A couple weeks ago I wrote an article called Being of Worth that I received quite a bit of positive feedback on privately. There was one request that I heard repeatedly, however, that I believe needed to be addressed; the concept of worth regarding women from a woman’s perspective. As I am not qualified to speak on that subject, I had to turn to a friend of mine for assistance. So, it is with great pleasure that I give you our first ever guest author! Pam is member of Iron Clay Shire, an Anglo-Saxon group, so not only does she bring a woman’s perspective to the subject of worth, but she also brings a different cultural perspective than my own Nordic views.
Women and Worth
By Pam A., Iron Clay Shire
Worth is a concept that is hard to define yet easy to recognize in ourselves and others. But what is it? Is it a rejection of dysfunctional religious ideas that say human beings are intrinsically worthless without divine intervention? Is it a sum of right thought and action? Is it the way we carry ourselves with integrity in our daily lives? Is it awareness that our choices either honor or dishonor our name and ancestors? My answer is yes to each of these questions.
Long ago I rebuffed modern notions of what a woman should or shouldn’t be, and found myself drawn to Heathenry for the straightforward, no-nonsense approach to living. We are singers of magic, travelers into other worlds, horn bearers, hearth makers, mothers (or not), peace weavers, shield maidens, hunters and fighters…to name a few. In Heathenry, being a woman isn’t synonymous with being weak but with being strong and powerful; it also means reconnecting with our birthright of the mothers who came before us and being whatever we need to be, in any given circumstance, and without apology. It means standing tall when we approach our Gods and Goddesses and addressing them not with sniveling placation but with confidence. Unlike other faiths, I truly believe our deities want us to be strong and proud; they gave us minds, our Willa and Wód, and expect us to use them. It is up to us to weave our own Wyrd. Our faith and folkway is one of confidence, pride, independence and personal accountability. Every day requires making choices. It is through right-minded action—deeds—that we come to realize that we are not worthless but worthy.
For example, when I say I’m going to do something, I do it because my word is my bond. Words precede deeds. This isn’t a difficult concept really, it’s choice and consequence. There is no external scapegoat to blame. There is no victimhood or pointing to ourselves and claiming we just couldn’t help it because we’re fundamentally flawed beings. Heathenry expects more from each of us. It gives us room to grow and become better versions of ourselves. Every time I hold myself to my own standards and do what I say I’m going to do, I prove that I am capable of right action. This in turn gives me confidence because I know I can count on myself. It also encourages trust and reliability with others, whether that is my family, kinsmen or friends. This continues when I follow through with right action toward my ancestors and the gods.
Over time, this continuum of self-accountability forms an unshakable sense of self worth. From the mundane to the sacred, everything has higher meaning and value. Family and friendship bonds become stronger, and the voices of our ancestors and gods speak more clearly. A sense of pride develops because we earned this through our own action—there are no shortcuts. This straightforward premise of choice and consequence is one of the many things I value about Heathenry. The fact that I’m a woman in no way limits me, because as my kinswoman put it, I can be anything I want to be. These concepts defy many modern social and religious ideas of worth, gender, and accountability…and I wouldn’t have it any other way.