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Author Topic: On the subject of Asatru...  (Read 8608 times)
Jord
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« Topic Start: January 07, 2009, 10:06:59 pm »

Hello,

My name is Jordan and I am a new member to the forums.

I have recently (within the last year and a half) deconverted from Christianity. I have been attending a UU church for a few months to try and find some kind of spirituality that has been missing in my life ever since I left X-ianity.

I've been reading a lot of Atheist works as "The God Delusion" (Richard Dawkins), "The End of Faith" & "A Letter To A Christian Nation" (Sam Harris), and "Godless" (Dan Barker). These works were fundamental in me unprogramming the terrible religion of my parents and their parents.

So here I am...I grew up feeling spiritual things but also feeling "red flags" if you will about X-ianity the whole way. I know now that in many ways Christianity was never for me...but I can't help but feel their is something "out there" for me.

Attending the UU church, I had an immediate connection with a Pagan friend that has practically overnight become a very close friend. It is uncanny just how much his family ( him and his wife and kids) and my family (my wife and kids) get along and have so much in common.

My friend, is Asatru in beliefs. Both him and his wife deconverted from Christanity as well so we have much in common and really enjoy spending time together.

I've had an interest in Wicca and Paganism for awhile...alot of my friends in highschool/college were Wiccan...including the best man at my wedding! (Ironic). So here I am trying to explore paganism, However, thanks to all this swell Atheist reading I've done which has practically convinced me their is no God, I am having a Hell of a time trusting any spiritual feelings again.

I've been reading alot into Asatru. I've been reading "The Troth" Vol 1 & 2 which is hardly light reading. I've been skimming through the Prose and Poetic Edda's trying to raise my comfort level with Deep Norse beliefs. I bought an "Intro to Asatru" book, and I even have a set of Runes that my friend made for me himself.

Whenever I am around my friend...and we talk about the Gods...it feels right...it feels true and it feels real to me. However, I am having a damn hard time getting that feeling for "myself" when I am alone and when there is no one else there to talk to about it.

I want to develop a real relationship with the Gods myself! I do not want to take the word of anyone else to "tell" me about the divine I want to experience it for MYSELF.

Any advice out there on what I should do? It probably doesnt help that I am a newb pagan in general. I tried reading runes a few times to practice divination. One of the readings was absolutely incredible and truly felt divinely inspired. There are times when the spirit of the Gods begin's to flow and I can feel that its real...but it seems so elusive. I enjoy reading my Atheist books...they were good friends when I deconverted. My wife is unsure about her faith at this time...some days she wakes up and she is Christian, meanwhile, some mornings she's atheist.

I need to know the Gods are real for myself...but I'm having a damn hard time believing in my spiritual eyes anymore...I actually believed in Jesus and all that crap...I would give anything to feel the Gods presence and to know they are real. When I read the stories it resonates with me at a deep level...I just can't seem to get all this atheist logical thought out of my head. I enjoy Logic and Logical Thought...but damn it...I want to feel the divine and have some spiritualism too!

Thanks for reading,

-Jord
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« Reply #1: January 07, 2009, 10:25:00 pm »

These works were fundamental in me unprogramming the terrible religion of my parents and their parents.

Err, Christianity doesn't strike me as a terrible religion. It's not the religion for me, but it works well for a couple of billion people.

Quote
I need to know the Gods are real for myself...but I'm having a damn hard time believing in my spiritual eyes anymore...I actually believed in Jesus and all that crap...

Perhaps you need to revise your thinking if you want to see spiritual things again. You have already see to have decided that Gods are a form of crap, so you may have closed yourself off from them.

Quote
I would give anything to feel the Gods presence and to know they are real.

Most of us do not know our deities (and those of others) are real, we simply have faith that they are.
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« Reply #2: January 07, 2009, 10:32:06 pm »

Err, Christianity doesn't strike me as a terrible religion. It's not the religion for me, but it works well for a couple of billion people.

Perhaps you need to revise your thinking if you want to see spiritual things again. You have already see to have decided that Gods are a form of crap, so you may have closed yourself off from them.

Most of us do not know our deities (and those of others) are real, we simply have faith that they are.

Thanks for the Comments,

I agree I don't think I quite said that very well. I don't see Christianity as terrible. I don't see it as a fit for "me" but I think terrible was perhaps the wrong wording.

I do need to try and revise my thinking...it's just difficult. It seems to show that what you put in your head and expose yourself to definitely seems to come out in genuine thought change. I've read many atheist works...and...surprise! I now have Atheistic thought patterns that now are practically intertwined into everything I do.

On the subject of faith, that is a toughie for me. Perhaps its all the Atheistic works I've read.., but I guess I don't have much "faith" in "Faith" any more (even though that sounds kind of cliche/redundant).

Not sure what to do with that...

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« Reply #3: January 07, 2009, 10:37:54 pm »

Hello,

My name is Jordan and I am a new member to the forums.
Welcome!

Quote
I want to develop a real relationship with the Gods myself! I do not want to take the word of anyone else to "tell" me about the divine I want to experience it for MYSELF.

