Closing a door…opening the next

There are times in our lives when things change. It happens to all of us– that moment when you realise that you are a completely different person to a few months ago.

Recently I have realised that I have so little in common with the majority of Heathens. I do not worship– I pay homage and give thanks. I seek to learn the lessons of Odin that I may be at his side, next to Loki. I study the ways of Loki and learn the ways of manipulation from him. If Loki is Odin’s greatest student and confidant; I will be second only to Loki.

Am I Heathen? Yes, in the terms of what our ancestors would have believed. In terms of what the majority of modern Heathen groups practice– then no, I am not of the same beliefs as they. Stephen E. Flowers has coined the term Odian which best describes my approach– to study and emulate the ways of Odin. Odin and Loki are my tutors. They are not there to assist me– they teach me the tools and how to use them, but the application of these in my world is entirely down to the direction of my will. I have allowed my Heathen associations with the Troth and the Kith of Yggdrasil to lapse and cease. The Kith seems to be in stasis anyway as so little activity has emerged there in the last 9 months. The Troth is not what I believe it should be. I have found my group.

The gift is the potential. If you don’t take it out of the wrapping and see what you can do with it, then it may as well have not been given.

I believe in the Heathen gods and goddesses. I am a Heathen. I am an Odian. I am not what you think I am. I am what I desire to be.

 

I am.

 

Are you?

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The Asatru Community

A fellow blogger, decent person and true Heathen determined to promote us as a community has an invaluable blog:

 

http://theasatrucommunity.wordpress.com/

 

The blog is a wealthy resource, especially for those new to the path or who have trouble accessing some of the more academic books. There is also a facebook group and community where people seem to maintain a civil environment when discussing topics.

Now Seth has a lofty goal- to create a formal, real community/organisation to help promote Heathenry worldwide and even provide a platform for Heathens to gather. Whilst I think there are some floors in the plan at this stage, I’m sure he will form the organisation- I only hope that as can happen with these groups, he maintains leadership of the group as we have seen elected councils of leadership oust the original founder previously and change the course of a group. Of course, being the figurehead of a group can also be tough and at just 18 years of age, Seth needs to maintain his mature and level head for all he’s worth. I think he can do it. I hope he can.

Some of the issues I think the group face are that I don’t see how they will differ from other organisations like the Troth. The Asatru Community (TAC) does not want to formally mandate rules and forms of worship etc, provide educational materials to assist community members and aim at the platform of a Heathen gathering(s) for people to meet. All of that is done by other groups- especially in the US where the AFA and Troth do a lot of work. The Troth also hold east and west coast Trothmoot gatherings as well as doing a lot of international work.

The International Asatru Summer Camp (IASC) has already began the global gathering every 3 years to allow time for attendees to plan and save. With 2015’s in Sweden and 2018 planned for Iceland and the opening of the Asatru temple there- TAC needs to look further ahead if it is to evolve beyond the confines of a very good, no- make that outstanding, internet group. I’d help Seth in anyway I can, but there is already a core of people who assist him and I’m not one for popularity contests, or votes etc., as I generally don’t believe in democracy (another post maybe later).

I know Seth reads my blog- I wish you all the best my friend. Your spirit is on fire with determination and we need more like you.

To all others- check out TAC on the link above or check out the community on Facebook. Maybe you can help Seth with the plans for the group. Maybe Seth can help you. Either way the clue is in the name of the group- Community. We don’t have to like everyone in our community, but sometimes we have to put aside minor differences to work towards a bigger goal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Changes are ahead for the blog…

New theme…new approach.

 

For a while now I’ve had drafts of various sections/pages that I would like to put up here but have not had time. These will now be a key focus for me. I have previously mentioned blogs listing supernatural entities that I have been planning to do and a fellow blogger over at the Asatru Community is streets ahead here in writing about these things, but they clearly have a lot more time to do this as I currently struggle to even function as a micro-blog…

 

Either way, all of these will be done as part of the research I am running through in my study for a book I am writing at present.

