A lot of ethnic Europeans are reluctant to call themselves Pagans, although they would like to call themselves Pagans. The reason for that is amongst other things that: "There are so many dirty, filthy, ganja-smoking hippies who have taken use of the term" (to quote a friend of mine), and sensible people don't really want to be associated with such people.
In Norway I have been seen as a reason for people not to call themselves Pagans too, and some of the so-called Pagans in Norway have also campaigned against me to ostracize me and alienate me from the whole Pagan movement, but ironically the people who don't want to be associated with me are the same dirty, filthy, ganja-smoking free-love hippies who in turn scare others from calling themselves Pagans.
Some gullible souls argue that instead of fighting we should all gang up and work for our common goal. The problem with this is of course that we don't have a common goal. I don't use the term Pagan because I want to have an excuse to smoke pot, wear exotic jewellery and costumes, or because I wish to sleep around as much as I want and never wash. I don't use the term to exchange the Christian "God" with a "Goddess" and hate men instead of women, like the Wiccans seem to do.
The problem is that the term Pagan is a very wide term. In fact it can be compared to a term such as Christian. What is a Christian? We have all kinds of interpretations of the bible and dozens of different versions of Christianity. Even the Ku Klux Klan are Christians! The Amish, Jehovah's Witnesses, Jesuits, Freemasons, Gnostics and You name it. They are all "Christians" and they all claim their own version is the "true" Christianity. The only thing they have in common is their praise of Jesus "Christ", although they don't agree on who or even what Jesus actually was.
Just like the Christians base their faith on the Hebrew mythology (the old and the new testament) the Pagans all base their faith on European mythology. Some of these interpretations might be good, and others are pretty ignorant, but who can tell what is what? Am I right if I say that Pagans who actually believe Þórr with the hammer rides across the sky in his wagon and causes lighting are featherheaded fools? Am I right if I say that ganja-smoking hippies who call themselves Pagans are ignorant people who know close to nothing about Paganism? Are they right when they claim I am blind and only misuse Paganism in "vile racist schemes"? Who can actually tell if they or people like me are right?
I guess nobody has the exclusive rights to the term, but we can do some research and find out more about what Paganism is and was really all about. The term "Pagan" derives according to some from Latin "paganus", that simply means villager. The English term "villain" is originally the same term: a person living in a village or in the countryside. People believe this term was used on the Pagans because Christianity came to the cities first, meaning the people living in the countryside still practiced the old religion for some time, before they too were converted to Christianity – and in the meanwhile were seen as villains.
The other theory is that Pagan derives from Greek "pagos", that means stone monument or menhir, a term used because the Pagans practiced their rites around stone monuments, like Stonehenge, Externsteine, the stone temples in Ancient Greece, the menhirs in Northern Europe and so forth. Yet we don't know what Pagan really derives from or what it means.
The other general term used in English is "Heathen". This is the name used by the Christians on the Pagans living in Northern Europe – in the heathery areas by the Atlantic Ocean. So it only means "a person living in a heathery area". That tells us even less about the Pagan religion than the term "Pagan".
"Odinist" is a modern term, so I won't even bother writing about that, but Ásatru ("belief in the Æsir" or "faithful to the Æsir") too is a term invented by Christians and in the Christian era. Instead of a belief in the Hebrew "God", they believed in the Æsir, the Norse family of gods, so they were simply "believers in" or "faithful to" the Æsir (that is plural from the Norse áss, that translates as "a source to divine utterance").
So what did the Pagans themselves use as a name for their religion? Well, why would they need a name for it, when it was the only religion they had and knew of? In Japan they didn't call their Shinto religion by a name either, not until they needed to be able to separate their native religion from the foreign Buddhism and Confucianism. So why should our forefathers name their only religion anything? What we call Paganism was to them simply their age-old traditions, customs and mysteries (secretive religious rites). In Scandinavia we have a name for the old magical practice that supports this claim. You might have heard of seið, that is known as the ritual magic tradition of the Scandinavian women. Norse seið, as a mere of word, has a meaning, and it is the same as Norwegian sed, that simply means "custom". So they called their magical customs nothing more than "the custom".
The spell casting in Ancient Scandinavia is known as galdr. This was the more masculine type of magic involving runes and incantations, so it should not surprise anybody when I say that galdr translates as "to crow" or "scream", and that it is understood as "incantation" or "magic song".
When they called their religious customs "the customs" and their magic songs "the magic songs" why should they have some fancy name for the rest of their religious traditions? There simply is no primordial name on the ancient religion. For that reason I have chosen to most often just call it "the ancient religion", as that is the most precise and accurate description I can come up with.
There is another meaning to the term Pagan, though, that I have not yet mentioned. It is also understood as a name of those who are not Jewish or who don't have a Jewish faith (id est any form of Chirstianity, Islam or Judaism). Because of that I feel comfortable using the term "Pagan" when describing myself (even though it reveals very little about my actual beliefs), because I am not a Jew and I don't have a Jewish faith either.
