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.
Shame on Wild Hunt. They pulled an article and *apologized* for it bc it might have hurt people’s feelings. *snorts*. I read the original piece (if you look at WH’s page here, they link to it) and it was a very balanced, neutral well done piece of journalism, exactly what journalism should be: NEUTRAL. Apparently that was too much for those in the Pagan community. I find this pathetic and I also find it setting a dangerous precedent. Journalism is one of the things that protects our freedom in this country, to water it down and make it biased because acknowledging that — agree or disagree- there are two sides (at least) to any issue offends is just sad.
There was nothing offensive in the original article save that the author didn’t pander to any one side.
This is an important article by Heathen Chinese.
“In his conversation with Mead, Baldwin not only identified himself with the slave on the boat, but with the Africans who sold other Africans to Europeans as well:
Baldwin: I’m not guiltless, either. I sold my brothers or my sisters—
Mead: When did you?
Baldwin: Oh, a thousand years ago, it doesn’t make any difference.”
We carry the wounds of our ancestors. We are the inheritors of the damage done to them. Their pain is ours. Their anguish is ours. Their crimes are ours too. Nothing goes away. There has been no ‘progress,’ just generations of surviving monotheistic devastation.
The Wild Hunt has posted an article about Pagans and Veterans’ Day here. I hope that all our Pagan and Polytheistic service men and women are remembered, cherished, and honored not just on this day but every day. They are living their commitment to their communities, their Gods, their ideals in a way that all too often comes with terrible cost. The Wild Hunt article mentions that there was a time when many Pagan groups would not accept active military and….I am both sickened and horrified by this. It is time that we as a community of religions learned the grace of embracing our Veterans and our active duty personnel and saying “thank you.”
Fortunately things have changed within our communities, within the Pagan community too: we do the best we can, as the saying goes, and as we learn better, we do better. Hopefully we have learned to honor our Vets.
As an aside, I was always taught that Veterans day and/or Remembrance Day began as Armistice Day and is celebrated on Nov. 11 because that was the day of the Armistice marking the end of WWI. This war devastated a continent and in may respects destroyed a generation. It changed everything. It was a crucible unlike anything the world had experienced and certainly unlike anything the soldiers involved expected. It also set the stage for WWII. General George Patton, US four star general and a godsend during this latter war predicted just that. His birthday, btw, falls also, ironically today. May he be hailed. I was discussing these two wars with someone recently and I said we were lucky. For WWII we had the leaders we needed (whatever else their faults, they were who we needed in those positions at that time): Roosevelt, Churchill, even Stalin (butcher that he was. Nicholas II could never have held out against the Nazis or mounted such fierce counter attack) and we had men in the field like Patton (pity the allies didn’t listen to him sooner). We were lucky. I can’t help but think as we tumble toward another war of that devastating magnitude that we will not be so lucky again.
Today I light candles and pour out offerings to the military dead in general and my military dead in particular. On my maternal side I have veterans going back through the Revolutionary War and on my father’s side, I have a great uncle who fought in WWI and a father who fought in WWII and Korea. May they and all the men and women like them be honored and remembered; and for those veterans who have died, or who never made it home (physically or in some cases emotionally), may they find joy with their ancestors and a well deserved rest. Hail them.
I’m really not happy with the Wild Hunt’s reporting today. I just read this article on “Canaanite Religion.” After reading it and almost throwing up at the reference to all gods being emanations of yahweh (not so polytheistic there, I think), I just had to sit back and ponder. There is so much wrong with this piece I”m not even sure where to begin.
Firstly, let’s call a spade a spade, as a colleague of mine with whom I discussed this quipped. This article isn’t about the practice of Canaanite polytheism, it’s really about “Israelite Revivalist Monist-Panentheism.” Let’s not pretend otherwise. I”m deeply disturbed that this is allowed to pass for polytheism unquestioned. Monism is deeply destructive to any polytheistic tradition. It’s a slow, corrosive poison that reduces veneration of our Gods to a type of weak monotheism. We see it way too much and while it’s something to guard against in and of itself in any polytheistic tradition, I think it’s even more important to do so with Canaanite religion. Our monotheisms sprang from the same soil and co opted and corrupted many of the original practices of this tradition. To be clean at the very least, one should be vigilant.
