Why I Am Not An Heathen 2: What Can You Do?

I was surprised by the volume and quality of response to my previous post.  I was truly not expecting it.  Many people both on WordPress and Facebook came forward, often in agreement with some of the points I raised.  Molly Khan wrote an excellent response on Patheos Pagan.  There were no vicious comments, though there was a lot of missing the point in a lot of places, and thus there are some things that I wanted to clarify.

I’m not not calling myself a Heathen as some sort of form of rebellion.  I want to respect the doctrinal guidelines and suggestions provided by the Heathens that I’ve spoken to, both on line and in person.  Some of those guidelines for what is considered Heathen versus what is not include several of the points I raised and more: Havamal must be the origin of your morality or at least considered in every situation, UPG is not to be trusted or given voice or attention, honoring the Gods outside of community functions and community rites runs counter to the spirit of Heathenry, innovation in ritual (i.e. performing religious practices that we are not sure were performed by the ancestors), honoring beings that are considered questionable (including Loki), in some cases honoring the Gods at all rather than the wights and Ancestors as some believe the Gods to be distant, troublesome and non-traditional focuses for veneration, etc.

These are things that Heathens who I’ve interacted with since the early 2000’s (again, both in person and online) have included among the boundaries of Heathen practice, in other words, if you want to call yourself Heathen you can not stray outside of them.  Call yourself Pagan if you wish, but according to some you cannot claim the mantle of Heathenry without adhering to the above and further strictures.

Obviously, not everyone agrees.  I do feel that Heathens have a right to define Heathenry, though.  Of course, it gets sticky when there are self-identified Heathens who don’t agree with all or most of these principles, but by and large the Heathens that I’ve met and discussed it with agree with some of the above.  I’m personally not going to try and join a faith and then tell people that are already practicing it that they’re doing it incorrectly when they have already established guidelines and boundaries for it.

The misogyny, racism, and multiple ‘phobias are things that are definitely worth working against in modern Heathenry.  I’m glad that there are more and more voices speaking up against them, because whether I wear the label or not I’m still going to be coming to your rites and share in mead and offerings for as long as I’m welcome, and would like not to have to deal with that.  Those are the things that I spoke of that “insulted my soul” the most.

So at the end of my last post I said that I would discuss the options that I’ve found, considered, and in some cases embraced.   What’s a wooey, non-doctrinarian, solitary, non-racist, lover of the Norse Gods call them selves?  Under what banners can they come together?  How can they reconcile their beliefs and practices with larger Heathen culture?

Being Heathen Anyway

This by far seems to be most people’s answer.  Unswayed by the insistence that their practice, beliefs, ancestry, virtues, or favorite brand of toothpaste renders them mere pagans or heathens rather than actual Heathens(tm), these bold individuals choose to identify as Heathens, and to Jotunheim with anyone who disagrees.  I’ve heard a lot of people express some variation of this sentiment, including Molly Khan in her response to my original post (linked above).

I appreciate this approach because the culture of a faith can’t change without people who feel differently standing up and speaking out.  The main reason that I haven’t embraced this path myself is that I feel Heathens have a right to decide the boundaries of their identity, faith, and doctrine, and I honestly respect it enough not to appropriate the name if it’s not… appropriate.

Is it?  Who decides who can use that title?  As many are fond of saying, there is no Asapope.  As of now there’s been no High Moot of All Heathens that’s decided what the exact boundaries of that term are.  If this movement lasts more than a few hundred years, there will be.  There might even be one sooner than that.  It might be good for all those to whom it matters to make sure that their voices are heard at yonder hypothetical HMAH.

Just “Polytheist”, Thank You

The other day I was thinking while I was out on a walk.  “Huh.  I wonder if there’s a word for being specifically devoted to multiple Gods.  Kind of like polyamory but for devotional worship.  What would you call it though… poly..theistry?…wait…”

I hate it when what I think is a stroke of brilliance ends in a facepalm.

A fair number of responses to my posts included folks who identified that way.  There’s a growing movement of polytheists who eschew (or at least de-emphasize) a particular cultural focus and respond to the Powers that call to them.  To be fair, I fit that well myself.  I try to commune with the Powers that I do through rites that have some of the appropriate cultural trappings sometimes (I’m generally speaking about European or Egyptian deities here; part of the reason that I rarely work with Gods of living cultures is a desire to try and avoid blatant appropriation when I don’t have proper cultural immersion) – but was there ever a culture where folks simply didn’t call out to their Gods in times of need or thanksgiving?  I know that there are few cultures and faiths where there are no forms of offerings or sacrifice.  Often my prayers and offerings are less umpty-ump alliterative poetry and a mead horn than they are simple gestures of adoration, pleas for help, or offering of gifts.  I don’t don an apron dress every time I want to honor Freyja and Freyr (I don’t even own one, sadly) and in ancient Rome I would not have any right to offer to Jove (as I understand their practices).  That doesn’t mean that I don’t do it anyway.  A lot of these trappings are artifacts of the time and culture that they were in, and the materials and concepts were more accessible to the people who used them.

