American Gifts

(This is a poem written by my boyfriend, A. Lee Lucas who came here as a child from Trinidad)

My family came here, on the Mayflower’s deck
To practice our ways, without risking our necks.
Here since the 1600s, American as pumpkin pie.
American for generations, and this is where I’ll die.

Our ancestors braved the winter’s cold
Established our colonies and our homes.

New York, New Hampshire, Boston and Providence
This new continent, is now our residence.

My gift to you as an American is history and longevity.

Been here since the 1600s, and you think you’re set.
Our culture is older, than your alphabet.
Letters on treaties, that are never honored.
At least we’re allowed to vote, in our Reservation’s squalors.

This was always our land, and always our home.
Long before the British crown, or the dawn of Rome.  

We were nearly wiped out, but we will persevere.
Like the 7 grandfathers, or brother Bear.

My gift to you as an American is rememberence.

We didn’t disappear.  

My ancestors were expendible, according to the Quing
Didn’t want stay in the Middle Kingdom, and be nothing.

We blew up mountains, rocks, hills and stone.
We knew we would be even more expendible, if we stayed home.

Came out east to do some hard but profitable work.
Excluded us from this country, we died in the desert.

Now San Francisco, Oakland and Seattle is our generational land.
I can say “a berry is still in my belly” upon any demand.

If your family has been here for over a century, you can make those sayings..

As American as chop suey, egg rolls, and lo mein.  

My gift to you as An American, is recognition

My Great Great Grandfather Chang Ling Ho built this country.

I, Leiutenant Jonathan Chang IV of the US Navy finally got recognition for his ancestor’s contributions to this country.

We’re not even on the North American continent.
We became a part of you, by a tragic accident.

Our hula dances are older than your nationhood
We take the wiki wiki to celebrate statehood
We saw our country die, In Queen Lydia’s carriage.
We became a star on the flag, in a forced marriage.

Different customs, but we’re America’s daughters and sons
Our history and culture, is now in the English Tongue

My gift to you as an American is also longevity.  And recognition.  And history.  And also forgiveness.  

We are one out of 50, but we’re one in a million.   Sushi made with spam.  Haka before the Warriors vs Cowboys game.  

My ancestors worked hard for this country too.
But we didn’t see a paycheck, and only lived ’til 32.

African without the history, American without the privilege
They hung my great granduncle, on the railroad bridge.

We didn’t land on plymouth rock, it landed on us.
Now we ride proudly, in the front of the bus.

America isn’t free, until we are too.
This nation is somewhat free, lord we grew.

My gift to you as an American is introspection.
Some people are more free than others.  

Others need to be as free too.

I am the black ancestor who came here on a boat.
At least I got paid for all of my hard work

Told constantly I didn’t belong, from both black and white.
I worked all day, and I studied all night.

I built my business from the ground up.
Went from being employed, now I pay up.

Hard work is a virtue, you need it to run in a headwind.
Never a slave in America, but I worry about my kids.

The second greatest words I uttered, were “I do”
The greatest words I uttered were “I solemnly swear to”

Huddled, hungry, and for a long time poor.
The banana boat, is permanently marooned, on the shore.

My gift to you as an American is hard work and becoming a new American.
I’m an American too.  It just took me a long time to come home.

That’s a nice story you have to tell to the rest of the class.
But you spent a lot of money to come here, and you’re not here en masse.
This is the only country, I have ever really ever known
I think of here, when the racists want to send me back home.
I have a dream, and America also does too.
When can I ever, become as American as you?  
I guess it was my fault for my parents coming from Durango with a stroller.
America needs people like me, because I have the potential to be a high roller.
Living in the shadows of a country that is really mine, but not really.
It must be nice to take a long time to come home, to your big house in the city.

But things will change. I hope.

My gift to you as an American is being an American… of very distant Mexican birth.  

That lady up there’s related to my ancestor’s cousin!  

The border crossed us, we didn’t jump ship.
All because some American immigrants, wanted some blacks to whip.
Six flags over a land, where we lived on for centuries.
This is still our country, no matter our nationality.

