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Author Topic: Aesir/Vanir  (Read 2852 times)

Juniperberry

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Re: Aesir/Vanir
« Reply #15 on: October 28, 2012, 09:04:43 pm »
Quote from: cigfran;78456
Considering that Germanic and Norse travelers evidently brought their belief systems with them, it sounds like you're redefining 'heathenry' as a generic kind of naturism than as a cultural recon.

 
 I don't think so. At least, I don't find it to be  generic. Quite the opposite.

First, which heathen culture am I redefining? The AS that began a cult of Saxnot and Erde, finding new gods on a new land? Or the ones who had cults of Nerthus or Njord, depending on who you asked on which land? Am I redefining the culture of a land that saw Tuisto as the progenitor or the Icelandic Odin? The culture of the divine twins Alcis on the continent or Hengst and Horsa of the UK? The cultures that saw the gods as non-anthropomorphic or the ones who shaped gods in the human form? The settlers who acknowledged the wights that already existed on their new land or those who packed sacred soil to bring their gods with them. I live here, this is my sacred soil. What do I need to bring over?

If language and customs and region don't separate gods--or at least give us a personal experience of things that Are-then Donar should also be Indra. They have near identical functions, they play near identical roles. What stops my thunder from being the Native American's thunder? I define it differently, and my customs of appreciating it are different and that's all I've got for an answer...But I don't think I need to find an answer because I don't think its something I need to know, or that its relevant. I care when something enters my yard and I define it only through that interaction by using a heathen language.

There are at least a half dozen different names across Europe for the ladies of abundance. What is the difference for those cultures giving a name and custom to something they uniquely experience, and an American discovering her own perspective of these powers and giving it name and customs? (Though, copying the names "Dame Abundia" or "Satia"  works well  as they simply describe function. Back to language. ) Hulda shakes out pillows of snow; should I be waiting for that to happen here in the desert or am I free to find ways in which she walks here and to build customs towards that? May I name her according to my personal relationship/region, or would that be too generic and "naturism"-ist? There is a function there and a function here; so how can they inform one another for a satisfying cultic worship? That's where I'm at.

(Wouldn't it also be fair to say to a European: "There she is yours and here she is mine"?)

Another example of how Icelandic custom and mythology don't work in my worship: The wild hunt there is in the winter winds. Its a death march. I don't have winter.  I have the summer monsoons and the killing heat. Local folklore holds that the underworld opens beneath the eastern mountains in the summer and the dust storms and winds are the dead racing across the earth. So why would I save my feasts of the dead for Christmas/Yule? They're gone by then. They've transitioned into renewed fertility. Am I failing to reconstruct by making the language of the philosophy relevant to my actual life and by building customs and personal meaning?

I can say that I worship Aesir or Vanir because that myth was written by someone, but I've yet to live that particular experience. So I don't. And isn't that custom over religion?
 

Maybe I'm wrong and not heathen at all (the horrors!) Which is fine, but this makes sense to me.
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."

maerecatha

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Re: Aesir/Vanir
« Reply #16 on: October 29, 2012, 02:32:02 pm »
Quote from: Juniperberry;78551
I can say that I worship Aesir or Vanir because that myth was written by someone, but I've yet to live that particular experience. So I don't. And isn't that custom over religion?
 

Maybe I'm wrong and not heathen at all (the horrors!) Which is fine, but this makes sense to me.

 
I am really loving this discussion and finding it fascinating, so, please, y'all continue!

I have a question, though. Are you calling yourself Heathen, then, because you use a similar language, or because even if your language differs, concepts are the same?
~*~Mara~*~
There\'s some good in this world, and it\'s worth fighting for.
If you are brave enough to dance [...] then you are brave enough to burn

Juniperberry

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Re: Aesir/Vanir
« Reply #17 on: October 29, 2012, 10:30:52 pm »
Quote from: Drakensdottir;78654
I am really loving this discussion and finding it fascinating, so, please, y'all continue!

I have a question, though. Are you calling yourself Heathen, then, because you use a similar language, or because even if your language differs, concepts are the same?

 Well, first of all, I'm a huge fan of the linguist Shaw, who refuses to discuss Germanic paganism as anything other than a language grouping. (Obviously there's been a bad history when people do otherwise.) Shaw also doesn't accept studies like the Altergermanische Religione, which try to create a unified religion for the Germanic cultures.

When you first get into recon-heathenry/asatru there's a lot of talk about the heathen worldview (and I talked my share of it) but what does that really mean? The most basic idea is that one moves from a world-rejecting philosophy to a world-accepting one, but there are plenty of indigenious, classic systems that felt that way so it isn't exclusive to heathendom and can't be defined as such. The second idea might be that there was a shared religious outlook, but that outlook also isn't exclusive to heathenry. The third example might be law but even still, plenty of sagas focus on the outlaw of a group who, while now considered an outsider by his clan, still interacts with the supernatural and gods. So even lawbreakers are "heathen".

