TYR 3 – Myth Culture Tradition
TYR 3 is an influential publication in the small – but growing – world of the neo-Pagan, or so-called “heathen”, community. This third volume goes on into social, cultural, historical, philosophical and political considerations.
We carefully note the remarks of the editor who refuses any ideological involvement but rather appears as a medium for expression of different people. « As we tried to emphasize in the past, we make no pretense of speaking for anyone's political, religious, or cultural movement - although many such movements are represented in TYR3.”
A common ideology is however cementing the whole: “We see the radical traditionalism articulated in the back cover of this and previous volumes as a nexus where any number of different ideas might intersect.” (p.9)
« One unifying theme that runs throughout these pages is the contrast (and often conflict) between culture and civilization. » (p.9) « culture is dynamic, organic and rooted » (p.10) contrary to civilization, according to the author.
I think this view of culture is interesting and realistic. The paradox of a rooted yet perpetually changing culture seems to be relevant. But, who can claim put a hand on this rooted part of culture, this “Being”? And how?
We'll see this further.
Apart from music reviews, interviews and various articles, you can find many writings about several domains in TYR 3: history, religion, philosophy, current chronicles about ecological matters or specific events, people. Most articles will be shortly presented in an overview, while those of the others judged most representative will be developed.
« Humour in Icelandic Sagas » by Ian Read reveals us how could have been the humour in Scandinavian societies through the medieval sagas. Far from the austere behaviour preached by Christianity...
« Rune song or Magic Charms » by Géza von Neményi deals with old Norse initiation rites and esotericism within books such as Hávamál. In particular, the meanings of runes are discussed.
In « Weaving the web of Wyrd », Nigel Pennick analyses the symbolism of the allegoric figures known as the Fates or Norns in several cultures through understanding the real technique of spinning, and some rich astronomical, iconographic, literary, archaeological and etymological reflections. Really interesting.
« Code of blood: counterfeits of tradition from The Spear of Destiny to The Da Vinci Code » by Stephen Edred Flowers. In this article, the author criticizes well and rigorously the Spear of Destiny and the “Holy Blood/Holy Grail” motifs' exploitation. It goes far from popular misconceptions.
« Carl Larsson's Greatest Sacrifice » by M. Moynihan tells us about the story of “Midvinterblot” and its author. This painting deals with the sacrifice of the king Domald depicted in the Edda.
At first glance the painting seems to be interesting: it depicts a pagan ritual which isn't a common thing. Larsson was a Swedish painter, influenced by nationalist thought and became interested in such themes as Domald's sacrifice.
But, behind the appearances, it appears Mindvinterblot is rather a mix of Christian and pagan influences, has alien elements borrowed from Japanese/Chinese iconography, or reminders of other paintings and painters. The theme, also, has been changed a bit: according to literary sources, Domald wasn’t sacrificed but executed, in order to calm God's wrath and make the famine stop, while he rather shows a willingness to b sacrificed and even appearing proud of it.
This painting had a strange history, between fascination and rejection which Moynihan explains clearly.
But, what should we think of such a work of art? It's meant to celebrate Scandinavian pagan traditions and history/myth. It however appears a bit syncretic and shows a dramatically modified scenery with a resigned Domald.
Isn't it a perfect illustration of our inability to get to the very roots of paganism and at the same time how prolific is its inspiration? Doesn't it show also how our modern/post-modern romantic views force paganism to embody a modern and romantic-influenced neo-Paganism?
Cipherspace – Thomas Naylor
“Our lives are intertwined with technology, it includes all of us” (p.9) said the editor. This sounds especially relevant towards this first text critique of technological issues in our current society.
Affluenza is the term chosen by Naylor to criticize US politics, “Technofascism”, also called “Cipherspace”. A criticism against materialism is also expressed. Rather consumerist materialism.
A spiritual vacuum caused by the domination of « having » on « being human » would be the cause making people anxious, angry, unhappy, cynical stressed out, the cause of divorce, suicide, depression, substance abuse, incarceration etc. People would be less happy, but consume more.
But is spirituality the key to this problem? Which spirituality are we talking about? Do the religious people in USA feel better? Isn't there paradoxically a « return of religious » phenomena just acting for some decades? Is this coherent with this idea of spiritual vacuum? Or is this « return of religioun » just another product?
Then, is the vision of a consumerist USA a stereotype, a specificity of a certain population's part, of certain parts of USA, or is it something clearly general, that could be generalized to explain Occidental crisis?
