Asatru, Heathen, Heathentry, Uncategorized

Heathen Family

Freehold Banner


You know, there is a real disconnect throughout the community when we talk about our heathen kindreds, our heathen families, our heathen communities.  There is this abject fear from the left when we speak about our heathen children, a bizarre sort of aversion reflex that is hard for most to understand, until they are exposed to the White Power freaks, who are unashamedly running copies of 1930’s Nazi German pure Aryan children propaganda.


The problem with speaking of our Heathen families is that somehow, the racists seem to have won the battle, and even the inclusive heathen groups seem to have accepted the assumption that heathen families indicates obviously white.  When the hell did that happen?


The Heathen Freehold has never been pure anything.  Born from the far scattered peoples of British Columbia on Canada’s wild and largely forgotten west coast, we were far enough away from the centers of  heathen development we had to find our own way to do just about everything.  I mean we have Anglo-Saxon Heathens, Frankish, Germanics, Icelandic style Asatru, just about everything under the Heathen umbrella.  We have had many with native blood, Asian, African, it has never mattered to us.  We were alone for a long time, on the west coast, finding our own way, with the rest of the Heathen community far off doing their own thing, hearing only snippets of far off happenings.  We casually threw around Asatru and Heathen as the same thing, as we missed a lot of the big divisive fights that defined Heathenry in places where our kind were concentrated enough to divide against each other and fight; we had to either come together and accept our differences, or just admit we would have no community to practice in at all.

At the time I though us poorer for the lack of connection to the broader community, but now I thank the gods for giving us the time to establish our own thew, our own culture.  We are not great, all knowing, or blessed with bells and whistles envied by communities throughout the globe.  We are largely rural, widely scattered, and face real difficulties in coming together in great numbers with any frequency.  What we do have is an understanding of who we are, and we have a very clear idea about who and what we are meaning when we say Heathen Family.

In a discussion about Fascism vs Communism in the early days of the last century, the French Prime Minister listened to the rhetoric and then finally cut through it all and demanded “enough theory, show me the men!”  In the end, it always comes down to people.  Words can mean anything, but people are real.


Meet Aaron, and Kate.  Aaron came to the Freehold a long time ago, as a young man.  I had the chance to see him grow and mature into a fine man, a proud sailor in Her Majesties Canadian Navy, and to see him find his perfect wife.  I had the honour to take Kate’s fosterman’s oath, when she came to discover heathenry.  I had the very great honour to aid them taking their oaths to each other when the asked me to marry them.  I had the very great honour of taking Kate’s full oath, pledging herself to the Freehold, and to Freo in particular.  This is who I think of when I think of a Heathen Family.  In time baby Audrey came along, a pure bred heathen, a baby conceived and born from two heathen parents and raised within a Heathen kindred.

Wedding of Aaron and Kate


Audrey shines in our eyes as my own children, those of the other parents in the Freehold as the image of what we think of as a Heathen child. Our heathen children, our communities children.  This is what a pure bred heathen looks like, this is not the only face, there are version in every gender, age range, hair and skin colour.  The problem that I have with the community, not our community, but the broader heathen community is that ten percent of the community seems to think that anyone who would not fit in a Hitler Youth or League of German Girls poster cannot be a heathen child, and the other ninety percent think that somehow we are supposed to be ashamed of taking pride in the heathen families, heathen children, and gods forbid you should ever praise the heathen mothers in the community, because somehow fear of a fringe group of hate filled social outcasts has made acknowledging the beauty of a heathen family somehow suspect.

Heathen Baby

I sometimes long for the pre-internet days when we didn’t’ know what the rest of Heathenry was doing, and when we had no idea how special our community actually was.  Well change has to begin somewhere, and it may as well be here.

