Clearing Up Misconceptions that New Heathens May Have


New Heathens almost always encounter other Heathens on-line first, prior to meeting actual Heathens face-to-face in real life. Based on the behavior of many of the Heathens you encounter on-line, it would be easy to falsely conclude that all heathens are angry, mean people who like to argue and belittle other people. One might mistakenly conclude that the biggest problem facing Heathenry are the “hoards and hoards of racist” people calling themselves Heathen. One might start to incorrectly believe that Heathernry can take place on the internet. One might falsely conclude that the Prose and Poetic Edda are basically the Heathen Bible. One might sadly conclude that there is only one-true-way within Heathenry, and we’re debating and working hard to develop and define that one-true-way.

As easy as it would be to come to these conclusions, all of these conclusions would be essentially false.

REAL HEATHENS ARE A GENEROUS AND HOSPITABLE PEOPLE

Our Heathen ancestors put great important on their own families and their own local communities. But they held generosity and hospitality as important strengths of a man’s character. A man who knew how to be a generous host, and how to treat his guests well, would earn himself great respect among his peers.

Modern Heathens focus on their families and their kindred, living in Frith and cooperation within their trusted Innangarth, or trusted inner circle. While focus closely on family, kindred, and friends, they also understand the importance of extending hospitality to heathens traveling through or visiting their local area or kindred.

A man’s reputation, or Gefrain, is based on his deeds, how much he accomplishes, his generosity, his hospitality, and his honor. There is nothing about Asatru or Heathenry that encourages meaningless anger or pointless confrontations. But,on-line Heathenry is rife with keyboard cowboys that seem to delight in tearing other people down, name-calling, and being as confrontational as possible. This says much more about the nature of the internet and the nature of these people, than it has to do with Heathenry itself.

THE VAST MAJORITY OF HEATHENS ARE PROUD OF THEIR ANCESTORS

Heathens are proud of their history, their culture, and their ancestors. We feel that we share a connection with our ancestors by blood, by culture, and by Orlog, a part of the Heathen soul that is passed from parent to child. This pride is a positive pride, and does not involve hatred for other cultures or a need to tear other cultures down in favor of our own.

Some mistake this positive pride as somehow being “racist.” You’ll find that most “Folkish” Heathens don’t even use the word “Race,” in reference to their beliefs…because pride in one’s ancestors is not about “Race.” This on-going “racist” debate and name-calling is decades old within Heathenry, and has gotten us no where. It is an enormous distraction from anything constructive and positive. It should be noted, that this “racist” debate, is almost exclusively something that takes place on-line. It is an internet phenomenon, and utterly pointless.

Racism is not specifically a Heathen problem. Racism is not the problem of any one particular group. There are Racists within every religion. Christian Racists. Muslim Racists. Jewish Racists. Hindu Racists. Even Wiccan Racists.

Jotun’s Bane Kindred has been to scores of face-to-face heathen gatherings. The topic of “Race” or “Racism” never comes up at these gatherings, and is a complete non-issue within real Heathenry. It is only on-line that self-appointed “crusaders,” harp on this topic constantly. In so doing, they give the issue more time and attention that it deserves. Listening to these proverbial “Chicken Littles” on-line, one would think that Racism was a major problem within Heathenry…and that the sky is falling. I doubt they realize it, but their constant feeding and attention of this non-issue, gives this non-existent internet bogey-man a life of its own.

Rather than running about telling people what we aren’t, we should be focusing our time on telling people who we are, and why. We should explain why we honor our ancestors, and how important they are to us. What few “racist” Heathens there are, cease to have any real impact when we ignore and shun them as a topic, and focus our time and energy on moving forward.

REAL HEATHENRY TAKES PLACE FACE-TO-FACE

Real Heathenry is about community, gathering as a people, shaking a man or woman’s hand, looking them in the eye, hearing their voice, telling stories, getting to know each other. Its letting your kids play together. Letting your spouses get to know each other. Its about laughing at dumb jokes, and telling stories from your life. Its about mingling Wyrd…and taking the measure of another person, and finding them of worth.

Real Heathenry is about actually DOING something. Reading, scholarship, communication, discussing various beliefs, and even debating approaches to our Folkway are important. But, we are our deeds. What have you done? What are you doing? What will you do?

Starting, growing, and maintaining kindreds is a way of bringing Heathenry home. You build close-knit bonds of Frith with other Heathens that then become part of your Innangarth, or trusted inner circle. Gathering with other Heathens and living in Frith with them, allows for collective Luck to be built, and for great things to be accomplished. Our children get to know and play with other Heathen children. And we establish Heathen communities that draw other members of our Folk home to their ancestral Folkway.

These things can only happen face-to-face. We should never mistake internet interactions and acquaintances as “real.” They are just pixels on a screen, and these pixels flicker out when the machine is unplugged.

