Uncle Thor's Lessons, Anecdotes and Humor


One-Way Choices: The Crux of Decision

Many choices in life are such that in choosing one thing, one must give up the other. You cannot have both. If you try to keep both, you gain nothing. There are decisions that entail gaining one thing but forsaking another. Sometimes, you can reverse your decision. Just as often, you cannot. If you reverse, you still have to give up one thing to get the other.

Recovering alcoholics are an example here. They have the choice to drink or not drink. For them, there is no “partial drinking”. The same goes for Recovery from other problems. There is no middle ground. It is either all or nothing.

Religion is often a matter of choices. People may get confused because of the eclectic nature of the New Age. However, the New Age is little more than light versions of esoteric, metaphysical and occult teachings. It is “pop religion” for timid people. The reality is that in choosing one path, a person may have to forego many others. While the diluted teachings of the New Age make it seem that all the teachings are compatible, the facts say otherwise. You cannot be a Native American Shaman + Old High German Runecaster + Hoodoo Potion Maker + Kaballastic Numerologist all in one. Each of these things requires a single-minded devotion. Choosing one means that you will have to forego anything more than superficial interest in the others.

There was a woman who claimed that she was both Christian and Pagan. She had bundled together parts of Wicca and parts of Christian and Biblical lore. In fact, she was neither. Christian and Jewish belief both demand singular adherence to the Biblical doctrine. Their own commandments demand that they have no other God. Paganism answers to the spiritual and physical forces of Nature, not a Church doctrine nor a scripture. Trying to be both means not being much of either.

This is not to say that you must jettison all the things you learned along the way to your current spiritual path. All lessons are valuable. You may be able to do some of the old things without a conflict. Still and all, there will be a time that you must make a commitment.

Many have tried to cobble bits and pieces of spirituality together. They dabble in one and the other, but never commit to any one. Such people coast across the surface, blown hither and yon by their own whims and the crossweave of Wyrd. At some time, a person has to commit to one thing and give himself time to get good at it. Once rooted in one tradition, he has the means to better appreciate the others. He can then opt to stay where he is or move on to something else. The difference is that he has learned and grounded himself. He has developed understanding and ability.

We all have stood at the Crossroads, needing to make a decision. Often, it takes time before one feels sure enough in which path to follow. The obvious thing is that only one path can be chosen. You can tread only one road at a time. You may turn back and opt to try another road or you may continue on the one you choose. Either way, you can only tread one path at a time. Choosing a path means not taking the others.

And no, boys an girls, you cannot be Heathen and Christian at the same time. Choosing one means foregoing the other. They are incompatible.


It pays to get grounded in one system to the point you understand it and can apply it. You need not become a high-ranking initiate or expert. The important thing is to know it well enough to explain it and use it. Do that, and you will have something most folks never get: consistent results, experience and understanding. From that point, you can stay where you are or move on to something else. The difference is that you will have already established yourself with a good foundation for future work.


Bible Quotology

Where I grew up, the dominant denominations were traditional Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopal and Dutch Reformed. They may have used Bible passages in their liturgies, but the Bible was rarely quoted in everyday life. The closest anyone came to that was catechism class as a child. Even then, the quotes were not held up for us to repeat.

Things were different when I was stationed in the Southwest. It was a different kind of Christian religion out there. The major influences were Fundamentalist, mainly Southern Baptist. I ran into people who would make a point by quoting a phrase from the Bible. They apparently felt that the Bible quote added verity to whatever they were trying to say. Mostly, they reinforced their whims with a quote. Indeed, any fool can find a quote in the Bible to support him.

Orthodox Jews, especially the Hasidic and Litvak, are also bound to their scriptures. Most of the men would rather spend all day studying the lore than work a regular job. They seek a scriptural precedent for whatever is on their mind. The strictest among the Orthodox make everything they do gibe with the scriptures.

I get the impression that those who like to quote scripture in everyday life believe that doing so empowers them. Actually, it diminishes their validity. The quote is a crutch to support their own words. If anything, it shows doubt in one’s own ability to express himself. Rather than relying on his own word and his own authority, he has to borrow authority from somewhere else. Ironically, those who do not accept the authority of his scriptures find such quotes nonsensical.

An adult should speak for himself. Quoting an authority, religious or otherwise, undermines his own validity. There are limited circumstances when a quote may be acceptable, but I find that in most cases, they are not. Maybe the religious quoters think their own words are unworthy and they need Jesus or someone else to speak for them.

