Q&A with Kari Tauring

Kari Tauring, pagan educator and performer, is on campus to teach students about her Völva Stav spiritual system. The S&B’s Arts Editor Susanne Bushman ’16 sat down with her to talk about her lifestyle.

Kari Tauring gives a talk in Gardner on Oct. 29. (Photo by Sofi Mendez)

Kari Tauring gives a talk in Gardner on Oct. 29. (Photo by Sofi Mendez)

The S&B: What is Völva Stav and why do you think it’s important to spread that kind of message?
Tauring: Völva Stav is something that I developed and … it is a mind body spirit system that is based on Nordic European culture and mythology and cosmology. I think it’s important to do this kind of work because I think the world is in a real strange flux. Americans are especially in a kind of turning point.
Most people who identify racially as white don’t know that they have a culture and they don’t know that their cultural root goes really deep and has a whole entire cosmology. They might have heard of Thor from Marvel Comics but they don’t know that there’s an entire metaphysical philosophy that is very similar to other cultures but it’s unique to northern Europe and to northern European people.
I think it’s really important for people to explore those parts of their roots. … A lot of times we get into problems when some kind of white person is feeling like they don’t have a deep culture that connects them to earth and their ancestors and they start to appropriate other cultural traditions. If they could just learn their own then they wouldn’t have to run into that problem. Then we can talk about how our cultures are similar rather than saying, “I don’t have one and I want yours.”

You’ve also talked about Inherited Cultural Grief, what is that and why is it particularly important for women to consider?
More and more, science is catching up with these old traditions of healing. I studied some of the material that was coming out of Jewish Holocaust survivors and their historical cultural trauma and Native Americans tradition has ancestor grief and ancestor memory that’s carried on from one semester to the next. Even I’m from Minnesota and I sometimes joke that we have 10,000 lakes but what we’re really well known for is that we’re the land of 10,000 treatment centers.
We like to dig in and figure out what the dysfunctions are, so, it’s important for everybody to look into what happened to their parents, to their grandparents, what choices did they make, how did they live and begin to heal those wounds. For women it is especially important because the first tragedies really surround women and our bodies and the ownership of our bodies and that kind of thing. So, it’s something that is cross-culturally important.

How can students incorporate aspects of your Völva Stav lifestyle into their lives?
Well, as part of my program I have a lot of videos and I have a website and … both of my books are on the web for free download. So, you can read up a lot of that kind of thing. Also, it’s starting to have conversations with each other and about our heritage. … I think if we start to talk about culture, especially students who are the carriers and creators of culture, it’s an important conversation for you all to be having. What does it mean to be American? What does it mean to be deep in this culture, from the Mayflower? What kind of energy does that hold? … So, those are important conversations to start having. And then, … I always say to people to learn a little phrase of the language of one of your heritages. People are aching for that connection, that relationship to earth and their lineage.