At the core of Indo-European cultures is an Immanence - a transcendent, pulsing, living current of god-nature, of Asa-nature. This stretches back as a sort of metaphysical ancestral memory all the way back to the Neolithic, if not further (it is mentioned in mystical texts of many Indo-European traditions that their ancestral homeland was an icy land to the North, so that Ice Age Europe or Siberia may indeed be a starting point of IE civilization; even an Indian nationalist like Bal Tilak argued as much, based on a chronological understanding of the Vedas).
|This Heathen land used to be icy. Now it's lush and green; good roots and good branches.|
So what is Immanence, and why does it take such primacy in Germanic (and indeed, in the core of all Indo-European) spiritual paths?
To better understand what Immanence is, it is best to start with something people can typically understand more concretely: Tradition.
Authentic Germanic Heathenry, for example, is "Traditionalist" as opposed to "modernist". That much is clear; there are strong natural laws at play in Heathenry, a powerful synergy or polarities, the importance of quality in folk, and of course the Rita or Natural Law - the manifestations in Midgard of the core principle of Orlog, Ur-Lag, or "Original Law" of causes and consequences, of Garma and Wyrd. It is a tradition based on the nobility of nature's best aspects, and is not beholden to any modern social engineering fad or political bandwagon. It is as raw and powerful and unapologetically strong-willed as nature, and refuses to submit to the slave morality of either church, commissar, or "correctness officer". Most of all, it is a refining force, not a self-destructive one. Entitled infighting and the erosion of effective social norms at the altar of wayward "modernity" with no clearly defined end-goal, is never glorified as "cool", for it is the sacred culture of the folk that enables the individual to fulfill his or her true purpose of Asa-approaching nobility, and be aught more than a blight upon the planet.
When the Immanence is noble, so is the tradition that grows from it.
However, this does not mean that true Heathenry, or any other Indo-European path or cluster of paths, is enslaved to a particular tradition or rite of practice from a particular era. In a sense, we must understand Indo-European paths as having traditions, but not being built on traditions. For a tradition is not the foundation of a house, but rather, its walls, roof and crossbeams. Traditions can evolve, can rise and fall, can crumble or be saved from crumbling if the foundation is strong - but they cannot be the foundation itself, or the religion/path has no deeper spiritual value to speak of. Tradition for tradition's sake, is no spirituality at all - merely blind repetition. Only if the Immanence is noble, the Armanen and Gothar of old taught, is the Tradition worth preserving or modifying. Obscure the Immanence, and tradition becomes a boat with no wind in its sails - Njordr without Odin, Freyr without Tyr, Freyja without Frigg... cycles without full consciousness. Odin taught Loddfafnir:
I know the seventh [Rune]:
if I see on high, blazing,
a hall over the bench-companions;
Burn it never so brightly,
yet I can still save it -
I know how to sing that song.
- Hávamál, verse 152 (Gorgani translation; in press)
It can still be saved, that great hall of a folk-way, if the companions within are true and noble of heart and consciousness; should their Immanence be of a Runic quality, of one Odin seems worthy to be saved for a later and greater purpose in Midgard, that they might earn a higher place in the Halls of the Gods, he will save it. But this should not be assumed as given for a lesser or weaker Immanence or a less worthy group of bench-companions. Thus Immanence is more vital than even Tradition.
The practices of a particular people at a particular place and time; in the more general sense, any culture dependent on exact transmission of such practices - word-for-word from generation to generation - to maintain itself; culture dependent on rote repetition and sanctification of rigidly copying the past, as opposed to sanctification of the Immanence behind the rituals.
Culture which radiates spontaneously from within; innate and subconscious culture not dependent on either contemporary abstraction or blind formalism, but from instinct imparted by the Gods and blood memory; for our purposes, Immanence refers to an Indo-European Immanence.
Ancient Germanic term for the “religion”, “Wisdom” or “the Way” of the ancient Heathens, in both the exoteric and esoteric sense, but usually referring to its exoteric level as practiced in ancient times; the synergy of Immanence and Tradition in their proper places of nobility; with Immanence having primacy and supremacy over Tradition. The first syllable of the word Wihinei, is the word wih- which reflects the Proto-Germanic *wih- “sacred”; it is the root of the Old Norse Vé which means "sacred space" as well as being the name of the God of Rituals and send-offs - the third and final manifestation of the Odinic Triad. *Wih or vyeh also means “sacred path” or “path” in eastern Aryan languages, reflecting a primal Indo-European origin.
