Search Results for rhyd wildermuth

Devotion, Offerings, and a Response to Rhyd

So I have been following the issue with offerings (started by relative outsiders to Morrigan cultus commenting on whether or not it was appropriate to make certain offerings to Her) with growing dismay. I want so much for our communities to be more devotionally sophisticated than some of these debates allow us to appear. Perhaps though by the very act of discussing and debating these things, we’re forced to consider our own position, and that relative to our traditions and those are good things. So, I’m going to be wading in.

Markos, the Dionysian Artist has been talking about this here (and he gives all the relevant links) with Rhyd Wildermuth and others. Rhyd posted an article to which Markos responded and the conversation continued via facebook. I flat out questioned the relevancy of Rhyd’s argument, which seems to me to be little more than reducing our gods and Their cultus to meaninglessness to which he responded:

“On the contrary, rather than reducing anything to meaninglessness or getting out of something inconvenient, this is doing the really, really inconvenient work of worlding a god beyond just what we give them. Gods can’t be bought off with offerings anymore than humans can; what they want (as you well know) is what we really have to give them: the world. That’s how they become our meaning and we theirs, and how they become known to others through our actions.”

To which I will now share my response, because these are issues in which we should all have a vested stake.

“Ah I see your confusion. I should have realized this would be difficult for someone with a Marxist mindset to understand. It’s really quite simple: the purpose of offering to the gods is not to buy Them. It is not the equivalent of bribing a human being. The purpose is an expression of devotion that interweaves Them into the fabric of our world and that augments and develops a “language” if you will by which we may engage and that is a tremendous privilege.

What you are suggesting is no different at its core than something John Halstead might write. You are denying the Gods a material presence in our reality and privileging the human fear of meaning, of infinite relevance. You’re also privileging your own personal leftist dialectic over the parameters of devotion (parameters that the gods have clearly already laid down for us — sometimes the work is done for us, not often but sometimes), parameters that mark a clear and cosmic hierarchy in which our “place” is a limited one (yet one with infinite potential to evolve and grow). It’s a position that ignores that the gods do not need us to give Them relevance; instead maybe we should be looking to Them and the navigation of our relationship with Them, to define our own relevance.

As much as you rail against power structures in your writings, what I see here is no more than resistance to Their sovereignty.

The Gods already have the world Rhyd. As much as They are transcendent Powers, They are likewise deeply immanent and inscribed in every atom. They don’t need us to give the World to Them. Perhaps They need us to wake up and realize it is already Theirs and return to right relationship with it and Them but the world is not ours to give.

That is in part the paradox of devotion: There is nothing we can give Them that They do not already possess and yet perhaps we in some way are cleansed and ennobled spiritually by entering into the offertory cycle. It nourishes that right relationship. Not as alley Valkyrie assumed is it the culmination of ones relationship devotionally with the Gods. It is the beginning, the baseline, and act of vulnerability that positions us relative to the Gods as suppliants, those who acknowledge Their sovereignty as Gods with all that implies.

You also high handedly criticize those who would accord to the ways of our ancestors, who would restore rightful and pious practices like sacrifice. You not only do so with us but with all the many indigenous religions in the world that reverence rites of sacrifice ( the Afro-carribbean religions, Hinduism, etc.) and all because you have a knee jerk reaction to acknowledging with our offerings the capacity for devastation inherent in each of our Gods. For someone who criticizes oppression of the Other and condemns racism as you do in your work, I have to say that was very white of you.”

I encourage people to read all of the relevant articles and to familiarize yourselves with the parameters of this debate. The future of our traditions is something that should involve us all and in which, we should all have a vested interest. It’s important not only to know what’s happening but to understand where ideas may ultimately lead. To venerate the Gods has consequences in our lives, each and every day. That’s no small thing.

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Wow. The Stupid. It Burns.

Kenaz has a new post up here. He points out that John Beckett’s posts on purity, sin, and miasma have spurred many interested discussions in the blogosphere. 

It’s certainly sparked amazing examples of poor reasoning and illogic from rhyd wildermuth. i wonder what it is like in his head? i’d love to know how he equates maintaining proper ritual purity before the Gods to genocide against Jews and Romany. I mean, does he look down on Jews and Romany to the point that this is where HE would go, and thus cannot conceive of motivations that focus specifically on the Gods? Or is he rather tryign to bring up a straw argument, to damn those who do care about the Gods, traditions, and keeping themselves clean and in a state of proper receptivity to the Powers?

