Uncategorized

Being Heathen

We took an insult hurled at us by Christians, and claimed it for our own.

 

Noun derogatory

noun: heathen; plural noun: heathens

1.

a person who does not belong to a widely held religion (especially one who is not a Christian, Jew, or Muslim) as regarded by those who do.

synonyms:          pagan, infidel, idolater, heretic, unbeliever, disbeliever, nonbeliever, atheist, agnostic, skeptic; archaic paynim

(https://www.google.ca/?gws_rd=ssl#q=Heathen)

 

We had a word, Asatru, that meant true to the Aesir.  Not being a perfect word, it failed to include the Vanir, and lent itself better to Icelandic or Scandinavian based practice than Anglo-Saxon, Germanic, Germano-Slavic, Frankish, Frisian or other Germanic Neo Pagan folk ways.  Heathen had come to the term that our community used to differentiate ourselves from the Wiccans and other Neo Pagans.  Inside the Pagan community it had come to be the term both sides used to divide our two groups into separate encampments beneath the polytheist umbrella.

 

There are a lot of parts to being Heathen, some of which are easy to see, and some of which are easy to miss.  It is described as the religion with homework, for we take our lore seriously.  We are not a people of the book, like the Christians or Islamics who practice a dead faith; one that begins on page one, ends at the back cover and will never contain anything that is not already written.  We are however a people that read books.  From the lore to archaeology offering us new insights into the lives of our ancestors, as a group you rarely find a community whose lay people have that much depth of scholarship on various levels of their faith and ancestral cultures.

 

We are a living faith, which means that each community is busy coming together, celebrating, and continuing the traditions of our ancestors in ways that fit with their own communities needs and experience.  There isn’t really one right way to do it, and a whole lot of lore allows you to assert with some degree of foundation a wide number of mutually excluding things.  We argue a lot about them, partly because we love the lore and get attached to the meanings and lessons we have taken from it, and partly because the love of argument seems built into the community at almost a genetic level.

 

You can be a solitary Heathen, and lots are.  Not all are so by choice.  Most agree that Heathenry has elements that can only really be experienced in a flesh and blood community.  Living Heathen means that you understand there is a sacral purpose behind what we do when we come together.  Hospitality is the highest form of magic in that it binds strangers into friends, friends into kindreds, and kindreds into families.  A ridiculous amount of our lore concerns hospitality, and the use of it to build, correct, and maintain relationships.

 

Heathens understand community and worth in a way that modern peoples are suffering for forgetting.  We understand as our ancestors did that community is not an abstraction, it is a deliberate construction, and act of will and faith that takes the wyrd of many people and binds them through common cause so that the success or failure of the collective is enjoyed, or suffered, by all.   You can look at this on the symbolic level as how our kindreds function, and the purpose of our oaths and the sharing at sumble, or you can look at this on the practical level on how our physical communities either prosper or not based on the degree of cooperation and commitment to collective effort they demonstrate.

 

We understand worth.  Our post 1960’s culture enshrines self worth, but psychologically we suffer from the gap between our own self worth, and the worth we are held in by various definitions of community.  It can be as disastrous and destructive to be outwardly held in high esteem while you feel a crushing guilt or shame, as it is to be held in contempt or mocked when your own deeds and conduct has been nothing but upstanding.  Where your perceived worth by others and your self are at odds, you will feel it.

 

Each decision we make will establish our worth in those who see it.  This worth will be judged by the standards of that particular community based on its understanding of your relationship and the duties you held.  A given act can be seen a hundred different ways, by a hundred different slices of the community.  One person, one act, all specifications agreed, yet a hundred different understanding of how that affected your worth.  You can be held in high esteem, moderate esteem, contempt simultaneously by different parts of the community for exactly the same deeds.  Our ancestors understood this, our own generation struggles with this, believing our intrinsic self worth should be exportable to all our communities in some magical fashion.  So far as I can see, this has never actually worked.  People will judge by what they see, based on the standards they hold.

 

Heathens talk a lot, but we back it up.  We tend to do a lot of things, as once we decide we support something, we pretty much have to translate that support into a concrete action, or admit we don’t really support it at all.  For this reason many of us have served in the military, and have or do volunteer in many areas of the community.  We offer real things, rather than Facebook support for those things that we acknowledge are important.

 

We judge.  We judge and we don’t even pretend that we don’t.  Justice is depicted as blind, holding scales.  This means justice is supposed to be blind to the differences between us, and weighing only the evidence.  Heathens function in a similar way.  You will find more acceptance for gays, lesbians, transgendered, or other marginalized peoples in Heathenry than almost anywhere else, and outsiders are always shocked.  We are not the kindest or gentlest folk, we argue constantly and are quick to take offense more often than we should.  We really do hold to part of that old silly word, Asatru.  We judge above all things your adherence to this one simple question.
Are you living true?  True to yourself, true to your gods, true to your beliefs?

That above all we judge you for.  I will grant you that the vegan pacifists in our community may sound like an odd fit, but they are living true to that belief in the face of a community that compares firearms as they swap BBQ recipes, and that takes some real strength of commitment.  You show that you are living true to your ideals and we will judge you; judge you to be of great worth.

 

We disagree on language, on definition, on the names of the gods, who is to be worshiped, how they are to be worshiped.  We can and will argue anything, if you don’t believe me, someone right now is arguing that we don’t argue and utterly failing to see the humour in it.  The gods forgive us much for the laughter we bring to them, even if much of it is unintentional.

