Black Flag

This academic term has been most enlightening for me personally, on a number of levels. I’ve come to understand that in most things I am a staunch traditionalist. Oh, I’ve always known that but I’ve never actually acknowledged the degree to which this is true nor parsed out in print some of the things that means. I’ve been musing on it this morning, because it is integral to the spiritual work that I do.

One of the biggest ways in which this impacts my work is that I value protecting the integrity of my tradition above any one person’s comfort (including my own). A tradition (and a lineage) are sacred things. They need to be protected and nurtured and it’s the job of those in positions of authority within said traditions to do so, not for their own gain or pleasure, but to maintain the integrity of the tradition. Why? Because these things come from our Gods; they are living containers of mystery.

I sure as hell don’t think that the integrity of any tradition is served by democratization and (as is inevitably attendant with such things) a watering down of the fundamental precepts. Traditions have boundaries for a reason. They are, as I said above, containers of the sacred, of Mystery, of those sometimes ineffable, life changing processes and experiences given by the Gods, of lineage, of specific wisdom, and sets of protocols for engaging with the Gods, and oh so much more. A container without a boundary isn’t particularly useful in fulfilling its function. A container without a boundary is incapable of holding anything. Without such containers inter-generational transmission of a tradition, its growth, and its sustainability is simply impossible.

Some things actually do threaten our tradition (insistence on blanket inclusiveness without quality being one of them). There are things and ideas that threaten, sere, and corrode like white phosphorous. They must be resisted. I realize there are those who find my militant language off putting, or who perhaps think that I am speaking hyperbolically. To those people I say, with all due respect, wake up. I fear you won’t recognize the metaphorical enemy at the gates until he holds a knife to your very throats and by then it will be far too late.

My vision is long term. I’m not focused on this generation or even the next. I am looking five, six, seven generations in the future and crafting and working at this thing called polytheism with those generations in mind. I would very much like to see a world returned to dominant polytheism of all stripes and religious flavors (Norse, Germanic, Sumerian, Lithuanian, Canaanite, Kemetic, Hellenic, Roman, Celtic, etc.), a world where monotheists find it incapable to mentally conceive of their religions achieving dominance. That was our world once, before Christianity yoked itself to Constantine and our world changed. While I would like to see this, I know very well it’s not going to happen in my lifetime. In accepting the burden of this restoration, I know that I am also accepting that I will not see its fruition. I can however fight to make sure that the foundation we lay now is a solid one, carefully planed and sanded, laid without compromise, and with the best materials (i.e. ourselves and our devotion) that we have to give.

I don’t care what your race is. That is irrelevant to me.

I don’t care what your gender or gender presentation is. That is irrelevant to me.

I don’t care what your sexual orientation is, nor your ethnicity, nor anything else that falls under “identity politics.’ I am interested in only one identity: that of pious polytheist, of whatever polytheistic religion to which one might be called. That is the only thing that has any bearing in my world.

We are resources in this restoration, resources and tools for our Gods. I very much believe that the Gods want us to fulfill our greatest potential, to become exactly who we were meant to be. Only then can we serve Them to the greatest capacity. If someone oppresses a person because of their race, gender, sexual orientation, etc., because of things inherent to the way the Gods made them, that person is interfering with one’s usefulness to the Gods. In fact, that person is stealing from the Gods. It does not serve.

Likewise when we interject our politics onto the fabric of polytheism, we are doing active damage to this still fragile restoration. We are setting a boundary NOT in anyway inherent in the tradition itself, by which to block people’s licit access to the Gods. It’s one thing to block an atheist from determining the course of polytheism (to my mind that is very much protecting the integrity of the tradition), and quite another to block someone who may not vote in the next election the way you want them to. (that’s just fucking stupid). I am not naïve enough to think that the Gods either share our political factions or give a rat’s ass about them.

I’m adamantly opposed to leftist politics and especially to anarchy. I believe in hierarchy. If I lived in any other country I’d be a staunchly conservative monarchist. I believe the best and brightest should be in control and that they have an obligation to see to the welfare of those NOT in power. I’m a tribalist, a believer in sacral kingship. I believe our world is incredibly broken. I think the time is coming where we will likely be called to hoist the black flag, to rise up and tear down these dehumanizing structures, to scour our world clean. I think the corporations are a blight on our political arena. I think the way poverty has been criminalized is sickening and shameful. I have looked at the exact same social sicknesses that my leftist colleagues have looked at and come to very different conclusions about the reasons for them and the solutions needed. To me, this all stems from a breakdown of natural, divinely ordained hierarchy, with people abrogating both piety and their responsibilities to themselves, their families, their communities, and all those under them within that hierarchy. I am not a populist and you know what that means to my religion? Not much. I’m here to rebuild polytheism in general and my own Heathen/cultus deorum in particular, not build a political party.

