Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Opinion: Anti-Semitic Shooting In Kansas

There are a few communities who are united by the atrocity of the racist accused murderer Frazier Glenn Cross; arrested for the shooting deaths of Terri LaManno, William Lewis Corporon, Reat Griffin Underwood, in a targeted antisemitic rampage.

Originally a Grand Dragon of the KKK,1 Cross was violently opposed to immigration, and had a history of threats and attacks against African-Americans, Jews, and civil rights leaders.  Claiming to be fundamentalist Christian, with strong ties to the Christian Identity movement, his ties to Christianity had little to do with Christian doctrine, and more to do with vilifying members of other religious communities, especially the Jews.  Unhappy with the idea of Jesus as a Jew being a focus of worship, he came to discover references to Odin in the writings of Nazi and Neo-Nazi authors.

In describing himself as an Odinist he is not identifying as a practicing Heathen, or follower of the ancestral faith of the pre-Christian Northern Europeans, but drawing upon the false mythology crafted by the 1930’s German Nazi party who drew upon the symbols of their heathen past to wrap their ultra nationalist brand of fascism in the glories of a past free of the crushing defeat the German people endured post WWI.  Indeed, both in his writings, and in his shouted statements as he was being driven away, Cross cries out “Heil Hitler,” calling upon the only prophet whose words he actually understood and embraced.2

Cross is no Christian, nor is he Heathen.  His brand of Christian Identity or Odinism are not religious beliefs, but racial/political platforms trying with no real success to stretch the teachings of the Bible and the Havamal to cover their own personal hatreds.

Having failed in attempts to organize armed militias or run for office to acquire the power to bring his racial agenda onto the national stage, he sank into relative obscurity.3

In a final irony, in his attempt to strike out against the Jewish Race, he targeted three innocent people for the crime of being visiting their elderly parent, or taking their grandson to try out for a singing competition.  None of the dead was Jewish.

One man who believed only in hate has taken three lives far worthier than his own.  In doing so he has united three disparate communities. The Heathen Community, and the Christian Community are joining together with the Jewish Community to condemn not just these specific attacks, but the climate of racial hatred, and promotion of hatred and strife between different ethnic and religious groups within our nation.

I ask that you offer a prayer to whatever god(s) or goddess(s) you honour for the families of the fallen in this tragedy.  Their loss cannot be made right, but they can know that believers of all faiths are united in their support for the families not only through the time of their loss, but the struggle to relive this tragedy again as this Nithling4 faces trial for his cowardly attacks.

- John T Mainer




4 Nithling: oathbreaker, person without worth or honour, one whose word is without value.


Please see also the official Troth response to this incident.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Response to the Religion of the Accused Shooter in Overland Park, KS

News media outlets are reporting that the accused shooter in Overland Park was an adherent of Odinism

The Troth abhors the appropriation of any Heathen identity for racist and bigoted agendas. We reject the abuse of our religion as a justification for hateful and abominable actions. We condemn the violence and hatred that are at the root of this story.

Let us all hail the victims and remember their names:

Terri LaManno
William Lewis Corporon
Reat Griffin Underwood

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of the victims of this unconscionable act.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Trothmoot 2014


June 12-June 15

Osage Hills State Park in Pawhuska, Oklahoma is a sprawling natural property offering beautiful views, hundreds of trails, waterfalls, and air conditioned cabins!

The upper level of the group site holds the main hall, which is equipped with a full kitchen and bathrooms. Surrounding the main hall are an open grass field, a fire pit and a paved area with picnic tables.

The cabin area occupies the lower level of the group site and is accessible from a paved path leading from the main hall and several natural trails leading from the fire pit. The lower level holds 10 cabins with bunk style bedding for up to 12 in each. The cabins are equipped with lighting, electrical outlets, full doors/windows and heating units.

For more information please email the planning committee at trothmoot2014@gmail.com.


Planning to bring a ve?

Ve (ON plural and singular), or shrines, to a number of chosen Gods and/or Goddesses at Trothmoot 2014. There we will be able to enjoy private moments in worship. Activities at the Vé will not be on the Trothmoot schedule; rather they are informally arranged by members. The Trothmoot Committee will determine the location of the Vé and coordinate which Vé will be built. Any deliberate damaging of Vé or attempts to disrupt devotions will result in the removal of the offender(s) as well as any applicable disciplinary actions determined by the Rede. In conformance with our Position Statement, any hailing of Fenris, Surt, Jormungandr, and allied wights (excluding Loki) remain forbidden anywhere at Trothmoot and other Troth-sponsored events.

Let the Trothmoot Committee know which Gods or Goddesses you would like to see a Ve for, or better yet, offer to help the Committee with Trothmoot in any way you see fit! Thank you once again to those who help plan and those who attend Trothmoot.

