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A former Teutonic Pagan who has gone the way of Guenon, Schuon, Lings, Burkhardt...alhamdulillah!


I was born in the 'seventies, to hippie parents. Dad was in the Navy, Mum took care of us. I have enough siblings that I have to sit and count them on my fingers; I'm not going to do it now. Ever since I was clued in at the age of nine that "It" was out there (in the form of LaFebvreite Catholicism and folk tales about faeries), I have dedicated my life to the quest to find It. If It exists, after all, It is the single most important thing in the universe; for understanding It is essential to the well-being of mankind. I could not comprehend how anyone could not think that It was more important than any other consideration in life. It took me eighteen years to realize that not everyone (very few people as it turned out) valued It as highly as I do, and another ten years to realize that there is not something inherently wrong with such people.
When I was ten I opened my parents' copy of Ram Dass's Be Here Now, Be Now Here and saw a picture of Hanuman tearing his heart out. I asked my Mom about it and she said to look up "Hinduism" in our encyclopedias. Thus began a lifelong interest in Comparative Religion. In sixth grade I learned to write in runes; by the summer after seventh grade I had acquired a couple books on operative magic and was using runes, Hesychast prayer, a bit of Hoodoo (chiefly gris-gris bags and working with saints) and a bit of Western Ceremonial magic thrown in; basically whatever I could get my hands on in my small (still fewer than 2000 people) hometown. At that time my father had rejected Catholicism for Protestantism and made us all accompany him to various churches in town, so all this was in great secrecy (how he expected me to just embrace ideas which he himself had raised me to believe were heretical remains a mystery to me to this day). In spite of--or more likely, because of--my esoteric leanings, I still aspired to the Catholic priesthood, and tried an honest go with the new, post-Vatican II Church; but by the time I was seventeen I realized there was no way I could reconcile the modern Church with its traditional foundations. None of the thousands of saints who populated the Church's hagiographies, up to and even after the time of Padre Pio, would have recognized the "mass" or "sacraments" I was supposed to be receiving. Added to this was my dissatisfaction with the exclusivity of Christianity when I knew so much about other faiths. I couldn't stomach the ignorance and outright falsehoods about other religions which were propagated by preachers and Sunday School teachers. Even less could I read the works of St. John of The Cross (my patron saint) or Meister Eckhart when they described the very same phenomena experienced by the saints and philosophers of other faiths--sometimes even using the same language--and then say, 'well these are just diabolical illusions, not like the experiences of our own Holy Saints...'
I had also read some Baha'i books my parents had in their library, and I thought it sounded like an eminently reasonable faith, though I lacked a context for praxis. By the time I left home for the Navy I had acquired--and worked with--The Satanic Bible, some Wiccan books, the Simon Necronomicon, some New Age works, and one of Edred's books (Northern Magic) on our native Teutonic tradition.
In Boot Camp we had the opportunity to attend a variety of religious services on Sundays. I went to my first (Pure Land) Buddhist service, and my first Islamic service. The Buddhist service was only once a month, so I only got to go twice. I ended up attending the Islamic service three or four times. I found it intriguing at the time, and I learned a lot; before this the most information I had about al-Islam came from a poorly-researched and dreadfully biased book from home (though I did not know it was biased and poorly-researched). Despite this, my knowledge of Islam was to remain sketchy and grossly inaccurate.
The next two years were a heady mixture of Qabala, Voudoun, Gnosticism, Thelema, Hoodoo, Wicca, Asatru and Rune Magic, alongside Lovecraftian-themed Work. I had also developed an interest in Freemasonry and alchemy, though I never studied either in depth.
At the end of 1994 my ship was finishing a deployment which had taken us down the eastern coast of South America, up the western coast, and through the Panama Canal back to the Atlantic and home (which at the time was Mayport, Florida). I was expected to be the translator in any group I found myself in, since of all my gringo friends--the native speakers usually went out in their own groups--my Spanish was the best. This was traumatic the first day, but became easier as the cruise progressed. I had, however, a growing perception of myself, my culture, and my native tongue, as Germanic in contrast to the people around us. This stuck with me, and that Yule in 1994 I made my first (dreadful) Yule wreath and spent the next five years as a Teutonic Pagan. I joined the Ring of Troth, but it was a turbulent period in that organization, and I did not stay a member for more than a year, maybe two. They still owe me two issues of Idunna...
