The journey to understanding starts with the willingness to ask “why?” Beyond that, we must seek that which makes logical sense to us, and what the heart deems as “feels right.” It is these two factors that drove me to constantly challenge the religions, and their influential values, that were placed on me, and society throughout time. My research (in alignment with most of the anthropological/psychological research completed) demonstrates that humans began to explore and understand the natural world around them as they migrated out of Africa those hundreds of thousand years ago.
Evolution in Beliefs of early humans:
- 300 kya – Early humans harness the power of fire (potentially allowing for northern more travel (heat), and cooked meals (extra proteins)). This concurs with the anthropological record showing the arrival of the Anatomical Modern Humans (AMH)
- 196 kya – Predominantly agreed upon “out of Africa” migration time frame.
- I believe (no records supporting as of this writing) that there was a “population stall” in (what is today) the Nile valley within the Middle East, spanning 50 – 60 thousand years. Before another major migration continued further east and further north.
- 10 kya – This puts the early modern settlers (Kormsa) in the northwest (what is today) Russia, relocating to northern Norway by this time.
- I believe (record research not complete) that these Kormsa people migrated south, at the time other peoples were migrating north intersecting in northern (what is today) Germany, and (what is today) southern Denmark at/or about 9 kya.
- 3 kya – Earliest farming communities appear throughout the flatlands that we call Denmark,
- CE – By the arrival of the Current Era (CE), we note that the Danish people are using the Rune written language to communicate. [Link]
This “intersection”, with the associated cognitive growth, spurred a greater understanding of the natural world. This understanding then, caused that population to have centered their beliefs around “the self”, with associations to their ancestors to embody favorable attributes in their legends. There was an acceptance of the supernatural, as well as designated methods to deal with the fallout from those events, however, my ancestors were more about “what they themselves did”. This removes the idea of any superior beings (i.e., gods) that would have been necessary, and I believe that the mythology that we hear about today for the Old Norse that was written and passed on, is by the monotheistic believers attempting to discredit these earlier pagan beliefs.
As a young child, I have always felt the call from my ancestors, speaking of this wisdom, however, it was not until recently that I began to know the words they spoke of. With this newfound knowledge and associated wisdom, I continue to absorb my family’s heritage and ancestral beliefs as I seek to help others find their way.
Our story begins during the “Upper” age of the Pleistocene Epoch in the Quarternary period of earth’s history, approximately 129,000 years ago, lasting until about 11.7 kya. For most of this period we find the last “Ice Age” covering most of the northern parts of the Earth, with the Last Glacial period lasting from 125 kya, until 11.7 kya, mostly ending when the Fennoscandian Ice Sheet receding back far enough to allow further migration North with the Last Glacial Maximum being around 26.5 kya.
Based on anthropological studies, we know within reason (several debated contradictory theories within the science community) that the Anatomical Modern Humans (AMH) migrated out of Africa somewhere between 150 – 115 kya. This migration followed several defined paths, however, there seemed to be some interbreeding between the hominids of that period (approximately 80 – 50 kya). Three (3) distinct groups other than the AMHs were the: Neanderthals, Denisovan, and Archaic humans (Homo Erectus) coexisted preceding to, and during the early existence of the AMH in what is Western Europe today (of which DNA traces can be extracted from AMHs of today). We can assert that the relocation of these hominids would have created a substantial change in diet, which would have created different proteins within their bodies, thereby increasing the critical thought process. It also, according to many DNA studies, altered their genetic makeup, as diet, stress, and other immediate factors can alter the genetic code of each generation of offspring. We know that the harnessing of the power to make “fire” was discovered approximately 300,000 years before the migration out of Africa by the ancestors of the AMH. In addition, during the interbreeding periods, we find the evolution of the Forkhead Box Protein (FOXP2) gene which allowed for an enhanced language to be used amongst several peoples of the time.
The Forkhead Box Protein (FOXP2) protein allowed new synapses to be created within the expanding AMH cranium cavity. These additional synapses allowed for a larger “reference of memory experiences”, and abstract thought processes. By increasing the reference thought, allowed those early humans to begin to understand the connection theories around them, as well as developing cognitive thought.
