You Are Not A Viking

               Hey everyone. It has been a while. I know. Originally when I started this blog, I swore I’d update it at least every two weeks. I know, I know. There existed the best of intentions, the promises, the blood pacts. I’m festering in boils as we speak. What can I say, work got in the way? I work a lot, to continue to pay rent, and eat food, and feed the three fluffy carnivores who have somehow come to reside in my house. What I would give to set off on the open sea, spray in my beard, sharpening my axe to better bury it in the skulls of my enemies when I hit shore. Then I return home a chest full of gold and head full of mead. There is only one problem. I’m not a goddamn Viking, and neither are you.

            Yes you. I’m talking to you. You- Alt-Right blogger who played Skyrim a few hundred times and only ever picked a Stormcloak Nord because you wanted to commit virtual genocide when you couldn’t in real life. Yes I’m talking to you, fitness nut who eats paleo and does extreme obstacle courses and reads self-help books that are basically instruction manuals on toxic masculinity. Finally, yes, I’m even speaking to you fellow Heathens, even those of you who spend your weekends creating your own leather and woolen kit, with expertly recreated weapons from real blacksmiths. You’re not Vikings. I don’t care if you know how to use a sword, axe, spear and bow. Ultimately, you’re still an accountant named Ryan who is wailing on several other guys named Bob, Rick, and Dave in a local city park, to really no end, because they are also CPAs, school teachers, and insurance agents for whom this is just more exciting exercise and not training for anything practical. It’s not practical, because you’re not going to board a ship, sail across the sea and pillage a random coastal settlement. Unless you boarded a ship, sailed across a body of water, and sacked and razed a Christian monastery lately, you ARE NOT A VIKING.

            Being a Viking was a temporary occupation at best, and a hobby at worst. Viking was a verb. Check out the Wikipedia article on Vikings and you will find it basically means to “row” or “rowers”.  Yes, once they got there, they indulged in the killing, raping, stealing and drinking of mead. But mostly— rowing.  It took a lot of rowing to get anywhere in that time. Which was probably one reason they arrived looking so incredibly badass—because all that rowing, sunburn and bleaching of hair probably would make one look like Chris Hemsworth’s Thor. When the “Vikings” weren’t rowing across some gods-forsaken grey ocean, they spent much of their time mainly farming, blacksmithing, boating building, etc etc. Also, farming in places like Sweden and Norway, Denmark and Iceland? It was tough. The land was one where you scratched out an existence, supplemented your diet by fishing and hunting game. The whole act of raiding was done as much to find new, more arable lands as it was to kill a bunch of women and children and steal all their stuff. This lead to the Heathen occupation of England, Ireland, Far Faroe, and spurred the expeditions back into continental Europe, creating cultures like “The Rus” who would eventually found “Russia”. Still the question begs— have you good sir, traveled across the ocean with nothing more than some wood and cloth, fought against the locals wherever you landed, and brought back spoils and gold? If you haven’t, you’re not a Viking. Sorry, but you just are not. You’re still Ryan the Accountant, not Ragnar the Unkillable.

            This is not to say that you may not be a Heathen. These are really two incredibly different ideas. All those farmers, blacksmiths, fishermen and their wives and children were all still Heathens, or Norse pagans, Asatru—whatever your preferred nomenclature might be. They still believe in the Aesir, Vanir, Jotun, Wights and other assorted creatures of the culture. I also do not question that YOU- heavy metal band member, school teacher, warehouse foreman, construction worker, at home father- are Heathen. You believe in the gods, observe holidays, engage in the beauty that is the house-cult, and if you’re lucky you get to do all this while engaging in a Tribe of likeminded people who you support and support you in turn. These are all good things. We should revel in the fact the we have been called to follow and honor The Gods and assorted beings, and our ancestors. We should embrace such ideas as Tribe, and being self-reliant, and maintaining our personal strength and wealth. Absolutely none of those are bad things. The problem with our culture, as far as I can tell, is we attempt to understand it almost solely through the lenses of the Viking Age, a time where our biological and spiritual ancestors fought their way across the known world. They raped and pillaged, and oppressed and killed their way to fame. We no longer live in a culture where such things are acceptable, and I feel that constantly exalting and clutching our hammers like old Southern ladies at the idea of losing our “masculinity” by not being testosterone driven fucktards is one of the main things holding us back from being taken seriously. Well, that and the whole Nazi thing.   Image may contain: 1 person, beard and text

            Yeah I said it. Heathenry has a toxic masculinity problem (also a Nazi problem).. We’re currently a subculture/ religion that focuses on getting drunk, jockeying for position, and subjugating women- at least as far as public perceptions are concerned. I cannot count the number of Heathen/ Heathen inclined women I’ve met who will have nothing to do with the greater Heathen community because most of their experiences with us involve “moving on them like a bitch” or trying to collect them into some faux polyamorous situation where the man gets to have sex with whoever he wants while the woman gets to lovingly play the role of thrall or sex slave. This basically puts us at the level of your average biker gang, but with runes and Mjolnir tattoos instead of skulls and chains. That brings me to another thing we have in common with a lot of biker gangs.

            We’re incredibly racist. While I can understand the concept of Tribe, and the constantly shifting inner, outer circles that comprise a Heathen’s life and priorities, I must say, I’m glad I’ve remained a solitary up until now. So many Heathens I’ve met seem to be particularly of the white male variety, which I am.. However too many of those Heathens that I’ve met think that the white male variety are the only people who deserve to be Heathen. Judging from what I know about our ancestors, this simply was NOT the case. Look at any volume on Norse magical practices, and you will find that the Heathens of yore were a very pragmatic and open lot. Spells and prayers appeal to Thor and Christ in the same verses. Charms guarding against both trolls and devils. These are a people who traveled all the way to Byzantium and carved their runes into the Hagia Sophia. If you think they didn’t exchange ideas and beliefs along the way, you are naïve. The Norse were traders and merchants, and given the fact that there are records of blonde and blue eyed Native Americans near the places where they made landfall in the America’s, I don’t think they cared too much about ‘mixing the races’.       

            I very much feel that while our contributions to culture at the moment are realized as the show Vikings, games like Skyrim, and the ongoing adventures of The Mighty Thor, we have so much more to offer. Heathen’s can recreate the concept of the extended family, opting to keep their loved ones and close friends close, creating communities that support each other. Heathens can show that people of the European diaspora can connect to concepts of ancestry and identity without the poisonous “whiteness” that characterizes American culture, and many other disparate European cultures aside- while also creating a religious community with all comers, so long as they are willing to worship The Gods. On a more complicated level, Heathenry allows us interact with the spirits of lands that are not ours, but eventually shows that we can forge a relationship with the earth our homes and apartments and businesses rest upon. This aspect of our culture should not be overlooked, because it is that relationship that will ensure that we remain extant for many centuries to come, giving our worship to the Aes and Van that will help prolong The World.

             

Advertisements