Troy Wisehart, Ethereal Darkness
Troy Wisehart, a.k.a. Wodhanazson, has a slim volume of poems out entitled, "Ethereal Darkness." Troy is not only a Folkish Germanic Heathen but an expert in the Norse Religion, a Gothi. He is a member of the "Wolves of Vinland", an Odhinic Wolf Cult. I interviewed Troy back in 2010, following the publication of "Journal of Contemporary Heathen Thought, Volume One" 2010 in which his "Baldr's Temple" a poem which is included in "Ethereal Darkness" was first published. I was in there with my "Plants Used Symbolically in Germanic Heathen Hexology" That interview later appeared in my book "Heiden Hexology, Essays and Interviews" 2012.
His new Book of mostly poems and some short prose, was probably written over a period of years and is wonderfully varied in content. The Norse religion is a very dark religion, death, chaos, and the end of times, Ragnarok is always near, hence the title "Ethereal Darkness" The darkness is not to be feared but to be loved, some people prefer the light, others the darkness. Some prefer to be fully visible, others, invisible, and so it goes.
Outside of the strictly Norse perspective there is a lovely tribute to Edgar Allan Poe in Troy's "City Under the Sea" and "The Tasks of Ages." Death and eternal love, how poignantly tragic! Poe's work fits in perfectly with the theme of "Ethereal Darkness." I can't help but enjoy the feeling of this book of poems, its intimacy and blackness reminiscent of Jim Morrison's "The Lords and the New Creatures," 1969, especially the last poem in the volume, "Hail Ethereal Darkness." Of course that might be saying more about me than Troy's intent here.
"Blackest of Hearts," the first poem in the book really has it all, cold winds, driving rain, icy waters, pain, solitude and of course death. You can't get darker than that! Reminds me for some reason of Yngonna Desmond’s (Valarie Wright), "Voluspa: Seidhr as Wyrd Consciousness." But the reality of Olympia in Washington State where Troy now lives may actually be the source of this unending rain.
But all is not quite darkness, death and eternal ice and rain, Troy's special relationship with Freyja the Vanic goddess of love and Seidr magic, paramour of the mighty king of the Aesir, Odhinn probably accounts for his skills and inspiration as a Skald.
So welcome back Troy!
Troy, you've been a wanderer for years living a nomadic existence, working throughout the country, transporting horses, I believe and then later, clearing power lines, a hard life from what I can remember from your accounts on FB. What thoughts do you have on that life?
Life on the road is an adventure. I've always loved seeing places I've never been before and meeting new people. I carry these places and people in my heart now forever wherever I go. I think it is a good thing to do some traveling, it gives you an idea of what's out there in the world and it enables you to learn things that can be learned in no other way. It is Odinic to travel. Odin is known as The Wanderer, the Havamal encourages travel, but Vegtam always returns to his home and family better and wiser from his travels.
Now you are seemingly home, back again in the Washington State. How does that feel and what is it about the Pacific Northwest that holds you?
I've lived in a lot of places, each has its own type of beauty, but none are quite as beautiful as Western Washington State. The forest here is green all year around. I never cease to be amazed at how incredibly beautiful it is. It rains a lot here but I don't mind, in fact I prefer grey skies most of the time. The years I spent traveling were good years, and I’ve done plenty of traveling ever since leaving home at age fifteen. This last time out lasted almost four years. I saw a lot of country and met a lot of people. I also spent a lot of time alone which allowed me to sort out a lot of things in my heart and in my mind. I feel like I matured in many ways over the past few years as a result of the choices I made and the experiences I had. I found myself yearning to be like the people in the houses I'd pass by on the way to the next place. Those people were in their homes with the people they loved and I missed that more and more as time passed. Now I'm home with my own loved ones. My time on the road has enhanced my ability to appreciate that. I remember once a long time ago an old lady told me I needed to lose everything to find out what was important in life. I never lost everything but working my way back home sure seemed a lot harder this time. Maybe because I’m a bit older than I once was.
