Jon Upsal recently reached out to folklorist Carolyn Emerick and the resulting interview was quite interesting and enlightening, much better than the Wild Hunt coverage. The link is here and I suggest people take read. Emerick has been shat upon professionally because she holds to the radical notion that Europeans are people too.
There is an excellent article on sacral leadership by Jon Upsal’s Garden here. This article likewise references one by Kiya Nichol on sacral kingship Kemetic style, which is also worth a read.
I think my only quibble with the aforementioned Heathen article is that in the selection of a sacral leader from a pool of candidates at Thing, I think that divination would have played a part. It was the Gods Who would have had ultimate and final say on who should be the sacral leader (Jon Upsal rightly points out that there are more types of sacral leader than just ‘king’). I think this is the part we most often get wrong today. We make it a solely human-centric thing, and give the Gods and our specialists (like seers and diviners) no part in the process. But we’re learning and often by failing we gain important insights that bring us that much closer toward doing this thing well.
That being said, Jon’s article nicely notes that there are mysteries associated with sacral leadership and they are important. There’s a *sacral* aspect to it that cannot be ignored.
I’ve been meaning to write more on sovereignty and sacral leadership but this is finals time at school and it’s been a bit hectic. Perhaps when this term is over, I’ll be able to get that piece together.
Jon Upsal has posted a rebuttal to the recent, spuriously researched G&R piece by Ryan Smith. You can enjoy his piece here. Read them both folks, (Jon links to the original piece in his article). Make up your own minds.
Ryan lost me with his misuse of Tacitus. Tacitus was writing for a Roman audience, holding up the Germanic tribes as the embodiment of piety and valor, virtues that he found his contemporary Romans to lack. He wrote “Germania” in part to shame his readers into reclaiming these Roman virtues. Romans, even in the early imperial period, had a horror of kingship. (Early in their history, they had a succession of kings but it went very badly at the end). There’s no way Tacitus would have extolled a nation that had kings. If they did, he’d have had to downplay it, though one could argue that there is no essential difference between ‘king’ and ‘chieftain’ in a tribal setting. Using Tacitus to claim that the Germanic peoples lacked kingship is…disingenuous at best.
Ryan also uses predominantly Icelandic sources, as though Icelandic Heathenry and Asatru are the only denominations of the Northern Traditions. They are not. I won’t belabor that point here — Jon Upsal does a masterful job of deconstructing that part of Ryan’s article. Go. Read. Learn
Jon Upsal has posted an excellent article here deconstructing the latest attack on our traditions to come out of G&R, in which a writer (who does not deign to share his own religious background) decides that he can fix all of Heathenry’s problems: it just has to forget about the Norse Gods, forget about our traditions, sublimate our theologies and sacred stories to radical left wing politics, and become like Starhawk’s Reclaiming.
This is not the first nor will it be the last salvo in this war started by Rhyd and co. on our traditions, on polytheism itself and at the end of the day, it’s the traditions that matter not the people or the politics. We need to stand together in solidarity because these “gods and radicals” folks are coming for us; they made that quite clear and what’s more important : they’re coming for our traditions. Folks, when someone tells you that they’re coming for you it’s kind of stupid not to listen to them