A Heathen Learning Experience

When my family and I headed out with another kindred member for a two-hour road trip, we didn’t know what to think. The member that rode with us has stayed at the camp a couple times before so he was telling us about how much land there was and how it was donated for pagan groups to have a safe place to practice.

We arrived and it was exactly like I was hoping it would be. I only had one bar of reception which was enough for my girls to get a hold of me if needed. It was quiet, calm, and an overall relaxing experience. No, I didn’t get time to draw or anything and kept pretty busy. Now, with my social anxiety, I wasn’t prepared to go out and be a social butterfly but I did talk to people. Saturday, I made pancakes for everyone (I’m most at home in a kitchen) and made sure the kiddos had breakfast first. Other heathen believers from other kindreds came for the meeting and that’s when I learned (quickly) that there are people that look down on anyone including people that are trying to learn and follow the same path and beliefs as them.

Picture it, we are all sitting around the table, passing the horn and making introductions. I’m literally trying not to vomit on my boots. At the other end of the table is our host (the individual that donated his land for us and others to use) and sitting next to him are 3-4 men representing other kindreds. At first, their knowledge astounded me and made me realize that there is A LOT I need to learn. Then came the condescending tones and the group of men didn’t teach any of us ‘newbies’ anything to help us along our journey. One thing that frightened me a bit was the talk of organizing heathenry. That shook me a bit to the point it felt like history was repeating itself. I chose the heathen path BECAUSE it wasn’t an organized religion/belief. I admit that I would like to me more traditional in that way but not to the point where heathens need one leader and follow them. Then there was the discussion about enforcing accountability. I stood up and stepped away from the table. Enforcing accountability will lead to people not wanting to heathen and encourage hate.  I believe in my Gods and Goddesses and trust myself.

Then the article came out. One of the members from a visiting kindred that sat and drank and supped with us decided that he was going to write an article that was rather condescending. Now, it takes A LOT for me to speak in front of my own kindred but I felt utterly stupid reading what he had written and labeled me as a ‘newbie’ as if it was bad. Instead of imparting wisdom and some basic information he used us as guinea pigs for his article. He mentioned the men that were seated next to him that had the most knowledge but not one female. He also came across as one that is folkish or believes you need direct ancestry and lineage to follow the heathen way. The bloodline, HIS bloodline is all he really boasted about and gave off the vibe if anyone isn’t on his level of knowledge need to get their ass in gear but ONLY if they have the pedigree.

I know I made that sound all negative and that I didn’t have a great time but that was only a small part. He wrote an article (poorly written) with his opinions and STILL didn’t educate others. What I did learn and experience is a sense of community and bond between other people from different walks of life. I learned that we are all at different levels of our journey and it’s completely acceptable. This one guy taught me that there are others like him out there and it’s ok. They are going to be who they are and we can learn from them.

Sunday morning I was able to make everyone biscuits and gravy (southern style) and it felt great doing something I love and being able to share it with others. I was able to connect to other people including one person that understood me almost as well I do. Kids were kids and we even had a Scottish man playing guitar. Lots of laughs and learning bringing in an all in all great weekend.

This is just a mild recap as there is more to come about my week. Any heathens that have opinions I would like to hear from you. Any knowledge and advice you have pass it on.

Happy Thorsdagr Y’all!

 

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A Quick Daily Study: Stanza 52

I have been running around like a mad woman trying to get everything packed for our heathen camping get together. I didn’t get to bed until late last night and I was up early full of nervous energy with my second interview this afternoon. After I’m done (hopefully with a job offer), I head home to finish packing the last minute cooler and we’re off. My goal is to come out of my shell and meet more likeminded people and get a little sketching done. I’ve been practicing on my phone posting my 365 Day photos and I think about have that nailed. Lots of nervous energy but it’s all for a good reason. To help calm myself a bit I thought I would read a stanza (here at work):

Pocket Version:

Something great is not always to be
given, praise is often for a trifle bought.
With half a loaf and tilted vessel I got
myself a comrade.

Again, this goes in hand with the last 3 stanzas advising about ‘fake’ friendships which can do more harm than good and ‘real’ friendship that both benefit and grow. The first line I mulled over for a bit and having a hard time with. What I think it’s implying is that friendly words are not always real and with unreal friendships that the favor is expected and entitled. The second line explains further that even though a friend may not have much to offer there’s a ‘real’ friendship there hiding in the imperfection.

Happy Friday Y’all!

A Quick Daily Study: Stanza 50

Busy, anxiety-filled morning. I had a horrible dream last night that I failed at the job interview that I have scheduled today. I have checked and double checked my presentation and I just need to clean the screen of my laptop. I’m kind of upset that I can’t find the Windex especially since I just used it. UGH. I’m going to finish this and get ready for work. Then I’ll rush home and change into my interview clothes. I want to do a stanza today to help me calm down.

Pocket Version:
A tree withers that on a hill-top stands;
protects it neither bark nor leaves: such is
the man whom no one favours:
why should he live long?

