Orthopraxy, Living Custom And The Non Nordic Born Heathen


In Sweden Heathenry is sometimes referred to as “en levande sed” (“a living custom).

I have often emphasized how Nordic cultures, having only been officially Christian for less than a 1000 years, are ripe with Heathenry, how our hollidays and celebrations (perhaps especially Yule and Midsummer), our names and folklore and even our Christianity, not to mention our mentality is colored by it.

This is often taken up when Scandinavians are irritated by some form of American or other non Nordic Heathenry that takes on forms that feels very incompatible to our ways to us.

I would like to make clear that this is usually not a sentiment towards the majority of American Heathenry.

One of the most creative (in every sense of the word) kindreds i know off is the “Jotun Bane Kindred” who have taken orthopraxy and put it in a place that feels like exactly the point with it (they have a community spirit that is incedible by any standards as far as i can see).

Now, ortghopraxy does not only have to do with cult acts, blots and worship of the Divine, or even with virtues and conduct, but, as i´m sure practitioners of Romuva (Lithuanian Paganism),  Suomenusko (Finnish Paganism)

and many other indigenos customs would agree , folklore and tradition as a whole plays a big role. Dances, songs, sayings, all of it is a part of the custom.

So, now i was thinking i should turn my whole argument on its head (or at least so it might seem at a quick glanze).

Most Heathens and Pagans i know off internationally seem to celebrate Christmas, Thanksgiving and so on, in part to be with their (extended) families, partly to be part of community as a whole and because it feels nice.

Many might privately see the celebration in another light than those around them (“we sit at the same table, we  celebrate together but as you comemorate the birth of Jesus, i give thanks to Saturn”).

Now, imagine if you will (and this probably happens) a group of Americans, gathering at a house or in a grove at Veterans Day and / or 4:th of July, giving blot to Odin and thanks for victory, freedom and the rights they enjoy. Following with a blot to the ancestors who made this possable and boasting about relatives and ancestors that made this possable and perhaps giving vows to deserve this gift to the best of their abilites.

It would look similar to the Sigr blot (Victory blot at spring), but be connected to culture, history and nationality close to the participants and probably striking a chord.

One might say that this is a new invention but actually it is MORE traditional than dressing up in viking age clothes (wich is not “wrong”).

After all, festivals and cultic celebrations where always connected to local cicumstances.

Things where not done in Iceland as they where in Sweden.

These celebrations are secular in nature and thus highly adaptable.

A Swedish Christmas table would make sense to someone living in Canada or Alaska (from a nutrition / survival standpoint) in another way than it would to a Heathen in Hawaii or Northern Australia.

Why stuff your face with fat, alcohol (well, there´s always a reason for mead) and slaughter a lot of animals at the hottest part of the year?

And why give thanks to Freyr for grain that we recieved in the North (not that we mind  😉   )?

I have eaten bananas at Christmas in Africa. In my fathers homeland a blot of chicken, beans, bread, rice and fish would make sense as well as a strong cult for Njordr and Aegir (since it is a country of islands with much fishing and marine culture) for a Heathen.

It is not a matter of abandoning traditional cult acts or their ingredients (pigs and pork still has meaning symbolically for instance). Neither is it a matter of declaring it “wrong” to dress in viking age clothes, eating traditional Swedish smorgosboard or wearing Noerwiegian folk costume ( to celebrate heritage or simply because one likes it for that matter).

Rather, it is a matter of bringing the orthoprax thought into the society , place and time in wich you live.

You have blessings from the Gods to give thanks for unique to your life and region as well as ancestors closer than the vikings, but no less heroic, that ensured that you could enjoy those gifts.

I think the LEAST you owe those that died (or even survived) 9 / 11, or WWI and WWII is a beer and some boasting.

Your tribal elders  and ancestors that built the country you live in, dont they deserve a mention and a bit of respect?

Your ancestors that fought in the ghetto, died in camps, defended the Alamo, where in the French resistance where imprisoned at Robben Island feels natural as guests by the Hof to me (and they would to pre Christian Norse people too).

The Vaettir of your lands, unique to them, deserve consideration, blot  and respect. The land vaettir of Minnesota are the land vaettir of Minnesota, the vaettir of Manitoba are the vaettir of Manitoba.

The advice and help from these mights are closer to you too (the vaettir being of your region and your close ancestors being closer to your own circumstances).

In Scandinavia Heathenry, like folklore in general differs by region.It always did (there are clear attestations) and probably always will.

The orthoprax idea is to bond YOUR life to the divine, not sombody elses.

This is not new, it is the very nature of the beast.

One thought on “Orthopraxy, Living Custom And The Non Nordic Born Heathen

  1. […] den oförliknelige Marcel Gomez, som jag redan tagit upp i den här bloggen en gång förut. Se inlägget här. Med Ortopraxi som term, menas förstås en hel familj av olika traditioner och trosriktningar, som […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s