This is what a Heathen family looks like.  This is Aaron, Kate and Audrey.  They are ours, every one of them.  They look around a gathering of our Heathen Freehold and claim all they see as their own, as we all claim them as our own.  I am not saying that race doesn’t exist, our society has prejudice built in on lots of levels, and it will take a long time to get rid of those lines, and I sadly fear we will just replace them with some other convenient way to divide the people and distract the bulk of the citizens from the few who cheerfully exploit all of us while we bicker over invented fault lines.  I am saying that heathen does not imply any race.  Heathen woman does not imply must be mother, many in the community are not so drawn, and they are as much a part of the community as those who are.  Heathen man does not mean Viking imitator, or closet white supremacist; actually that would be really funny considering the complexion of some of our leading men.  Heathen child implies only this; a child that was born to heathen parents, who grows up in the sure and certain knowledge that they are not tainted by sin for the crime of being born, that they are in fact blessed by the gods, wights and ancestors, embraced by their community, and accepted for who they are, as they are aided by the community in the journey to discover who they may one day become.

Heathen Family

I honestly refuse to give up being proud of our Heathen families.  I reject utterly the shame the inclusive community feels, even as I reject the racist dogma, so poorly wrapped in imitation heathen trappings, that the fringe scum try to pretend is heathenry.  It is time we, as one small community, simply admit the rest of society has it wrong, and we got this one right. We will hold to the thew of our people, and yes, we aren’t ashamed to call our Freeholders our people, and keep doing it our way.

This is a Heathen family, we have lots of them, and to our eyes they all shine the same.  If your eyes see a problem with the differences between them, then the problem is in your eyes, and the mind behind them, not in our families, nor in our pride and honest joy we take in them.


We may not be the biggest or most important Heathen group out there, and that’s OK.  We are a tiny little heathen village, quietly going about building and enjoying the community that has been our own since 2002.  We have been living as inclusive heathens since before we knew there was a universalist/folkish divide we were supposed to fight about, and will continue to do so.  We take pride in our community, and in the families and individuals that make it live.  We will not pretend otherwise simply because “some people” get disturbed when heathens express pride in the families that make up our community, or out of fear that “some other people” will have an issue with the skin tone or hair colour of some of our children.  This is our Heathen Freehold, this is our village so to speak, these are our people.  It is enough we understand that, if the rest of the world can’t, perhaps it is their time to fix that.

For the record, if you object to being characterized as racist ” fringe scum try to pretend is heathenry”, then you are already admitting the label ought to be applied to you.  That should perhaps be your clue to fix that.

Asatru, Current events, Uncategorized

Responsibility for Hate



I understand that people are looking at the deeds of the worthless scum of various ugly corners of our society, the pure acts of hate, acts that show a complete and utter lack of acceptance of the humanity of those they target, and it is easiest to point to the bloodied hands and seek answers for the deeds there.  That is clean up and damage control, that is not solution, that is putting band-aids on the bullet wounds.  The real loss or victory happens before the trigger pull, before the gun is picked up.  Let me share with you the lessons that were shared with me.


The UK and Canada have agreements to allow members of our forces who wish to emigrate and continue to serve the Crown.  Basically, you can transfer in rank and grade, but you must complete basic training in the new Army so that you and those who will be in your chain of command share a common frame of reference.  By this requirement we found ourselves with a precious asset on our basic training, we had Sgt Reynolds, Recce trooper with tours in Northern Ireland under the British flag, and various fun spots of Africa under the UN.   Given a long history of counter-insurgency work, both low intensity and high intensity, we would have expected an attitude fairly extreme towards the shooters, bombers and front line insurgents.  What we got was something far different, and a far more complex understanding of how hate works, and where it can or can’t be fought.


Now for those who are offended by harsh language, fuck off.  You are not going to have the capacity to accept the stark truths presented to young soldiers by old soldiers who had seen the truth not through media lenses but through their own eyes year after year.  I will give you his words, as he gave them to us, because they deserve to be heard as they were, not as anyone might “pretty them up” and lose much of their essence in the doing.