The Gods seem to appreciate it when you do try to recreate the old stuff, or maybe that just puts us into a better framework to interact with them, or maybe they’re waxing nostalgic (“It’s been over a millennium since I’ve seen a Volva with a proper staff and catskin gloves.  Good girl!”).  Whatever the reason, those touches do seem to help on some level with signal clarity and reception.  However, if our devotion to communion with the Powers is going to be part of our day-to-day life, we need to either wear apron dresses all the time (Which would be totally fine by me.  Yes, I’ve been obsessing over them lately.  Hush.) or we need to adapt our polytheism to fit our culture.  At least for Pagans in the US, that means a culture that accepts that there are many kinds of people with many kinds of Gods and thus no one pantheon (in theory, at least).  For Pagans in the modern world in general, if you’re not part of the dominant cultural faith anyway (which is likely some brand of Christianity or Islam, depending on your neck of the woods) there’s no reason that you should be limited to one pantheon or one form of cultural expression.  There, I’ve said it.  I warned you that I could be pretty darned eclectic.

So just Polytheist works for quite a few folks, many of whom accompany it with “Pagan”.

Other Groups

For purposes of community (and I’m a pretty social person; even when I’m solitary in practice I like having community) I’ve found a couple of groups that work well, and heard of others that I haven’t approached.

I’m a member of Ár nDraíocht Féin or ADF.  ADF was started in the distant mists of the past probably around the time I still thought that the Goonies was the coolest thing I’d ever seen.  It’s been a good community for a Norsey non-Heathen like me.  Individual members and Groves are encouraged to embrace “Hearth Cultures” which are cultural applications to the general framework of ADF rite and practice.  The community for the Norse Health Culture is large, diverse, and well-educated, while generally taking what I’d consider a pragmatic stance towards UPG.   Lore is emphasized as the basis of understanding but no there are no official rules or restrictions on UPG other than it’s not usable for the reading material for coursework.

It’s great for a heretic like myself because there is no policing of private practice, either: official ADF rites have to be public, but what you do outside of official ADF rites has no bearing on whether or not you can perform or participate in them.  It tries hard to emphasize orthopraxy (we all perform the same rites or in a similar fashion) over orthodoxy (we all believe the same thing) and while I don’t feel that it’s possible to be entirely one without the other it does a good job at keeping the policing of belief to a minimum.  ADF does have its own brand of sacred tech that I’ve incorporated into my own work, and its focus on scholarship and excellence make it an organization that I’m proud to be a part of.  Plus, I can be in it, worship the Vanir and Aesir, and not have to conform to Heathen culture.

Pardon me while I put on these goggles and duck behind this blast shield.  Can you still hear me?  Ahem…

Northern Tradition Paganism is what seems to be a loose affiliation of solitary practitioners and a few Kindreds of Norsey Pagan people.  They make the distinction of being “reconstruction derived” rather than strictly reconstructionist, meaning that they start with what they can find and work from there rather than sticking with the basics of what can be reconstructed, which pretty well matches what I’ve seen in ADF Norse Hearth culture, too.  They have an emphasis on personal devotion, shamanism and spirit working.  They also don’t restrict which Gods people worship – they are fine with people worshiping the Jotnar and their kin (though that’s not a requirement – it’s been explained to me that there are NTP people who don’t, but anyone who calls themselves NTP is required to drink when they’re honored at someone elses’ rite, which is just good hospitality/ghosti as far as I’m concerned.)

Throw in that they have a pretty queer membership overall, that their founders/leaders are super-controversial in the Heathen community primarily because of Jotun worship, wild rumors, and not putting up with Havamalier-Than-Thou talk from Heathen Elders, and they make the perfect Heathen boogeyman.  There is no better way to throw a monkey wrench into an Asatru conversation than to bring up Raven Kaldera or Galina Krasskova!

