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Thread: I feel like Heathenism is lacking something.

  1. #1
    Newbie Redfan45x's Avatar
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    I feel like Heathenism is lacking something.

    I don't assosciate myself with any groups, I've always been a "Solitary Pagan" or what have you..
    Especially now. As I sometimes feel how diluted so many Heathen groups are, all they seem to care about is the Viking age (as if that’s the only part of Germanic history?) and drinking mead and talking about the Poetic Edda constantly, some even glorifying that Hollywood-Barbaric fake version of Germanic culture.
    So many religions are seriously lacking something huge that ancient people had.
    Don’t get me wrong, it’s absolutely important to learn about things like the Poetic Edda or any source of your people’s or religion’s stories like the Bible or Baghadavita.
    But when all you do is obsess over that, it becomes like how mainstream Christianity or Islam is today. There is no progress. No one is taking those steps to go beyond just talking about old stories, etc.
    They just get stuck in the modern human aspect (couldn't find any other wording) and it destroys everything. I mean were religions just meant to have their beginning stages and early history and then just stop forever?
    Leaving people to just use what they have already recorded and not have people who continue the path and journey. Which also don't get me wrong, I am not attacking Reconstructionism. In fact I often times if needed to label myself, will stick with that label as it's the closest to how I feel. But even Reconstructionism seems to be afraid to take Heathenism into their own hands and help it continue instead of just being a history.
    In some cases I've been critisized for discussing these things:

    I was pretty much called a false believer and ridiculed (reminded me of being in a church?) by Heathens for bringing up that I use Cannabis and Shrooms in my worship occasionally, as did ancient Germanic and Celtic people (and for sure Scythians, which is a culture I follow a bit) and asking if anyone else has. I felt like the majority of responses were filled with modern bias against entheogens, especially *shock* "That Europeans did it?!"
    They also seemed to forget that even Mead was used as an ethneogen and was not something you just drank 24/7 casually.
    I also brought to attention the lack of "Spiritual Leaders" in Heathenism who have devoted their life to the gods and to being a Shaman, Völva, Seiđrman, Gođi, etc etc.
    I look at a place like India (which shares similar traditions because of the Indo-European connection) and I look at Sadhu's. I imagine that early Indo-European priests must have been similar to them. And I wonder, why aren't there guys doing that but instead of devoted to Shiva, they're devoted to Odin?
    A response I had to that once was basically that "None of us have the right to do that, we aren't living in that society" That right there makes me think that it's not a religion to them but just Historical Reenactment.
    Did our ancestors just expect someone like a Völva to just randomlly fall out of the sky one day? "Here I am! To console you in spiritual matters and divine the gods and spirits!"
    Well, to be technical. In a sense it went like that. But not in that way. From what we can figure from other cultures that are observed in indigenous religions that can be considered in ways similar to ours through ancient means (Sami, Siberian and Mongolian Shamans) such a person would have been chosen at birth by spirits and the gods, right?
    So how do these people know there aren't individuals born to do such duties? Who will guide them? Who will encourage them? When there is a large Pagan community that (in my experience) treats them like insane people and turns them down.
    We should also remember, things like "insanity" would be signs of a possible Shaman to an indigenous community.
    Back to what I was saying though, how "We aren't living in that society" Why can we not recreate such society?
    If someone truly feels the calling of being such, why discourage them?
    I also sometimes feel it’s all about social status and all of that crap, you know? Like how you see some Church's. They forget that they are their for Spirituality and their God and it just becomes people gossiping and drama, I'm sure you've seen examples.. Every religion today, it seems you have to go completely on your own journey by yourself to really achieve anything real. The social aspect ruins it for me.
    Of course, maybe I just haven't met the right people.

    I guess a reason this has always been important to me, is because I myself am one of those people who have always felt a calling towards the more shamanic and deep paths of Heathenism. If I could I'd give up everything in this life, to follow that path. Every other path in life just doesn't seem to draw me at all. Maybe it's because I truly am being called by the gods to follow that path regardless of the challenges the modern world puts against it, or maybe as someone who has Aspergers and things that would be labelled as "Schizophrenia" I desire that society where someone like me wouldn't be looked at as having a "Mental disability" as modern western medicine says. But just as a human who happens to function on a different level, mentally and spiritually.
    Time will tell? Thanks for listening to my rant/essay whatever you want to call it.

  2. #2
    Member Dahll Haus's Avatar
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    Re: I feel like Heathenism is lacking something.

