Tag Archives: indigenism

A response to “Against the Folkish ‘Pagans'”

A lengthy post was published yesterday by a self-proclaimed “Julian Hellenist”, Klaytonus Silvanus, wherein he attacks “Folkish” pagans and polytheists. This seems to be a sequel to an earlier post, one I had attempted in vain to initiate a discussion about. After a misunderstanding regarding my comments, Silvanus took the liberty to ban me as a “folkish” polytheist, which I take as a serious accusation and will refute accordingly. To that end, I will respond to his post in my defense, as if it were directed at me. Since it is well written (with exception to ad hominem) and provides an excellent example of the universalist position, I intend to comment on most of it; I take this both as a rhetorical challenge as well as an opportunity to enable my fellow polytheists to know me better, whether they agree or not with my views. Silvanus is certainly welcome to discuss it further here—I do not ban those with whom I disagree, so long as there is no deliberate insult or impiety. My language may be forceful sometimes (though never injurious), but I trust Silvanus understands the Hellenic rhetorical tradition allows of it.

 

Against the Folkish “Pagans”

There is a Folkish problem in Paganism. The Folkish are an inane sect of deplorables who take on a “racialist” attitude towards religion, who have all the time in the world to chatter nonsense about their ancestry and blood, but none for theology and religious practice. These racists pose a threat that is potentially ruinous to our work because of how they will appropriate anything of value, ruin it, and then simply move on when they’re done with it. This article shall demonstrate how these vulgar imbeciles are, in truth, not even Polytheists nor Pagans at all, but rather merely bigoted LARPers playing dressup.

Since the title is written in the style of a theological or rhetorical polemic in Late Antiquity, it is unfortunate that the author uses ad hominem and unnecessarily weakens his arguments from the very beginning. If I remember correctly, there isn’t even such language used by Christian polemicists against Pagans, or indeed vice versa. However, to speak of and for myself, I am neither a “racialist” nor a “folkish pagan” nor a supporter of Trump (what was meant by “a deplorable”). I am aware of the current developments in Western and American politics, but I do not mix observation with observance. My views are a mixture of left and right positions, as I had explained before—I maintain a careful and useful balance. Equating my views with the likes of Varg Vikernes, Richard Spencer, Jared Taylor would be a great mistake. My views on ancestry are fair for all peoples and I seek the very same well-being & ethnic celebration for each of them. I can’t and won’t defend the views of pagan “folkists” and “racialists”, but I believe they should be (as reasonably as possible, with exceptions) heard and engaged with in discussion, because they do have real concerns and hopes and fears, which are worth addressing rather than merely dismissing. If anything otherwise is done, the distance & animosity will only grow. When the author says “our work”, he attempts to speak for all polytheists, which is impossible. But perhaps he speaks only for his universalist tradition modelled on the Julian Platonism of Late Antiquity, or for universalists in general. Either way, I will address his arguments further.

 

Folkish “Paganism” is Reductionist

One thing is overwhelmingly clear: Folkish people do not actually believe in the Gods. They hold a “metagenetic” or “racialist” view of the divine which attempts to posit that the divine limit Their interactions with “foreigners” outside of “the race.” This worldview can be adequately understood as atheism by its materialist reductionism, which attempts to reduce the number and kinds of entities countenanced as real— securing a multiplicity of Gods ontologically through a base materialism which reduces the Gods to merely archetypes of “the race.”

 This is not my position, at least. There are known instances from mythology where certain Gods deal with foreigners, but it depends on how far it went. Zeus abducted Europa from Phoenicia, but he didn’t go to Gaul or to China or to the Baltic sea. And it wasn’t because he couldn’t, but because frankly he had no business where other distant Gods were—he ruled over the peoples that worshipped him and interacted with a few other neighbors passingly. Denying this is denying the power and legitimacy of other Gods to rule over the indigenous lands of the people that worshipped them. The “race” here is not relevant, but only the indigenous/ethnic people who existed within the geographical location who shared some culture. A Briton is as foreign to Greece as a West African or a Chinese, and the same applies all around. Now, the universalist position, first developed by Greek philosophers, seeks to enlarge the “province” of the Greek Gods not only to the whole world, but to the whole universe. This is not possible, in view of distinct polytheisms, otherwise you have imperialism—theological at least. A geographical scope is not at all “materialist reductionism” in the case of divine immanence (where the material & spiritual are joined—the traditional position), but it is with the sort of high-flown transcendence that universalists (can we call them imperialists too?) believe in. The author’s view of divinity here seems dualistic and therefore akin to Gnosticism and Christianity. Finally, I suppose the Gods being archetypes of “race” is an argument against anthropomorphism, but a poor one that I have already addressed in my post against Xenophanes.