So no one should be surprised that I consider myself Northern Tradtion as well.  Although the idea of making offering to Fenris or Surt or Thrym or Jormugandr gives me the altogether willies, they’re Powers too, and even if they don’t particularly care about humanity, there are humans who care about them, and if I’m at someone’s table and they drink to them I will too to honor my host and be a good guest.  I’ve felt very comfortable with the NTP folks that I’ve met and interacted with and hope that I hear more NTP voices in the future.

Norse Wicca is a thing, also.  I don’t have a lot of exposure to it or a history with it, except insofar as I honored the Norse Gods while still considering myself Wiccan.  If there is an organized tradition of it in any way I’m unaware of it, although I’d be happy to learn and share more.  I don’t connect well to some aspects of Wicca anymore (especially the painful – to me – emphasis on binary gender) so I haven’t considered it an option myself, but I’m sure that there are people who find fulfillment in it.

I don’t know what else is out here, but I’d love it if in the comments here or on Facebook, or on your own blogs or articles discuss the paths that you’ve taken to negotiate this quandary.  The conversation has begun, and I’d like to encourage it to continue, because from the responses that I’ve had it feels like there is a real need.

 Why is all of this even important?  Why put so much thought into it?  Well, I’ve been trying to find community that I resonate with, that I can join, that I can be a part of and that I can be a voice in.  As I’ve mentioned, I’ve found a couple of labels that stick after a few days’ wear-and-tear.  I do feel that Heathenry is often a bit exclusionary, but again, I’m in favor of people setting their own boundaries.  I want to know where I fit in, and it seems now like a lot of other people feel the same.

We need the community builders.  We need the legalists.  We need the loremasters.  We need the Godhis and Gydhjas.  We need the craftspeople.  We need the seidhkon, the volvas, the vitkis, the mad and the touched and the inspired.  We need the people that just want to go to the rites, connect with the Powers, and go home and not think about it.  We need the poets and taletellers.  We need the passionate speakers and activists.  We need the people sitting outside the ring around the fire, occasionally getting passed the mead and acting as the peanut gallery (which is kind of where I’m sitting right now).  When I refer to “we” I don’t just mean self-identified Heathens and their many subsects – I mean all of us who honor the Norse and Germanic powers and/or embrace the richness of Northern European Paganism in all of its contexts and aspects.  If “Heathen” doesn’t apply to all of us, we need a term that does form a proper umbrella, because there are things that we all share, and things that we can all teach each other and it will help us remember that on some level we’re all in this together, Heathen and heretic alike.

That’s that for now.  I’m going to Brushwood Folklore Center for Wellspring tomorrow, one of ADF’s primary annual gatherings.  The inimitable Patricia Lafayllve will be there with her ve to Freya and performing a seidh rite, and the Norse kin have a lunch at some point when the schedule settles.  I also hope to explore my conflicts regarding queer space vs. gendered space, and come back with more answers and questions on that and many other things.  If there’s wifi there I’ll be trying to make blog updates and report on location.  I’m excited – I’ve never been to Wellspring before!

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21 thoughts on “Why I Am Not An Heathen 2: What Can You Do?

  1. Heh. So it appears that this ups the timeframe for my “Why I call myself a Heathen” post that’s been bouncing around in my head since I started the blog. 🙂 Though I’m pretty sure it’ll go through several iterations of sheer ranting at small-minded Heathens before it finally becomes post-worthy.

