Well, the time is upon us. I beg of all true heathens to stand and fight to protect not just our people, but all the people of this nation. No matter how long the lines, no matter how personally inconvenient you find it, I beg of you to go and vote that traitor Trump and all of his sycophantic enablers out of office. Enough of us have died. This is our last chance. Stand and fight.
Hello there, Gentle Reader, today I am going to talk to you about Savatage’s song, “The Wake of Magellan.” Well, not really, but what I have to say today starts with that song.
I have been listening to a lot of 80s and 90s music lately, and came upon this old classic metal piece by one of the 80’s and 90’s most memorable metal bands (today, many of the band’s former members are in the Trans Siberian Orchestra). It is named “The Wake of Magellan,” and is about a sailor in the days of tall wooden ships, who is contemplating leaving the horrifying world he lives in and just sailing off into the ocean, leaving the world of humans behind, even if it means his death.
One of the lyrics in it really resonated with me: “Don’t hear the sound of tyrants / Surrounded by the silence.” This describes my own approach to life in this world. My life growing up was rough. I’ve never had a place in the human world, and have frequently been told, often violently, that I don’t belong in it. As a young man, I decided to agree with the people who kept telling me this, and left the human world as far behind as I could. In the decades since, I have lived on its margins, having as little to do with it as possible.
There’s another lyric in that song that really stood out to me when I recently revisited this song: “As I contemplate this stand / What I do / Is who I am.” And that is a true statement. That is a very, very true statement. In fact, it’s a downright Odinic statement.
I have always looked with suspicion on people who form their identities around labels that just happen to apply to them. Like people who are all about (and so very proud of) being white, or American, or Fundamentalist, or what have you. These things require no effort, understanding, or sacrifice. If they were food, they would be candy: all sugar, no nutrients. They are nothing more than cheap, effortless ways to feel pride.
That is truly pathetic. What kind of a loser gets their entire sense of pride and identity out of an accident of birth, something that he or she did nothing at all to earn? This is not what Odin teaches. Odin values people who DO things. Warriors, conquerors, heroes, leaders, poets, adventurers, they are all people who are defined by what they DO, not by some meaningless accident of birth. Odin values ACCOMPLISHMENT, and the kinds of people who get their identities from actually DOING things. And that is as it should be. It is only accomplishment that deserves respect. I have lived my life on this principle.
As that song also says, when you’re out on the ocean, you “Don’t see the storms are forming.”
I @&^%$! hate the human world. ESPECIALLY its politics. So I have lived like Odin does, wandering outside that world, only coming back to it once in a while. I have wanted this blog to mostly be about spiritual matters. With some exceptions, I have tried not to get too caught up in current political matters. They are not concerns of my world.
However, the dumpster fire that is currently the modern world, particularly America, has become too big to ignore. And what I do is who I am. Even if the people of the world are not my people, I cannot ignore them while things are like this. So this old sailor is heading back to shore, and the sound of tyrants.
There is little I can do, practically speaking. I am poor, and mostly caught up in a struggle to survive, which is not easy to do living outside the human world. But I do have a platform here, and some kind of audience, however small. And there are voices in the heathen world saying and doing some truly awful things right now. So I have a duty to take a stand. Maybe my voice can reach one or two young ones before they are taken in by alt right Folkie bullshit.
Wake up people. We no longer have to worry about the American government turning into an authoritarian regime because it ALREADY IS ONE. “President” Trump brought in the military to teargas and shoot at peaceful protesters with rubber bullets, American citizens who were exercising their First Amendment rights, just so he could cross the street to have a photo op in front of a church.
THIS IS WHAT AUTHORITARIANISM LOOKS LIKE, PEOPLE!
Trump and his nine-times-damned group of supporters and enablers are traitors. They care nothing for the people, for the Constitution, for the law, for basic human decency, or for anything else. I don’t give a damn about the rigged Senate “trial.” Anyone with half a brain knows Trumpy sold this country out to the Russians in the last election. We heard the tapes ourselves. With my own ears, I heard him invite the Russians to use hackers to alter the course of the 2016 election, just like everyone else did. He betrayed this country to a foreign hostile power, and the damn Republicans stood by and did nothing.
With my own ears I heard him try to pretend the coronavirus now ravaging our world was a Democratic hoax, and use that as an excuse to refuse to take the steps that could have prevented this plague from spreading like wildfire across this country. More than 100,000 Americans have since died preventable, pointless deaths. That’s more than 33 September 11ths, FFS! And the Republicans provided cover for him, helping him shirk his duties to the American people, all so they could try to jolly the stock market into staying high so they could win the next election and keep their cushy jobs. Trump betrayed the country, and tens of thousands of Americans died as a result. Their blood is on his hands, and no two ways about it.
