Hey there folks,
Foremost I want you to accomplish two things prior to reading this post:
- Listen to this song(s) by Ensiferum, preferably with your eyes closed and in the dark. It aids in comprehension, retention, and inspiration. A perfect pink soul taught me that trick. – Ensiferum “Tumman Virran Taa/The Longest Journey (Heathen Throne Part 2)“
- Critically read the lyrics. Don’t just glance over them, but try to make sense of what is being expressed in this piece. These are not harsh vocals; this is poetry. Read these now.
Now that you’ve been enlightened, we can get on to the meat and potatoes and why I feel this song is relevant to the pilgrim’s Camino.
The path of mortals,
So narrow and brutal.
Only the bravest of them all
Will find true valours.
Yes, we few, we happy few, are the mortals and so many of us go through the motions of living without ever actually having experienced Life. When you work your entire Life without taking the time for yourself and others, what have you truly accomplished? When you bow to the pressure of outside forces, cater to the whims of those without your interests in mind, when you say “I can’t” or “I won’t” and merely sit on the sideline as the world passes you by, what is the point of existence then?
That is the brutality of it all – the lack of genuine experiences – when you have tunnel vision, when you allow yourself to be manipulated into thinking and acting into ways that go against your instinct. You cease to be alive and exchange what freedom you have for automation. The life of mortals is indeed narrow and brutal.
But only if you allow it to be.
Therein is the simplistic and altruistic nature of the Camino – everyone out here searches for that specific valor, braving uncertainty to briefly become the Seeker, and to aid others in their own quests. In a sense, every pilgrim out here, regardless of their motivations for walking, is adrift on their search to find the land where heroes roam. Why they walk is entirely for their own reasons, yet they become the Seeker nonetheless.
Decaying souls of men,
Who trust in false omens,
Will drown in the stream
With their untrue beliefs.
But even in this idyllic retreat there are decaying souls all throughout the Way – before, during, and after the journey – and false omens are rife. This is not an easy task for many people. Some find the journey too physically difficult and abandon it, never crossing that Dark Stream in the horizon. Others find ways to skirt the hardships and hire others to do their grunt work – bags are ported, reservations are made, nothing is left to chance, and the Way becomes little more than a long walk without recourse.
What purpose does the Way serve then if nothing is chanced and everything is known and expected? The Way is nothing without gathering your strength and crossing whatever Dark Stream you have set out to cross. By walking such a distance, faced with uncertainty every day, we can truly begin to grow as Seekers and pilgrims. Many lose sight of this in the convenience of technology and creature comforts and craft a hollow Way for themselves.
Dividing walls of stone,
Eternal heathen Throne,
Beneath the cold starlight.
Revealed for the purest sight.
Many give up the journey before they even come to the dividing walls of stone – mountains, churches, distances, however you fancy the metaphor. There are many divisions amongst the Way (and many of them are made of stone) but, as eternal as that Heathen Throne is, they can be overcome. Languages cease to be an issue when we walk together in contemplative silence. Injuries heal as we rest beneath the cold starlight. Emotions are rampant but are tempered by the same spark driving the Seekers onward. Through constant afflictions, we gather our strength and strive forward, ever chasing that searing star amidst the horizon.
And though one day we might physically leave the Way behind us, we are never truly finished with it, for the Way is never over. We become as much a part of it as it becomes a part of us. And thus, we have achieved immortality. No longer are our lives narrow and brutal, but eternal. Eternal as the Heathen Throne.
Yes, far beyond that Dark Stream, whatever it may be for you, we will meet the Way again. We will meet fellow pilgrims, Seekers, wanderers, and those simply searching for the land where heroes roam.
Far beyond the dark stream we’ll meet again.
Across the wilderness and we will be home.
Gather your strength, don’t be afraid.
Far beyond the dark stream, we’ll meet again.
We’ll meet again, comrades. And we will be home.
One thought on “Heathen Throne”
Amen! Lovely to contemplate on this Sunday morning in the ancient village of Dunblane, Scotland.