I wanted to write about a something a little different today. Over at Ranting Recon, I usually stick to exploring Lore, Tradition, and ancient history, but that’s not the ENTIRETY of Heathenry. So, since I have occasionally been accused of being little more than a dusty book-hoarder, I wanted to take a step back and talk a bit about how Heathenry impacts my life on an entirely personal level.
A while back, John T Mainer wrote a great piece called “Women in Heathenry”, which nicely summarized some of the common shortcomings of the Heathen community regarding gender equality. The responses to this article were rather baffling…
Grief is not just the loss of something we loved, but also the destruction of a part of ourselves. Most of all, grief is a loss of control. When everything else has been taken from us, the last thing left for us to control is our grief.
A wonderful article by Dagulf Loptson called “What is Heathenry Missing?” addressed a topic I’ve been hearing a lot recently in online Heathen circles. Dagulf expressed a common complaint that Heathenry lacks any kind of unbroken chain of tradition. He argues that people often leave Heathenry because too much has been lost, and our current traditions are incomplete. Now this article did raise a number of good points and I encourage people to take a look at it, but I respectfully disagree with the author’s premise. Heathenry was broken, but Heathenry is very much alive.
I love this community. I love the open tolerance of the broader Pagan umbrella as well as the well-grounded strength and practicality of Heathenry. There’s a reason I’m a still Heathen. It’s far from perfect, but it never claims to be. Part of that strength comes from acknowledging our own shortcomings and working to improve them, both as individuals and as a community. Which is why I chose to write today about something our community doesn’t like to talk about.
There’s been some interesting conversations going around about “Defining Heathenry”. Some break it down into categories like Ásatrú, Theodish, Vanatru, etc… To that end, let me explain what I mean when I say “Heathenry”. I don’t claim that this answer is definitive, or even that anybody needs to agree with me or my priorities. Think of this as a kind of introduction, providing context so that everything else I write will make more sense.
Óðinn, as he is depicted by the Lore, is very complex and multidimensional. To simply label him as a "God of War" is not only an inadequate descriptor, it’s a disservice to the depth of his personality. The Allfather wears many faces, and all of them are important to the Sagas he weaves.