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Author Topic: Best Part of Heathenry / Asatru  (Read 8497 times)
Hyacinth Belle
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« Topic Start: May 30, 2011, 08:08:49 pm »

What is the best part for you of being heathen, Asatru, Norse pagan, whatever? It's easy to get caught up in the negativity or misconceptions about this great group of religions, that I think it's good to remember what we love about it in the first place.

Go! Smiley
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"She who stands on tiptoe / doesn't stand firm. / She who rushes ahead / doesn't go far. / She who tries to shine / dims her own light. / She who defines herself / can't know who she really is. / She who has power over others / can't empower herself. / She who clings to her work / will create nothing that endures. / If you want to accord with the Tao, / just do your job, then let go." ~ Tao Te Ching, chp. 24

"Silent and thoughtful a prince's son should be / and bold in fighting; / cheerful and merry every man should be / until he waits for death." ~ Havamal, stanza 15

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« Reply #1: May 30, 2011, 08:30:40 pm »

What is the best part for you of being heathen, Asatru, Norse pagan, whatever? It's easy to get caught up in the negativity or misconceptions about this great group of religions, that I think it's good to remember what we love about it in the first place.

Go! Smiley

So far for me, it's a feeling of heritage and, dare I say, family values.     I feel like most neopagan faiths exist for individuals to get mystical highs and little else. Heathenry gives you a sense of where you came from, and how you fit in with the big picture.  There are still mystical schools of thought for those so inclined, but it's not the point of religion.     With heathenry  I don't need to practice some esoteric tradition to feel like I am close to something sacred, because the home and hearth are sacred.
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bobthesane
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« Reply #2: May 30, 2011, 10:05:00 pm »

What is the best part for you of being heathen, Asatru, Norse pagan, whatever? It's easy to get caught up in the negativity or misconceptions about this great group of religions, that I think it's good to remember what we love about it in the first place.

Go! Smiley

Connection to the past, connection to my ancestors, and connection to my family and community. Even those who are not of my faith, can benefit from my own civic mindedness and in turn my own standing and luck is enhanced. It's a faith for people who DO, not just talk, and I like that we highly praise right-action and plain speech.

That, plus I have to admit it's funny as hell to walk around pan-pagan gatherings with my Hammer proudly displayed and see how some groups react almost with fear and awe (it's one of THEM! The VIKING PEOPLE!). It's a cheesy power trip LOL Smiley
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« Reply #3: June 01, 2011, 02:56:54 am »

What is the best part for you of being heathen, Asatru, Norse pagan, whatever? It's easy to get caught up in the negativity or misconceptions about this great group of religions, that I think it's good to remember what we love about it in the first place.

Go! Smiley


Where to start? Wink

Naturally I love the connection to the ancestors and family and gods as others do. I like that it isn't a path about personal salvation or enlightenment. It's not about being God's special snowflake, it's about something bigger than yourself. For all the bad rap that heathenry gets for being full of assholes, we're actually incredibly more self-less and community-minded then I think we get credit for. I don't know how to say this, but I love the stark beauty of heathenry. I like the image of bloodied, brutal, war-weary men bowing down to a Matrone votive stone amd just that contradiction...or complement, even. (I should probably take time to mention I'm a romantic idealist at heart...) The idea that these 'savage' and 'brutal' men and women found beauty and delicacy in their lives really touches me. The fact that they named the lady bug after Freyja brings a smile to my face.

I love the shades of grey. I love that Odin isn't purely good or Loki purely evil. I love that the gods have personalities and flaws and are fleshed-out dieties and not black and white concretes. I love the complexities of the lore , I love how stories tie into each other and every aspect of uncovering a particular part of the worldview reveals new and intertwined concepts and values and realizations. I love how proud they are; that their flood myth basically said "Yo, that shit happened to those douches over there, not us" and that it benefited them rather than punished them. They weren't self=loathing, they weren't sinful, they weren't unworthy. It was a faith for good men and women that wanted the best for their loved ones and their future loved ones and didn't look for escape but for bettering here and now.

Er...that's all for now, I think. Smiley
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Mark C.
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« Reply #4: June 01, 2011, 04:52:54 am »

What is the best part for you of being heathen, Asatru, Norse pagan, whatever? It's easy to get caught up in the negativity or misconceptions about this great group of religions, that I think it's good to remember what we love about it in the first place.

Nice question!

I’m sure I’m the same as many when I say that one of the great things about heathenry etc is the realisation that you always were heathen (or whatever label people use) but never knew that there was such a thing. That, “Yep, this is it!” moment is pretty special.

The thing that sold me was the Havamal. No obscure otherworldly commandments, just solid workable guidance for a good life in the here and now. I love how heathenry focuses on this world and not the next.

I also love how the gods are imminent. We can see them in the changing of the seasons, the sun, the wind and the rain, the growth of plants and the flowing of rivers and streams. It made me realise that “divinity” is not something separated from this “fallen world”, but something that surrounds us and flows through the workings of the universe; including ourselves.

