Blog Archives

First Principles and Food for Thought

I recently discovered the following videos on youtube. I’ve only watched these two but I think they are worth watching, and if you do, we can then have a conversation about them here, what we agree on and what we disagree on. I think on first listening, even when the language might make me a tad uncomfortable (I am an academic after all), that I agree with most of what this man suggests, despite the fact he is coming from a Christian perspective.

Here is the first video. In this, I agree with what he says but dislike his attribution to those things of the word ‘cozy.’ The word, to me, is low brow and emotional. I would instead try lineaged, cultured, connected (though he does use the term ‘quality’ at one point). He’s speaking about tradition, civilization, heritage for all people and the way that certain things like art and culture ennoble us and elevate our souls.

(The above video is part of a three part series that you can find on his youtube site). Now, below is the second video. I would offer a caveat that when he mentions ‘ancestor worship,’ given the context, I do not believe he is talking about actual ancestor worship and veneration, but rather about idolizing one’s ancestors to the point of excusing and justifying their every bad action. The man has definitely read his Aristotle too. Some of this is triggering, even to me, but what triggers me is the language, not necessarily the ideas that he is expressing. Even where I disagree or find his approach too facile, I think he is raising questions that we need to consider. I really like his focus on dignity of all persons and peoples, embedded in an awareness that we are one link in a chain stretching back into our ancestral prehistory and forward farther than we can ever see, and that we have the moral and social responsibilities that come with that.

I very much think that the problems in our society that we are seeing will not go away on the basis of any political or riotous action. The only curative as I see it is restoring and nurturing the ancient contracts: honoring our ancestors, respecting the land, and rooting ourselves deeply and purely in our polytheisms and sacred traditions, in our relationship with our Gods, and all the ways that demands we approach the world and each other. I also think we need to be cultivating the dignity of every person and acknowledging their importance and connection to the multiple heritages that make up our world as a fundamental aspect of building a morally just civilization. We should build each other up and assist each other in restoring and redeveloping these sacred bonds, and the only time we should bend the knee is to our Holy Powers.

Statues of Mary Vandalized and Desecrated

This just makes me so sad. At this stage in the game, an attack on any Deity is an attack on all Deities. I”ll be dedicating quite a bit of time tonight to prayer.

 

I bind myself today to the Holy Powers:
Their hands to guide me,
Their wisdom to teach me,
Their ears to hear me,
Their words to give me speech,
my heart always to love Them.

Same Shit, Different Day

So, once again a little cadre of leftists (or just haters – it’s not always easy to tell the true motivations behind some of these folks) on twitter and tumblr are going on and on and on about how I’m a racist, a nazi, a [go ahead and insert horrible term here — I’ve actually seen one post where the writer just changed their nasty word of choice for me to something else when it didn’t get the response the poster hoped]. Plus, I’m a woman who won’t shut the hell up, which I suspect is far more of the issue than anyone is admitting. 

Here’s a thought: Instead of allowing other people to tell you what to believe, why don’t you read my blog and decide for yourself. 

You don’t need people to predigest and then spit that information into your mouth like a baby bird. All of you are intelligent, creative, mature individuals capable of reading and making up your own mind. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise, because when they do, they control you. 

On July 4th – Musings on Independence Day

Today in the United States it is the fourth of July (though by the time I get around to posting this, it may actually be the 5th). This day commemorates the founding of our nation and its war for independence from Britain. For the longest time, while I enjoyed the fireworks and the trappings of celebration, I never thought much more about it. I know the history of our country good, bad, and in-between and I continue to read, learn, and study as time permits. It’s always been a topic of mild interest for me, particularly colonial history. This year, however, I’ve been thinking quite a bit more about the United States, the Declaration of Independence, and especially the Constitution, about what it means, the conditions under which it was written, and most of all about what a remarkable document it truly is.

