Sunday, July 31, 2011

On Susan B Anthony and UPG

A couple of days ago, I read a blog post entitled 'Prayer, Indigeny and Conquest' by Galina Krasskova ( To be found here ). To summarise for those of you that don't wish to read it, Ms Krasskova contends that modern Heathens focusing on lore is a form of fetishism. That we should look more to our ancestors and reclaim what monotheism has taken from us. She even goes as far as to say:

"You come from a tribe, from something that is so much bigger and you want to trade it away for lore, lore not even written by people who practiced their ancestral traditions? From lore written by collaborators? That lore is not designed to bring you to any reality or connection. It is a product of the corporate machine. It’s a product of soul sickness and spirit sadness. We have eaten the poison of our conquerors and in some sad sort of Stockholm syndrome, we continue to deny ourselves the only antidote that matters: ancestral connection, connections with our Gods, direct experience, and a reclamation of our own indigeny. In other words, our birthright. It’s time we all wake up."

Now I have my issues with monotheism, I'm not going to deny that but did you just see what she did in that quote?!

And for someone that claims to value and respect her ancestors, she sure shows a hell of a lot of disdain for the generations of them that were monotheists and found comfort in that.

Let me tell you a story that my father told me about his mother when she was dying.

When my grandmother went, she'd battled a life of sickness, starting from the TB that she'd had while pregnant with my father to the blindness and then cancer she'd contracted later in life. During her final days, she was so upset due to an altercation that had occurred with a priest that had told her she'd go to hell because she'd not been to church or donated to the plate. My grandfather had kicked the guy out on his arse, but my grandmother was still very upset. So he went out and bought her a gold cross, then took it to another priest and asked him to bless it for his wife - which the priest did. My grandmother took a lot of comfort from that cross, the blessing and the act of love that my grandfather had performed in doing that for her, in bringing her that comfort. That cross sits on my ancestral shrine, along with her wedding ring and a photo of her and her husband that loved her so completely to the end.

My grandparents were Christians, the generations before that were also Christians, but you know what? So fucking what?! They're family and that comes first before anything or everything else. I really don't understand this whole anger against Christian ancestors because they didn't have the faith that you would prefer them to have had. We'd be angry if someone told us that we couldn't be Heathens and that we had to have certain beliefs, how the hell is this any different?!

Why be divisive against family because of something as daft as religion? I really hate to pull this one too, because this has got to be breaking some kind of internet 'law', but being divisive against family is totally a Christian thing.

To (allegedly) quote that carpenter from Galilee:

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on Earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:34-39 NASB)

Really? Are we Heathens going to ignore all Frith and allow, what I would say is the the true cost of Christianity, to continue taking its toll?

As for the lore, I would probably be classed as someone that 'fetishises' the lore due to my refusal to spew UPG wherever I go on the internet. I know a lot of Heathens that also refuse to participate in this. Does that mean that they don't have connections beyond their study of the lore or experiences or UPG?

Does it hell!

It means that for most of the people I know at least (and myself included in this), UPG is PRIVATE and personal business. Spewing it everywhere looking for points in the apparent yet unspoken 'who has the greatest relationship with (insert deity here)' contest cheapens it.

I would talk UPG with a trusted friend, but I wouldn't tell anyone and everyone like it's really that important and that they all *need* to know this stuff like it's some kind of a universal revelation.

As Susan B Anthony quote once wrote:

"I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires."

For much as these people would like to imagine that those gloried ancestors (you know, the ones that never knew the 'taint' of Christianity), would accept them for all their shenanigans, I think were they to somehow invent a time machine and go back in time, those self same ancestors would think them insane and either give them a wide berth or sink them in a bog.

And for all the insistence that we 'fetishise' lore, they really aren't getting it either.

Reconstructionists take a multi-disciplined approach, we look at lore, yes, but we also look at archaeological finds, outsider views of that society, laws, legal documents, contracts etc. We look at what life was like for people back then to see if what is spoken about in the lore and what is commonly believed was practical or would have tallied with their worldview.

We *care* enough about those ancestors to give them the respect of trying to figure out what they actually did as opposed to relying on some unverifiable, alleged, spiritual experience with an impossible-to-track ancestor that in all probability is really just a brain fart or wish fulfilment. Now don't get me wrong, I have strange things happen to me all the time, but you have to show a level of scepticism and stay anchored or you lose all grip on any kind of reality. If you have some kind of experience like that and research bears it out later, that's awesome. That takes your UPG from the 'Probable Brain Fart That's Interesting To Ponder' category and into the 'Way More Interesting' category.

If you really want to reclaim your indigeny, try showing it and your ancestors some real respect first!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

When Reconstruction Diverges From The Personal

Generally speaking, Reconstructing a worldview often reminds me of a toolkit, in which all the parts are missing. You have the plastic moulds in the box to show you roughly what tools went there, or their basic shape, but you don't really have a clue about that tool until you find it. Each piece of worldview discovered is a new tool, that can be then used to build new things.

However sometimes, you come across a tool that you can't, for some reason, use. Kind of like when a left-handed person tries to use right-handed scissors. So you must adapt the tool a little, or maybe more than one tool can fit there?

I've come to that point with my musings on the afterlife. In terms of the sources, it makes massive sense that people were non-dualist and world accepting. However, while I am absolutely world accepting and am very much concerned with what is in this world, I've come to this large sticking point of what happens after death. When I was growing up in my nominally Church of England family, I was told that after death, we all end up back with family that had passed on. We have tales of family members that saw already deceased family while on their deathbeds. The whole thing seems natural to me, that people who were tightly knit with their kith and kin in life, would also perceive it to be the case post mortem too.

This reminds me of the account of Radbod of Frisia who refused to convert to Christianity after being told that his non-Christian ancestors would be burning in Hell and that he'd rather be in Hell with his ancestors than in Heaven without. I wonder how much Christian influence is in the concept of going to your family after death if at all. Maybe for some Heathenisms, there was a 'different shaped tool' when it comes to the afterlife part of the puzzle? I don't know.

However the idea of going with family fits both my own family tradition and what feels right in my heart. Don't ask me about soul parts and stuff, because I don't know. I haven't a clue really. I still think the 'soul matrix' is a pile of crap that was invented by people no earlier than the 70s. Do I believe in something other than the physical body? Yes. Would I call it a soul? No, not in the same way. Could I explain that further? Not at all.

But you know what? I'm perfectly comfortable with that.