Molded in magnificence Middle Earth:
Sun stared from the south on the stones of their hall,
From the ground there sprouted green leeks.
Song of the Sibyl
Seen from the moon, the astonishing thing about Earth is that it is so alive.* It floats free in space over the dry, powdered gray of the dead moonscape like a succulent fruit. In fact, it appears to be the only thing alive in this part of the cosmos--its sister planets mere skeletons in comparison.
At this harvesting time of year, look around your own environment and observe the plentiful abundance of ripening crops, berries on the vine, apples in the orchard and ask yourself, "Isn't this the 'right' place for the human race?" If so, then why do mainstream religions and many New Age teachings, all dealing with issues of the soul, continue to view Earth as a temporary abode, as a jumping off platform for physical and spiritual destinations yet to be determined? Are the answers really out there or are the secrets we need to discover for our soul growth buried like diamonds in our own back yard?
Runesters understand that in Northern cosmology, Earth was created as a Middle World, named Midgard, when fire and ice (primal positive and negative currents of energy) surged through Ginnungagap, the gap in the Great Void, to create the ordered manifest universe. Midgard is the central world in the Northern World Tree, Yggdrasil, with all other worlds or levels of consciousness revolving around Middle Earth. The human life wave is the conscious Life Form organic to and bonded with Earth, itself a Living Being.
If so, then where did we come upon the commonly held view that Earth is a footstool, foreign to humankind; that the Earthly plane of existence is unnatural and in the extreme, an "evil" abode? It bears further investigation.
A TWIST IN HISTORY--ST. AUGUSTINE
How mainstream religions arrived at this cultural trance is the result of intrigues, schemes, and purposeful distortions that have plagued us for two millennium.
The prime impetus for this cultural trance came from an extremely influential church leader in the early centuries of the current era, St. Augustine. Augustine was born a pagan in North Africa in 354 CE. He experienced a spontaneous conversion to Christianity in 386 (age 32) and died in the city of Hippo in North Africa in 430 (age 76) as its bishop. It was from his persistent advocacy of his narrow point of view that the church came to its doctrine of Christian asceticism, celibacy, the Fall of Man and rigid resistance to any expressions of sexuality.
Augustine was the originator of the orthodox doctrine of Original Sin--that all humans share in Adam's original error. He advocated that humanity is to be saved, not by merit in performing good acts, but only by the grace of God. His lopsided image of life eventually became the basis of belief for the entire Christian world. It almost didn't because of a little known monk from Northern lands.
THE PELAGIAN CONTROVERSY
In 400 CE, there came to Rome a monk from Britain or Ireland that held to most of Augustine's views except that he did not believe we inherited Adam's original sin. He did not believe that God would hold us guilty for what we have not done. He believed that God is good and as God's children we are inherently good.
The stage was set for a most crucial debate in the history of the early church. Had Pelagius' view prevailed, the widening gap between the more holistic pagan cosmology of human self-worth versus the restrictive orthodox doctrine of the church would have narrowed considerably.
Augustine wrote fifteen books to refute the views of Pelagius and eventually had him excommunicated and driven into exile. Pelagius found support from John, the Bishop of Jerusalem, who approved his teachings and declared them orthodox. Not to be outdone, Augustine appealed to Pope Innocent to support his condemnation. The Pope, who needed Augustine's political support, declared against Pelagius.
Then Innocent died and was succeeded by a new Pope, Zosimus, who reversed Innocent's decision and declared Pelagianism to be orthodox. Augustine, fanatical in his insistence on the preservation of his own viewpoint, went outside the church and appealed to the Roman Emperor Honorius. Honorius issued an edict declaring that Pelagianism was heresy and anyone who subscribed to it would be exiled from the Empire. Faced with these circumstances, Pope Zosimus officially decreed that the views of Augustine were the only true views in the Christian world.
CONSEQUENCES: In 418 CE, Christianity adopted its most severe and, to us, distorted piece of spiritual dogma (The Fall of Man at Eden) by the political decree of an Emperor who wanted unity in his Empire, and by a Pope who had reversed the decision of a former Pope and then was forced to reverse his own decision. It certainly was NOT a decree by Divine illumination!
