Ours is an agricultural religion

Ours is not solely a warrior religion, and unfortunately that is what is hyped the most. Ours is an AGRICULTURAL religion. If you truly examine all of our rites and holy days, they focus on vitality and survival and thus, especially the major holy tides, connect with key moments in an agricultural culture from the harvest to livestock management. Yes we honored the ancestors, and we spent time to honor those who died in good service to their community. Women who died in childbirth were JUST as highly honored as men who died in battle in some communities. A poet or skald could be just as honored as any warrior, etc.

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Warrior aspects found within our religion were all focused on protecting your family, and your community. The comitatus is simply how some men served the larger community, by being available to fend off wild beasts, brigands, and those who might raid or “vike” against their community. But a man’s worth was determined by 1) his contributions to the community (which could but did not HAVE to include fighting/defense) 2) his ability to speak extemporarily over the horn in honor to his Gods, and his kin, etc. 3) being trothful and frithful in actions & deeds.

I think things get confused when so many describe the ancient Heathen peoples as “Vikings.” In truth there is no name for those ancient Heathens, at least insofar as describing them in religious terms. They were simply called whatever their particular community was called, and part of the community identity INCLUDED worship in the Northern European Gods.

The term “VIKING” specifically refers to those who raided, and pillaged. Well over 90% of those ancient Heathens would not be considered Vikings in this sense. In fact, they had just as much to fear from the Vikings as other non-Heathen communities did, and when their community was threatened, they would fight the Vikings too. Unfortunately, because the height of this civilization occured during the Viking Age, and most academic writings about this period of time for a very long time focused primarily on the Vikings, this has become skewed and confused. One needs to remember that this religion existed for several millenia BEFORE the Vikings ever entered the picture. Of course it doesn’t help matters that most scholars, and even modern-day Heathens refer to all the peoples of this time under the umbrella term of “Viking” when they were certainly not the raiders to which that name should apply.

And in the annuls of history, what’s more interesting to write about: battle, or the harvest being planted? Obviously, the former… and as such it’s no wonder that most of what lore that was penned by Christian scholars after the conversion of Heathen Europe, focuses either on war and battle, magic or humor. Why write about those events that folks who lived and depended so on the land for survival already knew about as part of their normal routine? Thus the lore becomes the realm of the extraordinary, and not the best source of the ordinary daily doings of the culture it represents.

The leader has a sacred committment to protect his people, this is done through ensuring there is food, making sure the crops are planted, food is harvested, ensuring that offerings have been gifted to the Gods & the ancestors, making sure the local vaettir are appeased and the unfriendly ones are kept at bay. The leader saw to the health and wealth of his people, striking up trade, fosterings and the plying of diplomacy. Taking up arms and leading men into battle was only part of his function, and usually was the least seldom applied of all of the roles the leader oversaw.

Odin may be a God of warriors, but he’s also a God of poets too. Both the word and the sword were equally important, and it is erroneous to focus on the one more than the other, as it skews the original culture of ancient Heathenry.

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2 thoughts on “Ours is an agricultural religion

  1. thetinfoilhatsociety

    Frey. I really think he is simply ignored in much of modern heathenry, when to our agricultural ancestors he would have been extremely important. If you’re not a farmer, or even a gardener, it’s hard to see his importance as anything other than an intellectual exercise. Which is why I think Pagans in general, and heathens in particular, should make an effort to grow at least some of their own food – even if it’s one tomato plant in a pot. Then they’ll see Frey’s importance and pay him more due.

    Hail Frey!

    Like

    1. Odin, Thor, Frey and Freya are the most hailed Deities in my experience at gatherings I’ve ever been to across the US. I do feel that they hail him more often in warrior aspects, than the more prevalent fertility and agrarian aspects that survive to us in lore. Yes Egil’s Saga shows He was given a thank offering for a victory… but so many more places shown him tied to fertility, and even peace. It’s symptomatic of the false inflation of the warrior aspect above all else which I find to be tremendously widespread in the Heathen / Asatru community.

      Liked by 1 person

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