Trey Capnerhurst is nationally recognized in Canada as an acclaimed activist for Paganism and environmentalism. She is a prolific writer, as well as the founder of Silver Song Collective, a legally incorporated, not-for-profit, Pagan-humanism organization in Canada. As a six-times former Green Party candidate, she is politically involved and active in media appearances and speaking engagements.
It is with Trey's gracious permission that I am re-printing this recent article of hers which deals with a growing problem not only in the Pagan community, but world-wide. I think it's a topic that's important for discussion.
Nazis: Why we can’t have nice things
by Trey Capnerhurst, 15Apr 2017
Neopaganism has always had a racism problem (I’m looking at YOU, Wiccans), but the current incursion is something new, though not unheard of in history. A new branch of the neo-Nazi “alt-right” movement has taken yet another page out of Hitler’s book and misappropriated traditional symbols and beliefs as a framework for their white supremacist agenda. Radical Christianity somehow isn’t white, patriarchal, warlike, colonizing, and genocidal enough for these monsters, and they have created a revolting and delusional appropriative version of Odinism, also known as asatru , to justify their hate-mongering world view.
Hitler knew that he needed a mythology to help link his people to an ideal. He very carefully chose the Wagnerian operas and idealized traditional Odinism, or the traditional beliefs of Scandinavian areas, to communicate the concept of a Master Race. Even before the War, those who advocated his beliefs were often identified by an idealized version of traditional dress or hair style. Though most Germans considered themselves Christian at the time, Valkyries and other mythological figures were re-interpreted and appropriated to symbolize the blond hair, blue eyed ideal Warrior cult.
These neo-Nazis have taken up that mantle and embraced the idealized concepts of a White Warrior race that destroyed everything in its path, that current western culture and Christianity create “cucks” and “homos” and that these traditional “men” were Alpha Males, which are totally refuted creations of the PUA culture. They use the symbology of Odinists and other traditional Northern European groups to identify and provide a framework for this worldview, to the horror of actual pagans everywhere. NeoNazis are attempting to re-create these idealized “values” in the modern world.
It’s particularly ironic, considering that Norse, Viking, and other peoples of that area would have no idea what Nazis are talking about. Though there were thousands of tribes, European Aboriginals were usually far more egalitarian than most modern Western culture, within their own groups. So the Nazis have to be rather selective in their interpretations. There were obviously LBGT pagans, and most cultures provided respected space for them. Though rarer, there were always People of Colour in Northern Europe, but most folks identified by *tribe* and not by something as random as skin or hair or eye colour. (The Last Kingdom depicts this beautifully.) Unfortunately for their narrative, Danes and other groups only went “a-Viking” occasionally. It’s hard to maintain group resources for this pretend “warrior” class. The rest of the time they were farmers and craftpeople, just like everyone else. Ya gotta make a living, folks…
As a fairly recent trend, this new incursion into heathenism hasn’t met with much resistance in the neo-pagan movement – largely because it’s not a legitimate spiritual offspring, and kinda in hopes that they just go away. Modern heathens and Asatru have few tools to cope, since this new version is unlike anything they have ever seen, and it doesn’t come from them. It’s more of a hostile takeover. Much like the Skinheads trying to brand themselves as Punks in the 70’s and 80’s, this new sub-group of Neo-Nazis has embraced their own version of heathenism to promote their hate-mongering agenda.
A few answers have already been suggested, but it is far less than the current threat warrants. Like the Punk answer to the Skinhead incursion, it requires decisive and extreme public action – in part to dissociate from this narrative, and to demonstrate in no uncertain terms that it will not be tolerated in our spaces. Action can include statements, such as declarations, but it also needs to be effective. Zero tolerance of all such concepts should be maintained, and concerning issues or policies must be policed and removed. Check your group for equity, and anti-oppressive stances. Any lapse in those is a ch1nk in our armor that these deplorables can take advantage of, as we have seen in many other groups already. (“The theme of intense male comradeship nourished by violence…has d... As there are many links with the alt-right, PUA, and MRA culture, the recent resurgence of misogyny in our ranks is just one such vector that these fascists have found to worm their way in.
Real warriors fight for the vulnerable. They do not prey on them. We need to root out this new threat to our spirituality and our identity from those who would corrupt our worldview into framework for something deeply destructive.
To that end, our group has embraced a more inclusive name and identity. Though we greatly debated our choice of name and symbology originally, and embraced the concept of the traditional Mother wisdom of our Northern sisters, we have always been diverse and inclusive. Our founders and Directors have been Rabbis, Oriental spiritualists, and pagan priestesses. Keeping that in mind, we have shifted to a more inclusive image and symbology. We will continue to fight with our heathen siblings to eradicate this menace, and will promote solutions to the struggle. Our group has eagerly signed on to the Canadian Pagan Declaration on Intolerance (though, really, we should come up with something better than mere “toleration”) and Declaration 127, which specifically denounces a particular group in it’s neo-Nazi world view.
