Thursday, May 6, 2010

Solitary Blots in secret.

Now before I describe how I normally give homage to the Gods, Goddesses, Land, and House wights, I must give a little context, My wife doesn't mind that I do these, but we share our house with her uncle, who is a crazy fundamentalist christian, now I don't take to bashing Christianity, in my opinion they do it pretty well without my help, but his theology is nothing but a mixture of folk theology (meaning not based in the bible) and propaganda from political conservatives, so making an alter in my home to our house wights, or an altar to the Gods indoors or outdoors is something that I will have to wait to do. The reason we live with him, (for those who are curious) is that he was in a car accident ten years ago and cant live on his own due to a head injury, so until someone else is willing to live with him, we are pretty much stuck with him.

So given my dilemma it must be understandable that I cannot just make an alter without causing a severe rift and turmoil in our household, so instead of creating alters I do little things that no one would really notice except for me and the wife if she's paying attention, most nights I have a beer after work to unwind, and I place an opened full beer on the fireplace mantle for our house wight to enjoy as well, in the morning I usually go out back and leave a coffee libation in front of a bush in our backyard for our land wights, and at work I have a tree that I have turned into a small incognito alter, at its base I have placed a rock that I believe to house a land wight, and I normally leave gifts for the Gods and Goddesses, or even land or house wights that are around, its sort of my all purpose alter, sometimes I will find a flower and leave it for Freyja or Frigg, or during lunch I'll find something I really enjoy and share it with the Gods, I just do simple things like this throughout the day, to show my gratitude for life and if I feel that a God, Goddess, or wight has done something for me an needs a gift back. Hardly do I ever gift in order to get something, it is almost always in thanks for a gift I have been given.

As far as holidays go, I observe a pagan calender I have found online, most of the holidays I have to observe on my own, but others, like Yule I have Incorporated into my family as tradition, for example, I celebrate Christmas as a family holiday and Yule as a way of getting all of my wife and I's friends together to eat and drink together, they don't know that I am celebrating a heathen holiday, but it doesn't matter because we are all enjoying ourselves.

One day I would love to be more open about these rituals, but for now they have to be in secret, just between the Gods and myself.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Initiation Ritual

I figured I would start my first serious post with how I dedicated myself to the Aesir and Vanir, I was at work, so I had to make it as non suspicious as possible, and as a matter of fact, it was easier to do at work than it would have been at home,

Step One: I decided that if I was going to dedicate myself to the gods of the North, then I needed to say my goodbyes to any other deity that might still be lingering in my life, I did an inventory of myself and decided that Hashem (Jewish God) was still connected to me in some way, So I said a quick prayer aloud to him, thanking him for his time and patience with me and assuring him that my family still worshipped him and I was sure to send some prayers his way on there behalf, but I could no longer worship him. Honestly, I think I left on good terms.

Step Two: I gathered all the materials I thought I might need, I have a small sledge hammer at work that I have dedicated to Thor and so I used that, I got some matches and I wrote out an oath to the Gods, I made sure to write it by hand as that seemed more appropriate than printing it out, it was a simple oath dedicating myself to the Aesir and Vanir and forsaking all other Gods and Goddesses (Hence step one.) I also use coffee as my blot libations, so I got a fresh cup of coffee and a goblet from the kitchen (I work at a hotel) I decided that my ritual would have to be in two steps, first I would do the oath and dedication itself on the roof, then I would finish it with a blot and the burnt ashes of my oath at a tree where I normally honor the Gods at work.

Step Three: I went to the roof top, and hailed all the Gods, Goddesses, Land Wights, House Wights, and my ancestors, then I read the oath aloud, at the end I burned the oath and took the ashes in a cup, I threw some ashes in the air, I had already passes it through fire, I put some in a puddle to represent water and I took the rest downstairs to the tree with the coffee in a goblet for part two.

Step Four: I buried the rest of the ashes in the earth at the foot of the tree and thanked the gods, goddesses, wights, ancestors for being a part of my ritual, then I poured the coffee libation over the buried ashes.

This was a very simple ritual, and although I am sure it wasn't the "orthodox" way of doing it, but I felt like the Gods where their, particularly Freyja, I won't go into specifics, but, she was the last of the Goddesses I expected to be there. Mostly because my personality is nothing like hers and yet, from that day on, she has constantly shown herself in my life, more so than any othe other Aesir or Vanir.

So I hope this post inspired some other solitary to do likewise, as you can see it isn't a difficult thing to do and doesn't need all the pomp and circumstance that some would have you believe is needed, all you need is a soul that is dedicated to the Gods and a little creativity. Next time, I will write on my every day blots to the Gods, Land, and House Wights.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Why I call myself Heathen

I think about this a lot, Why do I call myself a Heathen and not a Pagan, Neo-Pagan, Odinist, Asatruar, or any other sort of label? I think I enjoy the term Heathen, because it is still pretty generic, it is specific without telling of a rigid set of beliefs, for instance, I may call myself a follower of Asatru, but some may beg to differ, citing my obvious lack of a kindred or real desire to seek one out. I might call myself a Pagan but others would say otherwise, citing the fact that I am not Wiccan and I have no desire to learn about magic (I refuse to spell it any other way by the way) But I think saying I am a Heathen says that I am not Pagan or Asatru, just that I follow other Gods and Goddesses and if you ask, I might expand upon my beliefs, and that's exactly what I want to portray, if someone wants to know more about my beliefs then I will get them a drink and we'll sit down as I tell them what my beliefs are and how I have come to them, and they can tell me theirs, but if they're not interested then that is okay as well.

