As a man of Asatru, the faith of ancient Scandinavia and the Germanic lands, I was intrigued by a story in the news...
The site was old; dating from the fifth century. A circle of stones, 15 meters across and each stone standing a meter high, provided a central focal point. Leading up to the circle was a processional road that had not felt a human foot for a thousand years. To one side there had been a wooden structure supported by strong wooden pillars resting on firm stone footings,but the wood had disappeared long ago. The whole array had been carefully, lovingly buried in peat, preserved from plow and weather, deliberately hidden from those who would harm it, awaiting the day it would be safe to once again acknowledge the old Gods. Surely, those who covered it must have thought, the Christian madness will someday pass and our descendants will be glad that we have saved this for them...
When an intact pre-Christian temple was unearthed in Norway, archeologists were overwhelmed. Comments like "Unique!" and "Unprecedented!" splashed across Internet news pages.
But now, it has been demolished - bulldozed to make way for a housing development.
Could the pagans of old, as they tenderly buried the holiest place they knew, have imagined a world where gold was more important than Gods? Where their own descendants would raze their temple so that the profane houses of thralls would forever crush that which they loved? When the steel blade of the bulldozer bit into the sacred earth, the present spat on the past. The clear intentions of the ancestors were ruthlessly betrayed...for money.
What would I have done, had I been magically transported to the site at that crucial moment? Had I been the bulldozer driver, would I have refused, and lost my job? Yes, I think so. Had I been a bystander, would I have risked prison, injury, even death to stop the machine? I hope so. I am only a man, no hero. But sometimes, being a man is enough - if he is doing the right thing. As the poet wrote,
"And how can man die better than facing fearful odds
For the ashes of his fathers, and the temples of his gods?"
Money has carried the day. The site was presumably private property,being developed by a corporation, for profit. I have no objection to profit. But who owns the past? Who owns the ancestors? Who owns the Gods? Is there a "right" to bulldoze an ancient holy site in Norway or, as has been done, to level an ancient stone circle in Ireland...for profit? The most important things cannot be owned by anyone: I do not "own" my family name. I merely borrow it to pass on, with added honor, to my sons. I do not "own" the genetic and cultural inheritance left me by my forefathers and foremothers; this too I have only borrowed from my ancestors. They are not mine to destroy.
One of the old rune poems says that "Gold causes strife among kinsmen. The wolf grows up in the woods." Anyone who has sat in a lawyer's office to attended the reading of a will has seen this; kin battle to get money, and hate each other for the rest of their lives. And the wolf...he is none other than Fenris, the wolf restrained only by the bonds of love and kinship that we forge with each other, from generation to generation and across the centuries. When he is loosed, Ragnarok - the great battle at the end of this cycle of time - ensues.
In Norway, the wolf is loose. The gift of one's ancestors, passed on for a thousand years, thrown away for a pile or kroner. Not that all Norwegians would have plowed the temple of their forefathers, and not that America is any better. We, too, have sold - given away! - our inheritance. Materialism, narcissism, alienation and superficiality permeate our popular culture. Our laws, based on ancient codes, are corrupted by the judges. Every man's and woman's thoughts are the property of the emerging surveillance state. Truly, this is the time foreseen by the seeress: "Wind-age, Wolf Age, ere the world falls..."
The temple so lovingly preserved by Norwegians a thousand years ago emerged in this time and place for a reason. This is the time of Awakening - awakening, that is, if the Gods of honor and valor can win against the gods of gold and whoredom...if men and women will remember the ancestors...if blood runs true.
Across the Northlands the ravens stir in the trees. Great chieftains await the call, heroes strive to be reborn. But we, their descendants - no matter where on Earth we now live - must call them if they are to awaken.
I call them! I call on Odin and Frigga, Thor and Sif, Frey and Freya! I call on the ancestors all-holy, and the heroes who sleep in the mounds! Let us remember that we are the sons and daughters of warriors and poets, mystics and seers, adventurers and explorers! Even now, the old Gods stir. Organizations dedicated to the indigenous faith of the Northlands - called Asatru, or Odinism, or "Our Faith" or by many other names - exist in many countries. Like the emergence of a forgotten Norwegian hof in 2012, they are here because a wind of awakening blows through the World Tree. Because...it is time.
We will chain the wolf.
Update - The stones from the site have been removed and stored, though the place itself has been "developed," as they say. To follow the situation, go to the Facebook page "Bevar veet pa Ranheim." There is a web site at http://ranheimhelligdommensvelforening.wordpress.com/ . We must support this effort in any way we can. I will post more information as I get it.
Asatru Folk Assembly