When many people look out at our modern world, they see incredible advances over the world of our ancestors. Feats of technological advancement are occurring at such an incredible pace that, if we took a step back and understood what it says about our culture we would be amazed. We often under appreciate the rate of our society’s technological advancement, and more so its impact on the world around us.
Many in our society would be lost without the ever present flashing lights keeping us out until all hours. Where would we be without the drone of vehicles we regularly drive further than people a couple hundred years ago may have thought was possible to travel in their entire lives? So many of us are decidedly wired into the constant feed that is social media that we fail to see how isolated it makes us – look to see what I mean next time you go out to eat, pay attention to the families you see around you.
These are, admittedly, all biased interpretations of what many people call life. Technological advancement has also come with amazing benefits: medicine, longer lives, enriching cultural understanding by economical travel to foreign lands, being able to reach out to a community – even it if only exists in the ones and zeroes rematerialized in front of you on a screen. It could be considered ironic that this message comes to you from exactly that place.
What does any of this have to do with Heathenry, Ásatrú, Theodism, Urlaagwe, Forn Sed, or any of the myriad of other names which describe a particular flavor of the modern resurgence of the indigenous beliefs of Northern Europe? To some people, probably nothing. By the conclusion of this series, hopefully the connection is just a little clearer.
What is Heathenry?
Strictly speaking, a Heathen is defined with a Google search as “1: an unconverted member of a people or nation that does not acknowledge the God of the Bible” or “2: an uncivilized or irreligious person.” However, in the modern age of religious plurality this may not be the best definition of what is meant in modern conversation… at least not by people that may be reading this article. Surprisingly, if one turns to Urban Dictionary there is actually a decent overall description of what a Heathen could be considered. Why continue on? Because otherwise the link would have been posted and this much would not have been written already. As usual, Google comes through and delivers a workable base definition of “a follower of a polytheistic religion; a pagan.”
Being the relatively non-descript answer of “a pagan” or “polytheist”, doesn’t do much to further an understanding of what the Heathen worldview actually is, and with the encouragement of a couple of people – I have undertaken the series of posts that will follow: my attempt at describing how I understand the Heathen worldview. Over the years many people have tried try to explain what Heathenry is in reference to what it is not. This is not always a poor method. It is, however, reactionary.
Many times reactionary methods are not the most productive route to convey a functional understanding. These types of explanations may come across as not as well thought out or, at the worst, unable to stand on its own merit. It is possible, for example, to describe a pancake in terms of a crepe; this may get the point across, but would do neither really justice. Save, for they are both flour based breakfast items cooked in a pan, skillet, or the like. Key difference? Apparently baking powder.
In an effort to be less reactive, this series of posts has been created and hosted to clarify how South East Kindred understands what we do – and arguably more importantly who we are. Therefore it goes to say this is how one group lives its Heathenry, we hope that it provides you a starting point for your own critical thought to start your understanding of the Heathen worldview.