Before you quote any spiritual text to emphasize a point, ask yourself if you are not actually giving up your power. Speak for yourself. When you accept the validity of your own words, you speak with the authority of one who knows. When you quote a scripture, you cede your authority to the book you just quoted.

After all, who makes your choices: you or a book?


What a Person Really Worships

The origin of the word Worship is in old Anglo-Saxon: Old English worðscip, wurðscip (Anglian), weorðscipe (West Saxon) “condition of being worthy, dignity, glory, distinction, honor, renown,” from weorð “worthy” In other words, worship is giving worth to something.

Many claim to worship the God or Gods of their understanding. Cognate with God is Good. We can say that Good is “Of the Gods.” This a is not some far-off good, but the good we can feel here and now. We can appreciate good music, good food and good company as having something in common with the Gods.
Good also entails virtues and concepts such as honesty, trustworthiness, fairness and integrity. One who truly worships a God or Gods of his understanding would naturally express such attitudes in the way he lives and treats others.
There are those who claim to worship the Gods, but in fact they actually worship something else. They make a show of worshiping their Higher Power but in fact are really serving themselves. Worship of the Gods is not worship, but a means to worshiping their own wants.

Actions speak louder than words. What one does says more than what he claims to do. The man who claims to love his wife, but betrays and humiliates her does not love her at all. He has contempt for her. The politician who claims to honor the public good, but gets involved in corruption actually honors his greed and ego. The woman who claims to honor the Gods, but pilfers funds with which she is entrusted actually honors her pocketbook.

What a person claims to worship may be very different from that which he really worships. It is what he does that tells the tale.

Actions do indeed speak louder than words.


Cricket Crossed Over

This is when it hits home. I gave the cats their afternoon treat. I split a can of wet food among them. Cricket always preferred dry food, so I would give her a handful of dry treats. Now, just five bowls of food. No shaggy calico making her run to her spot under the kitchen table. That is where she liked to be fed her treats during the day. At night, she wanted them at the end of the book case.

Goodbye, Cricket. Rest easy `til we meet again.


At the bottom of the back porch Audrey found something portentious. It was a large, fat cricket. We have not seen crickets out there in a very long time. Take it as an sign that Cricket the Calico Cat has crossed over successfully and is well in the next world.


Cricket the Calico Cat Passes

She was missing for a couple days, but tonight we found Cricket. The long-haired, formerly-feral calico had crawled into a space in the basement and died. There was no hint of sickness. No sign of trauma or suffering. Cricket was 8 years old. She had been one of several cats that frequented our backyard. Her mother, known as Mommacat, was a feral who had several litters.

Cricket got her name because she loved to rip into crickets.

Cricket had four kittens of her own. Two did not make it. We took in one, a nutty calico named Penny. Another was taken by a friend. We had Cricket spayed, and as soon as she got back, she headed for the backyard. Not much later, she followed Audrey inside a couple of times. Cricket found the bowl of food and water and decided to stay.

The kitten we gave to a friend came back here. The friend turned out to be allergic to cats. We call him Buster. Cricket, Buster and Penny liked to sun themselves in Audrey’s office upstairs. (We also have three old black cats. Two of them were born in the yard.)

Cricket crawled in a place she liked and passed. We will miss her. She was a happy cat who liked to be brushed. loved getting treats, and would wake me up if I fell asleep in the chair.

Fare thee well, Cricket. Thank you for choosing to be part of our family. Until we meet again….


Rune Touching: The Personal Touch

Understanding the Runes is more than the intellectual exercise of learning facts. True learning of the Runes also includes relating to them on a personal level. This is emotional, intuitional and physical as well as intellectual. It is not just the Rune, but what the Rune means to you and how it affects you.

Take the Fe rune, which superficially represents cattle as a token of wealth. One aspect of Fe is that it is the value behind money and other means of exchange. Grab a few coins and you are connecting with Fe. Buy groceries and you are putting Fe into action.

While there are deeper aspects to Fe and all Runes, they can also be touched on the most mundane levels.

Here are a few more brief examples:

Lifting a box touches the Urus Rune. Chopping a tree or pruning a bush invokes Thurs. Appreciating a good lunch is the Ase Rune. Riding a train or bus touches Raido. Reading the mail is a Ken Rune activity. Crossing a bridge is a matter of Gyfu. Finding delight in something is Wunjo.

