The price for this knowledge, wisdom, and love has been steep, however, and the scars are cut deep into my mind, my emotions, and my soul. The pain, which has subsided a little as of late, once was almost too much to bear. They say that you can't receive a gift without there being a cost, and my life has been a testament to how high that price can be. The last time I remember being truly happy was back in 1980 when I was in college. I had quite a few friends then, some who were very close, a girlfriend, who I later married, and life in general was fun and carefree. Then the Gods began to come slowly into my life and everything changed. My wife left me, and my friends began to question why I was reading Pagan books and wearing strange symbols. I tried to explain that being a Pagan, ( I had not yet heard the word Asatru ), didn't make me a monster, or even a bad person, it just gave me a different perspective on life, and the afterlife. Slowly one by one my friends drifted away. Now matter how hard I tried to convince them that the old religion was not a terrible thing, they still imagined me dancing around a pentagram half naked lopping off the heads of chickens, or something similar in context.
The pain and loneliness was intense, and only seemed to increase every time I had to explain myself, and my religion to others. And it was not just friends who avoided me, family members did as well. I don't think my mother ever knew. She was too busy fighting the disease M. S. to notice the few new symbols that I wore. My father would just shake his head in disgust every time he heard me mention anything about the old religion. My brother, who I was never very close with, drifted even further away, and my father's brother, my uncle, used to call me a cuckoo. A few friends remained loyal but most abandoned me like they were jumping off the Titanic, which intensified the pain and loneliness.
You kids today have it somewhat easier than I had it back in the 1980's. There was no internet, no Facebook, no websites, and almost no way to meet people who were struggling to find themselves in a strange religion that they did not fully understand back then. I found a few books on the old religion, and wrote as many letters as I could to the few organizations that I could find, but I never received any response to my inquiries. There was no support for a lone practitioner back then, and I felt like I was drowning in a sea of darkness, and uncertainty, with a whirlpool of pain pulling me ever further downward. I struggled to keep my head held high, and pushed on, but felt as though I was stuck in this whirlpool of agony with little chance of escape. It did get a little better in the 90's, but it seemed as though I was a little too weird for the Christians, and a little too normal for the Pagans. That can happen when you speak of love, and a warriors mentality in the same sentence.
In 2009 I finally began to meet people throught the internet, and through that wonderful thing called cyberspace was able to vent some of my anger, and frustration. The pain has eased, but it will never totally disappear. The scars, and emotional wounds are cut too deep, and the pain is still too fresh in my mind to ever be forgotten, or healed. Although my mind, and soul, cry out for relief, I am glad that I have suffered such misfortune. What I have learned from the Gods is precious, and has made me a much wiser person. The constant struggle and pain has also made me a stronger person both physically and mentally. I will never be sorry for the choices I have made, but I am sorry that I had to lose so many people close to me along the way. May your way be less painful my friends !
Go with Odin's wisdom, Freyja's love, and Thor's protection !