A Eulogy For Heathenry

              When I started off in “Heathenry,” I was in my mid-teens, and unaware of “Heathenry at large.” After leaving Catholicism at 14, and spending the first few years after that involved in more sinister corners of non-mainstream religion & practices, I found myself inclined to learn about some of the techniques & ideology of these people claiming to be modern witches, so I picked up a few Raymond Buckland books, and found that Woden, a god whose stories I’d read and for whom I felt a strange affinity with since my preteens, was one of the gods of this Seax-Wicca I was reading about. Something didn’t make sense straight off the bat though, because Woden was being venerated as “The Lord,” and in the place of the Horned God, but this didn’t jive with what I’d read about Woden, a god who’d hanged & speared himself to win the Runes, A god who filled his hall with dead heroes chosen from the slain, and who had slain his tyrannical ancestor & cannibalized his body to fit out the cosmos. Beyond this, Woden’s wife Frige wasn’t being venerated beside him, but instead had been replaced with Freya. Then there was that pesky Rede of theirs, which, even to a 16 year old, seemed unrealistic and not in line with the many historical examples of magic being used against enemies by people identified as witches. I set about gleaning the useful material I could where ritual structure and such was concerned, and set about doing my own thing, only honoring Woden for his more traditional functions, as well as well as replacing the place of Freya in the equation with Frigga, who I saw being more appropriate in the place beside her husband. I worked with this formula while continuing to read anything on magic I could get my hands on. When I ran across Ed Fitch’s “The Rites of Odin,” I gleaned what I could from it, even used some of the rituals for a while in lieu of some of the ones that I’d developed at the time, because, after all, this guy Fitch had a longer background than I did, and so his rituals *must* be better than what I was doing. This was the first book I ran across the term “Odinism” in. A little later on, Iencountered Freya Aswynn’s book, but could make little sense of it beyond a personal commentary on the subject, and it made very little impact on me…I was likewise uninspired by Ralph Blum’s “Book of Runes.” The first really serious treatment I found on Odinism (as I called it at the time) at age 19 was Llewellyn’s printing of “A Book of Troth” by Edred Thorsson, which was, in less pages than “The Rites of Odin,” head & shoulders above the latter in content, and it prompted me to leave the coven I was working with at the time and strike out on my own. I immediately adopted the ritual structure & philosophy of the book, and was an ardent “Thorsonite” for almost a decade and a half, as I purchased anything he wrote as soon as it became available; this prompted my entry into the Rune-Gild years later.

              My first contact with heathens should have served as a warning of the sorts of people I could expect to deal with for the next two decades and change, but I was young & optimistic, and convinced that I’d only dealt with a few isolated examples of bad apples. Later on, in December of 1992, I attended a Runic workshop presented by Ian Read in Huntington Beach, California. At the workshop, I met the leaders of a Troth-affiliated kindred based out of Hollywood, California, and we kept in touch. This led to me attending a workshop by Freya Aswynn that they were backing, and this was my first up-close & personal experience with the mental instability that is Aswynn. Eventually I was invited to join the kindred, and never missed an opportunity to meet with members, even outside of ritual or other gatherings. One day, I left my personal Galdrabok at the home of the kindred leaders, and at the next gathering, the Godi passed out some printed packets of material, which included some of the contents of my Galdrabok word-for-word, and to add insult to injury, there was a copyright notice for the packet on the first page, crediting the kindred’s leaders as owning all the material therein. I kept my mouth shut about it at the time, as I deeply valued the company of those who I shared gods with, and didn’t want to lose the community I’d become a part of. At one point, the kindred leaders hosted a talk at their house by Diana Paxson, and this talk was my first red flag that my kindred wasn’t the only group with problems: the leader of another kindred who was in attendance peppered his comments with insults towards people and gods (except for Freyr) alike, and so when he finally got around to throwing insults out at Odin and those who offered him special veneration, I told him to shut his mouth; his response was to slap me across the face, and I in turn responded by beating the shit out of him on the living room floor in front of everyone. As time went on, complaints from members of my kindred about other groups and individuals further drove home the point that all was not well in Heathendom. The leaders of the kindred