Your Heathenry Is Not Inclusive if it Doesn’t Support Sober Heathenry

It is a crisp Saturday evening, and a group of Heathens have gathered in the park, preparing for blot and sumble. The altar is laid out beautifully, and folks are milling about waiting for things to get started. A newer person to the group named Denise looks a bit tense. She has been to a few meetups, but this is her first ritual with the group. She slowly makes her way over to Kel, the person organizing the ritual.

“Hey, Kel,” she says softly, feeling embarrassed, “Is there going to be a … you know… dry horn?”

Before Kel can answer, the loud booming voice of Josh is heard laughing. “Dry horn? We’re HEATHENS! A dry horn is an insult to the gods!”

As a new person and a new Heathen, Denise does not really know how to respond. Clearly these folks know more than she does. If drinking is required to be Heathen, then this might not be the religion for her, despite the deep calling she feels. She has been sober for 4 years, and the idea of going back to drinking terrifies her.

While the above isn’t a true story, it is an amalgamation of events I have witnessed and stories I haveheard from other Heathens who struggle with addiction. As Heathenry struggles with what it really means to be an inclusive religion, one thing that we all must consider that to be truly inclusive, we must respect and include the sober Heathen, because not only is addiction an issue many Heathens battle, it also intersects with other areas we often fail when it comes to inclusive action: mental health, the LBGTQIA+ community, and the BIPOC community.

This could become a novel if I dove into all the reasons why these communities are disproportionately affected by addiction, so instead I will just cite the National Institute on Drug Abuse Study that dives much deeper into this. The purpose here is to demonstrate that inclusive, queer affirming, anti-racist, and ability accommodating Heathenry must embrace Sober Heathenry.  To do otherwise is to potentially contribute to what can already feel like a potentially hostile environment to many marginalized people.

What does this look like on a practical level? This means offering a dry horn, or even dry rituals. It means holding events somewhere other than bars and pubs on occasion. It means also fighting the latent toxic drinking culture that can creep up on anyone, and lead to incredibly embarrassing episodes at moots and festivals. It also means not asking questions, making jokes, or otherwise making a big deal about someone else’s choices to drink or not.

The Havamal talks a great deal about the dangers of drinking too much. I feel we can all heed this wisdom as we work together to help fully embrace all who come to worship the gods.

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The Marginalization of Polytheism

Marc over at of Axe and Plough wrote an amazing piece on how modern western polytheists (what some refer to as hard polytheists) are marginalized not just in theology or society, but also by other pagans.

Go read it. Seriously.

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The Heathen (Fake) News Cycle

The ignorant booby had best be silent
When he moves among other men,
No one will know what a nit-wit he is
Until he begins to talk;
No one knows less what a nit-wit he is
Than the man who talks too much.

~ Havamal

Recently, a Heathen website posted an article stating that the Asatru Folk Assembly is under investigation by Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) as being a hate group. This report spread like wildfire across the Heathen internet. This lead to other rumors circulating, including that AFA members were banned from certain events, AFA members would be kicked out of the military, and that AFA chaplains would lose access to military bases.  The constant churning of social media took what was already just hearsay and turned it into a certain and finite event.

I am ashamed to admit I bought in to this rumor, after hearing it from a trusted friend. However, as of this writing, there is not a single other source for this information other than the original website. There has not been a publication by the US Military, and the AFA has not come out on their official site or their Facebook and issued any public statement. Major Pagan news outlets like The Wild Hunt have had zero coverage.

This story has taken on a life of its own beyond the initial website because true or not, it touches a nerve. It places both sides in a position where this post appeals to feelings. For those who dislike the AFA, they feel vindicated that a group they see as hateful is losing power. For those who support the AFA, this is proof of their belief that society is too “politically correct” and they are being persecuted for their beliefs.

In modern society, we all often struggle to differentiate “fake news” from reality. There is a great deal of pressure from content providers to make money. Most of this income is from what are called “impressions” or how many times an advertisement is seen. Most companies pay in what is known as PPM or per 1000 impressions. The more eyes that are on your website, the more money you make.

When there is a need to create fresh content to drive those views, journalism can fall by the wayside. Rumor is all many websites need to take a piece of information and turn it into an article. Even the largest mainstream news organizations frequently turn stories so fast that they make mistakes that would not otherwise be made if they had taken the time to confirm the information. Rarely is breaking news, especially in a small niche market such as Heathen news, so urgent it cannot wait until more conclusive facts have emerged.