 

I have never felt prouder to be Heathen than when our great community from sea to shining sea, ignoring national borders altogether, came together as one to denounce hatred in Declaration 127.  Racism, sexism, homophobia; regardless of the mask it wears, the promotion of hatred against our fellows is hateful to the gods, and unacceptable in our communities.  We came together and denounced this spreading of hate in one voice. We are a fractious people, but I love our community as I love my own family, my sacred ancestors, the wights of the lands and waters, and the holy gods themselves.

hamaval-127

By in large, we get it right.  We could do a better job at many things.  We need to be better at recognizing the worth of our women as evenly as we do our men.  We need to be better at keeping division and hatred from sneaking into our community and turning worthy hands against each other.  We need to be better at realizing the other side of any given argument has reasonable cause to believe they too are correct.

 

We get a lot right.  We don’t’ care where you came from.  We don’t’ care what you look like.  We care that your deeds match your words, your oaths are kept, you come to raise the horn with us in open and honest love for the community and the teachings that bring us together.

Someday I hope we will get over the knee-jerk reaction against national organizations.  We are moving into the main stream of our society and collectively we have a voice that will be needed to defend our rights against those who first turned the word Heathen against us as not only a perjorative, but as an excuse to attack.

 

Our gods left us no single book telling us how to live today.  They left us with lore that shows us how to recognize and care for important relationships.  They left us with lore that shows us how to live justly, honourably, and successfully in a world that can be harsh, cruel, and heart-stoppingly beautiful by turns.  They left us the understanding of how to look at the world, recognize our duties, and shape the question.  It is for us to show our gods, our ancestors, and our descendants what OUR answers will be.

 

I am a Heathen.  I love this world, for all the pain it has given me, it has also given me love and joy beyond measure.  The spirits of this world sing to us if you have the ear to hear them.  The ancestors whisper to us, if you have the patience to listen for them, and the gods stand beside us as we face the challenges in our lives, witnesses to the choices we make.  This life is ours to live, our decisions and consequences our own to make and to bear, but we are all connected.  From the first sacred ancestor, to the last of the descendants yet unborn.  To be a Heathen means to accept a definition of self that stretches beyond your skin, a definition of place that extends far beyond both your birth and your death.

 

I left offerings to my house wights when I rose, poured out onto the earth of my place firsts and best of my coffee.  I live largely joyfully because of the Heathenry that has shown me how the bits of my life weave together, how my worth is built in the ten thousand daily decisions that most people never think about at all.  I travel far to be with my community at every opportunity to raise a horn, and join our voices together in celebration as the connections between us do not just bind us together, they heal not only ourselves, but our connection to the lands and waters that our cities tried so hard to strip from us.

At a certain point in your practice, you will no longer be able to separate your life and your practice.  Above all else, this is what our ancestors had that I wish to reclaim.  I study how they lived not because I want arraigned marriages for my daughters, or to settle my interpersonal disputes with a battle axe, and related weregild discussions, but because I wish to grasp even imperfectly how they saw themselves at a time when they could conceive no other way than living in harmony with their ancestors, their lands, and their gods.

 

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Asatru, Heathen, Heathentry, Uncategorized

Never Again: Muslim Internment

Muslim Internment

japanese-canadian

My thoughts on Internment are those of a Heathen Canadian. I am Heathen, so I know a gift for a gift, is the way that we build our worth. I esteem honour, courage, self sacrifice, and give praise where it is earned. I also do not lie about ugly truths, and we have to be really honest about some really ugly truths.

Interment camps have been done before. They were not done to Enemy Aliens, they were done to non-whites, by whites, for the crime of not being white. Fear was an excuse.

Hate was the reason.

We interred this man below, and his family, as “Enemy Aliens”, during WWII. This is Sgt Masumi Mitsui, winner of the Canadian Military Medal for courage under fire. We are not a demonstrative people, what dozens of nations would hang a hundred medals around you for, we consider your duty as a Canadian Solider. When we choose to decorate someone for bravery under fire, this is a thing that other soldiers will stop and praise.

masumimilitary-medal

Masumi was far from the only Japanese Canadian to choose to fight for a land that was his by choice, not by birth.Of the 222 who had enlisted, 54 had been killed, 92 were wounded and 11 had received Military Medals for bravery.

We interred him as a threat, an enemy alien. Understand this, I am not saying he was as good a Canadian as I am, or you are. Neither you nor I have any right to claim equality with a Military Medal winner; his right to his honours as a citizen is paid in full, yet racists who had never served a day in their lives stripped it from him, stole his property, because they used fear to let the public indulge them in their hatreds.

When you allow Internment of the dreaded “other”, you do not look for causes, for justice, you look for those you hate and fear, and punish them for your weakness, not their crimes.

A truly Heathen concept is this: Own Your Shit.

The Internment of the Japanese in WWII was an act of racist thuggery motivated by fascism and greed, carried out like nothing other than banditry by law.

It was shit, an act that stains our national honour even now. A hundred yeas ago, some of the men we interred helped our nation come of age in the blood and mud of Vimy Ridge. We rewarded them by stealing their lands and businesses and locking them up as “threats”.

Never, FUCKING NEVER, again.

Tyr, Leavings of the Wolf, Most High, Keeper of Honour hear this rede; it shall never come to pass that my nation will stand by and let her citizens or subjects be interred not for what they have done but for who they are.

Thor, Defender of man, know that if we do not defend our own against hatred, we do not deserve your protection against our foes.

 

 

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Current events, Heathen, Heathentry, Uncategorized

Pride and Prejudice

 

E Pluribus Unum090911-N-3289C-180

Hated the book, loved the title. I always felt there was something there that was important, but it took the last US election to bring it into cohesion for me.  Pride and Prejudice, the first is the balance to the second, the first is the answer to the second, the cure to the disease of the second.

