Piecing things together

I’ve been meditating on missing crucial pieces quite a lot lately.

Things that really would have helped to have, if it had survived.

Because there are questions I have. Questions that will probably bug me for the rest of my life. These are things I ask Lilith all the time, but I don’t think I will ever receive a straight answer to (not in this lifetime, at least). I really first noticed this for the first time when I studied my Norse ancestors. Well, I’d noticed it before: Lilith is nothing if not a controversial and shall we say “multi-faceted” figure, but I hadn’t truly noticed it. I hadn’t felt it in my bones, and really truly realized that there were things that were missing: entries in the historic record that mattered in a major way that could never have a hope of being accurately reconstructed.

Some of these missing bits are answers to very basic questions I would ask of Lilith. Questions like “what is it that you actually DO?”

I’ve been a loyal child for 12 years now, and in 12 years I’ve heard twice as many explanations of what Lilith did before She was condemned to a demonic reputation by the monotheists. I’ve heard of her as a wind spirit, a Handmaiden of the Queen of Heaven, a fertility goddess, a protector of Home and Hearth, a guardian of children, a Divine Consort, and more. Enough survives to indicate that any or all of those theories are true, but perhaps equally likely is that none of it is really true. Her existence in the historic record is highly fragmented, to the point that really anyone could say anything and there’d be a partially obliterated stone tablet they could point to as evidence.

Needless to say, this rather mucks up the process of attempting to understand my Divine Mother, but I’m hardly alone in such trials. Asatru also suffers from a great deal of this, despite their original sources being fairly well documented by comparison to most other reconstructionist faiths that I can think of that originate in Northern Europe, such as Druidism.

Ironically, Christianity itself has not escaped this trap, despite having a well established reputation as a professional force of “missing piece makers”. Just look at the seemingly infinite subdivisions and denominations of the faith to see how there have been people endlessly reinterpreting a work to justify a particular claim. Or take a look at the number of so-called “Apocryphal Gospels” that emerged over history, each with its own take on the life and teachings of Jesus, or one of the Apostles. Or the number of these that were discarded as the Church was saddled with the unenviable task of determining their Biblical Canon. How many of these actually existed? We have no way of knowing. How many of them will go unseen, probably forever, by the eyes of the modern day faithful? The sad truth is, probably the vast, overwhelming majority of those books.

Every faith has its missing pieces. Some are lost to accidents, many to intentional destruction… and on rare occasion, some are just plain and honestly misplaced and forgotten in the sands of time. I’ve got quite a lot of big holes in what I’m trying to work with, but I’m nowhere near the First Place position in that particular race, nor do I envy whoever actually is.

So what do we do, when we find a gap and are unable to intuit what might have originally filled it? Well, I really wish I had a better answer than “take what you know for sure and let your heart decide the rest”, but that’s honestly the only valid answer I know to give. It’s in places like these that Faith is more important than ever before.

When the historical record is reading a blank and your gods won’t answer a direct question, take what you’ve got already, and go with your gut. At least until it leads you to a brick wall or something. There’s really nothing more sage-like I can say than that, however underwhelming an answer it might be. It is what it is.

May the gods guide you, as always.

 

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Disciplined Pagans

Labels are tricky creatures.

Used wrongly, they can be incredibly harmful. Used correctly, they have the ability to inform and helpfully categorize. In faith-based circles, labels are used to help serve as a spoken or written shorthand that summarizes what we believe much faster than a paragraph or a list. It may not be exact, but they seldom need to be 100% precise.

I don’t have a label.

I don’t have a metaphorical badge on my chest I can use as shorthand, to others or to myself.

I love Lilith, who is but a piece of a much greater Goddess that exists unseen, unfelt, and uninteracted with all around me. I’m proud of my Norse and Celtic ancestors and all that they accomplished — but that same accomplishment causes angst that I might not ever measure up in their eyes or even my own. I am fascinated by my ancestral gods and find great wisdom in their teachings that have come down to me, but I’m now ready to say that I don’t really follow or worship them in any conventional sense.

