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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Heathen

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Heathen Visibility and Anti-Racism

One man who is a terrorist does not make a whole religion terrorists. I would have thought our society had learned that lesson by now.

Rolling Stone Magazine called the entire set of Heathen religions "code for white supremacy-aligned pagans" and we must resist this as strongly as we resist the fascists themselves, for two reasons:

Firstly, because to cede the words and symbols of our religion to white supremacists and neo-Nazis makes them stronger no matter who is trying to appropriate our words and symbols on their behalf. Battling for our words and symbols against white power gangs and neonazis has been the main reason for the Heathen Visibility Project from the beginning. See the history of the Project recently published under Heathen Visibility Project Year in Review 2020, on the link below:

Summary of Heathen Visibility Project so far: http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-paths-blogs/gnosis-diary/heathen-visibility-project-year-in-review-2020.html

Secondly, because directing the hate and fear of the large and powerful society in which we live against our tiny religion hurts us in many ways. Already I've seen posts on social media from heathens, and other pagans who normally wear the same symbols as heathens, saying they are afraid to wear their symbols in public. We must make a world where it is safe for all people to wear their religious symbols and cultural attire.

What do I mean by heathen? Heathen is a broad term for a group of related religions, just like Christian. Individual sects of heathenry include Asatru, Forn Sed, Theod, Urglaawe, Forn Sidr, etc., just like individual sects of Christianity include Baptist, Catholic, Orthodox, etc. And just like Christian sects that have individual churches that might have a name like Unity Center or 1st Church of God, heathen sects have individual kindreds and hearths that might have a name like Mountain Kindred or Asatru Temple. Heathen is a subset of Pagan; the word Pagan doesn't refer to a specific pantheon of gods, but Heathen does. All the heathen religions share a core group of gods, stories, and cultural norms, even the ones in which the set of gods and myths only has a narrow overlap. Those gods generally include the gods for whom the days of the week are named, by various linguistic variations, for example, Thursday named for Thunor who is also Thor who is also Dunner. We use the term Heathen because it was used historically to refer to the traditional religion of the peoples of northern Europe; like Pagan, it was created by Christians, but we reclaimed it. Heathendom predates the modern social construct of race, but to the extent that historical heathens had any such concept within the ideas of tribe, nation, and species, the gods were very clearly descended of multiple tribes and thus are today a model of a multiracial society, as detailed in my essay Asgard as Multiracial Society, available on the link below

Asgard as a Multiracial Society: https://eternalhauntedsummer.com/issues/summer-solstice-2014/asgard-as-a-multi-racial-society/

Heathen leaders and heathen anti-racism groups have already roundly condemned the one man who was wearing our symbols when he participated in the Capitol Hill insurrection. That man is the man who calls himself Q-Shaman, who may not even be heathen. Here are some of the most prominent statements condemning him, starting with mine, which also explains what his tattoos mean:

My blog post Dishonor Upon the Man in the Horned Hat: http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-paths-blogs/gnosis-diary/dishonor-upon-the-man-in-the-horned-hat.html

Official statement of The Troth: https://www.thetroth.org/news/20210106-192450
Official statement of Heathens Against Hate: https://www.heathensagainst.org/post/capitol-hill-statement
Official statement of Huginn's Heathen Hof: http://www.heathenhof.com/hhh-statement-attempted-coup-d-c/

After all those public statements were already made and were freely available on the net, Rolling Stone went forward with their article calling Heathen religions "white supremacy-aligned." This also occurred while my article Heathen Vs. Hate in the latest issue of Witches and Pagans Magazine was still on newsstands across the country, easily available to read if the reporter had bothered.

Responses to the Rolling Stone article came swiftly. I first heard about it on Twitter. Most of the responses have been by individuals on social media, which I'm not going to link here, but here is a public statement in response by an organization:

The Heathen Underground: https://www.facebook.com/heathenunderground/posts/3933159010030485

Heathen groups of various kinds have been fighting white supremacists and neonazis for a long time. Perhaps the broadest coalition of various heathen organizations, individuals, businesses, and local groups battling white supremacy are the signatories to Declaration 127. Declaration 127 references a verse in the Havamal, part of our sacred literature, which goes "Where you see evil, speak out against it." You can read the full Declaration and list of signatories on the link below. I'm one of the signatories as American Celebration Kindred, the small local religious community of which I am the priestess.

