Learning

In this day and age, it is incredibly easy to go online and find resources. It is actually amazing that so many of us have small devices in our pockets that allow us to look up virtually anything. Of course, this “virtually anything” includes a lot of opinions, especially when you’re researching a religious topic.

There are a lot of opinions out there in Heathenry.

It can be helpful to research the authors that you are reading — find out about their pasts, other things they have written… observe how they interact with the community. If their morals and ethics mesh with yours, then they’re probably a fairly “safe” source for you to use. Then there comes the issue of finding someone who writes some quality content, some of the time, but has issues within their moral character that are in direct opposition to yours. Times like those are why it is important to be critical of everything you read, and why you need to be willing to engage with a text. Be willing to critique an author and include that critique in discussions you might have pertaining to the topic where you bring them up.

“I don’t agree with Blank McBlank on most things, but I did find this interesting… so I researched it and found alternative resources.”

I generally refuse to give my money to people who I oppose (because they’re horribly racist, typically) but I do help myself to their bibliographies if their topic is particularly interesting and I want to find a source that doesn’t have their name branded all over it. If they don’t have a bibliography, then what they’ve written is pure opinion and should be regarded as such.

Now, you aren’t always going to be able to find the information you want or need online. Most times, yes, but there are times where you might want to be able to hold a physical book in your hands or you may not be able to find a .PDF copy of it anywhere. And sometimes, you just don’t have $200 to shell out on a book that is no longer in print (it has happened to me).

This is where your local library comes into play. They may have something in their collection that is useful, but even if they don’t… they can order it in for you, via Interlibary Loan. This process is typically very low cost (usually a mailing fee). All you have to do is ask your librarian about interlibrary loan. They’ll most often have you fill out a form. That form goes to the person in charge of ILL, they order the book — and bam, a matter of time later, you have that text in your hands. Your local library can order resources from university libraries, so don’t be afraid to ask if they can find it. I’ve been able to find things like The Road to Hel, Teutonic Religion, and a Piece of Horse Liver. If they can’t find the book for you for any reason, they’ll let you know.

I really suggest reading books in addition to online articles, even if you’re reading on some sort of eReader. I love my Kindle Paperwhite, and have it loaded up with a bunch of Heathen resources. Just because it is electronic doesn’t mean it isn’t a book! Build up your own personal bibliography so that you have a good reference point for what people are talking about in the articles that you read online.

If anyone needs any assistance finding something at a library, please don’t hesitate to ask. I work at one, and can give you some suggestions.

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