Theodish Thoughts

Musings on Theodism, religion, mythology, history, and contemporary Heathenry

Category: Marxism

The Myth of Progress

This was progress to some people

Over at his wonderfully iconoclastic Archdruid Report, David Michael Greer last week posted a lengthy piece on The Embarrassments of Chronocentrism. In it, he basically makes the case that merely because things are different today than they were in the past, that does not make them quantitatively “better,” nor does it imply some sort of evolutionary imperative towards a given social or moral order that just so happens to be the one that predominates among a particular political subculture today. It’s well worth reading the whole thing (including the several delicious examples he gives of early 20th century “progressives” taking away rights for certain minorities that are now sacred cows among today’s left), but here are a few choice bits:

Those of my readers who followed the late US presidential election may remember Hillary Clinton’s furious response to a heckler at one of her few speaking gigs:  “We aren’t going back. We’re going forward.” Underlying that outburst is the belief system I’ve just sketched out: the claim that history has a direction, that it moves in a linear fashion from worse to better, and that any given political choice—for example, which of the two most detested people in American public life is going to become the nominal head of a nation in freefall ten days from now—not only can but must be flattened out into a rigidly binary decision between “forward” and “back.” …

Chronocentrism is pandemic in our time. Historians have a concept called “Whig history;” it got that moniker from a long line of English historians who belonged to the Whig, i.e., Liberal Party, and who wrote as though all of human history was to be judged according to how well it measured up to the current Liberal Party platform. …

It needs to be remembered in this context that the word “evolution” does not mean “progress.” Evolution is adaptation to changing circumstances, and that’s all it is. When people throw around the phrases “more evolved” and “less evolved,” they’re talking nonsense, or at best engaging in a pseudoscientific way of saying “I like this” and “I don’t like that.” 

We see this constantly and consistently in the bleating of the alt-left within neopaganism, especially within the Marxist crowd, that their political or social beliefs are somehow inherently better because they are newer than older political or social beliefs. The trajectory of history is of course part and parcel of the Marxist philosophy these pro-genocidal authoritarian losers embrace, but it sees full flower in discussions about folkishness, democracy, nationalism, and the like.

Bringers of progress

Stuck as they are in 1930’s and 40’s historical models, these Marxists (and anarchists, and whateverthefuckelse they want to call themselves) usually apply the blanket label “fascist” to such things. Even though, ironically, fascism (including, dare I say, National Socialism) is more properly a phenomenon of the left. But they generally mean traditionalism, which is by definition the antithesis of progressivism, which is the philosophy of “if it’s newer, it must be better,” that, also ironically, fuels the modern consumerist culture which so many of them claim to abhor.

Progress.

That flies in the face of the traditionalist view, which enjoys a definite overlap with modern folkishness, in terms of preferring local to global as a general rule, family structures that promote reproduction are preferable to family structures that intentionally thwart reproduction, acknowledging the fact that biological differences between men and women (both psychological and physical) are real and not something to be ignored or suppressed, democracy isn’t necessarily the most preferable form of government, representative art is preferable to abstract art, and most certainly that individualism is preferable to collectivism.

It might not be 100% optimally efficient,
but does that make it “wrong”?

But note always my use of the word “prefer” rather than “require.” It’s the left that is always trying to force other people to conform to some idealistic vision. And Utopia is always just one execution away.

I’m not by any stretch of the imagination claiming that all of those things are necessarily inherent in folkishness, which by my definition is simply the acknowledgement that race and ancestry is relevant to religion, and some religious faiths are inherently folkish in nature (although there are of course specific exceptions), just as some are inherently universalist in nature. Asatru, most forms of Hinduism, Judaism, and Amerindian religion fall into the former category, while Christianity, Islam, Scientology, Wicca, and neopaganism fall into the latter category. Unsurprisingly, claims of absolute truth generally come from the latter half as well.

However, there is a bit of confusion between, and a distinct need and opportunity to explore, traditions that are Christian in nature (due to Christianity’s hegemony over Europe over the last millenia and a half or so, depending on the locale), rather than, as I might have it, truly traditional Germanic views that predate Christianity.

Of course, this isn’t to mean that older is always better. That’s just as wrong as newer is always better. But there are a lot of older things that don’t deserve to be discarded just because they’re old, just as there are newer things that deserve to be embraced. Just because I approve of flush toilets, vaccinations, and space colonies doesn’t mean I have to also approve of the destruction of human biological diversity, Socialism, mass production, and the suppression of individual liberty to prevent someone else being offended.