Apparently basic religious standards are now “oppression.” 

To quote Kenaz: 

Piety sees the state as an integral part of things. Rhyd and his cabal see the state as a tool of oppression that will ultimately wither away. Piety treasures the things which set you and your people apart. Rhyd and his see those differences as war waiting to happen and want to sand them down.

It’s perhaps time, we considered the full implications of their agenda. 

 

Trigger Warning!!! ;)

I never thought the day would come when I found myself agreeing with Rhyd Wildermuth and the Gods&Radicals crowd.

However, reading the latest from Dr. Bones, a “Conjure, Rootwork, and Hoodoo practitioner who blogs at Disinfo:

We vagabonds, we tortured, we bottom of the pyramid say YES! But among the magical folk there are those who do not share our vision, fools who either deny they have been lied to or greedily devour those same lies and lose their Unique. Do you want to know the truth? Those fools that would deny the pain that has forged your very existence, would doubt that there are MILLIONS of us, that would disbelieve every fact, figure, and statistic you might give them revealing that each and every injury is something SYSTEMIC and NOT ISOLATED, all while remaining wedded to a dying ideology, are in fact OUR GREATEST ALLIES! Their indifference only fans the flames of fury in our hearts, dear Reader. Their indifference allows the cancer to spread and forces more souls to be raked across the coals of Capitalism! And it is this suffering, this pain, that is our greatest gift, for in it all the lies The Blind Ones still stutter are instantly burned to cinders! Before we became well-read, before we found our philosophers, we knew our path: our politics rose from indignation, our theories from nightmares of insignificance, and our dreams built on struggles of Insurrection!

I’m beginning to think they might be Right:

Our Decadent Society: New Right theorists criticise modern civilization as being in a state of ‘decay.’ They tend to be heavily anti-Modern and sometimes anti-civilisationist, believing that society needs to return to a more noble, healthy, and ‘natural’ order. Our Lost and Despoiled Lands: “Blood and Soil” is a crucial aspect of New Right thought, though this takes many forms. Regarding ‘soil,’ there is a tendency towards Nationalist identity through relationship to land (European lands, primarily) and the desire to protect it from foreigners. Also, they tend to co-opt Indigenous and First Nations language regarding sovereignty without actual alliance with post-colonial and anti-colonial politics. Our Great Threat: The New Right creates group identity and coherence through focusing on external human threats. Immigrants and particularly Muslims are the primary ‘enemy at the gates’ in European New Right movements, as in North America.

That shit’s dangerous and we really should keep a vigilant watch against it in our communities.

I also heartily agree with Crystal Blanton when she writes:

When people from privileged cultures or backgrounds attempt to dictate what is and is not cultural appropriation versus cultural exchange, they are reinforcing the imbalance of power that has continued to steal the voice from people of color throughout history. The best people to speak on the use of their cultural treasures are those who struggle in systems that erase them.

I wonder if we’ll get more insightful commentary like that at her presentation at Many Gods West.

Or Rhyd’s session on how to Fascism:

For most the term fascism has become a hollow snarl word, an expression of enormous disgust and opposition. Across society the word is used freely and without understanding for what it actually means.

Perhaps someone who can afford the steep registration fees will report back for us?

I also wonder if C. Thompson will be attending, considering their apparent disagreement:

Did…did he just snark at how Rhyd constantly talks about his impoverished upbringing? Holy shit, I think he did. I think Chris here really did just fire off a shot a Rhyd. Rhyd constantly talks about his impoverished upbringing and how it drove him to Marxism and anti-capitalism. And it kinda looks like Chris just told him to shut up about it. Damn, talk about breaking the shieldwall.

C. Thompson has a history of trying to shout down those he disagrees with, just like his Antifa friends did at a public speaking engagement in Canada:

Further Updates on How We’re All Fascists

Several other voices have weighed in on Rhyd’s recent article at Radicals with Gods, and yes, for those of you who had any doubt that Rhyd Wildermuth was behind it, he admitted his obvious authorship in the comments of John Beckett’s post. Give how he’s been vague blogging passive aggressive attacks about people who practice their ancestral polytheisms (without ceding power to him instead of the Gods), I was not surprised. I’d been expecting this for awhile. Still, there are many in the polytheistic community at least who see through his self serving rhetoric.