I will also be listing some of my practices/knowledge to be taken as guidance only when it comes to the use of various magical practices.

 

 

 

Heathens and the Pagan Federation

LOL, I was just googling a band to see if they were openly Asatru and came across a Yahoo Answers! page where someone was asking about Wiccan or Asatru music. What made me laugh was somebody with a predictably ‘witch’ sounding name giving guidance suggesting Wiccan’s don’t openly make music about their beliefs and that they had never heard of Asatru.

Here lies the problem and one that made me revisit some thoughts on the Pagan Federation and Pagan representation on the whole.

Wiccan’s dominate the Pagan agenda, media and events. Now, Wicca is clearly the largest claimed Pagan belief system as most of its adherents are solitary and non-initiated followers who describe themselves as Wiccan (usually to much annoyance of initiated Wiccan’s in a BTW coven etc, but that’s another story…). Like any media, it reflects the views of the majority as does any group serving multiple faiths/sectors etc.

Don’t misunderstand me here I have nothing against Wiccan’s. Without a couple of well educated and open Wiccan’s, I would have taken much longer to find Asatru- as they listened to my beliefs and questions as to how to worship Odin and Frigg when Wiccan ritual did not feel right and pointed me in the direction of Asatru.

 

The Pagan Federation needs enhanced representation by someone of a Heathen/Asatru belief. Publications are dominated by worship of the Goddess, environmental and hunting campaigns etc. Whilst all of this is actually fine and interesting to me, I do find myself wondering where the representation of those members on Druid, Asatru, Celtic, Hellenic etc. paths is. Is it purely that these communities are small enough that they have no representative or is it the domination of Wiccan ideology through appeal to the masses?

How can we change this?

Firstly, I’m actually going to contact the Pagan Federation and offer up some articles for their quarterly publication I actually believe that the lack of forwardness from us in this respect is the reason we are under-represented in Pagan media. Wiccan’s dominate through their numbers not through any aggressive agenda.

Secondly, I’m going to push a bit more for non-Wiccan ritual and the observance of other Pagan festivals within my local Pagan group which will be interesting to see how that goes.

If only all Heathen/Asatru were open to being honest in public about their beliefs. I was nervous about telling friends and co-workers, but my opening up was a massive relief. Most have no urge to question my tattoo’s or my pendants and those that do so seem genuinely accepting of what I tell them. I’m fairly sure that a number of bands who sing very detailed songs around the lore may actually be Asatru- yet declare themselves Atheist and I suspect it may be on the advice of record companies to deflect potential for mis-association with some of the less desirable elements…say no more…

I’ve got a few more ideas for the positive promotion of Asatru awareness. I don’t want to openly seek to convert anyone just for people to be aware of our religion so that nobody, especially a fellow pagan, says ‘I have no idea what Asatru is’. That hurt.

 

 

 

Differences are ok….

I’m constantly frustrated by the ability of some to accept that people have different beliefs- I’m referring to issues within the heathen community here.

Our ancestors were tribal and went to war- against other tribes! Every Swedish tribe did not have peace with all others and only go to war on the Danes. Further more- not every tribe worshipped the same gods as we know from place names and what survives of temples etc. Some favoured Odin whilst some worshipped Tyr, Thor or Freyr.

Why then can we not accept that there are going to be tribes that are folkish, racist or liberal and that not only do we have to accept that they exist, but we must also accept that just because they worship the same pantheon as us that we do not have to get along?

If I support the same sports team as you, it doesn’t mean we can be best  friends. That’s like saying everyone in a country that votes the same should also therefore have enough in common ground to be friends. Life doesn’t work like that.

Religion and ethical beliefs are linked but are not the same. It is never fair to assume everyone of the same religion shares the same political or scio-ethical views. The pope does not represent all Christians, all Muslims are not terrorists and all Jews are not bankers. All Asatru are not warriors, racists, liberals or viking re-enactment fans.

