Building upon Bil Linzie Ásatrú reconstructionnism
This article tries to constructively comment Bil Linzie’s three papers, published in 2003, 2004 and 2005. They are “Germanic Spirituality" (GS2003 in the following – summarized in appendix 3), “Uncovering the Effects of Cultural Background etc." (UECB2004, summarized in appendix 4), and “Investigating the Afterlife Concepts etc." (IAC2005). These articles are on line and the search engines find them without problem.
The goal of this article is to propose other arguments and to modify three of Linzie’s conclusions that I consider as badly argued and for which he tends to use techniques of allusive repetitions, i.e. propaganda. Inversely, many other points are very well documented and supported. My objective thus is not to contradict Linzie but of the ‘rebuild’ better, which should not appear outrageous to the reconstructionists whom I address here!
The three litigious points are as follows.
1. Over and over repeated aggressive attitude towards people who state that they had direct contacts with the divinity.
2. Overstating family influence on the individuals. To say that it is the indivisible element of the old Scandinavian worldview is a slightly truncated representation of this worldview.
3. Linzie denounces unceasingly, and rightly, the influence of Christendom on the new members of his Heathen religion. In IAC2005, on the other hand, he seems completely blind to the influence of Christendom on academics who translate and comment the texts of this civilization. The latter have an exaggerated tendency to see everywhere Christian influences in the pre-Christian Old Norse texts. This phenomenon has been illustrated, not without humor, by Evans in his Hávamál comments, see EVANS Introduction, pages 12-18. and summarized after stanza 21 HERE . We will soon see an example (Þórr behavior toward Starkaðr) which turns out to be almost farcical.
1. Pro and contra direct contacts with the divinity(ies)
You will find in appendix a quotation and a summary of Linzie’s arguments on this topic. The whole is asserting more than reasoning.
Linzie’s argumentation, as shown by the appendix, is based on the example of Glúmr-Fights saga (Víga-Glúms Saga). Its chapter 9 describes how Glúmr, by a series of skillful maneuvers succeeds in obtaining a guilty sentence for Þorkell, whose son he murdered. Þorkell, obviously distressed, leaves the place and calls upon his patron god, Freyr.
Og áður Þorkell fór á brott frá Þverá þá gekk hann til hofs Freys og leiddi þangað uxa gamlan og mælti svo: "Freyr," sagði hann, "er lengi hefir fulltrúi minn verið og margar gjafar að mér þegið og vel launað, nú gef eg þér uxa þenna til þess að Glúmur fari eigi ónauðgari af Þverárlandi en eg fer nú. Og láttu sjá nokkurar jartegnir hvortú þiggur eða eigi."
This reads textually (not a ‘translation’):
And soon Þorkell travelled towards Þverá, then he went towards the temple of Freyr and led to this place a large ox and spoke as follows: "Freyr,” said he, “that a long time you have ‘full-confidence’ mine and much from me it has been received and well rewarded, now I give this ox so that Glúmr does not travel not-distressed [as distressed as me] towards Þverárland as I travel now. And make [it known to me] that [if] now this offering you accept or not."
This textual rendering tries to convince the reader that I do not wrongly interpret the text by saying it describes a kind of reciprocal contract between Þorkell and Freyr, followed by a request intended to bring harm to Glúmr, what is usually called a curse. To see in this ceremony a Christian influence can only be either a one large error or a will to offend Christian people. The last, I believe did not touch neither Linzie’s nor Dubois’ minds. Conversely, the concept of contract (never evoked by Linzie) is basic to the old Scandinavian civilization, as so many stanzas of Hávamál illustrate it. In this same Hávamál, stanza 151, Óðinn describes some magic operations of cursing, while recommending however not to overuse them (!). Þorkell’s behavior thus illustrates perfectly the old Scandinavian worldview.
