More Attempts to Be the Popes of Heathenry from the Wild Hunt Crowd

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.

Hail Odin.

Wayland Skallagrimsson

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 am a Gatekeeper

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.

Instinctive Nonsense

“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.

On Being a Man

Recently I ran across the following piece of advice in an online conversation:

“If you want to be a man, just be yourself. Never let anybody else tell you how because a true man already knows how to be one.”

This is a truly terrible piece of advice. It is so terrible that I feel moved to write something about what being a heathen has taught me about being a man, especially as this is not the first time I have seen somebody giving this bad advice.

Being a man, a real man, takes a lot of work. It requires a lot of learning. This is because you aren’t born a man, you are born a male, and nothing more.

Being a man means keeping your head in the middle of chaos and disaster, and acting with thought and deliberation no matter what.

A man knows his own worth, and does not crave the approval and attention of everyone else. He does not let the hatred of others stop him from doing what is right, nor does he let his desire for their love lead him into doing what is wrong.

A man knows how to handle rejection with grace.

A man does not sit fuming and raging when he fails or is rejected. Instead, he looks deep inside himself and tries to learn from the experience.

A man should be a stand up guy. He does what he knows to be the right thing, even if it costs him. A real man does not turn a blind eye to injustices done to others. A real man should be something of a hero.

A man is a creature of will. He keeps going when he needs to, even when hope is gone, or when his body gives out.

A man learns. A real man does not admire ignorance. A man never assumes he already knows everything he needs to know.

A man is able to risk it all on a roll of the dice, and accept both success and failure with equanimity and a smile.

A man should believe in things like Honor, Mercy, and Justice. Not because these things are real. They aren’t. A man should believe in them because they’re the only things worth believing in.

A man is someone who can meet death with a smile and a jest.

A man should be able to fight effectively, and should also know how to resolve issues without fighting.

A man is someone who can go it alone when needed, and also cooperate when needed.

A man should be able to cook and clean, to sew and mend, to change diapers and read bedtime stories, to heal injuries and comfort the bereaved.

These things are not things you get automatically, just because you were born with testicles. They require work, self discipline, character development, and introspection. Most cannot manage these things. There are, unfortunately, many males in this world, but very few men. A man is somebody who works hard to be a man.

Morality, This World, and the Next

Some years ago I wrote a post about the heathen concept of morality. I was always dissatisfied with it, and felt I should have developed it more. Recently, I have done so.

Heathenry is unusual amongst modern religions in that it does not offer anything like a “meaning of life.” The gods do not really have a greater purpose for us, nor is there anything like a “divine plan.” The gods created us, not because they wanted us to do something in particular, but because creating life is something that gods do. They have standards of behavior that they approve of, and things that they disapprove of, but they do not give humankind a code of morality that they are expected to live by regardless of the real world circumstances they face. They are willing and sometimes eager to help us better ourselves, but they do not reward or punish based on who and what we are.

This no doubt sounds odd and even disturbing to the followers of more mainstream modern religions. These religions tend to see morality as something with a divine origin, forced onto an unwilling and amoral humanity from above. “Without divinely-given moral codes,” they argue, “people will fall into chaotic, evil, amoral behavior.” “And without fear of divine judgment,” some of them add, “there is nothing to make people engage in good behavior.“ Such a lack of divine meaning, purpose, and guidance, these people believe, means that there is no meaning or purpose in life. It leads to nihilism, they say, and to personal lives, families, and civilization itself falling apart.

There are some problems with this view, however. When a religion is centered around a god offering rewards in the next life in exchange for suffering in this one, it incentivizes people to live for the next world, and to abandon this world. It leads to a toleration of suffering and evil because of the expectation that everything will be made right in the next world. When good behavior is motivated solely by fear, it is not really goodness. It is just an imitation of goodness, an act with no more meaning than the tricks of a dog who expects a treat for performing them well, or who fears a beating for failing to do so. This kind of worldview encourages people to be false, and dishonest. It also encourages them to do no real work on their character or understanding of morality, because a premium is placed on the appearance of goodness rather than truly being good. It encourages a mindset that does not like taking risks, preferring security and comfort instead. It encourages a dissatisfaction with physical life, as the attention is turned to the next life. It promotes an attitude of intolerance, and preoccupation with appearance over substance.

When people who are raised in such an environment lose their religious faith, the worldview that faith gave them must inevitably turn toward nihilism of a most unhealthy sort. If some god was the only basis for morality and you no longer believe in or follow that god, then there must really be no morality after all, and no real good or evil. The belief in divinely-appointed morality and divine judgment set up exactly this kind of black and white dichotomy.

The heathen gods show us a more nuanced view of the world, however, and I think that this is one of the greatest strengths of the heathen religion. The gods constantly fight against the forces of chaos and destruction as personified in many jotnar and wights such as the Fenris wolf and the Midgard Serpent even though the gods know that they will eventually and inevitably be defeated by them at Ragnarok. Despite knowing that they and the universe are doomed, and that ultimately nothing that they or that anyone else does will matter, they fight anyways. They know that it is better to keep struggling to win than it is to surrender. They do not see a higher purpose, yet they do not surrender to despair or nihilism.

