This post is related to an issue explained here, of there being problems with some very bad racist types being attracted to Heathenism. In this post below I explain why racism never was a valid part of Viking culture, and why racist attitudes are not a valid part of Heathenism. The issue of immigration is strongly tied in with the issue of racism. The Vikings were in their day some of the most well traveled people, that settled all over the place in far off lands, thus immigration was strongly tied into Viking culture as a way of life.
I believe that people should be allowed to immigrate to other countries and given opportunities to do so. The culture of a place grows when the people of that country are exposed to the culture of other ethnic groups. All throughout all of human history the greatest leaps in technology and human ideas have come about though the interaction of different ethnic cultures together. Without this culture exchange of ideas between ethnic groups, cultural ideas tend to stagnate and impede social progress. The mixing together of new things from other sources is the way all things in the universe grow stronger. When only the same is being constantly mixed together, things become weakened. This is a law of how nature itself works. In more ancient times in which war between different ethnic groups was very common, this process of the need to gather in ideas and even as well DNA from other ethnic groups happened through the process of war.
When an enemy was defeated their women would be captured and then be made to be part of the conquering group, and of course these women would in time be made to marry the men of the conquering group, and some taken as slaves also (and likely made to provide sexual pleasure for the men who have enslaved them). As well some of the men of the group that has been defeated may be made to be slaves, but the ancient world concept of slavery generally included the chance for the slave to eventually work their way toward being a free person again. Of course freed slaves would then become a normal part of the culture group they had previously been enslaved in, and likely also reproduce within that group and contribute to the diversity of the group’s DNA.
Also in some cultures such as the northern ones which the Vikings derived from, it was common to encourage travelling strangers that visit to sleep with your wife so that new DNA can be interjected into the group, and then the man would adopt any child that resulted as his own (this practice is shown in the Rígsþula from the Poetic Edda). Another practice common with the Vikings, and the cultures the Vikings derived from, was the exchange of hostages when a war does not have a clear winner and it is decided to call a truce. The Norse form of hostage exchange involved the hostages becoming part of the new group they are made to live in and then living by it’s culture and social rules. Of course many such hostages then would end up marrying into people from the group they have now come to life with, and the children of the hostages would become a normal part of this new group. Thus from all these things in no way did the DNA or even the culture of various groups stay the same. It was always mixing with outside ethnic groups and thus keeping the culture and physical health of that ethnic group strong by mixing in elements from the outside.
The concept of different human “races” is a 19th century idea that has no basis in actual science or reality. Even cultural groups such as the Vikings had no concept of different ethnic groups, only the concept of people from other tribes, or people that follow different gods/goddesses than them (but they even did not until the late period have the concept of different religions). This concept of people from other tribes had nothing to do with the physical appearance of the other people, but instead only on that groups social allegiance. In truth the physical makeup of any ethnic group is just a mixture of different physical traits which that group of people evolved towards over long periods of time living in a certain area of the planet. Humans over long periods of time if they live in smaller isolated groups (as was the case in the past) will physically develop traits that help them best able to adopt to the weather and climate conditions of their area. These are well known facts by anyone with any knowledge of the social sciences, but unfortunately there are many people out there who are afraid of loosing their own ingrained ethnic culture and have backwards 19th century ideas of there being different human “races”. This issue is further encouraged by the fact that many US governmental bureaucratic forms that people have to fill out, which incorrectly ask a person what their “race” is. It would be more correct to ask what someone’s ethnic background is. Ethnic background is related to the language a person speaks and the related social culture that language group has developed.
As Heathens it is good to take after the culture and values which the Vikings had. They were explorers that enjoyed travelling long distances to explore other lands. Clearly if they did not enjoy experiencing other cultures they would not have been willing to spend so much time and effort to travel the long distances they did for trade and exploration. It can be stated that it is likely the Vikings were the most curious of all groups about other cultures and wishing to see and experience foreign distant lands with different ways, as that is exactly what they did. Even Buddha statues have been found in Viking treasure hoards, which shows their interest in artifacts from other cultures. Vikings were known to become employed in distant lands as mercenaries. Many Viking tribes ended up settling all over the place and the Viking culture spread and mixed with and enhanced other cultures. The Vikings themselves did immigrate to many lands. Thus to say that others should not be afforded the same rights is rather hypocritical, and even goes against the values of honor which is an important value in Heathen culture. Another side to this is that welcoming those from other lands is an aspect of hospitality. We as Heathens need to extend our own values towards the interactions we have with all people, not just with other Heathens, otherwise this makes what we believe in only a facade to impress others of our own faith, and not something we truly are practising or believe in.
The Vikings practised meditation too. Often times they sat some place outside to do this or even very commonly on a burial mound. Was common to place one’s cloak over oneself to block off the senses so that the focus was turned more inward while doing this. Since most Vikings lived in communal longhalls I doubt meditating at home would have been so good since was probably too much activity going on there. But since we tend to live in dwellings nowadays with less people living in them, it is more useful to meditate indoors as there is less to disturb us there. Of course outside meditation can be used as well when one wishes to feel the energies of an area for spiritual world purposes.
An example of this as done by the Vikings was when Thorgeir Thorkelsson was asked to decide on the issue of Icelandic conversion to Christianity. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianisation_of_Iceland
For me daily meditation is part of my Heathen practice. I find that it enhances my ability to stay focused during rituals and also in general makes me better able to deal with stresses and normal ups and downs of life. Regular meditation basically helps to make you emotionally and spiritually tougher and more resilient and overall increases ones will-power. Also it makes my mind better able to gather and absorb knowledge and wisdom. All around it has very good benefits.
Wisdom spoken by the god Odin:
“The value of that which is sought should be met with a gift of equal value. Be ready to sacrifice to gain. A balance must always be kept.”
“A horn half full is a horn that’s already been shared in half. Never see it as half empty or you’ve seen no value in the half you shared.”
“Never have a pissing contest with a Jotun. You might just find yourself drowning well above your head.”
“Sometimes you need to listen with more than your ears. Be open and you’ll hear with more and know more than just your ears can hear. The world is full of wisdom if you learn how to hear it.”
“The best and worst palce is between two women.”
More shall be added to this entry as they are gathered…
“A pearl even starts out as a grain of sand. It’s a little irritant, a nuisance, something that is easily discarded and dismissed. But when it’s kept close, accepted in it’s annoyance, nurtured, bonded with other substance, it becomes a thing of beauty and a small treasure. Such is how an idea is born, something small and insignificant is handled and coped with until it too becomes a gem.”
“Never judge the ocean by the surface. You never know what lies beneath the waves.”
More shall be added to this entry as they are gathered…