On the other hand, I must say that the argument ‘à la Linzie’ which jumped out at me (though he does not use it here), is that Linzie does accept the existence of direct contacts with the divinities as long as that the officiant is a religious leader. Since the saga tells that Þorkell spent some time in a worship center for Freyr, it could be that he acquired there enough religious competence to become Freyr’s goði. With the proviso of eliminating all arguments claiming a Christian influence on this ceremony (as I do and as opposed to Linzie), it is understandable that he could directly address his god Freyr. In the three following examples, this retort becomes impossible.
Another criticism is that Linzie forgets to quote Erik the Red Saga, which contradicts his assertions in a way different from the preceding one. An episode of chapter 8 describes Þorall the Hunter’s behavior. He lives in a Christianized environment and he certainly received some influence from it. He is though a ‘hund heidhinn’ (‘dog of a heathen’), a way of speech qualifying a Heathen obstinate in his rejection of Christendom, and he has many conflictual relationships with his companions. His social position is quite low in this group. While food shortage reigns in his group of Icelanders, he goes away and attracts a whale that gets stranded on the nearby beach. He then claims (again my litteral translation):
“Var eigi svo að hinn rauðskeggjaði varð drjúgari enn Kristur yðvar?
Was it not that him red-beard (Þórr) is better than this Christ yours?
Þetta hafði eg nú fyrir skáldskap minn er eg orti um Þór fulltrúann.
This (the stranded whale) because I composed a skáldskap (‘poetic composition’ or ‘poetic shaping’) about Þórr the fulltrúi (full-to_be_trusted or ‘patron’).
Sjaldan to hefir hann mér brugðist.
Seldom he had me disappointed.”
One can always suppose that Þorall invented his own ‘patron’, Þórr, to be opposed to Christ, the Christians’ patron. But, Linzie claims that direct contacts with the gods do not exist except for family or community ‘specialists’. How happens that this rather ordinary fellow can have direct contacts with Þórr without passing through the family specialists? How happens that he (possibly) immediately found a response to the existence of a ‘patron’ Christ whereas he should not have even understood this concept, foreign to his own worldview?
Here come now two examples, among hundred others, that will not be detailed but that plainly illustrate that direct contacts with the gods belong to the old Scandinavian worldview.
The first is the one of Gestumblindi, met in Heiðrekr’s saga. The episode which interests us is chapter 10 of this saga. They are Gestumblindi’s riddles, which are often given apart the associated saga. Gestumblindi has problems with king Heiðrekr who summons him to settle their disagreement. Gestumblindi knows that he is not too much witty and asks Óðinn’s assistance by offering him a sacrifice. Óðinn agrees and takes Gestumblindi’s shape to meet Heiðrekr. This is an example of a direct contact without Gestumblindi being considered as a goði.
Second is drawn from Gautrek’s saga. It will provide two examples of direct contacts with the gods Óðinn and Þórr. In this saga, Óðinn, obviously, ‘wants king Gautrek’s hide’ and, he uses to that purpose Gautrek’s faithful servant, Starkaðr. Without need to give more details, here is a direct contact that it is… a little too direct to Starkaðr’s liking. Moreover, the saga presents a kind of duel between Óðinn and Þórr where the first helps Starkaðr and where the second systematically curses him. The reason of this aggressiveness is explained by Þórr who acknowledges:
“Áfhildr, móðir föður Starkaðs, kaus föður at syni sínum hundvísan jötun heldr en Ásaþór…”
Áfhildr, the mother of the father of Starkaðr, chose (as) father of her child a ‘hundred times’ wise (very wise) Jötun (Giant) rather than Ásaþórr…
Thus Starkaðr’s grandmother avoided a contact comically direct with Þórr in which one hardly sees the need for a religious specialist being the ‘third wheel’.
He seems thus that old Scandinavian literature clearly contradicts the existence of a body of specialists who would be the only one being able to have direct contacts with the gods. In addition, Linzie unceasingly uses the argument of Christendom’s influence on the texts that reached us. The above example of Glúms-Fights’ saga opposes this claim since it describes a Heathen religious ceremony carried out in an obviously non-Christian way.
