Stories, questions, and musings about Asatru, and one man's effort to see the modern world through an old lens.
Heathen Etiquette Part 1: External Factors
I believe in something I have termed, "low-impact Heathenry." Lest the expression be mistaken to mean that my faith has little result in my life or is in anyway limited in it's scope or fervor, let me clarify that my faith is central to my decision-making, my worldview, and the majority of my actions. I believe in it with a passion that I lack words to express.
The term, "low-impact Heathenry," is meant to imply that my faith should not be painful, or even generally noticeable, to others. My relationship with my gods and ancestors is meant to enrich my life and help me deal with the challenges that I face throughout my time in Midgard. It is not meant to become an obstacle to overcome, a device to place distance between myself and others, or a burden to anyone including me. My faith moves through me in who I am and resonates through my actions and my words- it does not have to exist in a separate compartment because it is one of the most quietly persistent parts of all of me.
This concept, in turn, guides my approach to etiquette. I live my life under what I believe to be Tru principles, rather than under its banner. I wear my mjolnir inside my shirt. It is my hope that people around me see me as a man who is hospitable, courageous, self-reliant, and disciplined. I let my honor, honesty, perseverance, and industrious nature speak for me. If the subject of religion does come up, I acknowledge that I am a follower of old ways and worship many gods- most people leave it at that with a shrug. All of that said, I have heard the following on occasion:
Q: Is that like Wicca?
A: Not really. (No need to expand).
Q: So you think you are a Viking?
A: No, I think I am an American.
Q: But you seem so normal.
A: Thank you.
Q: So you don't believe in Jesus?
A: Sure I do, and I love what he did for your faith. I just don't see him as my connection to divinity.
Q: You're going to hell!
A: Oh, probably.
Q: I loved the13th Warrior!
A: Yeah, it was a fun movie.
Q: Do you still celebrate Christmas and Easter?
A: Sure. I don't see a problem with cheer, family, and gift-giving. (No need to add that they are secular to me)
Q: I will pray for you.
A: Thank you.
Q: How did you get into that?
A: Same as you, I suppose. I was taught about it and chose to believe it.
Q: Can I get you something for one of your holidays?
A: Sure. Fox Hill Meadery makes a decent spiced mead and they ship it here.
Q: Is that (mead) like Communion?
A: Sure, close enough.
As you can see, I try to be non-confrontational, non-evangelist, and practical in my responses. Most people are left with a positive, if hazy or slightly confused, impression of my religion... and it usually never comes up again.
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