cu sith mythology dogThe Old Creed in a New Day

Today, I found an article on a blog that calls itself Forn Atrunadr (plus some interesting accent marks, like a line through the d). The subtitle of the blog reads: The thoughts and observances of a modern day Heathen trying to live according to the Old Creed in a disinterested society.

Old Creed, huh? Heathen, huh? Which old creed, I wonder? Which kind of heathen?

Of course, Old Creed and Heathen are capitalized, so the reader is to suppose that they refer to one old heathen creed in particular. In fact, they seem to be related to the old mythology of Northern Europe, with links to groups like the Northvegr Foundation and Heathen Frithstead.

As it turns out, the person who writes the Forn Atrundadr blog lives in Texas and describes himself as an avid Jeeper. I suppose that a Jeeper is one who drives Jeeps, but I don't really know for sure.

The particular article that I happened upon was about one of the Nine Noble Virtues of this mysterious Old Creed. Yet, it wasn't the particular virtue of the day that interested me, so much as the idea of the blog as a whole: Integrating an old creed into present day living.

How much can an avid Jeeper living in Texas really live according to a creed that predates Europe's crusty Medieval Age? I have my doubts. I wonder, for instance, how much of this Old Creed is really all that old. The Nine Noble Virtues seems suspiciously modeled upon the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism.

The writer seems very interested in resuscitating old Norse texts and interpreting them as if they were part of an ancient Norse Bible dedicated to teaching people of a chosen tribe, the Folk, about the right way to live.

In the particular article I found, the writer describes the god Odin as something of a divine schoolteacher, who is particularly interested in giving Norse people the equivalent of Sunday School lessons. So, the writer quotes on old text, saying

Óðinn teaches us in Hávamál:

"Givers, hail!
A guest is come in:
where shall he sit?
In much hast is he,
who on the ways has
to try his luck.

3. Fire is needful
to him who is come in,
and whose knees are frozen;
food and rainment
a man requires,
who o’er the fell has travelled.

4. Water to him is needful
who for refection comes,
a towel and hospitable invitation,
a good reception;
if he can get it,
discourse and answer."

Here we are informed that we must always be prepared to entertain and assist a guest.

We are informed? We are informed? Was this text really meant for us, in our scattered locations, reading it on a computer screen? I don't find the case convincing.

The writer tries to establish a link through ancestry, referring to "our Heathen Ancestors". He quotes the Saga of Olaf Haraldsson as preaching, "Kinsmen to Kinsmen should be true". There's a lot of interesting addition of capitals to these selections, suggesting the attempt to enshrine particular concepts as higher truths or concepts than they otherwise might be interpreted as being.

Why would this writer elevate Ancestors and Kinsmen to a special status? The most evident reason for such an elevation is to draw some kind of credible link between the writer and the old texts of Olaf-so-and-so.

It is odd that a present day Jeeper in Dallas should feel more affinity with ancient Germanic tribespeople than with non-European people living in the same city. Part of living in the world today is that we coexist with people of various ancestries. Our communities are brought together out of common interests and ideals, not out of common heredity.

For a person living in the city of Dallas, Texas to place such a worshipful priority on ethnic kinship is to reject the ethnic diversity of present day life. Kinsmen to Kinsmen should be true, the writer quotes, but what does that mean for everyone else? Do we have other ethical standards for people who don't come from our ethnic background?

That such an out of place ethnic pride agenda should celebrate "Germanic" values is especially insensitive. I don't use the word "insensitive" in this context to refer to someone who is coolly politically incorrect, but rather to someone who seems incapable of noticing the cultural currents that are streaming around them. The Nazis went rambling on about ancestry and Germanic values, and it gave them a ready to use rationale for mass murder.

A Norse mythology is physically, historically, and culturally out of place in Dallas, Texas. That doesn't mean that people living there shouldn't be free to explore Norse mythology anyway. But, as long as they are reinventing Norse mythology for their arid urban American online lives, they ought to take the effort to remove the stuff about loyalty to others of Germanic ancestry. The mythological history of that particular notion has been thoroughly polluted with violent garbage.

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