I have watched him push policies that crush poor people, especially non-white poor people, making their lives unbearable, policies that militarize police, encourage racist police policies, and make the police completely immune from accountability. I watched him, and his Republican cronies, worsen the conditions that led to George Floyd’s death. And when, as is completely predictable for any group of people pushed beyond all limits of endurance, social unrest followed, his response is to go for Kent State mk. II.
And here we are, people. The “President” is speaking of American streets as a battleground, sending troops to illegally attack innocent civilians exercising their Constitutional rights and is threatening to do worse. He is trying to cut unemployment benefits and prevent financial support for anyone who isn’t rich in order to force poor people back into dangerous work places, where thousands more WILL die from the coronavirus, so he can goose the economy and win reelection. He is trying to keep in place the racist laws and policies that killed George Floyd and so many others, ensuring that there will be so many more. Hel, he’s trying to make them worse! And they only have the political power to do this because of decades of truly un-American shenanigans such as gerrymandering and other forms of voter suppression. They cannot win democratic elections, so they have subverted the democratic process. The Republicans have actually lost every election for a LONG time now. They only keep getting into power by profoundly un-American and anti-democratic political tricks.
We are in a battle for America. Trump and his supporters are traitors. Traitors to America, and traitors to the human race. They obey no law. If they are not stopped, NOW, this country will become fully, openly a tin pot dictatorship, with the last remnants of the democracy this country once was swept aside.
I used to hate the Democratic and Republican parties equally. I used to see them as equally criminal. I still see the Democrats as criminal, but they are still criminal in the ordinary, pedestrian way that politicians have always been criminal. The Republicans, however, have slid into outright cartoonish super-villainy.
I $%^#! hate the Democrats. They’re a bunch of corporate shills and liars who don’t believe in the things they say, by and large. They use people to get elected, and then forget about their promises to any but the rich. But I am still getting out there in November and voting a straight Democratic ticket. It’s become a matter of survival. Look around you. This is what a country looks like just before collapse.
I am $%%@ angry. And if you’re not, then you’ve either had your head shoved firmly up your ass for some time now, or you’re one of the people I’m angry at. Trump is a traitor. His enablers in Congress are traitors. And if, after all of this, you still support him, then you’re a traitor too. And in that case, don’t bother writing to me with your arguments, outrage, or vitriol. I will just delete your comments and ban you.
I do not hear the words of traitors.
And because this world is effed up enough that this still needs saying:
BLACK LIVES MATTER.
I keep saying that I am done with the assorted bigots and idiots at the Wild Hunt but, every time I do, they keep pulling me back in. It appears I now must speak up about the latest round of fascist douchebaggery coming from there, sparked by an article by Wild Hunt author Karl E.H. Seigfried. For maximum clarity, I will address the points he raises in order as he brings them up.
1. The bigoted stupidity starts off early, with the claim that heathenry is inherently racist at its roots by saying “Indeed, the arrival in the United States of Else Christensen’s overtly racist Odinism predates the founding of national universalist Heathen organizations by nearly twenty years.” Here are the things wrong with this statement:
A. Heathenry is not and never has been defined by the long-discredited Folkish vs. Universalist debate. There are three primary divisions: Folkish, Universalist, and Tribalist. Only the Folkish who want to spread the misinformation that all heathenry is Folkish, continue to push the narrative, along with SJW religious bigots who want the same thing as a way of discrediting the rest of heathenry.
B. Organizations in a religion do not define the religion. The roots of the religion are not found in which group decided to make a public organization before another group did.
C. In point of fact, the history of modern heathenry mostly lies with independent discoverers from the 70s through the 90s, and small organizations made by the same. And we have always been mostly Tribalist, rejecting the errors of both folkies and universalists.
Seigfried is either completely ignorant of heathen history, or is deliberately distorting it in order to advance long-discredited bullshit in order to justify his bigoted approach to our religion, his insistence that only the approach used by his branch has validity.
2. Seigfried then goes on to advance the mind-boggling childish argument that because he has “repeatedly heard members and leaders of signatory groups insist that ‘folkish doesn’t mean racist,’” this means that the majority of heathenry’s non-racist elements are not serious about rejecting racism, and that our words mean nothing.
