And now the Apostate has defenders.

I suppose it’s indicative of Heathenry that a wife-beating apostate has defenders, because way too many Heathens respect neither women nor the Gods. This misguided person is doggedly defending Swain Wodening on both counts, blaming his ex wife for her own abuse, excusing Swain’s apostasy as though it were nothing but a momentary error. He dismisses any criticism of this piece of garbage by asserting that those of us criticizing him are acting on hearsay.

Actually, those of us criticizing him knew Swain and his ex wife, we worked with him when we were Theodish, and saw first hand what a mewling, characterless cretin he was –and obviously remains (constantly blaming everyone else for his own missteps is just the beginning). We’re not acting on hearsay at all. Nor is his mental illness an excuse. There are PLENTY of people in the world diagnosed with General Anxiety disorder who don’t behave in the fashion swain did.

Do I blame his wife for anything? Maybe for not shooting the son of a bitch the first time he attacked her. But then the laws in this country don’t always support women who do the right thing in such situations, and she had children to care for. She made choices congruent with keeping her children safe. Brava to her. She survived and I am glad to know that she is living a good and happy life now– far away from Swain. It disgusts me that in every case I have seen in our communities, where a well-known male figure is guilty of some sort of assault, those he assaulted get blamed (I saw the same thing happen in the Wiccan community with pedophile and wife beater Kenny Klein, may he rot in hell).

Even putting aside the spousal abuse, Swain says his “conversion to Christianity was a mistake.” no shit. A leader, as Swain was within Theodish Heathenry, who turns his back on his Gods and *publicly excoriates Them* has no right to expect return. He is garbage, living garbage. He committed apostasy of the highest order. A “mistake?” Yes it was and mistakes have consequences. In a proper community he’d be driven out, not defended. But then a proper community would care about the quality of its leaders, and integrity before the Gods. Swain has neither quality nor integrity and yet these fools defend him. His personal integrity – – if he came back, why would he be seeking public position in stead of just worshipping quietly? If he’s coming back to try to reclaim his public position — oh hell no. There is no excuse for what Swain did. He apostatized and wants to come back as though that never happened and didn’t matter AND as on every other fault, not only blames everyone but his own lack of character and poor judgement, but apparently has other men doing the same. Grow the fuck up, Heathens. This man is polluted garbage, poison. There’s no place amongst decent, devout people for his kind. This man’s deeds are to beat his wife and publicly turn his back on his Gods. He and his family popularized the maxim “we are our deeds.” Well, to quote another maxim, “it is by one’s deeds that we shall know them.”

As I said before, it’s one thing for laity to apostatize. They struggle with our spirituality and it can be very hard. There’s going to be movement and sometimes even syncretic practice. That’s fine. That’s not Swain. Swain was one of the most well known of Theodish leaders and, might I point out, according to the interview linked above, he’s not taking responsibility for his apostasy either. He says, ‘I never fully accepted the [Christian] doctrine.’ Great. So you’re an apostate twice over. (Nor, might I add, did Swain ever criticize Theodism as the article asserts. If he did, he was awfully quiet about it). Also, his belief “But the core of my beliefs, that good deeds not faith get you into Heaven are what I truly believe” is heresy both in most Christian denominations and Heathenry. It’s one fucking step away from prosperity gospel bullshit.

Swain didn’t just hold Christian views, but wrote a book on it trying to capitalize on being a covert from Heathenry. They finally see through your Bullshit, Swain? Is that why you’re back? Hoping a new generation of Heathens won’t know what a piece of shit you truly are? Did you get kicked out by Christians AND Heathens? wow. Maybe try Wicca next. Their standards might be more flexible. After all, many of them defended Kenny Klein and Isaac Bonewits and probably Marian Zimmer Bradley too so you’ll be in good company. But fuck off out of Heathenry. You have no place here and every time your name comes up, we should spit that foulness out of our mouths, and speak aloud your unending list of transgressions against your family, your tribe, and your Gods. None of us who knew you during that time, will ever forget. And forgiveness without recompense is not part of our tradition.

