What Makes a “Mystery Religion”?

With Swain Wodening/Berry Canote rearing his head again, trying to creep back into our communities, I’ve been reading up on various online critiques of Theodism, the denomination of Heathenry from which the Wodenings arose (1). One of the pieces I found was this blog post. The guy who runs it is a complete asshole (2) but the piece itself gives an online trail of websites and information that show how Theodism, is an egotistical boys’ club that cares far more about preserving (or hiding) the lack of honor, integrity, and character of the men involved than speaking the truth, taking an ethical stand, and definitely more than venerating the Gods. I worked in Theodism for maybe ten years and venerating the Gods properly was always much farther down on the list than stroking the mens’ …um…egos. But I digress…

In the article above, the fool who wrote it, calls Theodism a “Mystery religion.” He bases this on the fact that Theodism has a hierarchical social structure in which most newcomers begin as “thralls” and earn higher social rank as they learn Theodish customs and ingratiate themselves with their higher ups (3). He also uses the term “Mystery religion” as though it is a negative thing. The dude has no idea what a mystery religion is, or he’d never use the term for Theodish Heathenry, and it is that question: “What is a Mystery Religion?” that I want to discuss here. 

The word “mystery” comes from the Greek μυστήριον. It means ‘mystery’ and refers to ‘secret rites,’ religious mysteries, particularly those associated with a specific Deity, and those things revealed by a particular Deity—theophany or revelation—during the enactment of that Deity’s rites (4). It was used in ancient Greek polytheism, Roman polytheism, and even early Christianity to refer to certain rites and practices. The term “Mystery Religion” could refer to a broad range of traditions and rites but there were certain aspects of cultic praxis that traditions under this rubric generally shared (5): There was some type of initiatory rite in which the initiate, having been properly prepared, experiences and receives sacred knowledge from a Deity; these rites were secret and definitely not open to the entire community; they permitted the initiate to “share in symbolic (sacramental) fashion the experiences of the God” (6); they may serve a cleansing or even piacular function; they carried soteriological and possibly even eschatological impact. Obviously, the a priori position from which such mystery traditions worked was that direct experience of the Gods was possible and the initiate could be prepared to (more or less safely receive this) via preparation through particular levels within that tradition. 

Mystery religions were separate things from civic religion, or from common and public veneration of a particular Deity or family of Deities. One could honor any Deity without participating in a Mystery tradition. Usually the mysteries were developed (or received) within a cultic context centered around particular veneration to a specific Deity, but they existed within the larger religion. Participation in a mystery cultus was not required to be good polytheists.  A tradition could be commonly open to everyone but contain within it a Mystery cultus, or even more than one, (7) that had rites and initiatory procedures that were restricted.

The word μυστήριον itself was even used by the early Christian Church to refer to its rituals, particularly baptism, which was viewed as a type of initiation, available only after extensive preparation. It did what any initiatory rite was believed to do: created an ontological change in the initiate’s soul, thus moving that initiate from one state of being to another (8). Now, if we’re looking solely at the idea of moving from one state of being to another, then I can see why the author of the aforementioned blog [incorrectly] attributed to Theodism status as a mystery religion. A thrall can rise through the social ladder to “thegn” for instance. But this doesn’t actually make Theodism a mystery religion. That elevation in status has nothing to do with cultic rites to any Deity. It is a purely social practice within Theodism. 

Moreover, not only does theodism not possess any expectation of rituals involving theophany, but they are also openly hostile to the idea. Devotion and the logical extension thereof of mystical experience are not things valued in this tradition. There ARE Heathen denominations that I would say are mystery traditions (I myself work within one). There are other polytheistic traditions that I would say are or contain Mystery traditions (9). Theodism isn’t one of them though. A “Mystery Tradition” is centered around direct experience of a Deity’s mysteries usually through some sort of initiatory experience mediated by others who have been initiated. The point is the direct experience of the God. The point is that ontological change that takes place in the person’s soul, a transformation that affects everything from that point on, especially what happens to that soul after death. Going from thrall to thegn does not change the status or nature of the person’s soul. Nor are Gods involved. Now, when I was in Theodism there was a warrior “cultus” (10), but it was a social transition not a religious one effected. 

Now, in my opinion, Mystery Traditions are the heart and soul of any functional, sustainable religion, as important – if not more so—as the essential balance between good, pious laity, and well trained specialists (spirit workers, shamans, priests, mystics etc.). For a religion to be healthy in its relationship to the Holy Powers, that gifting of mystery to the initiate, and the initiate carrying that back into the regular community, standing as an example and a carrier of holy power to the group is absolutely essential. It requires a community to be focused on the Gods and to understand what constitutes right relationship – what the Romans might have termed pax deorum and what our Heathen ancestors quite likely included under the term frith (11), and in understanding it to allocate to it the highest value across all demographics of the community. It is here that true unity in a group is achieved: that prioritization of piety, of maintaining right relationship with the Powers, and of understanding that it takes each and every one of us working together to properly nourish it.  If any of that is present in Theodism, then it’s something that’s surely changed quite a bit since I was there in the early oughts. 

Notes:

  1. I will give credit where credit is due. Theodism has done more to restore proper blòt than any other denomination. They did a remarkable and praiseworthy job there. That is pretty much the only area in which I will ever say this. 
  2. His critique of Theodism was good enough that I mistakenly assumed he had critical thinking and close reading skills. Also, he’s been deleting comments from both me and my husband, likely so he can twist his fictional narrative to his own ends. Still, the critique of Theodism itself provides useful links to that denomination’s more appalling dirty laundry.
  3. The term ‘thrall’ is ugly, but it must be noted that what this means in practice within Theodish communities is that the person may be present, participate in most rituals, and be part of the community events but have no voting voice in how things are run. It does not mean that such a person is misused or treated like well, a thrall. It signifies a time of learning the ritual and social customs, rules, practices, etc. where mistakes are expected, and no onus will be attached to the person for any gaffe. It’s a watch and learn, participating in light carefully mediated ways entry into Theodism. It’s not that different than numerous other cultural traditions around the world, for instance religions like Lukumi also differentiate between newcomers and those steeped in the tradition, and the former are not permitted at every rite. 
  4. See https://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/morph?l=musthrion&la=greek#lexicon.
  5. See Martin Luther King, Jr’s early work on Mystery Traditions in the ancient world: https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-papers/documents/influence-mystery-religions-christianity.
  6. Ibid.
  7. The word cultus comes from the Latin colo, colere, colui, cultum which means ‘to till or tend,’ as in tilling or tending a field. When I use this term to mean “a system of veneration directed toward a particular Holy Power,” to paraphrase the definition given by the OLD. The register in which I am writing utilizes it as a neutral term, with this classical definition. If I am using it to refer to dangerous, fringe religious groups, or a dangerous “admiration for a particular person” (Again OLD)  which is a modern, usually negative connotation, I will say so. 
  8. Μυστήριον became the word Christians used for “sacrament” by the very early medieval period. See https://research.library.fordham.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1003&context=theology_facultypubs. The term is used twenty-seven times in the New Testament, often for something ‘secret,’ or more commonly for revelation of the Gospel and/or the Incarnation itself. See:https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Catholic_Encyclopedia_(1913)/Mystery (yes it’s wiki but it’s really a reproduction of a Catholic Encyclopedia entry).
  9. Ironically, BT Wicca would qualify as a mystery tradition. There are levels in which everyone may participate, but then there is also an initiatory structure where mysteries are conveyed…religious mysteries. 
  10. This was a group that excluded women and had the most pathetic initiation rite that you could ever imagine—I’ve done more challenging rituals in my first year as an ordeal master ffs. I should also note that not all mystery tradition initiations change the afterlife. They may change your status in relation to the Gods Who then offer special protection. Still, the change involves Gods. It involves a theophany, a direct encounter of some sort with the Holy and then your subsequent relationship with that Deity is transformed.
  11. Though both of these terms are polyvalent and have relevance in ways large and small within a community. Frith particularly refers to the right relationship between all parties and may be used in social relationships as well. Pax Deorum had civic and political implications for the Roman Empire.

Initiatory traditions and mystery traditions are not necessarily the same thing. Mystery traditions have initiatory aspects but there are groups that have initiation that don’t have deeper mysteries or a focus on theophany.

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 February 3, 2022, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 223 Comments.

  1. Emma (Emmy Lou) Hawkins

    A “Mystery Tradition” is centered around direct experience of a Deity’s mysteries usually through some sort of initiatory experience mediated by others who have been initiated. The point is the direct experience of the God.”

    Isn’t the implication here that one’s initiation must be mediated by others (who presumably are approved as authorities within the tradition” in order to directly experience God(s)? I am reminded of the early Puritans who insisted that anyone having a conversion experience had to submit him or herself to the church hierarchy who would then pass judgment about the validity of the conversion experience. Not surprisingly, many women who experienced conversion were judged to have had a counterfeit of invalid conversion.

    These early Puritans ran smack dab up against the Quakers (Society of Friends) who held that ANYONE could experience “the Light” and that it was wildly inappropriate and even blasphemous to doubt someone else’s experience. I think this more than anything else was what motivated the Puritans to so enthusiastically jail or execute these Friends who had to audacity to suggest that we are all “equal before the Throne of God”.

    This of course is highly relevant to me because I am not initiated into any Norse tradition and I regularly experience the Goddesses directly. Although, based on previous discussions you and I have had, I’m sure you would not be surprised to find that CS almost certainly fits into the mystery religion paradigm. I HAVE been initiated into that hierarchy but even my extremely broadminded and unorthodox practitioner would be taken aback if she knew about my experiences with the Norse Goddesses.

    Like

    • to some degree yes, that mediation comes through the hands of others who also hold the mysteries and there is often a hierarchy there. That is lineage. Ideally the two work together (though being humans we screw things up at every opportunity of course). But what you’re describing, in its best and healthiest iteration, is lineage. One initiated becomes a caretaker of those Mysteries and in turn may be called to pass them onto others within the framework of the tradition. That framework is designed to ensure that one can receive them safely and without damage. (I had an initiation botched once and the results were physically painful for a very long time. It’s important that the scaffolding to sustain and hold what is being passed on be established first or harm may occur). Abuses of that lineage, that cycle of caretaking and transmission may happen, but they are aberrations, wrong, and not an intended part OF the tradition. And people outside of a Mystery tradition may have experiences with the Deity or Deities in question. That’s always always in the hands of the Gods Themselves. It’s just those things aren’t happening within the tradition, and that person isn’t part of that lineage and tradition (unless he or she also decides to initiate). That’s fine. in fact, I think that’s even healthy.

      Like

      • Emma (Emmy Lou) Hawkins

        Unless initiation is unavailable and there is no access to a community. I spent 20 years ‘sitting’ with the Friends in Boulder meeting and more than a little of their rejection of hierarchical thinking has rubbed off on me. I don’t actually agree that rigid adherence to lineage is all that healthy. After all, think about what happened to Anne Hathaway. Or what the Puritans would have cheerfully done to George Fox if they could have had their way with him.
        Long ago, I took the MMPI to be admitted to University of Michigan (1980). I scored exactly zero% on “deference to authority”. So, there’s that. My observation is that those who are privileged to be in authority are those most likely to think that adherence to lineage is healthy.

        You and I both grew up in a rigidly hierarchical authoritarian culture….no, not CS, the world of ballet. This no doubt colors our responses to the world.

        I disagree that a person outside the mystery tradition (ie. someone not initiated) is not part of the tradition and lineage. As you say, the Gods are going to do what They do and don’t much care if we agree or disagree.

        I’ve been down with Covid for more than a month and am more than a little bit cranky. One would think as one gets closer to the end of one’s life, the griefs and losses of earlier times would fade. Not so. I am quite irked that I am still here and not on “the other side” with that wild crazy man I love.

        Like

  2. I think hierarchy is natural and in many cases good. After all, there is a cosmic hierarchy — we are not equal to our Gods. I think one of the things that most cripples contemporary Paganism and Polytheism (aside from creeping marxism and the fact we allow anti-theists to take up space) is the aversion to a proper hierarchy. Traditions require scaffoldings in which to sustain themselves and grow. I suspect I’d make a very bad Quaker. 😉 (Ironically, since my maternal great grandfather six times back was Alexander Underwood, and I’ve been in the meeting house he helped build. They’re the line of dead that seem to have little interest in ancestor veneration surprisingly too).

    If you haven’t been initiated into a particular tradition, no matter what personal experiences you have had, you are NOT an initiate and it is inauthentic to claim that you are. You may practice the tradition in the way that any non-initiate might. I suppose that Is being part of the tradition, but not a lineage carrier. There’s nothing wrong with that. That’s the way traditions work. Does that mean that you don’t have a devotional relationship with the Deities in question? Of course not.

    Example: I cannot become initiated into Bacchic Orphism. I would love to. I maintain a shrine to Dionysos, attend the rites that I am permitted to attend (the exceptions being initiatory rites where only initiates may be present), and I love Dionysos dearly but because I belong to Odin and have received His mysteries, I cannot do the same for Dionysos. The initiations carry soteriological impact. That’s ok. What is permitted, I do.

    I’m reminded of a Catholic colleague, when we were in a theological discussion about Catholicism and current crap the pope is pulling, who apologized to me bc as a non-Catholic I could not receive the Eucharist. I don’t understand the apology. that is a sacred thing, THE key mystery of their faith. IT’s right and proper that be restricted to those who have undergone their initiatory rites (baptism, first communion, etc.). I’m not offended by that. it’s right (rite? :P) and proper.

    without lineage and respect/adherence for it, you have exactly what we see in modern paganism today, which is, in a word, not much.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Emma (Emmy Lou) Hawkins

      I wasn’t a very good quaker; either, martial arts and being a quaker don’t mix well. When people irk me, I don’t want to “see the Light in them”, I just want to wack them with my bokan, usually more than once. I am more accepting of hierarchy than my intellect dictates. More than one person has alluded to my inner “marine drill instructor” but I do fight against my authoritarian nature. I agree with you wholeheartedly about taking a non-Catholic taking communion at the Catholic mass. For all the reasons you stated.

      I would never suggest to anyone that I am a Norse initiate when in fact, I am not. That would be worse than a non-Catholic taking communion in a Catholic church. It would be dishonorable. I am sad and unhappy that there is no Norse community here of which I can be a part. The only one of which I am aware is led by a man who only does a Norse men’s study group and sees no reason why he should be mindful of women who might also like a study group. I have been to one or two of his sessions and I am far more psychic than he will ever be. Also, he takes a very …DARK view of spirituality. Apparently, he is fearful of a great many things. Very sad.

      On the other hand, I have SEEN the Goddesses and heard them speak. If I were to witness someone who claimed to be ‘ridden’ by a Goddess, that person would have to say or do something pretty darn convincing for me to be convinced. I forget which work it was, Neolithic Shamanism? Or maybe it was the one about calling down the spirits? Anyway, I do recognize that being a vessel for a God or Goddess is legit, I am just skeptical as to how often it’s claimed than actually experienced.

      I have seen SO much hoo ha bs here in Denver. There is SO much fraud.

      Liked by 1 person

      • the fraud is why I made the comment about claiming initiation. I wasn’t referring to you. I was referring to a former student of mine, who, after cutting ties with us to pander to his woke friends, is going around claiming initiations to which he is not entitled.

        With something as potent as religious experience, and the way people are hungry for direct encounter, for something sacred, I think we have an obligation to hold our leaders and specialists to high standards — which is why I’m coming down so hard on Wodening.

        Most Norse traditions are NOT initiatory traditions in the way I describe above. And that’s fine. There are mysteries that the Gods given even outside of scaffolded mysteries. I think They must gain something by both. I”m not saying that mystery traditions and initiatory traditions are BETTER than non. But they are specific types of traditions. (Theodish heathenry doesn’t qualify as either).

        I’m with you with martial arts lol. that’d be another reason I’d be a very bad Quaker (all respect to Quakers).

        Like

      • Emma (Emmy Lou) Hawkins

        This guy you were writing about, the Theodist one, he sounds like a real putz. Also the former student. I have suspicions about the Norse person here who does the Men’s group. He just doesn’t seem quite legit to me. I did hospice care for an ailing psychologist once. She described me as an outlier. I’ve always been that. Brene Brown talks about how painful it can be to not fit with one’s family of origin. I have never FIT anywhere. I did fit with Jer…although God knows, he was an outlier. It’s something of a curse to be as intelligent as he was. I should send you his picture….I think you would see it.

        There are dozens of people where who claim to channel this person and that. It’s like saying you channel Harry Potter. So bogus. All for money, of course.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I would add though that if the hierarchy involved in Mystery Traditions, the idea of lineage, etc. is problematic for a person then there are plenty of traditions that aren’t mystery trads, or initiatory trads. and that don’t insist on any significant protocol. There are options and that too is something I think is good. Mystery traditions …or at least the initiatory part of that…was never something that EVERYONE engaged in. Most people were perfectly happy practicing outside of the cultic mysteries and nothing wrong with that.

    Like

    • Emma (Emmy Lou) Hawkins

      you’re getting ahead of me….I was just finishing a comment and looking for a reference…wait one.

      Like

  4. The literal entire argument for the legitimacy of a sacral lord/king is the mediation of the religion’s initiatory traditions and the assertion that only a sacral lord can mediate relations with and conduct the rites that allow the manifestation of the divine within a sacralized space. How you supposedly have a decade or more of intimate experience with theodism without having the most cursory understanding possible of its structure or its theological orientation is beyond me. Like clearly the point of departure from reality is in the attempt to apply a Greco-Roman dichotomy of civic and mystery religions to disparate cultures despite the fact that the (dubiously historical) culture theodism is based on had no such distinctions, but the departure doesn’t really explain the absolute complete ignorance of the most basic aspects of theodish tradition.

    But yeah by all means tell us how a religion founded by a dude calling himself Merlin, under the justification of his ostensible personal revelation directly from Odin, that centers itself absolutely entirely around the idea of theophany as something mediated by a sacral lord as the facilitator of his tribe, and that is structured absolutely around a concept of initiation through thralldom is not a mystery religion because it’s not concerned with theophany lol.

    Like

    • again, the existence of sacral kingship (real or imagined) does not a mystery tradition or an initiatory tradition make. Even the acceptance of personal revelation does not make a mystery tradition, as I’ve outlined clearly above.

      Like

      • Similarly, as I noted, the outlining mentioned relies (as so much Polytheist Identity rhetoric does) on just breathlessly universalizing Greek or Roman frameworks across cultural lines out of a borderline pathological aversion to engaging critically with anything for which immediately accessible detailed philosophical texts are not available.

        But it also relies heavily on the assertion that theodism doesn’t prioritize theophany which is, to put it bluntly, wrong to the point of absurdity. Not quite the same point of absurdity as “theodism isn’t initiatory,” but pretty close. I’m not really going to go back and forth at length on this just because I think it sets a bad precedent to engage with folks whose singular stated value is performative piety but like, it really absolutely must be stressed how deeply unserious these arguments are and how heavily they rely on an absolutely transcendent ignorance.

