Tuesday, June 22, 2010

When ice meets fire

In the cosmology and mythololgy of the Old Norse, the universe was born from the collision of fire and ice -- direct opposites. Under the human condition, most "creation" seems to begin with fire meeting and merging with fire.

A theory, a poem, an opera:
Once again it is demonstrated
there is nothing new under the sun


The Old Norse believed the Earth was born from the meeting and merging of fire and ice, heat and cold. When you think about it, this is a rather folksy way of describing the "big bang" theory of cosmological creation. Which means, believe it or not, these old sword-swingers knew what they were talking about.

In the case of human relationships, here meaning between men and women, more often than not the situation seems to involve fire meeting and merging with fire. This is particularly true among the young. Those who are the most physically attractive seem to receive the most attention. Over a matter of years, however, those with a degree of insight actually come to learn the meaning of the words, "beauty is only skin deep."

As people become more experienced at living life, security seems to be a big factor in the contest of human relationships, especially among women who have been "burned" by men once or twice along the way. In theory, as wisdom grows, so does the focus on seeking out a companion who offers security in every sense: Financial, emotional, physical.

Many other factors, of course, enter into the mix. While opposites often attract, my belief is that those who have the most in common have the greatest chance to maintain a successful relationship. While there are exceptions in every instance, similarities in age, religious beliefs, political philosophies, recreational activities -- to mention just a very few -- would seem to indicate greater odds for success among couples seeking to form a lasting relationship than among those who have disparities in these and other regards.

I wrote those words, understanding them and believing them to be reality as it exists, but absolutely certain in my heart that any obstacles can be overcome if two people wish to be together more than they wish for anything else.

Moving from the general to the more specific -- meaning that I want to talk about myself now -- I have been wondering lately how many women have shown an interest in me and I walked away from them without giving them much (if any) consideration as potential companions in life . Or, viewed from the opposite side of the fence -- how often have I looked into a woman's eyes or talked with a woman or gone out with a woman and tried to indicate my interest in her, only to be given a "thanks, but no thanks."

Sometimes these rejections have been because of physical attraction (or, the lack thereof), or from having different interests, different backgrounds, different beliefs in this or that or, again, any number of all too often very superficial reasons (i.e., excuses) for not at least spending some time exploring the possibilities.

If I recall correctly, the divorce rate in America is somewhere around fifty percent. If one adds to that number all of the couples who have tried and failed to live together without the benefit of a marriage contract, probably ninety percent or even more of us fail to maintain a lasting relationship. This certainly is my case.

I have been married twice, both times the marriage ending in divorce. There are four other women who I believe I could have made an emotional commitment to had things been just a bit different in our lives and had we been able to reach agreement regarding the future direction of our lives together. One of these women, I would have "pledged my troth" to on the spot.

In some ways, my life parallels that of Tannhauser, a 13th Century Teutonic knight and poet, probably only known today because of the opera bearing his name composed by Richard Wagner. In a mythic sense, the pathway of Tannhauser is the course of life open for all men who have ever walked the Earth and sought some manner of redemption through pure love.

Whatever ....

It is evident in my posts that my tendency is to "overthink" my past -- to overly analyze my personal history. By this, I mean that I often tend to second guess decisions I have made in the past, or, if not actually second guess, at least to wonder who I would be and where I would be had I chosen that path rather than this path. In the words of Robert Frost: "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both ...."

Fire also is a primary ingredient in the Old Norse cosmology regarding the end of the Earth. The sky will burn and fall into a pit of flames, while the land will sink into the sea. But, one man and one woman -- Lif and Lifthrasir -- will survive by finding shelter in the branches of the ash tree known as Yggdrasil. And then, the Earth will rise again from the sea and flourish.

Regeneration, replenishment, rejuvenation -- even reincarnation is implied, but enough of that. Since the Old Norse were right about the creation of the Earth, I have little doubt they will be correct about its end. And, since I know I can survive anything and everything, all I have to do is to keep my eyes open for Lifthrasir.

Some lines from "Laus Veneris"
by Algernon Charles Swinburne

Ah God, that love were as a flower or flame,
That life were as the naming of a name,
That death were not more pitiful than desire,
That these things were not one thing and the same!