 

This ridiculously binds the Gods as subject to a materialist social construct developed by imperialists during the Colonial era, dating to the early Age of Enlightenment and beginning of industrial slavery, far after many of the very same powers destroyed the various polytheisms of the ancient world. This denies that the Gods are real, independently existing entities with agencies of Their own who may engage in personal relations with people outside their ethnicity. This is because Folkish types do not believe that there is anything to the Gods except for customs and ethnicity, and thus do not believe the Gods are capable of actions independent of their own ethnicity.

 Yes, “race” was a social construct developed by colonial imperialists, etc, etc. But there is an interesting point to consider—they developed it (in the New World) in order to lessen the effects of ethnic differences in Europe and thus populate the colonies quickly (by substituting class & culture for race) as well as make them operate smoothly. It was a kind of continentalism, if you will, quite akin to universalism. Nationalism arose the same way—Phillip united a war-torn Greece and then Alexander attacked Persia & founded colonies; next, the Romans consolidated power in Italy at the expense of Carthage and the Gauls. So, my question to universalists is: Is your emphasis similarly on numbers and size rather than quality and distinction? Is polytheism then a sort of “grand buffet” where one may choose Gods at pleasure without any medium or regulations, based on ancient tradition (which we always need to refer to), to guide the choice? The divine cannot be understood except by means of human language and belief and necessity and ethnicity, and those are all bound by culture—this does not mean that the Gods are bound, but that we the worshippers are. However, we can also use our divinely given minds to think of the Gods fairly: Would the Gods be equally concerned with distant foreigners (note the adjective) as with natives? I won’t even answer that rhetorical question. Let’s actually imagine a situation where the natives forget of their native Gods (note the adjective) and then distant foreigners, who are dazzled, begin to worship those same Gods (after probably forgetting of their ancestral ones), would those Gods be pleased only because “a human being” is worshipping them? It does not belong to older and traditional polytheism. The idea of humanity in general being cared for by the Gods is a monotheistic/monistic/deistic one that arose out of Greek philosophy and developed during Late Antiquity. And it wouldn’t have applied much in any case outside of the “empire”—You think the Greeks and Romans of the Roman Empire were capable of believing that their Gods (which they obviously thought were superior) cared for them as much as the Chinese Gods over in the Han Empire? These limitations of worldview in ancient times had meaning and this necessities a serious theological theory that applies to all peoples and lands and Gods in our modern, globalized times. If religious universalism unites with cultural globalization, let’s bid polytheism farewell, except for the few and isolated, i.e. the weak. I am sick of Western hegemony and the imperial Protestant thinking that is infecting the planet.

And one more question, if the Gods are “real independent entities” (which I believe to be true), why are universalists often interested in syncretic Gods, usually those of Late Antiquity??

 

In doing so, Folkish types engage in a transgression against the divine: hubris. By actively denying the all-powerfulness of the immortal Gods and trying to limit them as bounded to “the race,” the Folkish display a desire to substitute their human judgment over that of the Gods. Their doubt of the interaction of certain people with the Gods is as though they think that they have the right to tell the Gods who they should interact with and how. This objectifies the Gods and leads to Folkish types treating the Living Immortals as though they mere cultural trinkets. However, the Gods are not mere culture nor objects which can be appropriated– They are real, living and eternal Beings who may reveal Themselves to and call upon whomever they like to worship Them, and thus They cannot be appropriated. To deny religious experience and denounce true devotion, especially when that deity has asked for it and initiated the personal relation with the devotee, is simply atheism. So are you to decide who the Gods choose to impart with knowledge of them?

There is an impiety in keeping somebody out of a Pagan religious tradition for political reasons. That the Gods exist means that they can do or say something “different than you expected, different than what you believe, different than what you might wish to say in Their names” (EPButler, 17 September 2018 1:22 PM). So you can be sure that if a God does not want a particular worshiper that They will expel them Themselves. They do not need you doing it for Them, and if you’re taking for granted that They do, then you’d best be wary of your own personal connection with Them and not everybody else’s. For the God you are at the most risk of drifting from, “hands down…, is the God to Whom you are closest, but take for granted” (EPButler, 16 September 2018 1:57 PM).

