Monday, March 27, 2006

Drinking At The Well Of Mimir An Asatru Man Meanderings

Drinking At The Well Of Mimir An Asatru Man Meanderings Cover

Book: Drinking At The Well Of Mimir An Asatru Man Meanderings by Bil Linzie

I don't consider this volume to be any great piece of research. There are plenty of researchers out there far more knowledgeable than I, and I have no problem with that. I don't consider these books revolutionary in any way either; I seriously doubt whether they will change the practice of Asatru in the modern world. What they are is an Asatru man's view of the world after having been Asatru two years short of a full third of a century. They are my views.

I loved that book and read it cover to cover at least four times a year for the next 3 years. My Grampa Jack was “Linzie religion” and so was I, but I belonged to the Asa-Faith as well. I later bought a second printing of the book and still enjoy it. After 30 years of
Asatru the book has begun to even take on the smell of that original I once held in my hands.

I love the fact that I am a 3rd generation German-American. I now live in the southwest in a predominantly hispanic community and enjoy enchiladas y tamales as much as I do Sauerkraut mit Schinken und Apfeln, but I never mistake where I came from. I read a lot more now than I used to and move a little slower than when I was still chasing Laura (and I do mean chasing—she was fast). I have a family of my own and I am 30+ years and 2000 miles away from the place of my upbringing, but I feel more a German-American now than I did growing up. I wrote this book as an expression of thanks, I suppose.

This book came together over a period of 10 years. I started in 1990 (the year that our town's electricity went out on Superbowl Sunday), and I lost the first thirty or so pages to an old, borrowed Apple IIe. Fortunately, I still had the original handwritten copy. Since that time, I've gone through 3 computers, Windows3.1, Windows95, Windows98, and now Linux/ FreeBSD; countless rewrites, and have lost half my hair, grown long in the tooth, became a Grampa, and got remarried only to have two more sons (one of whom is “Jack” born 99 years and 9 days after his namesake and founder of the 'Linzie-religion'). A lot has happened in those 10 years.

The book actually started out as a 5-page essay but quickly took on a life of its own sprawling out well beyond a ream of paper. The topics wander mainly because I like it that way. It starts with the individual who slowly discovers his relationship to the world. It starts at the center of the universe, i.e. me–(yes, I'm slightly narcissistic), and then looks out, then up, then down, and then further out. It is not an instruction manual, but rather a record of learning. I've put in beaucoup quotes and named the Authors and their books as well. There are plenty of personal observations in here (actually, the bulk of what's here is personal observations–I just 'scotch-taped' the personal observations together with quotes).

I put this book out for free. I did that for a reason. If you find that some of my ideas are good, fine, they are there for the taking. Information is really no different from fiddle tunes in my mind. They are both there to be taken–enjoyed. I don't figure the book's a top-seller anyway, so I prefer to give it away. The way of life that the Asa-Faith offers is an enjoyable thing, and this is my way of giving-back. One other thing: I believe that the Asa-Faith should be free and personal. No one can tell another how to experience life, and certainly, no one should pay to learn about how to experience life. I am not against people coming together for Asa-Faith holidays, but I still don't like organized religion any more than Grampa Jack did. I wrote The Asatru Folk Manifesto 1 in honor of him. He was my greatest inspiration, was a family man, and farmer, an upstanding member of our little community, a regular at the Grange, and the best of Grampas.

Download Bil Linzie's eBook: Drinking At The Well Of Mimir An Asatru Man Meanderings

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Bil Linzie - Drinking At The Well Of Mimir An Asatru Man Meanderings