Putting historical debates on Ragnarok aside, that myth inspired me because the gods can die! And because they are not immortal, and are not omnipotent or all-powerful, they are capable of genuinely heroic action. We can relate to them and they can inspire us.

As in life, there is no guaranteed happy ending. There is no deity who can fix all problems with a celestial phone call. Like the gods, it is our bold actions that determine our fate. That notion is empowering (frightening for some?).

The connection with ancestry is also something I love. It reminds me that the life I was born into and my very flesh are something that my ancestors’ actions and decisions bequeathed to me. When I breathe; they breathe. Heathery reminds me that I'm part of a "wide community" that consists of both the dead and the living.

Personally I’m sceptical about the idea of a personal afterlife, but I do know that when I die I’ll be joining my ancestors – whether in another state of being or personal oblivion – and I like that thought.

I also love the idea that we live on in this world through our actions and deeds while we live. Trying to live in a way that will outlive you and be of benefit to those who reside in this world after we have left encourages good morals and a full life.

My actions are not about my personal salvation or my fate in any afterlife, but how they impact on the people around me and the people who come after me. My ancestors have given me more than I can ever repay, so what I need to do is ensure my actions contribute to those who come after me. I want to become a "good ancestor".

Heathenry also includes a god who likes eating, drinking, and whacking things with a mallet! What’s not to like?  Wink

Mark.
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« Reply #5: June 01, 2011, 09:05:12 am »

I also love how the gods are imminent. We can see them in the changing of the seasons, the sun, the wind and the rain, the growth of plants and the flowing of rivers and streams. It made me realise that “divinity” is not something separated from this “fallen world”, but something that surrounds us and flows through the workings of the universe; including ourselves.

One other thing to add is that I like the distinction between the "nature" of crops and plentiful food, and the "nature" of floods, drought, and famine. There is no universal “nature is good” but an acknowledgement that nature also can destroy the endeavours of mankind in a heartbeat (as personified in the Jontuns). As well as working with nature, we also need protecting from it.

There is also no “God is good and all powerful” so we don’t have to explain why good things happen to bad people, and why bad things to happen to good people. The simple answer of, “because sh#t happens!” explains that for a heathen :-)

Heathenry reflects the world around us. We don’t have to try to square the circle between doctrine and the way the real word operates. Observing the world bolsters my religious belief as opposed to contradicting and undermining it.

There also seems to be far less inclination to take the myths as literal truth. I’ve never yet came across a Heathen who believes in Audhumla as literal “sky cow” at the universe’s beginning. Instead the myths tend to be taken as poetic metaphor for the underlying nature of things and man’s place within the universe. Heathenry therefore allows one to have a religion and not have to deny, dodge or pervert science in order to reconcile the two.

Drinking mead from horns is cool too.

Mark.
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« Reply #6: June 02, 2011, 07:34:23 am »

Drinking mead from horns is cool too.


It does make me smile when I think that I have a religious duty to finish my ale. A pint of ale is usually poured with the explanation: 'I'm having a religious urge'.


My gods spur me to fight, and resist the temptation of laziness and inactivity. Sometimes it's as little as 'I hate the English weather, and I don't want to walk these two miles. But I must! Because the mother of my mother needs me to be there!'

It is my religion, my worldview, my attitude: I was made strong enough to face the day but weak enough to fall when decreed. I love that, it's grim determination to get the best while I can and be of good service to those I'm near.

I also agree, Mark, with the acceptance of 'Shirt happens'. I went through a lovely New-Agey phase of 'Oh no - my washing fell off the line and into the hop bushes! This must be karmic retribution for... leaving work five minutes early!' Randomly, helplessly and unintelligently searching for the manifestation of the Immanent and Petty Laws of Western Karma that would punish me at every turn. Frankly, it's much more natural and becoming to cast an eye over the mishap and remark that 'Shirt happens'.
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« Reply #7: June 03, 2011, 05:29:54 am »

the Immanent and Petty Laws of Western Karma
Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy
I am so borrowing that.

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« Reply #8: June 03, 2011, 09:45:56 am »

Connection to the past, connection to my ancestors, and connection to my family and community. Even those who are not of my faith, can benefit from my own civic mindedness and in turn my own standing and luck is enhanced. It's a faith for people who DO, not just talk, and I like that we highly praise right-action and plain speech.

What Bob said above is IMO the best part of Heathenry. Although, plain speech in my family has always been advocated to dancing around the issue, or using fluffy flowery speech.

That, plus I have to admit it's funny as hell to walk around pan-pagan gatherings with my Hammer proudly displayed and see how some groups react almost with fear and awe (it's one of THEM! The VIKING PEOPLE!). It's a cheesy power trip LOL Smiley

So going to have to do this now.
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« Reply #9: June 03, 2011, 01:13:27 pm »

What is the best part for you of being heathen, Asatru, Norse pagan, whatever? It's easy to get caught up in the negativity or misconceptions about this great group of religions, that I think it's good to remember what we love about it in the first place.