 

Today finds the US with Donald Trump as its President.  I think most people are more concerned with the possibility that Trump will free the religious right and its allies in the racist white power wings to begin the open, unpunished persecution of anyone or anything that doesn’t fit their stereotype of a white Christian nuclear family.  Those of mixed marriages, those of other races, those of minority religions, those of gay, lesbian, bisexual sexual identity or those who gender identify in the trans spectrum quite justly fear a Night of Broken Glass following an election so heavy in the echoes of remembered Fascism.

 

There is no way to tell at this juncture what a Trump Presidency will bring as far as economic, social, or legal change.  What we you can see, what you can do, is control what it means to be an American in America, after the election.

 

I want each and every one of you to walk with pride.  Man or woman, white, black, Hispanic, disabled, young, old, whatever, you walk, or roll the streets without fear, without hesitation.  You walk pushing your baby, holding hands with your loved ones, you walk alone, with friends, it does not matter, but you walk with pride.

 

I lay this challenge before all of you.  Again, white, black, Hispanic, gay, straight, man or woman; if you see anyone mocking, harassing, intimidating another of your fellow citizens for daring to walk as they are without fear, you step on them, and you do it with both metaphorical boots.

 

You don’t let a Trump supporter get harassed in front of you, no more do you allow a disabled person or gay couple to be harassed in front of you.  NO ONE gets harassed in front of you.  What kind of America do you want to live in, proud and free, or filled with hate and fear.

 

You want guns?  Fine, have all the guns you want.  No really, I have no issue with your gun stances, pro or anti.  You want to have them, then how about you show me a little of that defending liberty. I don’t mean YOUR liberty; I mean everyone’s liberty.  You don’t believe in guns?  Fine, then you be ready to step in and show me how you are contributing to the safety and liberty of your fellow citizens through other means.  You don’t think violence is the answer, I totally support any better solution you come up with, that does not involve sitting back and letting others be attacked because you prefer to avoid trouble for yourself.  If you have a phone, I would suggest that classifies as a weapon as it summons rather more force than you can wield personally anyway; if you use it.

 

Our Canadian Prime Minister walked in the Gay Pride Parade in Vancouver, no big deal, he has marched in the parade for years with his wife.  Is he gay?  No.  He is the son of the man who decriminalized Homosexuality in Canada, and has been putting his money where his mouth is by marching in support of gay rights since he was a student.

vancouver-gay-pride-parade

To be proud as a North American, Canadian or American, means to love Freedom.  I don’t mean just our personal freedoms, but if we shared a common religion, I suggest the principle we revere above all others, the one we offer to when we salute our two flags is Freedom.

Freedom is founded on pride.  Proud to live in a country where we can disagree on who to love, who to pray to, what political ideology best expresses our freedom and should shape our nations elected leader’s decisions and yet know that we share a love of Freedom that we will jointly defend with our lives.  I may not share your beliefs, your church or your political party, but I will die before I permit them to be taken from you or used against you.
Commit to that.  Commit to walking with pride as who you are, and being unwilling to permit that pride from being taken from any other, and you will have saved your nation.  It is that simple.

 

Those who are my fellow Canadians who think this is about our poor Southern neighbors, wake up and smell the coffee.  Our laws prevent the same forces from operating openly, but they are present.  I am a relatively well off, well educated man strong enough to break most others like toothpicks, so I don’t have to put up with a lot of crap from anyone for those things that they disagree with me about. When I was disabled due to spinal injury I got a taste of how the other half lived, it was educational. There are lots of hate filled people here too. Give them even a suggestion that they will not be punished and see how quickly it comes back into the open.
The backlash against immigrants in Europe is not coming out of nowhere. I see some of it in our local communities here.  You cannot allow women to be disrespected on our streets just because where someone comes from that is OK.  They are here now, and while their attitudes were never OK, here they are also not allowed.  Stop the root of the anti-immigrant backlash, you improve lives for both the immigrant community and our own.

 

Oddly, the heart of the anti-immigrant community are at least as prone to hate filled attacks, and often nearly as misogynistic.  There is not difference between locally raised intolerance and imported intolerance.  I don’t put on cultural blinders to accept one and denounce another. I permit no liberal sacred cows, prejudice is simply wrong, I don’t care how you came by it, leave it at the door or you are not welcome.

 

Be proud of who and what you are, but do not think this makes it OK to get angry when someone else is proud of who and what they are.  Freedom and liberty are either universal or bullshit, decide which before you open your mouth.

 

Walk with pride, do not let anyone offer you disrespect, nor permit another to be mocked, harassed or attacked for being proud of who they are either.  This is not up to a President, a Prime Minister, or any Legislature.  No law grants or repeals this, either this is who you are, and what you think your country is, or you deserve only those freedoms other people choose to grant you.

 

Freedom is earned, and the greatness of your community comes from that freedom. Where many forms of greatnessare permitted to grow and flower, where pride has a hundred faces, freedom a thousand voices; there  you will find the shared dream that is a nation.

CanAm flag

 

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Asatru, Current events, Heathen, Heathentry, Uncategorized

Fear Not: Viking Election Wisdom

Get ready for another bullshit macho Viking trope!  No really, I am full on going to feed you a whole bunch of them because they are utterly on topic this US election season.

Fear Not: I will tell you who will win this election

Tyr, great god of the Thing, the ruler of the peaceful assembly of the folk, the god who gave his sword arm to Fenris Wolf because he understood keeping his word and the frith of the hall was more important than power, has given me to know who will win your presidential election.

