Sometimes it helps to look at one’s own beliefs through the lens of another culture. It can help us to view our strengths and shortcomings in new ways. Continuing my theme from Part 1 of this series, I’ll be going over how some other philosophies approach the topic of forming a relationship with the gods, and how these can apply in a Heathen context.
I recently read an article which ended up prompting me to think again about how modern Polytheists (including Heathens) have begun to re-relate to their deities. Much has already been written about the fusion that has been forming between ancient Polytheism and modern pop-culture in some circles, with arguments ranging between “pop-culture is a doorway to the gods” to “portraying the gods as pop-culture figures is entirely disrespectful”.
It is unfortunate that factions of outspoken white nationalists have increasingly found their way into Heathenry and, perhaps due to this, the subject of lineage and ancestry in the Northern Traditions has become an extremely sensitive one. Are there ways in which the Heathen ancestors could become bridges rather than barriers for non-European descended converts by including them in their practice?
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.