A Dedication to the Franks

Although my focus on history is usually centred on my native country of Scotland and the British Isles, I wish to explore the history of one of the Teutonic tribes from Continental Europe. The reason for this is that I have more recently felt drawn towards Continental Germanic spirituality as opposed to the Norse or Anglo-Saxon paths, particularly with regards to the tribe known as the ‘Franks’, who settled in what is now Flanders and the Netherlands as foederati; landed mercenaries hired by the Romans to defend their territory from other Teutonic tribes. The Franks went on to conquer Gaul and gave their name to France, and it is from them that the Franconian peoples are descended, namely the Dutch, Flemish and Afrikaners.

My own clan is descended from one of the Flemish families that participated in William the Bastard’s conquest of England and who were later invited to Scotland by David I in the 12th Century. Though the Franks were some of the main participants in abandoning their spiritual heritage in favour of the poison of Judeo-Christianity and spreading the disease to other tribes, they also had a reputation for ferocity and bravery and are an example of the archetype of the barbarian who fought against civilization only to succumb to its lure (as did many other Teutonic tribes during the ‘Folk-Wandering’ or ‘Migration Period’).

The Franks began as a confederation of smaller tribes who lived East of the Rhine, and coalesced into a singular ethnic entity in order to stand together against the Romans to the West. They were initially like most other barbarian tribes, described by the Romans as lacking armour and carrying swords, shields and the francisca, a type of throwing axe which was invented by the Franks and could bounce back when it hit the ground, potentially killing a foe from behind if you missed him on the initial throw. However, they do have their own origin history and are said to be descended from Trojans, which means that they may have had the same origin as the other Ten Lost Tribes of Israel and migrated to Western Germany.


Francisca, the tribal weapon of the Franks, note the curved head

The founder of their ruling dynasty, Merovech, was said to descend from a water god, possibly a Teutonic equivalent of Neptune. The confederation of tribes, led by the Cherusci and including the Bructeri and Sicambres, inflicted a crushing defeat upon the Romans at the Battle of Teutoburg Forest in 9AD. The Roman general Varus thought that he had secured the fealty of Arman, chief of the Cherusci, and accepted his invitation to pass through Teutoburg Forest with his army and retinue. The Romans were ambushed and slaughtered; the whole event was so traumatic to the Romans that Augustus subsequently went mad and they never again attempted to conquer the Germans, although they still raided their lands.

Between the 3rd and 5th Centuries AD, the Roman Empire was beginning to weaken and the Franks were frequently crossing the Rhine and invading the borderlands. Initially, the Romans had been able to repel them and return the favour; however, by this point civil war and reluctance to join the military among the Roman populace meant that they could no longer keep the Franks at bay and eventually they struck a deal with them. Several of the tribes would be settled on the other side of the Rhine in Toxandria (and areas which straddles both Flanders and the Netherlands) in exchange for military service, becoming known as the ‘Salian Franks’ (meaning ‘paid Franks’).

Thus, the Romans made allies of their enemies and the Franks became foderati, a system which eventually led to the Fall of the Roman Empire by allowing foreign warlords to take control of the army and carve up the empire among themselves. Though the Salian Franks were initially helpful in repelling invaders, and even participated in defeating the Huns and their allies at the Battle of Chalons, they began to adopt a more predatory attitude towards the weakening Romans, and so they broke their allegiance and pushed West until they reached the Somme under Chlodio. The exposure to Roman tactics and mass produced weapons and armour made them a more effective fighting force, and they simply decided to use this against the Romans when they became dissatisfied with their pay.

Eventually, the Franks on both sides of the Rhine were united under Childeric and his son, Clovis, through a combination of subjugating and assassinating rival chieftains. Clovis also conquered most of Gaul and put an end to the last vestige of Roman authority at Soissons. His Burgundian wife, Clotide, was a devout Catholic, and attempted incessantly to convert her husband, even causing the death of their first son through forced baptism. However, he was finally won over after gaining a victory against the Alemanni (another tribe from Western Germany) at the Battle of Tolbiac.

The story goes that Clovis was losing the battle and prayed to the Christian god rather than his own for victory, which he then achieved. To him, this proved the superiority of Christianity and he converted to Catholicism, despite the fact that the Catholics within his kingdom were outnumbered by both pagans and Arian Christians. Even more so, in the 7th Century Irish missionaries had to establish monasteries in Gaul in order to have more of an influence on the rural population, which was still largely pagan. This was the beginning of the gradual submission of the Teutonic tribes to the Catholic Church, which was one of the only things that united the Franks after the kingdom fell apart upon Clovis’ death.


The extent of the Frankish realm under Clovis

As was part of the Salic Law, Clovis’ kingdom was divided among his sons. This, however, only led to instability and the four kingdoms began to fight amongst themselves. Though the Frankish kingdom was eventually united again under Chlothar the Great in 613, they began to suffer raids from other tribes outside of the kingdom and were eventually faced with the Islamic invasion in the early 8th Century. The Muslims had conquered Spain and were now marching into France, but were defeated at the decisive Battle of Tours by the king’s regent, Charles Martel, in 732, halting any further Islamic advance into Europe.

