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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Heathen

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Kveldulf Gundarsson aka Dr. Stephen Grundy aka Sigmundr Hawkonson has gone to stay with the ancestors. As reported on social media and on various news sites, he died suddenly a week ago.

In a public post, Kveldulf's wife Melodi has announced a worldwide public event, Lift Your Glass, for the evening of October 8th, 2021.  It's not an online meeting, there is nothing to join or post, one just raises a toast.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    I think so, yes.
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I know that one of Odin's titles was Lord of the Spear, and that he hung himself on Yggdrasil for 9 days. By any chance was Kveld

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

My daily life as a gythia includes both surprise duties and surprise rewards, as well as the more usual planned variety of each. Within the past few weeks I've found myself staying up late to help someone get rid of or get closer to entities she brought with her. I've helped a lost spirit that had attached himself to a living person to finally cross, for which he was thankful. I've sent a being that didn't belong in this world where he belonged. I've confirmed that a god was with someone, via my own connection with Odin and Loki, although they would say no more about it, firstly because if they interfered then the person would not have a chance to form the kind of connection the other god desired, and secondly because my gods did not want to encourage me to form any accidental connections with a pantheon outside the Asatru one. I'm glad to help, and helping people like this is one of the reasons I have these abilities. But sometimes the surprise is a present just for me.

The local landwight has been eating well this month, as my household generated an unusual amount of vegetable matter to compost. And there has been a lot of rain, a blessing from Thor. One day I was looking at my lovely mimosa tree and I remembered that out of the two decades I've lived here, the tree dropped live seeds that sprouted only once. They had been growing in inappropriate places-- the lawn, namely, and I had tried to transplant them, but they didn't survive. I suppose I made a silent wish in that moment-- I wished to grow a seedling of my mimosa tree. A few days later, when I went out to check on the area near the garden gnome statue, which is my icon of the landwight, I saw it: a tiny, tiny seedling, with tiny little mimosa leaves. Right behind the statue.

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I'm a virtual panelist on the Polytheist Authors panel talking about representation of pagan and heathen gods and cultures in science fiction at the convention Imaginarium 2021 in July. It's a hybrid con with both virtual and physical attendance.
 
I was invited to be a panelist by a publisher who knows me for my book reviews in addition to my fiction and poetry. I'll be talking about science fiction novels, movies, and short stories by other authors, and hopefully I'll also talk about my sf universe, Time Yarns, a bit too.
 
Due to the debut of the new Loki series, social media is full of talk about the Marvel versions of Loki and other heathen gods. We'll undoubtedly talk about that on the panel, too, although I haven't seen the new series yet, since it's on a subscription channel. One new tech expense at a time! I will be debuting my new ability to make video calls at this virtual panel.
 
Here's the link to the convention: https://www.entertheimaginarium.com/
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This is a question posed to me on Facebook. Here's my answer: Excellent question (puts on professor glasses. stretches fingers.) So.

In the Stone Age there were these people called the Battle Axe People. They had double headed axes. Knapped from stone. Tools, not massive weapons, and so not really that big. OK so picture those. Now fast forward to the Viking Age.

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  • Victoria
    Victoria says #
    Also likely a personified thunder god or connection between thunder and the hammer/axe existed during the Battle Axe culture/Boat

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

I receive written letters in the mail from prisoners asking questions about heathen practices and asking about Asatru resources and books. (Most people who read my writing and want to contact me do so on the net, but prisoners often don't have access to the net.) I've received a few such letters recently in reaction to my latest article in Witches & Pagans Magazine, which was the Heathen Vs. Hate symbol guide designed to enable people to tell the difference between heathen symbols and hate symbols.

When I was asked to write the symbol guide, I was chosen because I had already done a lot of work on that topic for the Trollslayers' Guide, an internal document for the admins and moderators of my forum, the Asatru Facebook Forum. The article was an interesting challenge to write because the editor wanted a symbol guide without actually showing any of the symbols. The reason for that was because having a hate symbol like a swastika appear in the magazine would get the magazine censored and removed from places like prisons and schools. Print magazines and print books are some of the few resources to which prisoners have access, so making sure the magazine didn't get disallowed is important for that population. So, I had the constraints of prison censorship in mind when I was writing the article, and I'm pleased that some prisoners found it useful.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

A question that can come up when students first learn that heathens in historical times had divorce and that the wife was the key holder in most times in heathen history (with some notable exceptions) is: what happened after that? If the woman was the property owner did the man lose his status after divorce?

That's a good question, and the answer is sometimes, but not usually. Social status in the ancient world depended on a lot more besides being landed or not. A man would only lose status when he left his wife's property if the man's status was tied to the estate, which was not always the case. That had to do with how much property was involved in the marriage, which was more an issue with the upper classes, and whether there were any noble titles involved, also only an issue for the upper classes, and only in some time periods.

An example would be if the property on which they lived were exclusively her inheritance and getting divorced meant he had to stop being a land holding lord and go join some other lord's house carls. But that would have been a really small percentage of people. It would not affect most people.

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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!

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