There’s a police state on the rise.
There’s a cutthroat economy that doesn’t cut anyone born after 1980 any slack.
There’s a (very ineffectual) coup attempt by a guy who talks like he grew up in a high school locker room.
There’s a pandemic worse than any in living memory (at least, I don’t think there are more than half a dozen people who remember the 1918 flu and it’s probably way less than that).
And, well, I’m holding out remarkably well. Still working full-time. Haven’t gotten the virus or been evicted yet. I don’t take anything for granted though.
I have mellowed into accepting my past lives as a source of wordly wisdom. I no longer search for grand patterns; I think I exhausted that search. And had I been anyone else in my previous life but a guy well-known for theophany and gnosticism I would have found this much easier to accept. I had to overcome the sting of discovering myself as a failed prophet but I think my new path, learning the ways of the Norse völva, has given me a certain lightness of heart for overcoming spiritual missteps and a new appreciation for worldly wisdom.
In fact I don’t think the Norse path really differentiates much between worldly and spiritual wisdom. The Hàvamal doesn’t seem to make any distinction; to Odin, wisdom is wisdom.
So lately I have been talking quite openly about my past life experiences. At least, as “openly” as a locked Twitter account gets. I have been offering words of advice to friends coping with the world’s problems.
True, nobody’s shelling us, and being shot at with live ammo, while far too common in the US, is still the exception rather than the rule for most people most of the time. True, I wasn’t around for the Spanish Influenza (I was either stuck in that space between spaces or I was a non-human animal at the time). I can’t make one-to-one comparisons to what we went through then and what we’re going through now.
But the prolonged grind of deteriorating circumstances in the US in 2020 is having a similar effect on a lot of people to the prolonged grind of the Western Front. The burnout, the despair, the trauma, it’s all there.
For my part, I seem to have found a degree of calm stoicism that only occasionally breaks. And I think it’s because I remembered how we used to live in the moment in the trenches. I try to tell my friends what I know about keeping yourself distracted, learning to adapt to uncertainty, and keeping up morale.
All these times of chaos will pass. At least a few of today’s problems may already have an end in sight. The worst may be yet to come but that’s not something we can control. I know for my part I have prepared as much as I reasonably can for as many possibilities as I can reasonably think of. All that remains is to be calm in the long wait until the big clusterfuck hits.