Instead, they go the route of what is sometimes termed anti-nihilism. They know how cynical and pointless and cruel the world is, and decide that that means they have to create their own meaning and values and to stick to them tenaciously, heroically, no matter the odds. They know how pointless and unrewarding life would be if you didn’t.

And, by example, they teach us to do the same.

We heathens, because we do not bother with divine codes of good and evil, concern ourselves with much more practical considerations when it comes to making moral decisions. We have a single, simple, utilitarian standard to apply: who does the proposed action help, and who does it hurt?

This single standard makes for some very interesting consequences. For one thing, it makes people be concerned with the real life consequences of their actions. It makes them have to try to do genuinely helpful things or at least avoid genuinely harmful things. This standard does not allow for any moral weaseling of the sort that divine codes of good and evil do. It does not allow one person to harm another with the excuse that it is for his own, ultimate good as determined by some alien, divine code of behavior. The harm cannot be counterbalanced by some greater good that will supposedly be done someday, in the future, in another life and another world. It encourages us to care about THIS world, and the real things that happen to real people.

The other thing that this utilitarian heathen standard does is encourage the creation of an individual set of values, by each and every one of us. Because values do not objectively exist, the determination of how to judge help and harm can only be made by a person who has created their own system of values. This encourages intellectual engagement with the world, and with philosophy, and the higher functions of the mind. It encourages the development of a sense of personal responsibility. This can lead to a much stronger society, one that is engaged with the world instead of withdrawn from it, one that is concerned with personal development, one that has a strong sense of personal responsibility. It can lead to a society that is fully and vibrantly alive, instead of waiting until after death to start truly living.

This is the most significant gift that I think that heathenry has to offer the larger world around us. An approach to morality, values, and meaning that is grounded in this world.

***

Now for the necessary disclosures. Those who paid attention in, or took, philosophy class will recognize that some of what I write above is similar to Nietzsche[i]’s ideas about morality, the Ubermensch[ii], and the Last Man. That is because I also took philosophy in college, and inevitably read Thus Spake Zarathustra. I did indeed find myself influenced by some of his ideas. Our religion is a reconstruction. The ancients, thanks to their stupid oral traditions, did not leave a lot of their beliefs or philosophy explained for us. So we modern heathens have to interpret the fragments we have in terms of our modern understandings, and this is how I interpret them. I think the similarity is not solely due to that, however. Nietzsche was a German philosopher whose thoughts sprang from a tradition of beliefs that is distantly rooted in the ancient heathen ones. It makes sense that the ancient beliefs would find a good expression there in some ways.

Here are the lessons I have learned from the example the gods have set, and from understanding that there is no objective meaning or purpose to life, and no objective morality:

  • There is no point in clinging to pain. Let it go when you can.
  • Don’t fear loss and pain. They are unavoidable. Use them.
  • Don’t always take the easy way.
  • Accept things as they really are, and do not try to fool yourself into believing either wishful thinking or pointless pessimism.
  • Enjoy good things when they come your way.
  • Don’t cling to good things when they pass from you. It just leads to more pain.
  • Endure suffering when circumstances make you suffer. Don’t whine about it, even to yourself. Use it.
  • Is it a big deal? No, it almost never is, really.
  • Be selfless when you can. Things are more pleasant all the way around that way.
  • Be fair and just, but temper those things with kindness. No particular reason why you should, objectively, but subjective counts for a lot. Why not try to make the world a better place?
  • Never expect a reward. You probably won’t get one anyway, so why be petty and set yourself up for disappointment? Instead, learn to get value out of your own good deeds, for yourself.
  • Try not to be an enormous #^%$#. The world’s unpleasant enough as it is. Why make it any worse?

These ideas seem no worse to me than anything commanded by one of the divine-fiat religions. The heathen gods have taught me to think for myself, and to make my own rules. They have taught me that there is no real meaning or point to life, and they have also taught that that just means that I am free to make up my own. After all, if there is no objective meaning to anything, then any meaning you can come up with is at least no more invalid than any other.

***************************************************

[i] No, Nietzsche was not a Nazi. The Nazis tried to pervert his message to their own ends, but he is actually on record as saying that, if it were up to him, he would have all anti-Semites rounded up and shot.

[ii] Bonus nerdy digression: Well, it is really only sort of similar to his concept of the Ubermensch. He did indeed believe that the Ubermensch would reject divinely inspired morality and concern with the next world, and create their own system of values that would be concerned with bettering the physical world. However, he seems to have believed that the Ubermensch would be a singular being, a person who not only did these things but had such a connection with the rest of society that he could transform it.

Extra bonus nerdy digression: Then again, you could interpret all that stuff he wrote about eternal recurrence as meaning that the Ubermensch was simply an ideal or template that, in a perfect society, everybody would follow. I dunno. I long ago gave up pretending that I really understood Nietzsche.

I mean, the guy’s writing was pretty freaking rambling and incoherent.

Putting the Gods First

One of the more mature and clear thinking polytheists has just posted an important reply to the most recent round of BS from some of the Righteous Radical Social Justice Warrior crowd. It describes the concerns and lives of those who are devoted to the gods first and foremost, and rejects the pernicious foolishness that says that all things, including religion, are primarily political.

Hierarchy as a Religious Concept

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.