We often have conversations about our ancestors, our elders, matriarchs, and death. We often refer to the arch-heathens, and attempt to explain the worldview of heathenry as a revival of the worldview of the arch-heathen. This always comes back to a mention of your tribe, or an ancient tribe, or in many cases a confederation of ancient tribes. When we talk about the arch-heathens we are always talking about groups of humans living on the European continent, yet they are not European. We are always talking about people with lighter skin tones, yet they aren’t white. The terms white and European would be entirely foreign to the arch heathen. Not only would they be foreign, but the way we use them today they would be insulting.

White is a term widely used on the north american continent, it groups all people who have ancestors from another continent under one umbrella, and in many circles is used as a call to arms. The use of “white” as a call to arms  is an attempt to establish a narrative of kinship. They are claiming “I look like you, we are of the same people.” This completely ignores that these same people, who will claim that multi-culturalism is causing a “white genocide,” are gleefully consigning the diverse ethnicities of Europe to the abyss of Historical Irrelevance. t. There are some famous heathens who instead of saying “white” will claim that they are concerned for “European” peoples, yet when put to the task all they claim is that geography is somehow the biggest piece of ethnicity. To these people being able to claim that someone in their family line was born on the European continent is the most important claim in their spirituality. The desperation to belong has lead to the forced homogenization of culture that is quickly subsuming the last vestiges of ethnic identity left to heathens.

Heathenry is an umbrella term, not one that is particularly old, which covers many different religions from many different peoples.. Lets look, albeit briefly, at the different tribes we know of, at the diversity that cultural homogenizers would hide behind the terms “white”, and “European.” Tacitus writes of distinct groups such as the Angles, of Anglo-Saxon fame, the Buri from the southern area near modern poland, the Chasuarii north east of the Rhine, and the Quadi who migrated into western Slovakia. Meanwhile Julius Caesar lists the Charudes, from Jutland, the Condrusi from Belgium, and Eburones from the Netherlands. Seven distinct and different cultures, seven different tribes that would have warred, traded, and intermarried. Seven distinct ethnicities lost to the term “European.” These weren’t some homogeneous culture of white people living in a white man’s paradise, these were distinct ethnic groups. Their religions would have been similar, but distinctly their own, with their own gods, rituals, and leaders. They would have felt no brotherhood for anyone not of their tribe, they would have scoffed at a modern leader who called out for the preservation of “white people.”

I will say it again, I am not proud to be white. I am not proud of my genetic markers that make my skin pale. I am proud of my efforts to bring the practices of the Saxons, Angles, Jutes, and so many more back into the world. I am proud to work towards contributing to the heritage of my elders. I am proud to be a descendant of veterans, sheriffs, and even thieves and sailors. The least important, amazing, or noteworthy thing about my bloodline is our pale skin. We are men and women who come from Scottish, Saxon, African, and First nations heritages, we have forged a family through the fires of time from many lands and places, and the blood of my forefathers and mothers flows strong in my veins. That same story is true of you, you are the product of generations of people making it, generations of individuals, of different tribes scratching out an existence on this hostile blue ball we call home. What need do you have of this arbitrary false tribe hood called “white”?

I said earlier that identifying as “white” strips us of our heritage. By calling yourself white, and setting yourself against, or at least apart from, anyone not white, you’re unilaterally expanding your tribe to encompass anyone who looks like you. You end up trading the security of tradition, for mewling masses who do not share those bonds of tradition. You go from being able to identify your own, to not knowing Tom, Dick, or Harry is out to hurt your family because he has no loyalty. You trade the reasoned discussion among a small trusted cadre, to the unyielding fear of the herd. How many of us, americans specifically, know the traditions, and stories of our own people? I didn’t grow up on stories of Saxon Heroes, Gaelic Maidens, or Modoc warriors. I grew up on Power Rangers, RugRats, and Jesus. There is no secret conspiracy at play here, but rather generations of expanding “whiteness” erasing and rewriting our heritage from a varied and diverse menagerie into a bland, monocolor, mass monoculture. Of all the European cultures to make their homes on this continent few have retained their individuality, and of those only the Amish are well known. The English, Irish, Dutch, Swedish, and Spanish traditions that were brought to these shores have been blended and washed away under the idea of “whiteness.”

How has this manifested for heathens? In America Icelanders and Norwegians are a minority, yet most of the heathenry practiced by predominantly English, and German descended americans  is Norse. Theological points are expected to be uniform, but there is no ragnarok for the AS heathen, or the Swede, Oðinn and Woden are treated the same but as a friend has pointed out the two are quite different. Some gods get ignored entirely. This white washing has also caused traditions that could be revived, to be… malformed.. For example, Galdr, often done as “runic galdr” in today’s heathen world, in which Men and women will stand in a circle and chant the name of a rune . Galdr to the Anglo-Saxon was a poem or song of power. The titular “Nine Herbs Charm” was a galdr, there were galdr’s to ward travel and galdr’s to save one from being elf shot. Currently the only people openly talking about and using this form of Gladr are the Theodsmen, yet I can’t count the number of groups who are shorting themselves by not using this wonderful form of ritual.

