Asatru, Current events, Heathen, Heathentry, Uncategorized

Frith Forge Report

Frith Forge

I get that this is my blog, but sometimes I have to admit, that other peoples words really are more important, and today I am going to share Amanda’s.  She is a friend, a colleague, and one of those amazing women that make Heathenry worth practicing.

What is Frith Forge?

 

Inclusive Heathens/Asatruar gathered from around the world in Werder/Petzow Germany October 5-8, 2017 for our international conference, Frith Forge! Representatives from Germany, USA (including Deitscherei), Norway, Sweden, Denmark, United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland, Spain, France, Switzerland, and the Netherlands attended. Those of us who could attend became (in true frith and friendship) a council of elders, organization leaders and international representatives, Stewards, Clergy, academics, and curious individuals. Discussions were outstanding, highly intelligent, inspiring, joyful, intense, deeply respectful. We created a healthy fertile ground from which future collaboration can grow from robustly and with warm enthusiasm. For me personally Frith Forge was an enriching, magical, deeply meaningful, and transformative experience of the highest magnitude. I am inspired to permanently continue to offer my support and build upon what we have started. Even our most skeptical of guests reported back that it was “mind-blowing”. We created a powerful connection among us that we will nurture with conscious and ongoing collaboration in our “working group” that we may decide to formally establish as an umbrella organization to support inclusive Heathenry/Asatru initiatives. Frith Forge inspired a stronger sense of community and strengthened fruitful collaboration among our inclusive organizations. Frith Forge was not just a one-time event. It is an on-going initiative that supports our inclusive ideals and so much more. Come join us.

 

Organizations/groups formally represented at Frith Forge included:

 

The Troth (USA based/international), primary sponsor. Verein für Germanisches Heidentum e.V (VfGH) (Germany), co-sponsor. Distelfink Sippschaft (USA). Alliance for Inclusive Heathenry (USA). Asatru-EU. Forn Sed Sweden. Eldaring (Germany). Åsatrufellesskapet Bifrost (Norway). Asatru Schweiz (Switzerland). Asatru UK (United Kingdom). Pagan Federation, Deutschland (Germany). Pagane Wege und Gemeinschaften (Germany). Ár nDraíocht Féin (ADF) (USA based/International). 9 Werelden (Netherlands). Nordisk Tingsfællig (Denmark). Ásatrú Ibérica (Spain). The full program can be viewed online at https://events.thetroth.org/frith-forge/2017 also gives summaries of the other excellent presentations and biographies of presenters.

 

The vision of Frith Forge was received more whole-heartedly than I anticipated. Frith Forge was an idea that came out of The Troth’s International Relations and Exchange Program. We wanted to have an international conference. Building on that I envisioned that it should be an international conference among INCLUSIVE Heathen/Asatru organizations and individuals that should meet in frith and build alliances. Once at Frith Forge we gave a lot more power to the impressive shift away from the angst of “You’re doing it all wrong. You’re not the boss of me.” to the frithful and curious tone: “This is how I do it. How do you do it?”. The Asatru-EU and others at the International Asatru Summer Camps had begun that shift prior to Frith Forge. I am so grateful we were able to build upon that foundation. Gods we need more of that in the USA and in online discussions! We need more of that everywhere. Frith Forge was particularly successful in bringing together the inclusive American and European Heathens/Asatruar. In the future I hope to see groups and individuals from more countries able to engage in person.

Though most or all of us in attendance have “been around a while” we all still learned a lot. It may take a little while longer for us to start articulating exactly what it is that we learned. I can’t emphasize enough how inspiring this conference was. I brought with me and shared the concept of “Social Vaccines” that protect us from and reduce implicit and explicit bias. A concept I learned from an amazing woman I work with, Nilanjana “Buju” Dasgupta, Director of Faculty Equity and Inclusion, and Professor of Psychology at The College of Natural Sciences in The University of Massachusetts. Earlier this year I attended her Distinguished Faculty Lecture on the concept of “Social Vaccines” and shared it at the beginning of the Round Table discussions at Frith Forge. In exchange I learned that it worked, the social vaccine and our dreams for Frith Forge worked!

 

From my personal perspective:

 

Frith Forge is probably the most meaningful and worthwhile Heathen/Asatru event I’ve ever been to. Some highlights for me included Diana Paxon’s presentations at Frith Forge. She masterfully described everything I wish I could articulate. Stay tuned for the video of her new presentation “Balancing on the Rainbow Bridge: How to we reconcile ethnic pride, inclusive ideals, and Heathen traditions?”. I am deeply grateful for Haimo Grebenstein’s masterful ritual leadership and work prior to and for Firth Forge and The Sacred Sites Tour of Germany that followed. The rituals were amazing and transformative. Everyone who attended was so interesting and cool 😉! I am grateful for Rob Lusch Schreiwer’s leadership in The Troth. His hospitality and dedication are deeply appreciated. I’m grateful for all of you who supported Frith Forge in person or in spirit from your homes, and those who will continue the work we have done. Looking ahead I’m particularly grateful for Robb Lewis for spearheading the “working group” and potential umbrella organization that is developing from this so that our efforts and connections are nurtured and maintained as effectively as possible.

