In late summer 2012 me and my girlfriend spent our holidays in the very South of France. I had never really been to France save for Paris when I was a teenager and passing through on my way to the UK. ‘Cathar country’ had been on my wishlist for quite a while. Why? Perhaps that romantic view on the Cathars, being curious about what is left and of course the environment over there. We found a place to stay quite near to the most famous castle of the Cathars, Montségur and had found a few other things that we wanted to see. I must say, a week of visiting Cathar sites (and some other things) has put the subject into some perspective.
This is not really an article, but rather some thoughts that occured to me after seeing the skydisc found in Nebra, Germany. A subject to discuss a little perhaps.
There seems to be a tendency among scholars to investigate temporary paganism. There are people who say that paganism is the world’s fastest growing religion. I am currently reading Michael Strmiska’s Modern Paganism In World Cultures with essays about Romuva (Lithuanian heathenry), pagans in the US military, Irish modern druids and Asatru in Northern America and Iceland (among other essays). I also know of books about current German paganism (but not like Strmiska’s book) and I know about an anthropology student who investigated the Flemish group that I am involved in (but I never saw the result). Since there seems to be nothing (but information of antifa groups) available about Dutch and Belgium Asatru, I thought to write a little introduction for investigators who may be unfamiliar with nowadays heathenry in the Dutch-speaking part of Northern Europe.
I was unpleasently surprised when I heard the news yesterday. Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama (since 1940), announced that he will lay down a part of his function in favour of a chosen successor. A few things went through my head. I had the (Theosophistic mistaken?) assumption that Tibet was ruled by a pair of Lamas, the Dalai Lama who is the worldly leader and the Panchen Lama (also Pänchen, Teshu or Tashi Lama), the spiritual leader. According to the Dutch news, the Dalai Lama was both the spiritual and worldly leader of the Tibetans and from now on, he will only be the spiritual leader. The current Panchen Lama (Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the 11th Panchen Lama since 1995) was born in 1989 and he disappeared. According the Chinese occupier the 11th Panchen Lama is Qoigyijabu (Gyancain Norbu), but even the Tibetans themselves do not agree on who is the actual 11th Panchen Lama. Perhaps because all of this controversy, the Dalai Lama took both tasks, but when you read (Western) information about the Lamas, it looks like the Panchen Lama has always been on the second plane.
Our aim is to encourage the expansion of Heathen thought into the domains of theology, philosophy, sociology, psychology and other discplines that have yet to be examined by Heathenry or any other form of European polytheism.
Thus say the editors of the Journal Of Contemporary Heathen Thought. I have said it before, I am no fond of describing heathenism as polytheistic, mine not for sure!
I have said on countless occasions that Dumézil and his theories are not very popular among scholars nowadays. I have read arguments against his tripartite system that were sometimes convincing, sometimes not, but no scholar who disgards the hypthesis of Dumézil presents a workable alternative. Currently I am reading the book The War Of The Gods by Jarich Oosten. The book is of 1985 so the criticism is not just of today. The book is subtitled The Social Code in Indo-European Mythology. Some of you might now know what sort of book this is, but only when I started reading it, I learned that this book is written from the (cultural) anthropological viewpoint. Not completely my thing it seems, but the author writes fairly clearly and he takes a couple of pages to say something about Dumézil and his tripartite system which is worthy to think over. I will quote the mentioned book extensively.
Many times I have thought about the subject and recently there has been discussions about it: does the focus of many European “pagans” not lie too much on the North? Does the term “Asatru” not refer to much to the god of the ancient Scandinavians? Why do we refer to “Odin” and “Thor” and not to the same gods in our own tongue? What actually do we really know about these local versions of the old faith? I have tried to to make some sort of inventarisation and initial investigation into a subject that proves to be quite difficult.
Last week I ran into the “blog” of Mark Sedgewick, the author of Against The Modern World, a scholarly investigation of Traditionalism that I haven’t read. On his “blog” Sedgewick puts novelties, thoughts, new leads, etc. One of these new leads is what he calls “music scene Traditionalism”, of which he writes “It is one of the most important and fastest growing forms of Traditionalism in the West today.” In the course of his investigation, he ran into an article with a similar subject in a new periodical called Journal for the study of radicalism (see volume 1, issue 2) which is published by Michigan State University. Apparently it is under editorship of Arthur Versluis who is also one of the editors of the esoteric publication of the same university (some university!).
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.
Like my previous article (Against the modern world?), the title refers to a book (the English translation of Comment Peut-On Être Païen of Alain de Benoist). Also again I do not (entirely) agree with the content of the book. The title is slightly ironic and suggestive, that is all.
I think you will not be surprised when I tell you that I do not call myself ‘pagan’ and even less ‘heathen’. I don’t like these terms that Christians in past decades (and sometimes still) used to separate people with another religion from themselves. The terms were and are mostly used in a degenerating manner. Some people have taken the terms, and transformed them in ‘geuzennamen’. This is an (as far as I know) untranslatable term which means that people use a degenerating term to discern themselves and the term becomes ‘good’ or a name to be proud of. In this way there are many people, especially youngsters, who like to call themselves “pagans” or “heathens”. I am not one of them. The term can sometimes be used because ‘other people’ will quickly know what you are talking about (they will first think of Germanics and Celtics instead of Muslims and Hindus when they hear the term “pagan”), but I prefer the description “prechristian religion of our region”. Not really a description to ‘label yourself’, right? “Asatruar” then? The term “Asatru” is a modern term, I believe it was thought off in the USA. It means ‘true to the Aesir’, the Gods of the Germanic peoples. Unfortunately nobody seems to have thought about the fact that there are not only Aesir, but also Vanir, and the term that is now widely used, excludes the Vanir. Maybe a term such as “Tyrtru” would have been better, but then again “Tyr” may simply mean “God” (“Vanatyr” is a name for Odin for example), but he is also a God. I think that most people following the old Germanic path will stick to the term “Asatru” so there is no need to try and change that. Do I call myself “Asatruar”? Nah, I just call myself “Roy”.