State of Things...
I look around me, we heathens today finally have a "past" in the
Still, 30 years on, we're wrangling over who we are.
I think it's time that we cease being an "entry-level" religion.
We've got people now who've been "doing Asatru" for 10 years and
some for many more, in many variations -- from an Icelandic model to the
AngloSaxon Rice now to Irminenschaft, each trying to be true to what has
been left to us -- and, 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 godhar...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, 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. It's both disrespectful of our
scholars and leaders...and, in the face of their experience, both modern and
what we've rediscovered from Elder sources, impractical.
In addition to an overabundance of tolerance where Lore and history are
concerned, we're up to our horned helmets in "seekers".
In practice, little is expected from these seekers to be heard, and no
dedication is expected. People just *are*. They can then begin
raising the noise-to-signal ratio on any discussion of our Folkway.
Besides the modern tendency toward a worship of the individual, the problem
stems, I believe, from people projecting onto the whole, onto heathenry,
their *own* spiritual and personal confusions, compromises, and foibles.
At best, 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 next guy.
Personally, I'm glad for each person who's made the journey "back
home" to the Folkway, the context native to Northern Europeans, as it
reminds me of the road I took to come home. 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 andfacilitate
that. But, again, don't confuse improving *yourself* with tinkering
with "who *WE* are".
In effect, we should be folk of a society which makes it possible toreach
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 godhar and other bright
lights discuss and diseminate 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
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
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 culturaladvancement 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
- self-appointed, or by flaw of temperament -- shows up, ready to reinvent
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".