Archive for January, 2016

Legacy and Godhood: The Blue Suit of Bowie

Posted in About me on January 11, 2016 by Tyrienne

*NOTE: Seeing so many posts on this topic from every imaginable direction seems to indicate the more people who learned ourselves through David Bowie seem to have a similar UPG regarding his legacy.  We only strengthen it by writing on it, It is encouraging to see so many people who wrote their own tributes on a similar vein!

Most of you reading this likely share the spiritual belief that a “Legacy” and even Godhood may be conferred upon those rare few manage to create a permanent, positive impression on the lives and futures of our peoples.  We have a religion of King Odinns and King Freyrs, by some believed to be either the academic origin or chosen physical reincarnation throughout time so that Gods do indeed walk among men, one lifetime at a time, rather than the typical idea of spontaneous manifestation exclusively, or perhaps some light dreaming.

In this, I can say that David Bowie was among the Gods of my teenage years.  I really do not talk much about the outsider status of Loki, and NO. I am not about to disrespect either David “Bowie” Jones or Loki Farbautison by even suggesting they belong to the soul.  If anything, Bowie would be more likened to a random Jotun, since Jotuns are androgynous and reports on gender are fluid at best (Hence Farbautison… I am supportive of the idea of scholarly Lokeans setting this as an identifier of scholarship)  The argument I would like to propose that as our society and culture changes, some Gods are inevitably forgotten as their domains become obsolete and irrelevant and new Gods that lead though story-legacy of great deeds, even if greatly flawed and mortal once, will become part of the narrative that guides future generations with new archetypes and ethic that are both honorable and encouraging to a certain population.

An example, for instance, of imperfect Gods are those with physical impairments that they are able to transcend:  Woten, Hod, Tyr, Hephestus, and even Loki are examples that can prevent the marginalization  of peoples with physical disabilities of lack of depth perception, blindness, amputation, limping, and torture survivor scarring and instead of showing weakness, shows that what most consider impairment would then be seen as an honorable strength.

Long gone are the Berdaches, and Norse sexuality varied from strict homophobia at its most Western regions to bacchanals in the Baltic for Freyr/Janis.

I hate labels, so I will go with my medical classification given at the time.  I was “diagnosed” with gender-identity disorder in grammar school….and I did not feel flawed.  This was in the late 80’s to 90’s…there was no such thing as “tolerance” or a plethora of choices of exact label (neat little box) you could decide to cramp yourself into as a little kid.  Online I write as a gender neutral, and in many forums I am assumed to be male.  (I’ve had more surgery than Caitlyn Jenner on my lady bits, but because the poor genetics of tumors/endo/cysts rather than desire for fame)  But, regardless- that is a fortunate thing for me because the spark of self I lost as I was forced into the cattle suit of “respectable adulthood” and the exchange my body made without my consent from androgynous ingenue to Tits and Ass…. to after hysterectomy and the weight loss since the last surgery to removed a disease ovary to feeling a bit more “like myself”.

Living without a period every month allows me to live within my head without the distraction and annoyance of what is an unnecessarily painful function in an infertile human.

Now, imagine having to go to (unsuccessful) therapy regarding my hatred of dresses, lace, and my “dangerous” hobbies of playing with the boys by climbing trees, fighting people for fun, and jumping off of playground equipment…the horror of everyone but my Nana was palpable.  People in my childhood world didn’t have any example of any person, living or dead, or exhibited the same strangeness in abhorance of how society had decided to pigeon hole my gender.

As an adult, I have no problem with being a woman, but through the internet instead of whining and griping about “unfairness” I create my own by defining myself, on my own terms via how I communicate with the outside world.  An ability that has only been gifted to us via the internet in the ease of allowing for people to judge the worth of writer entirely by the quality of one’s thoughts outside of a novel. Even female authors of old who wrote under pseudonym still had to wear a corset to leave the home.

I cannot credit Loki for explaining to me myself… It was watching David Bowie music videos as well as movies in which the man was featured.

In the character of David Bowie was a “flawed freak” who made those in the most basic element of first world culture feel uncomfortable at best… but despite his detractors, he existed in a place of success, respect, and legacy to aspire to for people like me from the 1960’s up and onward.

Although there were many other examples from Oscar Wilde to Lou Reed to Annie Lennox- David Bowie was the most accessible to the undefined “other” who would look at the gender check box in frustration and say “This isn’t specific enough… I am a female, but I think like a modern male”.

Even indigenous heathenry was subject to gender roles prior to this current “viking revisionism” period- as agrarian polytheists, women strived to marry well, do nothing but housework, look pretty and have children.  Period.  But if you had a penis, you could work with powertools.

