So Maybe I’m Just a Really Bad Heathen

(Originally, it was just apologies to Molly.  Now it’s apologies to Naf too, my words were ill-used and harmful.)

(Apologies to Molly).

Yeah, I am.  I admit it.

All of those things I’ve talked about before, all of the objections that I have to the way that mainstream Heathenry is presented, all of those stand.  They’ve been reinforced by the attitude I read in a recent article on how to present Heathenry at a Pagan Pride day.  The author came off as paranoid and xenophobic, a deliberate outsider in a place where he didn’t identify with anyone or feel comfortable.  It became clear over the course of the article that he had come to try and guide poor, lost Heathens away from the vile, lie-spewing spawn of Loki that populate Norse Paganism.  Like a good shepherd, he became enraged at the dangerous wolf lurking among the sheep (in the form of someone who had bought books by a Northern Tradition author, who are all apparently *despised* by right-thinking Heathens everywhere, which reminds me, I need to get published).

I realized that I was reading the words of a man who would likely not share a horn with me, or if he did it would be under glaring brows and by setting aside deep-seated hatred.  Things like this make me want to make devil horns and claim to be Rokkatru and worship thurses just to watch people have strokes; the reason that I don’t is because I still kind of feel that thurses are scary and bad (I’ve explained how I feel about that before; if hospitality demands I’ll pour to them but I’ll keep my distance in general), I’m not remotely Rokkatru (unless pouring for Loki when you pour for Odhinn counts), and devil horns would only be ironic and pointless (and bad for my arthritis).

It hurts, you know?  It hurts to know that people who love the same Gods or wave the same banner seethe with hatred when they think of you.  That if they couldn’t convince you to follow their one true Heathenry they’d spit on you and nidh you.  It hurts to see such unreasoning fear, distrust, and paranoia.

Jesus Christ, this must be what being a progressive Christian must feel like.

Right now I can hear the chorus of Utgard.net-Trolls cackling about me and how it’s right, how I should be ashamed because Heathenry is a culture of shame, where it’s each person’s job to join in on the dogpile of reminding unpopular folks why they suck.  How every misspoken word and every misunderstood concept and every disagreement of interpretation requires a good, solid flyting because that’s how the Norse did it.

Fuck your bully culture.

Maybe it makes me a bad Heathen to think that hospitality includes anyone who wanders into your space rather than just the ones who make offering (but not to Gods, never to Gods) at the High Holy Temple of Sturluson.  Maybe it makes me a bad Heathen to think that someone who walks around, constantly wary and distrusting of others is a paranoid asshole.  Maybe it makes me a bad Heathen to think that someone who goes to a festival full of people he seems to have a deep-rooted discomfort with and a distinct sense of alienation from shouldn’t be surprised when he doesn’t get all the people all upons converting to Proper Heathenry.  I’m quite sure that it makes me a bad Heathen to have UPG at all, much less share it on the Internet where other people might be able to learn that you can talk to Gods and sometimes they talk back (blasphemy!)  Maybe it makes me a bad Heathen to be all the things that I’ve done: speaking out against oppression, bigotry, and racism, seeking genuine spiritual experiences, having non-white Ancestors, praying to eeeebil furrin’ Gods…  Maybe it does.

Maybe I’ll just have to be all right with that.  Maybe I’m okay with being a bad Heathen.

I’m not going to stop being Heathen – that’s not where I am in life and maybe it never will be.  I know who and what I am.  I’m not going to stop being any of the other things that encourage Proper Heathen Rage-Walrus Mustache Shaking, because those are part of who I am too.

It’s not that I don’t understand the “Heathen mindset”.  A lot of the core important parts of it (as described by many) are important to me.  I just don’t agree with the ones that I don’t agree with, which also makes me a bad Heathen, because the most important rule of Heathenry is absolute, unquestioning obedience to other people when they tell you how to think, how to feel and how to live your life.  No Norseman ever deviated from the strict rules of Viking culture, which were uniform in all Germanic lands and never changed with time or circumstance.  That’s why Heathenry is such a successful modern religion – we have an absolute path where everyone knows their place, follows the rules (set down exclusively by men) exactly, and live in perfect harmony with each other except when they have to rise up to strike each other down because of a slight of honor.

