Building a Stronger Community
Just over three weeks ago, we here at Huginn’s Heathen Hof began drafting the document that would later become one of our biggest successes. We had no idea what was coming because Declaration 127 (so named for the 127th stanza of the Hávamál) far exceeded any expectations we may have had when we created it. When the document first went live we had managed to get about 40 different kindreds, businesses, and organizations to sign their support; this was already more than we had originally anticipated. In the two weeks since we released the declaration to the public, we have been contacted by over 100 groups in 10 different countries around the world who have decided to show their support! Groups ranging in size from a kindred of six people in rural Austria to organizations like the ADF with over a thousand members have come together to take a stand and help promote a more inclusive Heathenry.
These groups have beliefs and practices that range the entire spectrum of Heathenry. Asatru, Vanatru, Theodish, Urglaawe, Lokean, Rökkatru, Folkish, Universalist, the sheer scale of the diversity of thought is rather mind boggling! It’s an amazing display of unity from a community that’s sadly become known for somewhat insular groups. Even more incredible than that, over the past two weeks we’ve heard from growing Heathen communities that none of us here had even known existed. Did you know that São Paulo Brasil has a vibrant and fast-growing Heathen community containing a number of different kindreds? Or that Mexico has enough Heathen groups to hold a regular Allthing? Neither did we, but now we’re quickly forming connections with many of our fellow Heathens to the south. It’s been an incredible experience, to say the least.
As great as this is, it still leaves the question: “where do we go from here?” Declaration 127 wasn’t written so that we could make a statement and then forget about the issue until it rears its ugly head once again. So what comes next? Part of the point of Declaration 127 was to help facilitate connections between like-minded Heathens around the world. Many kindreds have learned to be (justifiably) cautious about reaching out to other groups or organizations. In a community that believes that respect must be earned and that we are our deeds, Declaration 127 exists to provide not only a mode of contact but one tiny piece of common ground. It’s a first step towards making contact and establishing a basis for real relationships between like-minded Heathen organizations all over the world.
So what will happen next? Well, now we here at Huginn’s Heathen Hof would like to extend our hand in friendship to all of those who chose to stand beside us here. To the Vindisir Kindred in Toronto, we’d love to know more about your KornuKopia Gathering that passed just this weekend. To Kindred Corvos De Pedra in São Paulo, we want to know all about how our fellow Heathens are fairing through this period of political upheaval in Brasil. To the Sheltering Hall Kindred in New Hampshire, tell us what we can do to help you build that community Hof you told us about! Every single group that wrote to us has their own story. Each and every one of them brings news and ideas that help to paint a more vital and vibrant portrait of modern Heathenry, and we believe that those stories are every bit as important as what goes on in the larger organizations like the Troth or the AFA.
The way we can improve our community is not through simple declarations, those are only a starting place, not a solution. The solution, and the thing that will make a real, lasting difference in the world beyond social media, is to build up a more inclusive Heathenry by forming connections and establishing friendships. That is how we can make a better, healthier community.