Asatru, Heathen, Heathentry, Pagan

Deplatforming Sex Workers; Shame not Safety

The Oldest Profession, is generally a phrase used to describe prostitution, or sex work. In all honesty, there are two oldest professions, young women (and boys) could sell their body for sex as prostitutes, and young men could sell their bodies for combat as soldiers. Those rich old bastards with the political and economic power exploited those without for whatever their bodies were most useful for.

This managed to last from the stone age into our modern times with little changes save for the specifics of the transaction, and how much danger the exploited were exposed to. I was a soldier to pay my way through school. For a few years I dated a stripper who was using that summer job to put herself through school. I served the CF, and they pimped us out to the UN. Of the two of us, one left with a body less than intact, with anger issues relating to trauma, serious issues with how we were used. The other was her.

Funny, she was the one described as selling herself, yet she is the one whose hands, and conscience were clean. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the result of good marketing. Society teaches us to accept being the product, the expendable resource for those who find us economically and politically useful.

Now we come to the modern age. Prostitution, pornography, sex work in all forms has always turned women into commodities, and a great deal of money has been made off them. Now comes first Tumblr, and then OnlyFans. These platforms allowed women to shift from being simply the product, to being the content producers.

No one was angered that pornography existed, banning pornography and prostitution has always been about making sure sex workers were properly kept in their place, persecuted and poor. This has consistently exposed them to routine abuse, and made them the natural target of everyone looking to kill human beings who won’t be missed.

No, the conservatives lost their minds, and dropped their masks when the sex workers moved from being the exploited product, to being the content creators. The women were safe, financially secure, and generating content that was no longer message controlled by an industry with a very firm idea of the message they were to market. The LGBTQ+ community flourished in these spaces. An acceptance for different body types, gender identities, gender expressions, sexual orientations flowered. The sex positive culture weakened the traditional mass market pornography selling a body image that agreed with the diet, makeup, fashion industries unnatural body stylings.

Sex positive women, sex workers, LGBTQ+ people and those of non traditional gender expressions built the communities and the economic success of Tumblr and OnlyFans. In return, the received a safe space, community, affirmation, and economic control of their own content.

Apple gave Tumblr the choice, remove porn or lose being supported on the Apple platforms. The banks gave OnlyFans a choice, remove porn or lose banking services.

Let’s be clear. NO ONE is looking to shut down Pornohub, or the thousands of industrial pornographic producers who are still selling young women as product, where big business reaps the profit and they workers just get fucked, literally and financially. The only ones being shut down are the sites where sex workers had agency, had physical safety, had financial security, and the full choices about what they would choose to do for money.

I hear a lot of “stop child trafficking” bullshit from the right wing. I call it bullshit because they are the ones creating the shadows, and driving sex work into those shadows, that allow, empower and protect the sex traffickers and expose the sex workers to nothing but abuses and predation.

Europe has looked at sex work and decided to reduce the harm. They brought sex workers into the light, into full protection as workers. Those nations chose to accept that prostitution or sex work was never going to go away, but the drugs, the diseases, the coercion, sex trafficking, physical abuses, could be eliminated.

Can you get rid of sex trafficking of minors, of the women kidnapped into the lifestyle when all sex work is driven into the shadows? Hundreds of years of law enforcement have given us the answer; no. Can you get rid of those same abuses when you bring the sex workers into the light? Yes. Take the haystack away and needles aren’t too hard to find. Keep the needles in the haystack and no, we can’t ever find enough to matter.

Corporate conservatives are not opposed to sex work, they are opposed and actively at war, with women being economically secure sex content producers, not economically oppressed carefully marketed product. The Conservative church, conservative politicians, and conservative big businesses have always supported keeping women and vulnerable underage boys, available for their use, without any protection or choice in their use, on the streets and in the shadows where they were aware they were always and only product to be consumed. The “scandals” of the abuses of these sectors with vulnerable sex workers, frequently underage have been so common for as long as I was alive they really have to be spectacular to even make the news. They don’t want to get rid of it, they want the sex workers to remain vulnerable, without physical or economic security.

You know what? No.