It is besides necessary to examine the historical context in which the conversion of the Scandinavian countries occurred. This conversion started a little before the year 1000 and continued until 14th century and later when it culminated in the Inquisition. Primitive Christendom might have practiced direct contacts with its God, but Roman Catholic Christendom at the beginning of the second millenium is vigorously opposing this practice. The Gregorian reform began in 1050, and it was based on assigning to the sole clerics the possibility of a direct contact with God. It was completed in 1120, well before started to exist the reformed churches of which Linzie undoubtedly has been thinking. According to Linzie, it would be thus this Catholic church fighting for the recognition of a body of specialists in divine contacts which would have brought to Heathen of this age the idea of a direct contact of with their divinities?
Insofar as this is Linzie’s main argument, I believe wiser to definitively ban this idea from Ásatrú reconstructionism and to see Heathen Scandinavians among the precursors of the present days popular belief in direct contacts with our gods.
2. The question of an indivisible family
On this point, Linzie’s arguments are very well put and his assertion that the family is an indivisible element of the ancient Scandinavian worldview is certainly not far from the truth although incomplete. In fact, I would soften ‘indivisible’ ‘seldom severed’ as we shall now see. A complete example illustrating both the strength of family ties in this worldview, and their severing in exceptional circumstances is provided by Grettir’s saga. It describes his life of an outlaw, how he is murdered, the family revenge, and the avenger’s final departure. Here is a summary underlining Grettir’s family bonds.
A summary of Grettir’s saga. Grettir was sentenced to banishment but he refused to leave Iceland and is finally outlawed, that is ‘legally nonexistent’. He will lead a runaway life for 19 years until his enemy, Þorbjörn the Hook, used magic processes in order to stalk him to his shelter. Grettir is sick and cannot fight back. Þorbjörn steals Grettir’s sword and beheads him. His brother Illugi, who is not banned, is also killed. Grettir’s family carries the case to the Thing that sentences Þorbjörn to exile because the use of magic processes has been prohibited. The murderer leaves the country and joins the Varangian warriors in Constantinople. Approximately 15 years later, a member of Grettir’s family (who calls himself his ‘brother’), Þorsteinn Dromond, tracks Þorbjörn and locates him in Constantinople because he displays Grettir’s sword and boasts of having killed Grettir. Þorsteinn at once kills Þorbjörn in public. He is thus also immediately thrown to prison but his freedom is purchased back by a woman whom he will marry later. They will live together, have children and the saga concludes that “none of his children nor descendants is known to have ever gone to Iceland.” Ends summary.
Thus, after Grettir’s 19 years roaming, his family brings his murder in front of Thing and still 15 years after, the murderer is killed by a family member. This illustrates better than any argument the bonds linking the Icelandic family. It is nevertheless necessary to take into account the end of the history. Þorsteinn is indeed a paragon of familial virtue and he will nevertheless leave Iceland and build a new family, disconnected from the old one. This is only one example of the adventurer Viking who leaves his native soil and, if he does not die abroad, either comes back and builds a new relationship with his original family, or else remains definitively abroad. No pejorative judgement seems associated with this third type of adventurer, which contradicts the dogmatic form of family indivisibility, as is Linzie’s. The ancient Scandinavian worldview is thus more flexible than the one presented by Linzie and it does not revile adventurers who leave behind them their family without hope of return.
In addition, Hávamál, that contains advices rather than dogmas, provides us invaluable information on the Scandinavian worldview. In particular, one of the words most often used in this poem is that of vinr (friend). One finds it in the stanzas 1 (ó-), 6, 24, 25, 34 (twice), 41 (twice), 42 (twice), 43 (6 times - including one ó-), 44, 51 (twice (including 1 vin-skapr, ‘friends hip’), 65, 67, 78, 119, 121, 124, 156 (in the form lang-vinr, long date friend). You will find, HERE a detailed analysis of the expected behavior on two contract-bound friends. Contract or not, stanza 43 states that “of his non-friend, a person should not be a friend of the friend” which circumscribes the circle of friends and defines and limits a kind of extended ‘family of friends’, one chosen by the individual in addition to his biological family. Linzie speaks at length of the biological family, of the territorial community, but never evokes the ‘family of friends’. The above property certainly implies that an acceptable friend is selected in a biological family which is not an adverse one. That however opens the door to new relations decided by an individual, not by his family.