    Great (follow-up) article–well-thought-out and articulated. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to read the original one soon–work’s been hectic since I got back. Have fun at the Wellspring gathering! I can’t wait to hear how it goes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dearest Darling – Bright Blessings on you for shinning a light into many of Heathenry’s darkest spots. I, like you, am often appalled at the blatant racism that is so often found in our faith. I think one of the things you left out, or perhaps has not be part of your path is the often times blatant sexism that exists in our faith. It has been my experience, in these last 10 years, both online and off, that the number of women who are pagan tend to exceed the men, by almost 2 to 1. With many of my sisters lean more towards the wiccan movement as it’s often times more female and goddess centered worship. Nothing wrong with that. The divine shows itself to us in a variety of ways, none of them bad. I see Heathenry often a bit more balanced, where there are more women who may worship multiple male deities as well as multiple female ones.
    I have met those in our faith who practice it as you said, an excuse to get drunk and dress up like a Viking. Some of them even taking it farther and wanting to be brutish, because that’s the way they view Odin and Thor, the literature, and the history. And then you have the women of Heathenry who are in every way just as strong, but take it from a different perspective. Many of us with more of a witchy perspective if you will.
    By now you have probably heard the old saying that, “every Wiccan is a witch, but not every witch is a Wiccan.” Yes there are those of us out here who define ourselves as both Heathens and Witches. Many of us refusing to put an official name to it, especially since “Wiccatru” is still often used as a slur in our community. We tend to be more open and accepting of others, whatever their ethnic background may be. As you said we are all mixed up! Many of us are not only interested in others UPG, but find it vital when doing things like journeying, Sedir work, divination, working with the dead, animal communication, etc. Yes we want to hear what you have to say! Yes we want to know how you have tested the waters, and how you perceive the universe and the divine! We are like scientists, making hypotheses, trying out different variables and seeing if they work or not. I consider us mavericks and explorers in this world of neo-paganism and reconstructionalism. We are practicing and trying to revive a faith that lost most of it’s knowledge, members, linage, clout, and worshipers in the last 1000 years. Hell yeh there are going to be differences of options and different perceptions of our faith, as it should be. NO ONE has the right to dictate to another whether or not they are Heathen or Heathen enough. Heathen means we follow the old gods of the Norse. To me everything else is open to interpretation.
    I am also a solitary practitioner. I live in Shreveport, a small Southern city, in the middle of the Bible Belt where being pagan is not understood, has gotten people fired from their jobs, unable to get promotions, given them trouble in adopting, and where people have been refused permits to open pagan related businesses, and not to mention kicked out of families. Where going to something like a Pagan Night Out (PNO) is considered an act of bravery. Rituals and covens are usually kept on the downlow, and by invitation only. I have been a member of several Wiccan groups, and have tried to start and run my own
    Heathen group twice, but to little avail. There are just not that many of us down here. I know of perhaps 100 or so pagans in my community, of those I can count on my hands how many were Heathen. Most Heathens here simple blend in with other pagan groups. With Dallas (3 hours away) and Baton Rouge (5 hours away) being the closest large Heathen communities.
    That is why ADF has been such a godsend for me, not only are they open and accepting of all. They have allowed me to openly practice and share with them about my religious belief, even leading a ritual or two. We meet once a week for a couple of hours on Saturday afternoon at the local UU church. We often try to focus on the books we are reading, planning ritual or sharing knowledge of our faith with each other. But what so many of our meetings turn into is a therapy like session on how difficult it is to be pagan, both in general and in our larger community. ADF and my proto-grove gives us a safe place to do that, as well as learn and worship. I’ve been hanging with these Druids for about 2 years now. Our weekly meeting helps keep me sane, in a world and place that can be trying for pagans, at the very least. So for me, like you, I may see myself as Heathen, but I think I will be hanging out with these Druid cats for a little longer. At least here, I can be myself.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I am a straight, white, cis male in the lower middle class of middle America. My heritage is primarily German, Italian, and English. Politically I fall uncomfortably in the chasm between left and right. I am a self-identified Heathen. I only state these facts as a kind of shorthand to explain who I am before I make my other points so that you might get a sense of where I’m coming from.

    I use Heathen as broad term for anyone that honors the Aesir, Vanir, and associated beings. It’s a non-specific way of taking the pejorative back. I appreciate the desire to let us self-define, but it is going to need to be much more specific than simply Heathen before I start worrying about people appropriating it.

    It would be one thing if somebody with beliefs far outside the Asatru Folk Assembly or The Troth’s guidelines started identifying themselves as belonging to those groups. They are concrete entities with a majority of members that at least appear to believe the same things. I’m just not sure that the majority of Heathens believe the way you list.

    The Folkish vs. Universalist schism that is such a hot-button topic for us argues against the idea that most of us follow the “I’m not a racist but…” line of thinking. Please don’t misunderstand me. I didn’t understand your article to be a way of calling us all out for being horrible people. I’m simply using this as an example of the wide differences in opinion that individuals have under the “Heathen” umbrella.

    The breakaway from neo-paganism is something I find many Heathens do. I think it might be tied up into the dismissal of UPG as well. When you have writers like D.J. Conway mashing Norse deities onto Wiccan ritual, I think you can understand why some of us don’t really want to be thought of as neo-pagan. It is defining ourselves not by what we are, but by what we’re not. That isn’t the most helpful or healthiest way to go about it, but it is a very human trait.

