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.

tumblr_ljy88jg5er1qfdq6jo1_r1_500

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 to 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 apples.  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?

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A Call from Arms

viking-shield-8694639Things were already pretty red and raw when Frazier Glenn Cross decided to be a murderer over in Kansas City.  The Pan-Pagan circles and groups were still trying to adjust, correct themselves, and/or be in denial when it came to the allegations of child molestation held against a Wiccan of modest note.  While I hear a lot of grumbling and semantic pushing over whether the various versions of Heathenry fall within the category of Paganism, this time the distinction served no point; the actions of that child molester were going to reflect on all of us by proximity, because the media struggles to make any distinction between two different flavors of Non-Biblical, Non-Islamic, and Non-Asian religion.  Love it or hate it, the horrors of Klein were going to effect damn near everyone, us included.  I don’t think it’s a problem in Heathenry as much as it may be a problem elsewhere, but our hackles were up to begin with.

It’s time to let facts be put down; Cross did damage to us as a community that may take some time to properly come to terms with.  We weren’t on the receiving end of his bullets and no Heathens lost their life due to his acrid madness, but the seeds of paranoia, fear, anger, and sadness effected us in an undeniable way.  I’ve seen shorter tempers, bigger fights, and larger arguments than I have seen previously…and I’m hearing from others that I’m not alone in feeling this way.

Over the last couple of weeks, I quite nearly walked away from almost everything.  Not my religion of course, nor from the community entirely.*  The weight of advocacy and the demand for awareness went from being a sacred responsibility, however, to a crushing burden within a matter of days.  It went from putting aside politics for charity work to shouting at each other across the isles.  I went to writing about geek/nerd culture and doing reviews on fast food items just so I could write and actually enjoy it.  So I could engage that need without feeling a wave of sadness and weary ennui.  It came to a head about a weak ago when groups of Heathens, both liberal and conservative, engaged in an impromptu foot eating contest.  I never wanted to be further from the entire community as I did in that moment.

Every time we shout at each other, it’s a missed opportunity.  I can hear eyes rollings and people bringing up the same excuse** of ‘proud warrior tradition’.  I am full aware of how our spiritual ancestors had a lot of experience at kicking ass and taking names.  Yet, while those ancestors weren’t peaceful and did not shy away from conflict, a reality check is required because…

No one, Heathen or otherwise, has strictly peaceful ancestors! 

Pictured: A whom to a whole mess of warrior cultures...none of whom remove the

Pictured: A place with a whole mess of proud, warrior cultures…none of which expunge their descendants of any social responsibilities for decent behavior.

No one on this damned Earth has only pacifists and hippies making up their line.  We are all related to a whole lot of someones that, at some point, killed people for land and shiny metal because that was one of the major economic forces of the world.  It wasn’t just acceptable, it was a business model.  A lot has changed in terms of the cultural background however, and the cultures of the world are collectively putting a higher and higher value on a human life than may have ever existed before.  If you want to talk to me about the horrors that take place in the third world, you’re going to prove my point because the fact that you know about them already shows how much this world has changed!  Every one of has, quite likely, a plethora of proud warrior traditions represented in our line.  We also have traditions of peace, diplomacy, and acting with maturity.  There is no spiritual partitive to look at everything like a fight, and we need to stop pretending that their is.

Our spiritual, Heathen ancestors had concepts for peace, diplomacy, and getting along with people they might not have liked.  They had the Allthing.  They had Freyfaxi.  They had Gods and Goddesses of hearth, stories, and guardianship in addition to war, warriors and victory.  We have far more suggestions and ideas about how to hold your tempter written in the Havamal than we do about when it is acceptable to let it go.  We have stories within the lore that show us even the most aggressive and brash God within the pantheon knew there were times when shouting and violence were not the answer.  They left runic messages on the stonework in foreign cities, proof that not ever encounter with them was one of bloodshed and death; some received trade and good manners.

