Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Clapping Away the Calluses

Been thinking about Ragnarok. Well, pieces of it, since a person so possessed could write a lifetime's worth of observation and still find themselves wanting in expresion.

Baldur dies by his brother Hodr's hand, while Hodr is in turn killed by Vali, one of Wodan's sons. In some way, Vali seems to represent some form of the a balancing function. With Baldur, the brightness and active illusion gone, Hodr, the action made in ignorance, must pass as well. Loki's whole role in this, although often presented as due to some self-interested malfeasance and malediction toward the consummately useless, yet well-loved Baldur, Loki can also have performed his own function as the External brought Within. Baldur had no songs of his deeds aside from those that prefaced his death, an inevitable yet exceedingly unlikely event. In fact, his whole existence as the impenetrable allowed for the resolution of extreme penetrability. Baldur would not be wounded; Baldur would in fact stop functioning entirely once his impenetrability had been compromised, like the proverbial imperfection of a diamond that blows the whole thing up. Upon his death, the Aesir, the Pillars and Riverbeds of the Wights, could see past the distracting glow of Baldur and see the resolution of their own paradoxes and beings. Of course Wodan had foreknowledge of the situation, existing outside of time after a fashion.

Frey hasn't the chance to resolve anything. Not unlike Baldur, his function is the sacrifice. He relinquished the martial aspect of his libido for the lovin' aspect of his libido. That martial aspect is then writ large as Surt, a big walking Armageddon. Frey as a progenitor analogue, as this will act as resolution, is slain by the destroyer itself, as if to mention this as the point from which no new things will come into being, but instead break down. The aesir, the big mamma-jamma powers of the universe, are little more than cattle that requires culling during Ragnarok.

On the other end, Wodan makes preparations. He prepares not to overcome his demise; that's inevitable. He instead prepares his son, Vidarr. To his son he gives a boot made from all of the excess straps of leather shoes. The superlative nature of the boot allows for a transdimensional quality, as all leather straps, from all time, from all leather shoes, contribute to the strength of this boot, despite these items being seen as castoffs by Those who Make Shoes. This tradition its opposite number in the attention to the fingernails of the dead, said to construct the Poltergeist Ship Naglfar, which carries jotnar and Bad Dead Guys to the final battle. Although both are inevitable, (The giants get there to wreck shit, Vidarr whups Fenrir) the effects of each action come to making the job of one easier, the other harder. A lot of row has been made on Wodan's death at the jaws of Fenrir, some claiming these silly, anthropically biased ideas of this consummate mad god of inspiration and death slipping on blood while flexing his martial muscle against the big wolf. In this instance, we see Wodan submit to become a part of the natural scheme of things, understanding that all of his preparation, all of his searches for wisdom, for enlightenment, for elucidation of the universe all stems to giving back to the universe. His wisdom holds that he remains little more than a snowflake doomed to melt in the persistent churning of events of the World Tree. The Yggdrasill remains the unshakable yet ever-transforming foundation of the universe, and all of our aspects of life further its living process. He has left behind his children, both who present attributes of ascetic sacrifice (Vali, with his ritual squalor, and Vidarr, with his ritual silence).

Everyone's favorite superhero Thor, one would think, would have been pitted against Loki. This is where Comic Book Shaman Ben shrieks in terror as Vitki Ben and his spitting cobra fangs of maledictions toward fanboys and comic book fundamentalism/escapism. The closest imagining I've found for a Thor archetype comes from Brock Samson on the Venture Brothers. Brock's capable of ludicrous feats of violence and sexual prowess, a fully-realized Mars at peace with his capability. His challenges don't come from the act of killing, screwing and his mission, but from elements that keep him from properly killing or screwing as defined by his mission parameters (Expired OSI license to kill, Molotov Cocktease's chastity belt, a nameless henchman he killed resurrected by his charge to create a childlike Venture-stein who reflexively fears him). Brock's role changes upon his quitting both OSI and the Ventures, signified by an exploding robot. Hidden killers, such as poison and explosives, fall under the scales of Jormundgandr, the World Serpent. Thor faces off with his own capability to kill, with his own Zen sense of the world (all Thor needs is his hammer, all Brock needs is his knife) as an extension of himself. Jormundgandr represents the barrier between this individual sense of control and the actual external world. Once this barrier breaks (through repeated hammer blows) the imperceivable, undodgable, unblockable poison seeps in and the greater unity reabsorbs Thor, who takes nine steps, one for each world in the cosmological model of the Norse. Not unlike Wodan, Thor has left behind children. Magni comes from inborn strength, using one's proclivities to move forward. Modi comes from the sheer desire to reconcile a conflict, using otherwise adverse reactions to achieve victory. Thrud, Thor's daughter, seems a mystery. Her name means "Power," in the most basic terms. Her name has been included amongst the Valkyries, and she may have acted as a feminine analog to Thor to universalize a concept socially confined to one set of plumbing. The children of Thor and Wodan seem to point to methods a person may call upon the "powers" of these gods without ripping out an eye, throwing hammers or any of the other hyperbolic tasks these two aesir undertook.

Heimdall and Loki also annihilate each other. Heimdall represents a Fellow, be it friend or family, pushed to the outskirts of the world while Loki represents an unknown variable welcomed within. Consider the reliable friend with whom you never socialize, and the strange, exciting person you want to know more about. Trickster and Shaman archetypes on occasion act in concert, each providing a different service. Preservation and change annihilate, the Trickster's inductance of transformation creating a process through which the greater pattern can subsist. The interplay of these two acts like the rhythm, the chaos found in order and the order found in chaos. Infinity results, and all becomes renewed.

Once Ragnarok finishes, the children of the aesir emerge to take up the tools and toys their predecessors have left them, and Nidhogg, the ultimate non-being, makes its presence known. This begs a question: would, in the next Ragnarok, Nidhogg resolve a paradox we have yet to perceive, and what world would open up from there?


B.L.Donnelly said...

Two weeks and no new post?...we're getting withdrawls! Bat-tony just aint as much fun without caffeine fuelled hyperbole to justify my fandom! Fancy doing a joint post where we look at some of the underlying mythos of batsy through a specific era or issue?

Ben said...

I would fancy that, sir. Oh, have you gone onto the Mindless Ones page to check out their Rogues' Review? Those guys are no joke!