Monday, February 6, 2012

IN THE BEGINNING THERE WAS THE WYRD


You can call me weird. I really don’t mind.

In fact if you said I was in the way of the Wyrd, about two thousand years ago, it would have been a huge compliment. It would mean I was - the contemporary word is enlightened - one with all things.

Yeah, I wish.

Wyrd is an old English word - and a feminine one, which is interesting, when we consider its true meaning - that comes from the word weorthan, to become. It is related to the Old Saxon word wurd.

Wyrd is the forerunner of our modern word weird, meaning strange or odd or freaky. It is mostly used in a pejorative sense. Some scholars believe the word was deliberately corrupted by early Christian missionaries to discredit the ‘heathen’ religions of old Europe.

 

So what does it mean? The Wyrd, to the ancient tribes of Europe, was not a thing. It was a concept, an idea.

The Anglo Saxons believed everything was connected to everything else by thoughts, emotion, spirit; and by everything they meant trees, stones, animals. Everything.

Now before anyone scoffs at this; remember that what the ancients were describing was Quantum mechanics. It took the rest of us two thousand years to even start to grasp this idea.  

The notion that we are related to all things is not as .. well - wyrd - as it seems. It was recently discovered that there are only 30,000 active genes in human DNA and we share five of those genes with a banana. (I believe I share a lot more than that with Jim Beam Black Label. )

a distant cousin: photograph Darkone


The Wyrd was something so deep and so pervasive and so central to the mystery of life that it was inexpressible. It was, if you prefer Star Wars parlance, The Force. And believe me, you want it with you.

The best analogy is a vast multi-dimensional spider’s web. Each section of the web is a part of the whole, so the tiniest interference at the furthest point sets the entire web vibrating. (These days we call it chaos theory.) 



Life, it now appears, is much more subtle and mysterious than we ever imagined - and the curious thing is that the Anglo Saxons appreciated this before the Romans came along. Almost daily, a new discovery is made that draws into question our worldview about the nature of the Universe, the nature of man, and the nature of Nature. We are re-learning what we already knew.

Each of us spends the first fifteen or twenty years of our lives suppressing our natural curiosity and consuming ‘knowledge.’ We are told this is the way things are. But it is not the way things are; the 21st century is going to be about discovering the way things aren’t. Our universe may even turn out to be a multiverse, the paranormal may become normal and historical novelists writing about the Wyrd risk venturing into SF.

And if we really do live in an expanding universe it will at least explain where all my missing socks have gone.



The Physics our grandfathers learned was heavily dependent on the works of Sir Isaac Newton. Newtonian Physics is neat, tidy, and certain. You can calculate things, and know what to expect.

But the world is not totally governed by Newtonian physics. At the sub-atomic level, everything is turned on its head. This is when things start to get really wyrd. Because inside an atom there is no certainty to anything, things exist in multiple states simultaneously and all outcomes are viable and do occur.

The Wyrd of the ancients also encapsulated an extremely sophisticated concept of time. Most of us - except Einstein and Quantum physicists - think of time as linear; a river rushing from our birth to our death carrying us inexorably with it.



But the Wyrd - 'that which happens' - is a fluid three dimensional matrix. You can choose the path you go down and that in turn will affect what the Wyrd hands back to you. So the Wyrd is also Destiny; but not the "inexorable fate" of the ancient Greeks. It’s not an ending, it’s a continuum. We are living our destiny today, as we lived it yesterday and as we will live it tomorrow.

And so your destiny can be ‘worked,’ to some extent anyway.

Confused? Me, too. But remember I’m not talking about quantum mechanics, I’m talking about paganism. This is history. This is life before the so-called Dark Ages.

So if anyone calls you weird, take it as a compliment. They probably mean you’re extremely curious and a free thinker. 

And if you do happen to uncover the secrets of this wyrd and unreliable universe - can you see if you can find my sock?