Musings of an Agnostipagan

Georg_von_Rosen_-_Oden_som_vandringsman,_1886_(Odin,_the_Wanderer)

I have self-described as an Asatru Leaning Agnostic.  A friend of mine coined the term Agnostipagan.  Being “God blind” I don’t share experiences that others describe of their relationship with whatever deities may exist.  I do not, of of hand, dismiss the possibility of them, but it’s not something I can attest to.  Still, people have hard-wired into them a need for ritual, symbolism, and a search for larger meanings in the world.  What folk call “religion” fills that need for many people.  I am no different from anyone else in having the need and so, I sought a path, a “way”, that fills that need that suits me.  I find it in Asatru.  There are certainly others that can do it, but that’s the one that just “fits” best.  Whether the gods exist or not is above my pay grade (as the saying goes), but as far as what I get out of life and find my own way to meaning, it works for me.

In another forum someone asked the question about if one could “really” be Asatru if one wasn’t of Norse extraction.  Well, some folk pointed out that while much of what we know of it came from Scandinavia, Norse is simply a branch of a much larger Germanic religion.  The gods names change from region to region–Odin, Wotan, Woden, etc. or Thor, Thunor, Donner, etc–and the stories may have shifted in their telling over time and between regions but at heart it was all one religion.  Yet still, the question remained:  would one need to be of Germanic or Norse extraction to be “qualified” to follow the religion.  Now, I am of Germanic extraction on my father’s side (and probably no small amount of Norse out of my mother’s people from Ireland–considering the raiding that went on back in the day), but, still, I had my own thoughts on the issue.

My take, for what it’s worth. Whatever ultimate deities there might be in the Universe, they have presented themselves to, and been understood by, various peoples in terms those people could understand. The same basic powers would have appeared one way to the Germanic/Norse folk, another way to folk on the Siberian steppe, yet another way to folk on the African veldt, and so on. People in those cultures would follow the gods of their people in large part because that was what they were used to and what had meaning for them. Those various folk religions weren’t terribly interested in proselytizing. A group might think its gods were stronger than a neighboring group’s gods but they didn’t go out of their way to “convert” the neighbors to worship of their own. (That is, until certain monotheistic religions started running rampant.)

So, in times past, before those militant monotheists got involved, it just made sense for folk to follow the gods of their own people and tribe.

In the modern day, however, some of those old rules really don’t apply. Even in modern Scandinavia, few people could be said to be living the hardscrabble existence common when the Norse branch of Germanic religions were crystallizing. Likewise with most other folk religions. The situations and challenges faced by the folk are generally quite different. That does not mean that the old ways have nothing of value to those modern people, far from it. What it does mean, however, is that they are less tied to particular peoples in particular circumstances.

So the question becomes, whether a particular “way” resonates with you, personally. That’s what matters. If it resonates with _you_ more than other ways then I would say that it is right for you.

Other people may disagree but in the end, I would think it would be between you and whatever gods there may be. You may be guided by the counsel of others, but in the end the final decisions, and the final responsibility for those decisions, is your own.

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