Are We Fascists? According to “Gods and Radicals,” Maybe.

A new post went live this week at Gods and Radicals.

If I ever had any doubt that Rhyd and his cadre are hostile to the growth of polytheism, to our individual traditions, and to devotion in general, this article has put those doubts to rest. It shows their true agenda, which is the destruction of our individual traditions, the silencing of opposing voices, the silencing of religious voices, the end of polytheism. They are drawing a false dichotomy equivalency between those who have regard for tradition and those who are racist, classist, and cruel.

I’ve been expecting this for awhile. I just didn’t expect them to be so obvious about what they’re doing. 

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Posted on March 25, 2016, in community, Polytheism, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 63 Comments.

  1. I feared it would only be a matter of time…the time is now, it seems.

    Like

    • Point of clarification, though: isn’t it a false equivalence rather than a false dichotomy? There is a difference between those who have regard for tradition or who recognize differences, and those who then oppress or feel racism is necessary…and thus, the dichotomy between these positions is true, not false, but the equivalence between them is false and only their suggestion and conjecture rather than something played out in reality. Anyway…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ha, I was going to make the same comment, pretty sure she meant equivalence.

        Funny how with all this talk of “fascists” it is increasingly this sector of the supposed left that has been calling for censorship and decreased freedoms, all in the name of protecting people’s feelings. Don’t say anything that might be a “trigger” or might make someone feel threatened, regardless of if there’s any reality to it.

        As someone who actually happens to agree with a lot of their basic ideology (anti-capitalism, pro-socialism, environmentalism, human equality) I am being increasingly alienated for daring to put the gods first, and for not falling in line with every single point of their agenda. (I really cannot believe they put devotional polytheism on that list because the gods are given final authority… no, that’s just called polytheism, period. Do we need to have a history lesson about how various ancient cultures responded when the gods told them to do things, even things they didn’t understand?)

        This is why, except when I’m dragged into it by force as in recent events, I am just staying away from all issues of “community” and online polytheists, and keeping my own blog focused on actual matters of religion. Of course, because of this my traffic has gone way down (you should see the difference in hits between the post on MGW and any of my other recent posts on spirit-work and devotion).

        Liked by 11 people

      • I’m in the very same boat, after scaling things back post-WPR last October…

        I also agree with many of the things they say politically; and, I also understand (as do you, and I suspect everyone else reading this) that there is a VERY BIG difference between political action and ideology and religion.

        (The archetypalists and atheists are kind of in a similar situation, i.e. mistaking either psychology or science for religion respectively. All of these things are fine and good and should exist, and can have religious components and dimensions and can be influenced by religion and influence it in turn…but, they’re not the same. But, since anyone who makes distinctions between things and prioritizes them as a result is obviously now a “fascist” in their view, I guess this just adds fuel to the flame.)

        Liked by 1 person

  2. James "TwoSnakes" Stovall

    Do they not even allow comments on that article?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Apparently despite encouraging people to “ask uncomfortable questions” of possible so-called fascists, they themselves would prefer not to answer any and have blocked comments.

      Liked by 9 people

  3. “Occult/Witch/High Magic Traditions: Because of their emphasis on obscurantism and secret mysteries, it is often difficult to discern the political leanings of leaders within occult traditions.”

    “We don’t know what they are doing with the black candles at midnight, but it’s probably fascistic.”

    Liked by 7 people

  4. I was especially bothered by the way the article seemed to point a finger at everyone else as being potentially corrupted by “the enemy”, as if to suggest that they themselves were somehow beyond reproach…and yet no author was identified with the article. It just seems incendiary and part of the very problem they were stating (beware of those who make others the enemy and try to isolate you). The whole article DOES THE EXACT THING IT WARNS AGAINST.

    Liked by 8 people

    • It really does. For instance:

      “Beware the tendency of many Pagan groups to create us vs. them dichotomies. In fact, if another group is ‘the enemy,’ consider asking why. Isolation is an essential part of authoritarian cults, and a great way to ensure group-think.”

      The whole article is creating an us vs. them dichotomy and identifying an “enemy”. They’re also isolating themselves in their own little corner of things and ensuring group-think by rejecting anyone who doesn’t agree with every single thing they say (or not letting them say anything at all, as they’ve blocked comments to this post)….not to mention actively banning people from events for questioning the status quo (once again, because words made someone feel bad, and we can’t have that). It would be funny if it wasn’t so depressing.