What do you mean that we substitute human effort over that of the Gods? Don’t the philosophers (at least) believe that the Gods are discovered by human effort and that we share a part of their divinity (the soul)? The author is using as much human judgment as I am, when he subscribes to a certain religious tradition and defends it. Hubris is an interesting accusation, but I will turn it entirely on its head, with three considerations. First, it was hubris on the part of the Greek philosophers (whom the author follows) to invent their own systems in opposition to the traditional conceptions of their day, as if they knew everything and scorned what everyone else believed. Secondly, it is hubris for those who believe in the Late Antiquity religious system to apply it universally and arbitrarily upon all the rest of people (which won’t work anyway for various reasons, colonial and cultural)—whereas on the other hand, the traditional system is fair in that it seeks to return to an even field where all or the vast majority of traditions existed distinctly (with measurable overlap, as explained before) and without interference from distant foreigners. And now the greatest hubris of all: believing that an Immortal God, all-powerful, etc. can stoop to *call on you* in particular…I thought the Platonic position was that the Gods didn’t need anyone, is it not so, because they were perfect and absolutely self-satisfied? I disagree. I believe that we need the Gods and they us, but that in any case they don’t call on us—rather, the ancestors (and their culture) act as mediators in this case. I don’t believe the Gods are universally all-powerful, because then the world would not stand from a continual war (theomachy, if you will). This is another essential reason why a theology of the Gods that encompasses the distinctions in the world (based on land and people) is necessary. Otherwise, if the Gods cross here and there, changing constantly like Heraclitus would say, their power loses meaning to us, and then, like the philosophers, people will become monists, deists, skeptics or monotheists, rather than polytheists.

A brief note: The author quotes a modern scholar of some renown to corroborate his views, but for a full response, see what is said and by whom in the quote section of this site to corroborate my views.

 

Pagan Religions cannot be Culturally Appropriated

As stated, the Gods cannot be appropriated. But what about the particular cultural systems of worship centered around the divine which Pagans engage in? Sometimes, Folkish types will try to appropriate the rhetoric of indigenous groups around the world who stand against cultural appropriation— trying to claim that “outsiders” (usually subjective, but typically excludes people of colour) should not enter or partake in Pagan religious traditions because doing so would be “cultural appropriation” in the same vain as someone encroaching on the closed space of an Indigenous American people would be.

There is a obvious and strong distinction (both cultural and moral) between indigenism and nationalism/racism that I need not dwell on. Furthermore, the nascent concept of “re-indigenization” (see this website for example or here also) is probably unknown to the author, but I encourage the readers to seek it out and understand it well, because it is one of the greatest & fairest ideas of these fallen times.

 

Sure, Pagan religions and cultures are often appropriated in popular media (e.g., the disrespect towards the Gods and ancient traditions during the 2004 Summer Olympics in Greece with their mascots, or that Gods-awful TV series Vikings). But not all appropriation is cultural appropriation. The problem with claiming that ancient traditions can be culturally appropriated is that these religions and the cultures have been dead for centuries, and thus cannot be culturally appropriated. Pagan religious movements which revive broken traditions are not on par with unbroken Indigenous traditions. While Indigenous traditions around the world have been brutalized and colonized by European powers yet still manage to survive in unbroken religious traditions, contemporary Paganism attempts to revive traditions from the ground up centuries after these cultures have been destroyed. There is no host country for these cultures or religions, even if there are contemporary cultures which descend from or populate the regions of once-existing dead pre-Christian ones, as they have been thoroughly washed by the new religions which came to dominate their areas. Sure, there are cultural artifacts or even direct religious practices which can remain in some of these cultures and countries, but the prior has been decontextualized (e.g., remains of the Partheon) and the latter has been thoroughly washed by the new religion which came to dominate the culture and recontextualized (e.g., the practice of dedicating imagery of the part of the body that need healing which were originally offerings to Asklepios being reassigned to Mary), and assimilation to the culture will not acclimate one to the religion. Connecting to contemporary Greece, with Orthodox Christianity as its state religion, will not inherently lead one to practicing Hellenism. Connecting to contemporary Germany, which is mixed Protestant and Catholic, will not inherently lead one to worshiping Woden. Connecting to contemporary Egypt, which is a predominantly Arab-state practicing Sunni Islam, will not inherently lead one to praising Ptah.

This section is very unfortunately expressed, I am compelled to say. The author willfully insists on killing or dismissing the remnants of ancient culture and religion in order to prove his point about universalism applying to “dead” traditions. I recall an article I read by Angelo Nasios, wherein he does not oppose the worship of Hellenic Gods by outsiders, but fairly demands that it not be called Hellenism, because it is cultural appropriation. I would add that the Gods can’t be separated from the historical media they were reached by, culture, language and ancestral practice. It’s greatly unjust however to demolish any traces of ancient indigenism that have survived after monotheism, and contrast it with modern (more fortunate) indigenous societies, as if that would lessen the former people’s efforts towards re-indigenization. I need not emphasize that the whole world was once indigenous, and a great part of polytheism’s beauty derives from the simpler times during which our various ancestors lived and their Gods were worshipped. I am not sure what’s the argument regarding contextualization here? Shouldn’t we decontextualize the earlier decontextualization, whenever possible? That’s the essence of reindigenization: It’s a glorious rediscovery of the past, of who we are and what we should do with one another across cultures in orderly to live well. Universalism, manifested by the author’s thinking here, seeks to dismiss this, because it is an inconvenience to their personal inclinations. Great Gods, as if this is a matter of individuals, and not the destiny of peoples! Being German (of whatever religion) won’t inherently lead a person to worship Woden? What does that mean? If they are educated in history and morality, that German should inherently choose polytheism, and Woden would be among the first they think of. If the author’s point is there was no continuity for an immediate transition, I still disagree: Language is a sufficient bridge, that is, if the author must dismiss ethnicity (which I disagree with entirely).

