Asatru, Heathen, Heathentry, Uncategorized

Heathen Family

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You know, there is a real disconnect throughout the community when we talk about our heathen kindreds, our heathen families, our heathen communities.  There is this abject fear from the left when we speak about our heathen children, a bizarre sort of aversion reflex that is hard for most to understand, until they are exposed to the White Power freaks, who are unashamedly running copies of 1930’s Nazi German pure Aryan children propaganda.

 

The problem with speaking of our Heathen families is that somehow, the racists seem to have won the battle, and even the inclusive heathen groups seem to have accepted the assumption that heathen families indicates obviously white.  When the hell did that happen?

 

The Heathen Freehold has never been pure anything.  Born from the far scattered peoples of British Columbia on Canada’s wild and largely forgotten west coast, we were far enough away from the centers of  heathen development we had to find our own way to do just about everything.  I mean we have Anglo-Saxon Heathens, Frankish, Germanics, Icelandic style Asatru, just about everything under the Heathen umbrella.  We have had many with native blood, Asian, African, it has never mattered to us.  We were alone for a long time, on the west coast, finding our own way, with the rest of the Heathen community far off doing their own thing, hearing only snippets of far off happenings.  We casually threw around Asatru and Heathen as the same thing, as we missed a lot of the big divisive fights that defined Heathenry in places where our kind were concentrated enough to divide against each other and fight; we had to either come together and accept our differences, or just admit we would have no community to practice in at all.

At the time I though us poorer for the lack of connection to the broader community, but now I thank the gods for giving us the time to establish our own thew, our own culture.  We are not great, all knowing, or blessed with bells and whistles envied by communities throughout the globe.  We are largely rural, widely scattered, and face real difficulties in coming together in great numbers with any frequency.  What we do have is an understanding of who we are, and we have a very clear idea about who and what we are meaning when we say Heathen Family.

In a discussion about Fascism vs Communism in the early days of the last century, the French Prime Minister listened to the rhetoric and then finally cut through it all and demanded “enough theory, show me the men!”  In the end, it always comes down to people.  Words can mean anything, but people are real.

 

Meet Aaron, and Kate.  Aaron came to the Freehold a long time ago, as a young man.  I had the chance to see him grow and mature into a fine man, a proud sailor in Her Majesties Canadian Navy, and to see him find his perfect wife.  I had the honour to take Kate’s fosterman’s oath, when she came to discover heathenry.  I had the very great honour to aid them taking their oaths to each other when the asked me to marry them.  I had the very great honour of taking Kate’s full oath, pledging herself to the Freehold, and to Freo in particular.  This is who I think of when I think of a Heathen Family.  In time baby Audrey came along, a pure bred heathen, a baby conceived and born from two heathen parents and raised within a Heathen kindred.

Wedding of Aaron and Kate

 

Audrey shines in our eyes as my own children, those of the other parents in the Freehold as the image of what we think of as a Heathen child. Our heathen children, our communities children.  This is what a pure bred heathen looks like, this is not the only face, there are version in every gender, age range, hair and skin colour.  The problem that I have with the community, not our community, but the broader heathen community is that ten percent of the community seems to think that anyone who would not fit in a Hitler Youth or League of German Girls poster cannot be a heathen child, and the other ninety percent think that somehow we are supposed to be ashamed of taking pride in the heathen families, heathen children, and gods forbid you should ever praise the heathen mothers in the community, because somehow fear of a fringe group of hate filled social outcasts has made acknowledging the beauty of a heathen family somehow suspect.

Heathen Baby

I sometimes long for the pre-internet days when we didn’t’ know what the rest of Heathenry was doing, and when we had no idea how special our community actually was.  Well change has to begin somewhere, and it may as well be here.

