Monday, December 9, 2013

Shoutout to My Boy Helgi

Tonight I read the Second Lay of Helgi. I was not a fan of the First Lay which.... confused me. I may have been over-tired when I read it. Actually, I was really over-tired tonight, but the lay is so good that I lost that tiredness. So good, you guys. MAN. Like. So romantic. I can't even.

And! Here's an interesting thing which I should save for a PIP entry but instead will just repeat it when I get around to writing that post. At the very end is the line:
It was the belief in olden times that men were born again, but that is now called old women's superstition.
And it surprised me. It surprised me because for one, although there are mentions of people being the rebirth of so-and-so, I've always read that as metaphorically i.e. they embody the same qualities as so-and-so, and read "they were born again" as "they lived on as legends". And for another, except for a brief hand-waving in one or two 101 books, and on a couple of forums, I've rarely come across this discussed in Heathenry before. Hey! Reincarnation was a thing at one point! By the time lay was written it was superstition, OK, but the Heathen beliefs spanned a fair amount of time and incorporated changing beliefs and practices. Such is the joy of a folk religion. But often when it's brought up, it's shouted down as someone's hold-over belief from when they were "Wiccan". Yep, that's right. I have seriously actually seen people put down for just bringing up reincarnation: newbie-related snarking, "This is Heathenry, not Wicca", etc.

At this point it may not surprise you to learn I no longer spend much time on Heathen forums. Or for that matter, Pagan forums generally. I'm either ducking punches or itching to punch someone myself.

Hold on, let me dig out Road to Hel.

See, this is what the Edda has done to me. I am researching stuff in academic books at 1am instead of sleeping like a sensible person.

Excellent! Good ol' Hilda has a whole section on rebirth, and she directly quotes the very section I just stumbled across. High five, internet! She also gives several other examples from the lore, which makes it all the more bothersome to me that it hardly ever comes up. Granted, Heathens tend to focus on their living rather than their dying, but on the other hand reverence of the dead is a massive aspect of the religion also.
Anyway now I am really tired, and I am going to finish writing this and go to bed. My eyes are all sore. BUT if someone ever tries to bitch you out for bringing up rebirth as a Heathen concept you can just go Oh yeah well what about Helgi?!  and that'll shut him up. Mmmmmhmm.

Oh and P.S., I didn't think Road to Hel would be available anywhere as it's a notoriously hard to find book and it's been out of print for a while, but it turns out it was reprinted early this year. As always when it comes to H.E. Davidson, it's exemplary. (I may not agree with every hypothesis she puts forward but it's damn well researched.) Grab yourself a copy.

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