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Author Topic: Asatru/Heathen Discrimination?  (Read 4897 times)

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FairyQueen

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Asatru/Heathen Discrimination?
« on: June 25, 2012, 12:43:35 AM »

Friday I had my Pagan Ethics Dinner (it was successful, but I'll go on more about it in my journal later), and someone in the group, relating it to ethics, brought up ethnic discrimination by those who are Asatru or Heathen. She claimed that these groups demand that you have German/Scandinavian ancestry in order to be part of these traditions. I did some research and found stuff that can be taken either way (on the same page, even).

Can anyone confirm or deny this?

 
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Tirya

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Re: Asatru/Heathen Discrimination?
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2012, 06:06:32 AM »

Are there some followers of Asatru/Heathenism who require you to be of Germanic or Scandinavian descent to join their groups or blots? Yes.

Is it a hard-and-fast rule that "you must be Germanic/Scandinavian in order to be Asatru/Heathen, period"? No.

Racists, bigots, and narrow-minded people exist in every religion and tradition (pagan and non-pagan alike), but that does not mean that the religion or tradition itself dictates that discrimination - it means that the people are using their religion to justify their personal biases.

Remember - it makes it more convenient when your God hates all the same people that you do.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2012, 06:11:06 AM by Tirya »
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dragonspring

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Re: Asatru/Heathen Discrimination?
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2012, 08:54:05 AM »

I am not so sure that it is always a matter of people being racists, bigots, or narrow-minded.  From what I have seen, Asatru and Heathens seem to place a lot of emphasis on honoring the ancestors so that may be a factor in groups that have these requirements.   
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Ghost Wolf

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Re: Asatru/Heathen Discrimination?
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2012, 10:11:07 AM »



Racists, bigots, and narrow-minded people exist in every religion and tradition (pagan and non-pagan alike), but that does not mean that the religion or tradition itself dictates that discrimination - it means that the people are using their religion to justify their personal biases.

Remember - it makes it more convenient when your God hates all the same people that you do.

Tirya, it does not mean that Folkish Heathens are racists and bigots. These terms are thrown around too lightly nowadays. Folkish Heathens believe that one must have a direct line back through one's Ancestors because a major part of Heathen practice has to do with honoring the Ancestors. The Gods actually play less of a role in day to day life than do the Ancestors and the Landvetter.

Going on the racist/bigot logic that modern society dictates, then Native Americans can, likewise, be considered racists and bigots.

It is a matter of culture, not hatred. Folkish Heathens do not hate other's gods, they see their religion as part of a larger cultural context, which is Northern European/Germanic, and can't see why one would want to connect with their gods outside of this context.
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Tirya

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Re: Asatru/Heathen Discrimination?
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2012, 10:30:36 AM »

There are groups out there who base their "Nordic-only" restrictions on racial bias and hatred, for no other reason than they use their Gods as a way to justify their own biases. As I said, that way of thinking exists in every religion and tradition to some extent, because using the "because God said so" argument is a great way to avoid having to actually address issues. Is it the ONLY reason that groups have exclusionary beliefs? No.
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Re: Asatru/Heathen Discrimination?
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2012, 12:41:09 PM »

I think my concern and reason for asking for this information is that we all know that a God or Goddess or multiple deities can call to us or ask us for our service - regardless of ethnic or cultural ancestry or heritage. I know lots of people who have no Egyptian ancestry but are called to their pantheon. Why is it different for "Heathens"? I get the ancestor worship bit, as I find myself doing a lot of it myself, but if we all go far enough back, we have the same or similar ancestors...

Just my  :2cents:
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Re: Asatru/Heathen Discrimination?
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2012, 01:30:05 PM »

Not all Asatru groups are exclusionary, of course. The gods call who they call regardless. People are entitled to their beliefs, and I am happy to let them do so, as long as their beliefs do not infringe on our individual liberty.
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Re: Asatru/Heathen Discrimination?
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2012, 04:56:58 PM »

I think my concern and reason for asking for this information is that we all know that a God or Goddess or multiple deities can call to us or ask us for our service - regardless of ethnic or cultural ancestry or heritage. I know lots of people who have no Egyptian ancestry but are called to their pantheon. Why is it different for "Heathens"? I get the ancestor worship bit, as I find myself doing a lot of it myself, but if we all go far enough back, we have the same or similar ancestors...

Just my  :2cents:

Yes, and if you truly believe in reincarnation, then your ancestry this life around is not your only ancestry. ;)
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Claude

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Re: Asatru/Heathen Discrimination?
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2012, 03:03:50 PM »

I have met Asatruars on both sides of this spectrum. The arguments that I've heard are as follows

1-The Nordic peoples are descended from the Aesir and only the Nordic people should be able to worship them (according to myth)
2-Humans are reincarnated along bloodlines so only those of Norse blood can worship the Aesir and Vanir
3-Heathenism is a purely European faith so only pure Europeans should be allowed in
4-Only the Nordic peoples can truly understand the Aesir and Vanir from a Nordic perspective
5-Since Asatru is so focused on ancestry and family people of other races will feel awkward participating in Heathen rituals

Really though if you look at the history of the human species you see that all these arguments are false. The Europeans are closely related to the Aryans of India. Most pagan faiths in Europe share striking similarities to each other and Hinduism. (not to mention all other religions around the globe) That takes care of point 4.

