NOTE: I found these questions on another blog post HERE, and I’ve seen them circulate a few times, figured I’d join in. I will answer these the best I can, and try not to sound like too much of a moron in doing so.
When did you become a heathen? Tell us about that time. (Alternatively, what flavor of faith do you practice? i.e. Asatru, Norse polytheist, vague interest in heathenism, etc.) What drew you to Heathenry?
I’ve been a fully-fledged practicing Heathen (I call myself Norse Pagan) for merely a few years, I guess you could say I’m a novice at it at this point. That isn’t to say that I was randomly thrust into this recently, it was a slow build deeper and deeper into what I feel my spirit was behind drawn to, no matter what my brain thought I was trying to get into. I have been an avid fan of reading about the Germanic pantheon for a long time, have collected some books on the topic (now even more), and have held a general fondness for it since sometime in High school.
I think the first time anything Heathen came into my view was likely when I was around 18-19 and an avid music collector. I had just come off of a brief affinity to the short-lived Nu Metal scene and started reading a magazine called Metal Hammer which introduced me to European metal music including Norwegian Black Metal and German folk metal. Both genres have a way with how they paint the bands ancestral past, and many bands express Pagan beliefs – it was around this time that I realized there were still practicing Pagans out there aside from Wiccans I knew from school. I poured over these pages and filed away some of the great tidbits I found.
Later, during my senior year in college, I had a class that every college senior had to take, it rotated around to various topics and was based on whatever major you had. With me being a history major, I was worried it was going to be some overspecialized “Handbags in the middle ages” sort of thing, but was pleasantly surprised that year when it just happened to be “Viking and Anglo-Saxon Literature”. This class was one of my favorite college classes I had in my entire time there, and considering it was with a professor I previously did not like, I was amazed at how great it was. In this class, I was introduced to The Icelandic Sagas, Eyrbyggja saga and Egil’s Saga to name just a few – it was amazing! I ended up scoring like 115% in that class due to extra credit and my team delivering a great presentation on The Danelaw that the professor loved. Not sure why I didn’t embrace Heathenism at that time, but it was still going to be a minute.
It was for the next decade or so that I considered myself to be more of an occultist leaning Gnostic, that is if I was to chart my religious views. I was dabbling in all things esoteric including Hermeticism, OTO, even a bit of reading on Luciferianism. I had become fascinated with how the Christian Bible was cobbled together by a small handful of existent texts out of thousands that were discarded, and how the Church used this selective bias for controlling the masses. Problem was, despite reading all of this material, I never felt a real spark in it. As time went by I fell further and further away from Occultism and Gnosticism.
I think in my youth, I was drawn to Gnosticism to give a giant FU to my Catholic roots – Gnosticism is often seen as being anti-Catholic. These groups also don’t have much of a community aside from stuffy Areligious scholars and outright cults. Basically, nothing to really help a novice embrace their path, no real sense of belonging. There’s also a large holdover from Abrahamic religions where the earth (and your body) is seen as a prison for the soul, almost evil. I can’t reconcile that, its against my nature to hate the natural world.
After I got divorced, I stepped back from everything that made me feel miserable, and my religion of egotistical smugness about what TRUE Christianity was, was simply not cutting it. Some people find themselves in God in times of need, for me and Gnosticism I felt nothing. It was just another thing on a list, like my favorite color or blood type. I was starting to became drawn more and more to my ancestral heritage during this time. Being a muddle of blood from Scandinavia, Dublin Ireland, Britain. Scotland, Germany and France, it seems that my entire heritage can draw a line directly to the old Gods. So I thought of the feelings I had listening to pagan music, I thought of how happy I got reading things like The Sagas and Eddas, and took the plunge.
My girlfriend and I joined a, sadly, questionable Kindred that was pretty cool for a while, but I can talk about that one a different prompt. I’ll just say we found another group and are doing great and its all looking up from here.