There Are No Gender Roles, Only Roles


Someone once asked me, what is the heathen view of women? This was my answer:

Well I can’t speak for all heathens. Many people, like in any religion, gravitate to the faith for stupid reasons and never actually educate themselves. My heathen view is that women are the most beautiful creatures alive in any realm. But I’m biased because I’m straight. My gay cousin disagrees with me. Socially and politically they’re not much different from men. They make great queens and matriarchs in general; just as good as any good king, chief, etc. Frigga is the queen of the gods, and despite having little written about her compared to Odin, she’s just as important as her husband. There are a lot of “heathens” who only read the newer myths, and no Nordic history, archaeology, nor culture, and think they’re real followers or even modern day vikings or something. Just as there are many “Christians” who haven’t finished reading the Bible and don’t read Roman, Greek, nor Middle-eastern history, and think they’re some authority on Christianity.

You have to keep in mind that there’s a difference between the ancient, pre-Christian true faith, that I prefer to follow and call Forn Sidr (or Nordic Spiritualism), and newer versions of the faith. 99% of all the writings, like Sturluson, are written by Christians, or non-Christians living in a Christian culture. They’re very modern and Western. And what’s more modern and Western than the prime minister or president is usually a man, god is a He, and the king takes priority? Sturluson and other common era writers simply could not write strictly about the goddesses. But before the common era, before the monotheists, the goddesses could be more important depending on what you’re celebrating or worshiping. Nature? The three goddesses of nature, Ran (of water), Nerthus (of vegetation/flora), and Fjorgyn (of earth/stone and minerals), each often referred to as “mother nature” now, take priority. Sex, both male and female, Freyr and Freya can take priority. And LGBT are not an issue. The sun or the moon? Both male and female because, like Loki and Odin in modern writings, they often switch up their genders just because they can.

Idun and Bragi are important gods, and married. Idun is a watchwoman goddess similar to Heimdall, often taking on a masculine role according to modern Western standards (watchwoman isn’t even really a word now, another example of our patriarchal modern Western Christian culture). But in ancient times, this wasn’t an issue at all. Idun is a much better warrior than her husband. Bragi is the god of music, poetry, and performance. To the true heathen, there are no gender roles, just roles.

There’s little to no ancient writing because most ancient polytheistic religions and cultures all over the world focused on an oral tradition. My family still maintains these traditions, for example, by telling the stories of the Wild Hunt on the winter solstice, and of Eostre in the spring. Which, by the way, Eostre is a goddess and takes center stage in the spring story, and Frigga and Odin both take center stage in the Wild Hunt. It’s a common mistake that Odin alone always leads the Hunt. Not to mention Skadi and Freya usually participate and both hunt during the year more often than Odin and Frigga.

The short answer to your question is that a true follower of Forn Sidr views women and men totally and completely as equals.


About anthonybjornson

Devout follower of the true gods, from the north.
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