This is an odd place for me to find myself. I’ve never, ever considered myself a patriot. I’ve never been proud of being American nor indeed does it form a significant part of my personal identity (as I know from talking to many of my friends that it often does for others). In fact, growing up in Maryland, I was often ashamed and irritated by the general Weltanschauung of this country. I hated what I perceived as a lack of culture and class, the stupidity and mediocrity that I saw everywhere around me (as it seemed to me as a child. As an adult, I’ve learned to appreciate the nuances of this country more, particularly the way that Americans are open-hearted and friendly from the outset as a general rule. No longer being one of only two people in my grade school class who liked to read books lol, and with the autonomy of an adult in choosing her own friends and pursuits, I realize everything is not as bad as it seemed when I was small). I always longed to be elsewhere.  This longing only increased when I began studying ballet with an eye toward making a career for myself. Nothing that I found in the States, especially the broad, brash ballet style so favored by Balanchine favorably compared with the elegant traditions of France, Denmark, or Russia (1). This feeling didn’t abate as I grew. Later on, having an adopted mother who was Swiss helped my political awareness to develop well outside of the American norm – I’m neither Democrat nor Republican and were I living in the 18th century, I’d probably have supported England– so it’s odd for me now to find myself more and more over the past few years in the position of not only having to explain the Constitution and in some cases basic American history to people, but also realizing what a truly remarkable project it was and remains.

Enacted in 1789, the Constitution contains a preamble (“We the people…”),  seven Articles (describing the three branches of government -legislative, executive, and judicial,- the responsibilities of the state and federal governments, and delineating how the government works at a national level), and 27 Amendments, the first ten of which form the Bill of Rights, which restrict the power of the government and grant us such rights as free speech, freedom of religion, and the right to bear arms (2). It is not perfect, but it is, nonetheless, an astonishing document.  In drafting the Constitution, our founding Fathers for all of their flaws, did something ground-breaking and unique, something extraordinary, and we as a nation are at our best when we are working together to live up to the ideals articulated in its laws.  I don’t think the writers of the Constitution thought their country was perfect. In fact, the very language of the preamble shows quite the opposite: “We the people, in order to form a more perfect union…” not a perfect union, but one that would be better, a more perfect union. This document was a starting point, not an end. It was the beginning of our country, not its terminus. It was a foundation upon which we might build, working toward that “more perfect” union.

Instead, today, we as a society are doing our damndest to burn that promise down, to destroy that union. Benjamin Franklin, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, once warned that, “only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become more corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.” As we sacrifice more of our freedom for a false sense of security, beg for more regulation on our personal lives and bodies, for restrictions on the very freedoms that our forefathers fought so hard to defend, I cannot help but think that we are slipping the yoke around our own necks. If I could go back in time to 1776, I would beg the founding Fathers to end slavery even if it cost them the support of the southern states. I would point to the divisions that are being used – not by those desiring equality for all, but by groups like antifa that would exploit that desire for their own deeply destructive ends—to destroy the country that our founders were trying against all odds to secure. I would beg them to acknowledge those men and women of color among them as equals and to fight hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder, side by side to build this nation proudly, equally. Because to do anything else would be to create a putrid division that would continue to fester beneath the surface of their nation, impeding the very liberties that the Constitution urges us to ensure.

We had an opportunity to begin this country clean in 1776 and we failed to do that. I believe, however, that slowly we have been working toward a ‘more perfect union’ ever since, even though we have more often than not fallen short. It is up to all of us to keep our eyes raised high to the expectations laid out in our Constitution, a document unlike any other in the world at the time it was composed, to keep our eyes upon that and to fix our minds and characters on attaining all that it promises. I do not believe the way toward that goal lies in deconstruction, in burning, looting, rioting, and tearing down and rejecting order. I think it lies in remembering that we can and should be better than we are, and in working toward that as individuals, as communities, and human beings with a shared stake in our nation. Those things that spread division, that offer no solution but dissolution, that spit on the very freedoms our ancestors of every color and every race fought to defend do nothing to further its promise. They are the things that will destroy us from within.