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
I went into some historical detail in the way church orthodoxy arrived at its spiritual fundamentals from the early years of the church because to some degree or another we are all affected by it. Without realizing where the pull comes from, we all tend to hesitate when exploring doctrine that appears fundamentally different from the standard that shaped our religious view in our youth. But when you come to accurate knowledge about how that doctrine may have been shaped by the politics of man (not God), we are able to remove another obstacle to truth and become more receptive to the holdings of OTHER more ancient cosmologies such as our Northern Yggdrasil.
THE NORTHERN VIEW
Above all other things in the Northern Tradition is a profound reverence for the Earth, known to the ancients as Earth Mother, Goddess, Gaia, Frigga, Freyja, Cerridwen, The Lady, etc. This personification of Earth, seen as a sacred Being rather than an enormous lump of rock is a fundamental view within the Northern (and other pagan) tradition. This world picture is contrary to the materialistic view assumed in most modern schools.
The environmentalist movement in Western culture is capturing some of the spirit of reverence towards Earth that was known in ancient times. However, the movemen's tactic of extreme confrontation is centered on counterbalancing past extremes of material minds instead of addressing the larger issue of the spiritual bond between the living Earth and humankind. That is a critical mistake.
A COMMON DESTINY
When all the mythical images are cleared away from the pagan cosmologies, there is left one recurring common theme . . . the Earth and humankind have a common destiny, each cannot arrive at their ultimate destiny without the other.
Stop and think. Earth is a complete, self-sustaining life support system that has remarkable resiliency to the inadvertent mistakes of a growing human life wave, even its grossest ignorances. It is our very own space ship. Outside the Earth envelope, space is decidedly hostile to the basic physical constituency of the human being. Does this indicate any truth about the fundamentals of Life in the universe?
I do not advocate the elimination our exploration of space, for we are indeed curious creatures and seek to know what is "out there." But, we need to remember that there is still so much to explore on Earth.
We have no answers yet for ley-lines, geomancy, orgone energy, devas, earth lights, elementals, feng shui, Gaia phenomena, labyrinths, megaliths, morphogenesis, telluric forces, crop circles, plant consciousness, earth power points, to name but a few. After those, we can explore the animistic energies on earth known as land spirits, sea spirits, folk spirits; then build to explore the major archetypes of the pantheon and the nature of the Planetary Spirit itself.
A RECIPROCAL BENEFIT
Since Earth is a living entity bound with us in a joint evolution of consciousness, when we discover something of its nature we both gain an increment of conscious advancement towards our ultimate goal. We progress forward to the perfection as called for in the original master plan. This master plan is outlined in the various pagan cosmologies, and is specifically identified in the Northern tradition. In brief, we are to become Individualized Perfected Humanity living in the highest expression of consciousness on our home planet which provides the environment most conducive to achieving this state of Being. Thus, we become God-Human on Earth, the Adam of myth, the Mannaz Human of Northern lore.
Saviors and Avatars of all traditions have made similar prophecies. But revisionists' texts gloss over this claim, especially those anchored in Augustine philosophy.
Today, the Northern tradition is one of the few ancient teachings left in its near-original state, abeit fragmented but still free of deceptive revisions and unnecessary dogma. Its cosmology was written down from the oral tradition in far-off Iceland and in the 12th Century, well after the church's main cycle of suppression on the European continent and just prior to the Reformation. Its mythical symbolism confounded the clerics and its runic symbols could not easily be changed, so the essential substance of original cosmology is still within its imagery.
A study of the Northern cosmology will reveal that:
• your true destiny is linked with our life experiences on Earth,
• advancement of consciousness is to take place within the auric envelope of Earth (including its surrounding transpersonal energy fields such as the astral zone),
• the human life wave is the proper resident of Earth to be left free from any imposing alien presences,
• Earth reciprocates a fulfillment of destiny to the human life wave that can come from no other stellar body,
• Middle Earth, our Midgard, is the primary plane in which consciousness of the "World Soul" evolves to its highest expression (in this Cosmic Day) through individualized human experience in co-evolution with Earth.
After we gain the consciousness of Perfected Human, we may very well shift to some other dimension in Cosmic Life. But not until then, some eons hence. So, runesters, enjoy your "Heaven on Earth" for many millennium to come.
*Earth photo courtesy NASA