Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Be Not Conformed To The World

And be not conformed to this world. (Romans 12 : 2.)

This is good heathen advice. It could well have been said by volvas and wizards to the folk.

What?!? you may ask.

Be ye not conformed unto Rome, unto the culture of empire, but cleave to the ways of your ancient folk.

The author of Romans was not saying to not be conformed to the earth. The earth itself is often spoken of in the Bible, and hardly ever in any negative sense. But the world, the culture of empire, the de-indigenized city-culture is what is targeted.

If anything, we heathens can give the same warnings, but even more pointedly. Our Germani ancestors would have had grave reservations about any assimilation of Roman values. The Romans, despite being pagan, were no longer indigenous. They had become an empire, a culture of the city subordinating the countryside, while the Germani abhorred cities, stuck to the rural countryside, and clung to their indigeneity. Their stories warned them about the ills that could result if Gold-Greed and Fraud got together : wolves would be bred in Iron Woods, war and rapine would go rampant, and tribe would be turned against tribe.

Our ancestors wouldn't have phrased it as "the world". Midgard, the middle realm of tribes of men, was a good place, an indigenous place. But Midgard could become invaded by Giants. The Germanic tribes, who well knew that the Romans had built many of the large structures they found, nevertheless said that they had been built by Giants. They knew precisely what they were saying. Some of the Roman cities seemed more like the Ironwoods than any good green pastures they knew. And in these places, gold was hoarded, not given away, not shared amongst kinsmen and comrades.

Every theod its thew, was the old saying. The ways and opinions that mattered were those of one's family, one's sibbe, one's theod : one's loved ones and comrades. These were ways that developed out of the Forests and Heath, always being renewed by wyrd through direct prophetic contact with the Well. To abandon these for the way of empire, for the ways of folk who have forgotten their old ways, from de-indigenized, de-tribalized folk would have been seen as the greatest foolishness. When the Germanic tribes took over the Roman empire, they administered separate law for separate peoples. This had nothing to do with ethnic separatism, and everything to do with respect for decentralization and affirmation of tribal law. It would be unthinkable to abandon the ways of one's ancestors or even one's own family!

Consider the values of the sibbe: generosity, care for all in the clan, including widows and orphans, mutual aid, worthscipe, frith ... thew of which any Christian group in the Roman Empire could have been envious. This is not to say the old sibbe-ways were perfect, but they were the mainstay of practice, at least until Rome began to divide-and-conquer the old ways.

That division-and-conquest took place long ago. It is true that Arminius was successful in organizing the tribes to fend off complete Roman conquest, preserving the core of Teutonic culture, but there is no doubt that Roman ways had seeped in and began to poison the social structure. Moreover, old tribal skirmish-bands were transformed into fully militarized units. Much changed. Much needed renewal.

We are the ones who can renew. By abandoning our Roman Citizenship, by refusing to be subjects of empire, by reclaiming our heathen, tribal roots. Be ye not conformed unto Rome, unto the culture of empire, but cleave to the ways of your ancient folk.


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