The Hagal Rune is there when you scatter seed on your lawn. Naud is felt when you tie a tight knot. Isa is evident when you put ice cubes in your drink. Jer is the satisfaction when a long project comes to an end. The spring-back aspect of the Yew Tree Rune is there when you use rubber bands. Perdra is the bowl which carries your soup. Elk is the feeling of dignity and Sig is the comforting warmth.

Tyr is the plan you make to get a thing done right. Bjork is the children laughing. When you drive, you are Eh in action. Mannar is there when you tell someone your name. Lagu is the balm applied to a small wound. Ing is the lucky thing that happened today. Dag is the day slipping from Morning to Afternoon. Odal is home.

There you have examples of personal contact with the Runes. It is that simple. I am sure you can come up with many more examples of your own. Do so. Reading about Runes is one thing, but personal. conscious contact really brings them home to you.


Some Runes have an aspect that can break and shatter.

The Thurs Rune is a breaker by impact. Naud breaks by crushing and constricting. Hagal breaks by bursting. Jer breaks by expanding from within, The Yew breaks by recoil: it rebounds with increased force.

(The previous article lists the interpretations of the Runes. The names we use for them differs from other traditions.)


Runes in a Pinch

If you ever need Runes in a pinch, take a regular playing deck of cards. Clubs for First Aett, Spades for the Second and Diamonds for the Third. Use the number cards 1 through 8. (If using the Anglo-Saxon extended Runes, use Hearts)

Shuffle, cut and read. Voila! Emergency Runes!

Here is a set of Rune attributes using an interesting version of the Futhark. We contiue to use our old names for the Runes rather than proto-Germanic.

Rune Interpretations


The 2016 Election, Political Affiliation and Where I stand

There is a sick sentiment going about that anyone who would vote against the Democrats and Hillary must be an evil, ignorant redneck who is a racist, hates gays and is against human rights. The slander against people choosing to vote the party of their choice is putrid, to say the least. For many who choose to vote Republican this year, myself included, there is no desire to promote bigotry or Tea Party ideals. I am voting for my economic well-being. I am voting for my community.

And yes, I oppose illegal immigration. I live in a community inundated by illegals from South of the Border. Our taxes go up, our hospital bills go up, and our quality of life plummets. I am voting based on my experience rather than a political platform.

Obama’s policies during his first term caused my family economic troubles. They also served to drive up the cost of my medical bills. It was obvious the Democratic Party does not care about the damage its policies did to the middle class. I registered as a Republican. Though I vote based on a candidate’s merits rather than his party affiliation, I had to make a stand for myself, my family and my home. You can be sure I did not vote for Obama the second time, even though Romney was a lackluster candidate.

I would be a fool to vote for the party that perpetuates the same Obama policies that have harmed me in the past. I want to keep a roof over my head and be able to keep up with the medical bills. I want to live in a community that is clean and friendly. I want a President – any president – who will stand up to foreign aggression and put a strong face on the country. That means giving our military the right support and dealing with other countries from a position of strength. And I want a president who supports those who make the effort to come here legally rather than sell out to the illegals and their advocates.

I am sure a few people may no longer want to be my friends after reading this. I do not need friends who would deny me the right to vote as I choose, and who would vilify me for voting as I see fit. Just remember when you slander all those who vote Republican this year, you slander me, too.


Milk Cows. Cattle Feed and The Fe Rune

In the 19th Century, milk was not a bland commodity. There were differences in milk that came from various places. Among the best was the milk in rural New York and New Jersey. A railroad man noticed the difference between the rather bland milk from New York City as opposed to the fine milk of the Minisink Valley area in New York’s Orange County. His observation led to the shipping of milk from rural areas to the city via railroad.

The milk in New York City was produced by cows kept in pens. They were fed the leftovers from the brewing process. By comparison, rural cows fed on sweet grass and hay. They roamed open pastures. The difference in their milk production was not subtle. Rural milk was notably better in every way.

The Fe Rune is symbolized by cattle. As I mentioned in Wonders of the Fe Rune, milk is also Fe. It is an asset that can reap profits. That discussion covered milk after it had been taken from cows. What about the profitability of milk before it leaves the cow?

Everyday Life gives us another lesson that applies to assets and the influence of the Fe Rune. An asset is more than what is done with it. The value of an asset is also in what contributes to making it. What you put into it affects its quality and appeal. Just as the feeding and care of cows affects the milk, so it is with many other assets. Think about this. Draw your own analogies. There you will come to know more of the Fe Rune’s many attributes.