“You see some fucking 14year old with a rock or a Molotov and a mask, and you just know some poor squaddie is going to have to put a bullet in him eventually, hopefully before he kills a bunch of poor fucks just trying to have a normal life and family, knee deep in someone else’s bullshite.  Can’t do shit about that.  No one can do shit about that kid, he died about seven years ago on his grandmother’s knee when she whispered in his ear about crap that happened a hundred years ago that was probably to avenge some other shit that happened a hundred years before that, and got his bloody father killed already, and convinced him he wasn’t a man unless he avenged the last poor fuck who died avenging some other idiot who decided some shit that happened in sixteen fucking something was worth blowing up a school over”


“You can’t do anything for the punk kid in the mask with a gun or a bomb, the poor kid was killed already by those who taught him that the only way to live was to kill a bunch of people he never met for something they never did and had nothing to do with, just to show the world he has a dick and will find a fucking meat grinder to stick it in.  You put a bullet in the ones you have to before they hurt too many people, but you arent’ solving shit if the granny’s keep whispering.  You buy time, that’s all you do. If someone doesn’t stop the whispering, you will never stop the killing.  Don’t hate the poor little fucks, just shoot the ones who had to, and don’t start whispering about how they deserve it or some poor kid is going to suck that up and end up the next one who needs some poor squaddies bullet.”


It is a sobering thing to learn, that as a soldier, as the sword and shield of the people, you actually can’t stop the bloodshed, you can only decide who dies today and hope someone does something about the whispers before the body count gets too high, or the number of dead to be avenged becomes high enough people stop asking about what the point of the fight was I the first place.

We here in North America do not inherit that kind of instilled hatred.  We didn’t have the grandmothers whispering the glory of the struggle to little boys who grew up not as men but munitions.  Our culture is too diverse and broadly based for that sort of familial cultural conditioning without external support.


We are fixing that.


This last US election has been the stuff of nightmare.  The tides of division and hatred that were whipped up to drive short sighted people into power are not actually the kinds of tides you can dispense with when your port you have reached.  You have sown the wind and reaped the whirlwind, you have ridden the storm and now the storm is upon you.


Our media has forsaken its duty to report the story and begun to be the story.  I have watched in my own lifetime the shift from news to sensationalism that has become our media news coverage.  I have seen how the quest to capture attention has moved from providing balanced reporting to providing shock reporting.  We begin with the media attempting to make each and every story not just a single event to be examined in its own merits, but a judgement of society.  The problems from that one start at the fact the guilt/innocence of the people involved are obscured by the “greater issues” and the needs of society on those “greater issues” screw justice right up the ass and the story becomes about something other than the deeds of person involved.  The first victim is forgotten, the second victim is justice, and the third is the community as the “Greater Issue” comes under the same treatment as the initial story.


Politics is about swaying the public, the saying “give me a lever long enough and I will move the world” is born in physics, but reaches its purest expression in politics.  Levers in politics are shocking events that will outrage sections of the public enough to be harnessed to a political agenda to the ends of those who are shaping the message.
The demagogues of Athens and Rome gave us the true expression of the rule of the mob, as agitators showed how little it took to bring society crashing down simply by finding an event that you could use as your lever to work at the stress points in your own society to overturn it.  You would think we would learn from this.
We saw the use of the media in Nazi Germany use this lever to give us the greatest evil of our age, and we saw it enacted again in Yugoslavia proving the tools still work and the price has not changed, and still we did not learn.


We have our media creating sensation and division from tragedy.  Rather than seeking reasoned discourse, they seek to whip up the public passions, because that gets market share.  Facts matter less than passion, truth matters less than purity of message and inconvenient facts that do not fit the message are casually cut as the message not the truth is the important thing, the “greater issue’ whatever the pet cause of the extremist groups who are feeding off, and in turn being fed off by the media always feel their needs are more important than the truth.

We have our grandmothers whispering hate in our seven year olds, only this time they come at us through TV and radio, talk shows and sound bytes shared and reshared around social media where our tendency to look only at feeds that match our own opinions give us a false sense that what we are hearing represents the whole of the truth, rather than the heavily slanted and sculpted message of your own faction, tailored to your demographic by modern demagogues as skilled as any Athenian , and as amoral.


