LIVING THE EXAMPLE
This is an attempt to write about something I am seeing in my own life but do see elsewhere and it fits one very classic view of heathenry. You frequently see some variation in the heathen community of the following: “We are our Deeds.” The concept is generally that the different Teutonic/Northern traditions honor first and foremost our actions over our words. This does not mean we are never to think or consider, but that our deeds create our reputation and are how our community judges us. This ties to some very old fashioned notions that we sometimes see as fantasy more than reality or old movies:
- “A Man’s word is his bond.” (I was taught something similar as a military officer. A sergeant’s corollary was “”I’ve heard that rumor.”)
- Practice what you preach
- Talk less, do more.
- Roll up your sleeves and get to work.
Our ancestors lived in a very different world than we do. While my parents grew up on a farm and my grandparents descended from generations of farmers, I have worked in various professional capacities and have dealt with forms of IT since my teens. The deeds basis of living often ties heavily to a time of craftsmen and farmers, which is not the life most of us live anymore. I firmly believe that these older concepts have value, but we cannot be fundamentalists about them, scream “Might and Main” and then say that everyone else is pathetic for not living that way. Many people just cannot be our ancestors, and many of the classic sagas are from a frontier style existence that emphasized different values and assets than we need today.
But there are things we can do. Depending on which part of the communities you run in, you may encounter people with strong faith and ties to the mystical. At a broad level, there is a wide range and I discussed from of that here: https://facingthefireswithin.wordpress.com/2013/04/09/map-and-compass-versus-invisible-stars/
People can range from hoary mystics who hear the gods talking to them (or not so hoary and rather scary), to atheist heathens looking for values and community, and even to people in between who believe in the gods and take inspiration from them but apply the techniques of the two ends as they apply. So, when you are facing the hoary mystic or the atheist reconstructionist with an encyclopedic knowledge of history and archaeology and feel like you have no place (or watch them fight on the internet, scream and insult each other and then suddenly hibernate or stop interacting with each other), what to do you do?
You live. We are born to strive and to act and to seek. Take what you do have, examine it and look at your family and community. Decide how to apply your beliefs and do so. Be a living example and live your life. Read the various pages on the internet and emails that apply to you and ignore the rest. Choose your battles and worry about the ones that actually might affect you and yours. Do this over and over again, day after day because it will take years. But, do you know what? Those others I mention above and those who are lost, they may seek you out. Not just for advice, but to hear your life stories. Do you know why? You represent stability and what THEY seek. You will be an example to them of what they might wish to be.
Don’t be egotistical and think of yourself as a guru because you are not. You are a good person going through your life, no more or less. Be that good person and show not only our communities but many others that we are solid people living solid lives. Someday, while you are living your life, you may even take a stand. It becomes hard to avoid, in time. When someone asks you later why, maybe then you can show them why our beliefs matter. Not just because of the mysticism or the science and history but because this is a way one can live their life and live it well.
Even if you never get there, wasn’t it worth striving for?
Strength and Luck to You and Yours