Monday, August 27, 2012

'Hubris', Omens, ECT and Ve Etiquette

So, about the title…it seems a bit of a mixed bag, right? Almost like those things don’t normally belong in the same discussion categories, and it’s a fair point – they don’t. However one blog post I was going to make got held over while I went away to ECT, and ECT provoked a new blog post. It was really best to try and tie them together.

Before going to ECT, I read about a gathering that, to put it mildly, has been pretty controversial in the North East community, and ironically in the same blog, I found a link to a rant about hubris (and how modern Heathens that disagree with the author are full of it). The irony came in an account of the controversial event and how they’d been absolutely rained out, had to cancel rituals and how the possessory rite they’d had had been pretty damn negative.

Now generally speaking, I’m very skeptical about possessory rites in Heathenry; I’ve come across them before in other cultures, but I don’t believe they belong in Heathenry. Aside from that caveat of sorts though, whether you believe in it or not, the kind of going on that was described seems really *really* unlucky.

Now as a heathen, I look to omens surrounding rituals and if the omens are bad, then we’ve fucked up in some way, our gifts suck, or we’ve pissed off those we’re offering to. But there was no discussion of that in the account, which I find odd considering they are allegedly people that constantly preach doing what the gods ask of them. Being participants in *any* reciprocal relationship (with gods or humans), we have to make sure that the other party is still cool with us, for it’s often when we just take it for granted and no longer show that care that the relationships sour.

ECT was great as usual. We got to hang out with people that we’ve known for a few years now and meet more that were, until this past week, just internet faces. Many interesting conversations were had, a labyrinth was set up and we also set up a Ve for Frija.

The Frija Ve was awesome, we created a temporary well before the idol (which was veiled), the bonds were spun, items that had been blooded in her name were also included and it looked and felt amazing. Because of its position in the woods (in the wild, the outer yard), many people didn’t know about it and we didn’t announce it, but we received positive reports from people that had found their way there.

When it came time to take down the ve though, we had a not so pleasant surprise; someone had obviously unveiled the idol, placed a Thor’s hammer around the neck and then re-veiled her.

This still pisses me off to think about. It’s so disrespectful; would they do it to an Odin idol? Even beyond the disrespect to the goddess being worshipped, who was purposely veiled (and just *why* would you offer the symbol of another god to her?), what of the simple respect of not fucking with things that aren’t yours? I would also mention here that there was a sign saying to leave the offerings in front of the idol, but if the person came by in the dark, then he or she wouldn’t have seen it. Even a person that is new to Heathenry should be able to understand that. People have said that maybe it was a person that didn’t understand how wrong that was and was just trying to make an offering, but I’m still pissed. Especially seeing as no one came forward when asked (nicely…so we could nicely explain to someone that potentially didn’t understand – because that’s not a crime). Thankfully none of us got the sense that it had caused any major offense as we had a good omen in the form of a salamander taking up residence in the ‘well’. The hammer will be bogged.

To my way of thinking, this comes down to basic ve etiquette. The ves at an event like ECT are often the ves of a specific group or individual, with their own customs that need to be respected. Basic etiquette to me, is to approach the ve keepers and ask what is acceptable to them and their group with regards to their ve. If we are to be Heathens that think in terms of Heathenries, of groups with wide and varied customs as opposed to just an overarching singular Heathenry, then surely this would be a good place to start?