Happy New Year! Enjoy this free wallpaper for 2019! Just download it and use as your desktop. Enjoy! Have a great 2019!
Well, that title is a bit of click-bait, isn’t it? Seriously though, as Heathens looking into the upcoming new year, we do have oaths, resolutions, or at least, things we’d like to accomplish next year. This is why I’ve come up with six resolutions we, as Heathens, should make for next year. See if you agree with me.
Take Better Care of Yourself
You may think it’s odd for me to tell you to to be selfish and take care of yourself first, but that’s exactly what I’m telling you. Your resolution should be to care for yourself better than you have been caring for yourself. This means getting more sleep, more rest, better quality food, and exercise. Why? Because if you don’t take care of yourself, no one else will. And if you care for others, i.e., children, animals, elderly, disabled, or sick, who will take care of them if you become sick? No one.
So, you need to care for yourself, in order to care for others in your life. Eat organic foods and less junk food. Exercise at least three times a week, preferably more. If you do get sick, stay home and get well–go to the doctor, if necessary. There are people who depend on you to be on top of your game; you won’t be 100 percent if you’re tired all the time, sick, or out-of-shape.
Did you know that 50 percent of Americans’ diets consist of processed food on average? Yes. All the soft drink, frozen meals, breakfast cereals, desserts, canned foods, and prepackaged whatever isn’t necessarily healthy for you and takes you away from your Heathen roots. I encourage you to buy local foods, which have ties to the land you live in, and will sustain you better and taste better than the shit that comes prepackaged.
Learn a New Skill
As Heathens, it’s important for us to keep our minds and bodies challenged. That means learning a new skill, whether it’s a new craft, a new language, a martial art, a musical instrument, or a new sport. Learning new things not only improves your mental function, it helps postpone the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. When we work on things that our ancestors did such as knife-making, hunting, knapping, leather tooling, farming, raising livestock, weaving, spinning, foraging, gardening, preserving food, and whatnot, you may find a greater understanding and link to the past.
Learn to Meditate
Meditation isn’t necessarily sitting cross-legged and saying “Ommm,” although you can do that, if you want to. Meditation is what is called “mindfulness,” which is being aware of your body and your surroundings. It’s being present within the moment.
Meditation allows you to pay attention to everything around you. It allows you to clear your thoughts and lower your heart rate. It allows you to reduce the stress in your life and your reaction to the stress. And it also enables us to forge a link between ourselves and the gods.
When we clear our thoughts, we open our minds to the gods and allow them to enter. Although they can overcome the constant chatter of our busy minds, they don’t like having to do that. Tyr, I know, isn’t thrilled with dealing with the chaotic “monkey mind” that we all have. He’ll do it when he has to, but he prefers an ordered mind. Loki, on the other hand, is great with distractions.
One good book worth considering is Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics. There are other good meditation books as well, so if you’d like other referrals, I can provide them.
Get Outdoors More Often
It’s all too common for humans to become “box people,” as one friend used to call people who never stepped foot in nature. These people went from climate-controlled homes to climate-controlled cars to a climate-controlled workplace, and back again. They had safely encapsulated themselves in boxes that didn’t challenge them. Oh sure, they might enjoy a nice day outside during lunch or on the weekend, but rain, snow, wind, heat? No way.
It’s ridiculously easy becoming maudlin about nature from the 10th story of a high rise, or even on the manicured lawns of suburbia. When you’re out in it, you have to learn what nature requires you to do. That means planning and preparing to be out with it. The wild is not a kind mistress — some areas are downright dangerous for the unprepared. Heathens need to go to those places –wild and natural places–where there is both beauty and danger, and know what to do. I’m not telling you to risk your life, by any stretch; I’m asking you to claim what is your birthright as a creature of this Earth. This requires knowledge, preparation, and skill.
If you’re not ready for a wilderness experience, you need to start small. Go to a park and enjoy the grass underfoot and the trees overhead. Watch the animals, however tame they may act around humans. Take walks more outside. Pay attention to your surroundings. Read about places you’d want to visit and go there when funds are available. In the meantime, learn the national forests and parks in your area. Learn about the wildlife. Become a hunter and angler. The more you learn about nature, the better that knowledge will serve you as a Heathen.
Learn More About Your Ancestors
Love them or hate them, your relatives and ancestors say a lot about who you are. Without them, you would not exist. Whether you were adopted into your current family or whether the family who raised you were your actual birth parents, every Heathen should know where they came from. You should honor those ancestors whom you deem worthy of honoring. If you have no recent ancestors whom you feel are worthy of reverence, that’s okay. Go back further, or choose to honor more distant ancestors in general. Not all of them can be assholes.
Even if you can’t go back very far in your lineage, knowing and understanding the people whom your ancestry belongs to is a good idea. Why? Because you can add and incorporate customs, gods, and practices into your beliefs and honoring. That way, it becomes something more personal to you.
If you’re adopted, honoring the ancestors of your adopted parents can also bring meaning as well. After all, they chose you to be part of their family and kindred. Remember, we’re talking ethnicity here, and not race, because race is a construct. We’re all humans, which means if you were raised Swedish, even if your birth parents might have been Anglo Saxon, you’re Swedish in ethnicity, if not birth.
