Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sacred Space Conference 2017

Sacred Space Conference 
March 9-12, 2017 
Hunt Valley, MD

Among the topics will be the following: 

Zisa: Ancient Lore and Modern Understanding 


The Troth: Modern Heathenry in a Complex World
Inclusion, Growth, Balancing Identity and Community

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year's Resolutions

If you follow the Urglaawe seasonal foci, then your contemplation activities over Yule will surely have yielded many ideas for ways to improve your life and have a positive impact on the lives of those around you. You may want to make a New Year’s Resolution (der Vorsatz, plural: die Vorsetz) The biggest pitfalls in undertaking self-improvement are selecting too many things to change at once or committing to an unrealistic goal. 

While introspection and change throughout the year are good things New Year’s Resolutions are intended to function with the cycles and rhythms of life and can thus fit in well with spiritual pursuits. Before you make your New Year’s Resolution or take any oaths, though, you must first consider what you can reasonably change. 

Breaking a Vorsatz is akin to breaking an oath, particularly if the resolution involves the deities, ancestors, or others around you. Lofty goals can inspire us, but failing to reach them can be devastating. Even breaking a resolution made to and for oneself can lead to feelings of inadequacy and failure. Additionally, breaking a Vorsatz in any context can lead a person to diminish the gravity of oaths in general.

It can be helpful to write down all your thoughts and then whittle down the list using the following questions: Is this achievable in my current situation? If not, what needs to change? Can I break this item down into smaller steps and revise my Vorsatz to focus on achieving the first step in this process? It is recommended that you seek feedback on your proposed resolutions from trusted friends to help who can also provide support as you work to accomplish them.

For example, if you do not go to the gym now, it may well be reckless for you to make a Vorsatz that you will go to the gym every day in 2017. What might be more achievable would be to make a Vorsatz that you will go to the gym twice a week in the month of January. At the end of January, if the goal is reached, you can consider a new Vorsatz. Every small goal achieved helps to reinforce the next goal.

Vorsetz are not a requirement of Urglaawe, but they are part of our cultural heritage, and it is worthy to frame the creation and execution of these resolutions in an Urglaawe context.

Resolutions may be made orally to the self or to others, of course. Typically, though, one writes the Vorsatz down on a Zauberzettel (“charm ticket”). If the ticket remains unfolded, it may (and indeed should) be viewed by other members and is considered a resolution that others can agree to witness and to hold the author to. If  we fold the ticket, then the Vorsatz is considered to be private between the deities and the author.

The Zauberzettel is then attached to the Yuul wreath and burned on Twelfth Day. 

Hail to the end of Yule and to the start of a new year! Good luck on any resolutions that you choose to make!