Saturday, November 26, 2011

Vincent Enlund/VikingJack

Hello and Happy Saturday!

Thank you to Modern Girl for her interview of last week! Another excellent read!
Thanks Modern Girl for sharing with all of us!

Today we have a new interview so please welcome Vincent Enlund/VikingJack. Vincent is an Asatru and I know you'll enjoy his interview as well!

Here Is Vincent Enlund/VikingJack's Introduction:

My name is Vincent Enlund, on line I am generally known as VikingJack. I’m 38 years old married with 2 wonderful kids. I am the Chieftain of the Wanderer Kindred of Arizona (a local Asatru Kindred in Arizona), Chieftain of the Asatru Alliance (one of the oldest, recognized National and International 501-c3 originations in the world), I’m affiliated with the Swedish Asatru Society, and associated with many other local, national and international Kindreds.

I have been Asatru for more then 20 years (since 1989). My wife and I are very active in the Asatru community. We founded the Wanderer Kindred of Arizona ( around 2000. I have been active with the Asatru Alliance for about 13 years, and working with other national and international organizations and independent kindreds for more then 5 years.

1 - What religion do you practice?
Asatru. Long before Christianity came to northern Europe, the people there - our ancestors - had their own religions. The modern expression of these is Asatru. It was practiced in the lands that are today Scandinavia, England, Germany, France, the Netherlands, and other countries as well. Asatru is the original or native religious belief for the peoples who lived in these regions. roughly, Asatru means “belief in the Gods” in Old Norse, the language of ancient Scandinavia in which so much of our source material was written.

2 - Are you a convert/revert or were you raised within this religion? If you converted, what did you need to do to convert? And what did you practice prior to converting?
I made my first personal Profession to Asatru, while camping in the mountains of the Black Hills of South Dakota, on May 1st 1989. So I have been Asatru for about 20 years.

3 - Within your religion are there degrees of observance (i.e.. Orthodox,conservative, moderate, liberal)? What are the defining differences between the degrees of observance?
No, Not really. Asatru folks express their beliefs in their daily lives as much or as little as they see fit or comfortable with.

4 - Within your religion what degree of observance are you ((i.e.. Orthodox,conservative, moderate, liberal) ? Why did you choose this degree of observance?
I live the Ideas of Asatru and my ancestral practices every day of my life, just like my ancestors did. I don't know what degree that qualifies me as.
5 - What is the Afterlife within your religion? For example: what happens when a person dies? Are there places for reward/punishment? (such as a Heaven/Hell concept)
We believe that there is an afterlife, and that those who have lived virtuous lives will go on to experience greater fulfillment, pleasure, and challenge. Those who have led lives characterized more by vice than by virtue will be separated from kin and doomed to an existence of dullness and gloom. The precise nature of the afterlife - what it will look like and feel like - is beyond our understanding and is dealt with symbolically in the myths.

We of Asatru do not overly concern ourselves with the next life. We live here and now, in this life. If we do this and do it well, the next life will take care of itself.
6 - In your opinion, does everyone make it into heaven/paradise? If they do not, why?
No. First we do not necessarily believe in a type of paradise in the next world. Secondly we believe that the value and worth put on you by the Gods, Goddesses and your ancestors is directly related to your deeds and actions within the community of the life that you lead right now. IE: If you are a negative, chaotic and poor quality of person within the community of the life that you live right now not only will there be consequences in this life but there will be in the next as well.
7 - What makes your religion a good fit for you?
I felt no connection or truth in any other religious faith. I felt a great calling back to the traditions and old beliefs of my ancestors and European culture. I had a desire to truly live by a way that was a part of my life and family and not just what someone in authority told me I was supposed to be like, because everyone else is that way too.
8 - What are your holy days and what do you do to celebrate them?
We have many day of remembrance and Holidays throughout the year but only 4 true Holy Days per-say. Midsummer, Midwinter, and the spring and fall equinox. Most people celebrate these days with a Blot, a Feast and a Sumble, and many also have personal traditions and ancestral customs that they add to these celebrations as well such as Folks wrestling, Dance, music, poetry, etc…

The Blot is a common ritual within Asatru. In its simplest form a blot is making a sacrifice to the Gods. In the old days this was done by feasting on an animal consecrated to the Gods and then slaughtered. As we are no longer farmers and our needs are simpler today, the most common blot is an offering of mead or other alcoholic beverage to the deities.