Wait, that’s not Heathenry, that’s the Qun.  Or maybe Klingons?  No, Klingons don’t even believe that everyone should live by their Perfect Ancient Holy Texts Exactly.  Heathens don’t even have holy texts, they have poetry recorded by people who didn’t even worship their Gods.

Now that that’s out of my system…

I can tell that the man who wrote that article had good intentions.  I’ve heard about hell but not about Hel’s road being paved with those (her road is paved with everything, though).  I don’t understand why people who don’t consider themselves Pagan (and there are plenty of Heathens who do) would want to come to a Pagan festival to proselytize.  If I saw someone giving a lecture on Christianity and how it’s not a part of the Pagan faiths but here’s why it’s awesome and better than your faiths at a Pagan festival I’d back slowly away and talk to someone with authority about it later (or maybe just savagely blog about it and complain to friends).  It seems out of place, odd, and intrusive, just as it seemed uncomfortable to the fellow in question to be there.  I know that he’s trying to guide people to what he believes to be a better faith, and a better way of life, but wouldn’t it make sense to have someone who didn’t have a hate on for people who believe differently from himself be the one presenting?  Honestly, can’t you understand why that would hurt or drive folks away?

Though to his credit, I suppose if he wants to draw people in, there’s no better way than publicly performing the mental gymnastics required to describe Folkishness as not being racist.  It shows a remarkable amount of intellectual and moral flexibility.  It’s also comforting to know that racists are incapable of being sexually attracted to people of color.  I used to be worried that Antebellum landowners might have been racist, but they are proven otherwise by the trysts and (far more common) rapes of their slaves.  Pfew, what was that war about again?

He’s right about maturing into a Heathen worldview.  I certainly look back with some embarassment on the years after the first time I met someone like this and they scared me into running screaming from Heathenry.  I should have been all upons (sorry, it’s been a thing lately, I need to get it out of my system) and being my ergi/argr, wooheaded self and helped some Heathenry grow in a different direction.  I should have staked my garth, called my kin, cared for them and loved them and protected them.

I have a lot of kin among Heathens, I’ve been discovering.  I have a lot of people who don’t fit the racist, close-minded, reactionary mold this fellow presents as the One True Heathenry.  We have our communities, our own Inner Yards.  I belong to groups for transgender and other queer Heathens online and maybe will someday in person.  I belong to communities of Heathens unashamed (imagine, a Heathen not ashamed of themselves for doing what they believe is right) to discuss their UPG amongst themselves.  I belong to groups of Heathens, both online and in real life, who worship Gods and actually listen when they speak back instead of talking over them.

That’s not just one Inner-Yard.  That’s an encampment, a town, a neighborhood.  It used to be a ghetto of Heathen Hights but it’s been expanding and gentrifying.  Thank the Gods.

Or maybe he’s right about maturing into a Heathen mindset in the way he thinks he is and look back on this ten years later thinking about what a sad, deluded person I was.  I’m really not going to bet on it, though.

Hail Loki! (Sorry, Lady, I had to).

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36 thoughts on “So Maybe I’m Just a Really Bad Heathen

  1. I love this. I don’t love the actions you witnessed that spurred you to write it, but I love this response. I have met more-many more- of the open minded and open hearted kind of heathen in person than I have online. This gives me hope. I am glad to be discovering the open voices online now too.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I keeping meeting Pagans with an interest in Norse/Germanic traditions and many of them get baffled and just plain culture shocked when they encounter Heathens. A while I joined an Asatru beginner group and they were clear that they were recon, Loki, race/ethnicity and sexual orientation were “off-topic” but they didn’t state one stance or another, which made me think of the Howard Zinn quote about how you can’t be neutral on a moving train. I was like, OK, whatever usual stuff, but I got annoyed when they turned out to be pushing tribalism on everyone- if it was a beginner Asatru group, IMO they should make clear that tribalism is only one approach. We’re all supposed to magically get all of our family members to jump on board or just conveniently live somewhere with other Heathens who will talk to us?

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is why I can’t be silent any more when I see this stuff, and come what may I have to call it out. There is no one true Heathenry, and that attitude simply drives people away. I take it on myself as a responsibility to let people know that there are Heathens who are not like that supposed standards – there are a lot of us.

