What is wyrd? – Wyrd minds

You’ve had a look at the distinctions between the concepts of Wyrd and Fate; you’ve had a glance or two at Wyrd Myths, and perhaps jumped forward a bit to see why it’s of more than just passing interest that ‘weird’ is a noun; but now you’re probably wondering “What’s the point? Why bother?”. In other words, how do we take it out of the realm of myth and theory, and put it to practical use

The main point is that it breaks us free of a dilemma presented to us by the standard myth of Fate. If, as Stuart Wilde or Anthony Robbins and their ilk would suggest, we try to ‘wrest control of our life from the Fates’, we land on one horn of the dilemma: it doesn’t work, because there’s no such thing as control. (If you doubt that, try controlling every aspect of your life, from this moment on: every sneeze, every breath, every interaction with every passing stranger – if nothing else, it’s a quick route to insanity!) Or if, at the other New Age extreme, we try only to ‘think positive’ and repeat endless affirmations in the hope that the Fates will somehow smile upon us, we’ll be caught on the other horn of the dilemma: it’s almost guaranteed to create only a life filled with frustration, disappointment and powerlessness, which doesn’t exactly work well either…

There is another way: the catch is that it’s weird – literally. To get it to work – and get us past that dilemma of futility and failure – we must first accept that it is weird: and then work with it accordingly. To get it to work, we need to develop a wyrd mind – and an equally wyrd heart – and build it into a way of life, until eventually everyday weirdnesses such as Murphy’s Law cease to be ‘unfairnesses’ that we complain about, but become tools which we can use.

Developing a wyrd mind has become easier in recent years: in addition to the old mythology – which is sometimes more misleading than helpful – there is a wealth of new theory from a variety of scientific and other sources. The mythology tells us that the wyrd is ‘the everything’ – the interweaving of everything, everyone, everywhere, everywhen; yet modern chaos theory, and the much-discussed Gaia Hypothesis, tell us exactly the same. Every point contains every other point, the mythology suggests; so does the new mathematics behind fractal geometry. All we need do is expand that scientific awareness a little wider, and realise – literally ‘real-ise’, in our own lives – that the same applies to everything. Every moment contains an infinity of possibilities; every action is a choice, with echoes that ripple out along the threads of wyrd through the whole of reality. There are boundaries between us, between each and every ‘I’; yet at the same time, as transpersonal psychology has long shown, there are no boundaries at all – the same threads of the wyrd pass through every one of us. When we’re stuck in the ‘outer’ world, caught on some practical problem, we can look inward for answers; in the same way, we can choose to see our own issues writ large in the outer world, and tackle them through practical action – because ultimately it’s all the same weaving, all the same wyrd.

None of this is exactly easy: it does take practice to change the concept of wyrd from an mere idea to something that we can use in the everyday world. We also need to keep open, keep aware, to recognise what Reality Department is showing us: there’s always a choice, there’s always a twist, says the wyrd, so we need to be aware of the twists that follow on from our choices! Yet the inverse is also true: if there’s a twist in what’s happening around – especially something that we would ordinarily describe as ‘weird’ – then there’s usually a choice hidden away within it… a choice which we can follow, if we wish. Sometimes with times like these there’s even a sense of ‘impending wyrd’ – a strange tension ‘in the air’, so to speak, which we can use as a clue to warn us that there are important options arising. Traditionally, there are times when these strange ‘gaps between the worlds’ are more prevalent: Beltane (May Eve) and Samhain (Hallowe’en) are two well-known examples, but there are others we can use in exactly the same way – if we allow ourselves to become aware of them.

One crucial problem in this is that we need to develop not just a wyrd mind, but a wyrd heart too (and a wyrd soul, perhaps – who knows?) Facing the wyrd – especially facing our wyrd, in the form of some repeated pattern or ‘geis’ in our life – can often be frightening: few people are comfortable with ‘everything, everywhere, everyone, everywhen’… In the Greek tradition, this aspect of the wyrd was personified by Pan: and when ‘the everything’ – the literal meaning of ‘Pan’ – suddenly presents itself to us, and seems about to overwhelm us, it’s all too easy to fall into panic, trying to be anywhere but ‘here’! Yet when that kind of weird feeling arises, there’s no point in trying to run away to ‘anywhere but here’, because ‘everything, everywhere, everywhen, everyone’ is already ‘here’ – so there’s nowhere to go… It’s at times like these that we need to find the courage to stop, to turn round and face the panic – because it’s only then that we’ll see the wealth of choices we’re being offered there.

Sometimes it’s useful to remember that the origin of the word ‘courage’ is ‘coeur-rage’: literally, ‘heart-madness’, the madness of the heart, which is to trust – to trust, as the Desiderata put it, that “you have a right to be here, no less than the trees and stars; and whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should”…

Wyrd hearts… wyrd minds… a different way of being in the world…

Elsewhere on this site you’ll find some wyrd examples, to help you gain a better understanding of the nature of the wyrd, and how it shows itself in everyday life; and there are also some exercises in practical wyrdness, to illustrate how the ideas can be put into use in your own world. It’s up to you, of course: but we think that, like us, you’ll find that ‘being wyrd’ is a better way to be!

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