Uncle Thor's Lessons, Anecdotes and Humor


The Direction of Thurs

Electricity only moves when its positive terminal has a negative terminal to which it can flow. Lightning strikes only when it has something to hit. In both cases, there is a movement of energy from a source to a target. The target determines the flow’s direction.

Let us once again look at Thurs as opposed to Urus. Both are energy Runes. Urus energy stays in place. It is resistant to change. Thurs energy is projected force. It creates change. If we compare Thurs to Hagal, another Rune that projects energy, we see a different contrast. Hagal blasts randomly in all directions. It is like an explosion or a blast of buckshot. Thurs has a direction, Whether deliberate or random, it projects force from a source to a target.

Let us look at human rage. Anger is a human manifestation of Thurs energy. An enraged person who sits and fumes and does nothing is merely a storehouse of angry energy. When he focuses that anger at a person, place or thing, Thurs is at work. Acting through the individual, angry energy is projected at someone or something else. Even when immobile, anger is not something that sits alone. It can be projected in word, deed or in thought. People are not just angry. They are angry about something or at something or someone.

Thurs generally has a direction in which it is moving. I had once described this hot energy as being like liquid flame being fired through pipelines. Imagine that for a moment. The pipes provide the direction. That liquid flame does not sit idle. Indeed, in one of the myths, the heart of the Jotun named Hrungnir is described as “sharp, three sided and cuts all ways.” In order to cut, it has to moved into that which it cuts. Again, the implication is of direction.

There are obvious expressions of Thurs power in weaponry. Conventional field artillery projects force at a distant enemy. Anti-tank artillery fires at a target it can see. There are subtle differences although force and direction are key. Artillery uses force to project its load on the enemy. Force is merely a means to get it there. Anti-tank guns do the same, yet rely on having enough energy on hitting target to break it. The crux of conventional anti-tank guns is determined by whether they have sufficient force to overcome the resistance of the target’s armor. HVAP and Sabot rounds are like that. These need sufficient thrust. Of course, HEAT ammo is more like the issue of conventional artillery. Just getting HEAT or HESH / HEP there is sufficient. The warhead takes care of itself.

We can look at rocketry. The Thurs part of the equation is in creating thrust and propelling the rocket towards its destination. Think of rocketry as both an application and a control of Thurs. Explosive force is focused in a specific direction. A multi-stage rocket is a more complex application of the same basic principle.. Thrust is a manifestation of Thurs. Whether the thrust is a rocket, Sabot round or a bayonet / spear / epee, it is a projection of force in a specific direction aimed at a distinct destination. By the same token, the hack or slash with a saber, axe or broadsword at an adversary is also Thurs in motion, However, this is not technically a thrust, though it is a projection of force at a target.

The perfect Thurs weapon just may be the axe. Our ancestors favored it in all its forms, from the earliest stone axe to the Danish axe to the tomahawk. Indeed, the metal tomahawks made for trade in America were little different from some of their Viking-age ancestors. The reason is that of all hand-wielded weapons, the axe is a quick killer. One or two goods shots to the head will drop an adversary. There is no fencing around or small thrusts. One hard swat with a hand-axe is all it takes to finish the fight – and the opponent. The axe projects force and maximizes its effectiveness.


Focused force always does better than force without focus. The axe, tomahawk and hatchet focus force into a rather small area. The effects are appreciable, especially when you see those wood chips fly as the axe bites into a tree or tree limb.

If you have ever used an axe on wood, you know what it can do. There is little or no finesse here. An axe makes the best of force, which is why it is still used by lumberjacks. I personally have hatchets which are used when dealing with tree limbs and roots. Think of them as a “handful of Thurs.” They make good use of direction and projected force.

The point of all this is that the projected force of Thurs always has a direction in which it is projected. Whether deliberate or random, the Thurs energy is always aimed at something or someone, or a group of people. It does not explode in all directions, but is focused at one thing or place. Thurs tends to have direction. Contrast this with Hagal, which tends to fly off in all directions. Thurs is more deliberate than Hagal.

Consider the term: direction. Even when raging randomly. Thurs tend to have a direction in which it expends its force. We can intentionally give Thurs direction, as shown in our use of artillery and rocketry.


The Artistic Rune Font: Get It Here


If you liked the artistic Futhark we used, you can get a copy at http://www.thortrains.net/trollwisepress/CAIRO.TTF The thing is case-sensitive.

The problem with this Futhark font is that the Runes are not matched with the right letters on the keyboard. Copy the type template below. Put it in your work processor. Highlight it and choose the Cairo font. The font has lots of other symbols that can be fun.

