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On Chieftainship and Folkship, some thoughts

by: Piparskeggr


Health and Luck All,

What is Chieftainship?

and its compliment:

What is Folkship?

For me, a chieftain is someone who is in some measure of authority over me; through my agreement with the bylaws of a group I wish to join (at first) and/or by virtue of my recognizing the quality of their chieftaincy as of Worth to my life. I see in them, a leader amongst our folk, and a person who would be a leader in any community.
There is something, a Touch of the Holy, I believe, about them, though they may not be the Holiest of men or women. I further believe that a Trú chieftain does act as a warden of the Luck of Land and Folk, and does nothing to endanger the Luck or the Orlay of the Folk.

I think they are more servant than served.

I prefer one who is able, reluctant to be at the fore, but recognizes the Duty and Doing.

In my world view, a chieftain has earned that place by word and deed.
A chieftain earns that place by word and deed.
A Trú chieftain Knows the Earning, and required Worthiness.
A false chieftain looks to their own Name (and needs) as being above that of the Folk and sees not the Need to Prove their Worth each day.

Those I acknowledge as chieftains whom I will follow, have returned the honor, respect and courtesy with which I treat them.
They have never abused my willingness to help.
They have never taken me for granted and have thanked me for even the smallest thing I have done for the community, or them personally.
They understand I misspeak sometimes, see that I know my errors and that I self-impose wergild of some sort.
They also understand that I disappear sometimes, "going to the woods," as my Theodish friends are wont to say.
They know that my wife and family come before any other man or woman.
They understand we may sometimes disagree, but will never be out of Frith with each other.

Chieftainship, to me, stems from a Bond, without Hold Oath.
No words I say, can take the place of my Wyrd being Woven with theirs, or that of others, by sharing Life.
No words a chieftain says can forge and strengthen that Bond, without the sharing of Life.

I am, unlike others, an Oathfree heathen, in large part.
I know the significance of Oaths, and being human and fallible, do not createthat which I do not know I can upkeep.
I have one Hold Oath to another person, my wedding vows, and I shall die before breaking that Oath.
I do have outstanding Boasts of things I shall try to accomplish, and sometimes it takes longer than I like to accomplish them.

A good chieftain handles the reins of leadership lightly, for the folk are not draft animals.
A good chieftain listens and laughs more than he scowls and dictates.
The majority of his Deemings should be the words of the Folk, not his own.
But, there do exist times when he muct act for the good of the community, and face the folk afterwards.
A good chieftain builds a Good Name on these times, both of being the Folk's Voice and that of being the Folk's Hammer.

A good chieftain is as at ease with a 6 month old child or a gangly, uncertain teenager as he is with his shield companions or a grey-haired elder of the folk.

There is really so little to being a good chieftain, but it is so many things, to different people.

There is also very little to good Folkship.

Do the best you can day by day, with what you have for strengths.
Do that which is right for family, folk and community.
Seek to improve something about yourself, just a little every day.

Listen and read more than you speak and write.
Give your words the weight they deserve before your fellows.

When you do speak or write, the words should be the best you have, building your Name, bringing Fame to your Kinline, bringing Wisdom to the Community.

But, also know laughter and song, tears and terse prose.
We are given life, mind and will by the Holy Ones, but we know joy and sorrow, anger and reconciliation.

Be as complete a man or woman as possible.

Acknowledge that there are those lesser than you, as well as greater, but be in frith under troth with all.
Tis no shame being different.
Tis a shame to have shame from it.

Not all are leaders.
Not all of the rest are followers.
Acknowledge the "stand asiders."
They too do contribute in their own way.
They too are of the folk.

We are all of us here willingly, seeking some measure of community, within our various religious expressions of that inner Faithway, which leads North, and Home.

A few kroner...
In Frith under Troth, may the Gods see you!
- Piparskeggr skjaldberi Ullar
Builder for the Future and Traveler within the Northern Folkway
Willing to work with all who advance Our Faith and Folkways.
River Wood Samfélag - Ćldorman
Forest City Hall of the Vinland Lodge - Steward