What is it they say? Everyone wants to be a Heathen, until it’s time to do Heathen Things.
Sounds about right.
Huginn’s Heathen Hof set themselves up as the guys who were going to take back Heathenism from the Racists (well, at least they were going to try and excommunicate the AFA as ‘racists’ anyways). Of course, what is the first step when you’re trying to take back Heathenism from the grim specter of racism thanks to the Nazis?
Why surrender absolutely everything to the Ghost of Nazi Germany! Because after all, the sum total of Germanic and Scandinavian history is wrapped up and intimately tied to those nicely dressed and horribly violent people that were the National Socialists!
Well, what are we potentially supposed to give up this time? Well according to the “Rational Heathen” who…ever time I find something of them convinces me that they are neither rational nor all that heathen.
Oh, boy howdy. I know I’m going to get flack for this post, but the question has been brewing in my mind for some time. Every time I see stylized depictions of the Irminsul, I feel uncomfortable. Not because of the original meaning of the Irminsul, but what it has grown to represent due to the blatant misappropriation by the neo-Nazis and the white supremacists.
You know what’s funny? I can look at a Swastika and feel perfectly comfortable. Mostly because I don’t let the misadventures of a political faction that’s been dead for about seventy years and only existed for about twenty define the symbols of my people and our heritage. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it took me a while and a lot of growing up, but I refuse to let the bad actions of a few taint that which has been holy to the many for all of our history.
And that’s for a symbol that was universal not only to ancient heathens, but to people all around the world. The Irminsul seems to have been an important symbol to the Saxons, though how far beyond that I can’t say. But the Irminsul is connected to Yggdrasil, I believe, which makes it a rather important part of Heathenism.
What with Yggdrasil being the World Tree and all that.
But hey, you know what, white supremacists and neo-Nazis like it, so that means it’s poison. Obviously. I mean, its not like they like it because it’s an important symbol for our people or anything. This like saying that Christians should give up their Cross because the KKK happen to like setting them on fire.
So, before I get into the reasoning behind my question — and with all honesty, I do not have an answer to the question — let’s get into the history behind the Irminsul and why it is important to heathen beliefs.
Great, so the Rational Heathen has no answer to this question they have posed. They merely have the irrational feelings of discomfort when they see a holy symbol of their supposed faith.
I’m sure this is going to be brilliant.
Where the Irminsul Comes from
The Irminsul or Ermensul comes straight from the Saxons. Arguably it’s named after Irmin, a
presumably main Saxon god who is linked either with Tyr or Odin, according to early 20th century historians.This is a largely reconstructed god and may or may not have existed. Many later scholars do not think there was such a god, instead thinking that the Irminsul was more likely a representation of Yggdrasil or the World Tree.
So…our “Rational Heathen” is left feeling uncomfortable from a stylized tree.
I supposed I shouldn’t be surprised, I’m sure they go into panic attacks from a stylized sun. After all, what religious devotee doesn’t go into fits of panic and despair when they lay eyes upon the ancient symbols of their faith? Who doesn’t instantly consider giving up everything important about their religion simply because a few individual who might do, or worse believe, something different than the devotee in question?
I mean, I see millions of Muslims leaving their faith because a few use it to excuse terrorist violence….or wait I don’t. Or, I mean, there’s all those Christians who stop wearing crosses because sometimes they’re burned for intimidation…oh wait they don’t do that either. Well, maybe all those Jews who give up going into business because there’s a stereotype or two about Jews and happy merchants…oh wait that doesn’t happen either. Or I know, all those communists who have stopped preaching communism because it has a body count literally ten times that of the Nazis!
Dr. Karl E. H. Seigfried mentions the destruction of the Irminsul in this post, and also notes that the author who writes about it wrote the account 88 years after the fact. He furthermore adds:
“The Saxon Poet writes that the Irminsul “was fashioned in the form of a huge column and contained a corresponding wealth of adornment,” but his account was written nearly 120 years after the destruction of the site. Such later sources must be treated with caution; sources contemporary with the Saxon war do not clarify whether the Irminsul was a carved column or a natural tree.”
