It’s been a while since I wrote anything that isn’t a bit cagey about where I am on my spiritual journey, but the time feels right now as I’m starting to build the confidence to be a bit more open about it.
Although I can’t say I ever felt the inclination to call myself a Buddhist, I was very happy being label-free, studying the Buddha Dharma, reading about Buddhist philosophy and practicing meditation, while leaving the cosmology alone. As a long-time atheist it felt incredibly safe and comfortable because there is no requisite belief in deity, and I had grown up with Buddhist art around me, so there was also a feeling of familiarity. Not to mention, I find mindfulness practices and chanting very soothing. And while I have begun to move in a new direction, I still carry many elements of Buddhist philosophy with me because there is always room for more calm, love, respect and compassion.
I honestly hadn’t really thought about seeking out any gods for my spiritual practice until they just sort of appeared and could not be ignored. I have never before felt the inclination to pray to, honour or worship higher powers, but the pull became almost overwhelming and my comfort zone was swiftly smashed to pieces.
For a number of reasons I’ve been tip-toeing around ‘coming out’ as a follower of the Norse pantheon, firstly because I am still so new to it. Another issue of resistance for me was the stink of white supremacy that follows around Norse revivalism and reconstructionism. Although I must say I have been pleasantly surprised to find a number of friendly and inclusive online groups with a zero-tolerance stance on homophobia, racism and sexism. And while there are still plenty of the hyper-masculine ‘Brosatru’ elements around, they are much easier to avoid than I had first anticipated.
Anyway, it all started during a guided meditation when a couple of items and symbols appeared in significant points of the visualisation. Although I had studied runes and knew a number of myths, these symbols were unfamiliar to me, and after a bit of research I discovered they were all connected to the Norse tradition. After that, I felt a presence with me that I just couldn’t shake, and as I read and researched more it became clearer and clearer that the energy I was registering was undoubtedly Freyja. I’d always had an interest in the Norse myths from an intellectual perspective and I love reading runes, but I’d never felt any sort of calling towards it as a spiritual path. Much of this I have realised is the result of the general misinformation about pre-Christian pan-Germanic religions, not helped by the immense popularity of the Marvel comics and the pervasive focus on the Viking era by dudes who like to go on and on about Odinn and being destined for Valholl.
Once I got to grips with the idea of a deity in some way making itself known to me, I kind of thought that was it. Like, okay, cool, I have a Norse goddess now. But that little opening it seems was all that was needed for more to come pouring in, with Freyja swiftly followed by Freyr, then Thor, now Frigg and Tyr too.
It’s been about six months now since all of this began, and while they aren’t kidding when they call it “the religion with homework” – and everybody seems to think everyone else is doing it wrong – I don’t think I have ever encountered such a personal feeling of rightness, or this unquenchable thirst to be always learning more than I have since the Norse pantheon smacked me in the face with a mystical two-by-four.