Currently, I am working on two writing projects. The longer one is a crime novel that I hope one day will get published and help me make a living as an author. It’s not something I’m writing purely for money. If I wanted to get rich, I’d chosen a different path. But it is a book written to be sold.
My other project, closer to my heart, is much shorter. A novella rather than a novel. And it will always be free. The reason being that it is a story trying to convey in a short and concise manner the perennial wisdom of the world’s great mystics. Drawing inspiration from such sources as the poetry of Rumi, the philosophy of Plotinus and the wisdom of the Upanishads, this book is my attempt at sharing the deeper truth that finally helped me find meaning and purpose in life. Since it’s aim is primarily spiritual, I will not take any money for it (except perhaps printing cost, if I decide to publish it in a physical book). After growing up in a cult (Jehovah’s Witnesses) that was essentially a money-making scheme for its leaders, I have seen first hand what evils can be born out of mixing religion and financial interests.
The novella, with the working title ‘Last Words of the Sage’, is about 3/4 of the way done. I don’t expect it to need more than two or three additional chapters.
Since I’ve been stuck at home this entire work week, I’ve had more time to work on my two writing projects and I’ve now come to a point in the novella’s plot that I’ve been looking forward to writing. An ascetic, offended by a sage’s enjoyment of worldly things, will question his commitment to the Goddess and a thought provoking dialogue will follow.
Here is one little excerpt of the story leading up to the two men’s discussion:
If you want to know what conclusion they reach, you’ll have to wait until the story comes out. But if you want a hint, I can say that the sage’s view mirrors that of the 15th century Indian poet Kabir.
It’s Wednesday and I’ve yet to work any hours this week. Lack of materials at the factory. Again. So, I’m stuck at home, trying my best to pass the days by writing, reading, playing video games (stuck on the 4th level of Splatterhouse 3 at the moment) and occasionally cooking.
On today’s menu: cream and berries pie:
The recipe is a very easy one: melt 125 g butter or margarine. Then add 2 dl flour, 2 dl rolled oats and 0.5 dl powdered sugar. Mix well and spread into a pie pan. Cook in the oven at 200 degrees Celsius for 14 min. When you take it out of the oven it should like something like this:
Add whipped cream and berries on top, as much as you like. Done!
I used plant-based cream and margarine to make it more eco-friendly and it worked just as well. In fact, I tend to find vegan cream to be less heavy and doesn’t make you feel full as fast.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock you probably have heard about what happened in Washington D.C on the 6th of January: Trump supporters stormed the Congress and tried to stop the democratic process. Many shocking scenes and images from this shameful event have been spreading in the news and social media. But one particular idiot sticks out among the mob of anti-democracy terrorists:
If you look at his torso, you can see three tattoos. These are symbols used in Heathenry, also called Asatru or Norse Paganism. Since I call myself ”son of Freya” you might assume I’m a Heathen myself. I don’t want to label myself with any particular religion because I aim first of all to belong to the Goddess and not any human grouping. But I do share many beliefs with Heathens and I of course venerate Freya and Frigg and all the other Norse Goddesses. So, I feel a need to clarify and discuss some things after what happened.
First of all: Heathenry is not inherently fascist. I would even argue that its spirit is antifascist and anti-oppression. Most Heathens I know are incredibly tolerant and open-minded people and have nothing to do with the immature and violent minded little children who tried to destroy US democracy yesterday.
But the issue remains that some fascists use Norse symbols and call themselves Heathens. Many use Christian symbolism and call themselves Christians (like the Ku Klux Klan) but Heathenry is a minority religion and therefore more prone to being misunderstood and misrepresented.
So, I would like to write a bit about the Norse symbols tattooed on Buffalo Nazi and what they actually stand for.
The exact meaning of this symbol in its historical context is unknown. It seems to have been associated with Odin and it is theorized that the knut (knot) represents Odin’s power to bind and unbind, to make men helpless in battle or to loosen their fear. In modern Heathenry, the symbol is often used to represent special dedication to the All-Father Odin. Many Heathens have the symbols tattooed on their bodies as a reminder of their oaths to Odin to serve him, which often entails serving mankind.
This symbol, also known as Mjölnir, was of great significance to the Norse. It was often used to bless during births, marriages and funerals. It represents luck, protection, prosperity and courage. Many Heathens wear a Mjölnir pendant as a sign of faith and as a reminder to be brave and to protect the weak. The exact opposite of fascism, which hates the oppressed and seek to keep them down by any means possible.