During your not so distant Nomadic period you joined up with The Wolves of Vinland in Virginia, and after being a "prospect" became a full member. I know them, they are friends, and it's a great organization, I've interviewed them. You are way overqualified, what was your intent joining them?
My primary motivation for being involved in any religious organization is for its esoteric and spiritual aspects. I had been in contact with Galdr and Grimnr sporadically since the days of Myspace so when I got out to the East Coast I made a point of meeting them and the rest of the Wolves face to face at Ulfheim and we clicked. Several of the Wolves had been involved in The Wolf Bund, and then later, The Galdragildi, both black rune schools, and we shared that in common so we were already pretty much on the same page ritually and philosophically. The rituals of the Wolves of Vinland are very primal and real. Most often there is a live blot, which I feel is a necessary element in our religious experience. In addition, I share the ideal of physical fitness as an integral aspect of the mind/body/soul complex with the men and women of the Wolves. That aspect is very important to me. While the context for the philosophy of The Wolves of Vinland is based on Norse myth and legend, the organization has established its own mythical identity here in our time. The Wolves are actively creating their own religion rooted in ancient Norse lore, but unique and exclusive to the Wolves. It isn’t a reconstructionist religion to us; it is a vital and living religion that is relevant to the time we live in. The myths and sagas of our ancestral past are awesome but it is our turn to write our own myths and sagas here in our day and age.
Oath at the Horg at Ulfheim. Photo, Peter Beste
The oath is one of the most sacred and important rites of the Old Norse Religion. Its words are deposited directly into the Well of Urd, (that which is) and become part of the very fabric of the tapestry of the lives of all who are involved. The oath binds the one swearing it, those being sworn to, and those witnessing the oath. The Hamingja and Orlog of all involved are affected by the keeping or breaking of the oath. It is to be regarded with the utmost seriousness. The words of the oath must be chosen with exact precision to accurately express the intent because they are eternally binding. The gods and wights (spirits) never forget and consider the deed done once the promise is made and the Norns weave accordingly. To fail in an oath has an extremely detrimental effect on all involved, especially the one breaking the oath. Never swear or accept an oath impromptu, it must be well thought out and carefully worded and can not conflict with any previous oaths. Everyone involved in any way should be made aware of the intention to swear an oath because all who are bound are obligated to insure that the oath is kept by any means necessary. There is no release from an oath, only the keeping or breaking of it.
Not to be a shit stirrer but, I saw you as the future in the Pacific Northwest for the Wolves, it didn't quite work out that way with the advent of Jack Donovan, also a mutual friend. What happened?
Jack is the right man for the job here in the Pacific Northwest. He is extremely motivated and has the time and resources to pursue our chapter’s objectives. He is really accomplishing amazing things for the Wolves of Vinland. Ofnr is a great leader.
NY Magazine has just come out with, "The Philosophical Fascists of the Gay Alt-Right" by Maureen O'Connor http://nymag.com/…/jack-donovan-philosophical-fascists-of-t…, maybe you saw it, kind of a slick hit piece on Jack Donovan and the Wolves, however it is complete with Peter Beste photos and obviously some cooperation from Donovan. Its big time now for the Wolves, what's your take on it?
I saw the article when it first came out and people were discussing it and sharing it on social media. I skimmed over it briefly because it is about Jack and mentions the Wolves of Vinland but I quickly lost interest when I saw what kind of article it was. I really despise this type of thing. Then I actually took the time to read it since you asked about it here. I prefer to focus on the tribal, magical and esoteric aspects of my people rather than the narrative that the media is so obsessed with. Whether it's an obscure blog or some magazine article, they all have a standard set of talking points and terms they are given to label people with to fit their narrative and establish a false premise to further their agenda. They act as if they are qualified to analyze and discuss people and organizations from a position of expertise when in actuality they have no real experience or interest apart from getting paid. They call people names like Nazi, Racist, Alt Right, Fascist, Skinhead or whatever, and then write a bunch of blither trying to sound intelligent. As long as it furthers the agenda they get a pat on the head from the powers that be by getting published. Meanwhile, the readers get an image that is pure fiction. It doesn't qualify as journalism; it's just propaganda designed to mislead, divide and brainwash people.