We are in an age when you do not need a movie studio, a printing press, a network of film distributors to get your product to market. Musicians, authors, and content creators of all kinds have taken advantage of this freedom from the mass market limitation to get messages corporate America doesn’t wish to sell us out there. Music that would never have been given radio play are now building support bases and fan bases that make a paying career possible. Authors telling stories that were not ever going to get funding for mass printing, or big budget film are building their own following, and economic support for telling the stories about characters that were not the same crap we have been offered for the last hundred years. Heroes and heroines of every body type, every racial background, gender expression and sexual orientation. No longer were we limited to the stories the Industry wanted to sell us, now we could find stories about our own communities, stories we could see ourselves reflected in.

At the same time, sex workers were given the same chance, the chance to step outside the exploitive industry that turned them into product, while denying them any creative control, or any chance of economic survival if they dared to express limits on what they would participate in. Sex workers became the content creators. Less exploitive porn, every body type, and every gender expression and sexual orientation were able to create sex positive spaces where they could explore their own joys.

Now Corporate America has spoken, they want to end this freedom. They want sex workers back in their place as product. They want shame, they want exploitation, they want physical risk, disease, and police harassment to again be the daily lot of the sex worker. They want the sex content, they just don’t want the women to profit, they want them only as product.

I am a Heathen. I don’t get the whole Christian hatred of sex workers. I read their book, and I have a sneaking suspicion that if Jesus Christ were to walk into any of the churches I have seen during a bible thumping speech drumming up hatred against sex workers that they would have the ever loving crap slapped out of them by their dear lord. He did once tell a man who tried to body shame a woman for arousing him that if he thought sinful thoughts looking at her to rip the eye out of his head. It was his issue, not hers. That was Jesus, so where his priests get their misogyny from is an interesting question, and not my problem.

Being Heathen, we have the example of Freya, a goddess with sexual agency she wields at her will and no others in defiance of any social convention in blissful unconcern. She was equal in power to Odin and had zero concern for other peoples reactions to her sexual freedoms. What are her thoughts on Tumblr and Onlyfans sex workers? I would have to say that she would bless their embracing their sexual nature, their power, and making a strong independent life on their own terms. Choosing to make a life they can be proud of, rather than accepting the will and judgement of others as to what they could or could not do with their body.

There is something so pathetic about the drive to deplatform sex workers in Tumblr and Onlyfans. It isn’t about stopping porn. It is about stopping sex workers from ever daring to see themselves as producers, as workers deserving of dignity, physical and economic security, rather than just product to be exploited for the profit of others.

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Aesir, Asatru, Current events, Heathen, Heathentry, Uncategorized

Tears on the Flag

215 unidentified Aboriginal students found in mass grave in Kamloops BC Residential School

Forgive me if upon the day I cannot raise the cry
I cannot sing the shining praise
Nor raise my banner high
The mother of our land is weeping
Heavy are her tears
The dead are crying in their graves
Hidden all these years

To all of us who marched away
Made war under her name
Her tears demand to know
Who stood on guard
For my first born
When you stood on guard for me?

I love our nation best of all
I am her proudest son
Yet I hear her weeping for her first born
Those we stole and threw away
You cannot raise the banner high
When it flies on unmarked graves
Her tears will keep that banner furled
Until we give justice to their name

Our nation is a promised land
A land so strong and free
Yet we built it on the broken bones
Of little children we took away

Forgive me if I cannot sing
The anthem on the day
Not when so many bones are screaming
In their unmarked graves

The day will come we raise the flag
Salute again with pride
But first we must bring justice
For all the innocents who died

Our motherland weeps on the banner
For her firstborn cast aside
Until we make it right with them
We have no right to pride

An Aboriginal child taken into the Canadian Residential School program was more likely to die than a Canadian Armed Forces Soldier in WW2

I will not be celebrating Canada Day this July 1st. I will be pouring out my offerings to the hundreds of Aboriginal Canadians ripped from their families, murdered, and thrown away in mass unmarked graves in a program that ran into the 1990’s, under the auspices of the Canadian government, the Catholic and Anglican Churches.

We made a successful attempt to kill an entire group of cultures, languages, and ways of life. We set out to destroy family structures, community structures, traditional beliefs, and we didn’t care how many Aboriginal children had to suffer or die as long as whatever remained was only capable of speaking English or French, only capable of praying to Jesus.

We didn’t care if they got sick, got beaten, got raped. We didn’t care if they simply got taken away and forgotten. The forgotten are being found as today’s technology is capable of finding the sins of the past we buried in unmarked mass graves that we like to pretend belong to Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia. They are Canadian. We did this. We were doing this while most of us were alive, and the survivors of this are all around us, continuing to be treated far worse by our criminal justice system and social services.

