Steel

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We have to have steel to do this work. in our blood, in our bone, in our souls, there must be a core of steel. There must be that which will not be bowed, will not be turned, will not be broken before the challenges, sometimes quite painful challenges, that are part and parcel of restoration. We must have at our core the steel to persevere. If we do not, we are at best confused, tangled, and ultimately useless, and at worst impediments to all the work that needs to be done. We must be ready to be brutal in our purpose, in our commitment to our purpose even with ourselves, perhaps most especially with ourselves, to eat sacrifice daily, and to plod step by bitter step in the direction our Gods have set.

I was thinking about this today, thinking about young people with whom I work–they’re lovely, deeply progressive, and want so much to make a difference in this sick, sick world. They are enthusiastic but …there is no steel in them. They break so easily when the Filter comes calling. They break so easily when they are attacked. They break so easily when the work drives them to their knees instead of fighting like rabid wolves to move forward. Enthusiasm is not enough. I worry all the time for the young people with whom I engage (in the secular world as much as in the community) but i worry more about the work.

So I offer this prayer, for those just finding their way:

May you lay yourselves down upon the forge
your Gods have wrought,
knowing the tempering to be found there
essential and good.
May you find satisfaction and joy
in the honing.
May you not break.
May you find wholeness
and liberation
in the process of restoration.
May you have the insight
to do whatever you must do
in order to take up the threads
your ancestors laid down.
May you be strengthened
in your souls and in this work.
May you endure.

About ganglerisgrove

Galina Krasskova has been a Heathen priest since 1995. She holds a Masters in Religious Studies (2009), a Masters in Medieval Studies (2019), has done extensive graduate work in Classics including teaching Latin, Roman History, and Greek and Roman Literature for the better part of a decade, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Theology. She is the managing editor of Walking the Worlds journal and has written over thirty books on Heathenry and Polytheism including "A Modern Guide to Heathenry" and "He is Frenzy: Collected Writings about Odin." In addition to her religious work, she is an accomplished artist who has shown all over the world and she currently runs a prayer card project available at wyrdcuriosities.etsy.com.

Posted on November 12, 2014, in Polytheism and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Maybe now is the right time to dedicate a book to Discipline? I know I’m personally thrilled when you speak about this and related subjects. Having you devote an entire book to discipline and the cultivation of inner “steel” would be a Gods-send.

    The Filter cultivates weakness. It venerates angst, brokenness, and deficient attention spans. What better antidote than the clarion call to discipline in the service of the Gods? …

    Wishing you and yours blessings this winter season!

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  2. I don’t know that a book would do it — in the end, it comes down to choosing to do one’s duty and stay the course and all the books in the world won’t help someone do that if they don’t choose. Weakness hasn’t just been cultivated, it’s been enshrined. I don’t know what the solution is.

    blessings to you and yours as well!

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  3. I’d prescribe agoge. Many would not take such an extreme challenge.
    Two years minimum of self exile. No home, no possessions, no resources. Just ones skills and knowledge. Yeah, that’s how you understand steel.

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  4. Hi Galina,

    Your right, as far as it goes a book won’t do anything about anything…unless the seeds of whatever fall into fertile soil. Isn’t that true of any subject?

    Given that we all do live so deeply ensconced in the Filter, in a world where weakness is enshrined, discipline is an outright foreign creature to a lot of us. Even people like myself who have cultivated inner steel a la The Gargarean’s comments can still fall woefully short when it comes to regular cultivation of Discipline in our daily lives. In my own case, it has far less to do with any affinity for weakness (indeed it disgusts me thoroughly in myself and others) and everything to do with allowing my emotions to dictate my follow through. Like most people I fall frequent prey to so much “undigested turnip” (thank you Dickens!).

    You’ve worked so diligently at so many things for so long I’m not sure you’re still in touch with how “floppy” the rest of us really are. You have an excellent work ethic and a book that gives a view inside the “headspace” that’s enabled you to be a professional dancer, a priest, a successful writer, an artist, a degreed academic, and all of the other 30,000 things you do a day while dealing all the ordinary travails of life and health…would be invaluable.

    As for the solution to weakness (or any entrenched problem)? I think the solution ever has been and always will be the ripples people like you send out. You ARE making a difference.

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  5. Markos, agoge as you describe is pretty much what the Gods put me through in my early twenties, almost precisely.

    C., I think you are right. I’ve noticed that I often struggle when teaching beginners — it’s hard when some things are so deeply ingrained to parse them out in a structured, step by step manner. it’s easy to forget how hard it was at the beginning.

    That being said, I’m giving serious thought to your suggestion. I think though that it would be very difficult and disconcerting to give a glimpse inside my head. lol. Look at what led me to seek out ballet as a career—there was already a desire for structure, discipline, and an understanding of sacrifice somewhere. I’m lazy as shit but I have a deeply ingrained sense of duty and responsibility that found nourishment in a very painful field. Ballet really saved me from being a complete fucking mess as a teen ager and young adult! It also started honing the necessary discipline for my spiritual work.

    But, and this is a big but because I’ve seen how people respond to this. Discipline as I engage with it, live it, try my best to cultivate it, means prioritizing something other than emotion. It means purging to the best of one’s ability sentiment. It means putting something over the immediate gratification of the self. I look at arguments in the community here and there and see people talking about the human perspective and the emotional perspective but very seldom if ever about what the Gods and ancestors want. For me, discipline means always prioritizing that latter and sometimes that means we don’t get to do what we want. (Believe me, even i sometimes have my tantrums over that!).

    This is a translation issue. The inside of my head when it comes to this is all clear angles and planes that cut through the murk, or run right through it, or over it, or simply disregard it completely–doesn’t mean that murk isn’t there. I constantly check and double check with my Gods and ancestors, look to divination, prayer, devotion, elders sometimes as key components of maintaining and encouraging discipline and commitment within myself. It becomes more of a habit the older I get….i floundered a lot when I stopped dancing and as I first started down this rocky road.

    i often feel as though I accomplish nothing. I would like to be really good at something. It weighs on me that my life has been one of such twists and turns and a constant uphill climb; and I often feel hopeless in the work. Thank you for your kind words….it means much right now.

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  6. Reblogged this on Úlfdís Járnviðar and commented:
    “So I offer this prayer, for those just finding their way:

    May you lay yourselves down upon the forge
    your Gods have wrought,
    knowing the tempering to be found there
    essential and good.
    May you find satisfaction and joy
    in the honing.
    May you not break.
    May you find wholeness
    and liberation
    in the process of restoration.
    May you have the insight
    to do whatever you must do
    in order to take up the threads
    your ancestors laid down.
    May you be strengthened
    in your souls and in this work.
    May you endure.”

    Like

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