Honor Yourself. Honor your Heathen Spirituality

When I was a child, I hated doing “girl” things- I liked jumping off of high playground objects, running, and occasionally beating boys up in the school yard.

For 2 years, I was sent to something called “Gender therapy”- it was utterly humiliating as an experience and simply caused me to deeply despise my birth gender even more deeply.

Now, as an adult with a hysterectomy with nothing but estogen coursing through my system…guess what?

If anything, I became more like my self as a child and made me recall how much of a little valkyrie I was as a child- and I also recall my father being kind enough to let me help with his “project” cars and occasionally help him run wires at work or go to computer shows with him.  At home, I built model airplanes. My Nana bought me jeans.

Life only REALLY sucked on Sundays- where my brother and I would be literally dropped off at a Lutheran church and left there- me, wearing something itchy, frilly, and and entirely antagonistic to everything inside of me.  I threatened nudity several times- our German Lutheran pastor was a saint of his kind.

Yes, I even used the line “I was born naked…if Jesus wanted me in a dress, I would have been born in one.”
I am not the only one.

The issue is not “FEMINISM!!!11!1!!1”

The issue is more looking back at the roots of our ancestry, the ancient graves and the fact that warrior-women are 100% part of pre-Christian warrior heritage.

This post is honestly inspired by a rare side effect of my recent surgery where when I am angry, I start randomly bleeding through the pores of my face making me look like I just ate a human heart.  It’s handy, it somehow secures immediate service from retail and medical staff in person.

Apparently, it’s not unheard of, but most of my symptoms of menopause have been entirely abnormal: Cold flashes (not hot), severe weight loss (not gain), however, I am indeed moody and in a desperation to regain control of volatile emotions I feel that are making me feel more violently protective of my household and those I love.

My form of “Feminine nurturing” is nothing like a loving mother duck… it is the angry She-Bear who will eat your face for even LOOKING at her cub.

…and I have no cubs.  I have close friends, and there is a youngling from college I feel rather maternal towards and I would gladly fight for any of them if they were wronged. (My attitude regarding poor life decisions still remains reasonable)

What I have been thinking about is this:  How many Northern Women were like me as children?  How many were fighters instead of the insufferable, simpering, and utterly brainless twats that society expected out of women in the 1980’s were humiliated and embarrassed for showing Heathen-honorable signs of courage and strength in childhood only to be beaten down by the establishment?

In a sense, it rather adds to the already existing cultural genocide of the egalitarianism of pre-Christian religions.

“A Woman’s work” is whatever she can do best….same as a dude.  If I had the choice of two hunters:  A veteran army sniper who was a woman, or a random dude with shiny new Cabella’s purchase, I think most would be with me in choosing the first.

Why such an extreme example?  Because women have to (and should) prove themselves.  There are women now in every branch of the military. There is a female army vet who served in Afghanistan now in Africa single-handedly teaching other women to murder poachers of endangered species. The top sword fighter in the world is also currently a woman- her name is Samantha Swords, appropriately.

Women can be badass- not all of them want to be, nor should they be forced to be if they do not have to proclivity towards these sorts of dangerous occupations.

As far as “What about the babies?!”- Honestly- men have as much responsibility after weaning children as women for bringing life into this world…and further, birth control in the form of teas and herbs have been available in almost all tribal cultures.

It is not difficult for me to believe that my ancestors enjoyed greater freedoms than I regarding their gender expression.  Hildebrandt Hexerei women were known rebels who dared to keep their Hildebrandt name and run woman-owned boarding house (sometimes called a brothel) with friggn’ peacocks in the yard smack in the middle of Amish country.
They were tolerated for over 100 years.  Why?  Because Hexerei and Brauchers were the closest thing to doctors for the Pa Dutch, and in that, my family knew that their knowledge of healing and hexing made them rather immune to cultural dictatorship since it was tradition that nothing was taught outside the family.

That’s pretty bad ass… and I’m proud to have that in my lineage.  I am proud my dad’s other side had an Austrian witch with hair down to her ankles who dressed exclusively in purple.

And, of course, I am proud of my Latvian ancestors who were farmers and diplomats-  if you have ever worked on a real farm in recent times- the division of labor is “whomever noticed the problem first”.  My ex-fiance’ was a farmer.  When I met his sister, the first thing his sister did is take me out to the middle of the pasture to show me the newest calf in the herd and to climb fences.

