This is something that has been a very, very, very long time coming. I’ve put it off and forgotten about it and remembered and a whole slew of other things have gotten in the way but now seems to be the best time to do what is in some respects necessary for an entity like Trees in the Train Station…
My name is Alan and I come from the East Coast of Australia. I’m twenty four years old and I teach English as a Second/Foreign Language for a living. I can speak, more or less, four languages and have ambitions to learn many more to the greatest level of fluency I can achieve. I majored in Literature and Japanese as part of my Bachelor of Arts. As I write this in June 2014 I am finishing a three month volunteering position in Costa Rica and in three weeks time will be starting a new position, paid, in Japan for the year of July/August 2014 to 2015. Where I got after that I don’t yet now, however I have unabashed desires to do much more study at university and there are at least three countries that I have ambitions to move to and live in (and even get naturalised citizenship). It is hard for me to say when exactly I began calling myself a Pagan and a Heathen; I started the process when I was freshly eighteen years old and it continued on till I was twenty two or twenty three and for the last year I have been a practicing Pagan and Heathen. I do quite deliberately call myself both a Pagan and a Heathen because I qualify for both categories, I do also consider them to be on equal footing in terms of having a collective noun or umbrella term rather than just using Paganism. Although the terms are quite distinct in what and how they distinguish people that use them, I have not yet encountered a good reason to consider Heathenry to be a part of Paganism – except perhaps because it is entirely too cumbersome to say ‘Paganism and Heathenry’ and the various conjugations thereof.
How and Why I call myself a Pagan and a Heathen really boils down the idea that the two terms represent two halves of the same community that share similar aspects but also have distinct features that the other does not possess. Though I haven’t yet called myself in any situation solely a Pagan or a Heathen (without mentioning the other in some capacity) I would describe myself thusly if pressed:
Pagan Me: Has a strong connection or affinity for the natural world and animals, which at times presents itself as a desire to study and practice to become a Druid – something which is often only in the background because of certain aspects of how I wish to approach that. The closest totally Pagan practice I have currently is a study of the Ogham Fews that focuses on their uses in ways other than divination.
Heathen Me: Has a deep affinity for the primal aspects of the world that are more typically presented in Scandinavian and Germanic cultures. My primary practice stems from a, at time of writing, study of the runes and rudimentary establishment of a meditative practice around that study. Many of my mystical and or magical interests stem from the Scandinavian and Germanic spiritual view, which has come to include a very basic dabbling in Icelandic Sorcery.
Even these particular statements are not very well expressed, partly because I have been considering myself as both Pagan and Heathen that the details of what goes with what have becoming increasingly entangled with each other. A better way, at least for me (perhaps because I’ll be using my own creation to express myself), to express the things that make me Pagan and Heathen is to break them up into more specific areas that aren’t immediately partitioned into Pagan and Heathen categories. The idea of the Elements of Praxis is still, admittedly, a fledgling one but it does break things into groups that I can better express.
My Elements of Praxis
Faith: I do not currently call describe my Praxis as a religion because in my mind and within the linguistic confines of the word ‘religion’ what I have does not qualify. Rather I would describe my Praxis a spiritual path; it is something only I have, it does not have any dogma’s or guiding principles other than my personality, I do not have a plethora of practices that have different roles within my Praxis. These are just a few examples of why I describe my Praxis as a spiritual path, there are definitely more.
Theistic View: I am a hard, integrated, polytheist. This means that I believe every god and goddess and deity is a real being that exists somewhere and is utterly separate to every other, meaning that they all exist simultaneously. I also might also have some animist tendencies, amongst other things (but that is not something I’ve explored yet). I don’t currently, nor have I ever, had a direct relationship with any number of gods, goddesses or deities. This is something I look forward to changing, but also a factor in why I consider my Praxis to be a spiritual path rather than a religion.
Practices: I really only have one practice and that is centred around my Elder Futhark Runes. The best verb I have come across for ‘doing’ the runes is taking up the runes. It is taken from Diana L. Paxon’s book’s title ‘Taking Up the Runes‘. Technically speaking I also practice meditation and have some (currently) small practice in Icelandic Sorcery.
Labels: Pagan and Heathen. Really, thats it. Nothing else applies – yet.
Magic: I definitely practice magic via my runes. The little Icelandic Sorcery I’ve done also was undeniably magic. I don’t really have any particular systems that I use other than my runes; the Icelandic Sorcery has not really featured enough yet for me to consider it to be a full part of my Praxis yet. There are also some questions in my mind regarding what sorcery is.
Why: I am a Pagan and a Heathen because the things meant by those two terms are what filled the hole in me after searching for a fulfilling faith for much of my teen years. I became a Pagan and a Heathen because I wanted magic to return to the world.
How: I’m somewhat like a dog in terms of the methodology in my Praxis. I just, do. Because of the obvious absences of various things there isn’t really enough for me to have a developed or even rudimentary methodology – this is something that even applies to my taking up the runes.
Observances: For what I hope are fairly clear reasons, I don’t have any particular observances – regular or otherwise. They simply aren’t something that feature largely in my Praxis because of other aspects of it, one such example being the above ‘How’ section.
Just like that I have done something that eluded me for so long in the past. Look at it now it almost seems too easy. Needless to say this is something that will be turned into a proper About Me page and updated as needed. Yesterday’s post will also be treated the same in terms of having its own page and being updated as needed.