“It’s a tale as old as time,” starts a rather famous song from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (Original cartoon is way better, btw). Of course, that song is talking about two people falling in love. The phrase, when applied to Heathenism, of course, corresponds to something completely different. The ancient scourge of Heathenism: Racism. Not because Heathenism is inherently racist or as many like to say (as we’ll see) that Heathenism has a problem with Racism, but that people constantly like to insist that “Heathenism has a racism problem and we need to address this.”
Now, I’ve been out of the game for a while both voluntarily and involuntarily, but here I am talking about shit I’ve talked about way too much before. Today this is because of a post by Kyaza from A Polytheistic Life, entitled Confronting Racism in Heathenry.
In a Facebook thread, I came across someone asking who the gods reject and how we know that the gods reject them. He also asked if the gods accept offerings from those with white supremacist ideologies and whether those people can be considered Heathen given Heathen literature, mythology, and history. Basically, he wanted to know who determines this since we don’t have a supreme Heathen authority the way that Catholics have the Pope.
First off, facebook is absolute trash and in my experience, “heathen” facebook groups do not in any way deviate from the universal law that “facebook is trash.” I left every single religious facebook group I’d been in years ago because they are, universally, absolute trash. And this was before I became anything people would label even close to “extreme.”
But, I can understand why someone is asking this question. In today’s day and age of “punish the wrongthink” and the literal dehumanization of people who do not hold to the “politically correct doctrine” of the current 30 second time period, people are no doubt concerned about this. Either because a) they’re a “white supremacist” and are worried the Gods will hate them, or more often b) they’re so fearful of being even tangentially connected to “white supremacist” that if the Gods they want to worship aren’t 100000000% anti-white-supremacist then oh shit, they’re connected to white supremacy!!!!
So to honestly answer the question legitimately because there is no “Heathen Pope” (and why the fuck would you trust one if there was?), here goes. A) Yes, the Gods accept offerings from everyone who is faithful to them. This includes white supremacists, white nationalists, white indifferent, non-white, and maybe even potential “anti-white” though that one I’m willing to hear debates on. Why? Because B) given the history, mythology, and literature of our Heathen ancestors.
See, at it’s most fundamental, basic, stripped down bit, Racism is nothing more than in-group preference with the occasional side of hostility towards outgroups. So, when you think about it, when you go and help out a family member vs helping out a non-family member…you’re a “racist.” Say you give your sister a hundred bucks to pay her rent vs giving that hundred bucks to some random guy on the street…you’re a racist. Help a little old lady who is the same race as you vs helping some tattooed up ganger of a different race? Racist. Racist, basically, is meaningless, and anything can be labeled as racist.
90% of all Heathen history, literature, and Mythology is literally about helping your people out even if it costs some other group. Including the very religious foundations. Of course, not everyone sees it that way.
Honestly, I think he answered his own question – given our literature, mythology, and history, as Heathens, we are obligated to stand against racism. The history of Heathenry in the United States is not a pretty one, and it is something we must fight against so that we can improve it going forward.
See, to listen to Kyaza, you’d think the myths were about the Asgardians opening their borders rather than building walls, Thor building houses for the Jotuns rather than killing them, Odin and Loki forever being best buddies rather than ultimately having a universe destroying feud, and the Vikings not giving us the word Slave because they enslaved so many Slavs.
I mean, unless Kyaza is saying that because of those completely true facts we are obligated to stand in judgement against our Gods and ancestors and have a “moral obligation” to do the exact opposite. I mean, at this point it absolutely wouldn’t surprise me to see a group of “heathens” standing around with signs screaming “ONE EYED MAN BAD!” and how Thor needs to be sent to prison for his mass killings of Jotuns, and how we need to address “Asgardian Male Violence,” and “common sense hammer control!” at this point.
The first Heathen organization in the United States was created in 1974 by Stephen McNallen, who now heads the Asatru Folk Assembly which is listed as a hate group by the Southern Law Poverty Center. Rightfully so – it is due to McNallen and his volk’s rampant racism that Declaration 127 emerged.
You know, it’s kinda funny to me. When I first got started into Heathenism, McNallen was just another heathen leader and I didn’t really care one way or another. There were at that time something like three main branches of Heathenism at that point, McNallen’s AFA, the Troth, and….fuck, I forget who the other was but I’m fairly sure there was one, not to mention all the little independent folks where I placed myself solidly. Of course now there’s nothing like that. There’s the AFA, and there’s…fuck if I know of there being anyone else except a loose conglomeration of Anti-AFA heathens who constantly assassinate each other in a purity spiral to prove how unlike the AFA they are because “Founding Man Bad.” And sure, McNallen’s been labeled a racist repeatedly, but honestly the man did interfaith work with tons of Nativist Religions and the big thing I always saw him labeled a racist for was the “kennwich” man or whatever it was where he was pro-dna testing some skeleton because he and a lot of others thought it might have been a european in origin (because there is actual, real archological evidence that shows European migration to the americas predating the current “native americans” acestral migration). Oh, and because he insists that the existence of his people is a non-negotiable fact and is against that existence being ceased. Because being against your own potential genocide is…racism now.