      Do you mean tribalism or Folkishness? There’s a big difference. The reason that I still haven’t joined the Troth is that it has no problems with Folkishness while still claiming to be anti-racist. I won’t drink with racists.

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      • Tribalism (which I don’t have a problem with so long as people are realistic about modern realities) I’m hoping the Troth might change its stance with leadership- Steve Abell, the current head of the Troth is buds with McNallen.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Finally got to read your whole post and the post that this was a respone to. The one this was a response to made me grimace, hardcore! For many diffrent reasons.

    Thanks for the awesome post and just being yourself and doing your thing, regardless of what “good Heathens” think.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This. This said everything I’ve been wanting to say only so much more eloquently. I have yet to join a physical Heathen community in my area and it is for these negative reasons and obvious oppression (I’m a Lokean, how can I be a true Heathen, some might argue) that keep me from doing so.
    Let us unite as bad Heathens!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I know the author of the article you are referring to. He welcomes “Rokkatru” and Lokeans to Sumbel, and criticizes Recons for being too judgmental. He opens his home to his friends, who are friends, not because they agree with him, but because there is mutual respect. He has opinions, but he doesn’t jump to conclusions and demean another’s work. You know, like you just were.
    I am proud to be his friend and hope to soon be part of his Kindred. You, however, are ignorant of what you speak, and rude about it to boot.

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    • He expresses a hatred for members of Northern Tradition Paganism, claims that Reconstruction method is the only proper way to Heathen, and makes some pretty big claims about folks. If he didn’t mean any of these things, he really shouldn’t have written them.

      I’m part of a growing body of people who are getting tired of having people tell us that we’re bad Heathens or not Heathens at all for disagreeing with their interpretations of Lore and material or having different social values. You can dislike us all you want to, but we’re not going away. Germanic culture and worship was not uniform, and Heathenry isn’t either, but if someone stands up and makes broad proclamations about proper Heathenry that excludes myself and my kind then I’ll gladly stand up and tell them that not all Heathens need to be like them. Because we’re not all like that.

      I do admit that I have problems assuming goodwill in some cases, and I may have done so here. My words were harsh and vitriolic. It comes of years of being told that I’m not Heathen enough for one reason or another by people who claim to have the cornerstone on this identity. The only person who I’m apologizing here to is Molly, but I did discuss this and share it with her ahead of time, and she encouraged me to post it despite my own misgivings.

      In a lot of cases a person’s words online do not well reflect how they behave in person, but not having met him in person all I have to go on is what he’s said in the article, and I’m not going to apologize for my genuine reaction to it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are also not taking into account sarcasm, context, tongue-in-cheek, in-jokes, etc. Not everyone communicates the same way. Also, the piece was originally written to be only for the local group, which is familiar with his communication style. His piece could have done with an edit or two, I’m sure.

        I’m sorry you have had such bad experiences as a Heathen. I, myself, am not considered Heathen by most. I do have non-Norse gods that I follow, and the Norse gods that have claimed me are Jotun. I also have no desire to invest years in Lore study.

        I find it disturbing that you would rather attack someone publicly for what you are perceiving as a slight rather than contributing to a real and beneficial conversation. I would not have been at all upset or angry (which was my reaction to your post) if you had, instead, addressed what the original article had said and why it was problematic, rather than attacking the person who wrote it. You had an opportunity for sharing your perspective and educating Heathens about how communication techniques influence how we are seen. Instead, you chose the road of the very bullying that you claim to be against.

        Yeah, I’m asking you to put aside your feelings of being hurt in order to be better, and that is exhausting. I feel that way myself when looking to address certain topics in social media. The question is, which is more important to you? Getting pats on the back from all those who have been hurt and are ready to rally at any sign of the “other” getting theirs? Or changing the way that Heathens view and talk to each other? I agree that there is too much bullying and judgment in Heathenry. This didn’t help.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. You’re right, Kalisara. Sometimes it’s hard not to let the pain get the better of you, and sometimes it’s hard just to attack the ideas and not the person. It should be something I’m rising above, not diving into myself. In the past, even when my words have been harsh, I’ve been better than that.

    I really should reconsider how I approach things. I don’t mind back pats at all, and sometimes we need that, but I’d be able to get those just as well without being hostile to someone I don’t know. It would be much better for us to find ways to encourage different forms of dialogue.