One of the most common celebrations noted in tales of our ancestors is the Sumbel or ritual drinking celebration. This was a more mundane and social sort of ritual than the blot, but of no less importance. When Beowulf came to Hrothgar, the first thing they did was to drink at a ritual sumbel. This was a way of establishing Beowulf’s identity and what his intent was, and doing so in a sacred and traditional manner.
9 - Do you consider people of other faiths to be your friends?
Sure, why wouldn't I?

10 - Would you ever join people of another faith to celebrate one of their holy days? Please explain why?
I might. It would depend on the religion and the holy day in question.

11 - What are your thoughts on the burka, and Shariah Law?
I think its foolish, Chauvinistic mumbo jumbo. But who am I to judge the personal beliefs of others. If it makes them happy then happy day for them and if not then they should change it.
12 - Are women allowed to hold religious office (priest, minister, rabbi, iman etc) in your religion and how do you feel about it?
Yes. I think that it's a great thing. Our ancestors had a great respect for women as it should be. There are historical examples of germanic women Chieftains, war lords, priestess, there where powerful women in every aspect of leadership. Why should that change today

13 - Does your place of worship segregate? If yes, how does this make you feel?
Yes. If you are a complete social degenerate I do not what to share my personal weird with you, and I don't want you sharing yours with me and the friends and family that I honor every day. If you have no European ancestry, why would want to venerate others peoples European ancestors rather then those of your own. Now, if you mean do we segregate by skin color or sex, then no we don't. I feel just fine about it.
14 - How much does your religion affect your daily life and how much thought do you give it when making a decision? Does it affect in any way your decision on abortion, gay marriage, etc?
Everyones religion affects all of their daily designs in life. If it doesn't then its not really their religion.
Being Asatru affects everything in my daily life. Being Asatru is not about doing something on Sunday or special holidays. Asatru is how you live, behave and interact with your community and other people all of the time. If you are only honorable to other Asatru folk then you're not really honorable. If you are only hospitable in you free time then you are not really hospitable. If you are only industrious at work then your not really industrious.

Please keep in mind that we have no expectations for folks to be the best all of the time, after all we are all only human. All of our ancestors where just as flawed as we are today, and as our children will be tomorrow. We however do expect Asatru folk to live the way we say we are going to live and to treat people in our community appropriately no matter who they are. If you insult me, I will demand an apology whether you're Asatru or not. If you give me a gift I will gift one back to you whether you are Asatru or not, and so on and so forth.

We are Asatru because we choose to live that way not because we read a certain book or go to a certain building on the weekends.

15 - How would you react/feel if your child wished to marry outside your religion?
As long as she was marrying someone that I thought loved her, would treat her correctly, and that they would be happy together. I would be fine with it.
16 - In your opinion, if someone is not of your faith, will they go to hell?
Maybe, they will go wherever they go. Ours is not the only way. Nor are our Gods and Goddesses the only Gods. They are simply our Gods for us. Others may have theirs and their Gods may have a place for them, that would be between them and their God or Gods.
17 - Who do you think is not a practicing ----- in your religion and why? i.e. who in the public domain claims to speak for your religion? Do you agree with them or not?
Raven Caldera and his followers as well the Nazi folks that like to say that they are Asatru. These are extremists that claim to be representing Asatru and the old ancestral ways but all that they are doing is using our ancestry to justify their personal extreme political views through false information and misleading propaganda.
18 - Have you ever been the target of a hate crime? Please explain.
Not that I am aware of.

