As of lately, I have been asked many times, and as well received many emails from fellow followers of the heathen path/s in regards to the topic of kindred.
Usually wondering or asking my thoughts on this, or how does one go about finding one or forming one?
Well the answer to such a question is well simple, yet at the same-time complex.
Here I shall express my thoughts on the subject based on from what I know from my own path as well as others I know personally.
First of all: Like I mentioned the answer is in a way “simple”? Well I mean this in the sense that the root of it or foundation is “right under your nose” (so to speak.)
Well for one the truth of the matter is…… Everybody has/is apart of some type of “kindred.”
You have been since day one, and throughout your entire life! Who or what is this? It is your family, your community, that “network” of ppl that raised and nurtured you.
This is where you learned and were taught your social values and helped you form your concept of personal boundaries. These are the people one is obligated too and closest with first and foremost! They are the essential influences in your own “web of wyrd.”
Like I said this is our family, whether or not those who raised you or call “family” are related biologically. (as in today’s world there are many “blended” families and those “adopted.”)
Your “personal kindred” is the community that helped form and nurture your sense of identity. As many of you know one of the main, essential values of Asatru/Heathen culture is that of a sense of commitment to ones “folk” community, and most importantly family.
One of the key “virtues” or ideologies that is expressed through our ways, is that of the understanding that ones life and life itself is not just about “them” ones life gains it’s value meaning and merit through our deeds and actions, as well as how these things influence those close and dear to us! Or what sort of impact we ourselves make in those people’s lives, is what over all effects our personal “value” in this life. Our lives would be rather well…… Meaningless! If it was not shared with others, and without the ones we love!
This overall ties into the basic needs of human nature. Our species as a whole is that of a social-animal, these relationships are one of the most essential components of the human experience. Our social needs! So what better place to start other than realizing your core y foundation, those who you are most bounded to as of now. These are the ppl you owe the first and foremost obligation too. Here is where one of the essential aspects and values of Heathen culture is not just “theory but real practice! (you gotta walk the walk, folks!)
For example, what better way to pay homage to beloved mother Frigg than showing your love and respect to your mother, and/or the special matrons in your life. What better way to pay homage to Freya and the Dis than by acknowledging and showing appreciation to all the great, wonderful and inspirational women in our life. If one wants to truly understand our “gods” on a personal level, one must first truly understand and bond with one’s own personal ancestors. After all we see our gods as not just some “over-lords” ( or over-ladies) that we serve, we are not servants! Nor are they our “masters” We perceive them as our family we perceive them as our ancestry! They are our “spiritual” family. Treat them and perceive them as such. When you make peace and build and/or affirm ties with your own family and ancestry you are doing so with the gods.
Often the issue comes up for many (especially those who are completely new and have no “background” in Asatru/ Heathen ways) “My family isn’t pagan or heathen?” Well the truth is that even those of us that do come from this sort background, are at least going to have a few relatives and ancestors that were/are of other beliefs or even ethnic backgrounds. So does this make this complicated? No, not at all! The point is they are still your folk. they are still those who play a role in one’s wyrd and orlog. They are all apart of the aspects that made you, you! You need to embrace them all! Even if one does not come from such a Germanic/Norse or pagan background, the truth is you may find those ethics and values held in high regard to us, all around in the people you hold dearest. Having such characteristics as honor, loyalty, courage, and hospitality is certainly not exclusive to those of culture and path. Quite honestly I think our mighty deities care more about upholding these values than how many times you “Hail their name!” Besides another core value is “give and give.” Thus you give the most loyalty and love to those who have shown you the most loyalty and love.
When it comes to regarding finding and/or forming a “Heathen” kindred/community.
Well my advice is before that one must have the previously mentioned in order and priority. With this, then one can further create new healthy and beneficial ties to add to ones “web.” Also commune and network with others that are on the same page and hold these same values. With this one can be certain you are building a healthy, functioning, as well as coherent social structure.
One of the things I love and admire most of my culture is the great value it places on community and social bounds and how it acknowledges the importance of these things in our lives, how they shape our boundaries and sense of identity. As well, we are encouraged to grow as dynamic individuals, finding and contributing new and great things to our folk, family and kindred/s.
Much love &Wassail to you and yours! 🙂