If you look for information on Vanatru, you will eventually run into me and my writings. I am a pretty high-profile, well-known Vanatruar; I used to be known within the Vanatru community as Svartesol (2007-2010, back before I came out as trans).
The Vanir are a pantheon of gods that are often seen as “gods of fertility”, though this is oversimplifying it; “gods of nature” or “gods of agriculture” is also oversimplifying it. In the ten years that I have been working intensively with the Vanir, I would say they are a pantheon connected with the cycles of life and death. Some of them have associations with fecundity, some of them have associations with sexuality, some of them have associations with prosperity, some of them have associations with peace.
They are also more than this.
Over the last seven years that I’ve been a public Vanatruar I’ve met a lot of people interested in Vanatru, but they say things like “I’d like to be Vanatru, but I’m gay, and the Vanir seem very rah-rah het sex” or “I’d like to be Vanatru, but I’m childfree and they’re gods of fertility” or “I’d like to be Vanatru, but there’s all this emphasis on Freya the sex goddess and Frey’s… antler… and I’m ace” or “I’d like to be Vanatru but I’m disabled and the Vanir seem to be very into being in your body” and so on.
This is frustrating to me for a lot of reasons, but most particularly because it’s personal.
For those of you playing along at home, I am a queer grey-ace disabled childfree trans guy living in an urban metropolitan area. I am probably the most unlikely person to be Vanatru, in terms of what a lot of people think a Vanatruar “should” look like. I have profound discomfort with my physical body, having been assigned female at birth when I am male, and having a host of health issues… never feeling at home in my skin. I don’t do the het thing. I have known poverty all my life. I have mental health problems that makes my brain feel like a battleground some days, not the picture of Vanic serenity a la Frey’s golden sunshine smile or Njord’s still waters (also I am dual-trad and my de facto patron is Asmodai, who is… not associated with peace, putting it mildly). I am a cranky mezzovert who doesn’t always play well with others, which also doesn’t fit the mold of peace and frith. I am not ever going to be in a bio-relationship again. And I am not ever going to be a homesteader, I don’t have the spoons for that. I love nature and feel connected to it but because of my health challenges it’s with limits – I can’t go on long hikes, I can’t go camping, I have to be mindful of mobility issues when I’ve done ritual outdoors, and so on.
And yet, the Vanir welcome me. And indeed… it is as I am, that they welcome me. Because they are gods of this world, and I am a product of this world. I am a part of this world. They do not reject me for this or that. I still have a place in this world, with what I am.
The Vanir are also more than what they seem on the surface. There is a corroborated gnosis among some modern Vanic practitioners that many of the citizens of Vanaheim are bisexual and poly; there are also asexual Vanir, and gender-shifters. There are citizens of Vanaheim who are more “warlike” in nature – there is a hunter-gatherer culture as much as there is a farming culture. These are just a few things where the Vanir deviate from the idea that they are just gods of farming and het sex resulting in babymaking. There is a whole world to be discovered, beyond this, and it will surprise you – it surprised me.
If you are interested in the Vanir, and Vanatru, please do not feel like there would be no place for you among us if you’re not heterosexual, if you’re asexual or aromantic, if you live in an urban area and you like it that way, if you aren’t interested in the farming life, if your life is not one of prosperity and abundance. Just come as you are. As you are, the sacred cycles of life and death, creation and destruction, transformation, still spiral through your soul, in different ways. You are still connected to them, living in this world. They will meet you where you are at, they will welcome you. If you feel called by the Vanir, that is your way home; don’t think that you have to be of a particular orientation or live a particular type of lifestyle in order to be Vanatru. Just be yourself.
The world is an ecosystem, comprised of many different types of life. It takes all kinds. You, as you are, are “the right kind”, if that’s where you feel you’d like to be.