19 - Do you ever feel like your religion devalues you?
No. Just the opposite. My beliefs give me Value, Glory, and a namesake that will hopefully live past my age, and provide pride to my children and grand-children.

20 - Does your religion give you peace of mind?
21 - Do you believe in reincarnation? Why or why not?
Some do. There is a tradition in Asatru of rebirth within the family line. Perhaps the individual is able to choose whether or not he or she is re-manifested in this world, or there may be natural laws which govern this. In a sense, of course, we all live on in our descendants quite apart from an afterlife as such.

If you are interested, I get asked for interviews on a fairly regular basis. I have included in this email some of the better questions that I have been asked over the last year. Feel free to include any of them if you like.

3 - What made you pick the Asatru faith?
I felt no connection or truth in any other religious faith. I felt a great calling back to the traditions and old beliefs of my ancestors and European culture. I had a desire to truly live by a way that was a part of my life and family and not just what someone in authority told me I was supposed to be like, because everyone else is that way too.

4 - What is your favorite Asatru aspect?
Ceremony. When we get together for holidays and ceremonies, they are times of reverence and celebration. We spend our time as a community celebrating all that we have, all that we have learned, the great things we have done and that have been done by our friends and family. We celebrate life and all that comes with it. We celebrate heroes, stories and songs. We celebrate in each other and ourselves.

We do not waste time with prayers of how much life sucks or how not worthy we are. We do not waste time with asking for mercy or praying for a better world under Gods guidance. We do not waste our time begging for forgiveness for being Human.

6 - Where is Asatru practiced?
Generally speaking usually outside, if you are talking about ceremony. But there is no solid rule saying it has to be outside, we just know that it was common for our ancestors to worship out among nature and the spirits of nature so we try to when we can as well. If you are talking about life in general Asatru is practiced in the way we live every day of our lives, and how we interact with other people, the environment and the community at large around us.

7 - What types of people belong to the Asatru culture?
Every kind you can imagine. I know Asatru doctors, lawyers, philosophers, teachers, writers, academics, auto mechanics, engineers, computer programers, graphic designers, road builders and every other profession and life position that you can think of.

8 - What are some common symbols in the culture? (ex. Mjolnir)
Mjollnir (Thors Hammer), Irminsul, The Valknut, The Sun Shield (Sun Wheel or Odins Cross), Aegishjalmr, The Gjallarhorn, any of the Elder Futhark Runes.

9 - What are the common languages associated with Asatru?
German, Icelandic, Norwegian, Danish, Russian, Finnish, Swedish, Irish, Scottish, Gaelic, Dutch, Ukrainian, Serbian and other common Scandinavian and Slavic Languages.

10 - Describe some morally significant expectations within Asatru. (taboos or codes of behavior)
The NNV (the Nine Noble Virtues) is a set of ethical codes used by many Modern Asatru. There are also the 12 traits that are discussed heavily by the AFA (the Asatru Folk Assembly), and some Asatru prefer to draw their code of conducts directly from the historical guideline set by the Sagas of our Ancestors. I like the NNV because whichever way you choose to look at our ancestral code of behavior you will find these nine virtues highest among them, and they are easy for a new comer to Asatru to remember and practice.

These are some very simple explanations of the NNV that I read to myself, as a reminder, every day. There is a much more defined version on my website that I like to share with people to try to let them understand the NNV completely as they are important to me.

By facing Life’s struggles with courage, we constantly extend our capabilities. Without courage, nothing else can be done!

Blind faith has no place in Life. No pie-in-the-sky; we must act in this world as we see it and as it really is rather than calmly waiting for the next good thing that may happen upon us.

We must be true to what we are, and we insist on acting with nobility rather than baseness. Our standards must be banners held high in our hearts.

We stand true to our faith and our values. Loyalty is the basis for all enduring human activity, and we hold it in the highest esteem.

The isolation and loneliness of modern life is not necessary. The willingness to share what one has with ones' fellows, especially travelers, is a vital part of our way of life.

We hold to the discipline necessary to fulfill our purpose. We stand willing to exercise the self-control and steadfastness necessary in difficult times.