 

Will there be another?
As Frith Forge should be “rare and special”. Perhaps once every 3 years. Details to be determined.

 

What does this mean for Troth members- or why should the regular individual troth members care- what’s in it for you basically? How can you get involved?

 

You might have attended Frith Forge or will appreciate the videos of Frith Forge presentations that will be posted online. Perhaps you would like to join us online and chat with many of the attendees of Frith Forge and many other Heathens/Asatruar from around the world by joining The Troth’s IREP discussion group on Facebook or join us in person at the International Asatru Summer Camp July 28-August 4, 2018 in Jugendherberge Eifelsteig, Gerolstein, Germany .

 

You might also appreciate reading the recent article in The Atlantic, “What to do when racists try to hijack your religion”. This article mentions Frith Forge and includes interviews with Hilmar Hilmarson, Frith Forge speakers Diana Paxson, Ulrike Pohl, and Karl Seigfried. The article reflects on one of the reasons why we created Frith Forge to begin with. This article also speaks of Karl’s Frith Forge presentation, “A Better Burden Towards a New Asatru Theology” which includes a call for inclusive Heathens to write original theological essays which he will edit and compile into the first international anthology of the public theology of Heathenry.

 

Hopefully soon we will all be benefiting from some books translated into English from other languages and vice versa. This is in ‘the works’ stemming from our Frith Forge working-group. Or maybe you have or will enjoy future tours like the Sacred Sites Tour of Germany. The Troth is always appreciative of volunteers who would like to engage to help us make a difference. If you would like to volunteer you can contact me as The Troth’s Volunteer Coordinator at Volunteers@thetroth.org, or AmandaLH@thetroth.org. I also recommend staying connected using the IREP Facebook group or contacting me directly as Program Coordinator for IREP at IREP@thetroth.org. Let us know what’s going on in your area, and any ideas you would like to see made a reality. Let’s continue to engage in Frith together. Like my new friend Solveig from Germany said: “In a strong community we can ward off heavy storms – like the one that rampaged over our heads (at Frith Forge)”.

 

In Frith and Service,

 

Amanda Leigh-Hawkins

High Rede Member

International Relations and Exchange Program Coordinator

Officer Liaison

Volunteer Coordinator

New Steward for Western MA, NH, VT, ME

www.thetroth.org

 

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Current events, Heathen, Heathentry, Uncategorized

On women, gays, immigrants and others who dared to succeed; calling out the cowards.

Calling out the Cowards

 

You know, the inside of my head is a strange place sometimes, I do understand that.  I am a thoroughly modern man who is deeply and passionately committed to the progress both of our science, and our society.  There is no arguing the fact that the bedrock of my essence would be as home in a water filled slit trench with only my FN at hand and firing arc before me, or telling tales around the fire in a tenth century hall, sword draped on the bench beside me.  Odin forces us to look at ourselves often, and be honest about what we find.  Its a hard habit to break, and causes you to apply the same standards to others.  It makes me look at what people are saying from two distinct points of view.  The modern one hears the words, knows the context and what part of societies dialog each side is spouting.  The ancient one strips away the pretty words, and lays bare the arguments.  Some arguments stand strong, others become farcical, or worse clear lies, when the pretty wrapping and glamour is stripped away, and only the core truths remain.

I look at rhetoric from the left, from the right, from the religious conservatives, from the social activists of so many different stripes and when the glit and glamour is parsed away, there is one common thing left lying on the table, the heart of the majority of all sides arguments.  It lays before me like a turd, and the truth from it rises like a stench.  Fear.

 

Never had I thought there was so much cowardice driving our society.  Cowardice, behind the shouting, behind the screaming, behind the threats.  Not righteous indignation, not a passion for justice, not religious zeal, but pathetic pant-wetting fear.

 

Why?

Freehold Oath Ring

I look at my dog tags, they mark my service, the honours I have won, the duties I have completed, the traditions I shared with all those generations who served in their time before me.  I try to understand how my dog tags could be changed if another person in uniform was a woman, or gay, transgendered.  I hold the stamped aluminum and stainless chain and note no magical changes.  Just to be sure I check my fathers dog tags, and my grandfathers identity disk, and note they are likewise unchanged.  It seems what others are called to serve has no effect on my service at all.    The tags of the women I served with weighed the same, I imagine a number of those I served with were gay, I don’t really know, or care honestly, we were there to do a hard job well, and could give a rats ass who you relaxed with in your down time.  The tags of the gay’s would, I suspect weigh the same as mine almost as if it made no difference at all, these gender and sexuality issues that are supposed to be such a dire threat.  I know for a fact that we had atheists, heathens, pagans, Christians, Muslims, Jews, Sikh, and Hindu, as well as Innu and Aboriginal members.  Oddly enough, that didn’t make a difference either.  It is almost like you have nothing to fear from someone being different from you, it will not lessen your honours, your accomplishments, or your duties if those who won the same through the same efforts were in some particulars different than you.  At the end of the day, we got the same terrible coffee, which we sipped in the same Melmac cups, shivering in the same cold and damp, sharing the same stupid grin because somehow we all chose to be here, and it seemed like a good idea at the time.