        Like

      • HOT TAKE: If you think using ideas from Greco-Roman culture to help reconstruct in other European traditions ideas of Polytheist philosophy, theology, ancestor veneration, purity regulations, etc. is “too foreign” then clearly our religion was always the better religion because ours at least looks like a religion and not an overenthusiastic fandom of the latest neofolk band.

        Liked by 2 people

      • For whatever reason the “reply” button appears for this post (and like every other post in this comment section) but not for Guason’s post so I’m just going to reply here. Fortunately, no one is criticizing the use of Greek/Roman framework on the grounds of “foreignness” or anything so blase as that, so the “hot take” is pretty irrelevant to the discussion at hand.

        No part of the issue here arises from whether or not that framework is ‘foreign,’ but rather from the inherently reductive and decontextualizing nature of the Polytheist clique’s tendency to simply transpose Greek or Roman concepts wholesale onto other religions without consideration for or adaptation to the peculiarities of those traditions or cultures, eg. stripping most of the substantive qualifiers of a mystery religion away and reducing it to something that can exist only in contrast to a civic religion, thus rendering the term useless in actually examining any tradition or sec that doesn’t exist directly alongside such a civic religion. It’s a simultaneously dishonest, incurious and uninteresting trick of prescriptivism; something Galina seems to fall back on rather often, because it’s always much easier to simply recite definitions than to engage with the substance of living and changing religions. It should be noted, though, that prescriptivism is not only an intellectual dead end when reckoning language, it’s a mode of thinking that can only suffocate thought, not give it life or wings.

        It’s frankly ironic that the Polytheist Identity crowd are so overwhelmingly preoccupied with animating fundamentally dead religions (which is not to say the historical paganisms of antiquity but rather the shambling corpse that is Modern Polytheism) and snuffing out and turning their noses up at anything actually dynamic and vibrant, baselessly accusing anything that interfaces with the world and with lived reality as somehow lesser and at odds with “devotion” or “piety.” Cross-cultural comparative studies can absolutely help inform reconstruction, but that’s not what is actually happening here, because there’s nothing comparative going on. It’s just thoughtless universalizing of a concept.

        Like

      • Before I or anyone actually replies to what you’ve said, I think an important question needs to be asked: what religion are you? I ask because it’s really starting to sound like we are not on the same page here and thus this conversation is probably moot. Would you mind stating what it is you personally believe so we could have a better understanding of the situation?

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s not really any concern of yours other than I am not heathen and have no investment whatever in keeping heathenry free of “foreignness” or whatever other spurious assertions you’re going to try to make. Whatever “you’re not polytheist so you don’t get an opinion” line of thinking you’re angling for here, i assure you I’ve got more than my share of skin in the game.

        For your purposes just treat me as a pagan who is not interested in playing around in the intellectual graveyard that is prescriptivism. Any detail beyond that is pretty immaterial to this discussion, if you have anything of substance to lend to it.

        Like

      • Sure. It’s not any of my business. It’s information that’s good to have to understand where everyone is coming from.

        Okay. So you identify as a Neopagan of some random theological persuasion. Sure. That says both a lot and nothing though I think I can infer where you are coming from. But if you’d be so kind, could you give an example of a tradition that you find is “dynamic” and is engaging in a “lived reality”? I’m curious as to what that means to you

        Like

      • It’s to be read as an allusion towards the more social justice oriented corners of contemporary paganism that Galina is so frequently critical and dismissive of as insufficiently pious or traditional.

        The issue is that for all its pretenses none of this feigned piety is about expanding the depth of human engagement with the divine, it’s about a retraction of human engagement with the world, most often through these exact modes of decontextualization, the reduction of lived experimentation to rhetorical thought experiment and semantic quibbles.

        Even this discussion is about trying to remove this post from the wider context of Galina’s personal perspective and political agenda. Where a person invested in a community of persons would focus on its starting point- the abusive dipshit that is Swain Wodening- we instead veer immediately into a profoundly asinine circular examination of the use of the term “mystery religion,” because Galina is more obsessed with the sanctity of academic terminology than actually honestly confronting not only Swain himself as a predator but the way cloistered, hierarchical sects leverage access to theophany to create space for abuse to thrive. Most damningly, she’s committed herself to actively obfuscating the role of structural support for abuse turning it into an argument of what is a mystery and what isn’t.

        Like

      • I think you’re being a bit unfair to Galina. She has her own distinct strongly held point of view. She is a passionate person but imo this comes from a place of authenticity. Y’all don’t agree. Big woop! I have been fascinated by this conversation because in almost all of it, no one seems overly concerned with developing relationships with the gods and goddesses. These are real spiritual entitles. What you think of Them and how you conceptualize Them does not matter one wit to Them. They are now Who and What Then have always been. Oh to know what They thinkvif all this folderol.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you, Emma. I’ve often thought that the biggest problem in contemporary Paganism was that: lack of concern over developing relationships with the Powers. Really, if we’re not doing that, why are we here?

        Liked by 1 person

      • You are mistaken, my friend. I am very concerned with establishing relationships with the Gods. I choose to see where people are first before I begin that kind of talk with them. You’ll see in my most recent comment that you and I are on the same side.

        Like

      • emmylou67@msn.com

        I can see that. My remark wasn’t actually addressed to you directly, more of a commentary on the thread as a whole. My religion of origin (Christian Science) very much over-intellectualizes everything…sort of like having John Calvin sitting on one shoulder and Mary Baker Eddy on the other, offering criticism of everything you do. CS can be described best imo as Hasidic Jews meet the Amish by way of New England transcendentalism…only we wear modern clothes. I am also a retired academic so 30 more years of over-intellectualizing everything and living in one’s head.

        I have had relationships with those ‘on the other side’ since I was a small child. To say that this was frowned upon by my culture is the understatement of the century. CS believe that those ‘on the other side’ aren’t much different than those on this side, we’re just forbidden to talk to or with them. It’s taken many years of my life to get down to the bedrock of what really matters in my relationship with the Divine. As with cooking, I keep it simple. I don’t think religion is a social club or a political party, I think it lies at the core of what makes us all human. If your relationship with the Divine informs you to go and change the world, well, knock yourself out. I’m an old woman who works in hospice and much closer to the end of my life than otherwise. I’ve gave up trying to change the world years ago. On the other hand, for years, I thought I was talking to the Blessed Virgin. One fine day, I realized that I was talking to the distinctly unvirginal Freya instead and SHE commanded me to clean my house, trust me, that got my attention.

        Many years ago in graduate school, I had a friend who was studying performance organ. She told me that musical performance can be roughly divided into Apollonian (those who experience music intellectually) and Dionysian (those who experience music through their bodies). I think religion is the same and clearly mystery religionionists are those who experience religion through their bodies. I think it’s rather ironic that most of this thread about mystery religions has imo a distinctly Apollonian/Calvinist/Stuck in one’s head tone.

        Like

      • I don’t have any doubt that she has a strongly held viewpoint, her strongly held viewpoints are enough of a known quantity that when i got the ping back I wanted to make sure it’s abundantly clear that the same principles that orient me against theodism and Swain orient me equally as much against Krasskova and the bulk of the Polytheist Identity movement. I’m just not going to be an equivocating centrist and hide behind the facile canard of rElAtIoNsHiPs WiTh ThE gOdS as a way of disengaging from matters of abuse, matters of how we choose to organize our communities, and what values we choose to prioritize.

        I want there to be no room for confusion or impression that Galina and I share any common cause. She is and has long been a petty authoritarian, an ideological protestant and an archetypal right wing liberal who is persistently blind to institution (other than as unquestionable centers of authority and legitimacy) and unable to interface with bad elements of the community save for as unsavory personalities she finds distasteful, while she pardons (or as is the case re: thralldom outright lies about) the institutions built by those personalities to facilitate their abuse.

        I am not being charitable to a constant and dogged ideological opponent of both liberatory movements and of the pluralism that is the actual core strength of pagan religions, but i am not being unfair to her. Simply engaging with her as she presents herself to be: someone who opens a blog post with “so this abuser is back in the community but what really chaps my ass is the abuser’s loudest critic misused a ln academic term.” When people tell me who they are I take them as their word.

        Like

      • Were you present for the post where she called out Swain or when she shared a post talking about his behavior? Sure, maybe it’s not in exhaustive detail but it was certainly enough to raise my alarm at the very least.

        Going back to your initial answer because I find it worthy of discussion, why do you feel that oit religious traditions MUST have a political focus? Galina doesn’t advocate for not getting involved in the community. In fact, she herself has alluded to causes she has supported such as women’s rights to abortion and conservation efforts. So clearly she is not engaging in any cloistering from the world. All she wants is for our religions to start at worship of the Gods first and then go from there. Is this not a good and necessary thing? Out of all of the voices calling for this action or that action, is it so wrong that one calls for us to pray and remember that there are Stronger Ones that give us reason to fight for what we believe is good in the first place? I do not know why you became Pagan but I did because I believe worshipping the Gods and embracing the values They uphold will lead to a better life for me and a better world for others. In fact, putting the Gods at the center galvanized my own desire for justice. It might not be completely the same as yours but it is not without commonalities we could agree on. And Galina and her colleagues are the ones who helped me become this way! Does this not mean that the good you seek can ultimately come from grounding ourselves in the worship of the Gods and the ways of our ancestors (both biological and spiritual ancestors)?

        Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t read her blog, I’m here only because i got a ping back and wanted to make clear that whether she links to my post or not she and i are not on the same side of anything.

        I don’t believe anything is apolitical – everything exists in a political context. Certainly anything that is as associated with worldview and value systems as a religion cannot possibly be divorced from politics, the mere suggestion is deeply unserious. If religion means anything to a person it and their politics are going to feed into and off of one another.

        The issue then with piety as one’s first motivating principle is that, as can be seen very readily everywhere the Polytheist Identity folks pop up, they are going to come into alliance with other groups that hew to that stated value no matter how reprehensible those groups’ other actions may be.

        This can come in the form of wearing fascist iconography and painting it as “religious expression,” something that inherently covers for every goddamn neonazi out there claiming to just be “following their religion,” or it can be much more direct and explicit alliances like you see between Ed Butler and ultranationalist Hindu fascists.

        Time and again the stance of polytheist identitarians (which it really can’t be overemphasized, is just conceptually at odds with the inherent pluralism of paganism historically and in the present) fall into the trap (or simply walk consciously into it) of prioritizing their myopic fundamentalism over basic human well being. More often they just endorse right wing conservatism because their piety obsession itself is clearly a manifestation of their reactionary political orientation.

        For every case of Galina advocating for women’s rights there’s a half dozen screeds against “wokeness,” for any conversation stance she takes (not that “conservation” is inherently progressive or anything) you get a racist debacle like the matter of the Sonnenrad or the Bacchic Lives Matter bullshit.

        And that’s my point. She will periodically posture as apolitical or neutral, merely concerned with pious devotion, baselessly acting as if pious devotion itself exists outside of or above the political fray, and time and again it’s transparently been the cover for a petty reactionary.

        Like

      • Insofar as you need to understand my worldview to know where I’m coming from, understand that my guiding principle is anti-authoritarianism, and understand that that unconditionally supersedes the value of performed piety or devotion, or any axioms about the inherent goodness or holiness of an abstracted and unchanging divinity. If a mode of religion- a human institution- ever becomes an obstacle to human liberation, and it often does so very directly at the direction of people like Krasskova, then there is a moral imperative to destroy it.

        Paganism has an enormous potential through pluralism to expand human experience, facilitate liberation and help us engage in more healthy and meaningful relationships with one another, with our ecology, with the divine (in that order, imo). Fundamentalist opponents of that sort of pluralism are only going to subvert that potential and reinforce the ills of the status quo.

        Like

      • Clearly there is a lot of points of disconnect here between you and her as it just so happens that she prioritizes in the exact opposite direction: Gods, land, and then people.

        Correct me if I’m wrong but it sounds more so like that you are trying to use Paganism as a means to an end. Am I correct in that understanding?

        Like

      • Of course paganism is a means to an end. The pursuit of anything is a means to achieve some sort of end, else there would be no pursuit. The question is, as always, what are the ends themselves and values to you prioritize in the pursuit of them. Do you think Krasskova is not treating it as a means to an end?

        There keeps being an assertion brought up that the gods are impassive, immutable, unchanging and fundamentally outside, unaffected by our perception, by our veneration, and so on (because of course in its great war against pluralism Polytheist Identity at some point settled on neoplatonism as its de facto dogma lol). If this were true it’s even more irrational to prioritize them over the actual things we have tangible impact on, to place their worship above the freedom and dignity of our fellow man, and yet doing exactly that is to be regarded as virtuous? Why?

        Like

      • Sure. I definitely don’t think anyone is going to disagree that we all believe that the old ways would help solve a lot of societal problems we’re having.

        But let me ask this then: why Paganism then? Why not devise a religion that focuses on ecology and social justice without having to call upon any Gods that us apparently reactionary types might be attracted to? It kind of sounds like you’d have exactly what you’d want if you just ditched the Gods. It just sounds not worth the trouble just so you could have anthropomorphic mascots for your cause

        Like

      • It’s interesting that you feel so comfortable just assuming that every god in the whole scope of contemporary pagan traditions is more at home with reactionary traditionalism than with social justice. That you feel so comfortable just breathlessly assuming that these supposedly eternal and external entities fall neatly on one side of things or the other, like there’s no tension or push and pull. I guess that’s natural sort of conclusion of neoplatonism but it’s interesting nonetheless.

        Why cede all ground to an enemy who has no great right or claim to it? Why capitulate to an impotent right-liberal identity movement that’s practically defined by its empty performance and unprincipled posturing?

        Like

      • I made no such assumption. You are the one who is assuming. I have expressed nothing of my own politics nor did I even dare to say the Gods are more at home with them. In fact, if we’re asking about me personally, I do not proclaim to know how They feel. I haven’t asked. I just go with politically what aligns with fostering my religion in regards to what will I actively choose to campaign for. Everything is else I believe in is born from the power of reasoning that I was born with. I personally believe that I have a religious calling in life and that anything I do should be based on that. It’s actually why I support democracy because at the very least others can weigh in on things they feel it necessary to decide on. You probably don’t think highly of this position but I personally am not truly beholden any type of political system. I believe in the Gods, I believe we should take care of the earth, I believe people should be free and judged on their character as opposed to the circumstances of their birth, and I believe the government (no matter the system) should uphold these values and ensure that everyone is given their due. I don’t know what the Gods think of that but since They have been with humanity through many different types regimes perhaps Their particular views are varied and complex. I simply do not know and have had nothing to tell me that I should ask for a definitive answer (assuming I could even get one).

        Like

      • I mean it’s not really an assumption when your default question was “if this is your political aim why not forego the gods?” That’s a question with a hefty amount of built in implication that you seem unwilling to account for.

        Like

      • The reason I ask is because it just sounds like you don’t actually care about the Gods and just want mascots to represent environmentalism and queer sex/genders. Among other things. I don’t know about you but I was for not polluting the place we live and not discriminating against people before I became Polytheist. If ever a day comes that I am no longer Polytheist, I’d still feel that way. It just sounds like it would be easier to forgo the Gods and ignore people like Galina or Sannion or Edward considering that their followings are incredibly small and not nearly influential enough to warrant any kind of fighting them. I seriously doubt anyone that attacked the Capitol Building was eager to read Sannion’s next poetry cycle to see if he goes back to making jokes about aardvarks or krakens or pony play

        Like

      • There’s a few issues here but the main one is that the overall thrust of this argument is… not coherent.

        To begin with, I don’t think I’ve said anything that would indicate through text or subtext that I see deities as mascots — I don’t think they’re particularly useful in that regard, if anything. I just also don’t see them as inscrutable abstractions that defy critique or as some kind of singular uniform divine essence, but rather as a mixed bag depending on who and what you’re dealing with.

        At the same time, I think the idea that because masses of white supremacists aren’t lining up to read Sannion’s poetry somehow means that pagans are not historically and presently a frequently integral part of the overall fascist ecosystem is fallacious. It’s understandable enough if you’re coming from a place of comparative unfamiliarity but like, as someone who is pretty intimately familiar with the dynamics of the right (and esp the esoteric right) I am not so dismissive of such things.

        Equally fallacious (and concerning) is the return to the idea that the sphere should simply be ceded to these malign elements, or that apprehension at a particular and largely neoplatonist-based perception of The Gods is indicative of “not caring” about them at all, or thinking that the sphere of religiosity should just be handed over to others. To be sure there are deities with whom I don’t have a particularly warm relationship, but I contest the reactionaries’ claim to pagan religiosity because I do care enough about it to fight them for it.

        Paganism is the community I exist within, it’s the place I have the most familiarity with and the space I have the most experience mapping out the dynamics of. It’s a space where I feel comfortable enough to be able to butt heads with more fascist-inclined elements. It’s very fucking strange to me, as someone who has been stewing in paganism for literal decades, who has dedicated considerable time and energy to the community, to have someone say “It seems like you don’t care about any of this so why don’t you just let these people have uncontested claim to being the Authorities of this area and the definition-setters for what pagan religiosity looks like?”

        Like

      • Okay but you view this as a means to an end and you view the Gods as being the least important thing in this religion. So it just sounds to me like it’s not the religion you care about but the modern hippie subculture of Neopaganism.

        Well, here, let me ask this: do you worship the Gods at all? (You can skip the decrying Neoplatonism part of your answer and give some kind of affirmative or negative answer)

        Like

      • I simply said that in the scope of my personal priorities, religious or otherwise, I am concerned with the well being of people and the ecology we live in before I am concerned with the wants or needs of deities who are going to be fine regardless. Consequently I’m deeply suspicious of people who invert that order of priority, because even by their own assertions, the gods will be fine with or without their worship.

        Something I haven’t spoken to but that really needs be addressed is the continued assertion going on that the primary (if not sole) function of religion is interfacing with the divine, which is like… simply not true in any sense nor has it been true at much of any point in time in human history that I’m aware of. Religion is human institution, it may be institutions that deal with the divine, but it is also enormously concerned with the way humans relate to one another and to the world around them. There’s so much unchecked importation of American protestant conceptualizations in a lot of these claims and stances.

        “Well, here, let me ask this: do you worship the Gods at all?”

        Probably not in a way that you would consider to be “worship.” Like I do engage in some devotional acts (esp songwriting since that’s kind of my thing) but at this point in life I largely eschew traditional ‘worship’ in the sense of ‘hierarchical subordination’ in favor of more equitably cooperative modes of relating to the divine.

        Part of the beauty of fashioning new religious movements is exploring new modes of relating to the divine that might lead to better outcomes than the old methods.

