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mardi, 11 août 2015

Asatru: A Native European Spirituality


Stephen A. McNallen’s Asatru: A Native European Spirituality

Mcnallen-200x300.jpgStephen A. McNallen
Asatru: A Native European Spirituality
Runestone Press, 2015

The Good Preacher

Steve McNallen is a serious character. A former U.S. Army Ranger, he has hitchhiked across the Sahara Desert and traveled to such exotic locales as Tibet and Burma, usually to report on military conflicts. His articles have appeared in Soldier of Fortune magazine (a periodical that fascinated me when I was a teenager, especially the classified ads in the back). McNallen has also worked as a jailer, a juvenile corrections officer, and has served in the National Guard (he was witness to the Rodney King riots back in 1992). Oh, and he taught math and science for six years in an American high school, using his summer vacations like Indiana Jones, setting off on foreign adventures.

Steve McNallen is also the man principally responsible for the revival of Asatru in North America. He gives us a brief overview of his life, written with typical modesty and understatement, in this wonderful new book, several years in the making. McNallen tells us that he decided to follow the gods of his ancestors while he was in college “in either 1968 or 1969” (p. 61).

I like the honesty of this. A lot of men, if they were uncertain which year it was, would have just picked one, perhaps even giving a specific date: e.g., “Walpurgisnacht 1969!” But McNallen is not concerned to make an impression, or create an image for himself. His sincerity, earnestness, and lack of pretension have a great deal to do with why he has become a genuine religious leader.

Steve_McNallenWhen I first met McNallen I thought “this man is a born preacher.” I come from a long line of Methodists, and some of my ancestors were clergy. One was a “circuit rider,” a preacher assigned to travel around the countryside (usually on horseback) ministering to settlers and establishing congregations. My use of the term “preacher” is not pejorative. I share the faith of my very distant ancestors, not the more recent ones — but I honor them all. And being a preacher is an honorable profession.

A good preacher has the ability to form people into a genuine community through appealing to their better nature. No easy task. And a good preacher establishes his authority not through his book learning or some seal of approval from a Council of Elders, but rather through the force of his personality. Just what that consists in is a complex issue. Partly, it’s a simple matter of “good character.” Aristotle said that one of the necessary conditions of being an effective speaker is that the audience must perceive the speaker as having good character. Otherwise they will not be convinced by what he says, no matter how cogent his arguments are.

However, “force of personality” also involves strength of conviction. A good preacher is someone whose faith is so strong that others believe because he believes. Privately, they may suffer doubts. But just being in the presence of a good preacher, a man with real strength of conviction, is often enough to bolster them. And I do not necessarily mean listening to him preach. A good preacher communicates his faith and sincerity in his every act, even in the way he moves across a room or eats a meal.

I experienced McNallen’s force of personality for the first time one evening several years ago on a beach in California. I was one of about 25 people who gathered together around a bonfire to participate in a blot led by McNallen. It was truly a mixed crowd, running the gamut from university professors to skinheads. I had driven there with McNallen and his wife Sheila, on the way picking up a cake at a local supermarket. My job was to ride shotgun and serve as navigator, directing McNallen to the beach. He was in an extraordinarily good mood and as I gave him each direction (“turn left here . . .” etc.) he responded in crisp military fashion: “Roger that!”

I wasn’t sure how this was going to play out. I am a lone wolf by nature, and Asatru for me has always been a pretty solitary affair. On those occasions when I participated in rituals with others it usually felt like we were LARPing (Live Action Role Playing). In other words, I felt a bit silly. But on the beach something strange and uncanny happened. It was a constellation of factors. One was the natural setting: fall on a northern California beach, nighttime, waves crashing, bonfire crackling and roaring. But the key factor was McNallen. As he spoke, mead horn in his hand, Asatru came alive for me (and, I think, everyone else) in a way it never had before.

I am a philosopher, and that means that my life is mostly about theory. And this is true of my relation to Asatru: theory, to the neglect of practice (though, to be clear, not the total neglect). A few hours prior to heading for the beach, McNallen had asked me what rituals I perform. I confessed to him that I performed few rituals, and very seldom. He seemed disappointed, and I felt slightly ashamed. Such is the power of a good preacher! I had encountered the same disappointment with others on revealing to them my neglect of ritual, and my standard response had been to quip “I’m a Protestant” (i.e., as opposed to a “Catholic” follower of Asatru, who needs rituals and candles and incense). But I knew I couldn’t be so glib with McNallen.

When he led that blot on the beach I felt a real sense of connection to my ancestors, and to the gods. It was a transformative experience. However, it wasn’t a “mystical experience”: I didn’t feel suddenly at one with all things, or that the Being of beings had been revealed to me. No, it was something more basic than this: it was a religious experience. And a key part of this was the presence of others. As I said, it was a constellation of factors. There was the natural setting, and McNallen’s charisma, and the truth that came through his words. But in addition there was an absolutely essential component, without which this religious experience would not have been possible: others — others like me.

A few years ago I wrote a controversial article titled “Asatru and the Political” (it’s included in my recent book What is a Rune? And Other Essays). The major point of the piece was that since Asatru is a folk religion, born of the spirit of European people, we followers of Asatru must take an interest in the survival and flourishing of the race that gave rise to it. In short, I argued that commitment to Asatru entails what is sometimes called today “white nationalism” (not the same thing, as I explain in the essay, as “white supremacism”). In Asatru: A Native European Spirituality, McNallen makes essentially the same point (without using the term “white nationalism”). I hasten to add that McNallen was making such arguments long before I was — a point to which I will return later.


In any case, in that same essay I argued that every religion is really a way in which a people confronts itself, for every religion is an expression of a people’s spirit, born of the encounter between a distinct ethnic group, with its own inherent (i.e., genetic) characteristics and a place. What I did not emphasize is a corollary point: that religion is inherently communal. It is often asserted that the word “religion” comes from a root meaning “to bind,” and on this basis it has been speculated that “religion” means “to bind together.” If this is correct (and no one really knows), two interpretations are possible. The first is that religion binds or connects individuals to the divine (sort of like the literal meaning of “yoga,” as that which yokes us to the divine). The second is that religion binds us together in a community.

Anthropologists and sociologists favor the latter interpretation, with some going so far as to suggest that the “purpose” of religion is really nothing more than making communities cohesive. This is a vulgar, flat-souled notion that I discuss elsewhere (see my essay “The Stones Cry Out,” also in What is a Rune?). The truth is that religion binds together a community, through binding it to the divine. Both of the interpretations just mentioned are correct. Through religion, I achieve connection with the gods — but that is only possible through connection with others who have the same aim, and worship the same gods.

Religion is not the only way of making some “connection” to the divine. Mysticism is another way. So are philosophy and theology. Even art and poetry are means. But these can all be solitary activities. We may want an audience for our poetry (or our philosophy), but we don’t need one in order for poetry (or philosophy) to occur.