« Technomania » asks whether « technology [is] our personal slave or [whether] we [are] slaves to technology » (p. 19): simply an excellent question.
Criticism against progress is expressed. But, isn't progress the very product of our ancestors' past sufferings? Isn't it the product of sufferings' refusal in the name of a better condition of living? Should we be “dolorist”, and accept suffering in itself apart from the fact it can bring us anything positive? Maybe the more we use tools, the more comfortable are our lives, but paradoxically the « weaker » we get, the more dependent on our tools and technology...
What should we choose between - a Promethean society that brings “progress” with risks of misuse or a society « under gods » which fatalistically complains under the status quo of god's will? Frenetic innovation or intransigent tradition? Is there a third path between these two extreme ways?
When the author talks about « The next panacea », it shows particualrly well how our civilization believes, unrealistically, in technology and progress:. I think it's less the claims of philosophically positivist scientists (who rather turned sceptics) than of the people themselves. They've been used to seeing (or believe they saw) all problems being solved by science, while consumerism claimed that solving everything and fulfilling all needs is what makes people happy. But, does progress's failures mean everything in progress is bad? And which progress are we talking about? Have modernity, technology and science been misattributed a “soteriological”/“salvific” function? Or did they try and achieve this by stealing them from religions?
David F. Noble is quoted and doesn't say anything really different but puts more emphasis on the intentions of technologists than on people's wishes: « they [technologists] are driven by distant dreams, spiritual yearnings for supernatural redemption. However dazzling and counting their display of worldly wisdom, their true inspiration lies elsewhere, in an enduring, other-worldly quest for transcendence and salvation. » (p.20)
Maybe this assertion is exaggerated, peremptory: are the problems of our modern society necessarily linked to spirituality? Isn't it a bit simplistic? Are there even mostly linked to that? I don't mean at all that spirituality or religion should be avoided to explain these, of course: we know how such themes are important especially in our post-modern times. But, maybe in spite of our post-modern times and their trends? I think this interpretation, although interesting, might be too focused on spirituality to fully explain it, in order to fullycomprehend the situation and problems of our modern civilization and culture.
Maybe seeing things through a wider existential perspective might fight against such a simplification while still giving a place to spirituality. A problematic of “meaning of life”, of an existential questioning is certainly more relevant than the simplistic focus on spirituality and religion. For it seems to be rather clear both of these no longer have the monopoly of “meaning”: just see the example of how philosophy can bring meaning to life...
In itself, technology, as well as science, neither is bad nor good: it depends on the use we make of them. And this use is linked to the user's intentions. If technology would be bad per se, we wouldn't use it. The same with specific tools. Following this principle, we could even stop using flint stone, for it could be used badly, for instance in order to kill someone (who didn't deserve it).
But, isn't everything here a matter of « a happy medium »? The characteristics of a tool might be the fact it might be used in both a « bad » and a « good » way, typically a knife: it might allow you to kill the dearest person as well as cutting some meat... Technology, science, objects neither are bearers of intentionality, nor intentions. It's only us who may use them more or less in our favour, more or less in a long term perspective, more or less brainlessly hedonistically. Then, we may project our intentions and thoughts onto the objects. Note this process rather sounds animistic without being religious...
We make the tools bad or good, although some have a certain complicity in the specialisation of their function: a sword hardly can be used to do anything else than killing someone, unlike a knife.
There's a danger to mix everything up by being so general about the topic « technology »: there are more or less useful technologies, more or less harming ones etc.
Technology is criticized as being as an end as it's just a means. However it's a sometimes really problematic means, I truly admit. I also admit we'd need to relearn what « useful » means and what is truly « useful » or not... We would be more reasonable in our use of technology then.
“Technology will serve us or will we serve it?” (p.23) With a similar question than previously, the author criticizes the internet. According to him, the net seems to be considered as a god by people. Again this seems to be a really spiritual-focused interpretation. Who, or what, tells us it is considered so by people in general? Do you, readers, feel so?
Internet would be seductive and giving an illusion of freedom. Isn't it a chance for shy people to meet people they couldn't have without it? Not only for shy people: it might increase a social network, as well as reduce it... Note all people tend to try meeting the people they appreciate on the net: it means the net is used as a means and not an end, in this case. People don't systematically mix ends and means.
A big difference is made between on-line versus real people: but aren't they both real people, but just communicating in another way?