This is what a Heathen family looks like.  This is Aaron, Kate and Audrey.  They are ours, every one of them.  They look around a gathering of our Heathen Freehold and claim all they see as their own, as we all claim them as our own.  I am not saying that race doesn’t exist, our society has prejudice built in on lots of levels, and it will take a long time to get rid of those lines, and I sadly fear we will just replace them with some other convenient way to divide the people and distract the bulk of the citizens from the few who cheerfully exploit all of us while we bicker over invented fault lines.  I am saying that heathen does not imply any race.  Heathen woman does not imply must be mother, many in the community are not so drawn, and they are as much a part of the community as those who are.  Heathen man does not mean Viking imitator, or closet white supremacist; actually that would be really funny considering the complexion of some of our leading men.  Heathen child implies only this; a child that was born to heathen parents, who grows up in the sure and certain knowledge that they are not tainted by sin for the crime of being born, that they are in fact blessed by the gods, wights and ancestors, embraced by their community, and accepted for who they are, as they are aided by the community in the journey to discover who they may one day become.

Heathen Family

I honestly refuse to give up being proud of our Heathen families.  I reject utterly the shame the inclusive community feels, even as I reject the racist dogma, so poorly wrapped in imitation heathen trappings, that the fringe scum try to pretend is heathenry.  It is time we, as one small community, simply admit the rest of society has it wrong, and we got this one right. We will hold to the thew of our people, and yes, we aren’t ashamed to call our Freeholders our people, and keep doing it our way.

This is a Heathen family, we have lots of them, and to our eyes they all shine the same.  If your eyes see a problem with the differences between them, then the problem is in your eyes, and the mind behind them, not in our families, nor in our pride and honest joy we take in them.

 

We may not be the biggest or most important Heathen group out there, and that’s OK.  We are a tiny little heathen village, quietly going about building and enjoying the community that has been our own since 2002.  We have been living as inclusive heathens since before we knew there was a universalist/folkish divide we were supposed to fight about, and will continue to do so.  We take pride in our community, and in the families and individuals that make it live.  We will not pretend otherwise simply because “some people” get disturbed when heathens express pride in the families that make up our community, or out of fear that “some other people” will have an issue with the skin tone or hair colour of some of our children.  This is our Heathen Freehold, this is our village so to speak, these are our people.  It is enough we understand that, if the rest of the world can’t, perhaps it is their time to fix that.

For the record, if you object to being characterized as racist ” fringe scum try to pretend is heathenry”, then you are already admitting the label ought to be applied to you.  That should perhaps be your clue to fix that.

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Asatru, Faith, Heathen, Heathentry, Uncategorized

Heathenry Belongs to All of Us

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Hail,

I have long said that it is not the Troth’s place to tell the AFA how to run their house.  We go our own way and have our own understanding of Heathenry, what it meant to our ancestors, and what it means to us today.  I have said that, and I meant it.  I don’t run their house, nor would I be welcome in it.

 

They don’t own Heathenry, neither does the Troth.  However, Heathenry is my community, its peoples, all of them, are my peoples, and they are now under attack, and it is mine to defend them.  The Troth does not own Heathenry, but we are sons and daughters of the Heathen community, we are listening to the AFA tell our brothers and sisters they are not welcome , that they have no right to be here, to follow our gods, or to raise the horn with us as symble and be part of our holy folk.

 

I have had enough.  They do not have the right, and to be honest, they are not even correct.  The AFA official body has spelled out in black and white in the recent release that if you are not white, or you are gay, you are not welcome.  If your understanding of how to be a good and worthy Heathen man does not fit their definition of strong masculine man, you are not welcome.  If your understanding of being a good and worthy Heathen woman is not to be a skirt wearing home caring mother, you are not welcome.

 

They are wrong, badly wrong.  On one level I weep for their failures, and their failure to understand the words of our ancestors, the teachings of our holy gods, but to be honest, my first and strongest reaction is anger.  How dare they usurp the place of our holy gods, and arrogant to themselves the right to decide who may and may not raise a horn to them, who may or may not feel the call to join with their folk in community and worship.  How dare they attack my folk, my people, out of a failure to understand how living true to your heart, living honestly, openly and honourably as the teaching of your ancestors and your own best judgement teaches you, do not fit their own preconceived poster of what a Heathen should look like?