<snip>

When I read the stories it resonates with me at a deep level...I just can't seem to get all this atheist logical thought out of my head. I enjoy Logic and Logical Thought...but damn it...I want to feel the divine and have some spiritualism too!
I may or may not be useful, but just know that I'm in quite a similar boat. (see the most recent blog post in the link in my signature for elaboration) I "believe" in the gods, but I don't "feel" them and haven't ever really. That only started kind of bothering me recently. Before I was just "well, if they don't speak to me that's their prerogative," but now I find myself wanting more of a personal relationship. And then there's always the self-doubt. lol.

I think there is some truth in a "fake it until you make it" kind of thing. I've found getting in touch with the gods is not like snap-bam! thing for me, it's been a very gradual process that starts with just *believing* and letting yourself be open.

As far as what to actually DO, here's what I've been doing. I started out doing daily devotionals, with a lit candle and a bit of Tao meditation, which was fine but required work - something I generally avoid. Sad I've just recently started simply talking to the gods - out loud - as I lay in bed before falling asleep. I think talking/praying out loud draws their attention more specifically than just thinking, and talking and claiming and recognizing my doubts and being honest with myself about them has been very helpful. They seem understanding... although I can't say for sure who "they" is.

There's other things you can do, like giving offerings and such. I've only done that once, leaving a glass of milk for them. I think traditional offerings are just fine - milk, honey, mead or beer, etc.

Anyway, hope the above helps.
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« Reply #4: January 07, 2009, 11:52:50 pm »

I've found getting in touch with the gods is not like snap-bam! thing for me, it's been a very gradual process that starts with just *believing* and letting yourself be open.

I agree with Hyacinth Belle that it is -- or more correctly, can be -- a gradual process.  It might help you to read threads here that talk about how various folks here have come to their beliefs.  I know that his been helpful and reassuring for me.

The way it worked for me:  I also grew up Christian, and eventually left Christianity because of what I perceived to be logical flaws in the theology, as well as an uncomfortably intellectually restrictive environment.  There were other reasons, too, but you get the idea.  I looked into various other religions, but basically sort of gave up on the whole religion thing.  I was agnostic or atheist for quite a while.

But at the same time, I also had a long-term interest in Celtic art, history, and mythology.  I spent a long time reading everything I could get my hands on.  After a while, I realized I was narrowing my reading to a focus on a particular goddess, Brighid.  Once I realized that, I just sort of became aware of Her presence in my life.  I had no proof and I had no "communications" from Her at that point.  I tried to stay open and to approach Her through offerings and prayer.  And then, it happened.  I just kind of suddenly heard Her voice and knew without a doubt that She was there.

Unfortunately, I don't hear Her all the time.  I think I've actually heard Her voice only a handful of times, including once through a seer who was in trance.  Because I don't hear or strongly feel Her all the time, I often start to doubt.  I suffer little mini crises of faith all the time.  But, even when I'm feeling especially agnostic, I try to stay open and have faith.  And when it counts, She is there.

I don't know what to advise you, other than keep reading, keep asking questions.  Try to stay open.  Discuss and debate here on TC.  You might never actually feel the gods' presence.  Not everyone gets "thwapped", as we call it on TC.  That doesn't mean your devotion or relationship with deity is somehow less.  Or you might be like me, and develop a strong faith while having only intermittent contact. 

You won't know, though, unless you try.  Cheesy
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« Reply #5: January 08, 2009, 07:31:08 am »

Hello,

Welcome to the Cauldron.
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« Reply #6: January 08, 2009, 12:19:58 pm »


Welcome, Jordan!

It's possible to be an atheist and a Heathen at the same time.  It's more about practices and values than about beliefs.  And speaking of practices, if you want to get a God's attention, make an offering.  The Norse Gods are partial to alcoholic drinks, but I've gotten results with apple juice.  (Not so much with citrus juices.  I guess you just can't grow lemons in Scandinavia.  Even though I made the lemonade myself, from lemons that grew in our backyard.  It just felt wrong somehow to offer it.)
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« Reply #7: January 08, 2009, 01:05:05 pm »


Have you tried praying and reaching out to them? A while back I was going through a bit of a crisis of faith and was quite upset. I begged whatever, whoever was out there to let me know what the hell was going on. And that night as I drifted off to sleep I had this cool vision/dream of my Goddess. It made me feel loads better.... for a while anyway. I've been through another one of those crises recently :p It's cool now though.

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« Reply #8: January 08, 2009, 08:30:01 pm »


I've had an interest in Wicca and Paganism for awhile...alot of my friends in highschool/college were Wiccan...including the best man at my wedding! (Ironic). So here I am trying to explore paganism, However, thanks to all this swell Atheist reading I've done which has practically convinced me their is no God, I am having a Hell of a time trusting any spiritual feelings again.

I've been reading alot into Asatru. I've been reading "The Troth" Vol 1 & 2 which is hardly light reading. I've been skimming through the Prose and Poetic Edda's trying to raise my comfort level with Deep Norse beliefs. I bought an "Intro to Asatru" book, and I even have a set of Runes that my friend made for me himself.

Whenever I am around my friend...and we talk about the Gods...it feels right...it feels true and it feels real to me. However, I am having a damn hard time getting that feeling for "myself" when I am alone and when there is no one else there to talk to about it.

