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Author Topic: Difficulty knowing where to go?  (Read 1867 times)


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Difficulty knowing where to go?
« on: December 18, 2014, 08:30:36 pm »
(I'm putting this in the Ásatrú/Heathenism prefix because I don't think it fits anywhere else really).

Hello, I'm well versed in Pagan belief as far as information goes. I've been studying it for years, even going as far as getting the opportunity to lecture a college religion class on the subject of the Contemporary Pagan Movement (And doing damn fine at it if I can say so myself). However, as far as truly being a Pagan, it's something I've only come into in the past year. My situation in life hasn't allowed me to practice the religion I've held so dearly until recently.

However, now that I'm finally here, I find myself at a strange crossroads. One thing I do know for certain is that I'm a pretty firm reconstructionist, however, I feel torn towards two paths- Ásatrú and Págántacht (Irish Paganism). The pull towards these paths are equal, but my conscience is telling me that trying to hold a dual faith isn't right, and even if I tried to, I don't have the time or resources for both. I don't have room for two altars, I barely have the room or money for just one! Something about trying to hold two faiths at once just seems... Wrong, like trying to hold a triangle and a square next to each other and saying they're both circles.

However, I've read in a few places that some count Ireland under the Ásatrú umbrella because of how similar the religions were. And the two are extremely similar when we compare what we actually know about the Irish Pagans to the Norse Pagans.

Both had cosmologies based around the universe being upheld by a tree (Yggdrasil for the Norse, and Bile for the Irish). Both believe in more than one world (The Nine-Worlds for the Norse, and innumerable worlds for the Irish). Both have cosmologies which include a well at the center of the universe (The Well of Wyrd for the Norse, and the Well of Wisdom for the Irish, where the Salmon of Knowledge eats hazelnuts that fall from the world tree). Both religions where HIGHLY animistic and polytheistic. Both cultures were war-centric. The Runes and the Ogham are both very comparable. Both are heavily tied to their homelands.

It seems the only strong difference between the two is that we know a great deal more about the Norse than we do the Irish, almost to the point that we really don't know much of anything about the Irish Pagans that comes from direct sources and not guess work based on archaeology and cross-cultural examination.

Back to the topic, though- I'm at this crossroads and not knowing what to do. I love both, the only thing that Ásatrú has that Págántacht really doesn't is organization. Huge amounts of books, political recognition, multiple organizations, and there's even a local Kindred in my area.

I know some of you may have been in a similar situation before so I'm asking you for advice because being stuck like this really sucks.


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Re: Difficulty knowing where to go?
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2014, 09:11:43 pm »
Quote from: pagan_seeker;167614
The pull towards these paths are equal, but my conscience is telling me that trying to hold a dual faith isn't right,

Have you explored why you feel that this is a moral issue?  Because that might be the most useful thing for you to do.

It's worth keeping in mind that religious exclusivity is not the sort of thing that ancient cultures tended to do.  "The gods and customs of our people" have always been more nuanced than modern Western people (who are biased by a cultural expectation of religious exclusivity) tend to think, especially in borderlands and places where cultures interacted, which, as you noted, does include Ireland.
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Re: Difficulty knowing where to go?
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2014, 09:35:37 pm »
Quote from: pagan_seeker;167614

 Something about trying to hold two faiths at once just seems... Wrong

Echoing Darkhawk, here. Don't have two separate faiths, just make them one. It's historically valid, and will also be 'fun' from a recon perspective.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2014, 09:35:59 pm by Juniperberry »
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Re: Difficulty knowing where to go?
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2014, 12:57:47 pm »
Quote from: pagan_seeker;167614

I know some of you may have been in a similar situation before so I'm asking you for advice because being stuck like this really sucks.

There seem to be more people in your situation then you realize.  I've encountered a few of them over the years.  There is a kindred in New Jersey dedicated to Norse religion and Irish religion from a  scholarly perspective.  They look to the Isle of Mann for inspiration where apparently the two faiths mixed.  

Also, ADF is not reconstructionist, but is a little more scholarly than the average Neopagan organization.  It is entirely possible to be both Norse and Irish within that organization (just not within the same ritual).  

if you have to choose, quite frankly Heathenry/Asatru does have more going for it, in my humble opinion.  More members by far, at least two national organizations with training programs and clergy programs, a respectable amount of primary sources, lots and lots of books from modern authors (which admittedly vary in quality).   As far as Celtic reconstructionism, while I admittedly don't follow it very closely, it seems to be the same small band of leaders and their coteries.  Most of the Irish types I know .... work through ADF.  

I hope this helps.


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