exponentiation ezine
exponentiation en ezine

exponentiation ezine: issue [4.0:features]

Bathhouse Meditations: A Dialogue with Jesus of Datejesus.com

DateJesus.com has been online for five years supplying us with cunning, often comical, insights and references into modern and ancient culture. Throughout the years the site has been promoting traditionalist perspectives, Indo-European values and the beauty and joy of taking baths. To say the least DateJesus.com has turned a few heads and raised a few eyebrows since its conception. The Exponentiation interview team caught up with Jesus at his private bathhouse where he cordially obliged to answer some of our queries.

It was a cool April evening when we caught up with Jesus at his private bathhouse in a remote rural section of Virginia. He greeted us with open arms and escorted us inside where three sudsy tubs awaited our bodies. Our kind host offered us a fine selection of wines and cheeses to further enjoy our bathing experience. We kindly accepted and then dipped into the warm water to begin our dialogue with Jesus.

Jesus sat nobly in his sudsy bath water and informed us as to why he decided to take on the persona of the messiah. "Friends said my appearance and mannerisms were often as they imagined a good Jesus to be, so the website started as a little joke for friends but gradually became much larger." Jesus sat back and let his hair dip into the bath water and then took a sip of his wine. He looked contemplatively towards the ceiling and continued his dialogue. " I've never taken Judeo-Christianity seriously or been troubled by it, but I was surprised to see how the U.S. fundamentalist regime shapes people's minds and instills Middle Eastern values and culture while claiming to take no religious position. As a result of this programming, many "enlightened" Americans didn't understand the website or pretended to be "offended", but I never trouble myself over the opinions of idiots." Jesus took in more silence and then continued to tell us about Judeo-Christianity and his views towards it. "Christianity is just liberal Judaism for gentiles, an insane monotheism that hates strong spirits and views the world materialistically while burdening itself with so many contradictions that a study of its values explains why its followers are so nutty. Since Christianity and Judaism differ only on their specific mythology and not at all in their values, they can effectively be treated as the same religion in terms of understanding the world view, ideas, and spirituality they promote." Jesus continued, informing us of his youthful contacts with Judeo-Christianity, "I had little contact with churches, but soon after realizing that Santa Claus wasn't real, the idea of the Middle Eastern god seemed silly as well. In my teen years I tried to convey this to others through blasphemy and now find humor to be a good vehicle as well."

Laughter filled the air of the bathhouse, followed by sips of wine and a ponderous five minuets of silence to allow the ambiance and aroma of the bathhouse to tantalize our senses and propel us into a meditative state. We couldn't help but wonder what molded a man like Jesus, what made him tick, what crafted his spirit? Without our even asking, Jesus answered our questions. His ability to look into our eyes and understand our questions before we even had them was astounding. "My orientation to life is European, but I can only claim to really understand northern Europe, as the cheerfulness, sociability, celebrations, and personal indulgences of the southern Europeans is not of my nature. I enjoy the seriousness of the northern Europeans and their direct honesty, perhaps cultivated by brutal winters. While it is true that they are not "fun" in the southern sense, I don't have any interest in that kind of fun." Jesus continued telling us about himself, giving us insights into his educational pursuits and interests. "My academic period was spent studying as many fields of interest as possible in detail, with a focus on philosophy and psychology, as well as functional fields like economics, physics, and computers." Jesus took a small sliver of swiss cheese, chewed, and took us deeper into his soul. "I understand the world from spending time in nature growing up with an active knowledge of my roots and participation in my culture, being exposed to a wide range of ideas without judgment, being allowed to explore the world without limits, having a natural curiosity rather than fear, always having inspirational music around me, preferring what is true to what is easy, and believing in making dreams true." We took the time to reflect upon Jesus' insights. In a world as fractured and as overly-specialized as ours it is inspirational to hear of a man who cultivates his intellect, body and spirit together as one as opposed to accepting the modern worlds demand to fulfill a singular mode of being via a career or through purchasing decisions.

This made us wonder, with the diversity of interests Jesus has, how does he make way? How does the messiah bull his way through the 21st century? Could he possibly bog himself down with the career life? Was he accumulating a 401k at a little office job? Jesus spake, "Occupationally, I've done well in business consulting, but prefer to spend my time writing various texts, composing music, and working on traditional cultural activities." Fitting that a man with his mind focused towards the deeper depths of being would not allow himself to become bogged down with the careerist's mindset. Modern work to Jesus seems to be a pragmatic activity, a reality of the current world that he must participate in to some degree in order to accomplish his greater goals. It is not the summation of his being, which is something the current western world would like us to believe about our "careers."

