No Ish, Ands, or Buts.

"Bad Google!

When I ask for a screaming viking from Google Image Search?  This is what I got.  Well played, Google…well played.

As the discussion on racism within Heathenry has continued, I’ve seen a lot of legitimate griping over the use of the words “folkish” and “universalist”.  There is a lot of talk about how the terms are not useful, and only serve to denegrate opinions and perspectives on both sides of the fence.  Many will speak at lengths on the matter and how we need to drop the use of the terms, but still continue to use them.  No one even seems to know what either of these terms mean anymore, and yet everyone uses them as if the concepts are self explanatory.  I am guilty here as well, as I have had an instance where I tried to calm the tensions between two sides.  How foolish I was; I was trying to bring peace to two factions, neither of which truly exist.

Well, I am a big believer in being the change you want to see.  As such, I’m done with these terms.  I refuse to recognize the false parity of folkish and universalist anymore.   From now on, it’s just Heathen, Asatru, or Norse Polythiest and that’s the end of discussion.  Conversation is a two way street, so I imagine there is some amount of these terminology which is endemic to our faith.  Be that as it may, if I can avoid it?  I’m avoiding it.

You believe in synchretism?  You think it’s the complete antithesis of the Norse pantheon?  Congratulations; either way you’re Heathen.  You renounce Loki worship?  Heathen.  You’re a Lokean?  Heathen.  You have a UPG that makes you believe that Odin really really enjoys My Little Pony and you believe burning the DVDs in sacrifice to him is an excellent way to please him?  Uh…I’m a little scared perhaps, but you’re still Heathen.  I’m tired of the pointless and unserviceable divisions.  They don’t work, and they haven’t worked for sometime.  Honestly, I’m not convinced that they ever worked at all.

What term will I use to identify racists?.  That’s pretty simple; I will call them racists.  I don’t need special code word to describe what I already have perfectly good language for.  Racialist elements have, for too long, have the confines of triablism and folkism to hide behind.  No, sir or madem; you are not tribal or folkish.  You are just racist.  A racist Heathen perhaps, but a racist all the same.  I’m not going to pretend that disdain for “non-European” heritage is anything but racism, nor am I going to imagine that acting as a racial “gatekeeper” for the Norse pantheons is a task needed anywhere but in the fevered minds of those who craft racial agendas.  There is no special distinction needed for these concepts.  Call them for that are, and call them nothing else.

While we are on the subject, what about the racists?  I cannot abide racist ideologies in my midst.  My stepdaughter is half-Peurto Rican, I have learned Chinese martial arts from a Grenadian Grand Master, and one of the proudest family traditions I have is my ancestor’s refusal to give into the ease of prejudice.  That being said, answering hatred with hatred is no solution.  If you call yourself both racist and Heathen, I’m not going to pretend we don’t share a religion.  I’m also not going to stop fighting against an ideology I disagree with; I just don’t need to assault anyone’s name to do it.  I am opposed to your beliefs, and that is that.

If you wish to call yourself Heathen, than you are Heathen as far as I’m concerned.  It’s that simple.  If you identify as Heathen, I identify you as Heathen.  End of discussion.  Honor the Gods as the spirit moves you, praise the ancestors for the gifts they have given you, and build frith as best as you know how.  In the meantime, I’m done with the linguistic cryptology.


7 thoughts on “No Ish, Ands, or Buts.

  1. rlbfitzy says:

    Oh Hail Yes a billion times to this!

  2. Doug Freyburger says:

    Folkish is a term chosen by the Folkish. Whatever it means, and it seems to mean different stuff to every single Folkish heathen, I figure they get to chose their own term.

    Universalist is a term chosen by the Folkish. As the universalist religions Christianity and Islam are the ones that think everyone should be their members, I never have and never will meet a universalist heathen. It’s a nonsense term from the gate. Worthless expect as a measurement of who disrespects who. I do NOT figure one side gets to define the term for the other side. Not even though pagan heathen and various other words have been reclaimed from previous meaning.

    I’ve taken up using the word Adoptive. It’s gradually coming into use among Troth members, we’ll see if it eventually sees broader use. The intent is simple – If Folkish is the stance that blood matters then the complementing view is that Adoption works therefore culture matters. Anyone should be able to chose 51-49 or more to one side on that spectrum when phrased in that way. It also helps to point out how active our ancients were at fostering children across family lines often at great distance. As well as working better with the modern trend towards most folks being moderate on the topic but still having an inclination to self identify as one or the other.

    I’ve recently encountered folks who call themselves Folkish. The definition they use is exactly how most Progressives defined themselves back in 1993 when Progressive was a popular word. So the word Folkish is allowed to have zero meaning if that’s the choice of the individual heathen or group. I figure it’s a good sign anyways. it says there are entire groups who’ve never sat at a Folkish camp out and ended up here N-word jokes traded across a camp fire. Very good news indeed.

    • As parities go Adoptive/Folkish is one I mind less; I think it better repents what both platforms are actually about. Still, I’m not sure that the “cure” for some of our problems is better words…

      Even though the folkish identify as folkish, the word has been used in so many different contexts that it’s essentially useless; a word with so many meanings that it ends up obfuscating communication rather than aiding it.

      My thought is that I don’t need adjectives to determine what any given Heathen values; I’d rather use their actions and deeds.

  3. Doug Freyburger says:

    “that it’s essentially useless”

    To me this is a very good thing. The first time I attended a Folkish kindred’s meetings 20 years ago I did so to see if they were all racists. In that kindred about half weren’t. That kindred slowly died because they admitted some who didn’t try to stay spiritual. The bad drove out the good. But lately I’ve encountered heathens who have never met a racist heathen so they don’t think that’s what it is about. A very good thing indeed.

    “their actions and deeds”

    Across decades racists have been gradually and steadily marginalized. Some have gone underground and they remain a problem, one that shrinks a bit each year. Taking a long term view I can see the problem as solved. It’s all over but waiting for certain people to grow old and die.

    And so it becomes time to move on to the next topic. Looking around I see the growing anti-Loki movement as the likely next topic. sure enough those organizations that have had problems of racists lead the way in the anti-Loki movement. Plus sa change, plus sa meme chose. Or as it says in the corny rock song “Henry the Eight” – Second verse, same as the first.

    I outlived the racists to the point I now see Folkish who’ve never seen a racist heathen. I figure I’ll outlive an anti-Loki movement that comes out of those organizations.

  4. “…you believe that Odin really really enjoys My Little Pony and you believe burning the DVDs in sacrifice to him is an excellent way to please him?

    Pish posh, everyone knows that’s Loki.

  5. grey owl says:

    I am a new reader and think your writing is wonderful !

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