The Saga of Odin/Chapter Seven: Year of Separation
Year of Separation
Blossoming apple-trees in the garden, planted by good hands. The beauty of their white and pink foliage this spring seems especially beautiful!
And Odin also admires beauty! His gentle Light-Love embraces space, permeates trunks and crowns, caresses every flower.
“God is like the Great Gardener, nurturing souls!
“The way of every soul is long — even before birth in the human body.
“Incarnate people can learn to love their younger brothers and sisters in plant and animal bodies.
“And then — every human soul should grow, blossom! And it is obligatory — to return to its Gardener good results!
“… It may seem that life is insignificant — in comparison with the immensity of the universe. In the immensity and eternity of the universe, it is just a small spark…
“But — human life can become very significant!
“If the soul has become Love, similar in quality to the Ocean of Divine Consciousness, then this Great Ocean replenishes Itself with such souls!
“Water drop acquires involvement in the power of the ocean, merging with the integrity of the entire ocean. And the ocean becomes more by… a whole drop…
“But the Ocean of the Universal Divine Consciousness expects and accepts the infusion into It of Those Souls Who have advanced to the Perfection — because His Infinite Vastness consists precisely of such ‘Drops’ replenishing It.
“People can help each other and other embodied beings in this Evolutionary Process!
“One who lovingly assists others in spiritual growth — that one finds special assistance of the Creator in his or her personal development.”
* * *
Before going on the way, Olav was thinking about who would be best to stay here, next to Annika, — for her safety. “But who can be left? Of course, any of the team would carry out this assignment, but, perhaps, only Vagni could agree to this with joy…”
When Olav told him about this, Vagni sighed happily:
“You, as always, are more than wise, Olav! I myself did not dare to ask you about this! After many years of life in foreign lands, I so did not want to leave these places again, just after I returned!
“I am ready to give my life for your beloved and I am ready to protect her from dangers if they suddenly happen.
“I have no home and family, and I will treat her like my daughter!
“But how will you manage without a pilot?”
“I remember all the pitfalls and currents that you told me. You do not doubt that I’m a good student!” — Olav said with a smile to him.
… So Vagni remained.
Jarl Ingvar allowed him to live in a small house on the shore, somewhat away from the settlement. Here sometimes the workers stayed to sleep, when their drakkars were repaired. Vagni was tempted also in this ability — and could help them both with advice and work.
A small river carried its streams and clean sand into the waters of the fjord in this place.
The house was old, but Vagni brought it in order.
Annika became a frequent guest at Vagni. She so wanted to talk about her beloved and asked Vagni about everything that he could tell.
”Tell me, is it true that Olav will be able to collect such a rich ransom?”
“I think, yes. He said that his foster father owned many lands, houses, and merchant vessels. He told me about the eastern luxury of his Arabic possessions in those distant countries where he happened to be. I think it will not be difficult for him to collect gold and jewelry.”
“Olav said that you knew him as a boy and that you saved his life twice.
“Tell me about him — at least something else! I’m so interested!”
“Yes, he was not the same as everyone else — even from childhood. He rushed to defend those who, in his opinion, were unjustly offended… And he was not afraid of anything!”
… Vagni told Annika a lot about what he remembered.
Once he told how Olav saved him:
“You asked, how I saved Olav’s life… But Olav, too, saved me! Saved — not from death, but from what is worse than death: from the slow, senseless fading of everything in my life…
“I already thought that my destiny is nearing completion and that everything of me is now in my past. There was only one dream: to die in native lands or at sea, but not in a foreign land, where I looked with disgust at everything that surrounded me.
“And then, Olav found me — and he changed all this! Next to him — my life again made sense! I became needed — and as though youth and vigor had returned! Even eyesight had improved!
“He is not a healer, but for some reason even people’s illnesses leave, if one were to be next to him! Here, for example, Roon, the skald-boy, — he was so weak! But after a few months’ journey together with Olav — he became as you saw him!
“And this happens to people, because Olav teaches them a different attitude to life, gives them hope, a goal! For everyone — he finds special words that are necessary specifically for that person. These words awaken strength and joy, encourage one to change oneself in order to become better!
“For example, he told me that my vision was diminished not due to old age, but because I saw only darkness and dirt around me, also because I looked only at the shortcomings of those people who were in my field of vision! And I was not ready to love those people, I did not seek to help them, but only yearned for my own past and condemned, hated everything and everyone around me…
“I do not know for sure whether the truth is what he says, but usually everything goes exactly as he speaks! My back does not hurt me anymore, and my eyes see almost as well as in my youth!
“And even now, without him, I understand that I need him and you — and this brings joy from life!
“A person’s life must necessarily make sense!
“Olav spoke on this words that I do not fully understand… He said that he lives in accordance with the Will and Power, Which are called by him God — One All-the-Father of all the worlds in the Creation.
“Olav is not a sorcerer, not a shaman, but he… speaks with God! And God reveals to him what he asks.
“I saw different priests — both from self-referring Christians, and from those who worship Odin, Mithra, or other Forces or spirits… They all only do rituals and cry out for the mercy of their God(s)…
“But Olav — he can talk with God… as with a Friend! It’s as we talk now between ourselves!”
“Yes… I heard him talking with God.
