Manvotional: A Man’s Religion Is the Chief Fact About Him

Originally posted by Brett & Kate McKay on the Blog The Art of Manliness:


From On Heroes and Hero Worship and the Heroic in Society, 1840
By Thomas Carlyle

It is well said, in every sense, that a man’s religion is the chief fact with regard to him. A man’s, or a nation of men’s.

By religion I do not mean here the church-creed which he professes, the articles of faith which he will sign and, in words or otherwise, assert; not this wholly, in many cases not this at all. We see men of all kinds of professed creeds attain to almost all degrees of worth or worthlessness under each or any of them. This is not what I call religion, this profession andassertion; which is often only a profession and assertion from the outworks of the man, fromthe mere argumentative region of him, if even so deep as that.

But the thing a man does practically believe (and this is often enough without asserting it even to himself, much less to others); the thing a man does practically lay to heart, andknow for certain, concerning his vital relations to this mysterious Universe, and his duty anddestiny there, that is in all cases the primary thing for him, and creatively determines all therest. That is his religion; or, it may be, his mere skepticism and no-religion: the manner it isin which he feels himself to be spiritually related to the Unseen World or No-World; and I say, if you tell me what that is, you tell me to a very great extent what the man is, what thekind of things he will do is.

Of a man or of a nation we inquire, therefore, first of all, What religion they had? Was it Heathenism,—plurality of gods, mere sensuous representation of this Mystery of Life, andfor chief recognized element therein Physical Force? Was it Christianism; faith in an Invisible, not as real only, but as the only reality; Time, through every meanest moment of it, resting on Eternity; Pagan empire of Force displaced by a nobler supremacy, that of Holiness? Was it Skepticism, uncertainty and inquiry whether there was an Unseen World, any Mystery of Life except a mad one;—doubt as to all this, or perhaps unbelief and flat denial?

Answering of this question is giving us the soul of the history of the man or nation. The thoughts they had were the parents of the actions they did; their feelings were parents of their thoughts: it was the unseen and spiritual in them that determined the outward and actual;—their religion, as I say, was the great fact about them.



By W.B. Yeats

HE stood among a crowd at Drumahair;

His heart hung all upon a silken dress,

And he had known at last some tenderness,

Before earth made of him her sleepy care;

But when a man poured fish into a pile,

It seemed they raised their little silver heads,

And sang how day a Druid twilight sheds Upon a dim, green,

well-beloved isle, Where people love beside star-laden seas;

How Time may never mar their faery vows

Under the woven roofs of quicken boughs:

The singing shook him out of his new ease.

He wandered by the sands of Lisadill;

His mind ran all on money cares and fears,

And he had known at last some prudent years south There dwelt a gay,

exulting, gentle race;

And how beneath those three times blessed skies

A Danaan fruitage makes a shower of moons,

And as it falls awakens leafy tunes:

And at that singing he was no more wise.

He mused beside the well of Scanavin,

He mused upon his mockers:

without fail His sudden vengeance were a country tale,

Now that deep earth has drunk his body in;

But one small knot-grass growing by the pool Told where, ah, little, all-unneeded voice!

Old Silence bids a lonely folk rejoice,

And chaplet their calm brows with leafage cool;

And how, when fades the sea-strewn rose of day,

A gentle feeling wraps them like a fleece,

And all their trouble dies into its peace:

The tale drove his fine angry mood away.

He slept under the hill of Lugnagall;

And might have known at last unhaunted sleep Under that cold and vapour-turbaned steep,

Now that old earth had taken man and all:

Were not the worms that spired about his bones

A-telling with their low and reedy cry,

Of how God leans His hands out of the sky,

To bless that isle with honey in His tones;

That none may feel the power of squall and wave,

And no one any leaf-crowned dancer miss

Until He burn up Nature with a kiss:

The man has found no comfort in the grave.

The Snakes are Still in Ireland

The Snakes are Still in Ireland: Pagans, Shamans, and Modern Druids in a Catholic World



Shamanic TalkPhoto by Shweta Saraswat

It’s Friday night at The Magic Glass, a medium sized bar tucked inside the O’Callaghan Hotel in the center of Dublin. At first glance, the 40-odd people lounging inside seem like average Irish, glowing from the orange of the lamps and the heat of their drink. But they’ve rejected one of the key elements of what it means to be Irish: Catholicism and indeed Christianity.