They had Frith.  Much has been said about what Frith is and isn’t.  So, let’s just clear things up by saying it’s okay to have issues…but you need to be damn sure to check yourself before you open your mouth.  It’s okay to yell at someone who messed up, but not when they openly confess wrong doing.  It’s right to be angry at being cussed out when you’re admitting your faults, but not when the last two decades have been filled with a deafening silence when it comes to your own accountability.  It’s right to hold people to account for the mistakes they make, but bringing up the last few decades of bad blood will not get anything accomplished.  It’s right to be upset at false accusations, but you need to know when it’s time to look at the accusations and ask yourself if you are also part of the problem.   We’ve all been so busy pointing fingers, that I’ve become convinced that most people don’t know the real issues at hand anymore.

Sometimes, I’m not even sure if I do.  It’s gotten so that I’m not sure if I can’t see the forest for the trees, or the group of trees for the forest.  The last few weeks have been more filled with video games and tacos than essays and articles because I needed to let my brain take a break before my diplomacy did.

It takes two to tango…and so many of us have been involved in a time wasting dance that is breaking communities, friendships, and ourselves,  I have seen, on multiple occasions, that everyone involved has the best intention at heart; there are always those few who think of themselves and only themselves, but they are a minority whose deeds dig their own graves.  They are easy to call out and easier still to rid ourselves of.   It is clear that the majority of us want the same thing; to leave Heathenry in better shape than we found it.  To make it a better place for our children, and their children in turn.  To give those lost, spiritually, a chance to find a safe harbor for their heart and soul.  We disagree, in some cases by large margins, on how to get that accomplished but we need to pay just as much attention to our similarities as to our differences.

I am not making apologies for my stances, nor do I think that they’re wrong.  I think bigotry in Heathenry is a big problem, and I think it’s a big priority.  I do not agree with many of the excuses made for it, and I think they are comforting rhetoric and candy coated  malignment almost without exception. I am not, at any time, going to stop calling bullshit when people try to turn inclusion into a political issue rather than a very human one.  I regret nothing I’ve said in this regard, but I am not so blindsided by those causes that I’m willing to create two or three problems in order to solve one.

Honestly, I hope that we all have that way of thinking in my.   We should not be so psychologically waylaid that we see madness like Cross’s as the rule, rather than the exception that it is.  We should not be so quick to call foul on our opponents that we confuse murder and death threats as being the same sort of darkness as dissension and rhetoric.  We should no be so quick to toe party lines that we’re willing to jump on the opposition like a dying gazelle.  Before people call me self righteous here, let me be clear and tell you I’m very well aware of how closely I’ve skirted that line myself.  I am pretty damn sure I will cross it at some point, and I can only hope that both my proponents and detractors call me on it as quickly as I have tried to call them on their past mistakes.

May our descendants remember us for how we passed horns, rather than how we threw words.

May our descendants remember us for how we passed horns, rather than how we threw words.

If I don’t make sure I hold myself up to as a high a standard as I hold my opponents, than I’m not fighting for a better Heathenry, a better knowledge of the Gods, or to make deeds that my ancestor can be proud of.  At that point, I would only be fighting for my name in the most superficial context imaginable.  I don’t think my own experiences are so unique that this does not apply to just about everyone.

We owe ourselves and each other better than that.  No matter what you feel Heathenry is, we all owe it better than that.  Consider this a call from arms, and a call to tables.  To desks.  To conference rooms.  I am tired of yelling;  I’d like to talk now.  Scratch that.

I want us all to talk.


*I think at one point I made a small criticism, either on the internet or in the real world, about how I didn’t get why so many polytheist bloggers took a month of silence last year.  I think I’ve apologized for that before but if I haven’t, I’m doing so now.  If I already did, than I making sure it’s publicly known.  I get it now.  From the bottom of my heart, I completely understand and I realize just how little I understood at that point.