Stories about the AFA are a hot ticket, and they generate traffic from both those who strongly disagree and agree with their political beliefs. I personally find the AFA and their positions abhorrent. I also believe that I should be building a reputation not as a gossip and that truth is the greatest weapon that one can wield in the face of bigotry.

So how do we spot fake news? This infographic from Factcheck.org is helpful in explaining how to tell truth from fiction.

As a reputation based religion, we need to make sure the information we pass on is correct, so we do not damage others reputations (and our own) with rumors and falsehoods. This means getting all the facts before we move forward.

Powered by WPeMatico


The Marginalization of Polytheism

Marc over at of Axe and Plough wrote an amazing piece on how modern western polytheists (what some refer to as hard polytheists) are marginalized not just in theology or society, but also by other pagans.

Go read it. Seriously.

Powered by WPeMatico


The Heathen (Fake) News Cycle

The ignorant booby had best be silent
When he moves among other men,
No one will know what a nit-wit he is
Until he begins to talk;
No one knows less what a nit-wit he is
Than the man who talks too much.

~ Havamal

Recently, a Heathen website posted an article stating that the Asatru Folk Assembly is under investigation by Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) as being a hate group. This report spread like wildfire across the Heathen internet. This lead to other rumors circulating, including that AFA members were banned from certain events, AFA members would be kicked out of the military, and that AFA chaplains would lose access to military bases.  The constant churning of social media took what was already just hearsay and turned it into a certain and finite event.

I am ashamed to admit I bought in to this rumor, after hearing it from a trusted friend. However, as of this writing, there is not a single other source for this information other than the original website. There has not been a publication by the US Military, and the AFA has not come out on their official site or their Facebook and issued any public statement. Major Pagan news outlets like The Wild Hunt have had zero coverage.

This story has taken on a life of its own beyond the initial website because true or not, it touches a nerve. It places both sides in a position where this post appeals to feelings. For those who dislike the AFA, they feel vindicated that a group they see as hateful is losing power. For those who support the AFA, this is proof of their belief that society is too “politically correct” and they are being persecuted for their beliefs.

In modern society, we all often struggle to differentiate “fake news” from reality. There is a great deal of pressure from content providers to make money. Most of this income is from what are called “impressions” or how many times an advertisement is seen. Most companies pay in what is known as PPM or per 1000 impressions. The more eyes that are on your website, the more money you make.

When there is a need to create fresh content to drive those views, journalism can fall by the wayside. Rumor is all many websites need to take a piece of information and turn it into an article. Even the largest mainstream news organizations frequently turn stories so fast that they make mistakes that would not otherwise be made if they had taken the time to confirm the information. Rarely is breaking news, especially in a small niche market such as Heathen news, so urgent it cannot wait until more conclusive facts have emerged.

Stories about the AFA are a hot ticket, and they generate traffic from both those who strongly disagree and agree with their political beliefs. I personally find the AFA and their positions abhorrent. I also believe that I should be building a reputation not as a gossip and that truth is the greatest weapon that one can wield in the face of bigotry.

So how do we spot fake news? This infographic from Factcheck.org is helpful in explaining how to tell truth from fiction.

As a reputation based religion, we need to make sure the information we pass on is correct, so we do not damage others reputations (and our own) with rumors and falsehoods. This means getting all the facts before we move forward.

Powered by WPeMatico


The Marginalization of Polytheism

Marc over at of Axe and Plough wrote an amazing piece on how modern western polytheists (what some refer to as hard polytheists) are marginalized not just in theology or society, but also by other pagans.

Go read it. Seriously.

Powered by WPeMatico


The Heathen (Fake) News Cycle

The ignorant booby had best be silent
When he moves among other men,
No one will know what a nit-wit he is
Until he begins to talk;
No one knows less what a nit-wit he is
Than the man who talks too much.

~ Havamal

Recently, a Heathen website posted an article stating that the Asatru Folk Assembly is under investigation by Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) as being a hate group. This report spread like wildfire across the Heathen internet. This lead to other rumors circulating, including that AFA members were banned from certain events, AFA members would be kicked out of the military, and that AFA chaplains would lose access to military bases.  The constant churning of social media took what was already just hearsay and turned it into a certain and finite event.

I am ashamed to admit I bought in to this rumor, after hearing it from a trusted friend. However, as of this writing, there is not a single other source for this information other than the original website. There has not been a publication by the US Military, and the AFA has not come out on their official site or their Facebook and issued any public statement. Major Pagan news outlets like The Wild Hunt have had zero coverage.