Now take the history out of it and look at the practices of most Heathen groups. Most Heathens and most pagans don't look at the myths as literal stories. They are stories that contain spiritual truths for those who have the eye to read them. So that right there rules out points 1 2 and 3.

Lastly during WWII Hitler toyed with the Norse faith and used it as propaganda. Those ideas trickled over to America and our own Neo Nazi groups. They adopted the Nordic faith and further mutilated it from its original form. Most Heathen groups allow members of other races and different orientations to join. However there are a few groups on the fringe who have adopted a very harsh bigoted approach to their faith. I believe the Odinic Rite is one of those groups but I'm not positive. Regardless of where the Kindred stands on the issue of race and orientation Heathenism is dominated by white people of European descent. There are quite a few LGBTs among the Kindereds I've met but very rarely has there been a non white of European descent. So in all honesty point number 5 can be valid to some individuals but it is a poor excuse to be racist and deny entry to people based on ethnicity or orientation.

There is a very similar argument floating around Hellenic circles. Some Greek Hellenes don't think that people descending from other European nations should be allowed to join the Hellenic faith. Since I'm of Norther European and Celtic descent I have an issue.  :gaah: But Hellenism unlike Heathenism has a very long and ancient tradition of xenophobia.

Personally I take a very global very Roman approach to other faiths. Synretism is another very ancient practice that many of the trad pagan faiths have conveniently forgotten.    :hairpull:
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dragonspring

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Re: Asatru/Heathen Discrimination?
« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2012, 05:44:48 PM »

So in all honesty point number 5 can be valid to some individuals but it is a poor excuse to be racist and deny entry to people based on ethnicity or orientation.
Once again, the assumption that exclusion is always racist or intolerant.  Similar assumptions would make the Native Americans racists and the Freemasons misogynists.
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Claude

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Re: Asatru/Heathen Discrimination?
« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2012, 06:37:34 PM »

Ehhh there are female masons now and I don't know enough about your point with the Native Americans to comment.

When groups come out and say that their reasoning is simply because someone is LGBT or of a different ethnicity then ya it is intolerant and racist. If however the Asatru groups clinging to that idea would simply inform the person that they could very well be the only non white or gay in the Kindred then it's a different story. One is simply telling the truth whereas the other is hiding their agenda with a self righteous cause. They believe that they are saving the interested person the trouble by not accepting them in the first place. When in all honesty the Kindred doesn't have the slightest clue if that would bother the person or not. Here is a challenge find me a kindred that denies LGBTs and non white Europeans entry on the grounds that they'll feel uncomfortable that doesn't spew any kind of racist or homophobic comments in public or in private. I doubt the Masons sat around and talked about hating women before they let them make their own lodges.
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dragonspring

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Re: Asatru/Heathen Discrimination?
« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2012, 08:43:44 PM »

I never said that all the Kindred are tolerant of others.  Only that some of them deny others because they are not of the blood of the Ancestors who play a large part in their religion.  Judging someone to be racist because they are practicing their own faith is just as intolerant as racism IMO. I don't have to prove anything; it is just my opinion and you are entitled to yours.  And for the record, the female and coed lodges outside of France are not recognized by the Grand Lodge at all, so the Freemasons didn't let women make lodges.  It is a fraternal organization.
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Re: Asatru/Heathen Discrimination?
« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2012, 09:10:55 PM »

I'm pretty sure Native Americans do not exclude whites who have a genuine interest in learning their spiritual ways from a knowledgeable Native American elder so I am not sure the analogy is to exclusive Heathen groups is a good one.

I'm of Nordic descent though it's mixed with a lot of other types of European ancestry. I've never had a desire to pursue Asatru but this discussion has me wondering what kind of reception an American mutt like me would get from those groups if I did feel that it was my calling. I'm not trying to stir the pot with my comments; just trying to understand what seems like a fine line between intolerance and exclusivity from an outsider's perspective.
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Re: Asatru/Heathen Discrimination?
« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2012, 09:43:37 PM »

I don't see much difference between the beliefs of the Kindred and Native Americans in regards to sharing their beliefs.  I have been to workshops held by both.  In my experience, neither refuse to share at least some of their practices or beliefs with others.  Nor do they discourage the worship of their Gods.  But they do exclude outsiders from joining their groups to various degrees.    I don't think that most American Asatru have pure blood requirements so I am sure you would be fine should you decide to seek their company.  But somehow, I just cant envision you on that path.  ;)
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Re: Asatru/Heathen Discrimination?
« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2012, 09:51:53 PM »


"Yes, and if you truly believe in reincarnation, then your ancestry this life around is not your only ancestry." It is for traditional Asatru! They believed that you were only reincarnated in your own blood line, and had to wait in Hel until someone was born into your family. (Hel being only a sound-alike to the Christian afterlife; it was not necessarily a place of punishment) That's why they held family in such high regard, and made such a fetish of bravery- if your family died out before you- either from war or flu- you just lost your ticket to reincarnation... UNLESS you had been brave enough for a Valkyrie to pick you up personally. Some of the prisoners I minister to are dealing with this.

