That Frightening Word

Stand up!We are not worms. We are Men and Women. Groveling in the dirt is not appropriate for us, nor do we kneel. When we worship our gods, there is not one ounce of self-abasement in it. We stand and look them in the face, not because we are equals, but because we are relatives, and we respect each other, which is healthy.

Pay attention! Midgard, the world we live in, is a wonderful place, but living here is not a free ride. Look around you, see how the world works, and work in it. There is no shame in such work, and much that might be glorious. There is shame in not doing the world's work.

Be something! And in being so, do something worth remembering. The nature of such things has changed in the last thousand years, and it will change again in the next. The world of Beowulf is far behind us, but we can still admire him for what he was in his time. You might do something unique in history, such as curing a disease, or inventing interstellar travel, or winning a good war, or preventing a bad one. Or you might do something more ordinary but every bit as important, such as being a good parent. Whatever you do, do it better than well. And if you don't succeed, you can at least fail remarkably.

You may feel that there is something missing here. Yes, we have in our lore a description of an afterlife. It's quite complicated.

It's also not of great concern to us. The central issues of the Abrahamic religions are footnotes to Heathens. And the detachment of Eastern religions is interesting but not often engaging. We think we have better ways of spending our time while we live here in Midgard.

In another two hundred years, the word heathen may have lost its sting. I hope it does, and I hope that's because Heathens, and a Heathen outlook, have become well-known, well-understood, and perhaps even appreciated. Our forebears out on the heath will smile at that.

Hail Thor!

6/1/2011 4:00:00 AM
  • Pagan
  • Letters from Midgard
  • Heathen
  • History
  • identity
  • Paganism
  • Steven Abell
    About Steven Abell
    Steven Thor Abell is a storyteller and the author of Days in Midgard: A Thousand Years On, a collection of original modern stories based on Heathen myths. As of 2013, he is also Steersman of the High Rede of The Troth.
    Close Ad