Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Being human

The Norns at the foot of the World Tree


I can't quite believe that i am now in Class Four! I mean, Class Four! When i began this journey, i was sort of two-thirds through Class One and going, i have another seven years of this. And now i am half way through. I have learnt so much. I don't even know where to begin with my gratitude. I have read so many versions of the Norse myths, i have had a chance to look at the geography of Ards really closely, i have had the chance to learn maths so that it is beautiful, i have drawn, played the recorder, knitted, farmed, worked with concrete. I have studied the saints. I have had ample opportunities to think about quantum physics and how it applies in the everyday. I have read esoteric Jewish mythology, i have visited the Rosslyn Chapel and other sacred sites - my world has been made immeasurably richer by being a Steiner teacher. And of course... there are the children. Oh my goodness the children. It is through being a teacher that i have discovered a new hope in humanity. That it is a Steiner school makes all the difference of course. Here children are allowed to experience the full gamut of what is good in humanity, in a pace which is age appropriate. I can only hope that as we grow older together, that i will be able to keep on learning from what they teach me.

I have been thinking really hard about the Norse myths and about what they are trying to tell us. I have reread the Poetic Edda, which is a collection of various stories which are not the Snorri Sturlusson Eddas. To me this is really important because i have long lived with these stories and they have this hidden mystery about them. Think about the formation of the world and the world tree and the anabolic and catabolic forces in it. I wish i knew more about physics or cellular biology to be able to see if it compares to a more scientific description of what happens in our life processes. Odin's hanging on the world tree - the stories and personalities of the gods... all these hint at a inner truth, a deeper truth and i am trying to understand what. It is like having a itch that i can't scratch, i can't reach. I have listened to lectures and read interpretations. The most unsatisfying ones are the ones which say, oh this is this history of Norsemen. Oh they were very confused and didn't know what they were saying. Oh this has a veneer of Christianity placed on it. Oh it is geology which wrote these myths. It is too simple and does not have the ring of truth about it. Over the years i have come to realise that one thing indigenous culture was NOT was confused. Their very existence depended on them not being confused. They had to have very keen abilities to observe. That we are practically blind due to education, a learned helplessness, manipulation - does not mean that people who came from past traditions were as helpless as we were.

Also the mysteries were written esoterically because they were meant to be mysteries. There as an element of protecting the information, but also it helped the information to work on several different levels. So when we read the Norse myths, or listen to them, we are listening with our thinking, but also our feeling - and it is this hidden part of our listening which has understood something already and is trying to help me THINK about it. 

So my question is, higher beings, spirits... do they exist? Everything around us, it is already slowly being shown is a projection, like a hologram, but into matter - a descent into matter, a Fall if you like. So our world is proof positive that there is an existence beyond it. BUT is it a conscious world that is beyond it? And is it like the film Interstellar, is it us coming back through the future to create us? Or is it something else? And why does it matter? Because this has always been my take on it - it does not matter if there is a 'god' or not, what matters is how we treat each other and how we look after the Earth. What is clear is that in ALL cultures, there is a shaping force that makes the Earth. In every single culture on Earth, there are creator beings. In fact, science, in saying that the Earth just came to be through pure physics is an aberration in this narrative that encompasses all of human history. Essentially, we have had about 10,000 years of the entire span of human history saying we have been created - there was intelligent life that created us - and about 200 years, max saying, there is no God. The Earth just was and is. That's it. And of course this reached an apogee in the 60s. Which has continued ever since. Most people today would say, i am a free thinker. Which translates to nothing is sacred. Except myself and me and i.

So, if there are higher beings, what are we to make of them? They are capricious. They have limited lifespans. There will be an end too. They struggle with things as much as we do. I have always thought in Irish mythology that there are two sets of Gods. Gods that do not really care about human beings and God who really want to help us and mess up when they do. This is supposedly borne out in anthroposophy. There are beings which have sacrificed being in a higher spiritual state for our welfare and beings which don't really care. Then there are beings which just want to trash it all. BUT the point is that we are part of that heiarchy too. We are the key to the evolution of the cosmos. We need to get it right, not wrong. We need to work with the angels. 

I also think about lower beings. Like nature spirits. The creatures that have an intelligence in keeping the waters clean and flowing, or toiling in the soil, or working with trees to keep the air circulating. Of course we call them gnomes and undines, and sort of make them cute an cuddly, or maybe not so cute and cuddly, but they do exist in that, they are the intelligence of the natural world around us. They keep it all ticking over - some can call this spooky action at a distance, or you can call it a ecosystem, but this ecosystem or Gaia, has an intelligence which is independent of us and i now know they are also extremely curious about us. When we go into a forest and feel happy there, especially if it is a forest that is in a good state, we feel happy not just because of the oxygen levels and because it is beautiful and because it is clean, but also because these living beings are also nourishing us. They are also topping up our life forces. Similarly, when we enter a dead space, there are negative beings that are pulling at us. We feel stressed and miserable and selfish and inward - the thing though, is that as a human being, we have the capacity to be able to hold on to who we essentially are so that we do not lose ourselves in either environment. We can repair damage and we can intelligently use a natural resource without exploiting it. This is the new consciousness that is emerging with this century's consciousness.

We are creators in our own right, and destroyers as well. We must always remember this. And never succumb, never give up this essential agency and humanity.

Some call it hope, optimism, resilience, creativity - it is where i believe the human being is at its best, at its healthiest. And when all of these come together, when they are ensouled, there is love.

Love also infuses the Norse myths. Odin's love for mankind is so evident in the story. And Loki's inability to love, so tragic. I think this is why Odin never gives up on Loki - he feels so sorry for him. He loves him to the point of destruction, when he can no longer any further - and then Loki must be imprisoned. I really hope that i will be able to go all the Norse myths. They are worth the retelling.

So, i still have this itch i need to scratch. Perhaps i shall never ever scratch it. And that is a good thing because it keeps me on the journey. There are answers which i will never have, and that is ok. It is part of the joy of being human. Having the capacity to love. To love no matter what, to love to the very last moment, when the last spark is about to be extinguished and then... a new one nursed once again, into life.

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