THE POETIC EDDA AND PROSE EDDA ARE HISTORICAL TEXTS

The Poetic Edda and Prose Edda are both historical texts, written by men. Both texts were actually written down by Christian men. The Poetic Edda was an attempt by Christians to record in writing the old poetry of their oral storytelling culture. The Poetic Edda was written by Snori Sturleson in order to preserve enough knowledge about Norse mythology and the meanings of poetic kennings, to preserve the poetry forms of the North. Heathens understand that these books are not “the word” of our Gods.

We include the Poetic Edda and Prose Edda among our Lore, a collection of primary sources we look to for information about the religion, ways, and world-view of our ancestors. We also include among this Lore, the Icelandic Sagas, Beowulf, and other contemporary writings of the time. But none of these books are “scripture.”

But you will encounter Heathens that read the poetry recorded in the Poetic Edda as scripture. They will quote it, and interpret it as literal truth, without any critical thought as to how and when they were recorded, and by whom. They quote information in the Prose Edda, as if what Snori Sturleson wrote is exactly what all Heathens thorughout history believed of our Gods and Goddesses, and the Nine Worlds. Yes, information from both the Poetic and Prose Eddas is important and well worth considering. But both sources are the works of men, and not the works of our Gods.

Other religions have their Holy Books, which they proclaim are the direct “Word” of their god. But our Heathen ancestors did not have a written tradition, nor a holy book. And modern Heathens also do not have a holy book.

TRIBAL VARIANCES ARE ACKNOWLEDGED AND EXPECTED

The ways of our Ancestors varied greatly from tribe to tribe, location to location, century to century, and even among various levels of society. The same situation exists today within modern Heathenry. There was no “one-true-way” among our ancestors and there is no “one-true-way among modern Heathens. We live in different regions, we have different backgrounds and upbringings, we have different life experiences, different personalities, different interests, and different ways of interpreting things we read and learn.

One of the great strengths of grassroots, local kindred-based, tribal heathenry is the understanding among various tribes that they can have unity of purpose and work together, without having unified beliefs or practices.

But, you will encounter Asatruars and Heathens who feel they are right, and everyone else is dreadfully wrong. Heathens who believe that the goal of the Reconstruction of our ancestral Folkway, is to rediscover the “one-true-way” of our ancestors. These Asatruars and Heathens debate angrily over details, denigrating and insulting all those that do things differently than they do, and they seem completely oblivious to the fact that the never was “one-true-way” of Heathenry.

When you look at the behavior of these elitists who insist there was one-true-way, and that they specifically are the ones that have found it, and that everyone else is wrong…does it not feel eerily familiar of the desert faiths, with their one-true-way?

Our ancestors did not act in this way, and I’m always amazed when people who claim to be the most well-read and learned among us, act in a way that is so contrary to how our ancestors would have approached their own ancestral Folkway.

BEST WAY TO CLEAR UP MISCONCEPTIONS

The best way to clear up these internet-oriented misconceptions is to meet or gather with other heathens face-to-face.  If there is a kindred or tribe within traveling distance of where you live, arranged to visit them or attend one of their meetings.  If there is no kindred or tribe within traveling distance, do some research on Heathen Gatherings…and attend one.  There is nothing like meeting with or gathering with other heathens, to give you better insight into the reality of Heathenry…rather than what lurks in the internet shadows.

Mark Ludwig Stinson

Jotun’s Bane Kindred

Temple of Our Heathen Gods

http://www.heathengods.com/

(Source: facebook.com)

(Some) Asatru U.S style


I cant help it, sometimes when i see Amercan Heathens i feel like i´m watching some bad Viking LARP.

That goes for all the talk of “Folk” and all the “hails” too.

I dont know any Swedish people that greet eachother with “Hail” or “Hielsa” (witch just sounds like misunderstood Swedish).

As a general rule you can hardly distinguish between Swedish Christians,Heathens and the secular majority (not to mention those that are kind of a mix of these…..witch in a sense is our entire culture).

I should make clear that:

1: I do NOT intend to insult anyone here, Heathen,Christian or other.

2: Neither will i deliberatly call all “Folkish” Heathens racists or all “Universalist” Heathens airhead neo pagans (Besides, we actually ARE neo pagans per defenition, EVEN if we are reconstructionists or grew up in a culture saturated with the folklore and extentions of cult and myth as i am).

3: And i do not think the fact that American Heathenry differs from Swedish (generalizing my ass off here) is in anyway “bad” or “wrong”. On the contrary i think its good. The custom SHOULD be adaptable to individuals, circumstances, places and communities. It always was. Even within what is today the nation of Sweden, Heathen cult and customs differed depending on when and where.

You organize in kindreds, we dont,Some of you use terms like “Thorsman”, i have never heard a Swede, even one focusing on Thor calling himself that or having an “patron God” attitude towards it (individuals and even whole areas in Scandinavia sometimes focus on certain mights as etymology shows, but it seems very de emphasized in actual cult, even today in most cases).

