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Sticky: Reconstructing heathenry~
7 years ago  ::  Mar 25, 2008 - 9:45PM #21
boars_heart
Posts: 31
[QUOTE=FlorenceCraye;379824]Getting back (at least somewhat) to Boars Heart's initial post, he brings up something that I've struggled with for nearly seven years, since I walked away from christianity.

Living in a culture so rooted in Judeo-Christian foundations, and having been raised in a Presbyterian household, I have always found it very difficult to weed out that unconscious christianity.

I'm curious about how others are dealing with this pervasive worldview. How have you, in your own ways, tried to "think like heathens"?
.[/QUOTE]

This is the flip side of scholarship . . . the introspection and self-examination required when some aspect of the heathen worldview "punches your buttons."  For me, one of the hardest things to get over was a common kenning for Freyr, to whom I happen to be oathed: "god of the world."

'Cuz I grew up holyroller, lol, and that's the DEVIL'S title . . . o_0

Part of working through it is being conscious of the process.  What is happening, essentially, is culture shock. Linzie has this to say in Germanic Spirituality:

[QUOTE]What is commonly called "culture shock" is the bringing of one's own native worldview to the fore so that its validity may be questioned and examined (italics mine) . . . . Stick as close as possible to literal interpretations.  In other words, avoid over-interpreting because the "interpretation" itself must me translated through our native culture-centric worldview.[/QUOTE]

I'll be posting more on worldview sometime this week, since it seems to be a confusing term for some, but in the meantime, you might consider a reversal of the Saxon Baptismal. *G*

When the Saxons converted they were made to oath their rejection of "Wotan, Donar, Saxnot, and all the devils that keep them company."  Many heathens, myself included, have found it efficacious to reverse that oath, and formally renounce xianity by the same pattern of words.

My childhood religion, I'm fairly certain, would consider that the "unpardonable sin" . . . but it sure worked for me.

~Boar
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7 years ago  ::  Mar 25, 2008 - 11:28PM #22
John_T_Mainer
Posts: 1,658
[QUOTE=giertruidis;377020]Another thing we don't reconstruct is the drug use.  The real Pilsner beers with the halucinagenics in them.
In traditional cultures these kinds of drinks are used under the guidance of a "priest/medicine man/shaman/witch"   in order to connect with the spirit world.  Depending on the cultures views these will be either dieties or intemedaries such as ancestors.  Since the herbs used such as hendane are also sexual stimulants we can therebye assume that there were al lot of estatic spiritual and sexual experiences and they were so important that they named cities after the plants.  Either that or our ancestors were the ultimate in party animals.

Since the majority of people are not living as neolithic farmers and hunters and warriors but as city dwellers any reconstruction has to take into account the shft of life styles.  The original live style can not be recreated without removing several billion people. 

The fact that people these days can look up the sources and can study them for them selves eliminates the cultural peer pressure to conform that our ancestors lived with.  In fact the need, often quoted, to be scholarly total contradicts the neolithic life styles and world views some are trying to emulate.  Historically the Vikings didn't go out of their way to spare libraries, nor were our Germanic ancestors impressed by Roman scholarly knowledge.  So in many ways Boar is being true to his view of his version of reconstuction which is the attitude "my way or the highway".  This is not a reconstruction I personally  can live with. 

The parts I choose to eliminate is the insular, the conformist views, the need to dominate and invade.  I am keeping only the mythic elements, the ancestors, the dieties and certain folkways.  These are the only parts that fit into a modern urban lifestyle in a multicultural society. 
In the sagas and myths there are stories of tolerance, of compasion, of learning how to compromise as well as the "hit'em over the head" and revenge stories.  It is these stories that we should be mining for the reconstruction of heathenism.[/QUOTE]

Take the light and the dark, for no matter how much more comfortable and nice you find the light, ignoring the dark only makes you ignorant and unprepared, it does not make the dark go away.  All parts have a place, and a need they address.  If you do not see the need for yourself, then either you are fortunate beyond most of us, or you simply haven't found yourself in a place where the only way out was carved in blood and pain.  Trust me, when you are there, the old sagas really do provide the answers you need for how to do what you must, and stay sane and whole in the doing.
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7 years ago  ::  Mar 26, 2008 - 11:21AM #23
Swain_Wodening
Posts: 18
I believe it is possible to reconstruct the mindset of the ancient Heathen. People somehow think that this mindset was tied to their level of technology, but I think that is a view blurred by our own modern dependence on technology to do what we do. I think if we really ask ourselves, how does technology influence our beliefs (whether it was before you were Heathen or after)? We would find that in truth, technology plays a very small role in determining our beliefs and values. The same can be said of how we live. I grew up on a farm, fairly secluded, and probably did not know more than 200 people in my early life (and most of those family). Since then I have lived in small towns, small cities, large cities, suburbs of large cities.... the only changes in my value system were in my transition from Christian to Heathen, or ones I made when I deliberately decided to change based on learning more. Never did where I live, where I worked, or how I lived change what I believed or what my values were. Therefore, I think that saying we cannot reconstruct an ancient Heathen world view due to our level of technology or how we live is basically an excuse. You are the one that determines how you think and how you see the world, the world around you does not determine it. It is therefore possible to come the Eddas and sagas, take into account archaeological data, so on and so forth, and attempt to think like an ancient Heathen. We will never be sure how successful we are, barring a time machine, but I think we can come close. Outside of the intrusion of some Christian values, I do not think our society has changed that much.
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7 years ago  ::  Mar 26, 2008 - 10:15PM #24
boars_heart
Posts: 31
[QUOTE=Swain_Wodening;384624]I believe it is possible to reconstruct the mindset of the ancient Heathen. People somehow think that this mindset was tied to their level of technology, but I think that is a view blurred by our own modern dependence on technology to do what we do. I think if we really ask ourselves, how does technology influence our beliefs (whether it was before you were Heathen or after)? We would find that in truth, technology plays a very small role in determining our beliefs and values. The same can be said of how we live. [/QUOTE]

