Of the Vanic virtues, passion has been the hardest one for me to embrace and express in my own life.
It's not for lack of passion... it is precisely because I feel things so deeply, am so passionate about so many things (love and hate, enjoyment and displeasure), that I have a harder time with this virtue than the others.
For each of the Vanic virtues, I plan on writing something on how Vanic pagans can better incorporate these virtues into their daily lives, living Vanatru. So with the second virtue, Passion, here is a list of suggestions (not demands, I am not interested in telling people what to do) of activities to better express this virtue:
-Think of at least three to five people who you love, or otherwise care about strongly, deeply. (For all intents and purposes this can include pets.) Why do you love/care for them? What is it that inspires that intensity of feeling within you?
Accompanying beauty is passion for life, for love, for enjoyment and doing the work of right living. Those without passion are adrift on the waves, and outside of the confines of mental illness (which is often an antithesis to passion but is not to be considered a personal fault), those who choose not to embrace passion are indeed lifeless, hopeless, and could easily be mistaken for automata.
One of the most important things you can know about my practice – and one of the few things about my personal practice that is not too out-there-in-woo-woo-territory to discuss publicly – is that I am a Maker. What this means in terms of my practice is making art, jewelry, and other things that have been enchanted with the presence of spirits, or to open doors into the Otherworld, or serve specific purposes (like protective or healing amulets, etc).
One of the reasons why I wound up on this path is that beauty is an important personal value. Most people like pretty things. There is this, and then there is needing to have beauty in your life. For me, beauty is not a luxury, but a necessity. I am one of those people who cries at beautiful things, and enthralled by beautiful people. I see beauty in other people, I cherish what is beautiful within them and try to encourage it. I find beauty in experiences, beautiful moments in every day life. I have a continual sense of wonder that has carried me through the worst times, kept me going when there was otherwise too much ugliness and pain.
For each of the Vanic virtues, I plan on writing something on how Vanic pagans can better incorporate these virtues into their daily lives, living Vanatru. So with the first virtue, Beauty, here is a list of suggestions (not demands, I am not interested in telling people what to do) of activities to better express this virtue:
-Take time out to smell the roses. This can be literal, but also figurative. Each day take some time away from your regular activities to look at pretty things - preferably outdoors, at the beauty of nature, but can also be indoors if need be, such as browsing the Internet for pieces of art or imagery you enjoy.
In the book An Introduction to Vanatru, which I released in 2010 under the name Svartesol with my co-author Nicanthiel Hrafnhild, Nic created a list of thirteen "Vanic Virtues" which has made its rounds via the Internet, most recently on Sermons from the Mound on Patheos. (This book was de-published for various reasons, and we consider this book to be out of date.)
For the updated second edition of my bookVisions of Vanaheim - which is a comprehensive introduction to Vanatru - I asked Nic if he would be willing to let me use the virtues list, and he agreed to it but wanted to revise the list, and whittled it down to seven virtues. While I believe the original thirteen are good and still applicable, I will on this blog be exploring the seven one at a time, as relevant to a Vanic pagan practice. (I would like to give a hat tip to Sarah Sadie from the aforementioned Patheos blog for lighting the proverbial fire under my rear end to get this series started!)
I'm going to contend that paganisms are preeminently religions of land, lede, and lore.
Land. Paganism is local, intimately related to specific places. Pagans are by definition the People of the Place; when peoples change their place, they bring their mythologies with them, and those mythologies naturalize to the new place. While the term “nature religion” is problematic on numerous levels, the paganisms direct themselves largely to this-worldly concerns, and engage the environment and the non-human beings with whom we share that environment as a matter of primary spiritual course. There are no universal paganisms; or, rather, the paganisms are at their most universal insofar they are most specifically local.