Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Long Way Around

I've always been stubborn, and it's always been said that it's a true family trait. I come from an old style Appalachian family from the coalfields of West Virginia. Great Grandpa had a bull and a feed store that still stood (and in some form, still stands), when I was a kid. It used to be said that you had to cross the field where Great Grandpa had his bull, to get to the houses from the bus stop, and so the kids would have to hop the fence and run for dear life. So, Great Grandpa would stand outside with a stick, and when the kids would get ready to run through, that bull would start huffin' and beating the ground with it's hoof. Great Grandpa would haul off and smack that bull in the face with that stick. The bull would calm down. It was also said, that the bull was exactly like Great Grandpa as far as personality goes.

I remember, I used to sit on the feed store's steps with my little glass bottle of Coke and a bag of chips, just as my Papaw and my Mom once did. Papaw was a military man, desperate to get away from the coalfields. In some twist of irony, Papaw ended up coming back to the same holler (yes, I know it's actually "hollow", but I type like I talk), and even after we flooded a few years back, he, due to his stubbornness, went back for a few months this past year, and eventually got too sick to take care of himself. He passed away February 13th of this year. His legacy that he left behind in the community is a man who had a filthy mouth, did whatever he wanted, drove too fast on small roads, but then would drive 30 miles under the speed limit on the highway. He was also known as one of the best butchers around, because as the newspaper put it,  "Our butcher was special. It was said he could cut part of his finger off, wrap it quickly, and never get a drop of his blood in the hamburger he was grinding fresh for someone. Sadly, OUR BUTCHER (Don Moore) passed within the past month at about 80. His legacy as the company store butcher with the friendly smile lives on"...He really did cut off his finger as a butcher.

 Papaw and Great Grandpa

My mom, of course, is also stubborn. She grew up a fighter. Essentially beating the living shit out of anyone that deserved it. She once grabbed a boy off a bike when she was a kid, and then proceeded to beat the shit out of him in the middle of the road, because he called her fat. She's never had it easy, and despite the hard times, she's never given up. With her family in mind, she went to school and became an RN and raised both myself and my brother, and then proceeded to help raise my nephews. Now, she is diagnosed with a Glioblastoma Multiform, which is a brain tumor for those that don't know. She was given 9 months to live...that, however, was about 18 months ago. She continues to fight.


So, it was only natural that I would inherit this as well. For better, or for worse, I was a member of this family, which means I get the good and the bad. Overall, it's both helped and hurt me over the years. Primarily in the respect that I have always seemed to walk my own path. I've always, either by meaning to, or not, taken the rougher road. I've never fully understood it. I've just always taken the longer way around. It's just seemed like the natural thing to do. More than that, it's always seemed to served my folk well in the end.

When I was younger, I don't think I fully understood the importance taking things this way. Why would anyone really ever want to take the hard road? Normally, in today's society, it's promoted that we do things an easier way. My response to taking the easy route is simply that it's not always better. Have you ever wondered why we have that easy way available to us? It's because someone took that hard way first. In the midst of all the overgrowth, holes, and predators, they've put themselves through it, and often times, not for just themselves, but for others to come after.

This is what I've learned from my family. My Papaw cut his finger off, and went right back to work, because it was the right thing to do for his family. My mom struggled in school, just so she could graduate and give us a better life than what we had. As far as my Great Grandpa...well...he was just Great Grandpa. Stubborn and tough. There's many lessons to learn from that. In conclusion, sometimes going the long way around, makes you stronger and wiser, and hopefully you come out at your destination with a story despite the scars and hope despite the bruises. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Let Them Hate...

"Oderint dum metuant" was a favorite saying of Caligula. It essentially means, "Let them hate, so long as they fear." It's also one of my favorite sayings. So much so, that I have it tattooed on my chest around my Mjolnir tattoo that I did when I first decided to dedicate myself to Heathenry.

I understood when you go against the grain of what is considered "correct" by the majority, that you're going to get folks that hate you. Not because of who you are, and not necessarily for what you stand for. They hate you for the assumptions that they* make. They hate you, a majority of the time, from false ideas that they've created in their head automatically.