Unfortunately, at this point the Merovingian dynasty was weaker than before and the kings were reliant on their generals. Eventually, the last Merovingian king was overthrown by Pepin the Short, who established a new dynasty and campaigned against the Basques as well as the Muslims. He also established Frankish vassal kingdoms in Spain, which eventually enabled the Reconquista and the eventual expulsion of Muslims and Jews from Spain. However, his son has been given more fame as a result of his conquests.

The Frankish king known as ‘Charlemagne’ (‘Charles the Great’) is one of the most famous and infamous rulers of the Dark Ages. While he managed to expand the Frankish domain well beyond its former territory, he was also a ruthless despot and Catholic fanatic, which is why he is also known as ‘Karl the Saxon Slayer’. He is remembered among Wotanists as the tormentor of the Saxons in Germany and for the defeat and subsequent forced conversion of their leader, Widukind. He oversaw the felling of oaks dedicated to Thunaer (Thor) and the various ‘Irminsuls’ (sacred poles representing the axis of the universe) in Germany.

However, despite helping to spread to Judeo-Christian virus to the other German tribes, he outlawed usury and defeated the Turkic Avar Empire in modern Hungary, neutralizing them as a threat to Western Europe. He may be most famous for helping Pope Adrian I by conquering the hostile Kingdom of Lombardy and for assisting Pope Leo III against his enemies in Rome, for which he was coronated as ‘Holy Roman Emperor’ by the pope. Thus, he is a divisive figure who represents both an effective monarch and a religious bigot, the builder of a hegemony that included much of Western Europe under one god and one king.

After Charlemagne’s death, his kingdom was inherited by his son, Louis, whose kingdom was then split among his three sons when he died. The resulting divisions were never again united, and the three kingdoms lay the foundations for the modern countries of France, Germany and Italy. Though France solidified into a centralized kingdom, Germany and Italy were governed as the Holy Roman Empire, a loose coalition of various duchies and city-states that swore fealty to the successors of Charlemagne.

By this time, the Latin -derived French language had become the tongue of the Western Franks and German the that of the Eastern Franks, although their native language persisted in the Frankish heartlands of Flanders and the Netherlands. Though these territories were claimed by either the French king or the Holy Roman Emperor, as trading centres they soon gained more power and influence and functioned largely independently of the kings they were supposedly ruled by. The Franconian peoples not only ventured to nearby Britain, but also became explorers and traders in the form of the Dutch Empire between the 16th and 20th Centuries, as well as the Boer colonies of South Africa.

Despite their noble origins and past conquests, the Franconians are not a numerous people, and are at risk of being outnumbered in their homelands by mass immigration from Islamic and African nations and are facing gradual genocide in South Africa. As a descendant of the Franks, I wish to invoke our brave ancestors and our gods to guide us in these dark times. The Franks are remembered as one of the foremost barbarian tribes who brought the might of Rome to its knees, and I am confident that the heroic spirit of those tribes can rise up again in their descendants to fight against the Modern Rome; the EU and the various globalist power structures that strangle our folk with the rope of Modern civilization.

Wodan, id est furor!

Wulf Willemson

On the Power of Words and Thoughts

One of the ways in which mankind differs from the animal kingdom is in the ability to use verbal communication in the form of language. Animals do have the ability to communicate through sounds and gestures as we do, but they lack the capability to form abstract concepts that may have no immediate relevance to daily life. The fact that we can assign meaning to things which do not actually exist in the physical world means that we can create social structures and beliefs around ideas rather than simply what we experience trying to survive. This is the gift that we have been given by Wotan, and it is intended to allow us to work God’s will on Earth in accordance with our own ways of being. Both stories and theoretical concepts allow us to communicate to others how we can go about enacting divine order in our societies and think about how we can better ourselves and the world around us. Unfortunately, this gift may also be used to mislead and confuse, and not only is this the case with others who propagate certain ideas, but we can also confuse ourselves when we adopt a set of values or beliefs that are not based in reality and exist only within our minds.

It is for this reason that it is important not to attach too much significance to ideas and treat them as if they are physical things, for then they can become more significant in society than actual issues in life. For this reason, I do not fear the ideas of others, though I may fear them for what they do as a result of those ideas. It is in this sense that the action is to be distinguished from thought, as one’s own set of beliefs and values may change as do the actions which are a result of those. However, a set of behaviours and actions cannot be changed so easily, and if a negative pattern has been established in one’s life or in society as a whole, it requires physical effort rather than simply a change of focus, although that is an important first step. Though I myself like to use various ‘isms’ to describe certain beliefs and thought-patterns amongst certain groups of people, they are only there as a collection of related concepts and not fixed entities. Words may change their meaning depending on the context, and this is one way in which those trained in verbal parlance may use them to influence others.