For religion to “occur” we need others. There can be no such thing as a private religion. Elsewhere I have discussed at length my commitment to Odinism (see “What is Odinism?” in Tyr Volume 4). Odinism is the path of one who follows Odin — really of one who seeks to become him. It is not about “worshipping” Odin, and it is not a religion. It would be accurate to call Odinism (as I define it[1]) a cult within Asatru. Though by its very nature it is a cult arguably best suited for lone individuals (at least, that’s how it is for me): a cult whose “cells” consist of isolated individuals. Until that night on the beach in California, Odinism really was Asatru for me. It was when the blot had ended that I realized my error.

What happened when the blot ended? There was silence. We ate our cake and sat around the bonfire, speaking in hushed tones. There was a kind of electricity in the air, and I think I speak for everyone there when I say that I felt lifted out of myself. I felt connected. Connected to the divine but also — and this is very unusual for me — connected to the others. I felt part of a religious community. It was then that I realized that my Odinism, while entirely legitimate, was not enough.

Imagine the absurdity of a Christian theologian who said that the practice of theology was sufficient unto itself and that he had no need of belonging to a church. But this was exactly my own position: an Odinist, a Germanic neo-pagan philosopher who never practiced his neo-paganism. And by “practice” here I mean practice with others. I was an irreligious neo-pagan. A Protestant indeed.

Of course, there’s an Odinic response to this — or one that seems plausibly Odinic: “Odin is the lone wanderer, he does not need others. If you aspire to be Odin, you do not need blots and such.” But there are two problems here. First, Odin clearly needed the company of the other gods: he returned to them from his wanderings again and again. The second problem is that while there is a part of me that is Odin, and my Odinism is the cultivation of this (again, see my essay in Tyr #4), it is only a part of me. I am still a man, and man is a social animal. And the supreme, most elevated and sublime aspect of his sociability is his religiosity. My experience on the beach didn’t teach me that I ought to come together with others and practice Asatru; it taught me that I needed to, but hadn’t been aware of the need.

Of course, the blot on the beach and the important realization I had there was more than three years ago. And I am still a lone Odinist, keeping an eye on Asatru from the periphery but seldom ever joining with others. Old habits die hard. There are many people who have a much stronger desire to come together with others than I do, but simply cannot because they don’t live near anyone. In one way I am not alone: many of us have been solitary cultists, for a great many years. Then there’s that other big problem: sometimes when you meet others who claim to follow Asatru you are very, very disappointed.

The Rise and Fall and Rise of the AFA

But all of this seems to be changing. And primarily we have Steve McNallen to thank for it. McNallen is well aware that Asatru must be about community; that the solitary practice of Asatru is ultimately insufficient. In recent years, there have been more and more occasions for people who follow the ancestral gods to come together. More people — serious, sincere, and sane people — are being drawn to Asatru and forming local kindreds, or assemblies. McNallen’s organization, the Asatru Folk Assembly (AFA) has organized several events each year for a number of years now. The most successful of these have been “Winter Nights in the Poconos,” held in the fall at a camp in Pennsylvania. And, of course, the internet is helping people to find each other.

McNallen’s own experience of Asatru — which he narrates in this new book — is one that also began in isolation. As noted earlier, McNallen decided to follow the gods of his ancestors when he was in college in the late sixties, serving in the ROTC. This was the Age of Aquarius, and I was in diapers. But I was nonetheless very much aware of the “Occult Revival” when I was a small child in the early seventies. I still remember the weird shop in the strip mall, down the block from Rose’s Department Store, where (at the age of eight or so) I bought my copies of The Sorcerers Handbook and Illustrated Anthology of Sorcery, Magic and Alchemy. (However, once my mother figured out that it was also a head shop she stopped letting me go in there.) Wicca was certainly on the scene, but Asatru was nowhere to be found.

McNallen thought that he was totally alone. In desperation, he took out ads in magazines like Fate, looking for others like himself. Slowly, he formed a small group which he called the Viking Brotherhood: the first Asatru organization in the U.S. McNallen began publishing his own periodical, The Runestone, in 1971, and by the following year the Viking Brotherhood had become a tax-exempt religious organization. He told me once that at the time he and his comrades were making Thor’s hammers out of the keys from sardine cans. (Today, of course, Thor’s hammers are available with two-day Prime shipping from Amazon — largely thanks to McNallen spreading the faith.)

But almost as soon as he had launched the Viking Brotherhood, McNallen had to report for active duty as an officer in the Army. Needless to say, this severely restricted his work on behalf of Asatru. At the time, by the way, Asatru was not Asatru. McNallen did not begin using that term until 1976, after reading it in a book by Magnus Magnusson. Up until then, he had called his religion “Norse Paganism,” or sometimes “Odinism.” It is important to note that our ancestors did not have a name for their religion at all. (“Asatru” which means “true to the Aesir,” is a term coined in the 19th century.)

Names for religions have come into use as a result of the rise of universalist faiths like Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism. These religions needed to call themselves something because they imparted an ideology, and sought to convert people away from their folk religions: they needed to be able to approach people and say “we represent x.” As to the names traditionally given to folk or ethic religions, typically they do not distinguish a member of the ethnic group from an adherent to the religion. The term “Hinduism” is derived from the Persian word “Hindu,” which actually just denotes the Indian people. The etymology of “Judaism” is similar, derived from a word that simply means “Jew.”

By all rights, Asatru — which is an ethnic religion — ought to be called “Germanism,” or “Teutonism,” or something like that. Though both of these are problematic choices, for a number of reasons. But “Asatru” is problematic as well (though it looks like we are stuck with it — which is fine). Imagine if Judaism changed its name to “Yahwism,” the religion of those who worship Yahweh.[2] Inevitably, along would come a gentile who felt entitled to describe himself as a “Yahwist,” because he has decided to worship Yahweh. But if “Yahwist” had the same denotation as “Jewish,” he would have to be taken aside and politely told that the Yahwists are a people, a tribe, not just a collection of believers in a particular theology. And so he cannot be a Yahwist. (Wisely, the Jews — like most Hindus — have remained aware of the ethnic identity of their religion, and are not particularly eager to embrace converts.)

Our term “Asatru” invites a similar problem. If the religion is literally being “true to the Aesir” (“true” as in being loyal to or believing in) well then why can’t a man whose ancestors came from Niger decide that he wants to be true to Odin, Freya, and Thor? McNallen came to face this problem squarely in the seventies:

It was in about 1974 that I began to realize that there was an innate connection between Germanic paganism and the Germanic people. I had resisted the idea as being somehow racist, but I could not ignore the evidence. Within a year or two I had shifted from a “universalist” to a “folkish” position — even though neither of those terms would enter our vocabulary for many years. (pp. 62-63)

It was around the time that McNallen adopted the term “Asatru,” after his discharge from the Army, that he formed the Asatru Free Assembly as successor to the Viking Brotherhood. This is not to be confused with the Asatru Folk Assembly, his present organization. As the above quotation implies, the folkishness of the “first AFA” was largely implicit, for the simple reason that McNallen was surrounded by like-minded people. The Asatru Free Assembly went from being a small group meeting in the back of an insurance agency in Berkeley, California, to a national organization. It published booklets and audio tapes, and beginning in 1980 held an annual summit, the Althing. “Guilds” formed within the first AFA, each with its own newsletter.