Binding of Fenris

Spoiler Alert.  If you don’t want to know, stop now.
Seriously, don’t look.
Odin warns that it is better to know not than know too much, will you read on?
Fine, on your own head be it.

Your next president will be…….the choice of your electoral college, by the traditions of your folk, supposedly acting on the expressed will of the people.  This president will rule not by the divine grace of any god, not with the Imperial Fiat of a dictator, but preside over one branch of government, with laws and budgets to be enacted and approved at the sufferance of the two elected houses of representatives, the Congress and Senate, who are directly elected by your citizens.

The dreaded SHE will not be coming for your guns.  You have those pesky houses that must first repeal the Second Amendment of your Constitution, which would allow citizens of Washington DC to be disarmed, but all States would have to pass controlling legislation to enable enforcement anywhere outside of Federal reserves.  Lets face it, the only people the President can disarm are the military, and that was done back in 1992 under George W Bush when the directive to restrict firearms to service personnel to those actively involved in law enforcement or area security.  It honestly wasn’t much of a change when it took effect under the new Clinton Administration as the military largely only issues weapons to personnel in war zones, or for training.

The dreaded HE will not be taking ever Latin looking person and sending them to chain gangs to build his wall against Mexico.  Again, you have that wonderful thing called a Constitution, a judiciary, two whole houses that can cut the legs out from under anyone’s grand schemes just by failing to pass the budget to pay for it.

For all of those who have said if (not mine) win then I will leave the USA!

Let me tell you a story, one of those Viking myth things that I promised.  This is the story of Thor’s fishing trip.  Now Thor made a bet, he loved to bet almost as much as he loved to fish, and he bet the greatest life taker in the nine worlds (which a non-fisherman could be excused in thinking was his Warhammer, but which any fisherman could tell you referred to his fishing hook) than he could land anything in the sea.
A giant took him up on this and they sailed out into the sea.  Thor baited his hook with a giant ox head and cast.  What took the bait was not a shark, nor whale, nor even a dragon, but the Midgard Serpent, a snake so broad it circled the whole earth in its coils.  Now when Thor and the Serpent finally face each other, both are going to die, so this put Thor in a bit of a pickle.  He could cut his line and run, being forsworn, or he could stay the course, hold hard to his line, trust in the ship, trust in himself, and stay the course.

Thor's Fishing Trip II.jpg

There were bumps along the way, the Serpent several times struck at him, and several times he punched its jaws, because no life is without issues, not here on earth anyway.  There was no way he could see that would not end in the ship breaking up and him drowning, or a mutual kill with the Serpent.
Thor has a lesson for us here.  He did not give in to fear.  Not the god of the prediction, not the good of omen readers or doom seekers, Thor is the god of shut the frack up and get back to work.  The god that teaches you to laugh when you fall down, and then get up.  To look at a crop flattened by a storm, and get out to the fields to save what you can.  Thor is the god that teaches you that your fears do not decide your fate if you stay your course.

In the end, the giant’s will broke before Thor’s and he released Thor from the bet.  Thor cut the serpent free, said goodbye to a wonderful never slipping fish hook and rowed back to port (the mast having suffered a serpent related mishap).

thors-fishing-trip

What in the nine worlds has that got to do with US Politics?

When the day dawns after the election your ship of state will be pulled by whatever you have caught on the electoral bait you cast.  To your left and right, not ideologically, or metaphorically, but actual left and right are YOUR FELLOW AMERICANS.  You are all on this ship together.  Thor did not draw his hammer against the serpent, but his fist.  This was not a war, but a dispute about a fishing voyage.  Should your He or She beast rise from the depths and strike at your cherished freedoms you will use the legistlative fists your forefathers left you with.  The courts, the Congress, the Senate, your States Legislatures.  You will NOT use your guns.  The only people who have ever won a civil war are arms manufacturers and pimps; everyone else loses.

I am glad this election winds to an end. I can’t wait until you people take off your Trump and Hillary buttons, because so much effort has been put into turning you against each other, and it has born such poisoned and prolific fruit that another month and I fear you would settle this election with the bullet not the ballot.

When the time comes to take down your election signs, a sacred day will be almost upon us.

On November the 8th, hie thee to the polls and cast your vote for whichever candidate you feel is best, not out of fear of the dreaded other, but as a citizens duty to choose who best to hold executive authority in the land of your fathers, safeguarding the future of your children.
On November the 9th take down your signs and take down the barriers between you and your fellow citizens, and you do it right bloody quick boyo, because in two days past that, the dead will be marching.

On November 11, in each town, at each cenotaph, the dead of every war your nation has fought, including one of the bloodiest civil wars in history, will gather.  They will gather to see how the sons and daughters of their people have spent the freedom their blood has bought.  They will gather to see the freedom and democracy that they gave the ultimate sacrifice for has been cherished and protected by those who lived the dream they died for.  How will you face the einherjar?  How will you face the spirits of the dead who died for your right to vote, to chose your leadership through the ballot not the bullet, to come together as one people in solemn thoughtful deliberation to decide the course of the folk?

Lest We Forget

I have the greatest respect for your nation.  I have served along side your troops and found them to be some of the finest folk I know, worthy cousins and southern neighbors.  I EXPECT to be impressed by how you remember your motto, E Pluribus Unum; out of the many, one.  I expect to see you understand that when you see the flag rise at catch the air that is the flag of one nation, one folk, one people.  Not two political parties, one nation.