What cultivates a meaningful being to Jesus is better understood in how he spends his free time: writing music and texts, taking in a good work of art, enjoying a walk through the countryside, and taking a nice dip in a sudsy bath. In contrast to this, Jesus feels that what makes a meaningless life is the pursuit of pleasure for the sake of pleasure. "Hedonism is what makes life meaningless; a meaningful life is what makes life rewarding. The purpose of life isn't pleasure or happiness, but these often result from the fulfillment of a meaningful life. As long as people chase happiness they are unlikely to find it, except perhaps superficially, and will always feel empty inside." Jesus continued, "Hedonism seems to be the answer pitched by advertisers so that dummies buy products, hoping for a quick fix to their unhappiness. Then when they find they are still unhappy, they futilely redouble their efforts."

After hearing Jesus speak on hedonism we insisted on probing his thoughts about the current governments and economic systems of the western world as so many western nations today seem to be promoting the hedonistic lifestyle. Jesus smirked, knowing the questions were inevitable, and then he began to speak methodically, "Financial liberal democracy is the lowest common denominator and appeals to the broadest base possible by asserting nothing of distinctive value. As such, any alternative that understands differences between people, ideas, and values is a threat because it undermines democracy's claim that everything is identical and all aspects of all issues are apparent to everyone. If people started questioning the ability of voters to make decisions, or to understand even basic issue, then the premises of democracy would be revealed as comical and it would have to be restrained. This is especially funny in nations like America where the average voter has virtually no knowledge of the issues he is voting on. Why not let a monkey throw darts or have a lottery to pick a leader? Such a method would not do any worse than to let the mob vote." We asked Jesus why then America was so powerful and influential throughout the world if it had uninformed voters and leaders making its decisions. Jesus laughed heartily and articulated a response for us, "American entertainment and junk culture is only considered a leader by people within its borders. Europe mostly laughs as America because the educated can see the inevitable consequences of its problems and hints of the rot festering inside waiting to burst forth." Jesus forwarded the discussion; "America lost its direction after WW2, finding the need to define itself in opposition to other powerful nations instead of with some positive statement of values. It sought soft tolerance as its new identity, but this meant that previous values that unified people had to be discarded and every aberration and nonsensical protest had to be accommodated. Once we start tolerating what is harmful to the community, the idea of community quickly disappears, removing the foundation for culture." So then the value and power of such a culture is really an illusion? Jesus continued, "Citizens are allowed to purchase any products they want and are encouraged to be entertained, but this bread and circus existence of "freedom" yields nothing of value." We thought deeply about the possibility that all the western worlds material dominance was really just an illusion, a disease resting in the bed waiting to take over the host organism.

As we thumbed through these ideas Jesus continued to engage us, "America's purpose for the world is in boasting of its greatness so its impending bankruptcy in ten years and reduction to third world status within twenty-five years will encourage other nations not to emulate the behaviors and values that it promotes." He continued, "The rest of world culture is also harmed by a hesitation to assert themselves and instead tolerate the loud trends promoted by disintegrative forces. Every nation should to be true to their heritage and traditions instead of going along with trends that are contrary to what is related to their people. The trends will pass in time, but those who followed them will have wasted time and misdirected many others from what belongs to them." So it appears America itself becomes an example of the destructive powers of hedonism and the futile, destructive pursuit of materials. How does Jesus see an American being able to get a look at real culture if all they have ever seen is a two-dimensional plastic culture? "I encourage people to visit Europe and promise that it will be eye-opening and refreshing for someone from America because for a few weeks you will get to experience civilization. While some say I am biased for preferring capable, thoughtful people, the value of the lives they have far exceeds what Hollywood culture, Walmart, McDonalds, ballgames, and videogames offer to Americans." Material gain without spiritual value is no real gain at all. It is a loss for individuals and cultures as it sucks them dry of their marrow and leaves them hollow shells without meaning.

