The Residue of Birth Worldview

People are attracted to alternative spiritual paths for many different reasons, but usually for one category of reasons; their worldview/religion is not meeting their emotional/intellectual/spiritual needs. Whether it is because he or she as an unique individual does not resonate with their birth worldview(that worldview that is passed on to us by our parents, grandparents, etc.) or he or she feels a lack of worldview, or the strictures of their worldview no longer make sense to them.

Worldview can be a touchy thing in pagan practice. For many(used to be “most” but we are seeing second and sometimes third generation pagans now) pagans, we were raised in a different tradition than the one we currently practice. And despite many years of work and belief, our birth worldview can seep out.

I belong to a seidr list. It’s an interesting group of people that are trying to reconstruct a practice mentioned once in the lore, and then only in an oracular sense. I found it to be more flexible in thought and practice than strictly heathen lists, until today.

My co worker Hrafn posted a link to Huginn Magazine. But before he posted, it has been posted on my seidr list. Almost immediately, there was a negative response, based on who was involved with the magazine, i.e. the Cauldron Farm folk or Raven Kaldera, Galina Krasskova and Elizabeth Vongvisith.

I have read some of Raven Kaldera’s books. I find him a fascinating person. But I was doing many of the things he describes before he wrote them down. And my attitude toward practice and the gods is different. So I am impressed by him, but not influenced by him.  Galina Krasskova is a brilliant scholar. And Elizabeth Vongvisith is a inspired poet as well as another fascinating person.

The charges against Huginn and the Cauldron Farm crowd were:

“promoting that the Jotun’s are before the
Aesir and Vanir.Their practices have BDSM play, and they honour and have
blotted the likes of Fenris and Angrboda.”

“they do not have the right to subvert or change
what is accepted Heathenry here in the US as they are want to do.”

“their views are their own and antithetical to any Trú
Heathen. They are claiming they are interpreting the Lore correctly, and
thus are being persecuted by mainstream Heathenry. What they promote is a
perversion, an obfuscation, and misdirection from what is Heathenry in the
US.”

So I asked,

“Are you defining Heathenry as Asatru? Or by the Troth?
What is accepted Heathenry here in the US? Defined by whom?
What is a Tru Heathen? Defined by whom?
Perversion, obfuscation, and misdirection, do you have examples? Defined by whom?”

And the response back, not from the original poster, but from some other knight of orthodoxy:

“As far as justifying what is “Tru Heathen”, I dare you first to substantiate
where these abhorrent practices are documented in lore and secondly if you
can, show that it was an accepted practice.

All the definitions you are asking for are well defined in not only history
but the lore.”

Ahh, the lore.

Lore is flawed.

I’m not saying it’s not important.

It gives us the framework to hang the rest of our practices based in changes in time and space.

But time and space have changed practice. We don’t hang people as offerings to Odin anymore. We don’t fight duels to protect our reputations anymore(although, sometimes I would like to, I would kick ass).

The Eddas were written 200 years after Iceland became Christian, by Christian Snorri Sturlson, as a manual to write poetry. How much was left out? We don’t know.

The Germania was written by Tacitus. Tacitus never went to Germany.

The sagas were written by different authors 50 to 200 years after the events they described.

For those of you with religious cross training, this should sound eeriely familar. Why?

The New Testament of the Bible is constructed in a very similar way. The gospels were written 75 to 200 years after the life of Jesus. The books of Paul were written 50 years after the life of Jesus.There have been several “reconstructions” of the Bible, the most famous the Council of Nicea and James I of England’s rewriting of the Bible. How much was left out? We don’t know.

The New Testament of the Bible is also the most important in the worldview of Christians. Because it’s all about Christ. And they to this day, believe it is the unchangeable word of God.  Just like orthodox Heathens and the lore. Heathens that most likely converted from Christianity to Heathenry.

Dogmatism is a common residue of Christianity that sticks to pagan practice. I have seen it in Heathen practice most often, although it sticks to Wiccan and ceremonial magic practice also. That “there is a right way to do ____ and any other way is WRONG!” mentality.

I don’t find the fact that the Cauldron Farm Folk or orthodox Heathens are different(or similar for that matter) to be threatening. My worldview is mine, I have acquired/accumulated/built it for over 25 years. And their world view only affects mine as much as I let it.

