I am "stealing" the title of this blog from this YouTube video, that I would ask you to watch before reading this blog, and this blog is based on a weekend event I attended this weekend in Wisconsin. This video, done by a non-Heathen, a neutral person, is super neutral. This person's view is VERY accurate of various Paganisms in the USA and Europe. He runs surveys, similarly to ones I did in the past, but the big difference he gets 250,000 Americans taking part in his surveys, which DOES make his views indicative of how secular Americans view "paganism." Watch this short 10 minute YouTube about why "Paganism" is growing in Europe (and the USA), which he speaks of Norse Heathenry as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_pEv7WDqSs First, I met some really cool guys in person for the first time: Sean, Shane, Joe, and others (last names left out intentionally.) Guys who clearly love historically based Germanic Heathenry. They have a ton of knowledge under their belts, and are searching for more. We (myself and two other members of the local community I founded in Illinois) also met with some Wiccans, and many folk who would probably label themselves "Asatru." One of the things we did (about thirty people had gathered) was to have each person share what they felt Heathenry needed to do to become relevant in America today. Sumble was done outside, with a "celtic circle" (it was literally called that by the host), with one horn in a circle, and the person leading used the word "energy" twice. Very Wiccan for sure (each person channeling energy one person at a time, like a Wiccan Sabbat, based in Celtic Lore, not Germanic Sources of historically based Germanic Heathenry.) One of my friends very loosely participated, worrying about messing up his uurd or megin, and I was the same way. I did not drink from the horn, but I did participate, treating it more like a blot. Remember, there are many people who are hungry to learn historical Heathenry who just do not know what historical sources to read, where to find them, or where to go in poems like the Sagas or Beowulf to see how sumble was done. Most people who do Sumble have no idea it is about Uurd and the Shapers (Saxon) or Urthr and the Norns (Norse). Most have no idea why our Ancestors even did sumble in the first place. So, while some of us there were super historical and experienced we did participate in the ritual portion, but at arms length. It helped keep us in good standing with less educated, newer, and experienced people searching for knowledge, without putting them down or making criticisms of their practices, and we respected their rules. (Plus, in fairness, over 20 years ago, when I became "Heathen" I started with the Wiccan Wheel of the Year too, thinking it was historical Heathen practice, as well, that is what 99% of the world wide web says the Norse peoples did.) I remember myself when I was a newbie. It takes time to become fluent in a language like Old Saxon, and it takes time to read over 700 Norse Sagas and Poems several times through, as well as 21 Old Saxon Poems, hundreds of historical sources, over 300 Old English Poems, two Eddas, three historical Heathen Calendars from the 8th, 9th, 10th centuries. I mean, there is soooooo much to learn. It takes time. We more experienced Heathens must be kind and patient with newbies, and remember, we too were new once. What I do want to share however, is what they felt we needed to do to get Heathenry growing in larger numbers in the USA, and respected, with positive PR to the public. Most people felt education of the youth was most important, and interestingly enough, fighting dis-information, not just about racism, but on non-historical practices. My humble opinion is, Heathenry will not be taken seriously until orthopraxy is developed. Mainstream American culture is kicking our ass. Black Friday shopping, stockings, Santa Claus, Xmas trees, lights on the outside of houses, gift giving, xmas dinner with the family, decorations on the outside of houses, the entire corporate America having 12/25 (and most people 12/24 and Black Friday as well) off work, is fun and beats going to church or to a Heathen ritual in their minds, by a long shot. I am NOT talking Christianity here, I am talking about secular America. In Heathen times, culture and religion went hand in hand. Our culture in America, is about Xmas, Thanksgiving, July 4th, Mothers Day, Fathers Day, Veterans Day, Memorial Day, etc from a secular modern Amerian point of view. Americans do not have dinner with their families anymore, but get annoyed at the microwave as it doesn't heat up their garbage "food" fast enough. America has lost religion (only 22% of America goes to church now weekly, compared to almost 100% in the first two centuries in the new world (1600s and 1700s) as America was founded due to religious freedom issues, and well, bad rulers in Europe, and people wanting to leave their hell hole for a better life. (I myself am ill-annoyed, only a matter of time before I leave the hell hole of the crooked state of Illinois.) America may not be christian, but secular Americans AGREE on their culture. When you have 10 Asatruar in a room, you will have 10 different opinions. This is why Asatru will remain a fringe movement. PERIOD. This is why I obsess about historical Sumble, Historical Blot, and Historical Holidays, because historically based Heathenry and ONLY historically based Heathenry can offer an agreed upon orthopraxy that can compete with secular America. Historically based Heathenry did have agreed upon holidays. Snorri refers to Yule (Mid-winter) 103 times in Heimskringla alone. He did not have to explain what it was, or when it was. People knew, and like 12/25 has been Xmas since 336 AD, historical Heathenry did have exact dates and agreed upon dates, and Heathenry did have a culture, with historical words like "sidu" (customs) "thau" or "thew" (traditions") and landuuise (practices of the land/tribe). If Yule did not have an agreed date, or identifiable customs and traditions, like the ones I mentioned that secular Xmas has, it would not have survived in the written record, nor would it have been necessary to rename Christ-Mass as "Yule" in Scandinavian countries today. Only something that is commonly accepted can accomplish such a feat in a later extremely Christian Scandinavia. Here is another YouTube video I love, ripping on "Paganism". I think this video is spot on in regards to its points: (called "Neo-Paganism is Stupid." Give this a watch, you will learn a few things, as I did. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3pzoO_imVk It certainly shows now secular Icelanders perceive Paganism. Before historical Heathens can become a more "popular" movement, as opposed to a "fringe" movement, we will not only need scholasticism, but we need to unity and excitement that secular america has about Xmas, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, etc. If we are not as excited about Yule, Winter Nights, Summberblot/Sigurblot as secular Americans are about Christmas, Heathenry or Asatru (two different paths) will not be relevant enough to be a well known or popular movement in America. If we do not have agreed upon historically based holy days, and ways of doing Sumble and Blot, ancestrally and historically rooted, Secular America and Secular American Ways will continue to be mainstream, and America will not have ANY chance of embracing Heathenry in terms of any significant numbers. (By significant, I mean 5% of the population.) Lets face it, Christmas and Easter are more popular than ever in secular America, without Christ in it at all. And if our Children are more excited about secular Xmas and Easter than they are say Yule and Winter Nights, Heathenry will not grow in numbers in any sort of significance, nor be taken seriously. This is my humble opinion, take it or leave it.