`~ 1! 2@ 3# 4$ 5% 6^ 7& 8* 9( 0) -_ =+

qQ wW eE rR tT yY uU iI oO pP [{ ]}

aA sS dD fF gG hH jJ kK lL ;: ‘”

zZ xX cC vV bB nN mM ,< .> /? \|

/ * – + 7 8 9 4 5 6 1 2 3

Here is this Futhark in order, using your keyboard


Back in the early days of The Trollwise Press, this was the only Rune font available to us. We came to love it, despite its quirks and the need for a template in order to use it.

Here are five other fonts you may like


The company that made these fonts is sadly long gone. They were among the first to offer scalable fonts for DOS. Their fonts could also be converted to TrueType, as is obvious here.


The Intensity of the Urus Rune

An old wizardly trick of applying the Urus Rune was to make people dizzy. They would be overwhelmed by the intensity of the strength of it. This is not hard to understand. Anything that is too intense can be stunning.

A long time ago, I was waiting for the subway train in New York City. I stood about two paces from the edge of the platform. A man at the edge of the platform suddenly shook and reeled. I stepped forward to grab him, but by then he had stepped back and recovered himself. I asked him if he were alright and offered to go to the token booth and ask them to call for assistance. He declined. He told me it was the smell over the edge of the platform that had stunned him. Indeed, even from six feet away, the odor was pretty strong. Whatever was under that part of the platform had a potent and vile stench. Maybe it was a drainpipe or some kind of sewer vent. The intensity of that odor had made a young and healthy-looking man reel and almost fall. Maybe it was a quick blast of sewer gas or a continuous flow of it.

Strength implies energy, while power implies projected force. Strength also implies intensify, concentrated force and resistant energy. Applied to light and color, it is described as brilliance. In matters of smell, it is the intensity of the odor. Strong smells resist dissipation by air. They are tokens of a strong source.

Urus is an amount of force, whereas Thurs is the projection of force outward. Think of a barrier’s intensity and the quality that resists force projected at it. The intensity within a castle wall resists the repels the projected force of enemy arrows, sling bullets and catapulted projectiles. So long as intensity is greater than the force projected against it, the wall stands. When projected force matches or exceeds intensity, the wall begins to crumble.

We can appreciate strong colors and brilliant colors. How about strong dyes? An aspect of dye is its “fastness.” The quality of a dye is affected by it. Fastness refers to how well a dye resists fading and other changes to its hue. I am reminded of our old Army fatigue uniforms, which were an olive drab color when issued. In a few months they faded to a mint or sage green. The dye did not have the strength, or fastness, to resist fading. Thus, fastness is part of the “Urus factor” in any dye.

Signals such as radio waves can be strong, too. A very strong signal retains its clarity over great distances. One example that folks of a certain age in the New York / New Jersey area may remember is an A.M. radio station, 77 WABC. The signal was sufficiently strong to be picked up over a long distance. On a clear night, it could even be picked up in Norfolk, Virginia. By contrast, 66 WNBC had a weaker signal that was harder to pick up at a distance; it was more easily compromised by atmospheric and solar conditions. The old Army PRC77 radios had a strong signal, so much so that CB radio was only a tiny blip on the dial.

An intense radio signal maintains its integrity and may even drown out weaker signals of adjacent frequencies.

The intensity of an electrical or magnetic field can also be perceived. For instance, radio signals can be muffled or distorted when the radio gets close to high-intensity power lines. (This happens on the New Jersey Turnpike south of Exit 8). The intensity of the electricity in the lines is greater than that of the radio signal. Magnetic fields can also be potent. The magnetic field created by an MRI is so strong it can harm patients who have metal implants.

Potency is a synonym for intensity. A potent medicine is a good example of strength as applied to a formula. The same goes for inebriating drinks. The higher the alcohol content ,the greater its potency. In some things, potency can be assumed by virtue of the intensity of its odor, color or taste. Think of a strong elixir or strong brew. That can be intense! In the human male, potency and impotence speak of a different aspect of strength.

Intensity can also be applied to flavor. One good example is spices. Some are so strong that they can overwhelm other flavors in a meal. We can also consider an example from everyday foods. Flavor-wise, cabbage and potatoes have less intensity than onions or fresh carrots. Coffee also comes ot mind. Strong coffee has an intensity that far exceeds that of weaker roasts.

Explore Urus in terms of Intensity. Try to examine it as its intensity applies to other things. I will give one more thing to consider: the intensity of the weight of flood waters versus the intensity within a levee or dam. Weight is akin to strength rather than power. Resistance to weight is also a matter of strength. Further examples are up to you to discover.


Fe Rune as Followers

Further illustrating yesterday’s discussion of the Fe Rune is the example of followers. The interpretations I had listed were : cattle, money, assets, wealth, employees, followers, goods. These all have a servile quality to them. Money, assets, wealth and goods serve the one who controls them. The same can be said of cattle, employees and followers. What is the difference, essentialy, between a trail boss herding cattle, a work boss directing employees and a leader instructing followers? Neither cattle, employees not followers give orders. They merely follow them. in the absence of orders, cattle wander off. Employees goof off. Followers stray off in search of another leader.