 

I look at my arm, still strong, my bank account…….well a lot less so, but the pay going into it is stronger than ever.  I look at women, immigrants, open homosexuals, people of different races and religions than my own succeeding, and I look again.  Oddly enough, my arm is still as strong, my pay still as healthy, it is almost like no amount of success by another person takes anything away from me at all.

Why then the fear?  Why the howling hatred?

 

A woman attains a position that none of the speakers had sought, or were qualified to hold, and whose previous holder not half of them could name, and now suddenly the manhood of every person in the room is threatened by some woman thinking she can serve in a position of power.
Just to be sure, I took a ruler in to the bathroom for my next leak and assured myself that my penis was not actually diminished in any dimension by a woman achieving a high social, political, or economic position. I checked again later when it was in full deployment, and yes indeed the success or failure of women had zero effect on the might, majesty or general sense of fun of my penis.  What then is the fear that seems to grip so many men that a woman succeeds at something other than looking decorative and raising kids?

 

I took a look at those homosexuals we are supposed to be scandalized about.  Not hard, I have lesbian friends, gay friends, and they fall in the married, unmarried categories about as evenly as the straight friends, with a smaller amount being divorced; most likely due to the lower length of time you could be legally married, so I expect the divorce stats will catch up within a generation.

 

I have carried out exhaustive research, and I can only conclude that two lesbians, or gay men having sex in their own bedroom with their own spouses in no way affects my sex life with my wife.  Not for better or for worse, its almost like its none of anyone’s bloody business, any more than what is going on in the bedrooms of my heterosexual neighbors.

 

Why the fear?  Why the terror that “gays are getting married”.  Unless you are a member of that community and your fear is that you lack formal wear, or dislike having to thumb through the bridal registry to find an appropriate gift, I really can’t see it affecting you at all.

 

I hear the same bile being spewed by the left, quick to attack any person who can’t tick at least six different boxes in the ethnic/linguistic/gender/orientation/raised by bonobo monkey in vegan commune forms.  Again, so terribly threatened that someone who does not self identify as a transgendered Martian wombat with a gluten allergy might succeed and somehow magically take away……honestly nothing from anyone else.

 

Enough with the cowardice.  Be honest.
Those who are screaming “whore” at a woman for the crime of succeeding in a man’s world do not really think she took their job away.  She took away their excuse.  Her success does not take away a single accomplishment of theirs, she simply makes them afraid to look in the mirror and admit that they are not proud of their own accomplishments at all.

 
The bitching about women in the military, gays in the military blah de blah de freaking civilian COWARD bullshit blah.  Here is the thing, we are an ALL VOLUNTEER force, and we go to war.  People who serve for any length of time lose cartilage, gain arthritis, a series of disorders relating to pushing your body beyond its limits for long periods of time exposed to conditions which are unsafe, and materials that are flat out dangerous.  We get people who come back less than whole, and people that come back draped respectfully in flag draped coffins.

MAIN-MAIN-Nomi-Golan

One female IDF soldier, one crowd of religious fanatics.  One soldier, and the only possessor of functional gonads in the whole crowd.  Literally, there is NO man there her equal.

What we don’t get?  Volunteers.  No seriously.  Recruitment is never keeping up with demand.  Why are you bitching about should women be serving in the combat arms from your sports/titty bar seat.  Did you get your candy ass down to enlist?  No, then shut up.  That woman/gay/trangendered whatever the adjective SOLDIER chose to serve, made of their body, skills, and time, an offering to the nation of their birth, and you didn’t.  You find that when you look in the mirror you feel that seeing a woman, a homosexual, bisexual, transgendered person to whom you would like to feel superior is actually performing to a level higher than you hold yourself to, now makes you look in the mirror and be less impressed with what you see.
Not their problem.  Your problem.  Deal with it, and leave everyone else out of it.

 

You see a woman rising to levels of career success that you didn’t have the skills, the education, the drive, the follow-through to achieve and you look in the mirror and choose not to ask why you didn’t, because it takes courage to face the fact that you just didn’t want it as badly, or didn’t prepare as well, or honestly never thought about stepping outside your comfort zone long enough to risk everything to try.

