Well, before I go any further, let me give Webster's Dictionary's definition for " Independent " : 1. Free from the influence, control, or determination of another, or others; spec., a) free from the rule of another; controlling or governing oneself; self - governing. b) free from influence , persuasion, or bias; objective. c) relying only on oneself or one's own abilities, judgement etc....
In other words I don't give a damn how others think our religion should be practiced ! If you want to set standards and honor the Gods and Goddesses the same way, every day, of every month, of every year, until you are like the robots in the Christian religion who just go through the motions every Sunday, then knock your selves out. But don't try to include me in your mundane nonsense. I honor the Gods and Goddesses from my heart, not from some tradition that has been mostly lost to history. And besides I do follow most of the regular Asatru rituals and celebrations. I just do it my way !
The other point that I want to make is that I, unlike others, make a distinction between a Godi and a Priest. In Gwyn Jones' book
" The History of the Vikings, it states : " To maintain part of one's establishment for even occassional use, and to provide horses and oxen for sacrifice, was at once the privilige and perquisite of a man of means and authority. It arose out of , and contributed to , his strong position in the district, and he and his kind soon acquired the distinctive Icelandic title of secular priest, or Godi." Notice the word secular before the word priest. Godi according to the renowned Gwyn Jones were not religious priests at all. I personally disagree with this, and believe that the word Godi means something like " One who speaks to the Gods" which is how I see the title and how I use the title, but I thought I would give a different opinion as well. Godi, Godia,, pl. Godar, are individuals who have a special relationship with the Gods which includes communicating with the Gods in one form or another. These Godi generally have little or no formal training in the field of religion, but are generally well read and knowledgeable in their own religion. Why the Gods and Goddesses speak to these individuals is beyond my understanding. In my case for instance, I would have thought that they could have done much better. Those who are chosen as Godi or who aspire to become Godi seem in my experience to care more about honoring and serving their Gods then in a deep learned understanding of them.
A Priest on the other hand, in my opinion, is someone who has studied, at a university or college, religion in all its forms and complexities. They have a thorough understanding of the inner workings of all religious beliefs, and faith in general. They are of course rewarded for their efforts with a diploma as a symbol of their academic accomplishments. These individuals seem to want to understand, and try to know their Gods and Goddesses, more through thought processes then from allowing their feelings of love and respect to dictate their religious experience. Both in my opinion, are equally valid as conduits to the Gods and Goddesses.
I am sure I will get e - mails about this article, but I really don't care. My opinions are my opinions, and my opinions alone. I am independent in my thinking and actions, and will never agree with anybody unless I have a similar viewpoint. I will never change just to appease anyone ! I am An Independent Asatruar !
Go with Odin's wisdom, Freyja's love and Thor's protection !