This topic perhaps irks us ladies more than anything! Lately there is a sudden resurgence of forced gender roles is making its ugly way back, but why now?
What is it heathenry expects of women?
There is NOTHING in the Edda that is pro feminine in fact, women are not exactly represented that often and often when they are spoken about its unfavorable, but the society in which they lived was completely different. Women traditionally, were domestic. There are exceptions when this changed and certain historical women that did travel by sea, did fight and did venture farther than the home. But, for most aspects they were the fertility of the family, the whole of the future of a household. That’s what we will delve into this week. So to help us lets look at history vs the edda’s
She was the one who would determine the raising of the children, the food, the garments, the creation of the home, she would bring with her, her own set of believes, her own gods, her own traditions and this was accepted by the husband. She had freedom to choose her life, to some degree, although we have some evidence that arranged marriages did happen, we have evidence that divorce was also acceptable. See: http://www.vikinganswerlady.com/wedding.shtml
But, there were limits to the freedom. We can’t exactly base our spiritual life on the past because if we did really look at it, women would have likely stayed at home and be expected to live a domestic life, pooping out kids as frequently as possible. In some cases they would likely also be the spiritual head. If you look at the Eddas, Saga’s and Myths, women are often the only ‘spiritual’ connections to the gods, they are mentioned in the several myths as ‘magic’ or ‘witches’ and Frigga herself plays a great part in that concept.
“Women did have almost an exclusive role as a Völva, or a priestess that specialized in prophecy, and were known by their magic staff called a völr (Shetelig 1937). Magic could be used to solve problems in life as well as be used on the battle field to fight. These beliefs and practices have an important impact on the method that the Vikings bury their dead.” Viking Social Structure and Gender Roles in Scandinavia Based on Burials and Grave Goods by Caitlin Christine Maya Larson
But this seems to now be pushed towards women especially being targeted as being too ‘new age’. It’s odd how we view our world around us. We have separated so much from Wicca that now we tend to see everything as new age, but its simply not so. The old customs of women as an important spiritual figure are still with us.
So heathenry should expect that we can choose a role that is ours to choose. I say that because we are not bound by history. Women have lashed free of our chains over the years, not bound by rules of the Victorian era where women were suppressed and treated like property. If we are to expect anything from our heathen men, it is to expect that we have a voice, a right to speak how we choose, worship how we choose and live as we choose. There is no contest or argument in this, as we give and yield the same to the men in our lives (this includes fathers, brothers and spouses where applicable)
About Larisa Hunter –
Larisa is an author, embroidery artist and owner of Saga Press/Friggas Loom. She is also a wife and mother. She has been heathen for 11+ years & has a certificate in General Arts and Science which lead her to run an art program at my daughters school, which allowed her to incorporate my love of history and culture. She consider heathenry as her life and what defines her. It is at her core and she follows it as she follows anything in her life, with a full and open heart. Larisa has spent a great part of her life focusing on education and assisting others come to heathenry. She has worked in various fields allowing her to have a diverse knowledge of how to operate a business and a non-profit.