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Thread: Impact of Heathenry on Everyday Life

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    Impact of Heathenry on Everyday Life

    Impact of Heathenry on Everyday Life

    30. December, 2006

    How has your religion changed your daily, everyday life?
    One of the things most Heathens figure out pretty quickly is that Heathen isnt something you do, its not something you get, and its not something you practice on weekends - Heathen is something that you are. This realization has had a continuously profound effect in my life. Ive always been the informal type, raised to be loosely Christian (by which I mean I was never forced to go to church as a kidalthough I had no concept for existing religions aside from Christianity). Id say that for most of my life, I was much more spiritual than religiousand for a number of years, I was definitely setting up my tent in the pantheist camp. So when I first realized there was this thing called Asatru, that there was this living, thriving religion based on gods I once lamented as being dead, I experienced what would be the first of many shocks.
    Heathens, among other things, are die-hard polytheists. Walk into a room full of Heathens and suggest that our gods and goddesses are part of a universal Goddes and / or God concept, and are thus the same as Egyptian gods or Babylonian gods, and youll be lucky if youre just politely ignored. We believe that our gods and goddesses are unique and individual, separate from the deities of other pantheonssuggesting that they arent is in many cases taken as an affront. I had the luck of joining what would become a Heathen forum populated by some of the most notorious ber-Heathens on the Internet, suggesting something Id once heard about all the gods and goddesses of the world being a multi-faceted gem. This, I assure you, did not go over very well. My change from pantheism did not occur over night - in fact it took a few years - but learning to understand the gods as individuals, as relatives and friends, separate and unique was probably my first real step towards being Heathen. At the same time, there was the slight tendency I had toward seeing the gods as something along the lines of archetypes. This, too, has changed as Ive gotten to know the Heathen gods as individualsthey arent an inherited memory of the Germanic race, they arent a mental construct, theyre real, and they are with us. So in this regard, I went from being a Christian-based pantheist spiritualist, to walking and talking with my godsits not just an impact in my daily life, its a nearly complete rewrite of the part of my mind that deals with things on religious and spiritual levels, as well as an added awareness in my daily life.
    One of the fundamental virtues that Heathens strive toward is hospitality. This has quite a lot to do with the concept of community, which of course is essential in Heathenry. Hospitality is of such high importance, that many modern-day Heathens, as well as did Heathens a thousand years ago, believe that the gods sometimes walk this world in disguise, testing the hospitality of our homes. Some form of this belief can be traced back as far as the 5th Century, CE, when Old Man Winter would visit the homes in a village looking for food and drink, as a form of placation for a bit of leniency from the harshness of Winter. I take the virtue of hospitality a bit further with part of one of my own maxims: True hospitality does not lock itself indoors, nor does it suffer the hindrance of inconvenience. In other words, wherever I happen to be standing, its within my power to offer hospitality, and unless Ive been insulted or offended somehow, I can generally be counted upon to do just that. Although Ive always been interested in things like community service, charity and even offering a clean, warm environment for guests in my home, Heathenry has added a sacred aspect to hospitality for me that I see not just as an effect, but a benefit in my life.
    One of the other great impacts for me has been in the way Heathenry approaches Nature and technology. We embrace both with great enthusiasm - Nature isnt absent in technology, quite the contrary, its as present in technology as it is in anything else. This isnt a stated belief in Heathenry, but its one that can be inferred from our history and general approach to things. For a person who loves the outdoors, but lives in the city, learning to see the natural in even the synthetic on a daily basis has been a great benefit to my sanity, as well as being a balm to my spirits, because it helps me to feel as though Im always connected - not in the digital media sense of the word, but in the sense that Im always connected to my gods and ancestors, as well as the community around me.

    http://heathenblog.wordpress.com/2006/12/30/impact-of-heathenry-on-everyday-life/


    Die Sonne scheint noch.

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    I don't see how modern heathens can not really want to study the old Indo European Pantheon. Asatru has to be based on fragmentary accounts of pagan religion written down by Snorri, a Christian.
    Someone asked the other day about Hela. Surely her aspects are the same as the Celtic Morrigan/ Macha. Three incarnations of the mother godess; lady of the flowers, mother, crone. Ultimatley Kali.
    If Norse religion is only fragmentary the gaps can only honestly be filled by understanding their origins in a vast wide ranging belief system. This is the general method in reconstructive archaeology.
    If Tyr was a originally a sky god, then he was contempereneous with Osiris. It must have been such that he could change form to a hawk and survey the battlefield.

    Not that I think heathenism can confront the problems of the modern world nor withstand Islam.
    Sources; The lost Gods of England by Brian Branston. Thames and Hudson 1957.
    God and Myths of Northern Europe by Hr Ellis Davidson. Penguin 1964.

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    I'm personally not a die hard polytheist and have never seen this as a necessary part of heathenry. In fact in regard to my view of the gods I would describe myself more as panentheistic. (I have nothing against a polytheistic view though)

    All gods/myths/relgions represent human attampts to undestand the "divine" within a specific cultural framework. The spiritual "form" which arises from the "soul" of a particular culture is then the best one in which to develop oneself spiritually etc (i.e a Folkish approach)

    A re-understanding of the Gods can only come about imo by direct working with those forms through the study of relevant lore and practice from which one gains "knowledge" or Gnosis (or UPG). Comparitive mythology may be usuful but not necessary I feel as another culture's interpretation of a particular Godform won't be as useful as that based on the above.

    As to the values/ethics/morality of heathenry it's was the values I already possesed or desired (I'm not perfect) that attracted me to Heathenry.

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    It's a lifeway

    I would like to thank you for that well-spoken post, Dagna. I feel much the same. As a die-hard polytheist, I know the gods walk among us.

    Anleifr

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