**Having pride in the exploits of those ancestors who could rightly be described as warriors is a good thing.  A great thing even; being a warrior is a sacrifice I know enough about only to know I don’t know nearly enough about.  That sort of dedication, honor, and drive should be acknowledged.  Viewing it as an excuse to act like an asshole all the time because Heathens “aren’t peaceful” is a bunch of nonsense, and it’s abusing your ancestors exploits in order to avoid working on yourself.  Don’t use your ancestors deeds as a license to be a jerk; we owe them better than that, and they would knock some sense into you themselves if they could.

Regarding Loki, Part 7: More Uncomfortable Truths

On Feburary 13th,  Stephen McNallen made a statement in regards to the AFA’s stance on  the worship and veneration of Loki within their own organization and events.  Let me be clear that I, for one, don’t really care about the stance of the AFA in regards to the hailing of the trickster of Asgard.  I think their stance is closed minded and short sighted to be sure, but I’m not the Asa-Pope the last time I checked so they are free to establish their stances and procedures as they see fit.

What I did take umbrage at was how Mr. McNallen’s words also made subtle, but broad, pejorative assessments about those worship Loki in general.  A true statement of policy has no need to weigh in on the spiritual practices of another, and I found the remarks more than a little bit out of line.  While I might have been inclined to let some of that go, and mark it up to another area where the AFA and I just will never see eye to eye, a look at the comments that followed Mr. McNallen’s thoughts was eye opening.  While some of the comments were reasonably benign, and a handful managed to even be positive, some of what was so was so hateful, miserable, and disgusting that it demand a measured response.

So let us take a look at some of those arguments, and see how what is believed compares against logical consideration.


tumblr_m58bdm9xLH1rrtg4ko1_500What Seems to be Agreed Upon: “Our experience over the decades has been that toasting Loki or in other ways calling him to our side brings – not creative chaos, not constructive change – but ill luck. This is a matter of observation, not theory.” -Stephen McNallen
The Uncomfortable Truth: There are lots of people whose experiences have been that the AFA is an organization where bigotry and racism are acceptable.  For such people, they have a great deal of collected observation…but when they pronounce their feelings as fact?  Your words, Mr. McNallen, are seldom kind.

This is the only comment truly directed at the AFA in general, and Stephen McNallen in particular.  This isn’t a statement designed to attack the organization or it’s founder, but to politely explain where Mr. McNallen may have lost sight of how his statement compares against some of the things said about the AFA over the years.

Despite his experiences, which are no doubt vast, Mr. McNallen more than likely has not met or interacted with a vast number of Lokeans or has meaningfully partaken of a great number of rituals than include Loki.  As such, all of Mr. McNallen’s assurances fall into the realm of the anecdotal account; they represent an interpretation of the events in his own life, in a general sort of way.  Those are fine for him and his organization, if he wishes to use them, but the statement he made pushed outside of those boundaries the moment he made the above implication.  As written, it is at least a bit careless and disrespectful for those whose spirituality called them in that direction.  In addition, it’s a statement which displays a logical inconsistency.

When it comes to anecdotes, you have two meaningful options; you either accept all anecdotes as equally valid (thus making every single thing stated by groups like Circle Ansuz in dire need of a public, candid response) or you can treat them as little more than opinion (making your own anecdotes no better or worse than the next person’s, and thus really not worthy of intense consideration).  To do otherwise is to establish a double standard, and I don’t think such a structure should be welcome within Heathen ethics.  It is possible that this wasn’t mean, as a line like “observation, not theory” is particularly vague.  At the very least, there should have been a greater degree of care taken in the words chosen.


facepalmWhat Seems to Be Agreed Upon: Anyone who follows Loki is doing so as a fad, likely a result of the Marvel movies.
The Uncomfortable Truth: In two minutes or less, explain how that exact same statement can’t be made about the worship of Thor or Odin without equal validity.

This is what we can a logical fallacy.  Specifically, casual oversimplification with a little variation of ad hominem for good measure.  This is aside of the rather obvious issue that any single dismissal of Loki, via the Marvel movies, can likewise be used to slander the modern worship of Odin, Thor, Firgg, and Heimdallr.

