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Author Topic: Non-Recon Heathenry  (Read 14753 times)
bobthesane
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« Reply #15: June 11, 2011, 11:30:22 pm »

tangent -

'Self-titled' seems somewhat pejorative to me and it made me wonder - who titled the rest of the heathen groups?  Would most heathens even accept titles applied by someone other than themselves?  Is there a central body responsible for titling heathen groups and do they dislike the Norse Wiccans to the extent that they were obliged to title themselves?

/tangent


Absent (very tired and on painkillers so might not be making a lot of sense)

Uuuuh.... I am still trying to figure how this is a pejorative statement when they called themselves this as a means to differentiate themselves from Asatru so that people would not be confused due to our similarities. Therefore: self-titled. Just like I call myself Asatru. No one else called me this first, I self-titled myself Asatru.
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« Reply #16: June 11, 2011, 11:44:35 pm »

Uuuuh.... I am still trying to figure how this is a pejorative statement when they called themselves this as a means to differentiate themselves from Asatru so that people would not be confused due to our similarities. Therefore: self-titled. Just like I call myself Asatru. No one else called me this first, I self-titled myself Asatru.

See, I wondered about that after I posted.  A lot of people will use terms like self-titled or self-proclaimed to express doubt about the descriptor that follows those words (self proclaimed witch, self titled scholar, etc.)

BUT, and this is probably where you were coming from, besides it being a simple truth in some circumstances - there are situations where a term itself would be pejorative if applied by anyone except the self - calling someone a 'self-proclaimed bitch on wheels' makes it clear that this person does not consider the term negative and uses it freely herself.  It makes it clear that you are not calling names, just using ones that have been established.

I could see where someone could call that group 'Norse Wicca' the way various paths get called 'wicca with shamrocks' or 'wicca with *insert familiar symbol from whatever culture is being adapted to a wiccish framework*.  Instead, the name is one that is self-applied by the wiccans involved, making the 'self-titled' part a reassurance that one is 'not' sneering at them.

Did I mention painkillers make me babble?  I wasn't trying to accuse you of interfaith one-upmanship, and re-reading my post I do apologize for sounding that way.  I was just taken with a wonderment and gave it expression without tact.

Absent - sitting firmly on my hands for the next four hours. Cheesy
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« Reply #17: June 12, 2011, 07:42:42 am »

See, I wondered about that after I posted.  A lot of people will use terms like self-titled or self-proclaimed to express doubt about the descriptor that follows those words (self proclaimed witch, self titled scholar, etc.)

BUT, and this is probably where you were coming from, besides it being a simple truth in some circumstances - there are situations where a term itself would be pejorative if applied by anyone except the self - calling someone a 'self-proclaimed bitch on wheels' makes it clear that this person does not consider the term negative and uses it freely herself.  It makes it clear that you are not calling names, just using ones that have been established.

I could see where someone could call that group 'Norse Wicca' the way various paths get called 'wicca with shamrocks' or 'wicca with *insert familiar symbol from whatever culture is being adapted to a wiccish framework*.  Instead, the name is one that is self-applied by the wiccans involved, making the 'self-titled' part a reassurance that one is 'not' sneering at them.

Did I mention painkillers make me babble?  I wasn't trying to accuse you of interfaith one-upmanship, and re-reading my post I do apologize for sounding that way.  I was just taken with a wonderment and gave it expression without tact.

Absent - sitting firmly on my hands for the next four hours. Cheesy

Hehe enjoy your painkillers Smiley

You know, you are right for sure about the fact that some people do use that phrase as a means to express disdain. I honestly hadn't even thought of that. Usually when I am speaking/typing/communicating, when I say something that has two interpretations as to 'tone', one being really snotty and the other being straight-forward this-is-literal, the vast majority of the time I am speaking directly and literally. I've been told that my actual scorn and ridicule is so vicious it reaches out through people's screens and kicks their kittens Smiley