To contact the planning committee please email us at trothmoot2014@gmail.com. Or message us on our Facebook event page.

Hail the Troth!

Monday, March 31, 2014

May Faire (Reading, PA)

We are planning on having Troth materials available at this event!

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For those who might be interested, our local pagan non-profit org. in Berks is holding a festival on May 3rd at the 4H center in Leesport: the 6th annual PA May Faire. See the FB evene page here:https://www.facebook.com/events/461128127347791/

We're also looking for folks interested in vending, reader, or exhibiting a craft at the PA May Faire on Saturday, May 3rd of this year in central-eastern Pennsylvania. just outside of Reading. We are falling short on vendors particularly, despite that the rest of the event has so much going on: a maypole ritual, a bunch of workshops, and lots of super cool entertainment (including a visit from Capt. Jack Sparrow!). If you know anyone who might be interested, it'd be wonderful if you could send this information their way! 

For more information about the faire itself, visit www.PAMayFaire.com. For the vending page, visit: http://www.readingpagansandwitches.org/pamfvendors.html. The mission of the Reading Pagans and Witches org is to build awareness, and provide networking and education to others about paganism and witchcraft.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

2nd Annual Carolina Moot


As a reminder, The Carolina Moot will be holding its 2nd Annual event this year, from June 19th-22nd at Elchenburg Castle in Boonville NC. 

Although our event is focused on building and celebrating the Heathen community in the Carolinas, any honorable Heathens of good will willing to meet with others in Frith and Grith are welcome. 

More information can be found at http://www.carolinamoot.com.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Systems and Circles

There is an odd dichotomy of views in the Heathen community.  We are as fierce a group of rugged individualist as you will find, and yet our ranks are filled with those who have dedicated a good portion of their professional and/or volunteer life to serving the community through “The System”.

We come together as a collective because we, as a group, have needs our individual skills cannot deliver to the level required.   This is a fact.  We require a medical system, because even if each of us had the skill of a multi-specialist physician (like unicorns, you may have heard of them, but few have seen one), even such a creature is but part of a large team of specialists requiring an immensely expensive infrastructure to deliver the required care.  We cannot do it alone.  We come together to collectively support a system that can most efficiently deliver this need to our community.  Granted I come from the Socialist North that does this through taxation as a pure collective effort,  while most Troth come from the Capitalist South where private enterprise under government regulation fills the same need in a different fashion.  

We require a police force and justice system, because without them the enforcement of social order there can be only the rule of violence, and either the collective will determines the source of order through the (imperfect) rule of law, or the strong man who kills his way to the top will impose it through tyranny.  Either way, order must exist to protect our ability to produce and distribute goods, or we collectively starve to death.  Our choices are law (police and courts) or tyranny (KGB, Taliban, etc).   We have chosen to maximize freedom of the individual while maintaining collective order through the rule of law, codified by our elected officials (corrupt or incompetent as they may sometimes be), administered by the police (who frequently forget the people not in their uniform are who they serve, not the enemy), and overseen by the courts (who frequently forget they too are servants in the peoples house, but at least strive to serve the laws written by the peoples representatives).

I chose to serve my country as a soldier; taking individual responsibility for the collective defense of my folk, and those peoples who our elected representatives have undertaken treaties of collective defense through NATO treaty, or through short term UN resolutions for international peace keeping and war fighting efforts sanctioned by international agreement.  This is a dead common choice for both men and women in the Heathen Community.  Heathens and even Wiccans are far more common in the armed services than in civilian life, because to be what we are is to have taken control of your moral compass, determined who you need to be, and having determined what it is you believe, and support, determined what actions are required to turn belief into reality.  It is not enough for a Heathen to stand for something; he or she must take an active role in making what they believe in a reality, or stopping what they oppose.

Now we come to the second part of the collective effort, and the systems it requires; failure.  The greatest good for the greatest number is a guiding principle both of law and of civil organization.  The cruel fact of statistics is that it really is best for most people, and is the only way to run a society.  It is however NOT ENOUGH.

All systems have cracks through which people fall, because human beings are just that, human beings.  We are weak and imperfect, most people earning a paycheque put in enough effort to earn their wage, punch out and call it a day.  They leave the problems behind them when they clock out, and while they may bitch about “the system” they allow the system to take responsibility for its failures.  Those failures are people.  Those failures are not impersonal to those they affect.

As heathens we are community builders, we come together to build connections between peoples, to make ourselves stronger together than we could ever be alone.  As heathens, we understand this is about serving our duties to our relationships.  Duty runs in concentric circles, beginning with your closest family and extending outward along the lines of your duties and obligations until it reaches your nation and beyond that, the world.  It begins at home, and that is the single strongest relationship.  It begins there, and in the case of conflict, that is where it ends.