What are my beliefs you may ask? We'll I believe in all the Gods and Goddesses, I believe they all exist and that they all have their own followers, I have absolutely no way to prove this, and I don't care to, all I know is that when I was a christian, I felt the christian gods presence, when I was a Deist, I felt that god, and as a Heathen I have felt each presence as a distinctive presence from the others, encountering Freyja is wholly unlike being around Odin and so on. I celebrate the holidays of the Heathen calender, I live by the nine noble virtues, even though I know they are a modern invention, I see no reason to not use them as a short hand way of remembering the values Heathens cherish. I am not a Folkish Heathen, and by that I mean that I don't think Heathenism is only for those of Scandinavian blood or any other bloodline, my belief is that the Gods want who they want, and if Odin chooses to bring a Jamaican into Heathenry, then who are we to deny that person a place at our table? Politically I am fairly moderate to liberal depending on the issue, but I am honestly not conservative at all, and that is enough to get me banished from most Heathen circles. I suppose you could say I am fairly Pagan in my more political views but Heathen in my religious views.

To tell the truth I would love to find a group that would have me, and I would love to find a place away from Heathenry, with its name having been blackened by the taint of Nazi politics. I am bitterly ashamed that racist bigots have been the loudest voices in the Heathen community, but in the end, I have made my oath to the Aesir and Vanir, I have sworn never to leave them, and to always honor them and I hold to that oath, solitary Heathen or not, I have chosen the path I will follow.

And So I hold my head up high and call myself Heathen.

About Me

(This wouldn't fit in the about me section so I just made it into a post)
Jack Smith is obviously, not my real name, I have changed it for the sake of keeping my job and keeping my family sane. I am not ashamed of my Heathenism, but I do respect the wishes of my folk. I was raised a christian, and for the first 19 years of my life, I was a devout non-denominational christian, what I would later describe as a christian with a folkish theology. When I was 19 I joined the US Army, and religion took a back seat for three years, when I came out of the Army I realized that I was no longer a christian.

So I considered myself an atheist for about 2 years, after that, I got an itch to study all the religions in the world, including Christianity and so I did just that, I studied Catholicism, All the flavors of the Protestants, Buddhism, Taoism, Stoicism, Deism, Satanism, Paganism, Asatru Recon, Hellenic Recon, Celtic Recon, Judaism Hinduism, Various forms of Spirituality, and so on. I eventually came to a conclusion, all of these religions are real to the people that follow them, and so I became a Hard Polytheist over night, believing that all of these Gods and Goddesses are real to there people, and I decided to go with the pantheon that gave me the greatest "pull" and for me, that was Asatru, and so, from that time on, I have been a Heathen. I have told only my best friend and my wife, I have decided against telling the rest of the family for the sake of my wife and I's sanity, I will tell our son when the time is right, he is only two now, perhaps when he is much older. But, that's me in a nutshell, I hope you enjoyed my spilled guts.

Solitary Heathen

My name is Jack Smith, I am 27, and I am an Asatru Re-constructionist living in Bakersfield, CA. I am married to a wonderful woman who accepts my Heathenry, but she is not a heathen herself, I have a wonderful family and even my wife's family is filled with good people, but none of them are heathens, in my two years of studying Heathenry I have not found another Heathen in my neck of the woods, I have found other pagans, mostly Wiccans, but I am not a Wiccan, I am a Heathen, and while I respect those who follow the Wiccan path, I cannot follow it myself.

In my readings and wanderings, especially on the internet, I have found many discouraging sites where it is said that solitary heathens should not be possible, that it is somehow wrong to be solitary. I disagree with that premise, I think that there are many out there like me, who are solitary and cannot help it, even if a Kindred fell into my lap, I still wouldn't be able to enjoy it fully because my family is not heathen, my wife, as understanding as she is, is still a christian, and won't be apart of any of the rituals that would go on. My best friend, as great a man as he is, is still a devout christian and likewise, would not participate. I guess what I am trying to say, is that a Kindred (asatru community) without my kindred (my close family and friends) would not be a kindred I would think worth my time. So I have come to accept that my kindred has to be my close family and friends, and just because they do not participate in my rituals does not make them any less a kindred. Yes, asatru is a social religion, but in these modern times, I think we have to change what it means to be a social religion, not all of us are lucky enough to have grown up in a community that has more than a small few Heathens.

So, the point of this blog is to expand upon my brand of Solitary Heathenry, so that maybe others, who are in my situation can honor the Gods in there own way, this is not a "this is how I do it and so you must follow everything I say to the 'T', blog" Rather, it is a place where I am hoping to share my experiences and so if you decide to follow and add your own twists, then that is almost encouraged as far as I am concerned.

In the end, I am more making this blog for myself, in that I have no one really to share this with, no one around me would understand, hell, half of my family would probably burn me alive if I told them about my being a heathen and all that it entails. I plan to include in this blog, rituals that I have modified, books I have read, and even hobbies I have taken up as an effect of being a heathen. So sit back, relax, have some ale and enjoy.