The Sacred and You

I had a sweet conversation with a theology colleague, a Unitarian minister who is also in the PhD program with me. A third student had asked me what kind of polytheist I was, so I explained and since I was willing to chat about it, he asked about my Thor’s hammer and I said that it is the most common symbol of our faith, representing Thor’s ability to gird the world against dissolution. Since every single one of our sacred symbols, including the Thor’s hammer and valknot are listed as hate symbols on the ADL website (along with bowl cuts and anthropomorphic moon men) –though they do note that “non-racist Pagans” use them too– I was really glad he asked. Last week, I had a Jewish student so concerned about my tattoos, that he had a faculty member come ask me what they were – I don’t mind that. They were asking before assuming, and that’s cool, but it saddens me that automatically their minds went to possible racism. I wear the markings on my skin to honor my Gods and the initiations They’ve put me through, my vows to Them, and my priesthood. It is space claimed for the Holy, nothing more and that is everything.

Every single time I wear a Thor’s hammer I am questioned on campus, and how profane is that? It’s really telling that both extremes of the political equation are going after our sacred symbols, our most sacred symbols….and we and those who engage with us innocently enough like my colleagues above, are caught in the middle.

Anyway, my theology friends and I chatted for a while and once the third student left, my Unitarian friend said, ‘don’t ever watch Stargate.’ I laughed and said I enjoyed some of the series but yeah, found it impious as hell and these days tended to avoid it and we got into a discussion about popular culture (Supernatural, Marvel, etc.) and their presentation of the Gods and why it would be blasphemous for me to watch them. He brought up the fact that they co-opt every God/Holy figured other than Jesus or Mohammed. I told him that yes, I’d noticed that (oh you better by Gods believe I’d noticed it) and we also discussed the foulness of video games that involve “killing Gods” as part of their structure. I find it fascinating that a Unitarian Christian gets the issue with blasphemy, disrespect, and spiritual pollution better than some PlaygansPagans do.

Piety is under attack in our world in small and large ways. Individually these things may not matter but cumulatively they have an effect both on our culture and on us as devout people, on our lives, our perspectives, our worldviews and most importantly of all, the ways in which we behave in the presence of the Holy. It’s important to be mindful, whatever that means for each of us in our devotional lives.

What are some ways that each of you, my Readers, navigate these waters?

 

 

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 wyrdcuriosities.etsy.com.

Posted on September 28, 2019, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I wear a Thor’s Hammer every day. I haven’t taken it off in literally years. I don’t plan on doing so either unless forced to do so for safety (like if I’m somewhere with machinery it could get caught in). I have had people ask and comment on it from time to time. I tell them much the same as you, that it is the most common symbol of my religion, that it represent’s Thor’s protection, and that yes, some racists have tried to steal these holy symbol, but they’re misusing them and have no rightful claim to them. These are religious symbols, not symbols of hate. Thor’s Hammer has been a symbol of protection and holiness for millennia longer than Nazism or even racism as such has existed.

    We need more people who will openly and proudly wear the Hammer, the Valknot, and the Runes. We need to be telling people these are our sacred religious symbols, not the symbols of hate and that they belong to Heathens, not Nazis. The bigots may be loud, but the Gods can be far louder if we are willing to be Their voice.

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  2. Excellent post, Galina, and very good comments, Ryan. The jewellery I wear for my Gods tends to be subtle. I wear the Greek key design ring and earrings for Hestia and Hermes, a lotus ring for Kwan Yin and Bast, moonstone necklace for Mani, and various stones and gems for the Gods based mostly on my own UPG.

    I agree that we need to educate people that our Gods symbols are not symbols of hate. And I definitely agree we need to be mindful of what we watch on TV, movies, etc. There is so much miasma via the media. It’s awful!!

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  3. Martha Iñiguez Moreno

    Llevo varios símbolos de la tradición, y tengo en mi cuerpo los tatuajes que representan mis creencias, y la gente siempre pregunta por mis animales de poder (Lynx y Wolf), pero cuando miran mi Ægishjálmr rodeado de Futhork, miran al otro lado 😀
    Thank you for sharing your experiences.

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  4. Martha Iñiguez Moreno

    I wear several symbols of the tradition, and have on my body the tattoos representing my beliefs, and people always ask about my power animals (Lynx and Wolf) but when they look my Ægishjálmr surounded by Futhork, they gaze on other side 😀

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  5. I am happy that you have probably met the only UU with a clue. I used to attend an UU congregation 30 years ago; however, around 10-15 years ago we drifted because of changes in the pulpit. Personally, I find it now very, very PC in all the bad ways. I also find it rather shallow, like shallow Hal. I enjoy philosophy too much, I believe, to be a part of a self-help group. Too bad, it used to be very stimulating.

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