In my last blog post, I discussed ancestor veneration. It can’t be denied that for heathens, our ancestors are a very important aspect of our spirituality. So you’d think that ancestry is very important to us, wouldn’t you?
Let me be very clear. Ancestors are very important to heathenry. Ancestry, on the other hand, is not.
Whether you are full blooded Anglo-Saxon, or full blooded Asian, I welcome you to heathenry if you feel drawn to it. I want to take this opportunity to discuss racism within heathenry, and to condemn the racism that can found within my beloved religion.
It is true that (modern) heathen history has had it’s fair share of racism, but that can be said of almost any religion. Judaism had it’s genocide of the locals when taking their “promised Land”, Christianity had it’s crusades, Islam had it’s jihads. Even in modern history, there are still violent minorities within these religions. The extremist Zionists who want to wipe out the Palestinians, the Christians who bomb clinics, the Muslims who have resorted to suicide bombings. But you can’t blame an entire religion based upon the hatred of some.
Heathenry is still young, we are still fighting our elements based upon hate. The older religions have had a chance to condemn the hatred of those who would use religion as an excuse to hate. Now it is our turn.
One popular argument used by the racialist heathen seems to be that those adopting heathenry who don’t have Northern European blood are misappropriating our culture. They point to indigenous cultures such as Native Americans who exclude outsiders from practicing their faith and say, “They can exclude others, so we can too.”
There’s a few problems with that argument. Most importantly, these religions are inseparable from their respective cultures. They usually don’t go by ancestry to determine who can practice, but those who are a part of that culture. To understand the religion, you have to more than understand the culture, you have to grok the culture (understand it with every fiber of your being), and the only way to do that is to have been raised in that culture. A white man adopted by Native Americans at birth and raised on a reservation would be welcome, whereas a Native American raised in Detroit probably would not without having some kind of cultural conditioning.
Heathenry, on the other hand, does not have a culture that anyone was raised in without influence of outside religions. Heathen cultures were all destroyed with conversion to Christianity between 1000 to 1500 years ago. Every single heathen alive today is a result of reviving the religion of the ancient heathens. So there is no unbroken culture stretching back to the ancient heathens to be able to say who can and who cannot join heathenry.
The majority of my ancestors (with the exception of a few Irish and French ancestors) are from countries that were heathen before conversion. Does this give me any special link to heathenry or any special understanding of heathenry? No. The ancient heathen cultures were just as alien to me wheni started as they would be to an Asian who is just starting in heathenry.
I think it’s important to ask why these racialist heathens would want to exclude others. Having the power (in their own eyes, anyways) to exclude others makes them feel superior to them. And in their view, the white race is superior to others. They brought “culture” and “civilization” to the “savages”. And now the descendants of those “savages” are being ungrateful by demanding equality to the White race.
That’s the narrative they tell themselves, anyways. It boils down to racism. Pure and simple. And I thoroughly condemn all forms of racism.
Regardless of your ancestry, welcome to heathenry if you feel drawn to it. Honor your ancestors in your practice, both your biological ancestors and your spiritual heathen ancestors. Ancestors are important in heathenry, but ancestry is not.