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Pagan And The Pentagon

The Pagan And The Pentagon Cover He comes home with briefcase in hand from a long day "in the trenches." His wife and boys greet him at he door. They sit and exchange the events of the day in their Coca-Cola decorated kitchen. But before he heads upstairs to change out of his "blues" he stops by the altar, lights a candle and thanks the gods for his beautiful family. He then releases the stresses of the day with a quick glance at a wooden pentacle.
Air Force Major Anthony Gatlin, chief of the Military Personnel Division for the Secretary of the Air Force at the Pentagon, is not only a proud member of the U.S. Air Force, but also a Practicing pagan.
The Dictionary defines pagan as a follower of a polytheistic religion, as in ancient Rome. Modern day pagans define paganism as an eclectic, nature-centered religious movement that encompasses polytheistic and magical religions. Many beliefs labeled paganism are characterized by the honoring of pre-Christian deities, lack of institutionalization, a quest to develop the self and acceptance and encouragement of diversity.
"Ive been pagan all my adult life, but didn't realize what exactly that was until about a year-and-a-half ago. It had truly been an awakening, a 'coming home,'" said Gatlin.
Gatlin and his wife of 15 years, Sheila, talked many times about their beliefs and tried several churches together but, "nothing felt right", he said.
"Over the years, our spiritual lives suffered because we found nothing to nurture them," he said.
Through much research, study and discussion the Galtlins discovered what they were searching for.
"The particular pagan path that we most identified with is of the Wiccan tradition, which is a revival of ancient Celtic tribal religions. Its an Earth-based religion that follows no set scripture, but attunes the mind, body and spirit with the forces of nature," said Gatlin.
Time passed and Gatlin became more and more comfortable with his new faith. He felt it was time to "come out of the broom closet" and not hide his religious beliefs, he said. He didnt know at the time that his next few actions would have an affect on the entire Pagan Community in the Air Force.
"I had reached a point in my life where I wanted to become public with my religion. I figured a good place to start would be changing my religious preference on my dog tags and my personnel file," said Gatlin.
At that time, the Air Force didnt list any earth-based religions as religious preferences. Pagans, of all paths, either chose "no religious preference" or "other."
"I first listed my religion as 'other' but, as the days went by I just felt like that was more and more offensive," he said.
Gatlin began to ask why his religion, and the religion of more than an estimated 15,000 people in the military, wasnt represented. He started doing research on how to add a religious preference to the list. He spoke with chaplains and worked with the Air Force Personnel Center to coordinate a staff summary sheet. In March 2001 the package circulated for signing. Gatlin could only hope and hold on to his faith that the change would be approved.
"No one ever said you can't do this. No one was ever verbally against it. It was more bureaucracy and red tape that held up the process," said Gatlin.
On March 15 the change was approved and Pagan, Shaman, Druid, Wicca, Seax Wicca, Gardnerian Wicca and Dianic Wicca were added to the list of religious preferences in the Air Force Personnel Data System.
"I was proud to be the first person to register my religion in the system," Gatlin said, "and I hope others will be too. I want the world to know Pagans are not just a bunch of fringe lunaticswe are military members, husbands, wives, parentsregular people with hopes and dreams who want the freedom and tolerance to practice our religion just like anyone else."
More than 50 service members registered as one of the newly listed earth-based religions in the first six weeks after the change. Gatlin hopes the numbers will climb as the word gets out of the latest options, and the new Air Force Personnel System, MilMod becomes fully functional.
Gatlin said he will continue to work towards mainstream acceptance and tolerance among all religious communities, but feels that all pagans must take part in this move.
"We need to do a better job with public relations. We are hampered by our own communal mistrust and fear of persecution. We need to get the collective chip off our shoulder and work together to further out position in the community," he said.
Recently Gatlin and fellow members of a Pagan study group were hiking in western Virginia. The group stopped along a rocky pinnacle that looked out over miles and miles of sky and earth.
"As I stood at the edge of this cliff looking hundreds of feet below, I was approached by a man who asked me about the shirt I wore, which proudly displayed our groups logo and name, the "Potomac Pagans," Gatlin said. "He clearly was taken aback merely by the word Pagan. He identified himself as Southern Baptist and asked how I could not believe in God."
"It was very surreal standing on the edge of a great precipice defending my religion, but I explained that I very much believe in the Devine Spirit and that his God may very well be my God; its just that I choose a different way of looking at it," Gatlin said.
The man then said to Gatlin, "Its like this mountain, its the same mountain, regardless of which path you take. It may look different from all angles, but that doesnt change the essence of the mountain."
"I knew then I had made my point," Gatlin said.
From the outside, the Gatlins, with their two-story house decorated in pop-culture knick-knacks and pet dog Ringo, look like the "typical" American family. But in a county, dubbed a melting pot, what is that exactly? Maybe its a family who lives true to their heart, believes in tolerance for other cultures and religions and realizes the true value of the freedoms we each are given.

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