Change of Pace (also Time Travelers)

I don’t talk about my personal life on here for a lot for a number of reasons, but the foremost is that it isn’t why most of my reader’s are coming here.  I’m sure you are all glad that I’m happily married to my wonderful wife, that I have a wonderful seven-year old/2nd grade girl, a wonderful one-year old bouncing baby girl, and a wonderfully supportive family…but that awesome family wasn’t what I started writing about.  They definitely inspire me to follow me dreams and pursue my passions (of which writing is one), but…that’s just not the focus du jour here.  I got my readership from talking about Heathenry, spirituality, philosophy, ethics, and devotional practice.  As such, that’s what I try to focus on.

Awesome is hard to depict, but I think this historic marker for a time traveler comes close.

Awesome is hard to depict, but I think this historic marker for a time traveler comes close.

That being said, my life is about to become more busy, complex, and awesome…and I want to share that awesomeness.  It also effects that devotional meme I’ve been working on, so we’re sort of on topic here any how.

Wife* and I have had to live with my parents for about the last year.  That bouncing baby girl was a blessing of the unexpected variety, which had thrown a wrench into our long term plans; Wife ended up having to take a leave of absence from college due to the difficulty of the pregnancy, as Peanut was apparently a Thai Kick Boxer in a previous life.  Three or four months later, I had a knee injury that complicated our plans even more.  A worker’s compensation claim resulted, leaving us both out of job when that wasn’t what either of us wanted.  My parents had a Mother-Daughter house, so we moved the three and a half of us in that empty space.  It’s been cramped, but it’s been necessary.  My family has a tradition of looking out after each other, and it’s a tradition that my parents and extended family have followed above and beyond the call of duty.  In either case, Peanut was born, Wife started recovering, Munchkin started getting into the routines of her new school district, and we started rebuilding a long-term plan.

That plan was that Wife would work and I would stay home with the kids; her work record and schooling were both superior to mine, so she looked like she’d be the one likely to command the best wage.  While I am intelligent and articulate and generally awesome, my resume revealed a work history in the bowels of retail and food.  Those pay wages would cover the cost of gas, child care, and absolute nothing else, so that clearly wasn’t a step in the right direction.  So, instead, we were going to get her into a groove at her job, get me some night classes for things I already knew how to do so I could prove to potential employers that I knew how to do them, and that I’d get a decent job of my own.  We figured we’d be out on our own in a three to five years.  Not the most desired time frame, but one we could work with.

Well, than that plan imploded in the best way possible.  A friend of the family was trying to sell a house within walking distance of my parent’s house.  We had helped her flip the property and set it up, so we had gotten to know her and she had gotten to know us.  When she heard my wife had secured a job, she offered to work with us so that Wife and me could purchase it.  Very suddenly we had a house on the horizon, one we knew the complete history of, one being sold under fair market price, and was within walking distance of my children’s grandparents and every building within the school district.  Said children’s grandparents are willing to co-sign the mortgage so that we can get better rates, I’m a first time home buyer which means tax credits and better rates, and none of this requires us to change school districts again.  So all I need is a job…any job…and two paychecks later we’ll be able to close a mortgage.  Wife and I are, suddenly, time traveling two to four years in the future.  Without a time machine.

Though if you'd like to buy us a Tardis for a housewarming gift, we'd certainly would have a problem with that...

Though if you’d like to buy us a Tardis for a housewarming gift, we’d certainly wouldn’t have a problem with that…

That’s pretty much a grand slam right there**.

Needless to say, that means a job search has become priority one.  It’s also, quite possibly, priorities two through seven as well. Making sure the kids are being taken care of, looking for things to E-Bay to help subsidize the down payment, taking more freelance work so we can subsidize the down payment, looking for working appliances of various sorts, and a dozen other things are high on the list as well.  As a result, a lot of personal work has to slide to the back-burner***…and right now the devotional meme has got to be one of those things.  I’m boosting my devotional work in my day to day life and, for now, that will have to be enough.

That’s not to say the project is cancelled; it’s being postponed.  As soon as my schedule normalizes a bit, I’ll be announcing a start date.  It’ll probably go from daily to weekly however, as I’ll have a work schedule to contend with at that point as well.  In either case, for those wondering why all the radio silence?  That’s the reason.  It’s an awesome reason mind you, but it is still a very involved and time consuming reason.

In the mean time, I’ll be writing whatever I can whenever my schedule offers me the opportunity.  I have been pecking at some material here and there; I’ve just been too busy to polish it to the point where I’m happy enough with it to put it up for the world to see.

