Don’t Let Them Silence You

I’m pulling this out from my post here. I see this all the time.

Reader December commented:

“This is something I’ve been contemplating and railing against for a lil while now since having this discussion in a local heathen group with a man who compared devoted polytheists to “crazy shithouse rats.” May people I come across in this and other online pagan communities are “Pagan/Heathen Atheists” or similar titles. When I bothered to ask a few why they were part of a religious community when they didn’t believe in the gods venerated therein, they said they liked the idea of the culture and bringing back a lot of the community beliefs of the “vikings” and other similar groups. I then asked if it would not be better for them to join a living history or reenactment group than to profess a religion that they did not believe in. The conversation spiraled downward from there into a complete mess but in the end I had to ask myself – why is it that so many people want to LARP or cosplay as a religion they don’t believe in really? I cannot fathom anyone dressing up as Jesus or Mohammed and going to church but claiming atheism or even going so far as to call everyone else there crazy for actually believing.

This is an issue I still have problems not getting emotional over and am not sure how to grapple with it other than to just avoid the conversation with role-players and keep to my devotions by myself. Glad to see this being discussed elsewhere.”

My response, and I say this to each and every one of you:

This. I see this all the time. First of all, don’t let them silence you. That is what they want. Do not yield an inch. THEY are the ones who have zero place in our traditions. Why the fuck these people think they ought to come into our religion, corrupt and destroy it I do not understand. But don’t fall silent. Speak about your devotion. write about it. do not hide it. that’s what people like this want. Live it and share it and let it grow. That is the only answer to this, because we are faced with a sad influx of people who cannot see what is good: our traditions and faith without seeking to bring it down to their level and corrupt it. Thank you for what you are doing. Keep it up and keep asking those questions.

Also note that these people cannot just come into our traditions and enjoy them and participate as guests. They have to insinuate that devoted people are crazy and try to change the tradition, demand that the tradition changes to accommodate them, rather than the other way around which is at the very least, a complete violation of frith.


About ganglerisgrove

Galina Krasskova has been a Heathen priest since 1995. She holds a Masters in Religious Studies (2009), a Masters in Medieval Studies (2019), has done extensive graduate work in Classics including teaching Latin, Roman History, and Greek and Roman Literature for the better part of a decade, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Theology. She is the managing editor of Walking the Worlds journal and has written over thirty books on Heathenry and Polytheism including "A Modern Guide to Heathenry" and "He is Frenzy: Collected Writings about Odin." In addition to her religious work, she is an accomplished artist who has shown all over the world and she currently runs a prayer card project available at

Posted on August 15, 2016, in community, Heathenry, Polytheism, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. What I find deeply insidious beyond the scope of what you have spoken on and to, is that these people further stigmatize and denigrate folks who are mentally ill or who otherwise have psychological, physiological, and other health conditions. By this road of attempted deligitimization, they harm the people and communities they ought to be helping.

    This attack on mental health and mental health care also makes it harder for anyone who would seek help to want to trust folks in the community, and can actively push people out of the communities. These communities should be safe places for all of us for fellowship and support, for communication and furthering our relationships with the Holy Powers.


  2. I’ve ran across plenty of Heathen Atheists and they all seem to want to be viewed a big macho Viking men who “don’t even let Gods tell them what to do, not that they believe in such silly things”. The best they can come up with when questioned as to why they are in the religion at all is mentioning that “some Vikings were recorded as being Atheists in the Lore.” Never mind that those few Atheist Vikings attested to in the lore were viewed as potentially dangerous degenerates and banned from speaking or participating in most tribal gatherings.

    LARPing is really the best option for people who really just want to dress up like Vikings and drink mead until they can’t feel their emotions anymore.


    • ganglerisgrove

      I have no issues with atheists in atheist spaces and you’ll never see me going into an atheist space to tell them they have to believe in Gods. But when atheists come into OUR spaces, demanding we lower our traditions to their level, well…i think you came up with the perfect word for them: degenerates. We need to stand together against those incursions and take out the trash.


      • ganglerisgrove

        and what those who claim “oh there were atheists in the lore’ also miss, like those who make the same claim about Greek and Roman lore is that they were either a minority voice (and one considered, as you note, questionable) in an otherwise strong, thriving polytheistic culture or they were having thought experiments within a solid polytheistic intellectual community without worrying about their ideas being taken out of context two thousand years later.


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