Are there Runic precedents for leadership? The Ase Rune leadership would be inspired leadership. A modern-world example might be the Dalai Lama. Thurs would be forceful leadership that relies on forced compliance. The despot and tyrant come to mind. Examples throughout history are many: Stalin, Czar Nicholas, Saddam Hussein and such. Tyr is strategic and tactical leadership. This is the realm of the military officer, railroad superintendent and skilled manager. George Patton, Erwin Rommel and Bill Gates are examples.

Each type of leader described – Ase, Thurs or Tyr – handles its particular Fe of human assets differently.

Here is a better copy of our Rune interpretations with the artistic Rune font:

For our Rune books and other materials, visit our main site at http://www.trollwisepress.com


The Meandering Fe Rune and Quantity versus Quality

One of the aspects of the Fe Rune is stuff: material, amounts, things. Fe can be expressed as piles of grain, herds of cattle or hoards of money. For the army, it is numbers of enlisted men. For the professional football team, it is hordes of paying fans. For the artillery, it is the supply of munitions. For the dairy, it is raw milk. Fe is the stuff and the necessary supplies.

Fe does not congeal, gel or gather together of itself. Left to its own devices, Fe meanders and drifts apart. It has to be gathered and contained and held together by some sort of force. Cattle needs to be fenced in and pigs have to be kept in pens. Money must be managed and milk has to be put into containers and chilled. Soldiers need to be kept busy and supervised, lest they start idling and then drifting off. (This is why armies have training schedules to keep the men occupied and in one place.) Supplies of any sort must be gathered and tracked and dispatched. Fe will not stay in one place unless kept there.

On another level, Fe contrasts with an aspect of the Ase Rune. Fe deals in quantities. Ase is a matter of quality. Both have their place. Lenin certainly understood the Russian way of doing things when he said , “Quantity has a quality all its own.” Russia has always relied heavily on size and numbers, whereas Western nations have depended on quality. Ironically, the Russian numbers only paid off against German quality in World War II once the Communists increased the quality of their own troops and equipment. Even when victorious, Russian casualties outnumbered those of their enemies by anywhere from 300% to 500%.

A difference between Fe and the quality aspect of Ase can be understood by this saying: “She knew the price of everything and the quality of nothing.”

Many times, the issue one faces is a balance of Quantity and Quality: how much and how good. Each situation must be taken on its own merits. There are cases where quality has its place, but numbers count. Obversely, there are circumstances where all the numbers in the world mean nothing against quality.

No convenient formula exists for determining how much of quantity and quality are needed in a given thing. Each situation is unique and has its own set of conditions and parameters. The fact that we acknowledge this situation gives us an edge, because we can deal with it rather than let it deal with us. To quote an old Irish expression: “Better a devil you can see than one that you can’t.”

There are times when numbers are essential, and others whence quality matters most.


I do NOT use the contrived proto-Germanic names for the Runes. I use the terms I have always used and will not change them just to follow the pack.

The image below is one of our old lists of Runes and attributes. Back then, we only had the artistic Rune font. Though not exactly the Elder futhark, I have to admit I still like it but nowadays am more likely to use traditional Rune shapes. I apologize for the low quality of the image. I will be making new graphics soon.


At this time, our set of Four Booklets including Wonders of the Fe rune are stil lavailable at the 2014 price: http://www.thortrains.net/trollwisepress/newbooklets2013.htm You can fond our Rune books here: http://www.thortrains.net/trollwisepress/index.htm


Phenomena of Death Resistance and Related Experiences

The conventional religious literature of our time is notably lacking in references to occult phenomena. Though some churches continue to maintain rituals for exorcism, even they tend to minimize or ignore tales of Astral activity. Perhaps they think that if they ignore it, it will go away. Or at least, the people will learn to ignore it. Perhaps they have lost touch with it.
Our ancestors were aware of unusual phenomena. It shows up in the folklore and the legendary tales. They understood the existence of things which most moderns might pooh-pooh as superstition. Granted that most superstitions are just that. However, some things are not.

Modern folks try to ignore such things or write them off as something other than what they are. That only allows things to continue unabated. Only by recognizing phenomena can it be addressed properly and handled. Our ancestors understood. The Norsemen, Angles & Saxons, Normans, Franks, Germans, Celts, Romans and Greeks were aware that not everything has a worldly explanation.