No one person has a monopoly on the meaning of an idea, even if they coined the term themselves. It all depends on a mixture of common understanding and personal interpretation. For example, the term ‘libertarianism’ is generally agreed upon to represent a belief in the preference for a state of individual liberty and freedom, and emphasizes individual rights which tend to override governmental authority. While the government is deemed necessary, it should ideally be there to safeguard the rights of the people that it governs and to function with minimal levels of interference with personal freedom. However, things get a little more complicated if you consider ‘libertarianism’ as an ideology. It does not have any fixed approach to an economic system (though many self-proclaimed libertarians favour free-market capitalism) and neither does it promise a specific model for how to run a society. It is simply concerned with the interaction between the individual and the state, and represents a general set of principles based on this. This is in contrast to ‘authoritarianism’ where the rights of the state override the rights of the individual and also to ‘identitarianism’, where the ethnic identity of a nation is deemed more important than either the individual or the state.

Despite the less rigid concepts applied to these terms, they can still be moulded into specific forms and used as an ideology. In several Western countries there are political groups known as the ‘Libertarian Party’, though they may have different policies and approaches to the libertarian worldview. In this way, such a concept refers to a general attitude rather than a specific set of ideas which are exclusive to libertarianism. It works the same way with any sort of ideology, since they are all open to individual interpretation and understanding, even if they attempt to form a solid form for the sake of promoting a specific set of ideas. It is worth not getting too bound up in attaching inflexible ideas to a particular concept and understand that the meaning of a word may change over time. A good example would be the term ‘gay’, which originally meant something like ‘giddiness’ and changed its meaning to refer to homosexuals. Even more recently, it has come to mean something more akin to ‘weak’ or ‘disappointing’, which shows how a word may change its meaning when applied to something that shares some of the same qualities as the previous meaning.

If you were to ignore the more recent change of meaning of the word ‘gay’ and would only take it to refer to a homosexual (or even the earlier meaning), this may be at odds with the understanding of the word that was held by somebody else and could potentially lead to misunderstanding and conflict. Thus, it is more important to understand an individual’s own definition of a label if they apply it to themselves rather than one’s own definition. Many religions and political ideologies have variation of definition within their own circles, though they will maintain their cohesiveness if they are based on shared interests rather than individual preferences. To get the gist of what somebody else says is more important than one particular word or idea that they use to describe something. Similarly, if we attempt to stick to one particular set of principles without considering whether it actually suits our authentic self or not, then this can cause us to become confused and do things which we would rather not. The most important thing is what something means to you, though you should make sure that it is appropriate and not liable to be misunderstood at the same time. Labels are merely signposts to describe the contents of a set of ideas, but the labels themselves do not exist in physical reality.

Though there is probably a place from which we derive our inspiration and ideals, those ideas can only manifest in the material realm with willpower and a sense of being grounded in reality, though not so grounded that we lose touch with the transcendental reality from which we derive our thoughts. It is my belief that thoughts exist in the mental space, but that they derive from each of the Nine Worlds, thereby opening up mankind to influence from divine, natural and demonic entities. Our own intuition can help to guide us to know what voices should and should not be listened to. Some of these voices may come from others who have either inspired or abused us, but it is necessary to distinguish between one’s own inner voice and those from outside, even though it is good to be open to other people’s ideas. Words should be used to enlighten rather than enslave, and it is better not to expect that they may be relied on in the place of action. Likewise, they should never be seen on the same level as actions, as words are only effective if they can influence the will of a man and thus cause him to act, but in such an instance it is the action which is more important.

Wulf Willelmson

‘Winter Nights’, the Wotanist New Year

No other festival in the pagan calendar has as many associations with witchcraft, faeries and ghosts as Winter Nights, more commonly known as ‘Hallowe’en’ or  as ‘Samhain’ in Wicca and the Gaelic tradition.  The Old English name for this time was ‘Winterfylleth’, which according to the Anglo-Saxon historian, Bede, referred to the full moon that signalled the beginning of winter. Though it is unknown what the name of this blot was to the Norsemen, it has been suggested that it was what was known as ‘Álfablót’, meaning ‘elven sacrifice’. This blot was not a public ritual in Scandinavia, and was concerned primarily with the ancestral cult of the family and home. However, in the British Isles it has always been a more social festival, where folk would go to each others’ homes guising, wearing a scary costume so as to fool mischievous spirits who would mistake them for their own rather than humans that they could play tricks on.

Though the traditional date in Modern times is the 31st of October, this is due to the fact that we use an exclusively solar calendar, and so the festival would have been celebrated on or around the full moon nearest this time, as suggested by the Old English word fylleth, which meant the full moon. Nevertheless, the festival could last between three to seven days, and so celebrations were not confined to a single day. Whichever specific evening during this time was deemed best for communication with the spirit world was the time of the ancestral offering.

