Monday, October 10, 2005

Be Heathen in All Things

I attended a workshop several months ago given by my friend Rod Landreth. One thing that he said that really stuck with me was "Be Heathen in All Things." As I am attempting to grow and learn and truely be heathen, this phrase has stuck with me.

What exactly does it mean to "Be Heathen?" At this point in my life it means despite the huge heartache I am going through, it means getting up every morning, looking for a job, taking care of my family and going on despite it all. It means continuing to attempt to maintain right relationships with those who have hurt me.

But it also means taking time to take care of myself. It means taking time to enjoy my family and friends. It means when I am not strong enough to go on, I can lean on my community.

Do I completely understand what it means to be heathen? Not entirely, but I do strive to make myself learn more each and every day.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

What does the word folkish or universalist mean anymore?

I see this term thrown out on Heathen mailing lists, blogs, and message boards, usually in the context of "Jim Bob Heathen is not/too folkish to join my group" It seems anymore that Folkish now equals racist and Unversalists is one step above a Playgan. Rather than being a statement on beliefs, it has turned into a way to slander someone. This is especially true of the word "Universalist." What once meant someone who did not think that being part of the religion of the Aesir and the Vanir had nothing to do with race or ancestral origin is now thrown out as a an insult. Many Heathens I have encountered online have used it as a "more Asatruar than thou" word, using it to degrade and make those who do not agree with them feel unwelcome.

And what about us in the middle. Those who have been called both too folkish and too universalists? Those who consider ancestry to be important, but not vital. Those who acknowledge the impact of a culture highly influenced by the culture of Northern Europe may influence some to become heathen despite ancestory.

Since we are a relatively young movement, and a reconstructionist movement at that, and there really isn't any direct evidence either way in the lore, why bother with this argument? The number of people who are not ancestorally linked to heathenry who are heathen are so small, why do we even care?