The Christians tell the parable of Isaac (Genesis 22), where God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son.  Abraham bound his son to the altar and was mid way through the killing stroke when an angel appeared and stopped him.  It was enough to know he would kill his child on command.  This is a very Christian, Muslim, and Jewish tale, for their god places obedience above all.

Our own sagas are filled with men and women placing themselves in the way of the gods, in defiance of the gods, of the kings, of the community, when their family was at stake.  If Odin himself came for my children, he would know it would take the last drop of my blood before he got them, and my steel would be wet first.  Our gods tell us it is better to sacrifice never than too often, by what you receive determine what you must offer (http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/poe/poe04.htm p146).  We are told from our gods themselves that we have responsibilities to our own to look after first.  Look after your own, and with what is left, look to build relationships beyond.

The system is filled with professionals who can deliver a level of care far beyond my own competence.  The police and courts can offer community serving options beyond immediate violence.  Medical and mental health professionals can offer diagnosis and treatment options beyond anything I could hope to deliver.  The government agencies caring for our veterans have access to information I do not, have resources far outstripping any I have.  They have something else I don’t; something else you don’t.  They have the ability to look at one person they are failing and shrug.  “I didn’t make that decision”, “that was not done on my shift, that was unfortunate”, “I’m not aware of who made that decision”, “I agree that should not have happened”, “I agree it says here that you should have been consulted”  These are all platitudes many of us have heard, when dealing with a system that has left our child, our disabled parent, a fellow veteran in trouble, fall through the cracks and end up with serious and sometimes terrible consequences.  The system can do a hundred things you cannot, but one of those is accept failing.  While we are capable of far less than the system, we cannot accept failure for those we love either.

What we can do, what we must do, is advocate for our own.  Where the system will accept failure, we cannot.  While the system can shrug and move on, we must not allow them to.  We cannot provide the thousand things the system can, we can provide the bur under the saddle, the nagging voice at the end of the phone, the willingness to go above, around, or through the obstruction to see that those we love have their needs met, that they do not go from loved one to statistic.  I don’t care what the other number is, if the system fails only  one in whatever, the other number does not matter when your loved one is the one; the one that they didn’t save.

Heathens understand our duty is to our own first.  In the event that the system failed our own; the community is on its own.  Where my community, state or nation has failed to protect my child, I will.  Where my community state or nation has failed my parent, I will not.  Where my community state or nation has failed those with whom I served it, I cannot.  Understand that I am loyal to my own first, and my community as I can afford to be.  I am Heathen.  I am not a system, I am a person.  I have those whom I love, those to whom I am obligated by that love, by my sacred honour.  It is upon that honour that I swore to serve my nation, so if my nation ever stands between me and those obligations, my nation will lose.  Duty flows in concentric circles outward from the hearth.  With what is left after our duties to our hearth are paid, we build community and the systems required to keep it.  The system exists to serve each of our hearths.  If it fails that duty, we must not.  If it has failed that duty, you owe it nothing in return, but must instead devote all of your energies to meeting as best you can, the duties the system in all its wondrous resources and ponderous nature, has failed to.

Heathens exist throughout the system as soldiers, social workers, lawyers, police, because we know the needs of the community are real.  Heathens also organize groups to help those the system fails, groups to help the homeless, groups to help our veterans, because we understand that the failings of the system do not relieve us of our responsibilities.  In the end, the system is not important.  Be it the Crown, the government, the constitution; these things in one hand, the needs of my child, my parent, my dearest friends in the other, you will find the weight of law is as of smoke compared to the weight of love and duty.

Father, husband, son, friend, citizen, employee, heathen community leader, is more than just a list of roles I play, or duties I have, it is a checklist.  This is the list of circles of my duties.  Citizen is fifth.  That is the proper place for the system, for if it does not serve my family, it is unworthy of my service.  As long as it is a part of serving the needs of my family, it deserves and receives all possible support.  The system is not something we serve, although larger than any one of us, it is a servant in its masters house.  It is our house, and the system is our servant.  It is part of our duty as citizens and as heathens to make sure we never let the system, this ponderous imperfect colossus, to crush those most vulnerable who are given to its care, simply out of inertia and laziness.  It is not ours to be silent, it is not ours to permit failure.  It is not enough to have tried.  Heathens understand the choice between your inner circle and the system is no choice at all.

- John T Mainer

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, The Troth.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Time for Updates!

Hail!

It's time to update The Troth Blog a bit... You will notice some changes already!

We're still seeking pictures of Troth members' gatherings and religious and spiritual activities. Some will be posted to the photos page while others may be selected as background images.


We are also seeking articles and other content, including events to be posted on the events page. 

If folks have ideas for what to put on the Blog, please drop a note to PASteward@thetroth.org.

Thank you!