[Edited on August 22nd, 2017]
My name is Ryan James. I’m a 21 year old Welshman who has spent my formative years in small-town USA. I have recently returned to my homeland of Wales after almost a decade. I have family on both sides of the ocean, through both blood and marriage. But I do consider my step-family as close as blood, and this does play a minor role in my practices.
I have yet to find a calling in life, but honestly, who truly knows what they want to in life at twenty-one years old. Regardless of my occupation, I am happy with a supportive family and to live in a beautiful country. I do longboard a bit, play more video games than I should, and spend far too much time scrolling through the internet. As much as I do love a good hike or kayaking trip, I can’t say I spend all of my time in nature. I wish I could say I was the stereotypical pagan who spends all of my time in nature and enjoys every waking moment of it, but that is just not for me and quite impractical for where I live.
My Religious Practices and History
I have had the fortune to be raised in a very open-minded household where I have been able to explore my spirituality and faith openly and with unwavering support from my family and from my fiance. It is something I am immensely grateful for, especially seeing how different it is from my time in the southern United States, and deep within the “Bible Belt”.
I’ve always been somewhat of an animistic agnostic throughout my life. I never cared much for religion. I never bothered with trying to believe in some kind of higher power. But at the same time, I did believe in some form of spirits; especially throughout nature. Hiking and being surrounded by so much untouched earth, with no cars, no buildings, no immense human pollution, was a powerful feeling to me.
Around a year before I identified as Heathen, my step-father found the same calling. Through looking at his ancestry he found he had a whole line of his family from Denmark. Through that he found Ásatrú. He follows a more Nordic-centered flavor of Heathenry. At first I didn’t pay much attention to it since I still didn’t really care about religion. But then, as tacky and as cliché as it sounds, I watched the History TV show Vikings. Something about the way they honored their Gods and spoke of them resonated in me. Now don’t check out on me here, I’m not some kind of “Brosatru” I’m going to Valhalla kind of guy. I learned very quickly that while Vikings is a good source of entertainment, it is nowhere a good representation of what Heathenry is.
From there on out a started reading what I could online about Heathenry, and quickly knew it was the right path for me. To start with I followed the Nordic style of Heathenry, I feel like for the majority it is where everyone starts and then branches outward from there. After reading opinions and articles from many other Heathens I began to share a sentiment similar to that of the folks of Lārhūs Fyrnsida. That while the Gods are unquestionably important, your Ancestors and your Hearth are far more releavant and accessible. That your Hearth should be where you tend to the most, not to the Gods who may or may not be listening.
Now even more recently than that, for about the past three to five months I have been introduced to Religio Romana through some UPG events including the Roman Vesta. From there on out I have been a dual-tradition polytheist of both Anglo-Saxon Heathenry and Roman polytheism.