Thursday, October 19, 2017

Two Yule Rituals: One Heathen’s Experience in the Northeast US

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Two Yule Rituals In The NE US- Josh Heath
Two Yule Rituals In The NE US- Josh Heath
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Date:August 8, 2014
My name is Josh Heath; in a fit of insanity I took it upon myself to begin documenting different Heathen events I attend. My long term hope is that by creating a record of our worships, blóts, and Things, we can leave important parts of our history to those that will follow us. I want our history to travel, I want some new Heathen 5, 10, 20, maybe a 100 or even 1000 years from now to know the positives and negatives of our experience with reconstructing Heathenry, how we took what we learned and how we actually applied it to our lives.

I am married to the most wonderful Catherine Heath. We met in S. Korea while I was in the U.S. Army and though she is English, and I American, we have made a life of craziness together. Together we helped to build The Open Halls project, which has allowed us to help U.S. military members find community wherever they travel. This however is not a story about me, my family or the Project.

What follows are two stories about the 2011-2012 Yuletide. This year our Yule was bookended by two very different but equally powerful events. For those that do not know, the US is broken up into loose regions that have certain distinctive cultural traits. The Northeast, which stretches loosely from Maine to Maryland, has an incredibly active, engaged, and dedicated Heathen community. Internally to the Northeast, there are many different groups, kindreds, and fellowships and organizations. Two distinct but close, both physically and relatively, groups invited us to celebrate the beginning and ending of Yule. We recently moved into the Poughkeepsie area of New York, and we already feel like an important part of this community. It has been an awesome experience so far. Many thanks to the Oak Ridge Fellowship, located in New Jersey, for inviting us to their Yule celebration. Thank you to Laerad Kindred, Located in Eastern New York, for inviting us to their Húsel to end Yule.


I’m going to take a moment and change the tone. Why? I don’t want whoever reads this to get bored, and I don’t want everything to be super serious all the time. I do not believe in stoicism in Heathenry and at some point you can expect a paper relating to Heathen philosophy from me. Just keep expecting it and it might happen. So, the point is humor is good for you, and I want folks to look at ritual as an integral part of our lives. Which means, sometimes it isn’t just good to laugh, it is required. Laugh with me people! No seriously, I want everyone to realize that laughing doesn’t reduce the sacred nature of our rituals, relationships built on the lack of true mirth are not as deep as those that encourage both time for laughter and time for seriousness. This is all my humble opinion of course.

Continue reading to get more of my skewed perspective on Heathen events in this era, area, and such. What will you discover? What will I reveal?! Read on then to discover. (Dramatic, huh!?)

So. Do you want to read a story about why we worship the way we do? Or do you really want to know what we did? Or do you want to know a little bit of both?

Modern Heathens work constantly to understand the worldview of those ancient Heathens that we base our worshiping and worldview upon. That takes an intense amount of desire, focus, and work to interpret correctly. Thankfully we have dedicated researchers who really are intent on discovering the underlying reasoning for the actions and finds we have discovered.

So. Since you didn’t ask, I’m going to give you both. You, who may be some crazy kid a thousand years from now who has found this crumbling manuscript in a recently uncovered internet era archaeological dig. You, who are likely the descendant of someone in my today, who wanted to know why their ancestors gave up their ancestral faith, for the faith of a foreign strange cult. YOU! I’m being incredibly pretentious assuming this paper, and hopefully the book around it will survive that long, and that you want to know how and why we called ourselves Heathens and how and why we worshipped the way we did.

Enough with the pretense, exposition and plain bollocks. Onwards!



Our first ritual was one which I think requires a serious tone and it will be presented that way. I remind you future reader that this doesn’t reduce the sacred nature of the ritual of which I speak of with a more gentle humorous tone. If you wish to build a reciprocal relationship with the Gods, your Ancestors, the Landvaettir, than occasionally this will be filled with laughter, and occasionally it will be filled with tears and silence. All are important, all are valid, and all are real aspects of life. Living Heathenry is just that, living your life in all its parts as a Heathen.