        Like

      • The only quibble i would have here is that these are new ways. Even the most traditionalist contemporary pagans can do little more than gesture towards antiquity from their new religious movements. It’s one of the gulfs that inherently separates contemporary paganism from indigenous traditions. My inclination is that, since they are new movements anyway, why try and recapture a fragmented shard of a reality suspended at a distant point in time that we can only see from a few angles, rather than actually creating religions that interface directly- as actual living religions do- with our present moment in time? It’s the difference between a living religion and performance in a half-lost stage play. There may be recreation to be had in the latter, but it’s no basis for a comprehensive worldview

        Like

      • See, that’s the thing. We DO talk about that. We believe that because the Gods are real that They can guide us on how to engage with Them today. We look to history not to venerate ashes but to learn how the fire was preserved in ancient times. It’ll never be the same but it need not be. On personal levels it seems to be working as far as I can tell from what I have seen in the lives of myself and my co-religionists

        Liked by 1 person

      • Then we don’t really disagree on that save of I think it is a mischaracterization to refer to contemporary paganism as “the old ways.” The oldest ways that contemporary paganism is actually lineaged to is like, the dodgy academics of 18th century romantic proto-anthropologists and the various nationalisms of the 19th century, both of which present significant problems for paganism as a movement. The more of those ‘old ways’ we can discard the better.

        Like

      • I am aware of that. I mean more so that we are grasping towards the old ways in creating new ones based on them

        Liked by 1 person

      • Let us never forget that if science is to be accepted alongside the belief that the Gods have guided us in days of yore that Their original experiments were on apes! Now, I have no disrespect for our siminian brethren and forefathers, but I feel that it must have been a much more involved process to make an ape into a man then to make a seeker into a practioner of the correct sacred rites. Surely this time around there is much less work to be done. They need not spend time on helping us discover fire but can go straight to the point of how to engage with Them

        Like

      • Jessewhatthefuckareyoutalkingabout.jpg

        Like

      • The theory of evolution through natural selection. There’s plenty of evidence to support it. If we as believers in the Gods are to be rational people then we need to accept scientific findings. If our Gods are real and have guided humanity in the past and are said to have aided us with various inventions then clearly the conclusion is They guided us in our discovery of the various inventions that created our civilizations.

        Or are you a creationist?

        Like

      • I’m not a creationist I just don’t know how you ended up pivoting onto this particular line, it seems to have come from nowhere and connect to nothing prior.

        Like

      • My point was that if the Gods taught apes to worship the Gods then clearly They can teach us to worship the Gods as we are those same improved upon apes

        Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t really truck with this narrative or the logic driving it but I also do not really think it warrants a lot of dissection beyond saying it’s too speculative about the origins of human religiosity to really comment upon.

        Like

      • Sure. I certainly have no evidence that such a thing happened. But I have no evidence it couldn’t happen either. The Gods certainly seem to like it when we say such things happened or else why allow us to credit Them with various inventions? Just earlier this morning I was talking with Galina about a deity that is said to have invented cheese-making! If our ancestors found this deity as a numinous presence within the art of making cheese, is it not possible that this deity helped guide us towards the observations necessary to develop this innovation? Especially in light of the belief we also hold that the Gods can inspire us and even possess us!

        So I guess that points to yet another question:

        What to you are the Gods and what is Their relationship with us? Do you believe They are beings with agency?

        Like

      • “The Gods certainly seem to like it when we say such things happened or else why allow us to credit Them with various inventions? ”

        It would be difficult to overstate the potential for harm in the thought process inherent to “Clearly the gods like me doing this, or they would stop me.” Like that’s a pretty “hair on the back of the neck stands up” sort of thing to read.

        “What to you are the Gods and what is Their relationship with us?”

        A multitudinous group that defies such blanket generalizations even though ostensibly “Polytheist” identitarians seem overwhelmingly fixated on singularizing their gods into a homogenous collective. Have I mentioned my distaste for neoplatonism yet?

        “Do you believe They are beings with agency?”

        One would assume so, else there isn’t much reason to attempt to engage in relationships with them as if they were.

        Like

      • Sure but you don’t think They’d say something about it? I mean, maybe I’m anthropomorphizing here but I’d certainly find it annoying enough to address if someone credited me with something I didn’t do in official contexts. I mean, who knows, maybe the Gods like taking credit for other people’s work? That’d be pretty concerning.

        The reason why I’m using the word Gods is mainly because I just don’t feel like asking you about literally every pantheon individually. The spirit of my question is “Do you believe there are non-corporeal beings that run the cosmos and have an invested interest in what we’re doing here on Earth?”

        Like

      • > They’d say something about it? I mean, maybe I’m anthropomorphizing here but I’d certainly find it annoying enough to address if someone credited me with something I didn’t do in official contexts.

        I think this assumption errs on the side of presuming a tri-omni sort of deity where they’re constantly paying full attention and micromanaging all things and that’s not really the impression I get of deities. People have long claimed divine endorsement for wildly contradictory things without receiving divine censure.

        It also assumes that if the gods do endorse something that it is fundamentally good and I don’t really believe that deities are incapable of being wrong.

        “Do you believe there are non-corporeal beings that run the cosmos and have an invested interest in what we’re doing here on Earth?”

        Run the cosmos, idk. Like legitimately wouldn’t speculate about scope to that degree. I believe there are gods. I have grievances with too many of them not to lol.

        Like

      • Why wouldn’t it be possible for a deity to be contradictory things? There are plenty of Gods like that and often times it points to a mystery. As a devotee of Dionysos, I could list a ton of contradictory things about Him ad nauseam. He seems to certainly enjoy keeping us on our toes! That being said, out of all of these contradictions, I can’t see any that are truly unreconcilable. In my experience, if something seems that way it was actually because there was something I didn’t know.

        I too believe the Gods cannot be wrong. Though I don’t think “endorse” is the correct word. More so that They can be found within something numinously. Just because Dionysos is the Wine God that doesn’t necessarily mean you should have a drink right this instant. I doubt Dionysos would be okay with someone drinking five beers and then going for a Sunday drive. Especially when we consider how many times He is credited with the invention of measures put in place to prevent getting too intoxicated.

        Grievances, you say? What an interesting choice of words. What are the nature of your grievances if I may ask?

        Like

      • >Why wouldn’t it be possible for a deity to be contradictory things?

        I mean, it’s possible, but what I mean is you can have people claiming completely mutually exclusive things and also claiming divine endorsement. Anyone can claim divine endorsement for anything, and it rarely entails any consequences. Why court the inherent dangers that come with treating lack of rebuke as endorsement?

        >I too believe the Gods cannot be wrong

        To be clear, in case it was misunderstood, I do not believe gods are infallible. I believe they’re eminently capable of being wrong – we have gods who are primarily associated with kingship, after all.

        >Grievances, you say? What an interesting choice of words.

        Whom among us has richly cultivated relationships with the divine and yet has no quarrel with any divinities they relate to?

        >What are the nature of your grievances if I may ask?

        Personal, largely.

        Like

      • I see.

        Well, I must say, it certainly sounds like we have different values and ideas. Galina will no doubt think I’m being far too polite and perhaps she is correct in that assessment but I do have to say I’m not sure there’s much to be had in this conversation anymore. I must bid you adieu.

        Like

      • I’m absolutely certain she’d think that. She is, in all ways but the nominal label of “polytheist,” a fundamentalist protestant and my impious heresy probably rankles her terribly.

        Have a reasonable enough day.

        Like

      • Reasonable enough day? How lukewarm. I thought I was quite nice to you all things considered. Such is life, I guess.

        Like

      • You probably disappointed him. I think he may have been hoping for outrage . Or at the very least disapproval.

        Like

      • I figured that if I went full throttle on him then it would devolve into just bullshit and I wouldn’t get any interesting answers

        Like

      • I mean, so was i lol. I just find it trite to have such a lengthy exchange only for you to nope out the second you realized we don’t hew to the same orthodoxy lmao.

        Like

      • I didn’t feel like spending the rest of my day listening to stuff I’ve heard a million times

        Like

      • Fair. Likewise my patience has worn absolutely through by most folks in this discussion apparently assuming or suggesting I’m some kind of atheist for no reason other than thinking only their way of doing religion is real.

        Like

      • I think their patience has worn thin because you’ve been rude, dismissive and insulting. You said that we should know someone by whom they reveal themselves to be the first time. Fair enough. I think I’m pretty sure I know who you are at this point. The only excuse I can think of for you is that perhaps you’re just too young to know any better.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve been far, far more cordial than i have any reasonable obligation to be in a blog post that spends a good chunk of its length calling me an irrational fool based on nothing but Krasskova’s staggering ignorance of the most basic facets of the theodish cult lol

        Like

      • I have read all of the comments and I don’t recall anyone calling you any of those things. They have been astonishingly polite. You on the other hand have been fairly heavy handed in your criticisms and downright insulting to Galina. I recall years ago when a colleague from Stanford came to present her findings about research she had done on women in the French Revolution. I went to hear her speak and was very taken aback by the reaction of the department’s French historians (all male). They were out for blood. Not because of what she had said but because she had the audacity to invade their previously all male preserve. I’m not saying you are doing that. Frankly, I’ve been puzzled by what you are doing. I can’t discern any clear objective or purpose. If you wish to communicate in a collegial way, you’ve failed. I am an outsider and other than Galina, I don’t know any of you people. So, it’s been rather fascinating to observe all this. One of my writing teachers once said (yes, that far back in the mists of time) that if you want to communicate difficult or complicated ideas, the best strategy is to use plain Anglo-Saxon words preferably those of two syllables or less. My oldest daughter is an electrical engineer. When we have conversations, I try to use words of two syllables or less. She’s very bright or she wouldn’t be an engineer but if the goal is to communicate then sometimes using the simplest possible language is best. So. Try that. It might be better for you.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve been asked by at least two people “why I’m here” if I “don’t believe in the gods,” or a slight variation on that. Likewise Galina pretty directly calls me a fool in the body of the post we’re commenting under. I don’t really know where you get the impression neither of those things happened.

        For context, Galina (and her Nazi-memorabilia-wearing husband) showed up in the comments of my own post with her asinine quibbles over terminology before she actually posted this. I’m not here with a mind to be collegial – I’ve been very explicit about my intention. I’m here to make it unquestionably clear that while I can’t stop Galina from referencing my posts, I can at least make it clear that I do not regard us as having any common cause, any meaningful ideological points of agreement, and I would invite her to not use any of my work (that she seems to miss the point of or simply not understand) to support her own positions.

        You seem to think that I am obligated to treat Galina with some sort of neutrality as though she were not a regrettable longtime fixture in the community, rather than to speak to her as the person she is quite well known to be. I noted in another comment that my driving principle is anti-authoritarianism. Why do you think that I would be polite and generous to fascists or their allies, people who expend so much time and energy expressing their opposition to the ‘woke mob’ or whatever the fuck they want to brand liberatory politics as while cozying up to authoritarians, racists and other scum?

        Yes, I’m being insulting to Galina. Galina Krasskova is a fucking white supremacist. I researched and wrote a whole ass article about the abuses within theodish spheres and how the organization of the cult renders those abuses inevitably endemic. Krasskova’s takeaway, and only significant criticism of that cult is that it bolsters “male egos.” She doesn’t care how it does so or why, because she doesn’t have fundamental disagreements with the structure or the underlying assumptions of authority and how piety is properly expressed. She wastes words outright lying about the nature of thralldom and generally covering for the more abusive facets of the cult.

        As far as language, it’s a moot point. If I use simple words I’m brusque and insulting. If I use precise words I’m ponderous and trying to be ‘collegial.’ So let me reiterate, clearly. I am not going to be nice to Galina Krasskova. Galina Krasskova is a bigoted wretch, a long time pox on the pagan community. I will not grant her cordiality on the weight of her name when the substance of her beliefs and her actions based upon them so consistently reinforce the most toxic and pervasively harmful aspects of the broader pagan community.

        Like

      • And for what, because she read my use of “mystery cult” as derisive-by-default rather than just as a matter of fact statement of how the religion functions and took personal umbrage at it for literally no reason? Yeah how dare i be very slightly brusque lol

        Like

      • Surely you don’t want me to quote your remarks back to you. There were so many ‘moments.’ There was far more acrimony to the conversation than what you just stated. Going back again to that sage Jack Reacher, or better yet his feisty Southern girlfriend. “Do I have to make you sit on the ground like Meemaw did and hold hands until you start getting along.” (yes, this is my attempt at humor)

        Liked by 1 person

      • No, you don’t have to tell me that I’m insufficiently polite and deferential, it’s something I’m well aware of and have been informed of a great many times. The feedback has been taken into consideration, but this is the best behavior you’re going to get out of me in the comment section of a white supremacist’s blog post that’s misusing my work and calling me a fool. Really can’t stress enough that all of this tone policing relies absolutely on taking my naughty words entirely out of the context of events they’re occurring within. I’m here responding to a pingback that I got on my own blog from one of the community’s biggest and most infamous pieces of shit. View all my posts as if that’s the context they exist within and see if that’s illuminating.

        Much like my own southern meemaw you are falling into the trap of not engaging with the substance of what’s being said because you’re singling out words that sound just a little too surly to your ears.

        Like

      • Well, frankly, I found very little substance with which to relate. Also, even though I am a Southerner, I am not ‘sweet’ or ‘nice’ and more than one person has remarked about my rather ‘straightforward’ manner. Actually, I’ve been told that Marine Drill Instructors have better bed side manners.
        You don’t like Galina and think she a white supremacist…oh, and also you think she’s some sort of fundamentalist Calvinist. Ok, I get it. I don’t agree but you’re entitled to your opinion.

        I don’t know you, obviously, but I suspect you’re rather young. You probably don’t remember William F. Buckley, Jr. He was one of the biggest horse’s asses in the world but he was an absolute master at civil discourse. He could say the nastiest things without being the least uncivil. It was a gift. Unlike you, he could also do so without being verbose.
        I say again: “what is the point?”
        You can’t keep people from quoting you. Surely anyone who is sincerely anti-authoritarian would see that? You also can’t force people to agree with you no matter how much you natter on about it. Again, rather unseemly for someone who claims to be anti-authoritarian. Perhaps you should sit with the Quakers a while. Now THOSE folks are anti-authoritarian.

        I grew up in Florida and like Tove who knows a Nazi when he sees one, I know white supremacists when I see them. I’m not saying that Galina is perfect nor that I agree with everything she says and writes. My observation is that her political thinking is …rather convoluted. People are like that. My mother was a French linguist, a Marxist, a Christian Scientist and also served as a Republican party poll watcher. Go figure. I myself would find those ideas rather incompatible but hey, she didn’t have a problem with any of it. I say again, people are complicated.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’d ask what you’re basing this assumption that I’m young on but if we’re honest it’s as spurious as the assumptions I don’t think the gods are real or something, there’s nothing to it other than “ah you don’t see things the way I do therefore you must be a child.” I’m old enough to have been tooling around in pagan communities for twenty years. You don’t really need to know more than that.

        As far as being verbose, literally who the fuck cares. I can be succinct; when the aforementioned nazi-memorabilia-wearer showed up in my blog’s comments I simply told him to chug piss. I’m engaging with those of you who aren’t Galina a bit more thoroughly bc Idk the nature of y’all’s relationships to her and am not going to paint you with the same brush.

        That said like…

        >I say again: “what is the point?”
        You can’t keep people from quoting you. Surely anyone who is sincerely anti-authoritarian would see that? You also can’t force people to agree with you no matter how much you natter on about it. Again, rather unseemly for someone who claims to be anti-authoritarian. Perhaps you should sit with the Quakers a while. Now THOSE folks are anti-authoritarian.

        I literally said “I cannot stop someone from quoting me, but I can make my position clear.” Like I literally JUST fucking said that. Just minutes ago. Like this is just incoherent nonsense lol. Quakers are anti-authoritarian, okay? Do they have a monopoly on that? The fuck is your point, other than waffling between tone policing me for being too mean and then telling me how it’s fine to be mean and surly I just need to do it in your specific preferred way?

        Like idk what the hell you actually want. I may take roundabout ways to get where I’m heading but I try to stay consistent about the actual message, even if I’m not wildly efficient at making it. This is just all over the fucking place though. If your message is “shut up,” take your own advice about succinctness and just tell me to shut the fuck up lmao.

        Also nobody fucking said Calvinist when did anyone say Calvinist

        Like

      • I think you’re young because you come across as incredibly immature. Also, at my age, almost all of you seem young. Things that I remember, that happened in my life are ancient history to you guys.
        I spent 30 years of my life grading student papers. I simply can not abide reading any more bad writing. If you’re going to say something, for Gods’ sake, try to do it better.
        I was giving you the benefit of the doubt in terms of your motives. Mostly because I find people interesting and like to figure out where they’re coming from.

        Like

      • Would that your students had the teacher they deserved rather than one with such blatant contempt for the young.

        Like

      • My students loved me enough to hang out with me in my free time and to throw a party for me at the end of the semester (several times). My classes were always wait listed. Unfortunately, you appear to be a person who sees everything through the distorted prism of your own jaundiced view of the world. I do not have contempt for the young. I simply recognize that they are at a different place in their lives than I am. Also things that are to me common knowledge may be unfamiliar to someone who has not lived through as many years.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The casual dismissiveness of every single time you reiterate your assumptions about my age is, however you may regard it, an expression of contempt. Dismissal is contempt. You certainly have your own experiences, your own perspective, and more years of both than other people may have, but the way you seem to assume that makes others’ perspectives less valid or meaningful than your own? That’s contempt. You may feel that “contempt” is too strong a word; would you find “denigrating” to be more accurate? We can go with that.

        For how many years you have under your belt it’s very strange that you haven’t learned how to take account for your own words or opinions. Perhaps years alone are not a guarantee of much.

        Like

      • Obviously, I have not made myself clear. There are two things about your age that concern me here. I remember things that have happened in my life that my students know about only through history books. You might not have known who William F. Buckley, Jr. was. If so, what would be the point of me talking about him to you?.
        A person can have many years and still be incredibly immature. You present as someone who is incredibly immature. That’s an observation, not contempt.

        Like

      • The William F. Buckley thing is only one of what, three, four times now you’ve unnecessarily supposed my age?

        By what metric are we assessing maturity? Is it that my sentences are overlong and have a few too many clauses in them? Because people who are overly preoccupied with the supposed youth of the people they’re engaging with, in my experience, tend to define maturity in terms of “are they disagreeing with me or blithely deferring to me?”

        Like

      • I think you’re immature because of the way you’re interacting with people here on the blog. That’s my impression. We may be close to the end here. I don’t see any point in trying to have a conversation with you because you either disregard or dismiss pretty much everything that I’ve said to you.

        Like

      • Considering my relative restraint and willingness to indulge your pivot to “narcissistic school marm” this feels like a pretty uncharitable assessment of my behavior. You’re saying nothing of substance, it’s just empty, nonspecific appeals to arbitrary authority of LANGUAGE or whateverthefuck. When I misunderstood your meaning I was earnest about having done so and asked for clarification and you’ve mostly just done this weird nitpicking without actually picking any nits re: my communication style.