There was no other Asatru organization in North America until the mid-1980s. The AFA was it. But by the mid-’80s it was dying. McNallen and his wife were both holding down full-time jobs, and trying to run the AFA on the side. The ideal situation, of course, would have been if they could have turned the AFA into their full-time work. But when they tried that, soliciting financial support from AFA members, they were accused of being “money hungry.” Some people just expect something for nothing. (A problem with which the editor of this website is all too familiar.) It was an impossible situation, and eventually McNallen had to close the AFA, the remains of which morphed (with his blessing) into Valgard Murray’s Asatru Alliance.

Then came McNallen’s years of wandering, writing for Soldier of Fortune, interviewing Tibetan resistance fighters, serving in the National Guard. With characteristic frankness, he admits that while he never wavered from being true to the Aesir during this period, the collapse of the first AFA left him quite bitter. For a long time, he simply gave up on being involved (at least in a leadership capacity) with organized Asatru. What drew him back in was precisely the realization that circumstances had forced those true to the Aesir to make explicit what had been the movement’s implicit folkishness. McNallen writes:

In 1994, I saw signs that a corrupt faction was making inroads into the Germanic religious movement in the United States. Individuals and groups had emerged which denied the innate connection of Germanic religion and Germanic people, saying in effect that ancestral heritage did not matter. This error could not be allowed to become dominant. I decided to reenter the fray and throw my influence behind Asatru as it had been practiced in America since the founding of the Viking Brotherhood back in the 1970s. I formed the Asatru Folk Assembly. (pp. 65-66)

The change from “Free” to “Folk” made things pretty explicit. (And, I will add, has the further advantage of disabusing those who thought that commitment to Asatru cost nothing.) McNallen is too much of a gentleman to name names here, but the “corrupt faction” he is referring to is typified by folks (and I use the term loosely) like the ultra-PC “Ring of Troth,” who are truer to the Frankfurt School than to the Aesir. I won’t say anything else about such people here, as their attempt to turn Asatru into a universalist creed is unworthy of serious discussion.

Article Two of the Declaration of Purpose of the Asatru Folk Assembly states:

Ours is an ancestral religion, one passed down to us from our forebears from ancient times and thus tailored to our unique makeup. Its spirit is inherent in us as a people. If the People of the North ceased to exist, Asatru would likewise no longer exist. It is our will that we not only survive, but thrive, and continue our upward evolution in the direction of the Infinite. All native religions spring from the unique collective soul of a particular people. Religions are not arbitrary or accidental; body, mind and spirit are all shaped by the evolutionary history of the group and are thus interrelated. Asatru is not just what we believe, it is what we are. Therefore, the survival and welfare of the Northern European peoples as a cultural and biological group is a religious imperative for the AFA.

As always, the cunning of reason — or the hand of the gods — has been at work: as I noted earlier, the new AFA has wings the old AFA never possessed. If the old organization had never fallen apart, and McNallen had not lived his wilderness years, we would never have seen the birth of the Asatru Folk Assembly, and the Asatru Renaissance that it has helped bring about.

There is more to the tale of the new AFA — such as the saga of its involvement in the “Kennewick Man” controversy — but for the rest you will have to read the book.

Asatru: A Native European Spirituality fills a void. It is intended to introduce readers to Asatru — readers with no prior acquaintance. As such, it is written in a highly-accessible style. And yet there is much here that will be of interest to those already well acquainted with Asatru: the fruits of almost 50 years not just of McNallen’s experience as a leader and exponent of Asatru, but of his deep reflection upon the meaning of the religion, and its integral relation to the Northern European peoples and their spirit. There is no other book I know of that is as comprehensive and illuminating an introduction to folkish Asatru.

Why Asatru?

Before I close this review there is one more issue that I need to address. There is a tendency among those in the New Right to either embrace Asatru, or simply to tolerate it (usually on the basis that it might — repeat, might — be a useful political tool). Those who tolerate it typically think it’s a bit silly — or at least not something for them. And so a lot of my readers may find this review interesting, but conclude that McNallen’s book and the AFA are for those already converted. I’d like to encourage those folks to think about things differently.

McNallen actually takes no position on whether or not the gods “really exist.” In the AFA, one can be a “hard polytheist,” who actually believes there’s an Odin riding around out there on Sleipner, or a “soft polytheist” who thinks the gods are inflections of some ultimate Brahman-like principle — or even that they are just poetic constructs that hold up a mirror to our Northern souls. There are tricky issues here, and my own position doesn’t readily fall into any of these categories. But one thing is certain: whether or not the gods “really exist,” the gods and the myths about them most certainly do poetically mirror our Northern souls. This is the first thing I’d like New Right “sceptics” about Asatru to consider. Asatru is us.

As I put it in my essay “Asatru and the Political”:

Ásatrú is an expression of the unique spirit of the Germanic peoples. And one could also plausibly claim that the spirit of the Germanic peoples just is Ásatrú, understanding its myth and lore simply as a way in which the people projects its spirit before itself, in concrete form. And this leads me back to where I began, to the “political” point of this essay: to value Ásatrú is to value the people of Ásatrú; to value their survival, their distinctness, and their flourishing. For one cannot have the one without the other.

Here I was enjoining followers of Asatru to defend the interests of people of European ancestry. But now I am enjoining those who already believe in that cause to value Asatru. Because, you see, valuing “the people of Asatru” — European (or Northern European) people — must mean, at its most basic level, coming together with them in a community.

What Asatru offers to the New Right is a community of people of European ancestry focused around the celebration of that ancestry, and common culture. I have already discussed the progress the AFA has made in building this community — in genuinely bringing people together. McNallen writes:

We console each other in times of death, and celebrate the birth of new children. We share favorite books, career tips, and recipes. We make plans to meet down at a local pub, or to attend an event the next state over. Locally, we gather for rituals and for birthday parties, or to load a truck for someone moving to a new home. (p. 69)

The Fourth Article of the AFA’s Declaration of Purpose states that it is devoted to “The restoration of community, the banishment of alienation, and the establishment of natural and just relations among our people.” The banishment of alienation — the condition so many of us on the Right suffer from. And often it is our own doing. The idea of a community of people of European ancestry celebrating that ancestry sounds really good — but there’s all that stuff about Odin . . .

Well, I mentioned earlier that I come from a long line of Methodists. And my mother attended the local Methodist church all her life. But here’s something that will surprise you: she wasn’t particularly “religious.” Yes, she believed in God and in Heaven in some sense, and she thought that the Bible was mostly a good influence on people (though I think she never read it). But my mother thought it unbecoming to carry things to extremes. In particular she looked down on people who talked about Jesus all the time: “Jesus loves you” made her flesh crawl. She thought that people who talked that way were a bit “touched” (in the bad sense), and a bit low class.

For my mother, church was about community. It was a place where you met what she called “decent people,” and often had the satisfaction of helping each other. It was a place where people were brought together by a shared desire, to one degree or another, to orient their lives to an ideal (or at least to be seen to be doing so). And it was a place where people were brought together by common ancestry — for my mother’s church was implicitly white (a fact she would have readily admitted). Yes, some of the people there were, in her eyes, a little too “Jesusy.” And others not enough. Some took the Bible just a little too seriously, and said and did peculiar things. They were cranks. But in my mother’s eyes they were “our cranks.” She derived enormous satisfaction and comfort from her participation in that community. This was something I didn’t understand until much later in life.