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    • Thank you for saying this, Laine. I really think dialogue and discussion are the right way to go forward here, and I applaud you for asserting that. Náf is a good friend of mine and a good man, and I know he didn’t mean much of what you’ve read into his article – but I also know where you’re coming from, and how easy it is to assume those things when coming from a place of hurt.

      I hesitate to even comment here (as I know you hesitated to post this article at all) because I have no desire to be the tone police, or to tell you how to express your frustration and anger. I understand the hurt and the pain you feel – right now I am a laughing stock in a couple of online Heathen groups simply because I have a different take on ‘how to Heathen’ than the majority opinion in those places. It hurts. It’s hard. I get that place of pain.

      The thing is, sometimes coming from that place of pain, it’s possible to read into a statement or article things that aren’t at all intended; I have done this myself several times. It’s one thing to call out bully culture, which I 100% agree with, but it’s another thing to attack another person. Again, I want to say that I think it’s an awesome idea to try to work more on dialogue between different people and different groups of Heathens – thank you for that.

      Like

  7. Let me counter, paragraph by paragraph, your rant and attack upon me without credible evidence or logic. If you do not share this, relax, I will share it on my own sites with the original and a link to your blog post here.
    Paragraph One: I am by far the least xenophobic, paranoid outsider you will ever meet, if you ever meet me. My reasons for feeling uncomfortable there had nothing to do with being around Pagans – some of my best and closest friends were there with me at their own tent, and joined me often to talk. I met a lady who practiced Romanov and we discussed Slavic and Baltic variations of reconstructionism. In general, Galina Krasskova is disliked because she presents ideas not found in the lore, and injects her own unconfirmed gnosis and bias into Heathenry. One of my closest friends feels drawn to some of the ideas presented in her books, but is immediately turned off by her ramblings and other ideas. Raven Kaldera and his ‘Northern Tradition Paganism’ is, in my opinion, as Heathen as ‘50 Shades of Grey’ is BDSM. Reconstructionist Heathens – my only issue with them is outsiders mistake them for us, and us for them. Otherwise, no real issue on who they choose to honor. The issue is, they are not Heathen by definition, have not been, nor will they ever be with their ideas and practices. It is collaborated personal gnosis based on ideas from Heathenry, and nothing more. They are not the first to do this and, I am certain, not the last.
    For the first 10 years of my Heathenry, I was stuck on following the CPG (collaborated personal gnosis) of another person and the group he created. Of course, you would only know this if you had the right copy of the specific book, with a certain essay, that was printed for only a limited time. To his credit, he doesn’t claim he, or his group, is Heathen, but rather he “exists on the outside nurturing its growth.” I can respect him still, even though, spiritually, he left me confused and frustrated before I discovered what Heathenry is really about (clue: it is not in a book or online but you will find it my conclusion).
    Paragraph 2: I have shared horns with Heathens, Wiccans, Druids, Native Americans, Buddhist, Christians, Jews – should I go on? That is fine if you wish to go Rokkatru, I have a close friend who help us start our organization who finds comfort in the Jotuns. Though for their own reasons, still doesn’t follow Raven and Galina’s ideas beyond that!
    Paragraph 3:We have no hate for you. There is no trademark on the gods, as much as some of my fellow Heathens seem to want to think there is. I believe the unreasoning fear, distrust and paranoia is coming from your end.
    Paragraph 4: Never heard of the site. Aside from new research and exchange of ideas, I do not much look too deeply at Heathen things online, as Heathenry doesn’t exist there. Some of my Wiccan friends feel the same about their religion. I also argue that we are not a true ‘shame culture,’ as the context of that term was written to describe the difference between Japanese and American culture after World War 2 (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Chrysanthemum_and_the_Sword). The application of Japanese Shame Culture without the application of Japanese Etiquette is is completely counterproductive to the idea. If you had read my whole article, you would understand I know quite a bit about Japanese culture as well. We are more of a “reputation and worth” culture. Something I push every now and then, as I will not take shame from anyone outside my kin, and I know my actions and words reflect upon them as well. We are currently within the Heathen world, seeing the results of a bad reputation leading to a possible outcome (in many ways a perfect example of Wyrd and Orlog).
    “Fuck your bully culture.”
    Online, Heathenry appears to have a bully culture for sure. However, if you find my words to be ‘aggressive’ and that of a bully, then I am sorry to say you have no means of comprehending the real world. My talk was based on facts – nothing more. I believe, in reality, you are doing what you say you do not care for.
    Paragraph 5: Did not feel out of place at all, I felt welcomed and had a good time. It was the rage of the keyboard vikings I didn’t want to deal with, as well as my personal emphasis on doing things right and my own conduct as a diplomat for my worldview, extended tribe and Kindred. Under normal circumstances, I care little for the vitriol of some random 0’s and 1’s projecting through a light emitting diode, but sadly the mob mentality seems to get a hold of people, and, as a favorite author and podcaster is titling his new book, we have become ‘Civilized to Death’. Not sure what the other items you are trying to imply mean. In actuality, I defend UPG constantly. We all have it, regardless of how staunch of a reconstructionist you are. It isn’t just spiritual practices that makes UPG, but life experiences in general. We are a culmination of our deeds, and the trials and tribulations we go through in life. However, as to the rest of your feelings, that is your UPG; you can have it. It is not rooted in the Lore. Struluson is at best a * when it comes to the sources, as he was not Heathen himself at the time he wrote the Eddas and attempted to tie them to Homer’s Odyssey.
