What do you feel the future holds for you in regard to your path?
I don’t have too much to say that hasn’t already been addressed, but I can put my three hopes for myself and my path on here to finish this out.
I want to be more active – Assuming 2021 isn’t another solid year with Covid-19 looming over us, I would like to go to more events. Here’s hoping more opportunities pop up for things such as Pagan pride Day, lectures, book signings, Blots, and Sumbels. I want to be an active member of this community the best I can.
Obtain my learning goals – In a previous prompt, I listed things I was trying to learn such as me taking Norwegian classes on Duolingo – I want to keep at this. I crave knowledge, and want to do well. I also hope I can avoid my tendencies for unintentional ADD and put things down forever at a time.
Hopefully fully join a Kindred – I have been an associate member of a Kindred for a while, and Covid has really stalled my ability to attend events with them. Here’s hoping that in 2020 I take the plunge and join up with some cool, like-minded people.
That’s it folks, its been a wild 30 days. I’m not going to lie, blogging every day is pretty rough – I may not do another challenge like this for a while, but we’ll see LOL.
Do you feel that others have misconceptions when it comes to your faith?
OHHHHH YESSSS LOL
I could probably write a book about this, but here are some that always make me chuckle. In no particular order.
I am not wearing this because I love a show from History Channel – I already touched on this one on a previous post, but its too good to ignore – One of my clerks (I’m a supervisor in my office) would ask me weird questions about various thigs pertaining to a shirt I was wearing, or some jewelry, etc without actually coming out and asking if I was Pagan which I know he was hinting at. This man was VERY Christian and obviously was trying not to offend me, but it was funny to see him root around the elephant in the room without addressing it. My job (prior to a big layoff) actually had a large number of Pagans working there, so it is a healthy place for me despite the occasional Christian zealot that I can easily stay clear of.
The best part of it was when he decided that I must be a HUGE fan of the TV show The Vikings on US TV via The History Channel. Truthfully, I have watched about three seasons of the show, but I watched it before I was a Pagan and it did not cause me to switch teams in any way. Most days would be like “Hey, have you seen season six of Vikings?” to which I’d be like “nah, I’m really behind on that show, I have to be in the mood to watch it.” This would shake him, “huh, I figured you were into that”.
No, I don’t worship snakes – This actually comes from my days as a Gnostic, but it still stands. I sometimes wear an ouroboros pendant around my neck as a symbol of my never-ending quest for knowledge, this has become somewhat of a personal motif of mine throughout the years. Now that I am a Norse Pagan, it could symbolize Jörmungandr, but I have not come to terms with the implication of the symbol on my faith.
A LOOOONG time ago, somebody once asked me about the significance of my necklace, and I basically said “just like you wear a cross, I wear this ouroboros”, to which they replied “So, uh…..you worship snakes?”. Yes my Child, as a priest of temple of Set, me and Thulsa Doom from Conan go way back…..I didn’t say that because I am not a jerk, but I always imagine James Earl Jones when telling this story lol
I am not LARPing – Here’s a fun one, just because I am Norse Pagan, that doesn’t mean that I think I’m a Viking, I am not LARPing my religion any more than a Christian would be, separated by even more time from their own religion. I have friends that are into medieval martial arts, they are not LARPing either – to insinuate it as such is honestly asinine.
I see this a lot of pseudo-intellectual Christian neckbeards a lot. They wade into a discussion on something they have no understanding on, to try to paint entire swaths of practicing Pagans as Avid Lord of the Rings fans or something. I’ve also seen this sentiment a lot from the more Racist heathens out there, they like to dismiss anyone not into Folkish ideas as being LARPers. Honestly people need to cut the crap – if your religion isn’t brand new or anything, of course people are emulating the past – that’s kind of how it works. I guess everyone’s a LARPer by that argument
What would your current self like to tell the younger you about Heathenry?