So it possibly took about a century to safely talk about the Irminsul after its destruction, because the prevailing Christian Government was so eager to stamp out Heathenism that they would wreck anyone or anything talking about it? And it took so long in fact that we lost potentially important data about they symbol of our people and what it meant.
Well, isn’t that just wonderful. And now we have a Heathen coming around and saying “maybe we should scrap this because I’m uncomfortable,” which could result in the further loss of what we managed to actually retain about something that was important to our Saxon kin.
So, not only do we have a questionable god, but also we don’t know if the Irminsul was a post or a tree. And while it had a huge temple surrounding it, we really don’t have any archaeological evidence determining what it was. While we do have one possible image of it, it is a Christian depiction and not pagan art. This piece of art appeared somewhere between the 9th and 12th centuries, most likely by an artist who had never seen an Irminsul.
Fucking Hela, why is this person even a Heathen?
“Well, the information we have is jumbled and possibly tainted by Christians, so we don’t even know if any of this is real and maybe we should just scrap it, because well people I don’t like who believe things I don’t agree with sometime use the version of this symbol that we have and I don’t like that.”
Congratulations, you have pretty much described every part of Heathenism as a whole.
But, and stay with me here, we have a very good idea that it “was.” That not only that, it was pretty damn important. It apparently had a temple associated with it, it had to do with a pillar/tree, and it was holy. Which, frankly, is good enough for me.
Mostly because that’s about as good as we get for a lot of the things we have in Heathenism. And we living Heathens get to add our own part to the history of Heathenism. Sure, our Irminsul might not be the exact same as it was back then, but it still is an Irminsul, and it still is holy.
And frankly, I tend to be pissed off enough that we allow the Swastika to languish in a politically based purgatory rather than restore it to its holy status. I really would rather not allow others of our symbols to be sent to that purgatory because someone, somewhere, doesn’t like how it makes them feel when their ideological opponents also use said symbols.
The Axis Mundi, or Pillar of the World
The Irminsul, and Yggdrasil, for that matter, is a form of the axis mundi, or the pillar of the world. The concept appears time and again throughout many religions. The axis mundi is the link between the heavens and the earth, forming a bridge like the Bifrost from the mundane to the supernatural. Too many religions to name have this conduit, and the Irminsul appears to be a representation of the conduit. I tend to agree with later historians, (rightly or wrongly), that it was the Saxons’ form of the World Tree.
Welp, good enough for me.
We keep it, and we honor it, and fuck anyone who says otherwise.
Corruption by the Nazis
It didn’t take long for the Nazis to point to Irminism and Wotanism as their own religions due to the evolution of Heathenry in northern Europe…
Yes, how dare a group of people intent on preserving their cultural identity and heritage from “destruction by outside forces” look to the sacred symbols of their past and embrace them for everything they were worth.
Gods Damn it. I know the Nazis did bad things. Things that reasonably should never have been done. But their goal was the preservation of their nation and culture from a percieved threat of extermination. A perception that was not irrational given the situation for Germany and Germans at the time. I do wish they had come up with better solutions, but given they were a people who were the last survivors of their side of WWI, got the entirety of the blame for the war and were forced to accept it (despite the fact that Germany had no part in starting the war at all), and then had to watch as their economy was razed to the ground leaving their entire population almost at the point of starving to death…
Can you really blame them for embracing their heritage as something to be proud of and running with it? Yes, they ran to far and too hard in the wrong direction, but for the Love of the Gods can we please stop hating the symbols of our faith because a desperate population latched on to them in a moment of desperation and despair?
Especially in the hypocritical face of people having absolutely no problem with the use of Communist symbols with no history other than use by Communists, who killed ten times the people the Nazis ever did, and did so not out of a desperate desire to survive, but based on nothing more than an ideological hatred of a different economic system!