The concept of ‘blood brother’, very near in fact to Hávamál friend, is also a form of individual choice out of the family, though the blood brother becoming a brother, he integrates the family, while a friend does not need to do so.
3. The question of the ‘Christian influences’.
This topic is covered in the three articles. But, in IAC2005, Linzie is also very concerned by the Christian influences on the somewhat recently converted Heathens and, especially, on the writers of poetic Edda and the sagas since all of them were living under Christendom. For example, in footnote 12, p. 15-16, Linzie claims: “Christians prior to the late 1700s wrote only to further the purpose of the Holy Mother Church which was to bring all people to God through the teaching of Jesus the Christ. The writers of the sagas do not fall far from this agenda.” Glúmr-Fights saga writer is certainly an active pro-Christian propagandist, we nevertheless saw how much Þorkell’s request to his ‘all faithful’ Freyr was Heathen ‘infected’. Besides, even if the saga writers wanted to show how behaved these ‘malicious pagans’, they provide also an image of Þorkell’s worldview, be it historical or a Middle Age view of Þorkell’s worldview. The citation above ends with an advice to be careful with these sources, which is quite wise. In practice, however, Linzie (as many academics do) ends up by utterly rejecting these sources, which is nothing but an unwise elimination of existing sources.
Simultaneously, as already stated in the introduction above Linzie exagerates the influence of the Christian worldview on our mythology.
I want also underline that academics translating and commenting the texts are naturally dependent on their modern Western culture. They claim translating “without interpreting the text,” which is certainly an improvement on some 19th century ravings. Nevertheless, their claimed ‘objectivity’ does not prevent them from living in a world where Christianity and atheism almost harmoniously cohabit. We thus obtain insipid translations forgetting the worldview of the ancient authors. Bellows’s comments of Hávamál, already oldish but easy to find on Internet, illustrate the scorn permeating this attitude. Let us now see how we already met, in Þorall the Hunter’ story, another striking example of this phenomenon – though without associated contempt. He says himself that he composed a skáldskap for Þórr, that I temporarily translated by ‘poetic composition or poetic shaping’. The traditional translation of this word is nothing more than ‘poem’, which accounts of a Christian or atheist universe, emptied of its magic: A more exact translation and nearer to the old Scandinavian worldview would be ‘poetic shapings’ where ‘shapings’, a noun plural, is a neologism that accounts for the magic included in the word ‘sköp’. HERE you will find why I deemed this neologism necessary to describe a magic devoted to a possible change in the ‘shaped’ person’s örlög. In this reference, you will have many examples of Eddic poems using the words sköp, skópuð and others related to the verb skapa (to make, to work, to shape). You will then see that their context supports or requires the inclusion of magic for a proper rendering.
Speaking of magic, its best known revival is achieved by Wiccan modern witches, and Linzie sees again a Christian influence in this revival. This is perhaps possible nowadays, but it would be absurd to believe that Christianity of the early Middle Ages could push its new converts to practice magic.
A modern worldview, a simultaneously Christian and atheistic one, permeates everyone, obviously including the present author. It is not necessary to live our life according to precepts old Scandinavian worldview, nor to be a ‘honest revivalist’ as Linzie defines it in his papers. It is however very significant to determine this view if we want to understand our basic texts or to interpret without error the archaeological discoveries. It is also necessary to understand how the current view can lead us to believe silly tales about our remote ancestors. We can thus find ‘true good raisons’ to accept or challenge such or such behavior during our ceremonies. For example, Linzie’s argumentation ridicules a ceremony during which each participant addresses personally his preferred god without passing through the intermediary of the goði (moreover a more or less qualified one…) who leads the ceremony. My own argumentation finds some justifications against scorning such a behavior.
