It's taken me awhile to figure out how to respond to the whole folkishness debate. In short, I understand the concept of folkish Ásatrú, but am not sure most 'folkish' Asa do.
The concept is that those who have a foundation in the people/language/lore of any particular religion is prone to accept that religion more than any other. This is meant to include individuals who are born speakers of Germanic languages in germanic lands who may not be of germanic descent themselves. However, this is often confused by allowing Irish and Slavs to participate, but not even British Africans who have lived in London for over 400 years.
The concept of the Folk Soul as a mysterious and divine entity to me is complete and utter bullshit. If there were such a folk soul, then I would have to be a part of it and those who shared in my folk soul wouldn't stand for the discrimination that goes on.
I am German, Austrian, Danish, English, Irish, French, Polish, Croatian, Lithuanian, Czech, Ukrainian, every manner of Goth in the book, Italian, Spanish and Spanish Moor. I'm as European Quiche as you can get and yet I feel no kinship whatsoever with anyone through any 'divine' influence. To believe in a Folk Soul is to say that just by someone's supposed bloodlines, you feel a kinship with them that is stronger than with someone without those same bloodlines.
Well, I know WAY too many other European descended pricks whom I want nothing to do with let alone claim 'kinship' with and I have deep bonds and relationships with peoples of other races and cultures.
My strongest point is to point out the sagas themselves. Let's face it, if the Vikings believed so strongly in a folk soul then why was/is there so much national hatred between Norwegians, Danes and Swedes. Hel, my best friend in grade school was a half breed whose parents were driven out of both of their homelands by both families! His father was Minnesotan Norwegian and his mother was Iowan Danish! This is not a joke. This actually happened as recently as 1968!!!!
So anyone who seriously believes in a folk soul has a lot of issues to face. Why is there a need for a folk soul belief?
To unite people? Well a lot of people don't deserve to be included, so I don't believe in it.
To provide folks with a justification to believe in the gods? (Oh, gee. I want to believe, but it feels odd to go against the popular culture. What? My great-granddaddy was Danish? Oh, then it's okay. Whew, for a minute there I was worried.) What a crock. Atli was Mongolian and Sigurd's Valkyrie Bride was Atli's daughter who bleached her hair blond. Get over it.
The only reasons to believe in a folk soul are to separate us from them, without properly defining us or them. Really, the Vikings didn't give a shit about whether you were black or hispanic They DID care if you were a member of the family who murdered their kin or if you accomplished great deeds.
I think the Vikings would've laughed their asses off at somebody who cared what color somebody's skin was. Have some people forgotten about the Varangian Guard and how many children they may have sired down there? Or how about the Turks who lived and fought side by side with the Goths for over 6 hundred years and even used runes?
If anybody has a folk soul which is separate and distinct from themselves and their own individual opinions on mankind I've never met them. I'll believe it when someone can tell me where and how the Gothic line of folk soul can be crossed. Is it with the original Frisian/Swede/Germans? With the Wends? With the earlier civilized culture between 200-50 bce or with the second culture from 100bce-200ce? Is it with the Czechs? How bout the slavs from which I get the name 'Chernik' next to the Chernik Sea which the Goths lived on for 300 years? Or with the Turks who not only intermarried, but actually ruled Gothic villages and eventually moved with the Goths into Rome and fought in ever Gothic campaign against Rome? Or is it with the Italic peoples with whom they inter married? Or with the Spanish? Or the Celts? What about the Carthaginians? Or how about Alaric and all of his people who moved to Byzantium now completely absorbed by the Turks and Arabs? Or do the Goths not count anymore because the average Roman period Goth had less than 5% of original Germanic blood in his veins? What about the 9-14th century Jewish infusion into the former Visigothic Kingdom and Gaul?
The instant you make that distinction I'm gonna call you a racist. The instant that folk soul reaches across a boundary you placed, I'm gonna call you a liar.
It doesn't exist and hinders rather than helps the Asa community as a whole because it hinders the world community. Asa teaches us to think beyond ourselves to help our community at large even if that community is well beyond the boundaries of nations and bloodlines. If you don't do that, then you're not Tru.
- Lazarus Chernik