…A great deal of emphasis was placed on the site of Externsteine where, I kid you not, a psychic Nazi archaeologist, claimed there was an Irminsul, even though there is no physical proof of one. Look up Karl Maria Wiligut sometime. This guy created the SS logo and was a spiritual counselor for Himmler. Fun times.
Would that be the SS symbol or the one with the skull? Because the Skull thing was traditional for the German military before the Nazis, and the SS is literally…two Sowilo Runes. So…”S” and “S.”
And so what if some psychic claimed there had been an Irminsul at Extersteine. There’s two options here….he was a psychic with no abilities, in which case what he saw doesn’t matter or two, he honestly had powers, there was honestly an Irminsul there, in which case the fact that he was a Nazi doesn’t matter for fuck all!
Honestly, if some psychic told me there was a Temple to Hel at the location of the City of Hel, and it actually turned out that there had been a Temple there that was lost to time, I wouldn’t care if he was a stoner in a pink tutu who praised the Spaghetti Monster. Because Ideology doesn’t matter when it comes to Truth!
The sign of the Irminsul and the meaning had been adopted by men such as Heinrich Himmler, who was big into the occult. During these dark days, heathens saw their images such as teiwaz, othala, algiz, and sowelu become part of the Nazi symbols. The Irminsul was offered as an alternative to the Christian cross.
Yes, Himmler was into the Occult. In fact, the SS was an organization the embraced a form of Heathenism…because they were an organization that was focused on their heritage and the defense of that heritage at any cost.
Instead of letting the SS and Himmler dictate which of our symbols should now be forbidden us because they happened to do some very bad things, they should be a lesson about what happens when you take your faith too far in any one direction. Much as we are told that we should not write of all of Islam for the sake of a few terrorists, we should not write off any part of Heathenism for the sake of a few SS! Rather, take them as a warning, but not an indictment.
Because that seems to be the rule for everyone and everything else outside of Heathenism!
Neo-Nazi and White Supremacist Symbols
If you check out the JDL’s hate symbol database, you’ll be dismayed to find images such as othala, teiwaz, and other heathen runes to be part of the neo-Nazi symbols. You also may see something that looks like a skinhead crucified on a teiwaz rune.
Yeah, I’m pretty sure I could also fine some Rare Pepe’s over there too.
That honestly seems like more of a mark against the JDL than it does anything else.
And at the risk of being more crass than usual…Oh no, an organization of Jews happily lists symbols of Heathen/Germanic origin as evil so that they will never be used in a cultural context as a consequence of Germans trying wipe out the Jews for…”attempting to makes sure that Germanic culture is destroyed.”
Honestly I don’t know if this is an example of self fulfilling prophecy or evidence that the Nazis might have actually had a point about the Jews trying to destroy German culture. Seriously, this is the rabbit hole of madness I am left to stare into! Certainly, it provides validity for claims by “neo-nazis” and “white supremacists” that the Jews (and others) are trying to destroy “Germanic Culture” when the very existence of these symbols on “hate lists” is designed to make sure that these symbols (and related ideas) are never allowed to exist peacefully within any society!
Hel, take “skinheads” for example. Skinheads started out as a part of the Metal fanbase, the only thing was they shaved their heads rather than grow their hair out like most Metal fans did, because the “skinheads” worked jobs where long hair was a work hazard. But because “Skinheads” came from economic backgrounds that were disadvantaged and some of them started to organize to look out for their interests and took pride in who they were, they ultimately got labeled as Racists and decided to just go with it. (That’s a very basic history of how skinheads turned into Neo-Nazis).
Oddly enough, it looks like an Irminsul. And I suspect it’s intentional, as is the crucified skinhead looking like a mockery of the White Christ. Although I have no love for Christianity, the blending of the two images from two different beliefs, combined with the overall hate message has left me uneasy. (Yes, I know Odin hung himself on the World Tree for nine days, but I really think this is a Heathen and Christian blending in a perverse way.) This combined with the obvious Nazi history of the Irminsul has corrupted it to the point where I’m not certain we can ever win it back without the soiled context. Look at the swastika and tell me that it is free from the Nazi taint, even though it was an ancient rune and symbol. It’s foolish to think otherwise.