      Liked by 8 people

  5. ****

    Reconstructionism: One of the more significant places where the New Right intersects with Pagan beliefs. Emphasis on returning to ‘reconstructed’ traditions, older (and poorly understood) social forms and hierarchical structures, as well as an emphasis on recovering European heritage are often problematic. Further, nationalistic and racial exclusionist tendencies are often justified as being part of ‘the lore.’

    Devotional Polytheism: Similar to the problems in Reconstructionism, but with an extra dimension. Because Devotional Polytheism places final authority in ‘the gods’ and emphasises hierarchical relationships (between human and god, priest and devotee), ethical questions cannot be challenged by concerned people because ‘the gods will it.’”

    ****

    Such straw man. Much wow.

    In the first place, I’ve seen LOTS of hard discussion on topics like politics and animal sacrifice within the Polytheist community. (By which I mean the community of people who believe in their Gods, not to be confused with those who don’t i.e. LARPERs and Atheists). I’ve never seen anybody try to shut down honest and heartfelt discussion with “THE GODS SAID X AND YOU MUST NOT QUESTION IT.”

    By contrast I’ve seen white American Vodouisants commenting on how they can’t understand why any “real Vodouisant” would vote Republican. And as the comments went on it became clear they were absolutely convinced the lwa shared their progressive, pacifist and blandly liberal political views. (Which explains so well why they supported Papa Doc Duvalier). They’ll laugh for days about rednecks and their gun-toting Republican Jeebus, yet never stop to question how they looked into the face of a blood-swilling warrior like Ogou and saw Bernie Sanders smiling back at them.

    They’re not concerned because we’re giving the Gods a veto. They’re terrified because we’re giving Them a voice.

    Liked by 6 people

  6. songofscotland

    What ridiculous drivel!

    Like

    • songofscotland

      That is to say, the G&R article, not this bit here, lol. Probably should have clarified, but that’s what happens when you post your initial reaction instead of thinking! 😉

      Like

      • That was some gobsmackingly idiotic commentary.

        At the end of the day my big take-away is this. They honestly cannot believe that any God might have a political view contrary to their own. They think anyone who believes otherwise is an authoritarian fascist who is not just misguided but actively evil, and that any God who might disagree with their beliefs is unworthy of worship. And they believe this approach is radical, cutting-edge, and bears no resemblance whatsoever to any strain of Dominionist Christianity or expansionist Monotheism.

        Liked by 2 people

      • songofscotland

        Could just be because I’m tired, but were you saying my commentary was idiotic, or is it the G&R article you were talking about? I’m a wee bit confused!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. ganglerisgrove

    SongofScotland, i’m pretty sure kenaz was referring to the article itself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • songofscotland

      Ah, okay. Thank you! The brain’s not working so well tonight it seems. 😛

      Like

    • I was referring to the G&R article, songofscotland. Your words not only weren’t idiotic, they went straight to the heart of the matter.

      Also, am I hearing this right: a group of self-described anarchists and revolutionaries threatened to get the Federal Bureau of Investigation involved in an online dispute? The FBI? As in J. Edgar Hoover and CONTELINPRO?

      I’m trying hard not to spit coffee all over my monitor here. F**k tha police — until somebody says mean things about me.

      Liked by 5 people

      • Kenaz, yes indeed, and that was something I pointed out in my post on the debacle (which I have now taken down in an attempt to go back to regularly scheduled programming on my blog). They resist all authority until they want to use it to back up their point of view.

        And the kicker is that, according to Niki, she felt she had to ban Sannion from the conference *because* of the damage that a police/FBI presence could do to the vulnerable minorities and such that might be there. So basically, people got riled up over nothing, threatened to call the cops, and she banned the person they were reacting to, rather than addressing the fact that they were the only ones actually threatening to do something harmful.

        Liked by 4 people

  8. Did Sannion tell you about what was said that one night after the PLC by the Thracian’s fire? This and more was carved into the flesh of the world, then.

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    • ganglerisgrove

      no he didn’t. Please do tell.