I’m not Wiccan. I’m not a Druid. I’m not Asatru or Vanatru.

I don’t get to have a word that really says “this is the gist of what I cherish and believe to be true about the world”.

I get a paragraph, at the shortest.

The closest word in the pagan community seems to be “eclectic pagan” but that’s not really a solution. All that really says is that one’s beliefs tend to fall outside the more mainstream frameworks. If you want to be any more precise, well, get your flashcard with your best descriptor paragraph on it ready.

Wait.

You mean you don’t have flashcards?

…Okay, I actually don’t have flashcards either.

But “Eclectic Pagan” still doesn’t really communicate anything but “Fringe” on it’s own. It still needs to be explained on a case by case basis if your beliefs are to be understood.

There’s got to be a better word than that, but damn if I know what it is.

“Agnostic Pagan” is imprecise and arguably worse.

“Self-made Pagan” just makes us sound pretentious and somehow spiritually hipsterish in the worst possible way (not that I have anything against hipsterdom in and of itself, but let’s not kid ourselves: most people do).

Perhaps we ought to take a note out of Plato’s book and refer to ourselves as “Disciplined Pagans” if we are shooting for maximum precision. Plato, after all, regularly and frequently maintained that the definition of discipline is “to know oneself”.

Valdis Leinieks wrote the following in his book “The City of Dionysos: A Study of Euripides’ Bakchai” to clarify Plato’s views on discipline.

Plato characteristically gives a highly intellectual twist to his definition by further defining knowing oneself to mean knowing what one knows and what one does not know. The definition of discipline as knowing oneself, however, need not be taken in this restrictive sense. The definition includes not only knowing what one knows and what one does not know but also knowing what one is able to do and what one is not able to do. It involves the recognition of one’s strength or lack of it with respect to other men and the gods. This aspect of discipline leads to recognition of one’s weakness with respect to the gods and is equivalent to thinking like a man.

Disciplined Pagans.

I almost like the sound of that, to be honest.

If we are to take Plato at his word, then it’s an apt term that calls for us to garner a personal understanding of ourselves, our beliefs (especially those that set us apart from more mainstream movements) and how we judge ourselves to fit into this world spiritually through our strengths and shortcomings, and how all of this relates to the gods we have chosen to worship. Of course that’s easy to say on paper. Almost everything is easier said on paper.

What would it mean to be a Disciplined Pagan?

I posit that it’s a better term than Eclectic in the 21st Century.

While Eclectic is, let’s be clear here, a perfectly chosen word (at least for those who give a damn about word meanings), we also live in an era where word meanings are becoming irrelevant to on the spot touchy-feely emotion. Eclectic carries a feeling of randomness or cherry picking the best aspects of something, and in today’s world where a burrito-stand can be shut down for “cultural appropriation”, I’m not sure that that’s a target many pagans want to paint on their backs for today’s rabid social justice warriors.

But discipline?

There’s a big strong word. It commutes a meaning of orderliness, honor, and inner strength. Combined with its Platonic definition, I think that’s a term that could serve us “Disciplined Pagans” well into the future.

I doubt the term will catch on, and honestly, even if it did, it still isn’t frankly a brilliant solution for the root problem of lacking a word that can sum up my beliefs or someone else’s in a single word. But maybe some things aren’t well suited to being described in a single word. After all, the Author knows better than anyone else that a thousand words can often be better than a single picture — just ask Geoffrey Chaucer or William Shakespeare (or if you’re one of those ultra modern types, ask JK Rowling).

Just remember to carry discipline in your practices, whatever they may be, and your future will be all the better for it.

Gods guide you.

Spiritual Wayfinding

So, the Tumblr experiment was a bust. Try as I might, nobody really seemed to pay attention to it enough to like or dislike it. As it goes, c’est la vie.

Honestly, it never really stopped feeling awkward for me. I might keep updating it, but it and my blog are once again trading priorities. So Ithildin Goddess on Tumblr will now be the secondary source, which I think suits it well enough. I’ll still try to keep it posting useful notes, helpful tips, or just some appropriate images aggregated from around the witchy side of Tumblr, but essays and thinkpieces are going to move back in here to be the bread and butter of this blog going forward.