Declaration 127: http://declaration127.com/  

Another prominent heathen anti-racism group is Heathens United Against Racism (HUAR) which you can find on this link, although they do not appear to have made an official statement on this topic: https://www.facebook.com/HeathensUnited/

There is an ongoing annual international conference on heathen anti-racism called Frith Forge. Heathens interested in participating can find it here: https://www.facebook.com/frithforge/

The Heathen Visibility Project, now more than ever, must continue our mission. Part of that mission is to out-compete instances of our symbols being used as hate symbols that show up on search engines, in order to take our symbols back and preserve them for religious use. Every good, non-fascist heathen wearing our symbols in public spaces, especially on the net where the whole world can see, makes it safer for other heathens to wear and use them too. We must be loud and visible to counter the damage done by the heavy coverage by social media and professional media of Q-Shaman and his heathen symbol tattoos. We must continue to deny racists the cover of our religion by kicking them out of our spaces and talking over them until their message is drowned out by ours.

The other part of the Project's mission is to provide useful images of heathens doing heathenry that media could use to talk about heathens in stories unrelated racism or riot. We must continue to create non-racist and nonfiction heathen images that could be used by professional media and others to illustrate articles about heathenry, so that when we have a chance at positive coverage there is something there for reporters to see and use other than the racists or fictional characters.

Heathens who want to participate in the Project, and media who are looking for non-racist, nonfiction heathen images: the Project's hashtag is #heathenvisibility.

Media looking for news photos and stock images of non-racist nonfiction heathen images: Heathen Visibility Project folders on:
Shutterstock: https://www.shutterstock.com/search/heathenvisibility
Deviantart: https://www.deviantart.com/erinlale/gallery/64184335/heathenvisibility

My fellow heathens: Keep on doing the work. We can do this.

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  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Update: Rolling Stone corrected their article! Thanks to everyone who contacted them. You made a difference!

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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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    "Never trust a man with horns on his hat." --Granny Weatherwax

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Audio Resources on Asatru and Heathenry

If you are blind or visually impaired, or just prefer audiobooks to print or ebooks, there are links at the end of this post for your use. I have a limited number of free codes for the audiobook of my new book Asatru: A Beginner's Guide to the Heathen Path, and I would like to give them to readers of my blog who are blind. I am also giving these codes to the blind in my forum, the Asatru Facebook Forum, and on my social media. These codes will all be gone after this month, August 2020.

Here is a link to my new book on Audible. Right now Audible is giving away free copies of my book when you sign up for a 30 day trial of Audible.

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Answering Questions About My New Asatru Book

On August 1, book launch day for Asatru: A Beginner's Guide to the Heathen Path, I hosted an online book launch party on my social media instead of having an in-person book launch event. People posted some questions to my social media. Here's an unroll of questions and answers from the event.

Question:
What changed for you, from the beginning to the end of writing this book? How did writing this book change you?

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Book launch day for Asatru: A Beginner's Guide to the Heathen Path

Today is the day my book goes live! Preorders of the print edition have already been shipping, but August 1st 2020 is my new book's official launch day, so today the ebook edition should be available to download, and print editions should be available in bookstores.

Asatru: A Beginner's Guide to the Heathen Path is the longer, updated version of my out of print classic Asatru For Beginners. The new edition includes recent history in the history chapter, has an expanded section on the gods, includes new scholarship made since the original version of the book first started being sold as an ebook around the turn of the millenium, and includes the new modernist movement in Asatru, covering the differences between traditionalist and modernist Asatru, especially with regards to morals and magic.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Rebuttal of TERF Values

This essay was prompted by a "TERF" (="Trans-Exclusive Radical Feminist") statement made in my local pagan community. TERFs usually reference biological determinism, defining being a woman as being fertile and giving birth, which excludes women like me, a "cis" (="not transgender") woman who has never been fertile, and is now in the crone stage of life. Sometimes their biological definitions reference having a womb, which would also exclude women like my mom, who had hers removed right after having me.

(I don't usually use the term "cis" because of its origins in academic papers meant as a substitute for "the normal population" or "the control group" and thus it is inherently binarist. Plus, as a binarist word, it has been used to exclude non-binary people, and has been used as a slur against non-binary people. It is the most appropriate word to use in this particular instance, however, using it strictly to mean "not trans.")

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  • Victoria
    Victoria says #
    In the case of the mythos of some of the Heathen gods/goddesses is it gender fluidity, gender transgression or that deities were n

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Novel Gnosis part 34: Tyr and Zisa

Tyr is the original skyfather in heathen mythology. His major sphere of influence is justice. Zisa is his wife. Her symbol is the war boat, and she was identified by Tacitus as being the same goddess as Isis.

The Fireverse uses the names of gods as recorded in the Icelandic / Norse sources, unless the name is not recorded there. In the Icelandic, the name of Tyr's wife is not written down. However, Tyr is the same god as Ziu, and Ziu's wife's name is Zisa, so in both my novel Some Say Fire and in my personal practice I call them Tyr and Zisa.

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  • Victoria
    Victoria says #
    Zisa is not mentioned by Tacitus, in Germania Tacitus mentioned that 'some of the Suevi also sacrifice to Isis' , Tacitus does not

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