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Ellinas

Oh, the ancestors...

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Ellinas

On another forum, a member has commented that he sees his deities in terms of his ancestry.  He appears to be of a heathen persuasion, and says they are his gods as in his ancestors.  He also maintains that a person who "prays to Odin" (lets not get hung up over his reference to prayer - that's not the issue that piqued my interest) without ancestral connection to the Norse people is then "praying to another people's gods".  To him, gods are "part of the larger ancestral soul of a people.  It's really not so much about "beliefs" about things as it is about a specific people's way of seeing the world and interacting with it".  He claims that his ancestors were linked in seeing the gods as their ancestors, reincarnation being within a family line.

Now this does not reflect anything much of my view of things, but I don't know how far (if at all) it is a general or accepted view within any version of heathenry.

Over to those who know more of northern things than do I...

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Jon

To take a guess, the heathen in question would likely be from the US, they may also talk a lot of cobblers, catholics had the inquisition, Islam has the Taliban, heathenism has a spot of bother with Nazis, though as most of the NSDAP are dead, I should say, dodgy white american supremacist bullplop.which thanks to the internet now spreads twice as thick and much further.

Having pondered whether to expand on current politics and cross Atlantic variation or go into detail about what is and isn't found in various branches and schools of thought in various heathen places, I will go to my earlier answer of them just talking bullplop.

As for Odin, the cross dressing witch dancer of hlesey, well let's just say he can be an opportunistic old rugger and talking to him is in no way restricted to people of a certain skin tone from a small aryan village wearing a bathrobe while balancing a teapot on their head.

Apologies, for lack of serious reply, oldbastard101 on tumblr will give a better impression of what is and isn't bullplop if you want to look for something sensible.

Again, many dodgy things from the US, (OK I relented,will give brief outline, by them choosing to explicitly state a blood and ancestry connection, they are explicitly excluding those that don't fit their self set racial and blood purity criteria, which is basically white Germanic or Scandinavian with a strong whites and then only people we approve of kind of bullplop vibe.

Edited by Jon
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Veggie dancer

I don't know how common that idea is within heathenry but you find it all over. I don't believe that ancestry need have any influence at all on what spiritual experience or practice would or should be available to anyone. You can hit a mine field though and be accused of cultural appropriation (this wiki explains the concept pretty well)

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_appropriation

 

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Ellinas

Yes, the website is American.  In fairness to this individual, he specifically states that he has no issue with any person adhering to any pantheon - he just sees deity in the context of ancestors and thinks it best for each to stick to his or her own.

I don't agree with him - in fact I suspect "bullplop" is a rather kind description for something that would throw up some major logical issues.  I can see how the line of thought could link to a racial supremacist outlook, though had not made that connection in the context of what had been written.

I have little time for "cultural appropriation" as an idea and tend to agree with the words in the link that some critics consider it lacks conceptual coherence.  As such, if anyone wants to criticize me for drinking Greek coffee or playing with set of κομπολόγι, I;m afraid I am sufficiently arrogant really not to be able to care less.  I certainly can't see how adhering to a certain pantheon can really be regarded as such - particularly given the highly syncretic history of many such pantheons

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wandering_raven

Regarding cultural appropriation - I can fully understand why cultures that have been marginalised, dispossessed and disrespected get extremely annoyed about people from the very cultures that dispossessed them and continue to marginalise and disrespect them taking stuff from their culture - for example white USA people culturally appropriating stuff from Native American culture, often done just because "it looks cool" or totally trivialising their culture, e.g. "hey, it makes a great halloween costume" and without any attempt to understand the meaning behind it or even a shred of respect for Native Americans.  Any discussion about cultural appropriation needs to take into account that this is what people are angry about.  And I can totally understand where the Native Americans are coming from with regards to this.  

This is not to say that everyone who adopts something from another culture (or adopts another culture entirely) is doing cultural appropriation.  If someone has a sincere belief in and respect for a particular culture, they're not going to do the above things in the first place - the very idea would sicken them and they'd also consider that people doing those things are totally disrespectful and ignorant.  So if you're adopting something from another culture or a culture/religion from another place out of a sincere belief, and with total respect for the original culture, that's not the same as cultural appropriation. 

Also, when you get white supremacists from the USA who worship Norse gods without any appreciation or understanding of the different cultures in Europe (some Americans think "white people" is a single ethnic group), or know anything about European history, and don't even know whether they have an Scandinavian ancestry or not because the aren't aware that it's different to any of the other European ancestries - I'd class that as cultural appropriation too.  But someone who has a sincere belief and a deep respect for Norse history and culture and sincerely worships Norse gods, then they absolutely can be a Heathen, regardless of ancestry.  No reason why someone from anywhere on the planet can't have deeply personal reasons for feeling connected to Norse Gods.  My point is that people who don't even know the difference between English and Scandinavian are appropriating something that they don't understand or have sufficient respect for, even if they have white skin and ancestors that lived in Europe a couple of hundred years ago.  

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Stonehugger

Regarding ancestry, I once (somewhere on this site) compared the way people casually demean witches with racism. Someone responded to ask if I had views on whether witches were an ethnic group, and - by extension - whether I self-identified with that group. It wasn't something I'd ever thought about and, on reflection, it doesn't work for me as a model, but this discussion reminded me of the conversation.