It made no sense that out of a family of people who honored their Norse heritage, that their daughter would try so hard to fit into the rigid roles defined by aggressive Christianity whereas the rest of the family was loosely UCC with strong Norse influence- making them by academic definition, a semi-indigenous family.

Seeing as I am married now- I did block them all not wishing my ex in my life, but not before noticing Brigid* (*Not her real name) was posting long laments about how she was taking classes on how to be a “submissive Christian wife”, and having no luck with the program, nor having any luck with men whatsoever.

Part of me believes, as strange and awful as this may sound to some, that when I met her I wished dearly I knew her prior to meeting her brother.  She had eyes the color of the sea in a Caribbean and her hair was long and wild, thick as the mane of a horse who had just ran across a field.  Beautiful girl, beautiful family.  She was like all the “positive” traits of her brother without the negative except in her own, outsider induced self hatred.

I am seeing Heathenry growing from many directions- the indigenous folks are realizing it’s “safe” and are now just beginning to speak. Usually first to an indifferent audience of reconstructionists finding no point of relation except from people who are either closer to their European ancestry by either being born there or raised within 2 generations of European immigrants who still kept their cultures instead of immediately discarding them in favor of pure materialistic aspirations.

Not everyone came to the USA to be rich- my Latvian family were religious exiles from the Stalinist regime that sent all Latvian ethnic groups to death in Siberia and then giving away their homes to “deserving” folks of Russian ancestry instead under the cold grip of communism where free speech was not even an option, much less freedom of religion.

My 83 year old grandmother who for years was typecast as the “featherhead” in the family…has changed my perception in recent years.

Realizing that English is her THIRD language after intensive college study in Linguistics was an eye-opener.  This is a woman who is blind as a bat in sunshine and still shovels her own snow, rakes her leaves, takes out her own garbage, and often walks for miles turning down rides from both neighbors and family as she carries at least 50lbs of groceries from supermarkets far from her suburban home where most rely on driving. (She hasn’t been behind the wheel since the 1970’s).

In her way, she is mighty.  She is a Heathen woman, and in watching her become less nervous about her own religious expression I have seen her flourish since our wedding where we showed her our statue of Janis and she cried tears of joy that I would actually ask to wear part of the traditional costume (A woven belt) of my ancestry.

To be proud of our ancestry is not to subjugate the speech or actions of others and scream that we are offended.

Our ancestry actually calls us to prove our worth by EXISTING AS WE ARE, and letting the world form around us accordingly.

In many forums, my online “voice” is gender neutral. I see no need to indicate my gender unless the topic itself requires it- but I feel my teeth grind when I see the words “….As a woman…” preceding any post unless it specifically relates to gender issues…and in most Heathen forums, few posts do.

When one writes “As a woman”, to me, that means you mistakenly believe that your vagina has a magical ability to make the content of your writing more viable or important as the perspective of “The Other” when it is entirely unnecessary in a folkish context.

Heathenry ADORES our woman-warriors! Never, in any organization or group in any sense have I seen nothing but admiration for woman who can hunt, who enter our military in combat positions, our female Heathen police officers, or any other “warrior” role that other religions seem to feel so disquieted about.

There is no “Honoring your inner woman.”
There is “Honoring yourself”- and that is the best advice for people of any gender.

Many may site that Seidr is a “Woman’s domain”- if so, then why did Freyja teach it to Odin?

Also- one of our primary battle-Gods is certainly Freyja- without argument.

The question is this:  If you are a parent and you are gifted with a Tomboy for a child…will you give her a chemistry set?  Allow her to explore the woods and teach her to defend herself?

That, I feel, is the true Heathen way. Remove the veil of Christian stereotype and oppression from our lives, and we will find that under over one thousand years of oppression, the strength of the Heathen heart beats strongly in our folk, male or female.

It is our birthright, it is utterly European, and Anthropologically speaking, the “oppression” so many focus on has basis and can be tracked to the spread of monotheism overwhelming egalitarian polytheistic culture.

Random

Random “Vikings” meme.

