top of page
  • Jarl Arngrim Aethelwulfar

Reincarnation in Heathen Belief Part 1: The Reason Why

Updated: Jul 9, 2022

In addition to the many possibilities for destinations of the Heathen soul after death, one is reincarnation. This actually happens a lot more than many would think. It happens because we are here to evolve spiritually, to better ourselves and wax in wisdom and power, and to learn all of the lessons we are meant to learn before our souls are freed from the need to keep coming back to Midgard. One might think of this world as a spiritual testing ground. That is the "meaning of life" that few people seem to ponder or care about these days. Many (though not all) modern people in the western world tend to be shallow, self-absorbed, and live in fear of death, in sharp contradistinction to our ancestors. They dive into the many loud, obnoxious distractions that the world presents, and gladly. They surround themselves with people (whether their lives are truly enriched or bettered by these people or not) just to have someone around to help distract them. They fear to be alone with themselves. They do not wish to have to face their own thoughts. They have no desire to seek the truth about themselves and their purpose here, and what the honorable and upright way to live is. They refuse to examine their strength and their faults, or even admit that they have faults, becoming bitter and angry when someone brings them up. They do not seek to improve upon these faults, and become better people. And so, since they refuse to let their souls speak, and heed the messages of the universe (which can only be done when someone lives a spiritual life) they will continue to reincarnate and be confronted with the same situations and lessons over and over until they finally choose to listen, and to do what they were put here to do. Older souls, sometimes having been around for hundreds or even thousands of years, tend to be the ones that most often question the consensus reality presented to them and ponder what the "meaning of life" is, often from a young age. If you are one of the people who do seek a higher purpose and meaning in their existence, and yearn for something more than the mundane world presents, then our theod may be for you.

I am not saying that people with younger souls are automatically ineligible, if in fact they are willing to seek out higher spiritual wisdom with us. I only allude to the fact that older souls are more likely to do this because we live in a society that is bereft of the ancient traditions that served as the cornerstone around which the heathen societies of old turned.

Older souls are more likely to have a deeper, subconscious memory from past lives of how things were "before", even if this presents only as intuitive feelings or personal gnosis. For some of sufficient psychic sensitivity, they may even get glimpses of past life episodes in dreams or visions. They may relive some of the events in their former lives. They may feel at odds with the way the world is now, without fully understanding why. They may realize that they are very different from their peers but may not know where to turn or what to do other than what everyone else around them is doing. This is what our kindred exists for; so that people of Northern European descent who feel as we do can share in the common mission of reviving the ways of our Heathen ancestors as fully as possible. The blood remembers, and people who have actually "been there" tend to have a deeper appreciation for what we value. Granted, reading this you may not know whether or not you have "been there" and are an "old soul," but if what you read in these blogs resonate strongly with you, then that is just as good! Younger souls, too, are part of the Northern European soul stream, and can potentially hear the call of the ancestors as well.

In Heathen times, there was respect for the elders as keepers of wisdom. Communities were more in tune with the spirit world, and could often recognize the fact that someone was possessed of wisdom beyond their years and soul-might that had accumulated over many lifetimes. Often, the deeds of the past lives dictated the conditions of the present one, and the folk would ascribe both the blessings and troubles of an individual to those previous incarnations. Both the past lives and the current one counted. People who knew less, and who had accomplished less, and who had not "cheaped their abraidness" (earned their worth and place in society) would give the deference due to the elders.

The young did not hold their elders in the contempt with which young people seem to hold of them now. The concepts of fairness and "equality" had not been so twisted and perverted. Nowadays, it seems that it is taken to mean that all people, regardless of their knowledge, abilities, and nobility of spirit, must of necessity be exactly the same. Everyone seems to expect points for participation in life's endeavors whether or not they perform well and have something to offer. People seem to want validation of their greatness simply for existing. According to the "new" doctrine of fairness and equality, everyone must be important, or no one is. This is problematic, because is everyone is a "somebody," then in truth no one is anybody! In our ancestors' day, a naturally-occurring hierarchy emerged from the field of communal interactions that defined the place of individuals in the strata of society. The reason why castes were hereditary is because in heathen thought the virtues, abilities, and strengths of a son or daughter would be passed along from their parents, as would their virtuous qualities. If the offspring did not measure up to this, they did so out of deliberate choice to turn from the honorable path of their predecessors, and they often faced the consequences of this betrayal of the line of their kin.