We’re told to go home, by people who moved here 20 years ago.
We’ve been here longer than that, my great great gramps was navajo.

Picking the cotton and tending to the cattle.
Spaniards to Mexicans to Texans to Americans
To Dixies back to Americans, because of some battles.

This has always been my country, for many years going.
I wish people would comprehend that, but it’s rare to be knowing.

My gift to you as an American is understanding.  America is a very complicated nation.

You can wave your Southern Cross, do your Rebel Yell.
There are a lot of Gray hat folks, who are burning in Hell.
In the land of hurricanes, snakes and aligators,
Why in God’s name, do we honor these barbaric traitors?

Our country was founded on freedom, they were along for the ride.
My stomach chortles, whenever I hear “War Eagle” or “Roll Tide”.

Us Yankees gave our lives, for America to be free.
Descendent of a Yankee soldier, Always will love this country.

My gift to you as an American is loyalty.  To our principles.  To our constituion.  To America.  In that order.

When I saw the planes hit the buildings on 9/11
I waited on my 18th birthday, which was on 10/7

I signed up to be a member of the US Marines.
I quickly learned, we were all different shades of green.

I was in the sandbox, giving a Ba’athist a lead bath.  
Didn’t blow up the trade center, but Saddam did laugh.

He didn’t last long, in his tiny spiderhole.
What I saw shocked me, when I came home.

My local mosque in my town, was burned to the ground.
I guess we’re not all different shades of green, as I found.

This isn’t my America.    

My America shouldn’t be like this.  

But is is.

My gift to you as an American is learning to see the difference between governments and people.  

Both foreign and Domestic.

Salaam.   Peace.

Give us your huddled masses, and all of your poor.
The English stole our land, we were inside out Moors.
Headed out West, where we tried for some new hope.
We need not apply, they thought we were all dopes.

From Boston to New York, Chicago and Saint Paul.
They needed us for assistance, to prevent their downfall.
Play a harp, as the sun shines upon the harp’s chest.
Every March, they would rather be one of us instead.

My gift to you as an American is the American experience itself.

There’s no America without the Irish.  

We were the bad guys, let’s all jump on ol Dixie
But you run away from a black professional, rather quickly.

My heritage isn’t hate, it’s love for my region.
We did many horrible things, But I don’t think it was treason.

Philando Castile, George Floyd, and other black Yankees.
Died at the hands of the cops, up north Ain’t So Dandy.

Land of hurricanes, snakes and aligators.
Land of tornadoes, coyotes, and sunset staters.

Heritage, not hate.  I’m Dixie till I die.
We may not be perfect, but at least we don’t lie.

My gift to you as an American is honesty.

We say how we feel.

And we’re honest about how we need to grow as both a region and a nation.

Fly out to Saxony, you’ll see a proto-white American.
We’re around everywhere, our culture is reckoned.

Hot dogs, hamburgers, pretzels at ballgames and even our beer.
It’s damning evidence, to prove that we are resoundingly here.

Two wars made us have to hide our proud blood
A stupid Austrian made it impossible, for us to self-love.

My real last name is Baumeister, like the men from my ancesteral town.
But I’m mister Bowmister, they thought it would have a better sound.

De-Allemangize America, they tried to do as they could.
Chicken fried steak and barbecue sausage, are our favorite foods.

My gift to you as an American is visibility. You’re one of us, and you probably don’t know it yet.  

Pizza, ravioli, beef sandwiches, and spaghetti.
These were all strange foreign foods, until America was ready.
We were just as bad, according to them, as the black people.
We were always being profiled, and the cops were willing to pull the triggers.

Valerie Bertenelli, Joe Dimaggio, Rocky Marciano, and Franky Avalon
Sylvester Stallone, John Travolta, and the Italian names go on and on.
There’s no America, without the Irish they will always howl and say.
But there’s no dinner in America, without our board and stay.  

My gift to you as an American is badda bing, badda boom, ravioli in your bedroom.

Kicked out of Poland, Russia, Germany and Spain
Came to America, from a boat, then on a train.
I got a joke for you, 16 candles, makes a lovely light.
You dumb yutz, you forgot to wrap the 2 pack menoriahs we got last night!

