The Magazine

Why I'm a Pagan


I am a pagan because it is the only way I can be true to who, and what, I am. I am a pagan because the best things in our civilization come from pre-Christian Europe. I am a pagan because our ancestral religion is needed to help reverse the decline and impending extinction of the European-descended peoples.

"Pagan," as I use the term, does not mean lacking a moral code. It does not mean rituals mixing Isis, Thor, and American Indian beliefs, with a little lesbian-feminist philosophy thrown in for good (or bad) measure. It is not a hobby, a pastime, or an affectation.  

The paganism I have practiced for some forty years is derived from the beliefs of my (and  your) Germanic ancestors. It is not at all what Alain de Benoist, in his excellent On Being a Pagan, called "primitive" and "puerile." The proper name for my faith is "Asatru," from the Icelandic meaning roughly "those true to the Gods." Some call it Odinist.

Generally, I avoid using the word "pagan" because of the nonsense done by some people under that name. (The primitive and puerile are, unfortunately, out there.) Usually, I call my practice "a native European religion." I'm only using "pagan" in this essay because most of you will be familiar with the word in the context of the Alternative Right and Radical Traditionalism.

There are only two kinds of religions in the world. One kind, like Christianity, Islam, or Scientology, lacks any roots in blood or soil. Consequently, these religions claim the allegiance of all the human race. The very word "catholic" means "universal." You can be Chinese or Nigerian or anything under the sun and be a full-fledged member of any of these faiths.

The other category includes the ones we call pagan, or native, or indigenous religions.  They are innately tied to a specific people and cannot be transferred to another group without losing their truth, power, and integrity. Such religions are the distilled experience of a specific biological and cultural group from its very beginning. 

They spring from the soul of that people and from no other. They honor their ancestors, and not the ancestors of any other people. They posit a time-transcending unity of the Gods, the ancestors, the living kin, and the generations yet to come. Every native population has, or had, such a religion that spoke from its blood, its bone, its brain, its soul.   

For the Germanic peoples -- whether descended from the tribes of central Europe, or of Scandinavia, or from the Anglo-Saxons  -- Asatru is such a religion. Our mythic allegories remind us that we are descended in part from the Gods themselves. Asatru is not just what we believe -- it is what we are. If there were no Eurofolk, the religion would not exist.  

Obviously, such a folk-based religion has strong advantages for any group trying to preserve its physical and cultural existence. Continuation of the people in question becomes a religious imperative. It creates a strong in-group, encourages healthy families, elevates a heroic ethic, and teaches the hard virtues of loyalty, courage, and honor.  I don't think anyone reading these words is likely to have a problem with that.  

So what has Germanic paganism done for us? Plenty. One could list representative government, limitations on the rights of rulers, the right to bear arms, respect for women, and Anglo-Saxon Common Law, for a start. More on this another day; for now I'll just say that the pre-Christian contribution to our traditional society has been hugely ignored.  

Our ancient beliefs are far from dead and gone. So long as there are people of the European type, the Gods are alive and well.  Consider this perspective: Modern humans have lived in Europe for some 35,000-40,000 years. We have been Christianized for between one and two percent of that time. There is absolutely no proof that Christianity is anything more than a passing fad, a momentary aberration before we return to a faith that truly mirrors the vast bulk of our history and pre-history.  

I have worn the symbol of Thor's hammer around my neck since 1970. For the first couple of decades, it provoked comments at the rate of perhaps one every five years. The pace doubled in the years that followed, but the curve continues upward. In the last week, two different young people greeted me with "Nice hammer!" --  and while neither belonged to any organization as such, a short conversation informed me that both had friends around them who recognized the symbol and felt an affinity with it.  

The springtime of the North is yet to come.