However, many of these "Pagans", who claim to have a Pagan faith, have built their faith on Christian interpretations of the ancient religion, and because of that actually believe not in the European gods, but in the European gods as the Christians see them. That is why I ridicule many of the so-called Pagans and feel that we don't have a common goal, because their religious practice is nothing but a mockery of the ancient religion and in fact looks more like some sort of perverted Christian faith, where the whole worldview and philosophy is thoroughly and absolutely Christian.
The reason these "Pagans" hate me and my kind so much and run campaigns to ostracize and alienate us from their movement is that they are basically just a bunch of Christians, who fails completely in comprehending what on Earth we – the actual Pagans – are doing, saying or even thinking about. They have only renamed their Christian belief system, but they are still Christians.
Now, I have to admit that women dressed in medieval or prehistoric dresses look fine, not least compared to how they look in modern clothing, and I would love it if more women wore such clothes regularly, but Paganism is not about dressing up in the clothes that our Pagan forefathers wore. People are welcome to do this, of course, but it has nothing to do with Paganism. Do "Pagans" think that people who practice the ancient religion have to be so reactionary that they cannot even wear modern clothes, or that wearing the same type of clothes as our forefathers did makes them Pagans? The only thing that was important in some of the Pagan mysteries was that the clothes they wore were white (like the original "Santa Claus" costume and the druidic robes), because they shouldn't bring anything impure into the holy places (and white is the colour of purity). The female cults quite often practiced their customs sky-clad, though, so they didn't necessarily wear any clothes at all (only their white skin).
Another thing that probably is a problem to these dirty, filthy, ganja-smoking free-love hippies who call themselves "Pagans" and claim to perform Pagan rites, is that "white" also means innocent. The ancient Pagans claimed that one should not bring anything impure into the wyrd ("esteem", a name for "the other side"), so only virgins and married women who had never been with any other men than their husbands were allowed to practice "the customs". (Being with other women don't seem to have been a problem in this context, though, as long as the other women too were Freyja priestesses in the same circle.) Further, only women (and men) with fair eyes (id est blue, grey or green eyes) were allowed to enter the hall of the Óðinn. This is not something I just make up because I am a "vile racist", it is stated very clearly in the Norse mythology, that only people of Jarl's kin (the fair-eyed and fair sons and daughters of Heimdallr [Rígr]) are allowed to enter Valhalla, the hall of Óðinn. Nobody else were welcome, because they were not white (in the meaning: pure) in their souls and blood. Now tell me, how many of these "Wiccans" or "Pagans" live up to this? How many of these women are virgins (or have only been with their husbands) and how many of them also have fair eyes? ("The eyes are the mirror of the soul.")
Men were not even allowed to watch the women when they practiced their "customs", unless they were practicing in the mysteries themselves (like lone Freyr priests sometimes did). These mysteries were for initiates only. "The customs" were seen as pretty womanish activities, and men and women had different roles in society, so instead the men had their own warrior cults where they practiced other rituals (like the initiation [hallow] rituals of the warrior cult) and the more masculine galdr, but the same strict rules applied in that cult as well.
Women were seen as more powerful practitioners of magic, though, as males were not seen as magical creatures in the same way as women were. The women were even seen as more valuable generally speaking. If only one woman survives in a tribe the tribe is doomed, no matter how many men survives, but if only one man survives along with several women, he can still impregnate the lot of them (and it would probably not be too hard to convince him to do just that either, as all men are dogs after all) and make sure enough children are born anyhow. Children are the foundation all societies that wants to survive must be built on.
That brings us to my next point. The "Wiccans" and other "Pagans" don't seem to understand that the worship of Mother Earth, the goddess, was first and foremost a fertility cult where making and raising (quality) children was seen as the most important task. Because of that the circles of Freya priestesses picked out the best man in the tribe to be their Freyr priest, because quality was what mattered the most, and naturally the best man could give them the best children. Because of that these chosen Freyr priests had several wives. The unhealthy children, the sick children, the weak or otherwise not ideal children were set out in the forest to be eaten by wolves. They didn't do this because they were poor, but because their natural religion dictated this.
And this is where the modern "Pagans" realizes that they perhaps are not "Pagans" after all, because they think this is a cruel custom. However, that is the Pagan philosophy of life: only let the healthy, the strong and even only the moral, the good and beautiful survive. Only Christians appreciates degenerated children, genetically defective creatures that should not be allowed to survive, grow up and reproduce in the first place, and by doing that destroy our genetic properties in the long run. Only Christians think quantity rather than quality. Only Christians think it is terrible to kill one individual rather than let this one individual infest a whole community with his or her (genetic) poison.
This of course is where the "Wiccans" and other anti-Varg "Pagans" freak out, because it begins to grow on them that perhaps the racism is not so far from the Pagan philosophy after all. Perhaps eugenics is actually Paganism in practice! Perhaps it is not so strange that the "rabid racists" like me hail the Pagan religion after all? "Oh dear!"