In either case, anyone wishing to send us good wishes/prayers/energy or what have you is more than welcome and invited to do so.  I’d also like to take a moment to thank the Gods, Goddess, my ancestors, and whatever wights have helped us here or will be helping us.  My thanks especially to Loki, who has help me keep my oars in the water, no matter how chaotic and turbulent that water.

I’d like to also thank any of my close, personal friends who don’t avoid me in the coming weeks in spite of the fact that I am very likely to ask for their help in moving. ;)

*I never use the names of my Wife and/or kids on here.  Aside of maintaining a veil of privacy for my family…well, there are a number of people in the Heathen and Pagan communities who have shown that they have some pretty fundamentalist perspective and poor impulse control.  The more insulation between them and my family, the better.  On here I call the baby “Peanut” and the seven year old “Munchkin”.  I call my wife, “Wife”.  Presume her to be amazing, awesome, and wise beyond her years.  Also, sexy.

**The reader may choose whether to view this as a Grand Slam in the sense of Baseball or in the sense of Denny’s breakfast menu.  Whichever one you like better.

***It was also my intention to take part in NaNoWriMo, which also looks highly unlikely due to the same circumstances.

Another day, another BNP behaving badly.

Harrison K. Hall:

Behold! Another BNP (who I had previously never heard of, honestly) whom I don’t give a crap about and never will!

Completely unacceptable. May the community take to shunning this fool, depriving his voracious ego of it’s diet of petty nonsense and immature posturing.

Originally posted on The House of Vines:

Following on the heels of Z. Budapest’s incendiary remarks, news is circulating that Christian Day, a prominent figure in the Salem, Mass. occult and pagan scene you may remember from his attempt to curse Charlie Sheen, has been sharing people’s private information in a public venue. When contacted by one of the people he “outed” who explained that among the many reasons she used a pseudonym was to elude a violent and threatening stalker, the “world’s best-known warlock” responded as follows:


Yes, you read that correctly. This guy actually said:

I hope your stalker has some fun with you.

As well as:

Oh, and by the way, if he rapes you please call out my name while he does so.

I am sickened beyond words. This vile creature’s ego is so bloated with hubris that he believes not only that speaking to an abuse-survivor in such a way is permissible but that…

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A Foreward for a Devotional Project…

ForestAs I said when I was talking about the faux-issue of Marvel’s upcoming female Thor and her villainous, un-loresque mammary glands (as well as the blatant hypocrisy behind that selective outrage), I’ve been feeling burnt out lately.  It wasn’t just the murder of innocents at the hands of some fascist, Heathen fraud.  It wasn’t in reflecting on the cases of child molestation that came up within the pan-Pagan community, and ruminating over that while trying to look at my own daughters and not be afraid for them.  It wasn’t in the process of assisting in running a fund raiser*, helping out in a local pan-Pagan group with their May Faire event, or addressing a lack of professional ethics in how one of my fellow Heathen writers  choose to addess criticism.  It isn’t even the weight of constantly being exposed to some of the hateful bile that comes from the fascist and racist rhetoric passed off as Heathen tradition, nor watching the pointless police brutality of Ferguson, Missouri.

It has been all of it; all of these issues coming at us consecutively, and often concurrently as well.  Truth be told I was almost giddy when an extremely vocal faction of Heathenism lost their minds over a comic book character, because it gave me a nice and easy issue to talk about that didn’t effect me at the core of my being.  I could just unwind and produce some dialogue that cut to the heart of the matter without effort; my heart and faith weren’t getting hurt in the process.  Compound that with some of the material I have written but not yet posted, which has been going through more revisions that I can count due to the weight of the topic being discussed, and I’ve been pretty damn spent.  Some real life dilemmas and/or projects** have also gotten in the way, and it has resulted in me feeling extremely exhausted.

So, I decided to start recharging my batteries with a “devotional meme” project that I will publishing on my blog in the coming weeks.

I am going to be engaging in something similar to those “30 Days of Devotion” things that are going around.  I’ve fleshed out some of the questions I intend to use, and I’ve also taken inspiration from some of the memes of other bloggers.  My plan, however, is not to start with a script of thirty days worth of questions.  Instead, I’m looking to have about twenty question (or so) related to devotional work, philosophy, worship, and spirituality…and the rest will be questions I answer from any readers and/or peers who care to post them.  If I get less than thirty, I’ll still have the chance to charge my batteries and restore my focus.  If I end up with more than thirty, I’m just help to contribute to the dialogue surrounding devotional practices.  Either way, it’s a net positive.  I’m looking to help myself expand my spiritual horizons and, at the same time, get some respite from all of the horrific, soul-sucking news that’s going on in the realm of current events.  I want to re-immerse myself in my spirituality, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my devotional work took a downward spiral while I was so focused on the headlines.