John Beckett chimed in this morning here.

“This article associates many of our most meaningful and vibrant traditions with some of the most vile ideologies lurking at the edges of our community. It’s no wonder many Pagans and Polytheists who have read this piece are upset. It’s a call for ideological purity reminiscent of McCarthyism, and if taken too far (and someone somewhere always takes things too far) it can lead to witch hunts. The irony of witches leading witch hunts would be amusing if this wasn’t so serious.”

Wyrd Dottir expresses her outrage here.

“But because we just refuse to allow those outside our religious tradition to define our practices for us, we are now fascists, and dictators.”

As does Selena Rifkin here.

“I’ve met plenty of Druids, Re-constructionists, Devotional Polytheists, and Dianics and not one of them advocated for the mobilization of society under a totalitarian one-party state.

The word “troll” comes to mind.”

We need every voice in this. Even if you are scared or dread the backlash, that is all the more reason to speak up. I will fight for you and for our traditions till my dying breath but it takes more than a handful of voices to make a difference in the face of such perniciously foul rhetoric. Make your voices heard too. It’s your traditions under attack, after all.

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Good Fences Make the Best Neighbors

I was so sorry to miss Many Gods West (MGW) and I really want to thank Rhyd Wildermuth, Niki Whiting, and PSVL for putting it on. I know exactly the amount of hard work and stress that goes into planning and running a conference, and also how necessary this type of work is for community building. Really great job folks. I am so so sorry I wasn’t able to be there. If i weren’t just getting back from a three week pilgrimage and beyond exhausted, I’d have been right there with you all. For those who haven’t had a chance to read the various recaps, I recommend this (John Beckett Rocks!!), this, and this and this. (I so wish i could have attended the Bakcheion rite!) 🙂

Of course not all the recaps were unvarnished delight. I just read Jason Mankey’s account and I have a few things I want to say in response. Firstly, this amuses me to no end. Mankey is so representative of Wiccanate privilege and it saturates everything he sees and everything he writes about especially in this article. Obviously, he was so intensely bothered (he mentions it several times) that what Wiccans do, what Pagans do was largely irrelevant at Many Gods West. He’s rather peevish about it too.

It also seems to really bother him that he wasn’t treated as a celebrity (he goes on a bit about how out he is as a Pagan and how a google search will turn him up *rolls eyes*. Sannion told me that while manning registration to help Rhyd and folks out, Mankey came to check in and was really put off when Sannion didn’t recognize him right away. This really reads as though he wants very much to detract and dismiss and even say nasty things about MGW but can’t come up with a way to do that without looking like total ass lint. The cognitive pain this seems to give him is palpable throughout the article.

I do wonder why he purposely notes “people who self identify as polytheists…” — that’s always warning language in academia– and i wonder why he felt the need to use that particular phrase here, as though casting subtle question on our legitimacy. Of course, it goes without saying that I consider Mankey anything but an ally in our work. I’ve been watching him for awhile now, and while I don’t think he’s as bad as some (di zerega, halstead, et al), I do think he bears watching.

This article is a perfect example: the way he describes us and the conference is very, very subtly condescending. he uses a lot of negative imagery: compares us to a revival meeting (not a positive image if you think about it but rather one that implies blind fundamentalism), questions polytheists’ connectivity and ability to meet our goals, and refers to the MGW key-note as ‘goofy’ (when with decades of service to the Morrigan she is anything but) and note he completely avoids mentioning any of the not insignificant Dionysian presence. This is especially notable when compared with other accounts of the conference, which provide a very different emotional tenor. For instance, this article notes:

“One of the things that I noticed about Many Gods West is that even though the group gathered at the event was diverse and varied with attendees coming from a broad spectrum of religious practices, there was a noticeable air of respect and courtesy towards each other and each other’s practices. As a matter of fact, the only real display of discourtesy that I witnessed came from someone who seemed to be struggling with the feeling that they had of not being included in the Polytheist “group”. I find this very interesting.”

 I think Mankey’s article really shows his animosity toward us, and I point that out because it’s a good example of what we all too often face in the Pagan and Wiccan communities.

