I have been devotedly studying my “craft” (as they call it) almost obsessively. There is so much to learn and so many different avenues that you can take. I have been trying to read/research as much as I can about Wicca/Witchcraft and the Celtic/Norse traditions. My brain feels overloaded but at the same time, it’s like it just can’t get enough of the information either.
In doing research, I believed that I wanted to stick along the lines of the Celtic tradition but the further into the information I got the more distant the relation seemed to be getting and I was gravitating more towards the Norse ideology/path/religion. The thing is, though, Norse isn’t necessarily Wicca – it’s its own path – technically called Norse Paganism. Then with that, you can specialize in whatever your heart desires ie) herbology, recipes, scrying, tarot cards… etc… But it all just seems silly to me on some level because it feels like I am just playing make believe. At the same time, it’s almost like it doesn’t matter though because regardless of what you call “God” it’s still God. Just by a different name. A few different details into the back story. But no one can really say where “God” came from in any religion. They can just speculate.
The same holds true for Norse Paganism. I mean, we know the people of “the old ways” existed because they left behind ruins and runes, stone circles, pottery, cave art, and dwelling structures. We know about their beliefs because of the runes that they left behind or the stories that were passed down by word-of-mouth. We know about Odin, Thor, Freya, and Loki because of these tails. Even though nothing really exists from the people themselves such as, you know, proof that Odin once existed and he was really a God among men (or maybe just a really awesome guy back in the day that was turned into a God as time passed). The same goes for the Christian religion. We have stories and artifacts that say these people existed but we don’t really have anything that is “proof” that, you know, Moses or Jesus actually lived. We have a tomb that people say Jesus’s body was kept in. We have a shroud that people say covered Jesus. But where are the skeletal remains? Why do we not have proof in the form of an actual body that these people actually once existed…? My point is that, what each of these religions have in common, that what makes them “true” or “false” is entirely contingent on religious faith. Faith. We have faith that our ancestors were telling the truth. That these people actually existed and that it was just too long ago for any proof to remain.
I believe that Moses and Jesus existed, that angels are real, and that Sodom and Gammora were real events. So why is there doubt behind whether Odin or Thor existed? Maybe they did. It’s just that nothing has survived for so long… They were alive so very long ago that nothing remains of them…. But stories. And Faith.
When I was a teenager, The Lord of the Rings taught me one thing about religion and how the past shapes the present. Galadriel said:
“Truth becomes legend & legend becomes myth.”
Will the Earth reach a point where World War II become nothing but a myth? Even though we have people who lived through it still alive today? I mean look at the Revolutionary War. All we have to say that it actually happened are some artifacts and stories. Where are the bodies of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson? I mean they’re supposed to be our forefathers but where are their bodies? We have documents that they reportedly wrote. But where are their bodies? Even my historical idol – Robert Gould Shaw. During the Civil War. We have his letters, we still have his home he lived in but his body is gone. Long ago washed away but the encroaching tides on the South Carolina coast. Does that mean he never existed? Not to me. All it’s all because of faith.
I think the point I am trying to make here is that all religion, no matter how old it is, relies on faith. People have to believe that something is true, or real, or tangible (or at least once was) in order to have hope.