So in the comments below, post some of your favorite devotional/worship/spirituality based questions.  Ones that you have struggled with, ones that you think are at the core of spirituality itself, or things that you just want to see be talked about more.  If you think of some after I start, feel free to post them as well…in any of the posts with “The Days of Devotion” as a category, for ease of organization.  If you are a blogger yourself, perhaps you can answer your own question as well.  Better yet, I’ll be posting the initial schedule a day or two before I begin and it’ll be adjusted with any needed updates.  So if you want to repeat this entire meme later or even participate in it along side of me, you’ll be able to do so.  Devotional rumination for it’s own sake, on a community based level, can be a potent force…and if I (or we) can help recharge the batteries of others along the way, all the better.

This suggestion is not limited to Northern European/Heathen based Polytheism either; if the project sounds worthwhile to you, and you are a devotionally engaged, Polytheist of any sort, feel free to join in!  There is nothing wrong with taking a moment to remind yourself that the world is still a potentially beautiful place in spite of all of the despicable nonsense that occurs around us.  I’ve been focusing a lot on the former lately, and I feel that it is high time to take a moment for some of the later.

More details to come, so stay tuned!

*On that note, I was directly connected with the event but I was probably the one who was least involved in the day to day affairs of it.  Those accolades go more to Josh Gamble and James Calico.  I tried to put the word out, I tried to put some of the words together, and it was out collective project…but those two did a lot to help bring that event together and they deserve the lion’s share of the credit.
**For those of you thinking of flipping a house, let me give you some advice: don’t.

About Robin Williams

220px-Robin_Williams_2011a_(2)I have never gotten the American obsession with celebrities, even though I was born and raised here.  Every once in a while someone passes where I at least understand why there is a strong fixation because he was someone who was trying to make the world a better place in some way.  Steve Irwin or George Harrison for example.  For the most part, however, I feel pretty confused when people grieve for the rich and famous.  I didn’t know them, I’m not going to pretend that my enjoyment of their work made me somehow closer to them, and that’s that.  I’ll feel an element of sadness for their friends and family, but that’s about it.

This was not the case with Robin Williams.  Not by a long shot.

He was to comedy what Nicola Tesla was for invention and inspiration.  What took me a decade or two to refine into a process where I can cleverly and humorously communicate my ideas was something he was born with.  It was a gift he pursued, seemingly every day of his life, for the entirety of his life.  He used that gift to bring joy and reprieve to others and, in the process, perhaps he was trying to find that joy for himself.  It seems he did not, and that’s why his death is more meaningful to me than it might otherwise have been.

In Robin Williams’ passing, my own mortality was reflected back at me.  I suspect that I am not alone in this.  When one of the most joyous, fun-loving, laughter-filled men that recorded history has ever borne witness to can be felled by his own depression, all of our lives seem all the more fragile.  I felt this all the more strongly because I understood, on some basic level, just exactly how it happened.  Humor has ever been my shield in times of difficulty, my sanctuary and safe harbor.  Seeing one of the greats take his own life and be failed by some of the same fortifications I myself have used is indescribable.  It’s an extremely sobering thing to witness, and it effected me in a way that took me a few days to sort through.

I saw a friend on Facebook ask why so many tears were being shed for an actor and comedian, but barely a though goes by for the various soldiers and military men who die out in the field every day.  Normally, I have a similar question in my head at the passing of a celebrity.  For me, at the very least, that’s now what has given rise to my own sadness.  I have been lucky in that my sadness has never been so deep, nor my shadows so dark, that I didn’t have an idea of how to overcome them.  Seeing a man like him pass in this way shows me what my life could have been.  Shows me what might have happened if things were different.

It also reminds me that one of the greatest comedians, a craft I myself attempt to practice in my own way, has just fallen.  It’s emotionally profound on a level that’s hard to articulate.

I don’t often ruminate on the dead.  At least on here.  I recognize those people who have passed on before me, related or not, and I attempt to pay them their respects.  For me, however, this is very much a silent recognition.  That’s a personal choice; I don’t feel that anyone who verbalizes there memorials is somehow “doing it wrong”.  I just feel that such recognitions are a private sort of thing, and I’ve felt no pressure or need to make it otherwise.  Maybe this is the start of breaking that trend.  Maybe this is just a moment where I need to grieve a little bit over the passing of a personal hero.  Maybe I just needed to express to the world that I understand.  I don’t know.  It was just in my heart and head, I felt I needed to say something.  So here it is.