were associated with Diana Paxson and her group Hrafnar, and the two of them started receiving training in Hrafnar’s “Oracular Seid.” This opened the door to all sorts of nonsense on the part of the Godi when he was “in a trance/possessed,” and this in turn made the kindred more & more unpleasant as time went on (years later, another former member of the kindred informed me that large amounts of cocaine had played a part as well.) During this same span of time, I’d been enjoying the friendship of a guy who called himself (among other things) Elymus. Elymus wasn’t a heathen, but veneratedone of the Egyptian Neter, and had a much more serious, dedicated & reverent approach than the heathens I’d been working with on the matter of what a god was and how it should be treated by human beings. He balked at the popular attitude in heathenry of “We stand before our gods,” and supported his arguments well…despite this, I held onto the attitude for years, and it was only after considering personal experiences and historical sources that I cast the idea aside as asinine & inaccurate. When I’d share with him some of the experiences I’d had with heathens in my kindred & elswhere, he’d shake his head and point out that that these people were treating the matter of religion more like a social event and less like a sacred undertaking. The more that I spoke with Elymus about things, the more I became convinced that the kindred I was in and the community attached to it were fruitless wastes of time, effort & resources. By the time the kindred headed up to the Ravenwood Gathering in central California in the summer of ’93, I was all but done with the idea of being a part of the kindred. The gathering was host to several heathen “celebrities,” namely Prudence Priest (then the Steerswoman of the Troth), Diana Paxson, and Freya Aswynn. My first impression of Prudence Priest was that she was obnoxious hippie trailer trash, and this impression was only reinforced years later when I had to deal with her in the Rune-Gild. Aswynn was just as unhinged as she’d been the first time I’d met her, and this, coupled with her body odor, encouraged me to be any place she wasn’t during the gathering. Paxson was pleasant enough, but I had issues with her afterward as a direct result the Seid working which she, Hrafnar, and Aswynn conducted on the last night of the gathering. One woman after another took the “high-seat” and proceeded to go into “trances” in which various gods “horsed” (that is, possessed, as is the case with god-possession in Voudon) the “seeress.” I saw some of the worst acting in my life in the  Seið-Pit that night: first, there was a bellicose “seeress” who was “horsed” by Odin and proceeded to make out with Freya Aswynn. Next, there was Aswynn herself, who demonstrated exactly how sad things can get when people like her stop taking their medication. Finally, there came Paxson, who demonstrated an actual talent for Glamour in its traditional magical sense while on the high-seat; I had been “strongly encouraged” by the Goði of the kindred I was in to step forward and ask a question, so when it came my turn,  I stepped up, and asked my question: “Is Odin pleased with what I am doing?”…the answer she delivered is what would pass as “deeply profound” in some circles as her eye shut in imitation of Odin: “The question SHOULD be ‘Are you pleased with what you are doing?” Yes, I was certainly pleased with what I was doing: making a final decision at that very moment to get the Hel away from the kindred I’d joined and the extended community it was attached to. For years, omen after omen had indicated that it was my wyrd to set myself to the work of remanifesting the Ulfhednar, and so, after making my decision to leave the kindred, I wandered away into the darkness, called out to Odin, and oathed to him that I would set my hand to remanifesting his wolf-cult. I resigned from the kindred when we returned to Hollywood the following day, and set about tracking down information to fulfill my oath.

              After parting ways with Elymus in the Autumn of ’93, I formed Ulfgarð Kindred to get on with the business of fulfilling my oath to Odin. In addition to providing instruction on magical & religious subjects, I also provided instruction in unarmed fighting techniques that I’d gleaned from my training over the years. During this period, I also carried out various religious rites to Odin, asking his counsel so that I might honorably fulfill my oath and quest in bringing about the remanifestation of the Ulfhednar in Midgard.. As time went on with the various personnel changes in Ulfgarð Kindred, it became painfully apparent to me that some people just wanted to supplement their drug experiences with magical & religious ones. When I was finally fed up with the druggies, as well those who brought their delusions & alterior motives into Ulfgarð in the process of wasting my time & energy, I finally closed it in 1995. If my experiences in Ulfgarð Kindred taught me anything, it is that people will joyously waste the time & energy of others in pursuit of being entertained.