If you shout fire in a crowded theater, you face the penalty for those who are injured in the resulting panic.
If you lend voices to the extremists in all communities, falsely presenting the impression that these extremists represent the commonly held views of communities alien to you, you have successfully shaped the view of that community as hostile and a threat.  You have filled the Molotov cocktail, you have filled the bottle, you have stuffed the wick down into the gas, and you have come to them to ask if they intend on directing those bottles to the target that you yourself have created in the minds of each side.
The problem with the false images of the media’s messaging, is that one you throw the Molotov cocktail or rock, real people are hurt and killed.  If it bleeds it leads is not the whole of the expression.  We need it to bleed if we want the lead is the corollary.  You will not get airtime or market share to explain that you really wont have the real reasons for why an event happened until the trial is over and month of investigation are completed.  You get market share if you can stand in front of police tape and give an answer that is sensational, shocking, largely reguardless of the facts of the matter.


If you shout fire in a crowded theater you get charged.  You stir up divisions in the community until various sides are spilling blood and burning theaters down you get elected, you get great market share, you get to say that you were right in what you said would happen.
Make no mistake, this is about media creating the news, not reporting it.  The politicians and social media use the tools the media gives them to move their demographics, but they do not spin them out of whole cloth, they take them from the media, from our glorious independent fifth estate who somewhere in the 1990’s lost its integrity and any desire to fact check before publication and broadcast.


What are we going to do about this?


What are you doing about this toxic messaging?  I know I am as guilty as any for this, it is easy to find an answer in a sound byte that captures your outrage, it is seldom a good answer.  Real answers are seldom sexy and satisfying.  Real progress means accepting that people can be different from you in ways you really don’t like and yet are no threat to you.

Real threats exist.  Bullets do solve some problems.  Please keep the numbers that must get solved by bullets to a minimum by restricting them to the actual criminal sociopaths, the truly evil who are a problem in any generation, but a small manageable ones.

Kill the whispers.  Kill the whispers that seek to make hatred a foundation of young men and women’s world views.  Kill the whispers, or by the gods acknowledge that the blood that covers the ground when some poor fucking squaddie or police officer has to do their job and kill, that blood doesn’t just stain the poor trigger puller, that blood belongs to every one who spread the whispers.

Asatru, Heathen, Heathentry, Uncategorized

Never Again: Muslim Internment

Muslim Internment


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.


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.



Aesir, Asatru, Heathen, Uncategorized

Racism, Hospitality, and the Peace of the Hall


Freehold Yule table

When I joined the Witan of the Heathen Freehold Society of British Coumbia, we were ruled by Mikhail Heimdallson, who would go on to become one of my closest friends, and remains one of the worthiest Heathens I know.  Not a man of many words he gave me just seven words to judge whether I was doing my job right as host of an event, and eventually his successor as Freyr of the Freehold


“Do you feel welcome in this hall?”


If I can ask that of my any of my guests without fear, then I have done my job right.  If I can’t, then I have failed.  It really is that simple; and unbelievably hard.


There is a lot of talk about race going around Heathenry these days.  This is nothing new.  The broader pagan community, and indeed the Christian community always seemed to be waiting for Heathens to break out the jackboots and begin a rousing course of “Deutschland Uber Alles”.  After a couple of decades we at last began to be marginally accepted, largely by the multifaith groups that had quietly come to rely on us to get things actually done, without trying to take over.  That is fine, we can wait for outsiders to learn to judge us by our deeds, not by how they feel about the fact we disagree with them on some matters, and are uninterested in following their ways.


Heathens were once forced to be accepting of our differences, because we were few in number, and to be able to come together as a community and celebrate, we had to accept that this person was Anglo Saxon (ASH) Heathen, that one was Theodish, this one was Asatru, and that one was Baltic-Germanic.  We came together and learned from each other (and argued) built a community (and argued) hosted events (and argued), guested in each others homes (and argued), and worked always to further the good name of heathenry.  We didn’t argue about that point.  We do now.