 

You see women daring to have the same sexual freedom as men, and expecting to be able to share the same level of consequence as those men (who have a 0% accidental pregnancy rate from casual sex), and what?  Do you think them having birth control pills will raise your chance of getting pregnant?  I was raised in the Bible Thumping capital of farm land but frike nowhere, and we did not hold with sexual education classes, or birth control.  No sir, we lead the country in teen pregnancy and had STD rates that made New York’s club districts look safe.   Sex is a constant, consequences are variable.  Disease is unnecessary, generations of teenage mothers dropping out of school to raise the next generation of teenage mothers who will drop out of school is unnecessary.  Poverty, shame, and the horrible treatment of the resulting children are unnecessary.

 

Having a woman choose to make sexual or reproductive choices other than those you would make does not take anything away from the choices you made, except perhaps in your own eyes.   Children make mistakes, adults should be doing their best to make sure they don’t ruin or lose their lives over it.  Teenagers have adult drives, child level experience in making choices, and no the results should not kill them, nor leave them caring for children before they ever had the chance to find out what kind of life they could have made for themselves.

 

Final note on the whole “sacred motherhood” bullshit; I actually do think motherhood is sacred, and yet I have significant experience with how the good “God Fearing” people react to a breast feeding mother, or someone who has to (god forbid) change a diaper.  The pro life crowd only seem to care about embryo’s; they sneer/jeer and even spit on unwed mothers, and are not exactly supportive of mothers or fathers who actually are caring for their babies on either incoming or outgoing ends.

 

One again, it seems that the reality of the birth control question, abortion question, and indeed sexuality questions (LBGT or even just hetero non-monogomous) all boil down to how threatened people feel that someone can dare to chose other than they did.

Fear.  Outright cowardice.

Someone else’s career success, relationship success, family planning choices, spiritual path, and dietary choices have NO AFFECT on me.  They do not take anything away from me.  I don’t lose my ability to enjoy a steak if my boss down the hall is a vegan.  I do not make any less money if the black guy who was born in Trinadad before coming here makes more than me.  I am just as safe when the hands holding the light machinegun are male, female, gay or straight.  All I care about is that they are trained and motivated.

 

Stop giving in to the fear.  Its time to grow up, nut up, and shut up.  Your life is your own, your choices and consequences are your own.  Some people lucked out into better opportunities, and I wish them the best of luck with them, I will play the card’s I am dealt, and play to win.  Some people got a hell of a lot worse starting hand than I did; I didn’t deal it to them, and wish them the best of luck with it.

 

If you are threatened by the happiness of someone else, I don’t care whether it is personal, professional, spiritual, or whatever, you aren’t actually angry at them, you are angry at how their happiness makes you feel about yourself.  A coward will lash out at the person reminding them that they don’t love themselves.  A brave person will look in the mirror, find out what it is about themselves they can’t love or can’t face, and deal with it.

Stop making your fear of your own failures everyone else’s problem.  You aren’t even being honest about who you hate.  Its not that immigrants succeed that scares you, its that you failed.  Its not that a woman succeeds that scares you, it is the truths about why you either didn’t or couldn’t do the same that scare you.  Stop making your fears everyone else’s problem.

 

Live your life, love your choices, own your struggle and be proud of your own journey.  When we sit around the fires, listen to the tales of others and take pleasure in their tales, knowing that they do not take away anything from your own.  Be ready to tell your own in turn, because you chose to make of your life a story you won’t have to be ashamed to tell to anyone.  Be worthy of pride, and you will not fear that anyone else can say the same.  I wish all of you success in your life. I really do.  Your success costs me nothing, your happiness costs me nothing. I wish you long life, success in love, and no I don’t give a rats ass what you look like, or who you love.  It doesn’t matter.  My beard will be as bushy, my arm as strong, my mead as sweet, and my wife as curvy.  Its all good.

Enough with the cowardice, own your own damned lives and quit whining about other peoples.  They are not your problem, and if you had the balls to admit it, you would be dealing with your own problems not creating unnecessary ones for everyone else.
The world gives us enough real struggle, enough real pain, and few enough chances for anything resembling a good outcome.  Stop screwing up what good we have, just because you are terrified to look in the mirror and find that you might not be proud of what you see.  Fix you, leave everyone else to their own struggle; really, they have enough trouble on their own.

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Asatru, Current events, Heathen, Heathentry, Uncategorized

Disaster Relief: The Red Hammer Project

Red Hammer

The Red Hammer Project has been organized by The Troth to allow the Heathen community to come together and act to aid those affected by natural disasters.

It is not enough to pray for people in need, we are Heathens, and our gods and ancestors expect us to match our belief with word and deed, and for that purpose The Troth has established the Red Hammer Disaster relief project.  Beginning with Hurricane Harvey and Irma, and the wildfires that are burning through much of the Pacific Northwest, both in Canada and the United States, the Red Hammer is collecting funds to distribute to the groups on the ground administering aid to those in need.

 

Think globally but act locally is the spirit in which the Troth has long been organized, and with that in mind we are working with our local members to determine who is best addressing their needs on the ground and making sure those agencies receive the aid money we collect.