And thus the “Rational Heathen” concedes the field of battle without even raising their sword.
Well fuck them.
You know what…who cares if its “soiled.” The reason the Swastika remains in the “hands of Nazis” is because WE REFUSE TO TAKE IT BACK!
Modern Neo-Nazis are the only ones with the pride and courage in their heritage to pick up this holy relic and wear it. And so it belongs to them. Because Non-Heathens and Non-Whatever-We-Are keep insisting it is a “symbol of hatred” and we refuse to argue the point. We refuse to buy it back with our honor or with our blood. We refuse to fight for it.
AND THAT IS A FUCKING DISGRACE!
And here we have the “rational Heathen” all to willing to allow it to happen again. Why? Because their “fee fees” can’t take it? They can’t imagine picking up something “soiled” and cleaning it off, restoring it to a place of honor and glory and divinity?
Gods fucking damn it, but what the Hel are we as Heathens when the Damn Nazis do a better job of respecting and honoring the sacred than we do!? Seriously, is this what my fellow Heathens are? A bunch of mewling kittens who roar like lions until hard work and honoring our heritage comes about, and then they roll over and cry “muh nazis!”
If you don’t think it is still considered by the Nazis as part of the symbolism, I’ll point to the recent vandalism at Externsteine by the neo-Nazis. They consider it part of their beliefs in a big way.
What they say: ^
What I hear: v
So, Where Does that Leave Us with the Irminsul?
So, where does that leave us with the Irminsul? With all honesty, I haven’t a fucking clue. It’s the World Tree, the axis mundi, and a symbol of the Saxons. But do we use the stylized Christian depiction, or go with something else? Do we even bother with the term Irminsul and call it the World Tree? Given the shaky ground we’re already on historically, do we even bother with it? Or do we take it back somehow? Maybe others will have a better idea which way to go with it, I sure don’t.
Well, how about you stop your screeching, put on your big boy panties, and FUCKING NOT GIVE A FUCK IF YOUR IDEOLOGICAL OPPONENTS ALSO RESPECT THE IRMINSUL!!!!
Seriously, the fuck with the constant attitude lately of “well, X group likes Y, and I hate X group, so therefore Y is a lost cause and we should remove it from society like we should X group!”
The only thing you’re being then is an ideological bigot. Which, really, is about what I expect from Huginn’s Heathen Hof these days. After all, they’ve proven so wonderfully talented at being Ideological Bigots that I think the only reason they haven’t won a medal for it, is because there’s already too many Gods Damn People doing exactly the same thing!
Which is when things like this happen…
My own instinct is to let it die and stick with the World Tree. It may not be the best solution, but it is one I am more comfortable with. Either that or come up with a better depiction of the Irminsul which may be more historically accurate, and less, well…, Nazi.
Well fuck you then.
Clearly, your faith is so fickle that your own personal comfort is the difining force in your actions. Not loyalty, not piety, not faith, not kinship. You’re uncomfortable with something so you will just hand it off because it would be too much work, too much discomfort, in order to honor the history and heritages of our Peoples.
And that is why you and yours shall lose. Because you have no will, no iron, no fire. HHH can fill the air with its autistic screeching, at the end of the day everyone is going to flip them off and go join some group that actually stands for something and is willing to do the hard work to get it done.
The only thing the Rational Heathen managed to do for me with this piece is convince me that a) they’re a piss poor example of a heathen, b) the Irminsul is worth fighting for, and c) Nazis make better heathens than the people over at Huginn’s Heathen Hof, because at least the Nazis do not reject what is ours, but rather stand up to the slings and arrows of society in order to honor that which has come before.
So congrats to HHH, you have managed to be worse Heathens than the Neo-Nazis.