Paganism or Christianity? Which is the Way for the West?

This issue in particular has come to my attention among those who wish to revive our native folk spirit and once again see our civilization flourish. There are those who feel that it is most important to acknowledge our Christian heritage as a source of strength, and that this is the only way to rally our people to defend our lands. Others see Christianity as having caused the problems of multiculturalism and environmental devastation in the first place, and that only by returning to our pagan past can we see a true revival among our folk. This issue is not as clear-cut as it sounds, and it is quite frustrating to see Europeans bickering amongst each other over matters of religion while the enemies are at the gates. I wish to give a broader analysis of the situation, and will attempt to explain why it is not an issue of which religion is the ‘true’ one, but rather which one is appropriate for the present situation.

First of all, I will address some of the concerns of pagans who have an issue with Judeo-Christianity and see it as the source of our woes and wish to abandon its tenets in favour of the ways of our ancestors. As this is the camp which I fall into as a Wotanist first and foremost, I can sympathize with such concerns. The abuses by the Church against our folk for the sake of profit by promoting high-minded ideals while indulging in the very things that they preach against (such as adultery, pleasurable sex and attachment to material possessions) has sickened many people to their stomachs, severing their trust in organized religion and even the idea of ‘God’ itself. I too held this view of Christianity for many years even before becoming a pagan and it is because of this hypocrisy that paganism has seen a revival in recent decades. Christianity has become a part of all of our institutions, even though in Britain (and especially in Scotland) it has largely taken a vestigial role. Though this may be the case, it still looms large as part of our cultural fabric, and it is difficult to escape its presence.

However, as I have explained before, ‘Judeo-Christianity’ is a specific form of Christianity, it is not a particular sect or offshoot, but rather a method of employing religion as a way of practising capitalism. It involves the deception of believers into giving their money to the Church, not because they provide an actual service in the form of offering tips on achieving connection with God through the self, but in order to bolster its authority and capital in order to maintain its control over the parishes. Judeo-Christianity was promulgated by Paul the Pharisee as a way of merging the Judaic religious hierarchy with the teachings of Christ that were intended for gentiles. This religious structure was adopted by the Roman emperor, Constantine, who used it to secure his hold on the Roman Empire, by emphasizing the monotheism of Christianity in order to legitimize his own rule as ‘God’s regent’ on Earth. This tactic was later employed by Medieval kings as a way to consolidate their power.

One can be a Christian without being either complicit in or fooled by this tactic. If one knows how to interpret the teachings of Christ correctly and not to take them literally, then you have already raised yourself above the level of what the Church expects its followers to be, which is sheep. This path is known as ‘Kristianism’, and involves discovering esoteric knowledge through personal study of the Bible. There are also simply’ Cultural Christians’, who adopt Christianity as merely a cultural garb and to whom the corruption of the Church is known, but who also know their local clergy well enough that they can trust them and for whom engagement in Christianity fills both social and spiritual needs. This is particularly relevant to those following Catholicism, which has incorporated Pre-Christian practises in order to convert pagans in the past. The result is now that it is essentially a syncretic religion that has more relevance today than any attempt to revive the original paganism, as this is the form in which those traditions have survived.

As to the concerns of Christians with regards to the resurgence of paganism, I must say that many of their fears about this are misplaced. There are some who see such a phenomenon as ‘the devil’s lure’ and conflate the return of paganism with the proliferation of Cultural Marxism and other Modern ills. For this reason, paganism is seen as a threat rather than an ally, and the Christian heritage of the West is emphasized, particularly the Renaissance. I would disagree with some pagans that the Renaissance was more pagan than Christian, it seems to have been a mixture of both. For this reason, I do find it rather annoying that some Christians see paganism on the same level as Islam, and are not willing to work with pagans because their religious beliefs prohibit this.

This may prove to be an especially dangerous move on the part of the Christians, as the fact that Judeo-Christianity and Sunni Islam fall under the Abrahamic umbrella may be used by the powers that be as a way to turn both forces against us pagans, reviving the Burning Times and securing the control of the Church and other various Abrahamic institutions. While I do not think this is likely, it would be the result of a reluctance for Christians to cooperate with pagans, a scenario which is also not helped by the attitude of some pagans, who also refuse to work with Christians because they cannot see any merit in Christian teachings as they conflate this with Judeo-Christianity. Simply saying to a Christian “all of the good parts of your religion are stolen from paganism” is not going to win you any friends, and this will only result in confirming their perception of us pagans as brainless barbarians who are unable to reconcile the cultural contributions of Christianity with their own heritage. Christians would also do well to remember that their religion is indeed in decline, and that it would be wise to ensure their survival through working with emerging faiths, as opposed to sealing their fate to the history books by lashing out in the same way as Islam.

And now I wish to move onto my final point, which is that different types of religion are appropriate for different periods in history. To illustrate this, I will reference a symbol which can be appreciated by both pagans and Christians alike, the Trinity. The Trinity can be expressed in a variety of artistic forms, from the triskele (triple spiral) of Celtic paganism, the valknut (triple triangles) of the Teutons, or the triquetra of Celtic Christianity. The Trinity is taken in a theological sense to signify the Son, Father and Holy Spirit within Christianity (as aspects of God) or as three gods or three goddesses within paganism (such as Wotan, Thor and Tyr in Teutonic paganism, or as Morrigan, Badbh and Macha in Ancient Ireland). In a metaphorical sense it has many meanings, but one of the main principles of the Trinity within Aryan philosophy is that of representing arising, being and passing away; in other words, birth, life and death. This is taken to reflect the cycles of life and applies to all forces within Nature, such as creation, sustenance and destruction. They are also reflected in the gunas or ‘energies’ in Hinduism, which are rajas (generation, passion, building), sattva (goodness, stability, peace) and tamas (darkness, ignorance, degeneracy).

triskelion

Triskele

valknut

Valknut

triquetra

Triquetra

And so, how does this all relate to which religion will enable our people to find their inner strength? Well, in one sense, each person is suited to a particular path; whichever one calls each individual should be their own guiding light, and this is for no one else to interfere with. However, it is clear that civilizations go through these same cycles found in Nature, and so one type of religion will be more appropriate for each stage in an epoch. These three types of religion have mainly to do with interpretations, which take the form of either paganism, mysticism or fundamentalism. Essentially , the difference in attitude between these three belief systems is that, for pagans, their general philosophy is “I must take care of myself and my kin”, for mystics, it is “I must take care of others before myself” and for religious fundamentalists and materialists, it is “others must take care of me before themselves”. However, I find it necessary to explore the differences between these approaches in more detail and compare their varying attitudes and attributes.

First of all, ‘paganism’, in a true sense, refers to a religion or culture that is embodied by rajas; for which the main focus will be fertility and procreation, art and literature, mutual exchange, war and conquest, animal sacrifice, fortune-telling, magic and folklore. Paganism is often polytheistic, emphasizing the importance of multiple deities (also known as ‘archangels’ in Abrahamic mythology) and their interaction with each other and with each individual human. The gods represent seven archetypes (and are further subdivided into different characters in mythology) and they act as role models for an individual to both relate to and embody, and can be called upon for various desires, if the favour is returned in the form of an offering or sacrifice. Paganism tends to be a communitarian religion, and the relationship with one’s ancestors is seen as one of the most important facets of one’s life. Paganism embodies all that is practical, creative and sensual. The pagan religions consist of what are considered ‘native religions’, which are folkish belief systems specific to each culture and people. Their membership is therefore restricted to each ethnicity from which these religions emerge, since power is gained from one’s ancestors which one does not share with the rest of humanity.

In contrast to this are the mystical religions, which include Kristianism, Buddhism, Sufi Islam, Zoroastrianism, Sikhism and the various mystery religions of history. In Hinduism, this takes the form of devotion to Krishna (another name for Christ) and is associated with the mode of sattva; and so adherents to mysticism value modesty, chastity, humility, charity, making plant offerings and practising meditation and fasting as a means of attaining peace. The focus of mysticism is for each individual to follow their own path to enlightenment, and so this applies to all of humanity and is therefore universalist. Mysticism tends to be either panentheistic (“God exists in all things”) or monistic (“all is one”).

