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A Little Lonely: Practicing as a Solitary Heathen

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There are lots of Heathen 101 articles out there: How to approach the Gods, Are the Gods even there, Do They want to work with you, How much you're allowed talk to Them...

It can be rough trying to practice a religion rooted in the concepts of tribe and family all by your lonesome, I admit. There are group practices and rituals that won't really pare down to just one person, and there's something to be said for the connected nature of community that comes from being part of a Kindred. I sincerely hope one day to find (or create?!) one that I can work with to honor the community and the Gods.

In the meantime, though, being alone is no excuse for not honoring the Aesir and Vanir with regular gifts and prayers. But what to do? There are so many rules that everyone on the Pagan Interwebs seem to want to lay down in a depressing "Heathen-er Than Thou" Mjollnir-measuring contest, it can quickly get confusing, especially for the fresh-faced newcomers who just want some…

Contemplating the Gods: Friends, Foes, or Something...Else

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An ant has no quarrel with a boot.
 - Loki, The Avengers
A very pointed question arises often in Pagan circles, and it is even more often used as a kind of Heathen litmus test in some circles:
"Do you have a Patron Deity?" What they're really asking is: Do you have the Pagan equivalent of "Buddy Christ"? Do you have personal chats with Divine Beings who, in some people's estimations, have "better things to do"? There are those in Heathenry (though by no means are these naysayers confined to those interacting with the Norse Gods and Goddesses) who would argue, stringently, that the Gods are so far removed from us, working on such a vast scale, that unless They are approached with the care owed a fire-walking, nitroglycerin juggling act, They can and will make your life and wyrd their plaything and it will suck.

Thor, the office Nice Guy.
Except that's likely the way our ancestors treated them. The Gods dealt with communities as a whole or kings/j…

Toxic Masculinity : The Problem of Brosatru

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As a certain world-travelling pagan writer recently pointed out, using the phrase "toxic masculinity" can be troublesome. By using the phrase, is a speaker implying that all masculinity is toxic, or only certain types? Since I've dropped the label into both the title and will be using it throughout this post, let me define it as coherently as I can so there can be no future quibbling about what, exactly, I am speaking about.

Toxic masculinity, for the purposes of this post, is defined twofold:
(1) The behaviors, attitudes, and speech by which people of any gender or none attack (either verbally or physically) others who do not conform to a set or sets of behavior, appearance, and attitude that have been defined by certain cultures as inherently "masculine" or "male."
(2) The behaviors, attitudes, and speech by which people of any gender or none argue or imply "male" as the superior gender, and/or interact with "female" in objectify…

Havamal 20: When Misinterpretation Turns Toxic

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Content Warning: Weight Shaming

Havamal 20:
A greedy bloke, unless he curbs his bend,
will eat himself into lifelong grief:
he's often derided when he comes among the wise,
a man who's a fool in the belly.
Translation - Andrew Orchard - Penguin Classics

The AFA's podcast recently decided to attempt a discussion about one of the most complex and personal topics affecting society today: obesity and weight. It went about as gracefully as you'd expect...

"A" for effort tho...

The first clue was the title, an elegant foghorn to the listener that a holier-than-thou lecture was incoming: "No Fat Heathens." Leading in with several Havamal verses, including the one above, the presenter somehow felt it was wise to dispense questionable dietary/medical advice on a podcast ostensibly dedicated to religious topics.

I don't see a benefit to a full point-by-point breakdown like some of my previous rebuttals, but there are some salient quotes that I think speak …

On Whose Authority?

Less than 20 blog posts into this mad experiment, and I've had my words shared across dozens of pages, a couple hitting views in the thousands. I've been shared to far corners of Facebook whose intersectionality with the Pagan (and specifically Heathen) audience I originally envisioned for this blog makes a game of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon seem straightforward.


Seriously.
But am I someone who should be saying some of these things? They're being shared and read, so there's obviously an audience who appreciates that they're said at all, and a large majority of the feedback I've gotten has been positive.

From a certain point of view, I am practically the worst person to be sharing these thoughts, though. My upbringing was so cliché American White Bread™, it's practically an SNL skit without a punchline: White, firmly Middle Class, two parents, Christian, Private School, International Exchange Student... The list can go on, but you get the idea.

It's taken …

Story-time Saturday: The Golem

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Another art-inspired fiction. Source Best source I've been able to manage. 
If there is an artist's direct page, feel free to message/comment and I will update ASAP.


     There were birds chirping somewhere nearby. The light of the late afternoon suns forced its way through the canopy into the hollow where the Golem awaited, peaceful and still. The gnarled fingers curled into dirt and stone, intimating their original form, uselessly. The stone lining the hollow had worn smooth over the years of rain and erosion, creating soft cascades of water that could have been soothing.
Or torture.       The Golem had once had a Name. It had once had a Home. The ache to feel the cool comfort of the planetary embrace far below and the lover's caress of warm breezes far above gnawed at the Golem's soul. It held on to those memories as fiercely as it had once held on to the ground below during the Storm Times.
Who is screaming?       When the young ones had first begun to grow around It lo…

The Thin Line Between Racism and Misogyny

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Recently on Facebook, a popular (and very good) Mythology Page shared two sets of pictures, and the reactions to both sets were extremely telling, with one picture in particular completely blowing up in terms of reaction and comments. The first set of pictures was from an amusing calendar (which you can, and should, pick up from the original artist HERE) playing on a punny pin-up theme using the Norse Gods entitled "Dat Às." It's technically pronounced like "ace," and it means "God" or "Deity" in Norse, but you get the joke...
So we have a series of beefcake images poking fun at the Norse Gods in a lighthearted way, and the biggest push-back I can find on this page is for the following image: Do you want me to put the hammer down?!
The push-back involved a simple error on the artist's part: Using the "Ð" character for the "Th" in Thor, when it should have been "Þ". The difference is "Ð" is pronounc…