I know you keep in excellent physical condition, what is your take on all the bodybuilding and weightlifting that seems to be in vogue now with many heathens?
Physical fitness is absolutely necessary if we are to work towards our highest potential as human beings. As the vessel through which the spirit manifests in the world of matter, the physical body is considered to be one of the aspects of the human soul. By shaping the body with exercise and nutrition we provide our spirit with the best possible vehicle with which to navigate in this realm. Life is about the evolution of the self. The discipline required and developed through physical fitness training affects every aspect of our being. It is a reflection of who we are as a person not only physically, but mentally and spiritually as well. For the one who wants to reach higher levels of consciousness towards ascension and even immortality, the sacrifice required to be fit is a necessary element of their spirituality. As Odin says in the Havamal, “a sacrifice of self unto myself.”
I think we both have agreed that the obsession with taking selfies by heathen men is in epidemic proportions, any thoughts?
An occasional selfie is alright, I've posted more than a few myself, but at a point I think the amount of time a person dedicates to social media is directly proportional to the degree of emptiness in their life. There are all kinds of justifications, but in the end social media is an addiction just like any other addiction. The thought processes that draw the mind back to see who might have made a comment and what they said or if there is some new and interesting post or picture, again and again, are identical to the mental processes of narcotic, alcohol and food addiction. The only satisfaction is in the “doing” of the drug, you are never actually “done.”
My response to the supposed dwindling of the number of European Americans in this country has been to have six children. I know you are also a father, what can we do to get these heathen men out of the gym and into the bedroom with these beautiful European American women? What’s the problem?
I don't doubt that there is plenty of bedroom action taking place out there between our beautiful people, but having children doesn't seem to be a priority with a great many couples. There are the exceptions though and I commend and admire those who do choose to have children greatly for their hard work as parents. It is not an easy thing to raise children. I'm of the opinion that by having children of our own we’ve done all that we’re obliged to do. Although I believe it is an obligation to have children it seems that the social engineering of the powers that be designed to eliminate the instinct and desire to have children has been very successful.
The book cover art for RISE is by David Schooner
Besides the new book, you have your Wodhanazson audio project and I love your visual art as well, what accounts for your creative output?
I get my creativity in several different ways. With my visual art it is usually in response to something I want to accomplish. There has to be an emotional investment in order for that to work and I draw from what I know of Nordic magical symbolism to make that happen. There is always desire and intent that provides the impetus for me to draw or paint. I regard the act of drawing as a type of communication with, and an emulation of, the divine. The canvas is symbolic of the universe and the act of drawing is a metaphorical weaving of the tapestry of what I want to see happen. It is a visual expression of my will. The art is merely a focal point for the mind. A line with a circle at the end of it can mean whatever I say it means. It is symbolic of what my thought-tide is doing to the fabric of the universe. There are symbols made up of various features like lines, circles, lines that intersect other lines at specific zones within the symbol, curves and wavy lines that have come down to us through history that have a specific agreed upon meaning. For example, The Galdrabok is a collection of symbols that are defined and whose purpose is explained by the original artist or sorcerer. The symbol means what everyone agrees that it means because everyone has accepted that that's what it means. Original art or magical symbols mean what their creators decide that they mean. But the art itself is only part of what makes the magic work. The art is very important but what activates the spell is the will of the sorcerer as verbally expressed through galdr, runes and other incantation.
When it comes to writing I'll often simply ask what I refer to as the “Ethereal Darkness” for inspiration on whatever topic I am writing about. I regard this as an entity which for me is the Supreme Being of Grand Architect of the Universe of which I, and all that is, am. When I think, it knows what I’m thinking because I am a part of it. When I speak, it hears me, for how could it not? Because I am a part of it my thought-tide travels within the great “All” in search of the information and inspiration that I am looking for, brings it back to me, and I write about it. If I am writing about a rune I speak to the rune as a sentient being and request that it reveal itself to me. Occasionally it seems that I actually do establish communication with these beings and that is when I do my best work. I am currently working on several new book projects right now that I hope to have completed within a year or so. One is a book of original rune poems of the Elder Futhark with commentary on each rune. The other book is entitled “RISE, Runes and Ritual” which is exactly what the title implies. I have another poetry book in the works as well. It is a slow process as my writing is done after meditation and requests to the abyss for inspiration and all that requires opportunity and takes time. Below are links to my poetry book entitled “Ethereal Darkness” in both Kindle and paperback format.