Fear not.  Vote.  Respect your election.  Safeguard your rights through the system your forefathers left in place.  Make America great not because of who sits in the White house.  We burned it down once, and that didn’t touch the American soul, because America does not sit in the White house, or the Senate, but in your houses.  Make America great by being one nation that respects many voices can still make one people.

raise-the-flag

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Aesir, Asatru, Heathen, Heathentry, Pagan, Uncategorized

One True Troll on the Internet

freemont-troll

Grimm Mordingi was a troll.  Living under the Sun Death of Sunna, for him to be touched by the sun was to die and crumble into naught but gravel and rock.  It was perhaps not the most enjoyable existence in the world but Grimm admitted that never aging, having skin that ignored most of the loud noisy things that men used instead of spears these days, and the ability to ignore such petty human concerns as “Mad Cow”, after all, none of them were particularly happy to meet a troll, pretty much balanced things out.

Grimm Mordingi ruled the rail bridge over the Pitt River.  The river was mostly fat and contented, as the best rivers are, passing under the bridge in burbling unconcern.  The rail bridge itself showered him with grain from the great wheat carriers, which allowed Grimm to feed the fat stupid pigeons that never seemed to learn the difference between nice little old ladies and hill trolls from the old country.

Some nights he would fish, others hunt deer, coyote or rabbit. On major feast days the city workers presented him with a rather confused cow, wondering at the purpose of being staked out to graze beneath a rail bridge.  This was part of the deal.  Canadian Geese were the bullies of the bird world, and took to urban life as easily as trolls.  Cute and fluffy, they were too pretty to allow the city to kill so me off every year without losing votes and elections, so the city crews who worked the tunnels and knew the lore of Trolls made the deal.  Control the geese and get cow at feast.

Grimm was thus as contented as a troll could be.  Fine bridge, fat river, all the geese he could eat and a cow at feast days.  Left free to contemplate life, he did what easily confused trolls had been advised to avoid doing for centuries; he eavesdropped on human teenagers.

He discovered they were obsessed with their phones, which oddly they talked to and not on.  They used them to do this thing called “social networking” which seemed to consist of ignoring the people you were with to talk to people who were somewhere else, ignoring the people they were with too.  He admitted, it sounded like a very Trollish way of doing things.

Then the magic happened.  He learned there were Trolls on the internet.  Not some trolls, apparently Trolls were greatly feared, raiders of terrible power who stalked the internet terrifying whole communities of humans.

Thor had made it clear, that any actual terrorizing of villages would be met with a hammer from above, if the fire and spears didn’t get you first, but this “internet” trolling was allowed.  The prayers of these silly humans for their priests to wield the Ban Hammer in Thor’s name to crush the trolls were seldom heeded.  There was a whole thriving world of trolls he could connect to via the “internet” whatever that was.  All Grimm Mordingi must do was to get a phone or tablet (a stone carved phone?)  and he could join his people, become again a wild hill troll, this time in cyberspace!

There were humans who came to stay under his bridge.  There were the god-touched, the street people.  They were wary around him, as they were each other, for predators lurked behind every tree and rock, every bridge and shadow.  There were the couples, the young lovers who came to practice their mating.  While some clearly needed the practice, others seemed just naturally gifted or really well taught.  Neither of these groups would be interested in helping a Troll to find his folk on the internet.

That left the horns and skunks.  The horns were those who gathered in groups up to a dozen and drained odd horns of metal, or bottles of some sort of plastic as well as glass beneath his bridge.  They were loud, funny, but frequently quite violent when surprised, so probably not the ones to teach him the ways of the Internet troll.

That left the skunks.  As with the horns, they did not actually use their traditional namesake.  As the horns drank from bottle and can, rather than civilized horn, the skunks did not smoke actual skunks, but a local weed whose buds made them sillier than usual. They were usually relaxed, frequently happy, or at least sitting down or lying down while complaining.

That night as the “Stoners” opened a laptop to play their music, and smoked enough of the skunk weed to be relaxed (yet still able to speak), Grim Mordingi dropped from his perch under the deck to land among them.

Tossing two geese (cleaned and plucked) into the lap of the one who was complaining loudest about the “munchies” Grim landed in full troll splendor on the up wind side of the “stoners”

“Good evening, I am Grim Mordingi, the troll of this bridge.  You are my guests here and I offer you these two fine geese for your feast tonight.  All I ask in return is that you show me how to use a log to get into the “internet” so that I may meet my brethren, the Trolls of the Internet

After a certain amount of giggling, swearing, one person falling in the fire, it was generally agreed that:

  • He was a troll
  • He was real
  • He was not going to eat them
  • He really wanted to surf the internet and meet other trolls
  • Far freaking out

Laughing and giggling the boys and girls showed Grimm around the internet, into chatrooms and forums, and things called “mailing lists” although why you would want a list of mail was never explained.  In each he was shown the Trolls they knew, famous trolls, known trolls.

Each was worse than the next.  These were NOT HIS FOLK!  Grimm Mordingi was a proud troll name, meaning brutal killer, but what these internet trolls did was foul, monstrous!  They broke guest laws, defiled the places they called their own worse than even humanity had done to this beautiful land with their cities.

Troll after troll he found, each one more hate filled than the last, howling their spite and poison on anyone and everyone that attempted to share a moment of joy, or create a thing of beauty.  These were not mighty hunters, fierce raiders, these were torturers, vandals, barrow defiling honourless NITHLINGS!

There were tears pouring down his face, hot copper tasting things he had not shed since his long ago mate had ran afoul of a bull moose in a winter hunt.  His folk were fallen, the proud heritage of the troll was fouled by what lived today.  Rather than finding the connection to his own kind on the internet, rather than social networking, he found himself moved to do a thing most un-troll like.  He wanted to pray.