As Heathens, we are not the majority population in any region, but we are proud members not only of our larger Heathen community but of our local communities as well, their needs are our needs, their pain is our pain.  We do not look to target our aid towards our Heathen members, but to all in the affected communities.  Where the need is greatest is where the Hammer will be felt.

Through the Red Hammer you can be part of coming together with other Heathens to help in the face of the disasters facing us, using the collective strength of the community to make a real difference.  You are also able to determine how that aid will be directed, as once you follow the donation link

 

 

https://thetroth.org/donate.html

 

You will be offered the choice between

 

For Harvey relief: Choose “Harvey Disaster Relief Fund “Red Hammer”” option. All funds go to Harvey.

 

For Irma and Wildfire relief: “Disaster Relief Program Donations (other than Harvey).” These funds will be split in half at the end of the drive between those affected by the wildfires of the Pacific Northwest (Canada and US) and victims of Hurricane Irma.

 

Thor is the defender of mankind, it is his strength as symbolized by his mighty hammer Mjolnir which defends our lands from the Jottun of fire, ice, and storm.  We ask his aid and his prayers, but we do not pray for what we to not also work for.  Our people in the south and in the north are in need, there are people displaced from their homes, whose homes and livelihoods are destroyed.  We ask the gods for their support, but we take this opportunity to come together as a community and show our own support.
The Red Hammer is a tool for the Heathen community to come together and act to aid those in our communities who are suffering from natural disasters.  There will be more disasters that will fall upon our far-flung folk in the future, and they will find the Red Hammer again raised in protection.

I urge those who are able to give as they can, those who are in areas affected by disasters please give us your feedback about who is on the ground providing you aid and support so that those hands doing the most for your community can have our support in the doing.  For those who are not able to support at this time, I ask that you simply remember when the next disaster arises that you have an avenue open where your contribution can not only make a difference, but make it clear to the larger community that this aid comes from the Heathens in their community.  Let the larger community not only receive the aid we have always given as individuals, but let them see that this aid comes from the Heathen community, to promote a better understanding of the part we have always played in our local communities.

Thor defender

 

 

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Asatru, Current events, Faith, Heathen, Heathentry, Pagan, Uncategorized

Where were Odin’s Soldiers during the Vancouver Protest?

20170819_130249.jpg

You may have heard much about the “Soldiers of Odin” who were supposed to be leading the anti-immigration rally at Vancouver city hall.  Well there were ravens in the sky, taking in the 4000 plus of us who marched for a diverse and accepting Canada, so Odin was free to see where his children were and what they were up to.

In this picture is Team #3, one of four teams that roamed the crowd dealing with any safety or health issues that cropped up.  This was my team.  We were mixed in genders, races, religions; united by two things, a support for a diverse and accepting Canada, and a high level of Industrial First Aid training.

On our teams you found many actual soldiers and sailors, those whom Odin would know from their oaths of service, and from their times standing into danger for their folk. In the crowd I found many fellow Heathens, and fellow pagans whom Odin would likewise know from their devotions to the holy gods.

Our first aid teams were organized by pure volunteers, as was the rally.  The drive was to be the best hosts we could be for the crowd, and the best guests we could for City Hall, its grounds, and the wights of the land itself.  You could not ask for a group that better understood Odin’s laws of hospitality and the keeping of Frith.  Tyr himself would have blessed this with the Peace of the Thing, for the organizers did not send out teams of enforcers to confront the pathetically outnumbered dozen alt-right protesters, but teams of de-escalators, whose job was to keep confrontations verbal, and as civil as possible, to keep the frith.  They do not know the word, but Odin does not care if you know the word, nor Tyr or Freyr, they know only that you lived it, that you offered it, that you paid the price to keep it.

Half my first aid calls had to do with sweet Sunna, our beloved sun goddess shining down with such love that many, especially the old or young, were overcome.  No traumatic injuries, not a single fall from scuffle, or bruised from blow was to be found.

Saga would smile at the speakers who shared their stories, and Frigga understand how the coming together of  new Canadians, born Canadians, indigenous Canadians to share in our common vision of a diverse and welcoming society, unwilling to bend to fear, but likewise brave enough to choose peace when we outnumbered a belligerent and disrespectful foe over three hundred to one wove another fresh layer of unity into the fabric of Canadian society.  We chose to educate, rather than eradicate, to provide an example of frith, rather than a cheap exercise in fury.

Our Protest2Our Protest

The so called “Soldiers of Odin” may have been almost undetectable, but there were veterans of all races, proudly sporting their colours; not of skin or ethnicity, but of their service, and the pride they took in defending the freedoms that we this day proved we were worthy to inherit.

Old veterans of WWII and Korea, Vietnam, UN Peacekeeping, Afghanistan, all the wars that Odin has seen our finest fall from in living memory were represented by the proud men and women who made it clear where the soldiers stood, and what the Canada their brethren fought and died for looked like.

I saw priests and priestesses from our local Pagan and Heathen community, exchanged greetings and blessing with Christian and Buddhist clergy who recognized my Thor’s hammer as a sign of Asatru and were unsurprised to see us in the front lines defending diversity.

