Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth
In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.
On April 13, 2014, a pagan—in this case, Odinist—man gunned down three strangers in Kansas City under the (mistaken) belief that they were Jews.
The public reaction of the heathen community to this cowardly and despicable act was both instructive and (to me, at least) heartening. They did not say: This is not heathenism. They did not say: This is nothing to do with us because this man is not our kind of heathen.
They said: What this man did was wrong. They said: This is not heathenism as we understand it. Then they raised money for the families of the victims.
This is a courageous and truly pagan response. The payment of blood-money when a member of one group has wronged a member (or members) of another group is a long-standing and honorable tradition. It is an action both pragmatic and compassionate.
It seems to me that this is the way our people should act. When one of ours does public wrong, we have a responsibility for collective response, since we are all implicated in each others' behavior. Our responsibility is to condemn the wrong, to treat justly with the offender, and to do what we can to make restitution.
We even have a name for this time-honored behavior in English: wergild. Maybe it's time for this ancestral word to reenter the modern pagan vocabulary.
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