Secondly, and what I actually find more disturbing is that the author of this piece effectively does her best to excise the work of Canaanite polytheist Tess Dawson from the religious landscape. Tess has been working toward the restoration of this tradition for well over a decade and has single-handedly been responsible for jump starting the veneration of these Deities in modern cultus. If one is going to talk about Canaanite polytheism, her not inconsequential contributions should at least be mentioned (all the more so since she’s actually a polytheist unlike the person interviewed). Her books can be found here and here. Her blog may be found here.
As with any of our polytheistic traditions, presenting Canaanite religion as a monolithic entity is both inaccurate and misleading. Anything claiming ‘all is one,” or that “all gods are emanations of another’ is not polytheism. While i’m told that this is a series highlighting Pagan and Polytheistic practices in the south, I expect better research and a more accurate distinction of what is and is not polytheistic.
Here is a truly excellent article by Anomalous Thracian on Polytheism 101. Particularly of note is the final section on ‘being an ally’ to polytheists. This is an article that I would share everywhere if i could. I think this really breaks down Polytheism, polytheistic traditions, and the Polytheist Movement beautifully and clearly. Please read!
WildHunt has an interesting article about discrimination in the workplace here. It’s worth a read. I’ve always chosen to be out as a polytheist. I don’t ever want to be in the position where I can be blackmailed about it, nor do I see it as something to hide. There’s also a didactic function inherent in being out, even if only very quietly so. Still, I’ve been discriminated against on the basis of my religion at work many times: I’ve had bibles left piled up all over my office, I’ve had my office vandalized. Both times I knew it was a fundy christian working at the same department. They were not disciplined by management at all and I was told to forget about it. I’ve been isolated and alienated from social functions at work. I’ve had verbal harassment. I’m pretty sure it cost me a job. I know it impacted my salary and let’s just say I never made ‘friends’ at work.
When I worked in ballet, it was a non-issue. It only became a problem when I moved into retail (Barnes and Noble, where the two acts of office vandalism and what I would now term a massively hostile work environment occurred, was the worst including having a manager call me aside and wanting, quite aggressively, to know how many Pagans were in the department. I refused to answer as there were four or five of us) and then corporate. Ironically now in academia I’ve had no problems at all (so far). The worst I can say is certain journals refuse to publish my religious studies articles on the grounds I couldn’t possibly be unbiased being polytheist –regardless of how well researched these articles are, or sometimes on the grounds that I’m more a theologian than an anthropologist. I’ve never had a problem in my fairly conservative department and I don’t hide my identity as a polytheist at all. hell, all anyone would have to do is a simple Google search. It may become an issue when I attain my PhD and have to find a job, especially if I intend to teach high school, which is a relevant option for Classicists. That remains to be seen.
For those outside the US reading this, and possibly wondering why religion would even come up in the workplace, allow me to clarify. American workplaces are infested with the same obsession with religion, specifically Christianity, that you see in the media and our political arena. While I find talking about one’s personal life at all at work obnoxious, many Americans find nothing wrong with assuming one to be Christian and/or asking about it in a workplace setting. We have laws against this when it’s coming from management, but not so much when it’s another co-worker. It’s like being married or having children: office mates will pry and if you don’t openly disclose sooner or later they’ll try actively to sniff it out. This is one of the things i loathed about corporate: what i term the office bell jar effect.
When I was working in Human Resources for a major American bank, we had a case where two brokers were fighting. One was a practitioner of Vodou and the other kept accusing this person of putting hexes on her, and complained to management about it, every time something went wrong in her life. HR wanted to laugh it off until I pointed out the immensely hostile workplace this was creating for the Voudoussaint, and the potential for a pending lawsuit. It got resolved pretty quickly but the fact that it even escalated to the point of coming to HR is significant. There’s little respect in this country given to non-Abrahamic religions. Last year, though the ruling was quickly overturned, a judge even ordered a Wiccan mother to put her child in Christian education. We have a very long way to go before we break the back of the Christian right in this country, and an even longer way to go before our religion becomes a non-inssue in the world of social commerce.