So we have changed our name and image to more accurately reflect our values and our diversity. We have committed to actively make our spaces safer for marginalized and oppressed peoples and help make this a more just and equitable world, since that has always been what we are about. And though they are useful tools, it won’t just be with Thoughts and Prayers and Declarations. We will fight these Nazis. They will not dishonour us, our ancestors, or our traditions by hiding behind those in a narrative for their agenda. We will push them out of paganism.
You have our word on that.
LOL! Y'all goofers. :)
Thanks for participating in this topic, Blake. I think that the author of the piece I posted actually shares in your views. She's talking about how Nazis (a political rather than spiritual group) have appropriated spiritual symbols for their political use.
any one who publicly admits a sense of pride in their race AND happens to be white in our society is immediately labeled a racist.so tolerance is the right of everyone,right?
That's a common complaint I hear a lot of these days. Once again, the pride that you're talking about has been distorted by white supremacists in this country to mean something far less benign than what you believe it to mean. Just as the term "black pride" has been distorted by black supremacist groups such as the Nation of Yahweh.
Both white and black supremacism are reactionary movements, promoting not only the belief in their own racial superiority, but also the belief that they are threatened by those who are not of their own race. Both white and black supremacists typically use distorted religious beliefs to support their views of supremacy. And this is where the appropriation of your own spiritual beliefs, Blake, come into play with white supremacists.
i wear swastika tattoos
I get it. But I nevertheless think that swastika tattoos are not a wise fashion choice post-WWII. Especially neck and face tattoos of swastikas. (Please don't tell me that's where you had yours tattoo'ed.)
I do agree that the ancients were not bigots and simply interacted with the natural world around them as best as they knew how,
Here's where I strongly disagree with you. There is an awful lot of romanticizing about "the ancients" going around, and the reality is that ancient peoples did have their own biases against other ancient peoples.
Ancient peoples also "interacted with the natural world around them as best they knew how" because they really didn't have a choice about that. Civilizations arose because many ancient peoples did want a choice -- they wanted the comforts and amenities that civilization offered. The term "pagan," deriving from Latin and meaning "country dweller," even today stands in contrast to the urban dwellers who have chosen the comforts of civilization over the often harsh offerings of "the natural world."
.my wife and I foster shelter animals and one day hope to run a fully functional animal rescue organization this is our way to give back to our world and society in a way that makes the larger whole ,well,a little better.
That is very, very cool what you and your wife do! Major props to you both!
most people lack the courage of their convictions and age content to simply discuss and complain about their world rather that act to change it
Agreed. I'll go even further with that thought: Too many people would rather just act out. This acting out most frequently takes the form of umbrage expressed over perceived offenses. Both social media and news media only serve to fan the flames of the easily offended. It's all yet another aspect of civilization resulting in uncivil behavior.
"Ancient peoples also "interacted with the natural world around them as best they knew how" because they really didn't have a choice about that. Civilizations arose because many ancient peoples did want a choice -- they wanted the comforts and amenities that civilization offered. The term "pagan," deriving from Latin and meaning "country dweller," even today stands in contrast to the urban dwellers who have chosen the comforts of civilization over the often harsh offerings of "the natural world."
Just to make clear , Nephele , to me those are the weaklings...
If I could find a piece of land I could live on , in my area , cheaply ,
I would still be living like I was in 1979...6500 feet in the mountains ,
100 year old goatherder's cabin , no electricity , 40 miles to main town ,
coyotes , bighorn sheep , rattlesnakes , gila monsters , stag , mountain
lions , and other wildlife all around me , water from a backfill through an
old mine shaft , filtered through a hundred foot limestone mountain cap ,
and being in the wild weather , like a lightning storm , where I was literally
in the clouds , naked , outside , wearing only sneakers , with the eyelets
torn out , so I would not get electrocuted , and watching lightning form
and strike , below and above , hair standing straight up on my head...
No cold storage , woodstove , made everything from scratch...
No car , no phone , no computer...
Yeah...I would do it in a moment , at 63 years old...
I am one proud pagan...at least I did it , for a number of years...
I do miss it...;)
And if people think the way most of them live , is ***civilized*** ???
I think they better look around them , and rethink the word...
( ie : civil = courteous )
At least I talked nicely to the plants and animals , and nature around me...lol !
Shawn, you are a cool hippie-pagan. :)
Peace, bro' ☮
Smoke dope, jump rope, eat cantaloupe.