“People spend less hours with family and friends”, maybe it's precisely because they're searching for other people than those of their family and friends (p.25).
In the end, is the internet's success a cause or a consequence of lack of community? Lack of community has been described well before the internet's appearance: sociologists like Durkheim or Simmel wrote about this change, specific to modernity, and about changes in human structures and human links.
Maybe the internet just reflects the need for other ways of socializing, as well as it enhancing and promoting a non communitarian way of interacting. Well... Stop. Really? There are many internet communities created. Many people want to meet. They build virtual communities which may become real ones. And, it even seems the internet is the means used to promote and to recreate traditional communitarian organizations... Just as some heathens / (neo-)Pagans are doing.
Educational problems, lack of reading, spelling etc. are evoked and the internet is again the great Satan. But, weren't they present before the internet? And the TV? And mass consumerist society? Certainly this problem is deeper than just the internet and existed well before its creation, just think about the Latin quotation « Panem et circenses »...
Pressure for conformity in college and society (p.29) is also criticized. But, conformism is relevant rather in regard to social groups, than to the whole of society. Conformism is a tendency to adopt rules and norms without questioning them. Strictly, it may be the case with any other ideology in any social group, or subculture, including: Gothic, metal heads, punk, rasta men or heathen, neo-Pagans...
The problem, again, is deeper. It's human conformist tendenies, generally, that should be blamed. It's ubiquitous for its consubstantial to human beings. It seems to be difficult to be a social being without being (at least a little bit) gregarious...
There's some criticism regarding liberal economics: this totally goes without saying that it's most of the time against our interests. But, it's interesting to notice the word “capitalism” is not used and never criticized. This comment is not about making a revolution against capitalism: but, why not question this economic system that seems « to go without saying »? Conformism again? Conditioning Worse: it seems criticism is not allowed against capitalism... Certainly it’s the case that capitalism is still a taboo in many countries and milieux...
Globalization is also pointed as a problem, as a bad thing. Is it rather a consequence or a goal? Is it a mastered phenomenon? Is there a massive plot against us? Easy to criticize a phenomenon such as this one while it is the product not only of governments and economics (f.i.) but also us, who are meant to bear influence on governments and economics etc.
In this article as in others, there's a kind of demonization of technology, it's almost metaphysically bad, bad per se. Is the author playing with fears? Are technology and science true culprits or scapegoats? Or both?
At least, Naylor has the merit to bring many questions, but tends to give pre-packed, standardized, cliché answers. Spirituality: it's currently under a cultural focus (post-modern trend?), but neither does it mean it is the sole, nor the best, explanation... Moreover, neither the sole, nor the best, solution.
Criticizing technology is, however, necessary. Comments on Linkola's article will confirm it (see below). Relearning what is useful and what is not might be necessary, as well as distinguishing between means and ends. The danger is being trapped by harmful artificial « new » needs that benefits « dream sellers » and not people...
But, let's not forget the intention beyond the user of the tool, of a technology is relevant rather than the tool itself.
Demonization of the tool is simplistic for it doesn't get to the root of the problem: our intentions, our views, our aims. In this respect, the approach of spirituality by the author may be relevant. But what does he mean when he says spirituality? We've just an elusive idea of the explanation, of the core of the problem. Which spirituality? Which use of technology? Is spirituality the definitive universal explanation and solution? Maybe we could see the problem in a wider perspective, without opposing spirituality (and tradition) with materialism (and modernity) .
Finally, although technology is far from innocent, it would be hypocritical for most of Occidental people to denigrate it, as pointed in TYR 3's introduction. It's much more relevant to criticize certain uses and misuses of technology instead of technology itself, and even more to focus on the intentions or goals of its users and misusers.
Survival theory – Pentti Linkola
Linkola's article deals with ecology.
He states global warming is a fact. Not much doubt about that, but no references. A bigger problem is he states “a causal relationship [between human activity and global warming]” is a scientific fact: no references again. And this second stance is a problem - it isn't 100% certain. Anyway: it truly doesn't mean we shouldn't go on polluting, nor we shouldn't care about environmental issues!
Most of the scientific community says there's this causal relationship between human activity and global warming. But is this affirmation testable? Or just illustrated by computer models, simulations? Do you think one could make a huge experiment involving the whole earth's climate?
Technically impossible, and I don't even talk about ethical issues...
A few scientists refuse.
