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OMFG

So, a friend just posted something that talks about his early magical training. He was taught that “magic can’t affect anyone who doesn’t give it permission, but that setting wards and putting up shields were a form of permission.” I don’t fault him for this; it’s what he was taught, but this teaching itself is not only flat out wrong, but it’s the type of bullshit that gets people hurt. 

Properly worked, one doesn’t need to believe in magic any more than one needs to believe in a bullet for the aforementioned weapon to cause harm. Shields and wards are not “permission,” but a hard line in the sand, protections against the harm that others might work, a manifestation of the magician’s consent and will. They also help if one is gifted in keeping out excessive external stimuli. To say that shielding/warding gives permission for magic to work on you is like saying that if a woman takes self-defense classes and learns to use a firearm, she is opening herself up to rape and assault. It’s like expecting that you must understand how medicine works in order for antibiotics to be effective. Really? REALLY? Just take the fucking pill. 

The only people who think that one needs to believe in magic or give permission for it to work are those who don’t understand how magic works, have no respect for the art, are utterly incompetent at it, are head blind, or those who don’t believe in evil – we shield and ward after all not just from magic but also from evil spirits of all sorts…OR it’s coming from those who don’t want you to have the proper protections to keep their own malefica out, those who want to keep you weak, to manipulate you, and to take advantage of you for their own power. Of course, it could be coming from weaklings afraid of power too—you know, the new age, prosperity gospel type who think the universe is a kind and loving hothouse created solely for their personal development– but either way, it’s a really dangerous level of delusion to walk into occult circles carrying, or, you know, the world in general. 

QOTD

In response to this article, one of my friends said:

“Just saw a thing that said for witches and pagans to put our differences aside and stand united so that nothing can stand against us and I’m like bruh…you are under the very strange impression I want to stand in alliance with cosplayers, children that thing they can hex Allah and the moon, and other varieties of asshole in fluffy robes.”

Which pretty much sums up my feelings too. As to what the article says about not forcing anyone under the “Pagan” umbrella…they don’t have any problem doing this with polytheists who want nothing to do with their anti-theism, foolishness, and other assorted grossness.

This is not a social thing for us. The Gods matter.

The Incredibly Stupid…it buuuurrrrnnns

I usually try to ignore the garbage I see online but Patheos’ latest post reached such a level of confusion and just outright stupidity that as an historian I feel the need to jump in just to correct the historical mis-information. I’m literally just stunned at the depth and breadth of inaccuracy and flat out historically incorrect nonsense being presented as fact here. Ready, Readers? Take a good stuff drink and buckle up because here we go. 

“Christianity had the privilege of a couple thousand years of recorded history. Men, white men, have contributed the most Christian theological information than any other ethnic or gender in their field.”

This is flat out incorrect. The first two seriously influential Christian theologians were….North African (Tertullian) and Egyptian (Origen). In fact, the majority of Christian writers for the first four hundred or so years of Christianity were from the east, particularly places like Antioch, Alexandria,  Damascus, Cappadocia, Babylon, Syria and Turkey, in addition to North Africa and of course Italy and Judea. During the medieval period you also had significant intellectual movements within Islam and Judaism – so how dare this ill-informed author claim that only white men have contributed? Christianity for instance, crossed all classes and ethnicities (one of the reasons I suspect Constantine chose to legalize it. Christians in his time may have only been about 10% of the society, but they were 10% across every possible social stratum). 

“White men also dominate books written on Paganism, the Occult, and Witchcraft.”

Really?  Working hard to win the oppression Olympics aren’t you, sweetheart? Let’s see, I’ll pull three or four for each category just off the top of my head: Occultists: Dion Fortune, Margerie Cameron, Helena Blavatsky, Leila Waddell, Moina Mathers, Pamela Colman Smith, Ida Craddock; Paganism, Witchcraft, and Polytheism: me (lol), Diana Paxson, Margot Adler, Phyllis Curott, Tamara Siuda, Janet Farrar (like her or hate her, she was very influential early on), Starhawk, Sybil Leek, Margaret Murray, Olivia Durdin Robertson, Normandi Ellis….shall I go on? And just for kicks, here are some early female Christian writers: Egeria, Perpetua, Hildegard, Mechthild, Marguerite Porete, Catherine of Sienna, Catherine of Genoa, Margery, Julian, Clare, Teresa of Avila, Angela Folino, Anna Komnena, Proba Betitia Faltonia, Athenais-Eudocia, Macrina, a ton of desert mothers…and this is all off just the top of my head. With a quick web search or a look at my bookshelves I could come up with dozens more. 

Our genius goes on: 

“So when we support movements like #defendoccultbooks then we are inherently supporting classism and sexism.” 

No, you’re supporting competence and excellence. If you can’t go to the library and get a book, you shouldn’t be practicing any occult art. Knowledge is the great equalizer across classes, but the reason this tag came into being is we have a generation of children wanting to style themselves occultists who can’t be bothered to read. They want to learn their craft indiscriminately from videos and tiktoks. It doesn’t work that way. 

