One Tired Heathen
I am so very, very, tired.
By now, we've all seen the events that happened at Capitol Hill on the 6th. Let's not even beat around the bush, the terrorist events. That is what they were, and I do not apologize for that. We also saw Jacob Chansley - hereafter Ivar the Dickless - presenting himself in ridiculously cobbled-together outfit including a Sioux warrior headdress (of which he has not earned), Stars and Stripes warpaint (of which the American colors should not be used), brick-walled arms, and of course Heathen symbols.
There was a hrungnishjarta (commonly called a "valknut"). A Mjölnir. And what could arguably be either Yggdrasil or the Celtic Tree of Life & Death.
And without fail, various Pagan circles exploded against the Heathen (Norse Pagan) Community. Demands of what we're doing to stem white supremacy. Accusations that we're not doing enough, and/or actively harboring white supremacy. Media publications literally equating "Heathen" with "white supremacist leaning Pagans" (this has since been amended, but the damage is likely done, and the lack of research beforehand is telling). Every time one of these chuckle-fucks rears their argr head, the entirety of Heathendom gets the brunt of the attack. And it is exhausting.
Most frustrating is the accusation that we're not doing enough, or not addressing the problem, and that's what has me ready to throw in the axe. Ready, but I won't.
Because we've been addressing this for decades. Since at least the 1980's and 1990's during Heathenry's reformation, but likely a little before that. Every single book on Heathenry, Ásatrú, Forn Sed, Fyrnsidu, and a myriad of other Heathen paths has chapters - sometimes several - dedicated to the sordid forerunners of Modern Heathenry that included nationalism, white supremacy, and Germanic mysticism. Every book addresses what was, why it was wrong, and how we have moved beyond. We have organizations built around forward progress and Inclusive Heathenry: The Troth; Huginn's Heathen Hof; Heathens United Against Racism; Heathens Against Hate; and of course Declaration 127. 180 different organizations in 20 different nations and countless individuals of the global Heathen community signed that proclamation standing together as one against racism, bigotry, and white supremacy specifically within Heathenry as well as in general.
How can anyone say that we are not doing enough?
No, I think rather the problem lies with everyone else not listening. Either that, or not caring to learn. We can present our symbols and what they mean year after year, and both display and teach Inclusiveness until we are blue in the face. But if it falls on disinterested and deaf ears, it will get us nowhere. We have given resources time and time again for people (both within Paganism and without it) to recognize our symbols and what they stand for. Everyone should have the wherewithal to understand that just because some neo-nazi, white supremacist níðingr is doing what white supremacists do, and just so happens to be sporting a Mjölnir (et al) and shouting about Woden does not mean that all Heathens share that mentality. Realistically, not even half of us share that ideology, and I feel that saying a quarter of us do would be overly generous to their numbers.
In closing, let me put it this way. We as a just society know that it is wrong to blame our Muslim neighbors for the actions of ISIL and various extremists. We know they are not to blame. We do not rain holy fire on our Christian neighbors when a scandal erupts within the Catholic Church, or when the Army of God, Ku Klux Klan, Eastern Lightning, the Lord’s Resistance Army, the National Liberation Front of Tripura, the Phineas Priesthood, The Concerned Christians, and various individual Christian extremists cause havoc and death. We know that neither religion's adherents - en masse - condone such behavior, and we do not accuse them of harboring such hateful ideology.
So why thus condemn Heathenry?
Addendum: Please do follow along - either via TikTok or the CC'd Instagram posts mirrored here - as I present various Heathen symbols that have been misrepresented by white supremacy, various symbols that are intrinsic and isolated to white supremacists, and various verbal and text-based red flags that can alert individuals of an encounter with a white supremacist. Though I am tired and frustrated (as are we all) education and safety remains important, both for my kin and yours.