I recently began writing articles for “Huginn’s Heathen Hof.” I write about Homesteading and Heathenry as I do here but not as personal in general and more in depth. I wanted to share my latest article with my readers (and to save it for future me to look back to) but please check out the original post as well at:
Self-reliance is being able to use your own resources without needing outside help. I often say that my family as a unit strives for self-reliance or self-sufficiency. I can see where my choice of words doesn’t properly fit what we actually are striving for. There are many things we would love to be able to do ourselves without outside help but in reality we will depend heavily on the outside world. We don’t wish to isolate ourselves from our community. We simply don’t want to rely on every basic need to be met by someone or something else.
For instance we want to raise our own fiber, milk and meat animals. We don’t create them from our own bodies or forage for them so to even start that we have to go to someone else. We will have to (and have been) buy books, use the Internet and electronic devices to talk to others about the animals, buy supplies to build them homes, buy tools and such for shearing/milk storage/etc, potentially buy feed and other things to keep our animals healthy, etc. Simply acquiring the animals we need then running to the forest thinking we need no other help or supplies isn’t how we would ever go about it.
What we would like is to grow a lot to most (a dream would be all but let’s face it there are going to be times I just want to go get sushi or a pizza or at least not have to make a meal from scratch) of our food, use plants and animals to create fiber for spinning/weaving/sewing/crocheting/etc, learn better blacksmithing skills to make things for our homestead and many other skills. Growing our skill sets to potentially live more off grid is appealing but in learning them we also wish to share them. To join or create a community of shared skills so we may trade/barter for homegrown or crafted items, learn from others experiences, be open to learning things we may have never thought to learn, making friends for companions as well as help if something were needed. That sort of life is what we want.
I have known of people who truly wish to live isolated and completely self-sufficiently. What I didn’t really “see” until recently was that some heathens think they need to live this way. They often follow different variants of the Nine Noble Virtues (please research this before taking it to be the Heathen Commandments) and take the idea of self-reliance beyond trying not to be a “burden.” I often have seen posts and images about not needing anyone and being strong and part of me felt the need to yell: “heck yeah! I don’t need anyone! I can make my own way if I have to!” That isn’t necessarily true. I have responsibilities as a mother and wife and even if I didn’t I have always found support and help in family, friends and various parts of my community as I have tried to make my way. Unless you are completely alone in the middle of a forest and you do everything without help you are in some way most likely connected to someone who aides you in some way. Even if completely indirectly. Trying to be more self-reliant in this case isn’t telling you to become Tarzan or Mowgli. It’s asking you to find ways to better and help yourself so you are not a burden on your family and/or community. Even with a disability or lack of skills there are many ways to actively help others and yourself in most cases.
My family strives to honor our gods and ancestors while helping ourselves and others in our journey to semi-self-sufficiency/reliance. I think it helps us to become “better” heathens by doing so. Isolation doesn’t help ourselves and others. Our heathen blood or spiritual ancestors lived as part of a working community. The idea of the lone warrior isn’t something that should be perpetuated as what we need to work towards. It’s against human nature and just not realistic for most of us. So when I say my family and others are working towards self-sufficiency/self-reliance I am saying we want to learn skills to not have to rely on others so much but at the same time using those skills to better ourselves and community. It’s about bettering yourself and there are many MANY ways to do that.