My focus of my audio stuff is inspired from the Poetic Edda and from the Norse Sagas. Those poems and stories captured my imagination the moment I first discovered them many years ago. The myths have layer upon layer of meaning hidden within them which is an unending source of fascination for me. The Norse myths were preserved through oral tradition for thousands of years before they were written down. Obviously, they were intended to be spoken or chanted out loud and not merely read silently. There is a presence that manifests when these ancient stories are told, the presence of gods, wights and ancestors. There may be much lost in translation and some meanings we simply are unable to comprehend because of the passage of time but there is great power in these words. I view the Poetic Edda as a textbook for the Nordic curriculum for enlightenment and ascension. The ancient mysteries are encoded through metaphor, allegory and symbolism. The literal interpretation of what is being communicated through these works is only the very first layer of meaning. The hair on my neck still stands up when I recite certain passages from the Poetic Edda.
We both love the Runes, without them I wouldn't have been able to sustain the focus to create visual work with intent. As time goes by they seem to provide even more insight into the 'multiverse' any thoughts.
I have long regarded the runes as anthropopsychic beings. I believe we see remnants of evidence of this in the runes Tiwaz and Ingwaz and their respective associations with Tyr and Freyr. Each rune represents and is a god. At one time this was probably common knowledge among those who were involved in such things. Over time the information has been lost to us except for the stave shape and name of the rune along with a few poems. Although it isn't much to go on it is still possible to approach the runes as sentient beings and seek inspiration as to their nature from them. Certainly, there must be many gods in Asgard and Vanaheim of which we know nothing. After all, these are entire worlds, surely they are populated by millions of gods just as Midgard has millions of humans. Snorri does mention that there are multitudes of AEsir. I never cease to be amazed at the brilliance of the runes. I have never seen an instance in which the runes conflict with common sense and logic. Their chronological sequence within the Futhark as well as their resulting counts and tallies when in combination always make perfect sense. The intellect behind the runes is incredibly vast.
Photo by Peter Beste
Again we both love the Black Sun, it seems to be shining even stronger these days. Stephen McNallen has even recently hung it on the flagpole outside his home and says,
"I have wanted a flagpole since before this house was built. Finally, I have it! I have many flags to fly from it...but today, it just seemed right to fly the Black Sun! A horn of mead, and appropriate words, made it official.
Some say the Black Sun refers to the eclipse - which is an auspicious sign, for from the point of utmost darkness, there can only be movement toward the light...From down-going to rebirth, and the return of light."
You basically had the same interpretation in our previous interview:
"But what I mostly feel is that the Black Sun is Mani. It is somehow associated with lunar eclipses as Sunna herself would appear to be black during this event. I like to imagine that in the proper state of mind witnessing an eclipse would be like looking into the eye of Odin. Eclipses have traditionally been powerful times of ritual and so if indeed the Black Sun has something to do with Mani blocking out Sunna it would validate my theory. Perhaps the alignment of Sunna and Mani create some type of gate way. It even seems procreational in some way."
I find it to be technically a marriage of opposites, the straight right angles in contrast to the perfect curve, the circle, and have made it into a Pa Dutch barnstar, which has sold quite well here amongst them as well it should since the Deitsch of the Southern Rhine Valley are the descendants of the Alemanni, from whence the Schwartz Sonne originates. And so it is my origin.
Any updated thoughts?
“It was their first act to build the temple that their thrones stand in,
twelve in addition to the throne that belongs to All-father.”
