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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in symbols

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
The Nazi Symbol That Is the CPAC Stage

There are photos circulating on social media of the stage of CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Caucus. One is included in this blog post. The stage is an odd and awkward looking design that could not have arisen purely from functionality, it looks like "the Odal Rune," and it appears that the speakers at CPAC will be standing on a Nazi platform.

Let's talk about Othala as distinct from "The Odal Rune." The symbol you see in the photo is "The Odal Rune" which is 100% a Nazi symbol. The upturned feet on the ends of the legs appear only on the Nazi version, Odal, not on any version of Othala, the historical rune used in historical heathen alphabets.

A curious thing, though. Modern rune magic has adopted the "symbol upside down = opposite" thing that is common to Tarot cards, aka regular or reversed, and of course the dichotomy between the regular cross and the upside down cross. From the perspective of speakers backstage, the symbol is right side up in this photo, but from the perspective of the audience it's upside down. Regular Othala in rune readings basically means real estate or psychic inheritance, but the "Odal Rune" is usually said to mean "heritage." So, whose "heritage" is being protected and encouraged in this photo? Not the audience's. If whoever designed this stage actually understands magic, the intent is to concentrate power in the hands of the speakers, away from the general public. Magically, it would take heritage energy from the audience and allow the people standing on the platform to vampirize that energy for their own use.

If the intent behind the choice of the shape was not magical, though, it's probably meant to be a dog-whistle to neonazis. Experts on neonazis are mostly being more cautious about calling this out. American Iron Front tweeted the picture and called it "probably a coincidence." I'm glad that the anti-fascist community is being careful not to stomp on heathens and pagans when they aren't sure what symbol they're looking at. But I'm an expert on heathen symbols and I know this isn't one. There is no possible way an actual Asatruar drew the footed or winged version on a design program thinking it was a nice historical heathen rune. It's unlikely the stage designer is heathen, anyway. That is not Othala, the heathen rune, it's Odal, the Nazi symbol.

You can read about more symbols in my article Heathen Vs. Hate in the latest issue of Witches & Pagans Magazine.

Photo: news photo composite copied for news editorializing purposes, consisting of a photo of the CPAC stage and two historical photos of SS insignia

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Meredith Everwhite
    Meredith Everwhite says #
    Had my immediate doubts and skepticism and accidentally stumbled on this, makes some excellent points that I think are worth consi
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Thank you for the tip off. I'm pretty sure that someone on set design is fully aware of the magical implications you mention.

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
A Question of Lucky Dice

Recently a forum member asked about what sort of lucky symbols he might put on a box intended as a gift to someone who would keep tabletop role-playing game dice in it. He asked about using lucky runes or the symbol of a god or other such being.

Here is my answer:

Luck is a more spiritually connected concept in heathenry than in modern culture. If one is lucky at gambling it's a sign of having good wyrd / orlog. Games of chance in which one can win money have some bearing on one's real life. It is appropriate to invoke luck to try to win money because it benefits the gambler and his family / household / village / warband / etc. RPGs aren't gambling though.

RPGs are a form of improvisational theater. Sacred theater was totally a thing in the ancient world, but the roles and plots were generally connected to mythology and were non-random. If you invoke a specific entity for what is essentially a form of theater, be prepared for that entity to at least watch and possibly interact. If things don't go well for that entity or the story doesn't follow the mythology the entity may be displeased. I wouldn't use any being's real empowered symbol for an RPG myself. There are Icelandic Magic symbols that are for general good luck, but again, I wouldn't connect that to an RPG. A human being's personal luck is tied to their wyrd and orlog, to their ancestors and descendants, and their family and community. RPG gaming is far too similar to ritual drama and has too much risk of character death or other negative outcomes to tie one's personal luck to a game. Rather than expending personal luck on something that does not bring prosperity, health, etc. to onesself, one's family line, or one's community, I'd suggest that if you want to put runes on a game dice box, instead of luck runes, spell out words to encourage social ties with the friends with whom one would be playing, which would be a positive for the player and community no matter what happens in the game.

Note: the forum to which I refer is the Asatru Facebook Forum, which I manage along with my team, the Trollslayers. Readers of this blog are encouraged to join. To apply, one has to fill out a short membership application and answer all 3 questions. We screen membership applications to exclude spambots, trolls, neonazis and white supremacists, and other undesirables. To apply for membership, go to this web address: https://www.facebook.com/groups/AsatruForum

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

A man in a horned hat who displayed tattoos of Heathen religious symbols is among those who stormed the US Capitol. As an Asatru heathen I condemn him and his white supremacy cohorts.

For those who are new to my blog: a Heathen is a member of one of a group of related religions based on the pre-Christian religions and cultures of Northern Europe. Asatru is one sect of heathenry. Heathens share many religious symbols, although some are specific to certain sects.

The man is Jake Angeli, also known as Q-Shaman or Q-Anon Shaman. He had to have made a choice to show his tattoos since they would have been hidden if he had worn a shirt. It is winter and it would be normal to wear a shirt now. There are three sacred heathen symbols on his chest. He has a Valknut tattoo over his heart. In some forms of heathenry, that particular tattoo in that particular location is considered an invitation to kill him in battle. Showing this tattoo while carrying a spear into the Capitol may indicate that he desired to be shot and killed by police or National Guard, on the assumption that death in battle would take him to Valhalla.