Here is a set if Rune attributes using an interesting version of the Futhark. We contiue to use our old names for the Runes rather than proto-Germanic.

Rune Interpretations


A Few Business Lessons

A few lessons from 25 years experience running the Trollwise Press

The Post Office used to be a great deal. It has lost some of its edge over the others. When I first started using the Priority Mail fixed-rate mailers, the fee was about $3.00 a pop. The biggest expense and source of trouble is shipping. The trick is to streamline shipping without cutting corners. For instance, you need to use padded mailers even though they cost more. You want your product to get there in good shape. Plain envelopes give very poor protection, though they seem cheap.

The Post Office has free boxes and mailers. The trick is to know when to use Priority Mail (fixed rate mailers & boxes), First Class, Parcel Post or Media Mail. This is easier if you do business via PayPal. They make it possible to send orders from home.

Shipping has to get your goods to the customer in good shape, in a timely fashion. There are times when fixed-rate Priority Mail; is both the fastest and cheapest way to go. There are times when the most economical rate, Media mail, is as slow as molasses. Before starting a business that ships, try to get a handle on prices, time, etc.

You cannot cut many corners. Most corner-cutting adversely affects the product, the shipping or customer satisfaction. Work to economize without getting stuck in a nickel-and-dime attitude.

If you plan to add a breakable item to your inventory, test ship a few to friends in different parts of the country. You will learn if it can be shipped, and how to best ship it so it arrives intact.

Every corner you cut results in at least one unhappy customer.

A dissatisfied customer needs attention. At least hear what he has to say. You can afford to lose crackpots and customers who end up losing you money by fussing too much. There are not many of them. You cannot afford to lose customers who like the product or service, especially those who endorse it and come back for more. A dissatisfied customer can be an opportunity to make a loyal customer. It all depends on how you handle it. Make extra effort. You may even have to lose a little profit from the sale, but the effort you make can turn a complaint into an opportunity. A good response to a complaint turns an unhappy customer to a satisfied one.

Customer complaints will reveal flaws in your business. They will tell you what to fix. For example, we got several complaints about our packing when we started out. By addressing the problem, we improved our shipping and customer satisfaction.

Remember that customers like to think you are listening to them. It takes very little effort to be attentive to them.

One of the factors affecting a very small enterprise like mine is vulnerability to outside causes. I am dependent on my suppliers and shippers. I have very little control over them. As much as I like to be timely in filling orders, it may take time for an item to be shipped here. Likewise, we are subject to the issues our shippers face. For instance, a package we sent to one place may take only a few days, while another sent near the same destination may take over a week. My ability to get product to customers is affected by the performance of suppliers and shippers.

Price is important. For instance, I have been using off-brand toner cartridges for years because they are priced much lower than original manufacturer. The problem is making sure these other cartridges print at the same quality as costlier ones. A good supplier offering quality toner at good prices makes the difference here.

Our consumables are toner, ink, paper, cardstock and binding supplies. Prices have climbed considerably since we first launched The Trollwise Press. Quality is important. I have found that if you shop around, you can get good prices on better quality paper and cardstock. I have also found that going to an office supply store like Staples is usually more expensive than shopping online. I get my comb binders online at a much reduced price from what the office supply stores charge, for instance. (Ffellowes brand is compatible with GBC and is much cheaper at Shoplet.com)

A good online supplier will tend to carry quality merchandise, some at a very deep discount.

Communicate. Let customers know if an order will be late. Keep them apprised of your progress in situations where things are behind schedule.

If you lose a customer, odds are low that you can ever get him to come back.

Complimentary items work if the customers likes and uses them. You cannot throw any old thing at people and call it a gift. Make sure the gift is appropriate. For example, a booklet on a subject related to the books a customer purchases makes a good complimentary item.

I have run The Trollwise Press for 25 years. I have written almost all of the books, magazine articles and other materials. The typesetting, graphics, layout and paste-up are all my work, too. And yes, I do the printing, cutting, assembling and binding as well as packaging and shipping of all our products. It is all done with a laser printer, paper cutter, comb binder and stapler. I developed my own publishing system and it still works to this day.