On a serious note, though, you did ask a very good question in your previous post. You asked if there is some governing body who determines what titles are applied. And the answer is, well, there is and isn't. We as a whole have terms and titles that we all agree communally upon. I mean, Glitter-unicorn Moon-Trance the Giggliest may call herself Asatru, but the minute she whips out a bag of 'fairy dust' and a glow-stick wand to use in a Blot, she will be looked at askance. If she then proceeds to call to gods other than ours in that same Blot, she has definitely crossed the line into NOT Asatru, and we are in fact the ones who get to say what is and isn't Asatru. Just as I wouldn't show up to a Kemetic observance and start spouting about Thor and still expect to be accepted as one of their faith.
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« Reply #18: June 12, 2011, 10:49:28 am »

I understand what I am about to ask probably is not going to be very popular among alot of Heathens and Asatru but I'll ask anyway. Is it possible to be a Heathen/Germanic Pagan without being a Reconstructionist? I consider myself to be more of the eclectic variety, I've never been one for reconstructionism or traditionalism. Is anybody here a non-recon Heathen or an eclectic Norse/Germanic pagan and could help me out? 

I worship the Old Gods of the North, but I don't regard myself as a reconstructionist. As a (non academic establishment) historian as well as a believer, I have serious issues concerning what can and cannot be 'known' about the practices of our ancestors, so I don't feel reconstructionism is something I can lay claim to as an identity, even though I am happy to go along with anything in terms of practice which *can* generally be agreed to be their practice. Additionally, I believe the point of theology to be *not* to preserve the practices of the past for transmission to future generations, but to be open to the task of re-interpreting the 'kerygma' of my religion (along with the texts) for each new generation.

I don't know if this makes me 'truly' Heathen or not, and to be frank, I'm not that bothered. Many Heathens would probably consider me to be a bit 'heretical', but so be it. If others would care to know me as a Norse or Anglo Saxon Pagan then again, so be it. Labels don't worry me over-much.

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« Reply #19: June 12, 2011, 01:18:13 pm »

I try to live a "green" lifestyle, which is definitely not something that's found in Heathenry. I just figure that if I choose to worship deities that primarily (though not exclusively) associated with nature, I should try to do my part to clean up the planet, but others might not see an association between their religion and their lifestyle.

To add to what Bobthesane and Juniperberry said, many Heathens also honor the landvaettir or land spirits so honoring and conserving the land, nature, taking care of the environment and the Earth in general can be seen as a religious duty. 
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« Reply #20: June 12, 2011, 01:32:08 pm »

Whoa whoa whoa whoa, back that bus up there. Why would you possibly think we don't live a 'green' lifestyle or that it is not found there? You will find a HUGE number of people in the modern heathen community who are extremely interested in things like going 'off grid', modern homesteading, sustainable farming, land conservation, etc. There are entire forums and newsgroups dedicated to heathen homesteading.

I have to chime in on this as I try to live as green as I can get. I grow a large number of vegetables and fruit to avoid having to pay for it at the grocery store. Most the products I clean with are tried and true cleaners that have been used by my family for years, example: Vinegar and water works on most anything. Quite frankly I attribute most of the changes in my lifestyle to the fact that I decided to be Heathen.
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« Reply #21: June 12, 2011, 08:38:32 pm »

I have a lot to reply to, particularly regarding "green" things. Hopefully I will be more coherent since I'm typing this out at a reasonable hour.

Interesting. I was always under the impression that seidhr or spae was an individual thing. (Priests going beneath the cloak, men laying down and spirit traveling, that sort of thing). Though spakonas or volvas would often share their talents with a community I always assumed it was more about one's talent than a community or coven-esque practice. I haven't looked into much, does Gerrard explain this community basis in her book?

I have Gerrard's book right in front of me as I write this. From what I understand, her practice is based on the 'high seat rite' where the seidkona goes into trance and answers questions that the audience poses to her. In this case, the audience also acts as a sort of "battery", supplying energy (through singing, sometimes even drumming) to help keep the seeress in trance for a longer period of time. She also recommends practicing in a group setting for safety reasons, so I think the emphasis on community-based practice is for more practical reasons. However, there's plenty of material in the book that can be used by someone who is solitary, and she does include a ritual for "sitting out" which appears to be more about spirit communication than prophesy.

Quote
I'm actually a bit surprised by this but maybe I'm misconstruing what you mean by 'green'. Most heathens I know are really into sustainable living, gardening, being self-sufficient, composting...you get the drift.

