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Saga Times


Health and Luck All,

An older essay, but relevant to our talks here, I think.  It'll also give some insight into where I find the Poetic Significance in what we do in these Saga Times.  Not edited to bring it up to date. -


We use words to say who and what we are; within and without our Faith Community.  I think it useful to have a discussion about what those words mean to we Asatrúar.  We are those who live our Faith, for Folk and Family.  We are those who need no modifier; because we know that Our Faith is of a Folk.

     Kin :  Those to whom I am bound by Birth or Oath, and who that live that Bond in return.

     Kith :  Those with whom I am family or friend, unbound by Blood or Word. There are those of my Blood not worth the effort of recalling their names. I do have Kith who will not be so to at least some of my Kin.

     Tribe :  The Kin of my Kin.

     Folk :  The Kin of my Tribe, plus at least some Kith, mine or my Kin's.

These are, of course, a simplistic way of looking at the complex nature of how we interact as humans.

Such short looks at the topics do lead to other questions, such as: What Hold does a Bond of Blood by Birth have upon me?  How do I act on my Ties of Word through Oath?  Can I remain worthy if I follow a Bond of Blood or Tie of Word, and harm, by action or inaction, those not Kin, Kith, Tribe or Folk?  What am I trying to help create through my Bonds and Efforts?  Do we
need to be brutally honest with our parents and siblings about Our Faith to remain honorable?

Some answers which come to mind, admittedly facile in nature: I find that there are chosen family for whom I will give any effort. I accept being thought hard of heart, when I don't give to the "United Way," or to "Dress Casual at Work for Breast Cancer," or sign the "I am an organ donor" portion of my driver's license.  I don't see these coercions as useful to my community, whether it is my Tribe, or the area in which I live.

What are we trying to build here?  Perhaps this is the hardest question of all. Answers come easily to our lips, but hardest to our hearts. Firstly: I am here because I have a familial Kinship with the Ćsir and Vanir. Secondly:  I have formed Kithships with many fine women and men, in whom I hope to find, and be found worthy of, Kinship of Oath. Thirdly:  I hope to help lay a foundation for the survival of those human Tribes, which resemble me most strongly: physically and spiritually.  I AM most comfortable with those who resemble me most strongly, I AM very glad my two sisters married men of closely related heritage to my family's, and have birthed three wonderful children each (the oldest of which, my God Daughter, is in college now).

As to telling one's family about one's Faithful mode of living: My brother and sisters know that I left the Catholic Church better than two decades ago.  They have had talks with me about my beliefs, but I don't think they understand. I have not, out of love, and concern for their health, discussed the issue with my parents or remaining grandparent.  They "know" I don't go to Church anymore, and that I have some strange ideas about religion...  Kind of hard to maintain a Frithful conversation when there is a newly minted "Saint" of the Catholic Church on your mom's side, plus she keeps house and cooks for the parish priest.  But, I wouldn't trade anyone for his or her parents.  My mom says quite often that she and dad did too good a job of raising my sibs and I to be our own people.

****** The ones that do get it ******  will find an actual transition to community happening; their attitude shifting towards a more Folk and Family worldview; they won't know when the gestalt clicked into place; because it's a part of them they just did not recognize before.

I think you've noticed I tend to be quite moderate in my presentation.  Possibly I'm too subtle in my approach, but I am working for change, in people's thought processes and attitudes.

I have always been of the school of thought that evolutionary change from within is lasting and permanent.  We've a long road ahead.  I recall something Kinsman Valgard said in an interview I read: (paraphrase) It takes 20 years to reawake fully: 10 years to break free of the old thought fetters and 10 years to forge a truly Heathen worldview and mindset.

Duty is doing that which is right, all alone, in the dark and receiving only self-satisfaction in return.

     I'm one man, who writes essays, poems and letters, because I must.
     I'm one man, who talks to a wide variety of people, because I must.
     I'm one man, who stands Blót to give Honor and respect to the Holy Ones, because I must.
     I'm one guy, who's going to make a difference in some way, because I must.

I get discouraged, even angry, at times myself.  I have taken the habit (bad I suppose) of just disappearing for a couple of days or weeks at a time, going "to the woods" so to speak.  I drop off the face of the earth, then explain when I come back.

I have suffered burnout from things I cared about too deeply for the amount they really mattered.  Which is why I am careful in my efforts for this work, which matters a whole shit load more than the "may be folk" or "shitstirrers" ever will.

I have got broad shoulders and a thicker skin these days, but I try and be careful of the load I bear.

Something I do try and keep in mind, which I have stated before: For every ounce of gold we gain, we produce a ton of tailings.  It is hard, I know, to concentrate on the good Folk who emerge, through the cloud of human dross, when the dross solidifies into obstructing slag heaps.

I'm always looking for the hearty little seedling amongst the cinders and ash, which is setting in motion the eventual recovery of those wasteland into new greenness.

Perhaps this is a lesson of the tale of Ragnarok.

To look upon the devastation of our Peoples' Spirits caused by the soul fire from the southern deserts, wielded by steers masquerading as bulls (and aided by wolves seeking, well,
whatever they sought).  Perhaps in the dream of dreams at the heart of our Faith, the fire of Surt is the destruction caused by this foreign way, and we, the children of the survivors of this inner Ragnarok, are being freed to reclaim and renew, and the Old Ones are brought through the Fire.

I have a mystical outlook often times in my Kinship to the Holy Ćsir and Vanir, all starry eyed and shrouded in the mists of the Yewdales.

Uller, I think, Gifts me with visits, and acknowledgment, when I am doing my duty properly.  Some One of Them, who visits you during Blót to let you know They Know.

We ARE rebuilding here.  And, as at a physical forge, the work is dirty, tiring and often without reward in proportion to the effort.

