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Huginn’s Heathen Hof

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Entschtanning 10: Gemietlichkeet and the Sense of Belonging

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Some of this was written way back in 2010, but it is actually a tough topic. On the surface, it is a fairly simple concept, but the execution and attainment of it is very complicated.

Virtually every language has words that are difficult, if not impossible, to translate into a different language, which is why words are often adopted from one language into another.

Some words reflect concrete items, such as insects that are native to a particular area or a legal process that is unique to a given country. Other words reflect concepts that are new or are unique to a given culture, such as the Polynesian system of tapu or kapu becoming (with some revision) known as “taboo” in English.

One Deitsch word that does not translate exactly into English is Gemietlichkeet (or Gemietlichkeit, depending on one’s local variant of the language). This word is frequently translated as coziness, and that translation is certainly valid. However, there is a deeper aspect to the word that warrants more explanation.

Gemietlichkeet is also a state of belonging to everything and having everything belong to us. It is also a soul-satisfying joy or happiness that simultaneously emanates from and includes that state of belonging. Urglaawe philosophy holds that Gemietlichkeet is a primary goal for personal and community achievement.

A lack of a sense of belonging permeates much of our society in the current era. Very real circumstances force our attention to be focused on paying bills, finishing school projects, ensuring that our jobs skills are current (if we are lucky enough even to have a job!), worrying about the wars or politics, or any number of other issues that constantly bombard us. Many of us barely know our neighbors or are unable to spend a significant amount of time with loved ones. This disconnection from home, family, and community has led to numerous social problems about which all of us are most certainly already painfully aware.

There are many agents of chaos. Some of them we see in the Giants. Others we see in other entities from among the Nine Realms. Some of the worst agents of chaos, though, emanate from ourselves and create social ills. There are many among them, but some of the most commonly seen are Rootlessness, Apathy, Ignorance, and Unenlightened Self-Interest.

Outside of taking prescription medications, what can be done about this situation? One seemingly simple answer comes to Urglaawe via Braucherei: attune your mindset with the time of year.

On Night 4 of this Entschtanning, we looked at how Spring Cleaning is as much about the preparation for new projects as it is about bringing order to the home. We called this “nesting” because it is similar to the way humans and animals prepare their environment for the arrival of a new birth. Typically (though certainly not always), this new life is met with unconditional care, love, and a belonging that transcends the difficulties and challenges encountered in birth. An instilled sense of belonging and investment in family and/or community can also help to increase one’s investment in oneself.

Unfortunately, achieving Gemietlichkeet is very difficult in this world. It is an ideal. However, the aspiration remains in place as part of the process of living deliberately and consciously. It does not mean that there will not be disagreements or arguments; instead, it means that those moments are handled in a measured manner as charitably as possible in order to retain the integrity of the belonging.

Heathenry is about connection: connection to oneself, connection to community, to the world around us, to the forebears, to the deities, etc. At this time, we invite others to consider what they have to be grateful for in their lives. What ideals are worth working for, and who is involved in that same pursuit? How can we work best to decrease the impact of rootlessness in our communities and in our country?

Hail to connections!

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