism, and reason. It requires laying the foundation of a new order of society which can encompass all those necessary to make it function. This means weaving a tapestry of meaning and experience that can enmesh the worker with the philosopher and overcome differences of class, education, and wealth with a shared cultural context. This means religion. To put it more precisely, this means a cult.

Neo-paganism today is largely an intellectual exercise, what Collin Cleary has called “paganism without gods.” Arguably this has been true since the days of Julian the Apostate, when the emperor vainly tried to resurrect the ancient gods through polemics, crackdowns on Christianity, and animal sacrifice. Even in the late Roman Empire, paganism was an aesthetic choice, a sign of cultural rebellion against Christianity, rather than a vital “faith” that had the power of literal belief behind it. Despite the scathing contempt of a Galen or the slashing criticism of the Emperor Julian, Christianity would ultimately subsume the Roman Empire and the last pagan to wear the purple would mournfully cry, “You have won, Galilean.”

The contemporary heathen lives in a world of disbelief and is himself a product of that disbelief, most likely having rebelled against the Christianity of his fathers and grandfathers. Reason, irony, and iconoclasm are the hallmarks of the age and this manifests itself in the tepid spiritual practice of contemporary paganism. For contemporary pagans, their new age “faith” is simply an attempt to rebel against the “restrictions” of Christianity without challenging any of its deeper moral suppositions. Feminist Wiccans, universalist “heathens,” and Renaissance Faire Vikings litter the American landscape, and these supposed rebels align themselves even more firmly with the egalitarian Zeitgeist than the most committed evangelical. One has to ask the universalists and the practitioners of “Wiccatru” – why not just become Unitarians?

“Reconstructionist” heathens present their own challenges, poring over incomplete pagan texts most likely saved by Christian authors and arguing like Byzantine clerics over what are the “correct” interpretations and practices. Like Civil War re-enactors insisting on using historically accurate buttons, this is simply a flight into fancy, interesting and entertaining but without real importance. Learning abut the past is always a worthy effort, but the attempt to escape into a bygone era is an admission of impotence. Dressing in medieval garb or affecting archaic speech is less a rejection of modernity than a surrender to it. The luxury of escapism is a product of affluence and leisure, not a consistent effort to Revolt Against the Modern World.

If being a heathen is to stand for anything, it has to offer an authentic spiritual experience and cultural framework that is meaningful within the modern world. In the same way that a Christian church can offer something to both the humble parishioner and the sophisticated theologian, Ásatrú has to forge bonds of spiritual community regardless of a person’s intellectualism and chosen level of involvement. More to the point, in order to avoid the embarrassing debacles of Christian apologists defending such things as young earth creationism, heathen “theology,” for lack of a better word, has to be open to correct understandings of science and the nature of existence.

It begins with, as Collin Cleary suggests, simply premising that the gods exist and that we have in some sense lost our “openness” to them. However, in a deeper sense, to be a heathen in the modern world is to live out the mythology. To the authentic pagan, every social interaction, sexual relationship, meal, creation, struggle, or accomplishment is fraught with meaning, and open to ritual and magic. Instead of simply premising that the gods exist or that there is a divine sphere, the heathen and magical practitioner must regard himself as a character in his own saga, capable of tapping into the power of the gods through study and discipline combined with ecstatic experience.

Such a revolution in thinking is not easy and therefore it must begin with something even Christians regard as otherworldly – ritual. In the High Church tradition of Traditional Catholics or the Orthodox, the Mass is an attempt to bring heaven to Earth, to literally transport the consciousness of the individual to another world. In Germanic paganism, we quite literally seek to bring the gods to ourselves, either as present during a ritual or as a kind of possession within us. This requires a physical and mental separation from the workaday world, accomplished through the archetypal heathen practice of “hallowing.”

Though the specifics differ from group to group, the gothi will carve out a space separate from the rest of the world through the power of Mjölnir (Thor’s hammer), Gungnir (Odin’s spear), or some other instrument. This represents a psychological break with the mundane, as within the (or sacred enclosure), it is accepted that reality itself has changed. As one practitioner put it, “Outside the , I am an atheist, inside the I am a religious fanatic.” Through changes in physical appearance, ritualistic chanting, music, and other practices, consciousness itself is changed, as the holy is separated from the mundane. The demarcation between the sacred and the profane is arguably at the root of all cultural identity, and the very definition of what separates one people from another.