There are references to Astral phenomena in occult and so-called “psychic” literature., However, occult literature has to be taken with a grain of salt. Psychic literature has to be taken with a grain of salt the size of a diesel locomotive accompanied with a large dose of scepticism. The proof of claims from both sources must be present before they can be believed. To paraphrase an old German saying: ‘Regard every man as the Troll until he proves otherwise.” The same goes for psychic and occult literature. Even the best of it is usually a mixed bag of useful information, half-truths and outright fantasy.

One of the better occult writers was Dion Fortune, an English woman who was also one of the early psychologists. She wrote several texts on the occult. Fortune also wrote a few occult novels in which she hoped to illustrate the nature of occult phenomena. Her work is pretty good, though there are elements which are fantastic or steeped in Christianity.

Dion Fortune mentioned a story in which a British officer had been somehow used by the Astral spirit of a deceased German soldier. The German did not want to make the journey into full death, fearing some kind of divine retribution for his Earthly activities. Fortune described the soldier as being an Eastern type, Whether she meant of the Balkans or further East is not certain. To prolong his existence near the physical world, he somehow took control of the British officer and forced him to do things that drew blood.

Do I believe the story? Not entirely. It is very much like Eastern European vampire tales and the Nordic “draugr.” There may be something to it, but I doubt the truth is quite as fantastic. Nonetheless, that story gave me a starting place to solve a riddle of my own.

There were two old women who were both ill. They were difficult individuals in their own right. Though medically, they should have died much sooner, both clung on. One did so despite refusing dialysis. Both did not get along with others well. These women had a history of alienating people and causing their families no end of problems. Both also had a lot of guilt for things they did over the years.

Both of the women in question resisted Death with a will fueled by fear. Both had been Christian and believed in the Bible. Their fear of the final Judgement was strong. Beneath it, both knew they had wronged relatives in the past. Though they claimed to believe in Divine forgiveness, both felt unforgivable. Fear, guilt and superstition kept these women alive. Rather than having good lives in those last years, they were burdensome, unhappy and increasingly nasty. Again, these were reactions fueled by tremendous fear.

One died when there was not enough of a mind for the will to sustain resistance. The other was especially resistant. She passed after being given a sedative. From what I have been able to ascertain, the sedative gave her a brief feeling of peace, and that was all she need to slip away.

Since then, others have told me of similar incidents.

Something along the same lines occurred when a person was dying in a hospital. The individual was surrounded by several relatives. His passing seemed to be prolonged. A clergyman in attendance stated that someone in the room was keeping him there. He did not say who it was. A woman left the room and the patient passed seconds later. I do not think anything occult caused the man to be kept here. It was likely some kind of strong attachment and may be the result of a past relationship
Very often, a person near death will seem to see someone close to him or her who had passed. Thus is likely someone trusted in life who has come to ease the way for the soon-to-be-deceased. I should note that the both women mentioned earlier had no such occurrence. Whether it was the timing of their death or a lack of friends on the other side is up to speculation.

Let me share another thing with you. This involved the loved ones of the deceased. As long as they speak of the departed in the present tense, they have not yet accepted his passing. When they shift to speaking him in the past tense, then they have acknowledged his passing.

The story told by Dion Fortune of the “vampire” spirit sounds implausible to me. It may be an exaggeration of an entity trapped between Life and full Death. Then again, it may be pure occult speculation with little basis in actual fact. A tendency of occult writers is to present their hypotheses as if they were established things.


Much of the old lore about Astral phenomena has been lost. Vestiges of it show up in folktales and legends. A side effect of conventional monotheistic religion is the denial of Astral and occult incidents. Very little was preserved intact. Much of the current crop of occult and psychic literature is varying degrees of nonsense. Much of it is a watered-down version of other works. Most of the writers have had little or no actual experience with these things. Only 10% of the available books on the subject are worth print, and even most of them are of mediocre quality.

The conventional occult works differently that Heathen and Pagan Traditions. It is structured and hierarchical. Most schools are based on either the old Planetary system of the Seven Planets, or the ten-point Kabbalah. Some use both. The means of working are very different from natural systems such as Heathenism and Wicca. It is okay to look, but be aware that many authors express their speculations as if they were established facts. Take them wit ha huge grain of salt.

When reading occult sand psychic literature, be skeptical.


Experienced hospital chaplains have a lot of knowledge of things associated with death. They are aware of things like a person seeing someone deceased before he himself passes. Most of these chaplains can be quite informative, regardless of denomination. For instance, the thing about talking in past and present tense was first told to me by an Episcopal priest who was a hospital chaplain. The denominations themselves may minimize Astral incidents, but those on the front lines are often well aware of them through experience.