He talks about how the feelings MGW brought out in him were different from other conferences, and says he doesn’t mean to be bleak….well, reading this, it’s clear that what bothered him was not being in a position of privilege and i think we can all learn from this. His comment that the Pagan umbrella has ‘a lot less leaks when we drink cider” together is telling as well. I think that this is one of the reasons that no matter how hard we try, people constantly want to wrench the work and the focus back to people and not the Gods….it’s less challenging.

In a way, i am really appreciative of Mankey for writing so honestly about this, because it shows the authentic divides between our respective communities and we can’t pretend those don’t exist. The more we are able to recognize our differences, the more we can adequately protect our traditions, and the more we will ultimately be able to get along, but that has to begin with recognition of those differences and respect for space.

EDIT: I apologize if anything I said here was taken as a personal attack on Jason. I had no intention of hurting him and this is the farthest thing from personal for me. This is about theology, ideas, and community politics. I try to leave my personal feelings about people out of those discussions (and i have no personal feelings toward Jason. I don’t know him). That being said, I realize that this is a medium of communication prone to misunderstanding and I take full responsibility for my the consequences of my words intentional and others;  and i want to take special care here to make it clear, that despite my stated objections above, I have no ill will toward Jason  personally and respect what he’s doing for his Gods and community. We need all our voices to make Polytheism and Paganism grow. 

Walking the Worlds Issue 2 Headed to Print

Issue 2 of Walking the Worlds is about to go to print. The topic is ‘regional cultus’ and we have a number of amazing and thought-provoking articles by Edward Butler, P.S.V.L., Weyland Skallagrimsson, Anomalous Thracian, Morpheus Ravenna ,Rhyd Wildermuth and many more.

I’ll be contacting both those whose articles were accepted and those whose articles, unfortunately weren’t (we received some really amazing pieces, but in some cases, style and/or theme didn’t quite fit in with our overall issue — i want to thank everyone though who took the time to submit and I encourage folks to do so in the future too). In the meantime, if you have been thinking about subscribing, now is the time to do so. Check our the journal site for how to do that.

Issue 2 will be shipping shortly after the Solstice.

wtw

Nero Looked Out His Window and Watched Rome Burn

A gay, Jewish journalist gives interviews while in hiding as a rioting mob calls for his blood in the streets below.

This isn’t Berlin 1939, it’s Berkeley 2017. It’s not the Nazis we need to worry about; it’s the SJW cultural Marxists.

The social justice left is the biggest threat to freedom in the US, more than anything else, including president Trump and his cabinet. Their willingness to use violence to silence anyone with whom they disagree, their hysterical fear mongering to prevent differing viewpoints from being aired, their slander and libelous attacks on anyone who doesn’t tow their party line, their lack of patriotism, their obvious contempt for America and its constitutionally protected rights, and their obvious indoctrination with cultural Marxism make them a clear and present danger to the security of this nation. We should all be concerned about this and yet, and yet, otherwise intelligent people will look at the political violence, designed to prevent free speech and consider it a good thing. Wake up, folks.

Today there are riots in Berkeley, CA. Fires have been lit, rocks thrown, buildings looted, and an immigrant speaker had to be spirited away by a security detail because of threats to his safety. Berkeley—ironically with its history of defending free speech, you know, the right enshrined in the First Amendment that underpins all our other rights and freedoms—is now the site of riots that are making world news.

Watching this is so surreal because these are the exact same problems we’ve been dealing with in our communities for the past couple of years, just on a large scale and far more dramatically. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s a quick refresher). What’s the common denominator? Marxism, always and inevitably. It goes after our fundamental freedoms (especially religious freedoms). And given that we have a generation of students subjected throughout their entire academic career to unthinking cultural Marxist indoctrination (we let all those communists and hippies go into education…bad idea that. They shouldn’t have been let anywhere near academia), they’re ill prepared to connect the historical and ideological dots.

It’s time to get woke, as the left would say, but we need to educate ourselves and wake up to the absolutely nihilistic, ahistorical, anti-theistic, unpatriotic, anti-family, anti-tradition dogma behind their rioting. Social justice? Not hardly. Social justice is a perversion and a mockery in its name. It doesn’t seek actual justice but the enslavement of the masses and if our traditions have any hope of survival, we need to crush this now, inexorably, or they will crush us.