Bellies full of wine and fine cheeses, heads astir with thought and toes and fingers crimpled and withered from bath water, we decided to exit the bath and take our conversation into Jesus' chamber room where he offered to entertain us with some musical compositions on the cello. He continued to speak to us about politics and economics as we toweled off and put on our robes. "Economics are not important in healthy societies and are certainly not the first or second most important thing. Today's arguments that frame all issues in terms of economic impact lose all perspective - of course doing things costs more (and "hurts" the economy) while dumping toxic waste in someone's backyard is less expensive and thus is economically sound." We made our way down the hall into the parlor where we refreshed our wine glasses as Jesus voice continued to echo in our head. "The primacy of economics means that the quality of life suffers and shows that the goal of having a healthy, sane, civilized culture has been forgotten. Fix society and you'll have good enough economics. Focus on economics and you'll wreck everything of legitimate value as you cut corners to satisfy short term goals."

But how do we argue logically for a system based on qualitative values? Today's society is so focused on quantity and rating things by numbers as they are percieved as being more tangible than the qualitative aspects in things. Jesus shook his head and spoke, "through logic and the rules of different systems of arguing, it is possible to argue convincingly for or against anything, irrespective of the validity of such arguments. The Greek philosophical school of rhetoric should be understood as a demonstration of the futility of arguments and their distance from truth rather than as a handbook for making winning arguments for stupid ideas or legal cases." Our drinks refreshed, we continued our walk down the hall. Perhaps attempting to argue for or against a particular way of living is limited and incapable of getting at truth. Argument and logic are useful tools for understanding the world but they are not the end of the road as they have limitations and boundaries that prevent them from grasping ecstatic truths.

Jesus spoke more on the secular matters of politics and economics as we walked onward to the music chamber. "If we are forced to live under democracy, then capitalism can be our only system of valuation since the two are inseparable. Capitalism says that value only exists in what someone would pay for something, so wilderness could either be preserved or leveled for another strip mall, depending on the highest bidder." Interesting thoughts. It appears that the union of logical inquiry, scientific analysis, industrial modes of production and materialist's modes of thinking have contributed greatly to our life out of balance. The esoteric and sacred have been forgotten in favor of the exoteric and profane and as such the world is looked upon as a resource to be exploited and not as a spiritual center of becoming and interdependence.

What type of governance then can replace the dysfunctional ones? To this question Jesus was highly responsive, "A political system has to serve its people, with leadership that is concerned with what is best for the nation, fixing short-term concerns without introducing long-term problems. Government needs to have fewer opinions, but better ones from more qualified and thoughtful people." Jesus kept our ears occupied, "Many traditional systems throughout history operated effectively for the benefit of their people, without the need to appease every thoughtless opinion. Even Plato warned us that democracy was the worst form of government and constituted a crime against the community because it treated all people equally. His Republic details the general structure that works: the best should lead and the rest will fall in place."

In the midst of the materialistic fray of modernity we asked Jesus what future he saw for the natural world, the forests, oceans and savannas that mold our beings. It became obvious to us that Jesus was highly passionate yet despondent about these matters. "To fully know our roots and have a quality life we need to maintain our environment, but sadly this looks like a losing battle. While a locality or even nation can make an effort, the idea of economic "growth" puts the future aside in exchange for results now. The results are a massive destruction of nature, with things we all know about like deforestation, overfishing, and toxicity in our air and water. We acknowledge these issues but are unable to work together to stop the people who produce these causes. As a result, movements like ecofascism begin to make sense as a reaction to the futility of trying to work with the established financial democracy system." We made our way into the music chamber and Jesus arranged his cello and sheet music in the corner of the room, all while continuing to serenade us with his thoughts. "Until the system is changed away from democracy, the only way to preserve land or anything else of eternal, non-economic value, is to value it in economic terms and for preservers to gather money to protect it. This approach would be unnecessary in an intelligent system, but we have no options other than dealing with a materialistic system on its terms until it is replaced." He then stared out the window to the forest creek running behind his garden and spoke with subtle intensity. "We need to have a future where there is open space, not every piece of land settled with the maximum number of people crammed together like cockroaches." This spoke to everyone in the room who had been in an urban traffic jam, had seen the sunset stifled by pollution and the rivers filled with grime. We took a moment of silence to think everything over and then Jesus began to play the cello to intensify the moment and solidify all that had been discussed on our travel from the bathhouse to the chamber room.