A group of fit young men compare Celtic tattoos in one corner, a Wiccan crochets a snake doll in another, and a couple at the bar discusses an upcominghandfasting. This is a pagan moot, a regular meeting of the local pagan community including shamans, Wiccans, and Druids.

While such terms may conjure up images of people dancing naked by fire under the moonlight, contemporary paganism is simply the restoration of indigenous religions, especially that of ancient Europe. In recent decades, the Catholic Church has faced a steady decline in levels of practice and a cultural crisis, according to Olivia Cosgrove, co-editor of Ireland’s New Religious Movements. Consequently, non-religious or alternative spiritualities have become more widespread.



Full article here:

9,500-Year-Old Tree Found in Sweden

9,500-Year-Old Tree Found in Sweden Is The World’s Oldest Tree

The world’s oldest tree, a 9,500-year-old Norwegian Spruce named “Old Tjikko,” after Professor Leif Kullman’s Siberian husky, continues to grow in Sweden. Discovered in 2004 by Kullman, professor of Physical Geography at Umeå University, the age of the tree was determined using carbon-14 dating.

“During the ice age sea level was 120 meters lower than today and much of what is now the North Sea in the waters between England and Norway was at that time forest,” Professor Kullman told Aftonbladet. Winds and low temperatures made Old Tjikko “like a bonsai tree…Big trees cannot get as old as this.”


Seeking a Better Definition: Pagans Explore Manhood | The Wild Hunt

Seeking a Better Definition: Pagans Explore Manhood | The Wild Hunt.

Paganism, together with the many subcultures that are often associated with it, is a place where strong women are both common and respected for their power. The challenge this poses for men is finding a way to relate to, and partner with, women and others without falling back on a stereotypical bag of tricks that relies upon physical strength, aggressiveness, and an implicit threat of violence.

Opting to be subservient is not an option for many self-identified men, who desire to use their masculine gifts positively rather than deny them. The other extreme, embracing the take-no-prisoners macho approach that contributes to undercurrents of misogyny and an implicit acceptance of rape culture, is even more distasteful. The Wild Hunt spoke with several men with experience working through these issues.  Perhaps not surprisingly, those explorations are often in the context of ritual.

Wrestling members of the Brotherhood of the Stag and Wolf (photo credit Lyle Hawthorne)

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Woden vs. Odin: Differences?

Very nice article that brings to light some interesting things to think about when considering the differences in Deity.

Of Axe and Plough

Different cultural expressions of Heathenry beget different cultural interpretations of (largely) the same core group of deities. Deriving from a common proto-Germanic source, these deities are the basis of the religious characteristics of the different Germanic peoples which constitute the focus of Reconstructionist and Contemporary Heathenry. However, as the different Germanic cultures flourished, spread, and migrated, their understanding of their religion separated as much as their languages and tribal identities. This has created a gulf within the understanding of the myriad interpretations of the Germanic deities which can cause confusion for both new-comers and veteran practitioners of Heathenry.

It is easy to forget that the Norse interpretation of the Gods, the Icelandic-Scandinavian perspective found within the Prose and Poetic Eddas, is a relatively late cultural expression of religiosity. It is understandable, especially given the demographic background of many Heathens – they come from Asatru or another Norse-focused form of Heathenry…

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The Oseberg Ship Burial Astounded Archaeologists with Excellent Preservation and Hoard of Artifacts | Ancient Origins

The Oseberg Ship Burial Astounded Archaeologists with Excellent Preservation and Hoard of Artifacts | Ancient Origins.


The Oseberg Ship Burial

The Oseberg Ship Burial Astounded Archaeologists with Excellent Preservation and Hoard of Artifacts

In A.D. 921, the Arab traveler and Islamic theologian Ahmad ibn Fadlan was sent by the Abbasid caliph, al-Muqtadir to the court of the king of the Volga Bulghars as part of a diplomatic party. During his journey of roughly 4000 kilometers, Ibn Fadlan described the various peoples he encountered. About a fifth of Ibn Fadlan’s work was devoted to a people known as the Rūsiyyah, who were traders living on the river banks near to the camps of the Volga Bulghars.

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