I guess that concludes what they call “old business”.

New business!

I’ve been reading up on the Picts recently. Fascinating stuff, really. It had occurred to me a month or two ago that I have a TON of Scottish ancestry. I’ve known this for a while, but I never really focused on it in any aspect beyond the odd reference here and there in conversations that veered towards that topic. And then it really hit me this year. I have Scottish. Ancestry. …And therefore probably also Pictish ancestry. At the end of the day they were a mostly illiterate confederation of tribes and clans and didn’t keep records of that sort though, so really it’s anyone’s guess. It’s probably true, but I have no way of pointing to documentation that could conclusively prove it.  But probably.

And really, the things that drew me to my Norse heritage are also largely true for the Picts. Or rather, they should have been. They were a set of proud and fierce peoples who in their own manner beat the Roman Empire. I should know everything there is to know about them. I should fixate on that place and time in history, and the people therein, no less than I did the Norse. I should be knowledgeable about their spirituality, their gods, their heroes.  And yet I know more about the Irish, with whom I have far fewer historical blood ties (not to say they aren’t there, but far fewer of them), and even for them I don’t know more than a handful of names and stories. So that was kind of sad.

Here is this group of amazing people who literally defined the course of Scottish history, and therefore that of my family, for several centuries that I know functionally nothing about. So a month or so ago, I elected to fix that. A few cursory web searches convinced me that this really isn’t a topic I could just skim. I had to read up. So I bought some books and I’ve begun digging into this heretofore unknown (at least to me) period of history. If you’re thinking that I’m gonna do a book review, you are absolutely goddamn right I’m gonna do a book review.

Just not today.

I haven’t finished it.

But this has reminded me of a huge part of paganism’s role in my life. Wayfinding. Far be it from me to not place a reference to Disney’s Moana at an opportune moment.

Quoth Maui:

It’s not just sails and knots. It’s seeing where you’re going in your mind, knowing where you are by knowing where you’ve been.

Knowing who we are by knowing who we were played a huge part in life for all my ancestors, who partook in ancestor worship, and I’m willing to bet the same was true for yours. It helps us feel our place in history, and understand and appreciate ourselves, our parents, and our children. But it’s more than just boring knowledge, of the sort that might help you ace a school exam or go far at a pub quiz. Paganism helps connect me to my family history more than words on a page ever could. It makes the connection spiritual rather than simply prosaic academia. My Norse ancestors believed that theirs –what would be my ancient ancestors– were on their side, taking an active role in guiding them to greatness, or failing that, a good life. I don’t think our ancestors ever stopped doing that. We just forgot how and when to ask for that help. But if those who have lived our family stories are really in our court as much as the Norse believed, surely we lose nothing and gain much by adding to that spiritual familial support team as much as possible. And if we are to do that, we need to know who we mean to add.

Know who came before you. Understand what they did and why. Appreciate all the help they stand to offer, both direct and indirect. If they could make it, you can too. In fact, it’s not limited to merely a weakly worded and bog-standard “you can make it” self-help line. Far more than that. You owe it to your past family to survive and forge your own link in the family chain. Because one day, you might find yourself in the hereafter, looking at those who came after you, and they will need your help just as you needed the help of those who came before you.

Know where you are by where you’ve been. Know who you are by who you’ve been.

And then blaze the trail further.

To me, that is what ancestor worship is all about. That helps me to give a damn about all of this. That’s a big part of what Paganism does for me.

Spiritual wayfinding.

So go out and find yours.

Gods (and ancestors) guide you.

What evidence proves there is only one God?

As usual, this is published a week after it premieres on my Tumblr (also titled The Ithildin Goddess), and includes some minor edits and additions.

This was a question directed at my blog some time ago and I am finally getting around to answering it. Sorry about the delay.

In short?

Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

In fact, the very existence of the First Commandment outright nixes the idea that there is only one.