In either case, I’d like to hail and salute the life and soul of Robin Williams.  From his work with Charities to his appearances in USO shows, he was a man who made his life’s work creating laughter.  From What Dreams May Come to Patch Adams, he helped people gain a touch of introspection.  It seems in death, he may even help some part of the world take a closer look at depression and suicide.  He was an inspiration to many, myself included, and he changed the world for the better.  I hail a man of brilliance, passion, and depth, whose life meant so much to so many.

May your soul find the destination it seeks, and you find the laughter you have certainly earned.

Important Announcement

Harrison K. Hall:

Attending the PLC this year wasn’t even an option for me, due to a number of factors…but I am happy to see that it came and to begging and did (from everything I’ve heard) very well.

If you too found of interest, you may also find this information worth looking at. I’m sad to see it postponed, but I have this feeling the extra time will end up being put to good use!

Looking forward to a point where attending will be both viable and reasonable me!

Originally posted on Polytheist Leadership Conference:

Hello everybody.

Since the Conference is likely to soon outgrow the Quality Inn we held it in the first year we’ve been in negotiations with a number of hotels in the area. Unfortunately June and July are wedding season here in the Hudson Valley, which means that even their discounted rates are an average of $40 to $70 a night higher than they are at other times of the year – which makes it prohibitively expensive for most members of our community. In fact we’ve been hearing from a lot of folks who are struggling financially but would like to attend – people who have important things to say and have made valuable contributions to their communities. We don’t want anyone to feel excluded, especially over something like money so we’re looking into several options.

1) We’re going to do some communal fundraising so that we can offer scholarships to help allay…

View original 176 more words

Worse than Breasts and Melanin

While I was out of the loop, trying to recenter myself*, Marvel comics did something that turned certain segments of the Heathen world on their head; they made “The Mighty Thor” a women.  This is apparently a bad thing for Heathenry because…uh…breasts?  I guess?  In all seriousness, I saw a handful of Heathens loose their minds over a comic book that has a female character named Thor…and…wow.  Just…wow.


Thor as an amphibian; your misogynistic argument is invalid.

Let’s be clear here: 99.9% of the people upset about this, in the Heathen community at least, are reacting not to the spiritual implications of this but to their own misogynistic worldview and/or their fundamentalism.  This is quite similar to the controversy that rose up over Idris Elba playing Hemidall; it too was only made up of bigotry and ignorance.  Nothing more or less.

Let’s take a brief look at some of the plotlines that have been far stranger and more bizarre than Mjornir being paired with a set of D-Cups.  The one most people have brought up is the time that Thor was turned into anthropomorphic frog, which makes it weird that people seem to feel that being a woman is worse than not even being human.  Next there is Beta Ray Bill, the equine alien who was given a version of Mjonir after he bested Thor in brawl.  There is the alternate reality of Earth X where Odin turned Thor into a woman to teach him humility, making this not even the first time there was a female Thor in a print comic book.  We also have a team of multiple Thors from multiple time lines, brought together by Zarkko the Man of Tommorrow, called the “Thor Corps“**.  Lastly on our quick tour of crazy comic book plots, there is Throg,: a human football played cursed to the shape of a frog and eventually given his own version of Mjonir (Frognoljir, no I am not kidding), who serves as a member of the “Pet Avengers“.  They all sound like fever dreams, yet they’re all a part of comic book canon.

“The Mighty Thor” is only loosely based on Norse mythology, at best, and it’s been that way since August of 1962.  What we know modern Heathenry to be has only existed since the the 1970s, meaning that some of these ridiculous plot lines were kicking around over a decade before modern Heathenry even came into beaning.  Beta Ray Bill has been a part of comic book lore since November of 1983.  Yet, inspite of those thirty-one years, it hasn’t us impeded us in any way.  Hell, it’s older than a lot of the Heathens complaining about it!

Before anyone points it out, I’m aware there are people on Tumblr who take the comic books too seriously.  I’m sorry, but I don’t think that matters at all.  There are also people, offline and online, who swear the airplanes deposit mind control chemicals into the air…and I’ve noticed that their beliefs haven’t changed how airplanes and/or aerodynamics work.  The fact is that comic book Thor doesn’t have a meaningful impact on our religion, regardless of whether anyone on Tumblr develops some sort of wonky gnosis over the material written about him.  Or her, for that matter.