They have an Umbrella, We have a Hall

The circus sideshow that is the modern neopagan movement continues to whirl at blazing speed. There are accusations of atheist infiltration, Alt-Right infiltration, and even fundamentalist Christian infiltration. There are dire predictions of doom as the “end of the neopagan era” approaches, various neopagan factions tear each other apart with ever-growing invective, as the SJW’s become increasingly less tolerant of dissenting opinions, even to the point of accusing Dianic Wiccans of being transphobic for only wanting biological women in their rituals. Plus there’s the growing child sexual abuse problem within neopaganism, of which I believe only the tip of the iceberg has yet been sighted.

Is it any wonder we Asatruar actively resist being tagged with their “neopagan” or “pagan” labels? Why would anyone in their right mind want to get sucked into that morass of crap, ill luck, and politics?

But the follow-up question then becomes, why do I care? Why do I keep writing about it, and responding to neopagan writers?

The sad truth is that I do so because I must. In their zeal to attack one another, they sometimes splash their mud outside the scope of their precious “umbrella”, and it needs to be cleaned up by those of us outside their community. I try not to respond to their inter-community squabbles. I try to only respond when they feel compelled to attack my religion; Asatru (or Heathenry in general).

I’m quite content to let the monkeys fling their rhetorical shit at one another. When it hits me and mine, though, I’m going to take a rhetorical bat to said monkey’s head.

A lot of this stems from the stubborn insistence of some of them that, because we worship multiple gods, some of whom are also worshiped by some of them, and some of us go to the same events, that we must have more in common than we do differences. So naturally they assume we not only stand under the umbrella they thoughtfully hold out for us, but that we want to. In turn, they think that gives them the right to criticize what we, as Asatruar, do. Because in their mind, Asatru is part of the “greater neopagan community”, and thus, folks within that community have a right to criticize, and ultimately police, the goings-on within that community.

But they are oh so wrong.

Heathenry in general, and Asatru in particular, is, and always has been, its own thing. Founded across the world in the early 1970’s, a few years after modern neopaganism, we’ve developed in parallel with the neopagans. Because of the surface similarities, there’s been more than a little sharing and mutual support over the years. But where the neopagans mistook that for inclusion in a mutual community, the Asatruar couldn’t wait to let go and walk on our own. A few Asatruar continue to make the case for greater cohesion between the two, but they tend to be more inclined to disregard the core principles upon which Asatru in America was founded in the first place, and they might be better labeled as Germanic neopagans anyway. Not always, of course, but on the whole.

Seriously. Keep that thing away
from me, ya freak.

This is not a new argument between the Heathen and neopagan communities. I’ve been making the point since at least 2013, when there was a bit of a far-reaching discussion on the nature of “pagan identity” around the internet.

But the end result is that Heathenry, and Asatru in particular, is doing very well on its own, thank you very much. There are differences between groups, to be sure, and I’m not suggesting that everyone gets along in some idealistic paradise. But Asatru as a whole has matured, and grown, and pretty much maintained its cohesion over the years. We have tight-knit communities. We have international organizations that provide services that one normally associates with “mainstream” religions for their members, like making small loans for members in trouble financially. We are acquiring facilities, not because someone inherited some money, or cashed out a pension, but because our community as a whole stood up and supported the effort. We’re starting to become mainstream, and that’s a good thing.

Of course, some people are still singing the siren song of changing Asatru to be more like eclectic neopaganism. And in the process, they would destroy all of the things that makes Asatru unique. And ultimately, the failure of such a project comes down to the fact that Asatru and eclectic neopaganism are two different things. They’re not “other traditions” alongside Wicca within neopaganism.

Lucius Svartwulf Helsen says people need to just ignore the paganism of others. We Heathens have been doing that for going on forty years now, or at least trying to. Now if we can just get the neopagans to mind their own damn business, we’d all be happier.

The problem with umbrellas is that someone is always trying to grab the handle and move it, so it only covers the people they think should be covered. That’s what Rhyd and his ilk are doing most recently. And they’re able to do so precisely because eclectic neopaganism means something different to each and every eclectic neopagan. There are no guidelines, no standards, no real foundation for community whatsoever. There’s just a thousand different groups doing what feels right at the time, forming, merging, splitting, and reforming like bubbles in a boiling cauldron.