    UPG comes down to believability for me. If you tell me Freya visited you in a dream and told you to take up a martial art in order to honor her, I’d probably nod and ask which ones you were thinking about studying. If you told me she visited you to tell me to take up a martial art to better honor her, I’d have to base my decision not only on my knowledge of her, but also on the experiences I’ve had with you. If you told me Thor visited you and declared himself a pacifist, I’d think you had a weird dream and were reading too much into it. The problem comes when you have unknown people coming out of the woodwork declaring things that differ wildly from what we read and experience of the gods and then expecting everyone to just treat their words like gospel. I can believe Freya likes chocolate. I don’t for one second believe Odin and Loki had a homosexual relationship, and frankly, I’m not sure anything would ever change my mind on that.

    My ultimate point in all of this is as a Heathen with tribalist leanings, I’m more than happy to raise a horn to the gods and ancestors with anyone as long as they haven’t proven themselves to be a nithling or outlaw. My tribe defines for itself whether an individual is worthy of more than that, and I assure you, your race, sexuality, gender or whether you identify as pagan or not doesn’t factor into that. How you view the Havamal doesn’t either unless you just outright declare it to be all nonsense, in which case you’re probably not wanting to raise a horn anyhow.

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  4. Great article. I totally hear you about not really wanting a label but then also feeling that it is hard to belong and find community without one. I am somewhat in the same boat (and really circumvent it by just not identifying as anything other than “Pagan” or maybe “Norse Pagan”).

    I wondered how you felt about “Asatrú” and “Vanatrú”? For me that has kind of been an easy and seemingly clear way of saying “I stand with the Aesir” but then the term seems to have been abused a bit on the far-right hand side of our spectrum. Also it is probably somewhat problematic because it narrows it down a fair bit and excludes the other families of deities (the Aesir / Vaenir respectively and of course all the Jotnar).
    I wondered how you saw the term(s)!?

    Liked by 1 person

    • On the one hand, I associate Asatru with (American) orthodox Heathenry (I know others elsewhere use it and are not like that). Vanatru has its own modern traditions as well, but I occasionally use that term for myself because I am more oriented towards them. Most of the Aesir that I have worked to create relationships with are linked to Freyja (like Odhinn and Heimdall). I’m more comfortable with those terms in the sense of “Those are who I honor.” as opposed to “This is a culture that I am attached to”.

      I think people should generally identify how they want to, because since we don’t have a hard and fast -doxy and heirarchy yet. I may change my mind about using the term “Heathen” some day (being at Wellspring and being included with the self-identified Heathens there was nice but I felt inaccurate) if I feel the associations change, but right now it’s like how I don’t associate with some modern political parties – it’s not like I don’t, in theory, agree with their platforms, but the culture that forms around them can be toxic, and there are obvious reasons why.

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  5. I see a bit too many heathens use Snorri’s Edda as their Bible. It’s fine to lean on, but it wasn’t written by a heathen. it was written by a Christian man who had to adjust the contents to please the church.

    I also see a lot of people saying you have to have germanic blood in your veins to be heathen. That’s something that goes against the origin of this religion. A freed slave with no Germanic blood at all could be heathen back then, so why would it be important now?

    There is no Asapope, there is no dogma, there are no rules set in stone for heathenry. We shape our own faith and have some things in common. Unfortunately, there are those who try to tell others what they should believe and how they should practice. For example the nine noble virtues, which is UPG.

    Where I live we accept each other’s differences and get along. I wish the same was true for the Internet. I’m a heathen witch, and that’s who I am, no matter what people from across the Atlantic try to tell me. If it comes to sources, I have greater access to those than they do.

    I think it’s great that you bring up these things on your blog

    Liked by 2 people

  6. “It’s been over a millennium since I’ve seen a Volva with a proper staff and catskin gloves. Good girl!” made me laugh!

    I think a large part of which group and term you pick depends on where you live, who you date, and who your friends are. “Close enough” is usually the rule when it comes to finding community. Wicca was close enough in my teens. Then Norse ADF was close enough, but I had to make my own Grove. After a hiatus, I founded a Northern Trad kindred. That’s pretty much spot on because it’s whatever I want it to be, and I have elders doing much the same thing I am.

    Running an ADF grove was great but also problematic for me. While I like the idea of public open worship, that requires a qualified staff of celebrants to make it happen if you’ve got more than a handful of attendants. I reckon you need three hard-core organizers who get along and have a similar vision to make an ADF grove workable. Less than that and you get burnout while the rites deteriorate to the lowest common denominator.