As for the SPLC…many argue by their own standard they are a hate organization, and they have a history of labeling anything they don’t like as a hate organization regardless of if said organization is actually hateful. I’m not going to get fully into it, but the SPLC is a fucking joke and pretty much as bad as the ADL.
And ahhh, Declaration 127…
Declaration 127 (http://www.declaration127.com/) is a firm stance taken against those who would use Heathenry to promote racism and other forms of hatred. It has led to groups like Heathens Against Hate being formed, and the most inclusive Heathen organization (and the only large inclusive one), the Troth, often issues statements against violence committed by white supremacists and raises funds to donate to charities that combat hatred.
Now, I’ve written about Declaration 127 in the past, so I won’t rehash it here, but it literally is a big pile of self righteous shit that is frankly racist, discriminatory, bigoted, and FUCKING HYPOCRITICAL AS ALL HELL. Why? Because it was drafted and signed basically to protest that the AFA said they “preferred” heterosexual marriages for the purposes of procreation, generally between ‘white’ people. Okay, that’s it. Now, I know that kind of things is absolutely sick and twisted and up there with holding hand with the person you love in terms of degenerate behavior that deserves public stoning, but come the flying fuck on.
If those who had signed and supported that thing had any moral standards at all in actually supporting the premise of the document, they would a) be labeled a hate organization by the SPLC, anti-semitic by the ADL, and would be unable to do absolutely anything with Muslims, Jews, Christians, and numerous religious groups from Asia. The only “damning” thing D127 does is damn the people who signed it and prove people are idiots who can’t think shit through before they morally signal their virtue.
The reality is that there is a history of racism in Heathenry, and, as Heathens, we are obligated to face that fact unflinchingly and then do something to fix it. We cannot prevent what has already happened, but we can definitely do something in the present to combat white supremacy.
Everyone who bitches about “racism in heathenry” can frankly just shut the fuck up as far as I’m concerned. You know what I never see them doing? Bitching about racism in ATRs who insist “white folks ain’t welcome” or any other pagan religion out there that does similar. You people do not give a fuck about racism. You don’t give a fuck about confronting racism. You have no interest in getting rid of racism. All you’re interested in doing is swinging at low hanging fruit so you can virtue signal about how anti-racist you are.
The AFA is not a white supremacist organization. I honestly don’t think it counts as a white nationalist organization (since I don’t think I’ve ever seen them demanding nationhood and land, though I’d fully support that because it would be really cool to see. I mean, ‘diversity is a strength after all so let’s have us some diversity). At best they’re a “white preservationist” religious group and there is literally nothing wrong with that. Or if there is, you better start fucking getting your hammers and smashing every group out there supporting “native american cultural preservation” or “black culture preservation” or “jewish cultural preservation” because otherwise you’re a giant fucking hypocrite. Or you’re a fucking racist who thinks that certain people do not have rights because of the color of their skin.
In fact, I don’t think I even really know of any heathen organization that is out that is “white supremacist.” I’m sure I could find some that meet the critieria of being “white nationalist” but that’s not evil or wrong, and frankly any white supremacists out there tend to be under ground.
Unless we’re talking about people being meme’d as “white supremacists” because people want big boy progressive points…
As to the question of literature and mythology, many white supremacists have tried to use our lore to justify race-based hatred. That has always been warped and twisted logic, however, as nothing in the lore justifies racism.
And…this is what we’re dealing with. People so blinded by political ideologies that they can’t see shit in front of them. Look, I’m not advocating “race-based hatred” by any means, but the constant fight between the Jotuns and the Asgardians easily qualifies for “justifying” such things. And pretending that our ancestors weren’t “racists” by the modern definition is just plain hilarious and stupid. Because if they weren’t, then there is no justification for blasting white people for “being historically racist.” Either they were racists, in which case there is nothing in the lore or history that says being such is bad, or they were not racists in which case everyone can stop demonizing white people for a history of racism. Pick one, and only one.
The Asgardians and Jotuns hated each other. Thor don’t want his daughter running off and marrying a dwarf for (by today’s standards) racist reasons. Freya was looked down upon by the others for fucking dwarves (in the same way many today would look down on a woman for fucking a bunch of dogs). The myths are rife with “racist” shit if you want to view them that way. Denying it because you don’t want to be tied to racism is…well fuck, I can’t think of a good word. Heretical, maybe. I certainly find it funny.
