Thursday, September 21, 2017

When the Muse is a Bitch, or Equinox, Chickens, and Flipping the Switch

It had been miserably hot and smoky here in the Rational Heathen's neck of the woods.  With all the fires, no rain, and hot temperatures, the whole area could go up in flames with a spark.  That's how tinder dry the Northern Rockies have been.  So, when the weather shamans at the National Weather Service said we were in for a change, it was none too soon...

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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Wiccatru -- Or Should We Take Another Look at the Other Pagans?

I ran across this rather interesting post on Patheos entitled Wicca: A New Major Religion, and yeah, it got me thinking.  If Wicca could be considered a major religion, are we doing Heathenism a genuine disservice by not occasionally courting it?  Here are my thoughts and why we may want to consider a bigger tent when it comes to our religion.

The Article and Why the Numbers Might Be Important

If anything, the article reaffirmed my belief in the big tent model when it comes to Heathenism.  If the numbers are correct (and I suspect they might be), we need to treat our pagan brethren with a little more respect.  The tl;dr version is that Wicca may have, by low estimates, around 2 million practitioners in the United States, making it the third largest religion in the US, after Judaism.   (Atheists and agnostics make up a larger percentage than Judaism, but since they are not a religion, they aren't factored in.)  Now granted, when compared to more that 300 million people, that may not seem like many, but the reality is that 2 million votes can sway an election quite handily.  Which brings us to Heathenism.

Heathenism by the Numbers

I'm not going to tell you that the numbers I give you are definitive. For one thing, no one has done a completely accurate census and counted every single Heathen on the planet.  The current census counts were done on a strictly volunteer basis and most required some sort of participation in social media.  That being said, the Norse Mythology Blog came up with a number 16,700 in 2013. This seems a little low to me, undoubtedly because I suspect that some Heathens, for whatever reasons, don't bother answering polls.  I suspect the number is bigger because the piece I wrote, The Gods are Not Your Bitches, got a whopping 13,062 views.  Now, granted, some folks may have gone back and reread it, and some folks may have read it who were not Heathen, but the idea that one of my posts reached nearly all Heathens is ludicrous. 

I've seen likes on various Heathen groups on the web, and have seen numbers in the 60K to 100K.  That to me seems more likely with a guessimation of maybe 150K to 200K total Heathens in the world at the top end, when you count crossovers from Wiccans and goosestepping moron Odinist Nazis.

Why We Need to Ally Ourselves with the Wiccans, or My Big Tent Belief


So, for argument sake, let's say we have about 100K to 200K Heathens worldwide.  Personally, I think it is around 100,000, but let's go with that bigger number, for argument sake.  That means that we maybe have a tenth of the numbers Wiccans have, if Wiccans have a conservative 2 million in the United States alone.  And our numbers are worldwide, not the United States, alone.  So, we have 2 million people who could easily be on our side because they're polytheistic.  Granted, they worship all sorts of gods and goddesses, but the reality is that they could strengthen Heathenism if we let them. 

I've proposed this big tent belief in an earlier post which has met with some derision from the recon segment. Wiccans are not our enemies here.  In fact, you're likely to find allies from Wiccans who worship Freyja and Freyr, or any of our other gods and goddesses.  We can find more Heathens there who will help us politically when it comes to issues we have.  Plus, if we're inclusive, we have a lot more Heathens who can help shape Heathenry. 

To Those Who Want to Exclude Wiccans

Those who want to exclude Wiccans, even though they worship our gods, are being shortsighted.  Heathenry should be open to bringing in others, not just those who are willing to do the homework and speak the gibberish some Heathens do. We need the Lokeans, the Rokkatru, and yes, even the Wiccatru. 

Why?  you may ask.

Do you really want Heathenry to stay small?  Do you really want it to be taken over by racists?  Do you really think it's a good idea to stay exclusive and not inclusive?  Look at the Wiccans.  They really don't have a lot of dogma, and thus have big numbers.  Maybe Heathenry could learn something from Wiccans.  And Hels bells, I don't even believe in magic. 

Sunday, September 10, 2017

When the Muse is a Bitch, or Sickness, Wildfires, and Hurricanes

I've been enduring the wildfires here in the Northern Rockies.  On top of that, I've gotten a summer cold.  So, life sucks for me right now.