Our goal, in writing these lines, is not to create new Linzie-like rules as the ones given in appendix 2 below, but to show in what his rules are too dogmatic. Each one of us must adapt them in order to express, as much as possible, a more factual ancient German worldview.
APPENDIX 1 - Linzie and direct contact with the gods
GS2003, p. 18-19: “This newest generation also has the tendency to insist that there is no space between the individual and his god… Evidence from sagaic literature and also from early writings of the church would suggest that the bulk of prayers by the common man were more likely directed to the next higher class, usually deceased parents and grandparents… personal relationships with Jehova / Jesus was a selling point for Christianity, mainly, because such personal relationships with gods did not exist for the common heathen man. A few persons people in sagaic literature are noted to have had special relationships to certain gods defined on these occasions as “friends of [god’s name].” These men (usually families) were titled by the community as blótsmenn, one who sacrifices for others. Families sacrificed to ancestors, local elves, familial protectors as dísir, and at the graves of prominent community leaders, in general.”
In (UECB2004), p. 63-64, Linzie (‘he’ in the following) touches on the topic through the one of redemption, but his only examples result from emails of modern people who claimed themselves in direct relation with their god.
(IACNH2005) is especially dedicated to the problems of the after-world. However, p. 9 and 23-26, cover at greater length the topic of direct contacts with the gods. He does not though go further than insisting on the word fulltrúi (“who is held in full confidence”) in Víga-Glúms Saga, and directly uses Dubois’ general interpretation of this saga, namely that it opposes pagan brutality to Christian softness, which does not directly relate to the concept of ‘friend-god’ which is the true topic. In the chapter “Heathen concept of ‘Patron-Gods’, p. 23-26, he speaks of some other things for 2 pages and a half. Finally, “returning back to the topic at hand,” he says that the various villages, as shows their name, did not venerate the same gods and states once again without more objective information that “the concept of ‘personal patron’ only shows up in Víga-Glúms saga and since the saga itself seems to have been written late and primarily for a Christian audience, the idea of personal patron must be viewed with suspicion.”
It is well-known that this saga is late and necessarily for a “Christian” audience. Now, the word Christian qualifies here an early reader of this saga, that is an Icelandic Christian of the 14c. who lived in country in which Christianity was compulsory under banishment penalty since 1017. This is obviously no longer true in the today and such a “Christian” should not be confused with one living today, as most people tend to do nowadays.
APPENDIX 2 - Linzie’s reconstructionist rules
In GS2003, Linzie presents nine rules for the reconstruction of ásatrú. In UECB2004, he again presents the eight first of these rules to which he associates a comment. This presentation will be condensed in the following way: rules of GS2003 are in black, and those UECB2004 are added in red under them. Moreover, GS 2003 ninth rule has been omitted from 2004 version.
“1. Accept that Ásatrú, the Northern way, as a worldview is probably complete (but not fully interpreted) and can stand on its own.
Note: Assuming that becoming heathen is simply a matter of switching one religion for another is a left-over baggage f0orm the late 20th century. Such a practice lacks in any in-depth understanding of the worldview.
2. Accept that Ásatrú as a spiritual way to live is the expression of the underlying worldview.
(no added comment)
3. Ásatrú spirituality is based on interacting with the real world in a way which supports the well being of family and community.
Note: This is exactly the dividing point between a world-accepting religion and those of world-rejecting religion.
4. “Final rewards" for the Germanic are directly correlated to the memories left behind after one’s death.
Note: The concepts of reincarnation, salvation, special judgement by a divinity, or special rewards afterlife have never really been part of the Viking Age germanic way of life; they are rather r the hallmarks of a world-rejecting religion and began to show up during the time of conversion. Understanding and being satisfied that one has added to his clan by good work during life, thereby leaving behind good, fond memories after death, and so that one is welcomed to the home or land of the dead is the hallmark of world-accepting religions such as early Greek, Shinto, tribal religions, etc.