The deeper I got into runes, the more I became acquainted with Edred's work in the Temple of Set. I had seen Michael Aquino on TV during the Satanic Hysteria of the 'eighties, and found him articulate, intelligent, and interesting. I remembered that he said the Temple teaches certain techniques for retaining consciousness after death, which intrigued me greatly.
After my military obligation, I had the misfortune to attend WMU. It was then that I became dedicated to the Left Hand Path and joined the Temple of Set. I spent two years as a member of the Temple, and three years after that in various Left Hand Path endeavors, including a stint in the First Church of Satan.
In the spring of 2002 I was burned out. I had survived a two-year relationship and failed marriage with a woman who would be diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and Bipolar Disorder; a failed business; a suicide attempt and two further failed relationships. I continued learning, as I always have, and I had by this point learned enough to know that I knew nothing. I had formulated all of my reasons for abandoning the Left Hand Path initiatory model, but was left with a whole bunch of nothing.
I began looking at all of the big-WOW experiences which are supposed to knock you on your metaphysical behind and inform you concerning your place in the cosmos. The Abramelin method was impractical and took too long. I had begun my forays into ethnobotany, but I did not yet have the resources to get ayahuasca. I was well-versed in the ways of various drugs, including the popular hallucinogens. I knew that, profound as they were, neither LSD nor psilocybin held the Key I was looking for. I began designing a vision quest for myself. How long I would take; what I would need; what I would do.
And I realized that, at the extremity of need, I was going to invoke...
Woden and Freo. The Allfather and Lady of Seidhr worshiped by our forebears.
I realized that, ever since I left off performing the seasonal fainings for the gods and my forebears--to the very month--my life had, to put it succinctly, sucked.
I remade my life along Heathen lines. Once more I sought out scholarly tomes--a popular Heathen pastime--to replace some of those which were a casualty of my divorce. I began committing the Poetic Edda to memory, in Old Norse. It took me five years to get all of the mythological poems down. I began some of the heroic poems. We served a roasted pig's head alongside herring and oatmeal porridge every Twelfth Night of Yule. We burned grain for our forebears on Halloween.
I participated in some online forums with varying success. Some groups were covertly racist; one, for instance, had refused membership to someone because the administrator had thought--wrongly--that the applicant's surname was Jewish (!). That was the end of my involvement with that group. Others were dominated by extremely rude, loud individuals who had just enough knowledge to make them dangerous, but not enough to have sensible ideas. Countering their unsound opinions was, therefore, almost a full time job for which I had no time; I already had a full time job, and a part time job on top of that. One forum was dominated by a particularly nasty woman who saw the worst in everything. If Balder were sitting alone in Breidhablik--the land where, according to Grimnismal, there is the least falsehood or ill doing--she would find some shame or dishonor somewhere.
In 2011 my fiancee and I had decided to get married in England. To this end I made contact with the various English Heathen organizations. We figured we'd have the religious ceremony in England, and then have a civil ceremony in the United States. It was a fiasco. All of the Englishmen were like, yeah great, that would be awesome! And if I can't do it, I know someone who can! As the months went on they became more noncommittal--and as the date got closer, all of them--every single one--"mysteriously" no longer knew anyone who could do it. There was a good man in North Yorkshire whose mother had, tragically, just died, so he was unable to accommodate us; but he was also unable to fulfill his promise of finding someone else who could. We did finally manage to have a Heathen ceremony, a small do with my brother and his family, on the grounds of the ruined mediaeval Bolton Abbey in Skipton. But the experience left a bad taste in my mouth for organized Heathenry in England.
Back in the States we had our civil ceremony and life went on. I had ceased contact with other Heathens; they were, as a group, too simple minded for me to deal with. They either knew nothing, which resulted in a knowledgeable few of us posting the same answers every few months, or they thought they knew something which they didn't, and Heaven help those who disagreed. Those who did actually know their stuff--really well--were some of the most infrequent participants. The same thing was happening in Academia, of course, so it's natural that it should spill over into Heathenry; but that didn't make it any more worth my while.
Then the Bad Year came. At the beginning of 2012 my grandmother became ill. She had often been ill, seriously ill, and had pulled out of it every time. Nevertheless we made the journey North to see her. My brother flew from England. Kinfolk came from all over to see her. She recovered, or so it seemed; the doctor at that time pronounced it a miracle. That was the last time I was to see her alive. Our next journey North was for the funeral. This had a profound and irrevocable effect on me.