        Like

      • Speaking of narcissism, you appear to be lacking in any kind of self awareness, a prominent characteristic of a NPD. I think you long for disapproval and outrage. I’ve been kind to you and tried honestly to communicate. This has been a failure. I’m not going to get into a scuffle with you. We’re done.

        Like

      • I’m quite in agreement on being done, save for to say that “kind” is a genuinely laughable descriptor for your behavior.

        My sincerest apologies for not mindlessly deferring to your wisdom and expertise (and barely veiled bigotries), teach.

        Like

      • Or rather just contempt for those you perceive to be young because “young” and “deserving of contempt” are so entertwined in your head.

        My use of language is fine. It may be meandering, but it is grammatically fine. Some mistakes here and there I’m sure, but you are not my teacher and I’m not seeking a grade for an essay. It’s certainly less objectionable than the ableism and racism baked into the attitudes about language on display here.

        Like

      • Also I can absolutely see why someone who sees things to admire in William F. Buckley Jr. would be able to tolerate Galina’s intolerable politics, the guy did more or less pioneer laundering fascism to liberals by making it more polite.

        Like

      • Did you pay ANY attention to anything I said? You know, the part where I said he was a horse’s ass? Are you familiar with the concept that we should know the enemy? Yes, I admire his skill with words. He was brilliant. He was a brilliant, very dangerous man who changed the world in very unfortunate ways. Sigh….for all your verbosity, I’ve beginning to suspect that you just aren’t very bright. Oh well, so sad. Too bad.

        Liked by 1 person

      • My understanding of your framing was that he was the sort of horse’s ass you just have to hand it to because he was respectable and civil, since it was a comment that came in the context of your tut tutting my way of speaking. I misunderstood your tone, and apologize accordingly.

        But having acknowledge the misunderstanding, I still am frankly not clear on how you actually want me to communicate, other than “not in the way that feels most natural,” since you very clearly take exception to that. I’m used to it, people pretty consistently despise the way autists communicate and the waffling between “use fewer smaller words” and “now I don’t know what you’re trying to say” is very familiar.

        Like

      • I love the written word. I correct people’s grammar. I critique their communication styles.
        Frankly, I would probably be ok with what you say as long as you do so clearly and succinctly. I am also curious about your thinking and a bit out of patience that you aren’t able to express yourself with enough clarity so I can identify your ideas. If you don’t like what you call my tutu-ing, I’d be happy to wack you a few times with my bokan if I thought that would help. I’m a college professor. I’ve spent my life teaching people critical thinking skills and how to write expository prose. Like the leopard, I’m not likely to change at this point in my life. In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m trying to be kind to you.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The sheer amount of ableism and racism that necessarily underpins this sort of elitist approach to language is pretty staggering. I doubt that’s something you’ve ever had much cause to give thought to, my grandmother was an english teacher and it’s a pretty big blind spot in the field, but like, idk. You might take a moment to examine that; there’s a real toxicity to the idea that there’s a single ideal way to communicate and deviation from that warrants a whack with a bokan. Like I get you’re being humorous for effect but try exercising some of that critical thinking and ask, “What are the inherent biases that are necessary in order to legitimize the perception of language that I’m leaning on?”

        You may not really think it but I have a lot of love for language too and I’m pretty deliberate about how I communicate. I put a lot of thought into being precise and finding the exact right word and phrasing to say the exact notion that I’m thinking. It’s all quite intentional, even if it’s not your preference.

        Like

      • I’m fine with who I am. I don’t feel the need to ‘examine’ anything about that. I am not ‘woke’ and have no desire to be so. I have absolutely no patience whatsoever with anti-intellectualism. Ableism? Please.

        Like

      • By the same token, I’m quite fine with who I am and don’t see much of value in your non-specific feedback about my perfectly adequate language skills that’s transparently rooted more in a desire to avoid engaging with the substance of the text than it is in anything else.

        Your intellectualism is purely masturbatory, it’s not endeavoring to expand human knowledge or better understand human experiences, it’s just the stifling weight of unexamined institutional norms and a deep commitment to remaining incurious. What good is “intellectualism” that shudders in revulsion at new modes of thought, that buries itself in antiquated conservatism? This is just vapid reaction masquerading as profound knowledge.

        Like

      • Here’s a question I think we might as well ask while we’re here because it honestly makes me wonder:

        So what would you want our religion to look like on a practical basis? Like, what would we do (besides “anything we want”)?

        Or maybe let me tell you what I want and then tell me how similar or different it is from your own vision. I think this will truly settle whether or not we are after the same thing.

        I want their to be basic devotional rites performed by families in their homes in honor of the Gods, land spirits, and ancestors. I want families to pass on these rites from generation to generation and I want children to be instructed in the virtues and values that our ancestors held dear. I want there to be traditional rites of passage to mark important phases in the lives of members of the household and larger community. I want there be communal gatherings on festival days in honor of various deities and spirits where we gather at public temples or shrines or sacred or various spaces set aside for events and engage in various activities in honor of the Gods: public sacrifices and feasts, traditional songs and dances, athletic competitions, theatre, parades, etc. I want the worship of the Gods to be present in all parts of life in some way. I want little shrines in every place of business dedicated to the Gods and spirits relevant to that place of business. I want constant reminders of our faith everywhere: art, statuary, sacred spaces, etc. I want it to be unmistakable that we have entered into the Pagan/Polytheist part of town. And indeed I do want neighborhoods of us. Entire towns even! Communities of all walks of life. I want us to have our own schools and hospitals. I want us to have elected officials that will fight to uphold and protect our values in the political arena and I want those officials to have chosen to do so because of their faith. Yes, I want Mr. or Mrs. Pagan to go to Washington but I want them to go for the right reasons. To go because of what they learned on their mother’s knee while they were growing up in our little town. And I want Mr. or Mrs. Pagan to be guided by people whose job it is to contemplate what is good and right to do according to our faith and traditions. I want there to be religious specialists of all kinds: people who know the proper rites, people who know the proper songs, people who know how to ask the Gods for council on all things. I want a community where we are all taught to think about what we can do for the community rather than merely what the community can do for us. I want communities where the values of our faith bleed into all other aspects of our life and from that come the kind of good we can contribute to the national and global communities. In short, I want a religious culture in the real world rooted in values historically upheld by our faiths.

        Is this what you’re fighting for too? If not, what’s your vision?

        Like

      • >So what would you want our religion to look like on a practical basis? Like, what would we do (besides “anything we want”)?

        I’d like contemporary paganisms broadly to be based on philosophies of genuine egalitarianism, heterodoxy, heteropraxy and, in the short term (until the problem is addressed), focused very heavily on rooting out the nascent elements of romantic nationalism that most of them are pretty deeply imbued with (just bc that’s the only way that we’re gonna approach excising the spectre of folkishness).

        I don’t know what your specific religion is but I am reasonably sure it isn’t the same as mine; I’m not really sure why there is an assumption that various paganisms all hew to the specific orthodoxy of polytheist identitarianism rather than branching out in their own various directions with their own peculiarities and spins on things. Like there’s always going to be commonalities but likewise the expressions of any given one of those religions is going to be highly variable.

        The issue to me is far less about forcing rituals to fit a certain mold or something along those lines and more about establishing a sort of common baseline of what ideas and structures are consistently shown to lead to harm and abuse and need to be safeguarded against, avoided, or actively subverted when they take hold (that’s the basic ethos behind my adversarial stance towards theodism, and it’s also why I take exception at Krasskova reducing the critique down to something that merely services her issues with a few individual male egos rather than as a critique of the structure of authoritarian cults).

        I do not have any particular vision for “families” because I think the perception of family is, in traditionalist contexts like this, just a reassertion of patriarchal norms, the propertization and abuse of children and the subversion of communities and broader systems of accountability. I don’t idealize the family as some kind of archetypal nucleus of good religious practice. There’s a significant point of rupture in your proposal in that it fails to account that family as we are conditioned to understand it in the 20th-21st centuries is an anti-communal institution, not a building block of communal structures.

        Moreover, the problem of this entire vision you lay out is not really a novel vision at all, it’s an aesthetic palette swap of absolutely bog standard midcentury American protestant traditionalism. It’s the psychology of MAGA with many gods instead of one. It’s the death of vibrancy, rather than the seeds of it. It’s a reproduction of dominionist separatism. It’s, frankly, a profoundly insidious and reactionary vision when it’s all laid out explicitly like that.

        My vision is one where our religious pursuits are primarily about justice and equitable relations, not just with one another or with the divine but with other species, our surrounding areas. About fostering accountability to those surrounds and understanding land as relationship rather than property. Because religion does so much to inform and legitimize our other social institutions, my vision is a flourishing pluralistic heterodoxy, something with no concrete perceptions of what something like a “family” is meant to look like but that encourages heterogony. Is that not one of the great strengths of having many gods rather than one? A multitude of disparate models to look to?

        Which is why I say the goal should simply be a shared baseline, a commitment to interpretations that challenge and subvert hierarchy and authority, that reject rigid gender or sexual norms, that subvert rather than enshrine the dehumanization of women, children and other marginalized groups.

        My vision is one that entails the actual flourishing of a great multitude of human experiences and facilitates the liberation of people from their various bonds so that they are actually free to engage in fellowship with the divine.

        Like

      • Insidious? You call my vision insidious? A loving community with shared values aimed at being excellent people and taking care of our land? Loving families that don’t just leave their children broken and without a sense of self-worth or identity? You call this evil?

        I am legitimately shocked at the words I have read just now. Insidious? Pray tell, sir, this one final question: if the ability to have a loving family in a loving community that looks out for each other evil then what good is your so-called freedom? Freedom to do what? What fruit of our labor could possibly be sweeter than a space of our own where we can have families that need not fear retaliation for simply being? If this is not merely not right for a few individuals but contrary to good itself according to your philosophy, then I want nothing of your brand of freedom. If your idea of equality involves us not having things like our fellow people do then I do not wish to be equal. I as a disabled, neurodivergent, bisexual, mixed-race man of color do not wish to be equal with people who say such things as what you are saying now. I have direct ancestors who were taken from their families. Taken from their tribes. Taken from their homes and taken away to an island far away from everything they knew to be treated worse than cattle. I have living relatives that have told me stories of times that people were suspicious of them because their property was “too nice”. My own grandmother was accosted in a grocery store by an American woman for speaking her native language to herself while she was shopping to feed her husband and mentally disabled son. People who talk like you don’t represent my family or me. If being hard-working people with family values is evil then we don’t want what you think is good. We didn’t come to America to be told what to think and do by people that claim to have our best interests at heart until we disagree with them on one or two points. If the freedom to live and love as we please is not a part of your plan then I want nothing of it and if that is damning me to the basket of deplorables then may the verdict be guilty!

        Liked by 1 person

      • >Insidious? You call my vision insidious? A loving community with shared values aimed at being excellent people and taking care of our land? Loving families that don’t just leave their children broken and without a sense of self-worth or identity? You call this evil?

        The thing that sticks out to me the most is the fixation on the family, quantified as the “Mr. and Mrs. and children,” as the primary building block of this envisioned society. Perhaps you could explain why you regard the “family,” a term you keep returning to, is the thing all of this has to be predicated upon? Because the family, esp this sort of nuclear family conception of it, is one of the primary institutions that enables and enshrines the exact abuses that you bring up as indefensible and nightmarish; it’s that specific definition of the Mr and Mrs and kids that does not leave room for (and consistently tries to put an end to) the existence of other structures for people to live and grow and be raised in.

        It’s really that extreme emphasis on the family, so defined, that struck me as insidious.

        Like

      • What? So gay families don’t exist all of a sudden? Polyamorous families don’t exist anymore? How do you know Mr. Pagan doesn’t have two dads and three aunts that are his dads’ other partners or something? All I said was “family” because that is the most basic social unit that the ancient polytheistic faiths focused on. You are a part of a family which is part of larger and larger social groupings. The whole reason we focus on blessing the household, blessing the community, promoting fertility of the land and animals and people, honoring ancestors, going to war to defend the community, etc. is because our religions value the group over the individual. That’s not to say the individual isn’t important and doesn’t have a lot of freedom in engaging with their many relationships with the Gods, land, community, etc. but that ultimately we are all part of a larger web of life. It’s not just about you.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Guason, he’s trying to bait you. He wants outrage. Don’t give it to him. Just let it go.
        Actually, according to anthropologists, the earliest, most basic human family is the mother and child. Just a thought.

        Liked by 1 person

      • >All I said was “family” because that is the most basic social unit that the ancient polytheistic faiths focused on.

        I mean this is a big generalization that’s pretty wobbly. Like leaving aside the fact that “family” in the 21st century has a whole host of specific connotations that you can’t ignore when you live in the 21st century, it’s also just not uniformly true of historical religions, and for many of the ones it does arguably apply to it requires a lot of waffling on the distinction or lack thereof between ‘family’ and ‘clan’ and things like that.

        But yes obviously gay/poly/etc. families exist. The issue is that because of all the cultural connotations of ‘family’ in the modern day, and even moreso a phrase like “family values” which is almost exclusively used as code for “virulently, profoundly anti-LGBTQ+,” the way that whole vision was laid out read as not in any meaningful way dissimilar from the kinds of proposals you see from like, christian dominionist quiverfull types.

        Idk which sort of paganism you’re most involved with, but part of the reason I recoiled a bit from that language and framing is bc, while I’m not heathen anymore, I have more experience with heathen spaces than with most others. If you took that vision to a heathen space it would attract a lot of people who are going to be very hostile to a disabled bisexual neurodivergent person of color. My instinctive aversion comes from a place of familiarity with these communities and the problems they have and the need to be pretty cautious and skeptical about certain language and types of rhetoric. Bc like, reading that vision and not knowing you personally, my brain is gonna remember the hundreds of times that exact sort of vision has come up in pagan spaces and the person presenting it was a straight up neonazi.

        There’s discussions to be had about the worth of reclaiming those stances from those crowds ofc. As a family abolitionist I don’t really see the utility in it since family in our day and time is pretty inseparable from its role as an institution of anti-queerness, patriarchy, etc. but like, ymmv. Just trying to explain why it immediately set off alarm bells.

        Especially considering we’re in the comments section of a blog run by exactly the sort of reactionary soft-white-supremacist who would love that vision for all the wrong reasons.

        Like

      • First of all, pal, I’m going to be one hundred percent honest with you. Calling Galina a Soft White Supremacist is weirder than calling her a regular White Supremacist. Have you seen her husband? Like, do you know what Sannion actually looks like? Like, dude, what actual White Supremacist do you know would ever MARRY a mixed race Native American guy. The guy looks darker than me were just as mixed! He looks darker than my grandparents! Like what, you think she has some kind of ravishment fetish or something? You think he has a slavery fetish? You think they switch between the two? Let me know because I’m legitimately curious what everyone thinks their marriage is like. I know what it’s like because I’ve been in their house! I mean, I don’t know much about THAT part of their marriage but I’ve seen them have innocent couple kind of moments. Didn’t sound like anything other than a loving relationship. I mean, it’s not like she doesn’t have eyes. Plus Sannion is a pretty big dude in all directions so it’s not like you can miss him! I’ve seen him sprawled out on his kitchen floor before. Very noticeable individual. I doubt Galina hasn’t noticed at this point who she’s married to.

        And again, I just can’t help but find what you’re saying to be strange. So because some families and some leaders can be abusive thst means we should just forgo all such institutions?

        Yes.  Because never taking personal responsibility or asking others to be held accountable for their actions is totally going to going to lead to less injustice in the world.  I swear to every God, if you learned that shit at school you better get a refund because they robbed you, pal!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m familiar enough with Sannion but I am uh, not gonna speculate on anyone’s fetishes suffice to say. I’ll just assume that’s the direction you ran with it bc you know them personally and they’ll find it amusing or something but I choose not to engage on that front other than to say yes I know Galina’s married to the nazi memorabilia guy who wants to assure us all he uses the symbol that exists in no other context but its nazi usage that he’s “not using it the nazi way” it’s relatively common knowledge. Like insofar as we’re bringing Sannion into it at least Galina tends towards the valknut which has some ambiguity to it (even if it does tend to be a red flag).

        Anyway it’s absolutely wild how the “it’s not about the individual” people all become absolutely fanatical individualists as soon as you start critiquing institutions lmao then it becomes an immediate matter of bad actors and “we must hold individuals responsible and not critically examine institutions or structures at all.” It isn’t about the fact that individuals engage in abuse it’s about the systems that actually empower them to engage in that abuse. It’s about preventing the abuse from occurring to begin with rather than just ensuring it can easily happen and then reacting to it after the fact.

        Like

      • Okay. So a man of color is a nazi because he has a necklace with a design on it used by Heinrich Himmler. Is that really enough to call a guy a nazi? Especially when literally he would be in the gas chambers like anyone else? Like I’m sorry but do you people even know what nazis are? For real though. Explain that one to me. If Sannion is a nazi then why does he never talk about anything like killing gay people or killing Jews or something. Why does he take on students that are different races? Why did he raise money to help a trans person transition? Why have women held high ranks in groups he’s run? The guy has been in the Polytheist community for 20 years. Don’t you think something a little worse would come up than him using a drawing? Like him hurting someone or calling for actual violence? If the extent of his nazism is a fucking drawing then doesn’t that make him a pretty small fry? What nazi group could he ever even join? What? Is he an affirmative action nazi? They hired him to make them look more diverse? To show that they’re hip with the kids?

        And really? What? So because we’re talking about community we can’t acknowledge that a community is made up of individuals who have responsibilities to uphold the order of the group? You know, for a supposed pluralist, you seem to have a really black and white way of thinking. Have you ever considered that two different things can be true at the same time? Jump in the pool actual Polytheist pluralism. The water is just fine!

        Like

      • You’ll notice i called him a Nazi memorabilia guy, not a Nazi.

        Like

      • So what’s his crime then? Like actually. Like something that amounts to more than “he has different politics than me”. Why the hatred if you won’t even call him a nazi? At the very least wouldn’t it be more reasonable to call him misguided in light of everything if we want to call him anything at all? Why the hatred? Maybe he because he fought you and others on it but what if someone just approached him with concern as opposed to anger first? At the very least if you worded it nicely he might have heard you out. There was a lot of wiggle room to get a conclusion that could please everyone. Maybe implore him to do divination to see what Dionysos really thought of the situation? Maybe he would have swapped it out for a brand new symbol that talks about the alchemical concepts Sannion was going for without having to be something used in the past by Himmler. I just can’t help but feel everyone took the wrong way forward on this, you know?

