One of the things that I consider a strong indicator that that I’m hearing an outside voice rather than my own is when something is said that I don’t agree with.
In this case, it was kind of like a personal Love Note From Freyja. I had performed seidh with some members of the Kindred that I’m courting, and one of the first questions was about the current tempest in Heathenry. The next morning when I did my devotions I asked the Lady what She wanted, or what She thought. The message I got was one I wasn’t particularly happy with.
It went something like:
All of these people want to honor us. All of them want to rebuild their traditions, all of them are part of the same thing that you are. Even when you don’t agree with them.
Fair enough, though it made me nervous about where it was going. The gist of what came next was:
They please us too. You don’t like their stance? Don’t attack them. Attack what they say, attack their ideas. Find ways to undermine those things that you think aren’t virtous, but don’t attack them personally.
But they’re being hurtful! They’re saying awful things!
And here it felt like She was telling me that, to Her, the movement to revive our practices and ways were more important than our squabbles. That She would prefer that I not lash out in a way that would be divisive (something I’ve already failed at, I own, but I’m trying). That She would prefer that I work to maintain some kind of peace, while doing whatever else I will with my personal disagreements.
I argued, but I have a limit to how much I can argue with Her. She finished it up by telling me something like;
Everyone is worthy of love, Laine. Find the things that are worthy of love in the people that you fear. She included the names of some people in Heathenry whose views are upsetting to me. Find a reason to love them. Find a reason to love their groups. There is worth in them.
I cried at this, because it was so very much not how I want to be. There is a deep-seated fear that loving a person or finding value in them despite their flaws (as I perceive them) will make me like them. Will mean that I am supporting the things that I don’t agree with. “I don’t want to be a racist.” You don’t have to be to find things that are worthy of love in them. “I don’t want to be like them.” Then don’t be.
The event that I’m running at PantheaCon (Many Tribes, Many Practices) came from a place of wanting to find ways to find constructive ways to talk about these ideological rifts that form. Using nonviolent communication techniques and other forms of conflict resolution I’d like to see if we can find ways to discuss these issues that will allow our communities to move forward, allowing our Heathenry to grow, while maintaining the differences that we have. We are made up of many groups, tribes of Kindreds that form nations of national orgs. Despite things I’ve said in the past, I do think that it’s important for us to be able to speak the same language and stand together on issues that are important to us as a whole.
I had a lot of trouble absorbing the Lady’s message, but I’m going to try my best to take it to heart. It’s true; everyone has things that make them worthy of love. I still believe that people should speak out against what they believe to be social ills, but that doesn’t involve speaking out against specific people, just their ideas. Call someone racist and they will immediately shut down. Explain how their behavior could be harmful and help them to feel empathy for those who are harmed by it and hearts and minds can be opened.
- Note: She told me this. I’m not telling anyone else what She wants from you, I just know what She wants from me.