So, it's no surprise that I got opposition when I first came to Heathenry. I still get it today. The interesting thing about the disrespect I get today, though, is that most of it comes from the "Heathen" scene. Does it annoy me? Sometimes it does. There's nothing more frustrating than someone twisting words around, and coming up with bullshit ideas that they use to justify their distorted reality. It does get frustrating to have people just assume things. 

At the same time, these types often never do anything with their lives. They sit behind a keyboard and type up some junk, in an attempt to feed their egos through debate and mockery. It's never a face to face issue. Normally, if there is face to face contact, they're the type to smile to your face if they see you out. 

I understand that considering myself as a Tribalist and a Folkish Heathen is unpopular among today's politically correct society and in Heathenry. No matter how much I work to unify folks in the name of our way of life and try to forward our culture and traditions, promote learning when it comes to history and archaeology, or anything of that nature, I'm going to have an asterisk by my name. I'm always going to have some guy that spends 90% of his time in facebook groups, shit talking. I'm going to get shit talked in the local Eclectic Pagan groups for being a "snob" about who I let in my innangard. I'm going to get called fluffy because I don't argue with the "intellectual" groups. 

I understood all of this from the first time I picked up my first book on Asatru and started reading. The mental state I'm in at the moment, however is pretty clear. I'm going to do what I do, regardless. I'm not going to be like some of these folk who straddle the fence and switch sides depending on who they're talking to. I don't view my faith and my lifestyle as something that can or should be easily swapped. 

It's important to have that mentality when you're going against the popular views. Views that state that it's okay to make our folkway a universal religion for anyone to come in and bastardize by adding whatever they want to it. Views that say it's okay to window shop for a religion, because it's all about fashion. Views that say it's okay to sit on your ass and never do anything to ensure a future for Heathenry. A fucking debate on a forum doesn't make you a warrior. You won't go to Valhalla for it.

When we find opposition, we should move along, regardless. Those of us who care enough to work towards a future for our faith and our way of life need to be strong and carry the burden. In five years, we'll still be standing, while everyone else is still sitting on their computers with the same tired arguments. 

This is an exciting time for Heathenry. For newcomers, coming in and seeing the strength that we speak of is important. To hold your convictions and carry them through everything bad that can be thrown at you, and to come out the other side still holding them is essential to our survival. 

People fear things they can't control. When someone maliciously mocks you and tries to debate you, they are trying to control you. Don't let them. When it comes to criticism, always remember that phrase. Let them hate, so long as they fear. If they can't control you, they have no power. Stand your ground and always push forward. This is your saga, and you're the one that decides how it's going to go. It's best to leave behind something worth talking about long after your gone.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Remembering Erik the Red

Today we remember Erik the Red. 

Many of us today will reflect on his loyalty to the Old Ways. It was said that once his wife became a Christian, she refused to sleep with him. His loyalty to Thor and the Old Gods is something that we should look at. However, we should also take into account his loyalty to his family. Despite not liking Christianity, he remained loyal to his kin, even after they converted. 

One of the things that many new Heathens seem to have a problem with, is honoring ancestors and family who aren't Heathen. One thing I think we can take away from today is that, even when we disagree with our kin, it's important to remain loyal to them. At the same time, we should stand our ground and stay loyal to our ways. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Our Code

Over the years, I've seen an increasing number of folks who disagree with having the NNV (Nine Noble Virtues for those who may be new to the faith) in Heathenry. There are so many debates back and forth about the topic, that it can get ridiculous. People will spend more time complaining about the NNV being the Heathen's 10 Commandments, than anything else. I've always looked at them as a code of ethics to live by. That's just it. It's something to strive for in our daily lives to help us form and maintain relationships and bonds with our folk. However, I've always felt that for our tribe, we needed more than that. We needed our own code that fit who we are and our view of things.

Codes are great to have. they help us stay on the right path to achieve our goals, and they remind us of what we're about. A problem in Heathenry comes from lack of direction and goals.  This becomes a problem especially for new Heathens. Some come in looking for that structure, and are only met with chaos. They look for guidance, but are met with someone telling them to find their own way around, and then they get mocked when they do.

The fact is, we need goals. Not only for those who have been here, but for those who will come. We need structure to carry out those goals. We need organization and vision. For us, that's what our code is about. 

Given, while our tribe's code may not be looked well upon by everyone, it works for us and describes how we try to carry ourselves and live