        Like

      • (yes I understand that you willfully sidestepped the actual language I use in order to misconstrue my words and argue against a point I didn’t make but that can actually be disputed, since the matter of Sannion’s use of a symbol invented by Heinrich Himmler is something he is quite upfront about)

        Like

      • Actually no. I legitimately thought you called him a nazi because that’s what others have said in the past regarding this very topic

        Like

      • Since “personal responsibility” is such a thing for you at what point are we personally responsible for the systems of abuse we continue to cosign, defend and perpetuate? Like if personal responsibility matters continuing to hand the metaphorical keys to abusers would probably be something people need to take responsibility for, right?

        Like

      • Anyway like I know it’s always gonna be a Thing to throw the term WS out there bc people are like “oh you mean sieg heil and klan hoods” but no I just mean she’s an unimaginative garden variety reactionary who spends an inordinate amount time and energy getting mad about specific things and a significant chunk of those things are social justice pursuits that she rails about by grabbing onto and slinging around dogwhistles like they’re lawn darts or something. Just consistently and unwaveringly indulging in all the sort of incidental white supremacist talking point that all such reactionaries engage in; she’ll posture as non-racist, associate w/ people of different backgrounds, but she’s always going to land politically in opposition to the liberatory projects of marginalized people and dismiss all things “woke” or whatever just like her dipshit english teacher friend elsewhere in the comments here lol. All that being said. It is now sunday afternoon and I’ve been at this for several days now bc it’s been too frigid to go out and get things done. That no longer being the case, a tentative good day to you bc I’m still not entirely sure where you stand, and a hearty “fuck off, eat shit and die mad” to Galina, Sannion and Emma.

        Like

      • Excuse me. I am not an English teacher type. I am an American/European historian.

        Like

      • You’ll forgive me if i do not care literally at all.

        Like

      • Honey, if that’s the only thing you’re asking forgiveness for, you’re truly missing the boat.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I love how Galina is. She’s my kind of gal. I don’t know anything about you Guason but I love your civility and patience. Its been nice talking with you

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve enjoyed chatting with you, Emma! Feel free to reach out anytime! My blog is The Stone Pillar and I talk about similar topics. Galina hangs out there too sometimes!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I will do that.

        Like

      • I am having difficulty finding your blog…keep getting construction sites.

        Like

      • Oh darn. Google it on WordPress

        Like

      • Its complicated.

        Like

      • I must say, Guason, you ask some wonderfully pertinent questions. I’ve tried to figure out how to make a random remark on this blog without success so it looks like you’ve still got me talking to you. I think the core issue here is that y’all ( y’all in the general sense of those participating in this blog) don’t seem to agree about how to define ‘religion’, let alone a mystery religion.
        IMO, religion is not a social club. It’s not a political party. It’s the framework/structure within which one defines one’s relationship to the Divine.

        Years ago, I went to a lecture at Naropa given by Fr. Keating, a Jesuit (?) priest who started something called the centering prayer movement. (roughly, Buddhism for practicing Catholics). He said that he saw all religions as consisting of two parts. The first part is a structure for educating the young, establishing rules for correct behavior, categorizing thoughts about the religion, (collecting money..no, he didn’t say that, that’s my contribution) and so forth. He said this structure consists of the Buddha (one’s concept of the Divine), the Dharma (teachings about the Divine) and the Sangha (the community of believers. He further said that regardless of the structure, all genuine religious experience is at its core the same. So, St. Teresa of Avila having orgasmic communion with God (?) is the same experience as a devotee of Santeria hosting one of the Orishas. I’m not sure I agree with him but that’s what he said.

        So Hrafnblod ragging on Galina because he doesn’t agree with her politics is, imo, missing the point. If one has a relationship with the Divine, however one defines that, then that relationship informs all our other relationships.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I wholeheartedly agree with you. A religion should be about relationships with the divine first. All else follows.

        There is a certain irony here that pluralism keeps on getting name-dropped and yet for some reason no one has mentioned that acknowledging that some fields are for some things and other fields are for other things (for example, religion is how we relate towards the Gods and politics is how we decide what is best for our society) is in fact the pluralistic way to approach the issue as it would be an acknowledgement that different things can do different things and both are valid

        Liked by 1 person

      • Fr. Keating defined all ‘genuine religious experiences’ as essentially mystical. Do you agree with him? Again, it comes back to how one defines religion. Can one be ‘pious’ without being a mystic? If not, then is piety a genuine religious experience? I have a difficult time believing that experiencing religion ‘in one’s head’ is particularly genuine but that may just be my early experience with CS.

        Like

      • I’m not experienced or learned enough to proclaim to know

        Like

    • “The literal entire argument for the legitimacy of a sacral lord/king is the mediation of the religion’s initiatory traditions and the assertion that only a sacral lord can mediate relations with and conduct the rites that allow the manifestation of the divine within a sacralized space.”

      These are traditions that have been in place for thousands of years. I realize that humans have corrupted them, but there is also a groove there that taps to our connection to the Gods, to the land, to our ancestors. Do you think you can rewrite the power of that groove, which has been infused with divine power, fed by ancestral lines going back and feeding it? Because you what, read some books? I don’t particularly think that it makes it a mystery, just addressing your disdain.

      “But yeah by all means tell us how a religion founded by a dude calling himself Merlin, under the justification of his ostensible personal revelation directly from Odin…”

      I love Monty Pythons, I get it (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2c-X8HiBng), but what is the point in having a religious discussion if you are stating you don’t believe that Gods converse with us and give us theophanies? I understand what you are saying here, that this is certainly not something that is restricted to a sacral leader, which is correct, but you are also implying in this paragraph that it doesn’t occur, not something we can rely upon as being true, and denigrate those who believe in it. Or do you think you can dictate to whom Gods speak to? I mean, if you don’t believe in having direct experiences with the Gods, then why are you here? Isn’t there a LARP or reenactment group you can join instead?

      Liked by 1 person

      • You quite clearly do not, in fact, understand what I am saying there.

        Like

      • I think you’ve pretty much grasped exactly what he’s saying. I let it stand because it is the type of gross impiety, distaste and hatred toward the sacred, that cannot stand to see actual devout spaces, people, and traditions exist. Rock on, Tove.

        Like

      • Setting aside the fact that the “these traditions have been in place thousands of years” claim is effectively nonsense, that the sacral king theory of Germanic society is still subject to significant disagreement and even if it did exist it was (in the way theodism models it) at most for a few centuries during the migration period, and not universal among Germanic tribes… Actually, best not to set that aside, because it’s actually quite important to these discussions the extent to which these sorts of appeals are predicated on not actually seeking verification of claims. For all the posturing there’s very little academic rigor among the crowds most fervently obsessed with maintaining their veneer of academic legitimacy, just empty appeals to antiquity and the facile logic of “more older is more better,” lurching eternally forward borne on the inertia of the terminally incurious.

        If my tone has changed, take it as my patience for unthinking, unblinking dedication to incuriosity finally starting to falter. It’s tiresome to engage with people who look to half-baked theories that were outdated and regarded as dubious a century ago as infallible revealed wisdom and unassailable walls from which to smugly dismiss anyone who disagrees with them.

        But the more annoying thing is that literally nothing about the point I was making was disputing whether theophany occurs. It was not an implication of the post, it was merely illustrating that Galina’s argument that theodism doesn’t center theophany is nonsense. She backs up the claim with absolutely fuck all other than her assertion that theodism is singularly about ego (to be sure, it is largely about ego, virtually all modern heathenry is, it’s just more pronounced in theodism because of the hierarchical model). It was a specious claim that’s clearly rooted in the same “evidence” that literally every dismissive claim Galina has ever uttered is rooted in; a sense that anything that doesn’t look like her exact model of piety, or anyone who has had personal grievance with her, is somehow not as legitimately polytheist.

        It’s a line of thinking her fans all seem to be running with considering every one of you goddamn clods immediately starts accusing me of atheism based on literally fucking nothing whatsoever. “Oh you disagree with Galina on mystery religions? WHY ARE YOU EVEN HERE TALKING SHOULDN’T YOU BE LARPING IF YOU DON’T BELIEVE IN THE GODS?”

        What is the actual basis for the idea that I don’t believe in the gods or in direct experiences with them? If you respond to nothing else in this post, then answer for yourself on that point alone. Explain yourself, explain your reasoning. I’m absolutely dying to hear the rationale, as I’m once again dismissed out of hand as some sort of apostate.

        Like

    • The sacral king is not the mediator of initiation for his people, rather in many ways they are his. While some sacral kings are also priests, possibly even of a mystery cult, the roles and “wiring” are distinct.

      While priests and other spiritworkers represent the Gods, spirits, etc., the sacral king represents, carries, and embodies the honor, luck, health, etc. of his people. He may stand in his people’s stead before Holy Powers, land spiritlife, other nations, and such; but, he does so as a vessel. The role of sacral king is interestingly receptive for one that is so frequently considered hypermasculine. Which is perhaps why so many historical kings sucked at the sacral role.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Thralldom is not initiation. Again, try reading what I actually wrote. I know I use big words, but I’m sure you can manage it if you try.

    Like

  6. In a mystery religion, you leave your past behind and assume the mantle of a new future. It’s primary distinction, as I see it, is that the future is unknown, unknowable, and bound to the futures of others (like-minded souls). It is a GROUP RELIGION, one that finesses the overspirit of the world to garner some tribute for oneself and one’s peers.

    — Catxman

    http://www.catxman.wordpress.com

    Like

  7. I read that post on Theodism. Yeeesh, what a train wreck. Theodism isn’t a mystery tradition, it’s a short bus.

    As for the author, he’s another idiot who thinks that if he yells about Nazis long enough the world will understand he’s one of the Good Heathens.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I believe the White Marsh group is no longer “Theodish”. They appear to have dropped the word from their Facebook description.

    Like

    • That doesn’t surprise me. Since the oughts, Theodism has lost much of whatever cachet it once had within Heathenry. For awhile, it was a growing force, at least on the East Coast. But good to know and thanks for the update.

      Like

  9. If you think Theodish Heathenry prioritizes piety and direct experience of the Gods, you must have a very, very low bar for those things. That, or we’re not defining initiatory traditions and mystery religions in the same way.

    The language used is drawn from Greco-Roman religions but it happens to be the correct terminology in both Theology and Religious studies, for Mystery religions.

    So, let me be blunt, and in simple language that you can easily comprehend: go chug piss and fuck off from my blog.

    Like

  10. When I was first introduced to the Gods, I first was introduced to Theodism. I had problems with it considering how it began seem rather dubious to me. (My personal opinion.) The other problem I had was it was setting up a tribal religion in Modern America, which prides itself on individualism. I could not understand how the Theods could work around that.

    I knew several devoted people who tried to explain it to me. Anyway, because I knew these people, I would occasionally hear of personal problems among the members. It seemed there was no mechanism to resolve group issues. Later after Halloran, these people were in despair since they had put their lives into being Theodish.

    From my experience, I could not see how it is a mystery religion. There are mysteries that outsiders should not know in mystery religions. If people have not this, then it is not a mystery faith.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. So…piety is “feigned” unless it prioritizes human crap? good to know. *snorts*

    Like

  12. To be clear, I do not believe that we should put anything but the Holy Powers at the center of our religions. If we’re doing so, then we don’t have a religion, we have a political movement. Our devotion may move us to become involved in the community (and, I think should be the lens through which we evaluate everything), but one does not equal the other.

    Once more, there are good reasons many of us refuse to use the term Pagan as our identifier — it links us to people like Hrafnblod for whom piety is incomprehensible or worse, based solely on elevating humanity over the Powers. “Polytheist identitarian.” I can live with that.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. And the status quo that Hrafnblog articulates above (for some reason WordPress removes the ‘reply’ button sometimes so I can’t respond directly beneath that comment) is precisely everything I stand against in polytheism. Should our religion motivate us to charity and care of our community? yes, absolutely. I think that is a natural outgrowth of the responsibilities we engage in when we take up devotion, but should we ever elevate humanity over the Gods? no. I don’t think we should and in fact, if we want actual religions with piety, devotion, and direct experience of the Powers we should be fighting very strongly to keep our religious spaces centered around devotion and the Gods. It’s the people who shit on the very idea of devotion (see above) who are destroying any hope we have of a polytheistic future, not those who actually value the holy. That’s what it comes down to always, for decades now: what do you prioritize in *religious* spaces: venerating the Powers or venerating humanity?

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Guason, I prioritize Gods-ancestors-land and then people because I believe that the majority of ills that affect our society are due precisely to a breach of those ancient contracts. I think if we were in right relationship with the Holy Powers it would be a thousand times easier to sort ourselves out on a human level. Plus, we’re talking about *religious* spaces. If you’re not prioritizing your Holy Powers in your religious spaces exactly when are you going to do it?

    Like

    • Oh I believe me. I agree with you 100%. I was just pointing out that our interloper friend is clearly diametrically opposed to what we’re talking about here. It is clear that he is not the same as us

      Liked by 1 person

      • I taught history at the college level for 30 years. I once made the remark that imo one could not simultaneously believe in predestination and free will. (or foreknowledge either for that matter, but then I’m still trying to digest how the Norns work) I had a philosophy student disagree with me. I didn’t get into it with him, having him in class made my head hurt.

        Like

  15. My polytheism in general and Heathenry in particular is a means to an end, the end being the restoration of our traditions, the veneration of the Gods, and the building of pious, religious communities that are likewise focused around veneration of the Gods as the central point from which all spokes of one’s life extend. There’s my agenda, motherfucker. in a nutshell. I will oppose anything that stands in opposition to that.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. “The issue is that for all its pretenses none of this feigned piety is about expanding the depth of human engagement with the divine, it’s about a retraction of human engagement with the world, most often through these exact modes of decontextualization, the reduction of lived experimentation to rhetorical thought experiment and semantic quibbles.”

    Retraction of human engagement with the world as a way to expand the depth of human engagement with the divine has a pretty long and widespread history. In English tradition, you have the Myrrdin (Merlin) who goes out in the woods away from civilization and lives among the animals. Many pre-Christian myths that came down to us as fairy tales involve powerful old witches and sorcerers living out in the forest beyond the village boundaries, or in inaccessible and barren places.

    This is “decontextualization” insofar as it transforms the individual from a social being living among others to a hermit who alone or in a community of like-minded people chooses to focus instead on the divine. It is a withdrawal from the social order and rebirth as one who serves the community from a place that is outside that order. And it was old long before Siddhartha joined a wandering band of ascetic monks or the Desert Fathers wove baskets.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. I think that the Gods, if we are in right relationship with Them, may and often do, inspire us to be better. How we determine what is “better” –and I include engagement with a community, political engagement, social engagement, etc. in this–is a whole different story often dependent on our personal response to the injustices and suffering in the world, and each person’s individual discernment. I would even say that the Gods may ask different things of different people for whatever reason. You can have, after all, two devotees of the same Deity having intense devotional relationships with that God who are on opposite sides of various issues. This is nothing new.

    There very well may be some Deities Who favor one type of response over another but it’s funny that one never sees devotion being discussed as the motivating factor in those who express such intense distaste for piety or veneration. I’d have a fuck-ton more respect for a Marxist who says, “I belong to this God and it’s because of my understanding of what that God wants of me, because of my discernment and experiences devotionally that I have come to these conclusions) than someone who has such hatred for devotion and traditions in general and spews political garbage everywhere. I dislike the extremists on the right every bit as much as I do the left because they each in their own way attempt to tear down religious spaces (also I think a lot of their social politics and political positions are ugly, hateful, misguided, historically uninformed, and damaging to civilization as a whole).

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Emma, I don’t know…what is “mystical?” I’d have to know how he defined that to make sure we were on the same page. I think that direct engagement with the Powers and any mystical insights that come from that are essential to sustainable living traditions. So, yeah..I do think it’s the heart and soul of any religious tradition.

    I also think that mystics tend to be deeply threatening to institutional authority and social order — we see that throughout history as well and Pagan and Polytheistic communities are no different. That can be fruitful or destabilizing depending on a number of things.

    Before I fully agree with Keating, I’d want to know how he’s defining mysticism because I think there are a lot of different types of religious experience, and not everyone is going to have those “mystical” experiences in the same way. (I’m thinking of a conversation I had many years ago with an intensely gifted artist. She lamented that she’d never sensed or seen her God and I asked her what her experience of creating her art was like, and what she described as transcendent. It was an experience with the sacred “Other” and I told her so. The channel and means by which the mystical experience happens, how the Gods come..I don’t want to exclude Their presence in the every day).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, your answers are almost better than your questions. I know what a mystical experience feels like to ME. On the other hand, I have had psychic experiences that are different from someone else’s psychic experiences but I’m pretty sure both are valid. Perhaps this comes down to how one believes or does not believe in God/Goddess. For many years, I was an atheist. CS do not go to doctors and I had some medical catastrophes early in my adulthood that drove me away from CS. Then I had a child born with potentially terminal birth defects. I was driving home from Children’s Hospital one day. There was this ‘safe’ stretch of highway where I could just vent and I was ranting and raving at God for doing all this to MY child. It then occurred to me that unless I really was insane, I must believe in God because otherwise why was I cursing away at him?
      I think Keating is talking about people who go to church because its the things to do. Or because, like my somewhat atheistic then husband, because they are afraid of going to hell.
      The ways that CS resembles Hasidic Jews is that one is either in or out…there is no halfway. Its not about belief or practice, its the culture. Sort of like an atheistic Jew.
      I suspect that Keating would preclude your artist friend as being insufficiently like Teresa of Avila to be genuinely religious.
      There is no empirical proof that God/Goddesses exist. Unless one has actually SEEN one. Then its not really faith, is it?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I suspect Keating would too but I hesitate to hold any mystic up as a standard paradigm of the mystic to which we should all aspire. I think that’s dangerous and I’d happily have that conversation with Keating. Insufficiently like person X….that’s a terrible thing to foist onto a person. spiritual jealousy is one of the most corrosive, divisive, and destructive forces. maybe that’s what my artist friend could do. maybe the Gods decided that was the best way to facilitate her experiences, or maybe that’s just how she’s wired and it’s good. not everyone can or should be a Teresa of Avila….those are my thoughts on it. I also wonder about your last question…if we have direct experience of our Gods then is that faith? It’s …not so clear cut. This is a good convo — I read Keating’s book years and years ago but I don’t recall his key arguments so when I have a chance I’ll have to refresh myself. I do push back against writing like that of Underhill that would posit some transcendent oneness in the mystical experience…I think that each God is One in Him or Herself but I’ve seen writing on mysticism (perhaps because of the pervasive influence of monotheism on the field of theology as an academic discipline) that posit something of that sort and I always think “well, with this particular God….that doesn’t mean all Gods are one so dial it back a notch.” but it’s complicated except that I do think those who’ve had the direct experiences speak the same language. There’s a shared understanding and world view with those who’ve had the deeper, more intensely direct experiences. Do the Gods need all of us to be mystics? I don’t think so. But I also don’t think devotion = mysticism. Then there’s the question of isn’t there more merit in someone who has never had direct experience even a tiny little bit engaging in devotion with no expectation of the experience but simply because it is the correct thing to do than for those who are overwhelmed by the reality and presence of a God? I have questions… lol.