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Re: Asatru/Heathen Discrimination?
« Reply #15 on: June 26, 2012, 10:28:40 PM »

Ehhh there are female masons now...


Quote
I doubt the Masons sat around and talked about hating women before they let them make their own lodges.

As a Master Mason, I need to point out that, yes, there are female and co-masonic lodges and organizations. We acknowledge they exist, however, we do not recognize them as regular and legitimate. Female/co-masonry started in the late 1800s, when a small group of French (it is ever the French) Master Masons decided, quite on their own, that women should be made masons, which is quite in violation of our obligation, specifically, "Not to be present at the initiation, passing, or raising of a female." The French Grand Orient of France has, for some years, been de-recognized by the United Grand Lodge of England, which is the premier masonic organization in the world, for the very good reason that, in the spirit of their revolution, they determined to violate one of the principle Antient Landmarks of Freemasonry - they allow Athiests into their ranks. One of the requirements for admittance is that one believe in a Supreme Being and the survival of the soul after death. To believe otherwise defeats the entire purpose of the exercise! While not by any means an international governing body, most regular and recognized masonic Grand Lodges descend directly from UGLE.
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Claude

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Re: Asatru/Heathen Discrimination?
« Reply #16 on: June 26, 2012, 10:59:35 PM »

Xenophobia is not part of the Heathen faith. Since it isn't part of the faith there is nothing wrong with me sitting her judging those who try to make it as racist bigots. Also if you read the Nordic myths they say that all humans are descended from Ask and Embla. That right there should make all the bigoted kindreds sit back and think "Man if we are all descended from the same two people it's stupid that we should exclude others." Also they exclude those who are of the Norse blood but have a different orientation other than straight. Now that bit about discriminating against LGBTs is traditional. Therefore the only thing I have to say about that is that 1 it's an outdated practice and 2 only the fundamentalist fringe groups do it. You see this same exact divide in Christianity, Hellenism, Wicca and every other faith on the face of the planet. Thankfully the majority usually denies these fundamental ideas and takes a much more tolerant and open approach towards others. For example the majority of Hellenes and Heathens I have met believe in the idea of syncretism. The few that don't are generally the ones belonging to the fundamentalist groups.
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Re: Asatru/Heathen Discrimination?
« Reply #17 on: June 27, 2012, 07:22:50 AM »

Claude, you are simply reiterating the same points repeatedly.
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Re: Asatru/Heathen Discrimination?
« Reply #18 on: June 27, 2012, 10:29:37 AM »


Here's what an Asatru assembly have to say on the subject: http://sunnyway.com/runes/nidstang.html

peace,
ES
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Re: Asatru/Heathen Discrimination?
« Reply #19 on: June 27, 2012, 09:50:29 PM »

Because it seems to me like some people didn't understand my first post or second post.
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Re: Asatru/Heathen Discrimination?
« Reply #20 on: June 27, 2012, 10:05:33 PM »

Perhaps it is just that they disagree and it's time to let it go at that. ;)
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vordan

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Re: Asatru/Heathen Discrimination?
« Reply #21 on: June 29, 2012, 01:25:28 PM »

My only comment is that a gang can use "religion" as a glue to reinforce the structure of the organization. Black gangs can use Islam or some twist of African based spirituality like Palo, Mexican gangs can use various cults like Santa Muerte, white gangs can corrupt Christianity like the KKK or take a twist on Nordic beliefs. It is normally a clever and cynical attempt to gain the hearts and minds of the followers. What a group does to further their own power with spirituality does not negate the path but does confuse it's image in people's minds. I met a guy who was half Sioux and half Norwegian, he liked the Norwegian Norse mythos more then the American Indian. I have met whites who wanted to study Indian beliefs. I knew a half  Aleut grew up in the wilds and wanted to study Classical Roman and Greek spirituality. I knew a skinny very white boy who loved Voodun. A person is drawn to what they are drawn to. I believe in God or at least the greater divine energy and energies, I believe that things work in mysterious ways. I think Odin can chose his own. I don't really see a conflict for I think the energies decide who their followers are, they call them. If your heritage atunes you more to a specific type of energy that is perhaps part of the plan but not the total factor just a factor. The only thing that needs to be done is to eliminate from the equation the people who manipulate others and leave it to the Gods.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2012, 01:39:57 PM by vordan »
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