Dion Fortune’s book The Machinery of the Mind is a great lesson in how the mind works. It is written in plain English. I recommend it. Here is a link:
https://ia700708.us.archive.org/17/items/TheMachineryOfTheMind/Dion_Fortune- The_Machinery_of_the_Mind.pdf


Spiritual Principles

The spiritual aspect of the Universe is not capricious at all. Like the physical realm, it works according to principles. The misconception about Spirit is a human thing. Just as people thought the natural world operated by caprice, so they thought about spiritual things. Science has adjusted our view of the physical world so that we can appreciate the principles on which it works. Physics, geology, chemistry and meteorology all reveal the principles that underlie our material existence. We can therefore assume that the spiritual realm is just as much a matter of principles.

The Gods are not just great big magickal men and women with super powers. They are spiritual beings who transcend the limits of humanity. Spiritual forces are not some whimsical things that do whatever they please. They work on regular principles which can be appreciated. Wyrd is not the simplistic concept of Karma, which is a mechanical cause and effect thing. Wyrd has much more complex principles.

Just as there are physical waves such as radio, light and electricity, so we can understand that there are spiritual waves. By the same token, the magnetic fields of physical science work on principles similar to those of spiritual fields. For instance, a successful house blessing creates a spiritual field in a specific area. Likewise, a charged amulet or talisman carries a portable spiritual field. much like a battery contains a movable electromagnetic field inside it.

As I have said many times, the Divine is not a gigantic old beared man in a celestial throne room being praised by hordes of angelic beings. It does not rule the Universe from some far-off “heaven” or an astral control room out past the Andromeda Galaxy. Supreme Being is not a person or a noun. In this case, being is a verb meaning : to be. Supreme Being is a verb and includes the totality of all that exists throughout all time. You and me and everyone else are part of Supreme Being. There are some who believe that their God is separate from that which it has created. In reality, Spirit / Gods /God is both immanent within and transcendent of everything. The physical and spiritual are not separate. This world and this life are as spiritual as any other, before or after.


Surviving Physical Trouble

The pain in my legs and rib cage has been bad all day. My sternum feels like it did the week after open heart surgery. It all brings up some things I have learned while dealing with a medical problem. Maybe my experience can help someone.

The responsibility for my morale and optimism is entirely mine. To get it from others is a blessing, but to rely on others for it is folly.

I do not feel I have the physical strength to thrive. Morale and spiritual strength are what have kept me alive. Without them, there is not enough physical energy to do the job alone. The fact is that my state of mind is what keeps me alive. I have the feeling that this is about as well as I am going to be, medically. Further physical healing is doubtful. All the aches and pains and discomfort are a permanent thing from here on in.

It is like the old Serenity Prayer. There is that thin line between accepting what we cannot change, and changing that which we can. I cannot change the physical, so I have to work with the mental and spiritual.

The one thing you need to know is that you must provide your own encouragement. Unfortunately, at the time you need a morale boost most, the opposite happens. Your morale is up to you. You cannot depend on others to do it for you. The encouragement of others is a luxury when it does happen. Most of the time, it is all on you. Develop your morale and spiritual strength so that it works for you even during the most unfortunate of circumstances. The life you save will be your own.


Be Your Own Leader

As mentioned in an earlier post, I do not like sycophants. I am appalled at seeing people worship an individual for any reason. Be the object of adoration a religious leader, nobility, entertainer or teacher of some sort, a human idol is folly.

My first real look at this kind of thing happened when relatives were involved in politics. Candidates were promoted as if they were local gods. People came forth, spending all kinds of time and effort and money to get their political idols in office. The folks seeking office were all out there trying to get people to like them. However, they gave off the feeling of someone who wanted it all for himself. The backbiting and other stunts ruined lifelong friendships. This is why I am suspicious of politicians and would never get involved in politics. The selling of personality is institutionalized hogwash.

There are weak-spirited people out there seeking someone ot give them meaning. They want someone to validate them as good human beings because they cannot seem to do this for themselves. They want someone to tell them what to do, because they feel that they are incapable of making good decisions on heir own. These people want to bask in someone else’s glow because they will not turn on their own light.

You find them wherever people gather. These small-spirited individuals are found around politics. They haunt social groups. And where do most of them like to flock? Religion. Spirituality. Indeed, indeed. The are drawn to anything from a church whose pastor has the slightest bit of charisma to a New Age guru all full of cute quips and quotes. And guess what, folks? There are droves of them swarming around Heathenism and Paganism, too. There are herds of people in search of an ass to kiss.

To paraphrase Carl Jung, “Modern Man and Woman in Search of a Substitute for a Soul.”

There they are. The bored housewives looking for excitement within bounds of respectability. The nerds who do not fit in. Idlers looking for someone to fill their time. The mentally ill seeking someone to tell them they are not ill. The socially inept seeking social acceptability. The troubled souls too lazy to be part of their solution; they seek someone to do all their problem-solving for them. They are one of the reasons I will not start an organization. All the organization would do is give them another place to park their lazy asses and perpetuate their low-spirited existence.