That’s the humor of my people, we had to laugh a lot to try to cope.
They killed us everywhere we went, we just wanted to find a happy home.
Despite being inferior people, we manage to control the media and the money source.
We control so much stuff, even though we’re notoriously weak sauce.

My gift to you as an American is humor.  

Jewish humor is American humor.

Shalom.  

From the Japanese Hawaiians, to the Native and Russian Alaskans.
To the Midwestern Scandinavians, and the Natives in Montana.
To the Ohio Valley Greeks, and the Cajuns of New Orleans.
To the Miami Dade Cubans, and the Gulf and Midwestern Vietnamese
To the Poles of Chicago, and our Gullah in the Carolinas.

You make our country great, out of many, one, and we are finer.

July 5, 2022 at 7:04 am Leave a comment

All Nations, All Faiths, One Prayer: Unity to Protect Earth 

Today I experienced the hottest Summer Solstice I’ve seen in Minnesota in the 25 years I’ve lived here. It’s long past time we took a stand. Prayers root us in balance & connection with the Holy Powers providing a strong foundation for the greatest fight we shall ever face.

The Order of the Oak

Summer Solstice / Alban Hefin Ritual
21st June 2022

This Solstice we are joining Chief Arvol Looking Horse’s call for unity to protect the Earth. Please join us in your sacred place / space in this connection on June 21st.

The Sigil

The Order’s sigil aligns the Earth and Sky at its top and bottom circles. Let us use that alignment to frame our Druid ritual and prayer for the protection of the Earth. The sky above, fire and flame, can act as a beacon connecting us all at this time; a unity in ritual.

You may want to open and close the ritual in your normal way, usually by calling to the spirits of the directions, of place, of sky and of ancestors. If you would like, make a biodegradable offering to the gods of the place.

Feel free to light a candle as a symbol of…

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June 21, 2022 at 8:45 am Leave a comment

Winter Solstice Podcasts

I was going to make a list of my favorite Druid, Celtic, Irish, Pagan, Heathen podcasts, however since it’s almost the solstice, for fun I’m going to list winter solstice/holiday season episodes. I have only listened to a few of the holiday-specific episodes, and I’m making comments as I go. So far I have a review of the Kindling the Hearthfire Yule 2017 episode.

Story Archaeology– this is a team effort between Isolde Carmody, an Irish archaeologist and Chris Thompson, a professional storyteller.

Midwinter Special: Craneskin Bag: a Santa’s Sack of Gifts from Irish Mythology

A Crock of Cobblers: a Holiday Special 2014

New World WitcheryEp 21 Winter Lore 2010, Yuletide Cheer/Greetings! Ep 38 2011Ep 47 2012, Ep. 58 2013Ep. 70 2014 Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Ep. 85 2015, Ep. 103 2016, Ep. 104 Yuletide Fear (ghost stories) Ep. 120 2017 Cheer, Ep. 121 Fear,

This is about magical and esoteric traditions and folklore unique to the New World, there are interviews and discussions with practitioners from many different cultures and traditions. And to be clear, this is broader than Paganism, I would say that magical traditions in general regardless of origin, have the commonality of an animist worldview.

Kindling the HearthfireEp. 8 2017 This is an ADF Druid centered podcast begun by folks in the ADF Pantheacon party suite. First part is music, poems, invocations for the season, there’s a talk by Rev. Rob Henderson about holidays that can be celebrated in the Hellenic & Roman traditions- since their seasons are a bit different than us northern folks are used to, then there’s info about the Vedic hearth culture, the Indo-European root culture of Hinduism,  and a section on cooking, including an Indian recipe.

Heathen TalkEp. 22 Yule 2015 – Discussion of Yule, the Wild Hunt & Mannerbunde. I am going to note that the folks on this show have some very specific ideas about Heathenry that not everyone in Germanic polytheist religions share, they have a very tribal, cultural focused take on heathenry. With that in mind, it’s a great show.

