Why I Am Not an Heathen (Though I Kind of Wish That I Could Be)

Truth be told, I feel quite the same way about the Heathen spectrum of faiths as the author does…and I have for some time. Interested to see where Part 2 goes.

Pagan Church Lady

This (long) post has been a long time coming.  I’ve referenced my feelings about personal background and development in some other articles and have been spending a lot of time trying to explore myself in relation to the modern Pagan movement and Heathenry.  Although the title was inspired by Bertrand Russel’s piece “Why I am Not A Christian” I won’t, as he does, seek to deconstruct the idea of a particular deity.  I will, as he does, explain why the values expressed in the religion in question do not fit mine, and why that leaves me in a difficult place.

Let me begin by explaining that I’ve had a love for the Aesir and Vanir since childhood.  I first read of them in children’s fiction when I was four or five and rapidly advanced to reading more adult storybooks about them.  Later on I discovered source material like the Eddas…

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5 thoughts on “Why I Am Not an Heathen (Though I Kind of Wish That I Could Be)

  1. Doug Freyburger says:

    I wanted to leave a big response, but it boiled down to a long list of points why each point listed in the article illustrates who heathens are. Welcome to being a heathen in denial but it sounds other than positive.

    • I think the whys, whos, and hows are too frequently accepted without question. Heathenry is, in many ways, quite stagnant…and considering how young our revival is, that’s pretty upsetting.

      Anyone poking at our conceits with compassion and constructiveness in their motivations is doing a good thing, as far as I am concerned.

  2. Doug Freyburger says:

    By poking at our conceits I take it you mean how much she is an actual heathen as we practice and she is merely in denial about what and how we practice, right?

    That’s my point. With all her complaints the answer to each one is “yeah, so , that’s what we have been doing for decades.” I can’t think of a positive sounding way to phrase that to her because every point she makes my response is to actually show up at an actual kindred meeting and see what we do.

    Complain all you want, but make those complaints based on observation not making stuff up.

    • Firstly, I don’t really attempt to tell people what they “really are” in terms of their religion or identity…because that’s just a miserable hobby to get into and a waste of time besides. I’ll call racists out who say they “aren’t racist”, because racism isn’t defined by the individual, but by society, and has an objective definition. How some considers themselves or the spiritual, by contrast, does not.

      But….seriously? These are things your think are good? Embracing the Havamal almost to a scriptural level, women bashing and all? The nearly canonized status that Sturluson is often granted, which disregards all of the evidence that suggests he was nothing more or less then a Christian who was an expert in folk lore? Treating Neopaganism as some sort of undesirable thing, even though Heathens undeniably have it to thank the way nearly every non Christian, Non Judaic, Non Isamic religion does?

      If people want to have those conceits…well, they can have those conceits; I certainly can’t stop them. Portraying them as a Heathen mandate, a requirement, is just biased silliness.

      The fact that you think these complaints are entirely made up is somewhat concerning…because I’ve seen every single one reflected in the community in some way or another….and I’ve talked about many of them on several occasions. To that point, why are you critical of her but not critical of me? While she words it different, it should be obvious if you read my work that I’m going to agree with far more then I don’t.

      • Doug Freyburger says:

        I won’t go down the line. Each point she makes that’s negative that’s an outsider view that needs to be cured by witnessing insider action. Each point she makes that’s positive that’s something an insider knows we’ve been doing that for decades.

        In heathenry we have a way of going “defend” when someone posts a statement known to be inaccurate. So yes I have no problem pointing out when someone who denies being a heathen actually is.

        We’ve moved far too tangential to the usual purpose of your blog. I decided against directly responding as I’m not a regular on her blog. I don’t want to drift too far off your core just to post a lot of words that boil down to “defend”.

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