Friday, January 20, 2017

Congratulations, President Trump

Best wishes to President Donald J. Trump.
May the gods help you govern with wisdom.

Monday, January 16, 2017

The Myth of Progress

This was progress to some people
Over at his wonderfully iconoclastic Archdruid Report, David Michael Greer last week posted a lengthy piece on The Embarrassments of Chronocentrism. In it, he basically makes the case that merely because things are different today than they were in the past, that does not make them quantitatively "better," nor does it imply some sort of evolutionary imperative towards a given social or moral order that just so happens to be the one that predominates among a particular political subculture today. It's well worth reading the whole thing (including the several delicious examples he gives of early 20th century "progressives" taking away rights for certain minorities that are now sacred cows among today's left), but here are a few choice bits:
Those of my readers who followed the late US presidential election may remember Hillary Clinton’s furious response to a heckler at one of her few speaking gigs:  “We aren’t going back. We’re going forward.” Underlying that outburst is the belief system I’ve just sketched out: the claim that history has a direction, that it moves in a linear fashion from worse to better, and that any given political choice—for example, which of the two most detested people in American public life is going to become the nominal head of a nation in freefall ten days from now—not only can but must be flattened out into a rigidly binary decision between “forward” and “back.” ...
Chronocentrism is pandemic in our time. Historians have a concept called “Whig history;” it got that moniker from a long line of English historians who belonged to the Whig, i.e., Liberal Party, and who wrote as though all of human history was to be judged according to how well it measured up to the current Liberal Party platform. ...
It needs to be remembered in this context that the word “evolution” does not mean “progress.” Evolution is adaptation to changing circumstances, and that’s all it is. When people throw around the phrases “more evolved” and “less evolved,” they’re talking nonsense, or at best engaging in a pseudoscientific way of saying “I like this” and “I don’t like that.” 
We see this constantly and consistently in the bleating of the alt-left within neopaganism, especially within the Marxist crowd, that their political or social beliefs are somehow inherently better because they are newer than older political or social beliefs. The trajectory of history is of course part and parcel of the Marxist philosophy these pro-genocidal authoritarian losers embrace, but it sees full flower in discussions about folkishness, democracy, nationalism, and the like.

Bringers of progress
Stuck as they are in 1930's and 40's historical models, these Marxists (and anarchists, and whateverthefuckelse they want to call themselves) usually apply the blanket label "fascist" to such things. Even though, ironically, fascism (including, dare I say, National Socialism) is more properly a phenomenon of the left. But they generally mean traditionalism, which is by definition the antithesis of progressivism, which is the philosophy of "if it's newer, it must be better," that, also ironically, fuels the modern consumerist culture which so many of them claim to abhor.

That flies in the face of the traditionalist view, which enjoys a definite overlap with modern folkishness, in terms of preferring local to global as a general rule, family structures that promote reproduction are preferable to family structures that intentionally thwart reproduction, acknowledging the fact that biological differences between men and women (both psychological and physical) are real and not something to be ignored or suppressed, democracy isn't necessarily the most preferable form of government, representative art is preferable to abstract art, and most certainly that individualism is preferable to collectivism.

It might not be 100% optimally efficient,
but does that make it "wrong"?
But note always my use of the word "prefer" rather than "require." It's the left that is always trying to force other people to conform to some idealistic vision. And Utopia is always just one execution away.

I'm not by any stretch of the imagination claiming that all of those things are necessarily inherent in folkishness, which by my definition is simply the acknowledgement that race and ancestry is relevant to religion, and some religious faiths are inherently folkish in nature (although there are of course specific exceptions), just as some are inherently universalist in nature. Asatru, most forms of Hinduism, Judaism, and Amerindian religion fall into the former category, while Christianity, Islam, Scientology, Wicca, and neopaganism fall into the latter category. Unsurprisingly, claims of absolute truth generally come from the latter half as well.

