The Race Against Ragnarok
I just recently listened to Dan Carlin’s newest Hardcore History show, Twilight of the Aesir II, and in this show, he gives a primer on the Norse religion of the Scandinavians. I’ve also just finished reading Dumezil’s Mitra-Varuna which also touches on the Norse Gods. With that in mind, I’m going to preface that I don’t usually like to lean on the Norse or Germanic Paganism on RESAVAGER because there are many problems you run into. I outlined some of them in essay called Norse Pantheon Madness, if interested. Modern neopagan groups usually drag the Norse religion through the mud. They misunderstand what Paganism is and set themselves up to be demonized as Nazi demons by our enemies. Despite having such a “horrifying” image attached to them, they’re really like the tradcath. They lean into the longhouse, traditionalist lifestyle.
“I just want to grill, man,” is what you might hear them say. They worship their Gods like a pantheon while ignoring the evidence that their Pagan ancestors saw these Gods as not just Gods, but their ancestors. Odin was real. He did what all great men dream of doing: he became a God. Unfortunately, we’ve lost a lot of the Pagan religion to history. We don’t know exactly how they worshipped. What were the rituals like? How did their ancestors think about the Gods and worship?
There isn’t a zero there with those questions. We know some stories. Know that Pagans liked to pick out trees that reminded them of the world tree. They had temples with idols made to The Gods. They sacrificed people and animals to these Gods. The exact way they did this is unknown and as we know from the Romans, the process DOES matter. The Romans saw their relationship with The Gods as contractual. “I give so that you may give.” Fabius saw Hannibal’s dominance on the battlefield as punishment from The Gods because the Romans had not worshipped them properly.
It wasn’t just the Romans who thought this way, so did the Germans, the Norse, and the Anglo-Saxons. Christianity struggled to take hold at first because the Pagans saw their relationship with The Gods as contractual. Christian Priests presented Jesus as a warrior God, but when he failed to deliver on the harvest, they went back to worshipping Thor. Many would worship Jesus and the Norse Gods, trying to check all their boxes — just in case. With the Anglo-Saxons, priests had to convince the Pagans that Moses was a descendant of Woden. Their faith was not practiced in the same manner Christianity was which is important because if you’re born into this time, Christianity is all you know. No doubt principles of the modern worldview and Christianity seep into any attempts to revive Pagan worship.
With all this in mind, Carlin does a great job of describing the Norse religion as our ancestors likely understood it. I recommend you check it out. It wasn’t like the crap marvel shoves down your throat. The Norse religion was dark, gritty, a full of gore. The Norns, for example, are known for threading together a man’s life before he’s born. They’re sort of like the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future as presented in A Christmas Carol, but what they’re threading together is severed limbs and flesh.
What I’d like to maybe inspire in the creative types who read RESAVAGER is a means of reviving interest in Paganism through fiction. What I will go over is the dark nature of Odin and what makes him interesting to read about. Why he was worshipped the way he was and his mission outside of being the Allfather of mankind.
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Odin as the divine detective and huntsman.
What I’d be compelled to read or watch is a story about Odin and his sacred quest. From Christianity, we get this idea of the one God as presiding over mankind. He’s here for our benefit(allegedly), allowing Christians to save as many souls as they can until he gets sick of mankind. The Norse Gods are not like this. Yeah, they interact with mankind, but they have their own mission in the world that drives them. This is another example of how our ancestors saw their relationships with The Gods as contractual agreements.
As we’re told from the stories we have about Odin(the most of all the Norse Gods), he has an important mission apart from his dealings with mankind. Odin is trying to avert Ragnarok. He’s trying to stop the end of the world. Now Christians have this belief that their end-of-the-world event is a good thing because they will all be with Jesus in heaven at the end. For Odin and rest of the Aesir, Ragnarok spells not just the end of mankind, but the end of The Gods. We enter a new cycle of civilization. Different people and Gods will take our place.
It’s here that I talk about Tom Cruise movie, Minority Report, which is futuristic world where crime can be predicted. Tom Cruise is one of these investigators who examines what happens and then sends the cops to arrest whoever is about to commit a crime(even though they’ve done nothing yet). In this movie, Cruise figures out that he will commit a murder in the future and runs. He gets chased down by the police who they try to talk him down. One of the cops trying to bring him in keeps telling him that he doesn’t have to run, to which Tom Cruise replies: “Everybody runs.” This scene has always stuck with me.
Figuring out when to die at the right time is a question that we all must ask ourselves, but did our ancestors think in this matter? We know the Greks preferred a short life, so long as they achieved undying fame. Like was seen as brutal and cruel, better to die young. The experience of the Germanic Pagans was a little different. The Romans dominated the Pagans. And when the Empire adopted Christianity, the persecution only got worse. When you look at the Pagans, remember they were a people trying to survive. This instinct, I believe, reflects in the mentality of their Gods. Many of their Gods are even scarred and missing limbs.
With that in mind, let us imagine what a story from the point of view of Odin trying to prevent Ragnarok. Carl Jung imagined him as an old huntsman in the wilderness. Dan Carlin also called him an investigator. Odin doesn’t know everything. He has his two ravens, memory and thought at his side to fill him in on what they see in the world. He sacrificed his eye to learn the secret of the runes and he also carries Mimir’s head as a source for more knowledge. I would like to see a story or movie about Odin trying to prevent Ragnarok, coming from the perspective of Odin as a huntsman investigating all leads to avert what cannot be averted.
This could be very interesting tale, if done right. You must remember that Odin can also speak to the dead. Imagine him talking to dead men hung by trees as sacrifice to him. You must not also forget the dark nature of Odin. He may sleep with your wife, make a deal with you, and later break it, leading to your death. He is also recruiting warriors for Valhalla should the worst happen. I don’t really do fiction(though I did do small short story for Passage Press you can get here if you want to support Douglass Mackey's case), but this is idea I had while listening to latest Hardcore History show. What do you think about this?