Wisdom in Strange Places

My housemate was watching the new series “The Stand” this afternoon on her lunch break, and I sat down to watch with her. Without giving away plot points for people who may not have read the book but are watching the series, the story is about a confrontation between good and evil, the latter embodied in a terrible being that wears the shape of a man. At one point, four characters aligned with good are journeying to make their stand against this creature and there is a moment where they have to decide whether to continue as a divinely inspired prophet told them to do, or whether to stay with an injured comrade. The fallen comrade invokes the 23rd Psalm and watching this scene, I had a moment of such intense clarity that it was painful. 

There is evil and pollution out there, everywhere we walk in this world. Sometimes it is small but sometimes it is massive and terrifying. Sometimes we are called to step up and come face to face with that evil. Do not fear. Wherever we go, our Gods are with us. Our ancestors walk at our backs sustaining us. The land itself reflects the power of the Holy. Why the hell should I fear anything when my God stands at my back, surrounds me with His protection, when He fills me with His glory as I stand encircled by enemies. None of the evil which rises against us matters. It is nothing in comparison to the Power of our Gods and when we choose, really choose to align ourselves with the Holy, we no longer have any need to fear. What is there in this world, what force, what wickedness that is as great as those Gods that we love and serve? 

So yes, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death – places polluted and filled with wickedness, places of foulness and danger, and though I am forced to sometimes engage with people who are also filled with pollution, I will never fear. I will not give evil that to feed upon. I am surrounded by my Gods. They have poured Themselves out around me, through me, through every pore, every molecule of my being. They stand between me and every unholy thing that I must face down. They are with me, filling me with Their protection and Their glory. What is the banality of wickedness in the face of such might? What is evil in the face of such power? I will be a conduit for my Gods until my soul itself is dust glittering in Their hands. Why the hell should I EVER fear that which stands against Them?  

I was also thinking about what actors do when they tell these stories of evil. Those stories are important. They aren’t just stories of evil, but stories of human courage and virtue and valor in the most unexpected of places. Just as those that are the most evil are often boring and banal, the man or woman next door, so too are those who might rise up against that evil. We need those stories. We need to see that we too can have courage. At the same time, actors are vessels for forces far greater than they themselves. I was a performer for the first part of my life, granted a ballet dancer not an actor but the same thing holds: those who take up that work empty themselves out and take on the mask of other beings. That is dangerous. I know if I were playing a role now that was supposed to be the embodiment of evil, I would be bracketing every actual performance with offerings and prayers, cleansings and there would be a shrine to my Gods and probably also to Dionysos especially – even if I weren’t devoted to Him, because is the patron of the theatre, in my dressing room. This is why, I firmly believe, that in the ancient world, theatre wasn’t just a good time. It was bracketed by days of rituals and prayers and offerings to Dionysos. The stage is a liminal place and those who work upon it open themselves up in ways that can be very dangerous to the self.   The stories told on the stage are important. They have the power to make us better, to elevate us to virtue and help us cultivate the best parts of ourselves. They give us a language to understand what is happening when evil comes calling. Evil feeds on fear. The power of Story, a Power in and of itself, shows us how to move beyond that fear. 

May those who do this sacred work remain clean. 
May they be protected as they open themselves up 
on stage, before a camera, to forces beyond themselves. 
May they feel the grace of Dionysos and their own Gods too. 
May they be safe and nourished in their work. 

May we ourselves rest secure in the knowledge that the Gods are with us always, 
That we need not fear. That we are Theirs and They are ours, 
and in the alchemy of that equation evil is nothing at all. 

Selah.

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 January 28, 2021, in Spirit Work, theology and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I am reminded of two quotes from my favorite Sci-Fi series “Babylon 5” I’m trying to get back into the series following the recent death of Mira Furlan who played my favorite character, Delenn. May she never thirst!

    I cannot recommend this series enough.

    The first is stated by the series as “An Ancient Egyptian Prayer”:

    “May the Gods stand between you and harm in all the empty places you must walk.”

    Another is by the character G’Kar played by Andreas Katulas. May he never thirst!

    “G’Quan wrote, “There is a greater darkness than the one we fight. It is the darkness of the soul that has lost its way. The war we fight is not against powers and principalities, it is against chaos and despair. Greater than the death of flesh is the death of hope. The death of dreams. Against this peril we can never surrender. The future is all around us, waiting in moments of transition, to be born in moments of revelation. No one knows the shape of that future, or where it will take us. We know only that it is always born…in pain.”

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Thank you for posting this.

    “…I bring Them wherever I walk. My very flesh is a doorway through which they may reach…”

    Liked by 4 people

  3. DecemberFBryant

    Nothing can harm me
    But what my Gods and Beloved Ancestors
    Send my way
    To hone me like a blade
    To better suit Their purposes.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Galina, it’s absolutely true… my grandma was an actress, so I know.
    Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. As an addition to your comment on actors…

    Yes. This is why the Visual, Performing and even Literary arts are to me so important. They become a bridge. They help us not only understand ourselves but connect to others, and to the divine. It is no wonder we see theatre so closely tied to the Gods in ancient Greece.

    Actors sometimes touch the wyrd in their work, touching on those truths, those divinites, the lives (when real) they are playing.

    On a side note, in Medieval Europe we see the rise in the Christian areas of the pageant wagon. I’ve always wondered if that somehow wasn’t at least in part a re-branding and tweak of the wagon processionals we saw mentioned in Tacitus when the Gods traveled during certain times.

    If we think of ritual, it is part theatre. Not that it is make believe, but rather that the symbolism is codified to help us connect to the divine.

    Liked by 5 people

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