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The Elder Runes by Dave Rice, Göthi

Section 1: For those starting out.

Initially, the intricate connections and vast disparities between the modern world and the grand tales of the Viking Age may seem overwhelming. It may appear as if there's no link between these ancient stories and the inflated egos that dominate our contemporary landscape. However, these impressions typically last only in the beginning, provided we allow ourselves to be receptive to history's lessons.

Regrettably, few people commit themselves to preserving the past. Consequently, many modern Pagan expressions are consumed with the pursuit of self-validation. This focus often leads to distortions of European culture, practices, and belief systems in an effort to align with an appropriated and warped modern cultural, spiritual, or political narrative. Such misconceptions risk erasing the many commonalities that have shaped European paganism throughout recorded history. To perceive these facets as distinct entities is to misinterpret an ethnogenesis for a genesis. To truly understand ourselves and our beliefs, we must cultivate a broad knowledge and comprehension of our surroundings. An understanding of perspectives different from our own does not necessarily denote alignment with those perspectives.

We are all accountable for our words, actions, and the energies we emit into the world. Only when we acknowledge our ignorance about a certain subject can we genuinely express a desire to learn and understand. If an idea or action is allowed to spread without critique or discussion, those thoughts and actions risk breeding generations of individuals who lack critical thinking skills. Spiritual beliefs and practices have evolved over extensive periods and constitute integral parts of many people's cultural identities and heritages. Unfortunately, there has been a significant movement over the years towards appropriating the spiritual practices, symbols, and effigies of other cultures. Cherry-picking from various spiritualities and cultures does not make one a globally conscious or spiritually awakened individual; it merely displays superficiality.

From a New Age perspective, the world's diverse spiritual traditions, practices, and images are now considered public property, no longer unique expressions of specific cultures. This perceived open availability has commodified the sacred, and it's assumed that it can be bought, sold, traded, and consumed according to basic free-market principles. Over time, social media platforms and New Age pagan websites have worked tirelessly to popularize and monetize New Age spirituality, attracting a fresh wave of witches, spiritualists, and heathens. This has primarily been motivated by profit, resulting in multiple generations of individuals with little understanding of their practices. The New Age movement is not merely "love and light." This phrase often masks the whitewashing of various spiritualities into an unrecognizable mishmash. Practitioners of paganistic spirituality, like Wicca and Heathenry, should strive to understand the origins of their practices. This knowledge can foster a deeper connection with these spiritual traditions.

In today's world, knowledge is more accessible than ever before, yet so is misinformation. Therefore, it's crucial that when we explore different spiritualities, we remain aware of the struggles inherent to the cultures tied to these spiritual customs. A fallacious argument can appear more compelling than it truly is. Some fallacies are deployed intentionally to manipulate or deceive, while others arise from carelessness or ignorance. True understanding requires effort and patience; shortcuts can only offer a superficial grasp. It's akin to reading the summary on a book's back cover and then claiming to have read the entire book.

So, who am I?

I am Dave Rice, also known as "The Black Wolf." Despite what some might believe, I am not a cult leader, nor am I more than one person. While I often refer to myself as a "heathen," I am actually a pre-Christian Germanic spiritual reconstructionist and one of the founding members of the Germanic Spiritual Preservation Society, established in 2014.

My insatiable curiosity pushes me to understand why things are as they are and how they came to be. My insights are not based on any supernatural clairvoyance. Rather, they are informed by history, archaeology, sociology, psychology, mythology, philosophy, and my personal experiences. What differentiates me from other content creators in this sphere is my willingness to interact with everyone, especially those who disagree. In my observation, when people lose their temper in a conversation, it often indicates a lack of understanding. Losing control of our temper only results in a loss of self-control. Born on February 5th, 1986, in Phoenix, Arizona, I was diagnosed with a rare birth defect at the time known as "lymphangioma." I endured 18 major surgeries, three of which occurred before I turned one, and the last at twelve years old. I spent my early years heavily medicated and shuttling between hospitals. I was subject to experimental surgical techniques, medications, and therapies, mostly throughout the late eighties and nineties due to the location of my birth defect - from shoulder to wrist on my left arm. I've experienced things no child should ever endure. Consequently, I've been acutely aware of my mortality since a very young age.

As a young adult, I grappled with anger and hatred towards most people and things. After my hospitalizations became less frequent, I secretly discontinued all my medications. It was then that I came to realize how abnormal my life had been. I was mostly illiterate entering high school due to my irregular attendance, leading me to drop out during my second senior year. However, I later earned my GED and proceeded to self-educate to a college level. By the age of 25, I was accepted into three different colleges: ITT-Technical Institute for drafting and design, The Art Institute of Phoenix for fine art, art history and design, and Glendale Community College for fine art, life art, and art history.

The various medications I was on, some of which are now banned or discontinued, led to speculation that I might be sterile. I believed this until my late 20s when my first daughter, Morgan, was born, followed by her sister Cameron two years later, born on the same day as Morgan. Their births brought a transformative shift in my life. Three days before my 33rd birthday, I was hospitalized due to nose bleeds and unusual chest pains. The pain was unlike the moderate-to-severe pain I've endured daily since birth due to my lymphangioma. It was then that I learned the birth defect that had stolen my childhood, leaving me unprepared for adult life, had returned as a malignant mass infiltrating my lymphatic system. The medical options presented to me were grim. I could choose to undergo an uncertain number of surgeries over an indefinite period, effectively reliving my childhood as an adult while being unable to work and support my family. Alternatively, I could opt for lifestyle changes and self-education, which, despite allowing me to care for my family, was more or less a death sentence. I chose the latter. The choice, though difficult, was straightforward to me.

I have never asked anyone to follow me or to believe as I do, which is why I have consistently declined spiritual titles despite numerous offers from various individuals and groups. Given my prognosis, it's unlikely that I will see my children reach adulthood or impart my knowledge and love to my grandchildren personally. This reality motivates me to leave a digital legacy for my family, my daughters, and their future generations. I want to ensure that they, and you, the reader, understand who I was. What you're witnessing on my social media over the years is a philosophical and spiritual opinion-based digital diary, an entirely open public digital grimoire that has been gradually crafted over the past five years. The primary difference between a conventional diary or grimoire and what I'm doing is that my digital record allows interaction. People from all walks of life have engaged with it over the years, and as long as I'm able, I will respond, growing stronger with each conversation. This exchange of ideas is like throwing a stone into a pond: the larger the stone, the bigger and longer-lasting the ripples.

A person's life story is never as straightforward as this summary might suggest. There's always more to tell, but these experiences have shaped me into the person I am today.

I stand before my ancestors knowing that doing what needs to be done is a choice, which often means standing alone. To choose wisely, I must understand who I am, what I stand for, where I want to go, and why I want to go there.

When I reach the end of this life, I may stand alone, but I will greet the coming mist without regret. I do not anticipate judgment based on the good I did in life, but rather on the adversaries I made while living it. My personal accomplishments may die with me, but what I have done for my people and my family will endure long after I'm gone. I will stand before my ancestors knowing that I spent my life learning how to live.

I will stand tall because I have utilized everything they gave me and everything they did not.

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