And if you think this is hyperbolic, consider the history of Iran. In the 1950s it was a progressive, modern culture with Western values, women in education, medicine, law and prosperity was high; they had a bright future. Then they started having protests just like this on college campuses, which turned into riots, just like this. Khomeini came to power and now they’re a backward, impoverished, totalitarian state. And the women, their future there isn’t looking so bright. (They sure don’t go around with pussy hats). I could draw similar parallels all the way back to ancient Rome but we don’t need to: this is happening here today. You can either allow it, or stand and resist it, stand in support of our fundamental freedoms as Americans. Drive this communist trash out (with your words, your humor, and your commitment and engagement with the political process – while they go around muttering about punching Nazis and the more delusional among them actually acting on it). I am so deeply ashamed to be an American right now. I have never been more disappointed in this country than I have been today.

Here’s a full news report along with one of those aforementioned interviews:

Seriously, people, *seriously*?!

The rumor-mill is in full effect with certain people associated with a certain site implying that I or my husband are responsible for this:

http://rhydwildermuth.com/

I’m not going to speak for my husband beyond saying that I asked him and he just laughed and said, “Not my style.” We’re different people with different ideas and if he considers this an important enough matter he’ll make his own statement.

But for myself, I would like to emphatically state that I did not do it, I don’t know who did it, and if I did I’d tell them to take that shit down because it’s not funny. (FFS, people. Satire takes subtlety. I’ve been accused of many things in the course of my working life, but that has never been one of them). That’s the kind of thing people try with me all the time so why would I turn around and do that to someone else? Or have you guys forgotten about this sickening site:

https://polytheistrestoration.com/

I don’t have to resort to such cheap rhetorical tricks – merely holding a mirror up to the horrible things these people say and do is enough. I can read. That is why I always provide links, so you can go and read too and make your own judgments as opposed to just taking my word on something. Maybe you don’t know me well, but I am not a shy and soft-spoken woman. I don’t hide and take pot-shots at people from the sidelines – I wade right into the thick of it. Say what you will of me, you always know where we stand with one another.

So whoever is responsible for these sites – do you honestly think you’re helping? (and as to who might actually be responsible and whether or not they want to ‘help,’ I think we really should be asking the eternal question: cui bono? Because I read the first site, and it was written by an insider, or someone with an insider’s knowledge of Rhyd and his work). This situation has gotten bad enough without you throwing more gas on the fire. If you can’t out-argue the other side using truth and reason, you don’t deserve to win.

Come on people, we can – and should! – be doing better than this.

 

A Heathen Shouldn’t Have To Be The One Saying This But…

Since this latest imbroglio started with Rhyd and the G&R crowd, I’ve noticed that the terms ‘racist,’ [and ‘fascist’] are being thrown around with less and less care. What started out with Rhyd’s underhanded rhetorical free-for-all is turning into (just as many of us predicted) a witch-hunt. Now, it seems one is a “racist” if one doesn’t agree with Rhyd and his supporters. That is apparently all it takes. Racial bias need play no actual part.

In addition to crying “bullshit,” I want to parse that out a little bit because it’s an incredibly damaging trend, and not particularly damaging to our traditions, mind you, but damaging to the very work of social justice that Rhyd and his buddies purport to want to do. How?

Well, to go back to an argument that we’ve had ad nauseum: words mean things. If we start accusing everyone of being racist (or fascist, or sexist, or any other –ist) every time they disagree with our positions on other matters, those words are going to lose their meaning. When that happens, we will be numb and blind to actual incidents of racism and violence that very much deserve our attention and action. Language shapes our ability to perceive our world accurately. What they’re doing with their unfounded accusations (or founded on nothing save that the person disagrees with them on some other topic) is eliding the meaning of these words and that elision has the power to damage our long term ability to participate in recognizing the types of system inequalities and institutional biases that are so at work in our country and that so make up the fabric of racism in America today.

Basically if everything is racist than nothing is.