Celtic Myth Podshow– retellings of Irish, Scottish, Welsh and other Celtic myths, legends and folktales, and Celtic music. This show is on hiatus but episodes are still on the website. Christmas Music Special 2009, Ep 22 Christmas Wish 2010, Ep. 32 Yuletide 2012, Ep. 38 Winter Music 2013,

 

 

 

 

December 14, 2018 at 2:50 am Leave a comment

Understanding & Identifying the Alt Right

This is a collection of resources for identifying alt-right & white nationalist individuals, groups and movements, understanding their propaganda and recruiting tactics. Most of this is more general. I will also be sharing ones that are specific to particular communities and subcultures. I recommend reading/watching about subcultures/communities that you don’t belong to as well, because much of the information is still relevant and these movements spread from one subculture to another, especially on social media. These ones are intended to be accessible and friendly to people of varying political views, even a-political, just anyone who is opposed to fascism! Please let me know if this is helpful or not, I’m always trying to improve my resource lists. Also note that many people who have similar ideas, rhetoric and tactics don’t identify themselves as alt-right, white nationalists, and by their very nature will have many code-words that they use, and these keep changing and there are many similar and overlapping ideologies and philosophies, likely most adherents don’t belong to any in-person group, but plenty of them have lots of guns and get “inspired” to use them.

Articles

How White Nationalism Courts Internet Nerd Culture– great analysis of recruiting tactics

The Rhetoric Tricks, Traps and Tactics of White Nationalism

YouTube videos

Innuendo Studios: The Alt Right Playbook by Ian Danskin– great analysis of tactics (list of videos)

Contrapoints by Natalie Wynn:Decrypting the Alt-Right: How to Recognize a Fascist

Does the Left Hate Free Speech? Part 1

Three Arrows: How “Cultural Marxism” Became the Scape-goat of the Far Right

Denial as a Tool of the Radical Right

 

 

November 9, 2018 at 12:53 am 8 comments

Celtic vs. Mediterranean Polytheisms

In pan-polytheistic online discourse I frequently see assumptions about polytheism from different cultural or philosophical types of polytheists. For better understanding of where I’m coming from as an Irish polytheist, a previous post compared Celtic & Germanic polytheism. This is an attempt to compare Irish polytheism and a little about continental Celtic polytheism with polytheistic religions bordering the Mediterranean, specifically I’m thinking of Greece, Rome and to a lesser degree, Egypt.  These are generalizations referring to several spectra of cultures that existed (and still exist just in different forms) across a long time period. Feedback, corrections and critique are welcome and I’ll make note of changes.

Differences

Theology– Our theolog(ies) are very much up to us as contemporary revivalists to discover and develop. Beings in our lore and literature are not easily categorized as gods, ancestors, heroes and spirits of place. There is much overlap between them. It’s debatable how much particular gods were euhemerized by monks or whether the Irish Dindsenchas- that explains the legendary origins of place name or the tales of Mythological Cycle are more authoritative.  Even the question of whether a particular being is friendly or not towards humans can vary by place or even specific person! For example, Balor is a monster thought to symbolize the dangers of the late summer sun being too hot and threatening the harvest. He was defeated by the god Lugh in battle, the young, many skilled god who brings the harvest. But in the folklore of the Tory Islands the two were reversed and it was Balor that was honored!  The Good People are for the most part avoided and propitiated but certain individuals do make treaty and develop a relationship with a spirit or group of spirits. Sometimes these people are called fairy-doctors and act as an intermediary between the spirit and a local community.

Departmental Deities– I often hear people in Irish/Gaelic/Celtic pagan or Druid groups explain to newcomers that “unlike the Greek or Roman pantheons we don’t pigeon-hole gods into departments like god of love/sun/thunder.” Fair enough, but that’s also not an accurate description of either Greek or Roman religion. It’s an oversimplification that might fit a specific cultus at a given time or for your classical mythology class, but not for all times, places and practices. This is also the case for Irish gods. There also isn’t a fixed, organized pantheon with a set hierarchy, no “chief god” and the family trees of the gods and other beings contradict each other in different sources. You know, like in Greek mythology!

