Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Winterfinding, Nebraska Heathens United, and Growth

painted in 1847 by Oluf Olufsen Bagge
I've written before about how much I love Nebraska Heathens United.  A local, but all-inclusive Heathen group that doesn't care if you're hailing Loki, Frigga, or Njordh at sumbel?  Sign me up!  And I did, more than a year ago now.  I've been to sumbels and bloats with these wonderful people, hailed their gods and ancestors, listened to their boasts and their oaths.  

NHU is an open, public group, allowing all who'd like to attend a chance to see what Heathenry is about.  But there is a need in the community for a closer relationship, for a group that comes together more frequently and more privately.  Now that, too, is coming together - NHU's leadership has initiated a plan to build an innangarth, so that the Heathens in Nebraska can have community of their own.

I'm so excited for NHU, the founders, and this next stage of their growth.  I'll be right there, too - there's something about a small group of people sitting around a fire toasting the gods and spirits of Germanic origin that kindles its own fire in me.  These are people who honor that which I also honor.  The tradition of it thrills something inside of me.  

For the Winterfinding bloat, we hailed Odin and each drew a rune that told of His gifts to us.  Now, I don't have much of a relationship with Odin - more standoff-ish nods when our paths happen to cross - but the rune I drew really struck me.  It was Gebo, the Gift.  It speaks of reciprocity, a building of relationships through mutual giving; in some ways, it describes the group dynamic of a Heathen gathering perfectly.  I showed up on the front porch of one of the leaders bearing a bottle of mead and a tupperware full of sweet potatoes, and in return I received community, fellowship with the deities and spirits, and a hearty dinner.  As a group, we showed up before the altar and around the fire bearing alcohol and words of praise for the gods and ancestors, and in return Odin gives me the benefit of those group dynamics.  A gift for a gift.

No comments:

Post a Comment