If there is one thing that our modern community sorely lacks, which our ancestors took for granted, it’s the beneficial guidance and stability of having learned Priests at hand for every man of note to benefit from. If our religion should prosper again, we must all seek to shed the harmful notions of individualism and hostility to authority that has long plagued our spaces.
In this vein we must remember that our faith has Priests, Goði, who are meant to perform authoritative religious and communal roles for the benefit of our Folk. We must remember what a Priest is, what they do, and what allows them to operate in such a beneficial manner.
A Goði is a learned man, educated in theology and philosophy, and possessed of a keen mind such that they are able to offer guidance and advice about all manner of questions one of the Folk might have. It is their duty to instruct and correct, their obligation to render aid and assistance to their followers. The learning of theology allows one to properly guide the folk in their prime role as priest of the rituals and ensure the understanding of the Gods, Landvaettir and Ancestors. The learning of Philosophy aids in ensuring that people are being instructed to live virtuously according to good moral tenets. Both are vital to the role of a priest.
No man is an island, as the strands of Wyrd affect us all and through them bind our fates and our holy luck together as an inseparable whole. Everyone should have a trusted source to ask questions of, to talk to about their problems (intellectual and personal) and seek advice from, even another Goði. As the Allfather himself relates in the Havamal:
“Young was I once, I walked alone,
and bewildered seemed in the way;
then I found me another and rich I thought me,
for man is the joy of man.”
It’s easy to say as much, that we should have such an institution for the benefit of all, but we must therefore reject the niggardly urge that is so common among everyone and return to the ancient virtue par éminence of generosity, because the hard truth is that such a social institution requires social support, especially from those of us blessed with means.
Our Hindu brethren would term the phrase “Dakshina” (From PIE “deḱs”, related to “deḱos”, meaning “that which is proper”), the repayment of spiritual guidance in the form of money, property, boons or other things of worth. The hard truth is that for too long our movement has been complacent, seen fit to rely on the good nature of its own. No man can be expected to perform all the functions of a priest, all the learning and education required, and still prosper like any of the men he helps.
“Hast thou a friend whom thou trustest well,
from whom thou cravest good?
Share thy mind with him, gifts exchange with him,
fare to find him oft.”
Perhaps you know one who you would trust in such a role, perhaps your Kindred has one already, perhaps you would seek to become one yourself, Perhaps you seek to find one. Make use of these men and their talents, unburden yourself in sacred counsel, strive to be better men and to forge us all, together, into better people.