We live in the richest society on earth, with a constitution and charter of rights and freedoms that calls upon us to fulfill the dream of a society in which all are treated equally and well, no matter their race, religion, gender, or orientation. Yet not everyone gets to be part of this dream, those who were here first, those who welcomed our ancestors to this land now have communities that are so poor and bereft of the services that all of us take for granted they look like they should be on some other continent, not a short drive down the highway. We have the harsh statistics that show being born Aboriginal is to never be treated fairly by our social safety net or criminal justice system. We have mass graves of a cultural genocide that was willing to accept actual genocide as the cost of wiping out Aboriginal culture.

I love my country, but I will not celebrate it until we have made this right. We made a promise with our constitution, with our Charter of Rights and Freedoms that whatever we may have been when we were founded, we came together to demand something better, something fair, just, and harmonious.

I won’t salute those colours again until I see us live up to that broken promise, until those mass graves have seen justice done, when the survivors who have had their culture, their family and community structure stolen away have received our aid in rebuilding.

When the motherland no longer weeps for her first born children lying forgotten in unmarked graves, I will salute the colours again. Until then, the flag hangs heavy with the tears of the motherland, and the dead lie awaiting justice in the cold earth that was the only homeland we left them.

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Aesir, Asatru, Heathen, Heathentry

My Father Told Me

I guess everyone has heard the song (My Mother Told Me) from the Vikings, but it got stuck in my head and I began to think about what my father actually told me (what my mother told me is neither printable nor useful).

My Father Told Me

My father told me
One day I would die
All that I had won
Left upon the dirt

When the challenge sounds
Be the one who stands
Give your all to the battle
Blood will wash you clean
Time will make you whole
It won’t make you forget

My father told me
One day I would fail
All that I had fought for
Would look on me with shame

When work is still to do
Be the one who stands
Give your all to the doing
No one has to cheer
Love is paid with duty
Rest is for the dead men

My father told me
One day he would die
All that he had won
Would live on in me

When I see my children
I see my father’s eyes
Boldly striding forth
Charging into the future
No fear will hold them
No fear will hold them

—The song got stuck in my head some time ago, and it is a good work song. Problem with good work songs with lyrics of meaning it you start working on the meaning in the part of your brain that is not busy working.

My father did teach me a lot about killing, but that was mostly about making sure I stayed alive to get to the important stuff he paid good coin to learn. The things he taught that mattered the most are these;

It costs you more to look in the mirror and wonder why you didn’t step up, than it costs to step up and get hurt, or even dead.

One day you will fail, when you can’t afford to. You will screw up the thing you would have given everything to protect. You STILL have work to do, if you aren’t dead, you don’t get to stop and feel sorry for yourself. Get back to work, and feel sorry for yourself while doing your duty.

No thing you earn, no title, no land you hold, no gold, no lover will matter after your last breath. What will is those you leave behind. What you give to them in time, in care, in protection, in power, in resources and in love are the only things death can’t take from you.

Remember that when you choose. You don’t get to fix it when they don’t need you anymore.

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Aesir, Asatru, Heathen, Heathentry, Pagan

Echoes of Walpurg

The drum beat is a hearts last flutter
The hot splash of tears upon cold stone
Somewhere in the dying echo
Of the scream of heartbreak

The song haunts the silences
Where your desperate panting quiets
Where the last sob dies aborning
Where you cannot raise your cheek from the floor

Behind the silence I hear you
Behind the darkness I see
At the edge of nothingness you whisper
Messages of madness
The sickness of hope

Roaring in my anger
Laughing in my glory
Yet I pause as if stricken
By a whisper behind the thunder

Sobbing in the ashes
Eyes wept dry and sightless
Yet raised in wonder
As patterns write themselves in ashes

Behind the silence I hear you
Behind the darkness I see
At the edge of nothingness you whisper
Messages of madness
The sickness of hope

Catskin gloves in shadow
Fearsome in the firelight
Song old before man spoke first
Weaves between the darkness and the night

Her voice in rapture sounds
In the bones of the waking earth
More terrible than death
More merciful than life

–Hail Freya. Your voice sounds in the depth of the earth, and whispers in the song of our blood for those with the ears to hear, and the courage to be still to listen.