The Heathen Freehold Society of British Columbia is a KAP Troth Kindred, because we found in them a matching organization that enshrined the universalist approach of our own Freehold, and the acceptance of Roof Beam Thew; that is we set rules to govern how we practice together, but we DO NOT TELL YOU HOW TO RUN YOUR OWN HALL, or who you can or cannot associate with.  You are not thralls, you are not slaves, nor neophytes; whether you are journeyman or Trothed Freeholder, whether you are guest or celebrating officiant, you are a free thinking human being who has both the right and the responsibility for making your own choices and accepting their consequences.


In our Heathen Freehold you can hail Loki, but you can’t at the events hosted as The Troth.  This is a difference in thew.  At our Heathen Freehold events, our thew holds.  If we host at The Troth, Troth thew holds.  If our Freeholders host their own event under their household thew, as the host, their thew or custom holds sovereign.


The Heathen Freehold has a zero tolerance policy towards hatred.  You can stand in our hall black, white, turbaned or tonsured, you can come  gay or straight,   You can be a social justice warrior, a protestor of every single ill you perceive in our society, or you can be a cadpat wearing soldier, sailor, or airman on leave from service to Queen and country.  We do not permit people in our halls to be harassed, shamed, or attacked on the basis of any of the labels that others seem so fond of.

There are people who are guests at our events who are not so welcoming in their own.  There are guests who come to our events who don’t like The Troth in theory much at all, but who come to our events because they respect us as people and as Heathens based on how we act, and how we speak.  Indeed you will sometimes see these people either laughing an joking in fellowship, or arguing passionately (because we are heathen) about some point of doctrine or evidence.  What you will not see is them behaving disrespectfully toward any of our guests, nor any of our guests behaving disrespectfully towards them.

Zero tolerance means just that.  The army trained me to peace keep.  Think on that for a moment.  We understand the duty of the hall is to see the peace is kept, that all within the hall feel safe and welcome in it.  If I disagree with what another’s organization allows  or does not allow, I can feel free to yell at my guest, as long as I have no intent to change their mind, and no problem with shaming my hall and organization by my breach of hospitality; or I could show them a frithful hall in which people they would not allow as fluffy-bunnies, as not-as-folk-as-us, or who have sexual preferences that they might not understand or share.  I could tell them they are wrong, or I could show them.  One has a point, the other is initiating unnecessary conflict which actually is not something a trained peace keeper seeks to do.


To keep the peace of the hall, of an event or of an organization means that you absolutely come down like the Hammer of Thor on those who would harass any man, woman, or child in that hall.  You should feel safe and welcome in our hall, and you should find that you are always treated with respect, and in turn you always treat others with that same respect.  Argue.  We mean it.  We are a meeting place, a hall that seeks to rebuild traditions that are fragmented and themselves never one homogenous thing to begin with.  Much of what we once accepted, we now cheerfully acknowledge was wrong, so do not simply accept what you are told, but be prepared to back up what you claim, because those you argue against probably can back up their own.


We can and we will speak out against racism which seeks to divide our land, and our Heathen community.  We can and will speak out against the sexism that is becoming more and more subtle and vile in the political and legal arena.  We can and we will speak out about unrequal treatment of gays and lesbians.  We can and we will advocate loudly and publically to make sure our service men and women have the same access to clergy, community, and support as the Judeo-Christian troops receive.  We can and we will fight to make sure our faith is portrayed in a realistic and balanced manner by the media, understanding that our own  members are affected by the opinion of the general populace.

We will not tell you who you can and can’t be friends with, and will not punish you for being a respectful guest at anothers hall.

I have had ENOUGH of the baying hounds seeking to turn Heathenry into some sort of idealized radical monoculture.   The oath of the witan, or the elected leadership of the Freehold calls upon us to work to preserve the good name of the Freehold and by extension, of all Heathenry.  The good name of heathenry was hard earned by those who came before, and fought hard to get us the acceptance that we have now.  To shame those who sacrificed so much that we could enjoy this freedom to act, by choosing to tear our community apart, to hold it up to scorn, derision, and infamy through needless attacks on those whose only crime is that they failed to agree with you is to defecate on the memory of all those who fought so long and so hard to build this community.

Attack dogs


I will not tolerate racism, sexism, homophobia, nor will I permit witch hunts and inquisitional McCarthy style attacks (House of Unheathen Activity?) on good and worthy heathens for the crime of not agreeing with someone elses definition of what a “proper heathen” should believe.


