Sometimes I have to laugh at myself. So much earnest thought on questions of religion. A comment from Ursus77 about emphasizing the ancestors and the local spirits reminded me that thinking about choices is a luxury I give myself because I enjoy it. Combine that with a lazy afternoon listening to Covenant. Is there any doubt which direction I’m going? I’m a heathen. I really don’t understand why I struggle against it.
I’ve been doing this for more than 30 years now. I was leafing through very old journals yesterday. My entries were often spotty; those journals are useful mostly because they take me back in memory to a particular time. I see, though, that I was aware of, and connected to, Ásatrú Free Assembly as early as 1977 and that by 1978 I was working on several articles for their newsletter (which I don’t seem to have ever finished — I’ve schlepped the drafts from one computer to another ever since).
I’m pleased to know that. I’ve been wondering whether it was before or after I married Missey (1980). I was thinking it must have been before because that was the last time for many years that I showed any real religious independence outside my relationships, but also thinking that it could have been in the period just before I met Jim (1982), or perhaps during my SCA period (say 1983-84). It makes sense that my earliest official heathen period was during the time after I met Will (1977). I had remembered that particular period as Wiccan, but my journal certainly doesn’t bear out that memory. I’ll have to let the memories come to the surface in their own time, but I’d guess it was Missey who talked me into leaving the AFA when I was uncomfortable about their racism.
A part of my past recovered. It’s hell to get older and start forgetting when things happened. (Someone asked me once why heathens are always so anxious to establish how long they’ve been heathen. My answer: Because they can’t pretend that their families went underground during The Burning Times. The heathen and pagan communities are defensive about reviving non-Christian religions, so they go for all the antiquity they can get.)
From Call the ships to port, by Covenant, one of my favorite songs:
“A billion words ago the sailors disappeared,
A story for the children to rock them back to sleep,
A million burning books like torches in our hands,
A fabric of ideals to decorate our homes,
A thousand generations the soil on which we walk . . . .
A billion words ago they sang of song of leaving,
An echo from the chorus will call them back again.
A choir full of longing will call our ships to port.
Tonight we light the fires, . . .
Tonight we walk on water,
And tomorrow we’ll be gone.”