By contrast, Asatru has a hall, built on a solid foundation of a shared cultural tradition, reinforced by an ancestral connection to one another. We’ve had our ups and downs, to be sure, but the line on the chart has always been pointed towards steady growth. We have a built-in resistance to demagogues and fly-by-night pushers of ideology precisely because Asatru has a common basis; the pre-Christian beliefs of the Germanic peoples of Europe. There is allowance for variation within that basis, but take away that core, and what you’re left with just isn’t Asatru any more. It’s… something else.

Neopaganism can keep their rickety umbrella, and keep it far away from us. We’re doing just fine in our hall, thank you very much, and that hall just keeps getting bigger.

On Heathen Leadership

Ah Gods & Radicals, you are truly the gift that keeps on giving. This time out, we have a piece by none other than HUAR founder (and, rumor has it, 33% of the actual membership) Ryan Smith. Yes, the same Ryan Smith who so hilariously bungled the identification of a slavery apologist image, and who thought it was more important to condemn someone for saying “everyone should worship the gods of their ancestors” than to condemn people for actually physically raping women. Let’s see where “wrong way Ryan” takes us today.

Today’s topic is Heathenry and Democracy. And right off the bat, the sharp elbows of Marxist egalitarianism are flying:

There are many who argue, in Heathenry and the broader polytheist and Pagan communities, for vesting leadership and decision-making in an anointed elite who will guide the rest based on their wisdom and superior abilities. They claim these ideas are rooted in the practices of the pre-Christian ancients and natural hierarchies even though, in truth, the argument they make is far more recent than they assume.

The position advanced by these would-be theocrats is rooted in modern political theory. In the liberal democratic societies many such Heathens, Pagans, and polytheists live in there is the central assumption of an unceasing, ongoing clash between democratic governance and rule by the few. 

There are links in the original to the Asatru Alliance website, Galina Krasskova’s blog, and something called the Sons of Odin 1519, which I’ve never heard of before, and which seems to be an explicitly racist, Odinist, outfit that seems to be one or two people with a website (and that really seems to have it in for Valgard Murray of the Alliance). So he’s got a folkish source, a universalist source, and a racist source. Okay; he’s got “non-Marxist Yahtzee”. Let’s unpack this.

“…vesting leadership and decision-making in an anointed elite who will guide the rest based on their wisdom and superior abilities.”

I think you’re confusing leadership
with being a commissar.

Just speaking on a practical level, as someone who has been in the trenches organizing Heathen groups for twenty years or more, it’s not about someone who is an “anointed elite” or “wisdom and superior abilities”. It’s about having the willingness to take on an enormous amount of work, unpaid and often unrecognized, to bring people together in a place where they can worship the Gods together. Sure, there are skills that are required; some level of organization, for example. But it’s not the purview of any sort of elite. In fact, the Alliance article that Smith links to puts it excellently:

If you think that you have all the qualities of leadership and determination that are required of the Gothar, if you are willing to promote Asatru, the worship of the Holy Aesir and Vanir, and the right to self determination of our Folk… then I would encourage you to start that Kindred. 

Leadership and determination. Of course, any sort of leadership, which implies followership, offends the Marxist egalitarianism that G&R in general espouses, but the willingness to be the guy who puts together the meetings isn’t some sort of Divinely Inspired Ability. It’s just old fashioned grit.

And Gods Forbid that someone have more knowledge about Heathen history, or mythology, or runes, or literature, than someone else. After all, Marxists have shown they know what to do with… intellectuals.

Marxists leaders?
I thought that was un-possible!

Now, in fairness, there are some strains of Heathenry that espouse a concept called Sacral Leadership (aka Sacral Kingship). Theodish Belief is best-known as the proponent of this arrangement, but it’s by far not the only one. And yes, Theodism has ranks (arungs) to recognize ability, and a sacral leader who serves the function of intermediary between the folk and the Gods. But in that respect, he’s just the High Priest of the tribe.

And we know that the ancient Germanic people had priests. More on that in a minute.

“They claim these ideas [that groups do better with leaders] are rooted in the practices of the pre-Christian ancients and natural hierarchies even though, in truth, the argument they make is far more recent than they assume.”

Is that Zeus on a throne?
With a crown? And
a scepter? Like a… KING???

Somehow, Smith seems to think that the fact that the Germanic peoples had the institution of Þing (a sort of popular assembly), that that is somehow proof that “the pre-Christian ancients” didn’t have kings with real power, priests who acted as intermediaries between the folk and the Gods, or other forms of social and political stratification.

Now we’re rolling.

