A father’s duty is to raise his son to be the best man that he can be. As a father I am my son’s first role model and his first experience with what it means to be a man. Throughout his life he’ll experience men in a variety of ways – teachers, his brother, friends, enemies, coworkers, schoolmates, how they are portrayed within the media, and how they are viewed through eyes of others. In my own worldview I see myself doing my best to embody the aspect of the sacred masculine in devotion to the sacred feminine.
I was very lucky to find a partner who embodies the aspects of the sacred feminine in devotion to the sacred masculine. My son’s mother and I have, in many ways, the perfect spiritual balance. Despite differences in our spirituality we are, in fact, “equally yolked.” My fiance is Christian and, while there is no specific name for my spirituality, mine displays similarly to Asatru. Both paths contain strong representation of both the sacred masculine and feminine.
Every religion has its “heroes” whom we look to for guidance and inspiration. We often put ourselves in their shoes and ask the question, “What would [hero’s name] do?”
In fact we do this with fictional characters from books more often than not. Growing up, I often asked myself how Han Solo would handle a situation. Other heroes I embraced were Spider-Man, Iron Man, Rand Al Thor, Elric of Melnibone, Merlin, etc. Our children will do as we have done and encounter many heroes along their paths. The 20 year difference between my newborn son and his brother means that my eldest son is likely to be one of those heroes. Each and every one of these heroes has characteristics that my son will come to embrace in a variety of ways.
From my own personal worldview there are three major spiritual figures who embody the best aspects of the sacred masculine – Odin, Thor, and Jesus Christ. As a quick disclaimer it is important that anyone not familiar with Asatru understand that when I reference Odin and Thor I am not referring to the Marvel heroes of the same name. These are the mythological figures from Norse culture as expressed from the poetic eddas that came out of Iceland in the 1300’s. As there are masculine heroes there are also feminine heroes, but they will be addressed in my next article.
Odin is the Norse god most widely associated with knowledge, wisdom, poetry, and a host of other attributes. Many who come to my blog know the importance I place upon the three aspects of body, mind, and spirit. Through Odin I will teach my son the value of wit and, in this way he will learn strength of mind.
Odin was notorious for handling conflict through wit rather than through the use of strength. It was he who brought the knowledge of runes (the futhark) to the Norse peoples. He knew many things partially through the use of his two ravens Huginn and Muninn who would go out into the world and report to Odin all that they had seen and heard. The greatest example of Odin resolving conflict through wit was in his contest against the mightiest giant Vafthruthnir who knows the past, present, and future. Odin appears to him in disguise and shortly after a question and answer session is held between the two great figures. These questions continue back and forth until at last Odin breaks the pattern and states that the giant should be able to tell him what Odin whispered into Baldr’s ear prior to being burned upon the funeral pyre. Vafthruthnir then recognizes his guest for who he really is and concedes to Odin as always being the wiser and wisest.
In practice this means keeping my son’s mind sharp. He will learn to read, write, and consider deeply what it is he sees within the world. All questions will be encouraged. All knowledge will be within reach if he grasps for it for a sharp mind opens the eyes to the unseen. This is Odin’s gift to my son.
Thor is the Norse god most widely associated with storms, strength, protection, and several other attributes. Through Thor I will teach my son the value of strength and, in this way he will learn strength of body.
Thor, unlike his father Odin, often handled conflict through the use of hammer Mjölnir. Thor is well known for his giant-slaying throughout Norse myth and slaying the world serpent during Ragnarok. The wonderful thing about using Thor as an example of strength is that he proves more than any other hero that not all victory can be achieved through physical strength alone. In one case he attempts to ride a ferry but the ferry driver is Odin in disguise (something Odin did on a regular basis). Odin is increasingly aggressive with Thor until at last the exchange becomes a match of insults. Insults are just not Thor’s strength and soon he finds himself walking. In another, comedic, poem Thor must dress as a woman in order to find his stolen hammer from the giants. There is some humor strewn about how his normally obnoxious dinner manners are unbecoming of a maiden. Somehow he gets through the dinner until his hammer is retrieved for a blessing before the wedding. At that point he grabs the hammer and defeats the giants. Thor embodies strength and indirectly teaches humility.
In practice this means keeping my son’s body in healthy condition. He will learn the value of strengthening himself, avoiding toxic food and habits, and learning to defend himself and his home. Through strength of body we are able to do what we must when we need to do it. This is Thor’s gift to my son.
Jesus Christ was a Jewish preacher who, as the prophesied Messiah, became the central figure of Christianity. Through Jesus Christ I will teach my son the value of sacrifice and, in this way he will learn strength of spirit.
Jesus Christ sacrificed everything in order to spread the Divine Word. His first sacrifice is, while interpreting the gnostic perspective, is to give up Heaven in order to descend to Earth in order to teach mortals how to find gnosis so that they, too, may enter the gates of Heaven. He then sacrificed his own blood family in favor of calling his followers his true family. He sacrificed his occupation as carpenter in order to preach. He sacrificed his relationship with the Jews as Simeon states he, “shall stand as a sign of contradiction, while a sword will pierce your own soul. Then the secret thoughts of many will come to light.”
During his fasting in the Judaean Desert Satan appears before Jesus and offers temptation of hedonism, egoism, and materialism. Each of these are the dark side of body, mind, and spirit as he alludes to in the Greatest Commandment to “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”
Eventually Jesus Christ would sacrifice his own mortal body in order to carry out the Divine Word. During that sacrifice he would carry the physical burden of the cross up to Golgotha. When he could carry it no further another would sacrifice his own reputation by helping Christ carry that burden. At last Christ would be nailed to the Cross and made further to suffer before perishing. While some believe he will perform a miracle in order to set himself free Jesus does not do so. His death and sacrifice carried out the prophesy of the Divine Word.
In practice my son will learn that sometimes he must let go of what he wants to do in order to accomplish what he needs to do. He may need to sacrifice time, money, material things, and sometimes even temporary happiness at times but he will receive the greatest gifts of spirit. This is Christ’s gift to my son.
The Son Becomes a Man
My beautiful son will learn each of these stories in great detail. He will see the way in which I hold myself in accordance with each trait of wit, strength, and sacrifice. In this way he will become a man of spirit, a warrior of God, and a source of great love and compassion. I look forward to seeing the man my son becomes.