The real goal of spirituality is empowerment. I firmly believe that if I have any role, it is to give folks some of the means to empower themselves. Creating a cadre of followers is antithetic to empowerment. The mission is to give some kind of support for those who want to take charge of their own lives. YOU should be the hero in your life. YOU should be the guru. YOU should spend the time and effort developing yourself rather than waiting for some self-styled leader to give you orders. YOU are the one who should get him or her self a sense of direction rather than having someone else do it for you.

If you have even the slightest shred of self-worth, the make a decision right now. Make it today. Make the decision to take command of your life and your spirituality. Make the decision to take responsibility for yourself and your personal development. Granted, you may very well make mistakes along the way. Better to have the courage to make mistakes than to be so afraid of them that you cede all responsibility to someone or something else. The price of progress is the likelihood of making an error now and then.

You do not need a Pope or a priest of an Elder or a guru or a Gothi to follow. Believe me, many do better without any of them. You need to stand on your own two feet and take charge of yourself, your spirit and your spirituality. No teacher can give you power. No leader can withhold the real secrets of life from you.

Make that decision to stand for yourself and make it now, if you have not done so already. You will appreciate the difference in your life when you take the reigns. The risks are worth it and the price is just the possibility of making a mistake now and then. It is a good deal all around.

And look at the money you will save and the embarrassment you will avoid when you stop listening to “leaders” and start leading your own life.


Dopey over Popey? Idols for the Idle Mind

The Pope, fuhrer of the Roman Catholic Church, visited New York yesterday. People flocked to see him. His admirers spoke glowingly of him. Their tone was worshipful. The Pope’s adherents obviously believed that he was special and somehow above human. I am sure they would have kissed his feet if given the opportunity.

Adoration of a living or dead person is something I find unsettling. As has been done with others in the past, the people have elevated the Pope to the level of a god. This is nothing new. They did it when previous popes visited New York. There was the German Pope, the Polish pope and a few Italian popes. The rhetoric was always the same. People talked of him as if he were an all-loving wellspring of infinite kindness. They flocked to see the Pope and lines the streets for hours to get a glimpse of him.

History tells us how people in Germany did the same thing for Hitler prior to World War II. They did not describe him as a gentle, kindly fellow, but as a caring and dedicated leader of the German people. Were they wrong! And you can be sure that the victory parades in ancient Rome has the same feeling. One can only imagine the worshipful tones people took when Julius Caesar, Augustus and Marcus Aurelius held their victory processions. On the other side of the world, the Japanese treated Emperor Hirohito as if he were a living god and undoubtedly spoke the same rhetoric of adoration. There is also the ongoing drama of the British “Royals,” whose admirers are as fanatical as any Japanese emperor-worshiper. Things were even more extreme when “Princess Diana” was in the spotlight. Let us not forget the devotion of Deadheads to the Grateful Dead.

It reminds me of an old knock-knock joke

Knock, Knock
Who’s there?
Bowser who?
Bow, sir! The king’s dog just broke wind!

What impact does it have on a person’s life to know what a Queen or some Church Fuhrer had for breakfast yesterday morning? And what did these people do to merit such fawning attention? Most important, if you have to bow and scrape and ooh and aw over some faraway icon you probably will never meet, what does that say about your life? What part of your spirit is being left unattended? Are you any less valuable than they?

I would like to remind you of the Norsemen’s response when the French asked who was their king.

“We have no lord. We are all equal.”

Take it to heart. In this world, you count as much as any king or politician or church fuhrer. No person is worthy of worship. People may lead and set examples and serve as figureheads. In the end, they are still human.

A children’s book from Japan tried to teach equality in a rather unusual way. It was translated into English. The title was “Everybody Poops.” (Empi Unshi) The gist of the book was that no matter how great or plain people were, they were all human. They all had to poop. A cute idea, perhaps, but what else could be such a great equalizer? We may find it a bit crass, yet the Japanese were obviously amused.

Indeed. there are many equalizers that bring down the haughty and elevate the humble. Everybody poops, everybody eats, everybody pees, everybody lives and eventually, everybody dies. No title or degree or position can change any of that. Our own physiology brings it all down to the same level.

As I have said, I am disturbed to see people so worshipful of others because of a title, a royal designation or some type of prominence. We can laugh at the people who flock to see their Pope and make all sorts of worshipful statements about him. They are funny and at the same time, pathetic. Just make sure that you are not doing the same thing with someone else.


I enjoy looking at various types of spirituality. I have always been fascinated at how people approach the subject. That is how I ended up was taking a couple of classes at a metaphysical group over thirty years ago. They had a manner of explaining magickal processes in plain English that I found useful. What I did not like was how some of the adherents of these groups talked about the local leader. “John does…” and “John says…” and “John thinks it is good to …” I remember meeting one of these “leaders” and noticed how uncomfortable he acted around people. That struck me as odd. How can people have confidence in someone who does not himself act confident? The thing that really struck me was that so many people were more interested in what the leader said and did than the actual teaching. I decided to get to the bottom of this curious quirk of human nature..

