There are two general expressions, if not unspoken expectations, readily found within Asatru / Heathenry:
–We are our deeds. And
–What have you done lately?
The first is a linguistic knot that suggests a sense of community, when in truth, there exists no broad model. The last is contorted due to the human knack for assuming sameness.
‘We are our deeds’ is best stated as You are your deeds. Simply put, there is no “we” when it comes to what I do on a daily basis. “We” is not a consideration. “I”, as in “me, myself, and I”, is top of my agenda every day. In order for there to be a “we”, there must be (immediately) a spouse; and/or a best friend(s), kids, pets, and the like. And even then (usually), the most pressing “we” will be someone I live with.
We all have gotten out of bed with a clear idea in mind of how our day would go, when the spouse (or kids, even pets) does or says something to change that. Beyond the fact that “no man is an island”, is the verity of currents that buffet that enclave. The precision in which nothing you have ever imagined has manifested exactly as you envisioned it, is confirmation of this.
Next is progression, or the question (often concealed as an observation cum insult cum accusation) that somehow asks the first question while prompting a demonstration of some sort of ‘heathenish-ness’. So that, if one is not doing something by way of deeds, then one is nothing at all. In fact, it seems at times that one’s past accomplishments came with a vicarious expiration date that everyone else seems to know but you. So, whether you made a ‘name’ for yourself 3-hours, 3-months, or 3-years ago, you are expected to eject some other performance to convince the community-that-doesn’t-exist, that you still have relevance. But, that’s not the issue; that would be doing something along the same lines that the non-existent-community expects based on your past deeds.
It can be seen (perhaps) how one may lose sight of “I” in the face of community. At this juncture however, let me state that, right now, someone reading this, is assuming I am referring to myself, personally. And though I will say, “No, that is not true”, the ‘community’ will still feel obliged to think as such.
Why? Because of that wily “we” again.
You see, the moment one thinks they must act and do according to the community, they have lost all sense of self.
Veit ek, at ek hekk vindga meiði ..
I Know, that I hung on a windy tree ..
After that, Rúnatal is “ek .. ek .. ek”, or “I .. I .. I”. “I know this”, says Wodan, and “I know how”, says Wodan.
And what of the einherjar? “Ein” in Old Norse means “one, only one; once; solely”. There is no vérherjar, no “we-fighters”, no “community-fighters”, just “one”.
One unit . One entity . One individual . One person
One thing . One instance . One object . One consideration
And if that is not clear enough, how about ONE as in particular, separate, single, sole, solitary, specific, alone, different, only, precise, uncommon, and unique.
Yes, the military got it right: An Army of One.
So, does that mean, there is no teamwork in Asatru / Heathenry? No. There are plenty of those; just known as “denominations”. Beyond doubt, there are plenty of subgroups within subgroups within Asatru / Heathenry, each with its own uniquely styled demarcator, interpretive tradition, and fill-in-the-blank identity.
Yet, the lore is rife with “me, myself, and I”. So there is no ‘we are our’ anything, and no deed-come-lately-police.
If one is serving the community then one may not be wholly true to self. After all, does one’s community fill all of one’s needs, and match all of one’s ideologies? Here is something I often hear: “I’m a member of alleged-national-organization, but don’t follow everything they believe in.” Or, “I like what supposed-unifying-group stands for, but they don’t accept this area of my personal practice.”
My advice then is: Be Yourself.
More than a cliché, this is a life-thread. If you are not true to yourself, then you will never know inner truth. When Wodan was talking about the Runes, he was speaking specifically, saying “I know this one”, and “I know that one”. Don’t try to find a correlation with an existing Rune, but, based on the fundamental information that is known of that Rune, find out what it means to YOU. Here is an example: The Ice Rune is almost always described / explained / unthinkingly repeated as “stagnation”, or “slow death”.
As #VinlandsVolva, as a #Seiðwoman, and as a #RuneWif, I will confirm Isa as frozen water, likewise as fluidity made still. Yes, subjugation and control are part of that, as an example of the strength of Cold / Frost overpowering Water. Think about that. Isa is necessary to Earth. Growth can only continue so long, before it needs to rest, even die. Isa then is a loving blanket that allows the Mother to sleep during the dark winter. Today even, we talk about the necessity of ‘unplugging’, or the importance of rest and sleep to our overall health: This too is Isa.
In closing: Do not be heed the dead allys of ‘this’ or ‘that’. There is ample information available. Seek it out! Read and make these things your own! Forego that which is ‘not quite right’, for that which is. Follow your heart, and all else will be made right.
~ ~ ~
-‘Fairy Tale Shadow’, by Kelly Tan
-Edelweiß, “noble, white”. The national flower of Austria, Switzerland, Bulgaria, and Romania; a high-altitude flower that thrives in snow.