Setting aside the history of just about every pre-Christian culture, from ancient Egypt to Sumeria to Persia to Greece to Rome had monarchies (and noting the exceptions, such as Athens and Rome, which were by no stretch of the imagination democracies in the modern sense of the word, lacking any concept of universal suffrage), let’s turn to the Germanic peoples.

“The position advanced by these would-be theocrats is rooted in modern political theory.”

Apparently, anyone who thinks that a group does better with a leader, or that espouses anything other than pure Marxist egalitarianism, is a “would-be theocrat”. Leaders rising to the top of any sort of social structure, by dint of the fact that they’re doing most of (or in many cases, all of) the work, and people just naturally look to them for the qualities of leadership because they’re doing the work that leaders do, is in and of itself theocracy.

This fixation on the vilification of hierarchy is fascinating to watch. It’s like a bacillus, moving from one writer to another over at G&R. They must’ve had a staff meeting or something.*

Smith makes a great deal about the fact that pre-Christian Germanic kings were somewhat beholden to the Þings. And it’s true; the reason there was a check on the power of kings, and why their rule was not absolute (i.e., not an example of “the divine right of kings”, which is not at all the same as “sacral kingship”) is because the Þing and those who ran it were the local powerful warlords, who together could gang up and tell a king to shove off if he overstepped his boundaries.

Wait… what? What about the Þing where, according to Smith,

Every free person, man or woman, could speak before the Thing and seek redress of their grievances and in some cases even thralls were given voice and space before these assemblies. These Things were the bodies that made and deposed kings. The leaders of the Germanic world, quite contrary to the assumptions cultivated in popular culture, ruled at the behest of the Things.

Well, yes, Þings made kings. They elected a king from a body of contenders based on their ancestry; a candidate for king had to be related to someone who himself had been a king. And those semi-divine royal lineages all traced their ways back to either Odin (in the case of the Saxons, Anglo-Saxons, and others) or Freyr (in the case of many Swedish lineages).

In other words, not anyone could get elected king. The kings that got elected were from a pool of people quite literally descended from the Gods. How’s that for an “anointed elite”? As William A. Chaney puts it in The Cult of Kingship in Anglo-Saxon England (p. 20):

‘Let us sit and weigh the Races of Kings,’ the goddess Freyja says in the Hyndluljoð, ‘of all men that sprung from the gods’; in one of the oldest epics, the Hamðismal, ‘the god-sprung king roared mightily, as a bear roars, our of his harness’. If, as shall be seen, Anglo-Saxon monarchs also came of a divine race, they shared this in common with other Germanic ruling houses.

As has been observed, the entire royal kin and not merely the holder of the kingship was elevated into the divine race by the descent from deity. The royal dignity was transmitted to the family; ‘the realm belongs to the royal race’, as Libermann says.

Not exactly the picture of the proletariat assembling in their soviets** to overthrow a king who cut their ration of bread, eh?

Hilmar Örn, allsherjargoði of Iceland.
Wait – I thought they were supposed to be the good lefty types?
Don’t tell me they have leaders, too!?
Could they be… fascists?

And thralls given voice at Þing? Gonna have to ask for a source on that one, Ryan. It’s certainly possible, maybe as a witness in a court case or something, but I can’t recall anything saying it was a common practice just to air some grievance.

So much for the egalitarian election of leaders by the Þings. But leadership (and thus anti-egalitarianism) in general?

Amazingly, Smith non-ironically undercuts his whole argument in his choice of quotes when he describes the power of the Þings to overthrow rulers:

“As soon as the king had proposed this to the bondes, great was the murmur and noise among the crowd.”

“We bondes, King Hakon, when we elected thee to be our king…”

“…we bondes have resolved among ourselves to part with thee, and take to ourselves some other chief, who will so conduct himself towards us that we can freely and safely enjoy the faith that suits our own inclinations.”

“The bondes gave loud applause to this speech, and said it expressed their will, and they would stand or fall by what had been spoken.”

Who are these “bondes”? It comes from the Old Norse term bóndi, which according to Cleasby-Vigfussion means:

“…originally a tiller of the ground, husbandman, but it always involved the sense of ownership, and included all owners of land (or bú, q.v.). from the petty freeholder to the franklin, and esp. the class represented by the yeoman of England generally or the statesman of Westmoreland and Cumberland: hence it came to mean the master of the house…”

Yes, that’s right. the Þings that Smith is so laudatory about, and which he claims were examples of true democracy in pre-Christian Germanic society… were led by the fucking landowners! The wealthy! The leaders! The ones who had men under them (the griðmaðr, or land-tiller) and who provided the troops for the king’s army.