    “Maybe I’ll just have to be all right with that. Maybe I’m okay with being a bad Heathen.”
    The only bad Heathens, to my mind, are those who use the gods and symbols of our ancestors to promote hate and violence. Otherwise, the concept of good and bad are not inherent in my opinion of the Heathen worldview.
    Paragraph 7 and 8 – Your sarcasm was nearly missed, until I reached the 8th – the reason I do attempt to avoid using sarcasm when writing online, as subtext and context is often missed. In person, I sound and act a lot different. Context is clear. Wit is witnessable, and laughs can be shared. As far as a holy text, you are correct; we don’t have a holy text. We have a source of information based on academic research, cultural observation, and attempts to preserve stories written of the gods and folk heros. These works collectively make up the lore, and are where we get our information on how our ancestors interacted, how they viewed our gods in their specific way, in their specific land. That is what we are trying to reconstruct – the lens through which our ancestors looked upon the world. The sun will always rise in the east, and the sun will always set in the west. The lore is the lore, and only through extensive research and review does it change. However with that statement, I too at times, am tired of seeing the same book slapped up someone’s head as if it was scripture, and witnessed how some in the Heathen worldview have not given up their need for some sort of scripture to cite.
    Paragraph 9 – Again, you show no comprehension for the words I wrote; I am starting to believe you will not understand these. I was not there to convert. I was not there feeling out of place at all. I was actually requested to speak of Heathenry by hosts and have many times for other groups, such as the Order of the Red Grail. I think I went over that already and I would rather not beat a dead horse until it is a grease stain and tufts of fur (that is what is called a joke, as it is an exaggeration on a common American Idiom). I am fine with Pagans and Heathens being together – my point was to show there is so much variation to Heathenry that to stuff us into an already large umbrella is inappropriate at best and confusing at worst. Though we are very similar, we deal with the same issues more often than not (our reactions are often different it seems). Therefore, instead of it being JUST Paganism and JUST Heathenry, the two work together and should be referred to as Paganism and Heathenry, as again, American culture loves to drop everything to categories. My hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska, must be very lucky to have several Heathens and Pagans who understand this, appreciate our unique differences and get along. I wish this could be the case everywhere; sadly, it is often not.
    Paragraph 10 – I am not Folkish, but I know those who are. They are not racist at all. Just prefer to keep things ‘Nordic’. There does seem to be various levels of this attitude and at a certain point, like any idea, goes too far and enters into the realm of racism. However, if you prefer to keep things Folkish for yourself, that is fine. For me, the Gods and ancestors have been neglected so long, any worship, honoring or praising they receive would be welcomed by anyone. Otherwise, the rest of your words there seem to come off as a tangent I cannot make sense of. I believe you are referring my fiance – a love you will never understand – who is often my jest to counter what others say of Heathens being racists. I have defended this view the whole time I worked in a prison, where the FBI listed us a security threat group, and, though amended later by Heathens, it was up to various departments to update their training. Being in the second notch of the bible belt (that is a metaphor), they conveniently forget to update this. My miscegenation makes me the #1 target of the radical Wotansvolk types. If you do not know what the above word means, here is a wikipedia for you: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miscegenation
    Paragraph 11 – Again you seem to be going on a tangent that does not make sense, and I cannot tell if it is sarcasm as I cannot hear your actual voice and the inflection of your words. This is why only data is appropriate to exchange while online, at least typed. We do have audio and video, I suppose, but what good is that for documentation? We only maintain average of 8% to 15% of what we see and hear on video or audio. I know this, as I have been trained in my careers to teach other people skills, knowledges and methods to save their own lives, keep themselves safe, and protect themselves.
    Paragraph 12 – Again you make assumptions that truly show zero comprehension of my words. I am sounding like a broken record. The only real approach I advocate to the Heathen worldview is the reconstructionist world view while online. We all have our own UPG, or Woo-woo, but the sources of information and facts should remain verifiable. That way, any deviation can be recognized as what is: not from the Lore. Our local regional group encourages everyone to share their experiences and their opinions. However, to do so online is very tacky. It is like filming yourself having sex – you will find it great, you partner will find it great, others will may like it too, but many may find it disturbing or gross.
    Paragraph 13 – I honestly got nothing.
    Paragraph 14 – Possibly, possibly not; my words still stand. I may think I should have covered this more or that more, or gone into this subject. Otherwise, I doubt it.
    “Hail Loki! (Sorry, Lady, I had to).”
    “Loki then enters the hall of Ægir after trading insults and threats with Eldir. A hush falls. Loki calls upon the rules of hospitality, demanding a seat and ale. Bragi then responds that he is unwelcome. Loki demands fulfillment of an ancient oath sworn with Odin that they should drink together. Odin asked his son Vidar to make a space for Loki.” Lokasenna – Stanza 10
    So, Hail Óðinn!

