Untimely Observations

The Problems of Neopaganism


Alternative Right—being the magazine of “radical traditionalism” that it is—carries with it tendencies that are inherently reactionary and backward-looking. And with good reason! The modern world has been marked primarily by cultural decay, uprootedness, and the elevation of the worst aspects of humanity. The answers to most of man’s problems may indeed be found in the classical reactionary and anti-revolutionary works of the West.

So if we adopt the term “reactionary” without fear, as Evola recommends, we need to have some sort of idea what we are looking back towards. And because many answers are to be found in pre and post Christian Europe, it seems tempting to extend this impulse to pre- and post- Christian spirituality, represented most prominently by Neopaganism.

Neopaganism is a hard term to define properly, mainly because it has come to include so many different belief systems. Often associated with ethnocentric and neotribal movements, neopagan faiths include Wicca, Germanic and Slavic Paganism, Norse mythological practices, and modern interpretations of Druidism. And even further beyond that, many of Nietzsche’s modern disciples with a passion for German antiquity count themselves in the ranks of the neopagans.

The first and most important problem with Neopaganism is that, to put it simply, it is wrong. Whatever may be said about the dangers of egalitarian and universalist Christianity, that the Church was built as a repository of truth with the distinct purpose of spreading that truth and, through that truth, saving men’s souls, is beyond question. Neopaganism is built around an impulse that runs contrary to the truth... and this impulse is recognized by a vast majority of neopagans. Men that concern themselves with philosophy and ascetics in public find themselves slaughtering goats in the name of Thor in private when they know that the practice is utter nonsense. It is all well and good to desire a connection with your barbaric ancestors; it is quite another thing to bring your silly hobby into the realm of philosophy and politics.

Which brings me to my second point: nearly every aspect of the western world worth saving is a product of Christianity, not Paganism. Even the distinctly non-Christian things are Christian in origin. While Christianity absorbed most of the worthwhile aspects of pagan society and made them its own, Christianity has left its fingerprints on every aspect of the West. A rejection of Christianity in favor of a false pagan faith would be antithetical to the defense of the West. As G.K. Chesterton wrote:

“The French Revolution is of Christian origin. The newspaper is of Christian origin. The anarchists are of Christian origin. Physical science is of Christian origin. The attack on Christianity is of Christian origin. There is one thing, and one thing only, in existence at the present day which can in any sense accurately be said to be of pagan origin, and that is Christianity.”

Neopaganism also presupposes that the West can be saved without the Church. This is impossible, mainly because throughout history the West was the Church. It was Christianity’s hammer, Charles Martel, that beat back the invading Muslims and saved the West, not Thor’s hammer. It was Richard I, not Fenrir, who beat back Saladin and was steps from retaking Jerusalem. It was the Catholic Inquisition, not Idunn, that expelled the Muslims from Sicily and Spain.

Some readers may wonder why it is even necessary to address this small and seemingly-irrelevant strain of pre-modern faith. For one, it is a major undercurrent on the far-right and has yet to have been adequately refuted, either by myself in this piece or by others in an appropriately lengthy format. It also deals with issues of great importance. Spirituality and mysticism edify politics and philosophy. It informs the believer of the many truths unreachable by the faulty logic of the individual. It is an essential element of the human condition.

The impulse that has led many otherwise-intelligent writers to embrace neopagan ritual is also leading many young Catholics to the medieval origins of their faith. The Latin Mass movement, led by righteous anti-Vatican II crusaders, is growing rapidly, and coupled with the growing right-wing ethnic and cultural movements in Europe it could mean an end of the social destruction of Europe.

Requisite reading for any discussion of Germanic paganism and medieval Christianity is James C. Russell’s The Germanization of Early Medieval Christianity. Russell describes how Medieval Christendom adopted many of the admirable traits of the German barbarians and grew to the height of its power in part because of these traits. Christianity’s early troubles, described by Sam Francis as “world-rejecting” are similar to those plaguing modern Christianity: mass-egalitarianism, universalism, and advocacy of the destruction of much of the social and cultural fabric of the West. The traits of medieval Christendom are the traits that will save the West: social hierarchy, loyalty to blood and soil, and the elevation of nobility and heroism.

But imagining the 21st century battle for the West led by neopagans rather than the Church is like imagining the delightful hierarchical authoritarianism of de Maistre as inspired by the Wiccan Moon Goddess instead of the glorification of God’s providence. It is impossible, unthinkable.