Some could sneer that this is simply a pointless “light” show to “trick” the brain into seeing what is not there. If this is true, so too is the design of the Hagia Sophia (an earthly attempt to imitate heaven), or the use of incense during mass, or even the communal singing and chanting of just about any church service. However, in a greater sense, the ritual is the “lowest” attempt to transform consciousness above the mundane. As the modern world has removed the sacred (indeed, is characterized by the removal of the sacred), beginning practitioners must use extreme methods to “shock” their consciousness into openness to the divine.

This does not mean throwing on a wolf skin and running around screaming will lead to a person meeting the Allfather in the woods one day. However, if done properly, ritual and magic introduces the necessary openness to spiritual experience that begins a transformative process. The point is not simply to perform a ritual once in a while and enjoy fellowship with those of like mind, although this in and of itself is healthy. The point is to understand that the gods, the lore, the runes, and the process of spiritual transformation can be applied to oneself and one’s folk through a kind of psychological programming.

In normal time, one does not have to take a position on whether the gods are literally real or merely cultural archetypes. Instead, whether the gods are real or not, ritual begins a process of mental transformation that works on a continuous basis. This is best described by Aleister Crowley’s view of magic – “the methods of science, the aim of religion.”

In the Hávamál (the words of the High One), we are told how Odin grasped the secret of the runes.

I ween that I hung on the windy tree,
Hung there for nights full nine;
With the spear I was wounded, and offered I was
To Othin, myself to myself,
On the tree that none may ever know
What root beneath it runs

None made me happy with loaf or horn,
And there below I looked;
I took up the runes, shrieking I took them,
And forthwith back I fell.

The Allfather grasps the runes in a moment of ecstasy, but before this moment there is a long period of deprivation, suffering, and discipline. The nine days pinned to Yggdrasil suggests an entry into an alternate form of consciousness, a higher state of awareness similar to that claimed by Christian saints who practiced fasting or sexual abstinence. The acquisition of supreme wisdom comes from the sacrifice of “oneself to oneself,” regulated through ritual, prepared by conscious study, enabled by ecstatic experience.

A talented musician or gifted general may benefit from a blinding insight at a critical moment, but this kind of divine “Odinic” inspiration doesn’t just show up randomly. It is the product of a lifetime of conscious study, united with the unconscious forces within the human mind that seem beyond deliberate control. Anyone can feel the “Muse” – but for the insight to be worthwhile, the ground must first be prepared.

Excellence, said Aristotle (another great pagan) is a habit. We are what we repeatedly do. In pagan societies, ritual is a way of elevating mundane conduct to a higher level of meaning and regulating our baser impulses to give way to a more elevated sensibility. In feudal Japan, for example, the samurai pursued both combat and artistic expression (through such means as the “tea ceremony”) towards the aim of perfection in everything they did. For the heathen, occasional ritual should be the beginning of a process of transformation that eventually informs every action he takes.

Nietzsche called for the Übermensch to live his entire life as a work of art. Total mastery for the heathen would mean turning one’s entire life into a ritual, a Great Work that would transform both his own nature and the world around him through a kind of spiritual alchemy. In the Traditionalist understanding of history, there was a Golden Age when men were one with the gods and their purity of blood, mind, and spirit allowed to them to work wonders and reach depths of understanding denied to the denizens of the Kali Yuga. Ritual, correct practice, discipline, and Odinic frenzy allow the heathen to enable the process of transformation to once again reach for that Golden Age. As it says in the Hávamál,

Knowest how one shall write, knowest how one shall rede?
Knowest how one shall tint, knowest how one makes trial?
Knowest how one shall ask, knowest how one shall offer?
Knowest how one shall send, knowest how one shall sacrifice?