    I know how you feel. I'm drawn to the Heathen path myself, but usually identify as eclectic pagan because there seems to be this attitude of: THIS is how you honor the gods! You're doing it wrong!

    Granted, I am also free to say: No, *you're* doing it wrong! But it doesn't help the sense of community to be constantly arguing.

    I use the nine fold path as a framework, but that's all. I don't honor my ancestors because they were Christians and probably wouldn't appreciate my filthy Pagan self bothering them. My living family gets along like cats in a sack, so honoring kindred gets tough when when Thier Tara said that about Our Jennifer at Grandpa's funeral and why did I have to point out Grandpa was an atheist in front of my nephew? ,He's only 11, he doesn't need to know other viewpoints exist!

    So you get the idea.

    I get along great with my gods and I don't appreciate people getting in my face over how I honor them.

  3. #3
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    Re: I feel like Heathenism is lacking something.

    It sounds like what you've been dealing with is conservative Reconstructionists. They tend to be incredibly focused on what we know through text, which is an incredibly narrow view considering that the Northern Tradition is mostly an oral one and majority of our texts came after the influence of Christianity. But at the same time, you can not blame them for such a stance because if we allowed anyone's personal gnosis to influence a group's beliefs, we'd be just as lost. I think the answer lies somewhere in between. If the Gods are communicating to you on a personal level, perhaps that message is meant to be just for you. I definitely believe that the more esoteric aspects of our faith is more of a solitary path. The average Heathen knows just enough to revere the Gods. They're certainly not going to advocate the wide usage of utiseta, for example.

    As someone who is naturally adept at the more esoteric explorations of our tradition, my only advice to you is to refrain from "preaching" what you've come to know and instead, focus on living it. Share your view point by not sharing it. Be the embodiment of it instead of verbalizing it. Perhaps those around you are not ready to see what you have been shown. We each have our own wyrd, our own orlog, our own path. There is an old Hermetic saying that goes as follows, "The lips of wisdom are closed, except to the ears of understanding." This essentially means that spouting all the truth in the world won't mean anything to the person who isn't ready to hear it yet. Instead of creating needless friction in your kinship, observe and appreciate the differences. Use it to strengthen your personal connection with the Gods. Know that even in a group, we're still on our own individual paths and trust in yours. And thank the Gods that you live near a group of people who even remotely share the faith as you because many of us, myself included, no longer live near any fellow followers of the Northern Tradition.

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    Sr. Member satanic witch's Avatar
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    Re: I feel like Heathenism is lacking something.

    I simply believe the Norse beliefs had a structure as in the gods were known but I don't think churches or shamans were big I think every one honored the gods in there way not just vikings but also women in childbirth men with harvest . Mead horned helms and fancy boat isn't required, honor the gods is pretty much it in my opinion and from the little I know of Norse culture
    Knowledge is the key to eternity. Not bowing before a deity not grovling at the feet of a messiah. Knowledge is power beyond mesure - satanic witch

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    Re: I feel like Heathenism is lacking something.

    One thing to remember is that there is no One Tru Heathenry. There is no such thing as an AsaPope and I hope there never will be.

    Last I checked using entheogens in worship is A-Ok accurate to how the old folks did it.

    The Heathenry of the Anglo-Saxons looked nothing like that of mainland Germany, which looked nothing like that of Iceland, etc. And if a Heathen had a Celtic next door neighbor a mile away, the two would have more similarities than two Heathens who lived 100 miles apart.

    Further, though I honor my Christian as well as my distant Heathen ancestors, I do it because I want to, because they are the reason I am where I am today, and because I know my ancestors actually give a crap about me. Though your Heathenry may differ from mine, doesn't mean that you're practice is invalid in any way.

  6. #6
    Jr. Member AnMa's Avatar
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    Re: I feel like Heathenism is lacking something.

    Quote Originally Posted by thoraxepi View Post
    The Heathenry of the Anglo-Saxons looked nothing like that of mainland Germany, which looked nothing like that of Iceland, etc. And if a Heathen had a Celtic next door neighbor a mile away, the two would have more similarities than two Heathens who lived 100 miles apart.
    All the Germanic tribes shared a broad culture. The local customs were slightly different, but language, the pantheon, social setup etc. were similar. And they shared their knowledge and religious customs throughout Europe, esp. via the trade routes. In the 3rd century the Romans e.g. minted coins with Thor on them (see: Rudolf Simek; Götter und Kulte der Germanen; 2nd edition; C.H. Beck; 2006). Norns are pretty much the same as Parcae and Moirai.

