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Did Our Ancestors Celebrate  the Fall Equinox?

Did Our Ancestors Celebrate  the Fall Equinox?

Did our ancestors celebrate the fall equinox? The question is an interesting one, and left for much interpretation. Certainly, some of our ancestors did pay attention to the equinox, as marked by many paleolithic stone circles. However, if we’re talking about those ancestors in the Viking Age, the idea gets a bit more muddled. I’ll explain.

What Exactly is the Fall Equinox?

For those of you who don’t know, the equinox is the time when the sun shines directly on the equator. To explain how that happens, we’ll have to refresh our basic astronomy.

Our planet, Earth, revolves around the sun. One circuit around the sun equals one year. The Earth spins around its axis as well, and the length of time it takes to make one full revolution is approximately 24 hours. With me so far?

But the Earth’s axis is tilted compared to the plane of its path around the sun. The Earth is tilted because it “spins” similar to a top. But unlike a top, the Earth’s wobble occurs over millions of years, and not seconds, like the toy. Because the Earth is in a tilt, it stays in the tilt as it revolves around the sun. So, winter occurs in our hemisphere when our hemisphere is furthest away from the sun. That is the winter solstice. The equinox occurs midway between winter and summer solstice when the sun is equal distant between the North and South poles.

Did Our Ancestors Recognize the Equinox?

So, the equinox occurs when the sun crosses the equator, giving us a near equal day and night. Hence the name, Equinox, meaning “equal night.” But did our ancestors recognize the equinox, and did it have any special meaning to them? Did they celebrate the fall equinox? (Or spring equinox, for that matter?)

We can look at various archaeological digs and find that yes, our ancestors did know about the equinox, and in some cultures, it must have had a religious significance. Stonehenge and Newgrange are two archaeological sites that keep track of the solstices and eclipses. Other sites across Ireland and Great Britain may also track the sun.

Other cultures, notably the Mayans, Chinese, Native Americans, and Egyptians also tracked the sun with their pyramids and monuments. So, it is likely that ancient European cultures were aware of the equinoxes. But how did our Northern ancestors celebrate the Fall equinox?

The Northern Ancestors’ Year

The Norse kept a calendar that had only two seasons: winter and summer. The reason is pretty obvious. There was snow, and there was no snow and farming time. The solstices seemed to have played a bigger role in Norse beliefs, hence Yule and Midsummer.

That being said, it doesn’t mean that the peoples in the Viking Era weren’t aware of the equinoxes. Certainly, during the fall equinox, people were busy with the harvest. But they would hold harvest festivals to celebrate and give thanks for a good harvest. I can’t imagine that they wouldn’t mark the equinox in some fashion, since it meant the night would overtake the daylight. No doubt many Northern peoples looked at the equinox as the herald of the upcoming winter darkness.

Solstices were More Important

Other pagan cultures celebrated Mabon, and today we have Winter Finding. As much as I would like to think the equinoxes were important, I suspect that the Solstices were more so. The first month of winter is in October in the old Norse calendar, and the first month of summer is in April. So, obviously the spring and fall equinox wasn’t as important as the solstices. But, they still had some importance. Eostre was celebrated close to the spring equinox and harvest celebrations were close to the fall equinox.

As always, if you have insights, be sure to let me know.

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The Gods of the Hunt: Skadi and Ullr

The Gods of the Hunt: Skadi and Ullr

When it comes to the approaching autumn, two gods I constantly associate with the cooling weather is Skadi and Ullr. Skadi and Ullr are two very powerful gods in our Northern pantheon, which is why it befuddles me that not a lot has survived when it comes to stories about these two gods.

Let’s Talk Skadi First

We know more about Skadi than Ullr, so I’ll talk about her first. Skadi is a Frost Giant (or Jotun) turned goddess and is the daughter of Þjazi. Skadi has a single story (although she and Loki argue in Lokasenna) on how she sought justice for the death of her father, Þjazi.  Þjazi was the Jotun who tricked Loki into stealing Idunn and her Golden Apples from the gods.

