Intro: Why Celtic Paganism is not usually Alt-Right friendly

June 1, 2018 at 1:42 am 10 comments

I’ve spent a fair amount of time for several years reading thru articles about the Alt Right and closely related political/cultural factions that say they aren’t Alt Right, but have many of the same ideas & tendencies. Yes, this has included looking at Alt Right websites, forums, even watching some of their YouTube videos. Reading blogs by folkish & Alt-Right sympathetic polytheists, Heathens & Pagans as well. It’s not exactly a fun way to spend my time, but I’ve considered this research a harsh necessity in today’s world. Likewise, I know many of these folks do the same research in the other direction towards people like me, the “Social Justice Warriors”.

Anyhow, I’ve encountered in several of these places frustration, bafflement and so forth at how most Celtic Pagan spaces do not include them or even that our communities (both online & off) are too feminist/SJW dominated. Typically I see this as a good “problem” for us to have! Alt-right leaning ideas (or ones easily mistaken for them)  do indeed exist in our spaces, as well as in non-Pagan centric Celtic cultural spaces. We don’t always agree on what “counts” as bigotry and cultural appropriation, and in particular I’m not going to call people racist or appropriative, because I feel those terms have become so broadly used that it isn’t clear what they mean. Heck, I myself have been accused of cultural appropriation and various kinds of bigotry, in spite of all my attempts to try following intersectional social justice ideology.  I’m not interested in a debate with any hard-core Alt Righties. I’m open to potential civil discussion with people who don’t dehumanize people who are different from them, and to be fair I’ve had a tendency to do that myself to some folks- and I’ll be talking more about ways I’ve behaved badly and been hypocritical. I’d appreciate people who disagree with me to do the same.

For anyone who isn’t comfortable, that’s fine you do not need to participate. I’ll still be moderating comments for nastiness. I also think we need to have discussions among liberal/left-wing/progressive Pagans & polytheists and I will make it clear when those are internal discussions, likewise with discussions between liberal/leftists who are of non-Pagan religious identities and non-religious identities.  Whew! That was a lot, and that’s just the intro post.

This post series is being done from a primarily religious and cultural viewpoint as an many generations removed Irish/Scottish diasporan American polytheist rather than a secular political viewpoint. If I get ambitious enough I’ll adapt them for a non-Pagan Irish/Scottish cultural interest audience (for both diasporans & natives, whoever’s interested in my blatherings, I’m also happy to link to folks grappling with similar issues in their communities.

This post was inspired by & an indirect response to #9 Politics in Melas the Hellene’s Polemical Topics in Polytheism series.



Entry filed under: Celtic/Druid, Rambling Posts. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , .

Why Modern Druidry? “Celtic” Ancestry?

10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Melas the Hellene  |  June 1, 2018 at 3:32 am

    Thank you for this article and I’m glad you found my thoughts useful in some capacity. It’s really unfortunate that there isn’t proper engagement and discussion between the Left and Right, even among pagans and polytheists whose beliefs ought to facilitate such an exchange. But how do you think we should begin this political discussion and what is needed to advance it for our common good?

    • 2. caelesti  |  June 1, 2018 at 4:03 am

      I highly recommend Jonathan Haidt’s work about moral psychology, it really has helped me better understand people I disagree with & why I believe what I believe. Seriously we need to all read/listen to him! For myself, much reading, discussing and asking questions of Galina Krasskova clarified many things for- I changed or clarified my positions on a bunch of issues both from learning from her & other folks as well as deepening my own understanding of my tradition/cultural roots & recognizing more problems with various left/liberal factions.

      • 3. Melas the Hellene  |  June 1, 2018 at 3:15 pm

        I have known of and admired Haidt’s work for some time. He is very learned and he attempts at a far better understanding of both political sides than most of his profession.

  • 4. M.T.Noah  |  June 1, 2018 at 2:36 pm

    Thank you, Caelesti. I get so worn out and dangerously unwell just feeling the STRONG EMOTES from the world around me, I could never do the work you are doing. I am very proud of you. From my hermit hideyhole, I send whatever energy and support you’d like. Just look for me Over Yonder (Beyond the Veil), if you walk the worlds. If not, tell me here, and I’ll do my best to be of support. Remember, Self-Care First! One cannot pour from an empty Coffee Pot.

