05 January 2007

A Complete And Tru History.....

A goodly chunk of this was posted in my personal livejournal. I am reposting it (along with some of my other heathen-related posts) here.

My mother never raised me or my sister to follow any particular religion. She always told missionaries or other evangelistic types that "we have our own beliefs"--sometimes rudely, sometimes politely. I was never told what church to go to, and my own family background is rather religiously muddled; My mother was baptized Presbyterian. My father was RLDS. My maternal grandparents were Catholic and Baptist, respectively--and my Baptist grandfather's family was Catholic up until the parish priest told my great-great-grandfather Cardinal that he was living in sin and all his family was doomed to Hell because he wasn't married in an RC ceremony (they were kinda in the back woods of Quebec, so there was no local priest there for many years--just a travelling parson).

I grew up in a small town in North Dakota that was heavily Lutheran and Catholic, with smatterings of Pentecostal and Church of God. It was through the Pentecostals that I wound up finding my way to Christianity when I was 19--and I spent several years being completely and totally insufferable about it. To this day, my sister--who is very aggressively atheist--loves to give me grief about it even though it's a part of my past that I want to leave where it the past.

I identified as Jewish for many years, for reasons that I couldn't even articulate--I think, in looking back, that I saw it more as a cause to fight for than as something I really actually believed. I sense that all the rabbis I spoke to about converting figured it too--because they kept telling me "If you don't know the reason why you want to convert, then perhaps this is not the faith for you."

The Aesir and the Vanir, however, I had kept drifting back to ever since I was first introduced to them as a child (when I discovered "D'aulaire's Illustrated Norse Myths" in our elementary school's library). Why? I don't know--or I didn't know at the time, anyway. In about 92ish, I started delving into learning about them and I discovered that there was an actual religion around them called "Asatru", but at the time the WWW was still in its infancy and there was precious little information about heathenry out there. So after a little while I moved on to other things. I eventually rekindled my love of hockey, and through it I found my way to a heavily UPG-ized personal belief system that was largely shamanic and had liberal dashes of various pagan faiths cobbled together with nails of Buddhism and a thin veneer of Wicca.

All the while, though, I kept identifying myself as being of a faith that I didn't really follow much. Judaism became a label for me, a blue blankie that was my armor from the wierdly curious, rather than something I really believed in. Why stick with a faith that you yourself don't believe? So I gave up calling myself that.


Soanyway. About midway through 2005, I felt the pull of the Aesir and Vanir again. This time, I listened. It was like...well, it just felt right. I had looked into my Italian heritage, but the Religio Romana didn't really appeal to me. Iuppiter et al. kept telling me "We understand why you're coming to see us, my dear, but your destiny lies elsewhere." I turned to my paternal ancestors, and that's where I found a home (spiritually speaking). The Shining Ones welcomed me with open arms and said "We've been waiting for you--welcome home!"


My husband (who is LDS), clueless and inattentive as he is, apparently didn't get the memo when I told him on the third Saturday of every month "I'm going down to the UU Fellowship for the monthly blot." He still says "You told me you were Jewish!" whenever I bring up anything even remotely related to Asatru...and this is the guy who told the Elders and damn near everyone else that I'm Wiccan. I can't eat anything pork without hearing "I thought you can't eat that!" and "treyf!" and whatever else. The other night when I asked him a direct question about the LDS Church and he couldn't answer me, I said "I don't want to hear you saying another word about my gods and goddesses, since you can't be bothered to learn anything about your own damn religion." His response? "When did you go Norse?! You always tell me that you're Jewish!"


I give up.


Bernulf said...

Wow...seems like your husband is actually more dense than I am, and that's saying something!

I can relate to your experience of first reading about the lore of our forebears in a school library, but not knowing at the time that there were people in the contemporary world who had revived the old ways...I can remember lamenting in high school that the old gods were dead, having been replaced by the Christian god. That I fell for the lie so hard, and so completely, is something I've never forgotten.

Hrafnkell said...

A delightful post! I was turned onto Dropping the Hammer by Bernulf and I am happy to thank him for that, having had a look for myself. I also can relate and to Bernulf's words can only say "ditto". But we're home now, and that's what matters.