Cultural appropriation


Cultural appropriation is the adoption of some specific elements of one culture by a different cultural group. It describes acculturation or assimilation, but can imply a negative view towards acculturation from a minority culture by a dominant culture It can include the introduction of forms of dress or personal adornment, music and artreligionlanguage, or social behavior. These elements, once removed from their indigenous cultural contexts, can take on meanings that are significantly divergent from, or merely less nuanced than, those they originally held.

Thor?

The term cultural appropriation can have a negative connotation. It generally is applied when the subject culture is a minority culture or somehow subordinate in social, political, economic, or military status to the appropriating culture; or, when there are other issues involved, such as a history of ethnic or racial conflict between the two groups. A more neutral term is cultural assimilation which does not imply blame.

Cultural and racial theorist, George Lipsitz, outlined this concept of cultural appropriation in his seminal term “strategic anti-essentialism.” Strategic anti-essentialism is defined as the calculated use of a cultural form, outside of your own, to define yourself or your group.

Strategic anti-essentialism can be seen both in minority cultures and majority cultures, and are not confined to only the appropriation of the other. For example, the American band Redbone, composed of founding members of Mexican heritage, essentialized their group as belonging to the Native American tradition, and are known for their famous songs in support of the American Indian Movement “We Were All Wounded at Wounded Knee” and “Custer Had It Coming.” However, as Lipsitz argues, when the majority culture attempts to strategically anti-essentialize themselves by appropriating a minority culture, they must take great care to recognize the specific socio-historical circumstances and significance of these cultural forms so as not the perpetuate the already existing, majority vs. minority, unequal power relations.

Swedish (!!!) hockey team

Cultural appropriation may be defined differently in different cultures. While academics in a country such as the United States, where racial dynamics had been a cause of cultural segmentation, may see many instances of intercultural communication as cultural appropriation, other countries may identify such communication as a melting pot effect.

Cultural appropriation has also been seen as a site of resistance to dominant society when members of a marginalized group take and alter aspects of dominant culture to assert their agency and resistance. This is exemplified in the novel Crick Crack, Monkey by Merle Hodge when those who are colonized appropriate the culture of the colonizers. Another historical example were the Mods in the UK in the 1960s, working class youth who appropriated and exaggerated the highly tailored clothing of the upper middle class. Objections have been raised to such political cultural appropriation, citing class warfare and identity politics.

Criticism

Justin Britt-Gibson’s article for the Washington Post looked at the appropriation of Jamaican culture by Italians and of other cultures by African-Americans as a sign of progress:

Throngs of dreadlocked Italians were smoking joints, drinking beer, grooving to the rhythms of Bob MarleySteel Pulse and other reggae icons. Most striking was how comfortable these Italians seemed in their appropriated shoes, adopting a foreign culture and somehow making it theirs. The scene reinforced my sense of how far we’ve come since the days when people dressed, talked and celebrated only that which sprang from their own background. For the first time in my life, I was fully aware of the spiritual concept that we’re all simply one.

That sense hasn’t left me. Everywhere I look, I see young people — such as my two younger brothers, a Japanese-anime-obsessed 11-year-old and a pastel-Polo-sporting 21-year-old — adopting styles, hobbies and attitudes from outside the culture in which they were raised. Last month in a Los Angeles barbershop, I was waiting to get my trademark Afro cut when I noticed a brother in his late teens sitting, eyes closed, as the barber clipped his hair into a “‘frohawk”, the punk-inspired African American adaptation of the mohawk. Asked why he chose the look, the guy, without looking up, shrugged, “Something different.” Immediately, I understood. Minutes later, his “different” cut became my new look.

Michael Lazarus, a North American Indian in his essay Anti-racist Measures Take Culture Away From Sports published by the Lowell Observer writes that the use of an ethnic symbol by a sports team is a progressive, liberal act that can be used by a culture to embrace history rather than hide from it.

Examples

A common sort of cultural appropriation is the adoption of the iconography of another culture. Examples include sports teams using Native American tribal names, tattoos of Polynesiantribal iconography, Chinese characters, or Celtic bands worn by people who have no interest in, or understanding of, their original cultural significance. When these artifacts are regarded as objects that merely “look cool“, or when they are mass produced cheaply as consumer kitsch, people who venerate and wish to preserve their indigenous cultural traditions may be offended.