Those who stand in my hall, or guest at my events should know that as long as they keep the peace, they will know they are welcome in the hall.  All will KNOW themselves to be safe and welcomed.


People seem to be asking for a line in the sand.  Fine.  Mine is drawn.



Anti-Semitic Shooting in Kansas

There are a few communities who are united by the atrocity of the racist accused murderer Frazier Glenn Cross; arrested for the shooting deaths of Terri LaManno, William Lewis Corporon, Reat Griffin Underwood, in a targeted antisemitic rampage.

Originally a Grand Dragon of the KKK [1], Cross was violently opposed to immigration, and had a history of threats and attacks against African-Americans, Jews, and civil rights leaders.  Claiming to be fundamentalist Christian, with strong ties to the Christian Identity movement, his ties to Christianity had little to do with Christian doctrine, and more to do with vilifying members of other religious communities, especially the Jews.  Unhappy with the idea of Jesus as a Jew being a focus of worship, he came to discover references to Odin in the writings of Nazi and Neo-Nazi authors.

In describing himself as an Odinist he is not identifying as a practicing Heathen, or follower of the ancestral faith of the pre-Christian Northern Europeans, but drawing upon the false mythology crafted by the 1930’s German Nazi party who drew upon the symbols of their heathen past to wrap their ultra nationalist brand of fascism in the glories of a past free of the crushing defeat the German people endured post WWI.  Indeed, both in his writings, and in his shouted statements as he was being driven away, Cross cries out “Heil Hitler”, calling upon the only prophet whose words he actually understood and embraced[2].

Cross is no Christian, nor is he Heathen.  His brand of Christian Identity or Odinism are not religious beliefs, but racial/political platforms trying with no real success to stretch the teachings of the Bible and the Havamal to cover their own personal hatreds.

Having failed in attempts to organize armed militias or run for office to acquire the power to bring his racial agenda onto the national stage, he sank into relative obscurity [3].

In a final irony, in his attempt to strike out against the Jewish Race, he targeted three innocent people for the crime of being visiting their elderly parent, or taking their grandson to try out for a singing competition.  None of the dead were Jewish.

One man who believed only in hate has taken three lives far worthier than his own.  In doing so he has united three disparate communities. The Heathen Community, and the Christian Community are joining together with the Jewish Community to condemn not just these specific attacks, but the climate of racial hatred, and promotion of hatred and strife between different ethnic and religious groups within our nation.

I ask that you offer a prayer to whatever god(s) or goddess(s) you honour for the families of the fallen in this tragedy.  Their loss cannot be made right, but they can know that believers of all faiths are united in their support for the families not only through the time of their loss, but the struggle to relive this tragedy again as this Nithling [4] faces trial for his cowardly attacks.




[4] Nithling: oathbreaker, person without worth or honour, one whose word is without value.

John T Mainer



Asatru, Uncategorized

Pride is a root, not a whip

rune othala

       There is no denying the fact that we here in the west are growing up in a society that is Christian in its fundamental assumptions, and when newcomers to Heathenry seek to embrace the ways of their ancestors, the assumptions they bring across, unknowing, skew and distort the heathenry they practice.

Christianity is a dualistic system, good and evil, god and the devil, us and them.  There are only ever two possibilities, and very much you are either orthodox (same as me) or enemy.  This is consistent with their belief system, and the Obedience model in general.  This is not a part of pre-syncretic heathenry, any more than misogyny or racism was.  The belief and importance of orthodoxy/orthopraxy (ie the One True Faith) carried quietly over into heathenry, and took poisonous and divisive root.  With the One True Faith came the one definition of male and female, for if there is only one way to practice heathenry, there is only one way to live heathen, to love as a heathen.  These are all worthy discussions for another day, but I wish now to turn to the last, and most publicly damaging mistake of post-Christian heathenry; racism.

