Future of Paganism
Future of Midgard: Heathenry Reaching Out for a Dynamic Future
So I don't know for certain where we're going, but I know where I'd like us to be in five, ten, twenty years. I know where I'd like us to go. First and foremost, I would like to see more focus on honoring the Gods, over the lore, over the ideological arguments. In too many corners of Heathenry, the idea of devotion, of loving and serving the Gods is still extremely controversial. That is changing but it's an uphill battle. If we can find one area in which to unite as a religion, let it be this: that we pour out our devotion to the Holy Powers in every possible way, shape, and form and that we respect the infinite diversity possible in such an endeavor.
I'd like to see even more focus on honoring the ancestors. We do this in Heathenry. It is part of the spiritual foundation of the religion and this is good. I'd like to see this gain an even greater focus in day-to-day worship. Sometimes I still hear the old Eddic axiom "it is better not to give than to give too much" cropping up, always out of context too, and if I could see one thing over the next decade within Heathenry change, I would like it to be the realization that we can never, ever give too much to our Gods or to our dead. Ever.
I hope, as we continue evolving as a faith, that some of the controversy surrounding our mystics and spiritworkers, God-claimed, and shamans will die down. I think that as the impetus toward devotional work grows, this is likely to occur, though I doubt that such practices will ever make the average Heathen all that comfortable. That's okay. Simply to have these roles recognized as possibilities within the scope of Heathen practice would be a good start.
Hopefully as we move away from rigid adherence to lore and into an even more authentic practice, the hostility surrounding worship of Loki and His kin, the Jotun family of Holy Beings, will fall by the wayside. Every single person is not going to have a deep devotional relationship with every single Deity. We can all, however, be respectful. I hope that as we evolve, respect will become the coin of the day, regardless of which of the Holy Powers we're discussing.
Most of all, I'd like to see more cooperation and communication between differing factions and denominations. We don't all have to agree; the umbrella of Heathenry is big enough to accommodate many different positions. It would be nice if we could work together though because so much amazing work is being done in so many different areas within the various Heathen branches. I'd like to see everyone able to benefit from that.
This is actually already starting to happen. There's much more debate and civil discussion even on topics of intense disagreement than I've ever seen within the religion before. We're learning, we're growing, and in the end, I think that's all that can really be asked for because ultimately each generation of Heathenry is going to have to redefine what it means for them to be Heathen.
In the end, it's impossible to say for certain what the future of Heathenry might really hold. I do know this, however: I'm doing my part to make that future a reality, and that is all anyone can ask and all any of us can do. In the end, the future of Heathenry lies with its children, and its children's children: those born into the faith who experience the Gods before the lore and who grow up in an atmosphere of reverence without ever having to confront the issues inherent in conversion. We're paving the way for those children, those future Heathens, each and every one of us. We're laying the road, brick by brick, that will lead into our future.