true heathenism

Heathen Racist Words/Phrases to Watch Out For

RefDuring my research into Heathenism, I have been discovering undertones of racism in the strangest places. Just today, I picked up a version of the Poetic Edda to find the translation and the author’s explanation to be riddled with supremacist rhetoric. So I wanted to create a hot list, so to speak, of words and phrases to watch out for. If you see them, be wary for you may be reading some racist propaganda mixed in with your Heathenry. 

The Hot List: 

  • “Protect our Heritage”
  • “Preservation of our Heritage”
  • “Universalism” [this is not a bad word, but many racist materials will condemn universalism]
  • “Internationalism”  [this is not a bad word, but many racist materials will condemn universalism] 
  • “Heathenism’s True Followers”
  • “True Heathenism”
  • Overemphasis on our Ancestors or the Ancestors of those Practicing Heathenry
  • References to being “Born with Heathenry in your blood”
  • References to blood purityReferences to anything “running in your blood or heritage”
  • Overemphasis of Heathenism belonging only to Northern European peoples
  • A failure to mention that ANYONE can practice Heathenry, or a failure to use open invitation/welcoming rhetoric for anyone who may be picking up the book. 

Please keep adding more. 

Heathens against Racism

Slave of the True Heir

Pairing: Ivar the Boneless x Reader (named, but it’s not mentioned here)
Show: “Vikings” (History Channel)
Part: 1 of ??

A/N: I love this show a ridiculous amount, and I’ve wanted to write something on it for a while. So, here is the start of a longer piece (which will connect into a series), about a Reader who was formerly a slave of Ivar’s. I apologize that this section is short; I had to take up an additional shift at work, which cut into my writing time, so I will do my best to make sure the next update is longer. 

This fic is also cross posted to AO3. 

The bed was softer than anything you had become accustomed to over the past two, three, or so years. Time was hardly relevant now; you stopped keeping track a while ago. But this bed: you could feel the large stack of furs pressed underneath and around you, along with a thick woolen blanket. You could hear the crackling of a fire nearby: a fire which you had not started. You were warm. It was a nice change from the many nights you had spend in the top of the Ragnarsson barn, sleeping atop a scratchy oxen hide and sparse hay.

“Are you awake, my little wife?”

A distinctive voice – one you recognized well, even in your half-asleep state – broke through the morning quiet.

Keep reading

Me, a Whumper, on Le Tumbleur…

*sees a fanfic post on my dashboard*

*scrolls down to the comments/tags*

“I can’t believe how sweet this is!”

#i love this

#the fluffiest fluff to ever fluff

*keeps scrolling*

*sees another fanfic on dash*

*scrolls to comments/tags*


#what gave you the right?

#you’re a terrible human being

The Fox and The Maiden Fair - A Shared Journey - Part Two Archive of Our Own
An Archive of Our Own, a project of the Organization for Transformative Works
By Organization for Transformative Works

It’s finally here. For my birthday girl @underthenorthstar.

Emer started wandering, completely absorbed by the beauty and wilderness of the place.

She could hear Ivar’s chariot behind her. Emer didn’t want to look at him. She was still angry. All she desired was to walk away from all the problems, melting into the ocean. The endless blue waves that didn’t care about humanity’s problems, it was like an immortal deity. She wondered how many stories it had witnessed. Lovers whose hearts were broken, mothers that lost their children by the terrible hand of war. Maybe the sea was made from their tears. What would be an explanation for why humans were so fascinated by the deep waters. It was like they were searching for the sorrow. Attracted by the suffering. Or maybe, they were all selkies, trying to get back to their origins in the bottom of the ocean.

They said if a woman shed seven tears into the sea, a male selkie would contact her. Emer had cried more than enough tears, but she didn’t want any other man in her life. It seemed to her they were the cause of her pain. Maybe she was not an unhappy woman in search of love from a being from another world. She might be a creature from the sea herself. She might have forgotten. Who stole my skin in this case? Forcing me to live among humans. Who stole me from myself? These questions didn’t leave her mind.

She longed to be one with the ocean she had never known. Her legs seemed to move of their own accord, they were leading her to the edge. Only this way she could be free.

Emer was in the edge, watching the waves crashing onto the shore, a lonely tear running down her cheek.