The primary focus of veneration would be one’s ancestors, and the ritual would involve a whole household. The family would gather around a bonfire to perform the blót, a feature which is still present in Celtic tradition. However, in Modern Britain it is now more of a feature of Guy Fawkes Night, which is a secularized version of All Hallows Eve that largely replaced the original folk festival following the Reformation and is celebrated on the 5th of November. The bonfire was meant to keep away evil spirits that dislike the light. Offerings from the harvest, such as crops or animals, were given to ensure good luck for the coming winter. It was at this time that the oldest and weakest cattle were to be sacrificed in order to be able to feed the rest of the herd over winter, and the ancestors’ spirits were invited to join in the feasting.

The jack-o’-lantern was originally a carved-out turnip which had a face that was meant to represent the household spirits, which are known as ‘brownies’ in Scots or ‘hobgoblins’ in English and as a ‘Kobold’ in German or ‘domovoi’ in Russian. These creatures are usually described as little hairy men who protect the household and are said to help to do housework in exchange for offering of bread or milk. If offended or neglected, they are likely to cause mess and play tricks on mortals. As these creatures were also most easily seen around during Winter Nights, their abilities to protect the home were utilized and were represented by the faces now carved into pumpkins, though this has generally lost its original meaning. These domestic spirits were not considered the same as the spirits of the ancestors, but they were tied to families and could follow them if they moved to a different home.


Modern-day turnip Jack-o-lantern

As Winter Nights was a liminal time, contact with faeries or the dead was most successful around this time. It was for this reason that divination was a traditional part of Hallowe’en up until recently, though this aspect of the holiday is being revived along with the new acceptance of and interaction with the supernatural. Any reflective surface could be used to see visions, including a mirror, a crystal ball or a ‘keek stane’, a convex piece of reflective glass kept in a box in the Scottish tradition. It is at this time that special care was taken not to visit haunted places, though there are stories of foolish folk who came upon these places by chance or deliberately. Although the protective spirits of the ancestors and the brownies were most active around this time, so were potentially pernicious beings such as goblins or ghosts, which is why ghost stories are often told or set during this time. It was also a time when witches would be working magic, taking advantage of heightened contact with the spirit word, some of whom had ill intentions. It is for this reason that witches feature so prominently in Hallowe’en imagery.

As this holiday was meant to signify the coming of winter, death became more present in the minds of our ancestors who required the good luck from the ancestral spirits in order to increase their chances of surviving the cold season. This was the time of year that most young children died from sickness, and so it was necessary to make sure that the family was well protected from harmful forces. This time also marked the New Year, as it corresponded with the nightfall of the year-day, and in Ancient Europe, nightfall was considered to be the beginning of a new day. This corresponds to the festival of Diwali in Hinduism, and is also celebrated by Zoroastrians as Mehregan (though the Iranian New Year is tied to the Spring Equinox festival of Nowruz instead). As such, this was a time to wind down and prepare for longer nights and reduced outdoor activity, and folk in the past would have focused more on indoor activities such as spinning and weaving, woodworking and storytelling, which is another reason that this festival was so strongly associated with the home.

Halig Winterfylleth!

Wulf Willelmson

What is ‘Wotanism’?

The Creed of Caledon is based on the belief system known as ‘Wotanism’, which is a modern-day expression of the European peoples’ ancient religious and spiritual beliefs. The head of the Teutonic pantheon as far as the lore can tell us was known as “Wotan” to the Germans, “Woden” to the Anglo-Saxons and “Oðinn” to the Norse. Though the names of the deities in Wotanism are based on those of the Teutonic culture, the path is open to all those of European descent and one may refer to deities from other European pantheons. It is a belief based on blood kinship and the bond with our sacred land, and so it is tied to the seasons and features of the landscape such as rivers, springs, hills, mountains and groves. Therefore the functions of many of the deities correspond to things such as the weather, the sea, the sky and even Mother Earth herself. There are others who oversee more human aspects, such as bravery, strength, wisdom and magic, and they are all described in detail in Angels and Demons in Teutonic Mythology.

The most commonly cited figures in Wotanism are David Lane and Ron McVan, who gave birth to the idea of ‘Wotan’s Folk’ in the 1990s. David Lane came up with the name and philosophy, while Ron McVan wrote much of the literature, including ‘The Temple of Wotan‘, which is the source of the Creed of Caledon’s philosophy and rituals. However, the concept of ‘Wotanism’ goes back much earlier, to an Austrian mystic known as ‘Guido von List’, who was born in the mid-19th Century and died not long after the First World War. He coined the term ‘Wotanism’ to describe the exoteric religion of the Ancient Teutons, which involved invoking the deities in ritual and emulating the gods, particularly Wotan. This was paired with the concept of ‘Armanism’, an esoteric practice that involves working with the runes, particularly the Armanen Futhorkh, which was revealed to List during a period of blindness and is based on the rune poem in the Hávamál, the most important text in Wotanism. The Armamen Futhorkh is explained in his work known as ‘Das Geheimnis der Runen‘ (‘The Secret of the Runes’), published in 1908.

