Heathen Woman: Embracing the Awakened Woman

In examining the awakened heathen woman, we’ll begin by looking at what it means to be self-reliant in a way that establishes healthy habits, a sustaining home, and care for the spiritual self. These three pieces are part of a larger concept of building a confident woman who is comfortable in her spiritual and physical path. When we care for the mind, body, and soul, we strike a balance between the very things that keep us going – literally! Heathens tend to be keenly aware, and mindful, of the natural world around them, as all aspects of life surrounding us are filled with creative measure and spirit. In that recognition, doing our best for ourselves and our environment and honoring that which holds life becomes an sacred responsibility.

Frigga Spinning the Clouds by J. C. Dollman

Working to build a skill set that benefits the home (gardening crops, sewing, herbal medicine, etc.) that leads to further self-sustaining measures is a good start in reclaiming our own power in providing for ourselves. It takes that comfort out of the mega-store and places it right on our doorstep. Taking it a step further, knowing how to construct, build, or blacksmith is a continuing extension of becoming physically self sufficient. When we take back the power of the foods we eat and the place we live, a new personal level of fulfillment is reached, since we know that we have provided the basic tenants of our well-being. Spiritually speaking, the Norse gods and goddesses echo this importance. Does Thor’s hammer not build as well as destroy? Does Frigg not attend the spinning wheel? Do our deities not have attributes of being land protectors and care givers? While we are not gods, we can certainly follow the examples left for us by them. This also includes exploring and embracing our passions, whatever they may be. Not every gesture has to be grand in order to be considered sacred. Once we awaken from the sleep of the masses, we begin to find new (or even suppressed) feelings of emotion, hobbies that we enjoy and talents we did not know we even possessed. This combination of elements empowers and honors our deeper sense of self and the divine feminine within.

The divine feminine is known by many names in various faiths. Heathens commonly refer to this primal female power dwelling in the very existence of life as Nerthus. The divine feminine is the fertile conception and realization of life-giving energy, and it nurtures within it every living creature. Tapping into that force within us is inspiring and of great spiritual significance, in that we are tracing who we are all the way back to the point where the spark of life first began. The divine feminine is an area of compassionate practice that can lead us to the source of power embedded within. It can give us a profound sense of confidence as we face our wyrd, paths, and responsibilities head on. When we accept that the divine feminine is a part of us, it’s very empowering! This is where the deeper ancient mysteries lie, and when those are slowly revealed, we can’t help but want a change in our lives.

When we come to that crossroad of change, it begins from within our own self. It is personal activism that begins in our minds and bodies. Change is not always easy, but the awakened woman embraces it as a new way of living that builds, sustains, and honors herself. We deserve the respect that we allow ourselves to be treated with. Once we’ve begun exploring the divine feminine within and fully realizing our greater potential, our view of respect becomes uncompromising. It’s not a matter of screaming loudly in the direction of others. It’s the determination to create our path and fold ourselves into our own wyrd, and so it demonstrates to ourselves and the world around us that we are not only capable, but we have recognized our own worth.

That level of respect is also something that we must be willing to give to ourselves, for no one else will if we first won’t honor the same principle. As we gain self-respect, social acceptance and liking from others becomes less important, and we tend to lose the desire to put others down. Instead, we are more focused on lifting our own selves up. It is accepting the accountability to self that creates and sustains this personal drive. When we remove all excuses and any false justifications, we stand face to face with the truth — sometimes a cold, hard reality — but to begin a journey worth walking, we must find the starting line.

It’s not uncommon for a woman on this road to face obstacles that have been imposed upon her over years of development, leaving her afraid and feeling exposed when it comes to matters of sexuality or personal attachments. It’s a very natural response, if someone has been raised in an oppressive environment, to still shy away from making a fully trusting relationship commitment or hesitate to explore different levels of touch, sexuality or other physical means of showing emotion, and this may be true even if they have walked a heathen path for many years. It is a scar left impressed upon the soul. These obstacles that can be eased with time, care of self, and even counseling if necessary. Clearing them does not mean that you will still not consciously choose to refrain from some of these behaviors – but it will be a choice and not an imposition.

Scars are not anything to be ashamed of. Heathens are always working to break bonds of shame that have been acquired over time, and it’s a process worth working through. Letting go of the hurt and insecurity that shame brings is freeing to each element of the self, and it is a gift that is worth giving to ourselves. The commitment to care for mind, body, and soul is open and available to all people, regardless of faith, gender, or walk of life. For heathens, and the heathen woman especially, this awakening can set a soul soaring bravely towards the path we were always meant to walk.


Heathen Woman is published on alternate Fridays. Subscribe via RSS or e-mail!

About Heather O'Brien

Heather O’Brien is an interfaith clergy member and Founder of Women of Asatru. She writes and speaks on heathen related topics pertaining to heathen reconstruction, Norse mythology, and European folk lore.

Heather has been studying Germanic tribal reconstruction and Celto-Germanic mythology for over fifteen years, and is in the process of writing a book that focuses on supporting and encouraging heathen women. She has also written for columns pertaining to organic homesteading.


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