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Living an Ancient Way in a Modern World

One of the most challenging aspects to Forn Seðr in a Christian dominated country is incorporating our ancient ways into the 21st Century. It can be a challenge to accomplish this when in today’s world people are expected to work 12 hour days 6 days a week 51 weeks of the year. When you couple that with the required time for other activities such as farming, gardening or what ever activity you do plus the demands placed upon the individual for responsibilities with in the family it ends up there is rarely enough hours in the day to practice our beliefs in a way that most of us would like. This in part becomes an issue not only for the individual but for the whole folkway, for if you experience this problem then chances are others are also feeling the same stress related pressures in their life.

What can be done to make this challenge easier?

There are several things one can do; but of course everyone’s situation is different. The most challenging is getting up to speed on the lore, there are two Edda and several Sagas plus a multitude of folklore in which one should be familiar with. With children it actually provides an opportunity when reading is done at night before sleep. If that is not popular what can be done is to setup an hour a week (or more if possible) in which the family gets together and looks at some of the lore together, much like the idea of spending family time together.

If you use transit this provides an opportunity to read some of the lore, use a translation that best suits your comfort level, the most Modern-English translation that I am aware of is the Bellows Translation for the Poetic Edda and the Brodeur translation for the Prose Edda both have been used on Voluspa.org. Depending on your transit time you may find you are able to read quite a bit between home – work and work – home.

Even the busiest of people can find at least 30 minutes over the course of week that can be devoted to reading even if it is used as the designated wind down time to relax from the days activities.

Ways to help get through the lore is to use a note book and write down areas of uncertainty to ask about later or to look up in a lore dictionary. Doing this if you get stuck on a point it is not an issue simply write down the sticking issue and move on.

One thing to really ease the incorporation of our ways into the Modern World is by incorporating the offering of food at the main meal to the Gods / Goddesses; taking the lessons learned from the lore and applying them to the challenges faced in your situation thus reinforcing the lesson in the lore. Rites of Passage and Blóts are important to bring our ancestral ways to life, putting you in the moment by adding your own personal touch to the event helps build lasting memories, and provides something to look forward too.

If you are fortunate enough to have a kindred or other people to which to celebrate our traditions, heritage and culture with it is often easier as there is the building of kinship between the people and allows for a sense of communication to others outside the family unit in which one can discuss various issues or points of interest.

Keeping a journal be it online or in a book is a way to track progress and forms the habit of continuation of studies; in many ways the Blog at Voluspa.org is to be an outpost of sorts to aid people in their studies and to provide a place to voice concerns, interests or questions.

Finding others to discuss with can be challenging. There are a lot of people out there that pay nothing more than lip-service, as well as those such as those groups whom steal from the old ways to be used in a perverted manner to promote their own divergence and perverted outlook of the old ways. It is best to avoid such groups as they are more cults looking to take your money and warp your brain. Issues with the National Organizations are that each have their own agendas and are interested primarily in raising money and expansion of the organization as a whole but are ill equipped to help the individual. Seeking out people whom are balanced is by far one of the most challenging aspects of the Modern World where pollution of the mind is so prevalent. Careful faring forth in person to gatherings is a good way to meet people, if that is not really an option the Internet has a few thousand discussion groups and websites such as LiveJournal which allows a form of interactivity between people.

No one is perfect or born knowing everything, it takes time to build confidence, knowledge and skills one feels they need, but fret not all these things will come with the work you do today and everyday. Remember to be true to yourself, be true to kinsmen and be true to the Gods and Goddesses, and you will find that its not so bad.

Noil

Posted in Forn Seðr.


4 Responses

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  1. Hrafnmann says

    This all falls under the heading of Fyrn Sed being a way of life. Moderns are accustomed to compartmenting their lives and labour under the delusion that one aspect doesn’t affect any other. Such of course is rubbish and totally illusory. The model many have grown up with as a culture is that of the xian where ‘church time’ or ‘time to be spiritual’ is reserved for a certain time only be it Sundays, or weddings, funerals, etc. Fyrn Sed, if one is to be really Tru, must IMO embrace life holistically. This idea is nothing new in the revival of our way but it is one of the primary lessons newbies should take to heart early on in their re-embracement of our ancestral ways. I think probably the best place to learn of this is to study wyrd and its nature on our personal reality. One can only transmit this concept in words so far, but given the keys, they have to apply this knowledge and see how it works in their own life. Interconnectivity is often reveal in the simplest of things yet are often missed due to their subtle nature. Take for example the simple act of a taking breath. By inhaling, in one moment you are partaking of your environment; imbibing all of that which passed before in that gulp of air. This may not be profound and may in fact sound silly, but the implications of such lines of thought anchors our reality and what shapes it. Even by us living in Middangeard and occupying space affects the environment and the shape of events. Once one discovers an inherent ontological reality and the interplay with wyrd, both the big things and the small things begin to fall into place, and with this, a grounding of responsibility for one’s action and life as a whole. This in a way is the foundation of honour. . .something in our way that tops the list. Honour doesn’t come about without deeds and right behaviour, so in order to proceed on this course we have to know the fundamentals of our way. Pretty simple really.

