Racism in Religion — a link and a rant

“Racism actively harms Heathenry because it is damned hard to shake the public perception that anyone who worship the Norse, Germanic, Ænglisc, and other continental and non-continental European Gods are racists. The tattoo I bear on my chest for Odin, a valknut on my left breast, is seen by many as a symbol of hate. The valknut I wear around my neck is seen by many as a symbol of hate. Even my son’s Mjolnir necklace is seen by some a symbol of hate. The symbolic representations of my God, and the Runes He sacrificed Himself to Himself for, namely the Runes Tiewaz, Sowilo, Algiz, and Othala are seen as symbols of hate. The Rune Othala is actively banned from display in Germany due to its use by the Nazis. The Rune Sowilo similarly is problematic as the SS officers used it in their insignia. Were a Heathen to seek to use the flyfot or swastika on a banner, as a tattoo, or in art otherwise, those who use it would be seen to espouse racism, genocide, and anti-Semitism.” Sarenth Odinsson on Why Racism Harms Heathenry

I really, really suggest you click the link and go read the whole article. Consider this my standing ovation.

I’ll admit, as I’m forced to admit time and again — I live in something of a bubble. Community-wise, anything that isn’t my household tradition is held a bit at an arm’s length, and I have an interesting connection with Heathenry in that I waffle, time and again, about whether or not that’s a label that can best describe me. (I’m back to feeling more dual-trad once again, and I know that’ll change because ugh compartments, but whatever. I can’t keep pretending that the influence of Poseidon’s various peoples various cultures don’t influence my practice, cuz they do. But, I digress.) So, I have no idea at all who these Irminfolk people are or what they’re about, but I have been involved with Heathenry — even on the periphery as I am — to know that racism within Heathenry is a huge, huge problem.

It’s disgusting. Furthermore, I am continually, constantly baffled at how closely associated with this racism, with these racists, Odin tends to be, in the minds of both them and people who don’t know any better. This has baffled me since the beginning. Have these people met Odin? I know that people rebuff the idea of Odin being (one of the) creators of humankind by saying, no, He created the Germanic race, not humanity itself. (Nice selective reading, but okay.) That aside — where in the stories we have of the Alfather (*ahem*) do we have an example of a god who stays within one cultural group, finds nothing of value outside of his own tribe, and is the epitome of racial purity. Never  mind that the gods aren’t human — Odin isn’t 100% all what he is, either — unless we’re saying that he’s all Odin, in which case, yes. He is of mixed parentage. His parents are from two different tribes, and dare I say different cultures. I truly do not understand this mindset. “My race is superior! Odin is the figurehead for us!” .  .  . er?


This coming Saturday Beth’s daughter is heading into NYC with some friends to take part in a Millions March. The idea of  her being makes me incredibly proud, makes me wish I could join them, and makes me want to vomit and cry and beg her not to go. When speaking to my brother about this yesterday, he expressed that he thought it was great that she was going, and that if he had a way into the city it’s something he would like to be a part of, too. And then, we realized together that the idea of him going did not make me want to vomit or cry or beg him not to go. The difference? My brother is a white male who can easily slip into a space of using his privilege as a mantle of safety, whereas Beth’s daughter is a biracial female — and in these cases, the ‘biracial’ bit is overlooked, forgotten, meaningless.

I’m still proud of her. I still wish we could go with her. I still want to vomit over the thought of her being there, in that crowd, in that place, at this time.


Racist attitudes and opinions need to die in a fire. There is no colorblindness — and if you get to be colorblind, you are willingly deciding to not deal with the shit that needs to be dealt with. Look, i get wanting to live in a bubble. I do. The world sucks. A lot. And there are a ton of things that need to be changed, and we can’t do it all. I retreat into a bubble myself, time and again — but I do it less and less these days, and for smaller periods of time, because I can’t go into that bubble anymore without carrying the awareness that I <i>get</i> to go into that bubble of ignorance, and that retreat is part of my privilege . . . and it’s not fair that I am allowed to do so simply because of my skin color.


One Comment Add yours

  1. So very well put. Thank you for sharing both the original story and your comments.


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