By saying “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me” YHWH was indicating that for those of the lineage of Adam and Abraham, he was the only God worth their time and devotion, as he was also the only one who would protect them — and Biblical history definitely bore out the latter point at the very least. He wouldn’t need to make this demand at all unless there were other very real deities with similar powers who might wind up being worshiped by the Hebrews, even after accounting for the obvious poetry about “money” or “the nation” or “the law” being false gods as well.

However, if you walked up to YHWH and asked if there were other gods, the answer would be an undeniable “yes”.

He wasn’t claiming to be the only god (not in the Old Testament at least) but rather the only God for his chosen people, the Hebrews.

And other tribes and civilizations record having been visited by their own gods with impunity. Ur, Babylon, the Norse, Scottish Picts, Aztecs, Incas, etc; most civilizations have been visited at some point by their guardian/patron deities. The list goes on and on.

In addition to these fine points, atheists will (wisely) point to a lack of theoretical evidence (being, evidence that can be used to empirically test a theory) that supports the existence of any gods, be they one or several. In short, god is presently unable to graduate from the “shaky hypothesis” stage of the scientific method.

A lack of evidence for any is also a lack of evidence for one, and this gives us, as stated in my opening, exactly ZERO evidence that there is only one god.

Sadly this is all we can have evidence for

I suppose the next question you should be asking is “Does the lack of evidence matter to you, personally?”

Testation and Divine Plans

I’m not a big fan of the saying “the Gods are testing us”.
Mostly because I don’t think they really do.
I think the gods are wise enough to know that life in itself is test enough. Sure, Loki will play his tricks, and sure, Thor will sometimes call a storm right on top of us at the worst possible moment, but that’s the gods doing what they do in accordance with their own perogative. I don’t really believe they turn their gaze to us at any given moment and go “That one. Let’s screw with THAT ONE, make their lives horrible for a bit, and see how they take it.” Other people’s gods might do that, but I don’t really believe that my gods do. Well, I mean, obviously sometimes they do — if I tried to count the number of stories that depict Odin directly picking someone and testing their character and limits, we’d be here all week. But that’s not a really great example. Odin’s methods tend to be subtler than “your life sucks for an extended period of time.” He will come to you, he’ll question you, dialog with you, and yes, occasionally he’ll challenge you in an area he knows you to be weak at. But Odin’s usual manner is to approach us and give us a very slight and vague heads up that hard times are ahead, and then withdraw to observe — he does not take an active role in the testing or the hardship.
Because Odin knows better than anyone that life is a test. If you’ve ever been in school and just finished a really hard exam and gone “Whew! Glad finals are over! I’m so sick of tests!” well, I’ve got bad news for you. The tests never ended, and they never will.
Sometimes life sucks. We tell ourselves that something bigger than us is picking on us; it can be a very helpful psychological tool to focus our displeasure on some nebulous outside force that we can’t really confront directly.
But the simple fact is that nine times out of ten, you’ve just hit a rough patch. The real test is in how we handle it. And yeah, the gods are watching (when aren’t they?). The good news is that no one is picking on you. Nope, not even Loki. The bad news is that this means that yes, there are in fact trials we may face that present us with a no-win scenario, or the only way through is to cut something we would rather not from ourselves and our lives. This idea that “the gods don’t give us any challenges we cannot overcome” is actually crap. I know, I myself have said it on this very blog. And on a species wide basis, it is true. We’ve never faced a challenge that we couldn’t overcome as a species. However, on an individual level, the assertion loses its power. Individuals are frequently overcome by trials and tribulations that they have no power to succeed against — at least not on their own abilities alone. In those moments, when we are backed into a no-win scenario, we must not lose our composure. Why? Because this too is a test: how we behave in defeat is no less important than how we behave in victory, and someone is always watching your performance.
In a similar vein, people try to console each other in times of tragedy with “God has a plan for us.” I can’t speak for the BIg G, but my gods don’t have any such ridiculously overcomplicated plans. Their plans for us are “watch us be born”, “watch us live” and “watch us die”, while taking notes the whole time. When tragedy strikes, it’s because tragedy struck. It’s nobody’s fault. Bad things happen to good people every day. It’s the opposite of a miracle: a sudden influx of general horribleness into your life for any reason or no reason. Nobody’s gods made that happen — it’s just another one of life’s endless tests. Or at least, we can be sure that’s usually not the case; every god has their capricious qualities, but barring a personal assault on them, they’re often pretty thick-skinned.
With practice, we can ace the tests of life and acquire similar endurance and fortitude.
I think that’s something any reasonable god should want for their people.
Life is a test, and the gods have no plan for us but to see if you face the next trial and then make it to the finish line.
It’s beautifully but tragically simple.