    • 5. caelesti  |  June 1, 2018 at 7:31 pm

      Arigato, to you as well and beannachtai (blessings) Agreed about the importance of self-care, I’ve in general had to dial back my political involvement & focus more on spiritual & cultural matters and my family as those are the places from which I draw my strength. You write lovely poetry by the way!

      • 6. M.T.Noah  |  June 1, 2018 at 10:18 pm

        Thanks. 🙂

  • 7. Tahni J. Nikitins  |  June 1, 2018 at 9:02 pm

    This sounds amazing! I’m really looking forward to it. As a Norse pagan (“heathen” doesn’t sound right to be so I have to be awkward about it) I’ve spent a lot of time reading/writing rebuttals about racism, sexism, and alt-right tendencies in *this* corner of paganism, but I know little to nothing about what’s going on in the Celtic corner. I’m excited to do me a learn. 🙂

  • 8. Euphonia from the River  |  July 19, 2018 at 1:03 pm

    You’re smart to read both analysis of it by non-alt right critics and the content by the alt righters themselves. That’s what I do. There is this popular alt right cartoon that got kicked off Youtube called Murdoch Murdoch. You can learn a lot about their memes from it. Ultimately alt right is usually a American-centric movement with support for racial nationalism and conservative isolationism. They are pretty clearly racists who believe in American exceptionalism as hard as neocons but in a more blatantly racial supremacist way. There may be some good unintended effects from their movement, mostly to cause division within the right (which weakens them) and to have more people critical of US military imperialism. Even if it’s for the wrong reasons. The left is weak and has been for decades because of liberalism (both neoliberal economics and postmodern perspective on social issues), reformism, capitalist sympathies and INTENSE factionalism. I didn’t know Celtic polytheism was considered “feministy” or “SJWy”. I don’t know what attracts these white idenitarian types to Norse polytheism and more progressive people to Celtic polytheism. I don’t know if there is even a logical reason for this based on the nature of these religions. I like your blog! I am a Pagan leftist as well. I have very specific views but I just tell people I am a Pagan and socialist to make it simple and it is true. I’m ACTUALLY an anti-colonial anti-capitalist libertarian market socialism supporting ethnic Gaulish polytheist with majority French-Canadian ancestry. I find a lot of good content in modern “SJW” work on social issues, feminism and decolonial theory/indigenism. But there is also a lot I disagree with or think they are framing it in an unhelpful or foolish way. I pick through it to find the good stuff. 😉 Lack of understanding of material conditions and economic that has always been fundamental to leftism.. that has weakened the left, and postmodernism is partly to blame, even though it’s not an entirely false theory. But it should never be used to obfuscate the class realities. Yet too often is. When you see alt right and anti-SJW types like Jordan B Peterson complaining about postmodernism, it is simply the pathetic gasping breaths of a dying cultural hegemony. They’re mad that there is more widespread consciousness raising on feminism because of the internet, that people are more able to and willing to call out inequalities against marginalized groups instead of dismissing and invisibilizing them with the muh bootstraps bullshit. They’re mad Christianity isn’t given the same pedestal it’s always had. Sorry for any typos or grammar errors.

  • 9. caelesti  |  July 21, 2018 at 2:37 am

    I titled it “Celtic Paganism” to keep it simple at first, but I particularly mean U.S. based Celtic Reconstructionism, and to some degree (neo) Pagan Druidism, that’s what I’m most familiar with both in-person & online. Heathenry/Norse/German paganism/polytheism is actually pretty diverse politically but the far right elements are played up in the media. While I’m anti-capitalist at heart, I find that being in an actively anti-capitalist mindset results in too much frustration & lack of motivation for me to manage anxiety and stay employed. I can’t get too far into politics without getting crazier & being more frustrated, and the people into further left politics tend to add to this. I’ve also gotten alienated & rejected by some people for thinking for myself & not perfectly following their dogma. Oh well. It’s important to stay true to yourself and your conscience, family/community/culture etc. There’s a lot of pressure to sacrifice many of those things for a greater cause, but at what cost? Same deal on the far right.

  • 10. Crystal Kendrick  |  July 28, 2018 at 4:35 am

    I’ll be waiting with interest for the next installment. This blog has been a breath of fresh air for a pagan wondering what happened to all the lefties. Thank the gods I found some of you.


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