Myrkthursablót: Nightside of the Old Norse Mythology (a Book Review)

It is said within many traditions that, when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.  I’ve never found this to be true with teachers of complete systems, or with humans who hold themselves out as teachers.  Any time I’ve contemplated regarding some human in this role, I’ve been disappointed or worse, in a quite timely fashion, and from that I’ve come to the conclusion that my path, at least, must be a gnostic one of self-discovery, guided as appropriate by signs upon the way.  I’ve written of this elsewhere in the context of those who have forged their own systems from their own Odinic journeys.  I have found, however, from my own experience, that when I have reached a plateau in my own discoveries, a “stuck” point, a book will appear that carries me forward in a great leap.  The works of Miguel Serrano did this for me.  This small book, Myrkthursablót: Nightside of the Old Norse Mythology, by Niðafjöll & Wilthijaz Yggr (published by fallofman.eu) is certainly not comparable to the works of Serrano; it presents not a complete metaphysical system, but the merest sketch, a suggestion of what can be drawn from the known works of Norse lore, as augmented and fulfilled by one’s one personal practice.  The author does not present it as a complete system, but merely as the basis of his own gnosis and practice.  He presents to the reader not a fait accompli, an authoritarian religious system, but a blueprint for one’s own vision.

This little 77-page book has for me suggested a way out of the quandary I’ve been stuck in with regard to my own personal Wotanism; how to reconcile the perceived darkness and occult nature of my own quest with the right-handedness of the Asatruar and their organizations and teachings, with whom and which I am well-acquainted.  Lest the reader think I’ve gone down a rabbit hole-hole from which I am unlikely to emerge, l need to point out and distinguish Myrkthursablot (pardon the spelling) from and within a couple of other teachings, neither of which I am familiar enough with to do more than indicate: Thursatru and what has become known as anti-cosmic Satanism, which bear similar traits.

But first let me present the problem.  It has long been my perception that Asatru ( a term I have never particularly liked, which is one reason I have for quite a while now distinguished my personal practice as Wotanism, a name which has been used at other times for other movements of which I, for better or worse, have not been a participating member), as represented and generally presented, lacks a certain spiritual component.  As brought back by pioneers like Else Christensen and built by pioneers like Stephen McNallen, it generally manifests as a right-hand path religion, a social force which is inexorably linked with politics or meta-politics, and carries (with its Nine Noble Virtues, etc.) a behavioral code and societal prescription which parallels where it does distinguish itself from, the popular Christian culture in the context of which it re-arises.  Without dwelling on that, it lacks (to a degree) mysticism and a place for personal questing of an occult or metaphysical nature.  While there certainly have been attempts to deepen and develop this aspect, especially by Stephen Flowers as Edred Thorrson, and his Rune Gild (of which I was briefly a member and perhaps still am, though for some time not an active one),  those attempts always come back to a focus on the Aesir, and secondarily the Vanir.

The problem with focus on the Aesir is that within the context of the Norse metaphysical system, there is no creator or originator god, no source of being or more importantly, meaning; no equvalent of the higher beings who stand above all in the Vedic/Hindu systems or who role is arrogantly claimed by Yahweh in the Semitic; no Ain Soph.  Odin presents in one of his guises as the All-Father, but there are problems with this within the myth.  Odin, like man (and like in the so-called Bible, but we won’t go there) appears to originate twice, the first time as as the trio of brothers who created the manifest, material world from the bone of the primordial Frost Giant Ymir.  In this role, Odin functions quite blatantly, apparently, as demiurge, a road which Thursatru has gone down exclusively, and to my mind unfortunately.

Thursatru is Norse lore which focuses on the Thurses.  It is generally the Dark Side of Odinism.  When I first began to attend Asatru blots with my local (and former) kindred, one of the preliminary charges for sumbel was that no homage be paid to any gods outside the Norse pantheon, or to Loki!  Loki of course within the Norse system is not quite Satanic, but is a being who is wicked, a trickster and untrustworthy.  But I was suprised to find that there were in fact practitioners and groups who do invoke, revere and perhaps worship Loki.  I was told at the time that these groups were akin to the groups who present themselves as “universalist” Asatruar and Wiccan, etc; degenerative products of the New Age outside the volkisch tradition.  I have yet to test this presentation because as far as I know, I’ve never met a Lokean, although unfortunately I have met Universalist Asatruar.

The Thursatru to be distinguished here are, I’m told, best represented by a group which appears to have begun in the 1990’s and exemplified by a writer who goes by Vexior or Ekortu and is a black metal musician (as is the author or Myrkthursablot).  I am not familiar with Vexior’s book Panparadox because it seems to be available only in a limited, out of print and very expensive edition, and a PDF, but I personally refuse to read a full-length book on PDF…. but as explained by others, this “mainstream” Thursatru attempts to introduce a certain dualistic gnosticism into the Norse metaphysical world, a sort of Manicheanism or Catharism wherein the Thurses (the original primal giants of Norse lore as opposed to the Jotnar, who are distinguished as another later race) are worshipped and the Aesir are denigrated.  Odin is, as I’ve said, reduced to a role as a sort of demiurge or as a false god.  The Thurses are presented as primal gods of chaos, and it is that Chaos (as represented by Ginnungagap) that is sought.  Thus the human seeks Chaos.

I asked the author of Myrkthursablot about this relationship with Thursatru, and he indicated that he does consider himself to be working within it, although is vigorously opposed to Vexior’s presentation of Odin, which for me is the key to his whole system, to this book, and to the inspiration I find herein for my own Wotanism and development.  In a brief five-page chapter titled “Hrafnagud the Raven God”, the author presents Odin instead as the spirit of the seeker, whose traits are not at all exclusive to the White Light traditions in which he is usually presented in mainstream Asatru.  He cites Odin’s blood-brotherhood with Loki, his sacrifice of his eye to Mimir for the Nine power songs, and most especially his sacrifice of himself to himself on Yggdrasil (perhaps) to gain understanding of the Runes, and to bring them back to mankind (here functioning as a Prometheus, who was of course, a Titan, not a Greek god).  In the concluding paragraph of that chapter the author states:

To me, the death of Odin at the world’s ending was his final sacrifice and the fulfillment of his true destiny: to bathe in the flames of Mullspellsheimr as he meets his end by Fenrissulfr [the wolf], achieving liberation… By no means do I suggest that Odinn is a herald of destruction and the bringer of the world’s demise by taking on the role of an antagonist.  Instead, Odin began a path of darkness, treachery, and deceit within the confines of his existence to obtain the liberating black light, borne [sic] of the primordial black fire.

Odin is a seeker in dark places; he is beyond good and evil.  He seeks the truth wherever he may find it, which of necessity includes embracing the darkness of chaos and destruction; not to embody it, as in the more negative Lokeanism which I see as a rather adolescent worship of destruction which is related to the Christian Satanism of those just beginning to go down the alchemical path (see my previous essay).   One must embrace Chaos to understand it.  It is in the realm of Abraxas that all truth is found, not in the White Light only.

There are aspects of the Myrkthursablot with which I am less comfortable.  I’m a little mystified by the length and depth of the chapter “Ulhednar Cult of the Werewolf” except as an expression of the author’s own predilections and chosen totem within his own system, and I cannot really imagine why anyone would want to invoke the Fenris wolf.   Indeed, my own take on all of these dark forces is that they need to be embraced for the purpose of being understood, their necessity and inevitability recognized, and left to be.  I see no benefit, and indeed would associate an almost certain self-destruction, with the effort to any way enhance or accelerate the forces of Chaos, of trying to “immanentize the Eschaton”, as in Illuminatus.  Please note this with regard to a critique of Savitri Devi’s men in time, which I have yet to set to virtual paper…

Nor do I “agree” or resonate with all of the author’s reinterpretations of the Runes, and by dint of my lack of familiarity with the overall tradition, such as it is, of Thursatru, I don’t know how much of these interpretations originate with the author.  But as someone who to this day prefers to make use of von List’s Armanen Runes in preference to the more historically defensible Elder Futhark, in deference to the personally gnostic nature of their origin, I respect absolutely the author’s right to re-interpret, as long as he does not insist to the reader on any absolute correctness of his version, which he emphatically does not.

What I do find in Myrkthursablot is a way out of a trap, which set me to free to pursue a dark Odinism of my own, in which Odin, who is both a fairly dark god and a seeker, thereby presenting an aspect with whom I can identify, is neither some sort of Marvel Comics Allfather or a demiurge in some modern system of dubious construction, but the model for the dark, internal quest which I must pursue into and through Chaos.   We have no need, I think, and I am ready to stand corrected as to the main thrust of Thursatru, of a Satanism within the Asatru, Odinic or Wotanist tradition; there is no mold that needs breaking as there is with the Yahweh-induced coma world of the modern age.

What I, at least, was perhaps lacking to some extent, and did not know I was seeking, was a Dark Path within Wotanism itself.  I have long envisioned emergence into the shiny black light which is not murk nor white light, but something altogether new, transformed as within Serrano’s model of rebirth through the Black Sun, through Lucifer.   Myrkthursatru, in its brevity and clarity, presents a key to unlocking my own Wotanic nature.  I would heartily recommend it to anyone who finds the same lack in Asatru which I have but does not want to commit to the forces of destruction, even while recognizing their inevitability (though with the noted caution as to Fenris).  I would likewise recommend it to anyone who has gone down the dark path within the Semitic traditions but wishes to escape the dead end of their megalomaniacal reverse monotheism.

Of course it would be nice to see what actual practices the author implies within his conceptual context, the only evidence in the existing volume being his bind runes.  I look forward to further works to perhaps flesh out what expansions of working, perhaps a variant of seithr(?) he might manifest.

I also note that the author is the artist behind the black metal band Veiled, which I also recommend, if you like this sort of thing.  I finally got the bandcamp to embed below, so you can now check out his music!

I also want to add that this is a beautiful little book, in and of itself, lovely in its published form.

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