Nuclear Option

I’ve long struggled with my weight issues. When I looked at the scale and saw “274 lbs” flash across the screen, I determined something had to be done. Finally, I would take decisive action and turn this thing around.

Except there was a slight problem.

I’d been saying this since I hit 245.

But, this time was a little different. I was aware that each previous promise to reverse my weight gains had met with an early death. Clearly, promising myself I’d change things wasn’t accomplishing anything.

So, I did something I try not to do with frequency.

I made a solemn oath to Lilith that I would  turn things around. Not for myself (though I admitted I would also benefit from it), but for Her. To add additional gravity to the oath, and make it even more binding, I appealed to Tyr to witness and enforce the oath should I lose the trail.

I tend to call oaths to deities “the nuclear option”, as they are serious matters. One should never make these lightly. I have only ever made one oath that had been properly witnessed and bound, and that was many years ago to Lilith. These are powerful things that can easily bind us in this world and the next, and so they should be made with care and caution. You would do well to consider the gods as sort of assholeish lawyers who will screw you over if you leave a loophole that might enable that, particularly with chaos deities like Loki, Raven, or Coyote. This isn’t to say they would move to screw you over if given the opportunity, but it’s generally good strategic thinking to not even leave that opening in the first place.

Making oaths should be approached in the same manner as safe sex and the risk of STDs. Only swear oaths to those you absolutely trust, take every preventative measure you possibly can, and make sure that damn agreement is airtight. Of course, the best way to not get screwed over by a capricious deity via a loophole is to not swear the oath in the first place, kind of like the best way to avoid AIDS or unwanted parenthood is to not have sex at all.

It’s worth noting that even the Christian deity occasionally screws over people who have airtight pacts with him, as seen in the story of Job. Job, who had done literally nothing wrong was subjected to suffering and torture by a satan, a class of accusing angel, because the satan had simply argued that humans are only pious when the weather is fair, as it were. God essentially said “that’s a reasonable theory. Go beat the shit out of Job and see if it’s correct.” And so Job, the nice guy, pillar of the community, the man who followed all of God’s laws to a tee with nary an imperfection, was still screwed over as if he’d done everything wrong. Granted, God would later reveal that he knew in advance that Job wouldn’t break, but I doubt that felt particularly justifying to Job at the time. Furthermore, Job’s family, who were similarly pious, did break and forswore God in the face of their supernaturally extraordinary suffering. Dick move, God.

This isn’t unique to the Christian deity. It’s just a good illustration of how capricious deities can be. If I listed every example of the Greek gods ruining the lives of people sworn to them, we’d be here for years. Even the gods of Asgard, for all their emphasis on honor, are not always immune to this sort of behavior.

Now, this might end up sounding like a huge advertisment for agnosticism or atheism, and in the end, that’s your choice. I and many others have found that having a deity or few in their lives improves things tremendously. If you choose a different path, then that’s your decision, and bravo for making an informed choice. But, for those who choose to worship a deity or several, it behooves us to exercise discipline whilst making promises. Don’t promise something you don’t think you can deliver on, be careful who you promise it to, watch your wording, and once bound by an oath, don’t back out unless you absolutely must, as that will reflect badly on you in the future unless both parties agree to it. In the face of a well reasoned explanation or extraordinary circumstances that you couldn’t have been expected to anticipate, most gods will amicably agree to annul the oath.

In general, just be really careful and don’t promise what you can’t keep.

I made this oath to turn around my weight gains because I knew I had to for my own health — I knew in advance how inviolate an oath would be. In fact, I was counting on it.