I want to develop a real relationship with the Gods myself! I do not want to take the word of anyone else to "tell" me about the divine I want to experience it for MYSELF.

Any advice out there on what I should do? It probably doesnt help that I am a newb pagan in general. I tried reading runes a few times to practice divination. One of the readings was absolutely incredible and truly felt divinely inspired. There are times when the spirit of the Gods begin's to flow and I can feel that its real...but it seems so elusive. I enjoy reading my Atheist books...they were good friends when I deconverted. My wife is unsure about her faith at this time...some days she wakes up and she is Christian, meanwhile, some mornings she's atheist.

I need to know the Gods are real for myself...but I'm having a damn hard time believing in my spiritual eyes anymore...I actually believed in Jesus and all that crap...I would give anything to feel the Gods presence and to know they are real. When I read the stories it resonates with me at a deep level...I just can't seem to get all this atheist logical thought out of my head. I enjoy Logic and Logical Thought...but damn it...I want to feel the divine and have some spiritualism too!

Thanks for reading,

-Jord

Hey Jordan, a pleasure. Your story has several things in common with mine. If you want a relationship with the gods, then start one! You said yourself you want to experince it firsthand, not be told about it. So get out there and do it!

Ha Ha anyways you should try a personal little Blot ceremony with some meditation before and after (outside of course, in the woods with no people or buildings in sight if you can) In your meditation talk to them some, they want a relationship with you as much as you do with them (Its always nice to meet a friend haha)

A word of advisement, take "Out Troth" with a grain of salt, some views are pretty....out there. I imagine one of the reasons you left Xtianity is that you got tied of a book telling you what to believe. Im not saying "Our Troth" doesnt have some worth (I have them myself) but its viewpoints on some of the gods (Particualy Balder, Loki, and Odin) really grates on most Asatruars I know.
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« Reply #9: January 08, 2009, 09:53:45 pm »

Many thanks for the kind welcoming and wonderful comments.

Sounds like I'm just going to have to "jump in" and give it a shot.

I really like the idea of The God's wanting to have a relationship with me.

I'm not looking for a hand out. I'm not even looking for a God to listen to me have a pity party. I do however, feel a majestic sense of respect and admiration for this world and our ancestors for getting us here.

Sound's like I need to go spend some time in the woods!
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« Reply #10: January 08, 2009, 10:55:28 pm »

I do need to try and revise my thinking...it's just difficult. It seems to show that what you put in your head and expose yourself to definitely seems to come out in genuine thought change. I've read many atheist works...and...surprise! I now have Atheistic thought patterns that now are practically intertwined into everything I do.
That's what struck me most strongly in your original post.

I recommend re-reading those books on atheism, this time as "devil's advocate".  At every point, ask, "Is this argument as sound and as watertight as it appears, or are there holes in it?"  You may have to do a bunch of research in connection with it - that could involve anything from finding out if the atheistic depictions of Christianity are accurate for all denominations of Christianity, to familiarizing yourself (if you're not already) with logical fallacies and how to spot them.

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« Reply #11: January 09, 2009, 04:01:40 pm »

I don't know if this will help but I've just finished reading Galina Krasskova's 'Exploring the Northern Tradition' and it had quite a lot of advice for those converting.
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« Reply #12: January 10, 2009, 01:12:37 am »

Many thanks for the kind welcoming and wonderful comments.

Sounds like I'm just going to have to "jump in" and give it a shot.

I really like the idea of The God's wanting to have a relationship with me.

I'm not looking for a hand out. I'm not even looking for a God to listen to me have a pity party. I do however, feel a majestic sense of respect and admiration for this world and our ancestors for getting us here.

Sound's like I need to go spend some time in the woods!

Go ahead and give it a try, and its a good thing your not looking for a handout or such, The gods will not do anything for man they will not do for themselves. Independence is one of our most valued virtue. Also the Norse gods arent about the pity stuff to, so it sounds like your on the right path so far. Our Gods are not like some other Gods, they dont want your unquestioning obediance or anytihng like that. They are like family to us, they should of course be respected, but they are not distant from us.
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« Reply #13: January 10, 2009, 01:31:20 am »



I'm minded of a conversation with a friend recently in which he pointed out that there seemed to be a growing secularisation of pagan religions similar to that experienced by the Abrahamic faiths in many places over the last few hundred years. Your post reminded me of the conversation because he was saying that even if the gods did not exist as deities, they were a perfectly acceptable language to use in discussing fundamental truths about humanities experience of aspects of culture and nature. His argument centred on the 'snobbery' of demanding that deities not be metaphoric, regardless of whether or not they have been so viewed at any other point in history. If these faiths are living then it is not that surprising to me that they would experience trends that are affecting contemporary religion more broadly.  In short, maybe you can be an atheistic Asatru; at least until you rediscover your inner theism. YMMV of course.
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« Reply #14: January 10, 2009, 01:38:51 am »

... to familiarizing yourself (if you're not already) with logical fallacies and how to spot them.


I always find this site a good one for reviewing the most common ones. It's a quite extensive list.

http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/
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