A lot of people in many faiths and many communities are what I like to call community based solitary practitioners. By that I mean they will come together for some sort of gathering like the Catholic Mass, a Group Esbat Rite, A Coven Ritual, or a Sikh Prayer Service and Meal. After all is said and done, we wander off on our different paths to our different homes and do our very different things. Now I’m not saying that this is 100% true for everyone but in the 21st Century we are more at home texting our friends and watching Netflix vs. actually communicating with others.
It wasn’t until I had a rude awakening this summer that I realized exactly how fragile our communities are and how we walk a tightrope to keep them together some times. You watch from the outside as everything you build crumbles because you can no longer be the keystone that holds it. I have been extremely ill this past summer and all of my energy was devoted to making myself stay awake. All of my wife’s energy was devoted to making sure that we stayed fed and had a roof over our heads. For all the close calls we made and still got through it’s a pretty big thing. I had built the start of a community of people that shared a goal and a vision. I found out I was the driving force that held it together.
When I was sick this summer, in fighting broke out, people got hurt, everything exploded, mostly because I couldn’t even think, let alone focus on anything. And when we as humans focus entirely on ourselves we suddenly become the people that we never want to be. We don’t look at ourselves as those people because we could never be those people. But there is no longer faith in our fellow man because we are so divided by fear and self-absorption.
Being a 21st century Viking has taught me that community needs to be my cornerstone. That is the one true way that I can walk through the 21st century without being afraid when I step out into the street. For a woman in the United States that is nearly impossible and yet I still have family members that will look me in the eye and say why should you be scared to walk in the street? Why is the world a scary place, you live in a nice area, you have a job, a roof over your head, and someone who loves you. There is nothing you need to be anxious or scared about.
I’m sorry sir, your white male is showing when you make that statement. Yes I have these things, but you also don’t have to constant fear of being sexually harassed by a stranger, someone you know, or a person in authority. You don’t have the potential of telling someone that you were harassed, groped, assaulted, or raped and them telling you that you were asking for it, had it coming, or he was just being flirty or a typical boy.You won’t walk into an emergency room and automatically have your blinding pain dismissed as “female” problems or weight issues and given a small dose of pain killers and told to go home. After getting home have to make two more trips to two different ER’s before you finally get a doctor that takes you seriously enough and realizes that you’ve gone septic from your appendix bursting. By the way when you get out of surgery you’re admonished for not seeking help sooner. This could have been fixed if you had come in when you first felt the pain.
You also don’t have the fear that any other person has when dealing with law enforcement. If you keep your hands on the wheel until he walks up to the car when he pulls you over for a routine traffic stop, you don’t have to worry if you are going to live or die today. All you have to worry about is if you are going to get a ticket. In fact, according to this article, anxiety is pretty much an epidemic.
Our tribes have been driven apart by fear and by anxiety and if you don’t have your lynch pin that is willing to hold it together it will crumble piece by piece. As a Viking in this 21st Century I have to remember that hospitality is also reciprocity. My fear will only be greeted with more fear. In order to create the perfect community it has to be done without fear. In my Village, you are welcome until you prove for some reason that you are not. YOU are MY community. I don’t care who you are, I don’t care about who you were, all I care about who you are now and how you act with me. Your actions speak to me now.
My Tribe and my Village will always be open to anyone that needs it, that much is so clear to me now. I was made the chieftain for a reason, it’s time for me to act like that, I can no longer be afraid of my own tribe, I must be a leader, I must shine. If that means I must be a target so those that cannot stand like I do and take the abuse can do so, that is what I must do. Welcome to the Temple of Valhalla, Welcome into my Doors and Welcome to my community.