Sunday, February 03, 2008

What A Folk Is...

[[One of the list to which I subscribe discusses the modern worship of the Gods and Goddesses of Olympus. They has been a discussion on the attitude of native Hellenes towards their religion and heritage. - Pip]]

If I may?

I am here (and in Nova Roma) because part of my heritage lies amongst the Latin, Italic and Hellenic peoples. Therefore, I do give some of my honor and respect to the Capitoline Holies and to the Olympians.

I am a follower of Asatru (the belief in and giving of worship to the Aesir and Vanir of the northern Germanic - Scandinavian peoples) because most of my heritage is of these northerly climes. Also, the voices of the Northern Holy Ones sing loudest and most true in my heart.

A Folk is defined, to my mind, fairly simply by four commonalities: language, customs, history and boundaries.

The first is somewhat easy: Germans speak German, Italians speak Italian, Chinese speak Chinese, and so forth; as their cradle tongue.

I speak a little (a very small remnant from my elementary and secondary school years) of both French and German.

Knowing the language did not make me become either.

My cradle tongue is Standard American English - Massachusetts dialect - Southern Connecticut Valley variant.

Thus, by language alone, I am an American, most particularly, A New Englander, subtype Shaysite.

Customs and history are of necessity intertwined almost inseparably. The formation of the former springs from the thoughts and deeds of the latter.

An origin of the custom (taboo) against eating swine flesh amongst some Middle Eastern peoples does have some basis in historical happenings.

Swine and humans have very similar taste in foodstuffs. As the forests of the "Golden Crescent" dwindled, desertification occured and it became harder to produce crops. Why then have an animal around, which would eat into those crops meant for human consumption? As the fodder for swine became more and more orts and offal; well, who wants to eat part of the "sewer system?"

The customs and history, which influenced me most were those of Western New England. This reinforces my cradle tongue, making me more solidly a New Englander.

Boundaries can be, as man is a migratory beast at times, a little more amorphous.

In any atlas, New England is Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. Pretty cut and dried: the St. Lawrence River to the north, the Atlantic to the east, Long Island Sound to the south and the New York border to the west.
But, if one throws in language, customs and history, a case could be made for including northern New York and the Maritime Provinces of Canada in that equation.

A long-winded way of getting to the next point...

How does a Folk truly grow?

It grows by Birth, Wedlock and Adoption.

Birth is easy; it is the ONLY way to be fully sure that one is of a particular Folk.

Wedlock and adoption are likewise pretty straight forward.

In either of these some Oath is made tying the lives of those involved together.

For spouses, some thought must be made as to which partner's Folkway will predominate.

This is a natural human process, for as I have learned over the past 25 years, marriage is NOT a 50 - 50 proposition; compromises are made.

The Folkway in which my wife and I live has become that of Midwestern America; while remembering our New England roots.

An adoptee definitely becomes part of that Folk, which took them into their family.

Can one adopt oneself into a Folk, which is not of one's cradle tongue, customs, history and boundaries?

I tried, several different "paths" over many years of seeking. I came to know I was an outsider in these Folkways.

In Asatru I found something deeply embedded in the heritage of my family line.

As for others; I am no one who will be a naysayer; Good Luck and Gods Speed.

Is God an invention of man's mind or true being?

A short essay in reply to the question on another site...

I have no proof, no shareable knowledge that the Holy exists.

What I have is an absolute, unshakable Faith that an Ultimate Source is there beyond me.

The ultimate truth for me is that the Holy is ultimately Unknown and Unknowable by the mind of man. The Romans (part of my ancestry) would label this Numinism. Though, I do not follow the Religio Romana.

I am Asatru. That is, I have plighted my troth to the Aesir and Vanir; Gods and Goddesses worshiped by my northern European ancestors.

I firmly believe that I have had personal experience of the Holy as I understand it. Uller, Odin, Thor, Eira, Nerthus and Others have communicated with me in ways that have confirmed my belief that Holy Powers do, indeed, exisit and live.

I do not, however, claim that They speak to me in any conventional meaning of the word.

Is God (aka That Which Is Holy) a True Being? Yes.