This stanza goes further to explain yesterday’s stanza. It examples that a tree can still suffer when not protected by a cover of some sore (bark and leaves). The same goes for a person that no one cares about. Everyone needs someone to care about them or some form of companionship. We need affection and companionship. Helping someone through difficult times even if it’s just being there to listen to their problems is a huge help and believe me, it helps.

Happy Thursday Y’all!

A Quick Daily Study: Stanza 49

I have a LOT to do today. I need to finish my offline portfolio presentation for the interview tomorrow AND I need to get something ‘springy’ for the interview as well. In my true procrastination nature and not being positive about the interview has me scrambling. I’ll own this simply because I know who I am and my own self-destructive behavior. I’m hoping that I can get most of this done and in bed early. I’m going to start my day off with my stanza:

Pocket Version:
My garments in a field I gave away to
two wooden men: heroes they seemed to
be, when they got cloaks: exposed to insult
is a naked man.

I think this is a three-part stanza. The first giving something off your back to help another. I used to say that my dad, ‘would give the shirt off his back.’ He would do anything to help another person. The stanza goes to explain that once garments were given the men seemed like heroes. I think this says that when a person receives something from another person (kind gesture of some sort) they seem whole again and that they are people and fellow human beings as well. The last bit of the stanza, about being exposed to insult is a naked man. In modern language, the man isn’t really naked but he is in need. It’s easy for people to ridicule and insult someone that is down on their luck. It’s harder but proves your integrity if a person can help another in some small way. I could be completely wrong in this understanding but I think I’m on the right path.

Happy Wednesday Y’all!

A Quick Daily Study: 48

It’s morning and I’m up. That’s about as good as it’s going to get since my head is still fuzzy. I don’t think it helps that I haven’t been following my diet or really exercising. I did great until the weekend then I had Ostara with the kindred and after that, it was downhill from there. I’m going to try today and a get back on track. I did sleep through my first alarm to get up and exercise but I’ll get on the treadmill today. I’m going to start here with my Havamal study:

Pocket Version

Generous and brave men lie best, they
seldom cherish sorrow; but a base-
minded man dreads everything;
the niggardly is uneasy even at gifts.

I think this stanza is saying that brave men rarely talk sweetly about a loss like they would a brave act. We don’t share much about a sad occasion in our lives as much as we do about something we can boast about that took some sort of courage. It’s ok to cherish the sad events because it’s what helps make up who we are. As to the second part of the stanza, I’m a little lost. I think this is talking about two more different types of people with the base-minded man is a person that doesn’t grow or travel beyond his own backyard so everything that is new to him is frightening. The second I had to look up the meaning of the word ‘niggardly’ which states that it’s a person who is not generous and stingy. So, this person being uneasy at giving gifts would be uneasy for the obvious reasons of being stingy. It could also mean that the person doesn’t care for receiving them as well because now they are obligated to return the favor. This is what I think this stanza says.

Happy Tuesday!

Event Anxiety

I’m taking a day off from work today so I can recuperate from the Ostar event with the kindred. No, I wasn’t drunk or hungover. I got ample sleep so it’s not from lack of sleep and trying to explain the fuzz is difficult. I just told my supervisor that I had a stomach bug. In reality, it was my body trying to mend from anxiety and fear. To join the kindred a person needs to speak up in front of everyone at an event such as Yule or Ostar. The anxiety is crippling and I could never speak up and ask. What if everyone voted no?

The Ostar egg hunt went great, the kids had fun painting, and the fire spinning was beautiful. The ritual was moving as always…well, they move me in the sense that it feels right and I’m at home. I was chosen or how it was put, ‘Volutold’ (a cross between volunteering and being told) to be this event’s Valkyrie. Immediately I started to panic. I was reassured that I had one simple line (that I had to say to everyone) and move on. I couldn’t tell you how many times I practiced that in my head. Over and over the line repeated. Not only do I have that going through my head so I don’t screw it up (because it’s a great honor to), I was working on not tripping and falling into the fire or impaling myself with the drinking horn. I think it all went well, I didn’t screw up the line I needed to ask nor did I impale myself on the horn. In the end, it was time to read runes. To uphold the rune reading four wooden ones are thrown to choose people to help in this by reaching out but also sacrificing something. You guessed it, one landed in front of me. I had nothing on me other than my Mjolnir, wedding rings, and a silver tree ring that was an anniversary gift. I wasn’t giving up my wedding rings and my Mjolnir didn’t mean as much as my anniversary ring. So it was the ring that went into the fire. The sacrifice had to be meaningful and this was the only thing I had. My finger is bare but truth be told there isn’t any regret.

As the evening wore on our Sumbel was taking place under the northern lights. I don’t mean we could see them but we were RIGHT UNDER the lights. As I didn’t think things could be any more perfect the moon was rising over a house and the glow was an orange magnificent light. It came time for the circle and I made it through the first two rounds. I hailed the Gods and ancestors but then it was time for the third. Oath, toast, or boast. Oaths are not a no-no but are taken with the utmost care. If you fail with an oath it will affect the kindred Wyrd. That scares me so. I didn’t have anything to toast to but I could have toasted our hosts. DAMN IT! Why didn’t I think of that then? Oh, yeah (wave at my anxiety here). I had a boast which was my job interview I landed for the 28th. Before I could speak, a wonderful person tried to encourage me to ask to join. It was horrible but in a good way. Everyone was staring and people had to vote. I almost threw up twice and held my breath waiting to hear a ‘nay’ but none came.