Think about that for a moment. Because the real heathens haven’t managed to purge every racist who wants to hijack our ways, because we haven’t “cleaned up” the religion so much that Seigfried never hears anybody misusing it, we are not sincere in our opposition to those forces? Replace the word “heathen” there with “Muslim” and then tell me how that sounds. He is using the exact same argument against heathens as the Fox News Brigade uses against Muslims when they claim all Muslims are terrorists because they haven’t stopped the minority of those who are.
Well, Seigfried, it’s bigotry when used against Muslims, and it’s bigotry when used against us.
3. “If we are going to make declarations, we should declare that ‘folkish does mean racist.’”
Finally. A point we can agree on. Yes, Folkish does mean racist, as I have been saying for years. As I have gone amongst the Folkish, physically, to say. Let me tell you something, Seigfried. I was fighting fascists before you were a gleam in your daddy’s eye. I have, as a result, had more credible death threats than you’ve had stiff drinks. Don’t *%#^$! Tell me I am not sincere enough for you, and so I am really a fascist myself. What have you actually accomplished? What risks have you run? Because let me tell you something, kid, publishing &*&#$# little articles on the Wild Hunt isn’t actually DOING anything. It isn’t risking anything.
4. “If Heathenry isn’t a religion for white people, our religious communities should naturally reflect the diversity of the United States”
It is natural for people to have interests in one area and not others. It is natural for people to prefer some things and not others. Why do you assume that all ethnic groups must be interested in these ways? What you are proposing is that we go out and “try to get more dark skinned people” in our group. You obviously care nothing for the religion itself, the quality of insight its adherents hold, their level of dedication, you just want to fill ethnic quotas for social engineering purposes. You care nothing for the religion itself, our gods, our spirits, anything.
Like when you say: “We should diversify Heathen presence at wider Pagan and interfaith events. We should refuse to be part of or attend all-white panel discussions on Heathen issues.”
Insight, devotion, and connection to the gods come from anywhere. If they are in the form of an all-white panel, I will listen to them. Again: you care nothing for our religion. You are just trying to use us for your social engineering crusade.
I have held sumbel with black people, and with latinos. I have welcomed and acknowledged them as my religious kin. And, when none were present, still done so with white people. I did not run away and refuse to play until some dark skinned people gave the white skinned ones permission to speak to the public.
Real diversity comes from being open and accepting of all who come our way, regardless of ethnicity. Improving the quality of discourse in our religion comes from such open acceptance. It comes from letting worth reveal itself. Not from trying to change which group is the one being discriminated against. You merely seek to repeat the mistakes of the past in a whole new manner. You perpetuate the wrong-headed thinking that has plagued human society as long as there have been humans, by insisting that the keys to insight, wisdom, and devotion are found in particular skin colors, and not others.
5. “We should end the emphasis on Valhalla and fixation on warriors and weapons”
Spoken like an over-privileged, middle class jackass. You do realize that warriors on the police force and in the armed forces keep you safe enough to have your privileged ignorance, yes?
You know nothing of warriors, warrior culture, or Odin.
The problem isn’t that the Folkish, terrorists, and incels who hide under the heathen banner are being made worse by being a part of warrior culture, it’s that they aren’t a part of one, but are playing at being part of one because they think it makes them look “kewl.” So they enact distorted ideas of rituals and ideas they got mostly from TV and movies. In point of fact, an actual warrior culture teaches discipline, judgment, responsibility, and fighting to protect the weak and innocent. Since my training I have not needed to fight, in general. I have been able to resolve things without fighting, which I was able to do because of my training. I have been able to step in on domestic violence situation, on crimes in progress, and on gang fights using only words and a little headology. It was my training as a warrior, and living by a warrior’s code, that gave me the desire to protect others and the courage to take the risks needed to do so with words and head games.
We need a REAL warrior’s culture in heathenry now more than ever.
6. “We should support the reform of gun law”
Another point we can agree on. As any REAL warrior knows, carrying a weapon is a privilege, something that requires special training, maturity, and the right attitude, and that if you cannot demonstrate these things you have no business with a weapon.
You’re a hypocrite, Seigfried. You use the same straw men, ad hominems, etc. that you complain of other heathens doing to Islam and Christianity.
And the same goes for the rest of you SJW and “Antifa” involved in this. Look at your behavior. You are trying to dox anyone who does not share your insane, rabid vision of the world. You are accusing a trans man, one of the greatest defenders of trans rights in Northern Tradition, Raven Kaldera, of trans phobia because he used a $$&&^! term you don’t like, one that was accepted in his generation. You’re even lying about me, accusing me of supporting hammerskins, when I am on record as having nothing but contempt for and opposition to them. You have no honor. You have no respect. You lie, attack, endanger anyone who does not subscribe to your insanely black and white world view. You are completely intolerant of those with different world views than your own. You act like children. You are alienating not just us, but any reasonable heathens out there, and harming the REAL struggle against fascism.