        Like

      • We all have questions. That’s who we are. I heard Keating lecture almost 35 years ago and he was an old man then so I suspect you may have to keep your questions until you meet him “across the great divide.” I think there is more merit in an individual practicing piety without having had a direct experience with the Divine than someone like myself who was a resolute atheist (or so I thought) until God decided to enlighten me otherwise. I was trying to allude to the academics who insist that because we have no ‘proof’ of God’s existence via the scientific method (one must be able to replicate all experiments in order to prove anything) then there is no proof that God exists. I was a skeptic until I was confronted with irrefutable evidence that I was wrong. Just because no one else saw this evidence doesn’t make it any less convincing.

        I am familiar with the ‘transcendent oneness’ of which you spoke. That is CS in a nutshell. Also, I believe that is what Spiritualists believe. Spiritualism is widespread here in Denver. All the so-called psychics go on about channeling Spirit. I am also aware ( I think from something you wrote) that some polytheists believe that the Gods and Goddesses are just different manifestations of the overarching Consciousness. Bah humbug! Maybe, who knows. My friend Michael died several times when he was young from taking a 1,000′ nosedive into the ground when his engine failed. We’ve spoken before about him. He is into the ‘overarching Consciousness’ thing and of course, he’s right because he was “over there” and that’s what ‘they told him’. Ok, maybe. I’ll let you know when I get there since I’ll probably be on the other side before you (or in Scotland afor ye).

        Liked by 1 person

  19. Emma, I teach theology and predestination — especially the grimmer Calvinist varieties — always bothered me. I read an article a couple of years ago though where the author (also a theologian) said, “It’s a mystery. I realized I just needed to accept it as a mystery and not get hung up on it” and that actually helped. LOL. I have a few weeks to go yet in my current semester before we hit Calvinism though.

    Like

    • May the Gods give you strength. I found it enough of a trial to teach 19th century History to Mormons. I think it’s a cop out to say “it’s a mystery and I just accept that”…Then again, I’m a historian not a philosopher. I remember Jer saying: “kill ’em all and let God sort ’em out.” Makes sense to me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have dealt with enough Mysteries in my own tradition to know that if someone hasn’t directly experienced it, sometimes one can’t *explain* it logically so while I sort of also think it’s taking the easy way out, at the same time it makes a certain gut sense and also changes the direction of the conversation for undergrads. (I don’t do much with calvinism. My area is early christianity — but we do read Sinners at the Hands of an Angry God and talk about the Great Awakening toward the end of the semester. that’s always fun.

        Like

      • I like my classes though. This is my second semester teaching intro to theology. I used to teach Latin, Roman History, etc. and I also tend to do Byzantine Christianity . My students are consistently awesome. 🙂 They don’t always know much about any particular religion per se, but they’re eager to learn, they ask questions, and they’re brave.

        Like

      • I also loved my students but one has to tread lightly with religious Mormons. I always tried to be respectful without necessarily agreeing with them. Either people hate history or they believe they already know ‘how it was.’ especially with the history of their own denomination. I love to sit in on some of your classes. I think Roman history is fascinating but when I took it in grad school, it was excruciatingly boring. Takes real talent to make THAT boring. ITs impossible to teach 18th & 19th century American history without going into religious history. When I was married to my second husband, one of his friends was a Congregationalist. I made the remark that Congregationalists are Calvinists. She of course disagreed. I let it go. Perhaps that was then (18th century) and this was now (20th century).

        Liked by 1 person

  20. I would argue that if you’re Pagan, then you’re not Heathen, you’re not necessarily Polytheist so this (and by extension polytheistic communities) is not your space so why don’t you just go and leave the devout to their veneration? I’ve always wondered this. There are plenty of atheistic, anti theistic, or at the very least human centric spaces after all. (also, while I think Pagan should = Polytheistic, the modern use of the term includes those who give little thought to the Gods or who are only socially Pagan so there are plenty of us who avoid using it and Neo-pagan is worse in that respect.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Emma, when my Roman history students would start to fade, I’d mention something weird, or salacious, like the Galli. that got them right back on track. LOL. roman history has so many fascinating tangents and back alleys. pun intended. 🙂

    I think the thing that really got them, at least in the last class I taught, was a documentary about Roman toilets. I brought in a medical historian to guest lecture. The students loved it but I had to step out for a few mins. When I came back, they had looks of abject horror on their faces. She’d explained about the toilet sponge (ancient roman public toilets had a communal sponge for washing). The looks on their faces were priceless. ^___^

    Like

    • My Roman history was the nicest person. His western civ class was a master class in the socratic method and SO much fun. When he did Roman history, it was history untouched by human hands…he totally eliminated the human element. When you think about everything Roman, its a cornucopia of all the reasons we love studying history. Not his class though, it was deadly. I had a friend (whose dissertation was a history of suicide) .she used to say (in a thick German accent: i do not care what the peasants had for lunch. Well, I DO care. That’s the best part. Yeah, the toilet sponge thing, augh!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • LOl Emma. I like the minutiae too and when I do theology there is so much material culture…we talk about it, I bring it in, they have to bring it in. If I were teaching history now, I’d probably occasionally wear historical garb. teaching = performance half the time. ooooh I’m going to get to do a day’s lecture on WWI I April. my medical historian friend invited me to speak to her class (she’s a medievalist and got stuck teaching early modern…has to go to end of WWII). I’m delighted. I’ve wanted to do a WWI class for AGES. She’s focusing her syllabus around technological advances and there were so many medical and military advances during that war.

        Like

      • I love reading memoirs. I think I told you thathat my CS teacher had been a US ARMY nurse in WWI. The nurses’ WWI memoirs will scorch tiur soul. Medical technology was so primitive. After all, even the germ theory was relatively new (you know, why sterilization is so important..and washing one’s hands).also the injuries were so awful. It would sometimes take 48 hours to get the wounded from the battlefield to an aid sttion. If you haven’t seen it, ANZAC Girls (TV series) is first rate…based on primary sources.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I must agree that when I first learned about the communal sponge I felt very uncomfortable on a certain part of my person. I can just feel the parasites…

      Liked by 1 person

      • They soaked it in vinegar apparently in between ..uh..uses but still… The story that really brought my class to its knees (LOL), which I told with gruesome glee, was something Pliny the Younger recounts in one of his letters (I forget which atm). A man committed suicide….by swallowing the sponge. yes, you read that rightly. One of my students at the time looked at me, face a comical rictus of horror and yelped, “professor, ANY OTHER WAY!!!” and I can’t say I blame him for his response.

        Like

      • Huh. What an odd fellow. If I ever encounter him in the afterlife I’ll be sure to ask why he chose that. Though I feel like such an individual would not be a pleasant person to be around if they were okay with eating a sanitary sponge

        Liked by 1 person

  22. Emma, I loved “Anzac Girls” and the characters are all based on real women. There’s also “Crimson Field” (I think that’s the name of it — it only had one season but it was fantastic). In my theology class I share a good deal of WWI poetry but I hadn’t thought about memoirs (other than an excerpt from something Paul Tillich wrote about an experience he had while looking at an art book in the trenches–the beauty led him to Beauty and changed his life). I might rethink that and include some.

    I knew that we gained certain antibiotics and better sterilization procedures but I didn’t know until recently that also ambulances and mobile x ray machines. those are the ones that stand out right now. I have a ton of stuff to sort through to prepare my lecture. If you have any particular reading or excerpt from a nurse’s account that you’d recommend, I’d welcome it. I do point out — and this really hit my last class very hard– that many of those in the trenches were exactly the age of my students. and didn’t come home.

    Like

    • It still hurts my heart that Jer was only 27 when he died. Such a waste. There is a poem in Anzac Girls that hits me hard. “I will not cry return!return! Nor weep my years away. ..and ends with “not always shall this parting be, for through i travel slow, I, too, may claim eternity and find the way you go, and so I do my task and wait the opening of the outer gate ” its by Ellen m. Huntington Gates. I’m 72…how much longer do I have to wait for that gate to open so I can be with Jer?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I wish I had words of comfort, Emma. The weight of living can be very, very heavy when those we love have preceded us. I don’t have any answers there but I have been present at many a bedside when the soul departed and I can say with surety — maybe the only thing in my whole world about which I am 100% sure – the dead gather for us and we do not make that crossing alone. The weight and grief of living passes away as we cross and your reunion with him…when it comes, may it be one of joy.

        Like

      • Yes, the so-called dead are always with us.
        Jer is with me almost all the time. Never without a smart ass remark or quip. What I find difficult is that I could be here yet for a very long time. Testament of youth is very long…ill look through what I have and see if I have something more focused on the actual nursing. Truly though, the details are horrific. And yes, most of the war dead were SO young.

        Liked by 1 person

  23. Hrafnblod, a Donatist maybe but never, my dear, a Protestant (I like my shrines and worship spaces lush and have no use for calvinism).

    Liked by 2 people

  24. When I am meditating, sometimes I hear male voices calling “ma soeur” and rarely “schwester”..it may be a past life thing. I will have to give it some thought. There are so many memoirs and naturally, I’ve read all of them. I wasn’t that impressed with “Crimson Field” although I was disappointed there wasn’t more of it. I saw ABZAC Girls first which may have influenced me. Of course the obvious memoir is Vera Brittain “testament of youth “..heartbreaking…but not much about medical technology.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think there was something about it my military dead liked. I have a passel of WWI dead in my cadre. A colleague asked me in surprise why I wasn’t going to focus on theology — I could. There has been quite a bit written on WWI and theology, but I’m riffing off the actual teacher for the course and I want to make sure it fits her overall syllabus. I’ll check out that memoir. thanks.

      Like

  25. 105 comments! Mehercule!!! Good Gods this was a lively comment section. I think we’ve all earned a break from the internet

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Guason, that is exactly why I let the conversation continue and didn’t remove him. I thought the example valuable.

    Like

  27. Boy, I go to sleep and come back to a lot of comments……

    One of the magazines I read is “First Things,” which has a Catholic or at least a religious focus on piety and engagement with the world. From reading H’s comments, I recall an article which discusses how religious people formerly engaged with the world, and the world with them, and how they and the world do now.

    H represents the world of today, where society dictates what is religious. Religious people are counseled in the face of the new political religion to remove their institutions from the world and be self-sufficient. In other words, let the world be, because it is now hostile to religion.

    So what was discussed in an hundred or so comments is the religion and society. I see a seeping secularism in Neo-Paganism that of course was urged along with the entry of atheists and others. But this reflects mainline religions as well, where the people are more interested in getting along with society’s demands than doctrinal theology.

    I guess that makes us pious Nazis.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s just the thing I don’t get. Why on Mother Earth would we want to be like the mainstream religion in those regards? Are people so unfamiliar or uncomfortable with actual religion that they just want us to skip being an actual religion and go straight to the part where no one actually practices the religion but they’ll go get drunk at all of the parades? I just can’t empathize. I was raised by Catholics that were against practicing Catholicism. I don’t need anymore blind adherence to a tradition no one cares about or understands in my life and it’s certainly not something I want for the rest of us!

      Liked by 1 person

      • yes, they are, Guason. Most people are intensely religiously illiterate, even within the scope of their own birth religions. I don’t say that with any contempt, but as a statement of fact as a teacher. Yes, most people want to get to the part that isn’t inconvenient, that won’t challenge their choices, their priorities, that won’t demand anything but a high tolerance for liquor. Also, on a more positive note, they want community and for most people that starts with socializing. What people like our sad interlocutor don’t understand is that if we had our priorities straight as a culture and community, that is if we actually prioritized right relationship with the Holy Powers (Gods, ancestors, land), consistently and compassionately, many of the other problems that plague us would, in that mindful devotion, be far, far more easily repaired.

        Liked by 1 person

  28. Hrafnblod February 4, 2022 at 3:01 AM
    You wrote (I am having the same issue with the reply button):
    “For whatever reason the “reply” button appears for this post (and like every other post in this comment section) but not..”

    You are clearly confusing culture and religion. Is this because you are having trouble with the religious aspects of religion? Culture may affect how people practice religion but again, you are missing the point: the purpose of religion is veneration of divine powers and following their course in your life, not recreate a culture in a faithful historical context. That is LARPing. If the religious aspects of religion is something that troubles you, it’s probably because you are not a religious person. In parlay, you are a deaf man who has come to discuss Mozart and is complaining that his music is pointless.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Hrafnblod February 4, 2022 at 12:17 PM

    You wrote:

    “It’s to be read as an allusion towards the more social justice oriented corners of contemporary paganism that Galina is so frequently critical and dismissive of as insufficiently pious or traditional.

    The issue is that for all its pretenses none of this feigned piety is about expanding the depth of human engagement with the divine, it’s about a retraction of human engagement with the world, most often through these exact modes of decontextualization, the reduction of lived experimentation to rhetorical thought experiment and semantic quibbles.

    Even this discussion is about trying to remove this post from the wider context of Galina’s personal perspective and political agenda. Where a person invested in a community of persons would focus on its starting point- the abusive dipshit that is Swain Wodening- we instead veer immediately into a profoundly asinine circular examination of the use of the term “mystery religion,” because Galina is more obsessed with the sanctity of academic terminology than actually honestly confronting not only Swain himself as a predator but the way cloistered, hierarchical sects leverage access to theophany to create space for abuse to thrive. Most damningly, she’s committed herself to actively obfuscating the role of structural support for abuse turning it into an argument of what is a mystery and what isn’t.”

    You keep writing about feigned piety – what’s real piety vs. fake piety, and how do you distinguish between the two? Or do you consider all piety fake? Maybe we should ban piety, religious devotion? Would that suit? Again, why come to a religious discussion and complain that its religious? I don’t spend any time with a bicycling club because I am not interested in bicycling. I don’t go there and complain that they are all interested in talking about bicycles or tell them to start driving cars because its less pressure on the spine.

    I don’t know anything about Swain Widening, or theodism. I am a Norse practitioner, but I honestly have barely ever heard anything of them (I was a solitary practitioner for many years), though admittedly they sound like a crappy bunch of human beings and it bothers me that they use religion to cover it. Galina is also not a theodist. She is also not a police officer and she does not work for the DA’s office. When someone is committing predatory acts and abuses, those would be the two professions that I would approach when faced with those situations. Galina knows me personally, and she knows how easily I report people when they are doing something horrible, nor do I have any issues with giving the police precinct a full report of every minutiae of what occurred.

    However, what you are saying here is, since this person was in charge of a religious group and has abused that office in multiple horrible ways, we must now cut ourselves off from having elders lead our communities, direct religious experiences with our Gods and Divine powers, or curb pious behavior. So by that logic, we should disband police departments when an officer is caught at being an abuser, or perhaps end the entire functional medical profession because a doctor has been caught in abusing his patients? Or better yet, since at some point in the past the Mein Kampf was written and printed, we should ban all printed word, just in case. But if this happens, what will you be doing? What will feed and give language to the rage you are carrying because you can’t plug in the hole in your soul created by a lack of a religious connection?

    The purpose of religion is piety, connection to our Holy Powers, and being in service to them.

    Liked by 2 people

    • “The purpose of religion is piety, connection to our Holy Powers, and being in service to them.”

      beautifully put. That’s the purpose of LIFE.

      Like

  30. Hrafnblod | February 4, 2022 at 1:28 PM
    You wrote:
    “I don’t read her blog, I’m here only because i got a ping back and wanted to make clear that whether she links to my post or not she and i are not on the same side of anything.
    I don’t believe anything is apolitical – everything exists in a political context. Certainly anything that is as associated with worldview and value systems as a religion cannot possibly be divorced from politics, the mere suggestion is deeply unserious. If religion means anything to a person it and their politics are going to feed into and off of one another.
    The issue then with piety as one’s first motivating principle is that, as can be seen very readily everywhere the Polytheist Identity folks pop up, they are going to come into alliance with other groups that hew to that stated value no matter how reprehensible those groups’ other actions may be.
    This can come in the form of wearing fascist iconography and painting it as “religious expression,” something that inherently covers for every goddamn neonazi out there claiming to just be “following their religion,” or it can be much more direct and explicit alliances like you see between Ed Butler and ultranationalist Hindu fascists.
    Time and again the stance of polytheist identitarians (which it really can’t be overemphasized, is just conceptually at odds with the inherent pluralism of paganism historically and in the present) fall into the trap (or simply walk consciously into it) of prioritizing their myopic fundamentalism over basic human well being. More often they just endorse right wing conservatism because their piety obsession itself is clearly a manifestation of their reactionary political orientation.
    For every case of Galina advocating for women’s rights there’s a half dozen screeds against “wokeness,” for any conversation stance she takes (not that “conservation” is inherently progressive or anything) you get a racist debacle like the matter of the Sonnenrad or the Bacchic Lives Matter bullshit.
    And that’s my point. She will periodically posture as apolitical or neutral, merely concerned with pious devotion, baselessly acting as if pious devotion itself exists outside of or above the political fray, and time and again it’s transparently been the cover for a petty reactionary.”

    So, there is a lot to unpack here. Before I say what I am going to say here, I think its pertinent to explain first my ancestry, culture and background. I came to United States from USSR, before its dissolution. My ancestry is almost entirely Jewish with some Slavic roots (both Ukrainian and Russian). About 2/3s of my family died in the Holocaust. They were killed by actual Nazis, some chopped by an axe on a chopping block, and many locked into a synagogue in a village they lived in and set on fire. My grandfather (and his brother, that he found finally after decades of searching in 1980’s) were the sole survivors of his entire extended and nuclear family. He was hidden, and protected, by a Lithuanian woman who declared that he was Lithuanian, to prevent him from going to the stoves.

    There have been versions of the swastika used in the Slavic lands for 1,000s of years, before Hitler and his army marched into Russia and Ukraine carrying that same mark and torturing and killing millions of people. The same symbols and marks have been embroidered by Slavic people on their clothing and rushniks, and used in jewelry as protective symbols, and this is an unbroken tradition, clearly going back to the days before the onset of Russian and Ukrainian Orthodoxy.

    I grew up with my grandfather telling me stories of what it was like, watching his family be slaughtered by Nazis in front of him, walking the long line to the stoves without a hope of survival, or getting through the war in the camps as one single woman decided to help him survive, standing up and lying to protect him, or sneak him food through the barbed wire. My grandfather taught me who Nazis where. They are not contained in the symbols of the swastika, their philosophy was expressed in their actions, in their system of annihilation, in their disregard of human life, rejection of the simplest human values. Anyone who thinks that a symbol, however charged it may be with bad history, is enough to make a man a Nazi, is frankly a jackass. It is an annihilation of the experiences of those who perished in the Holocaust because it a reduction of their torture and death to a symbol you don’t like. When the word Nazi is used for a person whose political views you disagree with, you have reduced the smell of a death camp to an argument you can’t win. Others may ignore this, but I will not. I speak to every person who unthinkingly uses this word when something in a behavior of a person reminds them of a NAZI – how dare you disrespect the memory of 8 million people tortured, experimented on, and killed like cattle? Every time you use that term towards a human being who does not self-identify as a Nazi, you are spitting on the graves of those who were killed in the Holocaust and the survivors, who still remember it and tell those stories. You are minimizing the children amputated and ripped apart by dogs, women beaten to death and raped by officers who thought they were less than human.

