Copyright © 1999 Ślfgrim Vķlmeišson
Among those who practice it, the term Heišni is used to describe a different way of looking at Norse pagan religion. We believe that the historical accuracy of our beliefs and practices is of the utmost importance; the closer we come to emulating the faith of the Norse as it was practiced during the Vķking Era (793-~1100 CE), the more ultimately satisfying the experience will be.
This attitude sets Heišnar apart from others who profess to follow the Norse Gods. We especially try to leave behind any modern ideologies that are ultimately foreign to the historical religious experience. Such ideologies include both "folkish" and "politically correct" attitudes, to name two of the most prevalent. We can find no evidence to support the inclusion of either such ideology in Norse religion, and therefore we reject them both. We leave it to others to define themselves in terms of their stance on race; we define ourselves in terms of our stance on accuracy.
It must be noted that this is a minority point of view within modern Heathenry in general and Įsatrś in particular. Most are quite content to read the Edda in translation and the myths through a secondary source, perform rituals based more on modern Wicca than anything else, and follow the "Nine Noble Virtues". Some digress into preserving the genetic purity of a "folk" that never existed. Others digress into a complete moral relativism that demands acceptance (and even promotion) of everyone and every bizzare behavior conceivable.
Heišnar see nothing wrong with this whatsoever! If that is what those people find satisfying, then more power to them! As long as those individuals do not attempt to impose their beliefs on us (or attempt to portray them as historically accurate), we see no problem. Just as we feel people drawn to Gardnarian Wicca, or Buddhism, or Christianity, or whatever, should be allowed to do so without interference, so do we feel that people who choose to practice Folkish Įsatrś, Progressive Įsatrś, or Norse Wicca should be allowed to do so. As long as they are aware that what they're doing, while it may be based on ancient lore, is riddled with modern infusions.
Some of us find ourselves drawn to a more demanding path, however. We believe that it is ultimately more pleasing to the Gods to make our beliefs and practices as historically accurate as possible. We strive to learn Old Norse, so that we can not only read the literature in its original language, but hold rituals in the ancient tongue. We are forever pouring over the poems, Sagas, Eddas, and other literature in an attempt to achieve an ever-more-accurate picture of what our spiritual ancestors believed and how they practiced. We constantly strive to remove modern inventions, both ideological (such as the racist and PC philosophies) and practical (such as Wiccan and Christian ritual and mythological interpolations, Amerindian shamanic practices, etc.).
To us, that kind of rigorous and serious effort towards accuracy is vastly important. We feel that by doing so, we are able to come closer to the heišnar of the Vķking Era, and thus come closer to the Gods and spirits that they worshipped. It is a more demanding path, but it is precisely the difficulties that make it worthwhile. Nothing easy is ever truly satisfying.
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