    You have given a perfect example of why a verifiable source is required for Heathenry to grow from (think: seed), and also why many Heathens have utter disregard and contempt for Pagans, Wiccans and Norse Pagans. I do not know if you are Heathen, and, honestly, I do not care. You are not in my tribe; you are not of the people I see in my daily life; you are not from my area; you are not a contributor to the worldview. You’re just some person with a spot on the freckled ass of the world wide web™. You took nothing from my article but what you wished to take for your own vitriol towards a person standing up and trying to build a bridge between two different groups of people who have been lumped into the same category together and fight like cats and dogs. I am a bit taken aback, as the backlash of my statements is coming from the Pagan side and not the Heathen side, which tends to be more of a tough crowd to please, and even the vicarious have nothing much to say other than “I would have said this instead”. If you wish to have an actual dialog, my tribe and group have a site – you can contact me there; you can add me on Facebook. I have added many others who have strongly disagreed with me and have had many exchanges of ideas. My tribe has Heathens, Norse Pagans, and people who stand over the line between the two, and I know the vicious hardliner Heathens elsewhere would scoff at our inclusion of them. YetI have Frith with them, and they of me. I have learned and grown more in my worldview with other Heathens, and, yes, Wiccans and Pagans have helped tremendously too. I have helped them, as well – I would raise a shield to their back and ward off the entire world if I had to, and, later, raise a horn of mead to honor them and boast their deeds. I would hope you would have those who would do the same for you. If you come into a room and tell me you’re the godspouse of Loki and have an open relationship with Skadi, I will not laugh at you, but I will not defend you either. You will just isolate yourself without any worth to give weight to your words. You will also make me, and other Heathens, look like fools and I cannot abide by that other than to say, you are not one of us. Hence, the reconstruction method is the seed from which all Heathenry grows, and is the best way to understand our ancestral ways and why they did what they did.
    To ladyimbrium she witnessed nothing, as she was not there.
    To caelesti I am sorry you saw that, I agree many of the groups seem to forget our ancestors said little to nothing of those we identify as LBGT, or of ‘other tribes’ as race is a construct of modernization.
    “He expresses a hatred for members of Northern Tradition Paganism, claims that reconstruction method is the only proper way to Heathen, and makes some pretty big claims about folks. “
    I do not hate them, they are just not Heathen. Period. Just as a house cat is not a species of canine but are also considered domesticated. Reconstruction method is the only way to define and solidify Heathenry and protect it from exploitation of radical groups. Some of their ideas expressed can be harmful to vulnerable adults as well. The young lady with their book said she wanted to learn more of Heathenry, and had those books, so I politely corrected the misinterpretation.
    “I’m part of a growing body of people who are getting tired of having people tell us that we’re bad Heathens or not Heathens at all for disagreeing with their interpretations of Lore and material or having different social values. You can dislike us all you want to, but we’re not going away. Germanic culture and worship was not uniform, and Heathenry isn’t either.”
    If you follow Northern Tradition Paganism, then by your own admission, you are not Heathen. That is ok. We Heathens enjoy arguing the lore and sources. Sometimes it goes too far and, lately, it has a bit. Your last line there is the most correct and accurate statement I have seen you write, and it is why we at Nebraska Heathens United work on regional version of Heathenry based on the seasons and agriculture of our area, much like our ancestors did. The way Thor is viewed here is much different than in California, Sweden, Norway, etc. Make your own voice in NTP stronger and distinct from Heathenry and other Pagans, but not so loud you drown out all others who are not of a like mind.
    “I do admit that I have problems assuming goodwill in some cases, and I may have done so here. My words were harsh and vitriolic. It comes of years of being told that I’m not Heathen enough for one reason or another by people who claim to have the cornerstone on this identity. The only person who I’m apologizing here to is Molly, but I did discuss this and share it with her ahead of time, and she encouraged me to post it despite my own misgivings.”
    I am working very, very, very hard on being diplomatic and polite with others – something the Keyboard vikings have forgotten. They seem to think snark = smart, and end up sounding and looking like nerds making fun of dorks. Now, I may have had some bite in my reply to you, but you did attack my character, so I felt it was my place to defend myself.
    “In a lot of cases a person’s words online do not well reflect how they behave in person, but not having met him in person all I have to go on is what he’s said in the article, and I’m not going to apologize for my genuine reaction to it.”
    Which is preciously why I do not care for blogs or blogging on this topic, but I do enjoy a well-written and well-cited essay. I am new to this whole “writing a blog on this subject.” I do not plan on doing it often and, as you can tell by just a reply, I do not think I would be good at the daily grind of making sure I had content to share, as it takes a lot of time to make sure my words are chosen well and my message is clear.
    I saw elsewhere you calling the Troth ‘racist’ but I no longer see it posted, or do not care enough to look much deeper. If you truly feel that just because some members of the Troth have Grith with those of the AFA or other groups, I am sorry you do not understand the point of community, dialogue and making the temporary peace to ‘agree to disagree’.
    Good luck to you, and your Northern Tradition Paganism. Perhaps, once taken on by level-headed, reasonable folks, it will be taken more seriously.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Naf, I’m sorry. I’m going to be posting a public apology as well. The fact that I spoke the way I did about you when I did not know you was hurtful and inappropriate, and as has been pointed out, extremely hypocritical of me.

