I'm going to put down a few of the things I firmly believe about our modern, revived and reestablished heathen Folkway, and open them for discussion.
For once, there's nothing of the secular political in them...I think. Nothing personal will be taken, I just want to see people think, and to know what folks think.
There are folkish and non-folkish, Alliance and non-Alliance, Theodish of a couple of different types, Irminenish, and non-aligned. We're all doing things our own way.
The First Generation Godhar and Gydhjur were walking out into darkness with little to guide them, and now we're thirty years on and frankly have a wealth of resources they'd only dreamed of.
This is a few conclusions *I've* come to thanks to their efforts, talking to many of you, talking to my ministry members, meeting a *lot* of folks, studying a fair bit...and living a rather busy life.
Your milage may vary.
** People of the Northern European Folkway are *NOT* a "people of the book", as are christians, jews and muslims. Asatru is about life, as I've said too many times to count, and life cannot be contained within the covers of a book. Our monotheistic neighbors seem to think that each of their sects have found "life's owners manual", but that's just being foolish.
** Our own Lore is woefully incomplete. At best, it's a glimpse through an apartment door peep-hole at the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. We've seen many good people beat their heads against the Lore and history, and we now have the foundations of a tradition of rite and conduct which serve us well...but, can still be disputed on the basis of "authenticity".
** There are two reasons our Lore is revered, one bad and one good. People seem to need precepts, precedent and rules to follow, and are accustomed by the last thousand years or more to having a book or books of those rules. That is bad. The Lore, as much as has survived, is *very* immediate, and *sings*, meaning that it's almost immediately understandable to our people. It makes sense. The Gods can be introduced in a reading of the Lore, that they might be more recognizable when they show up in person. That's good.
** The Vikings lived in the Eighth through
the Eleventh Centuries CE. The Goths
lived centuries before that. The germanic tribesmen lived
centuries before that, the Scythians before that, the Tocharians
before that, on back before recorded history. It is foolish
to try to *recreate* the Viking Age, etc. We live in the Twenty-First
Century CE, and our neighbors expect us to live in the now.
** Scholarship is wonderful, and our scholars are, by and large, generous and selfless.
Scholarship is *NOT*, however, the
basis of our Folkway.
** The Folkway has no priests. Period.
The catholics have priests. The romans had priests. The Philestines had priests to Dagon or Baal or some such beastie. The Egyptians had priests to gods with the heads of beetles and jackals and merry-go- round horses.
Priests exist to service gods. They propitiate, they weedle, they sacrifice, they dictate, they speak for their mentor diety, they keep their public in line.
...and then they sweep out the temple.
Priests are a class, a group of "sacred" or "sacral" personages, apart from the mass of men.
Our Gods do not require service. They deserve respect. Those are two different things. We need no class of "holy eunuchs".
** Our people have chieftains, instead. A chieftain guides his people, is empowered to speak for them in certain situations -- at the Althing, in situations where a single voice is needed, etc. -- and takes responsibility for his godhordh.
Scholars have the authority they've earned through a demonstration of their understanding of the Lore, history, or both. Some of our chieftains are also scholars. Not all are, and not all have to be. They *DO* have to take responsibility, they do have to guide and counsel, and so must be conversant in both the Lore...*AND* life.
** Any attempts to pass onesself off as "clergy", therefore, is tricking the uetaender. Any attempt to regularize and establish a clergy, setting up clergy training courses, is tricking ourselves.
It may be what *they* best understand our godhar and gydhjur to be -- giving us "street cred" -- but need to also understand that the religious is only one aspect of a godhi's duties. *DUTIES*, as in things you're expected to do, are responsible to do, not necessarily what you do because it's cool.
** Our chieftains are to be known as much by their generosity and their hospitality, their counsel and their being in the right place at the right time as by any "book-larnin'".
** A chieftain leads by consensus, but leads from the front. Often, he or she will suggest options and decisions to be made when their folk weren't even aware that something needed done.
** Our Northern European Folkway is a *communal* religion, for want of a better word. While it values a strong and complete individual, empowering, for want of a better word, the lone communicant; it really comes into it's own when it's individuals come together to celebrate the rites of the faith, to discuss, or just to hang out together, talking hobbies, kids and the business of daily living.
We are stronger together.
** The Folkway isn't becoming anything. It's a coming home.
Being a heathen is returning to our nature as a people, and as a person. It isn't unnatural or nonsensical -- e.g., asking a celebate man for marital advice -- but is an expression of what is *most* natural in the aspirations, spirtual and intellectual, of our people.
Since the beginnings of recorded time, a good bit of who we are, even under the threat of Roman or Hunnish or catholic or puritan incursion or domination, has survived despite all efforts to snuff it out. It survived, often times, within the very rites, ethic and structure of the nation or church which sought to rub it out.
That is because we were obeying the call of our nature as a people and should continue to do so.
** Our people, our Folk, aren't "all white people". They are our heathen kinsmen.
Black people are foreigners. They're not bad, just not us. They can be friends, can be allies, can be trusted as family. They are good people, by and large. But, they aren't in our innangardh. They don't have to duties and responsibilites incumbent upon those in the innangardh which earn one the trust and support of one's wider kin.
Likewise, white christians are foreigners.
Those of a racial frame of mind might
disagree, but their loyalty is to a foreign ethic -- however
much our own ethic underlies it -- and that makes them foreign.
Like other foreigners, they can be loved, hosted, trusted and
relied upon to the extent that they earn this love and trust.
Mind you, those of Northern European stock are closer than blacks or asians or Indians or south sea islanders to being Northern European heathens. But, we make that decisions once they arrive.
** You've met your kinsmen. All those you've not met are abstractions.
** Being a heathen isn't a ticket to the elect or the elite. It' a trust, can be a burden, is always a challenge, and bears duties with it. Ultimately, it ends in death.
** Other folk are worried about what happens once we die. Nobody living can answer that with certainty. So, we heathens try to *live* well, and leave death for later.
** Theodsmen are heathens. Irminsmen are heathens. Folkish heathens are, well, heathens. Non-folkish heathens are heathens. They all put a different english on the cueball, but and each have their own place within the innangardh, but we are kin nonetheless.
** The ethics of our Folk are ideals, and, as such, are humanly unattainable. We can only try the best you can.
** Our Gods are listening. Each oath is heard. Each oath broken is a "nails on the chalkboard", which they hear as well.
** The Gods intervene.
** It's best not to wait for the Gods to intervene.
** The difference between our Gods and the Gods of the monotheists of my acquaintance is that our Gods have a sense of humor.
** Don't measure a man's worth by his house, his car, his wallet, or his portfolio. Measure it by his wife, his kids, his friends, and his reputation. They're the only wealth you can take with you beyond the veil between worlds.
** Men and women aren't the same. Thank the Gods!
** If a person did nothing as a heathen but read the Havamal and the Noble Virtues, but put them to use, they'd be leagues ahead of any nine scholars who can read the Lore in Old Norse.
There. Have at it.