So, if you are skeptical about Asatru just start here — I mean just with the kind of tentative, minimalist recommendation I’ve made in the last few paragraphs. Asatru as a community of people like you. This is actually quite a lot. More may come later. Or perhaps not. Perhaps you’ll always think that people who talk about Odin are a bit “touched.” But you’ll be with your people; with people who are aware that they are your people. As Steve McNallen says in this book, “Asatru is about roots. It’s about connections. It’s about coming home.”

You can access the AFA’s splendid new website here.

Postscript: I have just learned that the AFA is raising money to buy its own hall. You can read more about it, and donate, here.


1. I derive my understanding of Odinism from Edred Thorsson. See Edred Thorsson, Runelore: A Handbook of Esoteric Runology (York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weiser, 1987), 179.

2. This term actually is used by scholars, to denote the cult of Yahweh among the ancient Hebrews — the cult that eventually became Judaism.

samedi, 20 octobre 2012

Ásatrú & the Political


Ásatrú & the Political

By Collin Cleary 

Ex: http://www.counter-currents.com/

This essay is dedicated to George Hocking.

1. Introduction

Is there a connection between Ásatrú and White Nationalism? This has been a controversial issue among Ásatrúar for many years. For me, however, the answer is obvious. I regard Ásatrú and White Nationalism as so inseparably bound to one another that to espouse Ásatrú while rejecting White Nationalism is to involve oneself in a fatal contradiction (fatal, really, in more than just the logical sense).

Before I go any further, let me define my terms. For the uninitiated, Ásatrú refers to the religion of those who believe in the pre-Christian Germanic gods, principally Ódhinn (hence the religion is also sometimes referred to as “Odinism”). I use the term Ásatrú simply because it seems that we need a word to refer to the religion, and this seems as good to me as any.

By “White Nationalism” I mean, very simply, a movement which recognizes White people – people of European stock, in other words – as a distinct nation or race, with its own set of national interests, and that seeks to advance those interests. The principal interests of White people (of any people, actually) are their biological survival and the preservation of their culture. White nationalists believe that White people have as much right to assert and protect their interests as any other people.

Obviously, however, this movement arose because the dominant message communicated to Whites today by the cultural and political establishment is that they have no right to assert their group interests. Other racial and ethnic groups may assert their interests, but when Whites do likewise this is “racism.” This double standard is simply part and parcel of the general anti-White, anti-Western animus that now permeates academia, mainstream media, and politics in Europe and America. White nationalism has become necessary because White interests are genuinely imperiled.

Of course, Whites themselves have done a great deal to bring this peril about. Aside from their remarkably passive, uncomplaining tolerance of persons and ideologies openly hostile to them, Whites have also bought into a vision of the “good life” that emphasizes individualism and hedonism and absolves them of any obligation to bring a new generation into the world. The result is that the White birthrate has declined drastically, and created a situation in which Whites are essentially slated for minority status and dispossession in both Europe and America.

Contrary to how White Nationalism is portrayed by its detractors, it does not spring from hatred of other groups, nor does being a White Nationalist require us to hate non-Whites and wish them ill. It does, however, require us to recognize that our interests may sometimes conflict with those of other groups. And, in such situations, it asks us to choose our own group interests rather than to masochistically sacrifice those interests for the sake of others (something which is expected today of Whites, but not of any other group). White Nationalism, in effect, simply recommends to Whites that they do what we all know other groups are already doing and prioritize their own interests.

To take a familiar example, American Blacks clearly saw the 2008 presidential race in terms of “us vs. them.” Accordingly, 96% of them voted for Barack Obama, a fact which those in the mainstream media found so normal and unremarkable as to be unworthy of comment. On the other hand, when it was revealed that 55% of Whites voted for John McCain this was decried by many as “racism.” White people originated the utopian ideal of a society in which everyone has somehow gotten beyond thinking in terms of their group interests. But it’s time for them to face the harsh reality that this just isn’t going to happen. What this means is that if non-White groups insist on thinking and acting in terms of their group interests, then so must we.

I offer the above as a simple, frank, and accurate encapsulation of the nature of White Nationalism. But why must Ásatrú be linked with it? Why can’t Ásatrú, as a religion, be apolitical?

2. Ásatrú as Ethnic Religion

First of all, let’s begin with a very simple point: Ásatrú is an ethnic, not a creedal religion. Something is an “ethnic religion” if, quite simply, it is the religion of a specific people or ethnic group. Judaism and Hinduism are excellent examples of ethnic religions. One is a member of the religion simply by being born a member of the tribe or the nation.

A creedal religion is one in which membership is defined not by ethnic identity but rather, as the term implies, by profession of a creed. Islam, Christianity, and Buddhism are the three largest creedal religions. Because what counts in creedal religion is belief, not ethnicity, creedal religions are universalistic, accepting adherents from any and all races. On the other hand, because ethnic religions are the religions of a specific people they typically do not admit converts from other ethnic groups. (Both Judaism and Hinduism do admit converts in some cases, but they generally discourage conversion and do not – unlike the Christians and Muslims – proselytize.)

The term “Hinduism” is derived from the Persian word “Hindu,” which actually just denotes the Indian people. The etymology of “Judaism” is similar, deriving ultimately from a word that simply means “Jew.” The words themselves do not distinguish a member of the ethnic group from an adherent to the religion. And this ambiguity exists not just in language but in fact. For most Indians to be Indian is to be a Hindu (which really means, to be Indian is to be an Indian). I have even heard it said that it is possible to be an atheist Hindu. All that this means, of course, is that no matter what an Indian believes he can’t stop being an Indian (just like Karl Marx, who was an atheist, is still referred to as a Jewish, or German-Jewish philosopher). Of course, we might want to qualify this by saying an Indian cannot stop being an Indian in the ethnic sense. But the very identity of a people seems bound up with its religion – often in ways that the people themselves (who may outwardly profess secularism) may not be consciously aware of.  And the identity of an ethnic religion is bound up with its people.

In truth, an ethnic religion flows from the unique nature of a specific people. Culture is a human product, and like all human products it is partially the result of features about us that are innate and unchosen. In recent years, scientists have brought forward overwhelming evidence that proves heredity shapes much about our behavior and personality that we had formerly thought was due to environment or “freedom of choice.” Some of the most impressive evidence – evidence which is quite simply astonishing – comes from studies of identical twins separated at birth.[1] These twins often dress alike, vote alike, have the same hobbies, share the same social attitudes, share the same tastes in art and music, drive the same make and model car, and achieve virtually identical scores on IQ tests.

An ethnic group is essentially a set of genetically similar people. It is more or less a very large extended family. What establishes group identity is relative similarity and relative difference: members of ethnic group X are considered such because, while they are not exactly the same, they are more like one another than they are like the members of group Y. Similarity is founded upon difference (an important point, to which I will return later). At some point in pre-history, members of distinct ethnic groups, made up of genetically-similar members, evolved religions. And these religions are remarkably different from one another. I consider it a truism, at this stage of our knowledge, to assert that these differences flow in part from the genetically distinctive natures of the ethnic groups involved. I say “in part” because obviously other factors were in play: e.g., geographic location, historical circumstances, etc.

