I was once again contacted by an old member of the pack who is a musician these days. I have written about her work in metal before on this blog. Well, she apparently has a new project: Appalachian Metal. She has a couple of songs up, one titled “Berserker.” They’re just rough live recordings, but the band sounds like it has a lot of potential. They are working on their first album now and I, for one, am eagerly awaiting it. If you like metal, I suggest popping over and giving them a listen, and checking out their album when it comes out.
Today I wanted to give everyone a heads up about the newest project by Dver, the Dionysian devotee and author of many of the definitive books on modern Hellenism. She has created the Girls Underground Oracle, which is based on a deep-rooted story archetype found in literature, movies, and so forth from around the world, such as Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, Coraline, and Labyrinth.
She has spent years studying this female initiatory archetypal tale, and has now created a tool for the exploration of one’s own spiritual and developmental path, as well as for writing new and original stories. The Kickstarter for it is here. She is almost at her goal, and a little more will make sure that she can get this thing manufactured and shipped out.
I have been hearing a new word in polytheistic circles lately, and it’s a word I am really starting to dislike. OK, it’s not really a new word, but it is a word being used in a new way: “Gatekeeper.” To be more precise, it is “Gatekeeper” used as a pejorative.
This word represents a new and pernicious effort of the uber-Universalist types. Universalists have always believed that everyone has the right to declare themselves a member of our tradition, no matter who they are. Lately, however, it seems they are not content with having their own views, but must also attack everyone who does not believe exactly like they do.
Which brings us to the whole “Gatekeeper” thing. It is the term they are using to attack anyone who tries to hold standards for entry into our traditions. If, for instance, a level-headed Tribalist happens to mention that no, you cannot worship Marvel Thor and Marvel Odin and call yourself a heathen, or you cannot believe that the gods are really alien astronauts and call yourself a heathen, then the uber-Universalists start screaming “Gatekeeper!” like it meant “Nazi.”
Good grief. Uber-universalists to the left of me, Folkies to the right… I feel like I’m up to my armpits in fascists these days.
Well, I am proud to call myself a Gatekeeper. Our religion, like any religion, needs standards. You want to be a member? You have to earn the right. That includes a fair bit of learning. Too lazy or self-important to do it? Try the Unitarians. They take anyone.
In a rare moment of time to read various blogs, I found an old post on the topic of Tribalism that I rather liked. It is an excellent and thoughtful analysis of the Tribalist view of heathenry. Together with the debate in the comments section, it demonstrates well how Tribalism is distinct from Folkism and can incorporate some Universalist views without being fully Universalist. This is the link.
“Stay true to yourself, and success will follow.” “Always go with your gut.” “Trust your instincts.” These and a dozen similar sayings illustrate a popular attitude toward life. I have heard a number of variants on this theme lately, and found that it was really getting on my nerves. After thinking about it for a bit, I realized why: it is, in general, a really stupid piece of advice. And discussing why it is stupid leads inevitably to some important concepts about the Odinic path, so this will form the topic of today’s post.
Babies are idiots. Nothing against babies, it’s just an observation about where we all start in life: as drooling, incompetent morons. When we are young, we have no instincts at all. We’ll stick our hands in fires, tease large vicious dogs, eat poison, or anything shiny, and crawl off of fatal drops. The only reason we ever develop better instincts is because we learn and grow as people.
Instincts are not something you “just have.” You are not naturally inclined to be successful. You are not innately a person whose only problem is not believing in yourself, and not being true to yourself. Success comes from learning. It comes from failing, over and over again, and trying something new each time you fail. It comes from thinking. A lot. It comes from growing and changing. It comes, in short, from NOT being your normal, poorly educated, inexperienced, dumbass self, and trying instead to become something better.
This is what Odin has to teach. Never be satisfied with yourself. Change. Grow. That is the key to victory.
I recently had an encounter with a local idiot that has got me thinking. I was walking back from the store, and had to turn left to get onto my street. As I started moving left, I figured the guy coming in the opposite direction would step to my right, where there was plenty of room. He did not.
Instead, with a weird screwed up look on his face, he tried to cut to my left, blocking my turn. As I turned more sharply he jumped in front of me again. Then he started screaming about how he wasn’t going to let me intimidate him, and then he threatened to shoot me. From there, he completely melted down and had a Basil Fawlty-level apoplectic fit (a reference from before your time, kids). Shaking his fists at the sky and screaming at the heavens, he started going on about shooting fags.
At his threat to shoot me, I assessed him as a threat, and thought it unlikely he actually intended immediate violence. As I am more mature than I was in my days as a young punk, I just gave him a one fingered salute and walked off, instead of literally smacking some sense into him.
On my way home, I tried to analyze what had just happened. It seemed like something I have seen before. I am over six feet in height, and broadly built, with a large beard, and in my black leather duster I can look rather imposing. Some guys, notably those severely lacking in self confidence and tending to be panicky, get so fearful when they see me that they automatically parse anything I do as aggressive. The little idiot had assumed that when I tried to turn, I was getting in his way deliberately. So from there he leaped to the worst case scenario and assumed I posed a mortal threat to him.
