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So You Think You Can Be a Vitki, Part 1

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New HHH author and full-time Vitki Kurt Hoogstraat describes the path he took to become a Vitki, or Heathen priest.

There have been people in my life that have asked me the question “How dare you call yourself a Vitki? You read a few books and call yourself a Vitki”. My answer to them is always the same. I call myself a Vitki because I do what a Vitki does.

We are the keepers of magic and sorcery. We bring vivid life to the overlooked and unseen. We remind the world of a time when things beyond our five senses and scientific proof were very much alive. And we view the world with a sense of awe and wonder. We are the gatekeepers to the life beyond our ordinary life.

Background

My introduction to the term Vitki came first from Edred Thorsson*. He told me through his writings that anyone who practiced and studied the runes was a Vitki, a Norse sorcerer. At least that was my understanding of his words. So I studied the runes and therefore called myself a Vitki, but it all started much earlier. It was just a term that I found useful to explain what I was and what I did and who I was.

I was born and raised in farm country. My grandparents owned a farm. My father worked the land. And I, as an extension, was raised to be the one to take over the land one day. Many contented hours of my early years were spent on piles of dirt.  Bugs were my friends. I grew to appreciate the changing of the seasons. I was in tune with the cycle of planting, growing, and harvesting the crops. My dad used to tell me of one of his favorite memories growing up was going out to the fields in spring and laying down in the dirt to listen to the corn grow. These are the people who shaped my early years. People whose goal was to leave the land better than they had found it. An admirable goal to be sure.

I was in touch with the land wights if our area, although I called them “gnomes”. I didn’t have the proper vocabulary to explain what I was experiencing. But experience it I did.

Then came the teen years. A rough time in anyone’s life, but especially for me.  I was gay in a very rural area in the late 1970s.  And I was never in the closet.  Being gay was just a part of who I was.  It never dawned on me to try to hide it.

Being gay meant I was acutely aware of my feminine side  I learned to trust my intuition.  I learned not to be ashamed of those aspects of self that the world around me said were bad and sinful.  I learned to be different than others.  Very different.  It was this sense of being an other that colored my life.  I became comfortable being who and what I was though those around me condemned it.

So I entered my 20s with a thick skin and the firm conviction that I was right in my sense of otherness.  All the lessons of my life up till then had prepared me for a life different from those around me. I had been searching for a spiritual path my entire teen years. Then in my early 20s I met a wonderful woman. She turned me on to the booming New Age movement. I took to all of it like a duck to water. I read everything I could about trance, channeling, spirit guides and the rest. Some of it took, and some of it, of course, was sheer garbage.

It was during this time that I had what today I would call my first spontaneous Seidr session. I was just laying there relaxing and I was suddenly in an altered state. I got information that I was told was for a friend. When I passed on the information the friend told me it was absolutely correct and valid. As I didn’t really know how I got to that altered state I didn’t continue exploring it. My bad.

Then in my mid 20s I decided to explore what my ancestors may have done for spirituality before the arrival of Christianity. As I’m German of both sides I started reading about their early religion. This lead me to reading about the Norse pantheon. And I was on my way!

To be continued in So You Think You Can Be a Vitki, Part 2…

*Note: While Edred Thorrson was a significant influence on Heathenry and the study of the Runes in the 90s and turn of the century, nowadays he is strongly associated with the AFA. As there has been a huge influx of rune books since the 90s, we suggest trying out other Heathen authors.

Kurt Hoogstraat is a full-time Vitki and Heathen author based in Northern Illinois. He has been studying the runes and other Old Norse esoterica for over twenty years. A member of the Troth and an inclusive Heathen, Kurt also blogs at https://vitkimusings.blog/. He also creates instructional Heathen videos at his self-titled YouTube channel . You can check out his video on “The Blot” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KvMtuXG1MWY&t=3s.

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