 

Yes, one might feel a deeper connection to a certain religion if they come from a particular cultural background (e.g., a person of Latin background, say Portuguese, connecting better to the Religio Romana), but simultaneously religions such as Christianity or Islam have thoroughly become embedded in these cultures, and their hold is anything but tenuous. It is all pervasive, and part of reviving ancient traditions involves things like moving past the baggage that everyone has as a result of being raised in the society they were raised in because let’s face it, no one is raised within a vacuum. Because the majority of Pagans are converts coming from Abrahamic faiths, they will thus begin with many presumptions about religion which derive from their society. If one thinks that there is an easy way back to the Old World’s religious traditions by connecting with contemporary cultures, then that person has clearly never actually engaged in Pagan religions.

“One might feel a deeper connection” is a perfect indication of what is wrong here, not so much in the author’s expression, but in the mentality of those the author speaks for. One—might—feel—are all and each the wrong terms to be considering in this profound context. The problem here is that polytheists think of themselves as individuals first (without joining community—although alas, there aren’t any yet), and then don’t consider their ancestry (hence the “might” arising from a weak identity) and then feel this matter of destiny rather than think thoroughly about it.  If “no one is raised within a vacuum” and grew up with “Abrahamic faiths”, it shouldn’t stop people from seeking to live in distinct communities and with distinct practices just as their ancestors did, rather than live within the modern, globalized “contemporary cultures” that are the antithesis of polytheism, being in almost every way aligned with monotheism and atheism.

 

Pagan Religions are both Ethnic and Universal

In the Greek New Testament, those who ascribe to pre-Christian religions are called ta ethnē, “the nations” (Luke 24:47, Matthew 25:32, Matthew 28:19). As such, religions of “the nations” were deemed ethnikos, as pertaining to a nation, in opposition to Christianity’s katholikos, meaning “catholic” or “universal.” In English translations of the New Testament, the word ethnē often gets translated as “Gentiles,” and in Latin “Paganus,” or Pagan. This essentially posited the “one universal Christian faith” against a multiplicity of “ethnic” religions. This does not, however, mean that Pagan religions were closed traditions. On quite the contrary, ancient polytheisms were universal traditions which, although they may have originated in one geographic territory, had a tendency to spread into other regions and become part of that area’s culture.

My response is mainly to the last sentence: “Had a tendency to spread into other regions” is a euphemism for imperialism and the falsely “universal” system that arises from it. We need to distinguish the spreading that results from a slow, formative establishment of  several regional Gods within the same pantheon, from the quick, innovative expansion of a powerful foreign God (or Gods) over weaker indigenous ones.

 

The actual issue was not that Christianity’s universalism purported itself as holding a universal truth for all peoples, but that it purported itself as an exclusivist, sole path to salvation, and actively denied the legitimacy of other paths to the truth, especially from long-standing traditions, as being false and abhorrent. This is what was antithetical to the undeniable pluralistic and diverse nature of ancient Pagan religions. The ancient world was, after all, fairly cosmopolitan. We can hardly say that something like Graeco-Roman civilization, which built a temple dedicated to the Egyptian Goddess Isis on the far-away Celtic lands of Britain, was anything but incredibly pluralistic and diverse. The ancient Germanic tribes are another clear example of an ancient peoples becoming well-accustomed to elements of foreign cultures. This is variously seen with the Swedish Viking ruling class of the Kievan Rus, how many different members of tribes such as the Batavi, Saxons, Goths, and Cherusci (among many others) would frequently become Foederati within the Roman military and adopt Roman cults and styles of dress, the intermingling and intermarriage of native Britons and Anglo-Saxons, with early Saxon cemeteries having both bodies from continental Europe and bodies native to the Isles buried in them, and the substantial overlap between Germanic peoples and the Gauls nearest to the Rhine. The Suebi are such an example, with Suebic chieftans Maroboduus and Ariovistus having Gallic names, with the latter speaking fluent Gallic (Gaius Iulius Caesar, Commentarii de Bello Gallico 1.47), as well as the Franks, who took up many elements of Gallo-Roman culture.