Falling to his knees, he took from the cooking goose the fattest breast and tossed it to the night for the wights.  As two half starved dogs fought over it, showing it was accepted the Troll raised his paws in supplication and prayed as he had never prayed before.

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In far off Asgard, Thor awoke, his hand straying to his hammer.  His wife the beautiful Sif looked over in love and alarm and asked her dread husband what was the matter.

“There is a troll on the internet”

Sif giggled and hit her husband, the mighty giant slayer with a solid smack to the back of his stone hard head

“There are Trolls on the internet, polar bears are white, water is wet and politicians lie.  Anything else obvious to say?”

Thor shook his mighty head, red beard hiding a bemused smile.
“No dear, an actual troll.  He is on the internet, and just now he has offered a prayer and sacrifice most sincere and worthy, invoking my name and my aid as the Defender of Man and Guardian of Social Order”

Thor began to dress and arm himself.  Sif working swiftly to attach his armour and gauntlet, fixing his belt of strength around him with the ease of the warrior she herself was.  As she worked to help him arm, she wondered again and again, what would a hill troll pray to Thor for, and why invoke him as the defender of man and the social order?  What could a troll possibly be asking for?  Seeing her husband trying manfully to hold in his gales of laughter, his face going as red as his beard trying to contain it, Sif finally relented and asked the question she knew he was dying to answer.
“Alright, I give up, what was our Internet Troll praying to Thor Hammerthrower for?”

Raising Mjolnir in his mighty fist, he struck a pose and shouted

“To drop the Ban Hammer on all the Internet Trolls!”

banhammer

The laughter of god and goddess sounded like thunder as Thor rode to answer the prayer of the one true Troll on the internet.

John T Mainer

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Heathen, Uncategorized

Women in Heathenry

Women In Heathenry

Sumble Troth

You know, I thought we were getting it right.  OK, for all of those who like to talk to me about white privilege, I will freely acknowledge I know nothing about growing up anything else, of course they know jack sh*t except fairy tales about my life either so we will leave it at that.  I have however spent a life growing up looking after and protecting my little sister, have spent twenty years married to my amazing wife and raised three daughters.  I have been there for them as best I could in challenges beyond number.  I had, I thought a pretty good read on what they faced, in every community.

 

Of all the communities, and sadly I must definitely include my beloved Armed Forces, Heathenry was the one that did the best job of accepting men and women equally and in all the myriad expressions of their femininity.  I know, the Wiccans in the audience right now are rising up in righteous fury, but they are as blind to their intolerance as I am to anything resembling taste in fashion or social tact. No if you are the right kind of woman, you can find acceptance reguardless of your level of function or dysfunction in that community.  If you are not the right kind of woman they are as unwelcoming as any right wing Christian sect.  Opposite ends of the spectrum, equal practice for all practical senses.

 

Inside Heathenry, in each and every Heathen community I have been invited into I have been amazed, not by the men, half of them I knew before in some capacity, but by the women who were so far beyond the norm in their hundred different competences that I walked away with both a right and wrong though paralleling in my brain.  I was struck by how amazing our women are (true) and how by gods, we must be getting it right to have so many outstanding women among us (sadly, not as true as I wanted it to be).

 

I set myself the task of highlighting some of these amazing women, of getting their stories, not to tell their stories for them (some of them are better authors than I by a fair margin), but to draw your attention to how many different KINDs of awesome they are.

 

There is no one Goddess that represents “proper femininity”.  There are as many different way of expressing strong feminine heathenry as there are breathing women to express it. Our goddesses, our saga are filled with so many different examples that you can find an exemplar of the virtues you hold most high in our lore, no matter what kind of woman you are, what your skills, abilities and ambition call upon you to become.

 

Gods, we have so many strong female voices, I was thrilled to see the responses I would get from them about their experience of being a woman in Heathenry.  I was thrilled, and then I began reading.

 

OK, the first thing you have to understand is that the women I asked to talk about being women in Heathenry are our best.  These are women of great name and accomplishments.  Some I have worked under, some I have worked with, some I have been honoured to have in my own kindred under my own Aegis.  To any one of these women I would send my daughters to apprentice without a second thought.  These are literally, the finest women that I know, the most esteemed women in Heathenry.

 

What they had to say about my community was an eye opener.  For one thing, they accepted much that I find unacceptable, and they have had to.  They have had to accept that their voices are more easily ignored less often sought than men of lesser accomplishment and status.  That for all their achievement and status, when their gender becomes an issue, every other source of status and worth somehow can be ignored.  That is horse sh*t.  I would love to say it was an aberration of one generation or one region.  I would. I can’t. I got that response from both coasts, Canada, the US, from the south, centre, and north.  We are getting it wrong.

 

Aha!  Not all women felt as equally disadvantaged.  What is their secret?  How is it that they are able to better navigate the waters, perhaps there is something I can share to make it easier for the next generation of Heathen women!  Except the ones who did the best described themselves either as gender-fluid, or flat our said they socialize more as men than women.

If there is an Old Boys Network in Heathenry, surely I must be a part of it.  I am an Old Boy, and have had a fair amount of influence for one reason or another in one part of the community or another through my work.  Surely if such a thing had been going on I would have noticed.  Except, I did.