The world tree Yggdrasil
Seeing this symbol on a fascist’s body particularly pissed me off. Yggdrasil represents the connection between everything: mankind and Divinity, life and death, above and below. It represents the harmony and interconnectedness of existence and is a reminder that we are a part of everything and connected to everyone. Very, very far from the divisive ideals of fascism.
Lastly, I would like to share this beautiful song about the glorious world tree. I wish you all a blessed Freya’s Day /Friday.
One of the most popular threats consumed in Northern Europe during the winter months, and especially around Christmas, is ice chocolate. It’s also one of the first recipes many children learn due to how simple it is: just melt together the same amount (in grams) of dark chocolate and coconut oil, pour into little moulds and let set in the fridge for an hour or so. What results is a chocolate that is refreshingly cold but melts in your mouth at the same time.
Since this year has brought a lot of forced isolation and staying at home, we are quite a few who have passed the time with cooking and experimenting in the kitchen. I’ve made ice chocolates a few times and even discovered exciting variations on the classic recipe. I’m sharing them now in case you want to try them out, perhaps to pass the time while we wait to get that vaccine and get back to our normal lives.
The first alternative ice chocolate I’d like to share is one I experimented by myself. Ruby chocolate is a dark pinkish chocolate known for its fruity and slightly acidic flavor. I was curious as to what it would taste like in ice chocolate form, so I decided to find out. From experience, I knew that if you are making ice chocolate with any other type than dark chocolate then you need to change the ratio: twice as much chocolate as coconut oil. Otherwise the coconut overpowers the chocolate and you end up with something that tastes like chocolate flavored coconut oil. So I melted about 100 g of ruby chocolate with 50 g of coconut oil.
The result was exactly like I’d expected: a chocolate that has the lovely fruity taste of ruby chocolate but that also melts so quickly and refreshingly in your mouth.
With the colour, I think these would be great as Valentine’s Day chocolates. Especially if you’d put them in heart-shaped moulds.
The second variation is a recipe I found online and I have to say this is the most delicious ice chocolate I’ve ever had: saffron and ginger flavoured white ice chocolate.
Recipe: Melt 200 g of white chocolate with 100 g of coconut oil, add 0.5 g of saffron and 2 teaspoons of grated fresh ginger. Mix well, put in moulds and let set in the fridge for an hour.
It’s strange how the mind so rarely can find satisfaction. Today I was so frustrated because it was cold outside and I was freezing. I felt nostalgic for the past summer and I wished it could be summer and sunshine soon again. Then, I smiled when I remembered how I this summer hated the heat and wished for autumn to come quick. Winter or summer, heat or cold, I always find a way to be disappointed instead of appreciating the positives of my situation. So, I wrote down five things I felt thankful for amidst the cold: my boots that are so warm, banana and peanut butter pudding, hot soup, the heat on the commute bus and my comfy bed waiting for me at home.
A simple shift in perspective and I immediately felt better.
Anyway, here are a few pictures I took this summer of some of the residents of the local public park.
Another year is over and I find myself thinking back on it, as well as looking to this new one and the ones that will come after that. I turned 30 in 2020 and I’ve yet to reach the big goals I have for my life. I don’t have a partner, kids, a good-paying job or a house and I’ve yet to be published as a writer (other than through self-publishing. I will share some of my work in a future post).
Granted, I wasn’t exactly off to a great start in life (might write about that in future posts) and I was like many people of my generations held back by a materialistic and nihilistic worldview for many years. Wanting to start a family and aiming to be a good provider was quite a recent thing for me, so I’m not terribly angry at myself for not reaching that goal.
I also have good hopes that I will eventually find someone and have a family. My career is looking like it will be moving upwards and if it doesn’t, I have plans to go back to university and get a better degree.
As for my writing, my purpose in this life, I will continue it regardless of what happens. I’m working on a crime novel series that I think could get published but even if I have to stick with self-publishing for the rest of my life, I will keep writing.
Before every new year, I buy a new personal planner. In 2020, I found a 5 years one in a bookstore and I thought it would be interesting to document working towards my goals in the coming half-a-decade.
Major things on my 5 years to-do-list include (in no particular order):
* Making a pilgrimage to India. The first stop would be Kolkata and the Dakshineswar Kali Temple. I’m also thinking about visiting Vrindavan and Varanasi.
* Get married.
* Have kids.
* Get published. And hopefully make a living as a writer.
* Visit at least 3 countries I haven’t been to before.
* Buy a house.
* Finish the short book on spirituality I’m working on. This one will be finished within probably a couple months and will always be free.