Look guys, tumblr scares the hell out of me too; that doesn’t give you a permission slip to weigh in on another person’s spirituality and declare it meaningless simply because a lot of seventeen year old girls and boys are getting all hot and bothered by Tom Hiddleston.


23141-viking-scene-art-designWhat Seems to be Agreed Upon: Loki is a God of chaos, and to honor him is to honor the forces that seek to destroy civilization as we know it.
The Uncomfortable Truth: Chaos doesn’t mean what you think it means.

Look, if you choose not to venerate Loki?  That’s your choice.  If you refrain because he is a “God of Chaos”(tm), you’ve just displayed that you either don’t understand Loki, chaos, or both.

The word chaos, by definition, has very little relevance to the Loki that is depicted within the lore.  To be plain about it, Loki is no more “chaotic” than Odin, Thor, or Freya.  His actions are deliberate, methodical, and chosen for their results.  Each of these actions represents deeds performed for the interest of a long term goal.  This implies a plan, and chaos destroys plans of all sorts.  Some of these plans are ones that have catalyzed the creation of Mjonir, Gungir, Slepnir, and the Walls of Asgard.  Those are things that, by their nature, have created order in the lore.  It is thus fair to say that Loki is nothing like a God of Chaos; in truth, he is a God who frequently establishes order through unorthodox means or even forges order from chaos.

It would be fair to say that he is duplicitous in some situations. Also unquantifiable, trickster, sneaky, and a bunch of other things.   It is those exact qualities, however, that the Gods called upon in numerous myths and legends.  If they are calling upon, and even proactively utilizing, a “God of Chaos”…wouldn’t that make them chaotic by association?

And, while we are on that topic….


Pimp My RideWhat Seems to be Agreed Upon: Why would anyone allow Loki into our worship if he was responsible for kidnapping, murder, and betrayal?
The Uncomfortable Truth: Perhaps you should ask a similar question of Odin and Thor.

If we are taking the lore at literal value, and we usually seem to be when it comes to the Loki argument, we must take into account that Odin knew everything that going to go down long before it happened.  If you believe in the Poetic and Prose Edda as an accurate account of our lore, this requires that you view Odin’s actions through that context; he knew all that was to happen, long before Ragnarok came.  We could presume Thor to know the same, yet he asks for Loki’s assistance on many occasions.

If Loki’s existance is to betray the Gods, why does Thor confess to him that his hammer has gone missing?  Why would he accept Loki’s company on the mission to retrieve it, when a single trecherous word could doom their greatest defender and forever put his greatest weapon in the hands of the very enemies he is predicted to betray them to?  None of this makes any sense, and it’s not the only circumstances which reveals itself as curious and inconsistent.

If you choose to unconditionally reject Loki and those who hail him from your house, than you are stating that you know better than some of the greatest and most trusted Gods within our faith.  One is consider a being of nearly infinite wisdom and is the unquestioned ruler of the Aesir.  The other is held up as amongst the greatest warriors that the nine realms will ever know.  Both of them make up beings you shouldn’t really be questioning.


"Hey, uh...you gonna eat that?"

“Hey, uh…you gonna eat that?”

What Seems to be Agreed Upon: Those who worship Loki should go back to being Satanists
The Uncomfortable Truths: Those who say nonsense like that should seek the help of Gothi, for such people are having serious conversion problems.

I know this may seem like going after the low hanging fruit, but this statement pops up distressingly often.  It is not the most common rebuttal, but it also parallels the “Loki is the Norse equivalent of Satan, so why would you worship him” argument enough to kill two birds with one stone.

To the credit of Mr. McNallen, he openly addressed that issue and addressed it correctly.

