The Soul Complex, Pt 2 – The Ek
The Ek, or ego, is the second part of the soul complex listed in Founder Stephen McNallen’s book, Asatru, A Native European Spirituality. In many modern religions, the Ego is seen as a bad thing, to be surrendered to God or a higher power in order to transcend. You’ll see it spoken of as a bad thing in the mundane as well. Often bodybuilders and elite athletes will tell you to “leave your ego at the door” or “your ego is holding you back.” In Asatru we reject this notion.
Ek, or Ego comes from the meaning “I” or “I, myself.” The German word for “i” is “Ich” which is also from the Old Norse “ek.’
It’s what defines you as an individual, what makes you unique among the collective. It is what drives the desire for personal freedom, a rejection of submission, and encourages us each to stand out amongst the whole of our tribe or kindred, or Church. A poorly developed ego is part of the soul sickness that our Founder often speaks of. We are taught in the modern world that the smallest accomplishment should be rewarded, that participation is enough, and that standing out is poorly looked upon. In Asatru, what feeds your Ek, your ego, is accomplishment through Victory. That we each share in those victories, and that you should absolutely be proud of all you accomplish. In fact, I often encourage this amongst our folk, if you boast about any accomplishment, for example, buying your first home, getting a promotion at work, proposing to your sweetheart.. All these things can inspire others to take strides toward accomplishing something great. It's Not an inflated ego that makes us boast, it is a healthy one.
Boasting about what you “are going to do” is the result of a poorly trained ego. “Planning to win” isn’t the same as winning.
In the (Asatru) view, the ego or ek is only “bad” if it is limited by our small, superficial notion of who we are. Even then it is not evil, only incomplete- for even a restricted sense of self is better than “becoming one with God,” Dissolving into the infinite sea,” or “merging with the Oversoul.”
Stephen McNallen, Asatru, A Native European Spirituality.
In the above passage, Father McNallen is referring to the need by Modern society to just merge, or or be consumed by the flowing tide of modernity, that you are not special.
Be exceptional. Stand out among your peers. The pursuit of sameness, of equality, is the destruction of excellence. Train yourself, your ek, to be who you were born to be… a man or woman of exceptional character, with a well trained ego, who looks to climb higher and higher and stand tall among the world. This is your destiny, it is OUR destiny.
A caution; nothing here should be construed as advocating the narrow, deceptive and self-satisfied glorification of one’s self. There is all the difference in the world between egoism and egotism. One is puffery, and the other genuine development. Those who have come far are humbled by how far they have to go, and they will not belittle those who have accomplished less.
Stephen McNallen, Asatru, A Native European Spirituality
Witan Daniel Young