The Real Meaning of “Human Sacrifice” in Heathenry in 10 points.

I like this pic, I think it represents the line I walk between Loki and Tyr nicely. Downloaded from a random

I like this pic, I think it represents the line I walk between Loki and Tyr nicely.
Downloaded from a random “free wallpaper” website.

Okay, it’s been a couple of weeks of seeing the same topic rehashed over other blogs repeatedly.  This post is not actually going to go in the same direction.   I am going to talk about Human Sacrifice in Heathenry, and I don’t mean as in killing the self or other’s type….but what is it that all of us can “sacrifice” of our time, knowledge and resources to actually strengthen the Heathen Community as a whole.  I will try to detail this in numbers to keep myself “in order”.

1. How much do you contribute of your time to improving the Heathen community without seeking compensation?   If you truly love the Gods and you wish to see our community grow in health, the traditional “way of things” is via trade, vis-a-vis, a gift for a gift.   You help someone move, you get beer and pizza.   You fix someone’s car in exchange for having your patio fixed. You don’t endlessly keep a tally of what you do/don’t do.

Remember folks: We aren’t Christians, here. If you are trained to provide religious services in Heathenry, do you freely share what information you have gained?  Are you available to answer questions for ALL seekers interested?   Do you perform events without accepting personal money?  Again, barter, barter, barter…. It’s an honor to be clergy, act like it.  If you want monetary payment for clergy work, monotheism is always converting and I’m certain a seminary will accommodate you.  Don’t charge “family” for advice unless you are a sociopath….and if you are, most of us already know we are better without you.

*2. There is nothing wrong with having a Heathen- themed business, in fact, it’s wonderful!  Please, sell your art, jewelry, furniture, roofing expertise, livestock, etc.   My only problem with “Money” and Heathenry is when money becomes an obstacle to obtaining information.  Not being able to afford that beautiful $200 drinking horn might frustrate you, but owning or not owning that horn does not prevent you from constantly learning more about your religion and your community.  Not being able to learn Seidr without a several hundred dollar class is frankly bullshit- and the people who would rob others in such a way are rather horrible.   Our ancestors taught our practices to those who had the interest, talent, time, and dedication to learn them- otherwise, nothing ever would have been passed down.  A great example in the comments is from Lady Imbrium regarding her goats.   I moved this section up to #2 to clarify.  Even if her goats were to be used in-ritual, they are not necessary nor should she be pressured to give them away for free for ritual slaughter as some Heathens practice.  It is her choice.

The difference between a “necessary” and a “non-necessary” item is if you were alone in the woods for a weekend naked (with access to basic food and shelter- i.e. a cave, clean running stream water)- what information would you need to better know the Gods if you dedicated that time to worship only?   Bindrunes would be useful since you can see them in nature around you.  A drinking horn would simply get in the way, jewelry could be lost, as could any other material position.  People NEED knowledge….okay, knowledge an a good Swiss army knife.

3.  If you are asked to give a lecture or seminar on Heathenry, how much do you bring home?  If the answer is monetary, then you are actually doing the community a disservice.  Understandably, some things in this world require money (i.e. renting space for major events, food, etc) but outside of this, Heathen religious practices do NOT pass a collection plate.  You should be bringing home pride in a job well done, a feeling of accomplishment, and hopefully a full stomach if you’re lucky!

4. Again on money….are you asking for donations that will line your own pocket or go back ENTIRELY into the community?  I used to enjoy spending a great deal of time with a kindred that ritualistically would burn all the money in their wallets representative of our distaste for modern consumerism.  We are industrious and our worth is not in what money we bring in, but in what skills we have to offer one another.   It might be why so many Heathens have pick-up trucks or SUV’s- they’re bloody useful….also, the longer a person has been Heathen, the more likely they are to know how to do all sorts of useful things.   We need less academics and more electricians.   Some of our Academics are great!  Some of our Academics are terrible!   Don’t become a “scholar” unless you are willing to act as an emissary of information- and if you are planning on gaining this knowledge to “fund” you personally, quit now, you are in the profession for the wrong reasons and you will make yourself self-evident rather quickly and the reputation you seek to “build” for your monetary gain will collapse.   We do not need a Heathen E.A. Koetting, nor do we need a Silver Ravenwolf.  For their respective religions- very little is “free”…. what little they reveal always ends in “Buy my book/attend my seminar/pay to join my group”- that is unethical by any religious standard unless you have decided to worship money itself as a God.