Gylfaginning, Prose Edda
A symbol can have multiple meanings and applications. I believe the symbol of our beloved Black Sun has many deep and profound practical and metaphorical purposes. The Black Sun is the event horizon of becoming. It is literally the point of unfoldment from which all things enter our universe from beyond the realms of the abyss. Its mysteries are the keys to enlightenment and ultimately ascension and immortality, although few will succeed in this. As such it is the holiest and most powerful of our sacred symbols.
“The Black Sun is the soul of all witches, warlocks and workers of seidr. As with all things regarding myth and magic the meaning of the Black Sun is multilayered and serves to represent many things simultaneously. It is a Hex sign consisting of twelve Sowilo runes emanating from a central hub like the spokes of a wheel. The center of the Black Sun represents Odin, the indwelling spirit of life. He is within all men, residing in their blood, and thus all men have the potential to emulate him according to the gifts they are given and the strength of their will. The center of the Black Sun also represents the pineal gland, or “Third Eye” in the human brain. The twelve Sowilo runes represent the emanation of Odin’s power and will being delegated through the twelve gods on their twelve thrones, each according to their nature. These twelve Sowilo runes also represent the twelve centers in the human brain that surround the central Third Eye. The myth of Odin sacrificing an eye for a drink from Mimir’s Well of Wisdom, making Odin the one-eyed god, is a metaphor for the awakening of the pineal gland. The Black Sun is also the portal through which Odin and the other gods emerge from the abyss. This concept of the Black Sun as a portal mirrors the function of the pineal gland in the human brain as the physical center through which the soul enters the body to manifest in the world of matter. The temple mentioned in the Gylfaginning is a metaphor for the body, whereas Odin himself represents the pineal gland itself and the other gods the twelve centers.”
Rise, Runes and Ritual, Troy Wisehart. A book in the process of being written.
Your inspiration is not solely of the Aesir, you have elements of the Vanir as well which is a bit more balanced than the typical testosterone fueled Folkish Heathen male perspective. I know that Freyja is your cult goddess. Where has your love for her taken you?
Freya first made herself known to me in the form of a black tom kitten that showed up on my doorstep one day in late October of 1999. Our household held a ritual and feast in her honor that Halloween which was the first of many offerings to her. I did my first live blot to Freya when I sacrificed a 220 lb. sow to her in a solitary rite. I had promised her this blot in exchange for something I asked her to do for me. If you want something Freya will surely provide it if you offer to her. She has demonstrated this to me numerous times. She is truly an amazing goddess. There is no question when her hand is involved. There is real power there. A gift always looks for gain though, it is wise never to forget that.
Over the years she has ebbed and flowed in my life, sometimes very prominent, other times remaining in the background. It seems to me that Freya is exceedingly wise and has been surprisingly patient in bringing me along in the things she has taught me so far. She accepts nothing but strength and honesty from humans even though she knows our limits. She always waits until the effort is everything you have and absolutely genuine before she accepts it. I am very grateful to her for the hard lessons she has given me.
Freya has shown herself to me and taught me through many wicked women. I've loved them all and learned valuable things through everyone of them. I have always admired and been enamoured of the strength and beauty of the powerful feminine from a masculine perspective. I have great appreciation for the beauty of our females. Freya has molded my heart and mind through pleasure and pain into what it is today in the way that only the goddess can do. I feel that she has imparted wisdom to me over the years with her teachings. Although I am aware that there is much more for me to learn, today I am the best man I have ever been. I feel very blessed and more in love now than ever before in my life.
Finally, I personally have followed the path of my ancestors and from a sense of generally being 'folkish' have become specifically Pennsilfaanisch Deitsch, where has this path led you?
If I could go back to when I first became Heathen I would have been much more low key about it all. My family was confused by it and now I see that was completely unnecessary. I have always thought that the most powerful witch is the one no one knows is a witch. The Havamal advises secrecy several times.
There was a time when my ritual fire was pretty open. Today my circle is limited to family and tribe. It is a privilege to be invited to worship. I don't owe outsiders a thing. That right is earned and seldom given. The sacrality of blood can not be overstated.
Thank you Troy Wisehart!