Sunday, December 13, 2009

My Song of Glory for the Heathens

"Hail the troth-found folk of the heath
Great fame for their struggles borne!
Limbs of doughty kin answer their need,
The love of Gods and Disir their meed.
Great is the wisdom of Herjan's song,
Blessed with luck all who know it
Blessed with hap all who keep it;
Their joy-fires are lit behind the holt
Their fain toasts go on in secret.

* * *

This song of glory is written for the Ásatrúar who fill the heaths and forests and hills of our wide land, and any land beyond the sea. In the new Pagan era, those of the Heathen troth are many, but many more are silent, living their lives with quiet patience and sometimes quite alone. They read the Eddas and stories of old, keep faith and troth with the Old Man and with mighty Red-Beard, with The Lord of Alfheim and with his Amber-eyed sister, the Dis of the Vanir-folk. They raise toasts at high Midsummer and feel the approach of the Ancestral Host at Midwinter, and the blood of their blots spill a thousand times unheard, every moon that passes.

Listen to my song further- praise the hidden folk, the people of the Heath, the silent throng of Heathens who do not entertain the public eye or discourse, but who are the steadfast body of the faithful. It was people of the land that gave them a name and voice again, a man named Sveinbjörn who farmed the ground and composed poetry, on an island in a cold ocean; it was mothers and fathers and children that came to answer the call first. We stand on the backs of heroes, all of us; heroes not for well-praised books of meticulously researched lore nor vain attention-mongering, but heroes for simple faith and courage and respect for the true faith of their ancestors.

Heathens of this world, raising horns with hope, Where so many have forgotten, you remember. Where so many abandon the many for the one, you know the many and have their ear. Where so many surrender to despair or apathy, you maintain a fire of life and wonder inside your hearts.

The end is in the beginning; the shape of conception is the shape of the end. Where many other Pagan organizations were born in the stew of reactionary politics and faddish obsessions, Ásatrú, the great and indigenous faith of the North, was born in plowed earth, poetry, hardy souls, bravery, fields of snow, crashing waves, and glowing fire. It was born in the minds of people whose love was the finding of herbs to address illness, speaking with land-wights, and respect for the lore of old. They didn't set out to parade vulgar campaigns of change in the world; they never set out to shock the values of non-Heathens in their lands, they never set out to make foes of other faiths (though prejudices were sure to be born from others) they set out to set their souls at ease amid the pleasures of ancestral wisdom and belonging. Give a person that peace, and all else will follow.

This is the Ur-Law that all Heathens can proudly claim as their origin. This is the Wyrd woven for us by the heroes of our way. This is why all who claim the creed of the Heathens, in all its many forms, stand apart from other Pagans of our world; our strong numbers are quiet more than loud, thoughtful more than foolhardy, satisfied more than seeking, as Allfather bade them be. Like the land and the land-wights that we call kin and friend, we are as enduring as the stones.

The modern Pagan stream that thrusts itself upon the stage of the world will rise and fall on tides of amazing wonders and baleful failures, like all whirling powers of men. It will inspire and enrage, it will mesmerize and shock, and it will finally settle down to embers and fade, to change its shape to a new form for the times to come. The Heathens that belong to their own world, a deeper world, a thewful world, will gaze from silence.

My song of glory is for the lasting people, the faithful ones, the worshipers of Thor, slayer of evil, Odin, Master of Sorcery, for Frey, Guardian of the loaves of plenty, Freya, first in beauty, for Frigg, patient spinner from the fen-halls, for Heimdall, sharp-eyed watcher and protector, and for all the folk who give rightful worship to the Sacred Hosts. You are the dignity of the new Pagan era. What you believe is the ancient treasure sought by so many that was unearthed by hearts and minds, not picks and shovels. The faithless could not silence the Ancestral voices for long; here they are raised again.

What your voices say, as little as they may be heard, is the secret hope of every Pagan heart that beats this day. Few are called to the Troth-halls, but all long for the dignity and seriousness that is the religion of your everyday lives. To every Heathen that raises a toast alone, I say "you are kin of mine, we are kin together with the hosts of awe." To every kindred and hearth that passes a horn in the faith, I say "hail and might to you all- where your hlaut-bowls are spilled, there falls the greatest treasure man still possesses, true kinship." We are scattered, so unknown to most, but potent and unshakable.

May the kin of Odin endure, as they have for so long, to be the future of our new Pagan world! May those loved by the God of Thunder be safe! May those beloved of Frigg come to good ends, woven with the love of a Mother who is nurse to all the blessed young. Hail Ásatrú! Health and Blessings to the Heathens All!