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      • I’m slowly returning to the community, honestly, but I’m disturbed to see these things happening, these things that I was afraid of two years ago when I dropped out.

        I’m uneasy even talking about this, because the experience was traumatic, and I feel like I still haven’t properly recovered, so I apologize for the obliqueness of what follows. But… words were placed in my mouth by a (/God/) whom I shall decline to name and who honestly terrifies me to the center of my being, reminding us of Ladon, and monsters in gardens, and false appearances. And once the tremor had passed I was very aware that the words had not been understood, and …. I am still hurting from it.

        And I am sharing this here, now, because I have felt that I should share it somewhere, with someone, and to say that this is just the beginning: there is worse to come.

        Liked by 3 people

    • ganglerisgrove

      it’s good to see you, by the way. I’ve missed your voice in the community.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Glad to see/hear/read you again, too, Julian!

      I don’t know of what you speak either, so I’m curious to know more when you’re able to elaborate further.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I return slowly from the outer darkness. There is work to be done and I don’t have any good excuses left to avoid it. I just fear that I am not up to the task! I am such a bad Pagan/Polytheist/Religious Person.

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  9. KhonsuMes Matt

    First, echoing Kenaz Filan and others, this piece seems less a well reasoned analysis backed by data and more a laundry list polemic talking points chosen by committee. So much seems off track and unsubstantiated. I can’t recognize my trad (a particular, quite non-hierarchical Kemetic Reconstructionist one) in there. I just can’t. Yet with what a disturbingly broad brush it paints..
    It seems the piece in question just samples a small part of the diversity of our trads. Polytheisms can’t be boiled down to one simple political picture. A full-on analysis of the intersections of polytheisms and the political views, rhetoric and action of their practitioners would actually be a great thing I think. But this is not that analysis.
    And after the crowing about the importance of questioning – no opportunity is provided for such questioning, and no byline to adduce responsibility and accountability for the piece itself…

    Liked by 4 people

  10. thetinfoilhatsociety

    I rather suspect Isaac Bonewits would have a thing or two to say about Rhyd and his ilk, were he still alive. He wasn’t afraid to all out groups who were violating the codes of (Pagan) conduct.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I can’t help but agree. While I have some serious problems with some of Bonewits’ teachings and other words (mostly that which just seemed a bit too prone to suggesting anything and everything is open to interpretation, and stuff which seemed to imply all over that gods don’t actually exist), BUT he has my respect for several reasons:

      In several topics, he *did* make clear lines, such as differentiating between genuine religious cultus, and charismatic cults presenting themselves as any kind of religion. Plus, hey, if anything, us ex-LaVeyans who grew up in SE Michigan gotta stick together.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Conor O'Bryan Warren

    To me, the funniest bit is that the traditions that are “more immune” are also the ones that Rhyd and his close friends happen to have associations with. I know for a fact that he is (or at least was) a member of OBOD, I believe his good friend Alley Valkyrie had associations with Feri and his friend Niki had associations with Reclaiming and Feri IIRC. Mind you, my memory may not be perfect. I lost contact with these folks after I decided I hated everybody and removed a majority of my (online) Pagan contacts.

    I’ve talked with people who were, at one point, quite close to Rhyd. I also used to have a certain level of attachment to him. Yet, these folks and I both agree that the most needful/important thing to him is the promulgation of his ideology. I firmly believe that he saw Paganism as a convenient vehicle for his ideology, especially considering that his Gods sing his song *basically perfectly*.

    Either people are going to see him and his projects for what they are (ways to propagate his ideology) or they aren’t. Still, it is disheartening.

    Liked by 7 people

    • ganglerisgrove

      From your keyboard to the Gods’ eyes. It’s always bothered me when people foist their politics and ethics on the Holy Powers. Aren’t they confident enough to say – this is what I believe/have reasoned out for myself? And what kind of person needs to be told by a God that hating people for their race or gender is stupid and destroying the environment is a bad thing? Don’t they have eyes of their own?