But that’s not going to be the case for everybody.

Make your oaths with caution and care, and only when you must.

Gods guide you.

Sweet sugary corrosive goodness

I found this on Facebook today, and it honestly smacked me right in my complacency. I needed that.

I thought it only fitting that I pass it along.

You can’t domesticate a god.
As the pagan populace grows I see more of the same. Cutesy hearts and stick on stars. Purple ponies, pink ribbons and buckets of rainbow glitter.

Not long ago, our gods were wild and fearsome. Their hair tangled with lichen, their blood made of the fire in the hearts of ancient mountains. The seas would thrash and crush entire armies upon the jagged maws of old cliffs – just because they could, and the skies would unfurl white fire should one so much as disappoint them. They would just as soon rend you apart had you failed to appease them, as they would grant you favor for getting something right.

Today though.. today I see weakness. Folks think that our great and mighty goddesses can be honored by painted shadow boxes slathered in glitter and stick-on’s. Hello kitty adorns altar tops along side pink haired princesses and my little ponies. Quartz crystals are sung as cure-all’s when no actual effort is put forth to allay the syndrome. How can our gods not feel they’re being mocked with this absent minded approach that sparkles win everything?

Our gods, are not purity of light and all that is happy-go-lucky. They are not made of pure positivity who thinks your latest craft is just so spiffy! What is actually being done to honor them? What sacrifices are being given, when was the last time you gave them something that hurt to really let go of, that meant the world to you?

Hel, Hecate, Morrigan, Mab.. throw a stone and you will hit a goddess with a very dangerous dark side. All of them in fact. You worship the mother of the moon with the face of glinting white silver, yet neglect the fact that she has two, and the other is hidden in the blackness of space.

Do you think the gods who’ve had entire lands face a winters hunger to offer their gathered stores of food just for a hope to receive their blessing for a good harvest the next year, is impressed that you shared a cracker with cheese while your plate is fat and heavy with leftovers that you’ve ignored? Do you think they care about your plight when you do nothing to lift a finger to help yourself and you just dump it all in their lap?
Do you think they do not anger because you only believe in their light?
That’s like saying you’ll never hit a red light because only the green light will ever effect you.

Our gods are being ignored, dumbed down and taken for granted.
Rare are the few who devote themselves, who pray each day and are truly, whole heartedly thankful for the blessings they have each and every sunrise. Few are they who do the hard work and make the tough sacrifices, and so few are they who are respected by the gods they claim to worship. They don’t work for you because of your chirpy, cheerful little chant.
They want your pounding heart, your twisted guts, your rushing blood, your streaming tears, your torn screams and your salted sweat. They want your honor, your honesty and your pain induced effort.

You cannot placate the gods though trivial meaninglessness. They will never be your lap cat, to be held and cuddled.
They will not accept half-assery.
And they will never, ever be domesticated.

It’s true. Recently, I have felt like Lilith was not as… invested as I felt she has been in the past, and reading this, it’s become rather clear to me. I’ve been prioritizing how she makes me feel instead of doing her will.

Doing her will is admittedly extremely difficult as she rarely tells you anything, be it up front, clearly, or indeed at all. She seems to delight in leaving a trail of breadcrumbs around and watching me flail like a beached fish as I attempt to figure things out.

Small wonder then that I have almost completely stopped trying to figure things out. “It’s too tough” “It’s too complex” “Why don’t you just tell me what you want?!” I keep moaning. And in my frustration and anger, I stopped doing what she wanted. I stopped figuring things out.

I stopped working for her.

Yet I was still fixated on how she made me feel when I had accomplished something. I wanted a “lap cat” of a deity. Lilith is not that, nor will she ever be. Gods above and below, I don’t really ever want her to be that — how degrading it would be for such a strong and proud goddess!

But I’d fallen into a path of laziness, of paying lip service to beings mightier and wiser than I could ever possibly be; all the king’s horses and all the king’s men will never equal ONE of these magnificent deities, even when the king’s men exceed the number of grains of sand of the Earth.

