AFA, folkish asatru, Heathen, jon upsal's guarden, lgbt, nazi, Pagan, Religion, transgender, transphobia
On a whim, I went to go find Jon Upsal’s Guarden. I’ve been out of this game for about a year, due to a shit ton of personal stuff happening (partially because of this blog, oddly enough), and got to thinking of old friends who…don’t really talk to me anymore. There’s a lot of them, though thankfully only a few did anything to me that might require any sort of repayment. People just drift. Views change, people can’t handle the changes, and in a world where we typically don’t kill each other over such things, it’s easier to just walk away. I guess.
Turns out the blog is gone, which I suppose shouldn’t surprise me based on some of the things that happened before Joe wiped himself off the net and out of mine (and several others, i think) friend’s lists. I did, however, find a facebook post from 8/14 he wrote about why he shut his blog down, and figured I’d kinda give my two cents.
Ten years ago, I started the Jön Upsal’s Garden blog to explore various aspects of Asatru, Theodism, and Heathenry in general that appealed to me. As tonight is that anniversary, I thought it was appropriate to explain why I took the blog down earlier this year.
Years ago I set out to provide an explanation and defense of Folkish Heathenry, which I felt was being unfairly cast by its enemies as racist and hateful. I felt that my own experience as a Folkish Heathen mirrored the vast majority of those who identified as Folkish, and that the Folkish label was being tarnished by a few bag apples who were constantly put up as its exemplars.
Folkish Heathenry, as I knew and practiced it, was not in any way hateful or racist. It was a genuine expression of the belief that one’s heritage informs the call to one’s ancestral faith, without casting judgments on those who were called to some other faith by their different ancestry. Indeed, it saw other faiths of other folk as allies, as we held that one precept in common. We were practicing the faith of our ancestors, and saw no reason why anyone would want to follow the faith of someone else’s ancestors.
I could be proud of my own ancestry, but without need to resort to denigrating or attacking others’ ancestry. I could also defend myself and those who shared my ancestry for no other reason that that ancestry, but saw no profit in doing so to others. And believing that I was one among many who shared the same outlook, I vigorously defended Folkish Heathenry and certain of its institutions.
Damn, so long ago. There’s times where I have to sit back and remember that I’ve been a Heathen for over 15 or 16 years now, and sworn to Hel the better part of five. I wouldn’t be surprised if I actually started blogging about the same time Joe did. It’s crazy how something can be a part of your life for so long.
And I can relate to him. When I first got into Heathenism, I too went folkish and felt that a lot of the hate it gets is a false hate, where “bad apples” are held up as an example of what everyone is. After all, like McNallen often said (paraphrasing here) “love of your people does not mean hatred of anyone else.” I do think I was a bit more redpilled than Joe was, but that’s neither here nor there. And Joe certainly did a lot more than I did to defend folkish heathenism. Which, I think, everyone was very grateful for.
Thing is, the world ten years ago…isn’t the world now.
As time wore on, however, I found that, far from that being the norm among my fellow Folkish Heathens, I was by far the exception. With a few exceptions, the Folkish community was, in fact, exactly what its detractors said it was. There were sniggers as certain towns were labeled “muddy”, there was a disturbing fascination with and admiration of Hitler and National Socialism, there was rampant antisemitism and Holocaust denial, there were n-words and c-words and g-words and k-words and all the other words. There was homophobia and transphobia. There was an ever-growing feeling that ideology and politics were crowding out faith and practice, and that the religion was being put second to the political and social ends it could serve.
I’m going to start off by saying something I’ve said before. I was a 90’s kid. Yes, I was an incredibly sheltered 90’s kid who didn’t get to watch all the shows the other kids had, or play the video games, but I still got enough of the pop culture of the time that I, and literally everyone else my age, did not give a shit about what a person was. Didn’t matter if you were black, white, yellow, brown, guy, girl, handicapped, etc. If you were cool, you were cool, and that’s as far as that went. Didn’t matter if you were a white kid whose favorite Power Ranger was the Black Ranger, or a Jewish kid who celebrated Hanuka rather than Christmas.
