Saturday, July 23, 2005

Approaching the Holy Ones


On a few of the lists to which I subscribe, the topic of words and actions in  Approaching the Holy Ones has arisen.  Here's one of the replies I wrote in answer on one of the lists, which is populated by many folks not of the tribe to which I believe I belong...

This will be one of my usual non-scholarly views.

I'll go over my background a bit.

I am neither a recreationist, nor a reconstructionist; I am Asatrú.  I use this word in the sense that I am in Troth to the Holy Powers as known by my Northern Forebears.

I read the Lore, think on it, learn what I can and live my life as best I can within a Northern Worldview and Lifeway.

In 1975 I made a conscious decision to leave the innangard of Roman Catholic Christianity, with no thought of entering any other Christian Garth.

My time "in the woods," during this period led me into and out of many garths of thought and belief.  I learned many ways of approaching the Holy, many ways of knowing the Holy, many ways of being...

Nothing in these garths sang true in my heart.  But they helped me mightily in an important area; I unlearned thinking as a "son of Mother Church.

"In 1989, during the High Summer, I first got a glimpse of Uller and the Yewdales during a sweat lodge ceremony.  Not knowing what I saw and goaded to effort thereby; I read whatever I could find about early European history and folklore.  Later that year, in Early Winter, I believe Uller welcomed me by offering me the Oathring.

I found some indications that others believed, as I did, in 1991.

I made first contact with others who believed, as I did, in 1993.

I was alone in my devotions for several years.  This is the base of what I do when Offering Worship to the Holy Powers.

Most of my dealings since 1993 have been with folk who bow before no one, neither Gods nor Men.  This has shaped much of what I do when Offering Worship.

I have, though, been a traveler, guesting with those of tribes not my own.  What I do has been changed by what I have learned from them.

I am especially fond of what I have learned from Théodism about the use of poetry and song in Offering Worship.

We are, by virtue of being human, tribal animals by nature.

Different tribes will have different folkways.  This is a given.

The differing tribes of our Beloved Forebears had different ways of approaching the Holy Ones.

Unfortunately, we have little (relatively) documentation of these differences, or even the samenesses.

Different tribes have, I think, different ideas about what is and is not dignified in approaching the Holy.  Different ideas abound about what is correct in the Approach.

I will stand, sit (always in a chair or on a stool, never on the ground) or go down on one knee as I believe, and feel, honors the moment within the Offering.

There are times in Giving Worship that the moment is just too weighty to stand, so I kneel.

There are times in Giving Worship that the moment is so powerful, I can do nothing but stand there.

There are times in Giving Worship that the moment is so meaningful, I can do nothing but stand there and bow my head.

There are times in Giving Worship that the thoughts flying back and forth are so much like a good conversation that sitting at board with the Holy seems so right.

I have never, though, felt or believed that the Holy wants me in kowtow or to bow AND scrape, within the tribal view I have grow in as a Heathen.

Other tribes have other ways, which is good.

In closing, I'll just offer the old adage:  it takes stones of many different shapes and  sizes to build a strong, lasting wall.

May the Holy Æsir and Vanir smile on our efforts.
May the Holy Forebears of our Kinlines nod in approval.
May we be of Worth to our fellow Heathens.    

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Hail all, Many know me as an Uller's Man. So, to...

Hail all,

Many know me as an Uller's Man.

So, to fill in a glaring hole in the Blog, here is a picture of the Bow Lord. And, this is the first poem I wrote to him for use in Blót.  It was written for Fall Turning of the 1000th year of Vinland Reckoning  (The first stanza is repeated as the Burden [chorus] of the song.)

"A Visit"

Sing we proudly, the Bow Lord!
Uller guide hand and eye.
Sing we proudly, the Bow Lord!
His voice in arrow's flight.

Winter is Harsh, weeds out the weak
Lest they be part, of well knit clan
Hearth fires warm, protect them wel
Old ones and young, all of them kin

Homestead is bound, snow piled high
Hunters are home, larders are bare
Bellies are slack, some taken ill
Elders have met, Offering's made

Mead woven tales, deeds of the hunt
Praise for the prey, and the Old One
Words go awing, speed through the air
Fall on sharp ears, rightful plea heard

Snow Sender strides, on boneshoes wide
Hoarfrost glistens, shrouds the woodland
Branch antlered stag, puffs misty breath
Beast Slayer sends, life stealing thorn

Fur Wearer stands, within the garth
Calls to the folk, come take this prize
Man and woman, lad, lass and babe
Sharing the gift, of Forest God

Clan Warder speaks, Blessing to give
Tells of the shoes, deep snow to tread
To help themselves, through mortal deeds
Praises to Him, Teacher of Craft

Across the rime, Leather Clad Os
Strides to the trees, from sight is lost
Clan folk again, turn to the feast
Mead horns are raised once more in praise

Winter is Harsh, weeds out the weak
Lest they be part, of well knit clan
Hearth fires warm, protect them well
Old ones and young, all of them kin

Hail the Holy Ones!  Hail our Northern Folk!    