Perhaps you don’t want this diversity, perhaps you want the same recognition as Christians, with their standardized orthodoxy. Maybe you are okay with bland; bland is safe. Bland doesn’t hurt feelings. If you are fine with bland, safe, homogenized reality, by all means embrace whiteness, this  overbroad caricature of culture. There is a reason the language used by its promoters incites rage and fear, for without heavy emotions, without making you feel like a victim on the defense, it has no depth. If you want to save and promote your heritage, ditch the fear, ditch “white,” and take pride in your last name, in your grandparents, your aunts and uncles, learn about your ancient kin and build on the foundations they left us. Be heathen and honor your roots, your people, not your skin color.

Posted by Josh

This article has 2 Complaints

  1. You male some great points but the issue of having tribal varities of heathenry is the fact that we simply don’t have enough evidence to reconstruct say, Frankish or “Swedish” heathen beliefs and practices. The religion today is not the same as in the past, it cannot be, and we should embrace that hard reality and make it work for us. A common heathenry based on Norse, English and continental sources combined is a very powerful collection of knowledge.

    Secondly your argument rests entirely on the emphasis of tribe. Ironically this is in fact just as much a projection as the terms you reject- white, European etc. if you went into 8th century Northumbria and started saying “tribe” or “ethnic group” they would think you were stupid. A tribe is a constructed idea to understand some commonalities among a group in a certain time and place. Germanic tribes were not a holy reality with distinct criteria and definitions of who was in the tribe or outside it. This concept of tribe does not exist in any historical heathen source, in fact it is a very Jewish idea of a pure bloodline and god’s chosen people. When you have a preconceived idea and then try to force facts and logic to fit into it, you have to really question where did you get the idea of trube and why is that so important to you in religious terms? You need the validity of it being in your blood to give authenticity to your beliefs? Where is your faith? Do you think the gods care if you are 1/3 Anglo-Saxon or 100% black? Do you think the gods care that you are using an Anglo-Saxon ritual but you have no Anglo-Saxon blood? For you, your religion is about race and identity not gods, beliefs or spirituality. So it isn’t really a religion at all, it’s racial separatism. Please check yourself, you are educating people with assumptions and projections, both of which you in fact claim to be fundamentally bad for our religion. It’s quite nonsensical

    1. “[…]but the issue of having tribal varities of heathenry is the fact that we simply don’t have enough evidence to reconstruct say, Frankish or “Swedish” heathen beliefs and practices.”

      I completely agree and don’t even advocate for the complete reconstruction of the “tribal religions of individual ancient heathen groups. I do advocate for the use of reconstruction to build new regional varieties of heathen religions.

      “The religion today is not the same as in the past, it cannot be, and we should embrace that hard reality and make it work for us.”

      That isn’t at all what anyone here is advocating, but I think it is important to acknowledge that when using reconstruction methodologies we are actually building something new that is based on the passt. The knowledge we have of the past is essentially a litmus test for what is and isn’t heathen.

      “Secondly your argument rests entirely on the emphasis of tribe. Ironically this is in fact just as much a projection as the terms you reject- white, European etc.”

      The term tribe is a conscious projection, and yes it is one that wouldn’t have been used or known by the peoples we are talking about, what isn’t a projection is the idea behind the term. A trieb, band, clan, what have you, isn’t about blood, in fact more often than not the shared phenotypic traits are simply a product of many families inter breeding over periods of time. Rather, and this was the point of the article, a tribe (it is the word that best fits, if someone presents me a better one I will use it) is bound by common culture. The Saxons had a common culture with the other Saxon groups, from religion to language, same can be said of any ancient European tribe, and any tribal group in the world.

      “[…]you have to really question where did you get the idea of trube(sic) and why is that so important to you in religious terms?”

      In this context the idea of tribe, and its importance to the religion, come from the fact that our religion is a communal. We have really scant, negligible even, evidence that our forbearers had any solitary practice and that all rituals were done with family as the smallest unit, and big stuff was done by relation groups, clan, or groups of clans led by a group of elders or a chieftain.

      This next quote is long but it needs a response.

      “You need the validity of it being in your blood to give authenticity to your beliefs? Where is your faith? Do you think the gods care if you are 1/3 Anglo-Saxon or 100% black? Do you think the gods care that you are using an Anglo-Saxon ritual but you have no Anglo-Saxon blood? For you, your religion is about race and identity not gods, beliefs or spirituality. So it isn’t really a religion at all, it’s racial separatism.”

      What in the world are you talking about? Have you read anything else on this blog? Listened to any of our episodes? I personally have called out racism and reactionary language, and have received the hate and ugliness that standing up to these things bring.

      “Please check yourself, you are educating people with assumptions and projections, both of which you in fact claim to be fundamentally bad for our religion. It’s quite nonsensical”

      You have projected and assumed all over this article, but you don’t seem to really have any ground to stand on here. I will reiterate some points here:

      * The word tribe is a borrowing, it does not refer to a racial link, rather it refers to a group that shares thew.

      *Neither I, nor anyone involved with or affiliated with Heathen Talk Network in any way supports, endorses, or promotes racism, racial separatism, or any race based initiatory ideologies. They are in point of fact, antithetical to what we as a network stand for.

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