By William McThunder
Pagans have always guarded their folk-traditions closely and have understandably been deeply suspicious of anyone seeking to record their history. This is not just the aftermath of oppression, persecution and marginalization, but they are a big part of our past. Traditional heathenism, even in its modern form, can be spiritual or non-spiritual because it is not a religion, per-se but a state of being, or a way of life. It is, in fact, who we are and as such can co-exist as a folk culture, with any spiritual dimension or lack of it.
In the early years of interaction between the Celts and Christians it would have been more reasonable to define a pagan as someone who is “non-christian” meaning indigenous, pre-christian Celtic beliefs, especially associated with nature. Later the church assumed the right to define “pagan” as one who was ‘anti-christian’. This label was intended as a slander to belittle adherents to the old ways as people who are anti-religious, or superstitious. This is far from the truth and in light of actual historical fact these accusations were used to establish spiritual domination and social control, spreading the idea that heathenism is a lower level of human existence, and an inferior worldview, than universalistic belief.
These effects are still felt today.
Don’t believe me? Just mention to an Abrahamic family member or friend that you are a heathen. See the disgust in their eyes, change in demeanor and utter horror. Instead of accepting you for the person that you are, you will be viewed through universalistic-tinted spectacles.
This is an aftereffect of the stranglehold universalistic religion has upon Hyperboreans, turning one against the other, but now we see in modern times that eyes are being opened to the dangers of abrahamism, and the rich beauty that goes hand-in-hand with ethnic faith. Church pews are being opted out in favor of seeking out forefather gods, cultural enrichment, ancestral heroes and a spirituality born out of the wilderness.
As people of the North, we would do well to remember this as we approach the end of the year. The tide is turning, and our people are going back to the old ways as the death throes of organized religion howls through the land, crawling on its last leg in defiance.
Get together with friends, family and pagan acquaintances during the time of MidWinter to celebrate and invite as many of our people as you can. The heathen community is regarded in many ways as an extension of the family, in which all contribute, support each other in their daily lives and make lasting friendships that will allow us to thrive.