The European mythology has been interpreted for us by Judeo-Christians, and their version of our heritage has been spread throughout the literate world. Our mythology has been reduced to a funny curiosity, a primitive fairy tale, a silly misunderstanding of reality. There is nothing to it other than that, really... it's not even a religion; it's just a mythology. Right?
Our world was seen as a tree, and if the tree fell the sky would fall down, and of course all the "Pagans" were convinced that this was nonsense when the glorious and heroic priests of Christendom chopped down the Irminsûl
in Germany and the sky didn't fall down. Ha ha, how could they be so silly and ignorant? Right?
Our gods are like cartoon figures, flying through the air riding eight-legged horses and wagons pulled by goats or cats. Freyja is the goddess of love. Óðinn the god of war and poetry. Þórr the god of thunder. Et cetera
. They are one-dimensional characters all of them.
No need to dig any deeper... it's all nonsense. Entertaining, yes, but that's it. Move along. Move on to the more advanced monotheistic religions. Yes, evolution made sure we developed more advanced religions, than those primitive polytheistic ones. Religions with morals. Yes, there are no morals in the primitive religions. Right?
As you can gather, the above is pretty much how our societies present the world view and religion of our forebears to us all. It's all nonsense, gone forever and thank God it is... We will not return to it any more than we will return to believing the world is flat.
Only... our forebears didn't the world was flat. This is a modern myth. We know that they perfectly well knew that the world is round. Linguists all agree on this, and we have plenty of archaeological evidence supporting this too.
So, they did not think the world was flat, and when you realize that, you should understand that everything else they tell us about the mythologies of our forebears is a lie too.
Let me start with the Scandinavian world tree, pictured as a tree growing on a flat disc (they did believe the Earth is flat, after all, right?...), with the roots reaching down into Hel and the crown of the tree into the sky, where the gods reside. The stem is located in the world of the living, Middle-Earth... So there is a world of the dead, a world of the living and a world of gods.
The main problem I see here is that they separate man from the divine; man is on Earth, and the divine in Heaven, and sometimes the divine moves amongst us silly mortals here on Earth. Sorry, but that is not a European world view: thatís the Judeo-Christian world view. In European polytheism man becomes a deity, on Earth, by impersonating him. He goes through an initiation process, he improves, he matures, he becomes better; he cultivates the divine in himself and through that becomes a god himself! The divine is always there, inside him and all around him, influencing the course of events. So the gods and man live next to each other, in the same world. They all
live in Ásgarðr (''the spirit garden"), the crown of the tree of life.
So what is Miðgarðr ("Middle Earth") then? It is located in between the world of life (Ásgarðr) and the world of death (Hel), But what is? Birth? Dying? Some sort of undead world? Actually: Yes...
The Middle Earth is the burial mound, a fenced in sacred place, where the bodies of the honourable dead reside. The honourable dead are not dead forever though: they are just waiting to be reborn, so they are not in Hel ("hidden"), where the shadows reside, but in a Middle Earth, a world in between life and death: when you are dead but are just waiting to be reborn again.
dead is only what is not honourable and worthy of remembrance.
The idea is that when I die my shadow (i.e. the bad I have ever done) will be cast into Hel, to be forever gone (i.e. forgotten). We don't want that part of us. We only want to remember the good I did. We only want to bring with us into the future the memory of my honourable deeds. Why would the next generation want to cultivate my bad aspects or my mistakes? They would not become divine by doing so! They will only become divine by cultivating the good, the just, the strong, the fair, the brave, et cetera
. They will only grow better from the memory of their dead if they remember them only for the good they did. Dwell not in the shadows; it will only darken your mind.
We, ladies and gentlemen, live in Ásgarðr, alongside the gods and goddesses. If you cannot see them it's only because a shadow clouds your mind, because a veil of lies covers your eyes: Because a Judeo-Christian choir is screaming lies into your ears, and thus prevents you from hearing the divine song. The divine is here: in the air, in the trees, in the water, in the soil and rocks, and most importantly: in you! You have the potential to become a god or a goddess yourself. Just reach out and grab all that is good, and embrace it until your last breath. Cling unto it with all your force, and never let go of it, no matter how hard the shadows pull and try to pry it from your hands. Become one with the divine; become divine yourself! Make sure that what is good becomes inseparable from what is you! When you do there is nothing they can do to harm you.
There is no death for the honourable. They live forever: They return to life from the Middle Earth, the world in between the world of the dead and the world of the living, when they are chosen by children to be reborn - as them.
The European religion is a system for the cultivation of the good in man, of the honourable deeds and the honourable life - with the aim to turn society into a "heaven on Earth" (because life on Earth is what we have!) and the best men and women into deities. It is a way to turn lead into gold, so to speak, in a spiritual sense.
The European religion is a celebration of life on Earth, in great contrast to the death-worshipping Judeo-Christianity, which spreads nothing but contempt for life on Earth, and favours some fictional "Paradise", where the Judeo-Christians presumably don't have to do anything hard (or honourable...) ever again. Judeo-Christianity is but a cultivation of laziness, hedonism and cowardice.
I am a European polytheist, so I walk on overgrown paths, through the dense underbrush of a vast shadowy wilderness. Sometimes I walk in darkness, knowing not what fate leads me into. Sometimes I walk in freezing rain, and struggle to stay alive. I often stumble over old roots and hidden crevices in the ground. I fall on sharp rocks and tree stumps, into cold streams and down steep cliffs. But every time I do I smile, take pride in my bruises and cuts, get back up and keep walking. Life is good, not "even" in adversity, but in particular in adversity, because adversity is what brings forth the opportunity for you to prove yourself, to gain honour!
Your honour is what will make your descendants remember you, admire you and become better because of you.