Nazis and Norse Heathenry


#1

Continuing the discussion from Twitter users hunt down Seattle Nazi and knock him out:

In the context of “people Nazis hate”, which I mentioned generally didn’t include straight, able bodied white men-

I deliberately omitted that because of the ongoing issue with my own religious community. There are a lot of Christian Nazis- Notably groups like Christian Identity- but there are also a growing number who identify as Norse Heathen.

This is an issue.

As a Pagan and Celtic polytheist (I sometimes identify as a Druid*), I’m pretty close to a LOT of Norse Heathens who are adamantly not racist, and who are not happy about their religion being coopted by the white power crowd- Especially when sacred symbols like the Othala and Sowulo runes begin to be associated as racist symbols.

The generous view is that these people aren’t “called” to worship the old gods, but are simply seeking out a religion that wasn’t invented by brown people. The less charitable view is that they’re literally invading us. In any case, there is now a major rift between racist (or “folkish”) and non-racist factions. There is a similar, though smaller, situation among some Celtic Pagan circles as well.

This is complicated by there being a racial element to these religions themselves, even among those who are adamantly anti-racist.

Essentially, the mythology/lore/history/doctrine/etc. is that of our people. The Eddur say that Heimdall is the father of the Norse people. The Celtic myths describe particular gods and heroes through their relationship to Celtic lands and people.

You can see where racists might glom onto that idea.

BUT- and this is a big but- These stories don’t say anything about our people being superior, or having any claim to foreign lands, or any exclusive knowledge or anything that sets us as a race or culture above or beneath anyone else. It’s simply “this is the culture we’re born into, and it works well for us”.

More importantly, they are quite explicit about not being exclusive or isolationist towards other races and cultures. The lore is full of stories of travelers to and from other lands who are accepted amongst the natives, of intermarriage and siring of children across those lines, of trade in goods and customs and citizens between other cultures. Hell- being hospitable towards guests, especially foreign ones, is as close to a central commandment as most of us get.

Basically, the religion is like a family- The easy way in is to be born into it, but people marry in or are adopted or fostered into it pretty much whenever they’re called to be. Having that particular bloodline doesn’t make you more deserving than anyone else, it’s just a shortcut. And if someone from another race or culture shows up on your doorstep, you make damned well sure that at minimum, they’re welcomed, fed, and rested before they leave.

To myself, and many Heathens I know, this is solidly about “respecting our heritage”- Because again, for a lot of us, the feeling of being drawn to our ancestors was why we got started on this path in the first place. But we are quite adamant that it is possible to revere both your own and other peoples’ heritage, and that the one absolutely does not prohibit the other.

So again, when we come across those who would read some sort of bigoted and racist principle into this, it creates problems- And there is a great deal of drama as this plays out in the larger community.

Anyway, I just thought I’d give some context.


*Or sometimes Identify as Wiccan or just Pagan. If you must know, I follow a Celtic (Druid) cosmology with a Wiccan methodology and a good deal of Norse and Ceremonial Magick influence- So I have strong connections to several Pagan and Heathen communities.


#2

Thank you very much for this.

Many years ago in college, I took a course in Celtic & Norse mythology just for fun, and there were three or four guys in there who were full on Asatru, with side-braids and Thor hammer necklaces. Every single time the teacher would even mention women, one of them would stand up and say “ACTUALLY, in a historic context, women and people of color were seen as inferior,” or some such thing, and would side-eye and sneer at the non-white-and-male people in class. I was happy to find out later that most Norse-flavored pagans aren’t raging bigots, but it’s definitely a worldview some of them subscribe to.


#3

Again, with the gender stuff, there’s a lot of really solid defining of masculine and feminine traits- But at the same time, we know there were female warriors, and several of the goddesses could kick as as well as any of their male counterparts. According to some studies, gay men were considered to be completely masculine as long as they were tops- If they were a bottom, they were basically treated like a woman. And there’s even trans stuff in the lore- Loki, a male, at one point becomes a mare and births three kids. Thor, the freaking epitome of toxic masculinity, cross dresses in one story to put one over on some giants.

I suppose if you look at it the right way, it’s kind of an interesting study- You have this concept of honoring your heritage, that branches off into a nationalistic/supremacist mindset or just the opposite.

Same thing with gender roles- You have these rigidly defined roles, but with the understanding that sex is not necessarily the final word on what role someone ends up with. And again, we see this branching into either extreme chauvinism or a really progressive view on LGBT and gender stuff.


#4

Sadly, there’s nothing that malignant assholes can’t or won’t try to co-opt and pervert for their own miserable purposes.


#5

Isn’t a “and that is how we(or at least our nobility) are connected to our pantheon” clause far more the rule than the exception in mythology? Monotheisms play a bit differently, since they have to account for the existence of all of the people without positing a whole bunch of extra gods; but still tend toward a “and this is how we(or at least our nobility) have a special relationship with our deity” clause somewhere.


#6

Yeah, basically. Even the Jews were polytheistic at one point- It was kind of the entire point of the story that their particular tribe made an exclusive bond with that particular deity, forsaking all others. It wasn’t until the Zoroastrian influence brought this idea of a singular good and a singular evil, rather than a variety of more ambiguous forces, that the Jewish god started being thought of as the only one.


#7

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