We can actually dispense with all this newfangled talk about genetics and boil it down to this: an ethnic religion is a product of the innate, distinctive nature of a people. Differences between ethnic religions are in part attributable to innate, natural differences. And the reason why a particular religion works so well for a given people is quite simply because, individual differences aside, they share the same basic nature (though here again other factors may come into play, such as sharing the same circumstances).

Religions are not floating systems of acontextual abstractions that may be superimposed on any people, willy-nilly. This is true even of creedal religions. Every creedal religion was developed originally by a specific people and only subsequently was membership thrown open to all and sundry. Most famously, Christianity was originally a minor Jewish cult which, in its earliest days, admitted only Jews as adherents. This means that despite whatever universalistic cast it may have, a creedal religion is still shaped by the character of the people that originated it. This is the reason why our Northern European ancestors had to radically reshape Christianity (to “Germanize” it) before they could sign on. This “Germanization of Christianity” was actually a long process, which culminated in the terrific upheaval and bloodshed of the Reformation.[2] A religion forged by one people in one part of the world cannot be imposed upon a completely different people, in a completely different part of the world, without much suffering, violence, and betrayal of conscience.

Ásatrú is the ethnic religion of the Northern European peoples who speak Germanic languages. It is the product of that “ethnic group” (an ethnic group that to a great extent did not and does not to this day see itself as a distinct ethnic group). And it could not be the product of any other group. Oswald Spengler aptly described the soul of Northern European man as “Faustian.” He tells us that the “prime-symbol” of the Faustian is “pure and limitless space”:

Far apart as may seem the Christian hymnology of the south and the Eddas of the still heathen north, they are alike in the implicit space-endlessness of prosody, rhythmic syntax and imagery. Read the Dies Irae together with the Völuspá, which is little earlier; there is the same adamantine will to overcome and break all resistances of the visible.[3]

The Faustian soul is characterized by a solemn inwardness, tending towards solitude and melancholy – but matched by a ceaseless, outward-striving will. European man has always sought to go beyond: to explore, to find adventures in other lands, to conquer, to peer into the mysterious depths of things, to find new ways to control and manipulate his environment. This is not to say that these qualities are never found in other peoples, but – as Spengler recognized – they are most pronounced and developed in Northern European man.

We find the Faustian spirit in our gods. Ódhinn is the ceaseless wanderer, and the leader of the wild hunt. From his throne, called Hlidskjalf, he can survey the entire world. His two ravens, Huginn and Muninn (Thought and Memory) fly over the earth, bringing news of all things back to him. But there are secrets concealed even from Ódhinn, and beings (such as the Norns) over which he has no power. Like us, he burns with a desire to know the hidden and to control his fate. So he hung on the windy tree, nights all nine, and won the secret of the runes – the hidden lore that explains all things. He sought wisdom too from Mimir’s well (the well of memory) and sacrificed an eye to drink from it. We are Ódhinn, and he is the embodiment of the Faustian spirit.

Spengler writes:

What is Valhalla? [It] is something beyond all sensible actualities floating in remote, dim, Faustian regions. Olympus rests on the homely Greek soil, the Paradise of the Fathers is a magic garden somewhere in the universe, but Valhalla is nowhere. Lost in the limitless, it appears with its inharmonious gods and heroes the supreme symbol of solitude. Siegfried, Parzeval, Tristan, Hamlet, Faust are the loneliest heroes in all the cultures. The longing for the woods, the mysterious compassion, the ineffable sense of forsakenness – it is all Faustian and only Faustian. Every one of us knows it. The motive returns with all its profundity in the Easter scene of Faust I.

“A longing pure and not to be described
drove me to wander over woods and fields,
and in a mist of hot abundant tears
I felt a world arise and live for me.”[4]

Ásatrú is an expression of the unique spirit of the Germanic peoples. And one could also plausibly claim that the spirit of the Germanic peoples just is Ásatrú, understanding its myth and lore simply as a way in which the people projects its spirit before itself, in concrete form. And this leads me back to where I began, to the “political” point of this essay: to value Ásatrú is to value the people of Ásatrú; to value their survival, their distinctness, and their flourishing. For one cannot have the one without the other.

Ásatrú would have not have been possible without the people who gave rise to it, and it cannot be sustained without that same people. Politically correct Ásatrú organizations like the Troth (formerly the Ring of Troth) essentially reject the idea that Ásatrú is an ethnic religion and treat it more or less on the model of the Unitarian Church, opening their doors to all peoples. But this is simply absurd. Ásatrú is not a trans-national “creed” that may be comfortably “professed” by all peoples. It is the worldview of a specific people, forged in its encounter with a certain part of the earth. The approach of organizations like the Troth does nothing more than demonstrate that their real religion is the civil religion of modern, secular liberalism, to which Ásatrú (and everything else) must be fitted. But no one with any knowledge of the sagas could possibly believe that Ásatrú is compatible with modern liberalism.

I am delighted if non-Whites find the lore of my ancestors fascinating. They may study it all they like – in fact, I would encourage them in this. But it is not their tradition and I would not invite them to consider themselves as “one of us” or to take part in our rituals. I find Shinto fascinating, and in general I am very interested in Japanese culture and have great respect for the Japanese people. But I would never seek to join the Shinto religion, because I am a White Westerner and it is not my tradition. And, by the way, should I seek to join Shinto and should the Japanese politely reject me, no one today would find it the least bit shocking or objectionable. Yet if we Ásatrúar take the same position and declare that our ethnic religion is for those of our ethnicity alone, this is regarded as a hideous form of “racism.” We need to do it anyway, and erect niding poles before the houses of the politically correct.

To repeat: to truly value Ásatrú must involve valuing the people who gave rise to Ásatrú and whose spirit the religion expresses. And valuing our people means seeking to preserve it and our culture, and, in all conflicts of interest between our people and some other, taking the side of our own people.

3. “Us” vs. “Them”

My last statement above reiterates the idea (mentioned early on in this essay) that there are conflicts of interest between human groups. I take this to be a truism, but in fact it is a controversial claim today. The ideal of multiculturalism, after all, is that of a society in which different groups happily coexist and have no fundamental conflicts of interest. But this ideal rests upon a breathtakingly shallow view of what “culture” consists in.

The liberal “celebration of diversity” is in fact a celebration of culture only in its external and superficial forms. In other words, to Western liberals “multiculturalism” winds up amounting simply to such things as the co-existence of different costumes, music, styles of dance, languages, and food. But the real guts of the different cultures consist in such things as how they view nature, how they view the divine, how they view men and women, and how they view the relative importance of their own group in the scheme of things. And it is by no means clear that members of cultures with radically different views on these matters can peacefully co-exist.[5]

It is chiefly affluent, college-educated White people who believe in the possibility of a Star Trek world without conflicts of group interests. Non-Whites typically do not believe that such a world is possible, and do not yearn for it, because they have a much keener sense of group identity than do Whites, and a much keener desire to promote the interests of their own group. White democrats are typically delighted when Black people move into their neighborhoods. When the situation is reversed, Blacks are comparatively less thrilled (the fact that the vast majority of them are also democrats does not seem to make much of a difference). Nor are Asians in Chinatown wringing their hands over why so few Latinos live on their block.

