This Year’s Harvest Moon

According to Earth Sky News, tonight in North America, there will be a full moon, but this full moon will be the one closest to the Fall Equinox, therefore, it is what is called the Harvest Moon.

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“Bottom line: Each September and October, around the time of full moon, the moon rises around the time of sunset for several evenings in a row for us in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s almost as if the months of September and October each have several nights of full moon, instead of just one. This is the Harvest Moon phenomenon. In 2013, observe this phenomenon on the night around September 18-20. The September 18 moon is still a waxing gibbous moon when ascends in the east tonight just before sunset. But it will reach the crest of its full phase before dawn tomorrow (September 19) for most of us in the U.S.”– http://earthsky.org/tonight?utm_source=EarthSky+News&utm_campaign=f415162240-EarthSky_News&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c643945d79-f415162240-393708781

During tonight’s viewing, if one goes out at moonrise (it will happen at sunset), one will get the feeling that the moon is much bigger, even bigger than the “Supermoon” back in June.  The full moon back in June was when the moon was closest to us this year, which is why it appeared to be bigger.  At moonrise tonight, the moon will appear to be even bigger, even though the it is farther away.  This is what astronomers call, “Moon Illusion.”

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“Sky watchers have known for thousands of years that low-hanging moons look unnaturally big. At first, astronomers thought the atmosphere must be magnifying the Moon near the horizon, but cameras showed that is not the case. Moons on film are the same size regardless of elevation: example. Apparently, only human beings see giant moons.

“Are we crazy?

“After all these years, scientists still aren’t sure. When you look at the Moon, rays of moonlight converge and form an image about 0.15 mm wide on the retina in the back of your eye. High moons and low moons make the same sized spot, yet the brain insists one is bigger than the other. Go figure.” — http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2008/16jun_moonillusion/

So just know that there really is nothing magical about our full moon tonight, even though our brains tells us so.  One way to dispel the illusion is to try and pinch the moon with your index finger and thumb.  You can even take a camera and the photo shot will show the moon the exact same size it normally is.  But don’t do this, please.  The magic is so much more fun!

With this, I leave you to your thoughts in peace.

–Seoc Dùghlas

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A Little Bit About Wednesday

Happy Wodan‘s Day (Wednesday)!

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This day was first called “Wodnesdaeg” in the Old English.  It means, “the day of Woden.”  By the time Middle English began to be spoken (right around the Norman invasion of England in the eleventh century) the “o” became an “e,” and “-daeg” became “-dei.” The “-dei” ending became “-day” by Shakespeare (Modern English).  That Woden is understood to be Odin of the Scandinavian countries, there can be no doubt.  The stories are very similar to one another and even the pronunciation is cognitive.  Sweden, Denmark and Norway call this day “Onsdag,” which means, “Odin’s Day.”

Not all Teutonic nations call this day the day of Wodan/Odin.  The nations that speak German used to call it “Wodanstag,” but by the tenth century, it was changed to, “Mittvoch,” meaning, “middle of the week.”  The Romance languages still call this day, the day of Mercury; after Mercury, the Roman god of communication and merchandising.  The Romans thought of Wodan/Odin as the Norse equivalent to Mercury.  In North America, Wednesday is often called “hump day,” because it is the middle day of the five day work week (from Monday to Friday).

The Gaels call it either “Dé Céadaoin (Irish)” or “Di-Ciadain (Scottish).” Both of these words mean, “the first day of fasting.”  The other day of fasting would be Friday.  This comes from a tradition in the Eastern Orthodox church that Wednesdays and Fridays, throughout most of the year are “fasting” days, due to the fact Jesus was betrayed on a “Holy Wednesday,” and crucified on “Good Friday.”  The Western church does not have this tradition fully developed (except for the possible exception of “Ash Wednesday,” however, some within the West call “Holy Wednesday” as “Spy Wednesday” because that is when Judas Iscariot decided to wait for the opportune time to betray), nor does the Western church have a tendency to fast on most Wednesdays throughout the year, like their Eastern counterparts do.  This tradition must be a throwback of a time before the Great Schism of the eleventh century, since both Scottish and Irish tradition still holds to this practice.  This may explain why some Western churches do have some sort of meeting on Wednesday nights and why local schools have a tendency not to schedule events on that evening.

I, for one, celebrate this day, because it is a day fully consecrated to Wodan, the knower of the mysteries of the runes.  He teaches me through his experience that anything worthwhile could very well cost me something.  Sometimes, it may cost an arm and a leg.  For him, it only cost him one of his eyes.  Which one, I can’t be for sure.  Regardless, anything worthwhile must be worth having, whatever the sacrifice.  Even honor and glory has a high potential to cost me my life.  The question then becomes, will I make the most of it, if and when payment comes due?

With this, I will leave you to your thoughts in peace.

–Jack Douglas

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The Nine Noble Virtues

Happy Sunna’s Day (Sunday)

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The Nine Noble Virtues are:
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1: CourageBy facing life’s struggles with courage, we constantly extend our capabilities.  Without courage, nothing else can be done.
2: TruthBlind faith has no place in Asatru. No pie-in-the-sky; we must act in this world as we sit it and as it really is rather than calmly wait for the next.
3: HonorWe must be true to what we are, and we insist on acting with nobility rather than baseness. Our standards must be banners held high in our hearts.
4: FidelityWe stand true to our faith and our values.  Loyalty is the basis for all enduring human activity, and we hold it in the highest esteem.
5: DisciplineWe hold to the discipline necessary to fulfill our purpose. We stand willing to exercise the self-control and steadfastness necessary in these difficult times.
6: HospitalityThe isolation and loneliness of modern life is not necessary. The willingness to share what one has with ones’ fellow, especially travelers, is a vital part of our way of life.
7: Self-RelianceWe depend on our own strength and character to achieve our goals. We seek only the freedom necessary to our quest, whatever that may be.
8: IndustriousnessLet us dare to be all that we can be! Let us take risks and taste the richness of life. Passivity is for sheep. We refuse to be mere spectators in life.
9: PerseveranceWe hold to our path until it’s completion and are not ashamed to be strong. The cult of the anti-hero will find no support in us, and the gods we follow are not for the weak.