But, I have nothing compared to the folks fleeing Irma.  I want to put that in perspective...  READ MY PREMIUM CONTENT FOR JUST $1...

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Understanding the Nazi Slogan "Blood and Soil" or "Blut und Boden"

One of the folks on Facebook didn't seem to understand the context of "Blut und Boden" which is often the Nazi battle-cry at various gatherings across America. The term, "Blood and Soil," is a particular extremist term when it comes to nationalism, and of course, racism.

What Do They Mean When They Chant "Blood and Soil?"

Those who chant "Blood and Soil" may simply be idiots who don't understand what they're saying.  Or, they may actually agree with the propaganda. Either way, the meaning of "Blut und Boden" appeared sometime around World War I and Hitler based his nationalism on Blood and Soil. What it means is that true Aryan came from the earth and tilled the soil, aka farmers, in Germany.  He tied the Nazis to the land, thus making themselves "rooted" the land. Those who worked the land were infinitely superior to those who did not.  And Hitler pointed to the Jews as the main oppressors of the farmers who worked the land. To add more bullshit on top of bullshit, they furthermore believed that eugenics was the way to create a master race that was free of disease.

via GIPHY

Why Blood and Soil is a Typically Moronic Idea

In the last 15,000 there have been three major migrations across Germany; two of the migrations actually came from the Middle East.  There have been a bunch of "minor" migrations, where, if you were living in that time, probably didn't seem so minor.  Archaeology combined with genetic research has proven that Germany and other European countries were a melting pot of settlers and invaders from various lands.  Likewise, the Germans went and settled across Europe and Russia.  We know that Germanic tribes such as the Angles and the Saxons went to Britain.  We know the Celtic tribes invaded darn near everywhere, but eventually settled in Spain and Britain.

So, the idea of having one true nationalistic blood is moronic. The idea that someone is pure "Norse" or pure "German" or pure "Aryan" is wrong.  There is no purity.  There is only a hodgepodge of genetics which includes DNA from all over the world.

Lastly, the concept of having the Jews oppress the farm workers seems bizarre.  For one thing, Jews couldn't own land in Germany, so the misfortune of the farmers occurred because of several factors which included the Treaty of Versailles.

Why Blood and Soil?

Why are Americans chanting "Blood and Soil?"  I mean, Americans.  I'm sort of at a loss to address why these morons chant "Blood and Soil." That slogan points to the German land.  We know Americans of European descent have no prehistoric ties to North America, so shouting "Blood and Soil" is inherently stupid.  Okay, maybe your ancestors arrived on the Mayflower, which puts your claim around 1620 (and they were English, not German). So, you have about 400 years of history in America?  What about the Native Americans who have more than 10,000 years of history here?

Bad Ideas Heaped Upon Faulty Information

So, the Alt-Right are clearly wrong when it comes to their heritage and their claim to the land.  Nobody is "racially pure."  Nobody.  We're all a bunch of mutts.  Deal with it.

That being said, once you hear those idiots spout their ideology, you can smirk and know that they're not just wrong,  but fucking wrong.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

When the Muse is a Bitch, or Asa-Popes and Nazi-Asshats

I'm tired of writing about Nazis.  I really am.  I keep thinking I should stop, but the numbers don't lie.
 People want to hear and talk about them.

My case?  Talking about Harvest and the upcoming seasons garnered half of the interest as the Nazi post.  Sigh...READ MORE for just $1

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Freedom of Speech Versus Dealing with Nazis

Freedom of Speech versus dealing with the Nazi asshats: 
I have a  moral dilemma.  The situation isn't cut and dried or black and white.  Like most things in a Heathen's life, there are many shades of gray.

Let me explain.

Nazis and Antifa

I hate the Nazis.   I really do.  I'm against them 100 percent.  As a writer, I am pro First Amendment.  That means that I am all for freedom of speech. I believe that freedom of speech is necessary for a free society.  So, when the Nazis hold a rally or are met with the Antifa forces, I go into cognitive dissonance.  I really don't know what to think. 