Ivar’s voice taking her away from her thoughts, “Come here, Emer. Let’s see the rest of the farm.”

She didn’t want to face him. He would know she was weak. A stupid and crying woman. Emer raised her hand to her face, cleaning her tears.

She looked back at him. He was offering his hand as an invitation. An almost kind smile playing on his lips. She thought he seemed even more gorgeous when he was relaxed.

She asked herself, “Why couldn’t it be always this way?”

“There is no space for me!”, she replied referring to his chariot. But, her question had a hidden meaning.

Reason sits firm and holds the reins, and she will not let the feelings burst away and hurry her to wild chasms. The passions may rage furiously, like true heathens, as they are; and the desires may imagine all sorts of vain things; but judgement shall still have the last word in every argument, and the casting vote in every decision. Strong wind, earthquake-shock, and fire may pass by; but I shall follow the guiding of that still small voice which interprets the dictates of conscience.
—  Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

tyrsbiest  asked:

I saw a documentary recently, in which they said, Iceland became Christian basically because Denmark became Christian and imprisoned every Iceland not der on it's soil, sending an ultimatum to Iceland, that they would execute them, if Iceland wouldn't convert. A heathen law man, respected by Christians and Heathens alike, was in the end asked to decide. After some days he decided that Iceland should become Christian by name but in private every Icelander was free to do whatever. Can you confirm?

Sæl vinur,
(Hello friend,)

For the most part, yes, but also not exactly, because we should add a dash of ‘it’s complicated’ just to be safe. Allow me to briefly retell the story:

All of the parts are correct, but the interpretation of all those parts together is up for some debate. After all, documentaries are not exempt from having a bias, and not in the sense of having an agenda, but just because it is simply human nature to have certain inclinations. I suppose it is better to say that the documentary may have made some claims or assumptions that could be seen from various perspectives, and every interpretation is but one perspective out of many. I am finding myself being carried away in a moment of philosophical contemplation, so I digress (my apologies, but, in my defense, those are things we ought to think and talk about).

Anyway, Iceland was indeed pressured by Norway and not exactly Denmark. To be more specific, though, it was King Olaf Tryggvason who truly pressured the Icelanders, especially after his missionary, Thangbrand, returned from there with little success in 999.(1.) After this, the king not only imprisoned Icelanders as hostages (not a ton, mind you), but he also closed off Norwegian ports to Icelandic merchants.(2.) Now this was a big deal. Iceland was an island, after all, which meant that many goods needed to be imported. I would argue that it was not only the pressure from executing hostages that placed an ‘ultimatum’ on Iceland, but the economic strangling that King Olaf placed around their necks.

Yet, there were hostages, and they were the often the “sons and daughters of prominent Icelandic pagans.”(3.) Furthermore, King Olaf did threaten to “maim or kill [them] unless Iceland accepted Christianity.”(4.) Yet, this, as I mentioned above, was not the only force creating pressure. Believe it or not, there were already Christian Icelanders, some of which were fairly prominent, too.(5.) Why would they need to care about someone else’s family members? Unless they had some sort of bonds through kinship, they didn’t. 

There was something else on the line here, though. An aspect of Iceland’s foreign policy was to maintain a good relationship with Norway for two reasons: family and economic ties.(6.) Many Icelanders, whether pagan or Christian, had family in Norway, and therefore would prosper from continued positive relations. Furthermore, as already mentioned, Norway was Iceland’s major trading partner, and a falling through would be devastating on the economic front.

As for the “heathen law man,” his name was Thorgeir Thorkelsson, a chieftain (goði) from the farm of Ljósavatn in the Northern Quarter.(7) Most of what the documentary seems to have said pans out to be true, although his motives are, you guessed it, up for debate. Various accounts do agree, though, that he was indeed the Lawspeaker to make this decision.(8.) Here is an account from Njal’s Saga:

“Thorgeir lay for a whole day with a cloak spread over his head, and no one spoke to him. The next day people went to the Law Rock; Thorgeir asked for silence and spoke: ‘It appears to me that our affairs will be hopeless if we don’t all have the same law, for if the law is split then peace will be split, and we can’t live with that. Now I want to ask the heathens and the Christians whether they are willing to accept the law that I proclaim.’” 

They all assented to this. Thorgeir said that he wanted oaths from them and pledges that they would stick by them. They assented to this, and he took pledges from them.