Let us dare to be all that we can be! Let us take risks and taste the richness of life. Passivity is for sheep. We refuse to be mere spectators in life.

We depend on our own strength and character to achieve our goals. We seek only the freedom necessary to our quest, whatever it may be.

We hold to our path until its completion and are not ashamed to be strong. The cult of the anti-hero will find no support in us. A true life is not for the weak of spirit.

11 - Describe some of the ways people in this culture are expected to act. (appropriate greetings, proper dress for special events)
Some people will take older greeting and use them as a means of great other Asafolk as a sign of kinship, such as Hail, Hailsa and Wassail just to name a few. But generally speaking any greeting made in hospitality is an appropriate one. When it comes to special events there are a few things to keep in mind. You'll often see people dressed in archaic clothing styles at Asatru gatherings. This is a point of preference for them, and anyone is welcome to do so, too, if they wish. Wearing such clothing does not make you more Asatru just as not wearing such does not make you any less Asatru either. The clothes most wear are the same clothes that we wear every day, The Gods and Goddesses know what year it is. Also, there is the question of how much clothing is enough. Unlike some other pagan traditions, ritual nudity is not found at most Asatru rites, and is extremely uncommon even at very private ones. You may sometimes see a lot of skin, but participants are generally expected to be dressed in a street-legal fashion and family appropriate settings.

Asatru often leave gifts for the land-spirits of the places they visit. Gifts can be amounts of food or a beverage, maybe cookies, cake or even on rare occasions a little silver or amber is sometimes left. Most put some effort into making their gift such that it will not be seen as litter if it is discovered by other people.

12 - Are there any artifacts or technology unique to Asatru?
Here are a few things that I contribute to my heathen ancestors:
Trial by jury (dates back at least to the Vikings and Heathen tribes across Europe in the Viking Era)
Right to bear arms (carried by all freemen across Europe before and even after Christianity came to Europe)
Rights of women (declined drastically after Christianity moved to Europe)
Local democracy (local assemblies, or Things all over Europe)
National representative republics (Iceland)
Anglo-Saxon Common Law (the “rights of Englishmen” carried into Christian laws from earlier Heathen customs)
System of “checks and balances” (structure of Germanic tribes included equivalent of an executive, a judicial, and a legislative branch)
Kings subject to law (common in pre-Christian times, before “divine right”)
Election of rulers (practiced by many Celtic and germanic tribes)
Resistance to tyrants (required under law in some ancient European cases)
Concept of free will (implied by Germanic concepts of time and causality)
Specific limits on the powers of kings and chiefs (by law dating back to at least the tribes of Gaul 1000 BC Europe)

It can be argued that the pre-Christian Germanic and Celtic heritage of Asatru ancestry has been increasingly undermined with the passage of time and the growth of the power of government at the expense of our individual freedoms and rights.

Freedom balanced with responsibility and accountability is an Asatru thing.

13 - How do you guys worship, what is your worship like?
Most of the time "worship" is done in the form of Blot or Sumble with our ceremonies, generally, performed outside, as a group. There is usually a Gothar (a spiritual leader, kind of like a priest) leading the ceremony, where a group of Asafolk share (one at a time) thanks, great deeds, poems, songs and anything of praise and worth with the gods and each other. Very simply put it looks kind of like people giving toasts at a wedding only without the bride and groom.

This is only one common way of worship, there are many others as simple and as complex. Everything from a detailed Blot to those of us that just sit in the rain and talk to Thor.

14 - What are the main beliefs, or teachings of Asatru?
We believe in a standard of behavior which is consistent with those of our ancestors as expressed in our historical documentation, our Gods and Goddesses as expressed in our ancient mythology and our Culture as expressed in our living culture as well as the experiences of our histories, families and lives.

Being Asatru is about how you treat other people and the world around you. Being Asatru is about correct behavior.

