How do I begin on a subject that is both so very dear to my heart and so very controversial?
Its a can of worms, talking about the subject of family and the home within any culture. I suppose monotheist faiths have an easier time because they have designated offices of authority who their people are used to looking to for direction on how to go about their daily lives within their beliefs.
Polytheists, not so much. Most of us are converts and living in a modernist, secular society that pushes the notion of the individual that rages against authority and tradition.
Its an emotional topic and entering it is like wading into muddy water never knowing when something lurking below will become enraged by your presence, your views, and lash out.
Who and Why
I suppose I should start with who I am and why I even want to discuss this topic in the first place.
I’m December – a devotee of the Gods, especially Frigga, Norse Goddess of marriage, hearth, child rearing, and Queen of Asgard. I am an ancestor worshiping, tree-hugging Pagan witch. I am also a wife and mother – specifically a stay at home mom (SAHM) that homeschools, keeps house, cooks, and does elder care for my husband’s grandmother.
I am a liberal millennial and was not raised in a home that valued domesticity and that only paid lip service to the “traditional family values” of the conservative Christian variety usually alongside snide remarks about doormat housewives that are barefoot and pregnant in the hills of the Appalachian mountains.
All this to say that – I know that these topics are complicated because I live in the heart of them daily and have heard every argument for, against, and about them.
While it might seem obvious to some, discussion of home and family within a culture is important, especially for a culture that is rebuilding itself. From here, I am specifically discussing the cultures of Northern Paganism and Heathenry as that is where I am talking from but, from discussions I’ve had with people of other faiths, these topics are not dissimilar in other Polytheist communities that are rebuilding after monotheism and colonialism wiped them out.
While we do have some idea of what the ancestors of the Northern Traditions/Heathenry lived like, much of it we have to guess at from their descendant cultures in Northern Europe, bits of lore, and archeology. We don’t have journals or first hand accounts of the daily life of the homemaker, of how children were raised, or of how relationships and marriages were navigated.
To be fair, this is the case for a lot of ancient cultures. The everyday life of the home is considered common and uninteresting by those living it and, sadly, by those studying the culture. This isn’t exactly strange – I mean, do you keep a detailed log of how you do everything around the home and live your life with the purpose of teaching future and foreign people how you lived? We have the benefit of literacy and access to means of recording our lives – something these ancestors didn’t have.
These topics are still important even if they were common and mostly unseen.
In the days of our ancestors, you couldn’t build a foundation without a hearth. The same goes for rebuilding a foundation on their traditions – you can’t ignore the hearth that s the family and home relationships.
Some notes before moving forward:
While I share some very strong beliefs of mine and might even have lore, UPG, and more to back that up – these blog posts are not a manual of how you should live your life. That is between you, your Gods, and your family.
I’m not an authority. I’m just someone living the best way I can within my beliefs. I’m not here to boss anyone, more just to share some views and insight with the hope that these topics are discussed more readily with the same seriousness and focus as other parts of our building traditions.
Essentially – take what you want from these posts. If you don’t agree, I encourage you to move on to a space that shares things you agree with.
In this space, the Gods come first. That’s it.
Free will goes so far as choosing to follow the will of the Gods. From there, what They want and what they tell me/us to do is the important part.
Traditions, set by the will of the Gods and for the good of community, are more important that individual desires.
When I say Ancestors I mean those of the tradition (Heathenry/Northern Paganism) or my own ancestors (which in some branches are the same distantly). You do not have to have Norse ancestors to follow Northern Pagan traditions! If you are called to this path, great, hail and welcome!
Why should someone without these ancestors in their bloodlines be interested what the ancestors of this tradition did? If you are entering a relationship with a specific Pantheon that was worshiped by a certain culture, it is good to study how that culture lived and worshiped – the Gods taught this group how to approach, connect with, and serve Them.
If you want to approach, connect with, and serve these Gods, look at how the first culture did it (this goes for every belief and tradition not just Heathenry). Do not appropriate cultural practices (taking what you like, discarding the rest, and abusing the tools and symbols of their faith for your own purposes).
This Blog Series:
Since this is such a large topic I’m breaking it down into a few different posts:
Polytheist Parenting (and why its important to raise polytheist children)
I might throw in some House Spirit information as well but hope to focus these posts on human relationships with other humans for now as that is the area that is the least discussed and most volatile.
I will try my best to share plenty of resources so that readers can form their own opinions on the matter. That being said, I’m not a scholar. I’m a college drop out doing my best with what my ancestors, spirits, and Gods tell me and my love of reading that is hedged by a tight budget. If you have resources you’d like to share, please do so (politely) in the comments. Thank you.
I will link the blog posts related to this topic back here as I write them.