After entertaining us with some of his moodiest compositions he informed us about his love for music and his influences as a cellist. "I've been playing off and on for about twenty years, but only composing over the last five. Bach's unaccompanied cello suites are an influence, and I've played an extensive classical repertoire, favoring Haydn's quartets, most of the classic cello concertos, and many symphonies where the great works of Beethoven and Mozart left the strongest impression and inspiration." Jesus continued, "I listen mostly to classical music because it communicates to me about the world I understand. Occasionally I listen to black metal classics from the 1991-1995 black metal period, favoring Burzum, Immortal, and Darkthrone." Art is important to the human soul. It exposes to us the unforeseen realms deep within reality and allows us to ponder what can be; in that sense, art is a representation of spirit in its many manifestations. Art is the silent universal voice that tells us of our inner character, our phobias and loves, it bespeaks of the flaws and beauties of our society and of our universe. Jesus expounds upon these thoughts when he speaks of music. "Music tells me what great minds see. I consider it a language rather than merely notes - a musician of value communicates something that is understood by the initiated and this is why some composers have lasting power. My works are still primitive and my recordings still sloppier, but I aspire to be able to leave behind something of worth to my culture, or at least be humorously self-sufficient in writing my funeral music." We all engaged in laughter for some minuets and once again fell silent as a serious wind reentered the room.

Jesus turned around and stared deeply into a large painting hanging over the mantle above his fireplace, "The Solitary Tree" by Casper David Friedrich. As he stared deeply into the painting tears welled up in the corner of his eyes and he began to speak passionately about art. "Real art must express something of significance, which modern art fails to do. It is even doubtful that any of the junk art produced today to the praise of post-modern critics will be studied in ten years time. Work originating from a shortage of ideas and talent simply has no lasting power except as a history of the hype that critics and advocates were able to produce." He paused, realizing he was getting overly impassioned, took a sip of wine to calm his nerves and then continued, "merely using the form of art does not constitute content." What is it then that makes great art? One thing is for sure, the art feeds on purpose and spirit. Art without spirit belies whatever extravagant methods were used to create it, or whatever hype was kindled to attempt to market it. Jesus' words were well taken by the interviewees.

Realizing that Jesus was highly passionate about the arts, we decided to ask him what he felt about art in the industrial world. Does the technology affect the creation? Does it drastically alter the culture, and the art? Would an angst ridden man smearing feces on a canvas be creating art? It is then worth wondering if all the angst ridden art of the 20th century, the art depicting man and nature as a jumble of meaningless abstract symbols, the art depicting us as a million eyes staring separately into the abyss is an amalgam of the modern worlds inner nature, a fractured world floating in the abyss. Jesus spoke in depth on these matters. "With modern technology making it trivial for anyone to put out books, art, and music, this doesn't add to the culture in any way because culture is always defined by the highest creative examples, and not merely a mob of voices making plentiful junk. Britney Spears is no Beethoven, and the artist expressing himself with feces is no Rubens. As we are in Kali Yuga, no great art should be expected and the almost complete absence of art over the last century confirms this. It is also noteworthy that there has been an absence of philosophy which is especially troubling because society needs a thinker or two now more than ever, but none appear." What then is going on with this deconstructionist attitude? How is it viewing the world, art, culture? Jesus enlightened us. "Postmodernism seems to be a form of mental indigestion concerned with deconstructing the whole into small elements that are disconnected from their structure and thus rendered meaningless once removed from their context. This same approach would take the wheels off of a car and dismiss them as circles, or remove the axles and call them poles, yet the car is rendered inoperable without them." What then are we to do when faced with this void, this deconstructive emptiness? Are we to give in, accept nihilism? Jesus enlightened us as to his perspectives on these matters. "There are varying definitions of nihilism, ranging from "hopeless despair over meaninglessness" to "rejection of arbitrary valuation and acceptance only of what is real." The latter definition I embrace, but consider it a variation of tautology in that reality must always be favored over idealism and delusion, and something is only what it is, and not what it is not. Since the way humans commonly communicate means assigning values and definitions crudely, many people understand the world through a hierarchy of mistakes where there is error at every level. Removing that error with careful analysis would be a nihilistic or tautological process that would clarify one's understanding of all things." We all paused to take in the words of Jesus and when he saw that clarity shone through our faces he continued. "Those who find despair and claim the world is meaningless seem to be acting out just as people drowning like to pull down others with them. Again, cause and effect seems backwards: those who see the world as meaningless will despair, but their lack of insight is of no concern to the world, or to others who have seen and experienced more."