Now, my body is trying to get better from the panic, fear, and anxiety felt on Saturday? Probably wondering why if it was so bad, do I put myself through this? Because it’s that important to me. Heathenism and Asatru mean that much to me. So today, I’m trying to regroup and think about the responsibility that I have asked to take on. Not only am I learning a new path in life, upholding the modern heathen ways, but I’m also gaining a family. I hope I don’t fail at that. I hope I don’t fail at anything.

So…happy Monday everyone!

 

A Quick Daily Study: Stanza 47

Today is going to be a busy day and even busier when my kiddos are in tow. The hubs is working late so our Friday errands are all being completed by me. But, he works hard and things still need to get done but in this way, I can take my time. I also need to get ready for our Ostar celebration with the kindred tomorrow which normally I’m on top of but I have NO IDEA what I’m going to make for a dish to pass? I’m still super excited and I’m working up the nerve NOW to speak up in front of the kindred. Here we are at stanza 47.

Pocket Version:

I was once young, I was journeying
alone, and lost my way; rich I thought
myself, when I met another.
Man is the joy of man.

How true is this? Being young and finding a friend that you can relate too? Being a teen was a difficult time for myself and I’m sure many others. It’s those friends that you find and it seems to make everything a little more bearable. Then growing up happens but I’m sure that’s a different story. Friends, even in adulthood, bring so much happiness in your life. I’m super happy to be traveling a little ways this weekend to meet with the kindred. As the more I get to know them the more I can feel a friendship form.

Happy Friday Y’all!

 

A Quick Daily Study: Stanza 46 and Ostar

I didn’t want to start a new season being a slacker and going to try really hard at work to keep a positive attitude so I got up and did my workout. Why today? Well, it’s Ostar.  Ostara or Eostre who gave her name to Easter, complete with rabbits and eggs and symbols of rebirth. Today is the spring equinox and the season of rebirth. My family and I will not feast tonight but I will keep this day in mind and try to view everything with heathen eyes and virtue. We feast this weekend. Thanks to modern times and the need to work and bills it is wiser for the kindred to get together and celebrate when there isn’t any work. I will not sacrifice an animal but as a modern heathen, I will ‘sacrifice’ in my own way. Whether it be time, part of my own supper, or burning a special piece of art I created. Sacrifice is what is meaningful to you or giving part of what little you have and doesn’t necessarily mean spilling ‘blood.’ Now for the stanza:

Pocket Version

But for him yet further, whom thou
little trustest, and thou suspectest his
intention; before him thou shouldst laugh,
and contrary to thy thoughts speak:
requital should the gift resemble.

Well, again here we are with friends we don’t fully trust. In fact, we know what they have done. Remember in the stanzas before that a gift exchange could be in the form of appreciation, spending time with a person etc…? Here, it’s showing a disrespect when a person is talking. Knowing that it’s nonsense or false there is no ‘gift’ exchange but rather demonstration of how we would have little respect for the person. Why keep these people around? I have just simply had no more contact with these types of individuals? Maybe more on that will be discussed.

Happy Wednesday Y’all and Happy Ostar!

A Quick Daily Study: Stanza 44

I have Mr. Rogers on TV this morning (it’s super early) and I needed a break from the news and I’ll get to that in a minute. The episode that is airing is ‘giving and receiving.’ Mr. Roger’s gave the deliveryman, Mr. McFeely a box with cookies as a gift. The deliveryman thanked him, appreciatively and Mr. Rogers explained how the thank you, appreciation and excitement was a gift in itself. Made me smile because that reminds me of Stanza 39.

The news is breaking my heart here lately. The brutality of the New Zealand attack to the senseless murder of a young girl. I’m a heathen, not a white supremacist and I wish the symbols used in heathery and/or paganism wouldn’t be stolen and used for hate. Everything on the news this morning was hard to understand. Here it is, Monday, and I’m going to read today’s stanza, try and understand it, and get to work.

Pocket Version:

Know, if thou hast a friend whom
thou fully trustest, and from whom
thou woulds’t good derive, though shouldst blend
thy mind with his, and gifts exchange, and
often go to see him.

The Havamal is huge on having true friends. When did that become a concept that no one understands anymore?  What I understand from this stanza is that if you have a true friend, first, nothing but good could come from that. A friend that has a positive effect on your life and you to there’s.  Have a visit with them, or spend time with them and learn from each other but also enjoy each other’s company. Now, the exchanging of gifts doesn’t necessarily mean materialistic/physical items but laughter, appreciation, and time are given during the time being with each other.

I like this stanza as it’s one of the more positive ones and it highlights the benefits of having true friends. I have spent so much time being burned by other people that I don’t really have a true friend. Maybe I should place an ad?

Happy Monday Y’all!

 

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