      I was reacting to a poor understanding of what you presented and my own issues and long-term pain. It would have been possible for me to disagree with the views that you presented without saying harmful things about you and your presentation, and I’m ashamed at having responded in a reactionary fashion like that.

      I’ve said harsh things before on here, but never about people, and certainly never about people that I don’t know, and I made you an unfortunate target for years of frustration that I should have dealt with in a more mature and level-headed fashion.

      I’ve often told people, “You can stand up for yourself without knocking other people down.” and I’ve been guilty here of the very thing that I’ve lectured other people for.

      There are a lot of good points that you made in your response that I’d like to discuss with you, but I’m not going to devote the space to those here right now. If it’s all right,l I’m going to post the body of your response to me in my next post; if that’s a problem please let me know and I’ll take it down.

      I’m sorry that I let my frustration and reactions get the better of me, and chose to attack you rather than disagree with the ideas that I disagreed with. I’ve behaved foolishly and cruelly here, and while I may pride myself on having a sharp tongue, I shouldn’t be turning it on someone who I don’t know

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    • I will just have to jump into the discussion here. While I really do not want to derail the peace process I still think everybody apologising to everybody is not going to accomplish bridging this schism. The same emotions-ladden topics will keep popping up in other places and divide us. And by “us” I mean people who pray to and have pledged allegiance to the same, Norse gods. Call them Heathen, call them Northern Tradition – call them flying mead-monster for all I care about.