Mystical teachings encourage connection between oneself and the universe, and so this involves seeing all other plants, animals and humans as part of one self, which exists as a singular entity in union with God (or ‘creative force’). This path is personal and is usually pursued on an individual basis, and so it involves the study of Gnosticism and esoterica. Groups are formed by those who share such beliefs, but the main emphasis is on a deep, personal connection with one’s surroundings in order to attain peace, which is why monasticism and Hermeticism (a ‘hermit’ is somebody who follows the ‘Hermetic’ or ‘wisdom’ teachings) is so popular among such people. Those who follow the mystic teachings exemplify grace, unity and purity.

The third type of belief system in this context is religious fundamentalism. Such religions consist of what are known as ‘Orthodox’ interpretations of scripture, and include Judeo-Christianity, mainstream Sunni and Shi’a Islam, Orthodox Judaism and various death cults that have existed throughout history; including the thugee of India, who drugged and captured travellers and sacrificed them in the name of the goddess Kali. Religious fundamentalism requires a literal interpretation of mythology, and so being in the mode of tamas, encourages deception, coercion, enslavement, humiliation, violence, bigotry, hatred, perversion, human sacrifice and demonolatry (‘demon worship’). It is worth clarifying that ‘war’ in a pagan sense is quite apart from ‘violence’ within fundamentalism.

While warfare is seen by pagans as a necessary act as a means of gaining honour in battle with other combatants, religious fundamentalists will typically resort to attacking the weakest targets, such as women and children, and by employing trickery to gain sympathy while they commit crimes against others. Religious fundamentalists tend to be either monotheistic (“one god is the only true God”) or atheistic (“there is no God”) and will appear in the form of any religion (including paganism), as their intent is to subvert religious doctrine to suit their own needs. Though they desire to attract more adherents, religious fundamentalists will typically shun anyone who does not follow their specific dogma and are usually hostile to those outside their own faith, particularly pagans. Fundamentalist leaders demand conformity and obedience from their followers.

Though usually associated more with politics, it may also be said that Marxism is a type of religious fundamentalism; the only difference being that, instead of committing atrocities in the name of ‘God’, they do so in the name of ‘humanity’. Their human sacrifices are those who stand in the way of their pursuit of ‘progress’. In essence, any interpretation that takes some statement literally (such as ‘all humans are equal’ or ‘God will punish those who disobey’) comes from a place of ignorance and can be seen as contributing to the destructive forces of the universe.

While some (usually mystics or fundamentalists) tend to see such interactions in the form of ‘good versus evil’, as a pagan I do not believe in such concepts. Rather, each of these forces form a necessary part of struggle in life, and must be relegated accordingly to each situation in which they are appropriate. Unfortunately, for those who wish for there to be no negative interpretations of religion, this in itself is a form of ignorance, as such practices will always exist among humans, and it is up for each individual to choose the path for which they are best suited. If there were none who embodied the destructive and chaotic aspects of reality, how could we compare their behaviour in contrast to nobility or goodness? It is more a matter of management than eradication, as the belief that we can erase evil from our world is as foolish as it is undesirable.

Which brings me to my conclusion with regards to which religion will meet the needs of the time in which we find ourselves. As I said before, each type of religion will be for each person to choose, and so no one can be blamed for feeling the call to a path that is not the one in vogue at a particular time. However, as for the collective, it is clear that one approach will suit each time period to reflect the state of our civilization. It is apparent that we have been living in an age of decay, and the tamas energy has been reflected the Death of the West. The proliferation of Marxism alongside Christian and Islamic fundamentalism have been the signs that materialism has dominated and accompanied the destruction of the environment, our societies and ourselves. However, it appears that we are moving into a new age, where the energy of rajas will likely become dominant, and that this can be shown by the resurgence of native faiths across the world.

My feelings are that this is a part of the struggles that we are facing today, our folk and our civilization is being reborn. However, it is a painful process, but one which cannot be held back by the hangovers of the previous age. We have experienced this before; after the fall of the Roman Empire, Europe experienced the gradual conversion to Christianity. However, before the Late Middle Ages, most of Europe was still pagan, even if Christian in name, and the nations that were born in this period (France, Spain, Italy, Germany, England, Scotland, Wales etc.) are those which exist today. By the Late Medieval and Renaissance period, Western civilization was at its peak, and Hermeticism was proliferated throughout Europe by means of widespread literacy. The Catholic and Orthodox Churches had also secured their hold on our lands, but for most this was an opportunity to experience unity with their fellow Christians. However, with the tumult of the Burning Times, this period gave way to the Modern period, in which liberalism and secularism became dominant, and the Western nations began to build empires in order to feed the ravenous hunger of the central banks from which the kings of Europe had borrowed money to pay for armies and secure their political power.

And so, the last century has been characterized by the fall of the European empires, the spread of Marxism and consumerism, the invasion by foreign peoples and the decline of our societies. This means that the cycle will begin anew, and this means that it is paganism, not Christianity, that will lead us into a new era. I do not say this based on my own bias, but rather because this is simply a recognition of the rhythms of the universe and what will be essential in order to face the challenge of rebuilding our civilization. Christian teachings of charity and pacifism are ill-suited to repelling invaders and meeting the basic needs of survival, something which concerns paganism much more closely.

Of course, Christians will not simply go away, even if their numbers are falling. They are still important to our sense of history and heritage, as they preserve that element which is sustainable, and they may carry a tradition that extends beyond the borders of our own folk. There will come a time when the generative force of paganism is no longer relevant, at which point Christianity (or whatever form European mysticism takes in the future) will be necessary in order to maintain what we have built. After those teachings fail to reach enough people through corruption, they will be twisted into literal interpretations for the sake of greed, and so civilization will once again fall and the cycle begins anew. We are at the beginning of an exciting new dawn, as we not only have the traditions of our ancestors which have survived the ravages of time, but also the shared knowledge and technology that characterizes the world in which we live. Strength and honour shall be the order of the day!

Hail Wotan!

Wulf Willelmson

The Dark Ages

The term ‘Dark Ages’ refers to the time also known as the Early Medieval (or ‘Early Historic’) period between the 5th and 11th centuries AD, and this is because we know little about events from the historical record in Western Europe compared to the Roman and Late Medieval periods. This can be contrasted with the Renaissance and the resurgence of paganism and occultism in this part of the world following the Middle Ages around the 16th Century. After the fall of Rome, the Continent was divided between pre-feudal, Teutonic kingships, while the British Isles descended into tribalism; where there was competition for land and resources between the native, Brittonic folk and Anglo-Saxon settlers.

However, despite the suggestion of genocide that has been proposed by some Modern archaeologists, there is no reason to believe that the Anglo-Saxons had some sort of ‘apartheid’ regime (something which can only be implemented through the state, which was not present in Britain following the Roman departure). Exterminating the Britons would have made little sense if much of the land was depopulated, a process which began in Late Antiquity and continued into the Dark Ages. It is certain that there were folk that came from what is now mainland Denmark and Northern Germany, though they arrived in Britain over a continuous time, as they were hired as mercenaries by the Romans and later the British petty kings to help fight the marauding Picts and Gaels. Thus, the Anglo-Saxons became more populous on the Eastern and Southern coasts of England, and eventually took control of the areas in which they formed the majority.

They could only have achieved this with the help of British pagans who felt alienated by their Christian rulers. There is reason to believe that the Anglo-Saxon warlords married into local noble families and gained power this way. The founder of Wessex, Kerdic, has a Celtic name, and so it is likely that he had an Anglo-Saxon father and British mother. Also, the Northumbrian king, Oswy, gained the territory of Rheged (Lancashire) through marrying a princess of that kingdom. It is for this reason that many Britons became absorbed into Anglo-Saxon culture through intermarriage and because of shared religious beliefs.

This is presumably what is meant in the Welsh Triads by the description of the Lloegrians (Britons of the South and East) coming into confederation with the Angles and Saxons. Though the Angles, Saxons and Jutes (who settled in Kent and also in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight) were three different tribes, they all spoke the same language and worshipped the same pantheon, which is why they are known culturally as Anglo-Saxons. Christianity subsequently fell out of favour among many of the Britons, but was reintroduced from Ireland by missionaries. These ‘Celtic Christians’ were more successful in converting the Britons than the earlier, state-imposed Roman Church, as they preached a doctrine that was more suited to Celtic culture and spirituality.