If you have a serious issue with Satanism, as a Heathen, than you are in desperate need of some pastoral counseling.   Even if I give the benefit of the doubt and presume that all who worship Loki were previously Satanists?  Satanism is either a largely atheistic philosophy or focused on the cosmology that comes with a Judeo-Christian worldview.  In either case, you have no reason to care.  Satan isn’t your concern anymore and never will be again.  If you are still bothered/offended by the nemesis of a religion you have supposedly abandoned, that says more about you religious practices than it does about mine.*


3263343-odin+facepalm

“Oh man, if they think Loki’s bad? Wait til they start actually reading some of the stuff I did!”**

What Seems to be Agreed Upon: There are countless actions that Loki takes within the sagas that fly in the face of everything we know about Heathen ethics, both in modern times and in the times of our spiritual ancestors.
The Uncomfortable Truth: The same can be said of almost the entirety of the Aesir and Vanir.

Freyr gives up a weapon that would have defended him and his kin at Ragnarok in the hopes of winning a Jotun bride.  Tyr’s sacrifice was unneeded, for he could have simply killed Fenrir as a pup and saved Odin at Ragnarok in a single stroke.   Than there is Njord, who abandons the Aesir at the twilight of the Gods so he can return to Vanaheim.  Freya prostitutes herself for a necklace, even agreeing to cause strife in the world of men in order to secure it.  Nanna commits suicide, unable to face a world without her husband.  Rather than meet the giantess Skadi in honorable  combat over the death of her father, the Gods avoid the fight and marry her into their ranks instead.  Than there is just about every myth connected to Odin, wherein he does at least one thing that modern Heathenism find absolutely unacceptable.

If we’re going to play this idiotic game, than we can render just about every God in the pantheon as unworthy of worship and there is no philosophy that makes this foolishness make sense.  Somehow, no Heathens seems to have trouble recognizing all of these other deities as being more than just the scarce collection of myths we have retained of them.  We seem them as forces greater than the sum of their parts, and recognize these tales as complex and three dimensional.

Just not Loki.


If these arguments seemed weak or redundant, that is because they are and they’ve been this way for quite some time.  These, however, are the arguments that are put up on a consistent basis.  What’s even more baffling is you don’t even need any deep understanding of the lore to find where these talking points completely fall apart.  No heavy, eldrtich texts need to be translated from a dead language to understand how these things don’t work.  You seem need to be able to read, hear, and think.  Yet, this is the eternally present “Loki Debate”; a collection of barely salient points, almost all of them made by people that would seem to know better in any other situation.  Which says something very disturbing to me.  Perhaps the most uncomfortable truth of them all.

It says that the decision about another person’s UPG was made before the facts were considered.  That no knowledge was truly weighed and measured.  It all suggests that a choice was made to suit someone’s preexisting conceits, and that was that.  No questions asked and no objections entertained.  Loki is Norse Satan; perhaps not in name, but certainly in function.  That says volumes about people who parrot these arguments and raise such loud objections to a spiritual path that doesn’t effect them in the slightest.  What can we say about such a person, who would willing mock what another finds sacred while lack both motivation and understand?

What does it suggest about any other thing they say, for example; are they truly giving their hard wrought knowledge when they speak, or are they simply telling you what takes away from their comfort the least?

This is not about the AFA’s policy, a bunch of it’s members being ignorant on Facebook,  or even  Stephen McNallen having to say something that I didn’t like; at the end of the day, McNallen’s statement is just a more polite, less insulting version of a bigger issue.  If you don’t have the courage and strength to allow others the freedom to experience the joy of our  Gods in their own way?  If you lack the honor to allow another Heathen the freedom to call themselves Heathen, and would alienate them simply because their methods of respecting their spiritual ancestry do not  mirror your own?  If you are so lifeless and dogmatic that you need to toe your own party line before you offer hospitality to the spiritual beliefs of another person?  Well, I got to tell you friend…those aren’t virtues that I would be proud of.**

Bolverk’s Word Brother!  Jotun Bane’s Shadow!  Knotted Goat Dancer!
Hail the Hammer Fly!  Hail the Stallion-Bride!  Hail Asa Loki!