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Aesir, Asatru, Heathen, Heathentry, Pagan

Spring Thoughts

The Christians say the Devil
Is in their sinful shaft
But being a mighty Heathen
Their trouble is but a half

Frey is in my penis
Just bursting with pride and joy
But Loki’s in my left nut
Just waiting to deploy

Tyr is in my left hand
And he’s done me nothing wrong
But Odin’s in my right
Groping whatever comes along

Freya rules the lips that smile
And the dancing of the tongue
Somehow she never does regret
The trouble or the fun

Frigg is in my eyes though;
In the echoes of my mind
Reminding me I am the one
Deciding what is done

I walked among the tombstones
I hauled away the dead
But because the gods are with me
Pretty women still turn my head

Goddess Easter
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Aesir, Asatru, Heathen, Heathentry, Pagan

When the ancestors answer “Well, shit.”

It is a ritual I have done a number of times, a source of aid I have turned to enough times that I had somehow managed to forget that “the ancestors” were people, and while as a collective entity possess wisdom beyond their living limits, our ability as a species to create truly new and epic problems is one of the reasons the gods themselves haven’t grown bored with us and found a new game.

I had a question. It’s a family thing and honestly none of anyone else’s business so I shan’t be sharing its particulars right now. What is important is that it was a bit of a sticky question, the sort of thing that I could honestly have used some direction on.

I turned to the ancestors for their wisdom, and I got it, but what I got was not what I had hoped for. What I got honestly caused me to burst out laughing from my sleep, then sink into a deep cold depression. A few cups of coffee later I had two things; a much better appreciation of the problem, and a new understanding of the ancestors.

I laid out my problem to my ancestors for their guidance. What I got was first a look at the problem, then a whole bunch of colouring in around the bits I either had glossed over for reasons of embarrassment, or had forgotten to include for reasons of incompetence. Then I got a view of a couple of real land mines along what I had thought were possible routes to solutions that first, I had no clue were there, and second, were way beyond my ability to keep from going off, or defend from the attendant damage.

Then I got a very clear message. “Well, shit.”

My ancestors truly did grace me with a far better understanding of the problem. It wasn’t as bad as I thought, it was actually worse, as I seemed to have managed to overlook a few things from either optimism, or fear of admitting I was this far into the land of no good options and striding forward.

Their response quite simply was shining the light of their collective knowledge and experience on my situation, allowing me not the glimpse of the bad things my little flashlight of insight picked up on its own, but the whole glorious field of FUBAR the full shining moon of ancestral wisdom revealed. The verdict? Well, shit.

Sometimes you don’t get a pat on the head. Sometimes you don’t get a magic “get out of mistake” free card. Sometimes you get your faint fear that you may well be a$$hole deep in alligators replaced with the clear and unequivocal wisdom of your sacred, and not so sacred ancestors; “you are actually balls deep in the Daintree river, and those are five meter salt water crocodiles. By the way, they seem really interested in you. I hope you are luckier than bright.” Good information, not so much with the helpful, but good to know.

They were people. They are part of a wonderful collective of our dead and thus with a store of knowledge and wisdom that makes some of their earthly decisions seem harder to explain, but they are pretty much made of the same stuff that we are. Human problems are not like godly problems; ours are way worse.

Seriously. We can screw up anything. Any parent of a bright child will understand that intelligence doesn’t prevent stupid decisions, it changes the pallet of bad decisions from one or two, to twenty or thirty choices so spectacularly bad that actual stupid people would not be able to think of them. Human problems are like the pain scale, we are continually redefining the ten, redefining the stupidest possible. We are the brave frontier of bad decisions, and our ancestors, while proud somehow we keep managing to breed before succumbing to them, may occasionally be as gobsmacked as we are by the particulars of the strange and utterly new trouble you have created.

Go you! Well done, the ancestors are indeed looking forward to seeing how this plays out.

This would be one of those times to offer to the gods. When your particular luck holder stops laughing, and offers some advice, take it. The laughter? Take that as praise. Our gods track record in stupid choices is something that both allows them to laugh with us, and keeps them from being smug enough to laugh at us.

