Beowulf and Fortune's Wheel

I'm not alone in the belief that "Beowulf" is among the greatest legends ever written in the English language. Many are the giants of English literature who have dissected it to unravel its secrets, not least among them being J.R.R. Tolkien whose works are heavily inspired by the Beowulf saga. Tolkien was a professor of Anglo-Saxon and an expert on the topic of Beowulf, and he is largely credited with popularizing the legend, which had previously been regarded as unworthy of study. This article will be the first part of a series which will give an overview of the narrative, the plot and some important background information. We will also delve deeper into the intimidating mere of the myth that many consider to be England's National Epic, by interpreting the themes and devices that make this thousand-year-old myth relevant to modern man.

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Iron Silence

Generally speaking, I don't listen to music when I'm at the gym. I only listen to music in my headphones if the background music in the gym is distracting and I can't do anything to change it. This isn't to say that I don't like music, because that's definitely not the case. I am myself a musician and songwriter, proficient with multiple instruments, and I relish the opportunity to lose myself in the magic of sound. But when I lift weights I don't listen to music at all if I can help it. 

  

The reason for this may be counterintuitive, but it makes perfect sense to me. I only ever listen to music I like, and music I like makes me feel good. But I don't want to feel good when I'm lifting weights or grappling or hitting the bag. I don't want to feel happy or optimistic or anything that might be perceived as positive. When I'm with the iron, I want to feel anger. Anger is a powerful energy that can be incredibly useful when purposefully channeled. When I'm working out, I want to feel every disappointment, every annoyance, every depressing thought that my "Thrall Mind" has ever used to weigh me down and hold me back. The Thrall Mind is the driver of the force of internal resistance which retards your progress and darkens your spirit. He is your dark twin who wishes nothing for you but stagnation and a dull grey mediocrity. This feeling can be emotionally conflicting and, if you're like me, this emotional conflict leads to anger which can be channeled into purposeful energy. 

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Sailing To Érin:Migration from the Irish Perspective

 

None know for certain from whence the island of Èrin was sprung, though I like the symbolism of Frank Mill's modern account which says she was birthed from a song which the winds sung to the seas. Regardless, she was born and eventually she sprouted life. Great murky forests of oak and ash and birch and rowan covered the island, interspersed with wide open grassy plains on which horses rode like traveling kings, and dank misty bogs of ancient peat which would swallow up any careless creature who wandered too deep into its mire. Back then there were giants on these lands; literal Giants like the Irish Elk with his murderous horns spread out from horizon to horizon. This is how it was for a long time in Èrin, longer than any human mind could fathom, and for all this time the island was devoid of human life. But eventually that changed and the history of Èrin as we know it was begun.

 

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Ancestral Trees

Some years ago I gathered as much information as I could find on my ancestors in order to compile a family tree. It was a difficult task, considering the rarity of my surname and the confusing history of Irish tribal/familial names, which have been so prone to change throughout the centuries. However it is worth mentioning that it has never before been so easy to construct a visual record of one's history using online services such as Ancestry.com and local records. Nonetheless the task was still toilsome and required a great deal of research and detective work. Despite the challenge (or perhaps because of it), the building of my family tree was a fascinating process which has clarified my position within a long legacy of men and women to whom I am indebted for my genetic inheritance.

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Baldr Dead.

Baldr (also Balder) is one of the major characters in the Norse mythos. A son of Odin (like most of the male Aesir) Baldr was said to be so charismatic and good-natured that he was beloved by all whom he met, and he is associated with light and warmth and the sun.

 

"The second son of Odin is Baldr, and good things are to be said of him. He is best, and all praise him; he is so fair of feature, and so bright, that light shines from him. A certain herb is so white that it is likened to Baldr's brow; of all grasses it is whitest, and by it thou mayest judge his fairness, both in hair and in body. He is the wisest of the Æsir, and the fairest-spoken and most gracious; and that quality attends him, that none may gainsay his judgments. He dwells in the place called Breidablik, which is in heaven; in that place may nothing unclean be."

-“Gylfaginning”, Brodeur's translation.

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Mogh Roth: The Techno-God.

Smartphone Addiction sounds absurd when you say the words. What normal human being would possibly allow themselves to become dependent on the dim blue light of a computer screen, right? But as absurd as it may sound, smartphone addiction is a real problem, and it's a problem that we are probably all affected by. That seemingly innocent but slightly reassuring blue light from the screen of your phone, a window into the unlimited realms of knowledge available online, wields more power over your subconscious mind than you might realize. On a very basic level, we find the blue and white light of the screen to be immediately satisfying because of its resemblance to a clear sky. Prolonged exposure to the light of a smartphone screen fools your brain into releasing the same hormones that it releases on a beautiful clear day. The kind of day that we can no longer truly appreciate because we are too busy Instagramming about it.

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Crom Cruach: The Dark God of the Burial Mound.

the ancient pagan Irish once worshipped a sinister and mysterious deity, commonly known as Crom Cruach. However, we are told that he was saluted by other names too. Crom Dubh, Crom Croich, and Cenn Cruach. The meaning of the name of this enigmatic spirit is as mysterious as his history. Crom means “crooked”, Cenn means “head” or “chieftain”, Dubh means “dark” or “black”, Croich means “gallows”, and Cruach means either “bloody” or “mound”. I would not argue that etymology alone should be the means by which we build an understanding of our unknown history, but it is certainly a significant indicator of intent. Taking these things into account we could loosely translate the many titles of Crom as meaning:


“The Dark Crooked Lord of the Bloody Mound.”

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If You're Up There, Save Me Ubermensch!

In the book “Thus Spoke Zarathustra”, Friedrich Nietzsche introduces us to his concept of the Superman or Overman. Keep in mind that Nietzsche was writing 150 years ago and his Superman bears no relation whatsoever to Clark Kent, Man of Steel. Nietzsche’s concept of the Superman is a contentious one as the man's ideas are sometimes hard to stomach for many modern readers. Nietzsche's legacy has also been misrepresented by many parties since his death to suit their own agendas. The ideal of the Superman itself however, is a solid one.

 

"Man is something that is to be surpassed. Man is a rope stretched between the animal and the Superman- a rope over an abyss. What is great in Man is that he is a bridge and not a goal."

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Father Prometheus: Unchaining The Titan

In the beginning, all was barren and lifeless. As the murky fog of Chaos dissipated and the earth separated itself from the seas, plant life began to form upon the land. Jungles spread, mountains rose, rivers slithered out towards the sea. Eventually the gods decided to create animal life in order to populate this new landscape. So they employed two brothers, sons of The Old Gods, the Titans, who now lay imprisoned in the depths of Tartarus. Prometheus and Epimetheus were the names of these brothers, Foresight and Hindsight. 

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WOODKERN

The word Kern is an anglicized version of the Gaelic word "Ceithern" which translates roughly as "a warlike group". Woodkern can thus be described as "bands of warlike men who dwell in the woods". Though the phrase Woodkern refers to men who lived during a specific period of time, they belonged to a very old tradition that dates back throughout the ages of recorded history into times of legend and myth. These men were often described as outcast or outlaws, but in reality they were usually men of good social standing and wealth. They would have needed the funds to supply their own arms and equipment and they would also have needed more skill in the arts of warfare than the average peasant or farmer would have had. Warbands such as these were common throughout history and those who operated in this manner have been known by many names at different periods of time.

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