5. The family is the smallest recognizable unit in Viking Age philosophy; the individual is but one part of the family. ‘Rugged individualism’ is both a foreign and a modern concept.
Note: Individualism is a deeply ingrained part of the American way of life with few exceptions such as the Native Americans or the Amish who maintained the older germanic concept of community. This idea of individualism is so deeply embedded in modern American thought and philosophy that it colors every aspect of American life. Individualism during the Viking Age, was not about personal, spiritual philosophy but rather how an individual could apply personal skills to the betterment of both family clan and community.
6. The geographic community is the last line of defense for a family, and even though it may be ‘mixed’, it should always to be handled with respect.
Note: During the conversion years communities stuck together regardless of adhesion of the individual to Christianity. The overall worldview as shown by James Russel did not really begin to change until the general decline of the rural community.
7. The land upon which ae geographical community is built and supported is holy.
Note: Here the word ‘holy’ does not mean ‘sacred’ in the sense of the Catholic Eucharist, Bible, or Crucifix but rather retains the older meaning of ‘holy’ meaning‘whole’ or ‘complete’ (see the discussion above in section 5. 3). In other words, land was not separate from its ‘owners’. An insult dealt to a piece of land was handled the same as if the insult were dealt to the owners directly. The land of a clan were a central focus, its heart and is more akin to what is meant by the Russian phrase “warm Mother Earth.”
8. The community is naturally divided into three classes; each is expected to worship appropriately- individuals praying directly to gods was borrowed from Christianity a millenium ago. Ancestors, land-ghosts, and ghost of home should be rightfully reinstalled.
Note: This goes very much against the modern idea of political correctness which is basically an outgrowth of the Christian concept first brought to the north during the conversion that “We all are equal in the eyes of the Lord”.
9. Develop new ‘trappings’ that are
(a) meaningful locally
(b) unborrowed [ with another of the worldview ]
-(c) consistent with the Germanic worldview.
Note: Condition 9 is not reproduced in UECB2004.”
APPENDIX 3 - a summary of GS 2003
Bil Linzie (`he’) wishes to show the importance of factors usually ignored in the process of adoption of a religion, in particular for the reconstructionist ásatrúarmenn. For this, he introduces and differentiates two types of knowledge.
He calls “body of (religious) knowledge” the descriptive knowledge that characterizes the practice of a religion. Typically, the three ‘heill’ during a blót belong to a descriptive knowledge.
He opposes to such a descriptive knowledge an ‘action knowledge’ on the actions to be achieved within a worldview. Classically, dictionaries define a ‘worldview’ as a collection of beliefs which describe how it is possible to observe and interpret the world which surrounds us (the ‘universe’). He uses a little more precise definition than that of dictionaries, namely: a worldview is made of the actions dictated by our social environment. Thus, the universe he alludes to is the one of the old Germanic society and the actions are those which ensure the coherence of this society, such as we know it through all possible sources, archeological, poetic, literary (sagas), mythical and ethnological ones (old behaviors and legends).
He then develops, page 9 to 41, a complex argumentation to reach a new definition of spirituality, inspired by the Germanic spiritual worldview. He defines:
“spirituality: it should be regarded as a set of actions which would best align the individual with his gods, his community and his family, thereby increasing his value (weorþ) and his luck.”
This complex argumentation consists of an analysis of how New Age religions are built by joining parts of various old religions without respecting the old civilization which generated them. Let us take the example of the disputed concept of class. In our society (p. 14), “a class system exists but is connected to individual income.” In New Age religions, the concept of class is rejected, undoubtedly because they are: (p.19) “confusing the concept of social class with social or gender discrimination.” In the old Germanic religion, this ranking is performed according to three main criteria.