We offer many things to the gods and ancestors, even unintentionally. If you reach out to your sacred ancestors for aid and get something as disturbing as “Well, shit.”, or “How in the nine worlds did you think that was going to work out?” do not despair. Try very hard not to repeat, but do not despair. They were not that much brighter when they were alive either.

Now back to my regularly scheduled FUBAR. My ancestors are interested to see how it plays out.

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Aesir, Asatru, Death, Heathen, Heathentry, Uncategorized

Hope in Hel

There comes a rider
Eight legs bear him
Like a coffin
On shoulders born

One eye living
One eye gaping
Wide grin showing
Poisoned gifts giving

Hel gates open
For the Feeder of Ravens
To him to gather
Unquiet corpses

Bright gifts I bring you
Stolen from the living
Bright maiden’s yearnings
Proud warrior’s dreaming

He casts before him
Like nine rings falling
A thousand fingers
Corpse cold clawing

Torn and shattered
The scraps uncounted
Yet a taste is given
A hope in Hel

Cold hearts aching
Bare fangs flashing
Torn throats shrieking
Of its bitter taste

The pain awakens
Duties long forsaken
Oaths long shattered
Unquiet lie

To the river of venom
Where memories taken
Where is forgotten
The life long past

At its banks standing
Now silent Draugr
Clutched in their fingers
Cold hope in hell

No fingers open
No hand will cast it
No thing more precious
Than hope in Hel

Cold eyes weeping
Cold hearts beating
Cold memories stirring
Of oaths long failed

When sounds the horn
All Twilight ending
What will it matter?
This faded thing

Who failed while living
Who in harm delighted
Who now has fallen
To hope in Hel?

—-One truth is given us, where there is life, there is hope. Who is not dead is not done, your chance to build your worth, or redress the harm you have done is not lost. Yet too the dead are bound to the living, and to life as well. If the living ride the iron road to Hel for the secrets only they know, what is it the living have that gives them power to change even the unquiet dead, if not hope?

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Aesir, Asatru, Current events, Heathen, Heathentry, Pagan, Yule

Old Fashioned Yule

I know my daughters are doing the decorating thing, and my wife is planning things, buying things, and balancing things between the various friends and daughters so that everyone is looked after. I am rather letting down the side this year because I don’t feel the Yule they do, I feel the old one.

I loved the traditions we built up in our own family around Yule. I love the exchange of gifts, brightening each others lives and showing how much we care for each other. That part is real, that part is magic. That part I am honestly not feeling.

I am looking at the list of people I lost so far, the list of people who are dancing right now on the edge, and know we stand in the dying time. I know this is the time to call upon him as Father Yule but the Lord of the Grave is awaiting me every time I stop working for a minute.

I look at this Yule and in the time of privation, my family is doing fine. I am half blind, my broken neck half healed, I can’t sleep, can’t rest, and you know what, its OK. I got used to it. I got back to work and am doing better this year during the pandemic than most. My wife caught Covid and recovered without any detectable permanent disability. Some reduced vital capacity in the lungs, but otherwise good. This is honestly so far in the shiny outcome category that I have to sit back and appreciate an old fashioned Yule.

I have given to people, I have given to organizations that support those who aren’t doing well. I haven’t asked for anything for myself not because I am selfless, honestly I am selfish but I just don’t give a flying fuck about anything beyond keeping my loved ones cared for, and keeping enough gas in the car, coffee in the man to keep working.

I look out at a city that has never been less decorated. The public stuff has been done, but it is all the more stark because the wonderfully creative private displays, even the decorated hammerhead cranes above the skyscrapers are absent. This is a survival Yule.

We wassail hard in the heart of the dark because the grave is a breath away, and too often that breath is a wet gurgle that ends in silence. We celebrate in quiet thoughtfulness not wild abandon because this year the idea we might not be able to gather together next year is a fear we must face.

The good old days were not good. My father and grandfather spoke of them. I lived most of my fifty years in vaccine protected socialized medicine and social safety net protected invincibility from the true horrors of our ancestor’s lives. This year that immunity was stripped away.

Friends die, friends who did everything right and worked hard their entire lives look to lose their houses, their healthcare and everything they build through no fault of their own. Accidents of birth, not just of class and ability, but of nationality create a stark divide between those left to face the falling spears of the Jottun named Covid-19, and who shelters behind mighty shields while the shafts slay those to left and right.