I saw the token protesters of the anti-immigration force all boasting Trump campaign wear; can you grasp how much this encapsulates the stupidity of their position?  This is Canada, the signs telling us Trump is our President would make sense about two hours south of us, where you would be standing in the United States.  They actually have presidents, and Trump holds that office.  We are in Canada, we have Prime Ministers, and Justin Trudeau holds that office at the moment.  How stupid do you look telling us that all Canadians should be anti-immigration because some they are stupid enough to think some foreigner holding some foreign office has moral authority here.  That is a bit like saying that you have to paint your bathroom red because the next door neighbor hates blue.  So what?  Not his house, not his call.  Terrible colour for a bathroom anyway.

The single most Canadian sentiment of the day is this

Canadian Commentary

“The Alt right can suck my left nut.”  Damned straight.  That is the single most perfect encapsulation of the Canadian response to extremists of any stripe.  If you are a far left radical, you may be invited so suck my right nut, but the sentiment will be the same.

I saw a number of Americans who had come to Canada because of the rise of extremism in their own country, and we heard from refugees from Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East about their experiences with the costs of extremism when unopposed.  We were also reminded by our indigenous Canadians that our own nation has indeed walked that path in the past as well, that it was a long journey to make this country what it is today, and that the scars of that journey are not born evenly by all who live in this nation.  This is not said as an attack against those of us who were descended from immigrants, but as a caution that we should not take our immunity for granted, it is a new and hard won thing we must both cherish and defend.

I ask the blessings of my strong gods and mighty goddesses upon all of those who gathered peacefully, especially those who gave of their strength and skill, of their patience and wisdom to make sure that all guests were treated with respect, cared for and protected.

There were Odin’s soldiers all through the crowd, those who served at one time under arms, and those who simply did his work unknowing as they kept his laws of hospitality so well none in my own community who know the letter of them could be said to do better.

A special thanks is owed to the Vancouver City Police, they worked with our first aid teams to make sure that we had good communication and access, developed and communicated plans for dealing with casualty evacuation as well as I have ever seen done with officially sanctioned events, which this was not.

The VPD may not like protests, but they did a hard job well, acting to make sure the peace was kept, public safety was maintained, but without making the event in any way more difficult.

I don’t know how the media will spin this event; gods knows military service taught me to believe the press have little contact with reality as experienced by any other observer, as their reports frequently have little to do with events as experienced by anyone else at them, but from my own experience on the ground it was a joyous, peaceful, frithful gathering that I am proud to have been a part of.  My first aid patch now resides on my altar before Odin’s icon, for he will know it as an offering in his service.

Oppose1 (2).jpg

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Asatru, Current events, Heathen, Heathentry, Uncategorized

Just a Citizen

 

Protest

I will admit to a great deal of embarrassment.  I am about to attend a protest march for the first time, and I admit to a real sense of ambivalence towards the idea.  I am not Antifa, I honestly have always been much more comfortable standing with the Canadian Forces providing security against civil disorder than with anything resembling political activism of any stripe.  I am not a radical political person by any means; I don’t like the far left, their simplistic idealism places ideas above people, and deny the harsh realities that adults have to consider because real leadership, like real parenting requires you to deal with the world as it is, not as it ought to be.  I don’t like the far right because while I would love to be conservative, I find the absolute willingness of the hard right to narrow the question of rights so that only their own rights seem to matter, usually to the point that the rights of others, especially those not as rich, white, straight, or male as their ideal, seem to disappear completely.  Again, the far right, like the far left seems to place ideology above people.  I kind of put people first. I never had an ideology stop to help my family when we needed it, never had an ideology join me in bailing out someone in trouble, never saw an ideology reach across the table and try not to remain strangers; pretty much anything worth doing has been done by people, and the worst things done to people have been in the name of ideologies.

 

In Charlottesville Virginia we saw the “alt-right” march, with the nazi banners flying proudly alongside the Confederate battle flag, and various white power flags incorporating corrupted versions of their national flag, some even with our holy runes on them, polluting our faith symbols as badly as the national flags whose ideals they piss on with their hatred.  It ended with deliberate murder, because that is where hatred usually ends, and violence is the tool by which the minority attempt to coerce the majority into tolerating the will of extremists.  That is the thinking that gave us the Taliban, and Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia; extremist ideology, where human rights and dignity mattered nothing at all, and where the price of remaining silent was illustrated so very well for all who cared to look.

 

I joined the Canadian Armed Forces back in 1988, a young man following in the footsteps of my father and grandfather, who had served in their times and their wars.  I was raised valuing the freedoms of a Canadian citizen, and steeped in the duties of citizenship.