I still had this attitude through the 2000’s (though it took a serious hit in regards to Muslims for…obvious reasons and the research that ended up leading to later). Hell, It still held pretty true right up until Trump’s campaign. I also “overdosed” on redpills around that time too, which, holyshit. It’s an indescribable thing. And while I don’t think a lot of people took a bunch of redpills like I did, I do think the election was a giant redpill for a lot of people which changed a lot of people’s outlooks and just what they were willing to accept ideologically. Here’s the thing though, there were people who were like that long before Trump.
I’ve talked about some of this on my blog. The admiration of Hitler, the holocaust denial, the anti-semitism, and admiration of National Socialism. On the surface these are terrible things because we are told practically from birth they are the worst things in the world…but we’re never actually taught anything about them.
We’re told that Hitler was a failed artist who couldn’t paint people:
John Gunther wrote “They are prosaic, utterly devoid of rhythm, color, feeling, or spiritual imagination. They are architect’s sketches: painful and precise draftsmanship; nothing more. No wonder the Vienna professors told him to go to an architectural school and give up pure art as hopeless“
From this you’d think they were absolute shit. But here’s one of them.
Clearly the work of a man with absolutely no talent. To give you an example of someone who was “talented” enough to be accepted to the same academy, in the years Hitler was rejected, I present a piece by Egon Schiele:
So yeah, the very people who say “Hitler was a no talent hack” said Schiele was “a brilliant and talented artist!” And that’s not even the worst one, by that artist or others who were accepted in those years.
Same goes for National Socialism.* Similar is the holocaust and anti-semitism.** We are told things, and expected to believe these things. But rarely are we ever truly presented evidence, much less unbiased evidence, to prove them. Often, all we are given is the claim that any evidence to the contrary of what we are taught is “fake and/or biased.”
But let’s get back to Jon:
…There was homophobia and transphobia. There was an ever-growing feeling that ideology and politics were crowding out faith and practice, and that the religion was being put second to the political and social ends it could serve.
So here’s an important thing that he stuck in there, and is based on something people late to the party might not know or have forgotten. Joe has a transgender kid. Well, okay, I think they’re technically an adult, but it’s his child. And, after many years of service as a Gothi under McNallen, Joe was asked to step down as head of his Kindred by the new chief of the AFA, Flavel. Because under Flavel’s rule, shits getting a bit more “old time religion” and, well, a transgender person isn’t exactly a fully welcome thing in the old ways. You can debate this, but that’s what the ‘king’ ruled.
At the time, I wasn’t sure about how I felt about it, but I wasn’t (and still am not) a part of the AFA so I’m sitting this one on the divine fence rather than as someone in the middle of shit. That being said, looking back with more experience (not that it wasn’t pretty clear at the time), I honestly can’t blame them. A big part of Joe leaving/shutting things down does seem to be based on the old heathen adage of “judge them by their deeds.” Which is good. But while he has grown sick of Folkish Heathens ‘for their deeds’ he flat out seems to be holding a double standard here. After all, if we look at the deeds of homosexuals and transexuals (and no, I don’t just mean who they fuck)…I wouldn’t want that shit anywhere near my religion or its people.
Hell, just look at what the transexual community did to the Dianics. They genocided an entire religion. And I hate to say it, but that actually seems tame compared to what they are now doing with children (and drag shows). Just look up “Lactatia” or “trans kid dating site.” When you have someone that literally looks like a Daemonette of Slannesh going around teaching kids that being transgender is amazing and encouraging them to all but have sex on camera to embrace their transgenderism…and of course kids being taken to gay pride parades with full blown nudity (and sex) happening in the street all while telling them “this is normal, healthy, and amazing!” All while turning into absolute monsters who will the destroy the lives of anyone who dares protest.
Hmm, I wonder why anyone would have a problem with this?
So yeah, I can see why Flavel might view it as “Bad optics” to have a gothi with a transgender child. After all, it’s hard for a man to preach good Heathen ethics like honor, duty, and family when they have a child who belongs to a group that has no honor and treats heterosexual families as something to be spit on at best, and abolished at worst.