“Olav — he’s special! He is so beautiful, strong, pure, and clear! And in him, there is no lie, falsity. I had never seen such people before! Everyone shows off at least a little before others — either by power, or by mind, or by appearance, or by wealth… And — they hide what they do not want shown to others.”
“Yes, you are right! But Olav is sometimes difficult to understand… And even more difficult — to accompany, fully following his advice…”
“But even the unknown, about which he speaks, is so inviting, beautiful! And so I happily try to live the way he explained to me!”
“Sometimes, it seems to me that, what he believes as right for people’s lives, — it is not realizable in reality… But he… lives just that way — and has success!
“I do not know if it’s possible to learn to observe the principles about which he speaks in life. But I believe that people’s lives, in fact, would be better if all these rules were followed.
“Olav told me that he had a teacher, who was called a Sufi. This Arabic word means pure. And that teacher spoke about the laws of pure and righteous life for people. I’ll try to tell you what I have remembered:
‘A person must observe the purity of the body, food, clothing, and home.
‘Because external purity contributes to the purity of the internal.
‘A person must observe the purity of vision.
‘This means — to protect the eyes of the soul. And for this, you need not look at what causes anger, envy, and the desire to steal someone’s else.
‘But the contemplation of the beautiful — it gives the purification of the soul!
‘A person must observe the purity of hearing.
‘It means — to protect your hearing from foul-mouthed and mud-filled hate speech.
‘It’s a blessing to listen to beautiful music or gentle sounds of nature, listen to melodious singing and wise speeches.
‘A person must keep the hands clean.
‘This applies not only to washing them, but any deed, to which we apply our hands, must be kind, useful, and honest.
‘A person must keep clean thoughts.
‘That is, it is necessary to remove bad and gloomy thoughts, not wish evil to others and not self-pity. Heavy thoughts, devoid of purity, — destroy happiness.
‘But bright and kind thoughts bring success to the future of man.
‘One must keep one’s speech clean.
‘Because spoken words carry within themselves the strength and purpose of the soul. And do not waste it!
‘Words must be pronounced only when they can reach the goal in the soul of the hearer.
‘And also the purity of speech is acquired by the ability to remain silent. This ability helps make every word weighty, necessary, and timely.
‘It’s good to hear and understand the thoughts of the interlocutor. But even better — to understand the thoughts of God! And you can master this only by training your own mind to be silent.’
‘And most importantly, to which all the rules of purity serve, — one must observe the purity of the soul!
‘Because only a pure soul is able to walk the Path of the spiritual heart and approach the Purity of the Most High!
‘Only the purity of the spiritual heart allows us to display true love!
‘To give love and not demand love from others — this is the way of happiness!’
“Olav spoke a lot about the path of the spiritual heart, which brings man closer to the Divine and which can make a person as the Divine Souls, sometimes called Gods. Indeed, according to Olav, His Great One God consists of the Unity of Many Divine Souls.”
“Yes… Olav knows so much! And he opens to people their great opportunity and happiness — to love!”
… In such conversations Annika and Vagni often spent time, and Annika rejoiced in everything that she learned about her beloved.
* * *
Jarl Ingvar steadily advanced his desire — to become a konung. And he had achieved his goal.
To consolidate his new position, he decided to relocate the entire community to another location.
The property, the families — everything was immersed in the drakkars. Only Annika refused to go with all:
“Olav should return here! And I’ll wait for him here, as I promised!”
“He’ll be able to find you if he can and wants to return! But he might change his mind. How many pretty women has he met this year? We do not know this… And leaving with me, you will be the most desired bride for any yarl! You yourself can choose among them!”
“Do you still not understand, father? I love Olav!”
“Well, love!… Then let only his man Vagni remain here. He will tell Olav where to find us!”
“No! I, too, stay here!”
… Ingvar did not expect such obstinacy from his daughter. Enraged, he threatened to leave her alone, without the former guard. He hoped until the last moment that she would come to her senses. But Annika was firm in her decision.
Only Vagni stayed with Annika in a deserted settlement.
* * *
Annika liked to climb the high cliff and look from there to the distance — in the direction from which the sun shines in the daytime and from where her beloved returns.
She thought that when she looks at the sea and hears the sounds of waves, then she gets closer to him. As if her love can reach out and embrace him!
… Winter passed, spring came.
Apple trees blossomed. Before, fruit trees were not planted in these lands. Three seedlings, which were brought here by Olav on the vessel, were planted by him and Annika together. Young trees had survived the cold winter! And Annika, admiring the first of their several gentle flowers, felt that closer and closer is her beloved!
Once her emotion of love was so strong that she thought that the cliff, on which her body was standing, seemed to grow in the space of Light. As if it was a sort of ledge from the denser layers of Light, located above the great expanse of the most delicate white-gold Radiance. And even deeper was a whole sea of tender and affectionate Fire!
She felt that she could — by the soul that had become, as it were, winged from love, — slip into that Light and soar like a seagull. And maybe — fly to where the vessel transports Olav! And there — to be hugging the beloved!
In that Light, she suddenly had seen the Face and Eyes and felt the Embrace of gentle and affectionate Great Hands… “It’s evident that great God of my beloved Olav is helping me!” — Annika decided.
She could not hear the words of God, but had the feeling that in the Light the most gentle and beautiful words about love sounded! She dissolved into blissful happiness!…
… Annika ran down the cliff:
“Vagni! I have seen God of Olav!
“Olav is already close! Soon he will be here!”