At this point I don't even have to explain what COVID-19 is. We all know. We're all staying in our houses as much as we can, on leaving when we need to, or can be relatively assured of not having to interact with a whole bunch of people. I live in Ohio, in Cuyahoga County, and we are all doing our best to make sure we do not transmit the diesease. Cuyahoga County is where the first few cases in Ohio appeared, and we are all painfully aware of this. Many people have come to me and told me "this feels like the end times." No surprise, then, that I ended up turning to the divine. But it is not the Christian God that I have found in these dark times. No, the faith that I have turned to is the faith of the Norse Gods, the Aesir and Vanir.
I am making the transition from a self-guided Druidry to a more formal grouping of pagan practices: Asatru, also known as Heathenry. This is the faith of the Aesir and the Vanir, the Gods of Norse Mythology and of the ancient Germanic people in general. It is a reconstruction of old pagan practices, and though the exact style of worship varies from group to group or even, in the case of solitary heathens like myself, from individual to individual. It has its problematic elements - racist groups co-opting the faith abound - but I was lucky enough to find some groups online that explicitly ban hate speech, and I have been discussing my practice with them. I have had some personal revelations talking to them, and meditating on my relationship with divinity. An I am fully confident in my stance when I say I believe the Gods are real and that they have spoken to me.
It may seem odd to turn to a group of Gods that are due to die when Ragnarok occurs, especially when things seem so dire in the world right now. But what inspires me about the Norse Gods, and Odin in particular, is that they never seem to give up, despite being doomed. Odin constantly travels the world, searching for a way to avoid his end, or even to hold of Ragnarok altogether. He is doomed to fail, and he knows this, but he tries anyway, because even the slightest hint of a chance at avoiding a terrible fate is worth fighting for. Whereas other divinities would simply accept their fate, Odin fights tooth and nail against his. That is inspiring to me.
Whether you are Heathen like me, or pagan or atheist or whatever, I believe that we can all learn from Odin's example. We can fight back against COVID-19, against government mandated quarantines and the erosion of our civil liberties, against tyranny and certain doom. It is not useless to do so. Rather, it is the most useful thing we can do.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
- Dylan Thomas