      As far as I am concerned the whole outrage simply comes down to the notion that “[the] Reconstruction method is the only way to define and solidify Heathenry and protect it from exploitation of radical groups.”
      I think what many of us are asking is why do you think there is only one way? And why does one group get to define the “only way to define and solidify Heathenry” for all of us that we pray to the same gods and seek community in doing so? And who gives one group the right to decide who qualifies as “Heathen”, and who does not? Personally I find this kind of an attitude a lot more “tacky” then sharing UPG online – especially if that UPG is clearly marked as such so everyone knows what they are dealing with.

      If you guys were to say “this is, to our knowledge out of a lot of trial and error, the most promising way of going about it” there would be no problem and a lot more of a discussion. But by putting it out there in no uncertain terms that “this is the only way” you are shutting down that very discussion and in doing so you are de facto shutting out some of us who have seen too much “this is the only way-drama” in their life already and bolt at hearing it again.

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      • I agree with you, and I believe that it is something worth discussing and considering more. One-true-wayism is everywhere.. My apologies are directed to the man, not the ideas that he represented. I still disagree with what I disagree with.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think you are misunderstanding what is being said. He is not saying Recon isn’t the ONLY Heathenry. He is saying it is the only thing all Heathens can get behind. Not as a whole of the beliefs, but as the core of everyone’s beliefs. He’s not saying Joe’s UPG is wrong. He’s saying it’s wrong for Joe to push his UPG as equivalent to historical fact. (Note: Joe Schmoe, to my knowledge, is neither Heathen nor an actual person.) He’s saying that too many times, Heathens get books written about a UPG that is presented as if it was historical Lore. UPG is about personal understanding and relationship with the gods, but it can and does vary. So we should not have one person’s UPG presented on the same level as evidence: archeological, anthropological and historical literature.

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      • Absolutely! I think more open and intellectually honest disagreement between Heathens would be an awesome thing – these are things we’ll have to tease out answers to eventually, even if we all arrive at our own different conclusions.

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      • I can admit to my rhetoric being stated a bit strongly several times. I feel Heathens need to get behind presenting Reconstruction method to avoid confusion and exploitation by radicalism and others with an agenda. If we collectively get behind the idea, and go from there, we can see where the deviations or specifications lie from the source. I certainly do not believe recon is the ONLY way, just the standard by which all variations can be measured by. This will help when dealing with the media and other outlets who can’t help themselves to bring up white supremacy and prisons. Kalisara may have stated it better than I able to at the moment.

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      • Actually, what you are suggesting won’t fix much of anything I’m afraid.

        Here’s the thing. From observing the Heathen community for awhile now, I think the problem isn’t belief really. It’s culture. We live in what is quite possibly the most divided country since the Civil War. Most “mainstream Heathens”(and I am guessing Náf) come from the conservative side of that divide. Most pagans, OTOH, live on the “not conservative” side of things.

        What you are seeing, I think, when Heathens smash up against Pagans(and vice versa) is a rare exception to the rule that the two cultures don’t interact and that is something that no amount of arguing theological concessions, or anything else will fix. When I read Náf’s summary I saw someone who was wading into a very different culture and trying his best to be tolerant.

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      • Yeah I kinda saw the answers to my post and realised there just isn’t even a way of talking because we don’t seem to even be speaking the same language 😦 even words have different meanings to us. Maybe it is something Americans have learned to deal with by politely ignoring each other. For me as a European it is hard to comprehend – your explanation made a lot of sense. Thanks for that!

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  8. I’m really glad this all got straightened out. Neff may be an ass but he’s our own unique ass.

    My name is Isa. I’m a cofounder of NHU and oathed to Hel herself. I wanted to invite everyone here to come check out Nebraska Heathens United FB page. In order to judge something we must know the thing we are staring down. Frith starts here, in these conversations.

    It may not be much, but our door is open to the wider Heathen community. Including you Ladyimbrium cause I heart you and you are awesome.

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