Armanen futhark stem version

Armanen Futhorkh

Wotanism can be described as a ‘pagan’ religion, which primarily involves interaction between oneself, one’s ancestors, ones kin, one’s land and one’s gods. Therefore it is a ‘folkish’ belief system that is dependent on one’s genetic and cultural lineage. It can be observed anywhere in the world, though only by those of European descent and preferably in a temperate climate which suits our kind best in ecological terms. This is different from ‘Armanism’ in that Wotanism it is based on the external and objective reality, while Armanism is based on one’s own internal and subjective experience and should be seen more on an individual level. Armanism is a mystery religion akin to Gnosticism, Vajrayana Buddhism or Western Hermeticism, though it is still based in Teutonic language and tradition. Therefore, Wotanism is not so much a form of ‘Neopaganism’, but a “Wihinei” (“sacred-way”, more specifically “folk-way”), that incorporates aspects from other Aryan religions.

While Wotanism has been linked to Neo-Nazism and ‘White Supremacy’, it is worth remembering that many Wotanists  were interned in concentration camps under the Third Reich, as they were considered “heretics” or “occultists” that were deemed a threat to the regime. Heinrich Himmler’s spiritual advisor, Karl Maria “Weisthor” Wiligut, declared Wotanism to be a false religion that was in opposition to his doctrine of ‘Irminism’, which may have been the intended state religion of the Third Reich that was to replace Christianity had Hitler won the Second World War. Therefore, it is not in our best interests to support any totalitarian regime, be it Communist, National Socialist or Corporate Socialist.

As Wotanism is not a centralized religion without any structured organization outside of each kindred, there are many different interpretations and definitions of the doctrine and so the personal opinions of one adherent or kindred may differ slightly form one another. This, however, is not the case when it comes to the core philosophy, which is that we are to be gaining and spreading awareness of the ways of our forebears and promoting the wellbeing of our descendants. This is done through personal self-improvement, much of which is tied to the particular archetype or ‘god’ which we unknowingly impersonate. By assessing one’s own nature and reason for being, you can aspire to achieve your full potential and become a valuable asset to your tribe. The tribe is considered to be a network of family and friends that share with you a common genetic and cultural bond.  It is a ‘nation’ that is not so much centred on what nation state you come from, but on who your ancestors were and on your value as an individual.

Much of the work done by Wotansvolk, in the 1990s and early 2000s was involved in prison outreach, which is now made difficult seeing as Wotanist literature is banned from many prisons because it is seen as such a threat to the establishment. However, the core mission of Wotanism hasn’t changed, and emphasis is placed on rehabilitation of those struggling with addiction, criminality, violent tendencies or simply weakness (with the exception of those who have committed crimes against children, who will never be welcome among the folk). It is true that Wotanism draws many who believe in Neo-Nazism or White Nationalism, but much of our work is designed to divert energy away from negative and destructive ways of thinking towards productive and honourable ideals and behaviour. This is why, despite the fact that I have written about political issues, the Creed of Caledon takes no particular stance in that area and supports no political organization. Our only concern is when such organizations transgress our natural rights or attempt to silence us.

We have much in common with other groups that describe themselves as ‘Odinist’ or ‘Wodenist’, though we call ourselves ‘Wotanists’ in an effort to distinguish ourselves from any organizations whose members may refer to themselves by those terms. The main difference being that we have no central authority or hierarchy, aside from those that are present in Nature between gods, men and beasts. Therefore, while each kindred is led by a ‘goði‘ (‘priest’), there is no overarching structure and connection with other kindreds is based on networking. We perform two types of rituals, which are known singularly as ‘blót‘ and ‘sumbel‘. The former consists of ceremonies that are performed at holy tides (including Yule, Easter and Midsummer) and involve offerings to the gods and celebration of the changing seasons. The latter refers to folk-binding rituals which are less formal and include recounting one’s ancestors and past deeds and pledging oaths so as to encourage self-improvement. These are not held at fixed dates and are usually observed more frequently than blótar.

We believe that we are undergoing ‘Ragnarök‘ , ‘the doom of the gods’, and so the world is in the process of being destroyed so that it can be remade. The acceleration of postmodernism has led to the downfall of Western Civilization and left a heap of ruins filled with lost and spiritually starved people. While the state and corporations seek to replace this need with consumerism and political involvement, some of us have become disillusioned with the established dogmas and decided to follow our own way. As Wotanism is based on self-reliance and intimate trust, we encourage others who feel that this is the way for them to create their own kindreds and endeavour to improve themselves. Rituals and ceremonies help to strengthen kinship, but more important is the need to fulfil one’s own talents and embody one’s chosen archetype. Remember who you are and where you came from, and honour yourself, your ancestors and your descendants.

Wulf Willelmson

On the Importance of Syncretism

One of the main differences between orthodoxy and eclecticism in religion is the willingness to incorporate other belief systems into a spiritual practice. While orthodoxy emphasizes purity of dogma and rigidity in structure, in more mystical or folkish religions there is more of a tendency to acknowledge similarities with the religions of other peoples and adapting to changes brought about by migration and trade. While there is nothing wrong with a more defined and specific approach per se, it does limit one’s perception and the failure to give value to the insights of others may hinder understanding of one’s own belief system. A more syncretic approach is becoming necessary in response to globalization and the erosion of traditional religion in the West. While Christianity has largely lost relevance among Westerners at the same time as the expansion of Islam in our lands, it makes sense to proudly defend our traditions from all throughout our history, not just those from the time before Christianity.