    I am not scared of the swastika, each village in Ukraine and Russia has their own version of an ancient embroidery symbol that they use that reminds them of where they came from and who they are. And why shouldn’t they? They already paid in blood of 10s of millions to actual Nazis to keep those symbols, to keep their ancestral symbols to themselves. They earned their culture and if Nazis would not wrestle them away, no one will. I am much more scared when the true meaning of what it means to be a Nazi is lost, when isolationism is compared to systematic slaughter of a race. I am much more concerned when people attempt to shut down dialogue via using a term that only fit for something unspeakable, a system that ironically was famous for shutting down dialogue.

    Does politics inform religion or does religion inform politics? What is politics? Do religious people practice isolationism? Jewish communities, especially Hasidic communities tend to be extremely insular, and their religion informs their every note of behavior. Are they now Nazis because they tend to not socialize with non-Jews? Do you so how deeply misused this term has become, especially because I have just managed to call survivors of the Holocaust (so many of the older Hasidum came from Eastern Europe post WWII after surviving the Holocaust) Nazis? You can call someone’s views unethical, prejudicial, or ill informed, but why push the button of disrespecting the Holocaust dead? Why would this be ok? Have you ever been to the Holocaust museum in DC? Seen a room full of shoes, the stench of used leather that remains of those that were burned to save the price of a bullet? And you compare it to symbols??? Do you think the swastika did it?

    You accuse Sannion of being a Nazi. Sannion has set up collection groups assisting transgender people with transition surgery; he takes students of all creeds, genders and races; Sannion, himself half Black Foot Native American, is one of the most non-hierarchical people I have ever met, the man who would take off the last jacket he had off his back to keep someone warm, who has always been there for anyone who has needed help – you accuse this man, of being a Nazi, because he uses a symbol? A symbol he has explained a thousand times goes back to antiquity? Sannion, who has categorically said multiple times that he is not a Nazi and finds their agenda abhorrent? What exactly do you think then, that he is undercover? Is he one of those Nazis that are so deep undercover, they deny being Nazis, behave the opposite of the Nazi philosophy and belief system, to the point of being inclusionary and assist everyone in need regardless of who they are? He is also a self-hating Nazi, since no Nazi would ever accept a Native American into their group. So all this anti-Nazi behavior and ancestry aside, a symbol is what defines a Nazi now? So, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Belorussia, Lithuania, Tibet, The Check Republic to name a few – every person there is a Nazi too, because all of them still use swastika symbols in their embroidery patterns on their national clothing? Is being a Nazi has such a low bar now? What gives anyone the right to declare that someone is a Nazi when the person repeatedly says they are not? Do you realize how ridiculous and uneducated you sound when you do that?

    “The issue then with piety as one’s first motivating principle is that, as can be seen very readily everywhere the Polytheist Identity folks pop up, they are going to come into alliance with other groups that hew to that stated value no matter how reprehensible those groups’ other actions may be.”

    So your purpose here is to get rid of piety. In order words, you need religion to end, or at the very least become a convenience only practice. So your real purpose in coming to this blog is to attempt to erode religion. It would be more honest if you would just strap some bombs to your check and go inside a Catholic Church.

    With politics and religion, I think it’s a bit of a logic exercise. We can return to Monty Python I think:

    “The last scene was interesting from the point of view of a professional logician because it contained a number of logical fallacies; that is, invalid propositional constructions and syllogistic forms, of the type so often committed by my wife. “All wood burns,” states Sir Bedevere. “Therefore,” he concludes, “all that burns is wood.” This is, of course, pure bullshit. Universal affirmatives can only be partially converted: all of Alma Cogan is dead, but only some of the class of dead people are Alma Cogan. “Oh yes,” one would think.”

    There are some acts, whether they are married to politics or not, that I believe our Gods would find reprehensible. I do not think there is any political party or affiliation whose all parts would fall in line with a religious view. This is of course because religion is worship of the Gods, and they have the ability to see and understand all sides where’s we do not, they have the vision of all while we see only the pieces. Few in this world can ever have the gall to say that they know exactly what their Gods would think on an issue. I pity those who would say this, they clearly have lost their minds. Human politics often lack nuance, understanding and vision. They cannot address how their actions will affect society for hundreds of years. I would also be weary of anyone who starts saying that his political views have the backing of the divine. Should I bring multiple historical perspectives where this was done by political leaders to justify injustice and inhumanity and at its most extreme, genocide and murder?

    Liked by 2 people

    • “So your purpose here is to get rid of piety. In order words, you need religion to end, or at the very least become a convenience only practice. So your real purpose in coming to this blog is to attempt to erode religion.”

      Tove, this is exactly what he wants. For close to thirty years now I’ve seen this: people who hate the Gods who refuse to acknowledge the holy, who will not bow their heads to the Powers, who object to anything but themselves being at the top of the cosmic food chain, coming into religious spaces because *they cannot stand* to see those spaces stand whole and unmolested. it’s a madness — what Guason rightly called kakomania, an obsession, a sick perversion. One of the reasons that I let this conversation go on — unlike Hrafnblod who deleted much of the conversation he and sannion were having on his own blog — is to give an example of this type of polluted spiritual madness. it is pandemic. Kenaz Filan and I long ago once had a conversation where he speculated that for people who are not properly aligned with the Holy Powers, who are contemptuous of piety, who detest devotion, who are so riddled with hatred of the divine and those who love Them that they do this sort of thing, well, he speculated that when you are so riddled with spiritual contempt and pollution, actual religious, devout, pious space, attitudes, practices feels painful and wrong. I poo-pooed that at the time (sorry Kenaz), but I think in retrospect that he’s absolutely right and these people will drive themselves into a frothing fury screaming “nazi!!!!” over anything that doesn’t drag itself down to their perverse and polluted level.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Wow,,,,you are very eloquent.

      Like

      • Thank you…. It’s just intellectually dishonest and so deeply disrespectful what has been said here, and I would be remiss if I said nothing. My own dead family would turn in their graves if I didn’t. I remember back when I lived in Queens, I used to walk my mom’s little poodle for her. I once came to visit my mom in her apartment building, and a woman walked into the elevator, saw the dog, and started backing out in hysterical uncontrollable fear. Before I had a chance to say anything or try to calm her down, her husband started to apologize for her. He said that she was a camps survivor, and she saw dogs tearing a woman apart in front of her, and ever since then, she could not be around dogs. He apologized so hard, he would not let me put in a word in edgewise. That woman knew Nazis.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I just binge watched this new Jack Reacher series on Amazon. No excuse, I’m convalescent from covid. One thing that Reacher says frequently: “details matter.” Well, words matter and using them correctly. Lately people saying that wearing masks or vaccine requirements is like the holocaust just make me want to tear my hair out.

        Liked by 2 people

  31. Hrafnblod | February 4, 2022 at 1:35 PM

    “Insofar as you need to understand my worldview to know where I’m coming from, understand that my guiding principle is anti-authoritarianism, and understand that that unconditionally supersedes the value of performed piety or devotion, or any axioms about the inherent goodness or holiness of an abstracted and unchanging divinity. If a mode of religion- a human institution- ever becomes an obstacle to human liberation, and it often does so very directly at the direction of people like Krasskova, then there is a moral imperative to destroy it.
    Paganism has an enormous potential through pluralism to expand human experience, facilitate liberation and help us engage in more healthy and meaningful relationships with one another, with our ecology, with the divine (in that order, imo). Fundamentalist opponents of that sort of pluralism are only going to subvert that potential and reinforce the ills of the status quo.”

    So basically, you are a hypocrite. You believe in Divine Powers, but only when it conveniently fits your views, think you know better then They do on what is right and wrong, and uphold the supremacy of your judgement over Theirs. See, the things that trigger you – enslavement, lack of care for our environment, limitations on the human mind and the growth of an individual – sound on paper like wonderful things, but they are very abstract concepts and concretely can mean almost anything. What is ecology? What one person who feels passionately about the environment is not what another one would do. What is liberation? Do you mean actual legal slavery, ownership of a human being? There are people who claim that receiving no government assistance when you are in dire need is liberation. Is that what you mean by liberty? See, the problem he is not that the Gods stand juxtaposed to any of the things you describe, you simply lack the faith and the trust into their way of addressing these problems (as well as conflating the Gods with humans who run religious spaces. Humans are fallible, and sometimes downright horrible and despicable). But would you have the inner strength to submit to the will of a deity, and enough faith that They would handle all these things in the best possible way, even if it didn’t make sense to you? If not, then again, what are you doing in a religious space? Jealousy that others can take the leap?

    Liked by 2 people

  32. Hrafnblod, you keep alluding to my being ignorant of Theodish Heathenry. I was deeply ensconced in Theodism for probably ten years, part of Neowanglia whereas you’re not even — by your own admission in the thread above – Heathen. You’re butt hurt that I called you out on your errata and that I’m using proper theological terminology. Grow up.

    Like

  33. Emma, your anecdote about the French scholar is very, very enlightening. To be fair, I don’t think that’s necessarily what’s happening here with Hrafnblod but I definitely think that type of misogyny is pandemic in our communities. I remember about 2011-2012 my husband, another male friend and I did a thought experiment. We each made the same post. Oh, we changed the words slightly, but not in any way that would affect tone or meaning. One of my colleagues threw in some profanity. People argued with us, but I noticed something. They argued with the men on the basis of the ideas the piece was espousing. They argued with me by throwing personal insults and attacking my character. it was quite enlightening. I certainly know half the issues I had in Theodish Heathenry would not have been issues of the same magnitude were I male.

    Like

  34. You were told to “chug piss” because THAT is what you said to my husband after he responded to your slander of him. You also called me a Protestant (which is hilarious if anyone knows the first thing about Protestantisms) which implies a belief in Calvinism.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Oh wow. reading comprehension. Emma, I don’t think you ever said you admired Buckley and yet we get from this genius ” someone who sees things to admire in William F. Buckley Jr. would be able to tolerate Galina’s intolerable politics,…” I’m not sure if it’s lack of reading comprehension or a conscious twisting of meaning. I suspect a combination of both.

    Likewise, what ARE my politics? Anyone who actually reads what I write knows I’m not a white supremacist, and likewise knows I’m very anti-Marxist. The rest is assumption twisted to suit their rhetoric. I won’t join their little woke club so I am the devil.

    Like

    • I suspect that part of the difficulty is that he has problems when people don’t fit into tidy little boxes. I know white supremacists. In 1962, I saw my grandfather put his foreman in the trunk of his car to get him out of town and safely to Atlanta so that he wouldn’t be lynched. His foreman, a WWII decorated combat veteran, deacon of his church and father of ten had had the unmitigated audacity to join the NAACP, the first person in town to do so. He had to stay in Atlanta for almost a year before it was safe for him to come home. In the 1980’s, a young black law student went to Florida for spring break. He was ‘uppity’ to some good old boys so they doused him with gasoline and lit him. This happened about 40 miles from my home town. So yes, I know white supremacists.
      I don’t agree with all your opinions. You’re a bit like my mother with her tolerance of incompatible ideas…you don’t fit into a tidy little box. You’re no white surpremacist.

      Liked by 1 person

      • omg…your story about your grandfather helping that man stopped my breath. Thank the Gods he was able to save that man. and that poor kid …my Gods.

        as to my opinions … it’s true: I can hold numerous incompatible ideas based on their relative merit…pretty much how I can look at a dozen different creation stories and say “yes.”

        Like

      • What goes around comes around. After my grandfather died, my grandmother lived alone on the ranch for a while. She was preparing to face a hurricane…tying down loose objects, bringing down the storm shutters. This man showed up to help her get ready for the storm. She admonished him for taking care of her when he was responsible for his family. He told her that he was as deacon of his church and as such it was his responsibility to care for widows and orphans. We were all very moved by what he said, particularly so because in the segregated South, he was in no way obligated to see her as a member of HIS community.

        Liked by 1 person

  36. I’m going to venture to say that it’s not your youth she has contempt for, Hrafnblod. Not that I saw contempt at all so much as an unwillingness to swallow your bullshit.

    Like

  37. At the time that my grandfather helped that man, they were both horrified that I saw what was happening. My grandfather made it clear that I was to tell NO ONE about what I saw that night…’not even family’…now that will get your attention. It got mine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • and that speaks volumes about the culture at that place and time. He was risking his life and I suspect his family’s (which I know you know, but a lot of people reading this may not).

      Like

  38. The reply button is definitely not working, so I am going to answer the parts of the posts via the below method.

    Lets begin with the religious belief and a study of character:

    Hrafnblod | February 4, 2022 at 1:57 PM

    “There keeps being an assertion brought up that the gods are impassive, immutable, unchanging and fundamentally outside, unaffected by our perception, by our veneration, and so on (because of course in its great war against pluralism Polytheist Identity at some point settled on neoplatonism as its de facto dogma lol). If this were true it’s even more irrational to prioritize them over the actual things we have tangible impact on, to place their worship above the freedom and dignity of our fellow man, and yet doing exactly that is to be regarded as virtuous? Why?”

    So its irrational to prioritize our Gods

    Hrafnblod | February 4, 2022 at 3:58 PM

    “To begin with, I don’t think I’ve said anything that would indicate through text or subtext that I see deities as mascots — I don’t think they’re particularly useful in that regard, if anything. I just also don’t see them as inscrutable abstractions that defy critique or as some kind of singular uniform divine essence, but rather as a mixed bag depending on who and what you’re dealing with.”

    So you think you are in a position to critique the Gods

    “Equally fallacious (and concerning) is the return to the idea that the sphere should simply be ceded to these malign elements, or that apprehension at a particular and largely neoplatonist-based perception of The Gods is indicative of “not caring” about them at all, or thinking that the sphere of religiosity should just be handed over to others. To be sure there are deities with whom I don’t have a particularly warm relationship, but I contest the reactionaries’ claim to pagan religiosity because I do care enough about it to fight them for it.”

    “Paganism is the community I exist within, it’s the place I have the most familiarity with and the space I have the most experience mapping out the dynamics of. It’s a space where I feel comfortable enough to be able to butt heads with more fascist-inclined elements. It’s very fucking strange to me, as someone who has been stewing in paganism for literal decades, who has dedicated considerable time and energy to the community, to have someone say “It seems like you don’t care about any of this so why don’t you just let these people have uncontested claim to being the Authorities of this area and the definition-setters for what pagan religiosity looks like?””

    Well, you don’t belong. You’ve come into a Norse Tradition forum (admitting that you are not a Norse Tradition Practitioner), state that since there were other groups that worshipped the same Gods, and that had abusive leaders, we need to deprioritize the Gods, question them over our human moors, and deprioritize piety, in other words curb religious practices. You clearly are not interested in being a religious person, but are using your “paganism” as a platform to advance your political views. So, again, why are you here? You’ve spent countless lines above discussing the cultural basis for a tradition, entirely ignoring its religious aspects. This is not a historical or cultural society. You are not an authority on anything here, you’ve just walked into a religious group and told people they need to step back from religion, which is one of the most obtuse things I’ve seen a person do. I have a friend who is an atheist who was raised Catholic, who has been an atheist since his teens, and he would never have the fundamental disrespect to go inside a church and tell people they should walk away from Christ (or to stop taking Christ so seriously).

    Hrafnblod | February 4, 2022 at 4:54 PM
    “I simply said that in the scope of my personal priorities, religious or otherwise, I am concerned with the well being of people and the ecology we live in before I am concerned with the wants or needs of deities who are going to be fine regardless.”

    If the Gods are not that important to you, then I ask again, why are you in a religious forum?

    Hrafnblod | February 4, 2022 at 4:54 PM
    ““Well, here, let me ask this: do you worship the Gods at all?” Probably not in a way that you would consider to be “worship.” Like I do engage in some devotional acts (esp songwriting since that’s kind of my thing) but at this point in life I largely eschew traditional ‘worship’ in the sense of ‘hierarchical subordination’ in favor of more equitably cooperative modes of relating to the divine.”

    This is massively illogical even by the standards of pure logic divorced from religion. If you accept the existence of beings who are immortal and immensely powerful, able to see the past, present and future, then it stands to reason that you probably are pretty small and limited in relation to them. To assume that you are on the same playing field with them is a galling statement no matter how you may feel about them, and utterly illogical. If you do indeed believe in the Gods, you are literally consciously acting in a massively illogical manner just to have your way, and possibly are in for a world of hurt, as is often the case when you suspend disbelief and logic this way.

    “Of course paganism is a means to an end. The pursuit of anything is a means to achieve some sort of end, else there would be no pursuit. The question is, as always, what are the ends themselves and values to you prioritize in the pursuit of them. Do you think Krasskova is not treating it as a means to an end?”

    So basically what you are saying is, if you have nothing to gain from veneration, why pursue it? In your view, people practice a religion to achieve their own ends, not because they love and are devoted to their Gods and Spirits. Since you suffer from the ethical degeneracy of being incapable of a distinctly selfless act, the safest thing to do is to assume everyone functions this way, especially those you do not like. It’s also handy to ferment doubt in people’s own intentions, so that you could show that in fact you are not inferior to them (especially when you clearly know you are, as per your writing).

    Hrafnblod | February 4, 2022 at 4:44 PM
    “It also assumes that if the gods do endorse something that it is fundamentally good and I don’t really believe that deities are incapable of being wrong.”

    You ask where the assumption comes from that you are an atheist?! Look above! So far, per the above, I see that you feel that human issues must come before your relationship with the Gods, that its irrational to prioritize Them (which means you have no conception of the damage that such a belief does to your soul and your heart), you think that you, a human, are in a position to critique the Gods, as if you are on a level playing field with them, you consider yourself equal to them and feel you are entitled to judge them, and you feel that, despite this trail of thought, you have the right to come into a religious group and lecture others on religion, and subsequently are wondering why we think you are an atheist. Even via simple logic, acceptance of divine entities already presupposes your inferiority to them, which clearly makes you uncomfortable.

    Hrafnblod | February 4, 2022 at 4:44 PM
    “Do you believe there are non-corporeal beings that run the cosmos and have an invested interest in what we’re doing here on Earth?”

    Run the cosmos, idk. Like legitimately wouldn’t speculate about scope to that degree. I believe there are gods. I have grievances with too many of them not to lol.”