The reason for this is that these groups have a healthy proprietary sense. They believe that their neighborhoods belong to them. If others want to move in, this is perceived as a clear-cut conflict of interests. In fact, conflicts of interest between groups are real and ineradicable. They do not exist merely because individuals think that they exist, thus they cannot be eliminated simply by “changing people’s minds.” Conflicts of interest exist for the simple, metaphysical reason that every individual, and every group is something.

To be always means to be something; to possess a specific identity consisting of certain traits and not others. This is true of all things that exist: rocks, pencils, paramecia, human individuals, and human groups such as races or nations. But every identity is always an identity in difference. In other words, the identity of anything is constituted through the ways in which it is different from other things.

On the table to the left of my computer are two coffee mugs. They possess certain traits in common, in virtue of which I class them both as members of the same kind. But their possession of these traits is marked by difference. Both are ceramic and roughly the same height, but one of the mugs is thicker and heavier. Both can be filled with liquid, but the thin mug (because of its thinness) can contain more liquid. Both are emblazoned with designs, but the designs differ (one is just an image, but the other conveys a “message”: a quote from the agrarian author Wendell Berry).

A coffee mug is what it is by being different from other coffee mugs, but also by being different from everything else. The identity of something can be expressed positively, such as when we say that the mug is thick, four inches high, ceramic, and White. But every positive characteristic is actually a form of “not being”: the mug is thick and not thin, four inches high and not five, ceramic and not metal (or any other material), White and not some other color. The mug, furthermore, is characterized by being incapable of self-generated motion, stopping a bullet, standing for election, and a whole host of other things.

All identity is identity in difference, it does not matter what we are speaking of. And this includes peoples and cultures. The identity of a people is constituted through the ways in which it is not like other peoples. This leads to some peculiar problems that do not occur in the case of coffee mugs. The two mugs on my desk are different, but their differences do not lead to conflict. Only one of them rests on a coaster, but they cannot be said to be in competition for the coaster. With human beings it is quite different. Differences between human groups are always sources of potential conflict. This is also true, of course, of differences between human individuals – and of differences between individual animals, and animal species.

Our different ways of speaking, dressing, eating, practicing religion, making money, doing art, making music, raising children, understanding sex differences, and having sex are all perpetual sources of potential conflict between human groups. As are such things as differences of wealth and geographic location (others may want our land and our loot). To be a distinct human group is to be different from other groups, and where there is difference there is always, of necessity, friction, hostility, conflict, and often war. It is reasonable to see these as negatives, given the suffering they produce. But so long as there are distinct human groups these are ineradicable (which is exactly what some Leftists have realized in advocating miscegenation). Further, if we value the distinctness of our group – which really just amounts to saying if we value our group – then in a sense we have to recognize that friction with other groups is not entirely bad. It is simply a corollary of the fact that our group possesses identity; that it exists at all.

One of the shocking simplicities of multiculturalism is the naiveté with which the word “diversity” is invoked as a kind of feel-good mantra denoting something unqualifiedly positive. Diversity simply means difference, and human differences are not a happy, G-rated, child-friendly parade of colors, sounds, tastes, and scents. Diversity means perpetual conflict, misunderstanding, intolerance, and suspicion. Nevertheless: celebrate diversity! Because without diversity, without difference, we would be nothing at all.

The German political theorist Carl Schmitt (1888-1985) is famous for having argued that the “concept of the political” is founded on the distinction between “us vs. them,” or, as he actually puts it, friend and enemy. Do not be thrown by the word “political.” What Schmitt actually means is that human groups define themselves through opposition to an other. What unites a people is the recognition that they and their interests stand opposed to other groups, who have their own interests. From this sense of unity, a structure of power arises – a political order – in response to the opposition of the other. This involves such things as maintaining civil order and maintaining preparedness, so that if the threat of the other becomes acute the group will be ready to act.

Of course, I can easily imagine someone responding to this – quite reasonably – with the following objection: “Why must a group define itself in opposition to an other? Why must a group’s identity be built upon hostility and ill will?” But this objection misunderstands Schmitt’s position, and what the phrase “in opposition” really means. Schmitt’s claim is not specifically that group identity is founded upon hostility to some other group. Rather, what he means is that group identity is founded upon a sense of distinctness from other groups. However, as I have argued above, so long as this distinctness exists there is the ever-present possibility of conflicts of interest and hostility.

Schmitt writes that

The political enemy need not be morally evil or aesthetically ugly; he need not appear as an economic competitor, and it may even be advantageous to engage with him in business transactions. But he is, nevertheless, the other, the stranger; and it is sufficient for his nature that he is, in a specially intense way, existentially something different and alien, so that in the extreme case conflicts with him are possible.[6]

Schmitt goes on to note that all human divisions become political if they are so strong that they result in grouping human beings according to the friend-enemy distinction. This includes religious divisions. I ended the introduction to this essay with the rhetorical question “Why can’t Ásatrú, as a religion, be apolitical?” But even if we were to take the universalistic position of the Troth and regard Ásatrú as merely a set of “beliefs” that anyone can hold, we would still have to make a distinction between those who hold those beliefs and those who don’t; those within Ásatrú and those without. And we would have to recognize that outsiders are always potential “enemies”; that (as history has shown us countless times) doctrinal, religious differences frequently lead to hostilities.

As I have already shown, however, to understand Ásatrú as a creedal religion is to fundamentally distort and deform it. Ásatrú is an ethnic religion. Its identity – its distinctness – consists not just in its “beliefs,” but in the fact that it is a religion of this people not that one; and it is an expression of the nature of this people, not that one. To value and adhere to Ásatrú must therefore involve valuing the people of Ásatrú. However, we have seen that a people only constitutes itself as a people through difference. And where there is difference there is always the possibility of conflict.

To value the people of Ásatrú means, therefore, to recognize that there is no possibility of eliminating conflicts of interest between our people and other peoples. To value the people of Ásatrú means to be constantly vigilant in securing its interests, and always to choose our interests over those of other groups. “Us” vs. “them” is simply not going to go away. Indeed, as I alluded to earlier in this essay, the conflict between us and them has only intensified in recent years. And it is going to get worse. The survival of the people of Ásatrú itself is at stake. And without that people, there will be no Ásatrú.

So far I have offered a philosophical case for believing that adherence to Ásatrú must involve ethnic partisanism, and indeed that it must involve the uncompromising defense of our people’s interests. But let us set philosophical argument aside for the moment and simply ask what position is most in accord with the spirit of Ásatrú. Is it the position I have outlined, which insists on the organic connection between Ásatrú and our people and calls upon us, therefore, to defend our people’s interests even if that means ostracism, condemnation, or death? Or is it the position that disconnects Ásatrú from its people, insists that that people not commit the intolerable “racist” sin of asserting its interests, and enjoins them to cheerfully accept their dispossession and extinction? Which position is more in accord with the spirit of the sagas?

