Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Role of Luck in the Recognition of Kindred Leadership

It might help in reading the essay I posted on the blog just previous to this one.  It is called "The Bare Basics on Luck."

To summarize, Luck is something that was very important to our ancestors. Its not "dumb luck" or "random luck," like it is viewed in today's modern culture.  For Heathens, Luck is something some people have a lot of and some people didn't.  Those that have a lot of Luck are almost always successful in everything they set their mind to. But Luck is earned. Luck comes from right-action, experience, hard-learned lessons, knowledge, wisdom, and especially hard work. The leader (whether it is the head of a family or the Chieftain of a tribe) holds and safeguards the Luck of his people.  Luck can also be lost or even squandered.  Poor decisions, inaction, or dishonorable deeds can all have a large negative impact on one's Luck, and thus affect a person's ability to succeed at future efforts.

Since our Heathen ancestors believed that their leaders held and safeguarded the Luck of his/her followers, men chose leaders that were seen as having Luck.  Obviously, if a man's decisions and actions are successful more often than not, then this is a man whose advice, support, and leadershp you would want.  The same is true today.  When choosing the leadership of your modern kindred or tribe, would you rather choose a successsful leaders or a unsuccessful leaders?  Would you rather choose leadership that makes good decisions most of the time or bad decisions most of the time?

Among our Heathen ancestors, when people looked to someone else for advice (rede), they looked to someone who was seen as having Luck.  A man with Luck, had the knowledge, experience, wisdom, insight, and the sort of contacts that allowed him to give rede that was immensely valuable.  When you asked a man for rede, some of his Luck was considered to go with this rede. If you were facing a big decision or problem, and you asked a man with Luck for rede...following that rede was seen as enormously likely to help you make the right decision or solve the problem successfully.  Common sense would dictate that this is true today as well.  When choosing someone to ask for advice, do you go to the man who has repeatedly succeeded or the man who seems to repeately fail?  Do you ask for marriage advice from a man who has been divorced three times?  Do you ask for advice about work-politics from a man who's been fired four times due to work politics?

So, as we talk of what qualities we look for in a Chieftain or a Godhi, one quality that cannot be ignored is Luck.  The leadership of a kindred helps to keep the kindred focused on its goals, helps build consensus within the kindred on important decisions, and at times of strife or serious problems, the leadership of the kindred must sometimes act quickly to solve problems and move the kindred beyond hardships.  Every member of a kindred is important for different reasons.  Each mmember has a crucial role in making that kindred who they are.  The role of kindred leadership, is one of holding and safeguarding the collective Luck of that kindred.  In order to do this, it is important that those considered for kindred leadership have Luck of their own.

When a 45 year old man divorced twice and estranged from his kids, who has started and run four different kindreds into the ground, and who never goes to heathen gatherings because because he was laid-off from work a year ago, and still has no job, and he's behind on his child support says he's a Chieftain of a new kindred (his fifth kindred, btw), it is just natural for us as heathens to see this as rather silly.  This man has made many wrong choices, his life is a hot mess, and he has no Luck...what good is his Rede or his Leadership? 

When a 17 year old boy with no kindred who has never read the Eddas or Sagas, never had a family, never had a career, never owned a home, and who lives in with his parents or in the basement of a friend's house, says he is a Godhi, it is just natural for us as heathens to see this as rather silly. This boy has no experience, little knowledge, and no Luck...what good is his Rede or his Leadership? 

When a 32 year old woman who spent 15 years as a Wiccan, and converted to heathenry a year ago, and who lost her children to the State, and who picks fights with every heathen she meets online, and who avoids heathen gatherings because people might find out what a mess she is, says she's a Gythia, then it is just natural for us as heathens to see this as rather silly.  This woman has no knowledge base, makes bad decisions, and has no Luck...and what good is her Rede or Leadership?

I've given somewhat ridiculous hypothetical examples on purpose.  First, I don't want anyone to mistakenly think I am describing them.  Second, sometimes exaggerating a bit helps make the point a little sharper.  One must consider the life, the Gefrain, the Honor, and most certainly the Luck of the man or woman that you accept rede from, or decide to recognize in a leadership role within your kindred.  Do they have experience and knowledge in the matters you need advice about? Have they succeeded at the very things you are asking advice about?  Do they make good decisions and do they have more successes in their life than failures? 

The positions of Chieftain or Godhi are given by the people who know and respect that man or woman who would serve in these roles.  Each time a man or woman trusts in the decision-making or guidance of their Chieftain, his/her position and "authority" is reaffirmed.  Each time a man or woman trusts the rede given to them by their Godhi, his/her position and "authority" as a Godhi is reaffirmed.  This is much different than the source of "authority" that exists in many other religions.  The people in leadership over our kindreds earn their authority, and their authority is bestowed on them by those that respect their decisions, guidance, and advice.  It is very much a reciprocal relationship.
Mark Ludwig Stinson
Jotun's Bane Kindred
Temple of Our Heathen Gods

No comments:

Post a Comment