    Ok, so you have grievances with them, and instead of dealing with those like a mature adult, via prayer, speaking to the elder of a tradition that worships those Gods you have a grievance with, doing internal work and devotional work to rewrite that connection, you have instead chosen to come into a religious forum to attempt to get others to disrespect them as much as you do, so that you could destroy those who have healthy relationships with them. Thanks! Do you also want to come for Thanksgiving to my family, my Canadian relatives may show up and I am hoping you’ll create enough enmity so that they don’t try this again. Seriously, it’s bad enough that you have issues in your personal religious life, but don’t you think it’s incredibly unethical to try to ferment pain and sadness in others? It’s a little bit like a guy whose sister is shot who them goes next door and kills someone else’s sister so that way, others can feel the same. Not cool, man, not cool!

    Hrafnblod | February 4, 2022 at 5:00 PM
    ‘To be clear, in case it was misunderstood, I do not believe gods are infallible. I believe they’re eminently capable of being wrong – we have gods who are primarily associated with kingship, after all.”

    Yes, you definitely have a better sense of ethics then They do, after all, you are flirting with apostasy and atheism and have decided to come into a religious blog to share the joy, lol! What kind of an unethical person goes into a religious forum to attempt to convince others to abandon their faith in an attempt to make them as miserable as he is himself? And you actually think that your morality should be followed over the Gods?! Somehow your morality doesn’t seem like the spotless beacon of good that I think you think it is. You are selfish, stubbornly refuse self-reflection, and are trying to germinate similar mystery in other people.

    “>Grievances, you say? What an interesting choice of words.

    Whom among us has richly cultivated relationships with the divine and yet has no quarrel with any divinities they relate to?”

    Like I said, you are here to make others as unhappy and hurt as you are. Well, unlike you, we actually owned our shit, approached our Gods and spirits, and worked through our issues in our own private way, without taking the jackass way of polluting the relationships of others.

    Hrafnblod | February 6, 2022 at 1:11 PM
    “I’ve been asked by at least two people “why I’m here” if I “don’t believe in the gods,” or a slight variation on that. Likewise Galina pretty directly calls me a fool in the body of the post we’re commenting under. I don’t really know where you get the impression neither of those things happened.”

    For context, Galina (and her Nazi-memorabilia-wearing husband)…

    mem·o·ra·bil·i·a
    /ˌmem(ə)rəˈbilēə/

    Learn to pronounce

    noun
    plural noun: memorabilia; noun: memorabilium
    objects kept or collected because of their historical interest, especially those associated with memorable people or events.

    Sannion has never in his life purchased any item that fit the description of memorabilia of the Nazis. Words mean things, and when you make unwarranted, untrue, unsubstantiated statements, that means you have decided to lie in order to further your cause. And you are trying to convince us to take your ethical stands over the Gods?! Full knowing you have a grudge against them, insinuating that everyone does, and therefore we should all follow your example?! Is the “Nazi thing” a kind of a knee jerk reaction, like sneezing when there is dust in the air? It seems to occur when the failure of your purpose is imminent.

    With all respect, there is one thing I disagree with Emma on – you very much do have a purpose. Your purpose, a man who has lost his ability to connect to the Gods and who has decided to instead to deprioritize his malfunctioning soul structure, has decided to enter into a forum of devout people to see if he can convince them that his way is correct, and it seems there is no low to which you will not scoop – not bringing up Nazis, or lying about someone you do not know, or practicing sophistry in order to confuse rational thought.

    “You seem to think that I am obligated to treat Galina with some sort of neutrality as though she were not a regrettable longtime fixture in the community, rather than to speak to her as the person she is quite well known to be. I noted in another comment that my driving principle is anti-authoritarianism. Why do you think that I would be polite and generous to fascists or their allies, people who expend so much time and energy expressing their opposition to the ‘woke mob’ or whatever the fuck they want to brand liberatory politics as while cozying up to authoritarians, racists and other scum?”

    Since you insist on disrespecting Holocaust survivors by using the term “Nazi” and “fascist” on people whose politics you do not like but who are not either of those things, despite me explaining in detail why its insulting and disrespectful to all those who share that experience, dead or alive, I am now inclined to understand that you don’t actually care that you are disparaging their memory and want to use that experience of collective horrendous suffering for your own personal agenda. You are therefore an anti-semite and likely a Holocaust denier. I will make sure that a link to your blog is forwarded to the Anti-Defamation League, this is really their purview.

    “Yes, I’m being insulting to Galina. Galina Krasskova is a fucking white supremacist.”
    Galina is married to a Black Foot Native American man, so I am going to chuck this up to creative reading comprehension issues you’ve been having that further your agenda, just as you are doing with the term “Nazi”, you Holocaust denier you.

    “Krasskova’s takeaway, and only significant criticism of that cult is that it bolsters “male egos.” She doesn’t care how it does so or why, because she doesn’t have fundamental disagreements with the structure or the underlying assumptions of authority and how piety is properly expressed.”

    Prove it, this is blatantly untrue. Galina wrote expressly on the many abuses in that community, even I know that and I have no interest in theodism whatsoever. Your advantage here is that the people around have decided they no longer need to read original writings and don’t like to back up their statements. This will not work with me, I assure you. Nothing that she has written would suggest such an inference. In fact, this is her blog, why don’t we ask her if this is true? The one thing we can agree on is that Galina is not the kind of person who will keep her opinions hidden or to herself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • idk who you are but considering from the literal very first point you just accused me of saying something I very clearly did not say.

      Like

      • When you start throwing the term Nazi around as you do and calling people Nazis even when every evidence shows they are not, you are pointlessly minimizing and belittling the Holocaust, as well as appropriating it to suit your agenda. You are essentially erasing it, the horror and suffering of it, from existence. Every time you sit idly by and allow others to throw it about just as easily, you are promoting this erasure. If that is not the erasure of Holocaust, then what is? When the smoke clears, and people will finally say, that people who have been called Nazis were not Nazis and that it was an exaggeration, what do you think will be left of the story of the Holocaust? People will not remember the suffering and horror of it, they will remember how it was used to promote an agenda. It will erase it.

        Liked by 1 person

  39. I thank you for your time here, Hrafnblod. Now, when I need a concrete example of what Guason so insightfully termed ‘Kakomania,” the obsession with attacking and destroying sacred things, spaces, and people, I can point to this conversation. You’ve done me a great service in giving me such a clear, unarguable example.

    Like

  40. Hrafnblod | February 6, 2022 at 1:11 PM
    “I’ve been asked by at least two people “why I’m here” if I “don’t believe in the gods,” or a slight variation on that. Likewise Galina pretty directly calls me a fool in the body of the post we’re commenting under. I don’t really know where you get the impression neither of those things happened.”

    Here is a statement by the Anti-Defamation League that the Sonnenrad is s symbol that has been used over 1,000s of years by countless cultures and that even though there are some suprematist groups that adopted it, one should not assume that a person who uses it is a white suprematist or a Nazi: https://www.adl.org/education/references/hate-symbols/sonnenrad.

    But of course a Holocaust denier apostate would know better who the Nazi is then the Jewish watchdog of anti-Semitic activity….

    Liked by 1 person

    • hey, likewise the valknot, a sign that’s been used by those devoted to Odin for far, far longer than I”ve been Heathen. But again, when you have someone who wants to attack religion, they’ll go after every sacred sign, symbol, place, person, or thing.

      Like

      • There’s literally no significant evidence for what the valknut actually symbolized other than some by-proximity associations to Odin. But in the context of modern heathenry the Valknut’s association with him (esp the ever-common ‘it’s an insert-spear-here’ saying) was popularized by neonazi Odinists. Its symbolism in distant history is nebulous; its symbolism in contemporary heathenry is pretty unambiguous. I’m not telling you anything you don’t know, of course; you’ve been around long enough that you’ve seen these developments first hand, you undoubtedly know exactly which social circles these phrases and symbols first caught on in. I wouldn’t be so naive as to think you ignorant of those things. I would only question why you work so hard to obfuscate them to your audience who hasn’t been around as long and doesn’t have the same direct familiarity that you (or I) have.

        Like

      • the “insert spear here” was popularized by heathens, across the board in the nineties and not without cause. I’m not invested in sacrificing our sacred symbols on the altar of your political correctness (or anyone else’s for that matter). There’s enough evidence that the valknot has some associations with things Odinic to justify its use and it has become, in the last 50 years, a key marker for those specifically devoted to Him. You expect me to object to that because people like you dislike it? be serious.

        Like

    • There are countless varieties of solar wheel designs that are verifiably ancient. The particular one in question that is most commonly known as the Sonnenrad doesn’t show up anywhere earlier than the floor mosaic of a post-medieval German castle and, after being observed there by Nazi occultists, in various Nazi party iconography. Much like the way certain typefaced versions of the runic alphabet do not occur prior to Nazi usage.

      To put it another way, there are many verifiably ancient solar crosses, and Sannion (and, to be fair, many modern heathens since heathenry since the 70s has cribbed a great deal from Nazi aestehtics rather than from medieval or migration period archaeological finds) for some reason eschews most of them in favor of the very specifically Nazi-invented one.

      Like

      • Literally the Anti-Defamation League itself disagrees with what you are saying, literally the Anti-Defamation League itself, and they actually wrote in the bottom of their post on the Sunnenrad https://www.adl.org/education/references/hate-symbols/sonnenrad:

        Because sonnenrad imagery is used by many cultures around the world, one should not assume that most sonnenrad-like images necessarily denote racism or white supremacy; rather, they should be analyzed carefully in the context in which they appear.

        So what you are saying is, is that despite the ADL’s specific instruction that not every time someone uses specifically the Sonnenrad it means they are are a white supremacist, a fascist or a Nazi, you know better? So, you disagree with the ADL, the Jewish watchdog on anti-semitism? You think they are wrong and you are right? How many times does Sannion have to affirm that he is not a Nazi or a fascist? How many times do people have to tell you about who he is and the kind of person that he is, about his own ancestry, which are completely at odds with anything remotely Nazi? He is not Heathen, Sannion is an Orphic Bacchic Orpheoteleste (as in, he worships Dionysus, Bacchus and His retinue).

        I am not ok with you, or anyone with their own agenda, attempting to appropriate the shared Jewish experience of the Holocaust to promote their own agenda, no matter how righteous you think your agenda may be. Its insulting to what my people lived through and died from, belittles their experience and minimizes it, and I will not have their deaths used in this trashy way. You don’t like Sannion or Galina or disagree with them – fine. Say so. But stop calling them a term that has nothing to do with them. A symbol, especially one so spread throughout history, doesn’t make one a Nazi, especially a man who is literally the opposite of a Nazi.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Years ago, when I was in graduate school, one of my reading assignments were sections of the Nuremburg Trial transcripts. It was literally years before I could get some of those images out of my head. The barbarism was almost unthinkable. I recently lost a close friend whose parents were Holocaust survivors. She spent her life feeling like she deserved to suffer because her father had been a Sonderkommando and she felt she had to atone for his sins. There really is NOTHING comparable to real life WWII Nazi. Nothing.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That happened a lot after WWII. Those who served the Reigh or fought in the army sometimes chose not to tell their children the reality of what happened, they wanted to sweep it under the table. The trouble came when the children grew up and found out. One woman – Galina remembers her name – was so shocked and horrified when she learned of it, that she dedicated her life to finding and imprisoning the Nazis hiding across the world after the war ended. Many moved to Argentina to escape the trials and the prosecution. Many stayed in Germany who refused to officiate that they started a new life. The children were incredibly angry and ashamed and did what they could to rectify this, they were amazing and warriors for the good. My concern is, that the misuse of that world dilutes the meaning and the story of that horror. Using it as its been done lately means that eventually it will loose its force, that horror. I don’t think that’s a good thing, it erases the experience of that, minimizes the Holocaust. That horrifies me too, the idea that this behavior will erase the memory of the Holocaust. That should not happen.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Beate Klarsfeld is the woman you’re thinking of, Tove.

        Like

      • I taught survey of American history for almost 30 years. Every single time I had to teach my students about the Holocaust, there would be some sweet young thing who had no idea what any of it had been about. One student broke down crying and said: “but my aunts said it was like a game, they were just playing hide and seek in the barn.”…Right, they were Jewish, it was hide and seek, in the barn, in Poland, during WWII. Sure it was. It wasn’t just the Germans who didn’t want to talk about it. I would have to end class, take the current sweet young thing off to the coffee shop and as gently as I could, explain to her about what her family’s experience in the Holocaust really entailed. Tove, I think you were extremely fortunately that your grandfather DID talk about it. Many families did not.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I was never taught about the Holocaust in school — now, I read copiously so I learned about it (my father, who fought in the US army in WWII would never, ever talk about his experiences but every once in a blue moon, something would trigger him to blurt out a fact or two), but I was never *taught*. The lack of historical knowledge in the young today is horrifying to me. I lose my shit when I see these kids talking about how wonderful communism is…when my family has first hand experience with the Gulags. it’s time they sat down, read books, and maybe listened a little to the experiences of their elders.

        Like

      • That’s appalling that your history teachers failed you that way. I had friends in HS whose parents were Holocaust survivors so I knew about it fairly early on. Come to think of it, I wasn’t taught about it either, not until graduate school. My students struggled with two ‘things’…slavery and the Holocaust. They struggled with understanding “how people can do those things.” I learned early in my career that you have to tell them the truth but not so much of the truth that they tune you out. I gave my students letters sent from the Conquistadors back to Spain. Yet another sweet young thing told me that “people just aren’t like that, it’s not human nature”. I asked her to explain to me why this particular person, a Conquistador, would describe his experience if he “just wasn’t like that?” I said: “these are his own words, he is describing his experience as it happened TO HIM” ( I left out the part about questioning what his agenda might have been, why he described that particular thing to those back home.) I told you privately about my TA at the University of Florida. Maybe I just had exceptional teachers.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That student has a level of naiveté that I never had. I may not comprehend the mental gymnastics required in those who owned slaves or those who committed other atrocities — and it is shocking and horrifying — but that they happened — oh yeah. we’re a horrible species at times. I was lucky that I was encouraged to read and was almost never censored in that as a kid. You sound like you really did have exceptional teachers too, which is a godsend.

        Like

      • As a former Christian and someone of German descent, I find the Holocaust profoundly abhorrent because of what it says about supposed German and Christian values. Actually, anyone familiar with the history of pre- and post-war Central Europe knows that racism there is widespread. Everyone in that part of the world is racist…except that, well, being German, the Nazi were just so much more thorough about it. Just this week, we saw Whoopy Goldberg basically try to minimize the Holocaust by opining that it was not about race. Maybe she believes that only persons of color can be racist. Our dear mutual friend Hrafnblog called me racist right here on this blog which is, well, just stupid.
        This conversation may have gone on too long, but I’m finding it difficult to end my comments with any kind of meaningful conclusions.

        Liked by 1 person

      • it’s been long but enlightening.

        Like

  41. Ok, so now that I have such a lovely example of kako mania, I’ve blocked that fool. I thank all of you for taking the time and mental and emotional effort to engage with his mangled arguments, clear hatred of religion, and utter rudeness (especially to his female interlocutors here), and I thank you for posting. I think it is very important that crap like he espouses not be allowed to stand unchallenged in religious spaces. This isn’t about him or us or convincing either side, but in giving an example for those reading of what constitutes proper piety and right relationship with the Gods and what doesn’t. I really really appreciate your work here.

    Please make sure to go and cleanse yourself with khernips or whatever way your tradition dictates. There is a deep pollution in such dogged hatred of religion and while we must at times engage, I think it’s important to recognize that it can affect us negatively. As always, pray, cleanse, and do what you need for your spiritual health.

    Like

  42. The Anti-Defamation League wrote on the disturbing trivialization of the Holocaust in United States by the misuse of the term: https://www.adl.org/news/op-ed/inappropriate-comparisons-trivialize-the-holocaust

    Liked by 1 person

    • really glad you shared this, Tove!

      Like

    • In the time I’ve lived here in Texas, there have been two synagogues shot up. In 1997, the synagogue my friend and her family (consisting of her parents, and brother) attended had a gunman show up and shoot the place up with his semi-automatic rifle. Luckily no one was killed. And the recent shooting in Texas last month is 5 minutes from me, and I pass by it regularly.

      My friend who is Jewish refuses to wear a star of David because it makes her, and her family too visible of a target. She still has the mezuzah at her door. But it’s such a small thing most people wouldn’t notice it. There’s a mosque near me too, and they’ve had a bunch of Bubba Rednecks show up with guns and intimidate them as they go in and out of their place of worship.

      The cult I’m fighting 5 minutes from me are Anti-Semitic, and think the Jews should all be dead, along with the witches and LGBTQ+. So she has good reason to be cautious. (And that movement has a website with materials in over 50 different languages on their website with their anti-Semitic movies subtitled in the tongues of the world, and other articles).

      There’s some new asinine law being passed in Oklahoma, along the lines of that recent abortion law in Texas, where the government says private citizens can go sue people who do “X” in civil court for fines up to X. In this new case instead of for abortion, it’s for parent being able to sue teachers for teaching things that don’t align with their beliefs to their kids, who are enrolled as students. New policies in some areas recently enacted because of fears over critical race theory (which isn’t even taught in fucking grade school, or secondary school) make it so you can talk about Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball, but you can’t talk about why there was a color barrier in the first place. Seriously. >_< So you have teachers who not only are burned out from the pandemic, but have to deal with that shit nd they're leaving the profession in droves. Meanwhile in Texas you get school books that talk about African slavery as 'immigration' to the United States.

      Then you have white supremacist groups like Patriot Front, HQ'd here in my area responsible for 80% of the hate propaganda distributed in the US in 2020 (they're a splinter group from the Charlottesville Unite the Right Rally).

      When I was in Virginia we did have a survivor come and do a presentation at our elementary school. I was young so my concept of what she was telling me didn't compute well. My take away at the time is they were rounded up, imprisoned, tattooed and it wasn't nice. I really didn't understand what I heard that day until many years later. How do you tell sheltered and loved child about horror in way they can understand at that age?

      One of the things Spielberg did with Schindler's List was start up the Shoah project to record testimonials of the survivors, over 50,000 were collected from all over the world and they expanded their mission to go record testimonies of other witnesses and survivors of genocidal attempts around the world (Rwanda, Cambodia, etc.). The digitized video archive I believe is homed at the archives at USC. I know some of the holocaust museums worldwide use the footage as part of their exhibits.

      Take all of that with the fact most of the survivors are dying and there's all this fake and misleading information that the holocaust was fake… its just horrible. Even when they shared their testimony there were people calling them liars. It's like the people who tell the parents who lost their kids at the Sandy Hook shooting that they're lying and it's a hoax.

      I hate people sometimes.

      Like

  1. Pingback: What Makes a “Mystery Religion”? — Gangleri’s Grove – Horn and Hearth

  2. Pingback: On Family | Gangleri's Grove

%d bloggers like this: