High One, Just-as-High, and Third

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This week’s homework assignment  (besides continuing Our Troth Vol. 1) is to dive into the Prose Edda, particularly the Gylfaginning, to consider  the idea of The High One, Just-as-High, and Third in the context of my post The Lore and The One. I am curious to explore the idea that this tripartite aspect of Odin might be extended as a framework which in corporates The Axis (adopting Hendrix’s term over that of the jazz culture just because, well, I can), the Æsir and Vanir, and lasty the jontun, alfs, disir and vættir. Three is a sacred number throughout Indo-European culture, as my reading tells me, and for the our eldritch as well. It is not just a leftover scrap of my trinitarian religious upbringing, but rather something the Church took from IE culture to explain their divinity in non-Arian terms.

I am posting this publicly as I know my trusty Steward will have some thoughts, and I invite others to speak what you think of the idea as I read and meditate upon it.I will likely take my question to Odin, as he is much on my mind as I read his chapter in Our Troth with the crows calling lustily outside. That is my other burning concern: what my relationship as poet and writer from inspiration should be with the Alfather. This latter is a question I approach with some trepidation and eyes wide open

This Perfect Pinecone

IMG_20160229_093024015During my walk yesterday I stopped by my pine tree. It is a bit of a sapling along my usual walk path through the majestic oak grove that occupies the south side of Bayou Metairie. At some point in late January, I returned to the tree from which I’d taken a branch and respectfully spoke to the wights, asked forgiveness for taking the branch, and used a stick of Burt’s Bees plain lip balm to dress the wound I had made with my pocket knife a month earlier. Later, I returned and left a bowl of organic heavy cream and honey at the base of the tree, again thanking the wight(s) for the gift of the branch.

As I was walking yesterday, I stopped as I sometimes do to look at the branch I cut. The Burt’s Bees is dried up and still protecting the cut. Spring clover surrounds this tree, and I noticed that in one particular spot, directly beneath the cut I made and only there, the clover had set out its small, purple blooms. I took this as a favorable omen for my relationship with this particular wight. Just before I left, I noticed the perfect pine cone. And by perfect I mean if I were looking for a model for a mold to sell a million of them as Xmas/Yule decorations, this is the pine cone I would want. And there it was, lying just beneath the tree. It was open and so assuming it’s pine nuts dispersed to the ground or the squirrels, I picked it up to place on my altar.

All is well I think in my personal Sacred Grove. The branch I have is still green if a bit dry, and the  nascent pine cones have shriveled up. When  I need a fresh branch after I offer the one I cut in December on a Light the Beacon’s May Day bonfire, I will return to the same tree and this time start by asking permission and giving thanks for the tree’s offering of a twig for my altar.

You can probably see why my friend in Oakland suggested I investigate Druidism but I am fairly set upon the path of Heathenism, and sacred trees are certainly no stranger to the faith or in particular to my own German ancestors. We are, after all, ash and oak (or at least I like to think oak, as what I have read so far leaves the translation of Embla with a question mark, leaning elm; in my personal cosmology, we are ash and oak.  I have stopped thinking of the trees of my grove as brothers and think of them instead as mothers). I always stand ready for correction at this early stage, and if I should think of the wights of my grove as brothers, just let me know.

Until then, the pine come joins the branch on my altar, and I have to decide whether the cone goes on the bonfire as well later this spring. At the moment, I am very attached to it, but perhaps the tree wight meant the gift to be passed on to the high gods, and to give what is precious to one is the best gift regardless of its superficial, external worth.

 

The Religion With Homework

So, I am at last admitted as a New Member to The Troth. I am not formally admitted to the Lore Program for a year yet, but I’m already deep into my reading and am filled with thoughts (gifts from the Allfather) I am inspired to write here, and realize I’m going to have to start keeping real notes if I am going to share those thoughts on this blog and pursue this next year. This is going to be right up there with tackling The Cantos of Ezra Pound in 30 days, albeit while living in a castle in the Sud Tirol. No castle hear at the Fortress of Squalitude to which I would not welcome the vættir of it’s land until I finally get around to a long-deferred, thorough cleaning. Having an excuse to bury my nose in a book is not getting a year’s accretion of dust, cigarette gunk and smoker’s candle soot off the walls, the black spiderwebs up near the 14-foot ceiling a constant reminder of why I’ll never take another job like the last.

The Homework:

First Year: The Lore: Primary Source Material
Goal: Familiarity with multiple translations of source material, as available. Thorough understanding of the Norse myths, Anglo-Saxon and continental Germanic materials. Ability to communicate understanding in oral and written communication, including articles and research papers.
Required Reading:
At least two translations of the Poetic Edda, Prose Edda, Beowulf.
At least one translation of: Heimskringla, Tacitus’s Germania, Saxo’s Gesta Danorum
Secondary Source Material as needed to facilitate understanding
Required to Complete:
Lore-Based Exam (take-home)
One 7-10 page research paper on any aspect of the material above. MLA Format required. Minimum of 5 sources, including original source material.