An anecdote from mine own experience as a new hunter.  A cousin of my dad's was my main tutor in the area of woodcraft and hunting skills, though my dad did bring me small game hunting and my mom's dad would bring me upland bird hunting.

I was about nine and a half when I expressed the desire to go deer hunting.  It took me five years of learning before "Uncle" John declared me ready to actually hunt the Whitetail Deer (which I have lately taken to calling by the nickname - Ullarsnautgipir/Uller's cattle).

To the point: "Blooding" seems to be an ingrained Folkway.  When I was successful that first Deer Season, I was blooded by being given a small piece of the deer's liver to eat and having a smear of his blood wiped across my forehead. That part of my family is Scots-Irish / Russo-German / Mohawk. Uncle John explained it was a way of honoring the deer (he was "full blood" Mohawk), the liver being the seat of the buck's strength & vigor and the blood a sign of the life I had taken to bring food to the family.  He never said it was specifically a "Mohawk" way, he may have learned it from the older men of our extended clan of family and friends.

Ingrained Folkway I term it.  An echo of a memory of that time when we all depended on the largesse of Mother Nerthus and the skills guided by Elderfather Uller.

Other Folkways we may practice without a second thought?  "Knock on wood?"  Giving a Blessing when someone sneezes? Others?  Can we build on these to gain more of our heritage?

     I had hoped to strike a chord.

     Our Way is that of Land and Blood.
     Our Way is that of Family and Community.
     Our Way is that of Mind and Heart.
     Our Way is that of Troth with Faith.

I am more and more delighted by the Lore Hoard being unearthed by the men and women in this Ethereal Hall.  I am not surprised though.

     Our Folk is the farmer and the physicist,
     The poet and the doctor,
     The blacksmith and the web designer,
     The artist and the architect,
     The homemaker and the solitary bachelor.

And, more often then not, each one of the Folk can wear many hats, be for the community that which is useful at the moment of need.

I have a relatively short history in community with other Heathens.  The folks I find most interesting are a constant source of insight; giving practical information or drinks from the Well of Wisdom.

I think that a talk amongst like minded individuals can be useful in understanding the common ground we share, and where our fences lie.  Our strengths, weaknesses and the measure of effort one can give.

Me, I think I write pretty well, so I'll continue to contribute there.  I'm finally getting some solid conversation with a local Heathen or two, face to face even, so we'll forge ahead there, with a Samfélag at first.

And I still think the Vinlandbók project is worthy of effort.

My first European forebears were buried in the earth of Vinland in the early 1600's.  I have no idea how far back that small part of my Kinline which is Mohawk goes.

We of the Vinnish Nation do have our tales to tell, in all our variety of Tribes, New and Reborn.  What we are doing IS the stuff of new Sagas and Eddas.  Our Deeds have, what my Théodish friends call, Poetic Significance.  Our Deeds are Sacred, as additions to the Well should be considered.  We Vinnish...

     I'm starting to lose the words I need.

I took a couple hours away from the keyboard, and found some words.

To Vinland - 10 Lenting 2251 RE

001 Foamy necked waves break oer the shoal
Racing to wash, granite toothed beach
Greenish sea moss, garlands the rocks
Dark, wet and grey, set in the sand

005 The land ever waits, patient and hard
Always unchanged, uncaring, still
Beckoning those, who hear the call
Find me, find me, I lie in wait

009 Oaken sea steed, dances in mist
Crossing whale way, gull road taken
Into sunset, onward to West
Driven to prove, tales of new land

013 Ship's crew sings out, words to the sky
Odin, Ćgir, Thor speed our way
Trust in the Gods, and strength of back
Steersman holds board, sets a true course

017 Long are the nights, longer the days
Grey backed swells, endlessly same
Evening stars bright, lead ever on
Darkened sky sheep, cloud gift fills kegs

021 Noise comes to ear, watcher hears roar
Breakers tumbling, whispering birds
Fading mist lifts, sight to behold
Lowslung land dark, oertopped with green

025 Beyond the beach, river's mouth gapes
Calling the crew, travel this way
Longship slips in, trout home to wend
Pull to the bank, landsmen again

029 Uneasy heads, fitfully rest
Dreaming a dream, unproven land
Unproven folk, unproven wealth
Unproven Gods, unproven Fate

033 Wake to the dawn, Sun smiling warm
Heavy branched trees, round fragrant lea
Firs like at home, and grasses too
Eagle's shrill cry, splits morning calm

037 Sights to behold, richness of beasts
Branch antlered stag, bushy tailed squirrel
Trees of strange hue, flowers not known
Wild grapes found, Vinland is named

041 Old crewman dies, tree falls awry
Grave hole is dug, then mound is raised
Kin bones in earth, strange place no more
Witnessed by death, Land Bond is made

045 Timber and fur, fruit, fish, and drink
Ship is laden, cargo for home
East points the prow, foam trail behind
Trackless travel, wooden hull glides

049 Tales of new land, rumor no more
Place now to go, homesteads to build
Wealth to be had, cargoes to gain
Hofs to hallow, children to bear

053 Long the years pass, many ships sail
>From many lands, head to the West
Making a Home for Kin and Kith
Seeking ever frontiers to tread

057 Foamy necked waves break oer the shoal
Racing to wash, granite toothed beach
Greenish sea moss, garlands the rocks
Dark, wet and grey, set in the sand

061 The land ever waits, patient and hard
Always unchanged, uncaring, still
Beckoning those, who hear the call
Find me, find me, I lie in wait

In Frith under Troth, may the Gods see you!
- Piparskeggr skjaldberi Ullar

"Kemer wyth na wrylly gasa an forth goth rag an forth noweth!
(Take care not to discard the old ways for the new ways).
-Celtic saying