We would do well to remember this within our groups of heathens as
it will serve us well when stressing this to the non-heathen world. A difference does not mean someone is wrong, just as we do not all have to agree on everything. Differences do not stop friendships and friendships do not mean there are not differences.

A liberal, heathen, non-folkish Asatru group in England…

So, I have posted previously about my search for (as per the title of this post) a non-folkish Asatru or liberal heathen group in England. They do exist- I’ve made contact with a few and have joined a couple of groups online.

But, there is an issue…

I can find more liberal groups in Sweden than in England. I travel to Sweden frequently, but not enough to partake in a group there.

UK or England based groups that have a liberal world view are often based in or around London which makes it about as likely for me to participate face-to-face as with those groups in Sweden.

The age old issue of some members of groups not fully understanding the consequences of what they say online. I have seen some liken Odinism to Satanism- I do not accept the existence of hell and/or Satan as they are Christian constructs with hell being named as a bastardisation of Hel in order to convert Heathens by way of informing them that their afterlife holds nothing but pain and misery and driving conversion by way of the repenting Christ. After so much has been done already to alter public perceptions and educate that all Pagans are not devil worshippers as we do not believe in Satan, I find it a shame that a self-professed Heathen would publicly associate Heathenism as a form of Satanism- yes, I am aware of the reality of what Satanism actually incorporates, but the general public and media would only use this as an act against us.

Some groups are local to myself, but meetings are infrequent and/or set around the lives of the core members making attendance difficult for myself.

Local Pagan/Heathen groups are often very Wiccan derived and although open to all pagan faiths, the insistence on a triple moon symbol for a group and the group worship of a Goddess and God is something I find offensive to my Gods and Goddesses- Mani is a male deity and not the moon-goddess as Wiccans believe etc. They are entitled to their views, as I am mine, but they unwittingly steer these groups in a Wiccan (although I would wager that few, if any, are actually initiates of a British-Traditional Wiccan coven derived from Gerald Gardner) manner.

I will attempt to find a liberal heathen group once more- I will consider Urd’s Well Kindred, the UK arm of the Ring of Troth (or the Troth) amongst others- NOTE: please feel free to suggest any liberal groups!

Further more, I see a likely development that I will relocate my family within the next 9 months (no baby is on the way!) and will look to move to a larger location. I will confirm that my thoughts have turned towards forming my own group, with my own criteria for membership and accepting those who share the same beliefs as myself. I’ll post more on that as it happens, but we are likely talking about a small online group at first, followed by a formalised structure for physical meetings and a location dedicated to such. I have no idea how this will form itself, but it is the way in which I feel drawn.

‘Britain’s Atlantis’ found at bottom of North sea – a huge undersea kingdom swamped by a tsunami 5,500 years ago | Mail Online

‘Britain’s Atlantis’ found at bottom of North sea – a huge undersea kingdom swamped by a tsunami 5,500 years ago | Mail Online:

‘via Blog this’

Now, I need to work out where this fits in to what we know of the early days of Midgard, but it certainly helps explain some of the persistant links between Britain, Scandinavia and the Germanic peoples.

Taking my search for a non-folkish Heathen group further afield

Again, I struggle to find a non-folkish/racist Heathen group.

I have now attempted to contact the local group of this type for a third time…after a reader of this blog put me onto them as he was a member. I have not been able to get a response from the group or the reader that emailed me to suggest them.

I have now made first contact with such a group operating out of Sweden. I’ve been to Sweden many times as I work for a Swedish company. I love the country and the people. I feel at home there. I hope, I truly hope that I can find a home within this group- not sure how social meets and blots will go though!

I’ve started to look at learning Icelandic (Old Norse essentially) and Swedish for my own interests.