Regarding cultural appropriation, didn't we used to be proud of living in a cultural melting pot? I took this photo in Doncaster a week or two ago. How many cultures are represented? Are any of them "appropriated"????

doncaster blue.jpg

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Ellinas

A dominant culture seems to me, by definition, to the the culture that has been most appropriated.  A culture that is not constantly appropriated is liable to wither and die.  Therefore, to try to maintain cultural purity strikes me as a particularly self-defeating form of nationalism

Cultures have never been static or monolithic.  Indeed, I doubt it is possible to set any clear boundary on what is or is not part of a specific culture.  They cross fertilise constantly.  Difficult to see how that can happen without people appropriating practices from other cultures.

I can agree that there can be an issue over misunderstanding a practice or treating it as a novelty-joke.  But then, could such a practice truly be said to have been appropriated?  Chances are it will just be forgotten with the next change of fashion.

However, I suspect that this is veering off into something that would stand another thread all of its' own.

As regard the ancestry argument specifically, my main problems with it are:

  1. Most of us a mongrels, in terms of any national identity, so which branch of our respective ancestries are we supposed to embrace?
  2. There is one race of humans - hence any given pantheon is likely a development, however indirect, from some ultimate, albeit long forgotten, common root;
  3. Our ancestors did not maintain their pantheons in isolation.  e have Sulis-Minerva in Bath.  There are remains of a Roman temple to Nodens in Lydney - I stand to be corrected but I am reasonably sure he is not a classical Roman deity.  The existence of elder and younger "families" of deities in differing pantheons may stem from a similar process of absorption and some deities seem to be adopted from other sources.

All this quite apart from whether ancestry and deity have any actual connection anyway, and whether or not the gods themselves care one way or another (no prizes for guessing my view on those points...!)

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Moonsmith

No culture has been more appropriated than our own.

Sitting around a table at an OAU conference among a group of booted & [lounge] suited  civil servants from several nations; we were eating meat and two veg with mashed potatoes when I was asked what was British national dress and British national food!

The "ancestors", if not your own blood line are those whose culture and/or practice you look to, regardless of origin or actual existence.  [ oh - yes - "In my opinion!!!" :rolleyes:]

Edited by Moonsmith
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Veggie dancer

Ooo the winter driving event looks like fun!

 

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Freydis
On 10/11/2018 at 4:54 PM, Jon said:

As for Odin, the cross dressing witch dancer of hlesey, well let's just say he can be an opportunistic old rugger and talking to him is in no way restricted to people of a certain skin tone from a small aryan village wearing a bathrobe while balancing a teapot on their head.

 

😎

Speaking from my experience as a Heathen of long standing opportunistic is about right.  If the old b can make use of you he doesn't give a flying proverbial what your skin tone is or who your ancestors were.   

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Ellinas

Heritage and ancestry tend to be concerns of us petty mortals, methinks.

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Briton

Without trying to stir the pot (too much, I always do a bit it's just my way) is there any evidence either way of individuals considerably from outside Germanic groups joining their heathenism?

My understanding is that no, this didn't really happen. With that said, are these people going to restrict it purely to white people being allowed to be heathen? Those of mixed Scandinavian/Germanic heritage? If so, how pure? Like, Bronze Age Britons would have been white as anything, but they would have had *no* connection to the Germanic gods, no more than Zoroastrians or Inuits. Why exclude one group which has no connection to the Germanic belief systems, and not others? It definitely smacks of a racial thing.

Why people of vastly different backgrounds are attracted to such exotic religions I do not understand (I don't take issue with it, I myself am drawn to various animistic ideas), but I bet you they kick up more of a fuss at the idea of a black or Arab heathen than a white Buddhist.

Edited by Briton

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Jon

there are a number of words used to describe ranging from northern to heathen to asatru etc and enough politics  for anybody, there are a lot of heathens from around the world, japan to south america who arent white or american, in america and parts of europe, the stuff the nazis did during the 30's and 40's to support a white racial idea which was set dressed with lots of mad ideas of a lost atlantis and thule, dressed up further by use of norse and scandinavian imagery and runes, basically the stuff himmlers mob invented to create their own idea of an aryan religion. that stuff is the poison that got swallowed by white supremacists in the post war years and a lot of others as heathenism, thus the problem with nazi ideology in places, there is a divide between america and a lot of other places, iceland in the middle just looks a bit bewildered by all the arguments, scandinavians generally are puzzled by the american politics, the far right in europe have found it really great to appeal to old fashioned nationalism as well. there are lots of black heathens, there are lots of heathens around the world who arent exclusionary racist or have any interest in the nazi era crap. meanwhile everybody else is just pissed off the nazi stuff is still lurking and being used to justify racist crud, as it really isnt anything from the norse religion, as well as it being something which lurks as an ever present problem.

 

 

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Freydis

There's some unpleasant racists around for sure, and you'll find some of them lurking around Heathenry, there are a few groups I'd advise people to steer clear of.  I don't think that it's a problem unique to Heathenry though.  I've meant unpleasant types who associated with a whole range of religions and none, even a handful of homophobic Wiccans.

These days there are Heathens of all shapes and sizes, from many different ethnic and sexual/gender backgrounds.  I know some black Heathens and a Jewish guy who describes himself as an Odinist.    

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Ellinas

Every "religious" grouping has its' loons and extremists.  Often under the misnomer of some sort of purity, be it of race or faith.

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Moonsmith
3 hours ago, Freydis said:

I know some black Heathens and a Jewish guy who describes himself as an Odinist.    

.... and I know a number of biggoted Pagans that I'd describe as Onanists.

Edited by Moonsmith

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