Gods Work through Man and Other Means

Call it Gods or Spirit, it has its preferred ways of working. A humorous story tells the tale:

Alongside a mighty river lived man who claimed to have great faith in the God of his understanding. He had such faith they he felt his God would save him from any dire circumstances.

It so happened that a particularly bad bout of weather and tides had swelled the river far above normal. There were flood warnings. The civil authorities recommended that people evacuate to higher ground. All folks in the area except the man of faith did so. The man stayed, certain in his belief that his God would make things right.

The flood waters rose over his porch and started to fill the first floor of the house. The man of faith prayed to his God for help. He called for Divine power to set things right. Hardly had he finished praying when he heard people calling on a bullhorn. Outside, he saw a rowboat by the house. The men in the boat were calling to anyone who needed to be rescued.

When the man of faith came to the window, they said, “Get in! We can take you somewhere safe.”
“No, I do not need it! My God will rescue me,” the man replied

The men in the boat tried to convince him to accept their help, but he steadfastly refused. The boatmen finally left him and looked for others who needed help.

Flood waters continued to rise. They rose so that the man had to go to the second floor. He prayed again to his God for help. Before he finished his prayer, he heard a large motor boat outside. The man went to the window. There was a larger boat with several people in it..

“Get in! Hurry!,” the people called to him.

“No, I cannot do that! My God will make things right for me!” he replied. Though they tried to urge the man to join them, he would not. They finally had to leave to seek others who might need rescue.

The flood kept rising until the man had to climb onto the roof. He was on the highest part of the roof and the waters lapped at his feet as he prayed to this God again. Then he heard the rotors of a helicopter. He looked and saw a whirlybird approach him. The door on its side opened and a crewman unraveled a ladder.

“Climb up,” said the crewman. ‘Hurry!”

The man replied,” No. I have faith in my God that he will make things right. He will see to my safety.”

Try as he would, the helicopter crewman could not convince the man to climb aboard. The helicopter finally had to leave to rescue others.

Soon, the waters swept the man from the roof and he drowned.

In the next world, the man met up with his God. The man looked disappointed. He said, “How come you did not answer my prayers?”

His God replied,” I sent two rowboats and a helicopter. What more did you want?”

There are many miracle stories. Almost every religious tradition has them. The Jewish and Christian scriptures probably have more that most. There are everything from a parting of the sea to a burning bush that talks to feeding enough folks to fit a minor league stadium with just a handful of fishes and bread. Of course, the Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Shinto people have their own miracle tales. It is funny how folks will take their scriptures at face value. Miracle stories are part of the art of storytelling.

Catholicism has a thing called Hagiography, or the Study of the Saints. The peculiar thing about it is that on the surface, hagiography seems to be seeking historical facts about saints and any miracles they may have caused. Beneath that superficial level, hagiography often asks if a given saint could perform a certain miraculous act attributed to him. Whether he actually did it or not is another matter. I think most miracles, Catholic or otherwise, are like hagiography. It matters not if it happened, so much as if it could have happened.

I have had a few unusual spiritual experiences. They are hard to describe in human terms. As for miracles? The scriptures and folktales are nice stories, but real miracles happen differently. There is no big flash of light, no disembodied voice, and no moving of earth or sea. My experience and that of many others is that the Gods work through others. They also work through coincidences. One might say that the Gods work anonymously.

The Gods are not going to send you a great big blast of wind to whisk you off the roof when flood waters threaten you. They will not send a troop of Valkyrie to ride you to safety. However, they just might send a rowboat.

Gods prefer to work through circumstances. For example, whenever there is a disaster, we heard of people who were somehow deterred from going to that location. They may have had everything from engine failure to missing their train to a more complex set of events. What is striking is just how weird are the circumstances that led to those events. Call it an eerie coincidence. Nonetheless, the people never got to the place where disaster struck. They missed the plane that crashed, or never made it to the building that collapsed, or never got to the town where the earthquake struck.

Disasters are extreme circumstances. Godly coincidence can also happen in the most everyday things. Miracles of this sort can be the biggest or the most minor of things. It is the end result that counts.

The Gods do not fulfill things in you way. They do it their way. You can be sure that in doing so, they also manage to accomplish many other things that go along with their plans. We are not privy to all of their work, so we do not know the entirety of the situation that the Gods have in mind.

Is it Wyrd or the Gods? Both, or neither? Whatever you decide, your answer is more likely to come via a man in a rowboat than the sky opening with a blast of trumpets and a company of spiritual beings..

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