But I have to ask the question, what is so threatening about different points of view? We don’t have a pope or a body of religious work supposedly inspired by God, so what’s so horrible about change?

We don’t live in 10th century Iceland. Thank the gods, I like central heating and hot water and indoor plumbing.

Your mileage will most certainly vary.

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7 Responses to The Residue of Birth Worldview

  1. @ says:

    Huzzah! Except that Iceland had hot springs. What’s the cool acronym? UPG? Unverified personal gnosis, right? I have had lots of unverified personal gnosis over my lifetime and the only thing that verifies it for me is that I know that I had experiences and then read about them years, sometimes decades later in the “lore”.

    I’ve been following the same thread and have to admit that I felt summarily slapped when it was mentioned that “internet exposure” isn’t quite good enough, we have to know these heathens before we can judge, they know them, they judge them weird, wrong and dangerous and that’s that.

    I don’t know Raven Kaldera but every subculture has one, or ten, and I have always found them incredibly useful. It’s when homogeneity starts to water down that communities begin to thrive. So even though I do not know him, I’m very glad he’s influencing how we think. Too much group think breeds hate… as we’re seeing.

  2. Ailea says:

    When I was a child, I was under the impression that the peculiar practice of claiming Whole Truth and believing Wrongness was every other way of looking at the world was a strictly book religion practice. It was one of the things that I considered to be Better about my religious/spiritual beliefs.

    I thought, for a while, that having things that are Better is an important thing for children who are noticably different from their peers and that that was why I found it important to have something that I considered not just better for me, but actually Better. I have come to understand that not only is this a practice done by many others besides the big three, but my thoughts that they were Wrong and I was Right were part of that, too. Now I am left wondering if this need to be Better comes from the need to be Right, and if that was passed down from the Catholic religion that I am a generation removed from or if it is merely human nature.
    Amusingly, inspiration and creativity are as much human nature as dogma and the need to seek stability. We must build a culture that values one over the other, I suppose, and we must seek ways to minimize the fear that causes people to build these walls.

  3. Piper says:

    @-The “internet” comment bothered me also.
    I have known many talented, gifted, connected to other realms people that have dropped out of their local heathen communities because of the orthodox heathen attitude toward magic, mysticism or any other practice that is either portrayed negatively or not portrayed in “the lore”.
    For those people, the internet is often their last resort to stay connected in spirit to a community that has rejected them in person.
    To say that those people, people that have been influenced by their devaluation by orthodox heathenry, are “lazy” is the height of arrogance and willful ignorance.

  4. Piper says:

    Ailea- I think a part of human nature is the desire to be “right”. It’s more comfortable to be right, it’s more comfortable to not question. There are many mechanisms in our society that reinforce that behavior, some religious, some secular.
    And the feeling of “right” is certainly easier for people of the book, because they have the book, the voice of God made manifest, that tells them everything they need to know about anything(even if it contradicts itself).
    But I don’t believe “better” and “right” are the same.
    Better implies the acknowledgment of flaws, the idea that imperfections exist, that there is room for growth and change.
    Right implies there are no flaws, no imperfections, no growth, no change.
    In the ideal, and I’m an idealist, so, this opinion should not be a shock, a balance between stability and creativity must exist.
    Without stability, creativity can not be fully realized, there isn’t the time/space/energy to devote to doing new things, or having new ideas;people are just trying to survive.
    And without creativity, stability becomes sterility, and withers from within with no fresh ideas/art/literature/culture to sustain it through external and internal changes.

  5. @ says:

    I have always found it a delicious irony when someone on the internet says, “Don:t believe what you read on the internet.”

  6. Elizabeth says:

    Just for the record, neither Raven, Galina, nor I am involved with the publication of HUGINN. They solicited articles in a general call for submissions; we sent them some, which they chose to publish. I didn’t even know Galina had an article in it until I saw the premiere issue.

    None of us have ever met the editors, who currently live in Ireland. Talas and his partner came up with the idea for the magazine on their own, and are running it themselves. It’s their project, not any of ours.

  7. Piper says:

    Thank you for the clarification, Elizabeth.
    It’s important to know the facts outside of the gossipmongering, and I appreciate that you took the time to share them with me.

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