This year I worked the longest night of the year moving ton after ton of goods by hand and by machine. I feasted my coworker on our break with food my boss will pay me back for. It was a good celebration and served to move several tons of medical supplies for distribution to those who need it.

I see the Yule Father take to the sky, clad in the scarlet and white that generations of children have learned to summon for him. I see him ride something other than the wild hunt, with gifts of joy and comfort, not a never missing man killing spear in his fist. I give thanks for the Yuletide, I give thanks for those who are still alive to celebrate this Yule with me. I offer first and best to those who passed before the tide, and who will pass before Disirblot.

We stand in the heart of the dying time, a time of privation and loss. The gods call upon us to come together and brighten each other with gifts, to wassail hard in the heart of the dark, because right now the flame of life gutters alone in the despair of that privation and loss. It is for us to bind each other to this life that we can come out this Covid plague to a time we can meet without masks, clasp hands and embrace as friends without endangering anything but each others toes.

For now, keep your masks in public, keep your chill when you can’t do what you always do this year, and wash your damned hands.

If you happen to meet my god this Yule, greet him as Yule Father or Santa. The other faces he wears in the dark of the year you don’t want to meet.

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Aesir, Asatru, Heathen, Heathentry, Pagan, Yule

Krampusnacht

Krampusnacht

I was standing in the bar minding my own business.  That was easy, the bar was closed and I was doing inventory since we were going into lock down again due to Covid 19.  I heard what I no shit describe as the thunder of hooves, and the creaking of the old wood floor of the pub.  The pub was the first Bank of Montreal in the interior, back when this was a riverport and a happening town.  Then came the railroad, and this became a town free of happenings, and the bank became a bar.

Hooves have never been a thing you want to hear in a bank, or a bar.  Especially not a closed one, and at night at that.  I turned around and saw.  Now, for the record, at that point in the evening I had not yet been drinking.  This established, I will tell you what I saw.

Krampus.  Krampi?  Is it a horde of Krampus, a herd of Krampus, or since we switched over from the Imperial system, is it now a metric fuckton of Krampus?  I am not sure.  Whether I had a horde or a herd, I definitely had a metric fuckton of Krampus in my pub.

They were crouching, mostly because the lazy ceiling fans argued bad if musical things would occur if the seven foot plus Krampus were to straighten, with their proud goat horns standing tall.  Given a look at those horns and my ceiling fans, they were not sparing themselves, but being kind to the bar.

Cow bells hung from their necks, iron bands wrapped their wrists from which dragged chains with open collars dangling from them.  Upon their backs were heavy packs, empty now, but stretched in such a way that implied they could be stuffed pretty full.  Bundles of birch rods swung from one hand, until they piled them casually on tables as they past to pull up to the bar and the higher stools to rest their hooves in a musical chorus on the brass rail.

Faces that blended wolf and goat, with burning almost blazing eyes staring out at them smiled with weary ease.  If you are curious, a horde, herd, or fuck ton of Krampus smiling at you is not going to put you at ease.  I briefly considered peeing myself, but recalled that since I hadn’t bothered making myself coffee (and have to clean the urn again), and wasn’t yet drinking, I had nothing in me to pee.  This question got me through a few rocky moments while the Krampus sorted themselves out at the bar.

“We’re closed, shut down due to Covid by orders of the chick in charge, or the Premier, or someone.”  I offered, with what was perhaps not my most professional delivery.

The lead Krampus stroked his long goat like beard and nodded.  It is something to see when a seven foot tall naked goat man nods is great horned head from six inches away.

“Mortal barkeep, we saw that.  Had you been operating during this plague, we would have whipped you to within an inch of your life.  Thus always to the wicked.  Now that being said, you are closed to humans, we are not humans, and this is a bar.  We are powerful thirsty.  Powerful.”

The growl running down the bar argued that I had best agree.  One of the other Krampi (okay, I have decided they are Krampi) added in a rumbling laugh.

“Don’t worry, I worked every plague since Loki got horse-clap, and never got so much as a flea!”

Having thus settled the question about whether masking and social distancing rules applied to mythological seasonal demons of punishment, I took my hand sanitizer and washed my hands.  Put a fresh mask in place because damnit even serving delusions, I was going to be serving it right.  Wiping my bar with a Lysol wipe, I laid coasters out before each of my customers and with the shrug that admitted therapy, alcoholism or brain bleach would be required afterwards, I got to work.