*I suppose there could be some Christo-Heathens out there, who have taken a synchretic approach to both the Christian and Heathen faiths.  If this describes you, I could understand you still having an issue with Satan in that case and only that case…so don’t think that I’m trying to malign you or suggest that something is wrong with you;  I’m not.  It still makes for a horrifically bad anti-Loki argument, but that isn’t a conversion problem is you’ve met it with a real sense of purpose and agency.

**Yes, that was on purpose.

Uncomfortable Truths: The Sacred Vice Delusion

Ah Google Image Search...again we dance this dance...

Ah…Google Image Search…again we dance this dance…

There are always a lot of discussions being had about divine patrons.  People ask a lot about how to find theirs, how to determine if you’re just imagining things, how to approach a deity you suspect might be expressing interest in you, what sort of offerings to make, and so forth.

What I find funny is that most people who do have a patron of some sort and have had time to sort this sort of thing out aren’t any more in the know than the people asking the questions; they’re just more used to being confused and trying to figure things out.

Absent for the list of conversational topics, however, is about how someone with a patron should act.  This is unfortunate, as there seems to be a rather large percentage of Heathens, Asatruar, Vanatruar, Rokkatruar who believe acting like an asshole is not just acceptable, but an unalienable privileged that no one has the right to question.  That, of course, is a load of bollocks so I’m somewhat surprised not many people don’t address this more often.

So let’s start up the dialogue!  First point of business: expresseing unchecked character flaws is not a form of piety.

This sounds pretty basic, but we’ve all seen example of this mentality in action.  For example, I’ve seen Thorsmen say that having their patron means they get to act like idiots, bullies, and brutes.*  We’ve all seen the Lokifolk who use their patron as an excuse to have absolutely no sense nor concept of proper etiquette except when they feel like.**  I’ve found a fair share of those who sites following Tyr as a reason to be an unforgiving blight on their communities, and I cannot be alone in this.  The trends become easy to spot after a while;  I haven’t personally encountered one, but I’m fairly certain that there are Odinspeople who act as if infidelity isn’t just forgivable but a divine mandate.

No.  No.  No.  You don’t just insult the community with that nonsense, you insult our Gods as well.  Grow up, and accept responsibility for your own person.

Not that I don’t understand the thought process.  You follow your patron.  You may meditate upon him or her.  Perhaps you partake of psychotropic drugs while doing nothing but considering them.  You may even be someone who has the capacity to act as a horse for a divine presence and you have brought them into your own person.***   As such, it may be easy to mistake your own personal failings as the thumbprint of your Gods and, wow, wouldn’t that be such a relief!  To be able to find divinity in the lowest, most loathsome parts of yourself and to find that they have a more meaningful purpose than you might have otherwise suspected.

The thing is, you don’t need to be an entitled prick with delusions of grandeur in order to find beauty in such things; the beauty is already there.  Overcome those failings, and there is even more beauty to be found.  You don’t need to use your religion and piety as a scapegoat; just be a better person.  It’s that simple.

No matter what you may want to believe, your bad behaviors belong to you and no one else.  No amount of divine patronage will magically transform vices into virtues unless that vice is actually conquered.  The Gods are creatures exclusively defined by their vices and, in many myths, those poor actions made a whole lot of sense in context to the moment.   Even if we disregard that most of the myths showed the Gods doing specific things for very specific reasons, thus making the context totally different and incomparable to 95% of the circumstances you are likely to ever face in your life?  We still are left with a belief system that turns so many of our Gods into bizarre caricatures that belong in a bad cartoon, rather than upon an altar.

Need an example?  Go read the myths that have Thor in them; he wasn’t stupid.  He was brash and impatient, but Thor was canny and clever as well.  He never went alone if he knew he needed backup, he knew to check his anger and rage when he was unquestionably unmatched, and he displayed an extremely keen sense of when was the best time to charge in and knock in some heads.  Loki did things other than sling insults, Tyr is just as much about personal sacrifice as he is justice, and there is much more to Odin than “I am in your base, sleeping with your womens.”  To be plain about it, if you’ve reduced any of the Gods to a few token aspects, you should probably go back and examine your religious and devotional practices.