This idea of life sounded like hell… I wanted the power tools (I’m gaining a collection)

Nana is a Hildebrandt descendant, who within in her life knew her grandmothers who kept the name matrilineally, that we owned property and were some pretty bad-ass Hexerei who knew our way around the seven books of Moses and Pow-wow like we invented it. (We didn’t…)

I came out of the closet as gay at age 13, not knowing better.
Nana replied: “You’re not gay, you’re bisexual and I’ve known since you were 4.”  Apparently, I asked her at that age “Why do I have to marry a boy, why can’t I just marry whomever I want?”

Sadly, Nana now has dementia and personally holds be responsible for a “black man in the white house” (I didn’t vote) as well as ISIS itself.

But what I can say is that she did say: “You’re like David Bowie.”

Up until this point, David Bowie was an abstraction of just another random singer on WMMR rock radio.  Every rock star looked like an androgynous mess of glitter, make-up, and spandex at that time, so I rather wrote him off as just another dude with sequins and make-up from the 70’s, and they dressed in such fashion on account of hard drugs.

So, I honestly researched David Bowie.  I watched his movies and interviews when I could catch them, I read biographies and encyclopedia articles, I listened to his music and I felt like “Life on Mars” was written as if he was looking at THIS girl at age 14 with the mousey brown hair with a shitty homelife like I was his movie…and the pathway to survival was not to cower in silence, to hide in shame, or to endure abuse and singing to me in only a way a teenager can believe in the power of music.

The power in being an “Outsider” is to fucking own it like you decided it was the most fabulous idea you came up with an no one was going to talk you out of it…and though the focus and the theatre of being an open carnival of the self by being so entirely honest about existing as a taboo, although a “freak”- privacy of my most deeply hurtful secrets was kept from those who could hurt me with the knowledge of my abusive home life and other deeply traumatic problems no child should experience.

Being “Other” does not necessarily always mean “Pariah”.

David Bowie existed by definition as a living God, in my opinion, of benevolent influence.  I consciously made the decision to define my terms with life as myself as opposed to being called diseased for my strengths instead of commanding enough intellectual respect to receive help for the flaws I could now accurately convey.

Loki honestly didn’t have a strong role in my childhood in the same capacity or knowledge of lore as I have now.  Loki-as-mare was a story of humiliation, not of honoring those whose mental view of themselves does not meet the expectation have upon their physical appearances. Loki in drag to get Thor’s hammer was yet another story of humour and cleverness….not so much that gender itself was an entirely human construct.

It is honestly easier to see how the modern interpretation of Heathen sources has been influenced by David Bowie standing his ground in his transitional, brilliant nature which in turn, makes Loki less marginalized as an ancestral deity. Not vice versa really seeing as David Bowie is rather better liked still than Loki by most Heathens…)

To begin to be myself, I needed to be able to find a way to surpass societies expectations of me in a way that would not feel contradictory to my actual person. With the money I saved up as a soccer referee/writing kids essays for them in the library for $20 and 50% help from my Nana, I purchased a baby blue flare-leg suit from Express after months of saving (and hiding money from my mother)…and with that suit, I said “Fuck if anyone puts me in a dress against my will again.”

Blue suit

The Blue Suit…He wore it better, but when I saw it for the first time, I consciously chose to own one.

My hatred of dresses and skirts had nothing to do with the actual clothing, but what it represented at the time to the world- subservience, intellectual mediocrity in favor of contrived and impossible femininity, and the taboo of being assertive.

In more modern therapy, I am called “Gender blind”-  meaning if Ed suddenly decided to wear cocktail gowns it wouldn’t change a damned thing (except our clothing budget).   We wear the same clothes anyway… it’s amazing how a tank top and lounge pants looks entirely acceptable both on two different gendered bodies.

I went full-out freak in high school.  Unlike Bowie, I was entirely without drugs, sex, or any sort of criminal activities… but although I had no aptitude for music, by the end of freshman year I was organizing a concert for AIDs awareness (taking over for another androgyne who lost his cognizance to drug addiction) twice a year until I gave it up my last semester to make certain the tradition continued.

We had no battle of the bands, The Concert for Life, I learned lasted over a decade post my graduation as the only local avenue for bands from not just my highschool but those from the surrounding schools as well.  I’ve met students who played in the show long after I was gone…and there was a legend that it was I who started the tradition.  I wasn’t, there were two prior to me.  Apparently, I also was the first “openly gay” student (not true…every year there was one of us- we called it “Alpha Queer”- I got it for 2 years because the person who was supposed to carry the mantle changed her mind…society itself changed, and by year 2000 life had improved tremendously for all ‘queer’ people of most varieties.)

I walked the hallways sometimes with the make-up of Alladin Sane (A Lad Insane)…


Before chopping it short on my own accord, mom got me a mullet. This is how I fixed that shit.

