3 things in particular, and be as brutally honest as you can be, I honestly don’t mind criticisms at all (as an artist and as a scientist I welcome critiques and criticisms as chances to improve myself, no matter how big or small they are).
1) So lately I’ve been kinda going into a lot of UPG/spirituality type things with my posts and while that’s fun, I feel like this blog has strayed from it’s original intention, which was to provide more scholarly information about central european customs that are, or could be, related to pre-Christian ones. How many of you like the more personal stuff and how many of you want more scholarly stuff?
2) After seeing quite a bit of people over time express interest in Magyar/Old Hungarian religion but were frustrated by lack of resources I’ve been thinking of doing a project on here to make a “Hungarian Religion” resource. Naturally this would be limited and biased by my American upbriging, but at the same time I too get frustrated by constantly running into personality cults or nationalistic groups. This would be a long-term undertaking, but essentially I wanted to gather up posts and resources and make a masterlist of everything that could possibly be in a “Magyar religion”. Should I do it? Would it be too presumptuous me to attempt this?
3) Do you guys like the “god post” style I’ve been doing, like this one? It’s more UPG than scholarly, which relates back a bit to my first question, so I’m wondering if you guys would prefer to see more historical information rather than my own imaginings.
It’s a term that can be seen throughout my posts, both in reference to myself and to the contemporary religious category. If you try to google it, you end up with a variety of definitions, ranging from the archaic to the racist, and many with conflicting viewpoints.
So what do I mean when I say I’m Heathen?
- Worldview, traditions, and ideas are rooted in historical, archeological, folkloric, and linguistic evidence for pre-Christian cultures. Experimentation and UPG (Unverified Personal Gnosis) are individual, private, and secondary in “truthfulness”. Even then, the UPG should still be rooted in something factual rather than be completely made up or ripped from an unrelated topic or group.
- Ancestor veneration is central to my personal practice, particularly of the female ones (known as the itis).
- The home or hearth is the center of my universe so to speak, both in a literal and symbolic sense (the physical home and the friends/family symbolically allowed within it). Relative to the home are concentric circles extending outward from it; the further away one is from my “home” the less of a personal connection they have to me.
- Deity veneration, with few exceptions, is a communal practice*, and patron deities are extremely rare. If one has a personal relationship with a deity, they are considered to be pledged to the deity, not patronized by them.
- Local spirits can also venerated as gods and/or respected as neighbors and stewards (local meaning both those considered local to my ancestors as well as physically local to where I live).
- Wihts (“beings”) have various levels of interactions and importance, with the general trend being the high gods at the top-level of importance (they are relevant to many people/rule over a large region/rule over a major function) and everything else is below (more localized to my area/my personal life). The high gods also have the least amount of interaction with me, while the lower tiers have more (i.e. the ancestors).
- Celebrations are rooted in the seasons, holy days, and local community activities, rather than astronomical cycles.
- World-accepting rather than world-rejecting. To put it bluntly, “what you see is what you get”, there is no guarantee of a pretty afterlife or chance of reincarnation to make up for this life, therefore I live as if they don’t exist at all.
- Magic is the realm of certain few individuals and is meant to be practical in nature, rooted in the ancient drive to survive. It can be used to help or harm (often it can be both).
- Actions make the person, and every action has consequences.
- Luck is a serious matter, as it can be handed down unintentionally through generations and be modified by one’s own actions for better or for worse.
Keep in mind that this is a general framework based on Reconstructionist heathen ideas, and the generalities are only similarities I appear to share with other heathens. Where I deviate is my source material, as my personal heathen practice is rooted in the cultural traditions and beliefs from (primarily) Eastern Austria, Hungary, and (secondarily) Southern Poland (and their respective sources). Hence the reference to the Danube in the blog title/address and my uncommon mythological references (the Magyar gods instead of Scandinavian ones for example). The names for my “religion” can also be called ősi hit or firner situ (both translate into “old beliefs”/”old customs”).
*This is an ideal based on how it was done in the past; many heathens like myself are forced to go it alone and therefore unable to practice communal worship, even though we would like to.
I had forgotten that this meme even existed, but now that I remember it, I also remember wanting to do it back when it first went around. Of course, back then I didn’t know as much about myself as I do now, so the timing is rather appropriate.
My only modification is the list of Pantheon members. I don’t have a true pantheon, with a family of related deities (supposedly) belonging to a single culture. Like my heritage and history, I have a mix of beings I recognize and honor, a “personal pantheon” if you will. If you kept up with my blog here, you’ve already met 3 that occupy a special place in my customs: Grandmother Spider, Miraculous Doe and Turul. Since they already have their posts, I’ll only refer to them and focus on other people instead.
30 Days of Paganism
1. Beliefs – Why Paganism?
2. Beliefs – Cosmology
3. Beliefs – Deities
4. Beliefs – Birth, death and rebirth
5. Beliefs – Magic, spellcraft, mysticism etc
6. Beliefs – The power of prayer/reciprocity
7. Beliefs – Holidays
8. Beliefs – Patronage and other deeper relationships
9. Beliefs – Deity Gender
11. Pantheon – Overview
12. Pantheon – Perchta
13. Pantheon – Snake God
14. Pantheon – the Foxes
15. Pantheon – Storm God
16. The meaning of terms like “earth-based” and what they mean to this path
17. My ways of worship
19. Paganism and my family/friends
20. Paganism and my relationship
21. Other paths I’ve explored
22. Paganism and major life events
24. Personal aesthetics with magic and ritual
25. Priest? Clergy? One or both? Neither?
26. Any “secular” pastimes with religious significance, and why
27. How your faith has helped you in difficult times
28. One misconception about Paganism you’d like to clear up
29. The future of Paganism
30. Places of spiritual significance
Some of these will more difficult to address than others though, since this meme came from a Neopagan perspective. But still good fodder for conversation nonetheless. I most likely will be taking more than 30 days to complete this meme, as much as I would like to complete it in a month. Reality likes to poke its nose into my business sometimes.
I suppose the original title here by wordpress is appropriate actually. So “Hello World”, and welcome to my little corner of the web.
As shown in the sub-title, the purpose of this blog is to record explorations of my ancestry, which is (rather conveniently) located mostly in lands along the river Danube; oder Die Donau, in other words. In doing so I hope to regain traditions and beliefs that have been lost over the past century due to immigration and American pot-melting. I love living near Chicago, as the past 4 generations have before me, but working within a non-Christian worldview requires me to extend research beyond where I currently am.
Despite what I just wrote, this is not a blog dedicated to any form of paganism or heathenry, though who knows in the future. I’m mainly digging through whatever information I can find about my known ancestors’ homelands, and pulling out whatever useful bits there are. Mistakes will be made, concepts misunderstood, and the occasional experimentation or musing may not even make any sense, but that’s ok. It’s all part of the journey, and I would hope readers have enough sense to not take my word as holy writ anyhow.
My hope for the future is that some of what I post is useful for others, and creates connections. Let’s see if I can do that with the goal of one post a week 🙂