 

Genetic diversity in Viking Age grave sites was higher than modern, the maternal mitochondrial DNA studies have shown that among those women buried with grave goods consistent with full citizenship in their community, genetic diversity showed many tribal markings, some from as far away as Turkey or North American native.  You did not have to be white then, or now to be a member of our community.  These women were buried as women of the folk because that is how they lived.  Then and now, we judge you by your deeds, your proven worth to us.  Thus it was, thus it is, and while the Troth survives, thus it will be.

 

I am no universalist preacher, Heathenry is not for everyone.  Our ways are harsh in many respects, you are expected to answer for your words and deeds.  Our gods will not wave a magic wand and fix what you break, we have to deal with the consequences of our own actions.  This is a hard sell for much of humanity who really want someone to tell them that a word without a deed is somehow enough.

 

You can be a strong masculine man, the very image of a Viking warrior, the poster boy for any army recruiter, and be a member of our community.  We have lots of them.  I am one.  Of course in all honesty among those proven warriors you will find many who are not white, and many who are not men.  Yes, strong men and women have chosen to understand their duty to the community requires a service that risks their lives.  That is a common, understanding of how to meet your challenges and responsibilities.

 

There are many ways to live true as a good and worthy man, and good and worthy woman.  Some fill traditional gender roles to the stereotypical T.  Others follow their own talents and nature, their own responsibilities and roles to become strong and worthy Heathens in many other ways.  Teachers, artists, builders, traders, lawyers, healers; in every art in every science, in every trade you will find us.  There is no one right way to be Heathen, we were in ancient times a whole folk, a whole community of great and vital diversity of form, of nature, of opinion and expression. This richness was the endless source of the vigor and flexibility, of the cheerful boldness that allowed us to thrive when so many other peoples failed.

 

Our gods are harsh; they do not hold with those who are false, who stand as oathbreakers.  In that stance we see from them not cruelty, but wisdom.  It does you no good to pretend what is false, it does you no good and much ill to pretend to be what you are not.  You build little worth attempting to be what you are not, when instead you can build much worth succeeding in being what you are.  If our gods are harsh teachers, it is that we have only one life, and the sooner we realize the importance of living true to ourselves, the greater benefit we can be to ourselves, and to our communities.

 

Who you love is not important.  How you love is.  We do not care if you are straight, gay, or trans.  We do care how you love; we care deeply about how you treat the ones you love, as we care deeply about how you treat those you work with, and for, and those who work for you. How  your hold your oaths, care for those who depend on you. We care about your words and your deeds.  Do you honour your relationships?  If so we praise you and hold you in high esteem.  If not then yes, you will have little worth in our eyes.
I have married several people, and hope to continue this practice in future.  I did not care then if I was marrying man and woman, or two of the same.  I cared that they were openly and honestly plighting their troth to each other, that their union would be loving, honest, and healthy.

The AFA care that you are white, straight, and fit neatly on their poster.

I believe they have gone badly wrong, while I will allow them to run their own house any way they see fit, including burning the roof above their own heads, I draw the line at their telling the Heathen community who may or may not be a member.

 

The Troth will not tell you who may or may not join any other organization than our own.  That is not our place.  The Troth ABSOLUTELY will tell you that we are open to all good and worthy heathens who understand and accept that the colour of your skin, your understanding of your gender, and who it is that you love do not in any way shape or form affect your membership in this community.  If you are drawn to our gods, to honour the wights and ancestors, if you find the teachings themselves to be powerful and worthy guides to your life, and you can respect those who feel the same, even if their understandings may be different than yours, then you are welcome.

 

Ancient Heathens built strong inclusive communities.  So do we.  You will find those who are white and straight in our ranks, and you will find those that are not.  We honestly don’t divide along those lines.  You will find so many different ways to be a good and worthy Heathen under our banner, so many good examples of men and women who are living true, not to a stereotype, but to who they need to be to face the challenges given them.  Diversity is strength, and the frith of a diverse community that loves and values that diversity knows no equal on earth.  That is what we seek to build.  The AFA have chosen their way.  It is their right, but it is not, in my opinion, a Heathen one.

John T Mainer

Freyr of the Heathen Freehold Society of British Columbia

Redeman of The Troth

 

 

 

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