So just as soon as you have your hand bitten off by a wolf to save a large number of your friends and family?  THAN you can walk around acting like a huge, entitled jerk.  Not before.

So…just as soon as you have your hand bitten off by a wolf to save a large number of your friends and family? Then you can walk around acting like a huge, entitled jerk. Not before.

If you worship the Gods, and you find a spark within your soul that leads you to follow one more so than the rest?  Treasure it.  It is beautiful, sacred, and meaningful.  It can and will change your life.

Until you loose your hand, your lips, or an eye in the process of following that path, however?  You have no business treating your poor social habits as divine mandate.  You are no better, nor any worse, than anyone else…and it’s not our job to put up with your bullshit because you have an ardent need to feel petty and special.

To put it another way, having a patron isn’t about you; it’s about them.


*Not that they say it in this exact manner but, let’s be honest, that is what they’re saying.

*I give the anti-Lokean crowd a decent amount of flak…but hey!  If any of you are reading this, know that we have this much in common: Lokeans who act like having Loki as a patron is an excuse to act like a boorish jerk-off whenever they feel like it are just as irritating to us as they are to you.  Let the healing commence.

**Than again, if you have that sort of capacity?  I probably don’t have to tell you that piety isn’t a permission slip for behaving like a tool.

Proud Farming Tradition

If I had a nickle for every time I heard or saw someone talk about the warrior culture of the Norseman, I would make enough money that I wouldn’t have to worry nearly so much about that Patreon campaign that I keep banging on about.  I don’t mind that some of our ancestor could lay the smack down when so inclined, because that’s a pretty awesome thing.  Martial prowess is a worthy pursuit, one which I have full intention of pursuing once a few physical matters are firmly taken care of.

The thing I mind is when people forget that our ancestors were more than that.

Everyone talks about their warriors.  When are we going to talk about our craftsman?  Our farmers, merchants, and explorers?  It’s like these are completely dead spots on some people’s ancestral radar.  To hear some Heathens talk, all of our ancestors were warriors first and everything else just sort of fell into place.  It’s almost as if they’ve forgotten their there are Gods and Goddesses known for something other than their capacity to cause violence and devastation.

Truth be told, a lot of the mythology has characters that were far more than warriors.  Even those Gods and Goddesses whose providence included war were more than just warriors.  Odin is as much of a scholar as a warrior, and what farmer didn’t seek the rainstorms heralded by the thunder of mighty Thor?  Freya is a battle Goddess, but she is also a being of delight, passion, and ecstasy.  Than of course there are Gods of tactics, diplomacy, and brilliance that are just at home within the hearth as they were on the battlefield.  While Loki fits those qualities most assuredly, there are other divine figures to whom the terms are not foreign.

This was as much a European concept as it was a Norse one.

This was as much a European concept as it was a Norse one.

That’s just the mythology, too.  If we should view things with more then an iota of sense, it becomes clear that the farmers, craftsmen, and the traders were far just as important to the Norse worshiping cultures as the warrior.  How would a Norseman or woman eat?  What would they cloth themselves with?  I suppose people could put forward that they would raid for their food, but that’s a really bad idea!  Fighting on an empty stomach, against well fed man at arms defending their home wouldn’t have been a way for the Norseman to thrive; it would have been the means by which they met their end.  They needed wise farmers, strong craftsmen, and welcoming merchants, much as any culture in that time did.

Yes, they were some excellent raiders when they chose to be.  This was also what a majority of nations and societies did at the time, because might did made right.  If I have the strength to take something from you, and you didn’t give me a reason to not take it, than you didn’t have the right to have it.  Raiding wasn’t an invention of the Vikings; they were just one of the more skilled and romanticized practitioners of that prevailing economic model.

viking-warriors-3

“Here is the tale of Farbolli,, sovereign lord of quality tools and master of profit margins” said no Skald ever….