You people have not taken care while fighting monsters, and you have stared too long into the Abyss.
Anti-fascist my ass. You people are fascists. Just a different flavor of fascist. Which makes you also a bunch of hypocrites. And you have no interest in social justice, just in virtue signalling.
I, meanwhile, stand where I have always stood: with a finger on my right hand raised to the Folkies, and one on my left raised to you losers. I am getting so sick of all your proto-Borg nonsense.
It is a belief of many heathens that a person’s worth can be measured by the kind of enemies they have made. I have always been proud to count the Folkies as my enemies. And you know what? I’m damn proud to have you fascist “Antifa” SJW bastards as my enemies as well.
P.S. For those of you too coarse-witted to understand the term “proto-Borg,” I’ll shortly be doing another post to explain it.
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.
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.
Today, it is time to talk about an important, yet increasingly overlooked part of heathen religious philosophy: hierarchies. Ah, I can hear the outraged howls and lunatic rants of the Righteous Radical crowd already. You know who I mean. The crowd that believes that all hierarchies and ranks are inherently evil. The crowd that spends all of its time online ranting about how everyone except for them are fascists who need to be forced to think and behave Correctly. The crowd that starts screaming “Help! Help! I’m being oppressed!” every time anybody expresses an opinion that contradicts one of their own. The crowd that has to spend all of its time foaming at the mouth in cyberspace because it can never get anything real done. Because when they get together, every least detail of every proposal has to be debated by everybody. Because everybody’s voice has to be heard about everything. Because only the person who is holding the Talking Feather at the moment can talk, and there are a lot of people waiting for their turn with the Talking Feather.
When everybody gets to be Captain, nobody’s a Private. Trouble is, Privates are the ones who get the actual work done, and part of the reason why they can get the work done is that only one person is giving them orders. Instead of, you know, an unruly mob of puffed up egos all trying to give orders to each other. The reason that all human societies create hierarchies is that it is stupidly, fatally inefficient to reinvent the wheel for every single problem you face. Experience is required to solve any significant problem, to perform any important task. Not everybody has the right kinds of experience to solve every kind of problem, and the totality of human knowledge is so vast that no one person can understand all of it. So humans develop specialists. Some gain the experience to govern societies, others gain the experience needed to master a science, others learn how to educate children, and so forth. This way, each job can be done well, and there is no need to waste the enormous amount of resources needed to educate everybody about every single thing.
Look at it this way: when the leopards start dropping out of the trees, which group of people do you think is going to survive? The one where one strong, experienced leader instantly shouts out orders for defense, which are instantly obeyed because everybody knows their roles? Or the one where everyone sits down and pulls out the Talking Feather to determine whose vision of a defense strategy should be used?
Odin is the heathen embodiment of the understanding of the need for hierarchies. He is the chief of the gods, the lord of Valhalla. He is the leader of the einherjar and the valkyries. In many ways, Odin is the god of hierarchy. His people tend to not only believe in hierarchies, but to see the spiritual world expressed in a wide array of hierarchies.
Odin is not only a god of leaders, societies, and hierarchies, though, he is also a god of individuals. He is the god of the young warrior trying to work his way up the military or political hierarchy of his people. He is the god of the scholar who seeks to learn and grow enough to work his way up the academic hierarchy. He is the god of the wargs and loners who reject hierarchies and choose to live outside of them. This seems like a contradiction, but in fact it embodies a profound understanding of human nature and the way in which human societies function.
Human societies function because of dynamic tension. A society run by conservatives would be a nightmare. So would a society run by liberals, though in a different way. A society where both conservatives and liberals hold some power, and pull society first one way and then the other? That manages to be almost livable on frequent occasions.
A society which is too rigidly hierarchical tends toward the fascistic, the bureaucratic, the inefficient, the evil. A society which tends completely toward the individual at the expense of hierarchies tends towards the chaotic, the savage, the divided, the unjust, and the inefficient. What is needed is a society that has hierarchies that are counterbalanced by strong individuals, some of whom work within the system and some of whom live outside of it or even fight against it. THIS is a healthy society. The individualism in it restrains the hierarchies from excess, and the hierarchies tame individual excesses.
This is why Odin is god of hierarchy and of individualism both. He represents the dynamic tension that a healthy society needs to survive and even thrive.
