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Heathenry's Greatest Weakness

Updated: Feb 7

Historical Pre-christian Heathenry, has the same weakness that modern Heathenry has. Historical Heathenry's Weakness The tribes in Northern Germany who became the Saxons were united twice in history: 1. The pre-Saxon tribes allied with Arminius to defeat the Romans. These tribes had no kings, and eventually, Arminius was killed for trying to be a Kaiser (king) over these tribes. The unity was short lived. 2. The Saxon Tribal Confederation was born in response to Christian Frankia to the south and west of Saxony. The Frankish King Clovis, of the Merovingian family who united the Frankish peoples into one tribe, accepted Christianity circa 409 CE. The Saxon Tribal Confederation most likely was a direct response to the christianization of Frankia.

The Saxon tribal confederation was made up of four Saxon sub-territories, and these were divided into around 100 "gau". This is clear evidence that Germanic tribes united to form the Saxon People. The Germanic tribes were never united enough to remain Heathen. Their greatest weakness was that they often fought amongst themselves. Even after they defeated Rome, they went back to being divided. This division, while a great weakness, was also their greatest strength. During the Saxon Wars, Charlemagne had to conquer all these small units, about 100 different gau. Hostages taken from say one area in Saxony would not discourage other Saxons from rising up against Charlemagne and the Christian Franks. This is precisely why it took 33 years for the Christian Franks to conquer Heathen Saxony in the Saxon Wars. The Franks had to literally conquer every small pocket of Saxony. The lack of unity is also why Heathenry ended up being crushed. Widukind realized this, which is why he kept fleeing to Denmark during the Saxon Wars, and married the daughter of the Danish king Siegfried. Widukind was probably the first Heathen to realize a Heathen coalition was needed against the Christians to keep northern Europe Heathen. Sadly, the Danes did not join the Saxons in the Saxon Wars, as they did not want to fight Charlemagne. Their lack of wanting to create a Heathen coalition sealed the fate of all Germanic tribes, even the Danes and Scandinavians themselves north of Saxony.

I say this very seriously, today, the Old Saxon lands of Germany have 26 million inhabitants, which is more than all of modern Scandinavia combined. Saxony too had more inhabitants back in Heathen times than all of Scandinavia. Despite this, the Scandinavians not allying with the Saxons as a Heathen coalition, meant that Heathenry's days were numbered. The Franks had some fantastic luck, they got to fight each Heathen group of people, "one at a time." This is the best way to conquer an empire. The "German Reich" learned at two different points in history, multiple front wars are two difficult to win.

Modern Heathenry's Weakness

Now in terms of Kindreds and united Heathen movements in America, my opinion is that Heathens in the USA (and Europe) clobber one another. I myself have divorced Asatru, and Asatruar call me "racist." (I am absolutely 100% against all forms of bigotry). Heathens can't get along, even if I did not exist founding Aldsidu, Heathens would not get along. The lack of unity is the reason why Heathenry will always be "weak."

Asatruar in general behave so dishonorably, the opposite of the virtues in the Eddas/Sagas/Havamal, I won't dishonor myself to be a part of Asatru. This is the biggest reason why Aldsidu was founded, both lack of scholasticism in Asatru, and its terrible history of racism and bad and dishonorable behavior, is most concerning. Heathenry is "fated" to be tiny, and divided. Religion in general is dying. I myself find it most peaceful, to have my family (wife and children are Heathens) and a few close friends for ritual. Historical pre-christian Heathenry did not have "kindreds." Their kindred was their kin. Pre-Christian Heathenry was family first (including the extended clan or sibbia), then was followed by the larger tribe.

Old Saxon scholar Dr. Prisca Augustyn of Berkeley states in her book The Semiotics of Fate, Death, and the Soul in Germanic Culture: The Christianization of Old Saxon p.27 "The human being exists and acts only as a member of the sib, not as an independent individual. The importance of the sib is reflected in manifold acts of vengeance in the old sagas and epics, where it is not the specific individual that is sought out for revenge, but any member of that sib. The individual gains identity by belonging to the sib, everything on the outside is considered hostile. Not only is membership in the sib the fundamental requirement for legitimate existence in Germanic society, but to be excluded is equivalent to death. The significance of the sib as a source of protection, peace, and rightful existence transcends the visible world, and by a unifying principle the sib includes the dead and the unborn."

The word "sibling" in modern English comes from the word "sibbia." The Sibbia included those married into the family. Sif (or Sib) was the wife of Thunar (Donar, or Thor). Sib's name shows us that those who marry into the family are joined to the Sibbia (larger family.)

I am encouraging us to think more like our pre-christian roots. Avoid the Kindred Model, as it is a "church model." Build Heathen families, and have close friends at your rituals. We see evidence of this in the Sagas, the blots were celebrations with the family and close friends. Here is one example:

Gisla saga Surssonar chapter 6, last sentence, and beginning of chapter 7: "And now the summer slips away, and the first winter night was nigh at hand. Gisli made a sumble, and bade his friends to it he wished to have a gathering, and so to welcome both the winter and his friends; but he had left off all heathen blots since he had been in Viborg with Sigrhadd. He bade to the feast both the Thorkels and his cousins, the sons of Bjartmar."

I am open to being united and doing Things with other Old Ways Heathens, who read the Eddas, Sagas, and historical sources, even if some of their practice is modern. But their behavior must be above reproach. The older I get, the less patience I have. I do not tolerate drama. Life is just too short.

Lebuini Antiqua 4, THE LIFE OF ST. LEBUIN, 9th Century AD Vita Lebuini Antiqua, edited by A. Hofmeister, Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores (x926-34), vol. xxx, 2, pp. 789-95. “The Lord Himself admonished St. Lebuin (an Englishman) to forsake his country and to preach to the Saxons across the sea (in Saxony) and told him to instruct the people who dwelt in the lands of the Franks and Saxons near the river Isel… In olden times the Saxons had no king but appointed rulers over each village (gau); and their custom was to hold a general meeting once a year in the center of Saxony near the river Weser at a place called Marklo. There all the leaders used to gather together, and they were joined by twelve noblemen from each village (gau) with as many freedmen and serfs. There they confirmed the laws, gave judgment on outstanding cases and by common consent drew up plans for the coming year on which they could act either in peace or war."

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One of the issues I see relating to small groups of older arts practitioners, is it becomes difficult to be 501c3. Some people don't care, for others it is a necessity to be tax exempt charitable. The new arts conform to law and have open well announced events and meet once a month. Those of us that follow the old way, lack the components necessary to fall under a religious exemption. Personally, I like having a few close friends and don't feel as though I need to advocate for others to convert or be involved. The old ways are not for everyone and trying to help another convert that doesn't have the innate feeling appears to be a waste o…

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I’m not totally against a tax exempt status, I’m more against the way it is applied. If I purchase my own small farm so we can have bigger Blots and gatherings on it, I would have to advertise and make things open to the community as the government says this is what a church/temple does, in order to be tax exempt. I don’t want people I don’t know on my homestead now, I sure as heck wouldn’t want them on our farm. Just because Wiccans followed the christians, doesn’t me we should have to. The government says a church/temple must meet at least once a month. How many people that actually practice the old way, meet once a month during…

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