|The following article appeared as a flyer produced in 1995
by the Asatru Folk Assembly, aimed at European-Americans who are attracted
to Native American spirituality. It has received praise from several
Native American writers and thinkers, including Vine Deloria, author of
GOD IS RED and many other books dealing with American Indians. The term
"wannabees" is used by some Native Americans to refer to
outsiders who "want to be" Indians.
So you're a European-American
to Native American spirituality...
The way of the American Indian offers much to those who want to live in
harmony with the Earth, and with the own beings. The simplicity of a life
close to nature, and the powerful techniques of the shaman, call out to
all of us who want to walk lightly on this planet and to know the journeys
of the soul that make one wise. Many people, including those of European
ancestry, feel the pull of this spiritual path.
However, there is something to consider. Many Native Americans feel
that you should seek out the ways of your people, rather than intruding
upon their ways. They understand your interest in their traditions, but
they think you should look for something that is yours.
Well, just what IS yours?
Long ago, Europeans too were tribal peoples. From the British Isles all
the way across the Continent, the Celts and the Germans and others lived
in great forests and along rugged seacoasts. Our way of living was much
like that of the American Indians whom you admire. The Earth was our
mother, Thor rattled in the thunder, Odin led the Wild Hunt, Freya showed
us that women could be both beautiful and strong. The tree Yggdrasil held
the Nine Worlds in its embrace, and the web of Wyrd connected all things.
Our ancestors lived in us, and spoke in our dreams, and in the eyes of our
The way of the indigenous Europeans had much that you will recognize.
The vision quest? The Norsemen called it utiseta, or "sitting
out." Sweatlodges? The sauna was sacred to the Birch Goddess. Great
warriors? Our history abound in them. Honoring the Earth? Brooks, rocks,
trees - all had spirits to be befriended. Shamans? Odin, father of the
Gods, was a master shaman!
Then, things changed. A new faith came to our forested lands from a far
country where our tribes had never dwelled. It came with sword and fire,
and killed or exiled those who would not accept the alien way. Many
thousands of us died rather than submit, but eventually the church bells
drove the land spirits into hiding, and even the Mighty Powers could not
be seen for the pall which hung over our spirits. And so it stayed, for
many centuries, and we brought this alien way with us when we came to the
land we named America. It was not tribal Angles or Saxons or Iceni who
treated the Native Americans wrongly; it was a people cut off from their
soul, and from the wisdom of the generations.
But time passes, and now something new is happening. The way of old
Europe, so long crushed and repressed, is once again accessible to its
far-flung sons and daughters! And that's where you come in.
It is good to respect the Native American, for reasons you understand
well. One way of honoring him is to leave his religion, his spirituality,
his ancestors, to him! But there's another obligation, too. Don't you owe
it to your own ancestors - whose blood and bone and soul you are - to seek
them first? The thousands of generations of forefathers and foremothers,
warriors, hunters, and explorers, heroes and rogues alike, call to you.
They are your
kin. They beckon you - to heal our people, to heal our world, and to walk
again the way of the warrior and the wise one. They call you home. Will