‘This will be the foundation of our law,’ he said, ‘that all men in this land are to be Christians and believe in one God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit - and give up all worship of false idols, the exposure of children, and the eating of horse meat. Three years’ outlawry will be the penalty for open violations, but if these things are practiced in secret, there shall be no punishment.’

All of these heathen practices were forbidden a few years later, so that they could neither be practiced openly nor in secret.” (9.)

He was indeed a heathen, and he did, as illustrated above, for some unknown reason, deem that Iceland should adopt Christianity. It is also true that heathen practices were allowed afterwards, but not indefinitely. In Ari Thorgeirsson’s Íslendingabók, he says this about what happened afterwards:

“And he (Thorgeir Thorkelsson) brought his speech to a close in such a way that both sides agreed that everyone should have the same law, the one he decided to proclaim. It was then proclaimed in the laws that all people should be Christian, and that those in this country who had not yet been baptised should receive baptism; but the old laws should stand as regards the exposure of children and the eating of horse-flesh. People had the right to sacrifice in secret, if they wished, but it would be punishable by the lesser outlawry if witnesses were produced. And a few years later, these heathen provisions were abolished, like the others.” (10.)

So, given that account, people were “free to do whatever,” but only during this period of transition. Now, we may enter the realm of reasonable probability, but that, of course, comes with its limitations. Still, we can assume that it was quite possible that people still remained heathen for quite some time, yet this would have been difficult, mainly due to social pressures. It may have been more likely that some families retained their heathen traditions in somewhat of a hybrid religious state, in which they worshipped both Christ and the old gods. This was actually not unheard of. In Landnámabók, the Icelandic Book of Settlements, a man named Helgi the Lean is described as such:

“Helgi’s faith was very much mixed: he believed in Christ but invoked Thor when it came to voyages and difficult times.” (11.)

My final judgement is to say that this documentary was correct, of course, but not an ‘absolute truth’ on the matter. Besides there not being such a thing as an ‘absolute truth’, especially in regards to history, the documentary only provided one telling of a complicated tale; there were quite a few complications likely not discussed in the documentary. 

After all, there was more going on behind the scenes back when King Olaf was taking hostages. Furthermore, although Thorgeir allowed heathens to continue practice, this was only a temporary condition. Yet, even so, we do not truly know the reality that was in place. All we have are generalized accounts that tell us the ideal or legal standpoints. Let us not forget, either, that these very sources were written by the ‘winning’ party. As I said when I began this post, we all have a bias, whether we like it or not. There is no shame in this, but it must be known to properly handle the sources that we are given.

My advice, then, is to understand that documentaries, and even many works of academia, often only grant you one version of the story. Even the version I have told above leaves out certain details that honestly need consideration. Still, the documentary was not wrong, but there are always many levels of intricacy that truly need consideration before we can fully understand any given situation. 

Anyway, I truly am grateful that you asked this question. It was a pleasure to respond to it, and I do hope that you and many other prospers from my insights.

Með vinsemd og virðingu,
(With kindness and respect,)


1. Jesse L. Byock, Viking Age Iceland. (London: Penguin Books, 2001), 299.

2. Ibid.

3. Ibid.

4. Ibid.

5. I could talk about this for quite a while, but it would take us further from the question at hand than we ought to wander, at least for the time being.

6. Byock, 299.

7. Ibid., 300.

8. Ari Thorgeirsson’s Íslendingabók, chapter 7, and Njal’s Saga, chapter 105, give good accounts of this, and arguably with slightly different motives.

9. Robert Cook trans., Njal’s Saga, in The Complete Sagas of Icelanders, vol. III, edited by Viðar Hreinsson, Robert Cook, Terry Gunnell, Keneva Kunz, and Bernard Scudder. (Reykjavík: Leifur Eiríksson Publishing, 1997), 127-8. (Chapter 105, pages 180-1 in the Penguin edition)

10. Ari Thorgeirsson, The Book of the Icelanders: Íslendingabók, translated by Siân Grønlie, edited by Anthony Faulkes and Alison Finlay. (London: University College London, 20016), 9. (Chapter 7)

11. Hermann Pálsson and Paul Edwards trans., The Book of Settlements: Landnámabók. (repr., 1972; Manitoba: University of Manitoba Press, 2012), 97. (Chapter 218)

anonymous asked:

Hi- I don't know if this is the right place to ask this, but it seems like most if not all Norse pagans on tumblr feel as though they have a personal connection to the gods, or at least one of the gods. I've seen it said elsewhere that the Norse gods don't really interact much with humanity, and that we should focus on our ancestors and the landvættir first, since asking the gods for help with small things would be like calling the president when you have a flat tire. What's going on here?