Purity– there is a concept of ritual purity, but it doesn’t seem to be a emphasized as it is in Greek and Roman polytheism. Here is an essay discussing concepts of purity/impurity in Gaulish polytheism.

Hubris (or hybris  in the original Greek)- isn’t really a concept that exists in Celtic religions. There are certainly boundaries of respectful and disrespectful behavior in general and in ritual specifically, particularly related to hospitality and reciprocity. Threatening the gods or spirits, especially with weapons or use of iron in general (esp. towards the Good People) are all certainly ill-advised. Boasting, especially among warriors was as common as it was in ancient Scandinavia. The consequences for going too far with boasting were social and sometimes legal in nature, resulting in a loss of honor and possibly being publicly satirized.

Images– statues and images in continental Celtic territories seem to be mostly a later Roman influence and earlier images seem to be syncretized or influenced by Thracians and Scythians. I occasionally come across the assertion than the Celts had a taboo on divine images, but that is likely a projection from Abrahamic laws against idolatry. That said modern Celtic polytheists do typically use various images for the gods in worship.

Lack of primary sources from pre-Christian times- as with most Germanic & Slavic traditions, we don’t really have anything recorded directly by polytheistic Celtic peoples themselves, We have secondary sources from the Romans who were fighting or trading with them, and later ruling over them but of course these have some built-in biases.  Texts written by monks in Ireland recorded native literary traditions and combined them with classical and Biblical references. Christian era folklore & customs end up being really important in Gaelic & Brythonic traditions because they give us more of an idea of everyday spiritual practice of regular people, particularly towards local spirits and the dead. Reconstructing continental Celtic religion involves study of archaeology and comparative linguistics, religion and mythology.

Similarities with Kemetic religion (from my limited knowledge of it!)

-Strong belief in afterlife, alternate realm, though in Celtic cosmology typically there is an Otherworld existing parallel to our own that is partly afterlife realms, but many other realms belong to gods and the Good People.

-the concept of Ma’at -meaning roughly justice & order in a cosmic sense reminds me a lot of An Firinne- which means truth in Irish, cosmic order with a moral dimension

-The ritual role of kingship, relationship to people and the land. This does not necessarily mean a need for a contemporary king/queen, but the concept of kingship/queenship and sovereignty is key to cosmology. Were Celtic kings/queens deified after death, as with pharaohs or some Roman emperors? Not as a rule that I’m aware of, naturally they’d be important ancestors, founders of particular dynasties, kingdoms, chiefdoms, clans were historically viewed as family patrons, and this practice has been continued with the revival of polytheism with key ancestors.

There are a couple more common pan-polytheistic topics that I am unsure of. What do we know about expectations of piety in pre-Christian Celtic societies? In Ireland, which is the area I’m most familiar, our sources of information about ethics are Brehon law, a system which continued with some modifications long after Christianization, and advice for kings on good behavior. I will have to check them to see if anything is said about piety. But my general feeling is that a sense of piety would be pretty different than a Greek or Roman one. Celtic traditions overall strike me primarily as animistic in character and secondarily polytheistic, they are more primal and localized and tribal. Those elements are definitely in place in both Greece and Rome especially in earlier periods and even later on in certain aspects- the cult of Dionysus seems like something Celts would totally be down with. Whereas Greece and Rome seem more primarily polytheistic.

October 13, 2018 at 8:40 am 7 comments

Girls Underground Oracle

Signal-boosting this  kick-starter for an oracle deck that can be used for both divination and storytelling games, based on the common patterns found in many stories about the journeys of young women/girls, such as Alice in Wonderland, Dorothy in Oz or Sarah in the film/book Labyrinth. The creator is Kate Winter, who is also the author of various books on polytheism and spirit-work and has also organized many spiritual and artistic events and groups in the past, so it’s a nice chance to give back and help with a special project. This kick-starter ends on Sept 30th, so get your pledge in before it’s too late, she’s close to meeting her goal, so we’re in the home stretch!

 

September 26, 2018 at 12:37 am 1 comment

Diasporan Song and Story

New post on Way of the Sacred Fool, my Witches & Pagans blog, is Diasporan Song & Story. This is about how we form identities as diasporan settler-colonial Americans, the stories we tell about who we are, sorting out our concept of mythic American-ness vs. the harsh realities of history.

