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Heathenry / Asatru - Commentary
Volkhvy - 12/29/2002
Those Who Ignore Mythology Are Condemned to Relive It
There still exists between Wicca and Asatru a common misunderstanding of each other, even a certain degree of antipathy. Oddly enough, this has happened before, and is recorded in Norse mythology. Of course, given that myths deal with archetypal material, perhaps it's not so odd.
The metaphor, once stated, is so obvious as to elicit a Homeresque "Dooh!" I'm, of course, referring to the war between the Vanir and the Aesir. Asatru embodies the virutes and values of the Aesir, while Wicca embraces those of the Vanir. Each has great difficulty understanding the other, and in judging the other by their own values, are repulsed.The Asatru / Aesir consider the Wicca / Vanir to be:
The Wicca / Vanir will tell you what they believe, but their world-view is complex, with subtle shades of meaning that are important to them. They have stongly held ethics and beliefs, but these are unique to each individual, as each individual is unique. The body and its feelings are just as important as the spirit to them. So, they celebrate the joyous expression of sexuality, among consenting adults, in all its forms. They know there is an objective reality, but they also realize that we experience it through subjective senses. It's Heisenberg's principle of uncertaintythe very act of observing changes the thing being observed.
The Asatru / Aesir have an ethical structure that they firmly believe in and espouse. The nine virtues are noble; you could easily find worse precepts to live by. The Asatru / Aesir are passionate in the defense of their values and culture, and refuse to weaken them. Women among them have long enjoyed legal rights that are still being fought for in many other cultures. As for homosexuality, it's not so much that they find it objectionable, as they don't see the value of the submission involved. Life is a struggle, and our biological imperative is to come out on top. And history has proven time and again that cultural values need to be actively defended. As Edmund Burke remarked, "All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing."
The main problem is that of differing viewpoints. The Wicca / Vanir viewpoint is experiential-based; they believe what they can directly sense and thereby know. The Asatru / Aesir viewpoint is cultural-based; they believe what is historical, what promotes the continuity of their values and culture. There is hope however, at least locally, both sides have gone so far as to exchange "hostages." There are now Asatru / Aesir who are studying with Wicca / Vanir, and there are Wicca / Vanir joining Asatru / Aesir groups. We may yet work out a truce, and like the Norse gods arrive at a solution that combines the best of both groups.