“What can I get you gentlefolk?”  Having been thoroughly terrified by the entrance, I didn’t want to misgender anything that looked like it could dismember me and dated from a time period where casual dismemberment was an educational tool often employed by spiritual agents.

The lead Krampus slapped the bar so hard the calendar swayed and laughed like a braying goat.

“Gentlefolk!  Gentlefolk?  Oh little mortal, that is a goodly jape.  We are thy most ungentle folk, but powerful thirsty ones.”

With a grin that reached my eyes, even though my face was masked, I offered again.

“What can I get my most ungentle guests, this fist night past Krampusnacht?”

The first offered “I will have a pint of Vodka, and a bottle of Sleiman’s Honey brown.”

The second asked for a bottle of Congac, something old enough to molest in public.

I thought briefly about raising the tiny point that we are not allowed to serve any drink with more than two shots of alcohol in it, when I noticed one of the Krampuses had taken up a fire poker from the stove and was bending it into a pretty flower using only its long clawed fingers, and decided that along with my disbelief, my adherence to some civil ordinances would be waived for the evening.

Pouring out enough pure alcohol to lay a rugby team low, or land an infantry platoon in extra duty for a month, I finally decided that I wasn’t going to get another chance to ask, and might not survive the night anyway, so what the hell.

“So,” I said as casually as anyone can in a bar filled with Norse Yule punishment demons.  “How was Krampusnacht, a lot of kids to scare?”

The laugh around the room made me feel like a lone bunny tethered in a grass field of wolves.  I revisited the peeing myself question, still lacked the ammunition to proceed.

The lead Krampus drained his pint of Vodka, gestured for a refill and sipped his Sleiman’s surprisingly delicately and answered.

“We punish the truly wicked, we visit upon them the torments of branch and brand, fang and hoof.  We scare the piss out of the little buggers.  Not all of them.  Not the worst of them.  Just the borderline.”

The laughter around the room shook the walls until dust settled from the rafters and the hanging martini glasses and racked steins began to sing and chime.

I tried wrapping my brain around that one, and failed. 

“What do you mean, not the worst?”  I said, unable to contain myself.

The third one down the bar reached over, terrifyingly long reach if you are curious, and rapped me solidly between where my horns would go, if I had any.  As the gong like noise of my skull being tested like a melon reverberated through my head, and my neck tried to decide whether it would hold this impact against me later, the third Krampus down amplified the first one’s statement.

“Grab yourself a bottle, mortal barkeep, and have a pull.  This will be hard to swallow without a little liquor to smooth its way down the fjord of denial to the harbour of wisdom”

That was too much poetry from a demon for me to take sober, so once again the laws and possibly my future employment were going out the window.  I took down a bottle of mead.  Tears of Skadi it was called.  I grabbed my horn from below the bar and poured the whole thing in.

Reverently I raised the horn and said “Absent friends.”  I poured a little into the spillway of the bar.  With a roar, the Krampi raised their own glasses, steins and bottles, then splashed a generous amount on the floor, shouting “Absent friends”.  Ah well, I was going to have to mop to get rid of the crap their split hooves was leaving on the floor anyways.

I took a long drink of the mead, and let my breath go.  For the moment, the fear slipped away, and the magic of it filled me.  That one toast called my dead to me.  Friends, lovers, comrades at arms, family.  They came and joined us in the feast, joined us for the telling of tales and sharing of jests.  Ancient Norse demon or middle aged barman, we all had our fallen comrades, our dead, and we all raised a glass to their name, to keep their memory ever bright.  Screw the little details about species and absolute impossibility of existence, we were comrades tonight.  It was enough.

The Krampus waited as I refilled a second pint of vodka, another of Whiskey, two bottles of Congac and one curl horned Krampus was on his second bottle of Everclear.  Not going to ask for his keys. Not really betting they drove in the first place.

Sipping on his second vodka pint, the lead Krampus stroked his beard and explained their ways.

“We don’t come to the good kids, they are scared enough and scarred enough by the bullshit you humans do to each other.  We don’t’ come to the normal kids, ones like you that can be right bastards at times, but stop short of choosing to be monsters.  Honestly we don’t have time enough for all the little turds like you used to be.  You either smarten up or someone sticks a knife in you.  Not our problem.”

So far I scanned it okay, but my question remained.

“Why not the all bad ones?”

