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For Better or Worse...

By: Garman Lord


Leof HrappR Wassail!
Garman here.

> I must say your posts over the last few days have been dour indeed.

I suppose that might strike some who know me as odd. Most who know me personally know that my most habitual temperamental disposition is what might be called "jovial." However, I have been around this community a long time, and this has come more and more to be a kind of issue that increasingly haunts me night and day. For me, there have been some recent events of the last year or so that just tore it for me; this crap really can't go on. It makes me embarrassed to keep calling myself a Reawakening heathen, in such a community as this. I feel so sure that I know perfectly well what the gods really want, and we, the only ones today who pretend to profess their troth, nonetheless aren't what they want; are even perhaps just an obstruction in the way of their ever getting what they really want. There have sometimes seemed to be little flashes of evolution in this community, and yet, on the big important things, nothing ever really changes. We aren't real enough, or serious enough, the gods are increasingly baffled by this, they know it's all really very simple, so what is really our sorry-ass excuse this time, and who do we think we're kidding by now, other than ourselves? It seems only a matter of time before the gods finally get really disgusted, and just go away altogether, or, worse yet, maybe decide to make an example of us. It just really doesn't seem right, and I can't help wondering when we are finally maybe going to get together and do something about it, and start holding up our end of the potentially wonderful gift and opportunity that the gods have given us.

> While it is true that we've all had our share of MH's or Gamlinginns over the years (myself included), the question becomes what to do about it? With respect, it's all well and good to speak about a need for a top-to-bottom moral reform in heathenry, but merely putting the information out there is obviously proving insufficient. "We Are Our Deeds" and "Beyond Good and Evil" have been available for years, for all that they are being applied on a daily basis. Too, the NNV (modern synthesis of the Protestant Work Ethic with a heathen veneer though they are) seem a good start for a moral code, but once again, they are posted often, and even quoted, but rarely, it seems, applied.

I agree. Just putting the word out there seems to be some help, but it is surely never going to be enough.

>Talk has been also made about the need to improve the caliber of new blood coming into heathenry. This is something that has been weighing on my own mind for some time, now. Is it enough to merely raise the bar for new recruits, and hope the rising tide of quality raises all of heathenry's boats? Or is it time to hammer home the point-- and finally get others in and out of heathenry to realize-- that Asatru is not the be-all and end-all of heathenry, and is even dragging down we non-Asatruar?

Even that, it seems to me, will never be enough. You can't just raise the bar; many nidhings will be clever enough to clear any bar that may actually be set too high for some potentially worthy but less clever newcomers. Worse yet, even some good newcomers, once they get in, may not be good forever; in Theodism we have often seen good people go bad after they are in. There is something inherently corruptive, some kind of Loki-factor, about the forces of heathenry that are always in play, that seem to find their way into a lot of potentially worthy people's weaknesses, such that many seemingly promising new people would probably actually be better off to have never come into heathenry at all. My own suspicion is that it is just the fouler aspects of this community, against which the good or pure aspects are somehow never any guaranteed protection. And until we finally figure out how to clean that up and clean up our whole act, not just spot-cleaning here and there, for my part I will always feel funny about inviting new people into this community, knowing as well as I do what kinds of terrible things they will be bound to encounter, and won't realistically be ready for, once they do get into it.

>Nor do I speak from ignorance; I was Asatru for the better part of a decade before coming to Heiðni. I saw the whole RoT-Theod dust-up, was personally questioned for my own "Satanist" ties, and have seen the endless cycle of good ideas/ people/ groups threatening and getting crushed by the few who don't seem to be in it for the Gods but rather for themselves and "hey! religion seems a great way to push my own agenda to [save the Northern European people/ rehabilitate National Socialism/ promote radical egal itarianism/ legitimize the "homosexual lifestyle"/ etc.etc.etc.]."

I don't know who you are, HrappR, but I can see that you have been there and are obviously speaking the truth.

