Friday, October 9, 2015

Putting Heathenry "On the Map"

Recently, both the Troth and the Asatru Folk Assembly have been trying to "put Heathenry on the map" in their own way. Both needed crowdfunding to achieve their goals. The similarities pretty much end there.

The Asatru Folk Assembly purchased land, and a building, and has spent the last few weeks fixing up the place, getting people to paint, carve, forge, wire, hammer, and otherwise get the place up to snuff for Saturday's grand opening. And the results have been pretty spectacular:

NewGrange Hall in progress. Note the actual runes on the gable.
That has, quite literally, "Put Heathenry on the Map". It's visible on Google Maps, and you can see the property and the building on Google Earth. The AFA raised over $50,000 in a month to make it happen, and the Folk came together. Because physicality is important, even if you're a continent or more away, and may never actually visit it yourself. Knowing its there gives it a sort of visceral feel, especially if you helped in some small way (disclosure: I donated towards it twice).

Because apparently two-thirds of Heathens aren't white.
But at least they have a rainbow and faux runes.
The Troth, on the other hand, has also put together a crowdfunding effort recently. They've raised $1,250 in three months to send four of their members to the Parliament of the World's Religions in Salt Lake City next weekend (with the tag line "Help put Heathenry on the Map", hence the title of my own post).

There, they will sit on panels, and talk with representatives of other religions about global warming (one of the big things for the conference is a statement on climate change). The four intrepid representatives will give two lectures:

  • “Rebuilding the Altars: Reconstructing Indigenous Pagan Faiths for Today”
  • "Staving off Ragnarök: A Heathen Response to Climate Change”

Of course, this isn't an official Troth project (although it's been promoted in the various Troth venues, and the folks going are mostly Troth big-wigs). The four people have come up with a new organization specifically for this event: the "Alliance for Inclusive Heathenry". Because both of those gay black Asatruar in the world need an organization made up of white people to represent them, I suppose.

Now, I've been admittedly a little snarky, but I'm just having fun to make a point. When people are given something real, something concrete, something that actually shows up on a map, they'll pitch in, even if it doesn't directly impact them. When people are given the opportunity to let someone else play at being a "parliamentary representative" for a week, and attend some lectures that mean little or nothing to them, the response will be rather... tepid. That's not "putting Heathenry on the Map". That's "let us hang around trading useless lectures with other self-important people nobody's heard of, and please pay for our plane fare."

Get stuff done. Stop talking. Do stuff. It's not that hard.

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