In that time of lipservice, I grew to be physically lazy as well. I overate. I stopped exercising. I became soft, squishy, and portly; easily tired and overcome. In truth, this isn’t really directly linked — you can be fat and lazy and absolutely pious. But how we treat our gods is often a metaphor for how we treat life, and things which cause us to be lazy in one will often spread to the other. An infection of the soul, if you will.

I had been infected, and it took this wonderful, sobering writing to smack me in the face and make me aware of this debaucherous revelry I’ve been engaging in for years. Lilith doesn’t mind a spot of debauchery here and there — she’d even tell you it can be good for you when practiced in measure. Odin would likely tell you the same. In truth, most of the Old Gods would. But when you let it overcome you, and take over your life, it becomes corrosive to everything good about you.

You know what else is corrosive?

Sugar.

Holy Hel below, sugar is corrosive.

And a lot of modern day pagans don’t want to acknowledge that half of what defines the old gods is fire, blood, and strife. They want to see Odin as a wise man (and he is) who always makes perfect decisions (he definitely and categorically doesn’t) and never goes back on his word (spoiler alert: he does that a LOT). They want glitterdust and love-will-cure-all and friendship-wins-the-day and sugary sweetness.

But guess what? The world ain’t like that honey. The gods are very much of the world, not above or beyond it, and so they reflect this reality. Odin is wise, but he screws up occasionally or emotions will get the better of him. Thor is strong and brave, but it can cause arrogant overconfidence. Freya is sexually empowered, but it can still cause scandal. Even the god of Jesus the Christ acknowledges this central truth.

And other deities? Like Kali or Lilith? They often don’t have a sugary side. Lilith reserves that for family and those she’s called into her service.

But she doesn’t give sugar all the time; sugar in abundance corrodes, and so she reserves it in measure for those who actually serve.

Because good feelings in faith are rather like candy: you only think you want a diet of nothing but that.

In truth, it’s horribly bad for you.

It’s Not the Blood: correcting Star Wars’ error

So, in five days, there’s a new Star Wars! Holy crap!!

I’m gonna take this wonderful opportunity to geek out on this, my non-geek blog, and argue Star Wars. Don’t worry. I’ll keep it relevant to the blog.

So, who else feels that, as the Force was originally treated as a spiritual concept somewhat akin to god but not entirely, that Episode 1’s explanation about midicholorians fundamentally breaks everything?

Instead of this thing which everyone can learn to be a part of and use via dedication and training, suddenly only a few gifted individuals ever had a hope of using it? The Force becomes magic from Harry Potter: if you’re not from a certain set of bloodlines, you can’t do this and never will. Furthermore, whether or not you’re a member of these Gifted bloodlines can be determined or not by a common high end medical scan (they were on the fastest ship available, one chosen in a hurry, when they scanned Anakin’s blood, and I doubt it came with special Jedi Blood Scanners included for just in case circumstances like that).

The only positive thing this brings is that it empowers Han Solo’s cynical cry of “never tell me the odds!” even further.

Han Solo has heard of the Force. He’s doubtless already seen it for himself (the Legends canon and prequels make it clear that, even with the new limitations, Force wielders are more common than the numbers of Jedi and Sith would suggest as neither has the manpower to track down, indoctrinate, and train ALL OF THEM), and yet he insists that there’s no mystical energy field that controls his destiny. He makes his own luck, his own fate, and his own kind of power.

Indeed, despite not being from a “special” force wielding bloodline or species, Han Solo is arguably the most self-defined man in the canon. Everything that has happened to him, good and bad, has been by his own will.

I feel like Han Solo is a Force User despite being “ordinary”. He sets his destiny and world in motion by willing it to do so, which I feel is closer to what the Force is.

After all, it’s possible, and I argue entirely likely, that the Jedi had it incorrect this entire time — in attempting to use the empirical to measure the spiritual, they limited themselves over time to what they could see and measure, which Obi Wan expressly warned Luke against doing in A New Hope.

Maybe because he once made that mistake himself, long ago when he was almost Luke’s age.