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Heathen Law

By: Bodvar



...nothing makes me feel so content with the correctness of my
decision to stick to *established* and "thew-centered" folk -- as
opposed to "seekers" -- than to come to this list and find *three*
replies back to back showing not only that I'm not alone, but that
the value of law/thews/standards are see for what they are:  the
bedrock of our Folkway!

> Law is a non-removable aspect of a tribe, folk, or whatever other form of folk-social-embodiment...it is integrally interwoven within every fabric of that folk, and truly makes up the what you might say 'non-  tangible' ...or spiritual, or whatever: within law you find the totality of thew (thau), religion/religious systems...ethics, etc...


The law is the context in which we live.

Consider, not only from a "personal conduct" standpoint, but from a more ethereal, spiritual standpoint: 

...the folk of Asgardh live within a set of laws, both spiritual *and* physical.  They shape shift, becoming eagles and fishes within the limits of their invoking of these shapes, so our Lore tells us.  They fly across the sky, chased by wolves.  Furthermore, they can walk between worlds.  We of Midgardh cannot.  That is "against the law" in our sphere of the physical and spiritual.  Still, the Aesir and Vanir and a host of named and unnamed wights *as well as* agents of loss and chaos feel drawn to this one of the Nine Worlds.  They behave, so our Lore says, according to *our* laws while here.

That is because law CREATES context. 

Now, the example cited may to some simply be a discussion of abstracts, not taking into account the archetypal nature of our Lore, etc., that we understand more of the Multiverse now than did 9th Century Norsemen, 5th Century Goths or more ancient Scythians, Tocharians and proto-Germans.  We need fewer "fables" to explain the setting of the sun, the turning of the Earth, etc.

But, that doesn't explain why the Lore, indeed the Gods, still resonate within us.  Maybe the Lore *is* archetypal...but, that doesn't mean that the lessons of law are not there still to be learned!

We are who we are because of where and how and how faithfully we give our word, how well we commit to our Gods and to our laws and traditions.  A 2nd Century Cherusci or Marsii tribesman had fewer options -- he couldn't wear his hat backwards, wrap his pasty butt in FUBU "gear", listen to Eminem, and try to be a "brother", as an example -- but he *could* go out-of-law with his tribe -- with, in fact, his family, their ancestors, and his entire world, in essence -- by becoming an agent of Rome or some other foreign influence...taking on *their* laws, traditions and customs.  Then, he would no longer be a Cherusci...he'd not really be a Roman. 

He'd be nothing.  There's a lot of that about.

> I'm sure today's lack of understanding is completely in the genre of mainstream conception, but with Heathenry (speaking for we Northern Americans) has been around for the last 3 decades, and it isn't saying much that most of the Heathen groups out there are still stuck in the first decade of development, or so it would seem from the STILL apparent lack of true understanding of this (along with other key points as well)...

...spot on!

When one begins to talk of the law, one begins to hear of the failures of some organizations (generally in the eyes of the speaker) falling into some "cult of personality" regarding their leader.  These same people, therefore, hold themselves aloof from any law *but* that of their own devising, and so *create themselves as outlaws*!

After all, if you're not in the Innangardh, you're a foreigner.

I don't mind an organization having a strong leader.  That leader'll soon find, once I or any of the folk here (I'd bet) come into contact with the organization or tribe, that they'll still have their laurels, but scant little time to rest upon them.  Leaders *earn* their position, and must do so *daily*.  That, or *someone* more in touch with the aspirations of the folk will rise up and supplant him or her. 

But, one thing we *need* to un-learn is the phenomenon of having just such a leadership squabble while *still* protecting the Folk, keeping the organization or tribe together for the greater good.  In short, we need to relearn how to put ourselves within the law, working for the common good.

We've been force-fed the sexiness of "going alone", of being the cowboy, the mountain man, the rugged individualist.  Mountain men, in fact, really weren't Indians, and were scarcely "white men" after a while.  In short, they weren't anything.  They outlawed themselves. 

We need less of this "sexy" ruggedness and a bit more cooperation for the common good, with Northvegr getting respect from Irminsmenn (which I'd wager would not be hard to do), while Alliance asatruar receiving support from both, etc...within the commonly agree-upon law.

This is something which serious heathens need to discuss more...well...seriously....

-- B