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Author Topic: Recon: What did they keep?  (Read 1387 times)

Juniperberry

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Recon: What did they keep?
« on: August 13, 2014, 11:43:51 pm »
This idea came up briefly in another thread. Instead of looking back at archeo-heathen practices to find what was lost, let's look at that practices and beliefs that were kept post-conversion and that have continued on into the present day. Basically, the idea is that those things that were so sacred probably lasted and found a new form of life, while those that were less meaningful might have fallen to the wayside for good reason.

Hopefully this will be an interesting discussion and look at the evolution and preservation of practices, and give us a better understanding of how to reconstruct a workable modern heathenry. So please add things here as you discover/think of them.
The pace of progress in artificial intelligence (I’m not referring to narrow AI) is incredibly fast. [...] The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five year timeframe. 10 years at most.--Elon Musk

I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence," [Bill] Gates wrote. "First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don\'t understand why some people are not concerned."

Aiwelin

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Re: Recon: What did they keep?
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2014, 11:19:02 am »
Quote from: Juniperberry;155632
This idea came up briefly in another thread. Instead of looking back at archeo-heathen practices to find what was lost, let's look at that practices and beliefs that were kept post-conversion and that have continued on into the present day. Basically, the idea is that those things that were so sacred probably lasted and found a new form of life, while those that were less meaningful might have fallen to the wayside for good reason.

Hopefully this will be an interesting discussion and look at the evolution and preservation of practices, and give us a better understanding of how to reconstruct a workable modern heathenry. So please add things here as you discover/think of them.

 
I think this is a really interesting idea, and hopefully there will be some more informed contributors than myself, as I can really only speak for my own family which immigrated from Germany/Poland/Russia (apparently it was one very contested territory) in the early 1800s; so any observations I've made may have been picked up at any old place since their immigration.

The one thing I have noticed is that everyone on my mother's side of the family is fairly animistic, especially when it comes to houses.  While no one ever mentioned the house "spirits", they would often say things like "tidy your room, the house hates messes," or suggest that if I did something nice for the house, like some of my chores, it may give back a lost object.  I remember my mother scolding my dad for cutting down one of our little trees to make room for a shed - she said "now the trees will be angry!  Why would you do something like that?".  And my grandmother was even stronger in her beliefs; often inviting me to put my hands on the trees and say hello, and talking to her house as if it were aware and listening to her all the time.  This is one of the reasons I feel so comfortable in Heathenry - the idea of landvaettir and house wights are something I grew up with.
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Juniperberry

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Re: Recon: What did they keep?
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2014, 02:47:20 pm »
Quote from: Aiwelin;155668
I think this is a really interesting idea, and hopefully there will be some more informed contributors than myself, as I can really only speak for my own family which immigrated from Germany/Poland/Russia (apparently it was one very contested territory) in the early 1800s; so any observations I've made may have been picked up at any old place since their immigration.

The one thing I have noticed is that everyone on my mother's side of the family is fairly animistic, especially when it comes to houses.  While no one ever mentioned the house "spirits", they would often say things like "tidy your room, the house hates messes," or suggest that if I did something nice for the house, like some of my chores, it may give back a lost object.  I remember my mother scolding my dad for cutting down one of our little trees to make room for a shed - she said "now the trees will be angry!  Why would you do something like that?".  And my grandmother was even stronger in her beliefs; often inviting me to put my hands on the trees and say hello, and talking to her house as if it were aware and listening to her all the time.  This is one of the reasons I feel so comfortable in Heathenry - the idea of landvaettir and house wights are something I grew up with.

My grandmother was like this as well. When we moved into our house she told me "let the house tell you what it wants".

I know her mother was the daughter of Irish immigrants and I think her father was French-German. I'm not 100% because they seemed to live a pretty bohemian lifestyle so any info on her side is crazy (and it's not just the state of the census and record keeping back then). She later married my German-Irish grandfather.

So I'm not sure if it's culturally derived folklore or if my lovably interesting grandmother was just (among other things) a very eclectic and eccentric artiste.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2014, 02:47:39 pm by Juniperberry »
The pace of progress in artificial intelligence (I’m not referring to narrow AI) is incredibly fast. [...] The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five year timeframe. 10 years at most.--Elon Musk

I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence," [Bill] Gates wrote. "First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don\'t understand why some people are not concerned."

Hyacinth Belle

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Re: Recon: What did they keep?
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2014, 05:53:27 pm »
Quote from: Juniperberry;155632
Hopefully this will be an interesting discussion and look at the evolution and preservation of practices, and give us a better understanding of how to reconstruct a workable modern heathenry. So please add things here as you discover/think of them.