A couple other interesting posts related to American paganism & spiritual practice- The Magical Battle for America– this is the latest in an ongoing series of meditations & workings by Hecate Demeter, for it to be truly effective it would probably be best to go back to her earlier posts, but annoyingly she doesn’t seem to categorize or tag them. I think I may have linked to some of her previous posts that were in this vein. Related to this is Terence Ward’s post about magically combating the miasma that clouds our understanding of the electoral system.

 

September 21, 2018 at 11:18 pm Leave a comment

“Breaking Tradition” is Redundant

This is Part 2 of Modernity vs. Tradition in the Topics in Polytheism series. The previous part was about the concept of Modernity.

When I see historically informed Pagans & polytheists talking about breaking with tradition, or reclaiming/going back to tradition or being a traditionalist, they really need to clarify what they mean. Which tradition, how do you define what it is, or is it really just your projected idealized concept of Ye Olden Days? Which parts of Ye Olden Days, be they real or imagined are you trying to revive? An ecological matriarchy? Feudalism & monarchy? Gender roles & family structures? Food & clothing and other necessities that you & your village grew & made yourselves? Which parts of postmodern life & thought are you considering to be not authentically spiritual/culturally pure enough in the Decline/Decadent/Degenerate Formerly Great White West?

It’s OK if there’s some romanticism and nostalgia mixed in with other motivations, I admit that’s the case for myself. It’s just important that we admit it & examine our biases critically. I’ve long ago accepted that my religious-cultural reclamation and revival projects would always entail a long list of problematic faves. Every individual and group will need to decide what we are comfortable with, and where we draw the lines.

Even before we talk specifically about polytheistic religions, just with my cultural upbringing there are so many layers of tradition broken long before I was born, and my inherited culture is a patchwork quilt, as it is with most other Americans, and many of them inherit far more frayed and tattered quilts than I do, many with the trauma of colonialism, genocide, slavery and war.

Many people who started the country in the first place wanted to return to an idealized & likely non-existent original pure version of Christianity. Or they were radicals trying to break away from traditional social/economic/political structures. Or some combination of the two, like the Quakers.

There’s being from the Western United States specifically, having that conscious sense of being different from the East, a tendency towards informality, it’s an accelerated version of some general American tendencies of rugged individualism. It reminds me a lot of the assumptions certain American Heathens make about self-reliance, like they are project Thoreau back into the Eddas. Many of those notions are in fact, quite wrong, lots of collaboration was needed between pioneers and yes sometimes with American Indians- most of such interactions were negative, but some were positive or at least neutral. Likewise, an individual surviving on their own in Viking Era Scandinavia is highly unlikely, in fact abandoning criminals in wilderness was a standard punishment. I think what they really mean is a local community striving towards self-sufficiency and each person pulling their own weight. But I’m not Heathen so I won’t further try to decode their intent.

At any rate, as the child of liberal Baby Boomers from long assimilated families, most traditions are long gone and not passed down to me. Even in the case of both sets of my grandparents, several of them moved or had parents that had moved from another part of the country (or in my grandfather’s case, from Canada) so their roots in the area weren’t very deep. And all of them had the major disruption of World War II. Much as we Yanks might idealize how much easier it would’ve been to have been born or raised in the lands of our gods’ origins, for most Europeans of course both World Wars were huge disruptions that caused huge changes in what even Americans think of as “European-ness” and related ethnic nostalgia. Not that it’s really one big cultural blob, but just for simplicity’s sake. So we’ve all inherited different sets of mis-matched cultural & spiritual furniture and dishes.

Relevant older posts of mine for additional context/clarification:

Reconstructionism and American Culture

Authenticity: What’s Traditional Anyway?

September 14, 2018 at 12:02 am 1 comment

Topics in Polytheism: Race/Ethnicity

Topics in Polytheism #7 Race/Ethnicity

First view: Neither ethnicity nor “race” are important in polytheism, because religion is a matter of spirit and practice and toleration

Second view: “Race” is not so much a social construct as a reality, and therefore necessary in polytheism. Ethnicity is less important and reliable, because it can change or overlap.