I've had a chance to read over my comment again, and I think what I meant to say is that I think while many Heathens do respect the natural world, try to live off the land, and work with the spirits of the land, most are quick to argue that their tradition isn't "earth-based" but "gods-based" (or "community-based" or what have you) or, if they are into environmentalism, they might not see it as a choice that is motivated by their religious views.

I didn't mean to imply that all Heathens drive gas-guzzlers and leave trash around for other people to pick up, or otherwise engage in activities that aren't so environmentally-friendly, that would just be silly. I am saying that I have found it to be particularly appropriate for Vanir-focused traditions, that is not to say that everyone who worships the Vanir needs to sell their homes and take up farming. I'm probably going to come across as a total hypocrite, but I live in a city (not a huge city, but it's pretty big by Canadian standards) and I think if I were to announce that I was going to run off and start a homestead, my folks would probably check me into an institution! It's a bit like claiming all Wiccans need to be vegetarian/vegan based on one's interpretation of "harm none", some are and some aren't and either is acceptable.

I will also admit that I don't readily associate Heathenry with environmentalism, which I think is something a lot of people associate with the more general "Pagan" (or more specifically "Wiccan") community (which often, unfortunately, is conflated with Wicca). However, that's obviously my own bias talking.

Basically, I think everyone needs to assume that everything I say is very "your mileage may vary". Cheesy Maybe I should put that in my profile...
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« Reply #22: June 12, 2011, 09:25:43 pm »


I've had a chance to read over my comment again, and I think what I meant to say is that I think while many Heathens do respect the natural world, try to live off the land, and work with the spirits of the land, most are quick to argue that their tradition isn't "earth-based" but "gods-based" (or "community-based" or what have you) or, if they are into environmentalism, they might not see it as a choice that is motivated by their religious views.


Ah. This is something I've never verbalized but the distinction for me is that heathenry isn't earth-based in the sense that it's not* a fertility cult and it's not that the gods are of nature. Rather, they control nature. For me more earth-based religions see divinity in the material world, while heathens see divinity as the powers that rule over the material world- but of course the natural world is important. It houses us, the wights, etc. But there's the sense that the sun and the moon are just the sun and moon and not gods per se, and that seasons are just seasons but celebrated by community for their practical qualities. I guess in other pagan paths they have spring as the manifestation of the divine's rebirth and heathenry doesn't see it in that same sense. I think a lot of heathens feel some sense of environmentalism and responsibility to the earth- not in a stewardship sense but in a partnership/respectful sense.

I'm just blurting out whatevers coming to mind. Sorry if it's repetitive. Smiley

*Edited because the meaning is completely different with 'not' absent.
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« Reply #23: June 13, 2011, 12:27:17 am »

I have Gerrard's book right in front of me as I write this. From what I understand, her practice is based on the 'high seat rite' where the seidkona goes into trance and answers questions that the audience poses to her. In this case, the audience also acts as a sort of "battery", supplying energy (through singing, sometimes even drumming) to help keep the seeress in trance for a longer period of time. She also recommends practicing in a group setting for safety reasons, so I think the emphasis on community-based practice is for more practical reasons. However, there's plenty of material in the book that can be used by someone who is solitary, and she does include a ritual for "sitting out" which appears to be more about spirit communication than prophesy.

I'm not any kind of Norse pagan, but the most powerful ritual I've ever experienced was a seidh ritual -- done in a group, as described in the quote above.  Following that ritual, I had the good fortune to be invited to participate in seidh training.  That focused on the community-based practice, but there were definitely elements of the training that translate well to solitary use.  It was a fantastic learning opportunity.

I haven't seen Gerrard's book, but I think it's pretty new, right?  Do you recommend it?

~ Aster
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« Reply #24: June 13, 2011, 12:18:31 pm »

I'm not any kind of Norse pagan, but the most powerful ritual I've ever experienced was a seidh ritual -- done in a group, as described in the quote above.  Following that ritual, I had the good fortune to be invited to participate in seidh training.  That focused on the community-based practice, but there were definitely elements of the training that translate well to solitary use.  It was a fantastic learning opportunity.

