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Not so much of an issue in our ancestors days; guilds are something worth while to look at giving the number of crafts people (and no I am not talking about magic); professional trades people and other areas in which we work today; we find ourselves with a lack of knowing how to do many things and the knowledge of doing only a couple of things really well.

It would be unrealistic to think that any kind of guild within our way would for fill all the needs of everyone; this has been tried before and often ends in remarkable failure. What would be nice is a directory of various folk who offer a service. For instance if I am looking for someone who carves wood; if I go to Artists and then Wood I would find a list of people sorted by location. Much like how a phone book works.

Unfortunately there is too much bickering and infighting for such a directory to ever exist; some would see it as an opportunity to screw it up via importing their Folk political views into the directory. One interesting thing I have seen not far from where I live is the Farmer’s Association within South Carolina; this is a directory of various farmers who offer products and tours to the public; to be a member of the association is free there are some prerequisites that have to be met; and there is a requirement that no one in the association can bad mouth another member or else they are removed from the association. Even this model would encounter resistance to setting up a directory of crafts and professional people. No sooner would one have the directory setup and be overwhelmed by Kauldrinites trying to sell their junk.

Back to my original thought …

I think a directory would be nice as it would be a form of supporting each other by buying products or services from other Folk; however as stated above I think there is a long way to go over all in Asatru and Heathenry in order for that to occur; both branches which hold the most numbers of Folk but have the most political infighting. A situation that is not likely to change at any point in the foreseeable future.

It could be something that is offered through but I really do not see it as working out well. If I am wrong I am sure someone will correct me or voice an opinion in the comments section.


Posted in Forn Seðr.

4 Responses

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  1. Hrafnmann says

    Well of course it is a good idea but you do point out the hurdles and pitfalls. Dropping the politics would for many deprive them of a big part of their reason for remaining in Fyrn Sed. The nature of the political beast can become a consuming one as I have witnessed far too many times; however, humans are a political critter given that we have to depend on one another albeit in unmanageable numbers. Problem is crap flowing in from the host cesspool pollutes most orgs to the point where you are in constant need of higher wellies. I won’t bother going into the specific -isms but pick one and wade in as far as you dare. It’s all bollix for in the end it detracts from the main purpose of furthering our way. A smart enemy would know well how to use such a weakness. . .and if we were smarter we would realize that this is already being wielded against us. But that is a whole other issue.

    The idea of an association has its merits but you have to convince those signing up of its value. The association itself has to assume various predetermined responsibilities and therein is the weakness of the thing. Enter in the morass of politics. It has to be neutral ground, so to speak, or it will be tainted. I would like to see such an association or directory for I have over the years wished to purchase an assortment of items from those of our way, but more often than not fail to find them. I’m still looking for a skilled potter of our way who will do an Anglo-Saxon burial urn in a historical design. I’ve asked around for years and have had a few bites but no commitment. Very frustrating.

    So overall it is a spanking idea but implementing it is another matter.


  2. Bergdis says

    Ohh but I’m so excited to see this topic brought up! As some of you are aware, I do do some crafts, well better known as fibre art these days. And the notion of guilds is a notion that should be revisited in our community of Heathens, imo. From what I see, the guilds are still alive and well when one speaks of fibre arts such as hand knitting, weaving, spinnng, sewing, and many other such crafts. And if I were to dig further I’m sure they exist for many other crafts and artisanal methods out there, such as carving, balcksmithing, potting, etc. It is very heartening to see. Just this past weekend, hubby and I had the occasion to attend a fibre artists’ festival near our town. Ladies there well represented their guilds and associations and it was great to see.

    To have a Guild of Forn Sed Craftspeople would be an organisation worth developing in my opinion since it would be an excellent venue for showcasing, networking, trading, bartering, purchasing not only finished goods but materials perhaps with a view to highlighting our Folk’s crafts not only as ‘art’ but practical art, in as much as all of these products were meant to be practical pieces. It would be a great way to introduce our children to the variety of crafts and the necessary skills involved in performing said crafts.