Eplagarðr Kindred. Some Heathens dress in Norse garb at special occations, others dont (and sometimes its a matter of practicality rather than choice)

Non of this is what i´m talking about.

Its simply that when i watch an Asatru Kindred video where “the dangers of a monoculture” is discussed where one guy leads the meeting while another guy sits on a chair, doing his best “viking chieftain” with a girl with a logo T – shirt on each side of him, a model longship on a shelf above him and two drinking horns on a table……

…..it feels weird and a bit cult (in the modern use of the word, incorrect as it is) ,LARP ,survivalist…..”i wish i was part of something cool and had a special heritage”….alien, silly.

It also gives me a feeling of self indoctrination by pastor, evangelical style.

I have nothing against boat models or drinking horns and definetely not girls…..especially several of them and in combination with drinking horns (horny?), i guess i just wish fate (not faith), and a trust that our culture(s) are biological enteties that takes care of themself  quite well with much less attitude, roleplay, pretend uniqueness and heritage would more of a base.

Mock history,science or hertage is a much bigger threat to culture than another culture ever was.

Swedish Heathens performing Disa Blot at a boulder.

Dont believe me? Ask a viking. They loved to mix their culture with others.

Meet the Khoisan people of Africa.


The term Khoisan is actually a unifying term for two similar groups: the foraging San and pastoral Khoi.

One thing you might notice is their surprisingly light skin tone for being a southern African group. They’re also rather short, averaging from 4’9” to 5’4” with long legs and torsos, which distinguishes them sharply from their darker skinned Bantu and Bayaka (if anyone knows a better term for this ethnic group, please tell me. It was the best generalized name I could find aside from the distasteful “Pygmies” and I’m still not sure if it’s neutral enough to not be offensive) neighbors with their characteristically shorter torso shapes. In what I consider to be their most beautiful characteristics, they are noted for their high, broad cheekbones and epicanthic eye folds.

Genetic studies have shown that the Khoisan are likely to be the first ethnic group to split from the rest of Homo sapiens as we spread across the globe. It should be noted that this does not mean that they represent an archaic, under-evolved subset of humanity, as they like the rest never stopped evolving over time.

Linguistically, they’re also different from their neighbors in having their own language group, which developed the unique and famed click consonants that Bantu languages later adopted. There are also vast differences in their languages over a relatively small region, which provides evidence that they were the dominant culture in south western Africa before Bantu people moved in around 2000 BCE, whose languages are all comparatively similar in the same region. So, essentially, the Khoisan languages had time to split from their common ancestor dramatically in the region, while the local Bantu languages’ common ancestor hasn’t had as much time to do so in the region, if that makes a bit more sense, before Dutch arrival in 1642.

This population is probably most famous for the women’s significantly increased likelihood of steatopygia, or large deposits of fat around the buttocks as well as an extended (3-4 inches) labia minora. Women with these developments are considered very beautiful by their people, but were considered oddities by Europeans. Predictably, at least two of these women were taken around Europe as side show attractions, known as “Hottentot Venuses”. The most famous was Saartjie (Sahr-kee) Baartman (a name in Afrikaans after Dutch settlement), known as “Sarah” to English speakers. She was orphaned after a commando raid on her village, so her birth name is unknown. She was kept as a slave by Dutch farmers near Cape Town until her owner’s brother suggested she be taken to Europe for exhibition, promising her wealth. She was taken around Britain in 1810, shortly after the 1807 Slave Trade Act, which created a controversy, as abolitionist groups pressured unsuccessfully for her release. She was questioned in front of a court and stated that she was not under restraint and would collect half of the profits, though there is evidence of coercion. Soon, she was sold to a Frenchman and was put on a more pressured exhibit for fifteen months by an animal trainer named Regu. During this time she also posed for scientific paintings nude to show her genitalia, which she previously had refused to do. When her exhibit lost popularity in Paris, she became an alcoholic and earned a living with prostitution until her early death in 1815 from an unknown illness— possibly small pox or syphilis. Her skeleton, preserved brain, and preserved genitals were put on display until 1974. After decades of legal battles, her remains were finally returned to Africa were she’s buried on the top of a hill near her home in 2002.

Saartjie Baartman

Trailer for Vénus Noire, a French-language 2010 film about Saartjie.

The slogan for Vevo is “Music Evolution Revolution!”. That is probably the most ironic piece of misinformation i have heard since the Berlin wall.


Vevo, stylized as VEVO, is a music video website. It is a joint venture among Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, andAbu Dhabi Media with EMI licensing its content to the group without taking an ownership stake. The service was launched officially on December 8, 2009. The videos on VEVO are syndicated across the web, with Google and VEVO sharing the advertising revenue.

Btw: How many artists from Abu Dhabi do you know?