The Gods Down Under

There are gods here whose names I don’t know.

Australia is pretty different to Scandinavia and the British Isles. We’ve got different weather, different geology, different plants, different animals; everything’s just so different. I find it possible and usually easy to connect with most of my gods. Thor comes round when it rains and thunders, I feel Odin in the wind and the tightness in the air, and I see Heimdall in the cloud-strewn sky. It’s harder to connect with Skadi, because it never snows and I don’t live near mountains, and hard to connect with Njord because I never go down to the water.

But there are gods down here whose presence I can feel but whose names I don’t know. Maybe some of them were gods of the Scandinavians, and they’ve just been forgotten. More likely, most of them are gods that Scandinavians just didn’t know about because they didn’t appear up North. So maybe most of them are Australian gods.

Interesting and difficult discussion. I’m not an Indigenous Australian. Aboriginal Australian religions are closed traditions. If you’re not familiar with the history of European settlement and the native peoples of Australia, know that the colonists systematically fucked up everyone living here before them, and Australia’s version of Independence Day, Australia Day, which celebrates the landing of the First Fleet in 1788, is colloquially called ‘Invasion Day’. So basically, I, as someone who isn’t an Aboriginal Australian, have no right practising any aspect of an Aboriginal religion. I can learn about them, certainly, that’s only respectful, but they’re not my traditions to practise. The saddest part is that most of these traditions are spoken of in the past tense. Because of…you guessed it…colonisation.

So…these entities that I sense. To me, they come across as gods, or as vaettir of some sort. That’s my understanding of them. But what or who were they to the people who lived here for literally thousands of years? Maybe they were ancestors, or land spirits, or maybe there wasn’t a name for them. Maybe they were just part of the land. I don’t know. And it’s pretty hard to find detailed information about it.

could just treat these entities using my understanding of them: respectfully, as land wights who appreciate company and offerings, but who I realise might be different from the wights that I know from Heathenry’s sagas and stories. This is what I end up doing. But it still feels a little not right.

The question, assuming that these entities are indeed real, as I do, is this: whatever their true nature, is it acceptable to them to honour them as a Heathen, or would it be better to honour them not at all, since I can’t honour them in their traditional way?

At the moment, I honour them as a Heathen. I feel that this is respectful without stepping on any toes. Anyone care to weigh in?