The modern man is at war with nature, at war with his fellows, at war with himself. The heathen seeks to align his spirit with that of the cycles of nature, discover frith with his kinsfolk through organic community, and master himself so he is no longer a slave to his baser impulses. While Christianity suppresses the Will, heathenism glories in it, provided that it can be controlled and understood. To be a heathen is not just to be “open” to the gods, but to pursue the god within. Once properly understood, the heathen carves out in his blood his own Vinlandic Saga each and every day, and even the most mundane activities become a kind of elevating practice.

This requires real experience – real, authentic practice either as a solitary apprentice or, preferably, as part of a kindred or tribe. To rebuild organic culture means creating a shared experience as a community. Heathenism can not be limited to books – or, worse – to the internet. It is to be lived through blood and sweat, the frenzy of inspiration, the toil of shared physical activity, the comradeship and community of shared practice.

Though our sources for “reconstructing how our ancestors did it” are limited, that is relatively unimportant. What is important is taking what we know and embarking on a sincere quest to understand the ancient mysteries, and in so doing, restore our link with Primordial Tradition. The metapolitics, metaphysics, and moral principles of Ásatrú must be explained and defended through every medium possible, but in the end, tens of thousands of words do not carry the power of one authentic “Odinic” experience.

Authentic ritual also allows us to build real community on a level that does not need to be rationally explained. People join groups for one of three reasons – ideological, material, and social. The weakness of abstract, purely “ideological” groups prone to infighting and division is self-evident here. In material terms, a real “kindred” or “tribe” can develop the ability to support its own members through labor, financial aid, and job connections, particularly among working class whites that are cast out on their own by society. However, most importantly, communal ritual, communal symbolism, and communal gatherings “create” a people, and give them their own definition of “good” and “evil,” as described in Thus Spake Zarathustra. It is not whites as they are that we defend, but whites as they could become, and that process of transformation and folk creation has to begin with the establishment of the sacred.

Christianity asks us to rationally believe the unbelievable. Heathens should not compete in apologetics, or take refuge in abstraction. It remains for them to write their own saga by living out the mythology in the modern world. It is not a question of “believing” in Odin, but walking his path, and in so doing, becoming one with the gods. In the end, Ásatrú isn’t something you believe. It’s something you live. It’s not just a tradition “for” a folk. It’s a practice that can create one.

 

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16 Comments

  1. rhondda
    Posted August 4, 2013 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    As a solitary practitioner, Mr Hood, I think you are wrong in that books and the internet do not provide the information needed to call the Gods. Admittedly, solitary is somewhat isolated, but I have found that they are very amused at the effort and will respond to a heartfelt endeavour.
    One learns the proper form with time as teachers appear when needed. Sometimes the right question asked of a person provides the right form. Sometimes, the right book has the answer you need on the next to last page of a 300 page book. Most people are impatient and think the answer should be immediate. Sometimes it is, sometimes, it is days, months, years and yet one has to be ready to remember the question so the answer can be recognized.
    While ideally it would be good to have a group that asks the questions and gets the answers, in this society, labels such as satanic ( really Levey is a Jew) and Wicca is full of Jews scare people off. That is what the enemy wants. Not many look to the Norse or Indo-European Gods without some vestige of Judeo-Christianity to block their access. We don’t need priests but seekers willing to take the journey and knock down roadblocks. They exist. One has to search them out. Unlike Christianity, Heathens do not proselytize. They give information and there is no dogma. You either get it or you don’t. We are not adverse to the Christian esoteric tradition as there is much beauty there. I am waiting for my copy of the Germanization of Christianity as I am sure to find some answers there too. Thanks, by the way for that tip.

  2. Whites Unite
    Posted August 3, 2013 at 12:42 am | Permalink

    “It is not whites as they are that we defend”

    So you admit that you aren’t interested in defending the White Americans, who exist at this actual moment, from the attacks of the anti-White left.

    “but whites as they could become”

    Instead, you hope to use the crisis created by the anti-White left to coerce White Americans into adopting your own blend of Nietzsche, pseudo-Hinduism and Satanism.