In the meantime, back in England in 2011 my brother had asked me why, with my proclivity for languages, I did not consider working for the government. We talked about it and I expressed some of my reservations. We discussed it further upon his visit to the States to see Gram. Finally I decided, my brother's right. I love languages, I hate terrorists, it would be a perfect match! And it would get me out of the factory job I had worked for a decade after leaving the insurance business. I was all in. He had mentioned that ****** languages were becoming more needed, and with my background in *****, I could easily add a **** language to my repertoire. I asked him, would it be to my advantage if I knew ******? He said, probably not. What if I knew ****** and Farsi [sic]? Then, he said, you would be very valuable. So I began learning Persian, which I foolishly called "Farsi" for the first week until I learned better. I threw myself into it wholeheartedly. I had a clear, worthy goal, both intellectually and fiscally. I had just gotten into New Thought, and was devouring the works of Elizabeth Towne and others, which was easy for me since I had long believed in positive thinking, having read Norman Vincent Peale when I was in sixth grade. I was feeling better--I had embraced the paleo lifestyle and besides losing twenty five pounds, I had more energy. I was the happiest I had been in years.
Then everything went down the toilet.
I had been suffering for years with fatigue and pain; I had made many forays into the world of alternative medicine and natural health to improve my condition with little success. As a bonus, I didn't think anything was really "wrong" per se, just that I was a little out of whack and needed [fill in the blank], then I would feel great! It wasn't until the pain started that I began suspecting something more was up. I had been using alcohol at home. I found it to be a superb tonic, restorative, aperitif, anxiolytic, and analgesic. I drank more and more heavily as time progressed; eventually I was drinking a fifth or more of hard liquor every night. Something had to give.
I used a combination of herbs, supplements, and self-hypnosis to taper my alcohol intake. I continued using herbal therapy which helped immensely. I joined an herbal health forum and eventually became a moderator, which duty I fulfilled for a few years. But no-one in my family knew that I was using these herbs because something was deeply, fundamentally wrong with my health. I had been using so many band-aids for so long and perfected my game face, so when it came time to try to convince people I was suffering, they wrote it off as--well, every excuse under the sun. Finally one night after an impassioned conversation with my wife she, too, realized that something was not right. I had been going to the doctor for years, quitting each time because I was tired of the routine--tests, wait three months, then--more tests!
This time my wife kept on me--and the doctors--to keep going.
In mid-2012, in the middle of my Persian-Paleo-New Thought flurry of activity, it stopped working.
All of it.
The paleo diet, after six months, no longer provided me with the energy I needed. The herbs began failing me.
I couldn't retain anything I learned. I would just sit and look and nothing made any sense. I began sleeping more; it was the only thing I was good at. I would come home from work, "study" for a couple hours with a couple beers, go to bed, wake up the next day and start the whole process over. The "results" from the doctors were the same as always: wait a month or two, get more tests.
I couldn't live like this anymore. I could barely do anything. Even at work I was making stupid mistakes.
So I got fifty grams of henbane (hyoscamus niger) and made a decoction. Enough to do the job.
I was stopped by my wife, who took it from my hand.
The next thing I know I'm at the VA, in the hoo-hoo house, which is well-populated because we are at war. That is another story unto itself.
After I obtained my freedom, I was subjected to tests. And drugs. And further tests. Further drugs. Letters and documentation to the insurance company to keep disability payments coming. Further documentation to the Social Security office.
Finally the rheumatologist says, it's fibromyalgia. Which explains the pain, and the debilitating exhaustion, and the headaches, and the cognitive failure.
Fibromyalgia is very rare in men, but apparently it does happen. And it is, apparently, very real--they now know how it works, but not what causes it--though for years many people dismissed it as an "imaginary" disease. So great. On top of it all, a disease which most people associate with female hypochondriacs. One which has no known cure.
My wife is unsatisfied with the diagnosis, and I'm suspicious, but it's what I'm being treated for. Which means lots of experiments with different combinations of drugs. Very, very powerful drugs. A fraction of what I take several times a day would knock a normal person out.
So I take what periods of lucidity and energy I can, and for the rest I trust in God.
Speaking of Whom...
You may legitimately wonder how I got from hardline Heathen to Monotheist. I kind of skipped over that bit.
Chronic illness does things to people.
Inshallah I will detail my problems with Heathenry, my further ideas on Traditionalism, and my journey to al-Islam in future posts.


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