The first among the Teutonic tribes of England to be Christianized were the Jutes, whose close contact and trade with the Franks over in France, Belgium and the Netherlands exposed them to the later ‘Catholic Church’ that was more friendly to pagan customs. The Dark Age Roman missionaries were advised not to destroy pagan shrines, but to simply consecrate them in the name of Christ and convince the local people that they were Christians. In Late Antiquity, their methods included desecrating pagan shrines and attacking pagans, acts which did not win the hearts of the common folk. While the Jutes, Saxons and Mercians were converted to Roman Catholicism, the Northumbrians initially responded to the Church established by Saint Columba.

Edwin, was the first Northumbrian king to convert, though Oswy (a rival to Edwin and future King of Northumbria) converted to Christianity while he lived in exile in Iona. However, Oswy would eventually be responsible for turning his back on the Columban Church and agreed to revise the date of Easter to conform with mainstream Catholic custom at the Synod of Whitby; a move which would be followed by the Picts (in whose lands lived many Culdees, ‘hermit monks’ who preserved the Celtic tradition) and later at Iona itself. And so, the Catholic Church had succeeded in drawing the folk of the British Isles closer to its dogma, and went on to firmly establish Judeo-Christianity among the peoples of our land.

A similar process that occurred with the Britons and Anglo-Saxons may have also have happened among the inhabitants of the Northern Isles (and some of the Western Isles), and the Norsemen who settled there. These islands were some of the last places to be Christianized, and though they were attractive to the Culdees due to their isolation, they presumably did not bother the local pagans. The folk of the Northern Isles, especially in Shetland, have inherited much of their genetic lineage from the Norse. However, this does not mean that the natives were massacred by the Vikings. Rather, it suggests that they were more open to interaction with the Norsemen than with the mainland Picts and Gaels.

This may have been because the high kings of these peoples were known to raid the Northern Isles and the Hebrides, of which the goals were usually to capture booty and some slaves. It is important to note that chattel slavery was not widely practised in Britain before the introduction of Christianity, aside from kingdoms in the South-East who were in close contact with the Romans. Though there were many in European tribal society who were not free due to debt (and so were more like serfs), the market for this practice was only opened up through trade with the Mediterranean. Mercantile slavery was also not initially a feature of Scandinavian society, though they engaged in the practice once they began raiding other parts of Europe (especially in Ireland).

The place-names of the Isles show no trace of a Brittonic language such as Pictish, though we know that their culture was present in this part of the country at least so some degree because of the survival of some scattered Pictish symbol stones. However, the lack of Pictish material culture may also suggest that many of those living on the Isles before the Viking Age (between the 9th and 11th Centuries) were not Picts, and that this process may also have occurred over a longer period of time through cultural contact.The folk of the Northern Isles were converted to Christianity by the sword at the behest of the Norwegian king, Olaf Tryggvasson, who was one of the most bloodthirsty and fanatical Christian kings in history.

The Western Isles were presumably converted more gradually as they merged with the Isle of Man to form their own kingdom, independent from Norway. Gradually, the process of Norse domination reversed, as the folk of the Western Isles adopted the Gaelic tongue and were eventually incorporated into the Kingdom of Scotland in the 13th Century. This later period produced more literature than the previous Dark Ages, as the Catholic Church had secured a monopoly on the production of books among most of the European kingdoms (Eastern Europe underwent a similar process with the Orthodox Church, though pagan customs were still more prevalent there than in Western Europe).

However, despite the fact that the Dark Ages heralded the introduction of Christianity to Northern Europe and the Middles Ages were characterized by the domination of the Church, it was still a time of dual faith; meaning that while society maintained the veneer of Christianity, most of the folk traditions and customs of the Europeans at the time remained rooted in paganism. This was also reflected in the monastic literature, as myths from Ireland and Iceland were preserved by the dedication of some monks to maintaining the ancient tales, though they probably omitted details if they offended Christian sensitivities.

Even in France and Germany where the pagan myths had not been written down during the Dark Ages, the rise of Romance literature continued the common themes of Celtic literature, such as the legends of King Arthur and his knights. While Welsh monks managed to preserve earlier versions of these stories, the French and German versions were more heavily adapted to feudal society (with Arthur and his knights acting more according to contemporary ideas of chivalry rather than his status as a warlord in Welsh stories). However, they still contained the pagan and Celtic elements at their core, and had many parallels in Welsh mythology.

While the Church continued to control the narrative of the written word, most folk of the Dark Ages and the Middle Ages engaged in oral tradition, and they preserved their people’s history through storytelling rather than writing. Though some of these stories were written down at some point during the Middle Ages, it is certain that many more have been lost over the centuries. There have been many attempts to record the ancient legends about Finn MacCool and other Gaelic heroes in Scotland and Ireland throughout the Modern era, either as a transcript or as audio recordings. These recent retellings in many cases match the ‘Classical Gaelic’ versions written down in the Middle Ages.

This is a testament to how strong the continuity of oral tradition can be, which is vital to maintaining the survival of a people through reminding them of the deeds of their ancestors and providing guidance for future challenges. Texts (and for that matter, computer data) are liable to be destroyed easily, and as their content resides in something external to ourselves, thy are forgotten if committed to writing and then lost or destroyed. This is why so many powerful institutions seek to control the narrative through media, and it is more effective to do so through the means of text and pictures. One of the reasons why folk customs were demonized in the Burning Times was that they posed a threat to the established order by diverging from the mainstream narrative and surviving thanks to the folk that remembered them. These ‘cunning folk’ were most likely to be engaged in what was deemed ‘witchcraft’, such as fortune-telling and herbal medicine.

I am unfortunately pessimistic in regards to our own time, as I do believe that we are on the verge of another Dark Age, as events that mirror the situation during Late Antiquity that preceded the fall of the Western Roman Empire signal that the collapse of our civilization has already begun. Our society is constantly over-stretching its limits and we are likely to see such events as mass starvation and outbreak of disease, as environmental disasters such as soil erosion and floods will lead to these conditions in a way similar to the Late Roman period. As the Roman elites became so corrupt that they practically enslaved their own populations (as they were no longer receiving slaves from imperial expansion) and introduced foreign populations against the wishes of the people for the sake of their own political interests (the Roman military needed soldiers, the central banks need debt-slaves).

Now that the European empires have expanded and subsequently fought each other in two devastating Brother Wars, only the shells of these empires remain and are being filled with more and more people to prop up consumer culture. Ethnic and religious tensions tear apart empires, and I can easily see Britain descending into tribalism once more if the central authority breaks down and people are left to fend for themselves, just as Emperor Honorius told the British nobles that they would no longer be receiving soldiers from the empire, as Britain had become such a vulnerable province.

In such events, the Celtic peoples survived because they managed to maintain their oral culture and were not devastated by the coming of Christianity. However, the Britons of the South-East became absorbed into Anglo-Saxon culture because they no longer shared the beliefs of their countrymen, and because they became surrounded by foreigners with whom they had more in common spiritually. I do wonder if the vacuum that has been left by the widespread abandonment of Christianity in the West is now being filled by Islam, as it is also an organized religion that insists on spreading its message to all corners of the globe through persuasion or by the sword.

In this way, historical patterns repeat themselves and we can tell what may happen by paying attention to the past. With the loss of spirituality in the West, it must quickly be replaced by our native belief systems, otherwise we may see another wave of violence similar to that during the Dark Ages. Whereas the people under the Roman Empire were protected by the imperial army, the petty kingdoms of the Dark Ages relied on local militias and mercenaries, a situation which is also mirrored today in the Middle East. This is a result of the breakdown of societies, which happens as they become less homogeneous and different cultures compete to control the narrative. Many indigenous cultures around the world have now become endangered, including our own.

However, it is still possible that we could have another Renaissance, as we Europeans rediscover what we have lost and realize who we truly are. This may be possible after a population collapse in the wake of catastrophic events (as with the Black Death that signalled the end of the Middle Ages), and less people would mean that more resources would be available. However, it is only possible to achieve this with dedication in recovering our heritage and history, and by thinking of ourselves also as worthy of being remembered in legends.We are not, as Modern nihilistic thinking suggests, individuals that only exist for one lifetime, but are part of a chain that connects us to both our ancestors and our descendants.

This link may only persist by thinking less about ourselves and more about our families and our folk. One of the reasons that the Dark Ages were known for the prevalence of warfare was that scarcity of resources once the Anglo-Saxon population expanded led them to push further and further West. Many of the inhabitants of cities such as York were still living within the Roman walls, and so urban life continued in some parts of Britain after the Roman left. However, these areas were more susceptible to cultural assimilation, as they were cosmopolitan and did not have a sense of national identity in the same way that the Britons of the countryside did. In the same way, it is in the rural parts of our country where our culture will have a chance of survival.