* Visit Prague. Will be doing that this coming August, if the pandemic is over by then.
* Visit Paris again. The most beautiful city I’ve been to yet.
* Grow a full beard.
* Adopt a dog from a shelter.
I have a good feeling about this and I’m looking forward to the future.
I’ve had an unusual amount of free time lately. Normally I work in a warehouse, packaging COVID-19 tests kits. But the demand is so high, we keep running out of materials. Over the last two months I’ve had a whole month off from work and in other circumstances, that would have felt nice. But with the pandemic going on, it would be irresponsible for me to leave my apartment for any other reason than to get supplies and so I’ve been at home alone a lot. One positive thing is that it has given me a lot of time to read, something I rarely have the time and energy to do otherwise.
The latest novel I’ve read was ‘The Outsider’ by Stephen King.
Can a person be at two places at the same time? That is the question detective Ralph Anderson must ask himself after forensic evidence places a suspect both at the site of a brutal murder and at a writer’s conference in an another town. And when all plausible explanations fall short, he must consider the impossible. A brilliant and eccentric private investigator with help him do just that.
This is yet another exciting work by the master of suspense, Stephen King. Not his scariest but still a thrilling read. And the character of Holly Gibney has to be one of the most unique and interesting I’ve come across.
I would give this book a 4/5 rating. Can highly recommend.
Another book I was reading was ‘The Way to the Labyrinth’, the autobiography of historian and theologian Alain Daniélou. I’d long been intrigue by him and wanted to learn more about his conversion to Kashmir Shaivism, a branch of Hinduism. But I was deeply disappointed when I realised he was one of those self-serving people who think just because Hinduism is not based on a long list of do’s and don’ts (such as the harsh Mosaic Law) that it gives them permission to act however they want without considerations for others’ wellbeing. The man had a massive ego and tooted his own horn every chance he got, but that was actually one of his lesser sins. The gravest being his sexual abuse of boys in child brothels, which he writes about without the slightest trace of shame. Such behaviour is not only profoundly evil, but also so far from the compassionate spirit of Hinduism as one can get. If you want to learn about the true nature of this religion, Daniélou’s writings is not where you should go.
Speaking of Hinduism, I recently ordered a copy of the Bhagavad-Gita.
I’ve previously mostly listened to it on audiobook because I rarely have the time to read anyway. But I’ve wanted to own a physical book of the Gita for a while, as it is my go-to spiritual scripture.
This might seem strange as I am a Goddess devotee, sworn to the Mother Goddess. But a central tenet of Hinduism is that all Deities are but different forms of the same Supreme Reality. You might call Them Krishna, God, Kali, Odin or even Krishna-Kali. In the end, They are all the same. I worship the Absolute in the form of the Goddess but that’s because it’s the path I feel called to. When I read the Gita, it is Krishna’s voice I hear but also that of my Mother and I know the two are One.
“Through selfless service, you will always be fruitful and find the fulfillment of your desires” – Bhagavad Gita
I find it fitting to start off this blog on this day of Gita Jayanti, otherwise known as the birthday of the Bhagavad-Gita. About two years ago I stumbled upon an English audiobook translation of this sacred text on YouTube and nothing has been the same since I listened to it. Prior to that I had been someone who had no purpose in life and didn’t believe in anything. My only convictions was that life and the universe had no meaning and that since there was no Higher Power there was not even any objective morality, no right or wrong way to act.
My actions often mirrored those beliefs. I didn’t behave like a complete sociopath, as even a materialistic atheist can still feel compassion and care for others. But I was selective about when I chose to listen to those feelings and I didn’t see anything wrong with that. Feelings were just electrical impulses in the brain, after all. A biological function like the hair growing on your head or the movements of your digestive tracts. Utterly meaningless, just like my life and that of everyone else.
By the time the Bhagavad-Gita came into my life, I was running with a gang of violent anarchists and getting into all sorts of trouble. I had a sense that I was doing something wrong but I didn’t see why I should pay any mind to those base biological impulses telling me my actions were immoral. My view of the world was dark and nihilistic and I figured the best way to live was to distract yourself with a stream of sense gratification until you finally got to the end of this pointless existence.
Discovering Hinduism, and later pagan Neoplatonism, at last gave my life meaning, guidance and purpose. I know now what I’m supposed to do with my life and what principles should guide it. This blog will be about my personal journey working towards fulfilling my dharma, my duty and purpose, which in my case I believe is tied to writing and literature.
I will also post about a variety of topics like spirituality, politics and art. Whatever might feel relevant to my journey at the time.