Perhaps, one of the best bits of advice I’d give myself is to just drop Abrahamic religion entirely. I drifted so far from my Catholic upbringing, to a point where I was completely against YHWH and a practicing Gnostic, believing “God” to be a charlatan at best, perhaps almost on the evil side at worst. I was starting yo begin leaning towards the understanding that maybe the whole thing was a colossal misunderstanding, and that parts of Judeo-Christian lore were legit frauds. Instead of clinging to “here’s what Christians REALLY did back them, as a way to call out fundamentalism, I honestly should have listened to my heart and left it for good about a decade before I did. And that is in all its flavors, not even Lucerfianism Gnosticism etc.
I had a few bad experiences in the past with friends that were Wiccans not taking stuff seriously, and basically using it as a way to be hateful against others without actually practicing any Wicca at all. I should have realized they were bogus, and to not judge “PAGAMISM” as a whole based on them. Just like having to endure fake Heathens nowadays that watched The Vikings, and have based their entire woldview on that, I assume there was an explosion back then Due to the popular film The Craft. Learning to separate these fringe elements from the greater body of the Pagan Community has helped me a lot.
I also would have re-assured myself that there are still practicing Norse Pagans out there despite what the Christians want one to believe. Its kind of like how many people talk about Native Americans as a historical footnote – especially with Thanksgiving and all (which is why this comes to mind). Hey guys, they’re still here, and tired of being marginalized. Same for Pagans, people like to act like Paganism was “barbaric” and that “we’ve evolved past it, to the reeeaaal religion” or some nonsense. Separating oneself from that idea is the first step at de-colonizing oneself from it entirely.
So basically, Younger me: drop the Jesus talk, be more like your ancestors, and don’t be so judgmental to others that may be unexperienced. Yeah, pop culture religious types exist, but cut them some slack.
Do you do any divination? Have you ever had any done for you? Do you have any interest in this realm? What is your relationship with the runes?
Not much unfortunately. I learned how to read tea leaves a couple of years ago – it was pretty cool, but I don’t have much experience with it, so I’d like to try it again. To get more specifically close to Heathenry, I have read a number of books on Runes, but have yet to be able to set aside time to learn rune meanings and the like. With me currently trying to learn Norwegian, I don’t have enough time to devote to it right now.
Last year, when I attended Pagan Pride Day in Kansas City, I did pick up a starter divination kit from a merchant that was basically small sticks that had been painted in different ways. The caster would throw these, and depending on how they fall, there was chart for the result corresponding to an answer to a question one might ask. Perhaps I will start with these and move forward.
My girlfriend is much better with this sort of stuff, as she has done Tarot cards for a number of years, its just not simply anything I’m too experienced in, but am willing to learn.
I could post all sorts of stuff for this, pictures of family, ancestors etc. but I figured a picture of something that actually ties into Heathenry would be a good idea. Also a lot of those things were addressed in previous prompts. This is me, and was taken at a vetrnaetr celebration in 2019, I wish I would have taken more pictures, but I didn’t want to be inappropriate in any way. I felt like this ritual was perhaps one of the first times I truly felt like I had experienced a REAL ritual. Yeah, the old Kindred I was in did things, but it was really informal and the actual religious side of things always took a back seat to everyone talking about Football or something that sort of skewed the whole experience.
During the ritual, one of the goði came around and drew runes on our foreheads with some ashen paint. I’m a sucker for symbolic stuff like that in any sort of ritual, so it was really cool.
List three songs that strike you as particularly meaningful at this moment in regards to your practice. (Bonus points for links to YouTube, etc.)
Heilung – Alfadhirhaiti
I could honestly post anything from Heilung here and it would click – this musical project does an amazing job of trying to recapture shamanic rituals of the pre-viking era. While nobody truly knows how close they are, they do an amazing job of staying believable and making amazing music all the same. This song is an Old Norse prayer of sorts to Odin, as most of the lyrics are the myriad of names that The Allfather is known by in the lore.
Wardruna – Lyfjaberg –
“Healing Mountain” is an amazing song and video, but the song itself chronicles a persons trek to said mountain, where a pilgrimage there can heal or comfort you as long as you place an appropriate offering. The lyrics are definitely taken from the Sagas themselves, and while I am not certain where Lyfjaberg stands today, its very fitting to listen to such a song in this Covid-19 soaked year.