Those who believe that we can (or should) ignore differences and who dream of an end to all conflict are those who – whether they realize it or not – wish for the eradication of distinct identities. But without identity there is . . . nothing. Life – and being itself – is identity, and thus life is difference and strife. Our way – the pagan way of Ásatrú – is the affirmation of this life, red in tooth and claw. Their way is the way of death, extinction, annihilation. A “liberal pagan” is a contradiction in terms.

4. Just who is “our people”?

I now turn to some thorny questions about who it is that constitutes “our people.” I earlier defined the people of Ásatrú as Northern European people who speak Germanic languages. And I made it clear that I am speaking about a distinct ethnic group. Thus, someone whose ancestry is Nigerian or Chinese and happens to live in Denmark and speak Danish does not count. Ancestry is what counts here.

But at this point one might raise a problem with the argument of this essay thus far. I have attempted to make the case that Ásatrú is, or ought to be, inseparable from White Nationalism. But White Nationalism is not exclusively about defending the interests of the Germanic peoples. It’s also about defending the interests of those who are (again, ethnically) Italian, Spanish, Russian, Czech, Polish, Greek, etc. These are all “White people.” But not all of them can plausibly be called the people of Ásatrú.

Yes, one can argue that Ásatrú is but one variation of Indo-European spirituality, and that all of these people – in pre-Christian times – were practicing folk religions closely related to Ásatrú. But it would be awfully strained and artificial to argue that just because this is the case, we should therefore care about what happens to non-Germanic, European people. It seems like actually the most one can argue, using the sort of logic I’ve employed in this essay, is that Ásatrúar of genuinely Northern European or Germanic stock should care about the interests of other people of similar stock. But it is going too far to say that they should be “White Nationalists.”

This certainly seems like a major problem, but in fact it is not.

Let’s begin with an obvious point that I have so far not mentioned: it is natural for people to prefer others like themselves, and to feel greater sympathy for others like themselves. This has its basis, again, in genetic similarity. Brothers care more about their sisters, typically, than they care about their second cousins – even if they have all grown up in close proximity. Cousins typically care more about each other than they do about the neighbors, even if the neighbors are members of the same ethnic group. And neighbors of the same ethnic group typically care more about each other, and trust each more, than they do the neighbors down the block who belong to a different ethnic group.

It is quite natural for an Englishman to feel a greater tie to other Englishmen than to the French. And it quite natural for me, whose ancestry is predominantly Germanic (despite my Irish name) to feel closer to an Englishman than to a Frenchman. But there are times when I can feel quite close to a Frenchman. For example, if I happen to run into one while visiting Nigeria. In such circumstances, the cultural, temperamental, and even linguistic differences between us are going to feel very slight. Were a Dane around also, I’m guessing I would form a stronger bond with the Dane than with the Frenchman. But I would bond with the Frenchman as well because, after all, he’s like me too (just, perhaps, not as much like me).

So, who is our people? It is quite natural for me and others like me to feel closest of all to others of Germanic ancestry. But other Europeans are like me as well. By extension, they are my people as well. The analogy to family and extended family is useful here. I will always feel the closest bond with my immediate family. But I also feel a bond, though not as close, with my cousins. To take a hackneyed example, if my cousin Alfred were drowning in a lake and a perfect stranger were drowning as well and I could only save one, I would save my cousin. And no one would fault me.

If a White stranger were drowning in a lake and a black stranger were drowning as well and I could only save one, who would I save? I imagine I would probably act instinctively to save the White man – and I submit that this would be as natural (and unmalicious) a reaction as preferring to save one’s family member. Yet it would no doubt be denounced as “racism.” It would not matter to me if the White person were Danish or Greek. I would act instinctively to help him, just because he’s “like me.” This natural preference for one’s own is something to be cultivated and celebrated. It is thoroughly anathema to Christianity (which only permits preferring Christians to non-Christians, and not even that really), and it is thoroughly “pagan.”

My essay so far seems to be enjoining Ásatrúar to start caring about members of their own group. In fact, I am merely encouraging them to reflect on the ties they already feel with their own group – whether they are consciously aware of those feelings or not – and to affirm them without shame. However, today the truth is that I don’t just feel a tie to other Northern Europeans, but with White people generally.

It is natural for us to think of multiculturalism, massive non-White immigration into Europe and America, and the declining White birth rate as unmitigated disasters. But the “cunning of reason” is at work here, as it always is. The positive effect of all of this is that it can forge a sense of European – or White – identity and unity such as has never existed before. It is sobering to look back over the course of European history and to realize that there was a time (very recently, in fact) when it would have been nearly impossible for members of different European nations to see each other as “like us.” That the English used to be mortal enemies with the Spanish, that the Germans fought the Austrians, and the Austrians fought the Italians, and so on, now seems almost incredible. That some of these innumerable, fratricidal conflicts were (ostensibly) over different inflections of Christianity is positively sickening.

Of course, a liberal might object to my argument by saying that changing historical circumstances have also resulted in our feeling greater ties and greater sympathy with members of other races as well. Just as the English and the French now feel that they are basically more alike than opposed, so multiculturalism has resulted in our feeling natural sentiments of sympathy with the Chinese and the Nigerians as well. The evidence for this includes an increase in interracial marriages. Also, the fact that everyone today (excluding White racists) has at least one friend of another race. Doesn’t my position actually hypocritically enjoin us to ignore the natural sentiments we now feel toward other races? Or, putting it another way, aren’t I arbitrarily encouraging my readers to affirm some of their natural sentiments and to deny others?

The trouble with this argument is that it rests both on false claims, and on an overly narrow understanding of what “natural sentiments” are. First of all, it has always been the case that members of different races have been capable of feeling sympathy for, and bonding with one another. It is also the case that humans – of any race – form bonds with members of other species, as any pet owner can attest.

But the truth is that people of different races typically only form deep bonds with each other in unusual and extraordinary circumstances (e.g. if they happen to share the same foxhole). Otherwise, the bonds tend to be mostly temporary and do not go very deep (as is the case with co-worker “friends” of different races). Yes, interracial marriage is more common than it used to be, but the vast majority of people still prefer to marry within their race. And the divorce rate among interracial couples is significantly greater than that of same-race couples. And yes, it is true that everyone today has at least one friend of a different race – everyone on television, that is. The reality is that most people prefer the company of their own kind, and form the deepest bonds with others like themselves – whether we are talking about married couples, friends, roommates, coworkers, business partners, or what have you.

To return to my earlier example: is it possible that in addition to bonding with the Dane and the Frenchman I might also bond with a Nigerian? Absolutely. But the bond is unlikely to be as strong or as deep. And should strife erupt on my visit to Nigeria, should Nigerians begin killing Whites (as is happening right now to White farmers in Zimbabwe), I would unhesitatingly band together with my Dane and my Frenchman, and probably forget about my Nigerian friend entirely. (Disraeli really was right: “Race is everything. There is no other truth.”)

Finally, we must also keep in mind that “natural sentiments” are not confined to sympathy. Another natural sentiment is antipathy. And antipathy is born of difference; the greater the difference the stronger the likelihood of antipathy. Let us affirm all of our natural sentiments, both the bitter and the sweet.