She continues: 

“Upper class men and, eventually women were the only people with formal education for a long time. Even then women weren’t allowed to read or write for a huge portion of recorded history. Additionally, black and brown people weren’t given access to formal education for most of that time.”

This is why we need you to read, dear. You might actually have some grasp of historical fact if you opened a book occasionally, you know, those things people are trying to defend. The earliest known writer historically is a woman, a priestess in Sumer named Enhenduanna. Female literacy across the ancient world was quite high, likewise in the medieval period, though it is true that formal education was a privilege of the wealthier classes. As to black and brown people…Egypt. Ethiopia. Syria. Carthage. In these countries alone – and I could list a dozen more – there were key centers of learning. The ancient world didn’t divide itself into racial categories as we do now. That was something that happened only in the early modern world. They might recognize differences of appearance, but what mattered was customs, culture, and learning. These things could be acquired – Again, education was and is the great equalizer. 

This author then goes on to offer a list of some well-known occult and witchcraft authors: 

“Aleister Crowley, Cornelius Agrippa, Anton LaVey, Dion Fortune, Eliphas Levi, Israel Regardie, Helena Blavatsky, Samuel Liddell Mathers, Raymond Buckland, Doreen Valiente, Gerald Gardner, Robert Cochrane, Scott Cunningham, Paul Huson, Ronald Hutton, Raven Grimassi. What largely ties them all together? Being white, being educated, and mostly being male.”

Firstly, note how her list of rich white male occult writers 1) ignores the contributions of women (except for Dion Fortune, Blavatsky, and Valiente) and 2) overlooks the fact that a number of them were of Jewish and Romani backgrounds and 3) some of them were massively poor and struggled to eke out a subsistence living. (Thinking in particular of Scott Cunningham and Anton LaVey.). And that they are male, is because she cherry picked a list of mostly male authors. She’s purposely ignoring the contributions of anyone who doesn’t fit her demographic there so she can beat her breast, cry oppression, and avoid the responsibility for actually learning anything. 

I do agree with her when she says that “having education doesn’t make a person more worthy, better, or intellectual.” These things say nothing about a person’s intellect or character. Some of the most intelligent people I have known haven’t finished high school. Education however does help with intellectual formation, whether that education is formal or acquired on one’s own through hard work and study. If you want something badly enough, you find a way to make it happen. Libraries are wonderful things. The internet too, for all its problems, allows for a remarkable access to knowledge. 

This person goes on: 

“Raise your hand if you have a disability that makes it difficult to comprehend text-based information.” 

If that is the case, then the onus is on you to speak up and tell your teachers what you need. Advocate for yourself but do the work. Don’t use your disability as an excuse for why you can’t acquire a particular bit of knowledge. There will sometimes be teachers who refuse to even attempt to work with you – well, in that case, find another teacher.  

You might also try showing respect to your elders and teachers – something sadly lacking in most of the communities this author is discussing. That of course, would mean taking responsibility for oneself and obviously that’s occasionally onerous (and before you accuse me of being ableist I have both physical and learning disabilities. Does it make knowledge acquisition more difficult? Yes, in some cases it does. Does it make it impossible? NO. Not if I’m willing to put in the work like an adult). She is correct of course in saying that disabilities do not make one anti-intellectual. I’m not sure why one would think they did. 

This author brings up folklore and says,

“These practices and beliefs were rarely written down by practitioners in older times, perhaps out of fear of persecution. That, or another likely answer is that witches of yore simply could not read or write well enough (or at all) to put it in a book. Or they didn’t have enough money to buy ink and paper, let alone cough it up to have a book bound.” 

Usually such practices weren’t written down because the best way to learn is from teacher to student, elder to neophyte, mother to child, etc. Putting something in a book means that it is available across a broad swath of one’s community. It opens up knowledge (think I’m wrong? Look at the results of both translating the bible into the vernacular and inventing the printing press. It led to a democratization of knowledge with consequences both good and bad for the institutional church). Most traditions throughout history have had their mysteries, and mysteries are not for the uninitiated. Also, fear of persecution. When? If you’re talking about the supposed “burning times,” those women and men were not, for the most part, occultists or witches. We see plenty of written occult tomes (my favorite come from Iceland) in the late medieval/ early renaissance period. Nor was paper the only material used in books. In the ancient world, papyrus, parchment, vellum, even cloth were used. Ink is easy to make. Professional book binding was complicated, but I’ve made books myself simply by sewing folios together. It’s not rocket science and our ancestors weren’t stupid. While owning books was in the past a sign of luxury, with the internet, kindle, libraries, and the relatively low cost of paperbacks today, that is no longer the case. Lending libraries in particular are a wonderful thing and so is inter-library loan, but perhaps she hasn’t heard of them (though she says she’s a librarian). 