In other words… the only reason the Þings had the authority to even stand up to kings was because the kings at the time were too weak to stand up to the powerful bondes under them. It had nothing to do with democracy as we know it today; it was just an example of the stratification of power. King at the top, bondes under him. Get enough bondes together, and they can stand up to the king.

But it’s also interesting that Smith omits a crucial example in his article; Iceland.

They famously had Þings in Iceland; a whole system of regional Þings, and then the central Alþing. And who ran these Icelandic Þings? The goðar (that’s where modern Asatru gets the word “godhi”, which is pretty much what Smith is railing against – the concept of a priesthood or leadership of any sort, even if it’s self-selected and affirmed by acclamation of the folk he or she purports to lead).

*You* tell Ragnar Lothbrok
he’s not a king

The topic of Icelandic goðar is far too interesting and detailed to get into here, but suffice to say that they didn’t just serve as priests, but they were, for all intents and purposes, the leadership of the island. They were the wealthy landowners, and they took on clients among the people, which would give those people the protection of the goði to whom they were allied. This would help them in court, in disputes with other farmers, and in many other ways.

And the goðar ran the Þings. They made the decisions. They were in charge. Don’t believe me? Read Medieval Iceland: Society, Sagas, and Power by Jesse Byock, or (for a Scandinavian point of view), Society and Politics in Snorri Sturluson’s Heimskringla by Sverre Bagge, which says (p. 125):

The real aristocracy is not confined to men with these titles [hersir, earl, lendr maðr – landowners]. In his narrative, Snorri repeatedly refers to men as esteemed, mighty, and so forth, who have a strong position in their region and act as spokesmen for the people and local leaders. Such men may or may not be attached to the king’s service as lendr menn. The term “magnate”… is meant to include those men as well as those holding formal titles.

Its aristocracy and leadership all the way down, Ryan.

It’s not surprising that Smith didn’t include that example, but it is telling. He has no argument. Leadership in general was certainly present in pre-Christian Germanic society, and the fact that a bunch of sub-leaders could band together and overthrow a high-leader that got too big for his britches doesn’t alter that fact.

Ryan Smith: Fascist

In closing, I must say I am shocked, shocked! to find out that Gods & Radicals would even publish such a counter-revolutionary piece as the one written by Ryan Smith. After all, weren’t we told not too long ago that one of the warning signs of creeping fascist/New Right influence is a respect for tradition? Yes, I’m very sure we were:

Our Sacred Traditions: The New Right advocates a return to ‘older relationships’ between humans and the Sacred. As part of their critique of modern civilisation, they believe that the sacred order of the world has been disrupted (through Democracy, or Marxism, or Monotheism) and humanity must embrace pre-modern traditions, be those Christian, Pagan, Polytheist, or Heathen.

And yet, here we have Ryan Smith making an appeal against kingship (and leadership in general) on the basis that it wasn’t historically practiced by the pre-Christian Germanic peoples. The fact that his arguments fall flat on their face on examination is irrelevant – what matters is that he attempted to make an appeal to “Our Sacred Traditions” (in this case, a democratic tradition).

There’s a sure sign of creeping fascism in your ranks, Rhyd. Might be time for a purge.

_____

* If so, did someone call the meeting to order? If so, xe may be a fascist. Keep your guard up! They may be infiltrating you even as you read this, G&R!

** “Soviet” just means “council”. One can’t help but wonder if Smith doesn’t make that, dare I say romanticized connection. From the way he describes the power of the Þings, it doesn’t seem impossible.

Over the Rainbow, Part One: Recon = Racist?

The Marxist anarchists over at Gods & Radicals are at it again. In their latest piece, Shane Burley (an author whose biography, tellingly, says nothing at all about his religious background, but rhapsodizes about his ultra-left-wing political activism) takes the requisite shots at folkish Heathenry (which I’ll get to in another post), but the thrust of the latest article is aimed straight at reconstructionism in general. Which, given their mission to obliterate anything that smacks of tradition or traditionalism, makes sense. The trouble is, most recons are universalists. But of course their knowledge of Heathenry is as skewed as their ideology, but it’s still remarkable that the author wouldn’t realize that simple fact.

This time, they ask the rhetorical question, “Rainbow Heathenry: Is a Left-Wing, Multicultural Asatru Possible?