I feel like this needs a bit of historical context in order to understand. So, when the Heathen revival became a thing in North America, people didn’t really know where to start, and some folks were looking at what was available and were like “I don’t like all this German nationalism” since a lot of people at the time were coming from Wicca, there’s a bit of a Wiccan influence in some of those early rituals (there’s a reason the Hammer Rite looks so similar to a circle casting). Let’s call these people “revivalists“.

You can still find references to the Hammer Rite today, but over the last couple decades people start being like “So let’s actually look at what the lore says” and they start getting really into the studying and they’re like “You know, I don’t see many instances of regular people dealing with the deities” and they look at the major Heathen organizations and they’re like “Yeah I don’t know what the fuck they’re doing.” They’re more interested in cultivating what they see as a Heathen mindset, and acting accordingly. Let’s call them “reconstructionists”.

I should back up for a moment and explain that Heathenry in North America tends to be more conservative than Heathenry in Europe, and definitely more conservative than (Neo-)Wicca in North America. This is important, I just need to get it out before I forget.

So there are these two camps, the more revivalist Heathens and Asatruar (I personally would see the Troth as more of a revivalist organization) and the more reconstructionist groups that tend to be more to the right politically. For the record, I identify more as a revivalist, but I think certain people would consider me a bit more recon, I don’t like the recon label for reasons. BTW this is really oversimplified.

Now, what I’ve noticed over the past twenty years is this trend in Heathenry towards “hardcore” reconstructionism. By which I mean the kind of school of thought that says “everyone should do Heathenry like I do or they are Not! Heathen!” There are also a ton of white dycishet dudes who are attracted to Heathenry because they see it as a manly religion for warriors. These people have very particular ways of reading the lore and have formed communities based around reading the lore in that particular way. The problem is not with reconstruction in and of itself, but in the way they aggressively assert that their interpretation is correct (and use that interpretation as a way to exclude people from Heathenry) even when it’s flatly contradicted by the lore and the historical record. For instance, the way innangard is used by many Heathen groups is bullshit and Heathens did absolutely kneel before their deities.

Now, tumblr Heathenry is its own thing. Tumblr has a reputation for being more left-wing and more, I don’t want to say diverse, but it’s managed to attract a bunch of communities that might not have as much of a voice on other platforms. Basically, tumblr manages to attract people who are not white dycishet dudes, who may be, say, disabled, and not able to find a Heathen religious community that they like.

I also feel like the tumblr Pagan and occult communities in general are more open to devotional or more mystical expressions of religion, whereas many “mainstream” Heathen groups see things like magic as “gravy” (with ancestor worship as the meat) at best and “woo bullshit” at worst. Many Heathens, especially of the hardcore recon variety, also emphasize the need for a community (some even saying that you *need* a community in order to be a true Heathen) whereas tumblr tends to attract the sort of people who are like “I’m disabled and I can’t find a community to fit my needs.”

Sorry for rambling on about politics and such but I feel like it’s necessary to understand the apparent contradictions in Heathen thought. Put simply, more politically conservative Heathenries tend to be awful, awful, at accommodating people who aren’t white, cis, straight, dyadic, men, and the people who feel most excluded by these versions of Heathenry tend to find tumblr Heathenry to be more receptive to their needs. So basically what you’re seeing are two ways of being Heathen, one that emphasizes ancestor worship and interacting with the local spirits over the deities (which is something Heathens absolutely did) and one focused more on personal devotion to one or more deities. 

Which one is correct? Well since you’re asking me, there’s evidence for both having relationships with deities and not bothering the deities, and I think asserting that deities only have time for powerful people contradicts what we know of the deities. Like, why call Thor “god of the common people” if he doesn’t actually give a fuck about the common people? But honestly, if it works for you, do what works for you. Heathenry isn’t a single tradition, it’s a family of loosely connected traditions, and there were things that were important to someone during the Viking Age that aren’t that important to modern Heathens.