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Posted on March 7, 2016, in Polytheism, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. While I don’t agree with all of this, especially as a non/new-traditionalist, I am indeed a monarchist. Especially in the vein of the Chinese Mandate of Heaven. I’ve actually been thinking about this a lot lately….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reading this post and your thoughts reminds me of Marcel Detienne’s Masters of Truth in Archaic Greece, which examines how Truth, Aletheia, was at one time from the divine. And how over time it became something democratically agreed upon by committee.

    When your leadership takes its cue from the lowest common denominator it is a travesty to the people of said community. The education of a tradition should be at the highest levels, and we should rise to the occassion. Not be bogged down by self interests and the bare minimum for a watered down instruction.

    Liked by 2 people

    • ganglerisgrove

      right? John Beckett recently wrote a pretty good piece on Pagans, Polytheists and their authority issues and on his fb it’s getting all this push back from pagans and polytheists. one complained that polytheistic priests argue with academics. I didn’t bother posting there, but seriously? What I really wanted to do was laugh and say: “Oh please. I am a polytheistic priest and an academic and I get shit all the time.” while I do respect educated opinions over those that aren’t in general (all opinions are not equal) that doesn’t mean that there isn’t going to be debate and a priest absolutely should refute an academic who has zero interest in furthering their tradition. Most of academia is a very hostile place for polytheism.

      I’m with you on the lowest common denominator….it’s a travesty when that is what is guiding anything. We owe it to our Gods to be better than that, imo.

      Liked by 1 person

      • There’s a certain Asatru organization (you know who they are, but I’m trying not to sling names) that in the beginning Loki was honored in ritual. Now because some are uncomfortable with Loki, He is relegated to the fringe and no longer welcome in main ritual space, as the organization opted to appeal to the offended, instead of appealing and showing veneration to a God.

        The ‘body’ of members should not dictate tradition, the leadership/clergy should be focusing on what the Regin want, not what makes their members less uneasy.

        Academia is too monotheistic to accept polytheistic views. John Lindow’s opinion of modern Asatru/Heathenry is a prime example that’s easily found.

        When scholars have a built in perspective that ancient customs are ‘quaint’ ‘primitive’ ‘unenlightened’ or ‘silly’ for not being theirs, it influences the work, which is especially true in translations and analysis.

        Discourse can be meaningful between the two sides, but we’re not simply scholars learning about something just cause, this is our praxis, the verve that quickens within our pulsing soul.

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  3. I, too, hope for a world returning to polytheism and tribalism. I believe natural pattern (for a lack of a better word) restore themselves once the brute force that disturbed them is gone – and polytheism and tribalism is the natural pattern of human society. But, like you, I have no false hope of seeing this world in my lifetime.

    I think, however that one of the beauties of both tribalism and polytheism is that it allows for a plurality of values, of forms of society, of government, … There just is no one size fits all solution.
    We will probably see a lot of experimenting and, i think, the more different versions of polytheism there are the quicker we will identify those that work for us, and that will be strong and beautiful in that future; for now it needs patience even if sometimes one would rather shake sense into one or the other – but these things cannot be rushed.

    And yes, I am a (constitutional) monarchist too. However, not because of the hierarchy, but because I believe a true leader needs to be educated, nurtured and mentored to lead all their life – that can only happen in a royal family with predetermined succession. Also, you cannot possibly get long-term thinking in government as long as governments are swapped out every four years.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. When I read Huemer’s The Illusion of Political Authority, I thought the state was arbitrary and contrary to nature. But, the more I turned my eye to political philosophy, especially under the wing of Scholastic texts like commentaries on Aristotle’s Politics, Aquinas’ De Regnum and Dante’s De Monarchia, the more I became convinced that there was within human nature a sort of Philonian tendency towards monarchy. It’s Michels’ Iron Law of Oligarchy. Whatever foundation we lay for future polytheists, I think it will tend toward centralization, and will become as much unless prevented.

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