In AustraliaAboriginal artists have discussed an ‘authenticity brand’ to ensure consumers are aware of artworks claiming false Aboriginal significance. The movement for such a measure gained momentum after the 1999 conviction of John O’Loughlin for the fraudulent sale of works described as Aboriginal but painted by non-indigenous artists.

Leprechaun?

Historically, some of the most hotly debated cases of cultural appropriation have occurred in places where cultural exchange is the highest, such as along the trade routes in southwestern Asia and southeastern Europe. For instance, some scholars of the Ottoman empire and ancient Egypt argue that Ottoman and Egyptian architectural traditions have long been falsely claimed and praised as Persian or Arab,and Greco-Roman, innovations, respectively. A more subtle example is brass band music trubaci. While this kind of music is almost exclusively performed by Romani people, who may not consider themselves Serbs, many people of Serbian origin consider this to be their own style. On the other hand, when the middle-class Slovenian band Pankrti adopted the style of London punk music rooted in unemployment and other issues specific to the UK, it was seen inYugoslavia as the spread of British culture and its adaptation to the local setting.

Viking?

African American culture historically has been the subject of a good deal of cultural appropriation, especially elements of its music, dance, slang, dress, and demeanor. (See blackfaceand cool.) For example, artists such as Eminem, a white American who adopted a contemporary African American musical style may be perceived this way. Another prominent example of cultural appropriation is the use of real or imaginary elements of Native American culture by North American summer camps, by organizations such as the Boy Scouts of America, or by New Age gurus, some of whom put up for commercial wholesale, paraphernalia modelled on Native American healing traditions and techniques (see plastic shamans). Many summer camps, and many age-segregated groups of campers within summer camps, are named after real Native American tribes (MohawkSeminole, etc.); tipis are common at summer camps for example. The Boy Scout honor society is called the Order of the Arrow.

Similarly, popular authors and non-indigenous self-styled teachers of Huna claim to be teaching authentic Native Hawaiian cultural practices, but often their notion of “Huna” is a synthesis of Freudian psychology, New Thought and New Age metaphysical beliefs.

Controversy has also arisen concerning the usage of the leprechaun mascot by the Boston Celtics basketball club and the University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team. Some people of Irishancestry see the usage as an example of cultural appropriation and even racism. Leprechauns appear in many Celtic mythological motifs, and the reduction of this mythological figure to a set of stereotypes and clichés may be perceived as offensive. A common term among the Irish for someone who appropriates or misrepresents Irish culture isPlastic Paddy.

My culture and history?

In some cases, a culture usually viewed as the target of cultural appropriation can become implicated as the agent of appropriation, particularly after colonization and an extensive period re-rganization of that culture under the nation-state system. For example, the government of Ghana has been accused of cultural appropriation in adopting the Caribbean Emancipation Day and marketing it to African American tourists as an “African festival”. A bindi dot when worn as a decorative item by a non-Hindu woman could be considered cultural appropriation, along with the use of henna in mehndi as a decoration outside traditional ceremonies.

And in some contemporary Western subcultures such as gay culturemetrosexual fashion is sometimes seen as a form of cultural appropriation done by straight men. This view is parodied in the South Park episode “South Park is Gay!” Another Western-styled subculture borne in the USA called Wiggers have often been criticised by blacks for cultural appropriation. However, black street culture has been said by some to contain examples of a type of cultural appropriation. For instance, the word “innit”: – question tags such as these existed in West Country English long before it became fashionable for blacks to use them (e.g. “innum?” meaning “aren’t they?”, “inner?” meaning “isn’t he?”, “innee?” meaning “aren’t you?” etc.). Another example is consonant swapping e.g. by saying “aks” instead of “ask”: – consonant swapping has been common in the West Country for a long time e.g. “chillurn” (children), “gert” (“great”, although used to mean “very”), “Burdgwa’er” (Bridgwater) etc. In many instances though, these redefined fashion statements and changes in the way subcultural colloquialismsslang-forms, and linguistic idioms are used often include elements that bear a resemblance to markers of cultural identity but because they are categorically as such more in the line of trends within popular culture than statements of a traditional culture, such subcultural emblematic adoption and language-use practices therefore would more aptly be described as a “borrowing” of sorts relative to the elements of one subculture being taken and implanted by another. The term cultural appropriation however is more accurately applied to those situations where indigenous cultures or oppressed minorities have been robbed of their cultural property (either overtly or more discretely) by the governments and social institutions of the majority society, and these situations have usually had turbulent historical trajectories with marked intergenerational impacts on the collective transformation undergone by both individuals and communities within these cultures.