The point is not to negate the human responsibility in global warming but rather to notice people are believing in human responsibility without trying much to be sure or not about it. It seems to be a “green” trend. And how to change things with just a trend? Interestingly, this trend is totally congruent with our criticism against modernity, our return to nature, spirituality and a more traditional world. Although this questioning and criticism of modernity is a healthy thing, this does not mean our views about human guiltiness in climatic matters is rational and not biased. Anthropocentrism? Overestimation of our influence... and of our importance? Deep metaphysical guilt? Need for some explanation?
On the contrary to rationality: many people see humans as evil creatures and this may inform their opinions. But, paradoxically, only very few try to change it... This whole masquerade rather sounds to be a way of justifying a shift in our conception of humanity, our epochs, our views of progress, spirituality, tradition, nature etc.
Climate has always been changing: it isn't an easy thing to predict the long term changes. It's probabilistic, scientifically speaking. Anyway, ecological problems are real, they're a fact.
The author says it: we pollute, we waste resources. This also points out that ecological problems are not just restricted to global warming. It is the big tip of the (melting) iceberg. But, global warming became the symbol of modern human guilt towards nature... and maybe a tool of elites.
But, politicians, who seem to like playing with people's fears, guilt and “green” feelings love to exploit the ecological theme in their campaigns.
Ecology has become a political product selling good conscience to people so that they can sleep well and go on... wasting resources and polluting every day! And these people are you and me.
So, global warming due to human activity, reality or not? I don't know. Linkola thinks it is obvious.
Anyway, the point is that ecology should neither be reduced to a symbol, nor to a product, but truly become part of a global way of life. It isn't a matter of just going back to nature, to feel « green » and « healthy », or spiritually connected to mother earth: it's a matter of survival, and Linkola says it well...
Linkola talks about the “crisis affecting the circle of life” (p.51). Is it an exaggerated formulation?
Maybe it isn't a problem for life in itself, for it survived bigger catastrophes than dirty human overcrowding. Maybe it's rather about a crisis of our human way of living: human beings, as they lives today, might become extinct, but certainly not life, to be understood as all life forms!
The point is rather: do we want to save our environment and ourselves, our natural way of life and all the other living forms together with us? Do we want to save this wonderful balance?
Linkola then talks about a much more polemical topic: overpopulation. There's a “swollen number of human beings” he says, the reason for the “impending doom” (p.52).
Could we just note we also should consider the problem of resources' retribution?
Of course, if less population, certainly the problem will be easier to solve. The concept and existence of « problems » seems to be consubstantial to... human beings' existence.
Linkola emphasises the role of immigration. But, people immigrate mostly because of a country's low birth rate, when a country needs so many workers that it opens its frontiers.
The role of immigration sounds exaggerated, off-topic within the environmental topic.
The problem is economic, political (dominated by economics, mostly), and maybe also linked to contraceptive means, education, family planning policies or culture.
The author also talks about a kind of war of man against nature. Is it linked to spirituality? Linkola doesn't say anything about it. It however sounds as if all the respect present in chthonian cults is not more present in our excessive and perverted ideology of “progress”, rather the fruit of “ouranian”, « Promethean » religions. Christianity, for instance, might be responsible: after all, it praises that man is on the top of creation, qualitatively different from all other animals, better than them, and with all rights and mights to exploit nature!
When Linkola shouts “saving life!”, we just can agree with him... “The most beautiful of mankind's ambitions become meaningless if there is no life and no mankind” (p.57). Again, it sounds obvious.
But, the author then thinks we should protect life as a “sacred thing”. This causes a problem. We'd need spiritual, religious reasons, foundations. Which ones? And why?
There's no animal that soils its lair like man, say some. Can't simple common sense be a good reason?
The annual number of species' extinctions due to man is just frightening: 525,000!
Meanwhile, the author points to “the extension of human life” and criticizes it. But, if we admit life is a sacred thing, we're forced to accept that human life also deserves to be protected, and we should respect the extension of human life too...
The fact many religions hold that human life is sacred is sometimes a problem: e.g. the 5 months ill foetus. Medical science allows us to save it. It will live but what will its quality of life be subsequently?
Is it ethical to save systematically any person affected by any illness, whatever the consequences in terms of quality of life? People don't care how a premature baby live afterwards: it's been saved. Disabled? Unable to live on his/her own? Maybe not able to talk, think or feel? Nobody cares.
The problem is not medical science in itself: this is its « quantity over quality » policy. Is it respectful for life making someone live longer although in bad living conditions? Certainly not.