The people uncomfortable with this are sexist and/or dangerously afflicted with the madness that is fundamentalism.  That may seem to be a bit of a pejorative leap, but I’ve thought about this long and hard and I’ve come to an unavoidable conclusion on the matter: simply put, if Marvel Comics is to be judged negatively for their departure from the lore of our spiritual ancestors, there is one thing they’ve done that is a greater crime against the lore than female Thor or black Heimdall.

That crime is the portrayal of Odin by Anthony Hopkins in Thor(2011).  Please tell me why everyone who bristles at gender swaps and skin tone hasn’t torn into the interpretation of Odin depicted within that film.  Put it under any level of similar scrutiny and it becomes cringe worthy.

In this movie, we see the God of War, Magic, Frenzy, and Passion demanding to uphold a peace treaty when it makes no sense to do so; he even punishes his son for returning aggression that was (to the best of his knowledge) never instigated by his people.  Later on, he is so devastated by having punish Thor and reveal to Loki that he’s adopted (?!)  that the stress forces him to take a freaking nap for two days.  Also he didn’t loose his eye for wisdom in the movie; he lost it in a battle that his side was winning, but then refused to finish.  Also Loki isn’t his sworn-brother, but is an adopted war orphan instead.  Thor is banished…for killing Frost Giants, which is now bad for some reason.  He even strips Thor of his hammer and his powers…because the plot needs for him to be able to do that.

The entire movie depicts Odin as an all-powerful, all-knowing being of immeasurable capacity…who does nothing but hem and haw over everything he does. We see the leader of the Aesir, one of the greatest figures in Norse myth, reduced into little more than a contrived solution to the dilemma of the movie…when the entire plot was contrived into being by his stupid decisions in the first place.

The Allfather depicted in the Eddas would take that “Odin” and break him in half.  Quite possibly he would then animate his corpse and order it to bludgeon the script writers until they produced something better.  In the lore, he killed, maimed, and destroyed anything that stood in the way of his people and their well-being; there was no “wait and see” attitude.  The idea of making “peace treaties” with enemies that would obviously turn on you the moment you looked away is not something this God would even consider.  If you are bothered by the deviations from the lore created by Thor with a vagina and Heimdall with melanin, than you should be frothing mad at this namby pamby excuse for a depiction of the Allfather.

Yet, scarcely a peep is heard about this wimpy and milquetoast bastardization.  There was a faint grumbling from a few scholars I knew, but that was it.  All of these people making gender and race based complaints, many identifying as “Odinists” by the way, didn’t pay attention as the God whose name they claim as their own was shown to be passive, weak-willed, and almost cowardly.  They missed that their namesake was presented as some bearded, all-knowing father figure that looks more at home in the Christian New Testament then in the Eddas.

Women have been cosplay as gender-bent versions of Thor for years.  Heathens know this, because they show up on their Tumblrs and Facebook Feeds all the time.  So

Women have been cosplaying a gender-bent Thor for years. Plenty of Heathens know this, because pictures of them show up in Heathen Faceboook groups and Tumblrs all the time…usually with some very suggestive compliments.  Did they have a problem when hot blonds were hanging around in metal bras and flimsy skirts, striking sultry poses?  Doesn’t seem like it.  How is it only a perversion of our lore when it becomes representative of the official, but fictional, narrative…but until then it’s just harmless eye candy?  If that isn’t misogyny, I’m not quite sure what is.

Give Thor different chromosomes, and suddenly you’re shitting on the Eddas***.  Make Heimdall black, and you’re a coward who is caving in to the pressures of the “monoculture”.  Never mind that Thor is a comic book character, and that this isn’t even the first time he has been deprived of his hammer and two golden apple.  Never mind that Idris Elba personified a proud warrior and tireless guardian every single second he was on screen.  Nope, those two things are still horrific insults to our religion.

Make Odin look a weak and frail coward, and a bunch of strong, proud, Folkist Heathens don’t seem to give a damn…because, hey…it may be a complete bastardization of the greatest of our Gods, but it’s a complete and utter bastardization played by a white dude.  There are people who can ignore all the times Thor was a frog or that a copy of his hammer was given to horse headed aliens because, hey, it may have nothing to do with any of the lore but there is no reason to get upset as long as they horse and the frog both have dicks and aren’t black.

If there is another way to see this, I can’t find it.  The only time anyone gives a crap is when stuff involves women or not-white people; then it’s an affront to these people and their religion.  Change Thor’s species, however, and no one cares because it’s a comic book.

