By Swain Wodening
I have seen over the years veteran Heathens slam the idea of beginner books as a way of teaching new Heathens. They criticize beginner books as not being able to teach a Heathen all they need to know to practice as well as complaining that they are full of UPG. . . . The idea being that instead of looking to a book that gives them the basics on the religion, a new Heathen should instead do research by going through all the academic books and journals there are to learn about Heathenry. On the surface this is not a bad idea, and I would tend to agree, but there are many problems with the idea even though it may be the preferred way of learning about Heathenry.
First off, not everyone can afford to purchase all the academic journals and scholarly books on the topic of Heathenry. Some of the most basic scholarly books on Heathenry can cost hundreds of dollars. Consider this, “The Well and the Tree: World and Time in Early Germanic Culture” which is considered THE book on time and Wyrd and a must read for all Heathens costs used a minimum of $142. “A Piece of Horse Liver: Myth, Ritual and Folklore in Old Icelandic Sources” another book that is considered a must read for Asatruar is a cheap $78 for a used copy. “Lady With a Mead Cup: Ritual Prophecy and Lordship in the European Warband from La Tene to the Viking Age” which is thought a must read also is $400 just for a used copy. I could go on, but I think you should get the idea. Even journal articles of which there are many costs you money. The cheapest I have seen many journal articles is $15 which is not bad, but many cost up to $50 and that is just for a pdf file. Heathens with families, students, and those struggling just to get by cannot afford to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars just to be able to learn how to practice their religion.