I could not disagree with the first sentence more. Is the connection between monotheism and universalism so weak as not to be seen? A socio-cultural examination of the history of monotheism is needed to rectify this mistake (my next post will provide a lengthy chronology with commentary on this topic), because otherwise we will repeat it. But I must ask: what period and place and proportion of the ancient world was “fairly cosmopolitan”? Such a view is too literary, because most people lived out of cities in their regional homelands practicing agriculture. And it was the city-dwellers who always innovated and sought to profit from their new ideas. It saddens me that the author goes at great lengths to pass off coping with imperialism (to avoid further misery) as evidence of diversity…So, the Roman Empire conquers Egypt and subjugates its people, but then the worship of Isis, carried by earlier imperializing Greeks, spreads to Rome and to Britain—surely we can’t complain because Egypt should be proud and Isis, great mother as she is, would approve to see her native people as impoverished subjects while she acquires more generous, numerous and wealthy worshippers abroad?

 

While the translation of the Greek word ethnos does have a connotation as pertaining to a nation, this does not have the same connotation as a “nation-state,” let alone “race,” both of are very modern social constructs which developed many centuries following the extinction of the ancient religions. The latter especially developed quite recently among European imperialists during the Colonial era, dating from the early Enlightenment and beginning of industrial slavery, multiple centuries after many of the same powers destroyed the numerous polytheistic traditions of the ancient world. It is out of touch with reality to believe that the many different ethnic groups populating parts of Europe (Graeco-Romans, Celts, Germanics, Illyrians, etc.,) would have recognized themselves as part of the same people, let ago have seen eye-to-eye with eachother, based on an anachronistic idea of “whiteness” which only developed multiple centuries later. If the ancient world cared about someone’s race, then it would have been very unlikely that the Romans would have had Septimus Severus, a Roman who was half-Italic on his mother’s side and half-Punic and Berber on his father’s side, as their Emperor for almost two decades. There is no such thing as a “white gene,” “brown gene,” or a “black gene,” and what we consider to be “racial” is merely an observation of physical attributes that can change over time. To think the ancient world, let alone the Gods, would care is simply delirious. Rather, the Greek term ethnos means a community of people held together by the same culture, customs, language, and religion, rather than about anything remotely similar to contemporary notions of “race.”

The term “ethnos”, in its earlier sense, actually refers to the tribe and a tribal society but the term may have changed afterwards in Late Antiquity. An ethnos (usually agricultural and pastoral) is distinguished by anthropologists as distinct from the later urban polis that developed from it and sought to unite tribes into one city-state (synoecism). The ethnos however remained even in the latter stage, since marriages excluded within citizenry brought a sense of common ancestry. The different ethnic groups throughout Europe could not have brought themselves together as one group, but they approached that idea with the Roman Empire—in this case, however, they didn’t see it as “race” because they were all, except for very few, of the “Caucasian race” anyway, unlike the colonizers and slave traders of later times, who perceived great differences suddenly and proceeded with evil imperialism in order to justify their subjugation of the weaker people as a means to “civilize” them. This is why I dislike imperialism: in time, it molds a new large identity, whether an empire or a race (the two concepts are congruous), while replacing or weakening smaller ones, for the sake of some twisted, hypocritical ideology. And this is why I seek re-indigenization through regionalism.

 

So sure, if one is called to by a God or even simply wishes to participate in these religions, then necessary respect and acknowledgement must be given to the culture that the God created, and one well ought to be interested in learning as much as they can about it. This does not, however, merely come from birth. No, this comes from work. This is a clear understanding from the ancient world, as the divine Emperor Julian tells us: “though my family [the Constantinian dynasty] is Thracian, [I] am a Greek in my habits,” or in other words, logos displaces genos (Flavius Claudius Iulianus, II 501). Being a Hellene, or any practitioner of a Pagan religion, does not designate a people (genos), but a mindset (logoi) (Libanios, Or. II.184) (Kaldellis 2011, 54). One becomes part of a Pagan religion (such as Hellenism) because they share in a culture which was attained through education (such as paideia), rather than “common stock (physis)” (Elm 2012, 378-379). Indeed, while these religions are ethnic because they originated with a group of people, ancient religions are at the same time katholikos, or universal, because by their very nature they reflect the reality and universal principles of the Cosmos itself.