Óðinn actually sends Heimdallr to Earth to create a better human race. His first attempt is called Trell (Thrall), but he is black, ugly and stupid, so Heimdallr pays no attention to him and keeps trying. The next result is Karl (Free Man), who had red-brown hair, is tall and strong. He is still not satisfied though, so he keeps trying. Then finally he gets a son called Jarl (Proto-Norse *EirilaR, English Earl), that is fair-eyed, intelligent, beautiful and fair (European). Heimdallr had finally created a man who is good enough for Óðinn and Valhalla, so he teaches him – and only him – the runes (secrets) of the gods and Valhalla is opened up to his kin. His kin is the only one that will be let over the bridge that leads to Ásgarðr ("the court of the Æsir" or "the yard of the Æsir"). The others will ignite and fall down like rocks if they set their foot on this bridge, that is guarded by Heimdallr.
To enter at all you need to be of Jarl's kin and be innocent and not bring anything impure, but to be able to leave again after visiting you need to be alive too. Naturally it doesn't really matter what you say as the guardian of the bridge already knows all the answers (he is after all Heimdallr, the white god or "Santa Claus" if You like, who knows everything there is to know about his children already), but if You try to lie to him You will certainly be surprised by what happens (just ask King Arthur and his knights...). As we know, only the good children get presents from "Santa Claus" on the Yule Eve, and the rest get their stockings filled with ashes (and that ashes is all that is left of other "bad" children who tried to cross the rainbow bridge) from the chimney.
This is the mythology, a pretty unmistakably racist statement left to us from our forefathers. So are people like me "blind", and do we "misuse" the symbols and religion of our forefathers when we spread racism? Should I be ostracized from the "Pagan" movement when I only advocate views that are obviously in accordance with the views of our forefathers and their religion?
I think these "Pagans" should instead realize that they are not Pagans at all, but – like I said – just a bunch of Christians. You cannot be Pagan and anti-racist. You cannot be Pagan and homosexual or even tolerate homosexuality. You cannot be a Pagan and not want to have only as racially healthy children as possible. You cannot be a Pagan and believe in "free love". You cannot be a Pagan and at the same time be what Christians call a "humanist".
When it comes to homosexuality, there are other rules in the Pagan philosophy for women, though. Women are free to choose how they shall live. The Pagan women often used their Freyr priests only for "uncomfortable" mating, and when not producing children preferred the company of other women instead, and this was seen as perfectly acceptable. The difference between men and women in the Pagan society was in other words not just "suppressive" to women. Women had special rules to follow, but also special rights – because men and women are different.
You can however easily be a Pagan with brown eyes, or a Pagan who is not innocent, but if so You cannot practice "the customs" or sing "magic songs" in this life (and this only make up a small part of Paganism anyhow). Then You simply have to wait until the next life before You can live up to the required moral and genetic standards. Maybe You will not live up to these standards until the life after the next life, but if You are a Pagan that is not a problem, because Pagans have a belief in the eternal life of the individual in the kin. When we die we will only take a break from life to be purified, before we return to life when new children are born into the kin. Even if some Europeans are a bit "polluted genetically", so to speak, and have brown eyes for instance, that is something that can be solved by a few generations of race hygiene. Those not yet welcome in Valhalla will come to Þrúðheimr, Sessrýmnir or other divine dwelling, and of course to Hel (everybody visit Hel in death).
That is Paganism.
Again, I must stress that even though I use the Scandinavian names and mythology here as reference, I am not only talking about Scandinavia and the Scandinavian people or only about the Scandinavian version of the ancient religion. Whether Baltic, Roman, Greek, Gaelic (or "Celtic" if You like), Germanic, Slavonic, Finnish (Ugric) or Scandinavian we are all European aboriginals of Jarl's kin and we all once practiced this ancient religion. Whether we call the god of the (summer) light Baldr ("end of the day") or Bjelobog ("white god") and the god of the (autumnal) darkness Hoðr ("hood") or Czernebog ("black god"), that doesn't matter. Whether we call the goddess of human fertility Freyja ("love") or Aphrodite ("foam") it doesn't matter. Whether we call the Sky God Týr ("honour"), Uranos ("heaven", "sky", "firmament") or Svarog ("heaven", "sky", "firmament"), that doesn't matter.
When Christians claim Bjelobog and Czernebog are "good" and "evil" respectively, this is a perfect example of a Christian interpretation that is ignorant and nonsense. There is no "evil" in Paganism, only natural and necessary sides of life and nature.
After reading this article You should know if You are a Pagan or not, and if You should use or not use the term to describe Yourself. I know I am a Pagan. Perhaps a corrupted, fraudulent, unreliable and cynical "Loki", but still a Pagan.
Varg "Loki" Vikernes
06th January 2005 a.y.p.s.
In hoc signo vinces!
(By this sign you conquer!)