Over the years, Heathenry has earned the moniker of “the religion with homework”; Heathens often take pride in their hard won knowledge and can admittedly be rather dismissive of newcomers who do not understand the basic tenets of the worldview. By spending time reading, reflecting, conversing, and making decisions about our practices and/or values based on that knowledge we separate ourselves from many groups that have the knowledge given to them directly. This approach is not necessarily wrong, it’s not just the way most of us conduct ourselves, having an active role in the development of our worldview allows for deep and significant changes. South East Kindred believes this is the best means of shedding the “baggage” of previous worldviews and start living through the Heathen worldview.
This page is merely a starting point for that hard won knowledge. There is such a breadth of information available that it can be overwhelming, forcing the student to give up in pursuit of that required foundation. Admittedly this can be a hard fight. It is the goal of this part of our website to provide one suggested path to learning the basics – that means there are many ways to get to the knowledge. There will never be any one given suggestion that will be right for everyone. Therefore, no one has to follow the given suggestion, but we are often asked how to get started… below you will find the order we give, which is the Kindred’s general answer.
The key while reading our sources, especially the beginning ones, is to take the time needed. Take notes. Write down thoughts. Try to figure out why these thoughts occur in relationship to what is read. Bring those thoughts and opinions to conversations with Heathens that are met, and be prepared to learn how little was actually gleaned. Active, meaningful conversation with those who have experience in the worldview, and whose opinion that can be trusted, will do just as much – and sometimes more – to aid in worldview development as the hours you spend reading.
Some people will say that spending time in the Eddas will indoctrinate new Heathens into words that have been penned by a known Christian. This may be true. At least, that they are the words of a Christian who probably had his own agenda… but reading the myths will, in our opinion, at least set you on a base level of understanding of who the gods and goddesses are – and provide you a means of relating to what is being talked about should you find yourself at Blót/Faining or Sumble.
While it is important to spend time reading and learning from what has been written down, the experience gained from face to face involvement Heathens cannot be discarded. Having the knowledge expressed in the mythology, at least at its foundation, understood will enrich these interactions and enable deeper exploration of our folkway. We are not meant to live in the pages of history books, we should strive to do things worth being remembered and ready by our descendants – but everything has to start somewhere, and for us that is with learning. You do not have to become a scholar of any sort to be a Heathen, and should not be forced into it if that is not your passion… but with the relatively small number of Heathens in the world South East Kindred finds importance in a functional knowledge, as you may be the only Heathen someone ever meets.