Though we carry the torch that has been passed down to us from our ancestors within our genetics and our culture, and in many ways we embody our ancestors, we are not living under the same conditions as they did. This means that our forebears had more access to their own local traditions in the form of skills passed down through generations, as well as folk-binding ceremonies such as the ceilidh (an event traditionally hosted by the local storyteller, now more centred around Highland dancing). However, many of us today have lost touch with our roots in the whirling confusion that is living in a Modern multicultural society, and so we need to be less picky about what can be used to further the spiritual well-being of our folk.

As opposed to the Judeo-Christian Europe of the Middle Ages (where the Church engaged in pogroms against ‘heretical’ sects, who were usually practising some form of Gnostic Christianity), the pagan Europeans had a much more relaxed attitude towards the cults of other peoples. While the adoption of Celtic, Teutonic and various other European pantheons by the Romans helped to strengthen their state religion, it also led to the eventual decline of paganism in the Roman Empire. As Asian and African cults (such as those of the goddesses Cybele and Isis) were also incorporated into Roman religion, they undermined the patriarchal vigour of the Greco-Roman belief systems and allowed for Judeo-Christianity to take over the empire. And this is where the danger of syncretism lies; in order for this method to work, a belief system must be compatible with another in a way that there is no contradiction due to a common spiritual understanding.

More often than not, this is only possible with other spiritual teachings that derive from the same racial root as the one you may wish to supplement. It is no good trying to adapt the beliefs of foreign races into one’s own religion, as the cultural assumptions will differ and lead to a misunderstanding of symbolic meanings. For example, the wolf or dog is considered a noble (if not somewhat dangerous) animal in Aryan and Turkic cultures, and is the guardian animal for many tribes among these two races. However, in Semitic cultures, the dog is seen in the same light as the jackal, a lowly creature who is shunned and considered unclean. Attempting to reconcile such contradictory symbolism will only lead to confusion about the role of parables and symbols in religion, leading to its eventual abandonment.

However, it is now the case that many of our native European customs are so intertwined not only with each other, but also with Christianity, that it is necessary to admit to what works and what doesn’t with regards to carrying tradition. During the Dark Ages, Gnostic Christianity successfully merged with Celtic paganism in order to compose what has become known as ‘Celtic Christianity’. In many cases, the folklore and mythology from Medieval Ireland and Wales are so heavily shaped by this post-Roman culture that it is now difficult to separate the two, making the attempt to reconstruct a ‘pure’ form of Celtic paganism fruitless. Even with regards to Anglo-Saxon paganism, we only have fragmentary evidence for their specific spiritual practices, and most of this comes from after their conversion to Catholicism. In this way, the poetry of Anglo-Saxon England is no less ‘authentic’ despite the Christian overtones, because the original tradition is preserved underneath the symbolism reflecting that time period. It is only because of the preservation of Norse mythology in Iceland that we know more about Teutonic paganism than its Celtic counterpart, although even the works of Snorri Sturluson (the Icelandic priest responsible for preserving the Eddas and Egil’s saga) are written from a Christian perspective.

Nowhere is the need for a combination of cultural motifs in contemporary paganism more apparent than here in Scotland, where it is difficult to ignore either our Celtic or Teutonic heritage. The British peoples are known to be mongrels, yet we still preserve a specific blend of traditions that is unique to both us and the Irish. Specifically, they do well to compliment each other as embodying the masculine and feminine (or patriarchal and matriarchal) forms of religion, with the Teutonic tradition as the former and Celtic culture as the latter. The head of the Teutonic pantheon is Allfather Wotan, who values the manly pursuits of warfare and rune magic, in addition to encouraging exploration and adventure.

While Wotan’s Celtic cognate, Lugh, is also the chief deity in Irish mythology, there is a strong emphasis on the cult of Danu (‘Mother Earth’ equivalent to Nerthuz) and more focus is placed on trade and shamanistic ‘woman’s magic’. Together, their worship forms the basis of the solar and lunar festivals; Yule, Ostara, Litha and Winter Finding (marking the solstices and equinoxes) among the agricultural Teutons, and Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane and Lughnasadh in the Gaelic pastoral tradition, marking the beginning of each new season. It is for this reason that I consider Wotanism and all other folkish forms of paganism as the European variant of Aryan religion. We do not need to have our religion specific to one ethnic group or another, as long as the mixture is between cultures with a shared origin so that each can represent two sides of the same coin. While the main source of pagan lore comes from Norse mythology, there is also much to be learned from the cultures of all Aryan peoples, from Ireland to India and from Russia to Spain.