I believe that the “world darkness” that all creation theories seem to highlight, is not actually darkness but, “cognitive thinking” or understanding. Where the evolution of humans by breeding and eating “cooked” food, allowing for the genetic manipulation that assisted in the development of an understood language and provided for a marked increase in cognitive thought. This led to the use of multiple distinguishable languages across Europe, as noted in approximately 500 years before the common era.
As the ice sheets receded, exposing more “usable” land to the North, the herds of animals would have migrated to these newly exposed fertile lands, bringing with them, the hunter/gathering AMHs. As these transient travelers moved north with the herds and newly exposed lands, they continued to produce offspring, thereby enlarging groups to a point of populations. We know, from multiple accounts that these Germanic Tribes developed their religious beliefs based on the interaction with the natural world of the time. However, they primarily focused on “the self” becoming self-sufficient while ensuring their tribes became strong and healthy.
From the historical records, we find that modern humans went through a cognitive change starting in about 50 kya to 12 kya known as the “Upper Paleolithic Revolution”. It is during this time that many surmise that anatomically modern humans underwent a gradual cognitive transition allowing for more critical thoughts to emerge. Things like planning, self ornamentation, and cultural creation began to be a part of everyday life for these ancestors. It is during this time that we find the earliest samples of “cave art” and painted rocks throughout the migratory path, both in Europe and across Eurasia. From about 17 kya to (at least) 13.5 kya we can assume that the Peoples brought, and practiced some form of spirituality wherever they went, therefore it is safe to assume that this new place, called Northern Europe had its group of individuals for healing and cultural traditions. This is very important when we consider the “unknowns” of the time, and their use of spirituality to explain the supernatural.
Throughout this time, within the anthropological record, we find interbreeding between these modern humans, and the others during this time. Neanderthals, Denizens, and Archaic humans provide the genetic manipulations of these modern humans, The further development of the FOXP2 gene allowed for more advanced use of a language to convey ideas and thoughts of the spirit world all around our ancestors as they ventured across the lands in search of the birthplace of the sun.
Right around 13 kya, some speculate that a big rock smacked into the earth at a multitude of locations throughout the world, and extinguished all the megafauna (large animals) of the time, leaving food sources reduced greatly. The Younger-Dryas Impact hypothesis was proposed in 2007 by Dr. Richard Firestone during a spring conference. This, in turn with the substantial impact it must have had on the environment of the time. In addition, the need for the clan to explain how to get through this new obstacle would have definitely been necessary, therefore I am convinced that the practice of spirituality continued throughout these times.
This was also about the time the “Neolithic Revolution” happened throughout the earth. During this defined anthropological timeframe, discoveries show us that the humans of that time converted away from their hunter/gatherer techniques to more of an agriculture/settlement methodology.
From those days until now, the evolution of spirituality has continued, continuing in those early footprints, translating the interactions and wisdom offered by the land spirits who provide guidance to modern man. This is where my trajectory intersects with the evolutionary path. In a quest to alter my path and rekindle my connection with the spiritual world around us, I have studied my whole life for this time, for a time where my spiritual freedom can ride in tandem with the ancestors who rode before me.
As an educated man, I can only assume that this “vision” has been given to me by my ancestors as a way of understanding how things came to be. As a former member of the Christian study, these details were, at first, very strange and contradictory to what I believed. However, as I traveled back in my history to my ancestry, and rekindled the knowledge of the Norse legends and understandings.
Our story really begins approximately 600 thousand years ago (kya) when the ancestor or our ancestors was discovered in a cave at Sima de Los Huesos in Atapuerca, Spain (Bermúdez de Castro et al. 1997) which places them at the beginning of the Neanderthal evolutionary lineage (Bischoff et al. 2007). We know that the split between this genus and the homo-Sapien, and homo-Neanderthals happened at about 240 kya, as one of the important prerequisites for body painting was the loss (or great reduction) of body and facial hair. The fossil record does not tell us precisely when this occurred but we do know that the hair keratin gene KRTHAP1, which is functional in chimpanzees and gorillas, was inactivated in the line leading to modern humans within the past 240 000 years (Winter et al. 2001; Bradley, 2008). While these ancestors did not use body painting, they must have had the knowledge and or have been cognizant of the practice as we have a geological record of two very important findings:
- Body coloring ochre is ∼ 164 000 BP from a South African coastal site, Pinnacle Point, where 57 pigment pieces were found (Marean et al. 2007).