While we are on that subject, did we forget that this is a comic book?!  Imagine if DC came out with a comic called the “The Super Savior Jesus”, where Jesus Christ was depicted as a member of the Green Lantern Corp or whatever.  You’d be able to hear the gnashing of teeth within the bible belt from space, and the Heathen community…we would laugh ourselves sick over their outrage.  I know this, because we already laugh at their extremest claptrap.  The Heathen community, almost in it’s entirety, constantly extends a big middle finger to the Westboro Baptists and their peers.  We think it’s ridiculous that they act as they act, preach as they preach, and condemn what they condemn.  We see this behavior, and we treat them as little better than circus clowns.

Then Thor gets a literal breastplate, and suddenly a huge chunk of us are in the big top right along side of them.

There are a handful of criticisms that are fair…and in every case, it’s when the criticizer is talking about the comic book as a comic book exclusively.  If you want to call it lazy story-writing, I’m okay with that; most comic book writing has been a form of highly polished, lazy world building for quite some time.  If you dismiss it as an attempt to sell comics, I’m okay with that too.  The moment you cross the line from “that’s a stupid comic book plot” to “this offends my religious beliefs in some way”, you’re in a very bad place.  If you’re reacting this strongly to a piece of fiction blacking up and femming up some characters with tenuous connections to your religious mythology, the problem isn’t with Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Idris Elba, Marvel Comics, or anyone else.  The problem resides exclusively with you.

Throg and Beta Ray Bill even have collectable busts...which you purchase right along side the totally has nothing to do with divine Thor, Marvel-Thor.

Throg and Beta Ray Bill even have collectable busts…which you purchase right along side the blond headed alien who is supposedly a representation of the red-headed Aesir.  Collect the whole set!

At that point, it’s not about heritage, about coming home, or about any of that feel good rhetoric.  What you’re prattling about at that point is nothing less than unadulterated bigotry; what else can it be when your God with boobs bothers you more then your God as a sub-human frog?  The literal symbol of our faith is given to an extra-planetary horse-person and these same lore-berserkers don’t even bat an eye.  The comparisons are numerous, and none of them are kind to those who wield this type of situational outrage.  The best I can say for someone who thinks this way is that maybe, just maybe, there is a chance they are just an idiot instead of an idiot and a horrible bigot.

If you’re coming up with an explanation for why this isn’t just a waste of time and/or proof of your own racist, misogynistic foolishness, save it for Hopkins; the Odin of Northern Europe wouldn’t give a damn about your feeble excuses.

EDIT 7/26/2014: The post had to be edited due to an unacceptable amount of errors!  I apologize for the premature publishing, and thank those who brought it to my attention!  I don’t proofread well when I’m irritated… >.>

*More on that later.  The short version for now is that my tank was on empty, and I refilled it by focusing on stuff that wasn’t the community.
** Beta Ray Bill shows up again as a member of the Thor Crops.  Said horse-headed alien called the group the “Hammer Brothers”.  So, not only do we have an entire team of Thors, moving the Thunderer from the realm of unique and mighty being into something you can stick in a copying machine crossed with a Tardis, but they added in a reference to Super Mario Brothers.  Shine on, you crazy Marvel.
***I actually saw someone write this; that Marvel was “shitting on the Eddas”.  So apparently the last fifty plus years of writing stories about how Thor wasn’t a God, but rather that he and the entire pantheon were actually aliens that our spiritual ancestors thought were Gods is somehow completely okay and respectful.   All of that, plus an underwire bra and a tampon….then you’ve gone to far!  Are you kidding me?

Referencing Havamal 127

I have no issue speaking my peace, directing criticism, or saying that I think something is wrong.  What I do have a problem with is doing any of those things the wrong way.  I don’t criticize just to cause trouble or to craft an imaginary world were my crap doesn’t stink; I criticize because I believe that we all have a responsibility to make Heathenry/Asatru the best it can be…and pretending that I don’t see problems is not going to make them go away.  After all, this is the legacy we are intending to leave future generations.  We are, functionally, only now passing into the second generation of our revival…and the decisions and choices we make carry weight beyond our years and our comprehension.  Often, this causes me to take my time and choose the words I use with the utmost caution and care.  I want positive change, and positive change means practicing some mindfulness.

There are times, however, where no amount of mindfulness can help the discussion.  The is no room for constructiveness in the criticism one gives to someone who for is acting in a way that is, fundamentally, non-constructive.  These are the situations I tend to avoid, because I feel that no good can come from the majority of them.  This is not one of those times, much to my distress, so it’s time to hold people to account.

