Problems in Heathendom

I like Lucius Svartwulf Helsen over at Son of Hel. I disagree greatly with him at times, but his posts are nonetheless interesting.

He’s having a crisis of faith in a manner of speaking. Not in the gods, but in how the religion operates itself.

Heathenism has grown over the years. It’s hard to believe I’ve been doing this stuff for almost fifteen years now (Gods does that make me feel old, lol), and back when I started, there really wasn’t much of anything in my area. Now, I meet another Heathen every couple months, pagans every week, and I see temples and kindreds starting to pop up everywhere.

While there was some stuff online, I can’t say there was as much as there is now. Most of how I learned to be a Heathen came from reading about the Gods, and some history books. It was my birth heritage, my grandparents came over straight from Scandinavia. The myths were amazing, the Gods so relatable, and it didn’t judge me for all the violence, anger, and pain I felt at the time.

Of course, I didn’t have any other heathens to hang out with, or even really talk to. That’s part of why I started blogging back in about ’08 I think. The Heathenism I learned, that I knew, was about brotherhood, family, honor, integrity, hospitality, and so forth.

But the heathenism I knew, sadly, is not really the heathenism that is.

I don’t see an issue in some of the things that he sees, but it’s nonetheless good to read. The comments are also worthwhile. I can agree that the so-called online community is not what it once was, but I’m unsure how to fix that. Do we declare an Asa-Pope one day to help in unifying us in such matters? It’s very, very unlikely, especially in light of the ego-driven nonsense that comes from the leadership of the Troth and the AFA. Of course, just ask the Catholics how well the Pope unifies the faith; sedevacantists may have a few words to say.

Nature Worship

Over on reddit today Skollgrimm, a Suebian Heathen, wrote a lovely post about “personification deities”, such as Sunne, Mōna, Dæg, and Niht, to use his examples. Lately people, especially over on the /r/asatru, have been questioning the worship of such deities, as they’re poorly attested. The discussion has been coming up more because of the solstice; many people posted about holding a blōt to Sun. I recommend that you read his post.

I was oddly inspired by the topic, as I’ve grown tired of people saying that we can’t worship beneficial entities, which is largely how the Ēse/Æsir are defined. After all, one doesn’t worship Fenrir or þyrsas, as these are destructive and have no relation with us. As such, an hour of sporadic writing later, I posted a rather lengthy response in agreement. For the sake of keeping my thoughts in one place, here’s what I wrote:

Mothers’ Night Festivities

The ham is cooked. The devilled eggs and potato salad sit in the refrigerator. Bread is baking. Stuffing is forthcoming. An ale is being shared currently while a wine and a mead are in the refrigerator for later use.

Everything is clean. The floors are vacuumed. The shrines are dusted.

Various festive lights are on. Candles will be lit soon. German music is playing, as is traditional for my family. My husband is singing German and Latin songs while he works in the kitchen.

All in all, the night is coming together nicely. I still have over thirteen hours until sunrise and my final offering to Sun. Various things will be burned and offered to the Mothers in the meantime.

Most people are suitably quiet online right now, but Jön Upsal posted earlier. He wrote a short piece for inviting the Mothers to join:

The three Mothers traveled to the table,
They found the feast filling;
Meat from the table,
Bread from the board,
Wine from the cask.

Boons brought the Mothers, bright fortune,
Success for the supper they saw;
One Mother was there,
One Mother is there,
Another Mother will be there.

Look upon us with kindly eyes, oh Mothers,
Bless us for the feast we give.

Have a lovely night, everyone.

Yule

Yule is fast approaching (or is already upon us, depending on your calendar) and I might as well post my plans, such as they are.

Mothers’ Night is on Monday, 21 December, though others are doing it on Sunday, varying based on what one considers the day before the solstice at that point. For me the solstice is approximately at 11:49 PM on Monday, a level of precision that did not exist historically.

The house will be thoroughly cleaned and organised before then. I’m planning on a large meal with my husband; this will involve something with ham, but I’m hardly the cook in the relationship. A full plate will be left out for the Mothers and later placed outdoors. I will give other offerings throughout the night and share stories about my female relatives, all of whom outside the immediate family having passed on.

In the morning, I will blōt to Sun.

It will then be a little quieter for a couple of days with fairly minimal celebration. On 24 December my husband and I will be joining my family for Yule. The night is usually filled with poorly made movies and sparkling cider, as is traditional for us.

On 25 December it will be like most other families celebrating Christmas, despite the sheer lack of Christians in the immediate family. Gifts will be exchanged early in the morning. Snacks will be eaten in large quantities. There is a good chance that a small fire will be burning in the backyard eventually. Later we will have our “dinner”, which, despite its name, is actually just a slightly late lunch and will involve very large dumplings, pie, turkey, ham, and more.

Further partying resumes shortly thereafter with the birthdays of two friends, which I use to share greatly with numerous people whom I don’t often see in one place.

New Year’s Eve will be the last of the major celebrations for me. I will be spending my time with friends farther north and sharing what I can with them.

On the night of 5 January I will be wassailing. If I can find an orchard nearby doing this, I’ll likely attend that. Failing this, I’ll return to my parents’ property and try to coax the lone apple tree to have a harvest later at all, let alone a good one.

Throughout this time I will be leaving offerings of milk and cream to the cofgodas and other wights.

Depending on when snowfall finally happens, I will at some point be making offerings to the Charles River in the hope that flooding will not happen. The flooding of previous years caused a lot of damage to the surrounding plants and habitat, not to mention threatening the bridge that I cross quite often. I would rather not have that happen again.

For the sake of completeness, here are some things that three others have previously said about their Yule plans on /r/asatru.

/u/ceetsie said in the a comment that sadly can’t be embedded:

First, my wife and I are going to stay up from dusk til dawn on the first night of Yule, with a bonfire, food, drink, stories and just spending time with each other. In the middle of the night, we’ll be doing a blot to Odin, the wights, and our ancestors. And when the sun rises, a second blot, for Sunna and our ancestors.

While the following is largely in regards to happenings a few months ago, it does reach its conclusion in a few short weeks:

All of these contain some good ideas that may make their way into my practices here and there. It’s a delight to hear about what others do if only for the sake of comparison and the Yuletide always brings out people willing to share.