    • Greg P.
      Posted August 3, 2013 at 4:11 am | Permalink

      He is simply pointing out that defending the poor behavior and brainwashed beliefs of the average White American are not what are goal is. We care about and strive to unlock the potential held in our people. I hesitated to even explain that, since you seem like a troll using BUGS language to drive a wedge between the intellectuals here and the activists over at BUGS. Trying to make Counter-Currents a bunch of AMPWs, are you?

      Sorry buddy you just failed miserably. There are already plenty of Pro-Whites here who see the value in the mantra, and plenty of BUGSers who read and actively participate in Counter-Currents. And did you think the irony of calling yourself, “White Unity” would be lost on C-C readers? Really? You gotta step your game up, that was just pathetic.

      Hopefully I’m wrong and it just went over your head or you’re paranoid seeing Anti-Whites under every blade of grass, but somehow I doubt it.

    • BlackSun
      Posted August 3, 2013 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      Most White Americans today are anti-racists who are ignorant of their heritage and are only interested in consumption and conformity. A good many White people ARE part of the anti-White left. Most of those who aren’t will immediately insist they aren’t racists, they just want real equality or some similar foolishness. Why would you want to defend them as they are? They’re a pale imitation of real White people.

      If WN has any real meaning, it must be as a philosophy that inspires us to become more than we are now. Whites as are they today are incapable of defending themselves – they don’t even have a sense of their own worth. We need a philosophy that calls us to a higher destiny – not calls for fairness from the system.

  3. Andrew
    Posted August 2, 2013 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    Ritual is important. Someone opined once that the reason many women go overboard with their weddings is that this is one of the only times in their lives that there will be a traditional ritual.

    My background is in the LDS (Mormon) church, which has many patriarchic rituals. Only men hold the priesthood and regular menfolk are appointed to preside over meetings (there are no paid priests except at the highest levels of the church where a small number of authorities receive a moderate stipend). The young men are socialized and become stakeholders by being given responsibilities (callings), giving talks to the congregation, passing the sacrament and being part of an active youth program with camping expeditions and other activities. Scouting is an integral part of this, and there are periodic Courts of Honor where scouts are recognized publicly for earning merit badges and advancing in rank.

    Regarding the abandonment of Christianity: Christianity need not need to take the form of a homosexual berobed priest preaching an agonizingly boring leftist sermon filled with arcane doctrine in a cold concrete cathedral. My experience is a warm community where members participate and experience fellowship, with lots of mothers holding newborns, blonde youngsters running rampant within a subculture that values life and family and struggles to battle the wicked influences from without. There is a great interest in geneaology, most people know and appreciate their ancestors. The founders of the church and their older doctrines are highly ethnocentric.

    This is a working system of ritual for the most part (albeit an imperfect one). Were it to be grafted to a stronger, renewed ethnocentric belief system, an emphasis on separation (politically and ethnically) and strengthened with European tradition and ritual, it would be ideal.

    An important consideration is that most of the European population worth saving in North America is Christian. They are not going to abandon their religion and belief systems barring a Soviet-style purge. White Nationalism needs to be Christian-friendly (even National Socialism was) to attract its natural base. Rather than thinking about de-Christianization, we should be thinking about re-Christianization (ie, bringing Christianity back to its ethnocentric, adaptive roots).

    • rhondda
      Posted August 2, 2013 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

      Christians need to be Heathen friendly. Re-Christianizing? Do you mean proselytizing and if that doesn’t work, coercion and then death to save our Heathen souls of course?

    • Fourmyle of Ceres
      Posted August 3, 2013 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      Andrew in blockquote:

      Ritual is important. Someone opined once that the reason many women go overboard with their weddings is that this is one of the only times in their lives that there will be a traditional ritual.

      And the only day she will be the total center of attention.

      My background is in the LDS (Mormon) church, which has many patriarchic rituals. Only men hold the priesthood and regular menfolk are appointed to preside over meetings (there are no paid priests except at the highest levels of the church where a small number of authorities receive a moderate stipend). The young men are socialized and become stakeholders by being given responsibilities (callings), giving talks to the congregation, passing the sacrament and being part of an active youth program with camping expeditions and other activities. Scouting is an integral part of this, and there are periodic Courts of Honor where scouts are recognized publicly for earning merit badges and advancing in rank.