Other than that, I wore my hair over my weak eye, had elaborate purple and black eyeshadow and cropped my hair short in one of the three approved “Neutral Dyke” (Not Lipstick nor butch) hairstyles of 1998.  Long in front, short in back, highlights…. the other two being the “Riot Grrl” and “Hairgel spikes”….and usually wore a long black duster and occasional strange shit such as wings, horns, or facepaint.

I kept the suit until I grew boobs around age 22 and the hairstyle remained until 2007 with monthly trims.

bowie hair

RIP David Bowie…and 9 years of me having this exact haircut.

We have lost many celebrities who will be forgotten very recently.  As much as I loved Stone Temple Pilots, when Scott Weiland passed at a young age, my reaction like most was a resounding apathy of “Everyone dies, and he did stupid shit.”

Lemmy Dies, well, he was old as fuck…it’s sad, but he lived a full life.

David Bowie dies from secret cancer during which he released two albums at the age of 69?  Every artist, musician, and even nominal celebrity is expressing profound thoughts and extensive tributes in mere moments without editing- people are devastated, and unlike the deaths of most famous people this is a legitimate loss in the sense that he decriminalized avant-garde genius and being “queer” in every sense of the word.

I predict his legacy will be one that will last with the profundity of Freddie Mercury, instead, not for the reason of his voice in music, but in how his very image pushed boundaries in such a way that the minority of people “like me” who exist in this world can live without hating ourselves for a few less society-manufactured issues.

I am personally opposed to the radical over-sensitivity with which people are being asked to be treated on account of being a ideological minority- because that’s the cowards way.

The way of the Hero is to look at the majority and be able to say “I don’t fucking care if you judge me, my worth is found in what I contribute and using what inner Genius I possess to force the world not to discard me and what I have to offer over superficial nonsense.”

People LOATHED David Bowie in his early years, but some small amount of people “got it”, he constantly reinvented himself and instead of writing fiction, became the characters he imagined.  He was crass and cultured, he was beautiful and terrifying.

Most Gods start their existence as a legend, either based off of imaginary or history… As an adult, I now know the works of Oscar Wilde and Lord Byron, of Billie Tipton and Lou Reed.

I know Loki and Inari are gender-shifters, as are most Jotun.

The man who fell from Earth would have fit in nicely in marginalized Jotunheim as one who found himself in the Asgard of celebrity without deterioration- he endured a career of triumphs and persecution for four decades as became the penultimate example of virtue for “the liminal others” who were taught WE could also not only survive, but find a place of usefulness and honor in a world full of ubermensch barbarians and gentle, pretty mothers.

The self-chosen infertile genderless can aspire to neither perceived pinnacles of gender without extraordinarily painful self compromise and a life of contradiction and unfullfillment.  We needed another generic option.

David Bowie gave us “Strange Genius” and brought back the ‘Mystic Berdache’ legend in his performances.  He alternatively hated and embraced labels, he fucked up, he recovered…albums failed and they succeeded- but at the end of the race tally he was wildly successful not just financially, but as a human being as evidenced by the fact he is reported to have died peacefully of cancer he suffered out of the public eye surrounded by family…including his formerly estranged son.

He was flawed, but the success in life isn’t gauged by how much money you possess, but by how many people will care both as you are dying and after they have passed from this mortal coil.

Today, our culture has lost one of the first of our own Gods of the modern age, ascended entirely by the fact that David Jone’s legacy as a genius will far outlast his life on this Earth since the reach of his influence in life even now is unfathomable.  David Bowie was a creation by a man called David Jones, I doubt few will truly think on the fact that this artist created his novel of archetypes and characters on stage and screen instead of writing novels.

The Gods that die, are the ones that no one remembers.  The Gods that live are remembered and only died upon being forgotten and erased entirely from human consciousness.

He was something entirely new, entirely different not in any specific way, but in the myriad of ways he explored the human experience and portrayed those experiences via his “phases”, intentionally.

May we all have the opportunities to become Gods in the memories of the future generations via the legacies we leave behind.

Bowie was not a Heathen, but he’s a great example to all Rokkr, Lokeans, and Jotunatru who find themselves confined to the margins of Heathenry.

And when I finally pass from this world, I hope that in death I can meet my own Hero (even just for one day) and I imagine the conversation would look like this:

The Man Who Sold the World
We passed upon the stair, we spoke of was and when
Although I wasn’t there, he said I was his friend
Which came as some surprise I spoke into his eyes
I thought you died alone, a long long time ago
Oh no, not me
I never lost control
You’re face to face
With The Man Who Sold The World
I laughed and shook his hand, and made my way back home
I searched for form and land, for years and years I roamed
I gazed a gazely stare at all the millions here
We must have died alone, a long long time ago
Who knows? not me
We never lost control
You’re face to face
With the Man who Sold the WorldTo sell the world, you have to own it first… I see nothing to the contrary in the volume of reactions to his Death.  I am quite certain he will “live forever” if in nothing else, in legacy alone.