Skadi demanded to marry the god of her choice, plus someone had to make her laugh to fulfill the blood debt. Her demands were agreed on if she would choose her husband by looking at their feet only. Thinking she would choose Baldr, she chose the most beautiful feet–which belonged to Njord. Skadi couldn’t abide by the dreary coast, and Njord couldn’t stand the high mountaintops. So, theirs is an unhappy marriage.

Some Heathens have claimed that Skadi divorced Njord and chose Ullr, who would’ve been a better consort, but I haven’t seen anything in the literature to suggest that.

Ullr, the International Man of Mystery

Now we come to Ullr, and by the gods, there isn’t a lot written up about him. Which is a shame, because Ullr was an important god in the Northern countries. Ullr is the god of wintertime sports and hunting. He is also the god of oaths; our ancestors swore on Ullr’s oath ring. Ullr was called on in duels, presumably to oversee the contest or to grant favor. He was also the head of Asgard when Odin was in exile for ten years.

Beyond being handsome and fast on skis, the only other thing we know is that his home is called  Ýdalir, meaning “yew dales.”  This has given rise to the belief he was an archer, since bows were frequently made from yew. He is believed to be the god of winter sports and hunting. Nowadays, you can celebrate Ullr in December at Breckenridge, Colorado during Ullrfest, which celebrates snow, skiing, and the god, of course.

There has been some conjecture that Ullr may be another name for Tyr. The association is somewhat sketchy but you might be able to draw the conclusion due to people swearing their oaths on Ullr’s oath ring. And Tyr, who is often depicted more as the Aesir‘s second-in-command would be a more likely candidate to take over the throne of the All-Father while he was in exile, rather than Ullr. But even with these two examples, there aren’t any other obvious association between the two. In other words, we don’t know.

Unverified Personal Gnosis Time with Skadi and Ullr

Before I go further with this, I want to caveat this by saying these are my experiences with these gods, and like anything, Your Mileage May Vary. I’ve had plenty of dealings with Skadi, but not Ullr. Back when I competed in a certain winter sport, Skadi and I held an uneasy truce. I was a lot more wary of her then, and while I know she is a very dangerous goddess, over the years I’ve come to understand her. She doesn’t suffer fools in her territory, so every time I am out in the backcountry, I am aware she could take me out.

Still, Skadi has been a friend to me and my husband. (She smiles on him with a lot with animals.) Even so, I think I’ve gained some favor. I have had animals wait patiently while I get my equipment ready and even wait for me to shoot them. My offerings/blots go primarily to Skadi and Tyr, whom I consider my primary gods.

Ullr is still a concept to me. Maybe because I have gods that fulfill the roles he seems to have, I haven’t quite made the leap to adding him to my main gods. I do, however, remember him in my blots. So, maybe that’s good enough for him at the moment.

So, let me know about your own experiences with the hunting god/goddess in the comments!

A quick shout-out to Sarah Keene, who has helped make The Rational Heathen possible with her continued support!

Choosing a God or Goddess: Why the Gods You’ve Chosen Might Not be Right

Choosing a God or Goddess: Why the Gods You’ve Chosen Might Not be Right

Choosing a god

or goddess isn’t as easy as people sometimes make it. What’s the big deal, you say? You worship or honor Odin. Or maybe Freyja. Or Thor. But what if I told you that the god(s) or goddess(es) you’ve latched onto might not be the right gods or goddesses for you? This is especially true for the newcomers to Heathenry, but even us “old timers” can make the mistake. Let me explain.

Choosing a God in Heathenry

One of the great things about being a Heathen is that you don’t have to gravitate toward a particular god or goddess. Because we’re polytheistic, we have many different gods, ancestors, and wights we can choose from. Unlike other religions, you don’t have to choose a god or goddess. You can honor or worship them all. Nobody—at least not me—is telling you who calls to you.  (Never mind those recon wankers; they’re not the Asa-popes they think they are.) At the same time, you can choose one or two whom your venerate more, while still maintaining good relations with the others. Or you can pick and choose from different pantheons, if you desire. There’s a historical precedence for that.