Wulf Willelmson

Rise of the Son God: The Christian Question

Over the past couple of years, I have found myself drawn further and further to this doctrine, which may not at first seem compatible with my Wotanist beliefs. However, the main religion of Western culture is Christianity, and I have found its elements to be present in our culture so strongly, that it is hard to ignore when embarking on a spiritual path. I have, for most of my life, had an apathetic or hostile view of this religion, as it always appeared to be an oppressive force that held back our people and kept them ignorant and servile. But, as I have discovered through the study of esoterics, all is not as it seems, and so a distinction should be made between two belief systems that appear under the same banner.

The institution of the Church is the force that presents itself as the face of the Christian faith, and so its words and deeds are taken to be representative of the Christian community. This means, however, that the Church sustains itself through a power structure that is reliant on donations and government funding, but does little other than act as a propaganda machine for the mainstream narrative in between reading passages from the Bible. It offers no practical tools to encourage spiritual growth and merely acts as a business, marketing their brand of ‘spirituality’ to the world. This money-making sham is more specifically known in an ideological form as Judeo-Christianity, and engages in all of the the practices which Jesus was supposed to have condemned among the Judean priests, namely the pursuit of profit.

On the other hand, there is also the esoteric form of Christianity, which is known as ‘Kristianism’. This version is based on hidden meanings behind the passages of the Bible, and is intended to bring the individual on the path to enlightenment. Much of this consists of allegories and figures of speech intended to help with memory when recording the oral knowledge that the texts were based on. For example, the term ‘forty days’ merely means ‘a long time’, and so it is not meant to be taken literally, as are most other parables. This is the main difference between these two forms of Christianity, in that the former takes the text literally, while the latter has to study their underlying meanings. ‘Kristianism’ is part of the Left-Hand Path of magic, as it involves self-empowerment through discovering godhood within one’s true, inner self. This is part of the reason why the Kristianist tradition is so hidden, because this method of spiritual development was suppressed by the Church, but was undoubtedly practised by at least some of the clergy from the Middle Ages onward. The Left-Hand Path is about changing yourself in order to have more agency in the world around you, while the Right-Hand Path consists of the traditions that are passed down by the priesthood to be practised by the laymen. It is the preferred choice for those who are bound by too many material obligations to embark on a spiritual journey, but who should still be able to trust their priests to provide for their basic religious needs, in order to have a spiritually healthy community.

Sadly, what has gone wrong with organized religions even since before Christianity has been the love of wealth and power. The Greek and Roman temples eventually became money-making schemes that did not encourage people to find their own path to the gods if they were capable, but rather to rely on the priesthood to interpret messages from the gods. The hoarding of knowledge and exploitation of the laymen by the priesthood is a gross abuse of their power and such systems should not be allowed to promote enslavement to institutions and dogma. This typically occurs in societies which have a centralized state, rather than among tribes or petty kingdoms. This was certainly true for Ancient Greece and Rome, but this corporatism continued under Christianity in these lands because they were already centralized under empires and kingdoms.

In Britain and Ireland, syncreticism occurred between the native Druidic mysteries and the Christian doctrine, until they merged to form a subset of Catholicism, known as ‘Celtic Christianity’ (or known today as ‘Gaelic Traditionalism’). This local variant of Catholicism survived until the High Middle Ages, when the Churches in Ireland and Wales were drawn closer to mainstream Catholicism, which was facilitated by Norman colonization of these two lands and centralization of royal authority. The struggle between Catholics and ‘heretics’ was present among the Roman Britons as early as the 4th Century, where the ascetic known as Pelagius argued that humans had free will with regards to salvation rather than being determined by fate and reliant upon the Church for forgiveness. Naturally, his ideas were considered a threat to the establishment and after his expulsion from Jerusalem, he invited to Egypt and never heard from again.

Gnosticism is another aspect of Kristianism, which was prevalent in Late Antiquity. Gnosticism extends beyond Christianity, but it was the main source of esoteric Kristian thought at this time in history. The main principle behind Gnostic Christianity is that God (that is, the unified principle of the cosmos) created the world in his image of perfection, as his spirit existed alongside the material world governed by Nature. However, it is also held that something went wrong in the process of creation, and that Sophia (a name meaning ‘wisdom’ and a personification of Nature) gave birth to a monstrous being known as the Demiurge, who, while having no name of his own, takes the form of Yaweh or Elohim in the Old Testament.

However, these names are merely stolen from Canaanite mythology and this being (or group of beings acting under a hive mind) is separate from the gods (who are known as ‘angels’ in Christianity). These dark forces are equivalent to the Jötnar of Norse mythology and Ahriman of Zoroastrianism, and was seen as the antagonistic force among the Gnostics. Unfortunately, because the New Testament was corrupted by Paul the Pharisee, the Church adopted Yaweh and the Judaic Tanakh (Old Testament) as part of the Christian faith (hence, Judeo-Christianity) and persecuted the Gnostics for criticizing their demonic ‘God’. As such, Kristian esoterics were largely driven underground, and only survive today through the preservation of Gnostic texts such as the Nag Hamadi.

The Demiurge is held to be the sovereign of the world of illusion and materialism, and is essentially the same as the figure known as Satan or Lucifer. He is the enemy of Christ (a metaphor for enlightened man) and is seen as responsible for Man’s fall from grace. In this way, the Old Testament is the tale of the Fall of Man, as spiritual and material become intermingled and how the Judeans were led astray by the Demiurge and destroyed the places of pagan worship in Judea. The New Testament is the guide to liberation from bondage to the material plane and achieving unity with God. However, all of the pages of the Bible are meant to be read metaphorically, as both the tales of Moses and of Jesus are meant to help the initiate achieve their goals.

The Church has promoted the literal interpretation of the Bible (to varying degrees, even non-fundamentalist denominations do not teach esoterics), as a means of controlling the masses, by teaching them morals that lead to self-denial and naïve trust. In this way, Judeo-Christianity holds Man to the will of the Demiurge, while Kristianism frees him from his enslavement. The stories of Christ’s resisting of temptations form Satan are meant to convey a life of moderation and not being held back by one’s desires. While Satan represents the tempter and the trickster, the Church used his image to demonize the pagan gods as an excuse to persecute pagans. The horns and goat legs of the popular image of the Devil come from the Celtic god Cernunnos, who is probably the equivalent of Wotan.

The struggles between the Church and what they deemed as ‘heresy’ were a manifestation of esoteric Kristianism and its suppression by the establishment. The most brutal Judeo-Christian warlords (such as Charlemagne), forced conversion by the sword, and in this way were the European equivalent of Islamic Jihadists. In Islam this struggle is also present, as the mainstream Sunni (Judeo-Islamic) dogma is used by the Demiurge to spread his cancer, while the mystic sects, such as the Sufis, use Islam as a means to achieving liberation. The same is also true of Judaism, as the Hasidic sects of Judaism were formed to promote the joy of life through the love of God, as opposed to Orthodox Judaism, which encourages xenophobia and contempt for the goyim (‘gentiles’). Thus, the true path of Christianity is learning how to discriminate between those who are really in the service of God and those who do the work of the Devil. There are many preachers who claim to be doing the work of ‘The Lord’, while engaging in Satanic acts (the mass child abuse of the Catholic Church is one such hypocrisy). The centralized institutions of Abrahamic religions have been acting as arbiters of the state to abuse its people, while the people themselves have held the secrets to these doctrines and passed them on down the centuries.

My own personal inclination is towards Protestantism, since it focuses on individual salvation and typically does not promote conversion. I know that many others will feel more drawn to Catholicism, although this doctrine will probably be more relevant to those on a Latinic or Celtic path (such is the case for most Western Europeans and their descendants). However, Protestantism emerged in Northern Europe among the Teutonic folk, and so it works well as an addition to esoteric Armanism, alongside the exoteric religion of Wotanism. Balder is the Christ figure of Norse mythology, and his death and rebirth is itself the story of resurrection. And so, in both Kristianism and Armanism, their stories are allegories for the rebirth of the spiritual man, both on a personal level but also in this new Age of Aquarius. Balder was killed by his blind brother Höth (‘hood’) at the behest of the jötun, Loki. This represents the veil of illusion cast over Man and Balder’s journey to Hel and is a metaphor for the bondage to the material world and consistent death and rebirth on this plane (a concept known as the ‘Wheel of Samsara’ in Buddhism). However, Balder’s return from Hel at the end of Ragnarök is analogous to the Resurrection of Christ, and so the two stories are more important for their shared underlying meanings than their cultural interpretations.