              On Halloween of 1995, I attended an open ritual at Chapman University. At the close of the rite, I was approached by a woman who commented on the Valknut pendant I was wearing and introduced herself as the Mark Steward for the Rune-Gild in Southern California. After speaking briefly, we exchanged phone numbers, and communicated sporadically over the next year, even attempting to form a local “Runa-Workshop” (a formal gathering of Gild members as well as non-Gild members) on the University campus to expand awareness & interest in Germanic magic & religion; the potential members who presented themselves to us were less than ideal, and little more than oversized children pursuing degrees, and with no serious interest. I finally joined the Rune-Gild in 1997, and by late 1998, I was the Mark-Steward for Southern California, and a Gild-Fellow. My first Gild-Moot in ’98 established in my mind that there were more deviants & degenerates in the Germanic tradition than I had ever previously dared (or wanted) to imagine. In my position as the Mark-Steward (first of Southern California, later the entire state), I found myself in contact with Heathenry at large again, and it tasted just as bad, only this time around, it included members of different larger organizations, and ones often at-odds with each other, and sometimes trying to sway me to their particular side. Of all of them, Prudence Priest, a former Steerswoman of the Troth, was, to my memory, the most obnxious & annoying person I had to deal with in the entire California Mark of the Gild. Having an internet connection, my contact with heathens in the Gild wasn’t isolated to the California Mark, and this brought me into the acquaintance of whackjobs of all sorts, who, in their respective fashions, made negative impacts on all who they had contact with, whether they were pushing their radical socio-political ideas, demanding that the Gild adjust itself to their liking where membership was concerned, spreading their subjective delusions, or insisting they they receive Naming to an initiatory level for which they had produced nothing objective to demonstrate their worthiness (qualification) for. During my time in the Gild, I became the “Benchmate” of another member who asked me to partner with him, as his goal was to revive the Berserkers, as mine was to revive the Ulfhednar. I reaffirmed my oath to Odin to revive the wolf-cult, while my”Benchmate” oathed to him that he would revive the Berserkers. We worked together on the ill-fated, poorly conceived “Gesiðas” project, which my “Benchmate” abandoned when his initial enthusiasm wore off, and it was apparent that none of the people which he tried to recruit to the Berserker end of things had any serious interest; after months of silence, I learned of his abandonment in an Email from him in which he told me that he was going to instead invest his energies into starting a tiki club band. Like in my own neck of the woods, there were some decent people in the Gild here & there, but the whackjobs, shit-disturbers & flakes, regardless of the variety, always seemed to muck things up and waste people’s time & energy with their antics, whether online or face-to-face. When I resigned from the Gild in 2003 over issues with the character & conduct of its Yrmin-Drighten, no longer having to deal with such a convoluted cross-section of heathens was a welcome relief.

              Following my resignation from the Rune-Gild, I joined the League of the Rune-Wolf (later to be known as the Wolfbund), as the Drighten’s stated goal to revive Odin’s wolf-cult was in line with my own. My time in the Wolfbund found me in the company of some heathens who mixed fringe politics with religion quite frequently, even including a few who gave serious credence to the writings of Lanz Von Liebenfels. Many refused to cast their political lenses aside, and they let it taint their perspectives, even if it flew in the face of reason. This was made worse by ritual exploration into Nazi occultism by members of the Eisenfaust, the security wing of the Wolfbund: while I had always had a curiousity about that particular corner of the Occult (especially its imagery) and the cultural taboos attached to it, I never entertained the politics or the racial ideas attached to that particular time & place. After a while, I could only shake my head at what passed as “the Occult” within the Third Reich, especially Wiligut’s writings, but it became apparent that others’ explorations encouraged their descent into personal delusions & fixation upon the Nazis. I lost count of how many conversations I had in which I had to make it clear to others that while I found the mystique & imagery of that regime to be fascinating, I would never adopt their politics or their racial attitudes, and while I received lip-service assuring me that they concurred with my perspective, their words & behavior elsewhere indicated otherwise. Based upon my own experiences, as well as noting the results of the experiences of others, I have to say that there is a genuine element of danger involved when delving into the “occult” of the Third Reich: while some may immerse themselves into things, experience them, then withdraw, disconnect & soberly consider what they may have gleaned, others seem to be “seduced” by the experiences, choose to remain immersed, refuse to disconnect, and become warped (dare I say “devoured”) by their experiences, actively seeking to become the people they’ve been trying to gain an understanding of; all reason is cast aside in pursuit of their delusions, which in time flower into an embracing of the politics, racial ideas & megalomania so infamous within the Third Reich…consequently, heavy tolls are exacted on their psyches, and ultimately, their lives. By the middle of 2005, the effects of this blossomed unchecked among some of the leadership of the Wolfbund, which led to my resignation when the limits of my tolerance for their bullshit was exceeded, and it was clear that the pursuit of their personal delusions took precedence over placing efforts towards a viable revival of the wolf-cult of Odin. Several members who had been under my tutelage left with me, and while some stayed longer than others, they ended up going back to the Asatru they’d came from, or went off, apparently in search of something else.

