Welcome!

Welcome, lovely reader to the new blog for Gytha in Jeans, you may have arrived here from Frithcast, from my twitter feed, or from a random internet search. Either way, I’d best let you know what to expect. There’ll be irregular posts on inclusive heathenry, I’m aiming for posts short enough to read in one sitting.
They’ll be from the standpoint of supportive, inclusive, queer heathenry. If you don’t share that perspective I don’t owe you an explaination, or debate on why I understand inclusive heathenry to be my choice of how to express my faith. Debate, comment and exploration on the points I raise is just fine, but questions based around ‘why inclusive heathenry?’ are not. I will cheerfully delete your unpublished comments, as surprisingly, this is my blog and my space.

Introductions are probably in order. I’m Suzanne, my pronouns are she/her, I’m a queer geek inclusive heathen from Derbyshire in the UK. if you like what I do on this blog, or you enjoy what we do on Frithcast, and you’re financially able, you’re welcome to give a donation on our Ko-Fi site: https://ko-fi.com/frithcast There’s a whole About Me page on this blog if you’d like to read a bit more about me, I hope you enjoy the posts.

Featured post

Balance

Saturday last I felt the presence of Odin in a profound hour-long spiritual experience. The day after I’m just someone who needs clean clothes and a shower before I catch an already hot and humid 40 minute bus ride to my day long class. And then at the end, come home. With homework to be done.

The difference is distinct: my faith and spirituality is present wherever I am, but some days it’s right at the forefront of my focus, and other times I choose to focus on practicalities, such as food shopping, maintaining a home and going to work. Saturday was a full day of heathenry: a multi-day event that I could only get to one day of: I got to wear my mjolnir without having to be mindful of the reactions of who might see it, got to talk shop with other heathens without having to explain each term or name, had theological discussions on a level that I can’t ordinarily have with the non-heathen people I meet in person. Shared news and caught up with friends, played a very silly game of chess, talked about building a nuclear powered sproinger to revolutionise fuel consumption for commercial aeroplanes (don’t ask), prayed at the Ve giving praise to each dedicated altarspace in turn, and attended a Lammas blot giving thanks to the earth and the gods, especially Thor and Sif. I ended the day by being part of a three person group chanting names of Odin for an hour over the new 7 foot Godpost as part of the preparations before the ceremony of installation later in the evening.

I mean, as days dedicated to faith practice go, it was an absolute cracker.

But the day after. That started with a much needed shower to get the tired smell of smoke out of my hair. And clean clothes, and checking that I’ve done all the prep work for the material that we’re going to cover in class. And getting the bus on time. It’s far removed, and not just literally, from where I was but one day before.

So: how do we balance? How do we decide how much time, or which days we dedicate to our faith? Obviously I would like to spend more time in spiritual connection (and so would every heathen given the chance), deepening my understanding and creating opportunity for profound experiences. But: washing needs doing, there’s cleaning to be done, food to buy, a bill to pay, a phone call to make, a job to focus on. Mundane tasks which don’t automatically factor in a connection to the spiritual. Mundane tasks that take away my time from the spiritual. Sure I can pray whilst I travel, have 5 minutes at lunch to greet local landspirits, or dedicate queuing time to a mantra of praise, but it’s not the same. My practice gets a little boost up from these things, but compared to a whole day dedicated to thinking of very little else, well…

How do I balance? I have days where I think about a small part, do a new bit of research or follow a new reflective thought through to a conclusion, days where the practical takes over and my only tether is the comforting weight of my mjolnir, and days like Saturday where the whole day was uplifting spiritual resonance. I’d love more of those days, but maybe I need days in-between to be able to reflect on my experiences, to be able to value what I experience, to give it the weight of consideration it deserves. My practice has changed since I started: evolved, levelled up if you will, changed into what it is now, and will likely change and develop again. When I come home from work, profound spiritual practice is somewhere down the list: topped by getting changed, eating tea and finally sitting down. I can give time to prayer, formal or informal, discuss theology online, plan to go out and give offerings, but these take planning and practice. I have to keep giving time and effort to my faith, pull from my schedule to have dedicated time to focus, reflect and drive and deepening understanding of faith.,

My time can easily be filled with other things, there’s always something else I can spend my time doing. But my faith is important to me, important enough to spend frequently time focusing on that alone – developing my understanding of and relationships with the gods. Enough for me to consider a balance of my time, resources and energy in creating a spiritual life in the mix of my daily one.