Behold now, surely somewhere there is death:
For each man hath some space of years, he saith,
A little space of time ere time expire,
A little day, a little way of breath.

And lo, between the sundawn and the sun,
His day's work and his night's work are undone;
And lo, between the nightfall and the light,
He is not, and none knoweth of such an one.


Anonymous said...

These is very very interesting!!!
I could discuss and think these things for hours..It is what we all are thinking relly..life..love..happiness..Often we think a nother human will bring us that happiness we are seeking..but i think it not so.if you cant find peace love in yourself..you always will be a seeker..In a way..it is very similar to my life what you are talking about.Only i have given up finding wonderland(THE MAN:)in these life..And is happy about that choice.then there will be no sad times.Smart..agree?
the vikings and the born of time.
those where great folks..i think ihave been a Vikings wife in some of my former life..hahahha.Because i see myself waiting on the coast quardening the house..while my husband is on war somewhere!!!Ok..Fram..Thanx for nice posting..Makes me smile and think..Whatever whatever as long as you are HAPPY..Kisses

Anonymous said...

In the poem Vafþrúðnismál, collected in the Poetic Edda, the god Odin poses a question to the jötunn Vafþrúðnir, asking who among mankind will survive when the winter Fimbulvetr occurs. Vafþrúðnir responds that they will be Líf and Lífþrasir, that the two will have hidden in the wood of Hoddmímis holt, they will consume the morning dew as food, and "from them generations will spring".[

Anonymous said...

Sorry I am writing so much..But I was just wondering..about one thing..You are ..or was..U.S. Marine Corps = Semper Fidelis...where did you serve your duty?

Fram Actual said...

Yes, smart, I agree, Anita. Probably correct and accurate and exactly right, too.

Maybe, I should view the world from the standpoint you describe, but it might not be possible for me to do so. Happiness to me (as I frequently point out) is fleeting, momentary, here today and gone tomorrow. I am not certain I am capable of finding contentment or peace of mind in my personal life, but I am not a loner and the happiness lasts longer when I am sharing life and activity and thought with someone else. This might be my way of acknowledging some of my weaknesses.

As I mentioned on your page, the "Poetic Edda," the "Prose Edda" and the "Heimskringla" are among my oft-read books.

In addition to the history, the sagas and the mythology of the Norse, my interests extend to their explorations. I have done fairly extensive research regarding their arrival on the North American continent and the possibility of their travels reaching as far inland as present-day Minnesota. I actually own what some believe might be a relic of such a Viking trek that was found in Michigan, and wrote a paper on it that was published in the quarterly magazine of the Minnesota Archaeological Society.

Lastly, rather than go back to my days with the Marine Corps right now, sometime when you are in the right mood you might care to browse my 2009 posts. There are a couple which reference my voyage to my own earthly version of Ragnarök.

Thank you, for reading and for writing here, Anita.

Anonymous said...

right mood hahahaha!!!!thats nice!!!:))))))))))
Because Iam a mood person!!:))(Scorpio)
I will spend time on your blog reading it..you have some value stuff and you inspirate me..as you probably have seen..;)
Reading old books are such a valuable thing to do..much wisdom..and must not be forgotten

in all the new fancy things to do.

As you are a fish astrolicaly you float in the water wherever the sea takes you dont you?sometimes around and around your tail too!!Alot of feelings!!!i think you think alot of your relationships..past and future!!
Love will always find you Fram.But as you say..It is not sure you want it..or..when you actually find ssomeone you REALLY love..that person is not ready..Strange?i dont know..i have a lot of problems myself facing love and relationships.Think it is to easy to leave these days..we dont work problems out!!!the political system also is easier today.(Happily)One is not dependent on another person..Am I too personal now?Exuse me if i am.Thanx for writing to me.

Fram Actual said...

Perhaps some of the questions you ask will be answered in my next post, Anita -- or the next -- or the next.

The process of clearing one's mind (at least for me clearing mine) requires a considerable amount of time and many, many spoken or written words.

Anonymous said...

Whell I wish you good luck Fram!!
all the best for you

sm said...

very interesting
thanks for video

Fram Actual said...

Thank you, for the visit and the comment, sm.

Yes, I believe many consider the overture to "Tannhauser" to be among the most beautiful written.

Something special ....