Thanksgiving 2015

Thursday, November 26th is the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. It is intended as a time for families to get together and express gratitude for the things they have (or, alternately, express their disagreements while over eating and watching football). Though the holiday has been wrapped in patriotic history, it is, at its heart, a traditional harvest celebration.

As an Asatru person, the holiday may not sit well with your religious views. The way it is typically portrayed, Christianity figures heavily. On top of all of that, many Asatru people belong to families that do not share that religion and are sometimes hostile. None of this really matters, though.

As noted above, this is a traditional harvest festival. Almost every culture from an area with similar seasons has a harvest festival. It is a time to celebrate that you have enough food to survive the winter. In my home area, the state of Iowa, the harvest is just coming to a close. The farmers have gathered up almost all of the corn and beans from the fields. They've sold off the livestock they don't plan to feed over winter. They've stocked up on hay and straw. That sounds like a harvest to me.

Of course, I was not directly involved in the harvest. At most, I've driven by fields where the combines (combination harvesters) were doing their thing. I've been nearly run over by grain trucks racing down the Interstate highway. I've purchased food at my local grocers and restaurants. That's where I make my connection.

Even though I am not directly connected to the fields by the harvest, I am still thankful for every bit of it. The ones who do that work area doing hard work all year. I am also thankful for the plant and animal lives ended so that I can eat. I am thankful for the help of the Gods and the Elves in the growth of that food. I am thankful that Ul uses His shield to protect the ground from freezing during the cold, winter months. I am thankful that agricultural production is so productive that there is enough food for everybody. (Whether everybody has access to that food is a separate issue.) Finally, I am thankful that I don't have to go out and labor away all year myself doing back-breaking work.

Of course, Thanksgiving is also considered a family holiday. As mentioned, not every family is friendly to the Asatruar. That can be a real frustration. There are two tracks one can follow there. The first is to dissociate from your family and build a new family from those who are friendlier to your faith. For many, this is decided by the rest of the family, so there is no choice in the matter. If this is the path you take, know that there is no shame in it for you. Try not to feel anger at your family; try to feel sad for them that they don't know what they are doing. They have been misled and it is their loss and, hopefully, they will see the error in their thinking someday.

The second path is to try to get along. This can be harder to do, but it allows the family to stick together. Instead of trying to force discussion about your differences, focus on the things your family has in common and can get along about. Reinforce that families don't always get along, but they are always family. If they insist that everyone "say grace" before eating, just silently pray to your Gods to thank Them for Their protections and ask that They help your family discover the truth.

Neither of these paths is wrong. You must determine for yourself which path you choose to take. If you live as an ally of the Gods, you will persevere through this and not have to worry about the struggles of the day. For all of that, you can be thankful.

As for the Black Friday Shopping, you probably need to be more careful. I hope that you have taken the year to prepare things to sell so you can receive money from this feeding frenzy instead of spending. Either way, I hope you are safe. If you survive to Saturday, that is one more thing for which to be thankful.


We will have to find a place between Des Moines and Cedar Rapids and try to get everybody together.