However, there is a bit of confusion between, and a distinct need and opportunity to explore, traditions that are Christian in nature (due to Christianity's hegemony over Europe over the last millenia and a half or so, depending on the locale), rather than, as I might have it, truly traditional Germanic views that predate Christianity.

Of course, this isn't to mean that older is always better. That's just as wrong as newer is always better. But there are a lot of older things that don't deserve to be discarded just because they're old, just as there are newer things that deserve to be embraced. Just because I approve of flush toilets, vaccinations, and space colonies doesn't mean I have to also approve of the destruction of human biological diversity, Socialism, mass production, and the suppression of individual liberty to prevent someone else being offended.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

St. Anthony's Day

January 17th is both the Feast Day of Saint Anthony the Great (not to be confused with St. Anthony of Padua, whose feast day is in June and is often celebrated with much merriment) and the traditional day for wassailing the orchards in England. This post will deal with the former. The latter will come later.

Unfortunately, despite his association with pigs (which are well-attested to be connected with the god Ingve-Freyr), it seems that there really isn't much to be gleaned from St. Anthony and any possible associations. The association with pigs does not appear in the official hagiography of Anthony. Indeed, the story of Anthony having been a swineherd prior to his monastic life seems to be a Mediterranean addition to his life.

Since our methodology looks for elements of Saints' lives and celebrations that are unique to northern Europe, in order to suss out possible connections with lost Germanic gods, this would seem to be a dead end. And one of the things about scholarship is, if the evidence doesn't line up with the theory, you ditch the theory. Sometimes you have to be able to give up something that looked promising at first, if the evidence doesn't line up. This is one of those times.

So long, Anthony, we hardly knew ye.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Germany: Externsteine defaced

Out of Germany comes very disturbing news. Apparently on New Year's Eve some enterprising but misguided people broke into the nature reserve at Westphalia that contains the historic Externsteine rock formations, scaled a 180' pillar of stone, and erected a 20' tall wooden Irminsul painted red, white, and black. It was removed almost immediately.

Links to the news (in German):
Let us be blunt. This is a defacement of an historic site. As such, it is an abominable act, and the people responsible need to be caught and punished to the fullest extend of the law, period. There's no telling the damage that could have been done in hauling a 20' Irminsul up a 180' rock face, which could have rock carvings, artifacts, etc. that could have been damaged in the attempt.

Naturally, the Norse Neopagans here in America and some German media are predictably focusing on potential connections with right-wing pagans in Germany. While this is a connection which, it must be conceded, quite likely given the colors of the pillar, which echo those of the Nazi and Imperial flags of pre-1946 Germany, it's not at all the point, and those who are using it as a political club to hit their political opponents should be ashamed. This sort of thing transcends politics, and should be something that everyone can agree is wrong.

Personally I don't care about the politics of the idiots who did this. I care about the stupidity of defacing an historical landmark to make some sort of statement. It would be just as wrong if a Norse Neopagan took a pick-axe to one of the mounds at Uppsala because Loki told him to. Politics is no excuse for stupidity.

And this stupidity is compounded by the fact that the connection between the historical Irminsul and the site at Exernsteine is completely spurious. The image found there is a palm tree, bent over to represent nature weeping over the death of Christ. It is not the Irminsul, which was described in the sources as a pillar. Not a pillar with wings. Hel, for that matter, the sources say that there were many Irminsuls, each the center of worship for a particular local group. Not one at some great pan-Germanic cult center that is otherwise completely unattested, and especially not one at Externsteine.

That makes this act all the more tragic. These idiots broke the law and endangered an historical archaeological site to haul a 20' palm tree painted in the colors of two failed states to the top of a mountain. All that effort and risk for an unintentional joke. Morons.

Update: here's a photo showing where the Irminsul was planted.

 (© Torben Gocke)

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Things to Come

While I've had a great time investigating the connections between pre-Christian Yule celebrations and Christian Saints' feast day celebrations (among other things), as part of my Make Yule Great Again series, I didn't really intend to continue on.

