In modern Neopagan circles, Germanic Paganism is represented by the various factions of Ásatrú – commonly known as Heathenry. Draug has no affiliation with any of these groups, nor Heathenry in general. We approach the Gods in our own way, and encourage others to do likewise.
Heathenry is perhaps the most divided, fragmented and controversial of all the manifestations of Neopaganism. There are many bright, creative, and brilliant people among its ranks, people with honourable hearts and true intentions. Yet one must always tread carefully when dealing with Heathenry, for that tree has grown out of bad soil.
Today, if one comes to seek Asgard in their heart, they will usually turn to Heathenry seeking like-minded individuals; and happily, they often succeed. Yet few are at first aware that the seed which gave rise to modern Heathenry in the 1970’s did not come from a desire to revive the Germanic Pagan religions of old, but to revive the Völkisch movement of 19th century Germany. The Völkisch movement is that same murky swamp from which Aryanism and Nazi ideology emerged.
While today many ‘universalist’ Heathen groups oppose this ideology, it is maintained by the lineage of the original ‘folkish’ Heathen groups. With the exception of the Icelandic group, Ásatrúarfélagið, which is by and large a noble institution, the founders of the original Ásatrú and Odinist groups of the early 1970’s were thoroughly inspired by fascism and neonazism, and sought to make a popular religion out of their idiocy. Paganism was simply the Trojan horse within which they hid their fascist ideologies. These people are incapable of understanding the Pagan Spirit. They are cut off from Spirit entirely.
In the mid-1980’s, a schism formed within the Völkisch revival which gave rise to the apparent dichotomy of ‘universalist’ versus ‘folkish’ Heathenry. Generally, ‘universalist’ Heathens believe that any person from any demographic can hear the call of the Aesir, but ‘folkish’ Heathens maintain their belief that Germanic Paganism is the sole ethnic inheritance of caucasians of northern European heritage.
The universalist groups earnestly tried to get away from the right wing origins of modern Heathenry, but rather than cutting the tree down and planting a new one, they simply sprouted as a new branch.
These Völkisch origins are a root disease that will never stop corrupting the tree of Heathenry for as long as it stands. To this day, universalist groups have done little to purge the disease and thus their branch is doomed to rot with the rest of the tree.
THE FAR RIGHT SCOURGE
If one is seen to be wearing the Hammer of Thor around their neck, the assumption may simply be that the wearer has an interest in Norse religion, metal music, or both. But it is not unlikely that the wearer may instead be assumed to be a racist and a white supremacist, particularly in the USA. The fact that this is possible stands as an affront to any and all who truly value the way of the Aesir.
Some of the most violently racist skinhead groups and prison gangs in the USA openly revere the Nordic pantheon, and hundreds of far right groups bear the runes and symbols of the ancient north. The swastika, once a profound symbol of otherworldly power, is for obvious reasons likely lost to us forever. But soon they will take the Valknut, the Boar, the Runes, even the Hammer itself, unless something is done.
How could such a backwards and cowardly person as the modern right-winger possibly come to claim the ancient Nordic religion and culture as their own?
They cannot. They do not know what true Paganism is. They have no concept of it. They think that to be Pagan is to obsess over genetics, and the historic movement of peoples. Were they to go back in time to the pre-Christian Norse era, they’d have been sorely disappointed by the people they found. Until the oppression of the Norse by the Catholic Church, and the final destruction of its ancient culture, they had had a passionate curiosity for the wide world that lay beyond their villages. Many among the Pagan Norse had sailed into the deepest depths of Uttangard with a thirst for adventure, and a deep desire to find strange new lands and peoples that stood outside of the ordinary humdrum of their lives at home. They settled among foreigners, they fell in love with foreigners, raised children with foreigners, they spread far and wide, working and trading and breeding with peoples and cultures all across the known world. They did not think that they and only they had a monopoly on what is ‘great’ on account of their genetics. Because you see, they weren’t deluded nutjobs. They valued spirit, ideas and knowledge; not flesh, haplogroups and racial purity.
Folkish Heathens flatter themselves that they possess the warrior spirit of the Vikings, but unlike the Vikings, these xenophobes fear the world beyond their narrow borders. These cowards cling to Inangard like a baby to a mother’s breast, fearfully avoiding anything that resembles Uttangard. They have a terror for the wide world and the people that live there, and they have a passionate hatred for those who value progress, change, evolution and freedom.