Slave of a True Heir (2/?)

Pairing: Ivar the Boneless x Reader (named, but it’s not mentioned here)
Show: “Vikings” (History Channel)
Part: 2 of ??

This fic  is dedicated to the lovely and sweet @cherrytrinkets, who has been nothing but kind and needed a small pick-me-up. The fluff is on its way, I promise!

This fic is cross-posted to AO3. Read the rest here! :)


“Ivar asked if I would see you, since he could not get away from Floki,” Ubbe said, helping himself to a cup of mead from the jug on the nearby table. You hadn’t put it there, nor had you placed the small amount of bread, cheese, and soup; you weren’t particularly hungry, but it was nice knowing that Ivar’s slaves held no resentment over you. Either that, or they were unwilling to allow you to starve and face any sort of wrath from their master.

“He was worried you might run off.”

“He becomes jealous easily,” you said with a shrug. “He thinks you will seduce me, or some utter nonsense… I cannot imagine why.”

Ubbe chuckled at that; despite his occasional romps in his teen years, the eldest son of Aslaug and Ragnar only had eyes for his wife. Anybody with eyes could see that. “Hvitserk is envious, I have learned,” he teased, and you rolled your eyes. Both of you knew he was lying.

“Hvitserk has his wife. We both know she keeps him satisfied.” You had certainly overheard Hvitserk and his wife, Hlíf, enough times for them to have several children already, and you’d caught sight of them more than once. It seemed more rare for either of them to keep their hands to themselves, than to stay apart.

“Then perhaps I meant Sigurd.”

“And Sigurd has his left hand. He shall get over it.”

Just a reminder:

Your parents were probably alive when the LDS Church decided people of color counted as human beings. Mine were. My dad was a deacon. 

The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints issued Official Declaration 2 in 1978. That’s less than forty years ago. Let that sink in. This infamous “revelation” permitted all “worthy men” to hold the priesthood. Before that, all church authority came from old white men in the States. All of it. 

DO NOT believe the church’s bullshit about trying to best serve its members world-wide. Official Declaration 2 was a sales tactic and a PR move, plain and simple. By the late seventies, the church found itself behind the cultural curve. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 had become law some twelve years earlier, and subsequent legislation and legal battles concerning race, feminism, and LGBTQA+ rights were beginning to turn the general tide of sentiment toward more progressive policies and ideas. If you read the page on “Race and the Priesthood,” you will encounter infuriating language implying that the church was actually ahead of its time, and that making the priesthood available to all men was a kind and generous act. Do I even need to explain how fucking arrogant, privileged, racist, and colonialist this statement is??? The church bowed to pressure. End of discussion. 

THE CHURCH IS A PARASITE. It cannot live without its members, sucking their time and money and hope. And like any parasite, the church has to continue to grow. They realized they had to change their sales approach concerning race or run the risk of estranging their massive member base overseas (who are, you guessed it, mostly people of color). 

(There’s also evidence to suggest that pressure from other college football teams on BYU’s team concerning their discriminatory policies regarding black players had a hand as well). 

There it is. There’s your reminder. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and the prophets who claim to speak god’s word of peace and love to and for ALL people, were dragged kicking and screaming into acknowledging that people are people. This is the very definition of way, way too little, way, way too late. 

40 fucking years. 

Get your binary out of my wyrd, goddammit.

Gender is on my mind today, as it often is, and with the AFA evidently going out of their way to spew gross cissexist bullshit about everyone’s assigned-at-birth gender being a “gift from the gods,” I have something to say:

The gods themselves defy binaristic conceptions of gender, and if you find a group that insists otherwise, don’t listen to them. They are very, very wrong.

Your gender is valid. If anyone ever claims that to be a “real” or “true” heathen, you have to conform to your assigned gender, or any gender at all, they are wrong.

If you ever feel like you are being forced out of heathen spaces because of your gender, please, please know that you can talk to me. I am a queer agender person, and I will always have time to listen to those who need a sympathetic ear.

Your gender is valid. I promise you, as a heathen, that our gods do not love you any less because you don’t conform to the gender you were assigned at birth.

You are wonderful, and valid, and anyone who says otherwise is invited to kiss my big fat agender heathen ass.