5. Conclusion: Quo Vadis, Ásatrú?

I turn now to another consideration about who “our people” is. I can imagine a follower of Ásatrú objecting to the argument of this essay by saying “Look, why should I give a damn about ‘my people’? The vast majority of them regard Ásatrú as an absurdity. They are a people thoroughly corrupted by modern individualism and consumerism. They are lemmings passively cooperating in their own destruction. They are Last Men. Men without chests. Hollow men. Men without qualities. Trousered apes. Why should I stick my neck out and be a White Nationalist when it would cause most average White people to want spit in my face and call me names?”

I have heard such sentiments expressed not just by Ásatrúar, but by many Whites with no particular interest in Ásatrú. The trouble with this position, though, is that it simply expects too much of our people. It has always been the case, without exception, that the vast majority of the people of any race are essentially conformists who do as they are told, and are often incapable of perceiving what’s really good for them.

The greatness of our people does not consist in our being individualists who are always ready and willing to break with the crowd. The greatness of our people consists in what they are capable of when they are properly led. Yes, the sagas celebrate the deeds of heroic individuals who often break the rules. But such individuals are celebrated because they are exceptional. It is such men who lead, and command the loyalty of others (which is the virtue most conspicuously celebrated in the Germanic tradition). All peoples need leaders; they seldom if ever liberate or enlighten themselves. If great changes are to be made a vanguard is needed, and in the beginning that vanguard will be feared and despised.

Our people have undergone centuries of brainwashing by Christianity, the Enlightenment, and cultural Marxism (three peas in a pod, actually). It is unreasonable to expect them to overcome this quickly, and without a great deal of assistance. Instead of hating our own people for their degraded condition we must instead learn to pity them. And we must learn to love them as we do errant children.

This is, admittedly, not that easy. Especially given that the modern world does all it can to tear us apart from each other. The rapaciousness of capitalism sets brother against brother and uproots us from the towns our families have called home for generations. It turns marriages into “partnerships” of two upwardly mobile consumers who remain together so long as the arrangement is mutually advantageous. Feminism simply aids and abets this aberration of capitalism, setting men and women against each other. Sons are set against fathers by a culture that insists that youth must rebel against age, and that there is value only in youth. And neighbors are set against each other as well; gone is the trust that allowed us once upon a time to leave our doors unlocked.[7] It is a wonder that we are able to feel anything for each other at all. This is a problem that we must work to overcome, not worsen by abjuring the realm and declaring others like ourselves to be “hopeless.”

The culture of our people has changed radically over the centuries, mainly for the worse. Yes, we have been corrupted and so have our values. But in fact we are still fundamentally the same people. Early on in this essay I spoke of how Ásatrú is a product of the unique nature of our people – a product, if you like, of our genetically distinct nature. That nature has not changed. Genetically, we are the same as we were in the time of Arminius. Underneath the veneer of modern decadence we are still the same people who slaughtered 20,000 Romans in the Teutoburg Forest. We are still the same people who carved the runes and thrilled to stories of Ódhinn and the gods. We are still the same people whose ideal of feminine virtue was the bloodthirsty Gudrun. And we are the people of Shakespeare, Schiller, Goethe, Mozart, Beethoven, Nietzsche, and Wagner.

The bloodline still exists, and the potential still exists within the blood. Our religion, Ásatrú, is obsessed with clan and ancestral identity. And we modern Ásatrúar claim to honor our ancestors. So I ask you: is there a greater way to honor our ancestors than to act to safeguard and revivify their bloodline? We like to posture as Norsemen. But the truth is that our ancestors would never recognize most of us, because most of us have committed sins they would find incomprehensible. We have turned out backs on our own people – and are cheerfully, unashamedly in full retreat.

It is time to ask ourselves just exactly what Ásatrú is to us and where it is going. Is our aim simply that Ásatrú be accepted as yet another “lifestyle choice” in the great multicultural stew of New Age “spirituality”? Is it enough simply that we are able to get together with other oddballs like ourselves and put on silly costumes and perform rituals in dead languages? The only thing that can redeem Ásatrú and raise it above the level of being yet another modern form of isolating, self-indulgent eccentricity is if we come to see Ásatrú as requiring something great of us. And, again, what greater task could there be than the salvation of our people? Again, what task is more worthy of Ásatrú, the religion of epic heroes, of our ancestors, the religion in which blood is everything?

Ásatrú just is the heroic commitment to our people and to its spirit. Compared to this all else – the runes, Old Norse, drinking horns, mead, skaldic verse, and so on – is external and inessential. But it is completely unsurprising that so many would choose the external over the essential. This is the modern way. Especially when the essential involves a commitment to something as fundamentally anti-modern, “irrational,” and dangerous as loyalty to those like oneself, simply because they are like oneself. Nevertheless, this is it. Setting all externals and non-essentials aside, this is our ethnic religion; this is Ásatrú. To defend the people of Ásatrú and its spirit is itself Ásatrú.

It is time to reflect on the ambiguity of the term “ethnic religion,” about which I earlier said only a little. An ethnic religion is a religion “of” a people in more than one way. In the deepest way, an ethnic religion is the spirit of a unique people made manifest to itself. In a sense, it is through their ethnic religion that a people worships itself. The religion is the people, and the people are the religion. This is the most fundamental answer to the question of the connection between Ásatrú and “the political,” or the connection of Ásatrú to “White Nationalism.” There is no problem about connecting these, in fact. They are already together – tied together intimately and inseparably, whether this is recognized by all Ásatrúar (or all White Nationalists) or not.[8]


[1] See Nancy L. Segal, Born Together—Reared Apart: The Landmark Minnesota Twins Study (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2012).

[2] See James Russell, The Germanization of Early Medieval Christianity: A Sociohistorical Approach to Religious Transformation (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994).

[3] Oswald Spengler, The Decline of the West, Vol. I, trans. Charles Francis Atkinson (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1926), 185-86.

[4] Spengler, 185-86.

[5] Unless, of course all cultural differences are eliminated save the purely external, via the transformation of all peoples into homogenized, interchangeable consumers bereft of any deeply-felt convictions. This is, in fact, the hidden global capitalist agenda of multiculturalism, now being cheerfully advanced by useful idiots on the anti-capitalist Left.

[6] Carl Schmitt, The Concept of the Political, trans. George Schwab (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007), 27.

[7] Studies have shown that in multicultural neighborhoods distrust is high, even among members of the same group.

[8] An interesting implication of all the above – which I cannot develop here – is the other side of the equation: White Nationalism is inseparably connected to Ásatrú. This will be resisted by many White Nationalists. Some are atheists who reject all religion. Others view Ásatrúar (not without some justification) as, at best, eccentrics in funny hats. But if my basic argument is effective, that Ásatrúar should be White Nationalists because Ásatrú is in fact the expression of the spirit of (Northern European) White people, then we must recognize that this also supports the claim that White Nationalists should be Ásatrúar – at least those of Northern European ancestry. There are movements of other European peoples that seek to revive worship of their old gods – such as the Greek organization Thyrsos Hellenes Ethnikoi – and I applaud them.


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