As both a pagan and a Kristian, I find it frustrating that there still exists sectarianism among these two groups. Though Christianity is a declining force in the West (it is still prevalent in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa), it still has a strong cultural hold on our society, and this works both for and against us. On one hand, the Catholic pope openly promotes the invasion of Europe by religious fundamentalists (mostly Islamic, though some are also from Christian Africa, where witch-hunting is still prevalent), while the mainstream Protestant Churches of our island are complicit in much the same propaganda. They purposely skew the original meanings of Christ’s teachings to promote self-loathing and pathological altruism among Westerners, while at the same time coveting the secrets of the Bible from the masses (they certainly know about these hidden meanings, they just don’t want you or I to know about them). At the same time, however, the thread of Christianity is so strongly woven into our heritage that it would be ludicrous to suggest that we can simply abandon it and return to the purely pagan past.

There is no reason to discard the useful parts of this religion, as it is a sensible option for those among our folk who are not drawn to pagan lore. I myself prefer the pagan expression and wish to see its revival among our people, but I can also acknowledge the benefits of yet another facet our culture that has been passed down to us from our forebears. Our people are in grave peril, and so I see no reason why Crusaders and Vikings cannot stand shoulder to shoulder to face a common foe, despite the pogroms of the past. We have the potential to be allies, but only once we accept that we must learn to co-exist as one people to be able to survive and thrive. The Renaissance was born through the resurgence of pagan motifs and philosophies that were blended with Christian expression. We will have another if we learn to achieve our potential as individuals and as a people, whichever spiritual path we choose.

Wulf Willelmson

 

 

‘Ostara’, Goddess of Dawn and Spring

As our second blót of the year, the Creed of Caledon has performed our first ‘Ostara blót’, and are looking towards the coming season with optimism and determination. ‘Ostara’ is the reconstructed form of the Germanic holiday known in Old English as Eostre and in Modern English as Easter. There is some variation as to when the festival is celebrated. Though it traditionally marks the Spring Equinox (which is when we have chosen to celebrate it), it may also be celebrated the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox, as in Western Christendom. ‘Ostara’ is the personification of the dawn, and is an alter-ego of Freya (whose twin brother, Frey, is associated with sunset). Traditionally, our forebears would perform this blót at dawn to greet the goddess of Spring. However, because of personal obligations (this year, the Spring Equinox was on a Monday, which does not work well with a regular work schedule), we chose to celebrate it on the evening prior, which is just as sacred a time to perform a blót as at dawn.

Because of it’s association with Freya and the Vanir, Ostara is a fertility festival, marking the blossoming of the flowers and the reproductive activities of the animals. Hares and rabbits in particular are associated with Ostara, and the ‘Easter Bunny’ which lays eggs is a symbol of fertility. This represents the possibilities in our lives that need to incubate before they can hatch in the summer (although the association with pregnancy would mean that the cycle begun at the Spring Equinox will complete at the Winter Solstice). In this sense, now that Winter has truly ended, we can now focus on starting projects and making changes in our lives. It’s astonishing to see how so many people choose to move house at this time of year, and it is also now that ‘Spring cleaning’ is necessary to prepare for Summer. Since Ostara follows Lent (another Christian tradition with origins in paganism), it also means that we can once again look forward to growing crops after the ‘hungry gap’, the early part of Spring when very little grows and food is even more scarce than in Winter. Now is the time to think about sowing seeds for the coming season, as the earth has become fertile once again. The Spring Equinox is important because it marks the point where day and night are equal in length, and so from this point the days will become longer than the nights. The extra sunlight will encourage growth and will hopefully encourage us to spend more time outside.

Though known as Easter or some variant of Passover (as in Judaism) in Europe, the Spring Equinox is also an important part of other Aryan cultures. In India and Nepal, the festival is known as Holi, which is ‘the festival of colours’, and is marked by people smearing each other with coloured dye and throwing water balloons at each other. It is also customary to imbibe bhang (a traditional drink with cannabis as the primary ingredient) as a way of getting in touch with the feminine energy of Springtime and feeling joy at the prospect of growing days and a fruitful season. Among the Iranian peoples, the festival is celebrated as Nowruz, and is traditionally the New Year in Central Asia. This time of the year is marked in all Aryan cultures as a time of increased activity, and a good opportunity to make good on personal promises or ‘New Year’s resolutions’, which are much harder to fulfil while the days are still dark and the weather is still cold. Though it is still cold in Scotland at this time of year, it is starting to get warm enough that we don’t have to pile on as much clothes to keep warm, and we can look forward to spending more time outside, either in Nature or simply in our back gardens or local parks. I have always personally had a certain distaste for Spring, though understanding the importance of the yearly cycle and coming to appreciate the religious and spiritual significance of the Spring Equinox has made me more content with this time of year.

Hail Ostara!

Wulf Willelmson

 

Angels and Demons in Teutonic Mythology

In Norse mythology, there are two main groups of beings which are portrayed as gods and were revered as a pantheon. These two groups are known as the Aesir and Vanir, and they represent different forces in the cosmos. The Aesir are the gods of morality and idealism, the gods of manhood, motherhood and valour. The Vanir represent the forces of Nature and they are responsible for fertility and growth, as well as sensuality and pleasure. While the abode of the gods is designated in the Eddas as Asgard, home of the Aesir, the Vanir also have their own world, known as Vanaheim. Both are heavenly realms, and can be reached through man’s higher state of consciousness. The Aesir are the gods of space and time, and represent the principle of divine masculinity in the cosmos, and so are the patrons of animals and pastoralism, warfare and civil society. As Nature gods, the Vanir embody divine femininity and govern plants and agriculture, as well as sex and celebration.

Both groups have affinities with different types of people, which largely depends on their environment, livelihood or personality. As they are both necessary to divine order, it is interesting that they were said to have engaged in warfare with each other. However, neither could defeat the other, and so they agreed that both groups would receive worship from mankind equally. Another group that exist as characters in mythology are known as the Jötnar, who are not gods but rather destructive and largely malevolent forces that represent the dangerous and chaotic aspects of the cosmos. Their name means ‘eaters’ and they embody decay, disease and suffering, as it is in their nature to consume as much as possible. They usually act as antagonists to the gods, although they frequently interact with the gods in the Eddas, even through intermarrying.

Though Norse mythology contains many characters, there are really only a limited number of actual deities represented in the Teutonic pantheon, as each character represents different forms and expressions of each of the gods. Likewise, the Jötnar are presented as individual characters, however, when taken together they actually represent a singular force. Here I will give a brief summary of the seven gods of the Teutonic pantheon (as well as some of the Jötnar):

The Aesir

Wotan

wotan

Also known as ‘Odin’ (Old Norse) or ‘Woden’ (Old English), he is the ‘Allfather’, chief of the Aesir and the Teutonic pantheon as a whole. He is said to be the oldest god and also the most powerful, as he has attained his power through wisdom and galdr (Teutonic high magic learned by studying the runes). He is the patron of learning, philosophy, diplomacy, kingship, strategy and esoterica (and whom I consider my personal patron god). He represents the archetype of the magician and acts as a leadership figure in Teutonic society. He has two ravens named Hugin and Muninn (‘thought’ and ‘memory’) and two wolves named Geri and Freki (meaning ‘greedy’ and ‘ravenous’ who represent man’s lower nature, over which Wotan has dominion). His corresponding planet and Roman counterpart is Mercury and his day is Wednesday.

Frigg

frigg

Frigg is the wife of Wotan and goddess of motherhood and family. She represents the mother archetype and is the patron of marriage, childbirth, the household and generosity. While in Teutonic society the husband was the head of the family, the wife was the head of the household and Frigg embodies the woman who is capable of managing and organizing others for the sake of running things smoothly and efficiently to maintain order in her family. She is also concerned with aesthetics and arranging events and celebrations. She is also a friend to pastoralists and her sacred animal is the cow. Her corresponding planet is the Moon and her Roman counterpart is Minerva. Her day is Monday.

