This one will be available in my shop later tonight. It’s a beautiful rendition of the Egyptian Goddess Ma’at, the Goddess of Truth. The art is by Grace Palmer. I love how the feather just glows.
Last week I had a FB discussion with a former Heathen, who has since left Heathenry to become agnostic. We were arguing over the death of that missionary who tried to pollute the Sentinalese. I considered his death well deserved and my interlocutor disagreed. I had assumed that I was arguing with a co-religionist but it was almost immediately apparent that our worldviews were drastically different and finally it came out that he was agnostic. He had left Heathenry because the community was mean (whine whine), and there were white supremacists, and blah blah SJW talk blah. Dealing with Heathens of all different approaches and opinions apparently proved too much of a challenge to his “progressive” values. Ok fine. Bye and don’t let the door hit you on the way out. I wish you well. But I also said that our disagreement, in light of this, made perfect sense. At which point, he first starts trying to explain why he’s become agnostic (I do not care. In fact, I could not possibly care less why you chose to abandon your Gods and I certainly don’t want to hear your life story unless you’re paying me to provide pastoral counseling and probably not even then) (1) and when that wasn’t well received, opined “don’t you think my path is as valid as yours?” um, no, I don’t.
Firstly, it’s a mistake to fetishize community. Yes, we all want it. Yes, it’s important. It is not, however, equal to the Gods. Religion is all about being in right relationship with the Gods. That a community is not, should not impact the faith of the individual. That’s a hard thing, I know that but I don’t think anyone should belong to a particular religion solely because of the community. People are fallible and it’s inevitable that at times they will disappoint, sometimes deeply. One’s faith should not rest on the infallibility of any human creation. One’s faith should instead rest on experience of the Gods and ancestors, devotion to Them, and a commitment to veneration.
Secondly, why on earth would I consider an agnostic (or atheist, or anything else, including other religious positions) point of view as valid as that of polytheism? From the perspective of devotion, it’s simply not. One either believes in one’s tradition and Gods and values those things as the highest good or one doesn’t. If one does, then that is obviously the healthiest and best position one might hold; and while I may not condemn someone for making a different choice, neither do I have space for them in my emotional or spiritual world (and we’re not even talking potential miasma). From the perspective of faith, all religions and choices are not actually equal and what’s more, they don’t have to be. We are not, after all, attempting to build one overarching religion. Everyone does not have to agree. I think we’ve all been brain washed by a society that elevates “tolerance” over everything, including moral courage. I prefer “respect.” I respect your right to follow a different tradition. I will even fight for your right to do so. I do not, however, have any need of your company and I may think you are very misguided, foolish, and possibly deluded in my heart of hearts.
Finally, as a person of faith – at least on my good days ;)—I don’t see the point of allowing those who do not share my worldview to take up cognitive space. I’d rather expend my rather limited energies on building up a devout community, on engaging with co-religionists, and on doing what I can to honor my Gods and ancestors. I remain astounded that someone would think that I would consider any other faith or lack thereof to be equal to polytheism. Our traditions are not interchangeable after all. Our Gods actually matter.
- Inevitably those who have chosen lack of devotion and impiety insist on explaining themselves, but this is usually merely a means of gaining our support and approbation. There’s really no reason to care. I’m not in the business of proselytizing. Nor am I in the business of encouraging atheists and agnostics to proselytize in my presence. I kind of side with the Sentinalese on this one.
I would like to thank all of you, my readers, who chose November to shop at my etsy store. 100% of my proceeds have been donated to Paralyzed Veterans of America. Last year, we made, iirc, $611 and change, which was also donated to PVA. This year, thanks to you, that amount doubled and I was able to donate $1300. Hail the military dead and let us honor those veterans living.
“Between “orthodoxy” and “orthopraxy”, I privilege neither, but rather affirmation of the Gods Themselves. This is not reducible to “orthodoxy”, because there can be multiple doxai concerning Them, nor to “orthopraxy”, because practices can and do change.”
–Edward Butler, Phd
You know it’s going to be a good day when that day starts off with an intense discussion with a theology colleague about child vs. adult baptism. Hah.
Anyway…today is Krampusnacht (and happy birthday, Ian!) but also the eve of St. Nicholas Day. In Switzerland, in my mom’s time at least, children would set out their shoes and tomorrow would receive small gifts. The house would be decorated with beeswax candles and traditional sweets like Lebkuechen, dates, mandarine oranges, and nuts would be shared. There’s a particular smell all of this creates in a home, one of comfort and joyful anticipation.
For the better part of twenty years, my mom and I have celebrated Dec. 6 as Oski’s Day. Oski is a particular heiti for Odin, one that hearkens to His generosity as gift giver. It’s a gentle prequel to the beginning of Yule, a chance for a little festivity, and a nice way of honoring Odin as we move toward one of our holiest times of year.
So in case I don’t have time to post tomorrow, happy Oski’s Day, everyone.
Add my name to this letter as well. Not surprised Wild Hunt decided not to publish it. They’re a joke.
This letter was submitted to The Wild Hunt weekend editor on Nov. 30th and declined Dec. 1. Feel free to copy and paste this letter in its entirety, along with signatures, and share as you will on your own blogs and social media. Update! See Ky Greene’s Lokean Community article here!
A Lokean Group Response to Karl Seigfried’s “Loki in the White House”
We are concerned about the religious bigotry and intolerance against our community and religious practices, as conveyed in Karl E.H. Seigfried’s recent column “Loki in the White House,” The Wild Hunt, Nov. 24, 2018.
Those who cultivate a relationship with the Norse god, Loki, are a minority among neopagans. Our individual practices are eclectic, nondogmatic, and individualistic.
By equating Loki with certain cherry-picked actions of the current president of the United States, Seigfried suggests that we who cultivate a relationship with Loki do not understand our…
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I’m absolutely in love with the newest prayer card. (I’ve actually received two prayer cards this week and love them both, but one you’ll have to wait until my newsletter to preview 😉 It’s free. You can register at the ‘follow’ tab above). The one here is an image of Apollo by Lynn Perkins. Check it out — it’ll be available for sale later this week.
A question I was discussing with a Christian colleague (at school) recently: What would it mean to approach our Gods and our devotion in wonder and awe–every single time– instead of fear, resentment, or a thousand other emotions? What would that mean for us and for our religious lives?
All the Gods should be honored. It’s not our place to cherry pick. hail Loki, now and always.
There is a particular type of Heathen, call them Nokeans, who have deep philosophical objections to honouring Loki Laufeyson as part of Heathen ritual. This is something that I discovered when I began having more dealings with American Heathenry, and it is almost purely an American issue. I get how those who are part of American Heathenry can have trouble seeing that it exists beyond their shores and experiences, but for those of us far from their own journey, some of their communities deep and bitter battles are just hard to understand at all. The Lokean/Nokean feud is one of the bitterest and strangest for outsiders to grasp.
Lets acknowledge the eight hundred pound gorilla in the room and admit that American Christianity is different that most of the rest of the worlds, and its baggage was not left at the door when conversion to Heathenism was embraced by many…
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