My blog will be predominantly focused on Heathenism and it's interaction with the broader elements of the PanPagan movement. There is a lot of hostility within Heathenry towards the broader elements of Paganism, though I'm not really sure why. My goal is to address some of that, and build bridges through our commonalities and with a touch of humor.
First, allow me to apologize for being out of the loop for about a month. Between Thanksgiving, holiday shopping, and coming down with some mutant offspring of the bubonic plague, writing anything of merit has been difficult. Second, allow me to also apologize for not having any funny memes in this post; I'm still recovering from the cold and I don't feel particularly equipped for humor. Also, this topic is serious enough that I fear humor would detract from it. Now, with that out of the way, let's move right along.
On December 21st, Heathens United Against Racism will be holding an international event. Heathens, Asatruar, and Norse Polytheists across the world will be raising scorn poles, or Nidstang, against the undesired racialization and radicalization of our religious paths by extremists. Months ago, the founder of that group, (Ryan Smith) asked if some of the membership would be willing to write anything to spread the message. I was eager to assist, but found myself hard pressed to write something I was satisfied with. After some work and soul searching*, I came up with the following thoughts.
Let's cut right to the chase; the racialist minority in Asatru and Heathenry is a group of disturbed people. There is no other way that I can phrase it, and I do not consider such language inflammatory or inaccurate. There is nothing within the history and anthropology of the cultures that first honored the Norse gods which supports a ethnic supremacy mindset. Tellingly, it also possesses no representation within the myths and tales that represent our religious heritage. With these things in mind, it becomes clear what the catalyst for such a philosophy truly is; fearful and/or angry people projecting their own hatred and biases onto a religion in order to give them the pretension of legitimacy. It a tactic that is ages old, and one which causes no lack of frustration and anger.
It is easy to hate such groups. Actually doing it, however, is a trap. In fact, it's the same trap they've fallen into themselves. I'm not going to go forth and do a stupid thing, simply because my reasons have better intentions. Their hate speech is a language of madness. Within that madness, however, is the best solution they think they have to a problem they cannot properly define. They are dangerous people to be sure, but they are also tragic.
I'd say that the actions of many who think like them come from a need to be the victim, and to not be the persecutor. A need to say, “No, really...everything I do isn't related to some irrational fear that equality will lead to me being treated as some of my ancestors may have once treated others! It's a war, and if I don't fight it the white race will be unable to prosper because of....reasons”. A need to find a way to believe that such tripe is actually a valid concern. To say otherwise, in their mind, is to promote white guilt.
Allow me to address that. You see, I'm not a land owner in the pre-civil war South. Further, I'm not a member of the Nationalsozialismus in Holocaust Germany. I didn't hold power in Apartheid era South Africa, nor did I lead Aboriginal Americans to their deaths along the trail of tears. I don't bear shame or guilt for these actions, because I didn't do them. When someone goes to great lengths to legitimize such terrible deeds, they do not appear as men and women who are attempting to triumphantly repeal the march of “Liberal Revisionism” (or whatever the kids are calling it these day); they look like someone who is terrified of being connected to the bad guys. It looks like fear and shame, turned into hate.
So, to such people, I offer a small prayer:
To those who would stand with the Aesir and Vanir,
Yet have lost themselves between Midgard and Ginnungap
Between Niflheim and Muspelheim.
Between Courage and Cowardice
I ask the Gods we mutually stand with,
To stand by you and guard your way home.
When you first stand before the Bifrost,
May Heimdall help you cross and guard you from distractions.
When you stand within the Asgard,
May Thor show you true strength and courage.
When you think upon your past,
May Loki leave your mind unclouded by pretty lies
When you find your heart and head,
May Eir help them heal and grow strong
When you cross into the Gladsheim,
May Frigg smile at your passing and embrace you as her own.
And May Odin show you the true wisdom of the nine realms.
And when you pass some day,
As both cattle and kinsmen are wont to do,
May Hel give you the peace of your greatest moments,
And let time and eternity wash away the worst.
I hail the Gods you worship.
I hail your ancestors.
May it be that someday I can hail you as well.
Heathenry is not the only path to have issue with racists attempting to pervert the messages within the faith to their own cause; we simply may have the dubious honor of being the Pagan religion most famous for such an association. To anyone whose faith has such a problem, I ask that you post a similar prayer in the comments below should you feel so inclined.
To the actions that turn our paths into ways of hate? I offer those deeds the scorn poles, where they may be. To the people who perform such actions, I offer you the chance to step away from modern hatreds and towards ancient honor.
*That is to say, deep thought, soul searching, and about seventy pounds of over the counter cold aids. Seriously. I had begun to consider whether chasing Theraflu with Nyquil would be effective.