Yes, Julian was a Thracian, which was within the bounds of Greece, especially during his time. Zeno of Citium the Phoenician was accepted even earlier. Quoting late authors like Libanios doesn’t help in a universal sense, because their (urban) world was already jumbled up by imperialism (beginning with the Hellenistic) and thus Hellenism lost its original cultural identity and developed a false transcendental one. Even though I am a Greek, I can easily blame the Greeks for their cultural imperialism in the Near East, the same region where Libanios came from—he must have felt inferior if he were not considered Greek, and therefore he went along with the imperialism as a coping mechanism. A similar thing happens with immigrants in America, like my parents, and even happened with me when I returned to America after living 10 years abroad. And a brief note once again: Don’t be quick to equate the Greek philosophical system’s universal cosmology to what other traditional and regionalized cultures do with their cosmologies/mythologies, because that will lead to the dismissing of the latter, since modern science agrees often with the former.

 

Pagan Religions are God-centric, not ancestor-centric

I want to establish that in no way am I dismissing ancestor veneration. It’s a practice that is prevalent in many Pagan religious traditions, and plays a strong significance in the Religio Romana. However, Folkish types will often claim that the core of Paganism and polytheism is about “tribe and ancestors.” There is a few problems to this. Firstly, though some Pagan religions may have a kind of focus on a tribe, such as Germanic polytheism, the ancient concept of a tribe is very unrelated to the very contemporary notion of a “nation-state,” which many Folkish types will try to extrapolate the concept to anachronistically. Secondly, their tone-deaf description of Paganism and polytheism will always inherently fall short because it completely displaces the core of what polytheism is actually all about. The focus of polytheism, as the word implies in Greek (“polús,” meaning many, and “theós,” meaning God), is the veneration of the many living, eternal Gods. Period. We don’t seek the mediation of the Gods to worship our ancestors because ancestors are not the focus of polytheism.

 Polytheism needs to be understood beyond its simple etymology. There is plenty of socio-historical and socio-political theory to comprehend within it before you can even worship correctly, and this includes our knowledge about what ancient ancestry is and the importance of re-developing a direct connection to it. I have already explained how our various ancestors and their cultures are media between us and their Gods. Certainly the opposite is not true: the Gods are not mediators between us and our ancestors. Finally, I disagree with nationalism (or the nation-state), because of its inherent imperialism and anti-regionalism, since one tribe is required to conquer the rest before a “nation” is formed. Nationalism is almost as unreasonable as globalization.

 

Folkish people don’t even engage in actual ancestor veneration

For all the lip-service that the Folkish preach for ancestors, the Folkish typically have an incredibly reductionist view of what the ancestors actually are, commonly resting it on mere biological descendance. This is in contrast to the ancient world, such as in Rome, where your ancestors wouldn’t even necessarily be biological since biology was never really thought as being important. Noble families would frequently adopt males unrelated to them to follow in their footsteps, and when you were adopted into a family, you would be expected to worship that family’s ancestors. Because after all, what of people who were not raised by their biological family in any way, but instead, were raised by adoptive parents? What family’s ancestors would they even have to worship if only their biology mattered?

Folkish people will claim that minorities should refrain from joining Pagan religions because, again hearkening back to their erroneous “metagenetics” argument, people should only “worship the Gods of their ancestors.” But this argument is one of brittle bones which can be easily broken by just pointing out that most of their parents, let alone their ancestors for at least the past five centuries, are almost guaranteed to not have been engaged in the worship of the very same Gods that they are right now. Are those ancestors suddenly no longer of any worth? If so, that’s a pretty detestable view of one’s ancestors. But let’s play devil’s advocate and for the sake of this specious argument ignore this elephant in the room. If only biology mattered, then one can assume that they would have absolutely no problem with mixed people trying to join their traditions. But evidently, they overwhelmingly do. So how do the Folkish reconcile their worldview of biology with mixed peoples who want to enter Pagan traditions? For example, the majority of African-descendant people in the west are mixed, having European ancestry somewhere in their family tree, sometimes being the direct result of a biracial union. But of course, most Folkish types would reject them, even though they would rarely if ever complain if someone of mixed European descent wanted to join, or even someone of a completely separate fair-skinned peoples entirely. This is because genuine ancestor veneration is not something which the Folkish even actually engage in when they play at “honouring the ancestors.” This distortion of ancestor worship that the Folkish engage in, coupled with how they relegate Gods to archetypes of “the race,” informs us that, in reality, Folkish types misuse the component of ancestor veneration in Pagan and polytheistic religions as an excuse to go all-out blood and soil. Their “ancestor veneration,” and worship in general, is merely a form of self-indulgent pomposity because all it means to them is that it “honours their great race.” Beneath the shallow dressing, they are merely worshiping the phenotype. Their religion is white people. Nothing else.