Thor

thor

Also known as ‘Thunor’ (Old English) or ‘Donar (Old High German), Thor is the thunder god of Teutonic lore. He is the son of Wotan and represents strength, power, protection and defence of the innocent. He represents the hero archetype and is the patron of the common man, encouraging our menfolk to provide for their families and protect them from invaders. Thor is known as a slayer of Jötnar and in ritual he provides the magical protection of inangard (‘inside’) from the forces of ütgard (‘outside’). He is not a patron of martial arts so much as the willingness of men to take action to do what is necessary to serve their folk and use their strength to keep the forces of chaos and destruction at bay. He is said to ride a chariot drawn by two goats that carries the sun into the sky every morning. His corresponding planet and Roman counterpart is Jupiter and his day is Thursday.

Tyr

tyr

Also known as ‘Tiw’ (Old English) or ‘Ziu’ (Old High German), Tyr represents the warrior archetype and is the patron of bravery, justice, valour and martial arts. He is also known as a protector of forests and fields, and is the lord of animals. Tyr represents the sky in Teutonic lore and is embodied in bold generals and decisive leaders who are willing to sacrifice themselves for the good of their folk. Tyr lost his hand after it was bitten off by the jötun ‘Fenrir’, as he was the only god brave enough to place his hand in the wolf’s mouth. Tyr encourages warriors to have no fear of death and that glory is more important than simple self-preservation. His corresponding planet and Roman counterpart is Mars and his day is Tuesday.

The Vanir

Freya

freyja

Freya is the goddess of sensuality and love, of joy and happiness. She represents the maiden archetype and, as the goddess of Spring, she is known as Ostara or Eostre (‘Easter’). She is also a patron of seith or folk magic, as opposed to Wotan’s galdr. Seith consists of what can be considered ‘witchcraft’ and includes astral projection, herbalism, mesmerism and good luck charms. Freya can see into the future and has the gift of prophecy, a skill which was highly valued among women in Teutonic society. Her influence is felt most strongly in young women looking for a man. She rides a chariot drawn by two cats and her corresponding planet and Roman counterpart is Venus. Her day is Friday.

Frey

freyr

Also known as ‘Ing’ (Old English) or ‘Ingvi’ (Old Norse), Frey is the twin brother of Freya and represents the archetype of the healer. Frey is the god of sunshine, fertility, performance and abundance. He is also the patron of young men who long for the love of a woman. He can also be seen as a god of music, especially the kind to woo potential lovers, but also of sex and the fertility of plants and animals. Frey is also the lord of Alfheim, which is the abode of the light elves (also known as ‘angels’). The animal most associated with Frey is the boar, a beast which represents fertility and protection. His corresponding planet is the Sun and his Roman counterpart is Apollo. His day is Sunday

Nerthuz

nerthuz

Also known as ‘Njörth’ (Old Norse), Nerthuz is an interesting deity because he/she seems to be a hermaphroditic god (as Njörth is portrayed as a male deity in the Eddas). Therefore, despite being and earth goddess, he/she is also known as a god of the sea. The gender does, however, seem to depend on which attributes of the deity are being addressed. Therefore, since I live inland and closer to the earth than the sea, I consider her to be a goddess. Nerthuz is the mother (and father) of Frey and Freya and is the leader of the Vanir. She represents the archetype of the crone and is a patron of the wind and of Natural forces in general. Njörth was popular with sailors and was prayed to by those wishing for wealth and prosperity, as he/she has the ability to calm the more violent forces of Nature. This deity’s corresponding planet and Roman counterpart is Saturn. His/her day is Saturday.

The Jötnar

Loki

loki

‘Loki’ means ‘fire’ or ‘lightning’ and he represents illusion. He also represents the trickster archetype and is known for his cleverness, deceitfulness and powers of persuasion. He is the liar who uses others to get his way and cheat others out of their wealth. Though a companion of the Aesir in the Eddas, he frequently causes mischief and ends up having to clean up the mess that he made. Though he aids the Aesir in their encounters with other Jötnar (indeed, Thor chose him most often as travelling companion when venturing to ‘Jötunheim’), he eventually loses their trust after causing the murder of Wotan’s son, Balder, and leads the forces of chaos against the gods in Ragnarök (the period of time which we live in now). He is equivalent to the Greek titan, Prometheus or the Judeo-Christian Lucifer, who stole fire from the gods and gave it to humans, and was punished in a similar way. Instead of an eagle, Loki was tormented by a poisonous snake, but his wife, Sigyn, caught the poison for him. Though a necessary figure in man’s history, he is a wretched force that must be overcome by seeing beyond illusion to discover the truth.

Hel

hel

Hel represents death and the accompanying suffering that comes with attachment to the material world. She is the daughter of Loki and was cast down from Asgard by Wotan and given her own realm to rule, Helheim, the Underworld and abode of the dead. The top half of her body is fresh flesh, while her bottom half is blue and rotten, representing sterility and infertility. Unlike the Judeo-Christian ‘Hell’, ‘Helheim’ is a dark and misty place, where dead souls would constantly suffer from hunger and coldness. Since reincarnation is at the centre of Aryan beliefs in the Afterlife, it is not clear whether dead souls spent their time in Helheim between lives or whether they existed as a shadow of one’s memory that is still attached to the material world. Naströnd is a part of Helheim that is similar to the Judeo-Christian Hell or Greek Tartarus; it is known as, and is a state of being in which especially wicked souls suffer in torment and agony for committing murder, adultery, rape or oath-breaking. The more one’s attachment to the material world and causing suffering to others, the more the suffering both during and after life.

Jörmungand

jormungandr

Jörmungand is also known as the ‘Midgard Serpent’, who is a son of Loki and represents the material world itself. He is best described as a dragon or sea-monster and is the man who will stop at nothing to gain power for himself and he protects his wealth like a hoard. He is the arch enemy of Thor and his battle with the hero archetype is a motif in many mythological tales of dragon-slaying, which represent the overthrow of tyranny. The two are destined to kill each other at Ragnarök , but Thor lives on through his sons Mothi and Magni (‘brave’ and ‘strong’). Jörmungand is also known as Nidhögg, and is the source of suffering for those in Naströnd at the root of the world-tree; Yggdrasil.

Fenrir

fenrir

Fenrir is portrayed as a wolf and is the other son of Loki. He represents man’s lower nature and greed. The gods tried to bound Fenrir in fetters, and he ended up biting off Tyr’s hand once they had succeeded in tricking him. To bind Fenrir is to have self-control and curb one’s desires, and so it is only at Ragnarök that he is freed from his chains to wreak havoc on the world. He is the person who binges on food, drugs, sex or whatever addiction afflicts an individual that is caused by unhealthy attachment to pleasure. At Ragnarök, he swallows Wotan, which represents the consumption of man’s higher nature by his lower. Wotan is then avenged by his son, Widar (‘the silent one’), who stomps between Fenrir’s jaws with his iron boot and kills him. Through Widar, Wotan is reborn and represents the ‘twice-born’, a term used for people who have experienced spiritual awakening as a result of a near death experience or a Shamanic recovery from sickness. Man’s lower nature must be tamed in order not to interfere with spiritual development.

In Zoroastrianism, the positive and negative forces of the cosmos are known as Ahura Mazda and Angra Mainyu or Ahriman respectively, and their struggle can be equated to that between the gods and the Jötnar. It should be emphasized that each group of beings is meant to exist in balance with each other. The Vanir propagate growth and generation, the Aesir maintain order and sustenance, while the Jötnar act as the forces of decay and degeneracy, all of which are necessary for life to exist in this world. In Hinduism, the three main properties of energy of the cosmos are known as gunas, and which are called rajas, sattva and tamas. ‘Rajas’ means ‘passion’ and inspires drive, work, physical activity, propagation and movement. ‘Sattva‘ means ‘goodness’, which promotes peacefulness, calmness, level-headedness and balance.’Tamas‘ means ‘darkness’ and causes imbalance, anxiety, stress, negativity, delusion and violence.

Each of the three groups of beings embody these characteristics respectively, and so they must all act in harmony in order to sustain life. If one becomes too dominant, it throws the rest out of alignment, which usually results in an over-abundance of tamas as in the Modern world. It is worth noting that Jötnar are not necessarily evil. The Jötun Mimir (meaning ‘memory’) guards the well of knowledge from which Wotan gained a draught in exchange for his eye (a metaphor for the opening of the Third Eye which enables one to see the spirit world). Mimir is the remains of our ancestors in the form of their bones, but also in their tombs, stones and other buildings. Though these things are important, they are also part of the material world and pass away under the influence of the Jötnar.