Therein is the lesson. Many who are active in spiritual groups are actually looking for a leader to validate them. The only difference from people like this in one group and those of another is the lexicon they use. Some of these teachings had their merits. A person who really worked at them could get to the point where he would never need anyone to validate him. For some, it was not the teaching, but the acceptance by a leader that drew them.

Be your own leader. No teacher or spiritual guide or guru can do for you what you can and should do for yourself.


Reconciling with Injury and illness

The Havamal is not a scripture, but a combination of a few items that were originally the province of bards and poets. Much of its advice is practical. Very practical. No other book of wise sayings is as practical as the Havamal. I can tell you that based on my personal experience.

Believe me, many a problem could be avoided and many a success be enjoyed by heeding some of its timeless wisdom. Having lived through some hard times and wild circumstances in my younger days, I can attest to their validity. And I have seen many come to grief by doing the very things against which the Havamal counsels.

Many of the quotes have parallels in our common language. For instance, the Havamal warns against “bandying words with fools.” An old expression in artillery is “Don’t play with the duds.” This is a case of double entendre. In artillery slang, dud can also mean a fool.

In view of the physical travails of the last dozen or so years, I have found myself somewhat limited. Things I used to do are not wise for me to do now. Having had open heart surgery ten months ago, I am having a slow time bouncing back. The spirit is willing, but the body is taking its time. I am not alone. There are many others also going through a medical situation.

How do we handle these changes? How do we mentally deal with physical limitation? How do we handle the change in our status? And what about that nagging feeling of being somehow less of a person because of it? Here are three verses from the Havamal that sum it up nicely:

69. All wretched is no man, | though never so sick;
Some from their sons have joy,
Some win it from kinsmen, | and some from their wealth,
And some from worthy works.

70. It is better to live | than to lie a corpse,
The live man catches the cow;
I saw flames rise | for the rich man’s pyre,
And before his door he lay dead.

71. The lame rides a horse, | the handless is herdsman,
The deaf in battle is bold;
The blind man is better | than one that is burned,
No good can come of a corpse.

No man is totally wretched, no matter how ill he feels, if there is something in which he takes joy. I understand that. Though I have been sidelined from some of my activities, I still find joy in many things. For me, there is my work at my American Legion Post and County, where I am chaplain. There is my writing and my hobby of making miniatures. Of course, my wife brings me much joy. I also enjoy trains. Learning is also a joy to me, be it science, military history, railroad stuff, graphics, etc.

How about you? What brings you joy? What delights you? Rare is the person who takes pleasure in nothing.

I learned long ago the joy of keeping interested. I had a great aunt who had been a school teacher in the days of one-room classrooms. She taught several grades at once. That is multitasking! She was in her eighties in the late Sixties and early Seventies and had gone blind. The woman was still interested in everything. Her two favorites were the space program and her favorite baseball team, the Mets. She was happy and enthusiastic. Her belief was that when you stop learning and stop being interested, you stop living. She was right.

Enthusiasm need not diminish because of physical ills. I am experiencing that every day.

The fact is that we can all do something. “Burning” was the way our Norse ancestors handled the remains of the dead. In today’s society, being buried would mean the same. You are not burned or buried if you are reading this. Take heart. As the French saying goes, “Where there is Life, there is hope.”

Everyone has something he or she can do. It might not be to the level of what was possible before the illness, but there is still something. Rare are those how are so ill as to be immobile. We can all learn new skills and ways to perform in spite of our physical limitations.
No person is utterly useless unless he chooses to be so!

We cannot allow our illnesses to define us. The physical problems are incidental to who we are. We live in spite of them. One of the ways people define themselves is by what they do.
You are still necessary. You are still useful. Though you might not be able to work up to the capacity of former times, you are still able to contribute to Life..

I am the first to admit that it can be hard to climb back from a setback. Indeed, I am physically struggling even now with the physical ins and outs of my surgery. However, we cannot give up on ourselves. No matter what it takes and how long it takes, we have to get back up. Granted that we might not be in the same shape as before, but at least we are up. I liken it to going through a tunnel. The way may be arduous, but if we persist we make it out the other side. We may not have everything with which we went into the tunnel. We might not be anywhere near the same shape, but at least we are through it. Once outside, we are free to go forward.

We have to get up after every setback. The alternative is not promising. I still think of a man I knew who let a setback define him thirty five years ago. Despite the help and encouragement of friends, he refused to pick himself up. He eventually became one of the bums at a park in that town. Even then, friends were willing to help. He refused. I read a story from that town back in 2012, and he was still on the bum. I knew him since kindergarten. So by all means, make the effort to rise again. As the Japanese say, “Fall seven times, get up eight!”