    Children (and many of today’s adults) do need to learn to *make* for themselves. Of course no one person can learn to do everything and expect to be proficient at everything. But there are so many arts and crafts out there that do have Folk cultural origins that do need to be passed onto the other generations for fear of truly losing these arts as time goes by. It only reinforces the value of self-sufficiency as well. If you can make yourself a shirt or pair of pants or skirt or tunic, a blanket, a hat or mittens, at least you won’t go cold. Same can be said for any other crafts. And I think that would be the point for me, to actually *live* the notion of offering some tangible skill towards my own and my family’s self-sufficiency.

    As I said, no one should be expected to be able to do it all, but if we can retain some of these skills and pass them down to our next generations, I think this could be one of the greatest gifts we can offer our young.

    I realise that there would be frustrations and challenges ahead…and not to mention the politics involved. And I know I come as a naive person to a community that has tried this type of thing before. But…if we were to try again, might it not succeed this time, given that we already have some pretty clear parameters that have been offered by Noil and Hrafnmann? It might be time to rethink the possibilities.

    Well at least I’m hoping…. 🙂

    Blessings from my hearth to yours…Bergdis

  3. Hrafnmann says

    Indeed local guilds of one sort or another thrive to a point as various crafts are revived or persist generally unnoticed by the majority. And if you note they only really endure when times are rather good meaning folk have the time and money to participate and the buying public has the disposable income to indulge in purchasing the ’bohemian’ arts. It is unfortunate these skills are looked upon as ‘special interests’ with really no value other than appearing quaint. Such is the blindness and arrogance of modern man who is willing to toss aside ancient skills that may mean survival in the future. We have already lost much hard won knowledge in many fields and by this negligence we have fundamentally weakened ourselves. In a sense this is another form of casting aside one’s heritage and all such forms of this should be an anathema to those of Fyrn Sed.

    And yes, heathenry has had guilds of one sort or another over the years, but as far as I know none have really lasted with any sense of enthusiasm or broad appeal. Locally this may be a different matter for it seems there is likely more going on at this level than most of our way seem to be aware of. If we could but tap into this and weave ever increasingly larger rings, then guilds would have some vitality and meaning within Fyrn Sed.


  4. Noil says

    Both very good comments and valid points. Ideally for this to work with any degree of success it has to have a solid foundation in which to be built upon. A simple website with links to various Forn Seðr artists, crafts persons, trades persons etc; would not be hard to setup; the issue becomes finding the people to add to the site. There is good potential but I am not sure there would be enough cooperation from various people in which such a thing could work.

    Ideally the local level is where this needs to done, 2 – 3 people decide to refer to each other or use the other’s services or products building a mutual exchange. Again another issue with this is the sparsely populated regions in North America where other Forn Seðr people are found. In most urban areas this is not so much an issue as it is for those often in rural areas.

    At this time however it may be more beneficial to say “I do this” or “I offer that”; which also in many ways is like a page that offers services.

    There indeed has been many attempts to try an organize an actual guild; which later only resulted in failure due to being bound to a political organization such as Asatru Alliance, The Troth, Odinic Rite, or Asatru Folk Assembly; the whole issue again is that the guild could not be separate from the organization which fostered it and as such was bound to its agenda. A guild of the sorts of previous attempts has to be unfettered from any of the national and international orgs; thus the agenda is the promotion of the guild rather than the promotion of the founding organizations thews, beliefs, values and regime.

    This may be possible in a couple of years with intense promotion and working up the idea of a guild / directory before such things come into existence.

    The idea is good … the implementation needs some thought and working. Feel free however to keep posting ideas; should there be enough people to start a directory then at that point it would be something that can be worked on.

    At this time there are four people here that have various skills / products that could be offered. Others that would augment this have been invited but as of today there has been no affirmation.

    What number of peoples would be required to setup a small directory?

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