A Problem with a Human-centric View of the Spirit Worlds – Reblogging

Putting my thoughts on this subject into words is very difficult; one of the reasons it took me so long to share this piece by Jo was that I was trying to get my thoughts in order. While yes, I do believe that human thoughts and feelings have an impact on the Universe, I find that we (as humans) are most able to affect the things most closely aligned with us. Our grief, sorrow, joy, ambition, and frustrations are not likely to, for instance, change the course of a stream in Alfheim or make a ripple in the deepest pools of Niflheim. A rockslide in Jotunheim is probably not directly related to the rise and fall of human achievements and connecting the two (without additional evidence) is probably giving us too much credit.

Bifrost is not ours. It is not ours to harm or even to heal. It is not the only path between the worlds (else why would Thor have His chariot?) and even if it were, would the echoes of collective human grief so much as reach its foundations? What makes our grief so potent that it has such an impact?

The story of the Rainbow Bridge came about, I believe, because we have no convenient way of talking about the grief we feel for losing the animals we love. English lacks even the vocabulary that might allow us to name what these relationships are. I always come up empty when I try to talk about what I feel for the animals in my life. I call them family, I call them friends, but these words are not ideal or even all that accurate. They are a borrowed vocabulary pressed into service because nothing else is available.

The Rainbow Bridge is a symbol that provides a context for grief and a ritual of comfort in a culture that lacks meaningful ways to express love and sorrow for our non-human animal kin. Bifrost is a part of universal architecture. One is a product of human imagination created to meet our distinctive need to mourn, remember, and feel comforted. The other belongs to a highly specific cosmology and is primarily relevant to the Powers most closely aligned with that cosmology. I love and respect the Norse Powers and yes, I care about the integrity and well-being of the Nine Worlds and all that’s in them. However, the Worlds do not resound to my frustrations, triumphs, or even griefs. If they did, why is the sacred firmaments not trembling from the endless emotional pain of animals being slaughtered? Why have the holy halls not shuddered from the 7 billion suffering humans? If the agony radiating from this single World has not managed to upset the fundamental function of the sacred universe, I cannot be concerned with the impact of a single modern story of comfort. If I was, my priorities would be misplaced.



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