I rarely worry about what society thinks of my actions, and choices these days. After all, it’s not society that has to live with the consequences. I do. For many years, we as a people are taught to fear a higher being, that he/she would demand some kind of repentance or would guarantee us a place in hell. The notion of heaven and hell is a Christian belief. In addition, I also believe that Odin will not banish me, exile me or cause me harm. It’s not my belief even though I may I use heaven to describe something that’s beyond the mundane of what is beautiful to me.
I was brought up not to worry about what others think of me. My parents never used the word “society”, but their instructions meant all others. I had to learn the difference between what is right and wrong… The way we learn is from our interactions with others and how they respond or react. I am Heathen. I believe that I always was. A heathen is…
According to Patricia M. Lafayllve, in her book, ’A Practical Heathen’s Guide to Asatru page 230, ’heathen—an umbrella term used by Asatruar to refer to themselves and other groups that follow the Aesir, Vanir, and cultural world views of the Pre-Christian peoples.
Now in the Essential Ásatrú, Walking the Path of Norse Paganism by Diana L. Paxson pages xII-xIV, it states,”…it was not until Christians began their attempt to convert the North the Germanic peoples needed a name for their beliefs. Churchmen called the religion, and its followers, heathen. When scholars and romantics began to study the old ways in the nineteenth century, some called it the ”troth,” or faith, of the gods—Ásatrú. Either term, or a number of others, from the ”Northern Way,” to ”Norse paganism,” ”Irminism,” ”Forn Sidre” or ”Forn Sed”(Old Custom), ”Theodism,” ”Germanic reconstructionism,” the ”Elder Troth,” or ”Odinism/Wotanism”(although the latter may give the erroneous impression Odin is the only God), can be used forth eversions of Germanic religion that we are attempting to recover and re-create today.
She continues to explain here…. ”Until recently, the term heathen, like pagan, was taken to mean a person without religion, or at least without the civilizing influence of Christianity”…”It has been assumed that just as pagan meant the people of the” pagus” or countryside, heathen meant the people of the heath who continued to practice the old ways when the city folk had all converted to Christianity. This interpretation has been questioned: however, heathen is at least a term that modern English speakers can both recognize and spell, and on that, moreover, en be found in all the Germanic languages. On the other hand, it can also be used, or misunderstood, as a pejorative….Like witches, heathens have to contend with negative stereotypes and associations from the past.”
Both authors regardless how much or how little they speak about what ’heathens’ are, provides us with much to contemplate about our own purposes, intentions and practices.
I follow my heart completely in all that I do. I am not responsible for what others may think of me or my actions. I am not responsible for how others’ may feel about me. I am responsible for every single thought, feeling, and action, word spoken and written: I’m also responsible for my intentions and for all my choices. It’s how I think about myself that matters above all. If, at the end of the day, I can smile at myself and feel deeply that I did the best I could and made the best choices possible then I know my heart and soul will be at peace.
I had a difficult time learning not to worry about what others thought of me and my actions. I made brave choices that caused a lot of concern from other people and no doubt they judged me for all I did regardless of my reasons. People seem to forget that the reasons behind our choices mean something to us. During my younger days I made choices that were outside of what is considered normal and acceptable. I didn’t care. I did what felt right to me even if it was wrong in other people’s eyes.
Even though I don’t shout it in my community that I’m a witch, a pagan; I’m a heathen. I practice, study, perform rituals, converse with spirit and go on vision quests when the spirits have something to show me and tell me. I don’t need to blast to everyone who I am or what I practice. I don’t have to style myself any more than I do. I prefer to dress down and in comfortable clothes and I rarely wear makeup. Regardless of what I practice I always choose of the highest of good at any moment. I do not require anyone else’s approval. I don’t require to kneel before any god for forgiveness, strength or even permission. Odin may the AllFather of Asatru, but I am the lady, and if I were a man, I would be lord.
It takes great courage and inner strength to step away from old conditioned ways of thinking and being. When we begin to worry less about not being ‘normal’ to society’s ideals the more clearly we see ourselves; perhaps for the first time. It is important to remember that our actions and choices demonstrate to those around us bits and pieces of who we are, how we may be feeling and where we may be heading. It makes little difference what others think. I have learned over the years that when I would worry about pleasing others, including society, I was not coming from the purity of my Self. I was performing a great act on what was expected of me, including my failures, and poor choices.
I know and accept that I’m accountable for everything I have done and what I have yet to do. I do not care what others’ think. I am my own person. I do not care if I’m looked down upon for being a pagan, a woman that has been under the guidance and influence of Odin, the AllFather and Frigg, the AllMother for many moons. I have studied and practiced other spiritual ways of thinking and being, including other pagan ways. I am adept at channeling, I can enter the realm of spirit without the need of ceremony, and I absorb other people’s pain and have been known to bring healing just with my presence. I have a healing garden and have been a seer for over 40 years and a practicing witch for over 30 years and a student of my gifts since I knew they existed. When people learn these about me, even partially, I can sometimes feel their mind just reeling with the new information. I feel sorry for them, but I don’t care. Their feelings over my spiritual choices will not make me less. That can only happen if I choose to give it up. The same with my life choices. I know I’ve made more than a few wrong choices and regardless of what others think, only I can bring me down, only I can make better choices, only I can make me feel better. No other human can complete me if I don’t already feel complete with myself. Admitting and accepting my imperfections is huge and will be recognized by others, but it is my life that is mostly influenced by my setbacks and accomplishments.
On the weekend of this year’s Summer Solstice I’m doing a small blood ceremony. I don’t consider my ceremony is part of the black arts because I don’t perform magical ceremonies in a specific colour. The few people that know of my intentions they are shocked and exclaim that I’ll be performing black magic. Well, I’ve learned people will think what they think. It is part of the reason why I tell little of what all I’m doing spiritually and magically. It’s none of their business and their biased opinions does not change the direction of my journey. Maybe when I was a young and gullible child; but thanks to tough experiences and situations, I’ve learned that the only person that I can control is me. The only person who can control the way I think, feel, speak and do things is me.
These ways of thinking and being I also try to instill into my children. Over time and from their own experiences interacting with others’ they are starting to comprehend the importance of following their hearts no matter what assumptions, opinions and judgments others may proclaim. We are caring people. We do keep to ourselves and make it a point not stick our noses into situations that are not our own. If someone is in need and we have the ability to help without overstepping boundaries, then we always do what we can. We are decent to those who are decent to us and not because some deity dictated such actions and because society expects us to; but because deep down, from the depths of our hearts we know that treating other people with decency is the right thing to do.