“Show what Folkish really means” morphed into “present an alternative vision of Folkish.” I tried that for a while, but it was just too much. Speaking of Folkish Heathenry as a whole, and not any particular organization, I simply could not bear the label any more. My beliefs have not changed, but Folkish Heathenry has either left me behind, or never was what I had thought (or perhaps hoped) it was.
It always comes down to this. Will you take the red pill, or the blue pill? When presented with the fact that the world you built for yourself was an illusion (or perhaps the world built for you is a better way to put it), will you accept the new information and change accordingly, or will you deny the information. You know the steak isn’t real, but it tastes so good.
I will admit, I’ve been having my own crisis of faith lately, so I can relate (though mine comes from a much, much different place than Joe). But the simple truth, as I see it is this. Joe had a vision of Folkish Heathenism. Maybe it was true when he first came to it, and changed over time. Maybe it was always like this, and he ignored it for the illusion of what he wanted to see. I don’t know. I think the foundations of what Folkism is now were always there, but we as a whole placed an illusion over it. Because we had too. Because of the world we knew. I don’t think Folkism is what its detractors (and Joe) say it is. I think that’s an illusion they’re projecting on it.
I freely admit, Joe was put in a terrible spot. Choose his religion and its base morality and reality, or choose his own child. It’s a hard choice. I’m not sure what I would choose in that situation. Obviously he chose his child. And, just as obviously by this post, he did the natural thing anyone in a crisis of faith does. It is not enough to admit that he chose his child over his faith, his religion, and over ten years of his life’s blood, sweat, and tears. No, that would require him to admit he broke true faith. So instead he vilifies it. He claims it is evil, and was always evil, and he was blinded to this fact. He even goes so far as to not limit this vilification to Folkism, but Reconstructionism as well. I’ll skip over that part since it’s mostly repetitive.
And that brings me to why I decided to take down the blog. What had existed for ten years as a shining example of, and defense of, both Folkish and Reconstructionist Heathenry left me with a bad taste in my mouth, given my experience with both labels. Given that my blog was a full-throated defender of both, given my own misgivings about them, it seemed wrong to keep the defense up.
I must, however, point out that these misgivings do not extend to the Gods Themselves, or my own practice. I’ve not left the Folk or the Gods, I’ve simply turned inwards in my practice. My faith in the Gods remains intact, even if my faith in those who worship Them is shaken. I study, and I practice, and I pray, and I learn. I just do it out of the limelight for now. That might change, but for now I am content.
Of course, he tries to save face, I suppose. “I have not abandoned the gods!” he says, “I have merely abandoned those who worship them and the path I once held true!”
I hate to say this. I counted Joe a friend, but these words ring hollow to me. Maybe it’s because I know what led up to them. Maybe it’s because I’m more willing to accept certain truths, no matter how “evil” those truths are. I’m not one to proclaim that anyone or anything is inherently ‘sinful’ because Heathenism doesn’t have that. But just because Heathenism doesn’t have a concept of ‘sin’ doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a concept of ‘bad’ or ‘evil.’ It does. There is still morality and there are morally good things and morally bad things. And while people can’t help what they’re born, they can help what they do with it most of the time. You can know a person by their deeds. You can know a group of people by their deeds.
And Joe, for whatever reason, has thrown his support behind his child, who is transgender, and thus can be viewed to have thrown his support behind the LGBTQ community and in opposition to the Folkish community. He basically views Flavel, the AFA, and all of Folkish heathenry as evil because they stand in opposition to a group (groups really) which believes in literally carving up the genitals of children to change their “gender,” after pumping them full of artificial hormones and drugs for years. All while parading them around as sex objects, and living in relationships without honor or loyalty.
Joe can say he has kept his faith in the Gods, but I do not know that the gods have any faith in those actions. I can’t speak for all of them, but the ones I’m closest too rabidly do not support such things. Joe can claim that the “politics is over taking the religion” but honestly…to me it looks more like the politics is finally coming inline with the religion. Not completely, mind you, but a lot closer than it was. Remember, 99% of cultures in human history would be judged as radically right wing, including all the Heathen ones, and not only would our ancestors smile at us if we went even further, most are probably calling us pussies because we haven’t.