We focus much on the warrior ways of our ancestors because the saga are powerful and exceptional pieces of literature that stir the blood and give fire to the imagination.  That doesn’t make them legion however.  The entertainment of a culture casts a reflection upon that society, but it’s an incomplete representation at best.  If you looked at our entertainment objectively, you’d come away with the belief that our society is based entirely on giant robots, cleavage, new brands of tacos, explosions, Joss Whedon, and rouge cops that have to buck the system in order to see justice done.  Certainly, all of those things call to something within our mentality*.  It’s just not the entirety of who we are, however.

The saga are about warriors because warriors make for good stories.  No one want’s to hear the tale of how Thor’s accountant calculated his deductibles.

My Grandfather was a warrior; he came back from World War II with the Silver Star.  He was also a craftsman, a lover of beer, a damn fine father and grandfather, and a crack shot on a pool table.  He was wise and intelligent, and filled with a resolve and compassion I still struggle to emulate.  I am proud of the man, because he is a man worthy of being proud of, with a legacy that I will happily pass on to my daughters.  He was a warrior, but I don’t remember him as that.  I remember him as everything that he was, both good and bad.

I remember him as one of the greatest men I’ve ever known, who also just happened to also be a warrior.

I’m not saying that all Heathens have a blind spot here; I’ve heard plenty of great speeches at Sumble, and I suspect I am not alone in this regard.  Time and time again, however, I come across people who only remember our warriors.  People who forget that, often times, those warrior were farmers and blacksmiths when the fighting was done.  I don’t understand why we keep forgetting the men and women who clothed them, fed them, and gave them something worthy of fighting for.

Hail the ancestors, whatever path they may have taken in their lives!


*This is especially true of Joss Whedon.


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Regarding Thor, Part 1 – Suffering Your Fans

Bet ya didn’t see that one coming!

Moving: It's kind of like this

Moving: It’s kind of like this

The process of moving isn’t fast, easy, or convenient.  So while I have a rather excellent collection of ideas for Part 3 of the Loki series, it’s an idea that takes a great deal of research and cross referencing.  Seeing that I don’t have the time right now, I though I’d have a small conversation about something that’s been bugging me lately.

So let’s take a moment to talk about Thor.

I was reading some blog or another, when I saw someone make an accusation that Lokeans are people who mistake the character Tom Hiddleston played in the movie for the real thing.  At the time, this struck me as patronizing and disrespectful; little did I realize it was also hypocritical.  At a recent event I attended, I heard some Heathens talking about how their UPG (and the UPG of others that they knew) gave them a very different idea of Thor then most people seem to have.  Their experience, it seemed, identifies him as the kind of personality that would make you think the term “gentle giant” was invented for him.  Strong, unyielding, and warm towards those who relied on him.

So, with that in mind, let me say that if people picting Loki as a projection of Mr. Hiddleston is a problem?  I will see your bet, and raise you a Chris Hemsworth, crossed with a Michael Dorn.  You see, it gets rather obnoxious when people ask you to read the lore, then get it wrong themselves.  Yeah, Thor is depicted as someone who isn’t the smartest god in the mead hall.  You know what seems to always be forgotten?

The fact that Thor knows  he is not the smartest god in the mead hall. To put it simply, Thor is wise enough to know that he is not wise.

Thor shows sense; he has been depicted as taking a step back when prompted to do so, letting cooler heads prevail.  He is courageous, but not foolhardy; he never runs in fear, but he knows he can be out matched.  He suffers the infirmities of mortals, fights and flails againstthe weakness of age without a moment’s pause, and shows compassion to those who are weak.

It quite simple.  If you worship him as a God, he has dimensions and features.  If you consider him in a more gnostic fashion, then you need to be able to identify which part are and are not part of the archetype.  What you do not do is take the average of Marvel Comics and Commander Worf, and call it a damn day.