The Krampus turned to me, and his eyes burned.  So clear.  I took a convulsive swallow of my mead and tried to stir my courage enough to hold his gaze as he replied  very softly.

“Lad, you are asking the wrong question.  The question you ought to ask is why we come for the borderline ones.  Why do we beat them, why do we scourge and flay them, why to be teach them fear and send them home again?”


There was a hunger, a feral need, a howling blood red urge for violence that beat the air like a chopper’s rotor.  I felt fear wash over me, but my own courage was perhaps less the answer than my curiosity.  A man has to die of something, better to be audacity that ignorance.

“Why then.  Why beat the borderline ones and not the truly evil?”  I challenged.

Long clawed hand flashed across the bar and dragged me close.  The hot breath of Krampus and his spittle spattered my shirt as his eyes and voice both cut through me.  The claws on the ends of those fingers that wrapped my neck were pressing above my carotid and jugular, the promise that a mistake here would be my last.

“We take the borderline and we whip them, terrorize them, scourge and flay them.  We beat them with our birches and we visit upon them with every lash the memory of every wrong they have ever done.  We feed them the terror they have given others, the pain they laughed to inflict.  We let them feel and taste what they have done to others.  We visit upon them in one night what they have given to others.  We let them understand what they have been.  We show them the face they offer their victims.”

I looked into his eyes and saw it.  Saw in his eyes the look of fear, the flinching, the pain and humiliation as the shadow of hands rising and falling crossed the face of fear.  My hands.  Their fear.  I felt the shame rise in me.

Who was the demon here?  They visited their punishment upon those who stood poised to choose to become monsters.  We visited our punishment on those who could not defend themselves.  Those in our power.

I let my eyes fall.   I understood.

My voice was husky, rasping, and the gall in my mouth called for a long pull of the horn to taste clean again, but I had words to spit out first.

“That is why you don’t come for the truly wicked.  They would not care.  It would not bother them to see the harm and taste the fear they themselves inflicted.”

I felt the hand release my throat, and looking me in the eyes, a grin twisted his strange goat face, and he lifted his glass to me.

“Now you know little mortal barman.  There are indeed demons and monsters abroad on Krampusnacht.  Only some of them are Krampus.”

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

A Hundred Bloody Yards


Private John Parr of Church End
Sixteen years he knew
With Middlesex Regiment scouts he marched
For his homeland and his King


In Belgium then at a place called Mons
He met his bitter end
Against German scouts he chanced to fall
The first of our war dead


Twas 1914 and summer shone
The fields were gold with grain
The best and brightest of the Empire marched
So few would see home again


The Great War opened up its maw
Great Fenris, the corpse wolf howled
Four years and sixteen million dead
Churned that golden earth corpse foul


11 November 1918, two minutes from armistice
George Lawrence Price of the 28th Canadian
Last son of the empire fell
In the shadow of the first


Four years and a hundred yards
Between the first and last
Sixteen million Great War dead
For a hundred bloody yards


At St Symphorien they stand the watch
Fenris the ever hungry bides
Lest our leaders forget the price
Of a hundred bloody yards


Cpl John T Mainer, Retired

There was a thing called “The war to end all wars” that didn’t. It ended a generation of young men, beggared nations, and laid the groundwork for a greater and more wasteful stupidity we would name World War II as we at least admitted we were not done asking our best and brightest to die in the thousands and tens of thousands to hopefully buy a chance to do better the next time.

World War 1 began and ended one hundred yards apart. The first and last soldiers of the British Empire fell literally within sight of each other. Millions dead, nothing settled, for a hundred bloody yards.

Now we hear a lot of jingoist rhetoric, a lot of people talking about settling their political differences with bullets not ballots. We approach Remembrance Day. 11th of November we will summon the dead of our endless wars to the cenotaph, to give thanks for their sacrifice.

When we face those honoured dead, you had best wipe that snarl of hatred, that howling blood hungry maw with which you bay for the blood of your neighbors. You face those who died to keep you free, to keep our homes safe. Do not piss on their memory by raising your arms against the descendants of their orphaned children.

We have given the best men and women of our generation to the fires of war for as long as my family has kept records. They marched away hoping to return, but trusting that if they fell in foreign fields, those who remained would keep faith, and protect the people they left behind.

Pretend you were worth it.

Lest we forget.

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