Balanced view: “Race” is a rather useless word, but ethnicity is an indispensable concept in polytheism that needs to be redefined* in today’s troubled, modernized and global world.

To begin with not all forms of polytheism are based around a specific culture or ethnic group.  There are newer polytheist religions like the Otherfaith and the Fellowship of the Phoenix which have their own pantheons.

One can also be a polytheist within many different religions and philosophies that include different theologies such as: Wicca, Thelema, Discordianism, Unitarian Universalism, ADF Druidry, Revival Druidry, Core Shamanism, the women’s spirituality/Goddess movement and theistic Satanism/Luciferianism. In addition to of course, un-interrupted polytheisms-  indigenous Asian, African, North & South American religions/spiritual traditions. The so-called “polytheist movement” or “polytheist community” doesn’t always reflect this, making it seem as though all polytheists in the “Western” cultural sphere are reconstructionists, revivalists or traditionalists of some type. We need to be careful to say what we really mean when we say polytheist, who are we including or excluding? I find conversations with polytheists from other culturally focused traditions very illuminating, but I also enjoy conversations with polytheistic Wiccans, Druids, Thelemites etc. Of course many of us have multiple affiliations and spiritual/cultural identities. That’s one of the great things about polytheism, after all! 

For those of us drawn to culturally based religions I would tend between the first view and the third view. Rather than ethnic ancestry however, I would define it more by cultural upbringing since many of us are far removed from the cultures of our ethnic ancestors, if indeed we even know who they are. Certain people (typically some folkish Heathens) are prone to claim Heathenry or Asatru as pan-European and the label “Celtic” is often defined so loosely that anything vaguely resembling nature spirituality regardless of cultural or historic origin gets lumped in. I know many people who have made a serious effort to connect with traditions that they have ancestral connections to, or believe they have connections to with not much success, while instead stumbling across a connection to cultural tradition that they are not related to. Some of these people were later able to more easily connect with their roots after exploring another, non-ancestral tradition either temporarily or in addition to their ancestral tradition. Many people also honor their own ancestors within their adopted tradition- indeed it is often a requirement of their tradition!

The ancestry doesn’t matter at all stance goes too far. I’ve seen some polytheists become so concerned about racism and nationalism that they discouraged even mentioning or honoring ancestors as part of their practice. In particular I recall a Heathen group in Austria that had that policy– they didn’t honor ancestors in their rituals. That is going way too far. Veneration of ancestors and the dead is key component of any traditional cultural polytheism, and I also think it’s important in other forms of polytheism, simply because we’re all human, we don’t live a long time, and remembering our past and where we come from either by familial or adoptive descent or other kinds of lineage is key part in knowing who we are. In fact, I believe that instinct is the most basic ingredient of religious reverence, we can see it in our Neanderthal cousins, as well as intelligent species such as elephants. Another Pagan, NeoWayland has a unique take that some might find more approachable. Here’s another post I’ve written about different types of ancestors.

 

July 19, 2018 at 8:03 am 2 comments

Which “Modernity” Do We Mean?

When polytheists & pagans discuss and debate the role influence of modernity on our worldviews, which “modernity” do we mean?  And what are we contrasting that with?Because historians have a couple of definitions of when the modern era begins, it’s also different if we’re talking about art history or philosophy. A couple years ago people were talking about this on blogs and their modernity was not mine, I can tell you that much. Caer, Galina and other folks were equating the rise of the modern era with the dominance of Christianity. Or what some call the Axial Age of religion. So I want to clarify for the Topics in Polytheism series (#2 Modernity) that this here in this video, is more what I mean by the modern era- pretty big and not very specific right? More specifically I usually mean at least Industrial Revolution or after. I think as far as religion goes specifically, I’d tie the modern era of religion to the Protestant Reformation, which is believed by sociologist Max Weber to have connections to the Industrial Revolution. Everything else in sociology cites Weber, so I haven’t read him yet. 

 

June 29, 2018 at 10:25 am 4 comments

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