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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_rain.jpgIn the eight years that I've been actively involved with the Vanatru movement, I've met a number of Vanatruar, and in talking with other Vanatruar, I've found we have a lot of diversity of experience and practice - what Vanatru is, will differ from practitioner to practitioner. With that said, one of the things that does seem fairly common amongst the Vanatruar I've met (though this certainly does NOT apply to all of us) is a lack of formality.  The Powers of Nature, Gods of the World tend to attract... well, practical, pragmatic followers.  We tend to be very down-to-earth people, even those of us who are creative and eccentric in some way (as many of us are, myself included).

Over the last few years devotional polytheism has become more common, and I myself identify as a devotional polytheist.  However, there has been an expectation over the last while that the "proper" way to honor the gods is to be on your knees praying several times a day, with flowery adorations.  I don't do this. I know very few Vanatruar who do this.  I do know a few Vanatruar who do not do formal devotion and have expressed guilt and the feeling that they're "doing it wrong" because this has been presented as the standard for polytheistic practice by a number of people, including some from the Northern Tradition.

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  • Molly Khan
    Molly Khan says #
    I find the wide variety of expressions of piety in devotional polytheism as a whole, and Vanatru specifically, to be fascinating.
  • Nornoriel Lokason
    Nornoriel Lokason says #
    yeah

b2ap3_thumbnail_love.jpgWhile love is not a cure for all of the world's ills, I truly believe that many people do things out of desperation and hurt - so many of us carry secret pain, that could be relieved a little knowing we are loved and appreciated by somebody, somewhere. To hold a place in someone's heart, we know we are not so alone out there.  We matter to someone, who would be hurt if we were gone, if we were harmed or harmed ourselves, or harmed others because we acted from a place of loss and hurt and pain.

As with Passion, we live in a world where emotions are not OK, expressing emotions are not OK, everything has to be sterilized and diluted, or conform to some Hollywood ideal of what that should look like.  In a Vanic practice, we become more natural, more organic, as we connect with the Powers of the Land - love is messy, love is complicated, love can be painful, it can make us vulnerable.  And it is necessary.  It is necessary in part because it is so complicated and messy, like so much of the human experience.  Love makes us Real.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_cute-love1.jpgFor each of the Vanic virtues, I have written something on how Vanic pagans can better incorporate these virtues into their daily lives, living Vanatru.  With the seventh and final virtue, Love, I suggest (not demand) that those who want to better cultivate a sense of love do this simple exercise:

Make a list of the people who you love.  Note that this does not have to be romantic/intimate love.  This can be family members, friends.  For each person, list at least five things that you love about them, reflect on these things.  Allow yourself to feel love, how it comes, even if it makes you cry (especially if it makes you cry).  

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The most powerful force in existence, it keeps the planets and stars in their dance, connects us to the surface of our world, and draws hearts together. It should never be scorned or mocked as weak, and when love is returned, all the spirits weep for joy. We are all family on this earth.

(Nicanthiel Hrafnhild from my book Visions of Vanaheim)

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b2ap3_thumbnail_1335222298819461.jpgAs with naturalism, wildness is the Vanic virtue that seems to have been with me from the beginning.  One of the main complaints I hear about "kids these days" is that they need to go outside more.  In the 1980s, kids were just starting to have things like video games, which I was Not Allowed to play, my mother wanted me to read books or play outside.  And I did a lot of that.  Nature was my solace, my sanctuary.  My heart spoke the language of the wind and the rain, my feet danced the rhythms of the Earth, changing seasons in New England. I spent enough time outdoors as a kid that my mother used to make jokes about me being a "feral child" and "raised by wolves", but it wasn't entirely a joke.  There was this constant feeling of other-ness from childhood onward, that was further reinforced by my outdoor adventures.  Kids played outside to play with each other, usually games of conquest and domination - I played outside to connect with the land, sometimes pretending I was a tree, or a bird or an animal, when I wasn't exploring or just watching the world around me.

I was a strange child.

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  • Nornoriel Lokason
    Nornoriel Lokason says #
    Yes, it would have been nice to have a bestie. I have wondered the same thing myself. I know at least in my case that's true.
  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    Heh. Me too. Guess that's why I still do the magick stuff.
  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    Too bad we didn't know each other as children, Nornoriel. Sounds like we were into similar things. and it would have been a less

b2ap3_thumbnail_Black_Panther.JPGFor each of the Vanic virtues, I plan on writing something on how Vanic pagans can better incorporate these virtues into their daily lives, living Vanatru.  So with the sixth virtue, Wildness, here is a list of suggestions (not demands, I am not interested in telling people what to do) of activities to better express this virtue:

-If you do not have mobility challenges that would contraindicate this, go barefoot once in awhile.  Go outside barefoot.  Go barefoot in mud, go barefoot in the rain.  Doesn't have to be for long distances, can just be outside around where you live.  However, the more frequently you can go barefoot outside, the better it will connect you to the land, and the more primal parts of one's psyche.

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  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    I recommend dancing naked in the woods. Or making love naked in the woods. (Or the desert, or the top of a mountain, or a tree,
  • Nornoriel Lokason
    Nornoriel Lokason says #
    Dancing naked in the woods is fun.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Detail_of_antlered_figure_on_the_Gundestrup_Cauldron.jpgWe are animals, just as the other creatures of the world, but we are the only animals that have the ability to consciously and willfully deny our positions in the pattern, the only ones (as far as we know!) who consider themselves above “all that”. We train our children, those most connected to the truth, to deny their animal selves, to be “proper” and “civilized”, when all the world is calling us, begging us, to remember that we too used to dance in the mud, call out in the night, swing through the trees singing the songs of the birds, that we knew for a certainty that elves and dragons and unicorns lived in the forests and mountains (they still do, you just need eyes to see them!). Shake off the shackles of civilization and dance wild like a maenad or a troop of baboons. Sing to the moon and the sun without care for who is listening.

(Nicanthiel Hrafnhild in my book Visions of Vanaheim)

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