The worship of the Aesir is known as ‘Asatru’, while the worship of the Vanir is known as ‘Vanatru’. Together, they constitute the practice known as ‘Troth’ (meaning ‘truth’ or ‘way’), which is the religious aspect of Wotanism. In Germanic Neopaganism, some have invented ‘Rökkatru’ as a way of including the Jötnar in religious practices. While the existence of the Jötnar is something of a necessary evil, they are forces of destruction which are not to be trusted. The reverence of the Jötnar can be seen as a form of demon-worship and should be avoided by those who wish to not become deluded or cause harm to others, though such people will always exist. Thankfully, most who actually embark on a spiritual path manage to avoid the influence of the Jötnar, as it is mostly those who do not acknowledge spirituality that are likely to be under their influence. Both the lust for power and the want to do nothing are what cause imbalance. We encourage the activities of the Aesir and the Vanir by cultivating the god within ourselves, and this includes recognising and resisting the influence of the Jötnar in our daily lives.

One mistake that many mainstream religions have made is in attributing the influence of either the Aesir or the Vanir to the Jötnar. So for example, a religion which preaches against man’s carnal desires in a way that suppresses his natural and healthy urges, as in Abrahamic religions, comes as a result of an overemphasis on the virtues of the Aesir over the Vanir, which resulted in these religions coming under the control of the Jötnar. Likewise, many Modern Satanic and hedonistic philosophies promote a complete indulgence in our carnal desires at the expense of morals, which again is a way for the Jötnar to gain control by emphasizing the opposite from mainstream religion. In the end, the result is the same.

To either return to our peoples’ roots through folkish religions such as Wotanism or pursue a personal spiritual path based on esoterica (a path known as ‘Armanism’ in the Teutonic tradition, but which forms the basis of all spiritual teachings) is a way to engage with the divine and discover who we truly are. Mankind has been slipping into the jaws of Jörmungand for the past 5,000 years, and the resulting chaos has turned our world upside-down. To restore the balance between God and Nature, we must restore the balance within ourselves and resist the temptations to take more than we really need in life. The story of Ragnarök ends with the world being reborn and the return of Balder, who represents the enlightened man. New life springs forth and the world is made anew. In times like these, it seems clear to me that this world is worth pursuing, and that life has given us this chance at this vital point in time. To journey inward is the way to be at peace with the outside world.

Hail Wotan!

Wulf Willelmson

Traditionalism and Reconstructionism

To begin explaining the difference between these two approaches within modern paganism, I wish to share my own personal experience which led to my current understanding of Wotanism and of modern paganism in general. I have always had an interest in the occult as well as history and philosophy, but it was only as a teenager that I began to search for my own spiritual path. I trawled through various belief systems that interested me (Wicca, Norse paganism, Satanism etc.) before settling on an entirely atheistic and fatalistic perspective which was rooted in a materialist understanding of the world that came from my adherence to Marxism. It was only after going through the worst year of my life that I began to lose faith in such a hopeless and destructive way of thinking and once again became interested in something that appealed to my own tastes from a cultural perspective. Listening to a lot of pagan black metal music, I started to wonder about the pagan past of my own country, and looked to history to discover what was most relevant for my time and place. The part of Scotland that I live in was inhabited by the Picts in Pre-Christian times, and it was my research about this people in particular that informed my understanding of paganism (with an emphasis on the Brittonic tradition). My interest continued through to university (which provided much more free time for study than high school) and I learned more and more about the period preceding the Picts’ conversion to Christianity, namely the Late Iron Age and Post-Roman Scotland. It was what we know about this period in history that shaped my religious and spiritual beliefs and was the period I wanted to recapture through re-enactment.

However, I began to discover that it was a tricky business to try and retrace the steps of my Pictish ancestors. This mainly has to do with the lack of historical and archaeological information regarding the Picts and how they actually lived. While Germanic lore is fragmentary at best, Celtic mythology is very disconnected in time from the period that I was most interested in. Most of the tales that we know today were not written down until the Late Middle Ages (13th and 14th Centuries) and survive in heavily Christianized forms. This is especially true for Welsh mythology (as there is evidence that some parts of Irish mythology were written down as early as the 8th Century), and so what we know of the Brittonic tradition is noticeably lacking in authentic pagan lore. As for the Picts, no records of mythology or Pre-Christian beliefs survive, except from the very biased and fanciful descriptions by Christian missionaries, such as Adomnán (Ath-ov-nawn) of Iona. This is also where I encountered another problem with being focused on ‘Pictish Reconstructionism’, which was the fact that, as a nation, we retain almost no linguistic and cultural continuity with the Picts. The Picts were closely related to the Britons of Southern Scotland, and it appears that they also spoke a Brittonic language. This means that though they shared many aspects of Brittonic culture, they were considered a distinct ethnic group and likely had their own version of now lost lore. It is not that the Christian Picts were illiterate, their monks were probably also producing as much literature as their contemporaries in England and Ireland. However, it is very likely that all such evidence has been lost or destroyed following the campaigns of Edward I of England and the Protestant Reformation in particular, where monasteries were looted and burned in an effort to undermine their religious authority.

Aside from the loss of almost all literary records of their language (we know that they probably spoke a Brittonic language because of place-names and the names of Pictish kings written in Gaelic records), Pictish became extinct in the centuries following the ascension of the Gaelic aristocracy in Scotland. After the defeat of the high kings of Fortriu (Moray and Ross) by the Vikings, the Pictish kingdoms became dominated by the Gaelic kingdom of Dál Riada (which was previously tributary to the kings of Fortriu). The new mormaers intermingled with the Pictish commoners and their language probably replaced Pictish alongside the cultural interactions following Christianization. As the missionaries who converted the Picts were Gaelic, it is likely that it was an important ecclesiastical language alongside Latin (most Ogham stone inscriptions from Scotland are written in Old Irish). And so, Pictish came to be replaced by Gaelic (and was also replaced by Old Norse in the Isles) and does not survive, although modern Scottish Gaelic does retain some features from Pictish that make it distinct from Irish and Manx. Now, even Gaelic is no longer spoken in most of Scotland, as the Lowlanders came to speak Scots (a language descended from Northumbrian Old English) and following the Highland Clearances and dissemination of British mass media, the vast majority of our countrymen speak English as their first language.

And so, it is clear what is problematic when it comes to ‘Celtic Reconstructionism’, which is that you cannot authentically reconstruct traditions in a culture that no longer has a linguistic connection to their pagan forebears. There are those that consider themselves ‘Gaelic Traditionalists’ who claim that they practice the most authentic expression of Gaelic culture, as they are native Gaelic-speakers and usually live in areas where Gaelic is still spoken, such as the Western Isles. One criticism levelled against traditionalists is that they are usually Catholic and therefore do not represent the most accurate practices of the Ancient Celts. However, this is where traditionalism differs from reconstructionism; it is the acknowledgement that the past has gone and that we can never return to Pre-Christian times. ‘Paganism’ is not about recreating the past of our folk, but rather creating a future for our folk. The syncretic mixture between Gaelic culture and Catholicism is a memory of more ancient traditions, but retains the innovations from under the influence of the Church.This reflects the methods used by the Catholic Church to convert people, as they preferred to simply modify existing pagan shrines and customs within a Christian context rather than through forceful conversion that was carried out by the Romans (and later the Franks) on the Continent. This innovation was, in fact, a result of the efforts attributed to Saint Patrick and his disciples; so Catholicism would not have reached the Picts and many other peoples around the world if not for this change of tactic on the part of Irish missionaries, which was subsequently adopted by the Catholic Church at large (such ideas included the concept of Purgatory, which was based on the Celtic belief in reincarnation).