Before bringing the conversation around to a truly unsettling trend in both the heathen and larger pagan communities, allow me a brief reminiscence of my days in college, to set the context for it.
Although I was a science major, I had a keen interest in politics, and got onto the student senate. In those days, at that university, the student senate was responsible for distributing $1 million to student activity groups each year. Each group would make a proposal, come before us, and get operating money. We were mostly a rubber stamp process, and served only to weed out misuses of funds.
When I served, the rest of the senate was composed of liberal Democrats. I, of course, am a radical moderate, meaning that I subscribe to no –ism or –ology, but make up my own mind about issues on a case by case basis. When the Conservative Interests of America group came before us (yes, the CIA), they barely got their pitch out before a senator made a motion to deny them funding, and was seconded. When I asked why, I was told outright that the other senators saw this as their opportunity to shut down Republican-oriented programs on campus, and advance their own political agendas. They spoke as if it was obvious that I should see these young Republicans as the “bad guys.”
Now, I didn’t think much of the CIA group. I found their hawkishness of foreign policy and disregard of collateral casualties repugnant. I found their supply side economics theories as ridiculous as Laffer’s napkin drawing. I thought their opposition to basic assistance to the poor that their business-oriented Randian fantasies had created was hypocritical. I also knew many of them personally, and thought they were mostly %&*@#$!-bags. Yet still, I stood up to defend them. I filibustered for hours, until I had annoyed my fellow senators into giving the CIA its funds.
Why? Well, it was my job to disburse the funds impartially and fairly, for one thing. But there was a larger principle involved. America is founded on certain fundamental ideals that are supposed to be so important that they trump everything else. One is freedom of speech. Everybody, no matter how dumbass or repellant, has the right to speak his or her mind, and advance his or her ideas. Another core American ideal is that we are a melting pot of different cultures and ideas. The American ideal is that of many different tribes, each pulling together in some ways and in different directions in others, working out the answers between them. Because we are different, we have different beliefs. To make the melting pot work, we have developed standards of public, civilized behavior that draw boundaries for conflicts between different tribes.
What my fellow senators did that day was profoundly un-American. You know what else is? The emergence of the new violent extremists on the left. The kind of people you can find all too often these days over at Gods and Radicals. The kind that are increasingly trying to take over modern paganism, and turn it into an extremist political instrument.
I wrote recently about the call for McCarthy-esque witch hunts from some of the Gods and Radicals crowd, to eliminate “wrong-thinking” pagan elements, such as heathenry. I considered that to be the end of the matter, as I had said all I had to say on the subject. Then I saw more of that crowd writing about a whole new batch of truly disturbing things, and now feel I must speak again.
I am not providing a specific link, as I have no wish to start a flame war, and my point isn’t the specific words of one person or another. Anyone paying even minimal attention lately knows the kinds of writings I am talking about. People advocating going to Trump rallies and trying to shut them down. Trying to use violence against Trump rally-goers in an attempt to intimidate them into staying home. People claiming that this is the truly Pagan thing to do, and that it is a form of sacred warriorship.
Bull$&!^. It’s fascism, pure and simple. It is profoundly un-American. Parts of it border on terrorism.
It is also astonishingly hypocritical. These people love to present themselves as freedom fighters, anarchists, and rebels, standing up to the obviously fascist Trump. Yet they use repressive, fascistic techniques to accomplish their aims.
These people are not rebels. They are not freedom fighters. There is nothing sacred about what they do. All they are is closet aristocrats. They do not actually value freedom, as they are proud of denying it to those who do not think as they do. They just want to be the ones who are in charge.
There’s an old song by The Who, “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” It contains the lyrics:
The change, it had to come
We knew it all along
We were liberated from the fold, that’s all
And the world looks just the same
And history ain’t changed
Cause the banners, they are flown in the next war
I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I’ll get on my knees and pray
We don’t get fooled again
You know what? These closet aristocrats, these phony freedom fighters, are exactly who The Who were warning us about.
Don’t get me wrong. I am passionately anti-Trump. The man is clearly a racist, crypto-fascist demagogue with an IQ even smaller than his hands. He is a dangerous, petty halfwit who could easy take America down the road Germany went in the 30s, were he to ever get power.
You know how I’m going to deal with that? I am going to vote against him. Like an American. Like a true lover of freedom. I will let him have his rallies. It is his right to.
To the new extremist pagan left, I would say that you have stared too long into the Abyss, and you have not taken care when fighting monsters.
