Walking the Old Faiths
The Old Faith of Northern Europe
The Old Way, Northern Way, Ancestors Way, Our Way, Way of the "Old Ones", The Path. I heard all of these terms as a child and youth, used to describe who and what we were. This usually was preceded by an explanation that "those of the Way" (Old Way, Ancestors Way, Our Way) take responsibility for their action, are honorable people, and live by their word. The Way is a life style, not just a front that is put on for religious purposes. I grew up in a family that lived this life style. The Virtues were taught from infancy. Your word is your bond, you do not lie, you do not steal and you always strive to do the right thing. Ancestors and Elders were honored always and we were told that the GODS themselves were our ancestors. Family was important and I never remember a Sunday or a Holiday that the whole family was not present at my grandparents home; aunts, uncles and all the cousins. It was a teaching time, but most never realized it; sitting around the fire or under the shade of a tree in the afternoon listening to the stories of times long past. As children we didn't realize that we were being taught the Lore, the Virtues and the Values of our people."Our People" are the people who kept alive the folk customs, lore, and gods/goddesses of our Nordic ancestors. The kings through greed accepted the Church of the sand god and called a halt to the public worship of the Old Gods. Still there were families and tribes that held to the Old Gods and the lore and customs of the ancestors. These families in private continued to worship as had those before them. Some of them left the mainland, moving to the islands of the North Atlantic. Even today you will find people in Orkney, Iceland and some of the smaller islands off Great Britain and even in the United States that live and practice the lore and customs of the Nordic People. Not all of them still worship the Old Gods, Christianity has had a thousand years to convert them, but the old values of family and honor have continued to survive. There were a few of the families that held onto the lore, virtues, values and beliefs of the Old Way and through the years they have continued to pass on these beliefs and values. A thousand plus years has managed to change some of the stories, perhaps even confuse a few of the beliefs, but still the values of honor, word and doing what is right, have survived. The virtues have been passed down, loyalty to kith and kin, the holding of oaths as sacred, and the strength of responsibility. It is this Way, The Northern Way that I wish to write down. The Way as I have known it for the past sixty plus years, the Way as my Grandparents lived and taught it. I do this so that my grandchildren will have a guide to Our Way after I have crossed into the Hall of Thor, so that the Way will not be lost.