What I saw, in the last few weeks, was something that bothered me more than I can explain.  Threats, childish sulking, passive aggression, and just plain inappropriate behavior along ever conceivable metric, and all of it coming from a single person.  I heard accounts of threats made to ruin writing careers.  I saw smug attitudes and condescension.  I saw self-congratulation for virtues that did not exist.  What happened, you ask?  Well, an author (Bryan Wilton) wrote a book, had it self published on Amazon, and he got bad reviews for it.  Five of them, to be exact.

That’s was it.  No one was bleeding.  No one had died.   No one had anything stolen from them, and the physical safety of this man was never in question to the best of my knowledge.  All that happened was someone got their ego bruised.  Nothing more.

Don’t take my word for it, however.  Let’s look to the words of the author, published on his own Facebook fan page

For the purposes of clarity alone, the organization he is talking about here is the AFA*.

For the purposes of clarity alone, the organization he is talking about here is the AFA*.

Wilton Watch 012-b

Oh, by the way?  The second comment’s claim that all criticism had been addressed is a bold faced lie.  The author, at time of writing, has done nothing to meaningfully address any valid criticism made of the book.


I also reviewed the book myself, and the review was not positive.  Feel free to look at it yourself, but there is nor reason to go into the books flaws here.  Read my review, or any of the other four negative reviews originally posted about it; they’re all pretty accurate as far as I am concerned.

I accidentally posted it anonymously, however, which led to a small confrontation with another person on Amazon.  This user, named “Bryan” (no last name), demanded I have the courage to actually use my name.  I corrected the mistake immediately, and than looked at “Bryan’s” list of reviews out of curiosity.  Like me, he had only reviewed one book.  Like me, it was also a review of a Bryan Wilton book.  Unlike me, the review was absolutely positive and glowing.  Strangely enough, a week later “Bryan” went anonymous…and than wrote two negative reviews for books by other Heathen authors.  Neither of these reviews were made for confirmed purchases, and both of these authoresses (Erin Lale and Larissa Hunter**) had written bad reviews for…you guessed it, the book on Loki that Mr. Wilton had just published.

This is no coincidence.  These are is revenge reviews.  The author said he was going to do it, and statements made on his fan page suggest that he wanted others to do them as well.  As an example, he posted a link to some of the negative criticism he received.  There was no link that I could find around the same time that connected people with the positive reviews he received…only his detractors.  It’s almost as if the five bad reviews were more important than the good ones, and he wanted to call his fan’s attention to the people who didn’t like his work.  Those with psychology backgrounds will notice this behavior is a standard activity for those who use coercion and aggression to get their way.  Mr. Wilton’s behavior is the providence of bullies, and it’s disgusting that he thinks this behavior is warranted or even acceptable.

All because five people thought his work was bad.

Mr. Wilton, I will not post this review of your behavior anonymously.  Here it is; nice and public.  I’m Harrison K. Hall, and you know exactly where to find me.  Go ahead and take down your threats and recriminations; I’ve seen you do it in the past and I know you’ll do it again.  I already have proof of your misconduct…so do whatever you like.  Just know that your actions are the lowest I have seen to date, and that what you do projects a man who has no business talking to anyone about what he feels is the difference between right and wrong.  Not in Heathenry.  Not even in a pre-school.

You’re threatening and pushing other authors around for the “crime” of not liking your work, and you are administrating that punishment with empty threats and lies.  That’s flatly unacceptable from any standard of Heathen ethic.  Maybe if you were willing to do it publicly, with your name attached to that criticism, you’d have a sliver of credibility.  At least then you would have the courage to stand up for your deeds with your own name.  You didn’t however, so you don’t.  You just want people who dislike your work shamed into silence.

Interesting little tidbit, by the way: both authors you’ve slandered, thus far, are women.  That’s amusing…because I haven’t seen any such malcontented nonsense directed at my blog…and you definitely know that I wrote a review.  Also, I didn’t see any recent “anonymous” reviews for Bryon Morrigan either…another author (the author is Heathen, but his books are not) who thought your book was unacceptably poor.  Seems like men get the pass, but the author of “Divine Feminism in Asatru” can’t handle criticism from females.  Say what you’d like about people handing out review copies without your permission (at least, I think that’s your excuse for slander)…at least their reviews are based on your work.  You’re just lying about the work of other people because they disagree with you, and that’s just deplorable…and the fact that you’ll only address women in this way just makes it creepy and disturbing.