Some Heathens in history incorporated other gods and goddesses into their worship as they learned of them from other tribes, kindreds, and even other ethnicities. The Vanir are probably the best known for this. Some scholars believe that our ancestors added another tribe’s gods and goddesses that became the Vanir. Even when Christianity came to our northern ancestors, many tried to incorporate Jesus as another god in the pantheon. Of course, that didn’t really work too well, but we can see by the Icelandic Cross, jewelry makers were catering to both sides for a while.

Newbie Choices in Gods and Goddesses

A lot of newbie Heathens tend to go with Odin, Thor, Freyja, or Loki, largely because of popular media. This is fine, and those gods are good within their own rights (although people might argue about Loki), however, that’s pretty much how far those new Heathens take it. They look at Odin as the All-Father in the same way that Christians look at Yahweh as “God the Father.” This comparison is laughable—or, maybe not, given the mercurial temperaments of both deities—when they are different in a number of ways. There are more gods and goddesses that may be far more influential and far more relevant in one’s life than the All-Father.

Odin isn’t all-mighty. Sure, he’s a god to be reckoned with if he’s angry at you, but if he hasn’t taken specific interest in you, he probably won’t care if you worship him or not. Same goes with our other gods. Most don’t bother when it comes to mortals. They have more godly things to deal with than our day-to-day whining and supplication. That being said, there are gods and goddesses who may take interest in you, but you may miss their calls if you’re always thinking about the more popular gods from modern media. Which is why, if you’re a newbie, you need to do your research about the other gods and goddesses.

Don’t Forget the Wights and Ancestors

Choosing a god is important, but so is recognizing that the gods aren’t the only supernatural creatures in our beliefs. The wights and ancestors tend to take more notice in us, because they’re often more local and/or personal than gods and goddesses are. Because they are closer to us than many of the gods, by making friends with them and honoring them we can often receive both aid and advice from them.

Who are your Ancestors?

Your ancestors are not only your parents and grandparents, but their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and so on. They are the people whose blood runs through your veins. Without them, you would not be alive today.

Ancestor veneration or ancestor worship (if you want to call it that) is a big part of Heathenry. Many Heathens gain strength from those who came before us.  Some Heathens go through the whole genealogy thing too.

Now, granted, some of your ancestors were probably not people whom you should show respect to. If you come from an abusive home, for example, there’s probably no love loss there. You don’t have to respect or honor them. Look to your grandparents or some other ancestor in your line for help. At the same time, if you were adopted, don’t worry about who your ancestors are, especially if you don’t know your birth parents. Look at the ancestors of the people who adopted you and their family. You are part of that family now and you may find an ancestor among them who will be your mentor and helper in times of need.

Who are the Wights?

I’ve written about Wights recently, so I don’t need to go there. That being said, the local Wights are often the tutelary spirits of the land that are often familiar with you and your situation. Some will live in your house; many prefer being outdoors. They consist of many different types including Elves, Hidden Folk, and other spirits.

The Wights can be very helpful or harmful, depending on their nature and how you treat them. There are rules to make the Nisse happy, for example. Nisse or Tomte like having porridge with milk and a pat of butter on either Winter Solstice or Christmas, depending on which lore you follow. If you skimp (no butter) or don’t leave the offering, they can cause havoc.

Part of being a Heathen is making friends with these spirits and helping them, just as they might help you.

So, Where am I Going with This?

I am not telling you to abandon your worship of the popular gods and goddesses. Instead, I’m suggesting—especially if you’re a newcomer to Heathenry—to consider opening yourself to other gods as well as the ancestors and the Wights. At the very least, you will have a deeper understanding of your faith and what your ancestors believed in.  And who knows? Maybe there are gods and goddesses you haven’t considered honoring who are actually closer to you than you knew. Choosing a god or goddess that is lesser known, or even a wight or ancestor, to honor or worship with your more popular gods may encourage a deeper and more profound relationship.

As always, let me know what you think in the comments.

 

What Exactly Are the Wights in Heathenry?

What Exactly Are the Wights in Heathenry?