In heathenry, that destiny is not guaranteed to all who die by weapons but rather is subject to the choices of the Valkyries and of Odin and Freya, so even if he succeeded in dying in combat that does not mean he automatically would get into Valhalla. It is a necessary but not sufficient condition.

However, a Valknut tattoo is considered by many heathens to mean "insert spear here." Angeli may or may not know that. The man may not be heathen at all considering that wore a horned helmet like a cartoon Viking, which is not what historically based heathen religious garb looks like.

I must mock his ridiculous hat since No Horns on These Helmets is one of my books. Since Angeli calls himself Q-Shaman, some commenters suggest that his hat is supposed to be a Native American buffalo headdress. It may well be that it is supposed to be buffalo rather that a Wagnerian silly opera hat, but as Shamanism is Siberian in origin, and influenced heathen cultures via mutual contact with the Saami, his chosen name does not necessarily refer to Native American spirituality. He may have chosen the name to refer to Northern shamanism, or an eclectic mix. He may not have meant it as a religious reference at all, and may have used it as some people use "wizard", for example "computer wizard," an expert in computers, "Q-Shaman" an expert in Q-Anon.

The other two heathen symbols among his tattoos are the Thor's Hammer, which is a protective symbol and also the symbol of Asatru, and Yggdrasil, the Tree of Life. The Tree tattoo is surrounded by a circle. His tattoos are real religious symbols, just like a cross tattoo would be for a Christian. It pains and infuriates me to see them in this context. His other notable tattoos are brick wall tats on his arms. Those are not heathen symbols. Brick wall tattoos represent prison life.

He also had his face painted like an American flag and was using his spear as a flagpole for an American flag. As an American I say: I had felt we had left the bizarre times behind us in 2020. I am tired of living through interesting historical events. Not that our system couldn't use a few changes, but not in that direction.

Here is a link to the best photo showing his tattoos: https://www.eluniversal.com.mx/mundo/quien-es-q-shaman-el-hombre-que-entro-vestido-con-pieles-y-cuernos-al-capitolio

Those interested in learning more about heathen symbols and how to tell the difference between heathen symbols and hate symbols can read my article Heathen Vs. Hate in the latest edition of Witches and Pagans Magazine. My fellow heathens who are interested in preserving our symbols, please check out my prior post Heathen Visibility Project Year in Review 2020, which includes a short history of the Project with links back to previous news and explanations.

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    "Never trust a man with horns on his hat." --Granny Weatherwax

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Resources for the disambiguation of Heathen symbols vs. hate symbols. TW: discussion of racism

This is a resources and links page for how to tell the difference between a religious symbol being used by heathens and a hate symbol being used by neonazis or white supremacists. There are several different symbol guides linked from this page. Using the various symbol guides requires more than looking up a suspect symbol; it also requires taking context into account. For example, once while screening applications I ran across the version of Othala with wolves attached to the lower legs of the symbol. The first time I saw this symbol, I wondered: is it the footed Othala used by Nazis or is it just the regular Othala but with wolves? I used a reverse image search (the Chrome extension) to find the origin of the symbol, and found the page of the artist who designed it. The page had many pagan and heathen artworks, none of which looked like neonazi or white supremacist symbols. The artist's statement on his website was an unobjectionable, pretty standard pagan statement. I concluded the Othala-with-wolves symbol's resemblance to the footed Othala was just a coincidence. The context provided by the artist's other artworks and artist statement helped me interpret that image.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Reclaiming Our Symbols

 

This Fourth of July will see American flags displayed all over the nation because the flag is the symbol of our country, and the values associated with it.  In an important sense, our flag is unique, for the United States is the first country created from an ideological revolution whose basic principles were both universal and admirable, however short it fell in their application. The flag symbolizes the values of our Declaration of Independence and Constitution, as well as values of community tribalism. It was because of this combined symbolism that Martin Luther King, jr. could appeal to America’s founding values in a way Nelson Mandela could not. And this association added power to his words.

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Witches’ Marks and Galdrastafir: Protection Symbols for the Home

Most of the time, I believe that bad things just happen. Not every misfortune is a product of the evil eye or a malefic spirit but part of the natural flux of life that keeps a necessary, healthy, wavering sort of balance. Rarely, however, I do find that something else seems to be at work. This can happen when a shift or transformation happens -- a birth, a death, moving house -- creating liminal times and spaces that make everything within its sphere more vulnerable (and desirable) to misery-making things. Scarlet Magdalene recently published a helpful guide on Patheos Pagan for deciding whether or not someone has been cursed or hexed; I recommend checking it out and giving it a good think if this sounds like your situation.

As I mentioned in my last post, my husband and I recently bought an old house in the mountains. Two months later, we still haven’t been able to really move in. January was a series of large and small disasters, expenses, inconveniences, and illnesses. It's almost comical, except that we’re so tired and overwhelmed and almost broke from it all.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
What's Talking to You?

Just got done watching a powerful video featuring Jim Carrey and his painting process (yes, that Jim Carrey).

One of the things he said struck a chord with me:

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