I’m still not a patriot. More often than not in my heart of hearts I want to ask, “what is “American” to me that I should care about any of this?” Yet I do because I have had ancestors who survived communist Russia, who were taken from Lithuania and sent to gulags for their patriotism (3). My family story has taught me how important a thing it is to fight for freedom and to cherish its promise and at its best, that is what America stands for in the minds of so many of our immigrant ancestors and so many immigrants today (4). That same story has taught me the need to acknowledge failure while at the same time working to build up our communities, to demand change, without also begging for destruction. The marches, riots, protests currently taking place across the USA sadden me to my core and they make me angry. The peaceful protests are fine but too often they’ve been coopted by groups that have zero interest in fighting racism, but instead wish to see the end of America…with no clear, workable vision of anything better with which to replace it. It is destruction for the sake of destruction and isn’t doing a god damned thing to make the lives of POC better.

I think we should treasure our history – the good, the bad, the ugly – because it is our litmus test, our line in the sand, our point of departure. It isn’t there to make us comfortable or uncomfortable. At times, it is right and proper that we be deeply ashamed. At times, proud. Acknowledging all those messy parts, framed against the remarkable hope embedded in our founding documents, and moving forward as a people is the challenge that we have always faced. I rarely write about overtly political things here (I save all that crap for facebook). I do think, however, that participating in the civic life of one’s community is something that a well-rounded adult does as a matter of course. It’s not devotional work, but it is an obligation that we maintain as part of remaining in right relationship with the vaettir of our nation, our state, our city, our town, our immediate community (5).

We have an incredibly robust government that is capable of allowing necessary change to occur even in the face of huge opposition. Its checks and balances are our strength and somehow this keeps our government from sliding into either dictatorship or chaos. It’s a remarkably dynamic and lively system. People have the freedom to question even the constitution itself, but before we decide to rid ourselves entirely of that document, we might want to consider living up to it.

 

Notes:

  1. Each of the national ballet schools in Russia, England, France, or Denmark has a unique style. The American style, in many ways defined and codified by George Balanchine and his NYCB and School of American Ballet has a style that is broad, open, and lacking in the tightly controlled elegance of the more traditional systems. It’s like dealing with multiple dialects of the same language. Each has its beauty and its flaws.
  2. That freedom, even when articulated in a Constitution, is never a given is perfectly demonstrated by the slow chipping away of our 2nd amendment rights in this country, a process that has been going on for decades but that has gained greater traction in the wake of Columbine and other school shootings. The degree to which contemporary Americans are willing to sacrifice freedom for the illusion of security is truly terrifying.
  3. When I was 15, I had the opportunity to do a nearly semester long exchange program in what was then the Soviet Union, and by chance, we were sent to Vilnius, Lithuania. Almost all of my dad’s family came from Vilnius (a few from Kaunas) and I actually met cousins while I was there. One of the most moving experiences was meeting my father’s uncle and having him grab my arms and say to me, “You tell your father I’m still here. I was sent to Siberia, but I survived and I’m still here.” I didn’t understand what he meant then or why it was so important a message, but I do now. I also understand why my Lithuanian ancestors were so deeply * angry * that I changed my last name from ‘Dabravalskas’ when I was 18 to one of the Russian names in my family line. I was a ballet dancer. At the time, every director I had made an issue of how long my Lithuanian last name was. Now, I’d tell them to kiss off but at 17 and 18 in the late eighties, trying for a ballet career, I wasn’t that bold! It was only when I married that my Lithuanian ancestors let go of the majority of their anger over that name change.
  4. My friend Tatyana was telling me earlier today that her parents, who immigrated here from the Ukraine when she was a pre-teen become extremely patriotic around thanksgiving and July 4 and it amused her. It made perfect sense to me though: they chose this country, coming from a repressive communist state where freedom of movement, education, job, and thought were curtailed. They know the opposite of what America represents. My dad, having been born – first generation American – in 1917 was the same way.
  5. ‘Vaettir’ is the old Norse word for (generic) ‘spirits.’ In this case, I’m referring to land spirits.

 

For further reading:

Full text of the Constitution may be found here.