Here’s an exemplum to help you: It’s like the incident a few weeks back when college students supposedly got “traumatized” by pro-Trump graffiti. This isn’t trauma. Trauma is having a student suddenly have an abreaction wherein they viscerally relive childhood abuse right in front of you; trauma is a veteran crippled by PTSD, trauma is a survivor of domestic abuse unable to get close to anyone romantically out of fear, trauma is a survivor of rape who wakes up every night screaming, trauma is the mother of a young black child who has to worry about whether or not her kid is going to get shot on the way to school simply because he’s black, trauma is a lot of things larger and smaller in emotional scope than this but what trauma isn’t? Seeing Trump 2016 written in chalk and having a melt down over it. Trauma does not mean seeing something you don’t like and personally disagree with and choosing not to handle it like an adult. That’s not trauma. It’s also not racism. (And before the Rhyd brigade can accuse me of it, let me be clear: I’m in no way a Trump supporter. I find the man vile).

Let me let you in on a little secret: we can have different political beliefs and still behave like decent human beings. Disagreeing does not make us racist. Disagreement in the instances with which we’ve been dealing lately in our communities means that we’ve considered the same material that another person has and we’ve come to a different opinion about the way we’re going to practice our religion and live our life.

Go here  and read the comments. This is thoughtful and thought provoking discussion happening. For instance in the comments Eric S. asks a question that I think is quite salient to this current argument:

“That leaves me wondering: how safe will the coming decades be for polytheists, druids, hermeticists, etc.? Is there a possibility that, say, an act of domestic terrorism could get tied to some odinist skinhead group and lead to a crackdown on potential sites of radicalization, and that essays like the one on G&R could inform who winds up on watchlists? Or that, in the event widespread radicalization in the community, the entire occult scene, whether political or not starts looking to outsiders like a hotbed of sedition? One advantage of the pagan community since I’ve been involved has been the fact that the it’s been safe to be public and open, to hold rituals in parks, have public clergy, and so on without worrying about much more than being called silly or getting witnessed to. Do you see it as a possibility that within the next decade or so, we might have to learn to return to the same sort of cultural marginalization and tight-lipped discretion of the ‘60s and ‘70s?”

and likewise commenter “Kevin” notes:

“I’ve read Wildermuth’s article closely, and concur with your assessment. At one point he explicitly endorses the notion of guilt by association, actually using that word as he exhorts the reader to pin the tail on those secret persecutors who have ever read or discussed the works of Julius Evola. It all sounds to me like a game of Spot The Evil Space Lizard.

Even worse than the dubious slipshod logic, there’s something off about his tone, an unpleasant fusion of aggression with paranoia. I hope it doesn’t spread, but fear that your prognostication may prove well-founded.”

Now I don’t agree with everything Greer posited, not even close, (his lumping of polytheisms under the neo-pagan umbrella being first and foremost on that list) but I don’t have to in order to engage with his ideas and in order to appreciate the conversation that it has provoked. Ideas are being discussed and in some cases (thank you Eric S. whoever you are) taken to their most disturbing conclusions, a type of forethinking that seems to be perilously lacking at times in our communities (a failure of fortitude or one of imagination, I don’t know).

and yet if you go here, the second commenter, C. Thompson, says the following

“Now, they’re not even pretending that anymore and are just openly taking racist and right-wing stances along with the most dishonest forms of character assassination I’ve seen in a long time.”

Obliquely (or maybe not so obliquely) accusing Greer (and the rest of us in case you missed it) of being racists. That’s not thought provoking. That’s obscuring the discussion. Show me where that’s happening that doesn’t involve merely disagreeing with Rhyd. I’ve gone over Greer’s article closely and this is a laughable assertion.

[EDIT: C. Thompson has clarified his racist comments here.]

Rhyd and his supporters are attempting to hammer home one narrative of what it means to be a polytheist, devotionally inclined, of what it means to be anything other than aligned with his version of the radical left. They are giving us one narrative into which we must of needs be pressed ,a narrative that, when we attempt to speak for ourselves, says “toe this ideological line or you’re racist, you’re a fascist, you’re a monster.” It no longer matters if any of it is true.

So let me be quite clear: they’re using obfuscation and insinuation (without ever providing examples) to shut down discourse, distract when they’re losing an argument, and besmirch reputations. That is the very definition of a McCarthyite witch-hunt.

Enough of these foofaraws. Stop trying to colonize our religious communities with your oppressive and dictatorial politics. Stop trying to get co-religionists to be suspicious of and hateful towards one another. Stop attacking our traditions and our Gods. Stop making a power and money grab by stirring up endless controversy. Or know that we’ll be here to stop you. And we Heathens don’t back down.