13. What modern cultural issues are closest to this deity’s heart? This strikes me as a rather odd prompt, but then again, I’m not usually one to project my ideals for social justice onto my spiritual practice. However, if there were anything Wayland would be concerned with in our present day American culture, it would be the desire for instant gratification. Perhaps this tendency could even be expanded to a general lack of foresight.
American think they know what they want, and they want it NOW. Sometimes with a “please,” more often with a foot stomp. The tantrums will only increase a resources inevitably become more scarce. Wayland is the embodiment of patience, and of attention to detail. Though I’ve never asked him, I’ve often wondered what he thinks of our “give it to me now” culture. This is a being who first waited for his wife to return, then waited again, biding his time to escape his captors and wreak his vengeance. He is focused, determined and not easily swayed in his path.
In more ways than one, Wayland’s behavior in the lore is anathema to our current modus operandi. If traffic isn’t going fast enough, we indulge in road rage. If we’re sad, we medicate ourselves with food, alcohol, and drugs. We act as if this age of abundance is never going to end, cracking open our Mother’s bones to suck the marrow in a frantic attempt to preserve an unsustainable status quo. We care little about the world we will leave for our children, or more importantly our children’s children’s children. Even Wayland, in his thirst for justice made provisions that his unborn child would not be harmed. That’s more than can be said for the rest of us, blind to the consequences of our momentary satisfaction.
If we are to survive, if any part of our great stores of information and knowledge (notice that I do not include wisdom here) is to be preserved, we must learn the lessons of patience and perseverance on an intimate, physical level. Hone your tools, learn a pre-industrial craft, put some of this amazing opportunity to good use. Practice patience as you persevere against these challenges, cultivate diligence alongside your cabbages. The slow and steady may not be as glamorous in the short term, but those who heed the Smith’s tale, and others like it, will have a head start–maybe even enough to save a species, if not a world.