We European-descended people want to drink from everyone's well except our own.
Many of us are uncomfortable with Christianity, but keep going to church because "it's the right thing to do" or because "I want the kids to have good morals." Those who leave the Church find themselves adrift. "What now?," they wonder. Some check out Buddhism, others try Wicca or Theosophy. Unitarianism is an easy out - if all paths are valid, you don't have to make a choice. Many seekers give up altogether, decide there's nothing to the cosmos except matter and energy, and become atheists.
And of course, some try Native American religion.
That's understandable. There's a lot that's appealing in Native American spirituality. We see it through the lens of our modern culture, of course. It's "natural," environmentally friendly, noble, uncontaminated by modernity. White guilt adds to the equation, and maybe we have an urge to submit to a people we have treated harshly, even a need to acknowledge them as wiser than us, our superiors. Most Eurofolk have no idea that we, too, have ancestral religions. For many of us, it is called Asatru. It includes many of the things we admire in Native American belief.
More than a few people who are now Asatru started off as members of the largest Indian tribe of all - the Wannabees. Here's the story of one of them -
In 1975, I was at a powwow on the Rosebud Sioux Indian reservation in South Dakota. My girlfriend and I and another couple had been there for a couple of days enjoying the dancing, drumming, and craftwork. I had struck up a conversation earlier with a gentleman who turned out to be one of the Sioux elders who had helped organize the event.
Later on that evening, he came over to me and asked me if I had had a good time. I answered “Yes, very much so.” Then he said, “I’m glad to hear that. But you’ll have to leave now.” Afraid that I had violated some rule or committed a social faux pas of some kind, I asked why. He replied, “Because we’re about to perform a religious ceremony and it’s only for Indians.” I replied that I understood.
As we were walking away, he walked beside me. At the entrance, he put his hand on my shoulder, smiled, and said to me, “You’re not going to find what you’re looking for here. You need to drink from your own well.” I shook his hand, and left.
It would be another twenty years before I would understand what he meant by his statement. I had discovered Edred Thorsson’s A Book of Troth in a bookstore and was reading through it when the Sioux elder’s words came back to me and struck me like a thunderbolt. This was it! I was finally drinking from my own well. I had found my way home.
Home. For us, that's what it feels like to find Asatru. The cool, clear water flowing from our ancestral stream is the elixir of our spiritual life.
A very wise American Indian activist, Vine Deloria, wrote a book called God is Red in which he said
"Most probably religions do not in fact cross national and ethnic lines without losing their power and identity. It is probably more in the nature of things to have different groups with different religions."
This has nothing to do with superiority or inferiority, only with diversity...real diversity, not the pseudo-diversity of modern political correctness, which argues, incorrectly, that human groups are all the same, interchangeable,with identical spiritual needs. Differences are real, and it is in accepting and honoring those differences that we find true diversity, tolerance, and respect.
The spiritual thirst of my European-descended brothers and sisters will only be slaked when they find their people's well, and drink deeply from it.
Asatru Folk Assembly