What can you do?

Something I learned years ago is of great value here. Over 30 years ago, I lost everything through a bad turn of finances. A couple years later, a different thing caused another setback. By the time of the second instance, I had already learned the lesson. Here it is::

1) What you had and what you lost are gone. They do not exist for you. They are no longer real. They are a memory.

2) What you want and what you think you need are a wish. They are at worst a dream, at best a hope. Either way, you do not have them. You cannot use them because they do not exist for you. They are your thoughts, not a thing .

3) What you have, no matter how great or small, is real for you. It exists. You can use it.
Instead of pining over lost good or waiting for a thing that may never arrive, start using what you have. If you use it, you may find it is more than enough to set you on your way. Do not hesitate.

Gratitude is an important attitude because to focuses us on the things we have. When we are grateful, we appreciate our good. When we appreciate it, we use it. Make a list of things for which you can be grateful. That can be the start of many a good thing.

If you are getting stuck, look at the obverse side of the coin. Consider those who have it far worse then you. No matter how bad you think you are, there are those far worse. Count your blessings and start using them.

Think of riding a bicycle. Where you look, there you go. Look towards what you have and what you can do and you find plenty. Do not look to what you cannot do and what you do not have. All you find there is lack and self-pity.

Get interested again. Start learning again. Dust off your old interests and look for those that still appeal to you. You can even find new interests. There are books and DVDs and cable shows for almost every interest that exists. Maybe it is cooking and baking, maybe it is whittling or model building. Maybe you like space or nature. Perhaps you enjoy classic science fiction. Maybe now is a good time to rediscover old hobbies. Get a train set and build a layout.* (Need help? Contact the local model railroad club.) Maybe you like slot cars. You can find a slot car set in HO, 1/32 or 1/24 to get you running. For those who enjoyed their old toy dollhouses, there is an adult hobby of making elegant dollhouses. You might want to take up a low-intensity sport like fishing or crabbing. Start playing music again. Visit museums and historic sites. Go to an aquarium. See a concert. Just do it!

Get interested. Learn and do. Remember, you are still useful. If your tasks are light duty, they still count. Every little task you do frees someone up to do his task. Because of you, twice as much gets done. Even if you are just babysitting the grandchildren, you are contributing.

Look for places to be useful, if you must.** Your life has not ended just because of a physical malady. Your capacity to act may be diminished, but you can still do something. Like the Havamal says, better a live man than a dead one.

One other thing. Learn to ask for help. If you really need assistance, accept it when offered. This is not charity. It is help. Allow others the honor of doing good. Those of us who are very independent find this difficult, especially when it involves duties that we handled on our own. Let someone else have the privilege of assisting you. I know how it feels. I felt guilty and lazy because I could not shovel snow any more and cannot cut down wood as in times past. Getting used to the fact that others might have to do it for me was difficult, at first. That is just one of the adjustments that had to be made. I can’t, they can, so I will let them.

A physical setback is not the end of life as you knew it. It is not the end of the world. You have to make adjustments, indeed. That does not make you useless or a burden. You still have things you can contribute. And you still have your interest in living. Make your life a masterpiece. You are an asset now, just as you would have been an asset back in the Viking Age. And that we have on good authority.

*Williams makes trains compatible with the old Postwar / MPC Lionel, and of the same great quality. If you decide to buy a set, go to one of their dealers rather than buying direct. Williams charges the full list price so as not to compete with its dealers. The dealers can and will offer you great discounts. The other good source of O / O27 trains is RMT Trains. They are also affordable and have that old-time quality. For more info on trains from a reliable source, try http://www.thortrains.net

**Veterans, you can be very useful. Join your local American Legion, VFW, Marine Corps League, DAV or JWV post. Spouses of veterans can join the Auxiliary. Contrary to the stereotype, these groups are not primarily drinking clubs. They are veterans service clubs who spend a lot of time and effort helping veterans and the community. Whatever little bit you can contribute helps, even if you are just manning the door at a Post fund raiser. (You can make a lot of friends doing that, too) The veterans’ organizations need people who are willing to get involved in their activities. Whatever you can do, large or small, will be appreciated.

Here are some of my other websites for those seeking a hobby that is not physically demanding:

Old fashioned toy soldiers and games – http://www.thortrains.net/armymen/ , http://www.thortrains.net/toysoldierart/

Military history and military miniatures (also has games and historical downloads and casting your own) – http://www.thortrains.net/milihistriot/index.html

Miniatures of all kinds, from tins to holiday figures – http://www.thortrains.net/minis/

Colorful, collectible tins – http://www.thortrains.net/tinworld/tincandex.html

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