TÝR – Hold The Heathen Hammer High –
An anthem of sorts. For too long us Pagans have hid in the shadows, too scared to be outed or to practice in the open. perhaps now, more any any time in history, we need to stand up for our beliefs and show everyone that we aren’t evil devil-worshippers like some think.
Bonus: Depeche Mode – Blasphemous Rumors –
I know what you’re thinking, this has nothing to do with Norse Paganism does it? No it does not, but it does remind me of the former life I led, as a follower of YHWH thinking that he had any love for anyone but himself. Perhaps my Gnostic tendencies are sneaking through here, but my inclination that Christians worship a God of evil makes me never want to go back in any way whatsoever. It also makes me highly cautious around his followers. Plus, Depeche Mode Rules!
Tell us about a place that holds special spiritual significance for you.
I don’t honestly have too many places that I see as spiritually sacred, however my trip to Europe in 2001 comes pretty close to mind, as I felt a HUGE spiritual significance there. More specifically, I feel that my days spent in the Austrian and Swiss Alps were amazing, no other place has led me to a feeling of sheer euphoria the entire time we were there. The beauty and majesty of climbing the trails onto a snowy path on a hot summer day was awesome, and some of the wildlife we saw such as goats and various birds was great for someone not used to seeing anything this side of squirrels and cows.
Perhaps, one day, I’ll get to go back, assuming we EVER get to travel again after Covid-19 has ripped that from our chests, and the cost isn’t too insane. Here are some pictures to show how awesome it was:
What are your favorite books in your heathen library?
I do a lot of my reading on my Kindle, but I have collected a few solid Heathen books in physical format (which is what I suppose the spirit of this question is). I could post a number of cool books that I purchased, but have yet to read, but I figure I will use this as a way to recommend some books rather than to simply show-off. Here are three that really stand out:
Deutsche Sagen a.k.a. The German Legends of The Brother’s Grimm by Donald Ward
This was my white whale for a while. I listened to a podcast about the Pied Piper of Hameln sometime last year, and was excited by the hosts description of a book by The Brother’s Grimm on German Folklore – not the Fairy Tales, but crazy folk tales. They used parts of the book in order to try to pinpoint whether or not the story was based on a true story in any way, and surprisingly discovered that there were multiple versions of the account (Not just in this book), and that it was likely a real event. Later that week, I jumped online and tried to get an E-Book of it – NOTHING. Okay, maybe I can find a used copy on Amazon – NOTHING. Maybe an illicit scan? NOPE!! this book appeared to only be released in English once in 1979 and vanished from Earth. If I knew German at all, I’d be set, but no such luck.
I was FINALLY able to find both volumes of this for around $100.00 in fairly decent quality at a vintage books website called AbeBooks– I now know why this is likely a rare book – there are a handful of folk tales that are explicitly anti-Semitic, so I can imagine re-publishing this book could be an issue. That said, this book is pretty awesome despite the issues, and I am glad to finally own it.
Who would have thought that a small Canadian occult book publisher would publish perhaps one of the most interesting books on Ancient Scandinavian religion and customs this year? This is exactly what has happened with Anathema Publishing’s newest book – The Hanged God: Óðinn Grímnir by Shani Oates.
I assume this not the best bit of Germanic scholarship out there, but this monograph takes an interesting look at the topic of Odin and why he did some of the bizarre stuff he did (like hang himself) and expands that to discuss possible shamanic practices that may have occurred in Scandinavian countries during the migration and Viking eras. She does this by using accounts of neighboring areas (Like Russia) by people like Ibn Fadlan, and how we can assume Norsemen could have practiced the same way.
I love Anathema Publishing due to their low-Print run gorgeous leather-bound books that they produce. Some are insanely dense like most occult books, but they are entertaining none-the-less. Shani Oates actually recently released a sequel to this book that I do own, but have yet to start reading.
The Complete Sagas of Icelanders edited by Vidar Hreinsson
Not much to say here other than, I wanted a hardcover version of some Icelandic Sagas and these definitely fit the bill. I do not have all of the volumes, as this near 25 year old set has a few that are rare and cost-prohibitive, but I occasionally scroll Ebay or Amazon to see if copy pops up. I enjoy these due to inclusions of maps and other materials when talking about specific areas such as the norm for many of these stories.
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.