I would also say that you seem to be a load of halfwits. You are doing more damage to the causes you claim to honor than Trump ever could. He was the one with the violent, fascistic rallies. He was the one encouraging un-American violence and suppression of political enemies. He was well on the way to discrediting himself in the larger electorate’s eyes. He was well on the way to showing what he really was, and making a sharp distinction between his toxic politics and the politics of those who oppose him.
Then you Bozos go and change the narrative. You snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. You make it clear that violence and fascistic jackasses come from the left, too, and make Trump seem less of an extremist problem relative to them. You even let HIM take the moral high ground, and publish speeches denouncing the un-American violence of your crowd.
Way to go, losers.
I am a man of Odin. I hear my god calling me to stand by my ideals, and not compromise them in order to score a cheap hit. Paganism is not politics, and it is most certainly not your brand of extremist, bumbling, grandstanding, un-American idiocy.
I think I am starting to get sick of Gods & Radicals as an organization. They seem to have a toxic, overprivileged culture that keeps leading members to say some really inappropriate things. The dust from Rhyd Wildermuth’s declaration that all pagan religions that do not toe the Gods & Radicals line be viewed as potential or probable right wing fascist fronts has not even settled, and another member has posted THIS little rant.
Is a left wing, multicultural Asatru possible??? SERIOUSLY???
Mr. Burley, you are clearly not a heathen. You clearly haven’t bothered to meet any actual heathens, or actually get to learn our lore or history in any way. You are doing nothing more than hijacking our traditions, and using us as a prop in your stupid little political efforts.
Not cool. In fact, you have taken it to truly bigoted levels of cultural appropriation.
The KKK had always been devoutly Christian, and claim the Bible’s sanction of their bigoted beliefs. Do you ask if a left wing, multicultural Christianity is possible? Do you ask the same thing of Islam because of a few terrorists? Do you believe that because there are some Jewish people who are heavily orthodox and insular that you must ask if multicultural Jews can even exist? Do you believe that nativist Buddhists in Myanmar mean that all Buddhists are knee jerk, right wing, nativist fanatics?
You have clearly never actually met any heathens, Mr. Burley, or you would be aware that, although we have our own problems with right wing fascist nativist racists, just like many other religions, most of us are not like this. Your asinine question indicates that you are not aware of MAJOR elements of our modern history.
As you seem to think it appropriate to make judgments and condemnations of us without having bothered to do even minimal research, let me provide the history lesson you skipped. The modern heathen/Asatru movement was pretty disorganized in the eighties, the decade it really got going in. Anyone who said they were heathen was accepted as such. Then there was a series of schisms around the end of the decade, into the nineties. One of the most major of these, the one you could not have possibly missed if you had done even a cursory amount of research into us, was the schism between Folkish and Universalist heathens. And also Tribalist heathens, but they were more of a minority at first. The other two groups were dominant.
In other words, the movement that birthed the Folkish heathens also birthed the other major camp, the left wing, multicultural heathens. You know, the ones whose existence you doubt.
Today, both Folkish and Universalist heathens have moved into the background in favor of the more common Tribalist heathens. We are neither left nor right wing. We are not fascists. We reject racists. WE are the dominant form of heathenry, if you look at the actual numbers.
So your snide little comments about “the clear association between Heathenry and an openly racialist subculture,” and “But what is it about Asatru that creates a trajectory towards the folkish interpretation,” are, at best, disingenuous, and at worst actual lies.
Our religion, our gods, are not props in your political struggles, Burley. You use us. You insult us. You misrepresent us. Fuck you.
I have been in the heathen scene for a long time. I have written a lot, and run groups. I have spent a lot of that time and effort in fighting fascism. Like any true heathen, I have stood up against the right wing and fascist elements in my religion. But that does not make me left wing. I also stand against you and your left wing brand of fascism, Burley. You and your Gods & Radicals buddies are every bit as bad as the right wing variety. And I will take just as strong a stand against you. We don’t need Folkies stealing our traditions and pushing their own agenda with it. And we do not need a load of crypto fascist anarchist neo-maxi Zoom dweebies doing it either.
A couple of years ago I published an essay to this blog titled “The Culture War: One Heathen’s Perspective.” Events in the last couple of years have pushed me to revisit the topic, and take up some of the points I discussed there from a different perspective.
Two things have been bugging me lately. One is a growing thing that I can only refer to as a form of cultural imperialism in the larger pagan community. What do I mean by this? I mean a point of view that functions as a way of creating and maintaining an unequal relationship between the dominant pagan culture and all other pagan cultures. I mean a refusal to understand things as people mean them, and an insistence on interpreting all other things, all other beliefs and cultures, through the narrow lens of one’s own, and an insistence that all people, all members of other cultures, must adopt and conform to their beliefs.