>The rise of non-Asatru heathen cultii such as Heiðni, tribalism in general,  and Greater Théod (as distinct from High Théod which I know has been practicing this all along) I think is a reaction to the very problems that have been discussed here lately regarding Asatru. The feeling-- and I base this only on my own perceptions and experiences-- is that Asatru is simply not worth the effort of saving; much better to start afresh than to try to reform it.

True enough that these amount to little more than trying to cure epidemic spiritual leprosy with band-aids.

>Which brings my long-windedness back to the original point. Is reforming the ethical base of heathenry as a whole the issue, or is it merely to concentrate on our own quality and growth, and at the same time distance ourselves from the Great Unwashed Masses that don't want a truly transformative experience, and get scared to death when they encounter one?

No, I think you really do have to think in terms of reforming the whole ethical base. No plan of just picking up and walking away from Asatru could ever be realistic without taking due account of what Asatru really is, and figuring out some radical way around that reality. It isn't just the great gelatinous mass of dead-in-the-water fantasy-wannabe pond-scum that it may appear on a too-casual glance to be; it really is a live and very complex organism that needs to be understood on its own terms to be properly dealt with. There are in fact some few aetts of Asatru that are reasonably worthy, in their way, and actually in touch with, or at least acknowledged by and acceptable to, the gods. They aren't always vocal or visible, but they're out there. Don't ask me who is who, because I don't know; this is just something that the gods themselves have occasionally told me. There is another great mass of wannabe Asatru that is not in touch with anything more real or meaningful than their own pineal glands and other jollies, and who could really go either way, who would normally be considered harmless, but who may often work a good deal more harm than they mean to because they are always there handy to be vampirized as the life blood of the least worthy kind of Asatru.

It is that least kind that is not only purely parasitical, but a very messy kind of vampire, which spills much more blood than it ever licks, and the effect of which is to essentially keep bleeding the whole greater corpus of Asatru to death, or at least its usual prostrate semi-comatose half-life. This is also a highly active kind of Asatru, made up of the cyber trolls, bullyboys, loudmouth Unitru-dilettantes and other kinds of Loki-factor wannabes, that actively goes wherever some kind of opportunity may seem to knock, and tends to drag the rest of the inert carcass of Asatru along with it to feed on in its travels. It tends to drive out the good Asatru, because to them that part is just not good-eating, but only just so far out, since the good Asatru will always tend to be throwing off a certain considerable amount of flotsam and jetsam, its garbage, in fact, that the bad Asatru does tend to find to be good eating; bad Asatru sometimes even thrives on it. But the main thing is the unique characteristic of the bad Asatru; namely, that, unlike all the others, it is purely a parasite, and can't survive without some kind of host organism.

In other words, you can't just walk away from Asatru and start something new, because the minute you do that, the bad Asatru will have its antennae out, and will follow you wherever you go, because it needs you as a food source, and the trail of garbage you necessarily throw off in the process of becoming what you mean to become will be a rich one and very easy to follow. The bloodsucking part of Asatru will follow that trail to you, and bring all the rest of the biomass along with it. It will attach itself to you as, first, a parasite and, eventually, as an albatross around your neck made up of the very thing you thought you had left behind. You won't be able to keep it cleaned away; it will get into every crevice like ringworm, and you will never really be rid of it, until finally it succeeds in bringing you down to the level of the thing you thought you had left behind, just adding your hopeful new venue to its regular diet.

So yes, I would have to say that cleaning up Asatru AS IT STANDS really has to be the whole issue, either way. Fail to do that, and escape from Asatru AS IT STANDS is virtually impossible. Do that, however, and escaping becomes unnecessary.

Asatru, for better or worse, is something that already exists. It also includes a lot of potentially good people who may generally only be bad people on account of the Asa-company they keep. These are potentially good already existing troths that really oughtn't to be lost to the gods just for our mere convenience. These too are often people who themselves would like to see Asatru cleaned up, and just have no idea how to go about it. So again, it is the reform of Asatru that would seem most realistically to be job one. If you build that, it is those who will actually be first amongst the ones who will come.