Exactly . . . I'm going to try to get a more comprehensive post on worldview up this week, but essentially, it's NOT "the stuff" . . . it's how you think about "the stuff."  It's not the culture . . . it's the mindset from which the culture ARISES.

And it's important, because without it, one is left interpreting the artifacts---literary and otherwise---of our ancient cultures through a modern worldview that frequently simply does not apply.
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7 years ago  ::  Mar 26, 2008 - 10:19PM #25
Lugh
Posts: 43
Ran across this today, and was pleasantly surprised to see just how closely it agrees with my personal concept of Heathnism.

http://paganpedia.mind-n-magick.com/wik … =Heathenry

Never had any luck putting hyperlinks into beliefnet, but it's worth the trouble to follow the url and read this.   

Lugh
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7 years ago  ::  Mar 26, 2008 - 10:23PM #26
giertruidis
Posts: 206
"you simply haven't found yourself in a place where the only way out was carved in blood and pain. "

Yes I have , but that need not be my world defining moment.  A much bigger part was the wide variety of friends who stood by me in many other instances. 
Being a member of civilization is not always comfortable or easy.  To me the ideology of war and revenge is the easy way, the comfortable way. Empathy, compassion and an open mind without losing yourself and your core values is much harder.
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7 years ago  ::  Mar 26, 2008 - 10:30PM #27
Lugh
Posts: 43
OK......that works as a hyperlink.   I was especially pleased with this article, and would have a heck of a hard time finding anything in it to quibble with.  It express's my view better than I ever have.     Indeed, I wish I had read it many years ago, back when I was drifting into paganism from my previous mode of being a lapsed Methodist who talked to trees.

Personally, I'm not much into magic, being more the sort of person who wants to grab a spear, tuck a hammer in my belt for backup and go deal directly with a problem, but more power to those who are.

In light of some of the discussions I've had here and elsewhere, I was, naturally, rather pleased with the second sentence under the Heading "Heathenry and reconstruction".    :)

Lugh
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7 years ago  ::  Mar 26, 2008 - 10:15PM #28
boars_heart
Posts: 31
[QUOTE=Swain_Wodening;384624]I believe it is possible to reconstruct the mindset of the ancient Heathen. People somehow think that this mindset was tied to their level of technology, but I think that is a view blurred by our own modern dependence on technology to do what we do. I think if we really ask ourselves, how does technology influence our beliefs (whether it was before you were Heathen or after)? We would find that in truth, technology plays a very small role in determining our beliefs and values. The same can be said of how we live. [/QUOTE]

Exactly . . . I'm going to try to get a more comprehensive post on worldview up this week, but essentially, it's NOT "the stuff" . . . it's how you think about "the stuff."  It's not the culture . . . it's the mindset from which the culture ARISES.

And it's important, because without it, one is left interpreting the artifacts---literary and otherwise---of our ancient cultures through a modern worldview that frequently simply does not apply.
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7 years ago  ::  Mar 26, 2008 - 10:19PM #29
Lugh
Posts: 43
Ran across this today, and was pleasantly surprised to see just how closely it agrees with my personal concept of Heathnism.

http://paganpedia.mind-n-magick.com/wik … =Heathenry

Never had any luck putting hyperlinks into beliefnet, but it's worth the trouble to follow the url and read this.   

Lugh
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7 years ago  ::  Mar 26, 2008 - 10:23PM #30
giertruidis
Posts: 206
"you simply haven't found yourself in a place where the only way out was carved in blood and pain. "

Yes I have , but that need not be my world defining moment.  A much bigger part was the wide variety of friends who stood by me in many other instances. 
Being a member of civilization is not always comfortable or easy.  To me the ideology of war and revenge is the easy way, the comfortable way. Empathy, compassion and an open mind without losing yourself and your core values is much harder.
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