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Posted by Admin

This article has 2 Complaints

  1. Hang on…

    I’m guessing you were not referring to a slave or indentured servant. So… why is that word used for what sounds like a kind of conditional membership? Is there a historical precedent or context for using the word that way?

    Thank you in advance for the clarification.

  2. I’ll preface this response by pointing out that the term as it’s modernly used is extremely fluid. Different tribes will use it or not, and what they mean when they say it (though it’ll be in some way similar) can vary widely.

    For those that use it, the term thrall is employed largely because if it’s historic similarities. The thrall is without volition in the tribe. Their word carries no weight, they have no reputation to add to the tribe. They have no vote or say on tribal matters. Their function and duty is to serve the tribe and learn from it until they reach a point when they can be freed from that thralldom, the point at which they are given worth by the tribe and recognized as worthy.

    This has, in some ways, historic parallels. The thrall has no worth outside the worth of his master. If his master recognizes worth in him, he’ll be freed. At it’s most simple, this is the same function of modern thralldom.

    Now, it doesn’t need to be said that, modernly, there are a lot of differences. After all, we live in lands with laws, and those laws don’t allow for the thralldom of antiquity. The thrall today retains volition of action outside of the tribe, is a free man by the standards of modern society. He can choose to leave the confines of his thralldom to a tribe when he likes. It’s a purely social function these days. However, if he wishes to continue with the tribe he has to play by the rules of the tribe.

    Is it an exact fit as a term? Not at all. But it’s one of those things that has become a legacy term. It exists in heathenry because it exists. It exists because people know it, use it and pass it down to those who don’t. It’s helpful to remember that there’s a difference between historic social structure and modern social structure, and that language gets changed as it gets used. Learn what thrall means to those local to you and roll with that, with the realization that it might mean something different in other places, and will definitely mean something different in a historical context.

How are we doing it wrong?