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Thirty Years On
I look around me, we heathens today finally have a "past" in the
Still, thirty years on, we're wrangling over who we are.
think it's time that we cease being an "entry-level" religion.
We've got people now who've been "doing Asatru" for ten years and
some for many more, in many variations -- from an Icelandic model to the
AngloSaxon Rice now to Irminenschaft. Each
in his or her own way lives, trying to be true to what has been left to us.
Seeing how much effort it takes to "do" it properly, with
all the reading, etc., that tells me that we should have developed a class
of gođar, or at least a class of experts.
In the face of that, the constant on-line and even "real world"
carping and fault-finding and the tenderness about anyone being "the
boss of meeee", is working against us.
Criticism and carping exist even in the face of these learned and
experienced experts and of folk who've given a good bit of their lives to
the foundation of the Folkway. This
sort of thing is disrespectful both of our scholars and leaders.
It is, in the face of their experience both modern and what we've
rediscovered from Elder sources, also impractical impractical.
We're up to our horned helmets in "seekers".
In practice, little is expected from these seeker, and no dedication is
required. People just are, and every voice seems given equal
can then begin raising the noise-to-signal ratio upon entering any
discussion of our Folkway.
Besides the modern tendency toward a worship of the individual, the problem
stems from people projecting onto the whole, onto heathenry, their own
spiritual and personal confusions, compromises, and foibles.
This is backwards.
People don't assign their identity to the whole, they take a measure of
their identity from the whole. That's why we have a whole... otherwise, we
have a bag full of individuals competing to be more "me" than the
Personally, I'm glad for each person who's made the journey "back
home" to the Folkway, the context native to Northern Europeans.
That said, I really don't need see snapshots of their travels.
We often find ourselves faced with a difficulty of pronouns. Advance and
improve you all you wish. What I'm railing against is the confusion
of people who are defining "who WE are", and trying
to act upon that, with "who I am".
By all means, one should seek to arrive at a goal for yourself, and work
toward it. The society -- our Folk -- should compliment and facilitate that.
But, again, don't confuse improving yourself with tinkering with "who WE
In effect, we should be folk of a society that makes it possible to reach
one's goals without subverting, constantly reorganizing or fiddling with the
foundations of the faith.
Those foundations are pretty apparent, and are becoming clearer with each
passing day, as our scholars work to reveal more to us.
Furthermore, they become more apparent and more practical as our gođar,
our chieftains, and other bright lights discuss and disseminate the
practical business of living from Lore.
I won't address the "where does it say that in the Eddas" school
of limited scholarship and personal agenda here, but suffice it to say that
this dynamic exists along with the business I'm discussing here, and move
The importance of clarifying and realizing the foundations of heathery is
why a study of history -- going beyond the Vikings, by the way, both
back and forward -- should progress apace with a study of the Eddas and
Sagas. History is Lore, as well. A study of language, which is the basis of
thought after all, is also recommended as being as important
as a study of the Lore.
I think that we find ourselves in our online and real world conversations
focusing too much on advancement of the whole, of "heathenry", of
or still-young-and-tender society, under the guise of "serving the
individual". It's as if we're still organizing, even with several
tested organizations and societal models -- from the Alliance to Winland
Rice to the Irminenschaft -- over and over again, as new voices are raised.
All too often, the proposed and contested differences of focus are based
upon a quest for advancement based itself on self-analysis -- often carried
out by "drama queens", of which we have seen far too many -- when
self-analysis and personal spiritual and cultural advancement should be
completely the business of the individual, not an emotional feast
we're all expected to "enjoy".
Moreover, it this quest for spiritual "centeredness" should take
it’s cue from our rediscovered and modern traditions, not seek to alter
them in any way. A man walking in the woods who keeps changing his point of
reference will soon find himself lost.
Even a cursory study of ethno-history will show you that our society even
under the Christian yoke remained unchanged for tens of centuries,
especially in areas having to do with personal interaction and societal
If we're to improve the "who WE are" dynamic, we
would strip the impractical -- both because of foreign influence and modern
v. ancient impracticalities -- away from the model and run with what's left.
That should leave the individual enough wiggle room to be the best
"me" he can be.
”Folk” is the context in which the individual is relevant. An individual
can improve himself in context, or go out among foreigners and change
himself out of context. Personally, I don't believe that a person can be who
he is unless he's true to what he is.
I would hope that an individual would still have enough respect for the
context to leave the changing of it to cooler heads than some guy or group
of guys and gals who don't think that context elastic enough for their
personal goals, or which somehow offends their secular sensibilities.
We shouldn't be called upon to reorganize every time some new
"doer" -- self-appointed, or by flaw of temperament -- shows up,
ready to reinvent the wheel.
We need to agree, even (maybe especially) at the local kindred or sippe
level that there are standards. New people, as they arrive,
need to buy into them or keep "shopping".