In Heathenry, Intro To Heathenry

Within Heathenry the concept of Innangard and Utangard is a subjective one, and is important in reconstructing the ancestral worldview. Innangard and Utangard are used to define boundaries. Simply put, that which is inside, Innangard, is of importance, and that which is outside, Utangard, is not. The words translate to ‘in the yard’ and ‘outside the yard,’ the ‘yard’ being the subject’s immanent domain which is defined by the walls that surround it, either literally or figuratively.

Gylfaginning in Snorri’s Edda describes how the earth is arranged

It is circular round the edge, and around it lies the deep sea, and along the shore of this sea they gave lands to live in to the races of giants. But on the earth on the inner side they made a fortification round the world against the hostility of the giants, and for this fortification they used the giant Ymir’s eyelashes, and they called the fortification Midgard.

Within the bounds of Innangard are the world of the known; one’s family, friends, the Gods and Goddesses, the welcomed ancestors, one’s home and anything that is chosen to be of importance.

Utangard is used to describe that which lies beyond the boundary of Innangard. It is the unknown world, wild or uncultivated lands, distant relatives, strangers, and generally refers to ’others.’

Frith is an Old English word that describes the action of caring for, protecting and cultivating that which lies within our yard. That which lies outside our yard, deserves none of this attention, except if we encounter a traveler whom we extend our hospitality to. Then, he or she is temporarily invited into our yard, or home. For more information on frith, see Winifred Hodge’s article On The Meaning of Frith.

That’s it for Lesson One! In June 2018 I’ll go through Lesson Two but I’m going to attempt to do things a little differently. The way I’ve been writing is kind of cold and impersonal, don’t you think? I’d like to get some feedback from you on how to do that. Each of these lessons in the Intro To Heathenry course is meant to be ingested slowly, savoured like fine wine, before swallowing a sip at a time. So let’s discuss! If you have some input, a question, or anything you’d like to offer as I go along, I welcome your feedback! I have just brushed the top layer of the topics in Lesson One. There are many more layers to uncover.

Reading / Sources –

A Practical Heathen’s Guide to Asatru by Patricia M. Lafayllve, Llewellyn, 2013
Establishing the Innangard by Josh Rood, Odroerir: The Heathen Journal 2014
Gylfalginning, Snorri Sturluson: Edda, translated by Anthony Faulkes, Everyman, 1988
Our Troth: History and Lore Vol.1 by Kveldulf Gundarsson, BookSurge, 2006

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