I haven't seen Gerrard's book, but I think it's pretty new, right?  Do you recommend it?

~ Aster

It was published in February of this year, so I'd say it's pretty new! Smiley
I bought my copy from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Seidr-Gate-Open-Katie-Gerrard/dp/1905297521/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1307979895&sr=8-1

I would definitely recommend it, but with a few caveats:

1. Gerrard's practice appears to be heavily influenced by Diana Paxson's group Hrafnar, which seems to garner a mixed reception among Heathens. She does repeatedly state that at the time she started developing her practice, there weren't as many resources available to draw on, that said, it is something to keep in mind.

2. She repeatedly states that this is her way of doing things, based on what works for her. Her research appears sound and she does voice some interesting theories. Why, for instance, is the seeress in Greenland Saga given the heart of one of every animal on the farm? Does she just really like organ meat, or is there another reason?

Now, since you appear to have a favourable impression of the ritual, I think you would enjoy the book, as it goes through the various roles and includes the ritual script for the high seat rite. I don't know if I'd recommend it to a complete beginner (Gerrard recommends that beginners to trancework pick up "Trance-Portation" by Paxson, which I also have) but I think the techniques are accessible enough that someone who is already familiar with trancework can start to use them in their own practice.

Okay, now that I've gone way off topic, (I really have to get over this aversion I have to starting new threads on TC), we were talking about things of a non-reconstructionist nature, right? Being a non-recon myself, I'm very interested in this topic, I just can't think of anything more to say that hasn't already been said.
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« Reply #25: June 13, 2011, 07:00:03 pm »

It was published in February of this year, so I'd say it's pretty new! Smiley
I bought my copy from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Seidr-Gate-Open-Katie-Gerrard/dp/1905297521/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1307979895&sr=8-1

I would definitely recommend it, but with a few caveats:

1. Gerrard's practice appears to be heavily influenced by Diana Paxson's group Hrafnar, which seems to garner a mixed reception among Heathens. She does repeatedly state that at the time she started developing her practice, there weren't as many resources available to draw on, that said, it is something to keep in mind.

*snip*

Honestly the reason why she gets a mixed reception at best amongst us is that she has a tendency to mix things up a bit. Some of her practices are thoroughly rooted in North American Wicca, and thus have very little to do with Asatru. While that in and of itself is not necessarily an issue, she makes little or no effort to delineate which is which. This can be confusing to those who are not familiar with one or both faiths, as I'm sure you can imagine, particularly when she employs Wiccan ritual symbology in a rite that is advertised as being Asatru. We tend to get a mite grumpy about that sort of thing, as it could be confusing and misleading to newcomers to the faith.

Other than that, I am given to understand she is a very nice lady Smiley
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« Reply #26: June 14, 2011, 04:21:08 am »

1. Gerrard's practice appears to be heavily influenced by Diana Paxson's group Hrafnar, which seems to garner a mixed reception among Heathens. She does repeatedly state that at the time she started developing her practice, there weren't as many resources available to draw on, that said, it is something to keep in mind.

Thanks for the review!  I appreciate it, especially the caveats.  I've put the book on my wishlist, along with a side order of salt.   Wink

Actually, Diana Paxson was one of the participants in the seidh ritual I attended, although not the seer, and the ritual was based on her group's interpretations and practices.  I'm aware, and was aware then, that many in the Heathen community have issues with her and her methods, and I respect that.  Since I'm not Heathen, though, I didn't have that perspective myself.  I should also say that Paxson and the others in the group at that ritual were very clear about how they had developed the oracular seidh technique and about the fact that it was was based on the lore but significantly adapted for modern use, rather than being a strict reconstruction.  (I posted about the experience here, if anyone is curious.)

The woman who served as the seer for that ritual was the one who gave the training I subsequently attended for several months.  Before we began, I explained that I didn't know much about Asatru or Heathenry (other than what I'd read here and in Paxson's Asatru book), and that my perspective was more akin to Celtic Recon.  We discussed ways the seidh training could be modified for use within a different cultural context.  It was more about the technique than about the specific religious setting.  And, in fact, I *have* found the training and some of the techniques very useful.  I also have Trance-portation, but have only been able to read brief parts of it, so far.