The young did not hold the disrespectful and ignorant belief that what is new is always better, and did not think they knew it all. They did not hold the misguided belief that they were just "born awesome." They respected the old traditions and the keepers of the tribe's wisdom. Only dishonorable leeches on the community embarked upon vain quests of ambition to satisfy an overblown ego that was desperate to cover up the individual's flaws and shortcomings. Healthy pride in one's abilities and accomplishments were encouraged (if there was truth in it) Anyone who persisted in reckless jockeying for position in a society with only their own ends in mind were not tolerated. Those whose deeds did harm to the community would eventually find themselves branded Utlaginn (an outlaw.)

Sadly, the folk wisdom of the ancestors and the folkways that guided us on the path set out for us is no longer heeded, displaced by a culture that cares only for money, fame, power, and getting laid. In satiating all of the baser desires they can on Midgard. I am not trying to paint a dour, puritanical picture of the heathen religion at all. Quite the contrary, our ancestors indulged in quite a bit of song, gambling, drug use, dance, games, drink, and sexual pursuits. They did indeed seek after gold and riches, to win land and fame for themselves, and to better their station in life. They did try to enjoy the world while they were here, and so should we, though the modern world can sometimes make this much harder to do depending on your opportunities, inborn abilities, and socioeconomic status. All the arbitrary laws and rules tend to put quite a damper on things and our ancestors would not have understood our modern society much at all, so vastly different is it from how things were back then. Yes, our ancestors did try to live the "good life," but the difference between them and many modern people today is that they also took great heed of their spirituality, their own development, and their connection to the divine. Honor was a matter of life and death to them, and while the simple pleasures made life more comfortable while here, they never lost sight of the ultimate goal of living. Modern western society experienced a devolution rather than an evolution in the time between the days of Heathendom and now. It is debased, degenerate, and rootless. Modern people tend to see "progress" as an increase in scientific knowledge and technology. While the societies of the modern world may have indeed made incredible advances in these fields, spiritually and morally they are infantile. It's scary, in a way, because it's like putting a loaded gun into the hands of a toddler. For a harmonious relationship to continue to exist between individuals, society, and nature, the spiritual development of a tribe or nation must keep pace with its technological development. Clearly this is not the case today, and this is why the threat of nuclear holocaust has hung over our heads for the last several decades, this is why high technology is being used more and more by world governments to more or less enslave their populations and make them weak and dependent, this is why the environment stands in such peril, and this is why people have lost all sight of what is important in life. People may talk a good talk about being civic and community minded, and caring for their fellow man, but when push comes to shove most of them are just in it for themselves. Common courtesy has all but become a thing of the past. This is why continual reincarnation will be the lot of most until they wake up and finally learn.

It is important to note here that our ancestors did not conceive of time as a linear concept, nor as a circular process that repeats indefinately, but somewhere in between. It was, rather, a progression of cycles that moved forward along a path of unfolding, development, and evolution. It was a process of "becoming." The universe progresses in much the same way as the individual soul on a macro-level, with new ages (incarnations) being born, living, and passing away, only to be reborn as a new era, and to begin a new cycle that builds on the old ones. Sadly, it takes most individuals following a righteous path at the same time for the universe to truly bloom and progress, which is why it must die and be reborn when evil comes to predominance. In the lore we have ages where good is in the ascendant, like the legendary "Peace of Wisdom" a golden age in heathen lore mentioned in sources like the Eddic "Helgi" poems. This was said to be age replete with wisdom, virtue, and a lasting peace among the beings of Midgard and the other worlds. The more well-known "Ragnarok" is quite the opposite, and is the final "death age" that comes before the universe is destroyed and reborn anew, taking all the lessons and development forward into the next "lifetime."

Like the universe, each of us go through cycles of life, death, and rebirth in order to shed old baggage, heal old wounds, and replace bad or unbeneficial qualities with good ones, and become something greater. What we reap in one lifetime, we sow in the next. The mistakes we make serve as lessons for our own progression, and while they can create miserable conditions of disease (or dis-ease, lack of ease) within the soul, they can be remedied in the next lifetime. This is why the soul chooses to come back. All of the falsehoods, delusions, and wrongs we hold to and reap in a former life cna be undone in the next one, opening the path towards waht many traditions call an enlightened state of being, one in which the soul is able to clearly see the way forward, the path they are meant to walk, the deeds they are meant to accomplish. Once all of this is learned and done, we get to go "home" and rest for good.

36 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Donning the Garb: Heathen Clothing and Accessories

As a highly traditionalist heathen tribe, our theod is in the habit of having our members dress as our ancestors did for blots, sumbels, and other formal gatherings. The world may not yet be ready fo

The Importance of Belief

It is a common saying in the world nowadays: "seeing is believing." It is also anathema to the line of thought held in this theod, to say nothing of any genuine pagan revival group that truly seeks t


bottom of page