White supremacists will look at the tribes of the gods and say that because the Aesir and Vanir so often fight against the Jotnar that it indicates a race-based problem. They forget that Odin, the chief of the Norse gods, is half-Jotun. Loki, who is included among the Aesir, is full-blooded Jotunn. The Aesir and Vanir gods intermarry with the Jotnar at a fairly frequent rate.
And yet Thor goes on month long trips to murder the fuck out of them for nothing more than being Jotun, the aesir constantly view the Jotun as little more than barbarians, and the Jotuns generally don’t see the Aesir as being any better. Look, it’s not perfect example for “muh racism” but it’s not a great example against it either. Like most things, there is nuance, but at the end of the day what is “racism” is going to matter more from the point of view of the person looking and demanding that what they say is racism is racism, not anyone actually doing stuff.
Hell, slave owners in the south tended to have sex with black women, does that mean they weren’t racist? Can we now agree to absolve the entire CSA of racism because “well, some white boys banged and even married some black girls, I guess that means there wern’t no racism in the south!”
I mean, if that’s the case, what are we even doing here?
On top of that, the tribes of the gods are like familial clans – they aren’t races. The gods are gods, and gods can all take on whatever shape they need to for the purposes they serve; the very idea of racist gods is an extreme perversion of theology.
Well, the same logic could be applied to humans, couldn’t it? I mean, everyone likes to insist that “race is a social construct” and “we’re all one race, the human race” in which case anything considered “racism” is literally nothing more than members of a familial clan putting their family first. Nothing wrong with that. In which case, Heathenism DOES NOT have a racism problem. It merely has practitioners who put their familial clan first. And since the Lore, History, and Literature IS FILLED with examples of this not only happening, but being viewed as the Ultimate Good of Heathenism, then what the fuck is the problem? The Gods put their family/clan first, therefore we as faithful Heathens should do the same and put OUR family/clan first.
The truth is there isn’t a problem. By Kyaza’s own logic, Heathenism doesn’t have a racism problem.
Hell, by Kyaza’s own logic then, the real problem in Heathenism is people insisting that one shouldn’t put one’s clan/family first. In which case Heathenism has a HERETIC PROBLEM.
I’m not going to go over the rest of the post by Kyaza because…honestly it’s not terrible and I’d even suggest reading it. It goes on to talk about how the Gods our outside human politics and thus would accept offerings from “white supremacists” and even goes so far as to say that just because there are some white terrorists that doesn’t mean all white people are guilty, which honestly is fucking refreshing in this current storm of “all white people are responsible for this rising crisis of white terrorism!” despite the fact that there has been hardly any white terrorism, there just been a few white guys who have done “terrorist” actions for varied and often polar opposite reasons (hell, the last two were a guy in crisis of the rising automation vs imported labor force crisis and the other was a straight up anti-fa communist).
They also talk about how Odin loves war and is probably pitting “racist” and “anti-racist” heathens against each other (Frankly, I believe this), how Loki ‘speaks to/for the down trodden and this is a good God to Invoke against “racists” (frankly I think Loki loves the chaos as much as Odin loves the war and is egging on the fight because it’s good fun to him, not because he’s against “racists”), how Freyr is the god of Frith and peace and thus is against ‘racists’ (but it’s the anti-racists always breaking the frith so I disagree on that. After all, I always see the AFA being attacked, I don’t actually recall them ever attacking anyone), How Tyr is the god of justice so they can’t imagine him backing ‘racists’ (except as covered even by Kyaza’s own position racism is nothing more than looking out for one’s clan, which is absolutely justice), etc, etc, etc.
Look, it’s clearly biased, but worth ready anyways. But, taking the AFA has the biggest example, supposed “white supremacist” heathens as a rule (by my experience) are nothing more than people who “put their clan/family/people first.” Which, despite Kyaza’s insistence, is absolutely backed by the Lore, and could be argued is backed up by the lore more than anything else.
Ragnarok is literally about the families of Odin and Loki backing each other up in a fight. Hel, my Goddess and my Love, historically (and in conversations with me) has no real issue with Odin and the Aesir. But at the end of the day, when Ragnarok comes, Her realm and all in it journey forth to fight the Aesir. Why? Because it’s her Father’s fight and you stick by your family.
Denouncing those heathens who “stick by their family” as “racists” and something that “needs to be dealt with” while calling yourself a Heathen is antithetical and I honestly recommend you do some deep, deep, deep thinking. Because they are heathens, and they are practicing heathenism. Maybe they’re drawing the family line a little differently than you do, but they are looking out for their family. And they will one day be welcomed with open arms to Valhalla or Helheim, with only respect for looking out for their family/clan. And if you have a problem with people looking out for their family, then you have a problem with the very foundations of heathenism itself. In which case I have to ask:
Why are you a Heathen, then?