15 - Are there any terms, objects, people I should know about?
Gothar - is plural of Gothi (male) or Gythia (female) - The Gothar are the collective priesthood of the Asatru Community.
Blot - Asatru Ceremony of sharing spiritual and physical gifts both to and from the Gods and Goddesses.
Sumble - Asatru Ceremony of sharing community luck and goodwill with each other and the Gods and Goddesses.
Wyrd - Hard one to explain so we will go with your community, Luck and Fortune as affected by you and the people closest to you.
Asier - Half of the old Gods. The Gods of Asgard. Such as Odin, Thor and Frigga. These where gods primarily associated with human action and achievement.
Vanir - The Second half of the Gods. The Gods of Vanihiem. Such as Freya, Freyr and Hiemdal. These where Gods primarily associated with the Earth and weather.
Desire - Our general ancestors that still watch over us.
Isineir - Our Female ancestors that still look after us.
Land Vetor - Spirits of the land and community that we live and work in.
Byfrost - The rainbow bridge between Midgard (Earth) and Asagard (the home of the Gods).
Mjollnir - The great hammer of Thor used to protect both Midgard and Asagrad. The symbol worn by most Asatru as a sign of their loyalty to the old ways and Gods.
Yggdrasil - The tree that connects all of the 9 world and all of the different people of each of them to each other.

16 - What are some misconceptions (if any?) that you would want to be cleared up? or something special that you would like other people to know about Asatru?
OK here are some good ones.

Followers of Asatru are white supremacists.
No we are not. Just because some Neo-Nazi's wear a hammer and say they believe in the old ways does not mean that they are Asatru. Asatru has nothing to do with Hate, racial supremacy or political agendas. As a matter of fact our germanic ancestors were some of the most racially tolerant people in world both trading and raiding cities, towns and countries completely equally.

Asatru is for Vikings.
Vikings were not a people but rather an action done by many of the Slovak and Scandinavian tribes. Asatru is the modern expression of the cultures and practices of the indigenous peoples of Europe. That does include people that were "Vikings" and their traditions but it also includes a lot of other peoples as well.

Asatru, Wicca and Neo-Pagans are all the same.
No we are not. There are some Neo-Pagans and Wiccas that do include some of the northern european Gods and Goddesses into their worship but they also include variations of Egyptian and Greek Gods as well as more modern Occult figures as well. Most Wiccas and Neo-Pagans pick and choose from gods, goddesses and traditions like it's a giant religious buffet. Asatru does not.

Most Asatru have done extensive research and will continue to do research their whole lives. Asatru are True to the gods and goddesses of our European Folk, and the traditions that go along with that fellowship. Also there is an extensive connection and loyalty to family and community within Asatru that, many times, does not exists in most Pagan and Wiccan sectors on a whole.

18 - Does Asatru have any holy scriptures?
No. There are written sources which are useful because they contain much of our lore and history in the form of myths, stories, historical accounts and examples of right conduct, but we do not accept them as infallible or dogmatic.

There are some good sources for our ancestral history and our ancestors heathen practices and lives. The Saga of the Volsong, The Volsunga, The Havamal, The Poetic Eddas, The Pros Eddas, Beowulf, The Sagas of the Icelanders, The Greenlanders Sagas, The Vinland Sagas, The Irish Chronicles and The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles. These are all good places to start to learn, but the truth of being Asatru comes from understanding the world around us and how we interact with.

20 - What is Asatru or Heathenries, specific World View.
Asatru (or Heathenry) is a world accepting pre-Christian, European folkway in which we better ourselves through a connected progression of Right Relationships among our Region, Folk, and Soil. We maintain this with our innangardhs by gifting relationships within our Regions, through which luck can flow and we can build a stronger more valued standing for ourselves within our personal communities.

We see the world in the Right Now as world accepting. We do not focus on an ultimate union with our gods, but in what is tangible and directly related to us, such as; ancestor veneration, and building and maintaining a relationship with the spirits of the land. We see the world in present and past tense, in a clan or tribal like model.

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic interview! I enjoyed reading this one very much...thank you for all of the information!