Which brings me to my main point: guns and cowardice. My martial arts sensei had some words for me on the subject when I was a young punk, and I have always thought them wise words. He mentioned that some fools bought guns because they were such cowards that they did not dare go out into the world without one, because they were in mortal terror of everything and everyone they encountered. He told me that such people were a greater danger to others than the most hardened gangster, because they shot at anything that scared them, and everything scared them. As he told me: “if you don’t dare go out of your house without a gun, you have no business leaving your house with a gun.”
Responsible gun ownership means more than safety training. It means possessing the strength of character to be able to responsibly possess such power. My sensei’s words are words every gun owner should live by.
And, speaking to that panicky little idiot and those like him: come on people. My 5’0” niece manages to go out into the world without such fear. Relax. It’s not really that bad a place.
OK, I have to admit, I don’t know what to say. I’ve been grappling with saying something ever since Charlottesville. I saw the signs in the crowds, and on people’s shirt: there were plenty of hammerskins joined up with the Nazis and the other alt-right jackasses. Disappointing, yes, but not surprising. Still, it left me with so much I wanted to say.
But I don’t know how to say any of it. It’s too big to address in just a few words, and I have no idea how to start. And just thinking about it gives me anger-induced migraines. I’ve sat on this post for months, hoping the right words would come.
Well, they haven’t. So now I am just going to write what words I have, and let them be enough.
Some years ago I wrote a piece about the culture wars, and in it I talked about the inevitable end of the conservative movement in America. (Please keep in mind, I mean the conservative movement, which is a specific group of people with an agenda, not conservatism, which is a somewhat abstract set of beliefs.)
Do I recant those words now that I have seen the rise to power of the very worst elements of the old conservative movement? Do I believe its end is not so inevitable now that it has given a public voice to the Nazis, the alt right, the Kluxers, and the hammerskins? Do I believe I was wrong now that I see that we have an openly racist president who daily betrays the very values this country was founded on, while aiding and abetting election interference by a hostile foreign power?
Look at what we have here. The Republican party, the organizational face of the conservative movement, reeks of desperation. They support Nazis, child molesters, advocates of domestic terrorism, racists, Dominionists, and basically anybody who will help enact their agenda. They ignore Russian interference in the election, allowing it to happen again, essentially ceding political power to foreign adversaries. In short, they are acting like people who see their inevitable doom approaching, and desperately make deals with any devil they can in order to forestall the inevitable.
They pass blatant tax scams designed to defraud the poor and middle classes, and make the rich richer. They try to strip voting rights from as many (non-Christian, non-white, non-male, non-straight) people as possible. They attack the press, veterans, families whose children sacrificed all for this country, and anyone who so much as questions them. They act like looters grabbing everything they can from a store before burning it to the ground and heading off into the night.
All the forces that I spoke of in that old article are still at work. Their demographic is very old, and very unpopular. They are few in number, and dying off quickly. The only reason they even hold any power at all is because of some very un-American practices like gerrymandering, voter suppression, court shenanigans, and Russian assistance. We, the people of the Other Tribes, are growing vigorously. The Republican circular firing squad and the extreme unpopularity of their positions keep them from recruiting new talent. The math is inevitable: within a decade or two, they will be so few and we will be so many that they will be unable to win any significant elections, no matter how badly gerrymandered the districts.
They know this. As I said in that old post, because they sense their end, they will try to do as much damage as possible before they go. And that is exactly what we are witnessing now. They based their philosophy, their very lives, around hatred of all this is not like them. Now that they see Not-Them becoming dominant, they have to try to destroy as much as possible. This is their nature.
If we can weather the storm, the threat they represent will pass. (Only to be replaced by another, I’m sure.) However, this is no time for battening the hatches and hunkering down. The forces that have completed their takeover of the conservative movement are dangerous in so many ways. They have divorced themselves from reality. They base everything they think and do on virtue signaling and faith. They reject not just science, but reason and facts, too, as if reality were solely a matter of opinion. Because of this, they cannot be reasoned with. They are immune to facts, common sense, and even their own self interest. They stay buried in their echo chambers and construct an elaborate fantasy world. Well, they’re trying to impose that twisted fantasy on everyone now, and there is no compromise with that kind of madness. We all have to do what we can to resist them.
Let me add a whistle of appreciation for the hammerskins fighting shoulder to shoulder with the other regressive forces here. You may hate many of the same things they do. You may be as petty and violent and unreasonable as they are. But at the end of the day, even if they find a way to win, and establish dominance over all of the people you both hate, what do you think happens next? They may tolerate you now, but at the end of the day, you aren’t Christian. Once they’re done using you useful tools, they will destroy you as well. Way to go, quislings.
There was so much more I wanted to say. I do not have the words. Good luck to you. It’s a ways yet, until dawn.