My religion?

The Gods are speaking to me from America, contradicting my entire culture.

Me, being ambivalent

At the one hand i have nothing against syncretisms or ecletism.

An infux of diverse ideas can be creative.

There are Wiccan groups (Norse Wicca,Seax Wicca and so on) using mythology and iconography from my (and other Germanic) culture in a non cultural context, BUT:

1: They dont claim that it is cultural.

2: They acknowledge that it is a syncretic religion based on their beliefs.

Reconstructivists within polytheistic religions often get verbal diarrhea over this, totally forgettingf that the main bulk of them are Americans, NOT Greek,NOT Irish,NOT Swedish and have generally never even visited these places whos culture they try to “preserve” (I have done sacrificial rituals in both Greece, when it was illegal, and Ireland).´

Dont get me wrong, the American reconstructivists treating our traditions with respect (and they generally do) and applying academic knowledge to what they do and say (they generally do that too) are worthy of all respect.

But having a heritage from somewhere is NOT the same as being from there.

If that was the case we would all be Congolese (and i think the goverment of the Republic of Congo would object to that).

It is the” Holier than thou” attitude i have a problem with.

Not to mention (in my personal case) when something is presented as “Norse” when any 8 year old Swede could say that it´s not (like McNallens “Meta watsmacallit”).

My country has not been “officially” Christian for even a 1000 years yet (last Heathen king was killed in 1083).

A lot of what we are and do is still as Heathen as it gets. Maybe we actually know somthing about our own culture?

We dont read about the Norse in Llewellyn paperbacks, we ARE thew Norse. Today we are defined as Nordic (or sometimes mistakingly as Scandinavians, though that is too limiting).

People of the “Sed” (Custom) in Scandinavia. more often than not, seems unaware of any Universalist / Folkish schism or “Meta….thingymagidder ( and yes i DO know what McNallen means by it. It is still poppycock, scientifically, historically, culturally, archeologically and ethically. Go by it if it sounds right to you, just dont call it “Norse”).

All religions and cultures are essentially syncretic (i dare you to give me an example of a “pure” religion).

Afro / Caribbean religions have used Catholc iconography as “masks” for a long time and in some cases there is more syncretism than that (Brazilian Umbanda being an example).

Umbanda

As i understand it some Native American peoples, first Nations,Innuit, Samer and other indigenous peoples has closed rank, doing their best to keep more important parts of their cultures to themselves.

I can understand that too as i see helmets with silly ornaments,supremacist groups, guru´s,viking romanticists and even our own tourist industries rape our heritage (silly little ships, “vikings” with hornes, leprechauns drinking beer. Examples of crap produced in abundance by Scandinavian and Irish interests).

I DO wear a kilt sometimes, though arguably the kilt (as the “kjalta” ) has shared Norse origins, i, like most, associate it with Scotland and i would love pissing certain people off by forming a band of Heathen, black, gay, kletzmer musicians wearing it.

At the same time, i hate the misrepresentation of cultures and the disrespect of entire heritages.

The ethnocentric “understanding” of other peoples ways by reshaping them the way we want them.

I am a Kabbalist, but i ACKNOWLEDGE the Kabbalah´s Jewish roots, as well as the fact that i´m a gentile and my studies will never be entirely like that of a Jewish Chassid (or other group).

I ACKNOWLEDGE the syncretisms of Hermetic Qabalah ( i study strictly Judaic sources/traditions  too, and TRY to have a Jewish frame of mind as i do it, realizing that it wont work a 100%).

All being said and done i think it all comes down to respect, integrity and honesty, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually.

