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The State of Things...

By: Böğvar


As I look around me, we heathens today finally have a "past" in the modern era.

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 along.

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 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 organization. 

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".