Stepping Into the Shoes of the Peasant
Once you step into the shoes of the peasant, everything changes. Everything changes. You can no longer see the world the same way, you can no longer view the history of your country in the same way, you can no longer view the elites of the world and their militaries in the same way. Everything changes.
The Vanir Gods would have us step into the shoes of the peasant. The rural workers of the world are the ones closest to Mother Earth, and those most following the mysteries of the Harvest God Frey.
All around the world, the independent extended-family farm has been attacked and reduced to the level of plantations, with rural workers extraordinarily exploited, forced to grow crops not of their choosing for export, at rates of pay often little higher than slavery, and in numbers that would make the most callous cry obscenity. In heathen terms, this represents the enthralling of the odaller through feudalization.
These are our fellow human beings. For those who believe in reincarnation within the human circle, this is where one would be most likely to reincarnate. For those believe in any permutation of Wyrd, the web that interconnects us all, we are all inextricably woven, and justice and its gaping absence and mockery have a way of distributing themselves turbulently all along the long and intertwined strands.
The land, and its people, the human hands who tend and work it, are in bondage, and let us remember that Frey, the Lord of Harvests, leysir ór höftum hvern, "frees everyone from bondage", but we must believe in that freedom, and we must give that freedom our backing. And freedom, while it is a land primarily of feast and festival, is surrounded by a barbed-wire fog of disinformation, propaganda, and lies through which we must penetrate if we are to achieve its acreage. We must educate ourselves as to the conditions of the food-makers and the earth-workers, if we intend to have the wisdom to show any worth at all to Beloved Mother Earth and Frey. This is about solidarity through the earth itself.
A fairly good place to begin such a survey is in Eduardo Galeano's Open Veins of Latin America : Give Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent (Monthly Review Press, New York, 1973), which will acquaint you with the basic outlines of colonialism and how it transforms free land into Roman-style plantations, feudal regimes which our own ancestors fought valiantly against as Charlemagne's religious empire entered Scandinavia, in order to hold on to their odal status. Earlier, Germanic tribesmen featured prominently in Spartacus' famous slave rebellion, and Arminius led tribes to oust Roman legions. The values of our ancestors fundamentally align with free peasants working extended-family farms that pass down intergenerationally and have extensive common areas, and against those who would enthrall the free peasants.
Beginning in Latin America is a good place to begin, because superficially, it has nothing to do with Nordic history, culture, or religion, and thus, is an excellent exercise in stepping outside of foolish ghettoization, and learning to train the eyes to see the Gods in struggle against the Giants in the world at large, where the ancient stories repeat themselves on a daily basis.
Once you begin to align your thoughts and your solidarity with those who truly own the land, demonstrated in their loving devotion and hard work, as opposed to those who claim to own the land through slips of paper illegitimately traded by absentee pseudo-kings and robber barons, you will feel yourself expanding, growing closer to the earth, feeling your feet more firmly on the ground, stepping outside your astronaut suit, and feeling a much larger connection to your fellow humanity, which gives a strength and belonging it is difficult to imagine before such alignment. Whether through agriculture or more hunter-gatherer permaculture (of fruits, or pyroculture of seeding grasses, etc.), the earth is tended and cultivated by every tribe on earth. It is a wondrous thing to step off the pedestal of empire and become a part of humanity. A wondrous thing indeed.
This is not about political correctness (although this term still might be rehabilitated ; consider : if historical wrongs have happened, their correction might be considered the direction of correctness, giving specificity to the term, and the idea of correcting wrongs, particularly through wergild, is certainly a heathen idea) or smug slumming, and certainly not holier-than-thouism. It's about mutual recognition, and the genuine empathy that flows out of opening your mind to the plight and possibility of those who mind the land.
But beware : once you take the "red pill" as Morpheus said in The Matrix, and begin to step into the shoes of the peasant, you will never be the same. You will never see the world the same again. You will have trouble believing what your newspapers and media report to you, because you will have a greater familiarity with what goes on on the ground rather than what is told in the press. You may feel betrayed by all the lies you've been taught, and the sheer scale of deceit and half-truth. When you see the way that Loki has covered Gullveig in her stripping and enslaving of the world, your blood may boil, and your warrior spirit hackle and ready itself for a fight.
But you will have joined the rushing streams of populism that are at core the heart of heathenism, a fundamental point that is often obscured through our medieval records remembering odalism through increasingly feudal eyes, and often the eyes of the new court elite. Even still, the stories of the bonders resisting and warring against encroaching kings is powerful evidence of what lies at the heart of heathenry : an earthy, stubborn, and fierce populism.