If there is a Heathen God of cash, let me know- because I personally do not know of any!

There are more than enough intelligent folks to learn from without having to resort to “paying” for information.  To be a truly supportive religion, money should not be involved in any transaction of knowledge EXCEPT in the case to cover the cost of rented spaces or food.
Message me your questions below and I can likely connect you to a folkbuilder/elder/expert for your concern who will be honored to answer your questions.  Lokeans by nature tend to know a lot of useful people from all walks of life.  Folkish and don’t know anyone from the AFA?  I know a few folkbuilders.   Are you a Rokkr?   I have Rokkr friends in Scandinavia who speak excellent English.  In many cases, I refer people who need advise to people who personally dislike me…why?   Because their job is to help the community, and I ask when I refer to such people that my name is kept out of the conversation.   You found them mentioned by someone whose name you can’t remember….that’s all.

Disliking me doesn’t make someone dishonorable:  It just simply means they dislike me.   Not everyone gets along.  There are people I personally dislike as well, but I refuse to “throw the baby out with the bathwater”- if they are knowledgeable and could help YOU.

5. Most importantly, Do not trust anyone who tells you that you have to “pay them” for their wisdom.  Do you pay your grandparents for advice?  If we are supposed to be a religion based on ancestor worship, where does it indicate that paying hundreds of dollars for seminars as part of our Faith?  It isn’t.   If they accept money to line their own pockets and will not tell you the same information if you do not possess that money, you are looking at someone who has nothing worthwhile to teach you.  There is nothing wrong with writing books as long as you make those books ALSO available to those who are impoverished if you ask- or at least, find someone willing to loan you the books.  I know many, many good Heathen authors who are very open and conversational….and I know OF others who will tell you “Well, I am holding a seminar for several hundred dollars on that topic!”.  Avoid the latter.

6. Like in any other position of power, be wary and aware of malignant narcissists.   These are people who will claim power “above” you while at the same time putting you down, and at worst, stealing your own research and ideas for their own profit an social advancement.   These people will also hold positions that will likely place them as a “respected authority figure”- they do not care about you, they do not care about the community.  These people care about themselves, obsess on how other people view them constantly, and plaster their name on everything they do.

Leading to…

7.  The best Heathens don’t need to tell every detail of everything they do for the community, the community will know them anyway from their positive impact.

8. No plagiarizing….people work hard in their personal studies, plagiarism is theft.  If you learned something useful that you wish to incorporate into something greater, please give respect to the source of your information.  It’s not a “sacrifice” to cut and paste one’s entire Philosophy from those who have worked harder and with more dedication.   Remember who did the work before you.   For me, most of my “Heathenry” comes from what I have learned from my family, from my kindred, from my mentors, and from other heathens.  This blog may be my own thoughts and opinions, but those opinions were formed by asking questions to those who knew more about the things about which I was inquiring.   So, if we’ve spoken, I’ve likley learned from you….that includes both positive things I have incorporated into my personal practice as well as learning what I find abhorrent to avoid falling into the same traps and pitfalls as others.

9.   Good folkbuilders/Goethe’s/Gythias/Braucherei should be happy to help you by at least pointing you in a direction of where you can research the information yourself whether it be in lending you a book, a .pdf, the name of an expert of the topic on which you are inquiring.  Granted, some are incredibly pressed for time, if it is not clear by their role in the community that they may be thinly stretched as is, chances are they will happily give you the name of a good, reliable person/community/book in some way to help you- just check their website, blog, or facebook.   No good clergy leaves their people “helpless”- in fact, the very best I know implement multiple networks for you to find what you need even if they cannot personally be there for you at that particular time.

