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What It Means to Place the Gods First

By Sarenth Odinsson

[Snip] As head of my little Heathen household, what it means when I say “The Gods come first” is that They are the first consideration when decisions are made, when efforts are undertaken, and around whom the placement of our lives is made. Do we ask the Gods every time we do something small, like “Oh Odin, what shall I eat today?” No. What it means is that when we do sit down to eat, we pray to the Gods, Ancestors, spirits, the beings we are consuming (both animal and plant) and on behalf of all of those who brought the food to us. It means that we recognize our hamingja as a family is tied into right relationship with the Gods, Ancestors, and spirits and how we treat Them, as much as how we treat one another. The idea that Gebo extends not only to the Gods, but to one another is one that suffuses our lives.

But why make the Gods the top priority above all, even family? Because if the Gods are indeed the Gods, then They affect the forces of the world. In ancient times Thor and Freyr were prayed to for good rains or Njord for good fishing. Given many of the ancient Germanic and Scandinavian peoples were farmers and fishers, the idea that the Gods with whom these people were interacting with every single day were not at the forefront of their lives does not make sense to me at all. If the Gods are the forces that help bring the rains so the crops would grow or the fish that keep your people fed, the Gods as the center of one’s life is not just a feel-good notion. It is survival.

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