    My kindred is smaller, but we do the rites I want to do — because I would do them regardless of anyone showing up. Some of my people organize the rites that *they* want to do and we help them. It works out pretty well. It’s not perfect but it’s close enough. 🙂

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  7. Pingback: European Paganism | Migdalit Or

  8. In many respects, I don’t have a horse in this race, as the Norse deities–though I admire many of them and am interested in them–have not had an awful lot to do with me or my practices for the most part thus far. (That might be shifting slightly…I’ve had some Loki stuff, some Freyr stuff, and a bit of Odin stuff more recently, but these may not be long-term interactions.)

    For all that, I can say that if you ever wanted to be involved in anything Ekklesía Antínoou-wise, you’d be more than welcome, and you can bring any/all of your deities with you. If they play well with Antinous (and very few deities don’t!), then they’re entirely welcome; and even if they don’t play well with Antinous, there is still space made for them in certain rituals and observances. That’s just how we roll…Hadrian didn’t create the Pantheon just out of good intentions, and so we try to follow that and be pan-Pantheonic as much as it is possible (and feasible) to be so. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ll be honest, P.S.V.L., I’ve been pretty curious about your practice lately. Your blog is huge and intimidating and I don’t know where to go to start reading about the basics of it. Would you point the way for me? I can’t guarantee that it will resonate but I appreciate the invitation and would love to know more.

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      • Well, what most interests you therein?

        Some of the more basic things about Antinous and the Ekklesía Antínoou are in some of my books; a lot of the blog is actually (despite popular opinion!) about the everyday practicalities of polytheism and my own experiences in different areas, mostly related to Antinous but by no means exclusively (on which I just can’t win–some Antinoans don’t care at all about Shinto or Hanuman or Irish stuff, and are thus annoyed that I talk about those things, especially if I also talk about Antinous in relation to them; and while some non-Antinoan polytheists read the blog regularly and like the “other stuff,” most polytheists don’t care about Antinous and thus often can’t separate the potentially useful info on living these religions from its Antinous-specific reflexes…understanding and respecting context is great, certainly, but it isn’t as if the ancient cultus was hyper-promiscuously syncretistic, or that borrowing ideas from what we’re doing and adapting them elsewhere is cultural appropriation, necessarily…ugh!?!). There are also theological discussions, thought-pieces on different hot-button issues, and stacks of devotional poetry.

        The search bar on the upper right corner of the sidebar might be a bit of bibliomancy for your use and/or amusement: enter any word and see where it comes up! 😉 Or deity names…many have been mentioned in passing there over the last 5 years.

        So, by all means, let me know what would be most helpful and of interest to you, and I can give you more specific suggestions. 🙂

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  9. HA, I read through the first part of this and thought “wow, this hits on a lot of the reasons why I have zero desire to seek out Heathen groups and happily stick to ADF.”

    Then I read this part and find that you’re also in ADF. We must’ve met – or at least seen each other – at Wellspring this year. Were you at the Sunday evening northern kin whatsit? (I feel like you look familiar, but then it was pretty dark. And of course I missed the lunch meetup when I would have actually been able to see people’s faces.)

    Liked by 1 person

      • Yup! I was the one sitting next to Nancy. I mostly contributed jokes, I think. Um.

        (Also, Northern Kin are chill about offering stuff to Loki – they all know by now that he’s my patron – so in the future, with that bunch at least, there’s no need for a disclaimer! Lemme tell you, it was a delight to for me to figure that out last year. I initially had a lot of anxiety about being open about it.)

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      • Yeah, the Norse Kin seem to be pretty chill about a lot of things, another reason that I get along well with ADF Norse Hearth. I have to remember that they’re not mainstream Heathens that will banish me for daring to mention Loki’s name.

        Ironically, I may have been more nervous about the Skytreader than anyone else, but that’s part of the reason I thought it would be good to honor him.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. The issues you raise are things that happen within some areas of Heathenism. There is no such thing as orthodox Heathenry. Asatru was started in Iceland. American Heathenry was kickstarted by some people with foul ideas and too much nazi adoration. The big National Orgs are not all the same. There is a division in ideas of folkism, universalim, and tribalism. Then you have my own group of Chaos Heathens exploring chaos magic, seidhr, runes, and more. I appreciate and applaud your thoughts. Please realize there is no one way to be a Heathen regardless of what anyone you know has told you. There is no unbroken tradition to the ancient ways. There wasn’t one unified way to be Heathen before conversion. Each tribe and family would have their own twist on region and needs. So call yourself whatever you want. Own the title of Heathen if you feel it. Yes, it requires work. Yes, it has built in myths, monsters, spirits, and ideas. None of what you listed is inherent. None. You’ve only listed ideas spouted by factions. Good luck on your journey!

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