Frederick Douglass’ “What to a Slave is the 4th of July” may be found here.

the political is spiritual — The House of Vines

Every word.

Apropos of my last post … [Edited to add: woops, I meant to link this post, though I suppose the other works too.] How does destroying statues of elk and mermaids get justice for George Floyd, Elijah McClain or Breonna Taylor, let alone all of the poor White, Latino, Indigenous, Queer, et alia lives that […]

via the political is spiritual — The House of Vines

QOTD

“The problem with Marxism is that it is built on toxic precepts. It is anti-religion, anti-tradition and anti-faith. It is going to be difficult to reconcile Polytheism or any spiritual tradition with a philosophy which can only see religion as the opiate of the masses. Saying “once you get past that it has some useful pointers” is like asking Jackie Kennedy “so other than the parade, what did you think of Dallas?”

                                          —K. Filan                     

You can pry the runes from my cold, dead fingers

So…Sweden is considering a ban on the runes and other Heathen symbols. Wildhunt to date doesn’t seem to have covered this– no surprise there. What Heathen groups I have seen touching on it have been excusing it. I haven’t seen medievalists up in arms about it either. Are you people out of your fucking minds? 

What is next? Banning Heathenry? That is the logical conclusion to a globalist program that considers any expression of indigenous religious culture a hate crime. 

The reasons this is being considered are, of course, supposedly to prevent white supremacist groups from using these symbols. I don’t, however, see any proposed ban of the cross or the crescent. In the end, it doesn’t matter WHY this is being considered. If you give an inch to a tyrant, they will take a mile. We should be up in arms about this. In fact, every devout community, Pagan, Polytheist, Heathen, or otherwise should be up in arms over this religious discrimination. Where will it be focused next? 

Let’s look at exactly what Sweden is proposing to ban. It’s quite interesting. 

Arrows-Up-icon

Tyr rune- warriorship, justice, truth, honor

othala-1

Othala rune: ancestral consciousness, inheritance, protection, homeland, wealth

valknot

Valknot – a symbol of Odin/Woden.

1200px-Vegvisir

Vegisvir: a rune sigil for safe travel, finding one’s way

faroese-thors-hammer-pendant-necklace-th045-necklace-asgard-crafts-pendant-with-wax-cord-2_1200x1200

And….the Thor’s hammer, a symbol of protection, sanctity, and Heathen identity.

Their choices do not seem accidental.

And the Stupidity Begins…

Following on the heels of his disgusting article equating Loki with Trump, would be Heathen “scholar” Karl Siegfried (PhD in double bass) has written this article for the wild hunt. A bigger load of horse shit I could not have imagined, even from them. According to Siegfried, we should abandon our traditions of ancestor veneration, beliefs about the afterlife, and our sacred symbols. We should gut our traditions because vile groups have begun to appropriate our symbols. We should do this, rather than standing up and fighting such disgusting appropriation.  Way to go, Karl.

Well this is what happens when we bow our heads to popular culture. Instead of protesting the misuse of our Gods and Their symbols, and the erasure of our traditions early on, our communities bitch and whine and moan because they like their popular culture (probably more than their traditions) and can’t draw the line from point A to B to C when it comes to potential problems such things may cause. So here we are, where the Gods have largely been stripped away from Their symbols in mainstream consciousness rendering those symbols easy pickings for white supremacists. Shame on them, but shame on us too. We should have been up in arms well before this.

Karl goes on about positive deeds that our communities desperately need in the wake of the Christchurch attack. The only positive deeds that our traditions need is for people to defend them, in their full integrity, for people to refuse to water them down, refuse to tear out their heart, and most of all refuse to sacrifice them on the dubious altar of political correctness.

We do not, as Siegfried suggests, need to bow down to the SPLC, which demonizes Heathenry folkish and otherwise across the board and is far from objective. Even liberals have serious problems with how they report on these issues (and Folkish Heathenry, Karl, really does not equal racist Heathenry automatically. You should educate yourself). They’re hardly a respectable source for unbiased information.

