Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Proposition for a Heathen Project to Mark Sites

I propose that kindreds pool their money and buy an engraving system (e.g., in order to be able to engrave and carve markings upon rocks to be left at significant sites. These engravers run anywhere from about $300 to $8000 for the most professional set. If we suppose a kindred of about five to ten heathens, that represents a range of $30 - $60 per person up to $800 - $1600 per person (this upward number should be totally unnecessary for a project like this. Somewhere in the middle is probably good). An engraver can be of great use to a kindred over a long period of time in order to be able to create lasting monuments that speak heathen values. Although every kindred would like to have a skilled rune-carver, the truth of the matter is that not every kindred is going to have these skills within its hoard, but utilizing an engraver is potentially within the skills of everyone in the kindred. Marking stones with significant signs has been part of the heathen tradition for millennia.

That's sort of the nuts and bolts of starting the project, but let's move on to the meat and bones of the project's meaning : Everywhere we look around, some embodied, landscaped memory is being bulldozed. It could be as simple as the drive-in where you had your first kiss (and therefore, however much a commercialized property, a site of some personal Vanic interest, and not, therefore, without sacred value), an open lot full of shrubs and mounds where you used to play or gather herbs, a meadow, a rock formation --- the sky's the limit. What is important is that the site has significance, gathers memories, yet is endangered by someone else's idea of "development".

When the kindred has selected a site they consider important --- and where no other remediable action seems plausible or within reach (and unfortunately, these days, so many things of value are destroyed without any plausible remedy) --- they compose a small text that speaks the value of what was once at the site, and declares it publicly by engraving it upon a medium sized rock of some kind, and then going to the site, and placing it somewhere. If permission can be established (fairly doubtful in many cases), it may be placed somewhere prominent ; if not, it is placed somewhere on the site -- by some bushes, underneath a tree, somewhere where it is no eye-sore and stands some chance of being left alone -- where it can possibly be read. Another possibility would be to bury another rock with the same message somewhere on the site, so that even if the above-ground marker is removed or tampered with, the site contains the message "archeologically", so to speak.

This is a project in battling the erasure of history, specifically soulful histories that speak to the soul of good heathen folk --- and not just self-identified heathen folk, either. Such a project will probably touch a taproot across a spectrum of good, wholesome individuals.

This could be a way for heathens to literally make a mark on the land around them and declare their values in a solid, lasting manner. One of our culture's ways of expressing a law that is strong, unyielding, and lasting is to say that something is "etched in stone". Here is our chance to mark in stone the law of our lives --- our living experience. There is honour in such a path.


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