Tag Archives: heathen

Light the Beacons – May 1st

Hello everyone, after another stretch of not posting anything I’m starting to ease back into blogging, starting with a brief notice about this heathen event occurring worldwide.

Heathens United Against Racism has organized an event on facebook called “Light the Beacons” set to occur on May 1st, 2016 (May Day).

On this coming May Day we call on all Heathens around the world who stand for inclusive, tolerant, and diverse practice to light a beacon in solidarity with all other Heathens who stand for these values in our spirituality. Whether you are lighting a candle in your home with your loved ones or are hosting a bonfire party open to the public we ask you help us shine a light on all the good work, good practice, and good people in Heathenry across Midgard.

Using the hashtags #LightTheBeacons and #Havamal127 on social media you can link your photo and/or stories of activism to connect with the group and event.

If you choose to participate please take a picture of your beacon, whether it is a candle or a roaring bonfire, send it to HUAR with the number of people who participated and where, in terms of the nearest major city or region, it took place. If you want to organize a public bonfire event please send us the information and we will help promote it. Together we will ignite a fire in our hearts and homes that will push back the shadows of fear & ignorance, shine light on our honor, and rally the hopes of Heathens everywhere.

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Other

Headcovering

This is an entirely personal post that pretty much has nothing to do with the focus of this blog because it’s neither a religious act or a cultural one, the way I’m doing things. And by things I mean wrapping my head with a scarf.

Yours truly with a simple wrap on.

So as you can see I have basically joined the ranks as a “veiled pagan” though honestly I’m neither veiled or pagan in the subculture sense. I bring this up because when searching for headcovering styles and stories its predominantly women who either do it for their gods or do it for ritual/psychic purposes. I share none of that, and do not see another like myself who does this. So here’s my perspective:

I’m not a woman. I am female bodied, but as I’ve mentioned before in other posts I’m non-binary and my gender status is agender. Therefore the headscarf is not a symbol of being an adult woman for me (though I do recognize it as meaning such for most other headscarf wearers since that is a common attribute). The aesthetic appeal of a well done wrap or scarf is something I like on all genders, just like how I love long hair on all genders. But external stereotypes do influence me a bit and I find that I like the more decorative wraps on days I feel more womanly, whereas on more manly days I just want to keep things plain or not have a scarf on at all. The wrap you see in the picture above was one of those womanly days. The days where I’m neither are anything goes days pretty much. 

I do not wear the scarf for ritual or spiritual purposes. My current restrictive living situation and the fact that I’m just now getting started in exploring aspects of myself and who I want to be in the future means my wrap-wearing hours are limited and irregular. The wrap doesn’t go on or off for any particular holiday or moon phase or anything like that. It doesn’t have an association with rituals like divination or spirit work (mainly because I don’t do those things). I am not devoted to any gods who would want me to do this nor do I believe that such a direct, personal request would even happen in the first place.

As far as I currently know headwrapping is not a universal practice in pre-Christian Central Europe, though various things were worn on people’s heads in a variety of cultures (hats, jewelry, helmets) and neighboring empires like Rome did have women covering their heads. But comparing modern cultures to ancient ones we see more examples of headcovers in recent times than the bronze and iron ages, possibly the result of Christianity. Obviously I’m not wrapping for Christian reasons and there’s no solid historical precedent to make wrapping a recon move either. 

So why do I wrap? I wrap because of power. I can choose who can and can’t see a part of me that is normally taken for granted as being visible in my society. No matter how much I scream from the rooftops that I’m nonbinary people will still look at me and see “woman”, with all the entitlement to my body that goes with that assumption. So fine, here’s a “fuck you” by creating a barrier between my body and the eyes of others. I am not approachable, I approach people instead. I am not here for you to look at, I’ll decide when you can see me and how much you can see. My body is for me alone. It’s a political statement essentially (and I do also use the headwrap’s association of being an older woman or old fashioned/conservative woman for that distancing purpose as well). 

On the flip side, I also like how it makes me feel, both for the protective aspect and for the aesthetic appeal. Headscarves are beautiful and the methods of wrapping them even more so. I feel beautiful wearing one, which is a difficult feeling for me to obtain. It protects me on an emotional level, but also in a practical way because it covers my hearing aids/cochlear implant, which protects them from inclement weather like rain. Scarves aren’t itchy or uncomfortable like hats are and hats tend to be outdoors only while scarves are also appropriate indoors. Hats also tend to hurt due to the bulky nature of my implant around my ears, while scarves go around that and aren’t restricted to just one head size or shape. 

In essence, I wrap because of personal secular reasons. I don’t cover because I’m a pagan, I’m a pagan who happens to cover. Well, technically a heathen who happens to cover but Google search of “heathen headcovering” just brings up bible studies, so this is pretty much restricted to the pagan/neopagan community. There may come a time in the future, once I can more freely and regularly do this, that the wrapping takes on more religious meanings for me or develops into a meaningful system, but for now it’s pretty simple. 

NOTE: the style I use is not tichel or hijab or anything like that. Those are specific words for religious headcovering customs and I do not lay claim to any of them.

2 Comments

Filed under Other

Day 11: Pantheon – Overview

If you have been following my blog for a while, then you’ll know that I look into a variety of neighboring cultures in Central and Eastern Europe, with greater emphasis on Magyar cultures (and it’s influences) because there’s so little known about its pre-Christian past compared to Germanic or Slavic cultures.  This mixture applies to the gods as well. Even if I have names, there’s little to no explanations or descriptions for many gods so I have to fill in the blank so to speak with concepts from possible cognate gods and with my own UPG. So while I do prefer to make things as historical as possible, and I base as much as possible in evidence presented by literature and archeology, there are some things that are gonna be major UPG here to at least keep things making sense for me.

Explanation on the cosmology structure can be found here. It’s essentially a World Tree structure, growing out of a giant deer skull. The Upper World is the crown, the Middle World the trunks and surface roots, and Underworld is below the surface deep into the skull. Surrounding this is the ancient sea, creating an island of sorts out of the skull and tree, and is ringed by mountains on the horizon. Surrounding all this are the Mother and Father of all, being both the material and the makers of all that is and will be.

The Origin

Arany Atyácska (Golden Father), Hajnal Anyácska (Dawn Mother)

Mother Danube (the Primordial Waters)

Upper World

  • Sunna (The Sun)
  • Napkirály (King of the Sun)
  • Mano (The Moon)
  • Hold Anya (Lady of the Moon)
  • Turul (Heavenly Messenger)

Middle World

  • Nagy Boldogasszony (Queen Mother)
  • Szélkirály (King of the Wind and Rain)
  • Hadúr (King of War)
  • Csodaszarvas (Miraculous Doe)
  • Tündér Ilona (Queen of Fairies)
  • Tabiti/Kresnik (Hearth Fire/Sacred Fire)
  • Fra Berta (The Bright One)
  • Volos/Zomok (The Serpent God)
  • House and Nature wihts
  • Ancestors

Underworld

  • Ördög (King of the Dead)
  • Wihts of bad things

I’m going to be giving each one here a post (if I haven’t already) with my own understandings and associations, that way their roles will (hopefully) become clearer.

I also want to point out that the high gods are primarily Magyar ones, but the lower gods and mythologies are what I tend to associate with more Germanic and Slavic wihts (along with some Ho-Chunk and other Great Lakes tribes’ wihts, since I live in their area). This is the pattern I tend to find when researching Hungarian stories and culture, where the more formal sagas are distinctly Magyar, while the informal tales feel Slavic.

2 Comments

Filed under Sagas Legends Folklore

Being Heathen

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.

6 Comments

Filed under General