Their answer, of course, is yes, but their version of Asatru has to be a lot more eclectic. You know; sort of like Germanic Neopaganism would be. Which of course would destroy what makes Asatru, Asatru. True to form, G&R comes out and says that reconstructionism is racism:

If people from the polytheist traditions want to challenge racialized interpretation of the Asatru faith, there has to be a conscious Theology and Philosophy that can undermine the folkish traditionalism that has dominated much of the ideas inside of the “cult of Odin.” Many pagans see that this could come in the form of eclecticism that allows for openness and integration of other traditions. Many folkish Asatru oppose eclecticism* and prefer a stricter form of reconstructionist fidelity, which often comes from the fact that the traditions they see as bound to their blood. 

Anyone bothered to tell the
Celtic Reconstructionists
that they’re racists?

This will doubtless come as a shock to the great majority of universalists, who actually tend to be more on the reconstructionist end of the spectrum than the folkish, in my experience. Indeed, folkish organizations like Balder Rising even explicitly distance themselves from reconstructionism:

“They [reconstructionists] were so concerned with recreating what once existed, and had forgotten that pagan religions, including Germanic heathenery, were not the creations of some religious sage or prophet, but was a set of traditions and spiritual (magical) knowledge that slowly evolved with the folk that it originated with over many generations.”

The Asatru Folk Assembly (AFA) also takes a stance not entirely approving of reconstructionism:

In the AFA, we don’t have to dress up like Vikings to live true to the Gods, nor do we turn our backs on the age in which we live. We practice Asatru in the here-and-now, and make it available to our kin.

Folks like Kveldulf Gundersson (aka Stephan Grundy), who just about embodies the space where universalist and reconstructionist meet, or the Troth, which according to its website “provides excellence in its resources, up to date research in Northern European Heathenry” and which runs a Lore Program explicitly designed to aid in the reconstructionist mission through scholarly study of the ancient sources, will doubtless be shocked to learn that opposition to eclecticism is in fact often a sign of racism.

And G&R’s solution? Asatru should look more like Starhawk’s “Reclaiming”:

An example of this: many of the ideas that have fueled Starhawk’s Reclaiming movement, which takes a uniquely panentheist understanding of the Gods and specifically sees an importance in the progressive values inside of Myth and practice. These ideas were never God/Myth specific, yet a strong sense of syncretism could allow a new synthesis that builds an emerging tradition that is both coherent and Philosophically strong.

And what does Reclaiming look like?

We are an evolving, dynamic tradition and proudly call ourselves Witches. Our diverse practices and experiences of the divine weave a tapestry of many different threads. We include those who honor Mysterious Ones, Goddesses, and Gods of myriad expressions, genders, and states of being, remembering that mystery goes beyond form. Our community rituals are participatory and ecstatic, celebrating the cycles of the seasons and our lives, and raising energy for personal, collective and earth healing.

Wow. That sure sounds like Asatru. </sarcasm>

The thing is, once you take the Germanic-specific aspects out of Asatru, you get… well, you get a watered-down, eclectic neopaganism that has no structure, no uniqueness, Just a bunch of people doing whatever, with the only common denominator being that they do it together. Gone would be those things that make Asatru, Asatru. The moral principles that Asatru has are quite distinct from those of the vast jelly-like blob that is eclectic neopaganism. Gone. The focus on a specific set of gods and goddesses that were worshiped by a specific group of people historically. Gone. Specific rituals unique to Asatru, such as blót and sumble. Gone.

I’ll leave you with one more quote from the original piece, for now:

The pagan traditions, both old and new, often evolve based on what parishioners bring to it. The ideas that evolve both inside and outside of spiritual practice, where it is the broad experience of life, relationships, and the earth that guide some of the most profound insights that are brought into practice. With Asatru, pagans can again bring those experiences in and make it more of an exchange between the living world and that of tradition, between the follower and the Gods.

There you have it. Be more eclectic. Be more like neopaganism. Be more egalitarian; even when it comes to our relationships with the gods. And the best part? It all comes from the outside-in; “Many pagans see that this could come…”. This is the eclectic neopagan prescription for “saving” Asatru, coincidentally by making Asatru look just like eclectic neopaganism.

This is a prescription for “saving” Asatru by destroying it. Which, of course, is precisely what G&R wants. Anything that is traditionalist, unique, or looks to the past rather than the Glorious Marxist Future, must be crushed. And G&R has the prescription, in the guise of “saving” Asatru from those elements it deems evil. And in so doing, it places all reconstructionists, including the universalists, right in their crosshairs.

So, have fun with that, my uni recon friends.

_____

* The article does conflate reconstructionism with anti-eclecticism, which aren’t necessarily the same thing at all. But let’s just go with it for now.

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