 The first thing to come to mind for me if hex signs! See them a lot in PA Dutch country. I get the feeling they're in the process of being "reclaimed" by Heathens now, especially those practicing Urglaawe obviously. For example, a hex sign maker will be at a local Pagan pride festival this month... I think I might have to give them some business. ;)
"Silent and thoughtful a prince\'s son should be / and bold in fighting; / cheerful and merry every man should be / until he waits for death." ~ Havamal, stanza 15

Materialist

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Re: Recon: What did they keep?
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2014, 08:58:53 pm »
Quote from: Juniperberry;155632
let's look at that practices and beliefs that were kept post-conversion and that have continued on into the present day.

 
Based on the article "Remnants of Old Norse Heathendom in Popular Religion in Christian Times," by Else Mundal (which I found on brepols.metapress.com [requires an account and payment to read it]), the only things that survived were the cult of the Landvaettir and Alfar, the belief in the Nornir, two types of fylgja, and the Valkyrjur. The author explains (on p.14) that this is because Christianity had nothing in its own mythology to replace them with. And belief in the undead/living corpses (the original form of ghosts), which have no place in Christian eschatology, but apparently the sermons didn't convince anyone. (Medieval Folklore: A Guide to Myths, Legends, Tales, Beliefs, and Customs, ed. Carl Lindahl, John McNamara and John Lindow, p.394, Oxford University Press, 2002)

Juniperberry

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Re: Recon: What did they keep?
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2014, 12:06:59 pm »
Quote from: Materialist;155892
Based on the article "Remnants of Old Norse Heathendom in Popular Religion in Christian Times," by Else Mundal (which I found on brepols.metapress.com [requires an account and payment to read it]), the only things that survived were the cult of the Landvaettir and Alfar, the belief in the Nornir, two types of fylgja, and the Valkyrjur. The author explains (on p.14) that this is because Christianity had nothing in its own mythology to replace them with. And belief in the undead/living corpses (the original form of ghosts), which have no place in Christian eschatology, but apparently the sermons didn't convince anyone. (Medieval Folklore: A Guide to Myths, Legends, Tales, Beliefs, and Customs, ed. Carl Lindahl, John McNamara and John Lindow, p.394, Oxford University Press, 2002)


This is fantastic, and when I have some time, I want to look at each one more in depth.

Thanks!
The pace of progress in artificial intelligence (I’m not referring to narrow AI) is incredibly fast. [...] The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five year timeframe. 10 years at most.--Elon Musk

I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence," [Bill] Gates wrote. "First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don\'t understand why some people are not concerned."

Juniperberry

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Re: Recon: What did they keep?
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2014, 12:19:38 pm »
Quote from: Materialist;155892
The author explains (on p.14) that this is because Christianity had nothing in its own mythology to replace them with.

I'd also like to know some specifics on what Christianity was able to replace (because that's different than remove).
« Last Edit: August 20, 2014, 12:19:56 pm by Juniperberry »
The pace of progress in artificial intelligence (I’m not referring to narrow AI) is incredibly fast. [...] The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five year timeframe. 10 years at most.--Elon Musk

I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence," [Bill] Gates wrote. "First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don\'t understand why some people are not concerned."

Mark C.

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Re: Recon: What did they keep?
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2014, 06:50:59 am »
Quote from: Juniperberry;155632
let's look at that practices and beliefs that were kept post-conversion and that have continued on into the present day.


Great idea for a thread!

The big thing for me would be the treatment of the dead. I can walk into any cemetery in the UK to see loads of gifts left (flowers, toys, drink, personal letters, etc). I can also see people tending graves and visiting them to pay respects and “talk” to the departed. I don’t for one second believe my dead grandmother is underground listening to what I say, but I can help myself but say hello every time I pass. Even family members who have no knowledge of heathery and would consider themselves Christian or Athiest will still take flowers and Whiskey to her grave on her birthday. That cultural conditioning from ages past runs deep!

The Atheist knows the person has died and rotted away and there is no one to communicate with; but the above still happens. The Christian knows the person will be resurrected on Judgment Day and hence it is not possible to communicate with them now (i.e. before Judgement Day) … and besides communication with the dead is expressly forbidden in Christianity: Deuteronomy 18:10-13 “Let no one be found among you … who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD”.

Despite the above there remains a culture of seeing the grave as a place where the dead reside and treating it as such. To my mind, that’s a VERY heathen practise that has made it to the modern age in a widespread way.

Mark C.

Materialist

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Re: Recon: What did they keep?
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2014, 08:15:10 pm »
Quote from: Juniperberry;156612
I'd also like to know some specifics on what Christianity was able to replace (because that's different than remove).

 
Burial practices, for one. Archaeologists can always tell a Christian from a Pagan grave. Christian: body placed in ground with nothing. Pagan: stuff person owned included, cremations popular in some areas. Gods replaced by God and saints. Churches took over ves (I always blank out when it comes to Old Norse stems, pardon my grammar). Eschatology shifted to heaven, hell and purgatory. Festivals replaced by ceremonies commemorating the life of Jesus and local saints. Just off the top of my head.

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