I’ve been reading up on Norse mythology of late, and noticed something that I have found surprising regarding warriors of old vs warriors of today.
Many warriors and gods of old were handicapped. People treasured them anyway.
Ivar Ragnarsson, son of Ragnar Lodbrok, was known as Ivar the boneless as he was handicapped; he would be dragged into battle on a shield and apparently, he could fight damn well and led the great heathen army into the invasion of East Anglia in 865.
Odin, known as Allfather of the gods, is a complex character and is the god of wisdom, shamanism, magic, poetry, prophesy and the hunt; he is associated with war, battle, victory and death. He also was handicapped; having given up an eye for knowledge, and having hung himself from a tree in order to gain the runes, which were our earliest forms of written communication. Wednesday is named for him.
Tyr, the god associated with law and heroic glory, is one-handed. He allowed his hand to be put into the mouth of Fenrir the wolf so the wolf could be bound; the wolf then bit off his hand. He remained a god, one-handed. Tuesday is the day named for him.
Höder was a blind god…blind, yet a god.
Despite their handicaps…and perhaps even because of them and how they got that way, they were revered and remembered.
People say that we’re smarter, better, superior to people of old; that we’ve evolved. Have we?
- —we have the FBI investigating the Veteran’s Administration for not caring for sick and disabled vets, even allowing some wait for treatment that never came in time to keep them alive.
- —we have homeless vets, and homeless handicapped vets.
- —we have jobless vets.
- —we have elderly vets not receiving what was promised them when the did a little thing called WIN WORLD WAR II FOR US. We have vets that survived death marches and more in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam but can’t survive the wait for treatment at a VA hospital.
We’re more advanced and evolved than people who lived 1,300 years ago. But we can’t care for our warriors, we won’t remember them and walk on by the ones living in the street with the sign that says “VET WILL WORK FOR FOOD.”
1,300 years ago warriors were remembered, cared for and revered to the point they were called gods.
Today, they can’t even get a cup of coffee. Perhaps we should study the ancient people a little more, to see what they got right and what we are painfully getting wrong.