Gnosticism, like just about all religions since Zoroastrianism, including of course the Abrahamic ones, is dualistic, and by definition simplifies (and I am going to say, oversimplifies, our thinking). The tendency to think in blacks vs. white, good vs. evil terms, once it becomes rooted in us – our thinking, perceiving and feeling – is not easily abandoned. This gives us, as any student of comparative religion knows, a real problem when we deal with system of thought outside of what has become the “Western” paradigm, such as Hinduism or the various Chinese or Japanese philosophies, or even Buddhism – although the dualism of Western thought is infectious and has crept into those systems.
[Yes, I’m oversimplifying. Just about every digression of Western thought was echoed in the Vedic and post-Vedic systems which evolved into Hinduism. But bear with me, and please accept my justification that even where those systems embraced duality, it was not usually dualism in the sense that darkness was attached to a pejorative, as in the Tao. All this is beyond my current thesis – or perhaps not. Bear with me.]
Ever since I read and “reviewed” Myrkthursablot, I’ve been immersed in the study of Nordic and Germanic lore with a view to the dark side. Reading Myrkthursablot, I was fascinated (amazed, repelled perhaps) by the author’s representation of what seems to be the one-man mainstream of “Thursatru”, Ekortu’s identification of Odin as the Demiurge! (and I’m going to call the author of Myrkthursablot Nate as opposed the name he adopted for the book and I assume for practice, mostly because I’m lazy and the Norse font is problematic).
Briefly, for those not familiar with Gnosticism, most forms of it hold that Yahweh, the god of the “Old Testament”, is the demiurge – itself a Greek term which refers to the builder of the known world, the positivistic, material universe – and not the original, true God, who is that beyond thought, from which all emanates. The mainstream of Gnosticism holds that our world – not only its material aspects, but also its planes of thought and emotions – are intrinsically evil. They hold that the material world was created by the Demiurge to bind our essence, our true soul, which itself emanates directly, or rather indirectly, from Ain Soph – the unknowable. Our goal therefore, is to escape the material world, which has no value, and to return to God.
This view is less attractive to me because it oversimplifies the problem of man in the world, and the world itself. It has rather been my perception, within the limits of my own gnosis, that the universe itself is good – or at least not evil – rather it is what it is, subject to the laws of nature, which are its own intrinsic laws, which really are its own “nature” – its essence. And that what we are seeing, with the current admittedly evil state of this world, is its destruction by what I have repeated called “the Disease”. Now, there are “softer” forms of Gnosticism, such as Christian Valentinism, which hold that Yahweh is the demiurge, but that the demiurge is not an evil entity but rather a sort of contractor who works for the higher God to build the world. I am more inclined to the Hindu system of world ages, Yugas.
Please note that almost all of the systems which speak of world ages insist that we are living in the last and darkest one – usually called the Kali Yuga. I don’t think it is necessary or even essential to believe this, to understand the larger concept that “history” is cyclical. What I mean to say is that my essential view has been for some time, that the world is not evil, it is merely consumed by a Disease. In our specific case, I attribute our specific disease to something that happened somewhere around four thousand years ago with the arrival of the demon who took for himself the name of the tribal god Yahweh. He took possession of one particular tribe who became known as the Hebrew, a people who were particularly inclined to be so vulnerable, by entering into with them a Faustian bargain. This demon was or has become quite powerful – he has generated the manufactured, constructed religion of Christianity to subdue the Aryans of Europe, mutated that system into various forms of modernism and then atheism, then created the scourge of Islam to chase us all into the abyss.
But even this explanation oversimplifies – the stench of Yahweh has really only eaten the West alive. There have been different processes, different evils going on in the East, although Yahweh certainly has his hand in those as well. But all of this, no matter how explicated, differentiated and characterized, is a far cry from an evil material world! And a world which is essentially – well, not quite “good”, but organic – leaves us hope for regeneration, once the disease has run it course, as it seems they all do.
I will add, briefly, that Yahweh’s Disease is the not the only one that has affected Man, even Western Man, within the scope our knowing, larger than our history perhaps. For example, I think reading and writing, perhaps even language itself, are tools which were invented by or for Man when he either had lost or was in the process of losing skills of thought and memory that had previously made those tools unnecessary. This needs further explication, I expect, which hopefully will follow, but not here. The point is that all this is obviously much more complex than is explained by the good-vs-evil dualisms of our current systems, including Gnosticism.