Part and parcel of Christianity is the One True Faith, and God’s Chosen People.  Oddly, you won’t find this in our lore.  Our gods supported individual families and tribes haphazardly across the ancient Heathen world, with saga’s like the Lombards pointing out how the gods themselves bickered over the support of one tribe or another in their contention [1].   Ours is a faith that celebrates community by birth, by marriage, by fosterage, and by oath.  Our gods spring from no one race, for among our mighty gods and peerless goddesses are Aesir, Vanir, and Jottun.  We have precious few “pure  bred” anything in our pantheon, as from our highest to our lowest it is ever and always your dedication to the community, your oaths, your service, the bonds of love and responsibility that determine your place, not your blood.

Freyr and Freja are Vanir by birth, Aesir only by fosterage and hostage bond that grew through reciprocal gifting of siedr and galdor into an alliance of two formerly warring peoples.  Freja receives half the valliant dead, yet is not wed to any Aesir, her dedication is one of oath and action, not blood or marriage.  Freyr won a wife from far Jottunheim, as the fair Gerd was won through trial and trickery as depicted in Skirnirmal [2].  Sif was Jottun herself until won in marriage by Thor, to become Aesir through her marriage, mother of Magni and Modi who will take Thor’s place after Ragnarok. [3].  Skadi is pure bred Jottun, yet honoured as Aesir for her oaths, as she demanded and received a husband for the suffering price of her Thor-slain father.  Although the marriage did not last; the mountains and oceans being to alien to each other, frith was kept on both sides, and the bonds between Skadi and the Aesir survived the failure of the marriage of Njord and Skadi [4].  Born in, fostered in, married in, sworn in; all held in equal esteem.  Our gods are the community of intention, of dedication and duty, not simply a blood grouping.  So is our heathen community today.

Our ancestors were a tribal people.  They were one of the only tribal peoples to be able to work together in confederation without empire or absorption.  During the migration periods, including the push down into Celtic lands ( and subsequent clash with Rome), and later waves of migration ending in the “Viking Age”, members of multiple tribes were able to cooperate, and even create joint settlements, because they accepted and respected the differences between each people.  Theirs was a pride that was a root that connected them to hearth and home, no matter how far or how long away.  Theirs was a pride that was internal, a root to anchor the self, not a whip to beat others.  To be proud of who you are does not require looking down on those who are different; that is the quiet poison of Christian dualism, where if something is different it must be wrong, and/or a threat.

Our ancestors intermarries where they traded, settled jointly the Orkeny islands with the Celts,  became important parts of societies as far away as Byzantium by virtue of their cosmopolitan outlook, and Heathen belief that their oaths were as binding to those outside their tribe or nation as inside.  Theirs was a community building, community bridging way of life.  Great cities and nations they founded with this concept of citizenship by oath, by deed, as well as by birth, that the nations they founded and built last today, where the feeble scraps of Rome, the God Emperors of Persia, of Alexander, and the Crusader kingdoms that enforced an impossible and unnatural uniformity lasted only as long as the boot was held firmly in place.  The whip builds nothing that lasts, but the root does.

Many people react negatively to folkish heathens, because they see in their pride of heritage the shadow of racism.  Many racists look to the concept of the folk as one group of hate filled Christians corrupted it in the Fascist Christian nations of Western Europe post WWI, and try to stretch it to cover their own racial hatreds.  In fact, folkish heathenry is about celebrating their own roots, something that Native Canadian and American Aboriginals are learning to do as well.  It is not about hating others, it is about discovering and honouring your connections to your ancestors.  The poisons of Christianity and its insidious dualistic approach to all questions has tainted the statements of pride in heritage with the assumption of hatred or superiority towards and over others.  For true heathens this is not true, for we are based on relationship (blood, oath, or adoption/foster, marriage, friendship, joint service), and as such know that the gods look not to the purity of your blood, but the purity of your commitment to those you owe duty towards.   Those who call themselves Heathens, but seek only a welcome place to practice the hatred that stole and stained our holy symbols in my Grandfather’s generation are not part of our community, but we do hold a responsibility to educate those who can be taught the difference between pride as a healthy root of identity (community building), and pride as a whip to scourge others (community destroying).