              I remained away from any contact with heathenry until 2007, when I decided to join a local heathen pubmoot, hoping to make new friends. As is the case with such gatherings, there was a diverse cross-section of people involved, from people with a serious approach to heathenry to New Age-types who were there for the show. The pubmoot also included the presence of Kristi Lovering, who later on made a transformation into the annoying shit-disturber known as Nornoriel/Sebastian Lokason, a woman/man/whatever who over the years has developed quite the reputation as a grifter within heathen & neopagan circles. At the get-go, I seemed to mesh well with one of the women from the pubmoot at the surface, and we started hanging out, and even knocked off a piece a few times. My association with her led me to attend a public Midsummer rite presented by an Asatru Folk Assembly-connected kindred out of the Mount Baldy area which included Ed & Tina Lebouthillier among its members. Ed acted as celebrant of the rite, a rite he himself had penned, while Tina, rather than standing respectfully with everyone else gathered for the rite, wandered aimlessly about the ritual area here & there, and smelled of urine, which blended well with her unkempt appearance. The rite which Ed produced & performed was one of the poorest I’d seen, and was a painful demonstration to me of how low the standards were for the AFA’s clergy certification program. Ed & Tina were famous for their statement that “they ran Asatru” in the Southern California area, and this attitude had shown through just prior to Midsummer when they ostracized the leader of the pubmoot I attended (who was a friend of mine) and disinvited he and his then -girlfriend from the rite; I would have called Ed & Tina out for this at their rite, but I refrained from doing so at the request of the woman I was hanging out with, and with whom I attended the rite. I felt bad for some younger heathens there who were obviously having their first contact with other heathens for the first time that day. As time went on, the woman I was hanging out with tried to lure me into an unwanted romantic relationship, and was willing to play any angle she thought would work: she was an Associate member of the Rune-Gild at the time we were hanging out, and she shared members-only communications with me in order to try to ingratiate herself to me; this only showed me that she was somebody whose loyalty & confidentiality could not be depended on. She even claimed that Odin himself had told her that I would come to see her as the ideal woman for me if she left the Rune-Gild and came to study with me. After a few more of her antics, I cut off any contact I had with her, but she continued to stalk me, including leaving several “care packages” on my doorstep. I finally put an end to her nonsense by first photographing her “gifts,” then packing them up and leaving them on her doorstep with a harshly-worded letter warning her to leave me alone. Never stick your dick in “Crazy.” The local heathen pubmoot fell into inactivity, as did my interaction with heathenry outside the confines of my own practices again.

              From 2008 to 2010, I kept to myself, save for communicating with one other heathen on the subject ofthe wolf-cult.In late 2010, I made the online acquaintance of a two former members of the Wolfbund who had joined years after I left. As the Wolfbund had dissolved the year prior, I felt comfortable with talking to them without being dragged into the matters of the organization I’d left 5 years before. By December of 2010, I’d determined that one of the former members was another problem waiting to happen and ceased association with him; the other former member, now known as Viðulfr, was the exact opposite, and has turned out to be one of the best people I know, and a brother to me. At Yule, 2010, I ritually began a more active approach in bringing about the remanifestation of the wolf-cult, and was joined by Viðulfr in what I dubbed the “Galdormill Project.” It should be emphasized that the Galdormill Project was a *project,* and not an organization; its goal was to help independent people or others already involved in a group to develop themselves and/or their group, and to help me to assess who might be a good fit for my own group…I had no personal stake in the independents or those in other groups beyond raising the standards and effecting progress across the board where the wolf-cult was concerned. Having mended fences with the former Drighten of the Wolfbund some time before (he’d even Emailed me when he decided to shut the Wolfbund down), he recommended several former Wolfbund members to me, and I welcomed them…the former Drighten and his wife & son were even on board for a short time, until they disappeared at the end of April, 2011 without explanation. I even welcomed members from other organizations in the spirit of cooperation, because I was more interested in effecting progress for the wolf-cult than I was in creating yet another monolithic organization such as the Wolfbund and bestowing guru-status on myself in the process. 2011 also saw me mending fences with my “Benchmate” from the Rune-Gild, who, in the time since we parted ways, had made a metamorphosis from “Berserker” to “Theodish Lord,” and seemed interested in making heathenry better by providing better information to draw worldview & practices from rather than the nonsense being spread around. By mid-2012, it had become apparent that some of the people involved in the Galdormill Project had little to no motivation or personal initiative towards it: some would make excuses for their lack of participation, saying that they had no free time, and yet their Facebook accounts showed that they had plenty of time to play online games and post their results on social media. Others filled their time with chasing their latest whims, while others outright refused to discipline themselves enough to finish an entire book which was required reading for the project. I dismissed two a little earlier that year, and two left on their own by the end of July. I shut down the Galdormill Project, and invited the worthwhile to join my own group. Me and mine have worked on our own since then.

              In the middle of 2013, I attended a local Midsummer ritual in Huntington Beach, California, and made the acquaintance of a few nice people, including members of a local hearth. A few screwballs also made my acquaintance at the ritual, but I shook them off rather quickly once they’d removed any doubt in my mind that they were “problem people.” Despite the fact that they were working in a tribal dynamic rather than the cultic one I was focused on, I decided to try to help the hearth; these people were a decent group of people, I wanted to see that a decent group of people focused on a heathen tribal dynamic could get the best information on the subject out there. I plead with my old “Benchmate” to provide me with a suggested booklist for these people so that they wouldn’t be bogged down in the “same old same old” from the usual cluster of heathen authors pumping out their half-assed treatises, and he finally relented, requesting his friends offer suggestions for the list as well in a Facebook thread. I compiled the suggestions into a list, and then passed them onto the hearth. The people in the hearth were nice enough, and their gatherings were great (I was invited to several), but sometime after Yule of 2013, it seemed that they just “ran out of gas.” In early 2014, I learned that somebody had impersonated me on Stormfront.org, a white power online forum site: among other things, the impersonator claimed that I had a grandfather who was in both the Freemasons and the Ku Klux Klan (which has absolutely no basis in fact.) Through investigation, Viðulfr discovered that the impersonator was a former member of our group, and  I  confronted the party responsible on the matter; I received an apology from him, and eventually, he finally posted a public apology & admission of guilt in the matter to his Facebook timeline. Early 2014 also saw me joining the now-infamous Facebook group known as “Do You Even Heathen, Bro?,” where I found myself in the company of other heathens who were sick of the “same old same old” in heathenry, and routinely lampooned it through pasting screenshots from activity on other “heathen” groups & pages and commenting on it, as well as outright trolling the objects of their disdain. My wife & I met on that group, so while I no longer have anything to do with the “major players” involved in that group, I’ll always look upon that Facebook group with fondness, as it’s where my mate & I first became acquainted; when the Admins of that group shut it down for whatever reason, I started the “Dost Thou Even Heathen, Bro?” Facebook group to fill the void and continue the fun.  My wife was living in Pennsylvania when we met online, and on October 16th, we met face to face for the first time after I drove across the country from California to meet her. While in Pennsylvania, we accepted the invitation of my “Benchmate” from my days in the Rune-Gild to celebrate Winter Finding with his Theod in Maryland, and brought the libations for the offering.  Aside from an abomination made from pickles rolled in cream cheese & ham sliced into coins we were pressured into trying, the Theod’s Winter Finding celebration went well, although the ritual itself lacked the energy my wife & I expected it to have, given the way that my old “Benchmate” had promoted the idea of the potency of the method his group was using. As my wife & I were about to depart, my old “Benchmate” called out “Hildolf, Odin wants you & Yvonne (my wife) to move back to Pennsylvania, and he wants you to put your head on this knee” as he pointed down to his own knee…in essence, he wanted me to submit and swear fealty to him. My wife & I were both appalled by this, as my “Benchmate” was more than aware of the oath I’d sworn to Odin to revive his wolf-cult…beyond this this, we were both shocked by his audacity in assuming to speak on behalf of a god. This was the first of many things my “Benchmate” did to erode our trust, confidence & respect for him. We gave him no indication of our feelings, and left the celebration on pleasant terms. Before we returned to California, my wife & I attended a heathen pubmoot in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. The people there were friendly, but the leader of the pubmoot, who was also an ardent AFA member, was a wellspring of misinformation;  I later found out from my wife that he was also putting together a group with a racist bent to it in the background, and using the pubmoot as a recruiting tool.  When my opinion of this guy eventually got back to him, he responded by making false claims that my wife & I showed up to the pubmoot on drugs and that we were constantly nodding off, which was ridiculous, since we were both lucid, and conversing with people during the entire duration of the pubmoot, which included correcting the moot leader’s many mistakes on terminology & concepts…I even bought a collection of books to show & suggest to them. In early November, my new family & I were on the road headed back to California, and one night, as we bedded down for the night in a motel room, a friend from Facebook messaged me to inform me that some of my work had been plagiarized, and sent me a link to a blog page where the act of plagiarism had been posted. Yes, somebody had plagiarized my article “What is an Odian?,” dumbing it down, sparing every expense where the word-count was concerned and not even citing my article as a source. Of course here was the worst part: it was being presented as a heathen *religious philosophy,* not as the occult philosophy with a divine sorcerer as exemplar that it actually was. And the plagiarist? Stephen A. McNallen in his blog post “What is the Path of Odin?” posted on 8/25/14. Holy shit, really? I’d written the article over a decade before, I’d written it better, and this putz comes along and  presents it as something that it never was, and was never meant to be (a religious philosophy.) It was a little hard getting to sleep that night after getting this news. I confronted McNallen several times on his Facebook page, providing links to both his blog post and to a copy of “What is an Odian?” still floating around on the internet, and yet each time, he refused to respond, and deleted my posts.  I’d heard various criticisms of McNallen for years, but I have to admit to being shocked that he’d sink to this sort of thing. All in all, my trip east to claim my bride had provided both of us with some unpleasant experiences & perspectives of heathenry.  Sometime during 2014, the unspoken leader of the hearth I’d been associating with moved out of state, and a former prospective member of the hearth approached me and asked me for help in the development of the kindred he’d founded after the hearth became inactive. As I’d done with the hearth, I made it clear that I’d help him with information and lend my perspectives, but I wouldn’t join his organization, as their tribal dynamic wasn’t the proper place for a Wolfcoat. He agreed with my terms, and I provided he and his kindred with a huge amount of resources where reading material and suggested reading material was concerned, including the reading list I’d originally compiled for the hearth, and links to useful articles. Once again, I wasn’t asking anything, and was only after trying to help a healthy heathen group develop in my area, and the most that I was looking for were some decent friends with some level of commonality. After my wife & I moved into our house in early 2015, the leader of the kindred approached me with the idea of holding a seasonal rite at our home. I was open to it, and even invited he and his family over for a barbecue weeks before the ritual. While the leader assured me that other kindred members would be attending the seasonal rite, when the day of the rite arrived, the only people to show up were (once again) the leader and his family. What struck my wife & I right away was how he made a b-line for the liquor cabinet I keep for guests as soon as he was in the door, and how he couldn’t get a drink down his throat fast enough. As with the barbecue, my wife & I supplied meat, drinks, and snacks for the occasion; the leader & his wife brought a cheese tray, and a container of fresh sliced fruits. I’d Emailed the leader a copy of the rite to be performed that day so that he could familiarize himself with it, and I’d printed copies of the rite so that any others attending could as well. When I handed the leader a hardcopy of the rite, he look at it as if he was looking at it for the first time, and it turned out that was the case; this guy never even bothered to look over the copy of the rite I’d Emailed him, despite his assurances that he was taking things seriously. He looked over the ritual and informed me that only he and his boys would be participating in the rite, and this was indeed the case, as for the entire duration of the afternoon, his wife sat at a table and consumed the entire cheese tray and container of fruit they’d bought. While his boys ran wild & unsupervised most of the time, they did stand respectfully & participate in the rite, but it was apparent that they didn’t really understand what they were doing, or why. It became apparent that this was more of a party to *all of them* than anything else, complete with plenty of single malt scotch for for the kindred leader. Months earlier, I made it clear to the leader that I would have nothing to do with any heathens who had anything to do with Stephen McNallen in light of how he’d plagiarized me; despite this, after the rite, he began speaking fondly of the man and his ideas, and even *defended* him at one point. By the time his wife finished off the last of the food and they headed out the door, My wife & I were happy to see them leave, and we decided that none of their kindred’s future rituals would be held at our house, especially considering that they didn’t even bother to clean up the mess (including pages from hardcopies of the printed rite torn from the staples & strewn all around the yard) their sons had left. Despite the bad taste the experience left in my mouth, I still continued to share resources with the kindred on their Facebook group, and in late April, I posted a question to their Facebook group, asking if anybody had any obervations on a book which was highly recommended on the reading list I provided them with, and available to them free in pdf form in the “Files” section of their group. I got one response from a kindred member, “No, is this book any good?” This guy hadn’t even bothered to read the recommended reading list, and it showed. It annoyed me that this was the only response I got at all, and it occurred to me that I had never seen one comment on any of the things I’d posted for months before. I looked back through my posts, and sure enough, there was nothing there: no questions, no personal observations, nothing. These people hadn’t done a damn thing to get a conversation going on something which supposedly meant so much to them. I considered this, and then considered our experience with the leader and his family at the seasonal rite, and I decided that I was done with this. I formally disassociated myself from them in a post to their Facebook group, left it, and cut off all contact with the kindred leader.  So much for local heathenry.  While my time with local heathenry was over, I was still quite enmeshed with heathenry abroad via Facebook, and particularly through the “Dost Thou Even Heathen Bro?” Facebook group; while the “Copy-Paste-Comment” policy of the group was still in place, the habit of members joining other Facebook groups just to harass others had just as much popularity, as was bragging about this harassment in the form of comments and screenshots detailing their activities on other groups. At first, it was amusing seeing the outright insane & delusional being lampooned on their own ground, but after a while, it got old, and it became more apparent that it was a much higher priority for these hecklers to look down their noses at others in condescension than it was to correct misinformation on heathenry and maybe change a mind or two, even if indirectly. These guys who made oh-so-many complaints about heathenry weren’t as interested in getting better information out there as they were in forming an “in-crowd” reminiscent of high school cliques where they were the “big men on campus.” By the end of August, I’d grown disgusted by the whole matter, and finally decided to say something in the group:

              “So guys, here’s an idea: instead of wasting hours of your time arguing with Derp, instead of using the Copy, Paste,Comment method to vent about them here, why not…you know…put out a book. Or a series of books, one annually where things can be updated with new data or theories. Or does dedicating large chunks of your time to these twits on an on-going basis really yield you that much satisfaction rather than efficiently disseminating information which would provide a viable alternative to the Derp? Do you really want the current state of heathenry to improve, or do you just want another opportunity to spit on someone who knows less than you, while providing the average person with a book list which they may not only legitimately not be able to afford, but not able to understand? Exactly how does this solve the problem for anyone but someone who can afford & comprehend the material? Either you really want this to succeed, or you don’t. Fuck your excuses, fuck your many reasons for not doing so, fuck your “Oh I don’t know’s,” fuck your latest pet project. Get off your fucking asses and produce something fundamental which can get people started on worldview & legitimate practices, or stop whining about a problem which has a simple solution which so many seem to be dancing around. If you want to continue to simply use other’s lack of information as another opportunity to beat them over the head and prove that you know oh-so-much more than they do, by all means. What you will find yourself with is a version of heathenry where only intellectuals can, with some degree of certainty, call themselves heathen. If that’s what you’re after, I hope that you enjoy the idea of a heathen revival with a very short shelf-life. That’s not what I dedicated over half my life to, what about the rest of you? Yeah, the Derp’s getting old, but so are the excuses. If I could write the book, I would, and I would have it out in a timely manner, but I don’t have the depth of understanding of many important elements which others do, and so the task falls to those who do. I’ve said my piece. I’m turning my attention solely to the development of the wolf-cult from this point on, and will be ignoring almost everything which comes across this group in the future. This is in your court, boys & girls, and whether heathenry actually becomes a thriving, surviving religion again, or remains a few insular groups adrift in a sea of counterculture Derpsters is all up to you. Try not to let the worst parts of your personalities get in the way. I fully realize that I may have offended or hurt the feelings of one or more people who I really care about and respect, I may even lose some friends over this, but I have held my tongue for too long, and this whole matter demands that I speak my mind and be totally frank in the process. Perhaps some of you should put some of that intellectual pride aside and remind yourselves what this is really all about.”

              This was not received well, and many of the responses to my statements made it clear that my conclusions about an “in-crowd” were correct…other responses hinted that there was also an underlying motive of consolidation of power through the control & restriction of information. In the following months, people who I considered to be good friends slowly began to drop away, others I’d considered friendly acquaintances gave me the cold shoulder, and other circumstances placed greater strains on the friendship between my “Benchmate” & I. In early September,  my old “Benchmate” made several statements on Facebook which laid bare his true character to me, as well as what his true intentions towards heathenry at large, and at this point, I concluded I’d had enough of him and his cronies. Despite his assurances that he’d leave me in peace in the last exchange we had online, he and his friends immediately started in on me in one form or another on Facebook, not only casting aspersions on me, but on my wife, and the wolf-cult as well. I just wanted to walk away from this whole lot, but they just wouldn’t leave me and my wife alone. When I’d finally had enough, I  and a few like-minded individuals used “Mango & Friends” (a Facebook page I created to lampoon the deluded, twisted & deranged creeping through heathenry) to launch a counter-offensive against the whole lot of them, and my old “Benchmate” in particular. After a two-week barrage of exposing some of their bullshit and making several of them objects of ridicule, they sued for an end to things, and I agreed, as I’d only wanted to walk away from that whole crowd & be left alone in the first place, and didn’t want to waste any more of my time on them than I already had. Overall, 2015 was a sobering slap in the face for me where heathenry was concerned, whether it was a matter of face-to-face contact locally, or online, and I really began to seriously look back at my decades involved in it. The longer that I thought about it, the more depressing the reality of the entire matter became: I’d invested year upon year of my life in this with sincerity, honesty & integrity, and yet time and time again, there was always one or more people in the mix who managed to sour things in one way or another. As a single man, I’d patiently put up with this nonsense time & time again and persevered in spite of the trouble-causers, but as a married man, I was absolutely unwilling to subject my family to this non-stop cast of shit-disturbers who enthusiastically laid their many problems at the doorsteps of others at every turn. I drastically cut down my circle of heathen acquaintances online, and went about considering exactly what to do about this situation, because the problem wasn’t the gods these goofballs claimed some sort of connection with, but the goofballs themselves.  In 2016, I continued to disassociate myself from other heathens as their particular games became known to me, and I ceased participation on any of the remaining heathen Facebook groups I was on, and instead focused on my own research & development of the wolf-cult with my companions. One thorn in my side was still to come: one of my remaining heathen friends became fixated on the writings of a famous heathen author, and as time went on, fixation became obsession for this person. The more that I and other mutual friends observed him, the more apparent that the obsession was merely one symptom of many that this guy was suffering from: I and others spent hours speaking to this guy online & on the phone, trying during various conversations to convince him to take up activities which would get him out of his apartment (he was a shut-in, and it was taking a toll on his psyche), to stop drinking, to take his medications as directed, and among other things, to seek out counseling for himself. One mutual friend even visited him in person, and saw first-hand the conditions under which he was living.  Through all of this, his obsession with the author & his works continued. Slowly but surely, he rid himself of friends old & new whenever he was caught up in a surge of mania…by the middle of 2016, I and others who invested our time & energy into this man in good faith were cast to the wind as well, whether for stating an honest opinion which didn’t jive with his regarding his idol, or not placating him with attention at every turn. I decided that this nut was the last straw…he was the last heathen who I was going to tolerate this sort of thing from, the last one to lay his problems at my doorstep. While I’d keep my gods and remain true to my oath to work towards the revival of Odin’s wolf-cult, I was done with heathenry, and done calling myself a heathen.