And including Asatru and Thursatru!
I have always been attracted to what I feel is a darkness below the surface of things. Not the darkness of sickness, or of depression, which I have always felt as a murky brown color, but a shiny blackness. I find support in, and comprehension of, this feeling, this perception in Ekortu’s writings (and represent his writings as one for the most part, having read his Gullveigarsbok and the second volume of Thursakingi, and now being engaged in the first). And also in Myrkthursablot, which started me on this journey, of course. The main difference in the cosmologies (or rather ontologies and metaphysics, as both sets of explanations by necessity predate the “cosmos” and in fact hold opposing views as to its nature. To wit:
Ekortu’s system, characterized as mainstream Thursatru, holds, with the ontology that has been deduced or induced out of our remaining scraps of Norse myth by authors like Edred Thorsson and his predecessors, that our universe, our existence emerged out of Ginnungagap, primeval Chaos, when first that Chaos differentiate itself into realms of Fire and Ice – Musspellhemi and Niflheim. Then from the interaction of that polarity came icy rivers from which formed the first Frost Giant, Ymir. Ymir, by and of himself, gave birth to an unnamed man and woman of some sort, whom Ekortu states in Gullveigarsbok were probably Loki and Gullveig, and from his feet made one giant who in turn gave birth to another. Meanwhile, there was also formed, in a parallel line, the great cow Audhumbla, who licked from another block of ice, similar to that from which Ymir emerged, a man-like essence called Buri, who in turn gave birth to Burr, who with another giantess gave birth to Odin, Vili and Ve. Odin, Vili and Ve killed Ymir and made our world, our cosmos, from his body parts. There is then, the line of Ymir or the Thurses, and line of Audhumbla and Buri, which led to the Aesir. And indirectly, to men.
I’m going to stop short of recycling a Norse mythology here which has admittedly been filtered through our modern thought processes – as begun by Snorri and his peers like Saxo Grammaticus who gave us what we have today of those tales. I will note however, that Odin, Vili and Ve also “created” man by blowing mind, will and spirit into two logs – Ash and Embla.
Bear in mind that Ekortu (Vexior) obviously comes from a lineage of thought and praxis known as anti-cosmic Satanism, which is a form of Gnosticism, and that he has brought with him into Norse myth a dualism that was foreign to its original nature. To be fair to Ekortu, whose work I respect immensely, he admits this quite openly – as he admits that Thursatru is not the rebirth of any traditional Norse practice, but something new, which I think is more honest than the position of modern Asatru! And in his dualism, Odin (whom Snorri’s version of later Norse myth positions as the All-Father and “king” of the gods) becomes the demiurge. That is, Odin and his brothers constructed the Nine Worlds to hold the soul of man – which itself is an emanation of the world of Fire and Ice, of Ginnungap, as a spark of Musspelheim as preserved by the freezing effect of Nifl – prisoner. And it is our goal, he says, to free our souls from our domestic, White Light prison to return to the freedom of Chaos.
Thus, Ekortu’s Thursatru urges us to direct our devotions to Loki (in his role of acosmic Hrimthurs, as well as anti-cosmic rogue agent among the Aesir, who instigates Ragnarok) and to Gullveig and to the various thurses of fire and ice, rather than of course to the Aesir who are gods of the false White Light – which he beautifully characterizes as blinding! Odin, as the main Aesir, basically become the evil entity. I won’t confuse things by saying, the devil.
Of course the main problem with this system, as Nate points out repeatedly in Myrkthursablot, is that this characterization of Odin deals solely with his role as “Allfather” (which I think was probably manufactured not much before the time of Snorri, and in reaction to Christianity) and with his little-mentioned role of builder of the known world from the body parts of the “murdered” Ymir. It ignores the aspect of Odin that makes me an Odinist (or Wotanist, but that’s a matter also, for elsewhere). Nate has the same issue. And that aspect is Odin as seeker of enlightenment, of knowledge – the Odin who sacrifices himself to himself on Yggrasil or the Irminsul or some holy tree for nine nights, and who brings back the Runes. The Odin who gives his eye to Mimir for knowledge, and the Odin who brings back the magic mead of poesy made from Kvasir. This is the Odin of the dark poet, of the seeker of knowledge from darkness, who is tragically missing from Ekortu’s Thursatru. Indeed, the difference between the systems is made so drastic by these different takes on Odin that I am amazed that Nate still calls his system Thursatru.