      Liked by 9 people

      • Conor O'Bryan Warren

        I haven’t a single idea. When I was a devotee of Athena it didn’t make me *less* anti-war. I’m quite fond of a certain god of liars and thieves but do my best not to do either. I may be inspired by certain things (much as some devotees of Yamunaji are inspired by their devotion to protect her from pollution.) but that doesn’t mean my ethics have to accord completely with those of the gods (whose ethics also aren’t in complete concordance with one another. )

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    • Your memory is correct, Conor. And it is telling that those particular traditions are singled out as more pure. I tire of the comparisons to Monotheism (probably because I wrote an entire thesis doing just that) but this us/them nonsense is the very sort of power concentration that Monotheism as a structure of thought reinforces. A robust Polytheistic worldview introduces a sort of tension and, well, humor, that is pretty obviously absent from this fascistic obsession.

      Liked by 3 people

      • ganglerisgrove

        Julian, they need an enemy and we’re in their way. They are utterly humorless– remember, these are the same people that threatened to call the FBI over what was obviously satire. ..which is nothing more than a form of intimidation and not intimidation directed at the target, but intimidation directed at the community

        we should question why they are so willing to ally themselves with forces of power and oppression and why they’re so threatened by the development of a robust polytheism that refuses to put authority in human people, preferring to vest it properly in the Gods instead.

        Liked by 4 people

    • We hate you, too, Conor. lol

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      • Conor O'Bryan Warren

        Well, I can’t really say I *really* hate anyone. I just get very aggressive and anti-everyone when I get super stressed.

        Now it is just still floundering after the split from Athena. I placed a lot of my “reasons for existing” eggs in that basket and recovering from that has not been easy.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. ganglerisgrove

    Julian, you’re not alone in this work. Please don’t doubt your commitment to your Gods. just do what you can and when you fall short, get up, pick up, and start again. I often feel as though I am not religious enough, not devoted enough. The best advice i can offer is to just do the piece of work that has come to you one step at a time and reach out to us when you need.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. ganglerisgrove

    Julian, regarding your comments on that night: I can totally understand why that would be traumatic. As the medium, however, your job is to deliver the message. It’s out of your control how or even if the intended receives it. I’m glad you’re returning; sounds like your voice will be needed more than ever.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. I wouldn’t know where to start with this, it’s just such a silly article. I just hope our communities won’t have to suffer the reactionary irrationalism it represents for long.

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  15. Virginia carper

    Comment more later. Anyone who knows forests knows there’s an hierarchical structure. Note the spec of trees that dominate. Firs gets shut out by maples and so on. Such blather. Age with the romantic view of nature.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Good point Virginia! I keep thinking it would be fun to see these folks test their anti-hierarchical theories by going up against a tornado. I’m sorry it doesn’t jive with their ideals, but some things in this world have more power than other things. The gods have more power than we do. That doesn’t mean we have to grovel, and it doesn’t mean we don’t have our own kinds of power, but there *is* a natural hierarchy there which won’t go away when you yell radical slogans at it.

      Liked by 3 people

      • I think that there must also be two huge gaps in this “fascist” discussion. First off, Fascism is more than just authoritarianism (which is more or less how it appears to be used here), it is centered around strong Nationalism and group solidarity. Fascism creates us vs. them dichotomies often based around race or religion, but centering around national pride. Fascism relies on violence to enforce behavioral norms. If there were actually Devotional Polytheist Black Shirts, then there would be legitimate cause to warn of the rise of Fascism within a small minority religion that makes up a insignificant fraction of the between one and three percent of the American populace that identifies as Pagan.

        The second gap: what is a God in these people’s view? If you object to the Gods having final authority, what exactly are you objecting to? The power of the Gods is irrelevant to the discussion because it does not appear that the agency of the Gods themselves is the issue.

        Liked by 3 people

      • I’m endlessly flabbergasted by their lack of ability to understand the words they use. I picked apart the use of the word fascism in my own post.

        https://wyrddesigns.wordpress.com/2016/03/27/speak-up-stand-for-polytheism/

        I just want to mail dictionaries to them all with the words for polytheism and fascism flagged.

        On a side note, being a voice is sacred, and hard. You need not carry a burden of guilt for such shared messages falling on deaf ears. All you can do, is convey the message. Sometimes, people come to understand the message layer, so they might yet learn from it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • More importantly, though: Isn’t it curious that he lumps any group with a structure of formal authority as potentially vulnerable to Fascism, except (tellingly) OBOD, the Druid group he’s a part of, and one which has a clear and enforced power structure and is, apparently, headed by a “dictator-for-life”?