But now I've come across some new information on other celebrations taking place in the second half of winter. We know about the Christian Candlemas, and the Celtic Imbolc, and Bede's Charming of the Plow, and the Swedish Disting/Disablot in Uppsala, and so forth, but I suspect there's just as complex a series of holidays after Yule in mid-January as there was leading up to it.

At least one source says Candlemas was also referred to as "little Yule" in Sweden. Something to look into, at the very least.

And there's also the whole Easter/Eostre/Paschal celebrations (along with carnival/Mardi Gras/etc.) to work into the mix as well. Most of the time, folks just lump everything together into a single celebration, but I think, as with Yule, that doesn't do justice to the reality of what our ancestors did.

So I'm probably going to continue my series of investigations on celebrations. It's proven to be quite fruitful for the month leading up to Yule. I hope it will prove to be as interesting as we progress into spring.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Dinner for One

It has been a New Year's tradition in Germany since 1972, and in other parts of Europe since then, including Austira, Switzerland, and as far as South Africa and Australia. It holds the Guinness World's Record for most repeated single broadcast television show, and has a cult following across the world, although it is little-known in the United States. The full story of this wonderful sketch can be found here, but for now I present to you, "The 90th Birthday, or Dinner for One." (The host begins in German, but the sketch itself is in English.)

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Best of the Blog, 2016

As 2016 winds down to a close, I thought I'd do one of those rituals that many websites and blogs indulge in; a retrospective of the highlights from the year that's passed.

As there are two ways to measure such things, I will present two lists. Since there are two of them, I'm only going to do a "top five" in each category.

First, the objective "most popular this year" list, based on pageviews:

5. Finding folkishness in all the wrong places. Whoops! Turns out those people supporting the Standing Rock Sioux were supporting a tribe that requires proof of blood relation to join, and incidentally practice their tribal religion. That's awkward...

4. The war is forced upon us. A response to the effort to "deplatform" folkish Asatru, from the AFA to my own tribe.

3. An open letter to an open letter to Jim Lyngvild. A pretty liberal Heathen in Denmark got some heat because of some of his opinions, because he's not liberal enough. I assay some commentary of my own.

2. The Troth just officially threatened the careers of all AFA military members. Just what it says on the tin. And I didn't like their little attempt at intimidation. Not. One. Bit.

1. Stop giving my religion a bad name. This one got more hits than anything else, because it got picked up and shared by a lot of people (thanks!). I come out against SJW-wannabes trying to tell the world what Asatru "really is."

~ ~ ~

And now we have my own list of the top five posts. These are the ones I'm most proud of personally.

5. A paucity of celebrations. I'm honestly proud of all of the Make Yule Great Again series, but this one stands out because of the association I make between Krampusnacht and the myth of the laming of Thor's goats.

4. You can take your umbrella and... The neopagans just can't seem to get it through their thick skulls that not only isn't Asatru part of their umbrella, but we don't want to be part of their umbrella.

3. You're doing it wrong. I respond to an outsider who thinks he knows what's best for Asatru. I respectfully disagree in the tactful and genteel manner for which I am justly famed. Ahem.

2. Over the rainbow, part two: the folkish trajectory. Why does folkish Asatru seem to be growing a lot faster than other forms, despite their much louder mouths? Where an SJW asks the question pearl-clutchingly, I give a straightforward answer.

And for my #1 favorite post of 2016, we have a tie, ladies and gentlemen!

First there's Who's Hijacking Who? which lays out the history of early Asatru in North America, and lays bare the lie that folkish Asatru is somehow "hijacking" what started out as a universalist religion. The reality is quite the reverse.

And my other choice for #1 post is Of Rape and Racism. We kicked off the year with a firestorm about Steve McNallen's offhand remark saying that Germany needs to protect itself after the wave of mass rapes perpetrated by Muslim immigrants and "refugees" on New Year's Eve 2015. You wouldn't think that "we need to prevent rape" would somehow be turned into a bad thing, but there's no telling how an SJW's warped mind works.

So that's what I've got. What are your favorites from this year? Chime in, in the comments, and thanks for all your support this year. It's really appreciated!