Books are a grace and a gift in the process of learning. Ideally, in addition to all the reading a novice should do, he or she also –usually–collects a personal journal, grimoire, whatever you want to call it. One creates one’s own repository of knowledge. Is this a privilege? Absolutely. Everything worth having requires sacrifice.  Everything worth having is a privilege. If we can learn, if we have the capacity intellectually to learn well, if we have access to formal education …yes, these ARE privileges and we’re damned lucky. I look at writing sometimes, just the process of putting pen and ink to paper and think what a miraculous thing it is and how incredibly lucky we are to have this knowledge. I believe that equal access to teachers and books is a good thing, an important goal toward which to work. That is going to take commitment and ongoing dialogue (I want to hear from my students when something isn’t working. We can work together to find something that WILL work to help them better acquire the knowledge I’m trying to teach). The one thing we can’t guarantee even then is equal outcome, because excellence is a choice and the result of hard, ongoing work. 

Also, and I know this isn’t going to be popular, in the end, the occult arts aren’t meant to be open to everyone (that’s why they’re called “occult,” i.e. “secret” or “hidden”). You work and if you have the talent, if you’re able to stay the course physically and mentally, if you budget for your work, if the stars align, you’ll get somewhere. You don’t need a ton of money (I learned the most as a magus when I had nothing, up to and including a period of homelessness), but you do need commitment, sound judgment, and personal discipline. But these arts were never meant to be open to anyone and I’m just fine with that. I think with the occult in particular, a necessary formation happens as one struggles to acquire knowledge, works to gain access, to learn, to practice, to become competent. That process cannot and should not be truncated because the art and end result will suffer. The work forms the magus and there are no short cuts there. 

No one should be barred from learning because of race, finances, or disability but once you’re in the door, if you want to gain any measure of sustainable competence, hard work, study, humility, and BOOKS are going to be part of the game. If that’s not your cup of tea, fine, but then don’t call yourself an occultist. 

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.

A Miscellany of Bullshit

My husband kept reading me excerpts from various articles yesterday, both of us shaking our heads and cussing about how amazingly stupid some people insist on remaining. Several of those pieces annoyed me so much that I decided to write about them here so be warned: bad language is probably sure to follow.

The first was this gem from the Columbia Daily Spectator. This idiot girl-child feels that a Classics degree is classist because – boo-fucking-hoo– one has to learn Greek and Latin. She opines that her more successful colleagues (which given her attitude is probably just about everyone) have the money to hire tutors and take summer programs to up their language quotient, whereas she has to worry about money. Yeah, right, sister. Grow the fuck up. I’ve taught Latin for ten years and did my time in a classics grad program. I never had money for extras either. I taught myself Greek and Latin. I didn’t take any special programs. I applied myself. No one is forcing this girl to do a Classics degree. If she can’t meet the requirements, she should pick an easier major like, oh, I don’t know, basket weaving. You see, unlike in your gender studies classes, no one is going to hand you this knowledge on a silver platter. You may actually have to work. Radical thought, I know. You’re at fucking Columbia. You are not oppressed.

Then there’s this  from Sarah Michelle Geller. She had to apologize for noting that she was trying not to overeat at Thanksgiving. This is, apparently, fat-shaming. WTF? As an overweight woman, I applaud Geller for setting an example of thoughtful moderation. The last thing she should have done is apologize. Let’s face the facts the “fat positivity” movement doesn’t want us to know: fat is NOT actually healthy nor is eating so much you make yourself sick, which is specifically what she was trying to keep herself from doing. Now I don’t think anyone should be shamed for being fat – there are a lot of different issues surrounding why one may be overweight, and some people may find it more attractive. Rock on. But let’s not shame others for actually giving a damn about their health. We need examples of people setting healthy boundaries for themselves.

Finally, there’s this: a Christian missionary got shot by a tribe that wanted nothing to do with his poison. They warned him multiple times (by means of a rain of arrows) to stay the hell away from their island. He got what he deserved (missionary work is nothing more than cultural and religious genocide. Frankly, if his family and church knew about his trip to the island and did nothing to stop him, they ought to be prosecuted in international court as accessories to attempted genocide) but western media is presenting him as the victim. These tribesmen have made it clear for HUNDREDS OF YEARS that they do not want to be bothered by outsiders. Why is that so damned hard for outsiders to comprehend. LEAVE THEM ALONE. They don’t want the diseases that you might bring, diseases for which they have no natural immunity and they don’t want the disease of modernity or monotheism. I applaud their use of deadly force to keep these bastard missionaries out and hope they continue to do so. Does no one find the characterization of this tribe as primitive or sex crazed by western media a little offensive? Or the violation of the tribe’s wishes and consent by this lunatic being presented as though the missionary were the victim (only thing he was victim of was his own fucking hubris and stupidity). Colonization by religious conversion is still colonization, folks.  It’s as though moderns and monotheists just cannot stand that there might exist some little corner of the world, some tiny little corner uncorrupted by their bullshit. Rock on, North Sentinal people. Keep your arrows nocked and ready.  

That’s it for today.  Fight on, my good readers, fight the bullshit. It’s pandemic.

 

EDIT: and then there’s this utter piece of blasphemous shit by Karl Siegfried, PhD in double base I might add, not anything relating to Norse mythology. It’s the most sickening and disrespectful thing ever written about a God as this fool tries to work out his own issues with Loki. He should be ashamed and so should wild hunt for publishing this unmitigated piece of garbage.