Hej All, This is who and what I am. I take other...

Hej All,

This is who and what I am.

I take others at face worth. I show good manners and friendliness until such is unwarranted. Respect and friendship are earned.

My hope is that a stronger Heathen Community will grow out of the "networking" upon which I have been working for many years.  The core value of my work will be: helping to form Heathen community and otherwise furthering the Work of the Re-Awakening of Folk of good will to That Which Lies Within their Kinlore.

I am noted as one of the best Skalds writing in modern English, as well as a respected essayist.  I like being read and am grateful when folks find my words of worth.  But, I want my words to spark folks writing their own stories, plain text or verse, all is good.

My Troth and Worship is with the Holy Northern Powers. My Kinlore is wide, and I do hold respect for many Holy Ones of my non-Northern Forebears. My heart of hearts IS given to the Aesir and Vanir, though.

My Kinship, Kithship and Friendship ties on Midgard are predominantly with individual men and women of a wide range of viewpoints, Tribalist, Folkish, Progressive, Theodish, all points across the board, independent and affiliated.

I am pleased to say that a number of Heathen groups are growing around Midgard. I am particularly most familiar with those in the US part of Vinland.

I seek to build a future for my Kin, Kith and other Friends.
I seek to build for our children.

Tis is all the more of Worth to me as my beloved wife and I are childless.

Build for our children, write your stories, sing your songs, LIVE, for them and us.
Look for books, cd-roms and e-books from various Heathen publishers of my work, and the work of the other Skalds we hope to attract to our Folkway.

Plus, I should again like to admonish you, who are reading these words, WRITE YOUR OWN STORIES, POEMS, SONGS!!!
Build a modern Word-hoard, which may someday be considered as Lore by our descendents.

We live in Saga times!!!

I am looking for solid Heathens from the central state line region of Illinois (Rockford area) - Wisconsin (Beloit area). Not only Skalds, but also Folk of Good Will and Mind who are in Troth with the Holy Aesir and Vanir.

I am sometimes slow in responding, please do not take this as indifference to your query.

Pride in our Kinlore and Forebears IS NOT Hate!  You can't tell the difference, I can't help you.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------My life is a Blót!
Hail the Gods!
Hail our Northern Folk!


Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Gathering the Folk - One's own place

Blessings of the Holy Ones to you,

Building community is one of the important tasks that we have as adherants to the beliefs, ethics, morals and worldview stemming from Northern European Folkways.

I am not expert in this.

After many years as a Heathen, I am in a Kindred because two friends found me of worth and asked me to join with them. My own efforts over the years have fallen short.

I shall, however, offer some observations from my own experiences, which may help others avoid some pitfalls.

I'm not going into community building, but into building one's self first.

The first topic of concern, and the most important I think is: Be sure of yourself. As the old advice states: "Know thyself."

Ask of yourself, and think very hard on, these questions:

Why am I Heathen?
Who am I as a heathen?
What do I owe to myself and others as a heathen?
When did I start believing, thinking and living as a heathen?
Where is my place in heathenry?
How can I do the right things to help others in heathenry?

Write yourself an essay based on these questions. No one else need ever see your words, but it is important to define yourself.

Secondly: Evaluate your personality.

Look at how people react to you.
Listen to your own words as you speak with other folks.
Pay attention to your feelings as you react to the world around you.
Pay heed to your own thoughts.
Consciously latch onto your own reasons for acting and appearing as you do.

Thirdly: Turn your sight onto the world around you.

Where are you most comfortable?
What sort of folks/personalities appeal to you most strongly?
How is your life shaped by your surroundings and by others?

For many years I was on "cruise control."

I rarely looked at myself, and it was most usually just a surface scan.

Some things have happened over the course of the past couple of years, which have lent themselves to further introspection. It is definitely a skill, which takes a lot of practice to get good at it.

I'm not quite where I want to be just yet, but I'm getting there.

And part of the process is:

Number Four: Admit that you do need other folks.

Allow yourself to have Friends, rather than friendly acquaintences.
Repair broken links with Kin and Kith, if such is possible.
Move on, if such is not possible.

And finally, Number Five (a point I've made before): "would have," "could have," and "should have" are the three worst phrases in the English language for tripping yourself up.

Look to That Which May Become in your life.
Speak and act to influence this in a way that is Right, for yourself, for family, for friends and for community.
Then Good will follow.

Live; well and deliberately - Pip

"Living a Heathen life need not be hardfought at all. Hallow the Holy Æsir and Vanir, the Disir and other Wealful Wights. Hallow your Kin, Kith, Friends and Forebears. Give heed to the Lore, and to your own thoughts. Do That Which is Right for Clan and Garth; with Wisdom, Openhandedness, Steadfastness of Heart and Trustworthiness in Word and Deed. Hold Goodness, Troth and Frith as worthy goals. Read, Write, Love, Laugh, Hate, Cry, Cook, Build, Sit quietly with children, watch the birds fly by... Be the best of that for which you are able as a Man. Remember that everything you do adds Layers in the Well of Wyrd, for Good or Ill." - Pipsbók