- The first criterion is the one of “noble qualities,” for example, those built by McNallen. Of course, it is necessary that they would be tightly connected to our tradition. He suggests a 1970 first version, closer to Hávamál and Sigdrífumál.
- The second criterion is the one of the difference between the ‘insiders’ and the ‘outsiders’. The indivisible basic unit is the family, instead of an individual person as nowadays and it defines the heart of ‘being inside’. This family lives inside a community, the first extension of this interiority.
- The third criterion is the one of the relations with the gods. The modern form consists in directly addressing the gods, without taking into account the existence of the community own rules. The old Germanic form consists in addressing the ancestors, possibly through intermediate entities such as landvættir, family Fylgja, and other family spirits. To address to directly gods asks for a particular form of mind that does not belong to anyone.
APPENDIX 4 - a summary of UECB2004
Bil Linzie (‘he’) stresses that there are many ways of classing the groups that have, since 1970, tried to revive ancient religions. He proposes (p. 7) that “for the purpose of this paper, a classification of intent will be utilized rather than the more common linguistic, time period or geographic classifications.”
Here the integrality of this classification: There are three principal approaches, namely
reconstructionist one who looks seriously at reconstructing the ancient way worldview, not to understand history better but often to investigate the applicability of such a worldview in the 21st century. These often remain strictly focused on one of the ancient Germanic languages stocks.
revivalist one who worships the Æsir and Vanir and often the demi-gods of the ancient Germanic peoples, such as elves. Their focus is generally on reviving the religion of Ásatrú the 21st century and regenerate it as a distinctly modern religion. This group of adherents is much less likely to stay within a single language stock, but rather tends to mix traditions from the entire Germanic realm.
neo-heathen this is a large group but the membership is often transitory. Often, these come to the heathen community through a new age religion such as wicca or through a spiritual persuasion such as neo-shamanism and are less likely to engage in reconstructionist research. Their research is usually focused on how Ásatrú and Germanic folk traditions can benefit the new age community at large.
It should be noted by the reader that even these are listed as “categories,” they are not static descriptions of any single individual. In fact, they should be viewed more properly on a continuum with reconstructionist and neo-heathen representing the extremes.
Pages 10 to 20 contain an analysis of the way conversion to Christianity proceeded in the past and in the United States.
He then defines by comparison two concepts, the worldview and the culture. Since he says: (p. 21) “Culture then is not a worldview but it is a force in shaping worldview…” I will summarize his definitions as follows: The culture of a civilization is the whole knowledge built by this civilization. Its worldview is the whole set of rules (conscious or not) that control the use of this knowledge.
The 20 following pages introduce the 8 rules that must be complied to for rebuilding ásatrú. They are exactly the first eight ones I cited as ending my summary of ‘Germanic spirituality’; the comments he added in the present paper are in red.
During these 20 pages, he deals with several problems but what I found most striking is the insistence he puts on differentiating the various revealed religions through their “world-rejection.” That of course implies the supremacy of the celestial and mystic over the wordly/chtonic and rational views. He adds a brilliant idea, at least I feel it so, that these religion of terrestrial values rejection describe life as a suffering (where from their world-rejection) implying that this terrestrial life is a spiritual pilgrimage aiming at an improvement of some kind - the definition of improvement being variable according to religions.
The end of the article is devoted to the problems involved in a honestly carried out questioning our own worldview, as he himself does. He concludes by giving five rules to be effectively able to carry out this self-analysis. I will summarize these five rules as follows:
1. To have a sincere intention to analyze our own worldview.
2. To be honest during this process, without forgetting the unpleasant aspects of the worldview we come from nor those of the one we are aiming at!
3. To develop a capacity of temporarily suspend our current worldview. He says: (p. 69) “The schizophrenic-like split is a skill which can be learned, and like virtually all skills, success demands practice…”
4. He warns against the danger of belonging to one single culture.
5. “Lastly, time is a factor.” A new worldview is not an episode in our lives.