Big Rambly Post on Heathenry and Race

Hello, my friends! We’re in for a doozy.

First, allow me a quick rant: I dislike like racists and racism. Of any form. I can’t stand racist jokes – unless they’re actually funny and not meaning to insult – I can’t stand racist slurs, even used in context to make a character more set in the time and place from whence their story came. It grates at me that there’s even a smidgen of a notion among some groups of humans that other groups of humans should be excluded from certain things because of something as trivial and innocuous as skin color. Instinctual fear of difference, I understand. Refusal to try to understand and accept those differences, especially with these nice big brains of ours, I don’t understand. We have these chunks of gray matter boopin’ about in our heads for a reason.

Now. Racism in modern heathenry – particularly Asatru for some reason?! Why?! – is one of those things that I am perfectly qualified to talk about from a metaphysical point of view, and slightly unqualified to talk about from the perspective of someone who’s gone through the utter hell that is struggling with race, particularly in some places in the United States. So let me just get that out there: I have had no problems from other people regarding my race. I am whiter than freaking sourdough bread. I don’t know what people with varying melanin levels have had to go through, except for second-hand experience watching my boyfriend struggle with being the literal “black sheep” of his family, and listening to latino friends mutter about things that the stupid white people are doing at school. I also understand that race isn’t just skin deep, it’s a set of struggles and challenges and absolute what-the-fuckery that I don’t think anyone of any skin tone should have to go through, but that’s just me. I haven’t gone through all that, so I really can’t/shouldn’t be presumptuous.

With that said, let me throw some metaphysics on the table. I’ve been working with these gods – and others – for something like five years and running. Now, I’m still relatively new to the greater community, and I couldn’t understand some stuff five years ago that I can now, but that’s still a decent chunk of time when you consider that this is something I’ve been thinking about and messing with and fiddling around for the last quarter of my life. Something I’ve picked up on – in fact I believe Set was the first one to tell me this, way back when I was still pantheon-hopping – is that in the beginning, the People created the Gods. People did great deeds and told stories to each other about them for generations, and the Gods became grooves in the Wyrd big enough to get up and start walking around on their own. I don’t know how many of Them were humans at one point, how many of Them were made up out of the thin air (I suspect not many), but through this telling and retelling of stories, the People “created” the Gods. That is why our gods are predominantly like the people that “created” Them. None of the polytheistic religions I know of have truly perfect gods, all of them are flawed somehow. Jealous, or angry, or prone to falling in love with people they shouldn’t. This matters because Gods have some of the same whims as We do, if perhaps stranger and farther-reaching because They’ve been around long enough to see the patterns and make the connections. Exploration, connection, travel, community, belonging. Things that all beings search for, as far as I have been able to tell. And for all that They came from mundane people who did legendary things, They are Their own beings, now, with names, faces, and wyrds of Their own. If you don’t believe me on that score, ask Loki. They want their own things, and They will find ways to get there from here.

So, if Odin decides He wants to be patron to a black guy, I will not argue with Him. He’s a god for Pete’s sake! No mortal being should have any right to gainsay or dismiss the decisions of someone who has been around for centuries and has seen all the shit that this world and others have had to offer so far. (Unless you really know them, in which case it is definitely fine to wonder why in Hel’s name Loki is doing the funky chicken around your house at 3:15 am. That, frankly, begs questioning.) Freyja appears to me as looking more Native-American than Scandinavian, and I only questioned that because I’m wary of impersonators (when I asked Them about it, there was a resounding, “yes that’s Freyja you daft child!“). If Heimdall likes Marvel’s image of Him and decides that the best way to show Himself to someone is appearing as a facsimile of Idris Elba, I will not question it.

You knew there was going to be a Heimdall picture. You knew it going in.

Therefor, I find it absurd to think that certain pantheons belong to and can interact with only the people that created Them. First of all, that would be boring. That’s why the vikings took off across the seas and explored absolutely everything that they could find. Second of all, I have two examples against the idea that bloodlines and ethnicity matter at all to Them. First, myself. I may be whiter than sauerkraut but if we’re going strictly by the “where you came from is all you get” lines of thinking, I would be a Druid right now. Or a Christian. My family is Scottish, Welsh, French, and Anglo-Saxon, in roughly that order. No Norwegian or Swedish or Danish or anything. I have dealt with not only members of the Celtic pantheon, but also Greco-Roman, Hindu, Egyptian, and, believe it or not, Judeo-Christian, but I am closest with the Rokkr and Vanir of the northern tradition. Second example, my boyfriend, Bran. He comes from a predominantly Celtic family, all Scotts and Ires with a Swede or two thrown in, but his father was latino/native american, and it shows(thus the almost-literal black sheepitude). You’d think he’d have a serious Thing going with Cernunnos (which he actually might, his astral body has antlers) or Coyote or Quetzalcoatl by now, right? Jokes on us, he’s Luciferian, and has ties to Loki, Hermes, and several Japanese deities and spirits as well. See? They don’t even constrain Themselves to Their own pantheons anymore!

Tl;Dr: The Gods choose who They want to talk to. The Gods choose who They want to patron. The Gods do not like being bored and seeing/being the same general faces over and over again is boring. We are not Gods, we shouldn’t judge. Suck it up.

4 thoughts on “Big Rambly Post on Heathenry and Race

  1. Here’s another perfect example! Hecate is one of my family’s patrons (from my mother’s line. my husband’s family is all about the old spider woman from the Cherokee tradition). To my mother, she appears as a beautiful lady of the middle ages, one who looks as if she has lived in a cottage in the woods all her life. With owls…. To me? On the rare occasions when she does come to me, she appears a lot like a real-world version of Sailor Moon/Sailor Cosmos from the anime Sailor Moon. The gods know how best to appear to those who they choose to approach. And even to members of the same family, they may not appear in the same face or cloak. So, there’s that.

    Liked by 1 person

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