Take, for example, the recent hysterical idiocy over the Sanders’ campaign’s “Bern the Witch” slogan. A bunch of people got very upset over the fact that this slogan was used as part of a Halloween theme last October. Seriously, people?
There are so many things wrong with this that I don’t even know where to start. Firstly, “witch” is an astonishingly broad term. It does not mean “pagan.” It does not mean “woman.” It has been used by both pagan and Christian cultures for many hundreds of years to basically refer to a stock boogeyman of fairy tales: the creepy outsider who traffics with dark forces. Yes, there was a period when it was often used to persecute those with pagan beliefs, or at least vaguely pagany-sorta-looking beliefs. It was sometimes used as a cover for discrimination against women. More often than either of these, it was used to disguise naked seizures of one’s neighbor’s land or to justify harsh political measures that would be less palatable without a scapegoat.
Pretending ownership of the word in order to pursue your own agenda is pretty lame. Dirty pool, even. Pagans do not own the word. Just because it was sometimes applied to them does not let them ignore all of the other uses of the word. Just because it was sometimes applied to women does not mean that somebody can claim the word to mean “woman,” and ignore the far longer history of different uses.
“Witch” is a popular culture term that has, these days, far more to do with cheesy costumes and candy than anything else. Being so myopic as to insist that only the way you use the word is proper, and that all other uses of the word must be judged by the standards of your own beliefs and political agenda is plain old cultural imperialism, wearing a new mask.
Then there is something even more disturbing. The best example of it is the recent post on Gods & Radicals on “Confronting the New Right.” The author, Rhyd Wildermuth, basically drew up a list of all of the kinds of paganism that don’t “think correctly,” and need to be viewed with suspicion because of their supposed tendency to go fascist. This list includes devotional polytheism, reconstructionist paganism, druidry, heathenry, and any tradition with a hierarchy or secret mystery traditions. He declares that “hierarchies are artificial,” and that they are a warning sign of New Rightist tendencies. Egalitarianism, he rapturously declares, is the One True Path. Just like in nature, he effervesces, where there are no hierarchies at all, and all plants and animals help each other out of a sense of friendly brotherhood.
Gag me with a spoon.
Mr. Wildermuth, and his devoted followers, are astonishingly blind to hypocrisy, irony, and the definition of fascism.
So let me provide it for you, Mr. Wildermuth. “Fascism” comes from the old Roman symbol of the fasces, a bundle of sticks. You see, each stick alone is weak, and can be broken. But tied together in a bundle, they are strong. In other words, Mr. Wildermuth, fascism is all about enforcing uniformity of belief and behavior in order to be strong, and to advance your particular set of beliefs and ideals.
Mr. Wildermuth, you and your supporters in the Gods & Radicals crowd have started a McCarthyist witch hunt, an attempt to ferret out the “wrong elements” from our culture, and enforce your astonishingly limited perspective onto paganism as a whole.
Do you condemn traditional Chinese folk religion? It is BASED on hierarchy. Its core belief is that the world takes the form that it does because the Celestial Bureaucracy has ordered it to take that form. Do you condemn Kemeticism? It is based in hierarchy, too. Much of the religion, both ancient and modern, is centered around its own divine hierarchy, as mediated in the person of the pharaoh.
You are not the popes of paganism. Your view of paganism is not one held by many historical forms of paganism. Your declaration that people who put the gods first, or believe in hierarchies, are to be looked at with distrust and suspicion is downright insulting.
I am a neo-tribalist, Wildermuth. I am a heathen. I have fought long and hard against the racist, Folkist elements of my faith. I do not need people like you coming along and declaring that I and all people who believe like me practice what is “generally considered the most problematic” form of paganism. Mr. Wildermuth, can you guess which finger I am holding up?
Hierarchies abound in nature, Wildermuth. Wolf packs. Chimpanzee social groups. Ants. Chickens. Have you seriously never heard the term “pecking order” before? Anyone practicing a traditional, pagan, nature-oriented religion has every right to respect, honor, and benefit from such natural constructs. You have no right to claim that these are signs of right wing activity. You have no right to dismiss our beliefs.
And you know what? Hierarchies and anarchy are not mutually exclusive. I am an anarchist. And I believe that hierarchies are useful, necessary, and have their place. What, are you king of the anarchists, now, too?