10. Your personal sacrifices:  are between you and the Gods.   If you sacrifice your time, your sweat, your knowledge, your skills, etc- that is the God’s work.  If you personally sacrifice something of yourself to the Gods, that is a SACRED thing and not something to “brag” over-  If you REALLY did it “For the Gods”; then why would you want human approval?  That makes no sense.  Gods>humans….we can only aspire to live our lives in such a frithful way that our reputation and our works outlast us to enrich future generations- we can be Like Gods as a goal, but, for all the money-grubbing psuedo-clergy out there, there is no where in any Heathen tradition that indicates any sort of living God-Avatars in our faith of which I am aware. The only time I see it acceptable to share what you have “sacrificed” is if it lead to knowledge that would help others, or if that sacrifice was difficult for you and you feel the need for support (such as leaving a relationship that was unhealthy in order to lead a more honest and healthy life.)

Even Bragi was TAKEN UP into Asgard- he didn’t suddenly taste Kvasir’s mead and still spend his time around humankind.
All of us who claim any form of Heathenry as our faith?  We are the children of our Gods, only time will tell if the legacies people leave will enter into future folklore making them immortal.

*****************************************************************************************************************************

So, I ask you- give your time and wisdom as freely as you can- but with plenty of time to keep yourself healthy in the process.   If you are renting a space for something special? Do you need specific materials to complete a task?  Ask for donations- but do not keep them for yourself.  If you write a book, consider giving the proceeds back into a Heathen outreach program or go towards buying land to create open places of worship like Gladheim.

Now, granted, these are all simply my own personal opinions on Heathenry- some people won’t “like” them, and frankly, I really do not care if you disagree with me- but if you do, please leave a cogent, constructive argument refuting the point/s of this post you disagree with, and if you convince me in your argument that I am incorrect through polite, intelligent discussion I will add revisions and correct what is already written ON THIS POST.

Such as: *Point 11-Contested: [orginal text] then followed by “After an excellent conversation, I am forced to revise this for the following reason/s….”

In fact, I encourage this for most of my posts.    The only commentary I ever Delete is either clearly spam trying to sell me Ray-Bans or those who choose to just write an insult against what I write but with no reasons as to why they object to my writing.   If you object, then say WHY.

Use your words, fellow Heathens….use your words….

*Thank you Lady Imbrium for fixing the priorities on this post 🙂

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9 Responses to “The Real Meaning of “Human Sacrifice” in Heathenry in 10 points.”

  1. Do you have any Rokkr friends in Norway?

  2. ladyimbrium Says:

    I was prepared to be annoyed at you until I got to point 8 where you clarify the difference you see between business and building of community. I would argue that the two may have significant overlap in a more integrated Heathen society, but we aren’t there yet. If I understand your distinction correctly, then I think I agree with you generally. I raise goats and I expect you to pay for them. However, I’m also the closest thing my little community has to a priest (I won’t feel comfortable with the title until I have crammed a lot more information and experience into my own head…) and I don’t expect to make money on anything I do in that capacity. I think the hangup comes when these two different worlds overlap. Say someone asks for a couple of goats for a ritual sacrifice and/or feast. I can afford to donate them once in a while but beyond that I require payment if I’m going to cover my own expenses. Do you feel that this is a hard line or a negotiable gray area?

    • A goat is a tangible resource- you paid to raise it. This is very negotiable grey area. I wouldn’t expect anyone to give up anything tangible “for free.

      My highest concern is people who will not share KNOWLEDGE freely. Goats are lovely, but a person not having access to a goat will not stunt their spiritual/intellectual growth! 🙂

    • Also- if someone asks you to donate one of your goats and you do so, you are a better person than I am….

      For instance, I wrote this blog for free for no compensation because I felt it needed to be shared and the focus needed to be taken off of the sensationalism and placed right back into community. It costs nothing to write blogs or share stories around a fire- It costs nothing to read and to research, and it should cost nothing but time, sweat, and dedication to learn Heathenry more intimately. Your goats are safe. If you happen to run thousand-dollar lectures on bindrunes… I would take issue with that!

    • Post updated, I made point #8 into point #2. Thank you for helping me improve this diatribe 🙂

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