- Body decoration, whether with pigments or with beads made from pierced shells such as those found in the Blombos caves of South Africa (Henshilwood et al. 2002; dated to ∼ 100 000 BP by Jacobs et al. 2006), suggests highly developed cognitive functions and symbolling activity.
This means that these ancestors were beginning the process of developing fully cognitive thought of other concentrations other than that of pure survival, or propagation needs. The proteins identified here were expanding the human cognitive thought potentially to new limits and therefore would have begun to ponder the “meaning of life”. There are two more cognizant evolutions that our ancestors undertook that are significant here:
- At about 60 kya the homo-Neanderthals demonstrated the use of body modifications for camouflage purposes.
- At about 30 kya the homo-Sapiens demonstrated their use of art with drawings.
There are many facets of this evolution that are of critical importance in understanding the development of spiritual cognizance. I think of these individuals “experiencing” the natural wonders of this new world. The many different animals discovered, the landscapes, and particularly the weather, would have all had substantial impacts on the development of cognitive thoughts in these early humans. As the earliest ancestors were evolving, their ability to retain longer-term memories, much like animals of today, until the idea is repeated multiple times. These early humans were still evolving from their “instinctual” predecessors. Having random thoughts is a luxury for these humans who were not at the top of their food chain at the time.
This is where the idea of safety in numbers came to fruition. Having a larger number of humans within the group offered a mental reprieve from having to constantly be “on guard”, which permitted them the luxury of having random thoughts, or less instinctive thoughts anyway. I believe that this would lead them to try to understand how/why things happened within their environment in hopes to be able to predict and prepare for the fallout from any natural events. This is where the “referential” thinking comes into focus, as they would have had previous “similar” events that may have left some type of memory, which could then be referenced when seeing similar pre-events taking place.
As they are focused on trying to predict the weather and other natural events, the Forkhead protein was stimulating the exponential growth of synapses throughout the cranium, linking memories to conscious thought and associating memories together thereby allowing for recall of similarities. By definition, this becomes the foundation for cognitive thought. The ability to recall memories fostered the development of communications. It would take generations to develop what we would call a “language”, but the ability to pass on thoughts and understanding would take root in these early developments of cognitive thought.
During the early days of cognitive thought, while they could easily wrestle with the “fallout from” the natural events occurring around them, the understanding of “why” things happened might have been a little tougher to tackle. As such, they began to search for something larger than themselves as the answer to many of life’s questions. When those early humans needed to know an answer, they collaborated with others within their group by “inquiring”. This method of expanding the understanding extended to inquire about other things, and then ultimately to no one in particular.
My mission now is to teach individuals to harness their own internal energy by seeking to obtain balance. We must learn to communicate with, and seek advice from, those spirits that surround us every minute of every day. We must learn to live our lives with purpose, and balance. Be one with all things around us, and learn from them, that which makes this existence a better place for all humankind.
More to come as I seek wisdom from these spirits, and learn my rightful home as a Dane Pagan.
My responsibility is to help others learn to listen to the appropriate spirits to help guide them in their lifetimes to achieve their purpose. There are spirits that surround us each day, and knowing which spirit to communicate with, regarding specific challenges in our lives, may be challenging. It is my teachings that can help communicate with the right spirits at the right time to accomplish what is needing to be learned. In addition, there are some spirits who left something undone in their lifetimes, and therefore, as an elder, I help foster the completion of those tasks, allowing the spirit to find peace and balance. I teach my followers to understand the pain of the earth, the sky, and the great oceans, and to utilize their specific skills to help heal the wounds left by those who have no mercy for what they destroy. My primary purpose in my understanding of my faith is to teach that: we are ALL PERSONALLY responsible for our future and our destiny. We have guiding principles (embodied as men/women) who can provide us with the courage and motivation to accomplish our objectives, but that ultimately the success and failure are completely dependent on each of us. Blaming other people, or conditions, for our failures allows many to assume the “victim” role, which we are not designed to assume.
As a wedding officiant, I work with the couple to understand the influences that the spirits will have on their lives together and help them know the right spirits of ancestors to call upon to ensure overall success in the marriage.
As a counselor, my continued understanding of the connection between the spirit world and the physical plane helps to guide my friends through their challenges with an understanding of the spiritual influence that may be placed upon them.