What’s the best advice you’ve been given about the Heathen path? Your biggest influences?
To me, some of the best advice I’ve been given is to be selective on what sort of information one reads, and do research on authors before you get into them. One of the members of the group I’m interacting with a lot, said this to me. They had a lot of knowledge of some of the most prominent authors in the Heathen movement – both good and bad. With Heathenry being infiltrated, and sadly built on the views of racist people from the past, its hard to keep yourself “pure” from running into these ideas. I’ve run into many many many books that look promising only to find out that the author is either overtly racist or leans heavily that direction.
Take, for example, a Journal that was recommended to me from a Facebook group that I generally trusted not to be a hive of this sort of thought – it turned out to be written by Carolyn Emmerich – an avid racist that pushes that agenda into pretty much all of her writings. It started innocently enough – a book on Germanic Folklore, “cool that’s right up my alley!” I thought! Then the red flags started popping. She talked about foreigners a few times, then outright decried Jewish people at a later point when talking about Grimm’s more troubling bits of folklore (The wrote ones that fueled Nazi propaganda a tad). I then ran Google to look into my concerns and BOOM – huge Neo-Nazi leanings.
From that point on, I am careful to vet all of my prospective book choices. yeah, its easy to fall into the “everyone’s a racist!” idea, and yes some authors hide it more than others. You see this in metal music a lot – bands getting accused of having Nazi ties left and right – its gets tiresome, but its usually easy to spot the legit idiots out there. You also have to avoid blogs entirely founded on the idea of cancel culture for authors that they see as problematic for various reasons aside from their work – sometimes you DO have to separate the art from the artist, and honestly the real shitheads out there are exactly trying to hide it.
As for biggest influences, I’d have to say that YouTube personalities do great work, and I take a lot from them currently. People like Survive the Jive, and Jackson Crawford are weekly watches for me, and give me the sort of information I crave most of the time. Yeah, their stuff is far less practical than scholarly, and they have clear biases at time, but it gives me a great jumping off point to run with.