 

I am remembering a man I worked for, a well respected leader, pulling me aside and letting me know that I had to “handle” a woman in the community as she was “emotional and high strung” yet he freely admitted the organization would have foundered on the rocks without her efforts many times.  She was treated not as an honoured part of the leadership, but as a high spirited horse to be kept happy in harness.  I remember at the time being disappointed with this, otherwise great, man.  Yet I smiled and nodded, taking from the conversation the fact that I was right in judging this woman’s importance and contribution and utterly wrong in my assessment of that particular leaders understanding of his own community.  I did not call him on it.  I think due to the politics of the moment, that was the best decision, but the fact he could speak so, and to me, with the expectation that I would think the same leads me to believe such an experienced leader must have cause to think so.

 

During the Bragaful, the round of boasting and bragging, I find the men in the community are using it properly, to share their struggles, to share their accomplishments and to dare themselves before the folk to set the bar higher, to grow and achieve what they must become, not rest where they are.  The women oddly need to be prodded and challenged to speak of themselves.  Often a woman who has a great accomplishment of her own I expect to hear about will speak instead of her pride in the accomplishment of another.  This is noble, but it denies them their glory, denies them the tool of the community’s empowerment.  I had thought, that the women were making a mistake, that they were not taking up the tools the ancestors left us.  That they only needed to be prodded a little to take their proper half of the glory that they have won for all of us.

 

No.  What I was seeing was the acceptance of proud women that they will struggle on, doing their best for the community without any expectation of equal recognition.  They are Heathen women, they don’t cry, bitch or whine, they simply shake their head, pick up their tools and get back to the task at hand.  It is not for them to complain they do not get the glory that men would get for similar deeds.

 

That has to end.  NOW.

 

We in the Heathen community are blessed with the finest women on this good Midgard.  There are no finer women living, and I have never been more deeply ashamed in my life than to admit our community takes from them full measure for every gift they have given us, and we give back perhaps one part in three in return.  A gift for a gift is our way, is the truth given us in our lore and from our gods and we are FAILING.

 

Many outstanding women rise to power and prominence in our community.  These are serious ass kicking heathen women.  Some are quietly amazing, others loudly amazing, but all of them are shining beacons of what our community attracts and produces.  We are looking at the champions who fought their way past the glass ceiling with a battle axe, who literally overcame the collective weight of our bullshit to rise to prominence anyway.  For each one of them that made it, how many of them were not able to bear three times the burden for one third the recognition to make it to where we need them to be?

 

Heathens function on a meritocracy, mostly.  We are our deeds.  You do great things, you show us you are devoted to the community, a person that makes wise and frithful decisions, that has a strong commitment to building community, and you earn the chance to lead, so that people with those skills and commitment are making the decisions that will affect us all.

 

We aren’t getting the best though.  We are getting the best men, and the few among the best women who fought through the bullshit and survived; as long as they are able to sustain the fight to tear them down again for the crime of being a successful heathen woman.

 

The fix on this one is dead simple.  Guess what, I can even speak to the ones who need to change it. I speak the language.  I have a beard as big, and testicles as hairy as any other in this community.  I can thump my chest and shake my spear with the best of them, so here it goes.  Men in this community have to let go that Christian baggage about a woman’s place.  A woman’s place is where ever she sets her feet.  A woman’s job is whatever challenge she undertakes.  We are our words, we are our deeds.  I do not care if the voice that spoke the words is a pleasant alto or a raspy baritone.  I don’t care if the shoulder that pushed the wagon beside me had a long flowing beard draped across it, or the swell of breast upon it.  If they gave their strength to the task I judge them by the strides they took, and know from my own struggle to take those strides how to measure the effort they put in.  That is what matters, not the beard, or the breast, but the stride.

 

We are failing at that.  Do better.  We are not Christians, we are heathens.  Most of us were not born that way, and too much of the baggage of the cannibal cult crossed into heathenry with it.  We need to leave that at the door and honour our fine Heathen women for their words and their deeds.  I was not wrong in stating that our women are indeed a shining credit to the Heathen community. I contend and will defend ours are the finest, most capable women on this good earth.  It is now time we deserve them.

 

John T Mainer

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Current events, Heathen, Heathentry, Uncategorized

Courage and Honour

Once again there have been shootings in the United States that threaten to set the nation on fire.

Black-Lives-Matter-button We have black legal gun owners shot down by police in what is utterly indefensible circumstances.  Clearly there is a problem that exists beyond a single or a few isolated individuals, but one that requires a real good internal cultural change in many police departments.  This is a real problem, and requires real world, not politician sound byte, level solutions, and long term leadership on the police professional level to see through.

Blue Lives Matter  We have good and worthy officers gunned down at their post for the crime of being white officers doing their job.  This is the way to begin a war, not the way to get social change.  This is murder, this is not even revenge because these particular officers are good and worthy servants of the public, attacked simply for their uniform and race.  It is not revenge, it is not justice, it is a deliberate attempt to provoke further shedding of black blood by police.  This action is not just a single murder spree it is an attempt to make every cop more likely to react to armed blacks as a real and credible threat to life, to actually create more shootings.  This is Black Lives Matters ultimate goal?  To increase the number of people shot by police by teaching the police they are absolutely right to treat any armed black person as a real and imminent threat?  Wilful promotion of hatred, its a crime up here, but I guess its OK when BLM does it.

Courage and Honour

 

I am a white Canadian veteran, looking at the insanity that is gripping the nation that is the closest to my own both geographically, and in our hearts.  I have seen two shootings of black legal gun owners, apparently shot for being armed and black.  I have seen five police officers gunned down while doing their duty to protect protesters and the public by doing riot duty, which I have done, and I really can’t say I met anyone who enjoyed.

 

I say this to you now.   Courage and Honour.