The First Amendment

As a champion of the First Amendment, I believe that everyone has their right to say or write whatever they want.  (I don't have to read it or listen to it, mind you.  And I sure don't have to agree with it.)  Now, obviously freedom of speech has even been limited in America, but for the most part, you can spout the most absurd rhetoric and no one from the Government is going to visit you in the dead of night and drag you from your home (yet). There are, of course, exceptions to this rule.  Threats made against the president, for example. But overall, you can be as stupid as you care to on the Internet, in a paper, or out on the street corner.

Suppression of Freedom of Speech

This brings up Antifa.  I agree that one needs to be anti-fascist. But I think they're doing it wrong.  Antifa is aimed at suppressing the Nazis' freedom of speech with violence. They are a leftist group who are also anti-capitalist and socially leftist.  Yes, they are pro-LGBT and anti-racist, but their leftist affiliations makes me wonder what their end game might be.  Suppressing freedom of speech, even from Nazis--and you have NO IDEA how much this pains me to say it--is wrong, if the Nazis leave it to only speech and rhetoric.  When someone eliminates freedom of speech, one eliminates it for all people.

When Do They Whittle Away Our Rights as Heathens?

Think of it this way: yes, we can ban fascist statements, but when does what you believe start disappearing as well because the prevailing view shifts?  Right now, our right to worship our gods are tied to the First Amendment in the United States. That means we have the right to honor Thor, Odin, Freyja, Tyr, and even Loki, if we wish.  We can also choose to worship nothing, worship the Christian god, or worship a snake in a bathtub.  This is a basic right guaranteed by the First Amendment. What's also guaranteed in the First Amendment is that the government will not prevent you from expressing your beliefs, AKA, the Freedom of Speech.  It doesn't stop individuals or corporations from trying to stop you from stating your beliefs.  Other laws that deal with physical violence are supposed to prevent that.

While Antifa isn't the government, I'm truly wondering what their intentions are.  I'm as anti-Nazi as they come, but even I recognize the implications if we don't uphold the freedom of assembly and freedom of speech, even for Nazi assholes. 

Are the Nazis a Clear Threat Yet?

Obviously the Nazis can't handle peaceful demonstrations--are we all that surprised?--but the question of whether it's right to attack Nazis shouting their bullshit is the question I'm going to ask.  I mean, it's one thing to claim you're a Nazi, believe their propaganda, and demonstrate; it's another when you start beating people.

You could claim that every single Nazi gathering has been violent.  I haven't paid that much attention to the Nazis until recently, but I'd imagine that is probably true. In which case, yes, cancel them on the grounds of violence.  But our Constitution and its Amendments guarantee that they are entitled to their opinions and beliefs, however awful they are.

I'm not sure if they're a clear threat yet, but they could be. As a Heathen, I recognize violence against evil as being sometimes necessary.  For example, during war or when one is attacked.  But to instigate violence against a violent group seems to just incite them further.  I learned this training animals.  You don't punish the dog when it does something bad.  You ignore it.  Eventually the behavior stops if you reinforce the behaviors you want. It's basic training techniques, and one that work exceptionally well, even with human animals.  If we enforce the right behavior, i.e. tolerance, and ignore the bullshit rallies (and have an armed police presence that keeps them in their own little spot where they can't harm civilians), fewer and fewer people are going to want to join up.

Han Shot First

We all know the argument in Star Wars that Han shot first in the original version.  Lucas edited later editions to have Greedo shoot first and miss.  In the first Star Wars, Han shot Greedo before he could shoot because we all knew what was going to happen if he didn't.  We cheered over it, because not only Greedo was a debt collector, but he also was an assassin. Han acted in self defense over a clear threat.

I'm not saying that we should shoot first when it comes to Nazis, but there is such a thing as self defense given that someone is armed the same as you (or better) and makes a credible threat.  Still many states don't recognize this as defense and consider it murder. Also, there's a matter of showing up ready to fight. Legally, one could, I suppose, say you were there to incite more trouble.  (We Heathens are great at that, by the way.)

So, What Should We Do?

The violence is Charlottesville ended in a death of a woman and the Nazi is being tried for murder and attempted murder. (As he should be.)  I am saddened by the woman's death and the injuries of people who were protesting these evil people.  I saw the video of the attack and was appalled, because it was apparent the injured and killed people weren't doing anything violent. That woman should not have died, nor should the people who were protesting peacefully been injured.