If you’ve entered Heathenry recently, or even if you have been in it a while, chances are you’ve heard about Wights. Often called the landvaetr, the wights are pretty intrinsic to Heathen beliefs. But what exactly are they, and how do they fit into the Heathen belief system?

Where the Term, Wight, Comes From

The term, “wight,” comes from Middle English, but we really have J.R.R. Tolkien to thank for bringing it back into the lexicon. The original word mean “a living, sentient being,” but the word mostly went out of style until The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings became popular. That Tolkien chose the word, “wight,” is no happy accident. He was a professor of Anglo Saxon at Oxford University. (The Anglo Saxon root of “wight” is wiht, for those curious.) In his stories, he spoke of “Barrow-wights” and other denizens. So, he used the term, wight, to describe a particularly supernatural phenomenon. Namely, creatures that are not quite of this world, but have sentience, or are, at least animate enough to consider them creatures and not things.

Heathens (as well as other pagans and fantasy writers) have co-oped the term to describe supernatural creatures that aren’t quite gods, but are still quite powerful. I believe we probably use the word because most people are familiar with the concept of wights nowadays, but aren’t necessarily familiar with the term, landvaetr. In other words, even though landvaetr or “land spirits” are the correct words to use (when talking about land wights), for simplicity sake, we use “wights.”

What Are Wights, Exactly?

Now that you’re familiar with the concept of wights, let’s talk about what a wight encompasses in Heathenry. Wights are just what you might think: Elves, Dwarves, Trolls, and other supernatural denizens. These include the nisse, tomte, disir, alfar, and hulderfolk. They include the ancestors who have continued after their death to reside in our world as spirits. And they include not only the land spirits, but also the sea spirits, of which there are many. This is the broadest sense of being a wight.

My Experience with Wights (Or Lack Thereof)

Growing up, I always wanted to see Elves and Fairies. Even when I was old enough to know better, while still being a preteen, I hoped to see the hidden folk. I grew up largely in suburbia, but way back when I was a kid (yeah, you can add the old codger voice to that), there were still tracts of undeveloped land around our homes. I lived in the Eastern US where you could still cross lands that had blackberry and raspberry bushes growing wild, find ruins of old farmsteads that predated the Civil War, and other cool things. We never thought we were trespassing on someone’s property, although I’m pretty sure we did that a lot, but we found some pretty cool stuff with metal detectors and just generally exploring. I knew most of the creeks and entrances into property where people wouldn’t give you grief for crossing. Yeah, I suppose it was a different time. My mom and dad had no idea where I was going, and I wasn’t worse for the wear.

Anyway, back to wights. Despite being in a history-rich area, I never saw a single wight. The gods know, I tried. Instead, I tromped through streams, played in the mud (and got in terrible trouble for that), explored, and discovered a lot of things. Wights—not so much. Maybe they just looked at me as some kid who was mostly harmless and alone. Maybe my early skepticism banished them, I don’t know.

Do Wights Exist?

It’s my guess—and you folks can argue with me over this—that most Heathens are pretty convinced that wights aren’t corporeal creatures, but more likely spirits. Or maybe they consider wights the personification of the natural forces at work. In other words, they aren’t really singular entities. Some people feel that they are ancestors—and yes, there are good cases for this. And some people believe them to be a little below gods. Again, there is a case for that as well.

That being said, I’m clearly on the agnostic side of the fence when it comes to wights. In other words, I haven’t actually had the pleasure of meeting one. I’ve spoken to people whom I consider sane (or mostly sane) who work with wights, so there is a possibility that they do exist on some level. Despite my agnostic views, I do make offerings to them. I also can do rituals that banish bad wights. Hel’s bells, I’ve even had some interesting experiences with what can only be considered gremlins. (The type that gum up mechanical things, not the creatures you’re never supposed to get wet or feed after dark.)

What Else About Wights?

There are literally books about wights, but for the sake of expediency, I won’t go into specifics in this post. Instead, I’m planning a series of posts about wights and the other less than godly creatures in our belief system and give you my take on them. And of course, if you’ve had dealings with wights, be sure to tell me about it in the comments!