Me, a modern Scandinavian, pouring (wich gave my "tribe" its name, "Gauthi/Göte) libation

Me by local Bronze Age Tumulus (grave mound), Church in background (not on top of) and not a logotype in sight

Me actually NOT performing a ritual of any kind

Some Heathen traditions in Cristianized form in Sweden


In the part of Sweden where i now live there was a custom of piling a few stones on top of eachother, forming a phallic figure in the corners of fields. They where still being re painted in the 1800´s at least (and might still be.

A remnant of the Freyr cult.

At Christmas, especially in rural areas it has been a custom to place some rice pudding (with milk) outside for the Tomte.

Probably originally oatmeal. 

It is not often done now a days, especially in urban areas where it might even be impractical / unhygienic but every Swede knows about the custom, every as in 100%.

A remnant from blots to the Vaettir at the farm. 

In Iceland they still replan road construction in order to not irritate the Vaettir, Elves and other mights that could reside in their way.

There are a customs like girls picking 7 different flowers at 7 different meadows or fields (often jumping over the fences between them) at midsummer and then sleeping with them under the pillow in order to dream about their future husband.

7 / might be inspired by Hermeticism / Kabbala via folk magic but midsummer as such, connected to fertility (obviously) was celebrated here as in many cultures.


Original pole, the large ring symbolizing the femenine and the pole representing the masculine.


The more usual Christianized form.

If you encounter a trickster / impish spirit called the Byse (BEE-see) he will try to make you get lost in the woods. You take of your shirt and put it on inside out to confuse him and you will find your way.

Celebrations that where typical blot holidays still retain much of their heathen nature despite being officially Christian like raising a pole at midsummer, a straw goat at Christmas (Thor), Ham at Christmas (Freyr , Saerimner) and even Santa, him being a syncretism of St: Nicolaus, Odin and the Tomte.

In Swedish he is actually called “Jultomten”, the Tomte of Yule / Christmas. Compare to one of Odins epithets “Jollnir” (“The Yulish”)

Todays Disa Blot at Uppsala is a market / fair, but still retains a bit of the “Thing” feeling (and heathens are there in large numbers too obviously).

As in most countries i guess, there are a number of folk remedies for ailements.

Though not as noticable today as a hundred years ago we also have a tradition of “Cunning People”.

They often went under the names “Klok gumma / Klok gubbe” (“Wise old woman or man”) or “Lövgumma / Lövgubbe” (“Leaf woman / man”. Unfortunatly i dont know the etymology) and came in many specialist versions, healing, divination and magic…all folk type.


Klok Gumma from Delsbo, Sweden.

Might be a remnant from Völvas and Seidr Konar / Seidr Mennir.

There are MANY more and many regional ( and dont forget, we have Finns and Sami here with their numerous traditions too, not to mention syncretisms among these).

Some people that use a sauna often (Finns,Sami,Russians) leave a peace of soap for the spirit residing in the sauna.

At Wahlpurgis night it is common to light big pyres.


Folkloric iron charm against trolls. Now usually worn as a fashion statement among non heathens ( a bit like the hammer pendant).

The vocal practice of “kulning” is at least medieval (cattle calling with a high pitch voice) and might (notice “might”, there are no proof) have connections to the vocal magic of Galdr (that we know was also done high pitch, thus called “Galdr”, To crow).

There is a whole heathen tradition in Scandinavia that is not recon but rather folkloric. The way they see it, todays folklore in the region they live is the continuation of the old cults and though they sometimes call to the same Gods their practice is mainly regional folkloric and kind of “contemporary”.

They usually call it “Norrön Sed” (Northern Custom).

It is said that some malicous enteties (trolls and such) cant stand lightning…..duh!!!

Placing a pair of scissors opened at a door protects it against witches.
Note that even if the scissors form a “cross”, the Swedish word for scissors is “sax”, like the viking age weapon (seax). Could be a coincidence.

Its 5:00 am here when i write this so at the moment i cant think of anything more. Just that an libation of milk doesent really surprise me even if the person performing it considers him or herself Christian.

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.

Värend,Småland,Sweden


The small lands of Småland. The black and red spots indicate runestones. The red spots indicate runestones telling of long voyages ( i live in “Finnveden”).
Småland = Små Land = Small Lands / Small Countries = Petty Kingdoms.