    Adjunctive to this is the need to learn the lore as described by Noil. Far too many who come to our way seem to want to glide over this aspect in favour of other pursuits. They are often lured to areas best left as specialized interests or advanced studies. They in themselves are not Fyrn Sed in its entirety but instead occupy only one sliver of our way. Yes, I mean this fad for trancing and runeology and any other arcane matter. These fads forgo the requirement of fundamental teachings in order to actually practise those advanced studies with any sense of safety or veracity. What we are left with are scads of folk indulging in fantasies at the expense of their real potential here in Middangeard. Pure waste. The worst crime in all this are those that enable this and are no better than predators in an effort to feed their egos and manias. Such people are of low quality who have no invested interest for the broader view of helping our way to persist. But all that is another but old rant. . .

    So back to the topic, to practice Fyrn Sed, one must exercise it with every breath, awake or asleep. During one’s daily routine one should be conscious of their actions and how it relates to all. One should constantly be validating their ancestral metaphysical reality by finding connections in the environment and all that occupies it. To mind should spring lore references and how this relates to the situation at hand. This is how conviction is fostered, and this is how Fyrn Sed will survive.

    ~Hrafnmann

  2. Noil says

    Definitely Forn Seðr is a way of life every instance of your life is interwoven in to our ways, your actions now, today, yesterday all interact with each other forming orlog. It is the actions (deeds) or lack thereof that ultimately form orlog as a collective of spectrum of wyrd.

    By living one’s life by our ways the interaction with the wights, Gods & Goddesses becomes natural and requires no thought to occur.

    As such that is the ultimate goal of Forn Seðr; there are many aspects to reaching that goal of course, some are easy and some require a lot of work, years and a lifetime of study and persistence. Another important element is the foundation in which one finds in their heritage, being Germanic descent enables you to relate to Germanic notions, ideas, culture, heritage and to the beliefs dealing with how we define our ways on the founding principles of the ways of our ancestors. Unlike other strands related to Forn Seðr the Germanic descent portion is a key element and not something to be dismissed because it is not politically correct. Other ethnic groups, non-Germanic peoples’ have their own culture, heritage and beliefs that they should take pride in and not be concerning themselves with that of Germanic people in which they have no linkage too. At any rate this is a whole other topic with in Forn Seðr thread.

    Noil

  3. Bergdis says

    Yes I agree with you Noil, a newbie’s life can be challenging in terms of acquiring enough of a foundation in lore and Germanic indigenous culture to actually be able to live as one who practises the Old Customs. And Hrafnmann, excellent points too about incorporating these customs in a holistic manner. One must become one who follows the Old Ways and not just one who names oneself as such…that is to say, to practise Forn Sed is to *be* Forn Sed in thought and deed. In the end, it is all-encompassing.

    I liked your practical suggestions Noil. My family and I had instituted a once-a-week lore study time early on in our reclaiming of our pre-Christian cultural ways. It unfortunately lost some steam as time went on perhaps because it felt a bit too regimented. What we have been doing as a family instead is capitalising on the random opportunities for learning as they have come along. The Norns know what they do. 🙂 When an impromptu chat or discussion ensues in our family, I’m always amazed at the amount of knowledge of the lore that our son has acquired so far, even without “formal” studies. Though this is an overall model for our family, personally my approach of preference for my own self is to actually do more formal studies of the lore, which not only means to read the lore, but also means to *study* it in terms of discussion, often in real-time, with other people who follow our ways. This has been the most beneficial way for me to learn and to incorporate this knowledge.

    Oh to be sure, this is a life-long endeavour, but one that offers such a richness to one’s life. And I wouldn’t want to have any other way. 🙂

    Bergdis

  4. Bergdis says

    yep…what I said 😀



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