I have explained on my site how people of mixed ancestry (citing myself also) can deal with the point of culture and worship. I don’t have a problem with people of mixed races joining and assimilating within a community, but I wouldn’t encourage the mixing (even inter-ethnic marriage) in the first place, for various reasons (mainly because it’s used by white leftists to heal past wrongs as if their continual colonialization will go away when they do it), which universalism does. I don’t mean to divert the discourse here, but the author is very insensitive when he mentions people of African descent in the west with European ancestry, because we all know how that ancestry was forcibly acquired and how they forcibly came to the west in the first place. So, why would they be venerating white or European ancestors at all?

 

Pagan Religions are a result of Post-Modernism

The Folkish have this unbridled phobia of Post-Modernism, even to the point where they will use it as a buzzword against detractors, despite not having any actual idea of what it is about nor its significance for contemporary polytheism. To simplify it, Post-Modernist philosophy is merely a kind of skepticism about Modernism, which is itself a philosophical movement which, by trying to simplify things and arrange them in a linear fashion out of a desire to create stories with clear beginnings and ends, argues for a straightforward progression towards truth and liberty, which gave rise to theories like whig history. When applied to religious modes of thought, Modernism would hypothesize that earlier religious modes of practice and belief are inherently more “primitive,” because they’re not in the “now,” positing that a “primitive society” would begin practicing a form of animism, which itself would give way to a “more developed” polytheism which humanizes abstract spirits, which in turn would reject the “ridiculous idea” of many Gods and cultivates into monotheism as the “pinnacle of spiritual development,” with another step sometimes included with a jump from monotheism to atheism.

Post-Modernism rebukes Modernist theories of linear human development, arguing that it doesn’t make sense as the way in which things actually happen because, much like biological evolution, what sticks in human development is not always an improvement; it is in essence random. Post-Modernism’s rejection of modernist approaches to historiography allowed for a resurrected interest in ancient paganisms which revived devotional polytheism in the west. Because of this, Post-Modernism has been in large part responsible for the reconstructionist methodology we use today in reviving these ancient religions, and that our Post-Modern culture has inspired more genuine interest in polytheism and ancient paganism than say, the romantic and Völkisch environment of turn of the 20th century Germany.

I am actually a post-modernist, but I still believe that monotheism developed from socio-political conditions within certain species of polytheism and from certain groups of polytheists. Furthermore, I think the author projects linearity when he implies (though subtly) that our earlier tribal societies were less moral and less culturally superior than those of Late Antiquity and afterwards. As for Volkisch rotten nonsense of the Nazis which sought to elevate the Nordic “race” above all others, I have nothing at all to do with it—I am actually partly Sephardic Jewish on my father’s side and I said this on the author’s site, but he still proceeded to call me “Folkish” with the same insensitivity displayed earlier about Africans in the west. Finally, it was rather shameful for the author to equate me with these miserable Folkish nordicists and in the same breath, ban me in order to prevent me from defending myself.

 

Conclusion

Stating the obvious: the Folkish and their rhetoric are visibly ignorant and foul. These blatant fascists are inherently violent because of how their canards incites the dehumanization and harassment of minorities by unnecessarily forcing them to validate themselves both as practitioners and as people, and inherently impious because of their flagrant atheism and hubris which objectifies the Gods and ancestors as mere trinkets who only serve to propound the short-sighted pomposity they have about their “race.” This only produces a toxic environment where the both the pious and the marginalized are left unwelcome, and as such, their hatespeech is undeserving of any audience. Their platforms in Pagan circles should be torn down, and any individuals who are espousing their abhorrent rhetoric should be barred from any and all participation in any legitimate polytheistic and/or Pagan community. Their points are not to be debated: they are to be ridiculed.

My conclusion: The author’s conclusion will make things worse rather than better for polytheism on the whole, at least on the internet. Meantime, I will continue (to the best of my ability) writing as I do, honestly, fairly, respectfully and carefully, in the service of all Gods and all peoples (the right kind of universalism), until such time the Gods will allow me to form or join a real & closed polytheistic community in Greece that will promote re-indigenization and regionalism.

Polemical topics for polytheists (part 6): Indigenism

First view: The indigenous people of the world are faring very well and are part of modern society, therefore they don’t need our help

Second view: The indigenous people of the world are in great misery and they need to be championed by everyone born with privilege (i.e. people descended from European colonists)

Balanced view: If we all think of ourselves as indigenous to a certain part of the world, and act accordingly, the problem will be solved.