In his seminal masterpiece, Das Geheimnis der Runen, Meister Guido von List himself defines the term as “the inward sanctification.” Thus the inner core, the Immanence, is the real root of the traditions which form the outer husk of the Wihinei.
From Wihinei sprouted eventually the branches we know as Irminenschaft, Forn Siðr, Fyrnsidu, Theodisc Geléafa, Urglaawe, and eventually Ásatrú (well, its native Icelandic form in any case). The trunk, in reality, was the esoteric core tradition of Runic solar priest-kings closer to the Immanence's wellspring than any other order of Heathenry, known as Armanenschaft in the Continent, and as Jormunskáp or Skaldskáp in the somewhat rarified Scandinavian offshoot.
It must be emphasized that The Immanence is the root, the Traditions are branches - not the other way around. Even if Viking-age religion was largely persecuted to death, that does not make the Immanence dead. Even though Vata-ism or Asura-ism was largely stamped out in Greater Iran, Armenia, and northern India, that does not make the Immanence dead. Even though desert religions destroyed many sites and killed many Solar priests and Heathen mystics across Eurasia, and prevented the procedures of many rituals and traditions from being written down, and killed off those who orally transmitted them, that did not kill off the Immanence entirely. The Immanence still lives in the ancestral memory of Indo-European peoples - more strongly in some individuals of a given bloodline than others. From those few with a true complete Cognizancy of their ancestral Immanence, new but still culturally grounded traditions can emerge.
Thus, the authentic Runic paths are NOT based in Tradition, but in Immanence. They are not based on dogmatic commandments, or inexplicably over-complicated tradition handed down blindly without any underlying relevance to the souls of Indo-European peoples. Rather, tradition in Armanism, Odinism, and all Runic paths, followed the original Indo-European principle of Immanence before Tradition - tradition was the vehicle for the transmission of Immanence to the less gifted, but it was merely the husk or outgrowth of Immanence for the more gifted.
Thus we are not slaves to tradition from a specific time and place - and while Esoteric Runers are not, and have never been wayward postmodern fad-chasers, we are also not pedantic and unquestioning blind repeaters of every tiny bit of exact clothing, technology, and word-for-word ritual of the Viking Age, or the Anglo-Saxon golden age, or the Migration Period, or The Nordic Bronze Age, or any other age in the long and intricate history of the Heathen peoples. Our Runic (as well as our non-Runic) rituals honor the past, yet we do not obsess over making them identical to those in any one specific period in Heathen history; they evolved in each age to suit the needs of the time, with the aim always being the primacy of Immanence and becoming like the Gods. We don't "play Viking" any more than actual Vikings would have "played Bronze-age". We are not slaves to form.
For we accept the eternal truth that the only constant is change, and yet change for its own sake is not a change worth taking, rather, change must have a basis in noble culture and Wihinei - lest it be corrupted, and destroy the very culture and people it claimed to help. We have seen many such destructive and ill-guided changes in modern times; many manufactured "isms" of the debt-monger, the soft-handed street agitator, and the professional litigator rewriting the laws capriciously to benefit himself, to the grief of millions of beleaguered landsvolk of various tongues and shades in all Indo-European lands. There is no point in delving into the muck of all their machinations here.
Change for its own sake is rootless and aimless, just as tradition for its own sake is pointless. Thus our way is Immanence at its core, and thus the traditions that sprout from it are both elegant and meaningful. There is no excessive tradition, no slave pen of paranoid obsessive over-complication, no quicksand of fear, guilt, and neurotic arrogance against the less-than-perfect practitioner who is still learning. In Armanenschaft, as well as other authentic Runic paths, Tradition serves Immanence and thus serves us in our efforts to become more like the Gods - not the other way around!
The ancient Traditions that we DO retain, are not there for their own sake, but simply because they are what has been proven to work for our Immanence!
They are the ones that the Runic Skalds and Armanen of past ages tested over centuries to be the most effective and proven methods for accessing the ancestrally transmitted Immanence of Odin/Wotan/Vayu-Vata and the Runes/Raunen/Ravanan in our daily lives. Our traditions are there because our sages and wise ones proved that they work, not because somebody imposed them on us to create more work for us. Our traditions are there for our improvement, not for our enslavement or for nepotistic arrogance through obsessive legalism and pedantic hair-splitting sophistry.
To put it bluntly - the Runic paths are not Judaism, and they are also not the slavish Turanid-manufactured traditions of the Brahmins of the Kali-Yuga, post-1500 BCE.
Have a problem with that? Take it up with the Aesir.