Halfway Through Year One

Summer is coming to Þunresfolc  Heorþ. It’s always a great pleasure to see leaves on the trees again, and comfortable weather. As everything seems to be more lively, it would appear that things are more busy as well. I’ve spent much of the time trying to quit smoking, which has made it hard to focus on anything else. Regardless, here I am. We’re a bit over halfway through the year, and around seven or eight months in as a functioning hearth.

I started Þunresfolc  Heorþ with about a year and a half of Heathen experience, three and a half years of experience as a Polytheist, and about five years in Paganism altogether. Suffice to say that I have learned more in these seven months than I had in all of the time before. The way I learned is different however. At this point, I have been learning by doing. Not by reading, not by watching. I keep my books close by, of course. I try to remember everything I read in them, though I know that isn’t possible. However, once I learned the basics, things started making sense.

To be honest, I don’t know how everyone else expresses what they’ve learned. Nor do I know how they retain what seems like so much of what they read. However, I keep moving on, and that is all one can really do. Heathenry itself seems to be doing the same. The rise in prominence of the hearth cult being one of the biggest examples. I think it is high time that a way of doing is worked out for what seems to be a majority of Heathens who do not have a group that fits well with them to practice. That such people are not caving into pressure otherwise is respectable and shows signs of maturing in the many different faces of Heathenry.

Though, watching the directions of the Heathen world can be a little overwhelming at times from this little hearth, but onward we go. That being said, it’s the little things that have really challenged me. One example is keeping track of a lunar calendar. It’s one of those things you read about, but for me, it has been pretty difficult to do. To be honest, I used to not notice the Moon much, less so truly try to keep time by him. I’d like to tell you that I went from perfect forms of Paganism in the past to being a perfect Heathen, but I know better. Keeping up with a lunar calendar is a weakness of mine. However, I have progressed. We were making sheets month by month, and I’m just glad that we caught that there will be thirteen moons this year. So, we almost have the whole years’ made out.

In this first part of the year, we devised the tides we have chosen to observe, numbered at four (Géol, Ēastretīd, Midsumor, and Harfæst), but I believe we will end up with more than that as time goes by. What I also wonder is if I should tone down on the Old English usage a little. In the sense that it wouldn’t have killed me to type Yule, Eastertide, Midsummer, and Harvest instead, after all that is how I actually speak. This has been another challenge I have been working on. To be honest, I don’t have a good answer for whether or not to do so. Is it more genuine to just type Thunor’s Folk Hearth, or Thunresfolc Hearth? This has been a question I have wrestled with recently.

In spite of these challenges and quandaries, when Cyndre and I light those candles after our ritual cleansing, and that deep breath is taken before those first words are spoken, all of the little nagging questions seem to melt away. At that point, who I disagreed with online, or vice versa, or what this person or that person said, or what I think of this and that person’s practice, or they mine, suddenly doesn’t matter. The connection that comes from ritual, when I speak and hope my ancestors listen, it doesn’t matter which ones were from Berkshire or Kentucky, Heathen, Christian, or whatever. What matters is that I am recognizing, and paying tribute to the connection I share with them.

Recognition and understanding is what matters most at that point. Knowing your place in the great scheme of things. Realizing that thousands of people, and a near infinite amount of decisions big and small are the reason I can type this, and you are reading this. It is at that point that I realize that my actions, like theirs, may have far reaching consequences. That my decisions affect those close to me in more ways than I know. My Innangeard is affected by what I do.

When I make that offering to the House Wight, it doesn’t matter that some think that doesn’t apply to apartments, or whether or not people think a place such as a home has a spirit or not. What matters is that without my home, I am… well… homeless. Exposed to the elements. Lacking in the possibility of frith, which I need to be whole. Without shelter, that is extremely difficult to facilitate. I owe something to the spirit of the place that keeps me. Once again, it is about recognition.

The same goes for any other wight or god. They’re all intelligent, and they’ll accept or reject our offerings at their own accord. However, one cannot always know without doing. Some things we have lost the answers concerning. How lucky we are to be the ones who get to learn and find out. How lucky we are to be here, early in the development of Heathenry, early in its many different forms, and forms to come. The histories of hearths and groups is young, and many of us are getting to write the first pages. I’ve come to appreciate the gravity of the moment.

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