Heathen Autonomism

Autonomy means Self-Rule. An Autonomist is someone who strives to gain control over their lives - the means of their subsistence, the goods they use, the kind of places they live in, their cultural activity, the way their children are brought up and the whole pattern of their lives.

Autonomists recognise that it is very difficult or just impossible for an individual to achieve Autonomy on their own. Thus Autonomists are community-minded and seek to gain Autonomy on a community level.

Heathen Autonomists are Autonomists with a Heathen flavouring. Heathen Autonomists tend to pay more attention to community cultural identity and lore than Secular Autonomists who may concentrate mainly on economic matters.

Autonomism is both an ideology and a craft. As an ideology Autonomism teaches that it is good for a majority of the world's population to have a degree of Autonomy (i.e. a degree of self-reliance so that they are not at the whim of the actions of others) and also that it is very important for the world that a proportion of it has a high degree of Autonomy. Autonomists believe it is important for the well-being of the world's population that there be a sufficient number of separate independent-minded and self-reliant communities in existence to guard against one unscrupulous community dominating and abusing everybody else. However Autonomism as taught here does NOT insist that EVERYBODY has be part of a fully autonomous small community and we accept in principle the existence of governments above the community level.

Autonomism as a craft is about the practicals of building autonomous communities. It can perhaps be divided into two areas: 1. Preparation of the Ground and 2. Community Building proper.

Autonomist Preparation is about creating the right conditions that efforts for Community Building have a chance to bear fruit. Being a Heathen Shopper and supporting any local small businesses that already exist to grow is one way of helping this. Spreading Heathen ideas - including by spreading awareness of Heathen traditional lore is another possible way.

Community Building is the main part of the work of Autonomism as a craft. The heart of Community Building are efforts to bring people into association with each other in a way that enhances their ability to co-operate with each other and take action collectively as a team. This involves creating opportunities for people to make contact with each other and communicate and interact with each other so that they get to know each other better and become important to each other. It also involves helping people to develop their strengths and capabilities so they can play their part in performing tasks that help the community to survive and thrive.

Modern societies are characterised by low-level of community feeling where many live their lives as atomic individuals or couples with comparatively little interaction with other people.

Heathen Autonomists can help to build community through the setting up of activities that bring people together. As long as the activity provides an opportunity for people to talk to each other then almost any kind of activity can be beneficial. Activities that encourage an understanding and commitment to Heathen Autonomism have a special role to play. However sometimes the kind of activity a dedicated Heathen Autonomist would prefer is not the kind that the average person is most easily attracted to.

Organised activities usually need certain characteristics to be a success. Often very important is the presence of a good host or facilitator - a person able to make participants feel at ease. Also important are a good rationale for the activity so people know why they are there. The activity should meet some of the needs of those involved - such as need for companionship, for learning something new, for having a good time, for expressing themselves, for being looked after, for doing something challenging etc.

One activity though is not enough and the aim is to eventually have many different activities running that together meet all the needs of life. They do not all need to be organised by the same people and not everybody has to do everything. However a robust three-dimensional community will tend to form where there is a lot of overlapping membership of different activity groups so that people get to interact with each other in multiple contexts and develop a rounded picture and relationship with each other.