Right now, I know that it isn't in human nature to belittle and ignore Nazi rallies.  It's in our DNA to want to fight the injustice and insanity.  I can't tell you what to do, but by giving these Nazi morons someone to fight against, it validates their threat.  Let me ask you one question:  which is more insulting to an aggressor: acting like they're not worth your time or fighting them on their terms?  Yes, you will get bigger noise, and even more outrageous behavior, because they want to call attention to themselves, but eventually, they'll find it not worth their while if they aren't given center stage all the time.

Just a thought.  Your mileage may vary.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Celebrating the Autumnal Equinox, Mabon, or Winter Finding

Our next big seasonal date to look forward to is the Autumnal or Autumn Equinox in the northern
hemisphere.  Often called Mabon or Winter Finding by pagans, there are a lot of good reasons to celebrate the season.

Mabon or Autumn(al) Equinox takes its name from a Welsh god, rather than a Norse one, but seeing as many of the Northern gods are interconnected, I'm hesitant to dismiss the name or the celebration outright. A later name for Mabon is Winter Finding to make it more Asatru-like. That being said, our celebration may have "Wiccatru" roots, which if you're a recon, you may simply disdain the idea of celebrating it and move onto something more "authentic."  That's cool, but holidays do shift around, and I suspect late harvest was also celebrated by our ancestors.

Plus, it's as good of time as any to celebrate the end of the growing season and the arrival of fall.

What the Autumnal Equinox is

The autumn equinox marks the official beginning of autumn.  Never mind that you've felt a shift in weather patterns sometime in August or early September, we generally consider the equinox to be the beginning of fall. The equinox, for those curious, isn't when the day is equally night and day, although it's damn close and I'd say for all intents and purposes, we can call it that.  What the equinox actually marks is when the sun crosses the celestial equator for the first time since spring equinox.  The celestial equator is an imaginary line above the planet above the actual equator.  The sun doesn't really move relative to the solar system--our planet moves.  Our planet is tilted so that when it reaches a certain point in its revolution around the sun, the sun dips to the south on the autumn equinox and moves to the north on the vernal or spring equinox. It's at this point we start really racing toward less light, although the summer solstice marks the high point of the daylight hours and we begin decreasing light after that.

The earth is actually spinning like a top, only relatively slower because of the magnitude.  The pole actually wobbles and will be in a different place about 10000 years from now. 

So, Did Our Ancestors Celebrate Winter Finding?

If you want to be really picky, chances are Winter Finding wasn't celebrated.  Instead, our ancestors may have celebrated Alfarblót which occurred around October 22nd.  Alfarblót was a more private affair for families, even though it was a harvest festival that honored Freyr and Freyja. Sort of a Thanksgiving for Heathens.

So, if they didn't celebrate Winter Finding, should we ignore it?  Probably not.  It is, after all, the equinox, which means it's a good of time as any to have a celebration.  It's a goodbye to summer and hello to the autumn.  It's also a good time to bid farewell to the harvest.  I read that it's a good time to get mead started (yeah, I can see that) in time for Yule.  So, maybe the equinox is a time for a community harvest celebration and Alfarblót for a more private celebration?

Then, What Should We Do with Thanksgiving? 
Thanks to Magickal Graphics

The November Thanksgiving is an American holiday that has its roots in harvest festivals but has been co-opted by Christians to give thanks to their god. I suppose as a Heathen one could get stubborn and decide to not celebrate it since the fields are most likely fallow and the foods have been already put up. But at the same time, hunting season is mostly over, which gives us another bounty--game meat.  I actually delay having Thanksgiving because hunting ends that Sunday after.  Who says we can't use it to thank Skadi and Ullr for a successful hunt?

It even makes a lot of sense, given that fall turkey puts some birds in the freezer.  So, maybe celebrate it as the end of hunting season and the start of preparing for Yule might be appropriate.

I hope I've given some good reasons to celebrate the autumn equinox.  Do you celebrate Mabon, Winter Finding, or the autumnal equinox as a Heathen?  I'd love to hear what you do.