Värend was in the Middle Ages the most populous of the constituent small lands of the province Småland, in Sweden. Early on,Växjö became its center. Around 1170, Värend broke out of the diocese of Linköping, and formed its own diocese of Växjö. Judicially, Värend was a part of “Tiohärad”, which roughly corresponds to present-day Kronoberg County.
It consists of the hundreds, or härader, Allbo Hundred, Kinnevald Hundred, Konga Hundred, Norrvidinge Hundred and Uppvidinge Hundred.

The small lands of Småland. The black and red spots indicate runestones. The red spots indicate runestones telling of long voyages ( i live in “Finnveden”).

Småland = Små Land = Small Lands / Small Countries = Petty Kingdoms.

Värend was in the Middle Ages the most populous of the constituent small lands of the province Småland, in Sweden. Early on,Växjö became its center. Around 1170, Värend broke out of the diocese of Linköping, and formed its own diocese of Växjö. Judicially, Värend was a part of “Tiohärad”, which roughly corresponds to present-day Kronoberg County.

It consists of the hundreds, or häraderAllbo HundredKinnevald HundredKonga HundredNorrvidinge Hundred and Uppvidinge Hundred.

List of reconstructionist polytheistic pagan religions


Polytheistic reconstructionism (Reconstructionism) is an approach to Neopaganism first emerging in the late 1960s to early 1970s, and gathering momentum in the 1990s to 2000s. Reconstructionism attempts to re-establish historical polytheistic religions in the modern world, in contrast with syncretic movements like Wicca, and “channeled” movements like Germanic mysticism or Theosophy.

Many practitioners of folk religions live outside of the original cultures and territories from which those historical religions arose, and reconstructonists consequently face the problem of understanding, and then implementing, the worldview of pre-modern rural societies in a modern, possibly urban environment.

1.

  1. There is no attempt to recreate a combined pan-European paganism.
  2. Researchers attempt to stay within research guidelines developed over the course of the past century for handling documentation generated in the time periods that they are studying.
  3. A multi-disciplinary approach is utilized capitalizing on results from various fields as historical literary research, anthropology, religious history, political history, archeology, forensic anthropology, historical sociology, etc. with an overt attempt to avoid pseudo-sciences.
  4. There are serious attempts to recreate culture, politics, science and art of the period in order to better understand the environment within which the religious beliefs were practiced

Celtic shrine

Asatru – Norse  (Please keep in mind that some practices of Asatru differ between Scandinavia and America, partly since the custom never really left here butb stayed in traditions, folklore, placenames and so on. The actual FAITH is the same though).

http://www.asatru.ca/?page_id=3

Hellenismos – Greek

http://hellenismos.us/b/

Religio Romana – Roman

http://www.novaroma.org/religio_romana/

Anglo – Saxon Heathenry – Anglo – Saxon

http://www.englatheod.org/anglosaxon.htm

Celtic Revivalism – Celtic

http://redbranchsociety.wikidot.com/celtic-revivalism

Natib Qadish – Caanaanite

http://canaanitepath.com/introduction.htm

Romuva – Lithuanian

http://www.romuva.lt/en.html

Finnish Paganism – Finland

http://www.taivaannaula.org/finnish_paganism.php

Estonian Paganism – Estonia

http://mysticwicks.com/showthread.php?t=162063

Kemeticism – Egyptian

http://www.inkemetic.org/Library/kemeticism.htm

Slavic Paganism

http://www.circe-argent.com/slavic_paganism.htm

Romuva

These are only a few (the biggest) reconstructive religions out there, and dont forget that using terms like “Germanic, Celtic” or “Slavic” are simplifications.

There whyere several tribes of each of these larger ethnic groups and  time and geography would mean variations. Even within what is now Sweden there where differences in cult.

The biggest reconstructive polytheistic religion last i checked was Asatru.

Members of YSEE, a Hellenic Reconstructionist group, perform a ritual.