        …but OBOD is the “fiercely egalitarian” group, while ADF and Raven Kaldera’s group (I can’t think of anyone else he might’ve been considering when he named “Northern Tradition”), as well as the highly disorganised recons and devotional polytheists, we’re the ones who’re vulnerable to Fascism.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. ganglerisgrove

    good points all, Julian. and i suspect they object to the Gods having final authority because it means they themselves cannot.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. ganglerisgrove

    For those interested in a clear discussion of what fascism is and is not, this might help: http://www.rense.com/general37/char.htm

    Like

  18. I find it interesting that there appears to be no comment section on the article, clearly indicating that the author wishes to establish hierarchical control of the discourse by reducing dialogue to monologue.

    Also… “What is the hierarchy of a forest?” belies a complete lack of understanding of how nature (and Nature) work. Clearly this tree-lover doesn’t comprehend enough of forestry to know what a “wolf tree” is, nor that in a state of nature, such trees are often more resistant to death than smaller, younger trees.

    Hmm… Where to tear this yahoo apart? Thoughts on the best venue?

    Liked by 5 people

  19. More comments. Any lumberjack will tell you that every forest has a “King Tree.” It’s the tree that towers over the forest, that everyone uses when they do their cutting. (My family was full of lumberjacks, living in the North Woods.) As for nature, ahem, there is hierarchy coming out of the ying-yang. Try facing a black bear or a bull moose sometime. Then you know who is the “king.”

    These people are fantasists living in the fantasy of an earlier, simpler time when everyone lived equally in divine nature. I see it through and through their writing – the romanticism of a time free from structures, one of equality. Bull crap. Never happened. Humans are primates, and like all primates organise themselves around a dominant male or female (depending on the species).

    I also had a family full of anarchists. (Yeah, a weird one.) They blew things up. They raged against the bosses and joined the Communist Party. They unionised and so forth. What Rhyd and his folks are talking about is old hat from the Victorian Era, and from the 1930s. Didn’t work then, won’t work now. It is all grounded in fantasy.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. I’ve lost all respect for Rhyd and his groupies. At one point about two years ago I thought he was one of our mystic/bardic voices. He has devolved. Now he is pathetic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not to be contrary, but he bothered the crap out of me back at PLC. He was talking in “my way or the highway” terms back then. When, in a hotel full of people with some pretty strong opinions, he jumps out at me as the most reactionary…

      Sometimes I need to stop being so nice.

      Liked by 2 people

  21. No hierarchy in nature? Can you say “wolf pack?”

    Liked by 3 people

    • The hierarchical nature of wolf packs has been widely misunderstood for centuries (think rather than “alpha male & female that keeps all the others in line cos Caesar Milan said so” think “matriarch of primary breeding female and sage who teaches the young’uns how to hunt, oh, and they’re almost all related”) — still, though, there’s a clear order to how their packs work. There’s an order to how the matriarchal packs of elephants work. And bee hives, ffs.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. There are no links or specific citations in this article, with all its accusations and insinuations, it would never pass academic muster. This piece is not a thoughtful and reasoned attempt to promote dialogue about an actual problem, but utterly biased and rigid attempt to frame a political ideology as a religious matter.

    Having spent some time arguing with these people, I will say it is like walking through a mud pit. They change definitions to suit themselves, and won’t stipulate to ANYTHING. At best I find them difficult to be around, at worst, they leave me feeling ill. The current trend in mixing religion with politics is certainly not new to the human species, but it’s not a good path.

    Liked by 5 people

  23. The GODS & RADICALS article seems almost transcribed from that podcast interview with Amy Hale a few years ago.

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    • …and her interview in question essentially came off as “Fascists are everywhere, lurking behind the couch and everything, except with me and mine. You can’t trust religions with rules, as it’s a totally non-fallacious slippery-slide to Fascism. I have a degree, so don’t question me about this.”

      Liked by 2 people

  24. ganglerisgrove

    i have been enjoying Helson’s deconstruction of Rhyd’s attack very much. I highly suggest reading it — it’s a multi part endeavor.

    Like

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