Anyway, that’s my thoughts about it. Where ever you are Joe, I hope you’re happy. Sorry the Redpills were just too much for you.
And everyone else,
*No one actually tells you what it is, except that it was bad. But only a cursory inspection of history, much less how it actually works, shows its viability as an economics system. After all, it took the literal poorest country in the world and turned it into the richest country in the world in the span of less than five years. It’s ideas about the economy (that the government, not a private business, should have control over the printing of money. that money should be based not off of trust or gold, but as a receipt for goods or labor produced. that small businesses were the back bone of the economy and international mega corporations should be forced to work for the good of their homelands or be disbanded. that usury, especially for profit usury, should be banned) flat out solve a great many of our current economic issues.
**We are told the first happened (despite constant hits to its credibility including most of the alleged death camps being proven to have never been that, and even Auschwitz constantly lowering the death tole at their location). And one need only give a cursory look at the ethnicity of the C-Level folks at nearly every industry to realize that they’re 80+% Jewish or have a Jewish spouse.
An example that hits close to home is the opioid epidemic everyone is talking about. There is a family called the Sacklers. You’ve probably never heard of them, but you’ve seen the results of their work. See, the Sacklers own a HUGE amount of opium over in the middle east/afganistan. They also own a pharmaceutical company. And an advertising agency. They’ve also had ties to key people in the FDA and the Legislature (both ethnically and possibly familial). So here’s where it gets fucked.
You know those ads on tv that are basically infomercials about medications? Well, turns out, advertising medicines as a product is/was FUCKING illegal. But the Sackler’s found a way around that. If they just ‘told’ you about the drug and what it could do for you, it wasn’t technically an ‘ad.’ So, taking their pharmaceutical company they developed powerful (and addictive which they knew) pain medications. Of course doctors know opium is a fucking addictive substance and they’re not going to give that shit to anyone. So the Sackler’s flood the airwaves with their ‘infomercials’ about their new ‘wonder drug’ which will cure your pains and isn’t addictive (according to the FDA!). Patients go to their doctors and ask for it, and the doctor naturally doesn’t want to. So the Sackler’s got their peeps in the legislature to make it illegal for a doctor to refuse to prescribe medication if a patient asks for it. That’s right, your doctor, should he refuse to give you this addictive drug, will go to jail.
The Sackler’s, their peeps in the FDA and Legislature, are all Jewish. And this is just one example, of many, of things that (((coincidentally))) happen to have a statistically impossible number of Jewish people leading the way. Do not even get me started on the housing crisis. Let’s just say that housing crash? It wasn’t a fluke. It was planned and executed to perfection with the goal of landing a shit ton of houses in the hands of the banks and out of the hands of the people.
Welcome back! I was thinking about you this past week wondering what had happened to you and if you were doing OK.
Lucius Svartwulf Helsen said:
thanks. i’m not sure how “back” i am and still doing pretty rough, bit I figured I’d pop up for a bit.
I’m sorry to hear that but I’m glad you popped your head up.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Kenaz Filan said:
Glad to see you again. We need more bloggers ready to tell it like it is.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I clicked this post because I also “missed” the closing of Jon Upsal’s Garden, and I started typing a rebuttal to this, but perhaps it is wasted effort. I found a lot of this post disingenuous and hypocritical. I don’t think you seem
There are an awful lot of folks who claim to have an ear connected directly to the mouths of the Gods….rather odd that they all seem to be saying different things, don’t you think?
Lucius Svartwulf Helsen said:
not really. lots of gods, lots of points of view. So someone connected to say, Eir, would have many different views and hear many different views from say, someone connected to Hela.
I am curious as to what you found “disingenuous and hypocritical,” but if you don’t feel like writing about it I’m not going to force the issue. Honestly, the only “dog” I have in regards to this situation is the actions and attitudes of the transgender community, which is tangential at best. I don’t really care if Joe shuts everything down because of his kid, that’s his life, his choice. As I said, he was a friend of mine and I admired his work. But he was faced with a choice and he made it. Choices speak to the small actions and sometimes speak to the larger actions. I merely said what his choices felt like to me, and why I understand other choices made by other people that he has an apparently problem with.