But how is it possible to get people to understand the importance and value in the world as well as being a part of a greater whole when they are so focused on themselves and their individual gain? Jesus responded, "Some people can understand ideas in the abstract, such as how a functioning community would work, or even loose coalitions of people working for common values though geographically separated. However, such awareness exists only in a minority of people, thus more tangible demonstrations are needed." What kind of demonstrations are those? "Nature is the ultimate judge of reality, quickly confronting lies and delusions by punishing those who follow them. People should be exposed more to plants growing, animals birthing and dying - and how they go about hunting and being hunted. Everything is mortal in the cycle of life, but the animal form is only form and not the substance of life, thus transient existence is no objection to the whole of life, nor is any individual separate from it." We looked at each other in agreement and he continued, "Once some of these basic concepts of nature are grasped, people can understand that they too are animals and live according to the same natural principles. Just as animals and plants are raised for food, people should realize that they too will soon die and be gone forever. Since almost no one can accomplish anything as an individual, the individualist lifestyle leads nowhere, but as part of the group of like-minded people working for common goals, much of lasting importance can be accomplished."

As the sun sank low on the horizon we decided to ask Jesus more questions that were spiritual in nature. There was no doubt to us that Jesus was a deeply spiritual man and he confirmed it when we began to ask him. "I think spirituality is very important and consists of one's relationship with the universe -- obviously this would matter only to those who look farther than the immediate." We already knew his position on Judeo-Christianity so we wanted to know what he felt was a viable spiritual path for a western world crushed and drained of true spirituality. Jesus spoke, "Each race has it's own spirituality reflecting its position with the universe, and thus each is valid in that way. In what strikes Indo-Europeans as the most pathological, you have the Abrahamic people virtually confessing to moral degeneracy and an instinctual lack of decency in their holy texts where they fixate on "sin" and how to stop themselves from behaving badly. This seems like comedy to Indo-Europeans who never had any notion of "sin", but only saw "evil" in people who were stupid and made decisions that harmed normal people who did good by instinct. The old Indo-European myths of devils were equated with the forces of stupidity, each of which had to be confronted, outsmarted, and exterminated so the people weren't hampered by its existence." Jesus paused, judging our responses and then continued, "the caste system is important, as each person does best in the world by knowing how they contribute to the whole, and to do so in an appropriate way instead of contrary to their abilities and nature."

But we wanted to know more. In the modern world of science, what does that do to spirituality? Can the two coexist, or do they clash. In the past there have been scientists who have felt science undoes spirituality and they declare beliefs that are religious in nature mere "superstitions." But there have also been individuals within the scientific realm such as Carl Jung who have sought to defend aspects of spirituality and mythology. Jesus informed us as to some of his perspectives on these matters. "While scientists are free to comment on spirituality or anything else they like, discussions of spirituality quickly cease to be scientific, which calls the idea of coexistence into question. I think Jung was massively insightful and mostly correct, but don't think his spiritual discussions can be called scientific." Jesus continued probing the topic, "Science is a relative of industrialism, i.e. functional reproducibility without regard for the human consequences of that structure. Just as putting a human in a factory assembly line and having them make jars all day long will destroy their spirit in short order, so does living in a society governed by the reckless use of scientific physical possibility." We were about to interrupt with another question when Jesus raised his finger, telling us he wished to continue, "further, scientists tend to have an unusual psychology that marries arrogance and ignorance, so they make absolute assertions that are often proven wrong in short order, while they dismiss possibilities that are discovered by others later -- all this while at the same time moving forward to apply industrial uses of their "knowledge" for the highest bidder. This has reckless consequences as shown by modern ideas like genetically modified crops, or past inventions like cars that pollute the environment while foolishly using a non-renewable fuel source. These people are either incapable of envisioning consequences or are willfully ignorant of the long-term impact they create. In either case, this type of thinking is contrary to a concern with eternity."