All that's left to really define Germania is language.

In the Germanic language an animal spirit is called a fylgja. But there are plenty of cultures that believe in animal spirits. Since heathenry was about customs and not religion, Germanic pagans didn't claim ownership of the world. They just expressed what they experienced in the context of their language. In this case, Fylgja literally translates to afterbirth/hide covering, which expresses the idea of something that accompanies someone into the world and which they "wear". A heathen running into a native american would understand the totem concept and they'd maybe exchange their words. Like me running into a German, pointing to an oak and saying "tree" and having them reply "baum". No one has sole ownership of that tree, just like no one owns the living world of gods and wights.

What they do own are their experiences and the resulting customs they've established with the living world. But wait-- wouldn't heathenry then be a system of common customs? Well, there are plenty of religions that leave offerings, have sacred drinks, carve idols, have feasts of the dead, and create sacred ritual space. But for the most part, yes, customs did define the heathen. And customs belonged to the greater history and traditions of the tribe,  or state of tribes. Religion, in that sense, became something someone inherited from the tribe at birth, like how we've inherited halloween, thanksgiving, etc. In fact, during the conversion, a German leader essentially said something to the effect of: "you may take everything else, but you will never take our customs and games." And they never did.

So, if you're truly reconstructing heathenry, wouldn't you start with what you've actually inherited? Wouldn't your customs be based on what you actually live? And wouldn't you realize that -- heathen or otherwise-- you don't own the living world but only define it in a language you speak? I'm American, my husband is German; we have blended customs that  are uniquely ours. I live in the desert; my customs include the saguaro as the wife of the rainstorm, not the wheat.

Why chose heathenry, then? Everyone has their own reasons. Does it even matter? But quite a few non-European heathens that I know of are moving away from reconstructing 1,000 years ago in Europe and instead getting in touch with their local, recent roots whether they be French-Canadian, Appalachian, Southwestern or Australian. And also quite a few have been talking about bringing the language home: finding an FC word for wight, or an American version for fylgja.

I've had a female being jump over the fence in my yard. (Long story.) I try to better define her through germanic sources from the past and I've named her Fence-Jumper in the tradition of the matronae (Fast-Healer or Beyond-March for example.) But I didn't name her in German or add "henea" at the end of her name. And this is where I get my point from: she belongs to me since she is defined by me. I own the customs I've built around that experience. BUT, when she's on the other side of that fence then maybe she's something else to someone else. And it doesn't have a thing to do with me.

I like decoding the living world through the language of Europe and the varied customs and cultures. Especially when I find common ground. But I don't feel obligated to take over Icelandic myth just because I feel that's how one properly follows a religion that isn't religion. I don't worship the Aesir and Vanir, because those jumped in someone else's yard. But I understand the language they are a part of, and that's why I call myself heathen.

And second of all (paragraphs later), I'm a moody, angsty spiritual mess right now,  and certainly no expert, so take all of that with a grain of salt. ;)
« Last Edit: October 29, 2012, 10:34:38 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."

maerecatha

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Re: Aesir/Vanir
« Reply #18 on: November 01, 2012, 11:33:49 pm »
Quote from: Juniperberry;78724

When you first get into recon-heathenry/asatru there's a lot of talk about the heathen worldview (and I talked my share of it) but what does that really mean? The most basic idea is that one moves from a world-rejecting philosophy to a world-accepting one, but there are plenty of indigenious, classic systems that felt that way so it isn't exclusive to heathendom and can't be defined as such. The second idea might be that there was a shared religious outlook, but that outlook also isn't exclusive to heathenry. The third example might be law but even still, plenty of sagas focus on the outlaw of a group who, while now considered an outsider by his clan, still interacts with the supernatural and gods. So even lawbreakers are "heathen".


See, this is something that I've been wondering about! Some folks believe in casting a circle for sacred space, others believe everything is/can be sacred space -- but in the end, they both subscribe to sacred space. I've yet to find something that appears to be "exclusive" to one spirituality/religion.

Quote

In the Germanic language an animal spirit is called a fylgja. But there are plenty of cultures that believe in animal spirits. Since heathenry was about customs and not religion, Germanic pagans didn't claim ownership of the world. They just expressed what they experienced in the context of their language. In this case, Fylgja literally translates to afterbirth/hide covering, which expresses the idea of something that accompanies someone into the world and which they "wear". A heathen running into a native american would understand the totem concept and they'd maybe exchange their words. Like me running into a German, pointing to an oak and saying "tree" and having them reply "baum". No one has sole ownership of that tree, just like no one owns the living world of gods and wights.