Learn More About Our Gods and Our Past
As Heathens, it’s important to read the Eddas, stories about our gods, and important literature that has made up much of what we know about the Heathens who came before us and Heathenry. Learning how to translate and read old manuscripts is a part of it, certainly, but even if you can’t pony up for a course in Old Icelandic, Old Norse, or Anglo Saxon, just reading the translated stories will provide richness to your life and your beliefs. It’s a good idea to do your own research and formulate your own thoughts–lots of recon wankers will tell you what to believe because they have a “theory.” Trust me, you can decide for yourself.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post on resolutions. If you did, consider buying me a coffee for my hard work. See you here in 2019. May you have a wonderful and safe New Year!
Hunting season has drawn to a close, which means Yule is around the corner. Suddenly, I’m going from Hunting to Yule once we celebrate Thanksgiving next week. (Yeah, Thanksgiving gets preempted by hunting season.) So, we celebrate Thanksgiving the week after. After that, we’re in the few weeks before Yule, which means a busy time.
This year I told my non-Heathen, agnostic, mostly atheist, husband I wanted to celebrate Yule, too. We were both raised in Catholic families (yeah, crazy) and we were both raised in the Christian tradition of Christmas. So, Yule will be somewhat new to him, and the prayers and offerings will be private.
Why I’m Keeping the Prayer and Offerings Private
Prayer and offerings are part of our beliefs, and yet, it can look strange to those outside of our religion. It’s not that I’m ashamed of my beliefs, it’s just that my husband doesn’t understand or believe in them. Looking at it from an atheist perspective, I get it. It looks like a bunch of woo-woo to him and it can look like I’ve lost my marbles. (Maybe I have?) But I do get it. Not everyone is going to look on our religion positively, which is why I’m presenting a more secular Yule to my family and not pushing my religion on those who aren’t interested in it.
Having grown up Catholic, the whole religious thing comes off as a way to either guilt someone or as a way to try to recruit them. I don’t push my beliefs on someone who does not have them.
How I’m Planning to Celebrate Yule
One book I’ve found helpful in celebrating Yule is A Guide to Celebrating the 12 Days of Yule. It’s worth the four bucks on Amazon to buy the eBook, if you’re really looking for ideas. It offered some good ideas for me, so it might come in handy to you too. I’m also blending other celebrations we’ve had in the past.
December 20th — Mother’s Night
I’ve never really celebrated Mother’s Night, except perhaps by baking stuff. Yes, I’ll be baking cookies and desserts to prepare for the upcoming Yule. I’ll also be offering my female ancestors gifts on my altar. When cooking, I often go into meditation and focus on my ancestors. Sometimes, I’ll hear the ones who were closest to me in my mind. It is a day to honor them, so I do things that they would appreciate. Usually involves holiday preparations.
The Christmas/Yule Tree will already be up because I think it’s too much to try to get it put up during this time. Apparently people who put up their Yule trees during Yule don’t have time issues.
December 21st — Solstice/Yule
This is a big day for me. I will designate a Yule log to burn in my woodstove. If I can find good twine, I may make it prettier with pine boughs and pine cones. I will put together a venison roast for dinner and we will crack open a mead to celebrate. I may try my hand at making a yule log cake. In the late evening, I will hold a blot outside for the gods. I will also leave gifts to Sunna, Mani, Baldr, Loki, Tyr, and Skadi on my altar. I may gather the ashes from the Yule log later to smudge the corners of the house for protection. I will read the runes for the Solstice to get a feel as to what is to come for the new year.
December 24th — Christmas Eve
My family celebrates Christmas Eve and Christmas as a secular holiday rather than a religious one. Given that we’ll already have the Christmas Tree up, we have another big meal (usually a venison or antelope roast) and more mead. We exchange presents and open them up. Again, another blot for the gods and the wights.
I like the Icelandic tradition of giving books on Christmas Eve for reading. This is something I’d love to incorporate in my Yule plans.
December 25th — Christmas
We visit relatives in town and deliver presents. We then come home and have a feast (again). This time, it will be roast goose. Usually, I plan on a pork roast in honor of Freyr, but this year, we have a couple of geese in the freezer, so we’ll have a traditional Dickens type of dinner.
December 31st — New Year’s Eve
New Year’s Eve has never been a big thing with me. Even so, I’ll probably wait for the New Year and offer a blot to the gods as a thank you for the good things that happened this year and a prayer for a better upcoming year. I will then read the runes for the upcoming year again. Often the runes’ message coincides with what I learned earlier.
New Year’s Day
New Year’s Day may see me perform a salt ritual to protect the home and farmstead.
My Yule is Low Key (but not Loki)
Yule will be low key, and I prefer it that way. It’s 12 days of festivities and of those 12 days, I celebrate at least three with special meals. The blots I choose to do in private. The offerings will go on my altar and will be either left there, if not perishable, or left outside, if perishable, once I am done with them. Plenty of critters outside will partake of the scraps.
My prayers are more spontaneous, than anything. They come from the heart, and I do not write them down. The salt ritual too isn’t written down, but I call upon the wights to protect the dwelling and barn, and to discourage those wights intent on harm. It does seem to make a difference.
Celebrating with Non-Heathen Family Members
Obviously all my family members are non-Heathen, so I adjust my Yule celebrations toward the secular as well. The offerings and prayers are done when they are asleep (easy for me to do), and with those family members whom I visit at Christmastime, I focus more on seeing them and making them happy, not the religious side. After all, Yule is a family holiday, whether celebrating the ancestors, like on Mother’s Night, or simply getting together with family and friends on Christmas. I’ve learned to take everything in stride on holidays because getting worked up about them is too much stress for me.
Let me know what you do for Yule in the comments and let me know if there are any traditions you do that are special.