But, life prevails on suffering. It's always worth living even if one suffers, it seems.
Linkola praises a thorough campaign of contraception.: well, ok, but does environment play a role, to either a greater or lesser extent? Anyway, common sense demands that we agree...
And what about people who refuse contraception because « life is sacred »? Linkola's argument about sacred life would exclude human beings from others as not sacred. If he'd just say the global earthly living balance is sacred, there wouldn't be this strange fracture between human and the rest of nature. But, this wouldn't tell us what « sacred » should mean...
The author points to the fact we're living before a crisis, certainly, an extinction of the human species, possibly, maybe not on the “verge of extinction”. We have to be realistic; that is, being as far from optimism, as from pessimism, even as optimism (unconscious awareness?) prevails.
Maybe we have to realize human beings are not sacred so that all of them should be saved?
It's certainly not human life in itself that should be considered sacred, but a certain form of environment-respectful human way of living.
What deserves to be protected might not be human in itself but may be the protection of a certain balance of life in itself.
In a way we aren't outside a Jewish-Christian system where humans are “the crown of the creation”, the being made in the image of a god, and who has the right to do anything to “creation”, even “soiling its own lair”.
Is there a third way possible between a “place for man in a balanced hierarchy of life” and values such as “human rights”, “individual freedoms” and democracy? Are we forced to throw these away to gain the place that's ours within nature?
The author even gets slightly misanthropic with sentences such as “with the birth of each new child, the value of every other human being is slightly diminished”. Of course, such point is disputable. But, we have to admit the problem of numbers has always been either disregarded as irrelevant, immoral, or just ignored. Certainly, we can imagine a kind of « critical mass » from which human life would be regarded as vermin-competitors, rather than as human beings, by others. Just introduce many crabs into the same small aquarium and then watch their behaviour: they just eat each other. Is this the destiny of humaity?
In brief, Linkola sounds globally quite pessimistic, alarmist and even misanthropic. But, his message, as a sincere call for awareness of ecological problems, cannot be ignored and should be praised.
We notice that this author is not fond of spiritual explanations. Let's admit although we could explain some facts with such explanations, but this doesn't account for the main problem that deals with resources, economics, politics, demography etc.: material variables. Linkola remains pragmatic, which is an interesting approach. Many opinions, however, are expressed, not always as relevant, rational and efficient as we'd have expected them to be.
This author has the merit to make us measure what could be a forthcoming disaster. But, meanwhile, we stay here, with the few solutions provided by Linkola: just acting on immigration and contraception. It's a bit anguishing and disappointing.
Let's hope saving the natural balance won't stay just a symbol, a political product or a utopian project...
« Catastrophe Pending » by Annie Le Brun is about the “Unabomber”, a man who struck against academics andscientists, and whose view is a “natural anarchist's” one.
Criticism against science is widely expressed here. But, is science per se a threat or are only its applications in bad hands? Isn't it the mass consumerist system, capitalism, sharing a big part of the responsibility? Is science as a tool not responsible for its bad outcomes like technology may be? Aren't the misusers the only guilty ones?
Actually, most of the remarks addressed in « Cipherspace" could be copy-pasted here. Let's just add that what's important to society is often much criticized not because it is inherently bad but rather because it couldn't achieve the expectations, even surrealistic, that people assigned to it: it might be the case of science.
« The primordial and the perennial » by Michael O'Meara deals with philosophy and traditionalist/traditionist doctrines. It focuses on Heidegger, Evola and Guénon, with brief links to presocratic Ancient Greek philosophers: Parmenides and Heraclites. Certainly not an easy text, but one may, even if not having read « Sein und Zeit », be able to extract something out of it.
We note an interesting dichotomy between “Being” and “Becoming” whose relevance you'll notice further on...
Spiritual Authority and Temporal Power – Alain de Benoist
The author reads the whole social organization through the bipartition of power in Indo-European society, through the works of Evola and Guénon.
Kshatrias and Brahmans are opposed and correspond respectively to temporal versus spiritual, empire versus priesthood, power and authority, action and thought, potency and knowledge, profane and sacred. Such a social organisation was the one prevailing in Indian and Celtic societies, according to the author.
And what matters here is the subordination of royal function to sacerdotal one. But, according to de Benoist, temporal power would unwittingly sap foundations of its own potency because of this reversal of relationship between knowledge and action, sacerdotal and royal function. And this should explain all the misery we have in our times...