So, to clarify... and make sure I'm reading this correctly, the difference between the two, is the name for it? I mean, if you really want to simplify it as much as possible.

Quote

So, if you're truly reconstructing heathenry, wouldn't you start with what you've actually inherited? Wouldn't your customs be based on what you actually live? And wouldn't you realize that -- heathen or otherwise-- you don't own the living world but only define it in a language you speak? I'm American, my husband is German; we have blended customs that  are uniquely ours. I live in the desert; my customs include the saguaro as the wife of the rainstorm, not the wheat.


So, essentially, since customs vary from culture to culture, and individual to individual, what matters more is something that matters to you on a personal level. For instance, as someone who no longer lives in the desert, I no longer worry about a drought, and thus, would not be building that into my customs.

Quote

Why chose heathenry, then? Everyone has their own reasons. Does it even matter? But quite a few non-European heathens that I know of are moving away from reconstructing 1,000 years ago in Europe and instead getting in touch with their local, recent roots whether they be French-Canadian, Appalachian, Southwestern or Australian. And also quite a few have been talking about bringing the language home: finding an FC word for wight, or an American version for fylgja.


Because it is the essence of the thing that matters?

Quote

I've had a female being jump over the fence in my yard. (Long story.) I try to better define her through germanic sources from the past and I've named her Fence-Jumper in the tradition of the matronae (Fast-Healer or Beyond-March for example.) But I didn't name her in German or add "henea" at the end of her name. And this is where I get my point from: she belongs to me since she is defined by me. I own the customs I've built around that experience. BUT, when she's on the other side of that fence then maybe she's something else to someone else. And it doesn't have a thing to do with me.


A more extreme case... a Hellenic pagan may acknowledge Astaria as goddess of the stars, a Celtic pagan may acknowledge Arianhrod, but because of how *I* was raised and my understanding of the universe, thanks to my parents, try as I might, I cannot picture stars as anyone other than Elbereth. How's that for some UPG...

Please, forgive my thinking out loud. I'm trying to draw connections and get it. :D

How someone else views something, shouldn't necessarily be of import to me, because their own persona life and customs have influenced their view of it in ways that my view may not have been influenced. We can all say tree, and grasp what it means, but each of us envisions something different, with that one word?

Quote

I like decoding the living world through the language of Europe and the varied customs and cultures. Especially when I find common ground. But I don't feel obligated to take over Icelandic myth just because I feel that's how one properly follows a religion that isn't religion. I don't worship the Aesir and Vanir, because those jumped in someone else's yard. But I understand the language they are a part of, and that's why I call myself heathen.

 
Because whether you use tree or baum or arbol... the language behind it is what matters?
~*~Mara~*~
There\'s some good in this world, and it\'s worth fighting for.
If you are brave enough to dance [...] then you are brave enough to burn

Juniperberry

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Re: Aesir/Vanir
« Reply #19 on: November 02, 2012, 02:00:42 pm »
Quote from: Drakensdottir
So, to clarify... and make sure I'm reading this correctly, the difference between the two, is the name for it? I mean, if you really want to simplify it as much as possible.



Well, here's what I mean: In Christianity,  for example,there's a belief in a better place and to get there you have to follow certain rules and commmit to a certain faith. You have to overcome this world to get to that world. That's the religion of it.

In pre-christian heathendom,  people had experiences and tried to understand, share, and define them. These spiritual experiences were just part of a relationship with the natural world, and traditions and worship expressed that relationship. That's customs and culture.

Since the customs and culture are a reaction to the actual observable world,  a lot of spiritual languages will have numerous similarities of spiritual concepts.

Since heathen (and most pagan) worship was a reciprocal relationship with a living and independent world, there wasn't ownership of anything spiritual other than your own experiences and customs of relating to it and how you define the things you experience. So, learning how people in the past defined their relationship with the living world helps us evaluate and deepen our own relationship with a living world.  That's what I mean by using their language.

But I also mean that the Germanic tribes didn't see them selves as an ethnic brotherhood or as a religious brotherhood; "Germanic" wasn't anything other than a common language group.  The spiritualities of this language group were only really relevant to the tribe (or state of tribes) and the region and not to some greater pan-germanic whole.  So one's myths and customs today can also be relevant to one's actual social and regional group. But when you take the Eddas and try to find the rules to follow in it, or try to understand how to structure your faith from it, then you're just creating a heathen Christianity (or similar religion).

So *I* don't recognize an Aesir-Vanir divide between gods because I haven't observed it or developed customs relating to it.
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."

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