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The Elder Futhark: Naudhiz

The Elder Futhark: Naudhiz

The tenth, and second rune of Heimdallr’s ætt, is Naudhiz, which corresponds to the “N” sound in the Latin alphabet (the alphabet we use).  This is a another one of the most negative runes you can get, whenever it comes up. It does occasionally have positive sides, but I’ll talk about that later. It is the rune of restriction, need, and scarcity. Naudhiz doesn’t really have any good meanings, so if you pull up this rune, you’re going to be in for a difficult time, unless it is talking about something in the past.


In Anglo-Saxon, Naudhiz is spelled Nyd, and in Old Norse it is Nauðr .  Nauðr is the rune of need, constraint, and famine.  It speaks of times when need fires were created to burn away famine or diseases.

Our ancestors were no strangers to nature’s destructive forces. That included failed crops, famine, and disease. This was a time when people did without. Naudhiz is the rune of “not,” and it meant that people would most likely suffer when this rune was cast.

Divination with Naudhiz

When you get this rune in a casting, it informs you that what you desire is unlikely to come about, or maybe, there are constrains regarding the outcome. If your life is in need, that is, you’ve lost your job, you’re out of money, or maybe your relationships aren’t working, and you get Naudhiz in the present position, or the matter being considered, chances are it’s just a reflection of your life or plans at the present moment. People who pull Naudhiz in the present or past position have been feeling like their lives have been constrained or lacking something. If you get Naudhiz in the future position, it suggests your plans and life are going to constrained in some way.  Naudhiz often means no.

Naudhiz doesn’t seem to have a positive side to it, and in many cases it doesn’t. But at the same time, maybe it’s like the Rolling Stones song which says “You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometime, you just might find, you just might find, you get what you need.”  Like all runes, the context of the constraint depends on its position and the runes surrounding it. The runes feed off of each other, creating a broader picture for the caster.

Should you get this rune in your castings, you may think it means you’ll never get what you’re working toward. Well, maybe. The runes don’t differentiate between big and little. It’s up to you to determine whether you get disappointed because your lottery ticket didn’t win, or you didn’t get that promotion you were expecting, or if you lose your job. Naudhiz can mean all those things, so you need (see what I did there?) to be very specific, and even then, the runes may address something else in your life, and not what you were asking for.

Some Final Thoughts on Naudhiz

When Naudhiz appears in a spread, you may panic. Don’t. Sometimes it may be addressing something that you are needy in and need to work on improving. Maybe in the future spot it is serving as a warning, rather than an actual future. Remember, you can change your path. That’s one of the awesome parts of weaving our own Wyrd.

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5 Ways Heathens Can Celebrate the Summer Solstice

5 Ways Heathens Can Celebrate the Summer Solstice

Ah, it’s already June again, which means we’re almost at Summer Solstice.  Saturday, June 20th is the solstice, which marks the longest day of the year. This is the time when we celebrate the spring and summer gods and goddesses such as Freyr, Freyja, Baldr, Thor, and Sif, as well as Sunna. Here are five ways you can enjoy the solstice, even though you may still have to be careful with COVID-19.

Get Up and Greet the Sunrise

Okay, this is for those early birds who can get up and greet the new day. Or, for those of us who are night owls, who stay up long enough to see dawn break.  The rest of you mere mortals will probably be a bit bleary-eyed for this. Even so, prepare a blot and offer it to Sunna, the wights, the ancestors, and to the gods and goddesses of summer.

Leave Summer Solstice Offerings to the Gods and Wights at Your Outdoor Altar

Thank the gods and goddesses for another year, and leave them offerings for good harvests and health. Don’t forget the wights and the ancestors either, especially when it comes to good harvests on the summer solstice. The local wights are said to make the difference between a good harvest and a bad one. So, even if you’re agnostic about wights, like I am, err on the part of superstition and offer them something. Don’t have an outdoor altar? Use this day to make one now! Follow this link for how to create an easy-to-make outdoor altar.