Let's note directly that such a binary model might not be accurate enough to understand society.
It completely ignores the people (peasants, craftsmen, workers, hunters etc.: lower social classes), the “third element”, without which both sacerdotal and royal function would be non-existent and meaningless.
Then, we may argue this conception is based on an ancient cultural analogical system. But, analogy doesn't prove anything, although it's aesthetically satisfactory to some.
In the end, this vision is based on the prime importance of spirituality. We won't deny the role of spirituality, both in ancient and newer societies. But, can spirituality explain and rule everything? Isn't there a larger domain, containing spirituality, that could explain and especially give meaning to everything? Something much more basic, much more fundamental?
Did this bipartition ground on spiritual reasons? Or did it rather ground on material, pragmatic reasons justified and strengthened, a posterior, by spiritual systems?
The author illustrates the fact action prevails on thought in Occidental thought because profit prevails over common goods. While in this “perfect world” of the East, thought would prevail over action.
Orientalism? Idealization of Eastern cults? Don't we think about an action and act according to thoughts? Interdependence of both thought and action?
Are such categoric and generalizing judgements far from the stereotype?
Then, we follow the author recounting the quarrels between Evola and Guénon. For the former, action would have a sacred nature. For Evola, there isn't a struggle between the spiritual authority and a rebellious temporal power”, but rather a “struggle between two distinct forms of authority equally spiritual but insurmountable”. For Evola, “Guénon confuses spiritual authority and sacerdotal authority”.
Interesting critiques. But, can these categories Kschatria/Brahman, temporal/spiritual truly explain modern society? Do we have another notion of sacred? Is sacred just ideology part of a superstructure? Why couldn't both be embodied in the same authority, in the same god?
Problems of modernity might be a disharmonious relation between temporal and spiritual... But why not a third way? One individual owner of both thought and action? Or should there be a concentration of both powers in one group/one person? Wouldn't it be dangerous for the reason there seldom are “enlightened despots”?
Are the boundaries between sacred and temporal really clear and truly the same as in our past society? Hasn't the sacred been secularized into simple values of which each individual shares a couple? Hasn't the power been divided (at least virtually) between the people? What should we think of democracy versus traditional societies with, seemingly, no power, or negligible power, for the people, this “third part”, also ignored by de Benoist? Is it a solution to (post-)modern problems or rather a dangerous catalyst?
So, why are there only two categories? There rather have been three. For instance, Plato talked about three categories, even in India, at least three categories. Where are the people in this view of society? The people have even not an implicit power? Isn't it however clear that when a king, in a primitive society, has been judged bad, unpopular, and unable to rule the community properly, he is condemned and sometimes killed by its subjects themselves?
Exclusion from power of the “third part”, the people, asks us even more questions. Does heathenism imply major political and social changes in the orientation of a rejection of democratic systems? The same question goes for the heathen attitude.
Is democracy only a nefarious modern creation? Or was it already something present in Ancient Greece, and reappearing in many other small communities? Is it a more deeply rooted way of social/political functioning? Which heathenism?
Wouldn't it be some kind of “neo-traditionalism”, much more modern influenced precisely because it wants to oppose modernity, to be anti-modernist, as well as Satanism risks being seen as Christian precisely because it opposes it. A total opposition forces one to use the same contents, the same thoughts, but just inverted.
The few questions here are addressed to this kind of tendency to focus on real political and social changes advocated by some heathens/neo-Pagans.
Why couldn't there be, instead of heathenism, a heathen attitude focused, primarily, on self-fulfilment, as an embodied member of a community, part of the cosmos? Why is there this wish to make other peoples, whole societies, conform to moral, religious, social and political dogmas and functioning? Why this “top-down” approach of social changes? The change might come not from the head, the authority (top-down), but from the roots (bottom-up), i.e this « third part » ignored by the author: the people, you and me in other words.
Such changes might be much more powerful, deeper and longer lasting...
Guénon, Evola and Coomaraswamy all are thankful to Dumézil's work for explaining Indo-European “ideology”/social functioning/beliefs.
But are Dumézil's works reliable and objective? Aren't they sometimes an accomplice of « celtomania » and other fantasy para-academic trends? What do we want: facts or fictions? (Both have a reason to be, of course!)
Aren't they a product of a modern vision of Indo-European ideology and therefore only able to produce modern “neo-traditional” and “neo-pagan” movements/ideologies, contrary to their aims of going back to genuine traditional and pagan roots?