This story has taken on a life of its own beyond the initial website because true or not, it touches a nerve. It places both sides in a position where this post appeals to feelings. For those who dislike the AFA, they feel vindicated that a group they see as hateful is losing power. For those who support the AFA, this is proof of their belief that society is too “politically correct” and they are being persecuted for their beliefs.

In modern society, we all often struggle to differentiate “fake news” from reality. There is a great deal of pressure from content providers to make money. Most of this income is from what are called “impressions” or how many times an advertisement is seen. Most companies pay in what is known as PPM or per 1000 impressions. The more eyes that are on your website, the more money you make.

When there is a need to create fresh content to drive those views, journalism can fall by the wayside. Rumor is all many websites need to take a piece of information and turn it into an article. Even the largest mainstream news organizations frequently turn stories so fast that they make mistakes that would not otherwise be made if they had taken the time to confirm the information. Rarely is breaking news, especially in a small niche market such as Heathen news, so urgent it cannot wait until more conclusive facts have emerged.

Stories about the AFA are a hot ticket, and they generate traffic from both those who strongly disagree and agree with their political beliefs. I personally find the AFA and their positions abhorrent. I also believe that I should be building a reputation not as a gossip and that truth is the greatest weapon that one can wield in the face of bigotry.

So how do we spot fake news? This infographic from Factcheck.org is helpful in explaining how to tell truth from fiction.

As a reputation based religion, we need to make sure the information we pass on is correct, so we do not damage others reputations (and our own) with rumors and falsehoods. This means getting all the facts before we move forward.

Powered by WPeMatico


The Marginalization of Polytheism

Marc over at of Axe and Plough wrote an amazing piece on how modern western polytheists (what some refer to as hard polytheists) are marginalized not just in theology or society, but also by other pagans.

Go read it. Seriously.

Powered by WPeMatico


The Heathen (Fake) News Cycle

The ignorant booby had best be silent
When he moves among other men,
No one will know what a nit-wit he is
Until he begins to talk;
No one knows less what a nit-wit he is
Than the man who talks too much.

~ Havamal

Recently, a Heathen website posted an article stating that the Asatru Folk Assembly is under investigation by Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) as being a hate group. This report spread like wildfire across the Heathen internet. This lead to other rumors circulating, including that AFA members were banned from certain events, AFA members would be kicked out of the military, and that AFA chaplains would lose access to military bases.  The constant churning of social media took what was already just hearsay and turned it into a certain and finite event.

I am ashamed to admit I bought in to this rumor, after hearing it from a trusted friend. However, as of this writing, there is not a single other source for this information other than the original website. There has not been a publication by the US Military, and the AFA has not come out on their official site or their Facebook and issued any public statement. Major Pagan news outlets like The Wild Hunt have had zero coverage.

This story has taken on a life of its own beyond the initial website because true or not, it touches a nerve. It places both sides in a position where this post appeals to feelings. For those who dislike the AFA, they feel vindicated that a group they see as hateful is losing power. For those who support the AFA, this is proof of their belief that society is too “politically correct” and they are being persecuted for their beliefs.

In modern society, we all often struggle to differentiate “fake news” from reality. There is a great deal of pressure from content providers to make money. Most of this income is from what are called “impressions” or how many times an advertisement is seen. Most companies pay in what is known as PPM or per 1000 impressions. The more eyes that are on your website, the more money you make.

When there is a need to create fresh content to drive those views, journalism can fall by the wayside. Rumor is all many websites need to take a piece of information and turn it into an article. Even the largest mainstream news organizations frequently turn stories so fast that they make mistakes that would not otherwise be made if they had taken the time to confirm the information. Rarely is breaking news, especially in a small niche market such as Heathen news, so urgent it cannot wait until more conclusive facts have emerged.

Stories about the AFA are a hot ticket, and they generate traffic from both those who strongly disagree and agree with their political beliefs. I personally find the AFA and their positions abhorrent. I also believe that I should be building a reputation not as a gossip and that truth is the greatest weapon that one can wield in the face of bigotry.

So how do we spot fake news? This infographic from Factcheck.org is helpful in explaining how to tell truth from fiction.

As a reputation based religion, we need to make sure the information we pass on is correct, so we do not damage others reputations (and our own) with rumors and falsehoods. This means getting all the facts before we move forward.

Powered by WPeMatico


The Marginalization of Polytheism

Marc over at of Axe and Plough wrote an amazing piece on how modern western polytheists (what some refer to as hard polytheists) are marginalized not just in theology or society, but also by other pagans.

Go read it. Seriously.

Powered by WPeMatico