Pleased by the response we received we decided to ask Jesus what he thought of some of the present day religious traditions besides Judeo-Christianity. Jesus began speaking, "Islam has several sects - some Abrahamic and thus suffering the same problems as Judeo-Christianity, while others seem tied to a traditional view that has more in common with Hinduism and ancient Indo-European religions." He continued, "Buddhism and Taoism offer clever solutions to retreat within and find satisfaction in disinterest, but such approaches are only appropriate for Eastern spirits, and Westerners who attempt to take on those values will typically find themselves contradicted against their instincts and ultimately dissatisfied for existing by avoiding life." He paused to stretch and then went on, "Hinduism is wiser and is related to traditional Indo-European spirituality and values. The notion of the cycles of life, and our existence in the era of Kali Yuga is essential and comparable to teachings in the Nordic Edda." But what of some of these new religious creations that have erected themselves during the 20th century? Jesus spoke, "New Age religions like Wicca are humanist and really little more than secular Judeo-Christianity. They want peace, love, equality, and other slave values, but these can provide no effective solutions since they only deal with effects of what they consider problems, and not causes." We shook our heads in agreement and then relaxed our minds by peering out the window into the misty evening.

Realizing that the sun had now dipped far below the horizon we decided to bid our farewells so as to not overstay our welcome. A warm smile grew over Jesus' face, thanking us for our coming into his home and being gracious guests. We felt our questions provoked good responses and were pleased with the hospitality and insights of our host. As he directed us to the front door he invited us back for more wine, conversation and sudsy bath taking. We cordially agreed to take him up on the offer again sometime and wandered away into the night stricken countryside and vanished into the forest glade like ghosts. - phantasm/no fun


"Kalevala and the Finnish soul"

The Finnish spiritual landscape is an odd one, for we have been subject to all kinds of cultural influences, most notably that of the Hammer Axe culture which left a lasting mark on us in its brief yet influential wake. Our people's beliefs have traces from the ancient, deeply shamanistic traditions to the clear consciousness of the active culture of the Aryans, but we are fully neither. Fortunately, Elias Lönnrot had collected traditional poetry to create Kalevala in 1835 and 1849, our national epic, the mirror of our collective soul. From that we can gain knowledge about the cultural shifts that took place then, although the information is preserved in such a form, that it must not be looked at with eyes deadly serious; rather, with eyes that allow imagination to run freely and see what most cannot see anymore.

The characters

The poems that Kalevala is comprised of form a story revolving mainly on the characters Väinämöinen, an age-old shaman/wizard of immense power who is able to wield great magic and cast spells by playing his kantele; Lemminkäinen, a great warrior with a fiery will and sword, he is an active conqueror; Joukahainen, another active type of man, who challenged mighty Väinämöinen itself in a battle of words; Ilmarinen, a skilled blacksmith, the forger of Sampo and the intermediary between Väinämöinen and Lemminkäinen/Joukahainen; and last, Louhi, the Hag of the North and an adversary of Väinämöinen. Also, Kullervo, a man of a tragic life, has his own side story in the Kalevala, which is important nonetheless as the East/West-dichotomy and Finnish mentality in general culminate in this single character. The five main characters also have their corresponding elements: Fire, Water and Air; Lemminkäinen/Joukahainen, Väinämöinen and Ilmarinen, respectively. Louhi could be associated with Earth because after all, she was the Golden Woman herself, now only demonized and considered as a remnant from the past.

Hunter-gatherer societies

These five characters represent the major cultural forces of olden times. Where Väinämöinen is a deep, shamanistic person, Lemminkäinen blazes headlong into battle and adventure. The reason these two men appear in Kalevala is that Finland has been subject to cultural changes and outside influence, most notably by the Hammer Axe culture, which had a profound impact in all its 400 years of effect in 2500 B.C. Väinämöinen and his 'blue' mindset is a representation of the old, original culture, that inhabited the lands before the Indo-European influence, namely Lemminkäinen. The old culture based on hunting-gathering and because of this, people were by far at the mercy of nature. They had to move frequently from place to place in search of food, and so they came to respect nature. They recognized that life is a cycle where death isn't an end but merely a new beginning of life, a necessity for the wheel to turn round and round. These hunter-gatherer tribes thus thought they lived in a "dream world" of sorts, without having a clear self-image to thrust upon the world as they were in a perfect harmony with the surrounding environment. They depicted this state of mind with the goddess Golden Woman, who was depicted to hold a boy on her lap, who laid in a fetal position. People died and were born in this position, and thus they were eternally contained within the loving Mother. They are the tribe of Kalervo, who are to face the great deluge, after which nothing is the same.

