Apostasy in our Communities

I hate having to make this post. The subject is one, however, that needs to be addressed by those of us who have been in the community long enough to know the history of the person in question. I really hate having to write this. 


Apparently Swain Wodening is back, after having apostatized, broken faith with our Gods, after he returned to Christianity, and after he’s written at least one book “Letting Go to Live with Christ” (and this is not going into detail about what an execrable human being he is on a personal level). He’s lurking in multiple Facebook Heathen groups under his legal name Berry Canote. 


So far, there has been no explanation of his apostasy, no contrition, no humility. Is he coming back in troth or coming back to proselytize? Or is he coming back because he didn’t get enough attention after his apostasy (after all, Christian groups might pet and fawn over the converted Pagan for a year or two but eventually that fame fades). Why should we ever trust the word of a man with so little honor?


Swain was not just  regular laity. He was in positions of authority and leadership within Heathenry. He broke his word and turned his back on the Gods. We need to hold our leaders and elders to a higher standard or what’s the point? If someone is going to constantly swing back and forth between Heathenry, Christianity, Heathenry, Christianity, etc. they are unreliable and having broken their word, having broken troth to the degree that he did, we should not easily allow such a person to return to our communities without censure. Nor should he ever be given any position of leadership again ever. 


It’s not even that he went Christian…a polytheist can honor the Christian Gods if he or she wants. No, Swain fully turned his back on the Gods and became a monotheist. This isn’t the same as syncretic practice, adding more Deities to your family shrine; this is a renunciation of our Holy Powers and once you do that, there should not be an easy way back. Personally, I don’t think there should be a way back at all, but if we’re being generous, the fucker should have to prove himself for a very long time. 


At some point, we need to establish strict standards in dealing with garbage like this. There is no place in our community for atheists and there’s certainly no place for those who abandon the Gods in the way that he did to traipse back in expecting to be welcomed with open arms. This is a religion not a fucking social club. 

EDIT: I would add if it were a lay person struggling with his or her faith, we could work with that and probably should work with that, but this was someone who was a leader in the heathen community for years, who influenced many people, and who behaved abominably. and, moreover, who has evinced no contrition or explanation upon his return and who is sneaking back in under his legal name, not the one he used before as if to hide. no. no. and no

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 January 23, 2022, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 25 Comments.

  1. I already had a stomach ache when I read this. Now I’m fairly sure I’m going to vomit.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Aren’t Oathbreakers held with the utmost contempt by Heathens throughout History?

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  3. Here’s how I see it as someone that doesn’t know much about this person: Should he be allowed back in? Ultimately there’s nothing we can really do about that. Not to mention maybe he feels he made a mistake so maybe he intends to fix that. Now, should he be allowed a leadership position? Absolutely not. He needs to start back at square one. And that’s really for his own good because if he’s approaching this with any kind of sincerity that he needs to be an average joe in the community and figure out what exactly he is looking for. We need leaders that actually have gotten with the program and are ready to take us to new and better heights. Somebody who is questioning their faith that much is not the guy we need. And that’s in the best case scenario where he’s being genuine. If he’s doing this for clout then he can just fuck off and go do his own thing because he is needed by absolutely no one (Polytheist or otherwise).

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  4. If this were a lay person, I would have had a much less harsh response (I also knew Swain personally). But he’s sneaking back in using his legal name instead of his Heathen name (so no one will recognize him?), he hasn’t displayed any explanation or contrition for his betrayal of our Gods and frankly, no. our communities are already in too much crisis and too divisive, too filled with a predominance of those who barely think of our Gods or in some cases actively have antipathy toward them to cousin to any type of open door policy to those who renounce our Holy Powers. I don’t think it serves the tradition or the community to just let them back in without serious counseling and work. if.

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    • Does the community know who he is or has he been gone long enough for them not know?

      I would think that if the person was sincere about returning, that they would come clean and not lurk.

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      • The problems are going to be:

        (1) he was a key figure in the 90s and 00s. some folks know exactly what he did (and more than just apostasy he’s an abusive nithling), but others didn’t even back then.
        (2) his books are still being sold even after he left the religion so some have found his books and have no clue about things that happened outside the books.
        (3) the community has shifted, gone are the old message boards and mailings lists, now it’s FB groups, tumblr and discord. Plus over a decade of newcomers to the religion.

        Which is why I came out publicly on the bits I can speak too with certainty. the community needs to be warned, and not just because he denounced the Gods, but because he is an oathbreaker and predator.

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      • I knew him by reputation which was that he was a juvenile pot stirrer who was ruled by his man parts.

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      • Also, that he disrupted Heathen groups in the East Coast with his antics.

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      • I mean the Theods were notorious for stirring shit for each other wherever they are. So by east coast are you referring to the Theods?

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      • The Theod run by Hallorian (sp?) and Canote got into it and it spilled over into several Kindreds in the Baltimore and D.C. areas. People were expected to take sides and refused.

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      • To be fair most of the Theods (as well as others, myself included) couldn’t stand Halloran, and considering all the law cases against him later from bribery & corruption to his long list of extramarital affairs including a young intern… it’s no wonder. But yes the Theods were so busy fighting amongst themselves if they’d put a mere fraction of that energy into actual devotions with the gods they’d have accomplished so much more.

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      • So I recalled Halloran had been freed early from his 10 year sentence because of the pandemic. SO I was curious what he was up to. He’s rebranded himself as a “freed political prisoner” 😅🤥🤣

        https://www.facebook.com/USAForLiberty/

        #YouCantMakeThisShitUp

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  5. ROFLMAO freed political prisoner….ROFLMAO

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  6. Wyrd Designs, those young women with whom he was cheating were every bit as culpable as he was and don’t deserve sympathy (unless that intern was under 18, which is a whole different can of worms). Assuming she is of age, that a woman is young does not absolve her of basic honor and morality. She should have known better bc it was no secret Dan was married. Dan, like pretty much every other Theodish “leader” that I’ve known was ever and always led around by his dick. no honor in any of them.

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    • Oh there’s no doubt there’s a certain level of culpability. But not being in the room and seeing precisely what happened, how much he may have coerced them (or not), isn’t something we can say from the outside looking in. But his harem of extra marital affairs were all of a type. Relations usually starting as young unpaid interns working on school credit (or young early 20s staffers). He knew it was against the ethics and rules for his position and for all city council members (no supervisor could be romantically involved with a underling). In fact I know they were looking into ethics violations with him on this, as well as sexual harassment and discrimination too (which suggests to me there were some who rebuffed his advances/behaviors). I think a lot of it got sort of pushed under the rug when the Feds went after him and got an indictment of guilty on corruption & bribery charges in that attempt to fix the mayoral race. I suspect the city government may have even just decided not to waste government funds on it once he was already given a 10 year sentence on his other crimes.

      Regardless he was definitely a slimy sleazeball. that I had the misfortune of meeting twice. The only thing I can say, is at least he didn’t personally hit on me. But he would do anything to get ahead.

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  7. not to mention Dan so conveniently hid his Heathenry when it became politically problematic, allowing voters to assume he was Catholic (there was one Village voice article unfairly pillorying him for being Heathen but shortly thereafter I believe he was seen in Church with his wife). NO. step away from another apostate. These men are garbage.

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