Ian Corrigan, a former arch-druid of Ár nDraíocht Féin (ADF), listed these in a slightly different way, breaking them down to three sets of threes.  He did so as a way that it would fit any Indo-European path, regardless the nationality. I, myself, have found a correlation between his list and the class lists of The Republic, by Plato <so I will put my findings in these brackets here>.  They are as follows:

The Ways of the Providers: <THE MERCHANT CLASS>
1: Industry
2: Sensuality
3: Hospitality

The Ways of the Warrior: <THE WARRIOR CLASS>
1: Courage
2: Strength
3: Honor

The Ways of the Wise: <THE PHILOSOPHER KINGS>
1: Memory
2: Reason
3: Vision

Unlike Plato’s version, I think Corrigan had in mind that not only everyone is capable of doing all three sets of threes, but it is highly encouraged for all to develop ALL these virtues.  Plato would have simply been happy if the appropriate class would only focus on that particular class.

What does all this mean in the modern day twenty-first century?  One of the key things that I notice right off is the responsibility.  We cannot blame anyone for our failures save only ourselves.  It is up to each individual how much effort they are going to put into something, or not.  There is no devil we can pin the blame on.  There is no rib woman who was tricked by a talking snake into eating enchanted fruit from a magical tree.

Though the above ^^ may seem to be discouraging to some, it need not be.  Along with the responsibility comes POWER, the actual ability to do what needs to be done to get our goals met.  We are discouraged from depending on others to do something for us.  If the responsibility lies on our shoulders, then we can be sure that the means to get to where we are going are available.  We may have to do some deep soul searching to find the strength to do so, but within each and everyone of us is the ability to dream big and to ensure that they become reality.  That is why we can only blame ourselves if something does not go the way it should have.

A NOTE HERE: I may not be able to control the weather, but I can be prepared.  If I know a tornado is on it’s way, it is up to me to get out of the way and seek shelter immediately.  If I rely on someone else to get me through that and do nothing for myself because of that, then shame on me when things simply didn’t work out!  This is where Truth comes in real handy, because I don’t want to keep fooling myself, doing the same thing over and over again expecting the same result.  That is the definition of insanity, is it not?

In order to fully live my life, and thereby be happy, there needs to be a balance of freedom and discipline.  Too much discipline and I go nowhere.  Too much freedom means that there is no destination, because it is everywhere.  Honor and fidelity keeps  the discipline securely in place.  Industriousness and courage fuels the freedom.  Along the way, I am friendly towards people and people become my friends as a result, so I know I’ll get help when I need it (hospitality).  The real important thing, however is that I stick to it.  Anything worth having is worth the wait and worth putting everything into it (perseverance).

Anyway, just my thoughts.

With this I will leave you to yours in peace,
Jack Douglas

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Anglisch Asatru as an Ethnic Religion

Several people within the faith have fought over this idea about “ethnicity” and where to draw the line concerning ours being an “ethnic” religion and that of just blatant racism.  Here is where I draw the line.  I, personally, will welcome ANYONE who wants to learn of our ways! Of course, one may argue that the only reason why I am of this position is because my eyes are not “blue” or “green” enough. They are actually brown. Or, I used to have a head full of red hair, until a joke I pulled off in the 90’s, not that the joke caused me to have a brownish red color, but it happened at that time.

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The way I understand my own heritage is that I have a lot of English (which accounts for probably a half of my genes), but some bits of Scots and Irish, with even a wee bit American Indian in me. So does the American Indian disqualify me from worshiping Thunnar, who is commonly known as Thor? Certainly not, for even the Vikings themselves visited all these lands (I will post the archaeological evidence on the discovery of North America by the Vikings in a later post) and had interactions with all these peoples, languages, tongues and cultures.  Besides, the Aesir (aka the Asgardians, such as Wotan/Odin, Thunnar, Tuwaz/Tyr) interacted, fought and consolidated with the Vaenir (such as Njord, Freyr and Freya).  These are two different races, but one religion/community.

My wife has German ancestry, but she is the granddaughter of a full fledged Mexican couple who did immigrate, legally, of course, to the States. Now what if I was disqualified from Asgard because of who I married? What about my kids? Are they not part of the folk as well?  If an ethnic religion recognizes me as part of their community, would it seem fair to assume that they would accept those that are a part of me, and I, a part of them?

CONSIDER THIS:
I’ve noticed that many folk who want to keep the bloodlines “pure” often will use Jews, Hindus, American Indians and others as examples that they are not racist when they want the same thing. HOWEVER, my experience with Jews and Indians has been that if a person, not of that “race” was to be “converted” over and promise to raise the children in the ways of their folk, then the ban on marrying that person outside of one’s community is lifted. IN OTHER WORDS, IT ULTIMATELY ISN’T THE BLOODLINE THAT MATTERS. IT’S THE CULTURE THAT THEY WANT TO PRESERVE. (I use all caps to emphasize, not to yell).   It would be appropriate to initiate those that have the English, or other Teutonic backgrounds/heritage/languages, and if someone outside these parameters wants in, allow a way for them to come in, but fully aware of what they are getting into and have them promise that they will adhere to such values.

My question then is this: How come a lot of us folk don’t seem to see it in this way, if what we are doing is indeed very similar to other cultures that want to preserve their ways?

I’ll leave you to your thoughts in peace.

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