While Skyldlings believe there are distinct genders, this is not a barrier to most activities. Behaviours such as teaching children, farming, fighting, arguing, civic duties, expression of emotion, crafting, cleaning, creative pursuits, sexuality, and other day-to-day activities are all ways in which Skyldings can express themselves. Gender does play a part in mental and spiritual well-being, and in some ceremonies.
Spirit of Ve: Femininity, experienced by Skylings gifted with this spirit, is centred around the feeling of being like the seasons: strong, dynamic, cyclical, nurturing, and destructive. Ve Skyldings are considered to be life-creators and life-removers. Their mental and spiritual well-being may be in jeopardy if they are stagnant year to year. Ve Skyldings attain spiritual and mental balance, and show their gender, by nurturing new life, either through motherhood, animal husbandry, or horticulture, and by taking life, either through warfare, butchery, fishing, or other means. Ve Skyldings are always considered clean. Omnispirit Skyldings gifted with the Spirit of Ve show their gender in the same way as all Skyldings gifted with the Spirit of Ve. Though they cannot give birth, they can, if they choose, be guardian to a child.
Body of Vili: Masculinity, experienced by Skyldings gifted with this spirit, is centred around the feeling of growing like a tree: strong, flexible, nurturing, thriving, and collective. Vili Skyldings are considered to have ‘sap’ that must be allowed to flow on a regular basis, in the form of blood, sweat, and tears. Their mental and spiritual well-being may be in jeopardy if they are brittle, inflexible, spread themselves too thin, grow too fast, fail to nurture those around them, or are isolated from the rest of the community. Vili Skyldings attain spiritual and mental balance, and show their gender, through guardianship, collaboration, stability of purpose, and by ‘sapping’ themselves regularly by sweating (often in tents), bleeding (often in battle or in ritual), or crying (in joy or sorrow). Unclean Vili Skyldings are not allowed to prepare food, heal the sick, be near pregnant people or newborn children, care for the dead, or make love. They can become clean again through shedding blood, sweat or tears, or conduct rituals conducted by a Godi. Omnispirit Skyldings gifted with the Body of Vili show their gender in the same way as all Vili Skyldings, though they are never unclean, and those that give birth are the mother (never the guardian) to the children they birth, though may be guardian to other children.
Life of Odin: Omnispirit, experienced by Skyldings gifted with both Ve and Vili (Omnispirited), the one opposite of their birth sex (OmniVe and OmniVili), or neither (which can be a source of a spiritual seeking or a comfortable state). These Skyldings are believed to be lucky to be around. Omnispirit Skyldings are always considered clean. Offspring influenced by Omnispirit lovers are more likely to thrive. At their first coming of age ceremony Omnispirit Skyldings are offered a choice in what bonds they take in their future life. Either they can continue on as all other Skyldings to have Union, Blood, and Alliance bonds, or they can choose instead to bond themselves to the Disir of Skyldingheim itself. If they choose this option they cannot enter any other bonds, but their connection to the Disir gives them a spiritual connection to Odin (see the facet Breath of Odin in rules document). Kinship bonds are still held and entered into by those in a Disir bond. Breaking this bond with the Disir is akin to renouncing your clan and choosing to leave behind your home. As such, very few Skyldings in history have ever attempted this, and all left the town soon afterwards. Omnispirit who do not choose a Disir bond at their first coming of age ceremony can do so later in life if they chose so, but must first break any union and blood bonds they have. OmniVe and OmniVili Skyldings chose the degree to which they embrace their connection to Odin or to Ve/Vili. Omnispirit with both aspects may feel the connection to one, two, or all three aspects equally or of differing strength, and these connections can be stable over the lift time or change in strength. Omnispirit with neither Ve nor Vili can find a connection with Odin or avoid it, and some seek to find the gift of Ve or Vili over their lifetime. Omnispirit Skylings have several options when choosing a Matronymic at their first coming of age ceremony, some going with “son” or “dotter” for those with a strong connection to Vili or Ve, respectively, or “ástir” for those that feel both Ve and Vili equally, or that have neither within them.
Children: Skylding’s gender is considered a gift given by the ancestors in the mid-teens, and often follows one's birth sex (e.g. male or female). It is formally stated at the coming of age ceremony when they are sixteen. Before this point children are encouraged to explore and play with the different aspects of themselves, get a sense for which gift they might get, and consult with a Godi before their gender is affirmed. Children are not considered to be of any gender, use the Matronymic of “barn,” only taking up the Matronymic of “son” or “dotter” at their first coming of age ceremony based on their gender of Vili or Ve respectively. Children are all referred to as barn or child, wear the same clothes and hair styles, same types of toys, and are taught the same things irrespective of their birth sex or the inclinations of which gender they might be gifted with.
See how gender was created in the world, and a summary of the GM's reasoning for several of the decisions here.