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On Tribalism

by: Swain Wodening


Tough questions as not everyone describes tribal Heathenry the same way. But a rough definition of tribal Heathenry might be, "A reconstruction for the purpose of resurrecting the social structure of the ancient Heathens, and with it their emphasis on familial and other bonds." The reason we need tribalism in modern heathenry is because ancient Heathen evolved beside tribalism. The moment that the tribes started to become nations, they began to convert to Christianity, and not ironically, this is when the family as a social unit began to disappear. Modern society is not real helpful to the practice of Heathenry, and this has nothing to do with technological advances. Instead it has to do with the decay of the nuclear family, and the rise of Managerialism which largely contributed to that decay. With families not speaking to each other for years, tribalism seems to be a way to restore a social order that makes the extended family of utmost importance, and by doing so, bring back much that made Heathenry the great religion it is. Many feel then that tribalism and Heathenry go hand and hand, and you cannot truly be Heathen without it.

Too, some of the primary beliefs of tribalism allow folks to become Heathen without many of the hassles of Universialism or Folkism. Since most tribal Heathens believe folks must be adopted into the tribe, ancestry is not as much of an issue as it is with Folkism. Meanwhile, a group is not forced to admit anyone and everyone as tribalism is willing to admit Heathenry is not for everyone.

I am drawn to tribal Heathenry because of the close social interactions with other Heathens and the importance of family. As for what beliefs make me a tribalist? Well, many of those are shared with the other classifications of Heathenry, a strong respect for the lore, a willingness to make the Gods a  part of one's lives, a strong respect for one's ancestors, as well as making a both a part of one's family all make one a tribalist I feel.