Heathenry Musings Pt. 2: Frith

I started reading Vilhelm Grønbech’s The Culture of the Teutons in an effort to further my study of Heathenry. It is one of the most highly commended books for understanding the Heathen worldview. It’s a long, dry, dense read, so it’s recommended to read a chapter, then discuss and contemplate it. Here, on this blog, I will organize my notes into thoughts.

Chapter 1 is about frith, which is, understandably, a difficult concept. It is not merely a state of the relationship between two people; it is a mindset that has been lost now thanks to the tide of Christianity. In the same way Americans value our own independence and individuality, to the point where such characteristics are ingrained onto our souls as our necessary rights, so too was frith so ubiquitous and ingrained into the arch-Heathen’s soul. Grønbech argues, actually, that frith formed the basis of the arch-Heathen soul, and all words and deeds sprang forth from it. The arch-Heathen did not choose to act in order to bring about frith; instead, frith willed the arch-Heathen into action.

But what is frith? I’ll start with the definition Grønbech gives: that is, reciprocal inviolability.

Continue reading “Heathenry Musings Pt. 2: Frith”

Heathenry Musings Pt. 1

I’ve been reading, studying, lurking in online groups, and thinking a lot about Heathenry since my last post about it. The complexity of the concepts mentioned — frith, worth, wyrd, örlög — as well as others, has put me in an unfamiliar state of mind. I have this intense urge to discuss my studies and my thoughts on them, especially with other Heathens, but I don’t yet know what it is I’m trying to say. I don’t know why I want to discuss it. So instead, I am going to just write my thoughts here, disjointed as they may be.

I want to provide context for my thoughts first, though. So recently, I have read these books:

  • The Road to Hel by Hilda Roderick Ellis Davidson
  • A Practical Heathen’s Guide to Ásatrú by Patricia M. Lafayllve

…and I am currently reading The Viking Spirit: An Introduction to Norse Mythology and Religion by Daniel McCoy. Of the three, I’ve found the first and third to be valuable, while the second one is mostly information I already know and otherwise useless to me, being more Wicca-influenced.

I have also been lurking on a Facebook group called HEATHENRY, which is honestly one of the most abrasive discussion groups I’ve ever observed. And yet the information presented through the discussions is exactly what’s put me in this state of intense contemplation. The most vocal members of the Facebook group — and the individuals doing most of the teaching — are primarily followers of Theodish Belief, which is a particular flavor of Anglo-Saxon Heathenry. Theodsmen, as they are called, follow a rigid, hierarchical structure and are brought into their kindreds after a rigorous process called “worthing” that occurs during a year of “thralldom.” They claim that doing this builds exceptionally strong bonds between kinsmen and also helps everyone decide if these thralls, these prospective members, are good fits for their theods or not. So, suffice to say, the ideas I’ve learned from this group have a strong Theodish leaning.

Continue reading “Heathenry Musings Pt. 1”

What It Means to Be Heathen

Things to consider:

  • Frith. Study and explore this concept. It is obviously foreign to people living in a modern, Western society, and it seems it’s necessary to adjust to suit such a society. I have been reading threads on /r/asatru about frith and it seems the closest comparable modern relationship to ancient frith is what parents usually feel for their children. Sure, they may get mad at their kids, but no matter what, a parent wants to support and care for their child. It’s selflessness to a unique degree.
  • Related to frith: inner yard. Anyone in the inner yard is a person with whom I keep frith. So… who is that? To whom do I feel that selflessly obligated?
    • Immediate family… so my parents (as much as they piss me off) and siblings.
    • Maybe like two other people?
    • Extended family to a certain extent?
  • Worth. We are our deeds, good and bad. Deeds don’t get erased. Amends are made to the harmed community through restitution. People from your outer yard don’t determine your worth, and you do not calculate your own worth — but you have control over your own worth, i.e. you decide your own actions. This is not the same “worth” as the value intrinsic to human beings, as human beings.
  • Orlog is “fate-potential” and wyrd is how our past actions and future actions shape the kind of person we are. More detailed explanation. Orlog is a predetermined, finite block of clay, and wyrd is what we shape it into.

Notes on Heathen Holidays

  • Þorrablot – celebration of husbands and fathers
  • Góublót – celebration of wives and mothers
  • Dísablót – celebration of female spirits + ancestors
  • Sigrblót – 1st of 3 major yearly sacrifices, beginning of summer season, celebrates victories
  • Midsummer – celebration of life
  • Alfarblót – 2nd of 3 major yearly sacrifices, first day of winter, harvest festival and prep for leaner winter months
  • Jól / Yule – 3rd of 3 major yearly sacrifices, Odin and the Wild Hunt

Looks like Sigrblót, Midsummer, Alfarblót, and Yule all generally fall on the equinoxes so I can play with that. The other three occur in winter: mid-January, mid-February, and “depends on context,” respectively.

(source)