I challenge anyone to find a culture where the status of women was actually improved by monotheistic intervention; I have tried and found none except in the sites indicating: “But now they are more modernized…”

Then, realize that so many Heathen polytheists are desperate to Homestead, that the realization that “modernization”, perhaps, is not truly something to be proud of in the isolation it forces upon us.  The ability to communicate at an instant has made it easier for loved one’s to live far distances from one another without motivation to live in mutually-supportive communities and neighborhoods filled with loved ones.

At this time- there is little incentive to move closer to one another.  Several groups that have are either blatantly racist in their ideology or terrified of being labeled as such.

In Philadelphian tradition- entire families buy out city blocks as part of a deep, local tradition to keep families together.  My former salon stylist was from Germany, not Italy, and the first thing his family did for each child of his large family was to assist them in purchasing a home within immediate proximity to take advantage of family ties and the care that comes with it.  It saved his life, literally, when he was diagnosed with cancer- his family pulled together and provided care for his animals, meals, and round the clock care after his surgeries and treatments to the point where he was so well-provided for simply in family resources he could still continued to perform the art he loved- considering he was older than 50, a male hairstylist, and flying in the face of all American Christian gender norms by choosing this profession in a less “friendly” time-

I noticed time and time again, those friends of mine from Europe place no emphasis on gender norms in the sense where it seems to be a preoccupation to the point of obsession currently existing in the USA.

I adore my friends in Denmark and Sweden who worship the Jotunr who change shape and gender at a whim and have taught me so much about European stances on gender and sexuality- and in learning that the 1950’s here was a strong campaign to fit women in tiny boxes of what was considered “acceptable” by a post-war culture where a “woman’s place” was in the factories and taking the place of men in every profession.

Upon the end of WWII, women were fired en-masse for the men arriving back from war.

The problem is NOT with the men, nor the women…but in the idea that anyone working in subservience to a corporate owner is acceptable when not even 100 years before, this was a country of farmers who lived and worked with their extended families and network of neighbors in exchange for giving away their time to spend with people they hate in workplaces they despise working for people who do not care about them as nothing more than a number.

The problems in this world are so much deeper than a gender divide, the toxicity of separation from our support networks and loved ones is far more problematic and is likely a strong reason why so many are lonely, depressed, and anxious.

Our families are lost in the sea of bombardment of messages of materialism and consumerism to under stand the deeper realization that we are back to living in a feudal-like system where most of us are peasants, or perhaps serfs to corperate overlords, our debts, and sometimes our own governments.

My life is unusual, but in a sense at times I feel like I live alone in a splinter-reality where the impossibility of living only to write to you, and to be online available to help many friends and strangers with their personal crisis’ with confidentiality has given me more purpose than any “typical” career.

Despite my fondness for graphs, diagrams, and organization, I would like to see less people placed inside of labels and called by Name.

To be known by your Name is better than any label anyone can ascribe to you.  That indicates you are making a difference and creating a legacy.  As long as your intentions are honorable- man or woman- opposition should not be attacked, but welcomed so we can better learn alternative points of view and actually speak to each other like adults instead of easily-offended children.

Don’t say the words “As a woman” to me.  Say to me “As a Heathen”,  and allow our ancestral spirituality and roots to guide you into a life of contentment in real work- even if it unpaid work, that is meaningful and fulfilling.

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2 Responses to “Honor Yourself. Honor your Heathen Spirituality”

  1. ladyimbrium Says:

    This is brilliant. I survived years of emotional torment because I have never, in my memory, fit in. It’s always seemed odd to me how different my immediate family was from my extended family. Mom and her siblings were raised on a working farm and were taught early on the only lesson my grandfather really insisted we learn about gender equality: “I don’t care how you take a leak, just do the job.” Oddly enough, mom taught us the same thing, but her siblings more or less forgot the lesson when it came to their own kids. They elected to be more Christian and teach properly modest behavior to their daughters. Their own words. Thank the gods for my mother. She would have none of it because, as you yourself said, the division of labor on a farm is a question of who saw it first. She’s also the only one of her siblings with post-secondary education and I place great weight on that variable. I think that the sense of having options so early on had a huge impact on the way I view the world and insist that the world view me. I do not and will not fit someone else’s labels. Thanks for the post-rant. It is much appreciated.

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