Odin is not a god I worship but one whom I emulate. My goal is to become Odin – I seek to embody his essence in my spiritual practice. He is the model, the prototype and the vehicle for those who would go down among the thurses and obtain knowledge. He is the one who knows that that is where the essential knowledge lies.
Thursatru points out some real holes in Asatru which had not been consciously apparent to me before I began to study it. Some of these are probably subjective to me, but I think I would not be alone if I state them.
Primary is the White Light, predominately Right Handed nature of mainstream Asatru. I personally, as I’m sure I have recounted more than once, came to my current awareness after longish periods of meditation under the auspices of Zen, during which after the manufactured reality and the ego came apart, and their fragments went bouncing like ball bearings on a concrete floor, I perceived emptiness. For many this is the goal and the endpoint of Zen. I found of course, repeating this experience often, that eventually (fortunately!) the bearings would come back together, although differently, and that when I would leave the Zendo and go forth into the world, my Self became larger, different. And then one day the turning point came where, once the balls dropped and I stared into the Void, something emerged behind the void. And behind that blinding light there were dark shapes. There was Something behind Nothing. And I took these for true forms. And from this came my study of the Nordic and Germanic sources of my identity, and of those I perceived as my Folk’s gods, and what led me, quickly to Asatru.
I have been a member of the Asatru Folk Assembly since 2009, and although my participation has fluctuated and has always been frankly marginal, the last couple of years I have attended one of their annual events. I have been a member of the Rune Gild, and as such I have met and come to know, in a very limited way, Stephen McNallen and Edred Thorsson. Their roles of course, in their teachings and organizations, have been quite distinct. Both of these teachers have emphasized that Odin does indeed have a darker aspect that cannot be ignored. Edred has characterized Thursatru as essentially Norse satanism (with which I think Ekortu would not disagree) and stated that Odin has all the darkness we need. And I think he has a point.
Nevertheless, the thrust of Asatru has always been as a White Light religion, despite its frequent association with the Black Sun, Wotanist, Esoteric and especially Ariosophic contexts. It is here that we begin to encounter a bit of a paradox. The AFA for example, and most other advocates of Folkish Asatru have emphasized the priority of family, Folk and community, consistent with depicting their/our faith as one of ethnic identity and blood. This is all well, good and proper, but where does it leave the esoteric aspects? Even if we have reconciled the warrior with the family man, and found him within the Nordic context to be one and the same, where is the prophet, the seer and the Shaman? Typically in Asatru, seithr is relegated to the women (as per Loki in the Lokasena), galdr is for all and uttaseta (sp? seated meditation) is scarcely mentioned).
As Nate, and I think Edred, would agree and both make clear, Odin has to go seeking somewhere for the Runes; he does not make them but rather retrieves them. Nate in Myrkthursablot makes clear that they must come from the older, primeval beings – the Thurses. Ekortu’s Thursatru agrees with this but minimizes or avoid’s Odin’s role as retriever. I personally think that there are probably multiple Odins; that is, multiple gods or metahuman beings have been compounded, in the Lore, into the being we know as Odin, by forces of history or the death of thought brought by Yahweh and his Christianity.
Leaving aside the identity and involvement of the Vanir in any of this, it becomes clear from even the Norse texts that we have, expounded and clarified by Thursatru, that the primeval beings known as Thurses are repositories of older, deeper knowledge than that of the Aesir. Odin, who seems to be part Thurs and part Aesir, is the only one capable of bridging the gap. I don’t have much interest in the Aesir other than Odin. On the other hand, I find the worship of Thurses to be dangerous, at best.
There is of course the obvious threat, to anyone familiar with any type of magic, of invoking Chaos. Invoking Loki, despite his relative approachability is dangerous enough, one would think! But there’s a deeper question, and it goes to the nature of chaos and of this darkness of the thurses.