      The LDS Church is dying; indeed, to quote Agent Smith for The Matrix, “It is already dead, it just doesn’t realize it”. The recent proclamation of the First Presidency lowering the age on which one may be called for a mission, with a particular emphasis on the young ladies, is a response to MTC Provo becoming empty. As well, the young men who return are refusing to accept callings. Hints by the Bishop that this may lead to ecumenical sanctions are matched by the young men saying, “Fine. I quit. Remove me from the membership rolls.”

      The LDS Church outside of the Mormon Corridor is dead, and within the Corridor, it is dying. The Wasatch Gerontocracy failed to see the new cultural demography before them, and Hinckley’s “100 by 2000” temple program is a sad failure.

      The Scouting Program’s Courts of Honor are nice, with the Mormon Church providing half the membership of the Boy Scouts, but the Mormon Scouts are considered by the other Scouts as being people who did not really earn their badges and ranks, but were given them as a sort of social promotion. Thirteen year old Eagle Scouts? Only in LDS. Lower standards mean lower quality of people, and lower quality of organization. Rumor has it President Monson just might be experiencing the early stages of what might resemble Alzheimer’s. That might explain why LDS didn’t join with the other conservative troops in framing a new Scouting organization in response to Scouts of America’s pro-homosexual stance.

      Words to remember: Wasatch Gerontocracy. Empires are not formed by old men.

      The appointment of Bednar to the Twelve is a tacit recognition of this.

      Regarding the abandonment of Christianity: Christianity need not need to take the form of a homosexual berobed priest preaching an agonizingly boring leftist sermon filled with arcane doctrine in a cold concrete cathedral. My experience is a warm community where members participate and experience fellowship, with lots of mothers holding newborns, blonde youngsters running rampant within a subculture that values life and family and struggles to battle the wicked influences from without. There is a great interest in geneaology, most people know and appreciate their ancestors. The founders of the church and their older doctrines are highly ethnocentric.

      I have always felt the missionary conversion program was a facade, and the true demographic foundation of the Church is the heirs of the Trek of ’47. Converts tend to drop out fairly quickly, as they are not part of the extended family that is the core of LDS. Remember, as part of your Patriarchal Blessing, you are placed into one of two tribes of Israel. “Extended family” is, after all, drawn to its logical conclusion, another term for Race.

      What everyone seems to miss in their analysis of the Church is what I have argued is their version of Plato’s Guardians, the Council of Fifty. Anonymous, and astutely trained, they would be the true heir’s of Church leadership.

      Remember, the Smith’s – senior and junior – were, from what we can tell, basically Druidic priests. Joseph’s personal Talisman of Jupiter strongly supports that idea. Indeed, the King Follett Sermon is a perfect example of Gnosticism. The Church simply provides a Christian overlay to the proceedings, allowing it to function in a Christian Civilization.

      This is a working system of ritual for the most part (albeit an imperfect one). Were it to be grafted to a stronger, renewed ethnocentric belief system, an emphasis on separation (politically and ethnically) and strengthened with European tradition and ritual, it would be ideal.

      The emphasis on separation was part and parcel of Joseph’s founding of Nauvoo, and was at the heart of Young’s choice to move to the desolate, Great Salt Lake Valley, where his people could be honed in righteousness. “In the world, and not of it,” was the model here. As well, speaking of Gnosticism, remember the first thing Young’s followers did – in the face of starvation! – was to insure Parley Pratt had an observatory for his use.

      An important consideration is that most of the European population worth saving in North America is Christian. They are not going to abandon their religion and belief systems barring a Soviet-style purge. White Nationalism needs to be Christian-friendly (even National Socialism was) to attract its natural base. Rather than thinking about de-Christianization, we should be thinking about re-Christianization (ie, bringing Christianity back to its ethnocentric, adaptive roots).

      We can follow the excellent examples of the Mormon Church in this, and you are most astute when you mention the folly of WNist’s continual attacks on Christianity, while offering nothing better themselves.