Having said that, care must be used when dealing with the religions of Iranian and Indian cultures. Though the peoples of Central and Southern Asia share much in common genetically and culturally with Europeans, they have also been affected by the presence of indigenous non-Aryans (such as the Dravidians of India) and by incursions from peoples like the Arabs and Turks. This means that while the esoteric meanings of Zoroastrianism or Hinduism can be adapted and applied to European paganism, the more exoteric cultural aspects (such as traditional cuisine or music) may be more alien and inappropriate for blending with our own culture (for example, the presence of figs and dates in Middle-Eastern folklore, whose symbolic meaning is difficult to apply in temperate Europe where they don’t grow).

An example of a successful cross-cultural interpretation is with the story of Wotan and Gunnlod. Wotan wished to drink the sacred Odrerir (‘mead of poetry’) held by the giant, Kvasir. To achieve this, Wotan slept with his daughter Gunnlod for three nights, each night turning into a snake and slithering up the mountain to drink the mead. On the third night he was caught by Kvasir and had to turn into an eagle to escape back to Asgard. This symbology can be interpreted as a metaphor for the practice of Kundalini yoga, with the mountain representing the body and Wotan as a serpent representing the astral ‘snake’ (Shakti in Hinduism) that travels up the spine. The drinking of Odrerir and changing into an eagle is representative of the ecstatic state achieved by channelling this power, and this is a feature of Wotan’s quest for wisdom which serves as an example for his followers.

As a reflection of my mixed ethnic heritage, I choose to outwardly revere the gods of the Teutonic pantheon, while at the same time studying Druidism and other forms of Celtic and Aryan mysticism. This feels like a natural state and it is similarly the case for many of us in Britain. While there is a stronger Teutonic presence in somewhere like England, and in turn a stronger Celtic influence in a place like Ireland, the aspect of this mixture is what gives us our own unique sense of identity. It is obvious that most will swing more one way or the other, but the dual nature of each aspect is always present, and has been for millennia.

While the Nordic character of the East coast has been shaped by the first inhabitants who crossed the lost land of Doggerland in the North Sea, down to the Aryans and later Anglo-Saxons and Norsemen, the West has been more thoroughly colonized by folk from lands facing the Atlantic and Mediterranean seas. It is because of this that it is necessary to draw from a larger pool of culture, as the demise of Western civilization has stripped our heritage down to its roots, and it is more pragmatic at this time to revive our local customs in addition to taking inspiration from religions far and wide. Our blood and spirit runs much deeper than nation or language, as the source has and will remain for as long as we remain.

Wulf Willelmson


Having had a good look at Christianity and it’s various positive and negative forms, and also the various pagan myths of Teutonic lore, we will now shift our focus toward a particular feature of mythology that is a recurring theme throughout the history of religion. The being known as ‘Satan’ in Judeo-Christian mythology and as ‘Shaitan‘ in Islam, means ‘adversary’ and features as an antagonist either to God or mankind in different mythologies throughout the world. He is known in one sense as the embodiment of all evil, but also as a tragic or even sympathetic figure who rebelled against God and was cast out of Heaven.

The lore surrounding this dark figure is a mixture of pagan and Christian myths, and his association with the Judeo-Christian ‘God’ is either as the prosecutor of Job, as in the Old Testament, or as tempter of Jesus within the New Testament. However, his appearance as a horned man with goat legs and a trident is a mixture of pagan imagery, in particular the Greek forest god Pan and his Celtic cognate, Cernunnos, as well as the Greek sea god, Poseidon. To mainstream Christians, Muslims and Jews, he is seen as the one who leads you astray from the path of God and towards damnation, but he is perceived as a liberator and a figure of freedom in some pagan traditions; and sometimes is even seen as a god to be feared, rather than the more benevolent Creator deity.

Though ‘Satan’ is the name most commonly known in the West today, he is also known by the titles of ‘the Devil’ (whose name relates to words ‘devious’, ‘deviant’ and ‘devour’), Beelzebub (‘lord of the flies’, thought to derive from the Canaanite deity Ba’al) or even ‘prince of darkness’. He is also associated with Lucifer, although this is a slightly different figure that we will look at in more detail later on. In other cultures, Satan is known in different forms, such as Ahriman in Zoroastrianism, who is seen as the enemy of Ahura Mazda (‘God’) and deceiver of mankind. In Buddhism, he appears as the arch-demon Mara, who represents illusion and is the lord of death.

Within Teutonic mythology, the best fit for a Satanic figure would be Loki; who also represents illusion and deception and is the nemesis of Heimdall, guardian of the Bifrost Bridge to Asgard (the home of the Aesir and a place representing enlightenment). However, in other cultures he was seen as a deity to be worshipped, such as among the natives of Virginia, who called this being Oke, and some even performed human sacrifices of teenage boys to him. In Ancient Egypt, he was known as Seth or Set, and despite being the brother and slayer of the Sun god Osiris, he still had followers among the Ancient Egyptian kings, though his name was later blotted out in religious dedications. Even within the Old Testament, there are references to dual goat sacrifices, one to Yahweh and one to Azazel, lord of the desert, who is very similar to Set in his attributes.