All of these actions are to the side of the biggest issue I have of all; you wrote a book to help identify “evil within Asatru”, yet you acted more evil and malicious than any Lokean I have ever known…and you have no idea what it takes for me to say that.  The content didn’t bother me much, because I believe in a God that is larger, more powerful, and more pervasive than anything you can jam into a poorly edited PDF file.  It annoyed me that you were going to sit there and pontificate for forty whole pages about how evil other people are in a religion that doesn’t give much of a damn for the standard good/evil binary…but I was content to write my review and have that be that.  Havamal 125 and all that.

Than you crossed a line, an ethical line at that, and became everything you accused other people of being in a single stroke.   Instead of just accepting your detractors and moving on, you opted to hide your shortcomings and deny them.  This is evil; it is not a state of being anyone should strive for much less emulate and boast of.  It does not indicate spiritual growth and speaks volumes about your mental health.

Does that sound familiar?  It should because it is a direct quote, modified only for purpose of tense, that comes from page six of your own book.

I will not be making fake reviews of your other works, as tempting as it may be.  I will not engage in a stupid game of threats with you, because that will bring me down to your pitiful level.  Nothing will be gained by harassing you, and I do not suggest anyone try to teach you a lesson by doing the same things; stooping to you level would make Heathenry worse, not better…and Heathenry is more important to me than seeing you feel the same spite you throw at others.  What I will do, however, is expose you to the community at large.  I will make sure that your pettiness, abusiveness, and bulling is on showcase, and can be proven with your words.  Not just to Lokeans, but to all Heathens.  Because these deeds, whether you follow the AFA’s Nine Noble Virtues, my Ten Tempers, another system, or nothing more pronounced than the dictates of your own ancestors reflecting within you soul, are in opposition to anything that could be considered acceptable in Heathen ethics***.

Everything you wrote about Loki and his veneration has more to do with you, the writer, than it does to do with anything that occurs within any sect of Heathen spirituality.  Deal with the criticism, man up, and for the sake of the Gods and the Folk who you are supposed to be building?  Learn how to behave like the damned Asatruar, Folk Builder, and Clergy you claim you deserve to be.  Stop worrying about the “evils” of Loki worship and start concerning yourself with your own deeds.  I do not know what your deeds, in your personal and private life, say about you…but the ones you’ve put forth online, within Heathenry, are some of the absolute worst I have ever seen.

To my readers, I apologize for having to go in this sort of direction because it’s an absolute last resort.  I don’t like it, but sometimes such things are necessary.  That being said, unless Mr. Wilton’s actions in the future are such that they speak of misconduct that I believe the community must be informed about, I will doing my best to never breech this subject or talk about him on this (or any other) blog ever again.

*To the Board of Directors, Folk Builders (who are not Bryan Wilton), and Members of the Asatru Folk Assembly , allow me to say this…until such a time as you, collectively, stand up in favor of Mr. Wilton’s actions or passively permit this level of misconduct and lies through a track record inaction?  I’m not holding you responsible for this nonsense.  Differences in philosophy and and beliefs aside, I don’t think this is how you want to present yourselves and I operate under the presumption that you guys are better than this until I am shown otherwise.  To be plain about it, we may very much disagree on matters of what folkism or metagenetics indicate or mean and, in some cases, disagree very vigorously…but we can both agree, I should think, that Mr. Wilton’s deeds fall outside of any categorization of acceptability or ethics. 

** In the interest of full disclosure, I am a student in Larisa Hunter’s clergy program (aka Gods Person Training Program) over at Kenaz Kindred.  She did not request that I write this article and had no input as to it’s content, though she did share with me some of her experiences in this situation which I included and/or excluded at my own discretion.  No one at Kenaz Kindred or within the Gods Person Training Program has any authority over what I write here, or on any other blog, and any attempt to exert such influence via my membership in the aforementioned clergy program would result in my immediate resignation from that program.  As that has not happened, and as all interactions with Kenaz Kindred, The Gods Person Training Program, and Larisa Hunter have been completely ethical and professional in nature, I do not foresee that ever being a concern.  What you read here is completely, one-hundred percent, my own words…and it shall always remain so.

***Let me be clear here: that was not a sly way to infer that we should give Mr. Wilton his just dues while making a token gesture of “discouraging” harassment in kind.  I am dead serious, and I hope no one engages in this behavior.  The worst thing we can do is try to give this scornful egotist a taste of “his own medicine” because people like him live on attention and notary…and it doesn’t need to be positive.  No, let him and his “works” be forgotten.  He does not deserve acknowledgement, beyond making his misdeeds public so he can be seen for what he is and handled accordingly.