This prompt comes to me from the book I just finished, A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini. The story takes place in Afghanistan and is told through the eyes of two amazing women. I listened to the audio version of this book, and hearing the pronunciation of the Afghan words really made this book far more impactful. Toward the end of the book, the author waxes poetically, and one phrase has stuck with me: the lore of your heart.
As a polytheist without a dogmatic tome to reference in times of strife and turmoil, the idea of the internalized lore is one with which I am familiar. Until now, I have been focusing on the thought and memory parts of the lore, how the academic knowledge can provide wisdom and guidance when my life path comes upon an obstacle. But what does it mean to have this lore, this internal moral compass and series of examples, in my heart instead?
Folx who read the runes will understand this concept, at least peripherally. When Odin took up the runes, it was not academic. He took them up screaming as they became a part of him in an initiatory rite of passage. After this point, he was never absent from their influence, and because of this, the rune lore has become infused with the tales of Odin directly.
In the Hellenic world, we see similar instances of mundane objects that are forever changed after being touched by their Lore. Consider the examples of the sacredness of fire, the importance of smoke, and the requirements for purification. All of these are concepts borne from the lore.
From a modern polytheistic perspective, I have been asking myself this question: What IS the lore of my heart? As an ADF scholar, I have studied a variety of Indo-European lore. I have studied the stories of other modern polytheists from Wiccan and ecelctic paths, contemporary mythology from peers and elders, and experiences of others and of my own that most would call UPG. All of this comes together into one body of lore, my lore, the lore that guides and aids me as I move through the world.
I have a tendency toward virtue that I have gleaned from the ancient world, taking examples of what to do and what not to do from the stories handed down to me. I have tendency toward service work as a basic practice in respecting humanity from Mother Teresa of Calcutta. I have learned how to show up differently by learning from mistakes I've made on my own journey. All of these are what lie in my heart.
When you consider the lore that lies in your heart, you may ask yourself: what stories have impacted you enough to change your mind? What tales have changed your actions? What have you experienced that has moved you to speak or to do or to be different moving forward? These are the questions that will help you, as they have helped me, to uncover the lore of your heart. My challenge to you is to put those tales into stories in your journal and see how they manifest even further in the world.