After all as the Havamal says, “When you see evil speak out against it and give no truce to your enemy.” A man who beats his wife, terrorizes his children, abandons his faith and publicly apostatizes will always be my enemy.

About ganglerisgrove

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

Posted on February 19, 2022, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. “But the core of my beliefs, that good deeds not faith get you into Heaven are what I truly believe”

    Also known in Catholic circles as the Pelagian heresy. Justification by faith is a core belief of Chalcedonian Christianity aka the overwhelming majority of Christian denominations today.

    You could say that “valorous deeds, not faith, gets you into Valhalla.” But good deeds? Nah. Valhalla isn’t Heaven, it’s a place where Odin gathers warriors for a final battle. Comparing the two is apples and oranges. Genghis Khan would be much more likely to get into Valhalla than St. Francis of Assisi. The Northern vision of the afterlife doesn’t map well onto the Gnostic/Neoplatonic-inspired vision of Christianity.

    Swain is also missing something that is important in both Heathenry and Christianity, repentance. Heathens have “wergild”, the idea that you have to make concrete restitution for your wrongs. Christianity has repentance, which often involves concrete restitution but definitely involves acknowledging and admitting your guilt. So far as I can see, Swain has done neither.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Pelagianism is a bit more complicated than that (they really pushed a particular type of ascetic, hard core Christian living), but for purposes of this argument sure, ok. Either way, the rest of your comment is spot on.

      Liked by 1 person

    • @Kenaz Filan – on a side note, Valhalla is but one afterlife destination within our tradition, the -chosen- battle slain get split between there and Freya’s hall. (Which implies not all are chosen). We’re not 100% sure what the criteria is for selection. Regardless most don’t end up there, we know other deities also played host to the dead.

      Why I hate speaking for the gods I just can’t see Odin taking him in among the einherjar. More likely he’d end up in Nifolhel, Nastrond or Wyrmsele.


  2. They talk about “smoke and mirrors,” yet the blog in question seems to have been created with the express purpose of defending Swain and peddling his “compassion in Heathenry” thing. Makes you wonder whether “I interviewed the Heathen author a week ago today…” might be referring to an internal monologue.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Swain is honorless. He should be turned out of the polytheist community and left to fend for himself.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. No one with any decency would defend this nithing. He has lost all right to participate in our communities. I wouldn’t piss on Swain if he were on fire.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’m always suspicious of those who defend abusers. In many cases, they support the abuse or engage in abusive behavior themselves. Either way, one has to question their motives.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. “I never totally accepted Christian doctrine”

    But you accepted the part where there is no true God but Jesus and that all others were either fake or demons. That’s what you meant by excoriating the Gods, Swain. That’s the big one. That’s the one that matters. That’s the one that marks the biggest disconnect between us and them. Anyone who doesn’t grasp that either doesn’t understand the gravity of the situation or is part of the problem

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I feel sad just reading that. Rather than deal with the actual accusation, the blogger goes off on all sorts of “poor me.” It was emotional blackmail to present Swain as the victim, and as the victim, be allowed a free pass. The second one on compassion was over the top. It was all injustice collecting.

    I feel that as far as mental illness is concerned, this is a person who is excusing bad behavior on their illness. People with various mental illnesses are expected to be good citizens. Those who are not are put into jail. I deeply resent the excuses given. My son who has schizophrenia and has been put into the hospital for his homicidal thoughts (to keep everyone safe) has been diligently working to be a good taxpaying citizen. He has had ten years of good citizenship and is proud of his efforts. That someone should use their mental illness as an excuse for their horrendous behavior is beyond the Pale for me.

    My general feeling is that Swain and whoever wrote this is feeling the fire of rejection. Otherwise, why would they go on and on about how they were wronged, and how we need compassion, blah, blah, blah. The only reason to write this is not to correct the record or proclaim innocence but to force people to let him back into their good graces. It shows that the campaign to expose him and what he has done is working.

    Liked by 3 people

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