      • Andrew
        Posted August 5, 2013 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

        Fourmyle,
        I think rumors of the demise of the LDS church are exaggerated. According to reports, the missionary program is going strong, with more missionaries than ever before. I was browsing statistics, and certain anti-Mormon sites (belonging to rival churches) show some very negative stats, but I think that is overdone. Living in Utah, my personal anecdotal evidence indicates that things are not falling apart, there are tons of church buildings around, and they are pretty well filled on Sunday.

        You are correct that there is a low retention rate for converts. The LDS church is very Nordic in its organization, theology and style of worship. It is generally unsuited for the dispositions and natures of Africans, Mestizos, Asians and Latins. The leadership is overwhelmingly Nordic (usually very successful, capable and intelligent men).

      • Fourmyle of Ceres
        Posted August 6, 2013 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

        Andrew:

        Thank you for the courtesy of a reply. I think your comments echo mine more than criticize them, as my list of the organizational failures of the Wasatch Gerontocracy are the tip of the iceberg of organizational ineptitude.

        There are many things we can learn from the Mormon Church, both positive and negative. My criticism of Hinckley’s “1oo by 2000” temple plan shows the danger of Yesterday’s Man ignoring his choice for quantity over quality in membership. And, as GBH himself said at the end of the Fall 1999, in an apparent reference to Y2K, “I am not a prophet. I do not know what’s going to happen.” You want to see the Elder’s Quorum rush to run the receiver off? DONE.

        Andrew in blockquote:

        Fourmyle,
        I think rumors of the demise of the LDS church are exaggerated. According to reports, the missionary program is going strong, with more missionaries than ever before. I was browsing statistics, and certain anti-Mormon sites (belonging to rival churches) show some very negative stats, but I think that is overdone. Living in Utah, my personal anecdotal evidence indicates that things are not falling apart, there are tons of church buildings around, and they are pretty well filled on Sunday.

        “More missionaries” is because the FP lowered the age, including the sister mishies, trying to keep them in the fold by separating them from “the wr=orld” for two very formative years. BETTER mishies is the problem, as the purpose of the missionary program is to weld the missionary to the Church, and fishing for converts is a remarkably unproductive use of their time, all the more so when anyone can go to the Internet and destroy the theological foundations of the LDS “Faith.” I argues this “Faith” is a facade of Christianity, solely as a matter of Form, allowing a Royalty within the Church descended – bloodlines, and all – from a Druidic Caste. There is much we can learn from such practices, and foremost among them is a focus on quality over qualtity.

        Your comments about living in the Mormon Corridor, in Our Beloved Deseret, says the wards and stake buildings are very busy, as the temples SHOULD be. My guess is, most of this business is busy work, rather than proof of an ongoing plan of organizational development – except for the Mormon Royalty, who tend to serve their missions in such Third World hellholes as the Switzerland Geneva mission, and the France Paris mission.

        In short, the Church has not bothered to develop their youth, and the youth are returning the favor. My sources say the FP/Qo12 is “horrified” at the numbers of young men refusing to go on a mission, and, much worse, refusing to accept a calling upon return.

        We can learn from their failures. Quality over quantiity is consistent with the NANR Perspective. If only it was the Church’s.

        You are correct that there is a low retention rate for converts. The LDS church is very Nordic in its organization, theology and style of worship. It is generally unsuited for the dispositions and natures of Africans, Mestizos, Asians and Latins. The leadership is overwhelmingly Nordic (usually very successful, capable and intelligent men).

        Yet, the growth figures so assiduously sought by Hinckley and his successors come from just such people. Why? What manner of skills do they bring, what manner of tithes and offerings can they provide? Why should they, when they realize the Church on Sunday is run as a matter of duties in what is essentially a family reunion, and they are not part of the family?

        Why fish where the fish aren’t? This point is driven home by the recent broadcast where the focus is on a new internal missionary program – remember “Every Member A Missionary? – where the FP/Qo12 spoke directly on the need to “reactivate” inactive members. This is a direct refutation of Hinckley’s Dream of Mormon Empire; they are doing well to slow the rate of loss of quality members in the Corridor, and my sources tell me the All-Seeing Eye in the Bishop’s Office is seeing evidence of decline, particularly among the young, and the smart.

        Without young, smart men, the Church’s future is as little more than a nominally ecclesiastical holding company, in time devolving into a regional cult. We can learn from them on this, too.

        And, as for The Fifty, we can only wonder.

  4. Francis P
    Posted August 2, 2013 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    Firstly, inspiring reading!
    William, your quote:
    “The former sage kings realized that words alone were insufficient to edify people, and therefore created ritual and music. They realized that political institutions and laws alone were insufficient to bring peace and stability to the people, and therefore created ritual and music to exercise kwa, “an inducing influence” over them. . . . ”
    Can be read in a Gramscian hegemonic sense of ideological-cultural-mind control, and a rendering of “false rituals” (the Marxist Manichean distinction between truth and falsehood makes such a reading probable) is apparent.
    Much talk about making use of these distinctions, not between truth-hood and falsehood as the prevaricators of the liberal left, but in the place beyond these false dichotomies into what I think Mr. Hood accomplishes here into the realm of: the sacred and the profane, the high and the low, the profound and the shallow – the true dichotomies of subjective phenomenological paganism.
    Without reiterating what is already well known and established by those on this website – it is true that our secular society abounds in ritual of the lesser varieties, those that do not deepen and lead towards transformation but nullify and confound the sensibilities and sensorium of our consciousness. Movie-going, elections, consumerist established codes and norms of daily behavior – Starbucks, ran and than cancelled rather quietly a advertisement campaign that read “take comfort in rituals”… I believe the hollowed cultist sentiment may have conjured images and ideas too close to the sad truth of our modern predicament and hence the ads were hastily and quietly removed.

  5. Posted August 2, 2013 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    Rituals are important for the ”Geist” of the Volk. We are working on it for Nordeuropa with GOTLAND SEMINAR… division of http://hansaseminar.zxq.net

    • rhondda
      Posted August 2, 2013 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      This is great news. I will add this to my bookmarks of Heathen and Pagan blogs in Europe. It so makes me feel hopeful.

  6. Jaego
    Posted August 2, 2013 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    William Gayley Simson was also a mystic, but one who didn’t believe his experiences had any metaphysical reality. He followed Leuba in saying that such experiences, however uplifting and profound, were just psychological in origin. Is this your understanding or do you ascribe a metaphysical origin to your gods?

    Theravadin Buddhism also discounts metaphysics. But their psychology is a kind of Transcendental Phenomenology so far removed from ordinary psychology that it becomes a kind of metaphysics in and of itself.

    Similarly, many Buddhist scholars have said that their Atheism has nothing to do with modern Atheism.

  7. William
    Posted August 2, 2013 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Since Japan has been mentioned, I must here mention the works of Aizawa Seishisai & his predecessors (e.g. Ogyu Sorai) on the importance of ritual in defending Japanese civilization from the threat of Christianity and how ritual is important in creating a sense of community.

    “The former sage kings realized that words alone were insufficient to edify people, and therefore created ritual and music. They realized that political institutions and laws alone were insufficient to bring peace and stability to the people, and therefore created ritual and music to exercise kwa, “an inducing influence” over them. . . . When one follows ritual, one comes under this “inducing influence” and unconsciously obeys the laws of the sovereign, How can any evil result? Could political institutions and laws ever be as good [i.e., efficacious] as this?”

    – Ogyu Sorai

    Source: Anti-foreignism and Western Learning in Early-modern Japan: The New Theses of 1825 by Bob Tadashi Wakabayashi

    The importance Aizawa gave to ritual was carried forward into the newly created Meiji government & the establishment of state Shinto. Aizawa saw Christianity as the biggest threat to Japan more so than European military might and spends much time on the importance of public rituals to counter this threat and see to the spiritual needs of the common people.

  8. rhondda
    Posted August 2, 2013 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Yes, thank you.

  9. Posted August 2, 2013 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    Another great article, Gregory. While Christianity wars against the natural world, Paganism supports the cyclic nature of life, death. and rebirth. As we leave the Kali Yuga behind and begin to enter a new Golden Age, the eternal Truths of Race, Blood, Soil, Karma and Reincarnation will be widely understood. The Age of the Aryan will triumph over the dark age of the Jewish Lie.

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