              The time period above covers nearly 30 years of my life, nearly 3 decades of experience. While I entered into myearlier experiences in heathendom with optimism and enthusiasm, I didn’t let these elements blind me to what was going on, and I did pay attention; while I may have lied to myself a few times about something I saw in order to avoid admitting to myself exactly how bad some people really were, I still saw what I saw. And what have I seen in 3 decades? Crackpots elevated to celebrity status. Theft of physical & intellectual property by leaders of groups & even large organizations. Glory-hounds clawing their way to the top of the pile and stepping on people all the way up. Sexual predators using religious communities as hunting grounds. Criminal elements adopting religious symbols and practices in order to boost their images. Anti-intellectualism. Intellectual elitism. Personality cults dressed up to look like ancient beliefs & practices. Manipulation & deception. Slander & character assassination. Users. Racists, Fascists, social justice warriors, and various other annoying radicals from both extremes of the political spectrum, all spewing some variant of that tired old line of “If you’re not with us, you’re against us” while trying to shove their particular brand of crap down somebody’s throat. Professional victims wandering from place to place preying on the goodwill of others. Stalkers. Megalomaniacs. Sociopaths. Frauds. Leaders of groups who send spies into other groups. Various escapists, including the fist-pumping “warriors of Odin” types who do well at the gym or the dojo, but can’t tell you a thing about the god or his cult beyond what’s in the Eddas, those who think that they’re real Vikings in the 21st Century, and the delusional who think that they’re having ongoing conversations with one or more gods regarding the particulars of their everyday lives. I could go on, but this will suffice. The point is that contemporary heathenry is a sad schizophrenic sideshow of epic proportions which will probably still be as twisted 25 years from now as it was 25 years ago. It’s true: the players change from time to time, but the games are always the same, and sometimes, some of the loudest voices against the iniquities plaguing heathenry take up these very iniquities themselves in time, becoming the kinds of villains they once decried.  Contemporary heathenry is unhâlig.

              It brings me no joy to say these things. The process of writing this has forced me to review details of my life that I haven’t thought about in years, and would be happy not to think about ever again. It’s forced me to recognize & acknowledge the ever-present pattern of dysfunctional, deranged, delusional, criminal, and megalomaniacal personalities I’ve experienced within heathendom, and the disproportionate amount of them present in the relatively small religious population which is heathendom collectively, regardless of the “brand name” it’s going under or the particulars which differentiate the different “brands.” It’s forced me to look at how much time & money I put into groups & people alike over the years which could have been better spent elsewhere. I’ve looked back and counted exactly how many heathens I’ve known over the years who I could really depend on, and it’s a very small list, although the list of heathens I’d never place any faith in ever again is rather large. I’m not saying every heathen’s bad, or every group’s bad, I have no doubt there are good people in heathenry, but the disproportionate amount of “problem people” makes mixing in heathenry at large tantamount to walking through a minefield, and I don’t intend to put my family or those who are walking with me on the same path through that. I’ll keep the few heathen friends I have left, it’s not like I’m uniformly shunning people because they happen to be heathen, but I’m putting a safe amount of distance between me & the whole convoluted spectrum of contemporary heathenry and its countless human pitfalls. Not only don’t I want to mix with these kinds of people, I don’t want to be mistaken for one of these people in the world at large. When the drawbacks of identifying as a heathen and associating with others who identify as heathens outweigh the benefits of doing so, the only reasonable conclusion one can come to is to stop doing so, and move on. I used to feel a duty to heathenry at large…a duty to make things better in it, but I don’t consider it my duty any longer…I’ll leave that duty to those who choose to remain in the amorphous briar patch that is heathenry. My duty isn’t to heathenry. My duty is to remain true to the oath I made to Wōđanaz 23 years ago: to work towards the remanifestation of his wolf-cult. My duty is to promote the heroic ethos historically associated with the cult. My duty is to those working alongside me towards these ends. And my duty is to my loved ones & friends. While some might assign the label “Heathen” to me because of the god I’m oathed to and my focus on the wolf-cult from a Pan-Germanic point of view, I won’t use that identifier for myself any longer, or have any association with Heathendom and the high saturation of “problem-people” which come with it…it’s not what I signed up for, it’s not something that I’m going to invest my time & resources into again, and I owe it absolutely nothing.