I am posting a video (hopefully today) that will discuss the differences between ordination and education. Its an attempt at explaining the cautionary approach people should take before paying for a program. I don’t talk about this lightly, I used to run an online education program. I understand the challenges behind this and why often times these programs fail.
Its difficult to assess why these programs don’t work, but I think one of the reasons is unfortunatly laziness. Its very hard to sit down and find time to read. I understand that, I am a mother and wife and have two businesses, so yeah, time to read???
But, the fact is heathenry has always been this way. You can’t get around the having to read part by hoping someone is going to give you the information or that you can just instantly sprinkle knowledge dust on yourself. I think its harder in heathenry because of the shear number of documents, books and articles that you need to read. Nothing can prepare you for that.
In fact, the Eddas are just the tip of the ice-burg when it comes to the must have read category. I fear that I will dissuade some people from becoming heathen, and I don’t mean to make it sound so terrible, but the fact is you have to read a lot of information. Every time you think you have a handle on one aspect it feels like there is more information that you need, more clarity that you seek and once again you find yourself digging.
I think heathenry turns you into a scholar intentionally, because it forces you to go farther and farther into the sources and you become somewhat obsessed with finding answers. I know this has happened to me more than once!
Example: I was curious about forms of ritual dance. I wanted to know if the Norse people had that. This was just a seemingly innocent question. That one question led me to a series of things that ate up three months of my time. Because, it makes you follow a somewhat similar process to any kind of research:
- Begin with a simple search, then increase search complexity to allow for variations in searches such as adding the word dance with: sacred dance, dance in medieval times, dance in ritual and see what results
- Do the searches mention any published works? If so, find said works online and if not online, seek them out in a library or other (sometimes painfully scrapping together money to purchase odd book from Amazon)
- Get what you know and compare it to other things (including other research on the subject)
- Formulate a workable answer that is backed up by the published sources
Sometimes this method yields to a full stop at any point, making your research somewhat dead in the water. Sometimes its the method that will uncover more and more depth to your question and then lead you on tangent quests. I use dance as a very general example because although not important for heathen practice per say it just became a thing I wondered. I think thats what unique about heathens, they tend to lean toward wandering thoughts that led to intense research and it yields some fantastic papers that have been inspirational to me in my life.
Don’t be afraid to know, but be ready to educate yourself. I have found in my life there are many times where a subject has so keenly driven me to find answers that I have met fantastic people who are already in that field. This has opened up things for me that I never thought possible.
I believe that heathenry is a life long journey and sometimes that journey takes an extremely scenic route but a route that runs into characters that you need to know, people that cement your faith and a path that is constantly growing.