The wonderful thing about polytheism is all the variety. There are many paths, many beliefs. There are many ways of knowing. This makes us strong, because alloys are strongest. You want to talk about “real” pagan thought, Wildermuth? Let me share with you what real polytheism looks like. I helped organize and moderate a group of berserkers for many years. For those of you who do not know what a berserker is, which is most of you, a berserker is a person who practices a martial art that is much like Shaolin: a combination of martial art and spiritual tradition. Berserkers tend to be heathen, and use heathen spiritual practices.
Over the decade plus our group was together, we got all sorts of members. Some were hard core conservatives. Some went to the point of holding beliefs that I found repugnant. One even insulted both of my grandfathers, accusing them of being part of the “moon landing conspiracy,” because they worked on the Apollo program. Some were serious left wing types. Some of these held beliefs I found idiotic, or even repugnant. Many of these people did not hold similar beliefs to each other, and did not get along.
You know what, though? We believed that the gods were not sock puppets who held the same political beliefs that we did. We believed that the gods are vast, and beyond human comprehension, and that each of us only had a corner of the truth, not the whole thing. We acted respectfully to each other, so that we could be about the business that we came together for. We learned things from each other. We all benefitted from this. This is why polytheism is awesome. We are many, who can work together at need, and go our own ways at other times. None of us sets himself up above the others, saying that he has The Truth.
You know what, Wildermuth? I believe a lot of the same things that you do. I think that fascism is a bad thing. I think that the New Right is indeed a danger. I am an anarchist. But, unlike you, I do not blindly assume that the gods think as I do. I am a devoted Odinist, and you know what? The Old Man and I disagree about a number of things. I do not, for example, approve of his support of waging war for glory, or power. But I can disagree with him without rejecting him, and without pretending that he really agrees with me.
This is the other thing that has been bugging me over the last couple of years: an increasing tendency to put the gods last. Wildermuth’s group at Gods & Radicals seem to be putting politics first, and using the gods only as a means of furthering their own political agenda. They are trying to open up a new front on the culture war: setting up their form of pagan belief as the One True Way, and purging all wrong-thinking elements from pagan society. They are pagan cultural imperialists. This kind of blind, unthinking, pagan cultural imperialism is privileged bullshit. This kind of pagan crypto-fascism needs to be stopped.
PS The subtitle to this post is a joke that probably only members of my own Generation X will get.
Well, the Chicken Little Brigade is at it again. Stephen McNallen, self proclaimed scientist, self proclaimed psychic warrior hero, and anti-Mexican doomsday prophet has announced his and his terrified legions’ desire to bring back the old Nazi gangs that used to roam around murdering minorities. When called on this, he responded with the following asinine statement:
“IF YOU ARE READING THIS HOPING TO FIND MY ABJECT APOLOGY FOR OFFENDING THE POLITICALLY CORRECT DON’T BOTHER”
Mr. McNallen, let me explain some things to you, as you evidently lack the wits to understand them for yourself.
Political correctness is not some kind of censorship. It is not some kind of thought control.
You see, people who actually have grown up are polite. We try to get along, and see other people as they actually are. We try to see past the stupid blind assumptions that irrelevant surface level differences make.
We do not really think like you and your army of terrified bigots deep down inside, but are too afraid to admit it. We do not censor our thoughts or our speech.
We don’t have to.
You see, the thing is, society has been making a lot of changes, over the last century. Some people have realized that we need to have high standards. We need to eliminate the scourge of intellectual weakness, and stupidity-fuelled hatred.
That political correctness thing you keep whining about? It’s not censorship. It’s standards. Actual grown ups have realized that we need to call a spade a spade. We need to call losers like yourself out, who are driven by stupidity and hate.
There is no censorship. There is no thought control. You only think that. You know why?
Because you are losers. You are morons. You are driven by hate. You cling to ancient bigotries, and refuse to grow up. But oh no! The rest of society has moved on, and left you behind! The rest of us have grown up!
Well, you lack courage. So you hide your true faces. You hide your true intentions. You adopt the language of your betters, of people more mature than you, and use it to fool people into thinking you are something you aren’t. So that the rest of us don’t call you on your stupidity.
We aren’t censoring you. You are doing that to yourself. Because you are dishonest. You have the freedom to believe any damn idiot thing you want.
And we have the freedom to call you what you really are: bigots. Idiots. Barbaric halfwits who cannot see past their own fondly cherished traditional prejudices.
We don’t want you to act or think differently than you actually are. We want a world where people actually are grown up, and part of that is pointing at the children who refuse to.
Grow up. Your antics aren’t even funny anymore. You and all those like you are the real threat to our society.