Do Something Outdoorsy

The best way to celebrate the summer solstice is to get outdoors and do something that helps you enjoy the long daylight. This includes simple things like taking a walk, going hiking, going fishing, or doing some type of activity that involves getting outdoors. With COVID-19, remember to keep your distance from people who are not in your household, and to wear masks if you’re heading somewhere people are present.

Sorry to be a killjoy about it, but we’re still in the midst of a pandemic. So, go outside, but do so responsibly.

Hold a Pork Feast for Your Family

Plan on preparing pork for your dinner on the summer solstice, whether it is pork chops, a pork roast, or even a ham. Pigs are special to Freyr, so having pork is a good way to celebrate the god.  So, crack open that bottle of mead and offer a toast to the gods, along with those who live with you to Sunna, Baldr, Freyja, and Freyr.

Tend to Your Garden

You do have a garden, don’t you? Even if it’s only a few herb pots or flowers, give them extra care today. Summer solstice is the longest day of the year when photosynthesis is at its peak due to all that sun. Even if it’s cloudy, the daylight provides extra time for growth.

I hope I’ve given you some cool ideas for this solstice. Let me know what you’re planning on doing for the summer solstice in the comments.

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Creating Your Own Altars

Creating Your Own Altars

Thanks to the requests of my patrons, I’ve got plenty to write about! Sheta Kay was kind enough to give me an idea for this next post. I’ve covered altars in the past, but probably not as much as I should. So, let’s talk about altars and how to construct one.

What were Altars Like in the Past?

Because of Christianity, we really don’t have much information to go on when it comes to Heathen altars.. We can assume they set altars in the corner of the house. Most likely, they had small statues and other objects that they considered holy.  Maybe they were significant to the wights of the area and the gods. Offerings were left at the indoor altar to the gods and local wights. and it was a place to reflect and pray.
Outdoor altars were typically made of stones in a cairn-like formation, or as wooden staves with the gods’ and wights’ faces carved into the pole. The Northern people drove these staves into the ground in sacred places. People probably left offerings and performed blots there.

What Did People Consider Holy Ground?

We’ve all heard of holy ground—certainly in vampire movies and other stories. But the concept of holy ground was not just confined to Christianity. As a matter of fact, our ancestors understood thresholds very well. As a result, they ringed their hofs (temples) with fences made from stone or wood. The inside yard, Heathens called a hörgr, and everything within it was considered holy.
The interesting part about the hof and hörgr was that they weren’t always used as a place of worship. The people held town meetings and thing within a hof. The hörgr might have merchants and temporary shops in an open-air market set up for people to trade and buy things.

Hof and Hörgr

Nowadays, most of us Heathens are a scattered bunch, and with COVID-19, we may be scattered even more for some time. It’s unlikely that having a hof and hörgr in most communities will happen for some time, since Heathenism is a small religion, when compared with Christianity, or even Wicca.

Creating Your Own Indoor Altar

Creating your indoor altar is relatively easy. Choose a piece of furniture, or even a shelf on a book case, and add your statues and images of the gods and wights as you see fit. You may not have the money to purchase those statues, so if you’re artistically inclined, draw or paint your own. Or maybe bring in things that remind you of the certain gods. For example, I have wolves for Tyr and Skadi, a fox for Loki, horses for Freyr and Odin, Mjolnir for Thor, and a cat for Freyja. I also have stones, feathers, and elder branches for the wights.

Outside Altars

I have instructions for creating your own outdoor altar HERE. The instructions are for a cairn, but you can also create your own outdoor altar by creating or buying staves and putting them in a special spot in your yard. I’ve heard of people using sticks, or even tongue depressors and drawing the pictures of the gods on them using permanent markers. You can also write the names of the gods you wish to honor on the stick in runes and use them that way.
I hope I’ve given you some ideas when it comes to creating your own altar. Tell me how you did in the comments and add a photo of your altar! I’d love to see it.
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A Heathen’s View, For What It’s Worth: George Floyd and Riots

A Heathen’s View, For What It’s Worth: George Floyd and Riots

“There’s battle lines being drawn
Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong
Young people speaking their minds
Getting so much resistance from behind

It’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down”

For What It’s Worth, Buffalo Springfield, Lyrics by Stephen Stills

George Floyd’s Death Was Wrong

If you even pay attention to the news in a small way, you know the current riots have been precipitated by the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a police officer knelt on his neck for minutes even after he gasped, “I can’t breathe.” This post has to address that incident before I can get to the issue that also needs addressing: riots. I’ll say right out that cops have some of the most thankless jobs, and most are good people. There are black cops, Hispanic cops, and cops of various minorities. But, there are bad cops too. The police force is made up of people. Some people are good; others bad. It’s just what it is.

