Friday, December 1, 2023

Es Umdenk - The Mindshift

Voryuul Topic #1

Voryuul's onset is still a few days away, and now might be a good time to talk about one of the more complicated concepts within Urglaawe (and, quite possibly, within all of Heathenry): Es Umdenk. 

Quite literally, this is a shift in ideas, or, as is often colloquially said in English, "the mindshift."

We often speak about the Umdenk when one converts from monotheism (particularly Christianity) to Heathenry. Within the Urglaawe community, this shift was first expressed by my kinsman, Daniel Riegel, prior to his passing in 2011. He described the mindshift in the context of embracing the dark half of the year, which was consistent with many others’ experiences of recognizing the totality of the self, shadow and all. This recognition of our whole being is not the same as accepting ourselves “as is” and not striving to be better. Instead, it is using the totality of ourselves in order to become the best we can be.

There is a tendency in our society (particularly in the Deitscherei) to pretend the shadowy sides of ourselves do not exist. We bury them deeply, and we are ashamed of them. This attitude is pervasive in some Plain sectarian communities, and it is rooted in Christian orthodoxy. Shadow sides are generally viewed as being “evil” or profane. Orthodoxy, meaning that one is required to believe a certain way, trumps orthopraxy, meaning that one is required only to practice the same way within a group. Orthodoxy leads to dogma, and dogma leads to suppression of variant ideas.

One of the more common beliefs within Urglaawe is that the deities want for us to be at the end of this cosmic cycle where they were at the beginning of it. To achieve this, we have to grow as a race of beings. Such growth, particularly an evolution of consciousness, is very difficult when the largest religions in the world actively attempt to limit questioning and independent thought.

Maintaining perspectives from Christianity while practicing Heathenry can result in confusion. Our relationships to the deities and to our ancestors differ from that of the Christian understanding. Our relationship to the world around us differs. It is difficult to wrap one’s head around the idea that there may be multiple “truths” or that our deities have individual personalities that may lead them even into conflict with each other.

And, at the risk of offending some readers of this post, the “lore” is not Gospel, and to treat the myths as such can lead one to a state of cognitive dissonance in which the baggage of orthodoxy remains even though the trappings of the religion have changed. Germanic Heathenry has never (at least within the period in which history has been written down) been monolithic. Different tribes knew different deities in different ways… and that is wonderful!

Ditching the mindset of Christianity is critical. We are not “fallen.” We do not need an intercessor to remove the stain of sin. We have the ability and responsibility to improve ourselves, yes, but we do so to create a better future for ourselves and for our descendants, not because we have a bill to pay from the past.

For those who are planning to undergo the Voryuul meditations beginning at sunset on December 8, use the time between now and then to think about your own conversion (if applicable). Is there baggage you can free yourself from during the upcoming darkest nights?

We have recently seen an uptick in people joining our group because they were interested in our "Unbaptism" information. For me, the "Unbaptism" was an integral part of my mindshift. I had to close out old business in order to make a cleaner break with the ghosts of my religious past. We live in a society dominated by Christianity, and it is going to be nigh impossible to completely remove its influences from our lives (and, since a great many people whom I love are Christians, I want to keep them living long, happy, and healthy lives).

However, we can strive to remove the toxicity of the "only one way" mindset, and we can work with our deities, our ancestors/forebears, and (most importantly) our communities and selves to make the world a better place for ourselves and for those to come.

(Voryuul begins at sunset on December 8, which begins 9. Yuuling on the Urglaawe lunar calendar, and runs until sunset on December 20, which begins December 21 - Yuul - on the Urglaawe calendar.)



Voryuul is an exploration of the self that can lead to unpleasant conclusions or unhappiness. There is a fine line between confronting/embracing the realities about ourselves and falling into despair. These introspections are not required, so only engage in them if you feel you are ready to deal with the answers.

If you begin to feel despondent or desperate, please cease the meditations and reach out to one of Distelfink Sippschaft's clergy (all of whom are also empowered practitioners of Braucherei and Hexerei): Michelle A Jones, Ralph Victoria Young, Larry L Goble Jr., Silvera Moon, Stacey Lynne Stewart or me for some spiritual advisement or call an external agency or text 988 from your cell phone or 1-888-784-2433 from a landline.

Talk a friend!

Talk to a loved one!

Do not go it alone.

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