Heithni

Today I ran into the review of the Tyr Journal on Northvegr. In quite strong words the reviewer Ári Óðinssen takes distance from the content of this journal.

we should not be allowing the voices we hear in this publication to be the only voices pushing the edge of philosophy in this age. They are, by our silence, representing us. I repeat this to make it clear: they are, by our silence, representing us

Óðinssen seems to think that Tyr stands for a radical traditionalist form of “Asatru”, while in my own idea, Tyr is a “radical traditionalist” publication (as an umbrella term) with here and there a ‘pagan edge’. Óðinssen fears that Tyr tries to make some kind of extremist system of the ancestral faith. I doubt that this is the aim of the authors and I personally never saw the publication that way. The interest of the editors in controversial writers who either or not have had dealings with aspects of the Northern faith, combined with Dumézilian theories of a New Right thinker and all that under the monicker of the Norse god of Justice could indeed come on fiercely on some followers of the ancestral path. Again, in my eyes Tyr is a “radical traditionalist” publication and not a pagan one.

The review did make me wonder what this Northvegr Foundation actually stands for. I have known them for a long time because of their flood of texts, time to have a closer look.

Northvegr has a “statement of purpose” with a list of interesting points.

1. The Northvegr Foundation strives to bring knowledge and understanding of Northern European pre-Christian history, culture and spiritual values (i.e. world-view and ethic).

Good, so do I!

2. We state that the Northern European pre-Christian spiritual tradition, known as Heithni, is a full and rich tradition that has no need of an infusion of foreign ideals or practices, such as ceremonial magic, New Age thought, or any other occult ideals. It is classified as a “world-accepting folk-religion” in scholarly circles.
3. We state that Heithni has a well-developed world-view and ethic which is in evidence in many primary sources and well documented in many secondary sources. We believe that through a combination of scholarly research and spiritual experience, this world-view and ethic has been revived and can be presented without infusion of foreign ideals. We believe that without a proper understanding of this world-view and ethic, it is not possible to either live the tradition of Heithni, nor for the layperson to understand it properly. One of the Northvegr Foundation’s primary goals is to bring knowledge and understanding of this world-view and ethic.

Good point! I think many readers of Gangleri.nl will agree with this statement. On the other hand, my traditionalistic ideas (not the “radical” of Tyr) could be regarded as a modern addition, my Dumézilian theories and idea that any religion, including the ancestral faith, has an esoteric counterpart, too. The last point I can relatively simply do away with by pointing towards “Männerbunden”, Berzerkr, Ulfhednar, etc. The second point could be seen as traditional (in an Indo-European sense even) if you believe Dumézil.

4. We support any group or organization, (religious and/or secular) that works to promote its own history, culture and spiritual values, as long as it does so without demonizing another organization or people. Different does not mean that it is worse or better. It simply means different. We strongly support any genuine tribal/folk-religion and believe that unity through diversity can be achieved.

Amen!

5. We oppose all forms of tyranny. Irrational hatred and oppression of a people are not Northern Virtues. We reject those who would follow such paths. We state unequivocally that the Heithinn spiritual tradition has no connection at all with extremists, white supremacists, or racists (or the more “PC” term ‘racialists’).

Agree, undoubtely, but I doubt the editors of Tyr would not; it depends on where the extremism is to be found I guess (rejection of the modern world, just to name one).

7. While we are an organization that places a high emphasis on the accurate revival of Northern European pre-Christian spiritual values and culture, we also realize that we live in a modern age and that our tradition is a growing, living tradition. We support the use of technology for the furtherance of our aims and its use in maintaining a healthy environment. We also support innovation within our tradition, but that innovation must be soundly based on our world-view and ethic.

Right again.

8. Heithni, being a world-accepting folk religion, strongly supports environmental causes and the preservation of land, animals and plant-life for all people, in the present as well as for future generations.

Actually I like the term “Heithni” better than the term “Asatru”, but would the people of Northvegr see me as one of their own after reading some of my scribblings, especially the one that I am working on now (“Traditionalistic Asatru”)?

The statement of Northvegr can only have my full approval. Yet there are points not discussed. Let me quote Wikipedia on Heithni:

Heathens are polytheists, believing in a number of gods and goddesses.

Yes and no. I believe in “a number of gods and goddesses”, but I am not polytheistic, since these “gods and goddesses” are all but a part (or an expression) of God. Divinity is One, all the rest is part of it. Is that a modern interpretation? It can hardly be different with a Traditionalistic approach.
The rest of the Wikipedia article does not speak of the Northvegr form of paganism, it deals with some forms such as Asatru, Odinism, Theodism, etc. Too bad, I would love to hear a bit more of “Heithni”. Perhaps I will scan Northvegr.org a bit more, or I will try to find kindred groups to see what they have to say.

One comment

  1. I am following your Gangleri from the times of Monas online zine.I think
    that is about time that i write to you. I found you writings
    inspiring,nicely writen and well thought, and in line with my thoughts
    and thinking.What strikes me most in your writings about Old Religion,
    which i agree with you is being best represented by the word Heithni and
    not Pagan, or just ”some belief” in Gods and Godesses. It is really
    more than that, as you write that as well.I was myself an Traditionalist
    Gaudiya Vaishnava monk and as well an Iskcon and Gaudiya Math monk. I
    have returned now 8over the years) to my own ancestral tradition of, let
    us call it: Heithni, Asatru/Odinist and as well Odianism.I am in no way
    interested (and as well disgusted with) in racialist/racist/white or any
    other supremacist theories, Neo pagan, New Age and Wicca groups and
    movements.What i do believe in is synthesis of culture, tradition and
    belief which goes beyond this last Kali Yuga. I am interested in
    Heathenism as our original Orlog and part of our complete being.In that
    search i gather information as well from Northvegr (which is sadly
    closed now),Georges Dumezil,Old Norse literature, Traditionalists,
    Radical Traditionalists and different Asatru and Odian groups and movements.
    What is most important is that you are the first person to write
    this:Yes and no. I believe in “a number of gods and goddesses”, but I am
    not polytheistic, since these “gods and goddesses” are all but a part
    (or an expression) of God. Divinity is One, all the rest is part of it.
    Is that a modern interpretation? It can hardly be different with a
    Traditionalistic approach.
    I believe that as well. I will not call that God,or not even Sri
    Krishna, but i do believe that there is higher aspect of that being
    which actually takes care as a president/prime minister of all other
    ministers (Gods or Demigods in Hinduism/Vaishnava tradition) in the
    government which is this Endless Creation (universes,
    multiverses,galaxise etc).
    I am glad that somebody like you exists out there.
    Thank you for your thoughts and writings.I am hoping to write more
    myself. I hope that we will stay in contact.
    Best wishes,
    Thor

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

44 + = 49