That being said, what those Minneapolis police officers did was wrong. Floyd may have resisted arrest that warranted him being in restraints, but there was absolutely no reason the officer in question should have put his knee and body weight into the Floyd’s neck, especially after he stop resisting. The neck, as anyone with medical, or even martial arts, experience can tell you, is particularly delicate and harbors the trachea and critical blood vessels. Take out the windpipe and there’s a good chance for asphyxiation. Block off the carotid and jugular, and you can cause brain damage or death.

You can argue that the drugs in Floyd’s system may have contributed to his death. Granted. But cops restrain people who have done drugs all the time without resorting to kneeling on their necks. Yes, we haven’t seen what led up to the arrest, but seriously? The end shows us the guy’s final minutes of life where he wasn’t struggling. There was no excuse for killing Floyd. Period.

Peaceful Demonstrations Versus Riots

Naturally, there have been protests. But there have also been riots. A lot of them even in cities where there are black mayors and black police chiefs. The peaceful protests, I get. Really. It’s our Constitutional right to protest peacefully. It’s the riots that have me scratching my head.

While I can’t say with certainty that there are two different groups at play here, it does seem like it. There are the peaceful protesters who march during the day, and the rioting and looting people at night. Now, I get that people are angry. I’m angry too. But destroying one’s neighborhoods and the your neighbors’ businesses have always been counterproductive. We’ve seen that in the 60s and 70s. It solved nothing except bring anarchy. More people get injured and killed. More tensions. The question that I have to ask is, what’s the end game here? Justice? How will more death bring about that?

Why Do We Have to Go Through this Again?

I grew up when the nightly news was filled with race riots and protests over Vietnam. By the late 70s, early 80s, I thought that people had finally accepted that people of different color were entitled to the same treatment. I made the (stupid) assumption that because I harbored no ill will towards minorities, very few other people harbored ill will. Apparently, I was naive and wrong in my early adulthood. I apologize for my gross assumption.

At the same time, I have to ask myself why the fuck do we have to go through this yet again? Why are there people who insist that being prejudice is really the way to go? Do we really have to devolve to the point where we’re treating people according to the color of their skin? And why is it that people insist on rioting whenever there are protests? It really boggles the mind.

A Heathen Perspective

If you’re anywhere familiar with our gods, you know that the Aesir welcomed other so-called “races” into their pantheon. They accepted the Vanir after ending the war with them. They accepted the Jotun who were willing to join them. How many gods took Jotun consorts or were the result of a Jotun and Aesir coupling? We can look at the gods and goddesses and find tolerance even when it came to Loki (at least for a while). When someone in higher authority such as a police officer kills another human being under his control, does that anger you or make you fearful? It should. It shouldn’t matter whether the person is black, white, yellow, blue, or purple. Intentionally or not, it is murder. If you are white, and the roles were reversed, would you feel angry if a black cop did that to a white suspect? (If you aren’t as angry about Floyd’s death?)

We are all human. At some point in our ancestors, we all had black ancestors.  The white coloring occurred to adapt to the less sun of the northern latitudes. A simple genetic adaptation to enhance our Vitamin D production has somehow made some people think they’re better than people who aren’t in their ethnicity. Ludicrous.

This is why we can’t allow folkish and prejudicial attitudes to stay in Heathenry. When you start segregating our one species into colors and deciding who is better by the arbitrary decision, we get what we see in Minneapolis.

Just something to think about.