This is typical of Catholic countries around the world, where ancient traditions survive in the veneer of Christianity. This syncretic path is the most authentic traditional expression of the cultures that have been converted to Catholicism, as they retain much of the pagan traditions from their past and continue to practice them today in that form. However, I was raised a nominal Protestant, and such is not the case when it comes to the cultures of Protestant countries. The Reformation was a largely left-brained (skeptical) reaction against the centralized hierarchy of the Catholic Church, and so religion to those who became Protestant was secularized. Rationalism and reductionism are the result of Protestant thinking, and so such cultures are largely devoid of tradition and have become some of the most materialistic in the world. This is largely because, in attempting to throw off the yoke of popery, we cast away what was left of our ancient customs and were left with a hollow, Germanic version of Judaism (which is only tolerable to us in the present because it is so superfluous as a part of our daily lives). However, because of the promotion of liberalism and critical thinking in Protestant lands, we are able to use what was saved from ancient times (such as the Icelandic Eddas and Sagas) and work with existing traditions to perfect our own path. The ways of our ancestors are so irrelevant to most people that they can be practised without fear. It is typical of our secular society that we would try to ‘recreate’ the past because we see it as separate from our own, as their philosophies were not based in liberalism or egalitarianism, and so they cannot truly be practised by those in a Modern mindset. The reason that I began to feel a loss of purpose with reconstructionism was that there was a sense of distance between myself and my ancestors, and I realized that I could not live and breathe as a ‘real’ pagan if I did not carry on their traditions for the sake of my descendants.

Our heritage is not something that we should simply stroll out once in a while as an accessory to our involvement in Modern society, it is a living and continuous flow of energy from our ancestors that works through us for the sake of our peoples’ survival. The interactions with each other and with our native land are what bring forth our customs and traditions. The cycle of the year and the flora and fauna of our environment are the basis of our lore, and it is to ensure the prosperity of our kind that we remember our ancient traditions in order to understand our place in the world and our unique relationship with Nature. We have lost our roots, and so we have been left to fall as a race. However, what has not been destroyed is again being found, as we now have access to more information than ever that can help us rediscover our relationship with the Earth. It is also important to be true to your own heritage and to be honest about who you are. Language is one of the most fundamental connections to our culture that we have, and the acknowledgement of our ancestors’ ethnicities should be a part of one’s self-perception. My own Germanic heritage has led me down the path of Wotanism, though some of my countrymen may prefer the Gaelic Traditionalist or Druidic traditions. Both of these contain more integration with Christianity, though many of our modern, Protestant customs still retain the bare framework of our ancient traditions that can be charged with new spiritual energy from our own personal practice and knowledge of lore.

The old divide between Catholic and Protestant has tended to run along the cultural differences between Celtic and Germanic folk in Western Europe (although the Isle of Lewis, where Gaelic is most heavily spoken, is traditionally Presbyterian, possibly due to their Norse ancestry). However, both of our cultures have been paralyzed by secularism, and even these distinctions are beginning to pass into the morass of multiculturalism. I feel rather estranged from ‘Scottish Nationalism’ because of the strong emphasis on our Gaelic heritage (which I appreciate but it is something which I consider only one part of my heritage), though I can understand those who view ‘British Nationalism’ with suspicion because of its emphasis on the dominant, Germanic culture of our Isles if they feel more inclined towards Catholicism or Druidism. Both paths are meant to exist side-by-side, their engagement does not need to express itself through either religious sectarianism, or by being partitioned into the ‘right-wing/left-wing’ dichotomy politically. It does not matter which one is more prevalent or ‘politically convenient’, what matters is that they form masculine and feminine counterparts intended to guide our folk depending on their personal inclinations (Celtic tradition emphasizes the role of the Goddess, while the Germanic is more of a path to God). Much of this discord is expressed by the friction between many modern men and women, through the disregarding of both divine masculinity and divine femininity. Peoples are not one unified mass, they consist of distinct parts which in turn are parts of the larger human species. When we attempt to reconstruct paganism, we are simply imitating a previous incarnation of our folk. However, when we attempt to recognise our present day plight and the need for spiritual fulfilment, we must learn from all that has happened since the rule of Christianity and its replacement by secularism, and move forward in continuing our traditions through cultural memory and awareness of our ethnic identity.

Wulf Willelmson

Yazidism: The Cult of the Peacock Angel

Though most of my work is centred on my homeland in Europe, which is being assaulted and invaded by hostile forces from within and without, I wish to draw attention to a people in a similar situation in the Middle East as us Wotanists; namely, the Yazidi Kurds of Iraq. While most of the Middle East has succumbed to monotheism, this people stands out among all others because their religion seems to be a form of polytheism; where reverence is given not to a singular, cosmic God, but to seven holy beings known as the ‘heft sirr‘ (‘the seven mysteries’), with particular emphasis on Melek Taus, the ‘peacock angel’. Though they consider themselves Muslims and believe in the power of an almighty God, their religious practice seems to suggest that this is merely to avoid Islamic persecution, as they seem to believe that such a deity does not require worship, but that rather he should be worshipped through the heft sirr.

Melek Taus is revered by the Yazidis because he is seen as the creator and ruler of Earth, and was respected by God for refusing to bow down to Adam when he was created, representing the refusal of a spiritual being made from God’s light to be subordinate to a material creature. This has parallels to the Islamic story of Iblis, the angel who refused to bow down to Adam and so was cursed by Allah and became ‘Shaitan’, the Islamic Satan. This perverse concept that damns spiritual pride and independence has led to the Yazidis to be seen as ‘devil-worshippers’ by many Muslims, and has resulted in their persecution and, more recently, attempts to exterminate them by Islamic State. It doesn’t help that Melek Taus is also known as ‘Shaytan’ to the Yazidis, however, he doesn’t seem to be either good or evil as in Abrahamic religions. While the Yazidis do not have a concept of dualism and do not worship demons, this has led to the abominable practice of killing members of their ethnic group who attempt to leave or marry outside of their religion (also known as ‘honour killings’). Such an extreme practice reflects the severity of persecution and the fear that their unique religion will die out in a sea of monotheism, and the original religion of the Kurds will be forgotten.

The similarities between Yazidism and Wotanism are apparent, as the focus on seven holy beings (considered gods in Wotanism, though the Yazidis prefer to see them more as angels, probably under influence of monotheistic religions like Zoroastrianism and Islam) is a central feature of both religions. Nevertheless, these beings are still subject to higher authority, in Yazidism it is God, in Wotanism is is ‘wyrd’ (meaning something akin to ‘destiny’ and is from where we have the word ‘weird’), which is maintained by the three Norns governing past, present and future. However, these higher cosmic forces are not considered to require reverence, since they are self-sustaining and eternal. However, the gods or angels are dependent on human interaction to survive and maintain order in the cosmos, and so this is why it is they and not God who are focused on by both Yazidis and Wotanists. Melek Taus can also be compared to the god Wotan, as he is considered the leader of the heft sirr, as well as creator of the world (in Germanic mythology, the world was created by Wotan, Wili and We, a triplicity of Wotan). They also share the same holy day, Wednesday, which in English is named after the Anglo-Saxon Woden.

Yazidi customs include parading a golden model of a peacock, which is kissed by Yazidis for good luck. The Yazidis are keen to emphasize that they do not worship the idol, but that it is merely a representation of the spiritual force of Melek Taus. Their New Year is comparable to the modern Easter, as it falls slightly later than the Spring Equinox. They also have two holy books, known as ‘Kiteba Cilwe’ (‘the book of revelation’) and ‘Mishefa Res’ (‘the black book’). Though these have been deemed as forgeries by scholars, it has to be remembered that the Yazidis have a purely oral tradition, and so to make their beliefs and customs known to outsiders it was necessary for foreigners to write them down, as their content is consistent with Yazidi doctrine. Their society is led by a secular ’emir’ (‘prince’ or ‘general’) and a sheikh, who is the spiritual leader and is split into three castes who strictly marry among themselves. In this way, they maintain the structure that has held up their society for thousands of years. As they have been at the centre of many different civilisations, they have been influenced by all other religions in the area, from Zoroastrianism to Greek paganism and Sufi Islam, which is a sect of Islam that teaches pagan wisdom under the guise of Islam in order to preserve the knowledge, mainly among the Iranian peoples.

While the Yazidis join the fight with other Kurds against Islamic State, some of their women are taken as sex slaves and the Yazidis are seen by IS fighters as less than human. This is comparable to the recurring rape of European women by Islamic invaders, though our stronger state structure means that such events are somewhat successful at being covered up and ignored to avoid backlash and so, unlike in Iraq, we have not yet fallen into open warfare. However, it is important that we stand together with our polytheist brothers and sisters from all parts of the world, our struggle is the same and we have the gods on our side. Many Yazidis who have fled to Europe now carry the same fears from their homeland as millions of Islamic invaders are pouring into Europe. It is important that we realise that we are on the same boat and fight to preserve the traditions of all peoples against the cancer of dogmatism.

Wulf Willelmson