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  • Jarl Arngrim Aethelwulfar

Material Culture 1: Donning the Garb

Updated: Feb 21, 2022

You have probably heard the phrase “the clothes make the man/woman.” This is more than idle chatter; it is the reason why religious groups and militaries the world over (and now, corporations) have adopted uniforms of one sort or another to represent their purpose for being. It is an established fact that ritual garb has a psychodramatic effect on consciousness; it affects the way we see ourselves and consequently how we think and act, albeit subconsciously most of the time. By donning the garb of our Viking-age ancestors, we mentally as well as metaphysically align ourselves with the current of soul might, thought, and belief that our ancestors had. In addition, we reclaim our cultural heritage by defying current norms of dress. Modern garb is essentially secular and utilitarian, and when fashion is brought in it is for the sake of vanity and little more. Viking age garb could be seen as a way to display personal pride, it is true, but it also signifies that the individual so adorned belongs to that particular group. When all members of a kindred dress according to the fashion and code of our forebears, we are constantly reminded (nonverbally) of our role as the harbingers of the heathen renaissance or rebirth. We are far less likely to succumb to the mesmeric pull of the modern world and far less willing to dance to the tune it plays when we "dress the part." The clothing alone may not in and of themselves transform someone into a Heathen, but they play a vital role in solidifying and enhancing the inner beliefs, viewpoints, and convictions that characterize one who follows this path. Modern heathens who wear traditional dress to meetings, blots, and sumbels are apt to stay “in the zone” for the duration of their activities, and this prevents a dissipation of vital energies necessary for the effectiveness of our holy rites and gatherings. The heathen garb shows that we not only belong to the same religion and tribe but that we hold a particular rank or arung in our society. The higher up the caste system you went, the more special adornment you were wont to see. It is a mark of social status and personal pride which honors the talents and contributions of the individual member in question, not a simply matter of vanity and the need to "one up" those around you.

Some may criticize this as “D&D” roleplaying, but in reply I ask why it is fine for a Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, African tribesman, Native American, Sikh, or other ethnic group member to wear THEIR traditional garb while we European-descended white folk are criticized for doing the very same thing? It is as if the powers that be want us to forget that we ever had an ethnic religion and culture of our own at all! The Loyal Thanes Theod stands firmly against such a position, and our members will proudly wear the garb of our ancestors at all official functions. Some may also wonder why we opt for the Viking age instead of the Bronze age, for example, or ask “Did Iron Age Heathens dress like Stone Age Heathens for ritual?” This is a fair enough question; the response is that unlike Viking age or Iron age heathens, Modern age heathens were born into families and a society that is disconnected from our religious and cultural heritage (our folkways.) We are no longer part of an unbroken line of cultural transmission; instead we have inherited a society characterized by religious dysfunction, cultural ambiguity, spiritual poverty, rootlessness, and anomie. We must reestablish a visible and material frame of reference as an anchor and an aid whereby we might reorient our consciousness. Viking age heathens did not need reminding and reinforcement concerning who they were or where they came from because they did not have all of that to contend with in their time; we do, and we shouldn't deceive ourselves into thinking otherwise. We struggle daily against a monoculture that is at best indifferent and at worst hostile to our beliefs and our goals. This does not require a full withdrawal and denial of the monoculture and the wider world, but merely a strong stand for the culture WE are reclaiming, the building of a tower of strength that resists all efforts of the surrounding faux-culture to erode it and sweep the remains back into the void. This is one of many ways of taking our power and our collective identity back as a folk group. It very well could be that some of the material fashions that Christianized Europeans devised after the Viking Age and the conversion would have happened regardless of Christianity’s introduction, but the Viking Age is the last era where Heathenry was practiced among the majority of our ancestors, and thus it is the most logical place to start if we are to continue where they left off.

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