I listen to the anti-immigrant rhetoric of our own alt-right organizers, and I hear the echoes of Gobels.  I see the use of our freedoms to allow the rise and spread of ideologies that seek to attack those freedoms from within, that seek to restrict those freedoms to the right sort (read straight white male sort) of people.  I hear the ideologies that produced the sort of war torn shitholes that the Canadian Forces sent those like me who strove to keep the peace in failed states across this globe, and I know exactly where those pretty sounding ugly words lead, where the tolerance of that kind of intolerance leads.

 

I looked in the mirror and could not believe that I was looking at someone who was going to be a protester.  I have to admit, I have made more jokes than I can count about the people who run around protesting every public decision they disagree with.  I have defended the rights of people to do just that, but always with the understanding that I found it a little silly as a means of deciding public policy.

Then the violence escalated.

Ah.  Well, that changes things.

When Islamic terrorists detonated a bomb in the London Underground system, North Americans were surprised that when it reopened the system was slowed because of record ridership.  The simple fact is, the response of the British people to a terror attack was to simply and quietly show they could not be moved by fear.  In response to an attack on their transit system, people who usually drove chose to use the transit system simply to show they could not be driven by the fear of extremists.  That is the action of a citizenry that deserves the freedoms they inherit.

 

I look at the “alt-right” and their increasing claims to having silent support among average Canadians (that would be me), and I look at the escalation of violence they have chosen to embrace, the descent into street thuggery that was the tactic of the Fascist movements of the thirties, and I remember the point.  The alt right wishes to steal the voice of conservative citizens, and wishes to silence the voice of moderate citizens, wishes to use fear to suppress all dissent.  They wish to tell us who may be and may not be a citizen in this great nation, based on their opinions of race and religion.  This generation they have chosen to demonize the Muslim, as it was the Jew in the 1930’s, because they think that they can get support for their hate filled agenda if they build up an enemy in our minds we will give up our freedoms for protection from.

Not happening.

I was a soldier, so honestly fear doesn’t work on me.  When I was young and had no experience with wounds I was not moved by fear.  At this point I have survived things that generally kill people often enough to have ceased to be all that impressed by them, and have grown to love my country and its culture not like a newlywed with a bride he sees through rose coloured glasses, but like an old man who simply cannot imagine anyone else ever being right for him.  Canada isn’t perfect, but it isn’t shaped by hate or fear, and it won’t be.

 

I will be marching in the counter protest.  I come bearing my first aid kits, working with others who have similar first aid training to make sure that anyone who is injured receives prompt and effective care. I will be there to stand up for the Canada that I believe in, I will be there to show that fear will never rule here, and I will be wearing my Mjolnir, my Hammer of Thor, because while the street gang “Soldiers of Odin” may like to pretend to be heathen, the actual Heathen community has always been about inclusion, tolerance, and peaceful coexistence.

There are hateful people of every race and religion, there are really worthy citizens in every race and religion too; and the latter outnumber the former by a large degree. Muslim extremists no more represent the average Muslim Canadian than those neo-Nazi racists represent the average white Canadian.  Its not enough to say that though, you kind of have to show it.  Its not enough to sit back and shake your head at the marching racists, you kind of have to stand up and take to the streets to show they don’t speak for you, don’t represent you, and most of all, do not intimidate you.

 

The press and the alt right will try to label all of us who march as Antifa activists.  Sorry.  Not true.  We are just ordinary citizens who are tired of the wilful promotion of hatred.  We are tired of fear being used to stir up strife in our communities, tired of the endless attempts to replace peaceful debate with mindless screaming of slogans.

 

When you see the pictures of the event, you will see protesters.  That is funny, I would have as well.  Hard to admit after all these years that I may have been wrong so often, but I have to.  We will be keeping the peace, we will be looking after each other, and even after the racists, should one of them become injured, because that is what good people do.

When you look at the pictures and laugh as you see just another group of protesters you will be just as wrong as I was.  We are not; not really.  We are just citizens.  We are just citizens, and we are taking back our country.

Oppose the Racists in Vancouver

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Asatru, Current events, Faith, Heathen, Heathentry, Uncategorized

A gift for a gift

Hail to Ben Waggoner for starting this.

Suitable for stowage in battledress field uniforms, or tuck in any of your rucksack compartments to deploy with you.  With any that you purchase for yourself one will be donated either to Prison Inreach to fight the spread of hate inside the prisons and promote rational, non-racist heathenry, or gifted to one of our Heathen service men and women who are fighting for all of our freedoms to practice as we believe.

These are NEW and ORIGINAL translations of Hávamál and of Rígsthula by Ben himself!————–We have the honor and pleasure to announce that the Troth has just released a pocket-sized edition (4.25” x 6.88”, or 108 x 175 mmm) of the complete Hávamál, in a new translation. At only 52 pages, it’s small enough to tuck…

via NEW and ORIGINAL Hávamál and Rígsthula Translations — The Troth Blog

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Current events, Faith, Heathen, Heathentry, Uncategorized

Dog days of Democracy

Freehold Oath Ring

They call them dog tags, and we who wear them understand the irony of the situation.  Dog tags are worn by the defenders of the state, the soldiers who serve the people, but who take their orders and direction from a group of entitled elites who occupy the houses of the people, and conduct themselves not as the servants of the public, but as the lords on high.