All of us are biological beings, and even apart from our physical state, the Norse system as commonly propounded has a rather sophisticated soul complex. All of this implies organization, which is antithetical to Chaos. Even the existence of the thurses, as beings, no matter how metaphorical we take their anthropomorphization to be, requires a high level of complexity. Inviting Chaos, as human, involves or invites massive disruption not only of biological function, but of even deeper levels of organization that would challenge or destroy our existence at all levels – or at least of any at which we would be recognizable. To invoke Chaos is to invite death. Are the practitioners of anti-cosmic relgions really ready for that? Even if they would find themselves still in existence – even if the sparks which are their pre-cosmic essence fly off into eternity or return to Musspellheim – they would be, on a human level, gone. These are not forces I would invoke before the point at which I would seek physical death. And who really wants his life – his haminja, his hamr? disrupted, even before that?
It seems to me that there must be levels of organization – White Light, Aesir, positive existence, cosmos – separated by Chaos or disruption – nigredo, thurses, anticosmos leading to acosmos. Much as I saw those deeper, more real being emerging from behind nothingness after zazen, there must be entities which arise through chaos but which have their own deeper level of organization. There are secrets and truths to be found there, to be sure, and this is the task of Odin, or the inner Odin of those of us who have this compulsion. But I think it could be, that what is sought come not from Chaos, but through it – from a deeper level or Order than we in our human form have the capacity to know.
This brings us back to the question of how to deal with apparent duality or dualism in the context on an ontology in which the reality is cycles, layers. And how is this manifest in our daily lives, in our spiritual practice and in the real world?
The first thing forbidden in any Asatru blot or proceeding – or at least in an AFA blot or sumbel, which is about all I have seen – is an invocation of Loki or the thurses. I think it would be easy, for a normal Asatruar, to see the dissolution which plagues our world now – the children of Yahweh, the Jewish plots, the destruction of the demiurge, Antifa, Muslim terrorists, radical homosexuals and feminists, and White Genocide – as agents or manifestations, or works, of Loki. And on a deeper level of Thursic energy. But I think there is a differentiation to be made here, and I can only tell you how I make it for myself.
All of these things above (although I do not share what seems to be the standard Folkish Asatru beliefs on all of them – one more matter to be reserved for discussion), I would see to be symptoms of the Disease of Yahweh. This is as I said, a disease which may indeed destroy the whole world but is in its origins specific to our time and space, and fairly recent history. I have seen it described as “gray evil”, the failing of men; I would rather characterize it as brown darkness. It is a Disease upon cosmic reality, not beneath it. I utterly support the efforts of Asatruaar and of Traditionalists in general to defeat it. However, at some point we must address the false bottom of the cosmos, the dependent nature of the White Light forces upon their deeper Thursian substrate.
I would address the blackness to which I feel personally drawn, as a shiny one. Odin in is role as dark wanderer lives and thrives at this level. The White Light existence of Asgard and Midgard is fragile. It is prone to disease. It has faults. Much as we must attribute and deal with much of the vulnerability of the White race, failed as it is at this point, to White Genocide, to our own apparently intrinsic susceptibility to a kind of suicidal blindness; we must also realize that our whole level of cosmic existence is prone to disease. And that the solution lies in an Odinic exploration of the shiny Darkness beneath it. And of the manifestation of deeper truths, deeper more real essences that will emerge through that apparent darkness once we have removed our White Light blindness.
I will add, almost as a footnote: If I were thirty years younger, if I were the father and progenitor of a family; if I were a community leader, or in any way more involved with society than I am, I might feel differently about my aversion at this point to the White Light, and indeed to Asatru in general. As it is, I am a loner who prefers to stay that way, for the most part. I try to remain open to having my mind changed on that… but as our present world deteriorates, degenerates, comes to an end before my eyes, it appears that the good guys have lost. I applaud the valiant efforts of you that struggle on, although I feel that we lost the final battle in 1945, if not before. I understand why those of you who have deeper commitments would continue fighting.
Nevertheless, one thing I would share with the so-called ‘Esoteric Hitlerists” (a term I have never liked, despite my eternal devotion to Miguel Serrano and Savitri Devi), is a conviction (which seems to come and go with them, as the apparent forces of black and white only seem to alternate in our manifest time) that the only way out if through – out through Lucifer (not Satan!), Venus, to the Black Sun behind the Golden One, to the Green Thunderbolt. To return only when the body of red vajra is complete, in the next Golden Age, to be truly Individuated. And until then to live in a Shining Blackness that comes from the depths of Self.
To slip out the side door between life and death. Sometime it seems that the only way out, is through…