Go! Smiley

This is great!  Smiley I really needed a thread like this after all the bitching I've been doing lately *lol*


I love how heathenry is simple and no-frills while at the same time being profound and beautiful. It has a very.....hmmm....'primal' feel to it. I like the imagery.

I love how it makes sense of things I have felt and believed my whole life. It explains why in the forest, as a child, I felt there were "spirits" around me. It explains why I felt that there were many powerful forces at work in the world of which I was in awe and often fear, not just one transcendent god. It explains why I felt I could still talk to my dead grandparents and why I felt they were still part of our lives.

As a very moral person who always had a very deep sense of personal honour, I love how heathenry is about right-action and recognizing your impact on others. I love that it is community-minded, family-oriented, and focused on this life and the people around you. I love that heathenry gives me a sense of inter-connectedness - I am connected to the world around me, and to those who came before, live now, and will come after.

I love that heathenry is organic, not dogmatic. I love that heathenry is about reciprocity. I love the myths and the layers of symbolism. I love that it encourages men to be manly and women to be womanly and that there is nothing wrong with acknowledging our innate strengths. I love how it encourages you to be proud but not arrogant, generous but discerning, faithful but not blind, self-aware and honest, glad even when things are gloomy, and loyal and honourable even when doing the right thing pains you.

So many great things!  Smiley

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« Reply #10: June 03, 2011, 01:21:43 pm »

I love how heathenry is simple and no-frills while at the same time being profound and beautiful. It has a very.....hmmm....'primal' feel to it. I like the imagery.

I love how it makes sense of things I have felt and believed my whole life. It explains why in the forest, as a child, I felt there were "spirits" around me. It explains why I felt that there were many powerful forces at work in the world of which I was in awe and often fear, not just one transcendent god. It explains why I felt I could still talk to my dead grandparents and why I felt they were still part of our lives.

As a very moral person who always had a very deep sense of personal honour, I love how heathenry is about right-action and recognizing your impact on others. I love that it is community-minded, family-oriented, and focused on this life and the people around you.

Nothing to say other than the above post is awesome! Grin

Mark.
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« Reply #11: June 03, 2011, 04:45:37 pm »

Nothing to say other than the above post is awesome! Grin

Mark.
I agree! Can we vote it as the best post of the year?  Cheesy But really, that was beautiful NorthernSpirit.
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« Reply #12: June 03, 2011, 08:46:02 pm »

I find it interesting to see how many people have mentioned the family aspect of it as my experiences have been very solitary, perhaps due to me having very little family. Anyway, that way of thinking has never really occurred to me (though I should probably sort it out...).

Back to the question, for me its probably the feeling of something old and historical that I'm keeping a little part of alive.
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« Reply #13: June 03, 2011, 10:29:01 pm »

I find it interesting to see how many people have mentioned the family aspect of it as my experiences have been very solitary, perhaps due to me having very little family. Anyway, that way of thinking has never really occurred to me (though I should probably sort it out...).
Good point, and something I've experienced at well. The way I look at it, Heathenry is so closely intertwined with life so that it's not "Now I spend time honoring my family religiously" and "Now I spend time with my family for real." It's not compartmentalized like that. So any time I get to spend with my family is important no matter what the occasion or what we're doing. I'm not "out" with my family (mostly because of my grandmother), but I get cards that say Yule instead of Christmas and I don't give out Easter cards. But gathering for Christmas and Easter are family traditions, and they are events that I can find private value in to enrich me spiritually.

Also, I think friends are often "family," not just blood (blasphemous?). And quality, not quantity, as in all things!

As far as the ancestor connection goes, that's something I have a hard time wrapping my head around! lol. But I say good morning to them every morning in my little morning prayers.
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"She who stands on tiptoe / doesn't stand firm. / She who rushes ahead / doesn't go far. / She who tries to shine / dims her own light. / She who defines herself / can't know who she really is. / She who has power over others / can't empower herself. / She who clings to her work / will create nothing that endures. / If you want to accord with the Tao, / just do your job, then let go." ~ Tao Te Ching, chp. 24

"Silent and thoughtful a prince's son should be / and bold in fighting; / cheerful and merry every man should be / until he waits for death." ~ Havamal, stanza 15
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« Reply #14: June 03, 2011, 10:33:15 pm »

I've been trying to formulate a response to this, but honestly, everyone's are so good and you're all expressing what I feel as well! Smiley

Bravery, humor, the natural world. Relationships, action, and a gift for a gift. All things I love about this path and these gods.
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"She who stands on tiptoe / doesn't stand firm. / She who rushes ahead / doesn't go far. / She who tries to shine / dims her own light. / She who defines herself / can't know who she really is. / She who has power over others / can't empower herself. / She who clings to her work / will create nothing that endures. / If you want to accord with the Tao, / just do your job, then let go." ~ Tao Te Ching, chp. 24

"Silent and thoughtful a prince's son should be / and bold in fighting; / cheerful and merry every man should be / until he waits for death." ~ Havamal, stanza 15

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