Whenever I brave the wilds of the Reddit Heathen sub-thread, I find I often have to bite my tongue. My inner Vargr wants to challenge people to fights. I know this is not feasible.
Then I remember that I am probably taking offense to some 14 year old’s silly comment. I remember that I have been holding true with the old gods for over 30 years. But even that is not my strongest proof of fealty to my own beliefs.
I have also striven to raise my two sons to at least know, if not follow the gods. Nothing has felt as meaningful to me as to hear the 3 of us sit around a circle and chant the 24 runes of the Elder Futhark.
I am a father and a teacher. Now that feels like an offering!
I began soft with just telling them the stories as openly and fairly as I told them stories of anybody’s else myths and legends. When asked, I let it be known what religion daddy practiced. This was even as we went to church to appease my mother-n-law.
As they approached the age of nine I told them it was a special year and they would get to ‘do closet’ with me.
A couple of things needs to be clarified in that last statement. First off, my altar is inside a cabinet in a big walk in closet. Nice, quiet, dark space to sit on the floor and be with the gods. They have seen the altar and were eager to know what I am doing in there.
I waited until nine years old because I wanted them to come to this with some amount of free will and the ability to cognitively understand what was happening.
I was a summer camp counselor for many years growing up and 9 year olds were my favorite demographic. Competent enough to try most things yet right before they are ‘too cool’ for everything.
A teacher is a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.
Both of my kids wanted to do their ‘year with daddy‘, but I did also attach a gift as reward for completion. If they stuck it out for the whole year they got a pocket knife. The boys wanted that maybe more than they wanted to learn about the gods 🙂
The ‘year’ was broken up into 24 Runes, 12 holidays, and 24 public/private virtues in Latin. 60 things to cover, so roughly one session per week for the whole calendar year. The actual breakdown of what this entails, I will save for a future post.
So after age nine, each of my kids was familiar with the runes, the gods, the holidays, and the weird unorthodox stuff their teacher (daddy) plugged in to round out my own version of heathenry.
We were/are a Religion of three people.
The kids still ‘do closet’ or ‘have church’ with me on all the holidays. Again I will detail what that translates to in a later post.
Back to my original point. It is this fostering of a new generation raised with the gods in their lives that truly represents my greatest connection with the gods. And if we are being honest it is why I feel they are apt to hear me when I bid them listen.