Today, he is often seen as representing a very real force of evil that compels individuals to commit atrocities against others. The so-called ‘Church of Satan’ and its brand of Satanism are simply a pompous form of atheism that promotes mockery of Catholic Mass and very base individualism based off of capitalist ‘philosophy’. However, much more serious stories involving human sacrifice and child abuse have appeared in mass consciousness over the past few decades. This practice of Satanism was once associated with people usually characterized as mentally deranged heavy metal fans, particularly in the United States during the 1980s.

However, this extreme expression of teenage rebellion is not nearly as prevalent nor as disturbing as tales of ritualistic sacrifices of children by plutocratic elites, many of whom are said to be or have connections to world leaders. Due to the nature of such clandestine activities, such practices are difficult to prove. For instance, it is possible that such stories are made up in order to disseminate fear and paranoia and have no basis in truth. Such accusations are similar to those made against witches by the Catholic Church during the Burning Times. However, it would also stand to reason that if these things were happen among the wealthiest members of society, then they would have sufficient resources to cover it up and protect themselves from the wrath of the public. Either way, the idea of offering humans as a sacrifice to an infernal being are nothing new, and it is naïve to assume that such beliefs and practices are not still adhered to within the darkest corners of Man’s heart.

Thus, the nature of ‘Satan’ is multifaceted and not so easy to discern in terms of a singular being. He is a different sort of character depending on the context and how his role relates to other beings portrayed as ‘God’. For example, in the Book of Genesis, Satan is usually associated with the Apple of Eve, which was eaten by the first woman from the Tree of Knowledge. Though not explicitly mentioned as the name of the serpent who tempted Eve to eat the apple, it has been inferred from the theme of temptation to disobey that this figure represents Satan in this context. However, this story could be interpreted in different ways. On one hand, the Judeo-Christian interpretation is that Eve and her mate, Adam (the first man, whose name comes from Atum in Egyptian mythology) were damned by God and cast out of the Garden of Eden (‘paradise’) for their acts of disobedience; and so began the Fall of Man from spiritual grace.

On the other hand, a Gnostic or Luciferian perspective is to see the serpent as the spirit of curiosity, which encouraged Eve to disobey the tyrannical false god ‘Yahweh‘ and reach towards enlightenment. Both versions reflect either a Left-Hand Path or Right-Hand Path interpretation of the story, for which the meaning differs depending on one’s own values. For one on the Right-Hand Path, Satan more often is seen as a dangerous enemy, and one who tries to distract you from achieving your goals through temptation and deception. However, within the Left-Hand Path, any obstruction to liberty is seen as a hindrance and Satan can be a valuable ally in overcoming the bondage of psychological conditioning during one’s lifetime. It is at this point that it is worth distinguishing the figure of ‘Satan’ from that of ‘Lucifer’, who are often conflated but who generally represent two distinct but related beings. Satan is a figure who was originally seen as ‘the accuser’ and acted as God’s dispenser of justice on Earth in Judaic mythology. However, within Christianity he is seen as the ruler of Hell (based on both the Greek and Teutonic underworlds) and as a fallen angel and lord of demons.


Lucifer is an angel or demigod known as Phosphoros in Greek and whose name means ‘morning star’, which is the planet Venus. He is a metaphor for the ‘light-bringer’ or seeker of enlightenment, and is associated with both Loki and Prometheus; who is said to have brought the divine gift of fire to Man (‘Loki’ means ‘lightning’ in both a metaphorical and literal sense). Within Judeo-Christian mythology (though not actually in the Bible) Lucifer is portrayed as the angel who led a rebellion against God when asked to bow before Adam, and who was cast down into Hell following his defeat and becoming Satan. In this way, he is similar to the Yazidi deity Melek Taus, though their Creator is said to have praised the archangel for his refusal to bow before any creature lower than he, for this is how he was created. In these terms, Lucifer is the one who chooses to rebel, and Satan is who he becomes in doing so.

This process may also, however, work in reverse. Wotanist mystic, Kalki Weisthor, has suggested that both the figures of Satan and Lucifer can be incorporated into Wotanism by adding Wotan as a third component. The idea is that one begins their journey on the Left-Hand Path by acting as Satan, and so undoing unhelpful social conditioning and false beliefs by refusing to follow what you have perceived to be the rules. The next step is to become Lucifer, which involves pursuing enlightenment and acting as a free agent, having done away with what restricted you before. The last step is to embody Wotan, after mastering the skills of magic and using one’s liberated position to come back into society as a teacher and as a leader.

I personally find this a very helpful concept, though it presumably does not work as well for those on the Right-Hand Path, who will want to stick to their principles and resist the urge to rebel, since it is not in their nature to do so. Satan is not so much to be feared but respected, and he is a figure that will remain as long as human consciousness can conceive of a negative force, pulling us either towards damnation or enlightenment. It is also worth keeping in mind that Satan can mean many different things to many different people, and that misunderstandings about his character have led to persecution and ostracism which arise from ignorance. As a friend or enemy, he is with us always, as a teacher, tempter or that which we despise but know we must embrace as a part of life.

Hail Satan!

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