Add Coronavirus and Mix

To make matters worse, we’re still in the middle of a pandemic. Which means we are probably going to see a resurgence of COVID-19 again. The virus doesn’t care about black or white—all it does is infect. I fear deeply that we aren’t dealing with the real enemy, which is one that doesn’t discriminate.

Back to the Riots

People are going to have their own opinions—and surprise! Some people you’re just not going to agree with. Just like you’re not going to agree with everyone. Hel, you may not agree with me. I won’t go and riot about it, if you don’t. The problem with the riots is I don’t think they’re the protesters. I think the rioters are people who have the most to gain from civil unrest. Namely the extremists on both the right and the left. When you watch what’s going on, keep this in mind. And in the immortal words of Buffalo Springfield, “It’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound. Everybody look what’s going down.”

Ch-ch-ch-changes!

Ch-ch-ch-changes!

“We fear change.” — Garth, Wayne’s World.

I’ve realized I’m at a juncture with The Rational Heathen. I’ve gone from a blog to a very popular blog. A popular blog with growing pains. Which means I need to start changing it a bit to keep it fresh and more popular.

Now, before you freak out, this isn’t going to be massive changes. These are changes that I believe are necessary to grow. I’ve done a lot of thinking, and a lot of consulting with my various deities. I’m pretty sure I know what direction it needs to continue in. And there is a necessity for doing so. The Rational Heathen is a great blog, and I want it to continue to be a great blog. So, these changes will just make it better for all of you.

Open for Submissions!

Don’t worry! The Rational Heathen isn’t going anywhere, and my focus and opinions aren’t changing. If anything, I’m coming up with plans to add more content, which means I’m looking to add a group of like-minded writers to the mix of my writing. So, if you’re a Heathen, and you like to WRITE and GET PAID, you need to message me on my Facebook Page (www.facebook.com/rationalheathen). I can’t promise a lot of money up front. Right now, I’m thinking $5 a blog piece, but that will increase if the site grows with more patrons.

Going to a Monthly Plan

First, let me say that there will be plenty of free content for readers. That hasn’t changed. That being said, I have to change around my Patreon plans. I’ve been meaning to do this for some time, but as wonderful as the per-piece Patreon plan for premium content has worked out, the uncertainty leaves many potential patrons at a loss as to how much they’re spending. Going to a month donation will keep it simple, and people can budget for it. As much as this first month is going to hurt me–because my patrons have been switched to a month-only plan–I think in the long run, this is the right step. Time will tell.

On a negative side, if you’re donating less than $5 a month, you won’t have access to patron-only content any longer. Sorry. Sign up for the $5 a month patron scale to get access to your freebies again. But, chances are you were already donating that amount or more each month, which makes the flat $5/month a real bargain.

BTW, if you mean to donate MORE money (and by the gods, I won’t discourage that!), sign up for one of the higher tier plans and you’ll get some nice goodies, too.

Become a Patron!

The Monthly Patreon Plans

$5/month plan — all posts, patron-only content, and patron-only forums.

$12/month plan — Everything above, plus a 3-Rune Reading (for entertainment purposes only). And a free sticker after 3 months.

$25/month plan — Everything above, plus shout-outs and a free month advertisement on The Rational Heathen. Plus a free mug after 3 months.

$50/month plan — Everything above, plus free Heathen artwork for your phone/computer background/screen saver. Plus a free t-shirt after three months.

All of the deliveries of the plans will be after the first billing, with the exception of the merch.

Trusting in the Process

This is a gigantic step for me. It will no doubt piss off some of my patrons, but you can probably see that this may actually SAVE you money in the long run. No more “am I getting billed $5 or $10 this month?” or “I can’t figure out how much she will actually produce, or how much it will cost.” Instead, a clear-cut figure. No guesswork.

I have to trust in the process and take the hits as they might happen. Yeah, the small amount to buy in was attractive, but it could be deceptive. So, I’m being more upfront on this.

Please feel free to let me know what you think of this. Oh, and while you’re at it, support this blog on my Patreon page! Become a Patron!

 

ETA: Changes in plans due to merchandise. Yes, it costs me money!