Paganism: Part XIV - The Mystery Of The Mysteries

To appreciate Paganism and Pagan rites we first of all need to understand the human nature. The modern (incomplete and defective) European, a European man with Asian "software", thinks of man as two-layer creature; we have a physical and a mental layer, but there is more to man than this.

The human bodies are the physical body (lík), the ethereal body (várðr), the astral body (hamr), the mental body (hugr) and the spiritual body (ánd). In order to improve the physical body, and in fact in order to even survive (that is not die) we need physical maintenance, training, food and beverage, but also rest. In order to improve the ethereal body we need warmth, safety, joy and true love, but also cold, sorrow, fear and negative emotions. In order to improve the astral body we need creative display, music, art and dreams, but also silence, calm and emptiness. In order to improve the mental body we need training of the long- and short-term memory, concentration and training of the logical faculties, but also mental rest. In order to improve the spiritual body we need a deeper meaning, long-term activities and a super-individualistic perspective, but also contempt for death and ruthlessness.

The improvement of the ethereal body can commence only when the physical body is satisfied. The improvement of the astral body can commence only when the ethereal body is satisfied. The improvement of the mental body can commence only when the astral body is satisfied. The improvement of the spiritual body can commence only when the mental body is satisfied.

The purpose of Paganism and the Pagan rites is to satisfy all our bodies, to educate us, to trigger latent abilities in us and to ultimately elevate us to the divine. To achieve this the average Pagan high festival therefore had several steps:

Step 1. The journey to the site of rites (a theatre, a grave mound, a mountain top, a grove, a holy source or something else). This was seen as part of the ceremony and it served a purpose; it was or could be physically exhausting and it made the participants feel as if they were embarking on a journey of some significance, which of course was what they were doing too.

Step 2. The religious play. The priests and priestesses performed like a modern acting group and acted out a religious play (a tragedy or a comedy, depending on the type of high festival), wearing masks and costumes to impersonate the gods and goddesses. This was (supposed to be) experienced by the congregation as a trip on an "emotional roller-coaster", stimulating their emotions, imagination and mental capacity. Music and other types of artistic display were often part of the ceremonies and worked as emotional catalysts. If part of an initiation ceremony the candidate was often participating in the play, unmasked and partly unaware of what was going to happen, and naturally such mysteries were only witnessed by the individuals of the congregation who had already gone through this particular initiation.

The theatre in Epidauros (Greece), from 350 before our time of reckoning.

The theatre in Epidauros (Greece), from 350 before our time of reckoning.

Step 3. The exam. If part of an initiation ceremony the candidate had to say or do something to influence the outcome, to make the ceremony end like it should. The candidate was normally instructed beforehand by a mystagog (a religious tutor) on how to react to different contingencies, so he or she should know what to do or say, but sometimes the candidates had to figure this out for themselves.

Step 4. The graduation (of candidates) or the conclusion. The purpose (moral) of the play (ceremony) was unveiled to the candidate, and he or she was accepted or rejected by the gods and goddesses (id est the priests and priestesses). This part of the ceremony often ended when the Sun rose, and the candidate was accepted as part of the congregation or in some new role in the congregation.

Step 5. The celebration. When the ritual play ended the ceremony ended with a joyous feast, or in case of initiations the initiated candidate could for the first time join the rest of the congregation in such a feast, that included good food and beverage, dancing and different entertaining activities. The ceremony ended with silence and rest.

Most of what we do today to entertain ourselves are in a sense mock-ceremonies; the plays at the modern theatre, the films at the cinema, the parties we attend, sports events, traveling (tourism), classes in school and so forth, and I am sure some of these activities enlighten us and bring us at least a bit closer to the gods. However, all these activities are fragmentary and insufficient, and taken out of context they don't mean much. They are not custom-built for individuals our race either, like the Pagan ceremonies are, and they are not part of a greater whole. We cling to the modern mock-ceremonies, because they are all we have, and because we need entertainment and some sort of education (id est ceremonies), but it would have been much better if we instead (or perhaps also) had begun to celebrate the Pagan high festivals, like we are supposed to. They will educate and entertain us, elevate and enlighten us.


In us we have latent abilities that will be brought to life if we wake them up. The ability to reproduce for example is awoken by time; when we reach a certain age we reach puberty and all of a sudden we can reproduce. Other abilities will come to life in us if we reach a certain level of for example intelligence, empathy and purity, or something else, or a combination of different factors.

There are latent abilities in the Nordic (=European) man that we don't yet know much or anything about. Like today we only know five of the seven senses, and perhaps we begin to acknowledge the existence of a sixth sense (intuition) too. Clairvoyance, telekinesis, telepathy, healing powers and other abilities can surface in us, just like the ability to reproduce, if we expose ourselves to the right type of "input"; if we live in accordance with the Pagan laws and rules; if we go through the Pagan initiation rites; if we participate in the Pagan ceremonies; and not least if we keep our blood Nordic.

There is a fantastic world of magic out there for us, so why choose to live in a Judeo-Christian world of self-loathing, ignorance, stagnation, stupidity and darkness?

Varg Vikernes

Ars moriendi.
(The art of dying)

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