Future of Paganism
Heathens Moving Forward: Moving Past Our Differences
Frithful codes were a part of all of the various thing assemblages found throughout Germania and Scandinavia, and also seen in the processions of Nerthus described in Tacitus' Germania. Those codes existed at these gatherings and religious rites because when you had a large number of people gathering together who may or may not get along, it was important to have a means to protect the peace. This enabled people to come together in neutrality to conduct business and legal affairs, honor the Gods, and even arrange marriages.
I want to see us growing to the point we are coming together in local groups to buy shared land for temples, shrines, and holy groves. I want to see those temples being used as places of shelter, like churches that open their doors in conjunction with the Red Cross for people who have just lost their home in a fire. I want to see true Heathen charities created, serving both our religious community but also serving to better the physical communities in which we live and worship.
I want to see our Heathen artisans flourish so that there is a flood of new artworks of our Gods, and works for our way of life found in all mediums: metal and jewelry, glass and ceramic, illustration, sculpture. I want to see holy temples bedecked in their works, so that when someone enters the holy space they can feel the awe of our Gods.
I want to see and hear more of our Gods being named in ritual. Since our historical sources are limited, there is not a lot of information known about many of our Gods and Goddesses. I can understand that the deities we know the most about tend to be the ones most commonly hailed in ritual (Odin, Thor, Freya, etc.). But if we're only ever always hailing the same handful of Gods how can we as a religion grow? If many of our long established veterans, as well as in some cases even our godhi/gythia cannot seem to muster more than "Hail " before passing the horn on, how can we as a community grow? I can understand that there are times when sometimes that can even be a struggle to say... but shouldn't our long-standing members be able to put together more than just this? Our tradition is steeped in the power and importance of words.
A personal saying of mine is that if you treat your words like children, one day they may grow up and change the world. I want to see the growth of our religion--of our understanding, of our connection to our Northern Traditio -- dazzle like the midnight sun because we go beyond what is comfortable, and push ourselves to both learn more and to share more of ourselves.
I look forward to the day when we see third-, fourth-, and eventually fifth-generation Asatru children, when our local kindred grow to the point they begin offering specialized programming for all ages, children, teens, adult singles, married couples, and even programs for senior citizens. We must grow to this end, for studies show that many pagans go back to Christian churches later in life because there are programs there that can assist them that our own community is unable to provide at this time. I'd love to see us have a Heathen summer camp, where children can be exposed to the agricultural background our religion is steeped in, in the spirit of fosterage that existed so long ago.
There is a along way to go, but this is the hope for the future I tender. There are individuals and groups working towards some of these goals currently. But while there may be some on the path there is still much more work that needs to be done. This is definitely in the realm of the possible if we can all learn to cooperate and aim for these goals together.
Born in New Orleans, K. C. Hulsman moved with her family to Virginia where she was brought up on the founding history of our country. She spent many a day visiting battlefields, the home of presidents, and the Smithsonian. Later transplanted to Texas, she proceeded onto the University of Texas at Arlington to earn her M.A. in Humanities as well as to conduct oral history interviews for a lasting archive at her alma mater. After her graduate studies, she transitioned into the business sector where she is currently growing into a thriving marketing career in the entertainment industry. Drawing on over a decade of experience as both a gythia of Urdabrunnr Kindred and an active member of her local Asatru community, her combination of academic research and personal exploration provides interesting insights into modern day Heathenry. Ms. Hulsman has contributed content to several devotionals, and delights in bringing attention to seldom spoken of Gods and Goddesses in the Northern Tradition.