So Where Do I Get My Horned Helmet?

Deciding upon Heathenry is decidedly anticlimactic. You don’t get an invite dropped off by a couple of shady-looking ravens, nor does a thunderclap bellow into the night. In fact, nothing happens at all. I always think of the character of Michael Scott from The Office shouting, “I declare…BANKRUPTCY!” as the most delightful way of declaring anything.

Well, almost nothing happens. Funny thing, that. I remember when I made the concrete decision to become a Heathen, I was sitting on a park bench on the Hamilton escarpment, and I said under my breath, “Alright, Odin. Let’s give this a try.” And I looked up, and just at that moment a raven flew overhead. I felt a lightness in my heart, and I laughed.

Make of that what you will. Being who I am, I later looked up local birds on the escarpment to see if there were in fact local ravens, and found out that there were. I later learned that in terms of religious experiences, I had experienced an Unverified Personal Gnosis, or UPG for short. Good gracious, but terminology can take the mystique out of anything.

So, my Unverified Personal Gnosis notwithstanding, it was up to me to figure out what to do next.  I had done lots of research up to this point, but now was the time to start looking for direction. Time to do some rummaging around books and the Internet, I thought.

Oh, boy.

So Here We Are

Forgive me, o blogosphere, for not continuing on this explanation of my path to heathenism. I have been interrupted for the most delightful of reasons – the launch of my podcast! It can be found on iTunes and Google Play, and hopefully soon on Spotify. This creative endeavour has occupied a great deal of my time and energy, but has also been a source of real pleasure. I look forward to where it takes me.

But that is another story. This one is about where I stand and do my best to make my peace with the universe. From Catholicism, to doubt, to atheism, to agnosticism, to pantheism, to Heathenry.

So what does being a Heathen mean to me?

Well, that’s the tricky bit that I’m trying to figure out, step by step.

If this is how I’m going to relate to the universe, what form does it take?

For whatever reason, I find it easier to work through elimination than affirmation.

Do I think that Odin, Thor, and all the rest have some form of corporeal existence, watching us from some other plane?

Nah. Gods aren’t that simple, in my opinion. They are a mystery, and my instincts point me inwards, through my dreams, through my unconscious, into the collective unconscious, into whatever oft-ignored realm exists of the collective experience of humanity and its relationship to all life, all existence, to the parts of us that came from the stars and can be deeply moved in ways we don’t fully understand by art, by music, by nature.

If the Gods live anywhere, they live there. That’s where I’m searching.