 

I say this first as a blessing to those who put on the uniform every goddamned day, and go out and do a job that largely consists of seeing people on the single worst day of their lives, but this is every hour of your day, every day.  I salute your courage, and acknowledge that you have acted, and will continue to act with honour although few will bother acknowledging this.

 

I say this to those who see a systematic abuse of their people by those who are charged with their defense.  Yes, I say to those who are holding the police responsible where they are not following their own training or use of force procedures when dealing with the black community.  You are acting with honour to demand the rights of all citizens be observed, have the courage to do what is right, not what is easiest.

 

Now the gloves come off, and I will tell you what no one has apparently wanted to hear for quite some time.  USA is pretty close to not meaning United States of America, it is pretty close to meaning Unbelievably Syria Again.

That is right.  You are working on turning your nation into a third world bombed out shithole like Syria, and you are doing it because as a nation you are systematically choosing to embrace your guns rather than growing the fuck up and dealing with each other.

To the police, I know some fine men and women in uniform, serving with honour all the citizens of their land.  You know me, and I know you.  Now let us speak the truth here.  I served in uniform and well do I love my service, but I know my brothers and sisters, warts and all.  Let us speak the truth here, not every person wearing the badge and uniform you do is brave enough to deserve it.

 

To walk as a keeper of the peace is to walk a line.  You carry the tools and training of a killer, for you wield the power to take life in the name of the state. Your symbol is not the sword though, it is the shield.  You are the shield of the state, the defender of the folk.  You walk bearing armour and arms for a reason.  The shield of the state is expected and required to be brave, and sometimes to risk the blows of others rather than use deadly force where it might not be justified.

 

I have read our own troops being criticized for taking fire in the streets as we rolled through in convoy and not responding.  Choosing to continue through and dismount, working our way back through town seeking the shooters, unwilling to exchange fire without a clear target and viable sightline.  Sometimes you take fire without returning it because your job is not to shoot up the cities but to engage hostiles and eliminate them as threats.  It requires more courage to hold your fire until you have a clear understanding of the situation, and a confirmed target, than it does to simply pump rounds downrange and let the gods sort out the breakage.

 

To the police I charge you  twice.  First have courage, courage to be sure that you are under attack before you reach for force, as once violence is chosen by one side, all other options are gone from both.  Secondly, remember your honour.  The honour of your badge and your uniform, of your service and your state is not just in your hands but those of your brothers and sisters.  If they are not living up to those standards it is you, and not the media, you and not the legal system, who I expect to defend the honour of your service by CLEANING YOUR OWN DAMNED HOUSE.  You know there are those treating their badge like a hunting license, using their position to harass those they look down on, and who look at every single citizen who is not wearing the same uniform as enemy.

That is not good enough.  If that is the way you look at those you are sworn to protect, take off the badge before you foul it further.  You got lost somewhere, and until you remember why you took up service, you serve best by walking away.

 

To the “Black Lives Matter” protesters.  You are responsible for so much violence, so much hatred, you are not part of the problem, oh no you are a brand new problem all together.  You want to see what a civil war looks like?  Go enlist and serve in one.  Go see what third world shitholes look like when people who couldn’t decide their issues with words turned to guns and shattered the lives of millions of normal people just trying to get by.

 

Have the courage to own your own shit.  You are angry?  Suck it up buttercup.  That is not a license for violence.  You are determined to start a war.  You don’t have a clue what the high cost of your rhetoric is, but I do.  Soldiers clean up the messes of speech makers, protesters, slogan chanting morons whose feelings are more important than the consequences of their actions.   Have the courage to look in the mirror and own what you see, understand that when you provoke a confrontation, all the blood that follows is on your hands.

 

Honour: Remember yours.  To those who cry out for justice, have the honour to stick to that demand and I will join your call.  Choose instead to seek vengeance, and you have become a threat,  a danger whose true cost will be far higher than you can guess, and far more terrible than you will ever bother to accept.

 

The United States used to have a motto, E  Pluribus Unum.  From many come one.  In the 1950’s, you decided to change the words on your bills to “In God We Trust”.  Well the god that your founding fathers fought so hard to keep out of the government of the Union they forged is not about tolerance, accommodation, or reason.  It is no coincidence that since that time the “us/them” thinking has been the constant of the United States.

 

Canada is racially and culturally diverse, we frequently don’t get along.  Our police are not shining examples of virtue all the time either, but we are not one match away from civil war.  You people are.

 

Black lives matter, but the movement is a mad dog running in the street biting everyone it sees.  I see Black Lives Matters protesters blocking the Gay Pride Parade demanding the police be barred from having floats.  Wow, such an amazing grasp of intolerance, you really have identified the best way to make it clear that what you mean is “ONLY BLACK LIVES MATTER”.

 

Blue lives mater.  The police have a job I do not envy, as do Fire and EMT who likewise are doing their best to serve and protect all communities, but with a growing awareness that some calls may not be people in distress, but invitations to ambush.    Blue lives matter, they really do, but part of why they matter is that good cops work damned hard to make sure that their brothers and sisters in uniform do the job for which they took the oath, serving and protecting the public, not preying on it.

 

I look to the south, to my friends and neighbors.  I say to you; courage and honour.  You were once a great people, a land made great by the sons and daughters of every corner of the world united in a vision of freedom and opportunity.  You are still that people, though you know it not.  E pluribus unum.  From many peoples come one.  Or follow the Syrian path, the Yugoslav path, the Lebanese path, and turn your nation into a warzone, where the hand of every man is raised against the other, and children fear to walk the streets without armed escort.
Choose wisely, but understand, it takes two sides to make a compromise, and only one to wage a war.

US_and_Canadian_flag

 

 

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