‘The Goddess of Nothing at All’ and theological reflection

*No book spoilers in this blog post*

You might just have figured out that I’m a queer inclusive heathen by now. I was gifted an ARC of ‘The Goddess of Nothing at All’ by the author Cat Rector. I welcome a fiction book which not only sees Norse myth in a new way, but also holds LGBT+ representation in a way which is not jarring with the material or context.

Continue reading “‘The Goddess of Nothing at All’ and theological reflection”

Funko Faith: Popular Culture as a Basis for Theological Reflection.

There’s been a whole lot of Norse themed popular culture in the last few years: fiction books, graphic novels, artwork, statuary, not to mention a big dollop in the interlocked MCU and the preceding and ongoing comics and graphic novels. Roleplayers, cosplayers, geeks, authors, bloggers and the general public are now aware of our mythology, Norse stories, characters, events and words such as Ragnarok, Mjolnir and Bifrost. Pop culture has cheerfully plonked on the plastic horned helmet and leaned hard into the Early Middle Ages.

Continue reading “Funko Faith: Popular Culture as a Basis for Theological Reflection.”

Legacy

There’s an emphasis on community within heathenism, and a more subtle focus on family, ancestors and generations yet to come. Far-right heathenry overtly identifies this as a duty to bear children and continue personal legacies with direct lines of parent, grandparent and into the future, in the hope of creating new generations with faith in their path, and directly associating this with personal worth and status. In heathen online groups there can be posts about DNA and bloodlines, from the curious family historian to the purist proudly tracing their line back to kings. But: legacy isn’t where and when you’re born, it’s based in your actions and the remembrance of those.

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Tolerance, Inclusion and British Values

The Paradox of Tolerance provides, well… a paradox for inclusive heathens. First identified by Popper, the Paradox of Tolerance assumes a sliding scale of values with extremes, say ultra inclusive heathenry through the moderate middle to far right or exclusionary heathenry, with individual heathens sitting anywhere on the scale and potentially moving around it in either direction as their practice evolves and develops. Inclusive implies ‘to include’ as in, to include everyone, and that may be the argument that the far right stance uses to not only request equal consideration and space to express their own stance, but also to dismantle and devalue those who claim the word inclusive but refute the exclusionary heathen stance. ‘Ah, well, if you reject my stance and I’m a heathen’ they may respond ‘you’re not actually inclusive, are you?’

Continue reading “Tolerance, Inclusion and British Values”

Heathen Prayer Week series 2021

When I go to the Jorvik Viking Festival, it’s a time of celebration, connection and reflection. A time to discuss the latest archaeological research, theories and academic publications. A time to connect to people I see year on year, to buy from craftspeople and traders, who have often travelled from all across Europe. A time to walk familiar roads, eat good food, learn new skills, a time to pray. A time to spend entirely within my faith.

Continue reading “Heathen Prayer Week series 2021”

The Welcome Dark

A few nights ago, after two days of rain and snow, there was a power cut. 2045, just as we’re settling down for the evening after the day’s work is done, we’re fed, food shopping is done and put away and we have some relaxation time before bed, there’s a small but definite click, and all the lights go out. In those first few seconds stood still in the pitch black of the kitchen, we hear the heating boiler and fridge freezer power down and as our eyes adjust to the new absence of light, we realise that there’s no streetlights outside, and no light from neighbouring houses.

Continue reading “The Welcome Dark”

For the Queer Heathen Women

Found the poem that I used to open my talk at the Conference of Heathen Women in 2018:

This is for the queer heathen women,
those yowling bitches and booted butches,
those lipstick lesbians, gays, bi’s, aces, aro’s and dykes.
For the weekend queens, and my Trans sisters,
for all those who echo Allmother Frigga in their kisses.
For those who identify as woman,
some, or all of the time,
for those who want to live, and not just survive.
We stand together.
In our boots, in our heels, in our bare feet.
Crowded by Disir whispering protections,
we are loved, down the generations.

Continue reading “For the Queer Heathen Women”

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