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Thread: Heathen Q&A

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    Supporter Thjoth's Avatar
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    Heathen Q&A

    I figure we can just start fresh with the Heathen Q&A thread in our new Heathen forum (hot damn, we have our own forum everybody!)

    If anybody saved the OP from the old Heathen Q&A or the old Heathen Resources thread that was right next to it, it would be good to post those. As I recall the OP to the old Q&A thread had some useful links in it.
    "Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others."
    -Thomas Jefferson

    Let a man never stir on his road a step
    without his weapons of war;
    for unsure is the knowing when the need shall arise
    of a spear on the way without.
    -Hávamál

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    Supporter Thjoth's Avatar
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    Re: Heathen Q&A

    You know, somewhere in my infinite stupidity I forgot that when you start a thread you're supposed to explain what the hell it's about. Durrrr.

    Welcome, everyone, to the new Heathen Q&A thread! If you have any questions about what exactly a Heathen is, what we do, why we do it, what our favorite time of year is to pillage English monasteries is (I prefer early July, myself), or any other questions that could be directed towards us, ask them here! I can't say that we don't bite, but it's rare and we've all most of us have had our shots, I promise.

    So, if you're curious about anything to do with Heathenry at all, ask away!
    "Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others."
    -Thomas Jefferson

    Let a man never stir on his road a step
    without his weapons of war;
    for unsure is the knowing when the need shall arise
    of a spear on the way without.
    -Hávamál

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    Re: Heathen Q&A

    WOOT our very own board


    I would love to answer any questions.
    Blessed are the rich, for they possess the earth and its glory.
    Blessed are the strong, for they can conquer kingdoms.
    Blessed are they with strong kinsmen, for they shall find help.
    Blessed are the warlike, for they shall win wealth and renown.
    Jones, George Fenwick
    Honor in German Literature

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    Re: Heathen Q&A

    Ask whatever you would like to ask.
    "Don't ever miss a good opportunity to shut up." - Harvey Davis "Gramps"

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    Sr. Member Maythe's Avatar
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    Re: Heathen Q&A

    Maybe the regular Heathens here can kick start it by thinking of the FAQ's we often get, post them, post their answers. Then we can argue about the answers a bit :P

    So here are some questions I've heard newbies asking...

    1) So what happens when you die? And is Helheim really horrible?
    2) Do you have regular holidays/festivals and what do you do on them?
    3) What form do Heathen rituals take?
    4) Are there any good beginner books? What should I read first?

    I'll pop back later to answer my own questions. :P
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    Sr. Member Crimson Horizons's Avatar
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    Re: Heathen Q&A

    Excellent idea, Maythe!

    [quote author=Maythe link=topic=92.msg1115#msg1115 date=1286814625]
    1) So what happens when you die? And is Helheim really horrible?
    2) Do you have regular holidays/festivals and what do you do on them?
    3) What form do Heathen rituals take?
    4) Are there any good beginner books? What should I read first?
    [/quote]

    1) This is going to vary from heathen to heathen. For me, personally, there isn't much beyond the gravemound for most of us. Some of us will stick around as wights for the family or the land, but I think the majority of us will end up staying in the grave. It's why it has become so important to me to try and purchase a plot of land large enough to bury the dead in (I think it's 5+ acres in Texas). As to the second question, it's kind of moot given my earlier response.

    2)Again, this will vary from heathen to heathen. The Buffalo Kindred, the Kindred I am a part of, celebrates a few holy days every year (such as Mother's Night, New Years and Odhin's Blot), while a few others are celebrated as we fell the need. Traditionally, a thing was celebrated if it was important to the community, so there are things that are celebrated only in certain areas/cities. These things don't need to be pagan oriented to be celebrated by a heathen. Anything that benefits the community benefits the heathen (in most cases, anyway), and should be celebrated as such.

    3) Now this is pretty standard! Basically, we honour our ancestors and the Regin, personal heroes and family members, and we recognize the success and own up to the failures of our kin. Alcohol is almost always involved. Now, how various groups do the above may vary slightly (depending on how much pomp a particular group may want to add), but while the platter often varies the meal is the same.