    In ancient times religion was a part of the society and everyday living, nothing with a strictly defined faith or dogmatic truths you must believe to join. The philosophers debated what a god might be, but they never thought different ideas about a god would make up a new religion (see: Cicero; de natura deorum ("About the nature of the Gods")).

    All that changed with Christianity as the new state cult. All three Abrahamic monotheisms do not only define themselves on what they revere but also on what is wrong. To join them you must not only believe in their ideology you must forfeit all other ideas. Jan Assmann calls that the "Mosaic Distinction". That was lacking in ancient heathenism. Many modern heathens have unfortunately adopted that due to our cultural heritage, which is Christian for the last 1000 - 1600 years depending on where you come from.

    If you honour Odin, Thor, Freya etc. you are Asatru. If your honour Zeus, Apollo, Athena etc. you are Hellinst. If you honour both of them you are both, no problem. But it does not suffice to honour God/Jesus (or Jahwe or Allah) to be a Christian (or Jew or Muslim), you must not honour all the others. The First Commandment does not say "I am a great god, honour me." It says: "I am a jealous god, do not honour the others". That is the main difference.

  7. #7
    Opinionated Rae'ya's Avatar
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    Re: I feel like Heathenism is lacking something.

    Quote Originally Posted by AnMa View Post
    Norns are pretty much the same as Parcae and Moirai.
    No, they aren't. The entire concept of fate and destiny in Northern European cultures was quite different to those of the Hellenic and Roman cultures, which renders some fairly important differences between the Moirai and the Parcae as compared to the Nornir. It is arguable that the imagery of the Nornir spinning was borrowed from the Parcae, and I suspect the popular 'spinner, weaver, cutter' triad also was. But that's where the "pretty much the same" ends.

    That's like saying that Odhinn was pretty much the same as Zeus. There are similarities (some striking, some more subtle), and they roughly fill the same archetypal 'job' within their respective pantheons... but that doesn't make them "pretty much the same". Even if you take the approach that all deities are simply archetypes worshiped through different cultural lenses, their very existence as individual 'beings' is dependent on the cultural context within which they evolved. You have to discard a great many differences before you can make them the same.

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    Copper Member Aeran's Avatar
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    Re: I feel like Heathenism is lacking something.

    If I could I'd give up everything in this life, to follow that path.
    Why can't you? People have given up the comforts of civilization to seek the divine (to a greater or lesser degree) for millenia, there's nothing stopping you. Sure, you don't have a tribe or village to support you as was the case for the shaman of old, but unless there are exception circumstances at work, you could, if you put in the effort, move to a rural area, find a place to live close to nature, find a job that will support you with the bare necessities and then devote the rest of your time to meditation, study and spiritual work.

    Even if you don't want to give up the comforts of civilization entirely, there's nothing stopping you from devoting at least a few hours a day to your practice and going on retreat whenever possible to escape into the natural world entirely.

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    Jr. Member AnMa's Avatar
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    Re: I feel like Heathenism is lacking something.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rae'ya View Post
    No, they aren't. The entire concept of fate and destiny in Northern European cultures was quite different to those of the Hellenic and Roman cultures, which renders some fairly important differences between the Moirai and the Parcae as compared to the Nornir. It is arguable that the imagery of the Nornir spinning was borrowed from the Parcae, and I suspect the popular 'spinner, weaver, cutter' triad also was. But that's where the "pretty much the same" ends.

    That's like saying that Odhinn was pretty much the same as Zeus. There are similarities (some striking, some more subtle), and they roughly fill the same archetypal 'job' within their respective pantheons... but that doesn't make them "pretty much the same". Even if you take the approach that all deities are simply archetypes worshiped through different cultural lenses, their very existence as individual 'beings' is dependent on the cultural context within which they evolved. You have to discard a great many differences before you can make them the same.
    Sure there are differences but the similarities, even if there are only very few, allow heathens to treat Gods and other entities from other pantheons in a common and respectful way by identifying them as their own despite the cultural differences. Like the Romans did with their interpretatio Romana which was adopted by the Germanic tribes as well. Translating "dies Mercurii" into "Wednesday" is exactly like saying Wdoan is pretty much the same as Mercury. In my opinion that was (and should be) a very appealing way of looking at other religions.

  10. #10
    Copper Member Ula's Avatar
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    Re: I feel like Heathenism is lacking something.

    That is what I find appealing about some of the newer more open "branches" of Heathenry. Urglaawe, Vanatru, Waincraft are all about mixing old and new. They tend to be more open and willing to educate. While they are more Vanir focused they still honor the Asa gods.

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