Whereas the Golden Woman represented the whole of the world for the hunter-gatherer people in their "dreamlike" consciousness, Louhi depicts the old and terrible, a distant past yet still looming below the sons of Kaleva. Louhi is the one whose daughters are being sought by heroes and to marry one, they must pass tests requiring skill and magic. These are quests to the past and perilous lands, and like the Aesir warred and plotted against the giants of Jotunheim, the heroes of Kalevala scheme and battle against Louhi, for she is the deep, dark unconscious, and battling against her is paramount to the achievement of the Sampo-state and founding a cosmic way.

The waterflood event and the following Sampo-state

Many religions have a myth about a great water flood that brings forth complete change with its rushing waves. Thus, flood is associated with change and as a landmark between the past and the future. While there aren't any literal references to water floods in Kalevala, except for maybe when Väinämöinen hits his knee with an axe and blood flows over the earth, there are several that correspond with its meaning: the quest for Sampo, Kullervo's story and the duel of singing between Joukahainen and Väinämöinen at the crossroads, for example. The flood event comes forth when two opposing sides confront each other: East and West, North and South, often depicted by characters having certain attributes. The clash results in a synthesis of the two forces which are left in the past then as something new is born.

The symbol of Ukonvasara, which is the Finnish equivalent of Thor's Hammer, depicts exactly this cultural change and new direction. There's one variation of it that has two men on horseback facing at opposite directions at the both ends of the hammer's head. These men are Lemminkäinen/Joukahainen and Väinämöinen, West and East respectively, and it is the struggle between these forces, united by Seppo Ilmarinen, that creates the upward column, the hilt of the hammer. Some variations actually have a tree as the hilt of the hammer, so it seems that it resembles the World Tree that harbours this conflict between the opposing forces within its roots. The state in which this unifying happens, the moment of finding new direction, is called the 'Sampo-state.'

Kullervo, the incarnation of Sampo-state

Kullervo's tale is a story separate from the main plot of Kalevala. It is described in it how a man is severed from his roots, having not even born among his kin but strange men, and facing constant hardships within the foreign culture of Untamo. After Kullervo is given birth, only three nights old he breaks his cradle and Untamo senses that he will bring misfortune upon them and thus tries to kill him three times, failing every time. Untamo then thought to himself that the boy could be perhaps used for some work at the farm, regardless of Kalervo's blood flowing through his veins. As it turns out, Kullervo fails miserably in each task that Untamo assigns him simply because he is a spiritually broken man, and the chaos within him prevents him from focusing and channeling will towards any goal. The unconsciousness - the blood of Kalervo - is too potent for him to resist it.

Untamo is then frustrated with such a wretched man and sells him as a slave to Ilmarinen, the blacksmith and an unifying factor as the element of Air. Ilmarinen lives at a farm with his wife, and they put Kullervo to do normal house chores and one day he is sent to herd cattle, Ilmarinen's malicious wife, however, baked a rock inside the loaf of bread they gave to Kullervo for food. Battered by the constant hardships of his life, he even doubts the substance of his bread, although it possesses a delicious appearance. When he started to cut to bread with his precious knife, inherited from his father, the blade suddenly snapped in half. In that moment of utter despair and the pinnacle of inner conflict, he let out the famous "Kullervo's Curse," which marked a turning point in his life. The forces that had previously battled each other in him to no avail, now formed a definite direction and a "cosmic space." Through will, he rose and decided to leave from under the yoke of Ilmarinen, summoning wolves and bears to the peril of Ilmarinen's wife. Kullervo then sought out his parents, who already thought he was dead and gone forever, like his sister is.

After that, Kullervo takes part in the daily chores of the family but still his spirit is a wounded, miserable one: in anything he tries his hand at, he fails miserably, even though he is now united with his kin. But he is neither of Kalervo or Untamo; he is the middle pillar. Eventually, returning from a trip of paying taxes on which he courts many women - being the young man he is - and suffering two drawbacks, the third woman takes interest in the gold in the sled and jumps in with obvious results. However, it turns out that she is the lost sister of Kullervo and by his chaotic action, he has defiled his own kin. Upon realizing this terrible deed, the woman runs into thundering rapids and drowns herself. Returning home, he tells the dire news but his mother tries to comfort him, for there would be many places in the vast depths of the woods to hide from the truth, in hopes of fading and forgetting the guilt. Kullervo declines as for him, there is no other option than to avenge against Untamo and ultimately, meet death. Others of the family claim not to miss him were he to perish and despite his mother's wishes, Kullervo severed himself from his kin, like he did with Untamo, and set out to war. - frostwood

copyright © 2006 mock Him productions