Hellenists

There are about a 100 000 Hellenists in Greece, a country that only recently gained religious freedom (ie it was forbidden to be a Hellenist) and a whole lot in the US

 

Symbel / Bragafull


 Symbel / Bragafull - Acknowledging ourselves and our acomplishments In Christian thinking “boasting” is seen as something to be avoided, not so in pre Christian Norse culture. Or i should correct myself, boasting in this case is not the empty claims and exagerations we normally associate with the word, but an acknowledging of our own acomplishments AND the help of the Gods and ancestors. In other words a thanksgiving of sorts ,notice that there is no sacrifice in Symbel, since it is not a prayer for something but a thanks for what is allready given. We acknowledge our own part in the acomplishment and thus strenghten ourselves. The Gods are not doing everything for us since they´re not our servants. Gods and men co exist. Thus WE have a place in the equation. At the end of Symbel / Bragafull oaths are often taken, thus further empowering us. These vows are BINDING and taken very seriously. Symbel involved a formulaic ritual which was more solemn and serious than mere drinking or celebration. The primary elements of symbel are drinking ale or mead from a drinking horn, speech making (which often included formulaic boasting and oaths), and gift giving. Eating and feasting were specifically excluded from symbel, and no alcohol was set aside for the gods or other deities in the form of a sacrifice. Accounts of the symbel are preserved in the Anglo-Saxon Beowulf (lines 489-675 and 1491–1500), Dream of the Rood and Judith, Old Saxon Heliand, and the Old NorseLokasenna as well as other Eddic and Saga texts, such as in the Heimskringla account of the funeral ale held by King Sweyn, or in the Fagrskinna. The bragarfull ”promise-cup” or bragafull ”best cup” or “chieftain’s cup” (compare Bragi) was in Norse culture a particular drinking from a cup or drinking horn on ceremonial occasions, often involving the swearing of oaths when the cup or horn was drunk by a chieftain or passed around and drunk by those assembled. The names are sometimes anglicized as bragarful and bragaful respectively. That the name appears in two forms with two meanings makes it difficult to determine the literal meaning. The word bragr ’best, foremost’ is a source for its first element. The form bragafull (but not bragarfull) can also be interpreted as ‘Bragi’s cup’, referring to the Bragi, god of poetry, though no special connection to Bragi appears in any of the sources.

 

Symbel / Bragafull – Acknowledging ourselves and our acomplishments

In Christian thinking “boasting” is seen as something to be avoided, not so in pre Christian Norse culture.

Or i should correct myself, boasting in this case is not the empty claims and exagerations we normally associate with the word, but an acknowledging of our own acomplishments AND the help of the Gods and ancestors.

In other words a thanksgiving of sorts ,notice that there is no sacrifice in Symbel, since it is not a prayer for something but a thanks for what is allready given.

We acknowledge our own part in the acomplishment and thus strenghten ourselves.

The Gods are not doing everything for us since they´re not our servants. Gods and men co exist.

Thus WE have a place in the equation.

At the end of Symbel / Bragafull oaths are often taken, thus further empowering us. These vows are BINDING and taken very seriously.

Symbel involved a formulaic ritual which was more solemn and serious than mere drinking or celebration. The primary elements of symbel are drinking ale or mead from a drinking horn, speech making (which often included formulaic boasting and oaths), and gift giving. Eating and feasting were specifically excluded from symbel, and no alcohol was set aside for the gods or other deities in the form of a sacrifice.

Accounts of the symbel are preserved in the Anglo-Saxon Beowulf (lines 489-675 and 1491–1500), Dream of the Rood and Judith, Old Saxon Heliand, and the Old NorseLokasenna as well as other Eddic and Saga texts, such as in the Heimskringla account of the funeral ale held by King Sweyn, or in the Fagrskinna.

The bragarfull ”promise-cup” or bragafull ”best cup” or “chieftain’s cup” (compare Bragi) was in Norse culture a particular drinking from a cup or drinking horn on ceremonial occasions, often involving the swearing of oaths when the cup or horn was drunk by a chieftain or passed around and drunk by those assembled. The names are sometimes anglicized as bragarful and bragaful respectively.

That the name appears in two forms with two meanings makes it difficult to determine the literal meaning. The word bragr ’best, foremost’ is a source for its first element. The form bragafull (but not bragarfull) can also be interpreted as ‘Bragi’s cup’, referring to the Bragi, god of poetry, though no special connection to Bragi appears in any of the sources.