Anyway, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.  I'll stop dragging this thread off topic now.   Wink

~ Aster
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« Reply #27: June 14, 2011, 05:21:56 pm »

It was published in February of this year, so I'd say it's pretty new! Smiley
I bought my copy from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Seidr-Gate-Open-Katie-Gerrard/dp/1905297521/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1307979895&sr=8-1

I would definitely recommend it, but with a few caveats:

1. Gerrard's practice appears to be heavily influenced by Diana Paxson's group Hrafnar, which seems to garner a mixed reception among Heathens. She does repeatedly state that at the time she started developing her practice, there weren't as many resources available to draw on, that said, it is something to keep in mind.

2. She repeatedly states that this is her way of doing things, based on what works for her. Her research appears sound and she does voice some interesting theories. Why, for instance, is the seeress in Greenland Saga given the heart of one of every animal on the farm? Does she just really like organ meat, or is there another reason?

Now, since you appear to have a favourable impression of the ritual, I think you would enjoy the book, as it goes through the various roles and includes the ritual script for the high seat rite. I don't know if I'd recommend it to a complete beginner (Gerrard recommends that beginners to trancework pick up "Trance-Portation" by Paxson, which I also have) but I think the techniques are accessible enough that someone who is already familiar with trancework can start to use them in their own practice.

Okay, now that I've gone way off topic, (I really have to get over this aversion I have to starting new threads on TC), we were talking about things of a non-reconstructionist nature, right? Being a non-recon myself, I'm very interested in this topic, I just can't think of anything more to say that hasn't already been said.
Would you be willing to post this or a version of it on the stickied Resource list? Whether you put it on the "Reccommend" or "Avoid" list is up to you.

That would be awesome. Thanks! Smiley
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« Reply #28: June 14, 2011, 08:06:36 pm »

Would you be willing to post this or a version of it on the stickied Resource list? Whether you put it on the "Reccommend" or "Avoid" list is up to you.

That would be awesome. Thanks! Smiley

Sure! I'll go do that right now!
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« Reply #29: June 20, 2011, 05:40:45 am »

To add to what Bobthesane and Juniperberry said, many Heathens also honor the landvaettir or land spirits so honoring and conserving the land, nature, taking care of the environment and the Earth in general can be seen as a religious duty. 

I fall squarely into that category. I follow the traditions of my ancestors (northern Europeans.) I call myself Pagan. I am not, nor have I ever been Wiccan. My path evolved out of my work within shamanism.

I tend to work much more closely with the landvaettir and my ancestors than with any group of gods. Nature plays a huge role in all that I do.

As for heathenry, I respect it. I am not Asatru, although I share the same pantheon and lore as them. I read runes and honour my kin. There are many similarities.

Having said that, the Mjolnir is not my symbol. Thor is a god of the people. He is a god of warriors. Modern heathenism tends to work towards recreating the bonds of brotherhood that would have existed in a warrior society. Oaths and blot are some of their most important observances. There is nothing wrong with this. It is, however, where I differ from them.

I have come across too many people who think that if they don't belong to a heathen group, then they cannot possibly follow the gods of the north. This is not true.

I work with Spirits. I work with nature, the ancestors, and the gods. It is possible to follow a northern path, without having to belong to a group.

Remember: Odin was prone to wandering alone, seeking wisdom and undergoing trials by himself. Why can't his followers do the same?
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by Acacia
Hawaiian Recon
Miscellaneous Religious Discussions
Morag 11 4830 Last post July 18, 2007, 11:33:21 pm
by TribalCat
Kemetic Neo-Recon SIG Website « 1 2 »
Reformed Kemeticism SIG
Darkhawk 28 28037 Last post June 22, 2008, 06:06:27 pm
by sefiru
Slavic Recon
Paganism For Beginners
Dziewanna 4 7450 Last post September 09, 2008, 06:46:03 am
by Saevör
Prehistoric Recon « 1 2 3 »
Pagan Religions
Castus 42 14644 Last post November 20, 2010, 10:17:20 am
by catja6
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