    4) There are no good beginners books that I know of as such. For a first read, I would recommend the Havamal, a tale contained in the Poetic Edda. What translator you use isn't really all that important (though I personally recommend Chisholm). From there, try to find any historical/anthropological information you can. Then go back and read the Havamal. Then read another historical/anthropological book, followed by the Havamal. I recommend repeating this process until you feel that you really understand the worldview of the ancestors (i.e. the way the ancestors looked at the world around them). Once you can place yourself in the same frame of mind as the ancestors, I recommend reading the rest of the Eddas, both Poetic and Prose, the Sagas, and other Scholarly works. The What are you reading now? and Book Hoard threads over at Asatru Lore have been quite helpful to me in determining what books to read next!
    "The proper office of a friend is to side with you when you are in the wrong. Nearly anybody will side with you when you are in the right."--Mark Twain

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    Sr. Member Maythe's Avatar
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    Re: Heathen Q&A

    So what happens when you die? And is Helheim really horrible? Crimson and I differ on this one. I think most people end up in Hel's hall, and Helheim ain't so bad. Maybe other gods can yoink you to their hall if they like you enough.

    Do you have regular holidays/festivals and what do you do on them? There's a few attested in lore (Yule, Mother's Night and Eostre and I guess you could make an argument for Lammas... is that really it?) but most people seem to celebrate as and when they feel there's something to celebrate. Yule is a big one for many Heathens. Kindreds often seem to have their own 'calendar' developed over the years. Some Heathens follow a calender bearing a strange similarity to the Wiccan wheel of the Year. This is because they took the Wiccan Wheel of the Year, tippexed out the celtic names and stuck 'Heathen' names in the gaps. Cynic? Moi? Surely not. What we do on them is usually hold a blot and/or sumble. See below...

    What form do Heathen rituals take? Eating, drinking and making offerings of, guess what, food and drink. Blot involves a feast - historically the slaughter of the animal providing the meat was the central part. Modern Heathens vary on whether they do this, would consider doing it but are prevented by local laws or think it's a practise that should stay in the 8th century. Sumble involves the passing of a horn of drink (usually alcohol, often mead) and toasts being made over it. Depending on the kind of sumble this can go on a while... it's fairly bad form to get truly wasted in sumble though. Some people separate Blot and Sumble, some people stick 'em together in one ritual in a way that's not particularly historically accurate but perhaps convenient.

    Are there any good beginner books? What should I read first? I'd second CH's suggestions but also point out that Our Troth vols 1&2 are pretty good overviews (vol 1 is better than 2), if you're not hard recon that is *ducks*.
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    Re: Heathen Q&A

    1) Tend to agree with Maythe on this one, mostly, although I do think oathbreakers and kinslayers will have a hard time of it after they're properly dead.

    2) Yule is the only one I really do. I'm a heathen without a kindred though so there you go, kinda like a pirate without a parrot or peanut butter without jelly, it's just a bit less interesting.

    3) Maythe covered this, this is basically hard fact and not really open to much variation.

    4) I've read Our Troth. While I won't go into their........historical methods, it is indeed a pretty good overview. If I read it as an historian I'd have to tear it a new one, and if I read it as a pure recon (which is the direction I've been leaning) then I'd have to tear it a new one again, but it at least gets your feet wet. I still haven't figured out what in the bloody hell they were going on about with that "soul matrix" business, though. I had a giant "WTF?" hanging over my head for that whole chapter.

    The Eddas are always a good place to start, though. The Chisholm translation of the Poetic Edda can be found here: http://www.woodharrow.com/images/ChisholmEdda.pdf and is the one we normally use for our discussions around here. When you read the Prose Edda you have to take it with a grain of salt, though, because it was composed after the Christianization of Iceland, and as such Snorri had a bit of a bias there that's worth noting.
    "Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others."
    -Thomas Jefferson

    Let a man never stir on his road a step
    without his weapons of war;
    for unsure is the knowing when the need shall arise
    of a spear on the way without.
    -Hávamál

  9. #9
    Sr. Member Maythe's Avatar
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    Re: Heathen Q&A

    Yeah what is with that Soul Matrix BS? I should probably add that, like anything written for a modern audience, you need your salt shaker on hand. :

    What didn't you like about the history, if it's possible to cover it briefly Thjoth? I particularly liked the Gods sections, and the fact they'll often give both sides of an argument or state where there's debate.
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    Magnificent Bastard ThorsSon's Avatar
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    Re: Heathen Q&A

    Not much I can add here... I pretty much agree with everyone on all the questions... although I can't decide for sure where I stand on the answer to the first one.
    "Don't ever miss a good opportunity to shut up." - Harvey Davis "Gramps"

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