That is fine.  Democracy does not reward the tellers of truth, so the houses of the people are filled with those who seek power by any means necessary.  Some few are crusaders for one cause or another, not all of those crusaders are in any way safe, sane, or helpful to the state, but at least they are not simply for sale as the rest of them are.  The mix of the mercenary, visionary and fanatic float in a sea of institutionalized corruption where it is actually impossible to determine where the legitimate political process and press ends, and criminal behaviour begins.  Oddly enough, some of the worst actions are legal, and some of the illegal ones ought to be praiseworthy.  This is Democracy, it’s a shitty system whose only redeeming feature is it actually sucks slightly less hard then everything else we have tried.

Today in our fair north, our politicians are busy stealing from the dogs, we who bleed to defend the freedom of our people to reward those who screw all of us who risk our lives so that the many can be kept safe by a few their leaders continue to stab in the front, the back, the pocketbook, the home, and family; in between posing at the memorials for our dead and praising the deeds of those they screw with every stroke of the budget pen.

Today in our sunny south, our politicians cheer and pat themselves on the back as they strip health care from tens of millions of their citizens, make it possible to charge the elderly even more than before, defund planned parenthood, while at the same time allowing insurance companies to not cover women for pre-existing conditions ranging from rape to C-sections.  Don’t worry, those who make more than a quarter million dollars per year (after all allowable deductions) will no longer bear the terrible burden of paying a few percent towards the cost of millions of their poorer citizens health care costs, so I guess that is worth cheering for right?  Women, the elderly, the injured, sick, or unemployed should be thankful that the richest among us will no longer be burdened by their needs to stay alive.

Around the necks, to the north and the south hang the dog tags of those men and women who stand in the defense of their nations, offering their blood, sweat, and tears to the governments that increasingly seem utterly unburdened by the need to defend anything but their own agenda.

No one accuses the wearers of the dog tags of intelligence.  When we speak of the dogs who share our homes, or the dog-tag wearing soldiers the kind speak with reverence, the privileged with amusement at the dogged loyalty of the uniformed defenders of their nations.  Loyalty is not actually stupidity, although it would be stupidity indeed were we to expect a matching loyalty from our leadership, a matching commitment to our people from our elected leaders.  Most of us are not actually stupid enough to do so, but it is not FOR the leaders we serve.  We serve for the people.

You remember the people?  Our legislators seldom do.  We serve, some give up their lives, and most give up their health as we expend ourselves in the service of the land of our birth, because our people are actually worthy of that service.

In Canada, our leaders are busy punishing their loyal guardians for the twin crimes of being too loyal to rebel, and bound by law not to speak out.  Sucks to be a soldier right now in the north, but we actually have it better.  In the US, the soldiers get to sit back and watch their leadership condemn millions of the people they signed up to defend to death, so the same rich assholes who generally send the soldiers overseas to die to enforce an economic hegemony that benefits only those same rich assholes, can save a few percent by not paying their share of the health care that would allow the less well off to also be covered.

It is a sad time to be wearing dog tags, as neither nation particularly seems to be worthy of the service of its defenders right now.  It doesn’t matter.  Soldiers, like dogs, are renowned for their faithfulness in serving their masters, whether they are actually worthy of that service or not.

Right now it really helps to remember you are there to serve the people, because those who sit in the houses of the people, those who call themselves public servants while serving only their own political ideologies and not their folk, are a far cry from being worthy of the service of the least of our soldiers.

Somehow all this is supposed to anchor neatly in Christian theology, as the same leader in the US freed the churches to openly (and tax deductably) play politics.  I don’t get it myself.  I am just a poor Heathen, and figure Christ would be shitting a crucifix at what was just done in the US.  My own lore looks at the question of taxing the rich and looking after the sick a little differently than the Republican reading of Christianity.  From the Havamal:

39. If wealth a man | has won for himself,
Let him never suffer in need;
Oft he saves for a foe | what he plans for a friend,
For much goes worse than we wish.

40. None so free with gifts | or food have I found
That gladly he took not a gift,

Nor one who so widely | scattered his wealth
That of recompense hatred he had.

70. It is better to live | than to lie a corpse,
The live man catches the cow;
I saw flames rise | for the rich man’s pyre,
And before his door he lay dead.

71. The lame rides a horse, | the handless is herdsman,
The deaf in battle is bold;
The blind man is better | than one that is burned,
No good can come of a corpse.

Gods knows I am not a politician, and my leadership has always been on the small unit scale, where loyalty, commitment, and success of mission was more important than appearance and dogma.  Perhaps it is different in the higher strata of power; because from down here among the actual people, it looks a lot like a leadership in both halves of North America that has little to no comprehension of who they serve, or what the honour that supposedly justifies their personal glory and power is supposed to look like.

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