Folkish Heathenry is a religion of lies, it has more in common with extreme forms of Abrahamic monotheism than anything Pagan. Theirs is the fearful cult of flesh, a materialist ‘faith’ that worships matter and genetics. They do not revere the Gods or explore the myths, they simply exploit these vast emanations of the Otherworld to promote their very narrow, Midgardian ideologies. They elevate their xenophobia and adoration for white flesh to a spiritual level, they make a religion out of it, they enshrine it in a pseudo-Pagan religious identity. They debase and slander the Gods themselves, who through their ideology are claimed to be cosmic nazis who view the Nordic ‘subspecies’ of the Aryan race as vastly more important to them than anyone else. The ancient Norse would not have recognised folkish Heathenry as having anything to do with their own spirituality. They would laugh in the face of the modern folkish Heathen before kissing them with the axe.
THE RECONSTRUCTIONIST BLUNDER
Draug currently has no affiliation with any universalist Heathen groups either, as none of them have taken any valuable action to purge the far-right disease from modern manifestations of Germanic Paganism. Nor do they show any sign of doing so. Their values of ‘tolerance’ have allowed them to tolerate the intolerant, and thus they have inadvertently aided the spread of the Folkish corruption. Well done them. The Draugar are not content to bandy words with those who allow an evil to exist in their midst.
Most non-folkish Heathen groups cannot combat this contemporary issue because their heads are too buried in the past. Many of these groups are not attempting to revive the Pagan Spirit, but ‘reconstruct’ it. This means they fixate on the Viking Age, the time from which comes the most primary evidence as to what Germanic religion actually looked like. At their gatherings, it is not uncommon to see people playing dress-up, wearing Viking Age clothing or armour, or giving workshops on Viking Age cookery, smithing, weaving, or combat. These would be fascinating workshops at a museum, not necessarily a spiritual gathering in the twenty-first century.
They have not recognised the evolutionary nature of the Pagan Spirit, that it is not an external, material practice like the monotheistic religions, but is in fact a part of us, a critical domain of the human spirit. Germanic Paganism is not a religious system, but a deep well of inspiration filled with strange stories and rituals that can aid us toward knowledge, wisdom, strength and growth.
Heathen groups often admit that Germanic Paganism has no fixed form, and yet still they search for a solid religion that is locked in time, a religion that must resemble the religion of the Vikings, a religion that does not change. They often lack the imagination required to revive and give fresh contemporary significance to the ancient and immortal spirit of Germanic Paganism. These Viking folk customs and rituals were the body of Germanic Paganism as she existed during that particular place and time. But she was murdered, and her spirit entered the underworld. We must raise her, and let her incarnate into a new body, one suitable for traversing the toxic, passionless atmosphere of the twenty-first century.
Attempting to reconstruct the folk rituals of the Middle Ages is misguided and represents a misunderstanding of the true nature of the Pagan Spirit. Draug looks to the past both to celebrate and be inspired by the great deeds of history, and in order to inform the present, for when the present world is properly understood, we take what we have learned, and march relentlessly into the future.
We look back to look forward. The future is our primary concern.
There is something far, far more important for Heathens to be getting on with than attempting to reconstruct the religion of the Vikings. Eliminating a virus that seeks to infect modern Germanic Paganism. This virus wants to divide humanity, to make us fight over flesh like a race of dumb, unevolved apes, to spread an ideology that is already responsible for millions of deaths, and would take millions more given half the chance.
Do you claim to revere your Pagan ancestors? Then act like them. Combat folkish Heathenry with all the implacable ferocity of the warrior.
Banning far right Heathens from pages and groups, and having a zero-tolerance policy in your group rules, is simply not enough. That is called paying lip-service to an issue. Make no mistake, the far right scourge must be the primary focus of any and all Heathen groups bright enough to comprehend the big picture.
Our hearts go out to the principled and heroic Heathens out there who look on in horror as the far right use the symbols and Gods of the ancient north to promote their backwards ideologies, who have implored their fellow Heathens to help them combat this menace. But for the most part, they might as well have been yelling at the wind. We raise a horn to you far-seeing ones, you who cry out in loud voices, even when no one wishes to hear you.
The Gods are far, far more ancient and immense than a single era of Northern European history.
We are not the playthings of fate, as many Heathens seem to want to believe.
We are fate.
Therefore, do not flee from the future.