I’ll let you know how this attempted contact goes…

*update* The group international contact person has been in touch… we will discuss further

A year on this path…

A year ago I started this journey. After much time searching for the higher power in the universe, some books on Wicca opened up some different thought processes and rekindled a bond with the Gods of Asgard that I had such affinity for in pre- teen years. I finally feel at peace with the world and like I am part of something bigger with my fylgja at my side.

My tattoo reflects this perfectly- the commonly used pentacle representing the Wiccan knowledge that reawakened my mind to the pagan world marked upon the tree of Yggdrasil- with the raven representing my fylgja atop the tree and the corpse sucker Nidhogg at the roots of the tree- representing the destiny that may have awaited me come judgement by the gods in my death. Whilst avoidance of Nidhogg and the vaettir of punishment cannot be guaranteed, it is something I strive to do so by way of serving the gods during my remaining time in Midgard. I would hope that my actions now please them and that I can be judged favourably.

Sigurd’s day it is- a day to remember a great warrior who tamed the dragon Fafnir. To me, I don’t ask that anyone agrees, but it is easy to see how the christianisation of England formed st. George from Sigurd= Si is St and Gurd is George. Pronounce it- Se Geord and you will see what I mean.

All in all, I have never felt so alive, free and comfortable with my role in the world. Thanks to Odin and all that I have prayed to or sought guidance from during the last year.

One thing I have found is that my faith relies less on magick now and more on prayers and devotional ritual. Whilst I believe in magick, I know mainly focus on the use of the runes and some use of crystals. The major sticking point for me with Wiccan books was the focus on spell work and nothing on prayer etc. Spell structure replaced prayer as a way to form structure in the minds of those opposed to anything resembling the religions they were brought up into.

To those about to flame me in a comment about those views- know your facts about BTW as formed by Gerald Gardner before claiming it is the true old religion etc. and that half of those calling themselves Wiccan are not actually part of BTW initiated covens an so are not Wiccan as per that definition but are more a type of neo-ecclesiastical Wicca/pagan practice- and that is ok! Even the major religions in the world today have their different sects and views- heck, the Abrahamic based religions are split around their god, Jesus and Mohammed…

All I will say is that Odin is very clever, a traveler, a master of disguise and that he can appear as whatever he wishes to achieve his goal. Maybe there is more than just assimilation of old practices to explain the similarity between some aspects of the old ways an these Abrahamic religions?

Finding a heathen or Asatru group in England

Time after time I search, I contact, I correspond and then I despair…

The challenge- find a heathen/Asatru group in England that has no racial discrimination inherent to the group…

Yes, walk into a Church of England church one Sunday afternoon and you can find a racist- racists are not defined by religion and so all religions have them. Unfortunately, due to the use of Norse god’s, runes and mythology by the Nazi’s- Asatru and Heathenism are unfortunately tainted in the eyes of the uneducated. Realisitically, every religion is tainted by one war or actions of some- the Roman Catholic church has had millions killed in it’s name, tortured, pillaged and crushed rebellions. So some unfortunate use of heathen symbolism by the Nazi’s has essentially not only tainted use of Runes, Sun-wheels etc. but also make the mythology open to abuse by those seeking to hide their racism under the guise of a ‘religion’…hence, you can easily find many racists within the wrong heathen group.

Everytime I think I have found a group where any hint of racism may not be tolerated…I seem to rapidly find too many comments suggesting otherwise- or a too liberal and stringent application of the term ‘folk’. It seems that the stronger the identification with the ‘folk’, then it may be the more subverted the racism towards those not of the ‘northern-european folk’.

I have found groups with promise…but these seem to have disbanded or no longer exist.

If anyone knows of the answer to my prayers- a non-racist heathen or Asatru group within the UK and preferably the West Midlands…please let me know.

This is my battle as someone on the path of a Vitki within the Heathen/Asatru way…I know I am not alone in being a liberal minded heathen and am open to forming a group should that be the path I find myself on.