Although it was my intention to consider ethnicity and ethnic religion, it is impossible to do so without understanding indigenism and its integral place within the system of polytheism. In ancient times, the various peoples of humankind spread themselves through the Earth gradually and accidentally in the course of many tens of thousands of years. When these journeys ended, and most lands were inhabited, peoples diversified further within distinct territories to form distinct cultures, practices and languages. It is difficult to determine when exactly this permanent or regional settlement occurred, but it seems to have been (in general) hardly later than the past three thousand years ago. However, with the rise of population (mainly because of agriculture), states arose and battled for wealth and power, and before long, the vile spirit of imperialism was born, and its lust for absolute domination, false glory, and unjust expansion began. As shown in the previous series (good and bad polytheists), we see it occurring throughout the world where agriculture was adopted along rivers, even (though to a lesser degree) in South America with the Incan Empire. It is thus easy to understand how indigenism lost to imperialism and its twin colonialism.  After  extended periods of growth (following fall of the Roman Empire) an absolute tragedy occurred in Western Europe: Ethnic groups on the margins of national empires, formerly indigenous Celts, who were now oppressed and disliked by the new dominant cultures based in the capital cities, undertook to colonize actively (as if in escapism) the New World. It is no secret that most settlers in the New World were poor, scorned and therefore hungry for some sort of wealth or acknowledgement— the Spaniards on the fringes, the Northern & Western English, the Welsh, the Irish, the Scots, the Portuguese, the Scots-Irish, the Hugenots of France, the Southern Germans, etc. These people had been oppressed by an inner colonization & imperialism in the form of nationalism, and now they were tempted to help themselves, not knowing that they were also feeding the same oppressive system of nationalism, and this again at the expense of other indigenous people. Thus, by a most unfortunate twist of fate and conspiracy on the part of the theocratic & national forces, the marginal groups of Europe, formerly indigenous, founded their own theocratic & national systems throughout the New World, in order to prove themselves and put an end to their former oppression, as if in defiance of the native countries that had scorned them. The obvious observation here is that imperialism and colonialism cause destructive cycles that expand and diversify themselves—the very definition of a disease. But since this is not a conclusion, we must answer the question, what is to be done nowadays? Although I am somewhat biased to the second view above, it seems to imply (ironically) that people of European descent will be committing only another sort of colonialism by championing and speaking on behalf of indigenous peoples. The solution? Leave. Yes, leave however and whenever you can to rediscover and resettle your indigenous homeland. This is already a time in history during which people are travelling more than ever and changing their residence constantly, because it has never been easier; this is likewise a time when several parts of the world, especially Europe, is declining in its birth-rates. As polytheists, it is furthermore impossible to overlook we are rebels and more or less distant from our families. So, what can be the excuse? Say what you will, but I’ll maintain that the Hellenic Zeus has no place out of the original lands inhabited by Greeks, nor do the Celtic or Germanic Gods belong to America, Canada, Brazil, Australia, or any part of the New World. By worshipping them there, we commit a sort of absurdity, and above all, we disappoint our Gods by alienating them from their original holy areas and at the same time, we anger them by allowing them to encroach on the lands of other Gods. Now, if you ask me, how can Gods own lands? The answer is quite simple: Since every indigenous people has their pantheon, the Gods preside as patrons of the land and all that belongs to what we call nature. What makes us different from monotheists is that we don’t believe there is one supreme, omnipotent, omnipresent (aka imperial) deity ruling over all peoples and all parts of the Earth. Gods and cultures and peoples and lands in polytheism are all connected within distinct groups, which all have the right to remain and continue, with neighborly exchange and sharing, otherwise we commit imperialism and colonialism. Another difference from monotheists (and their descendants the modernists) is that we don’t misuse the universal term “humanity”, as if to show we are all happily united as one people on one earth*. If Zeus can exist within Ireland, it can only mean he is appropriating the thunder of Taranis. If Taranis or Odin can exist within America (with a majority of people as descendants of colonists), it can only mean they have overthrown the realm of the Great Spirit, and therefore they are superior to it because of current supremacy. If this seems wrong, it is because we are too accustomed in our thinking to the transcendent immaterial side of divinity only, as practiced by monotheism, while forgetting of the solid material side. Let us therefore no longer be tokens and playthings in the hands of colonialists and imperialists. Let us do our part to end the problem of immigration by replacing its false economic purpose for a real cultural one. Let us then return to our own ancestors and Gods in the true sense and spirit of the word, by returning to their lands.

 Please visit this website, if you are interested in learning more about an ambitious project & discussion of unsettling America and re-indigenization begun by a fellow polytheist. N.B. The author uses the term “whiteness” in the sense of “westernization”, not in the sense of “race”, and she explains this under the section “heal whiteness”.

 

_____________

*The term “humanity” is rather generic and bears no real significance as a united and universal concept, except when monotheism is applied (or its descendants: atheism and modernism). One god leads to one people, doesn’t it (just as atheism leads to people vs god, ironically)? But this only means that imperialism is in force by one culture over all others. Notice how the language of “humanity” is English nowadays. Surely that has a connection with British and American imperialism? And surely that extends to cultural values also? This is by no means a coincidence.