Ten Ways You Can Tell an Old-time Heathen

copyright 1999 by Doug Freyburger


You can tell an old-timer Heathen because they...
1) Are not focused on Vallhalla. There are MANY other halls in Asgard, at least one for each of the Aesir. Those Dedicated to gods other than Odhinn probably should not even be interested in Vallhalla. Besides, Vallhalla's for warriors, and old-timers...

2) Understand that there are FEW warriors. Claiming to be a warrior doesn't make it so. Wanting to be a warrior doesn't make it so. If you can't name a current or former Commanding Officer that will confirm that you actually ARE a warrior, drop the pretensions. We have members that CAN satisfy such criteria, so we don't need to coddle to wannabees. There's plenty of honor available in other occupations.

3) Don't worry any more about ending up in Hel's halls: the food is good and you get a chance to be born again, either into Midgard or as a colonist in the next cycle of the Universe/Multiverse. Besides, the judgement is up to the Aesir when you die, so worrying doesn't help anyways. Live well and let the Afterlife handle itself.

4) Expect newbies to have strange notions. They sure had enough when they were new. It isn't something to get upset about; it's an opportunity for teaching. Besides, newbies often think up pretty interesting stuff.

5) Accept that other old-timers believe differently. They follow the Aesir, and that's good enough. We value individual freedom enough to understand that that means that people will believe and act differently than we do, and that that's good.

6) Don't think that Thor is a big guy with a beard - Just because it is a good image doesn't make it actually TRUE. Perhaps the Aesir can take on human bodies when needed, but it certainly isn't their standard form. Just WHAT that form is is beyond the ken of old-timers far more than it is beyond the ken of newbies.

7) Understand that the Eddas were written by some drunk guys and can't be expected to be taken literally, but they tell them again anyways. Claims that scripture is infallible, or even claims that it tells of events that actually occured, are for other religions. Our members from other continents can't even agree as to WHICH tales form Asatru's primary Lore. Trying to impose literal truth on scripture loses its REAL meaning and beauty, its symbolism and its rich multi-level allegorical meaning.

8) Have been told that they're "just doing a reenactment," and have come to realize that the main problem is a lack of spirituality on the part of the person making the accusation.

9) Have earned the ire of members of at least one heathen group, and figures it's a part of the deal. It's not like they need the approval of every group they encounter.

10) Have seen national, regional, state and local groups grow, splinter, bicker, dissolve and come back into existance. We don't make good followers. We're a grassroots movement without leaders. Sure, we have folks who would LIKE to be leaders, but most of us would rather only follow someone who had to be drafted into any office.

Bonus points: "Odin Lives," "No Thor, No Honor; Know Thor, Know Honor," "Give me MEAD and no one gets hurt," "Take a Liking to a Viking," "Freya can herd cats, can you?," "Brisingamin bring's'em in, every time," or similar bumper stickers.

Bonus points: Your own handicrafts as ritual objects, and your mundane tools as well.

Bonus points: No longer interested in debating about some other religion. No longer upset that related Pagan religions don't see things the way we do.


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