I will start off by stating that this article is an opinion piece. I am no self proclaimed writer. I hold no degrees in psychology. I am just a heathen mother of two beautiful children and the wife of a wonderful man that has the opportunity to share her thoughts and her observations.
Over the past few years I have noticed not just a rise in the amount of Heathen groups in North America, but an increasing number of Folkish Heathen groups as well. This is a wonderful thing! We are seeing, in our lifetime, that people are opening their minds and searching for more meaning to this life than just eat, sleep, work and then die. They are reconnecting with the Gods of their ancestors and restoring tradition to this mundane materialistic world. But one thing that I noticed among these folkish heathen groups is that they are almost entirely made up of men. Just men. Where are the women? Most importantly; where are the children?
At first thought, from a distance, one might think that perhaps these men DO have children, just do not include them in ritual. If that were the case I would ask, why not? But, unfortunately, I have come to find that these men do NOT have children, and for most the reason is simply they do not WANT children. I have also encountered heathen men that are in a relationship with a heathen woman, that are of healthy child bearing age, that profoundly proclaim they do not WANT children. The reasons vary from obvious selfishness to more vague opinions on the current state of this world.
I will side track here for a minute and let it be known that this article is NOT about couples that physically can not have children due to health issues of either partner. This is also not about single men (or women) that have no partner at all. I am talking specifically about a traditional male and female couple of child bearing age that are both mentally and physically healthy in a healthy relationship.
Some of the reasons I have heard over the years from heathen men and women:
“I would not want to bring children into this horrible world”
A defeatist attitude. These people already gave up on life. How will this horrible world ever stand the chance of changing into something better if we do not afford it the opportunity to by raising children with morals, and ideals that can possibly turn the world around?
“I don’t want to ruin my body”
A self absorbed attitude. Sorry honey, but you will age just like everyone else, unless you know where Idunna keeps those apples. Eventually wrinkles and gray hairs and stretch marks will take over your life as well. Except yours will just happen due to time, not due to the wonders of motherhood and all the trials that come along with it.
“I want to be able to travel”
A selfish attitude. There is NO reason one cannot travel just because they have children. I enjoy hiking. I take my children with me each and every time. When they were babies they were harnessed on my back. They loved it just as much as I did, and to see their faces filled with awe at all the beauty that this world has was more inspiring to me than the hike itself. Now that they are older, they walk along side me, or run ahead when they see something that strikes their interest. There is no reason you cannot go traveling alone when your children have all grown.
“Children are too expensive”
A bullshit cop out trying to cover the fact that they are selfish. The necessities to raising happy healthy children are food, clothing and shelter. You cant “afford” children yet you can afford that Prada bag and your smoking habit and your newest tattoo. How about grow a garden to save on food? Live in a smaller house that isn’t in the city. The women in the Irminfolk are constantly swapping clothing when their child out grows them, no need to buy new. But usually this cop out is just covering up a self centered attitude without having to admit it outright.
Communities have the most chance of growth and sustainability from within. Not from without. This is what guarantees that there will be no outside influence on its culture and traditions. Traditions are passed from generation to generation, not from neighbor to neighbor. You may learn things from your neighbor and make it your own but your neighbor has no reason to keep it alive within your community when they have their own community to sustain. When you die, there is no one left to keep carrying on the traditions that you worked so hard to keep alive. That which was passed down to you by your ancestors dies with you.
You raise that horn every time at sumble and hail your ancestors for their deeds and their sacrifices that have brought you here at this very moment. Yet by not wanting children you are slapping them all in the face. All their effort! Those that died to keep their families and traditions alive! For YOU! So that YOU can be here! You cut the cord of life. Thousands and thousands of years of love, honor, survival, just tossed out the window because you are selfish and materialistic. Your ego is more important to you. Your wants are more important to you. It’s all about you. And when you die, all that is left of you is dust. All that you fought for is forgotten. You will never be hailed at sumble during the ancestors round. Your families traditions will die with you.
I make it a point, every now and then, to raise the horn to my children and all the children of the Irminfolk. They are the reason that we do what we do. We are striving to make a better life for THEM. We are striving to build a community that honors the gods of our folk, that honors the ancestors of our past, to bring back culture and tradition that have been laying dormant in our blood for some time, so that our children can carry the torch and go further than we can ever do in our lifetime. We may be a small group, but we have big hopes. We are determined to continue this endeavor for our children. They are our future warriors. They are our future artisans and scholars. THEY ARE OUR FUTURE.