The River of Our Life

By Rory H. AOR

I read a while ago a quote about the Odinic Rite being as a rock in a rapidly flowing river, resisting those forces which are constantly trying to wash it away and lose our holy faith forever. I agree totally with this thought but I consider that there is more to this statement than initially meets the eye. I think that we can consider our faith from the point of view of the rock but also from that of the river, not just the rushing force of destruction working against us, but from our faith– a river growing from the mountain stream at the very beginning until the evaporation of the sea water to become precipitation which falls on the hills and starts the process again. There are parallels within this short piece which I have kept deliberately simple in the hope that others will continue to find more.

A river flows ever onwards to the sea, starting as a small trickle of stream and spring occasionally dammed and checked in its path, sometimes placid and calm on the surface while below strong currents wait to take the unwary. At other times the river is a turmoil of angry white water waiting to dash us against the sharp rocks as we struggle to navigate its course.

Life is much like a river it has a myriad of hazards laid out for us, some hidden and others more obvious, all of which must be overcome in one way or another as we wend our way along the path of our existence. We as Odinists have our share of these hazards and more. There are those who would do us harm, both physically and spiritually just because we are who we are, those people whose psyche cannot stand the idea that all that they have believed is a falsehood and others who dwell on the use in the past of some of our holy symbols in a negative way. These people are the turbulent waters, the obvious turmoil of which we are well aware and able to foil and contend with on a daily basis. Like a much cleverer man than I once said, “we must be as the rock standing solid in these waters.”

At times our path is blocked like the dam across the river, by unyielding politicians, bureaucrats or petty people in the workplace- usually those tiny people who never have and never will wield any real power but strive to make our lives as difficult as possible. Yet for all their little victories they are the dross destined to be forgotten in the very near future. Like the waters behind the dam we must work to provide an irresistible pressure to find the gaps and fissures, to break through, even if just a small trickle at the start, this trickle will grow until once again the full might of the living river is realised.

Of great concern though must be the times when all seems well, the placid river surface when if we are unaware we might just forget about those undercurrents. This is the time when Loki will work his magic and throw his poison into the mix. There will always be those who would make a presence amongst us and use this, whether intentionally or not, to do us harm. Those with hidden agendas or dubious origins, throwing their shadow across the awakening of our folk and sowing seeds of doubt amongst those who may be new to our ways and thus unprepared. We must remain vigilant against the influences which may come from whichever direction to try and sway us from our course. We must learn to be wary as we must also be selective as to our comrades and associates, this holds as true whether in friendship, work or religion. It may be better to hold an honest conversation with a member of another faith than fall for the advances of liberal, woolly minded Universalists who would work against us from within.

As the river meets the sea the sun works her magic and evaporates the water sending the vapour to the clouds, to rain on the land and form the next beginnings of our river. This is the inescapable cycle of life and as the water knows how to run downstream we must make absolutely certain that our children know of our faith and culture for this is the way that our folkway and our religion will survive and grow. Not overnight but generation by generation. Now in the waning years of Christianity, before the rising tide of Islam grows too strong is the time to consolidate our faith and build foundations, those rocks standing solid in the river. For this is the charge handed to us by our forebears and our holy duty to our progeny.

In honour of our ancestors
In frith to our comrades
In duty to our children
Hail the Odinic Rite