The Gods Don’t Care What Language You Speak

This is an excellent article at Rotwork. This emphasis on learning ON, OE, etc. used to be pushed heavily in Heathenry thirty plus years ago, at least in various denominations. I like learning languages (my academic degree depends on my learning quite a few) but I’ve never understood why it was necessary to put up a road block for converts like this. There’s no theological reason behind it. Our Gods understand us just fine in English. The only thing one needs to be a good polytheist is devotion to the Gods. Period. End of story. If one likes learning languages, feels that it is a valuable devotional act, feels that it helps one connect to one’s ancestors, and wants to do it, rock on. I think that’s great. But it’s not a requirement. It’s nice if one has the capacity and wants to do it, and for clergy it does help with research but I don’t think the Gods are going to be judging us on our facility with ON any time soon. lol


“You need to learn [language] to be a [good/better/more devout] polytheist.”

I’ve heard some variation on this theme for as long as I’ve been in and around polytheists. And frankly, I never liked it. Here’s why it’s a wacky thing to insist:

  1. It’s just plain ableist. Are you saying that nonverbal autistic people are always going to be bad polytheists? That pre-language infants aren’t on the gods’ radar? That deaf people without verbal skills should just siddown and shaddap? Or that people who are weak speakers for whatever reason just aren’t trying hard enough? Because that’s what you’re actually kind of saying when you say this.
  2. It’s never “learn a couple words” or “learn to recite a prayer” or “learn the etymology of a few god-names”. It’s straight-up “learn the language”. All of it. As much as your overworked, underpaid, shoestring budget can accommodate. Buy the 300-page tome that your…

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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 April 28, 2021, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. The meme you posted on this day in 2019 fits this really, really well.

    It popped up in my memories today because I shared it.


  2. ARGH.

    it was a Cat with caption

    “I meowed at my human, and the human meowed back.
    I think that sneaky bastard has been learning my language.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. 30 years? I feel old now. I remember that push…you aren’t really a Heathen unless you can recite the Old English Rune Poems in Old English

    Thanks for posting the cat meme…I love it.


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