Most of all, we certainly shouldn’t abandon ancestor practices. This is, perhaps the most disgusting suggestion Karl has made, one that I’ve also seen Troth groups flirt with. Honoring the dead is essential to any viable polytheism. It may include those not related to us by blood, but it absolutely does include blood ancestors. We are each honoring our own relations, and as a community we come together in our rituals to honor our community’s ancestors. Yes, Karl, that means recognizing borders and nationalities, and ethnicities. It need not mean excluding any particular ethnicity. It means honoring the ancestors of those present, spiritual ancestors yes, but most of all our blood ancestors because they are the reason we are here. Must I really discuss something so simple, so foundational, so remedial? You might as well suggest we stop acknowledging that the sky is blue.

Nor do I think we should be obsessed with diversity. What makes a Heathen kindred solid is not the diversity of its folk but their commitment. We should be raising up a generation of Heathens committed to their Gods and ancestors, regardless of what their racial make-up is. I don’t want someone black or Latina/o, or LGBTQ coming into our traditions just to make them colorful. I want people coming in who love the Gods and want to grow these traditions into the next generation and if they happen to be black or latino/a, or LGBTQ, etc. then that’s fine. Seeking people out for their color or orientation, Karl, is no better than denying someone entry because of those things. These traditions are, at their core, Northern European traditions. It should not be surprising that the majority of practitioners are also of that ancestry. Honor those ancestors. Shame on you for trying to erase them and dear, dear Karl, bless your heart, stop trying to insert your own pseudo-progressive politics into Heathenry under the cover of helping. Your attack on the second amendment in this country is proof enough of where your true loyalties lie, especially since historically that has been used to oppress minority communities.

Neither should we be silencing Heathens at panels and workshops because they are white. Really, Karl? Really? Spitting on your traditions and ancestors that much? Why instead, don’t we have the best and most experienced presenters regardless of color? Hmm? Meritocracy is a wonderful thing, one well in line with Heathen values, after all.

Nor do I think we should oppose “rants” about Abrahamic religions. Monotheism is a huge part of the problem and if anyone thinks that we should forget what was done to our ancestors and our traditions, should pretend that these things did not occur, could not again occur, do not occur in large parts of the world today,  and do not continue to affect us, and that we can all be friends, is deluded. They also don’t understand wyrd and ancestor obligation in the least.  We should never forget. At least, Karl, we’re not asking for reparations. Nor are those of us who love our Gods and traditions willing to turn a blind eye to the damage monotheism has done to them. This is where Heathenry’s traditional warrior ethic is most needed: to combat bullshit like this, garbage that will lead our traditions into a morass of identitarian chaos and groundless pabulum.

What we should be doing is speaking up every time we see our sacred symbols misused. Challenge that loudly and clearly and educate where you can.

We need more emphasis on our warrior ethos, developing men and women of honor, integrity, courage, and a willingness to act for the good of their Traditions. Let us raise Heathens unafraid to speak out.

We should not (as I recently saw in a pathetic…i mean a patheos article) abandon othala and other runes because it might hurt people’s feelings. These are ours. They belong to our Gods and our Traditions. Hate groups’ use of them is appropriation and must be resisted.  Have a little spine, people.

People like Karl and the author of that patheos post are the reasons we need to start thinking of our traditions first, because when they think of them, they don’t think of the glory of the Gods, they don’t think of the power of our ancestors, they don’t think of our pious obligations to these Powers, no. They think only of how to strip mine all the good out of them and savage them for their own pseudo-progresive purpose. It’s every bit as disgusting as a Neo-Nazi using othala on their flag.

offs, wildhunt. really?

So Wildhunt.org, never missing a chance to discredit Heathenry, posted recently “Sources are reporting that an Identity Europa member may be a High School police officer in Chesterfield, Va. He is allegedly part of an Asatru group whose website notes its ties to their “heathen Anglo-Saxon forebears”. We are following the story.”. and..so what? So fucking what? He’s part of a group that, like any good polytheist should, honors its ancestors. End of story, unless he’s misused his position as a police officer.

 

Much needed wisdom for today