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Heathen Visibility Project 2022 in Review
The Heathen Visibility Project seeks to fill search engine space with free images of Asatru and Heathen subjects for the use of journalists and others. We want to see accurate, positive portrayals of actual religious Asatru people, gatherings, etc., rather than hate groups or fictional characters, illustrating articles about Asatru and Heathenry. This post is about new developments in 2022. For info on "How To" use the images or participate in the project, please see the linked posts at the bottom.
Project photos and videos created
In January 2022, for the first time since just before Tom died in 2020, I made a video on my Heathen Visibility youtube channel. It's not scripted or styled or anything but it does have a cute cat in it.

In August, as a result of a plan created with a magazine editor about advertising my book, I did a photoshoot with my book. Since the ad was for a magazine, I was going for an editorial look. I chose to dress as a modern, sophisticated city heathen rather than appear in ritual robes or in the historical garb which is common in images of Asatru and heathenry. Since I only needed one of the photos for the ad, I selected some of the others for use in the Heathen Visibility Project. (See my post Freya Glamor on how I achieved my look for the photoshoot to see one of the photos. A different one of the photos from that shoot is included in this post.)
In September, Amanda planned and led Haustblot for our kindred. Amanda is the first gythia I trained. Haustblot is an autumn seasonal and harvest ritual. Just before the ritual started, Amanda, I, and some of the ritual participants posed for a Heathen Visibility Project photo. (See my post Haustblot and Other Rituals to see the photo.)
In December, my cat Happy decided I needed to do a rune cat photoshoot as I was getting ready for a Yule ritual. The resultant photo is in my Heathen Visibility Project gallery on Deviantart, here: Rune Cat by erinlale on DeviantArt 
Search Engine Results
The Project is getting results. As a test, I searched terms related to the Project on the internet. I did a search on various Project related terms on Bing, because it's the search engine default from a popular browser. The top search results for the terms heathen, Asatru, #heathenvisibility and Heathen Visibility Project all return first page results that do not contain any racist or neonazi images. The first page results for these terms still contain a lot of fictional character images but none of them were Marvel. That's huge progress. The top nonfiction links for the terms #heathenvisibility and Heathen Visibility Project go to blog entries here on Pagansquare about the project. The top nonfiction links for the terms Heathen and Asatru go to various wiki and dictionary definitions and to religious websites or forums. This is excellent progress from where we were when we started. 
News Coverage
There has not been very much news coverage of Asatru and related topics this year. However, Asatru was mentioned briefly in an article on a major news site about Asian religions using swastikas. MSN (Microsoft Network, official news aggregator site of Microsoft the software company) ran an AP (Associated Press) article on modern issues about the Swastika. While the focus is on Asian religions, the article also mentions other symbols appropriated by hate groups and the struggle to keep such symbols available for religious use, including the Thor's Hammer. 
Link to the article: 

Heathen Visibility Project "How To" Links:

Resources for Editorial Use: 
How to Create and Share Images:  
Image: Erin Lale with her book. Erin is wearing modern dress and Asatru jewelry including a Thor's Hammer, standing on a city street in front of a mural of a cityscape. She is holding her book Asatru: A Beginner's Guide to the Heathen Path. Photo by Jim Connor for the Heathen Visibility Project. This photo is free to use for editorial purposes. 

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You are a public face for Paganism at Conventions

I recently attended Convocation for the first time. I was having dinner one night at the restaurant and I talked with my waiter for a bit about the convention. She asked me if I thought that she and her co-worker would be accepted if they visited the vendor room to look around and I told her that I thought it would be fine (The vendor room was open to the public as far as I knew). I thought about that conversation later on and how in that moment I was a public face for Paganism. And how at any convention that is hosted in a space such as a hotel, all of us are public faces of Paganism, even if we don't realize we are. The public space we are in is not solely a Pagan space. It is shared space and the impressions we make on the hotel staff and other guests matter.

When I'm at an event or anywhere really, I behave the way I'd want other people to behave toward me. I'm courteous to the staff, acknowledge the work they are doing and do my best to be mindful of my behavior and how others might perceive it. Now it's true that I'm at a convention to have fun, but  I also want to make a good impression because the staff and guests will come away from those experiences with their own perceptions about Pagans. And likely they'll already have some assumptions and beliefs about us based on their own spiritual beliefs, etc. However I think that how we act in public is important.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Stifyn Emrys
    Stifyn Emrys says #
    I agree it's important to be cognizant of the impressions we make on others, whether we're representing ourselves, our beliefs or
  • Taylor Ellwood
    Taylor Ellwood says #
    Having worked a number of jobs over the year where I was retail, I always remember how people treated me and make the effort in tu
  • Mariah Sheehy
    Mariah Sheehy says #
    Thank you. I have seen this point made many times but you made it *without stigmatizing certain groups some Pagans try to distance
  • Taylor Ellwood
    Taylor Ellwood says #
    I don't think it's helpful to stigmatize people. As long as all of can remember that we're in a public space and behave accordingl
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Excellent, rational advice which is so self-evident that I'm always amazed at how many people need to have it pointed out to them!

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