Is this rather neo-Paganism than paganism? « Neo- » movements, that are recreations rather than genuine, but now lost, cultures?
Is this heathenism?
Is this part of a heathen attitude?
More precisely in De Benoist’s article, there are two terms in Indo-European society, pantheon (Mitra and Varuna) and their concepts. Both are equally responsible for the “ṛtá ”, the harmonious order of the universe. But they aren't equal. And guess what: the male principle is superior to the female one, Mitra is superior to Varuna. The author emphasizes the fact both are necessary and tries to diminish, to sweeten this hierarchical difference. But, they aren't equal. The author concludes that the spiritual authority wasn't essentially feminine because of “the clearly masculine symbolism constantly attributed to the Brahmans by Indian texts” (p.104).
Everything is as if there was a justification of a patriarchal social organization. Why? Why not equality of treatment between both sexes? Why not a strict balance?
This net of analogies legitimates power of priesthood over monarchy, spiritual over temporal power, thought over action (which isn't that bad) and also iniquity between man and woman?
Of course, man and woman aren't the same, aren't naturally equal, for they're different. Sameness is utopian and dangerous. But, it is not a reason not to treat them equally: equity is certainly natural and already present in some primitive traditions. Effectively, couldn't we argue that in Scandinavian cosmogony, however, man and woman are both born from different trees, and are meant to be equal unlike in the Jewish-Christian Genesis? Isn't our current genders' imbalance typically monotheistic and invades all our conceptions and views even of old traditions' social organizations?
Is there a difference in this domain between the Indo-European and Old European heritage? The former might be much more focused on those of a female earth goddess, while the latter might be more focused on values linked to a male sky-god...
We should emphasize the meaninglessness of authority without the people, of the ruler without the ruled, and also the fact the ruled, even in traditional societies, had a power upon the king, the ruler.
This article rather illustrates the fight for power between two social functions, namely priesthood and monarchy. We may wonder whether, throughout history, these have always been tending to deviate from their original function and to become harmful for the whole social organism, each time they become more concerned about their own wielding of power rather than about the common good.
Our society is parted into judiciary, executive and legislative powers. All converge in regulating relationships through laws. Laws depend on moral, ethical, philosophical (remnants of religions, cultural elements?) democratic stances. Spiritual religious institutions are outside keepers of their self-proclaimed “truths” pretending still to hold the enormous responsibility of fulfilling existential, spiritual needs for meaning in people's lives. The temporal, politics, is meant to exist only for the common good, to the benefit of everyone. But, this is an ideal view, this is theory! Actually, power benefits the “happy few” exploiters and manipulators, hiding behind veils of good intentions.
The problem is certainly less the fact temporal power dominates the spiritual one but rather the fact that they're alienated in a quest for power, forgetting their fundamental reasons to be: common/public good and people's lives. This absence of ethical/moral dimensions and focus on power, disregarding “public usefulness”, is illustrated by the biased and partial view of the author who gives the impression the whole cosmos is revolving around both temporal and spiritual powers...
As there always is this emphasis on spirituality, where is the spirituality in either temporal or spiritual (!) authorities when they've completely forgotten their reason to be, the common good, the social organism's health?
The power is illegitimate unless it is useful to people, all people. In our current perspective, just recreating a pantheon's pantomime on earth with a glimpse of sacred, would this solve our problems?
Let's just beware of all those who claim they know “ṛtá”, “laws, “natural order”, in brief, claim to hold “truths”, whose only legitimacy is their origin in ancient, admired, idealized, but mostly unknown cultures. The risk is ignorance feeds fantasies. Our understanding of Indo-European culture certainly rather reflects our needs, our attitude than what they truly were.
Maybe Dumézil#s works, although filled with interesting hypotheses, might be not testable, and unrealistic, certainly not pragmatic enough to fulfil a search for the most probable « facts ». But, of course, it might however be interesting for feeding people with « meaning » (whose fictitiousness may not matter in a subjective perspective), to make them have self-satisfying representations of their origins, roots, and identity.
Anyway, it seems we all are far from “Truth”, “ṛtá”, god, whatever you call it. But all equally. Maybe the only equal thing ever...
De Benoist says Guénon and Evola both confuse the royal and martial function, Guénon proclaiming it inferior to sacerdotal function, Evola proclaiming it superior or at least equal. (p.104)
The author is for the complementary of both authorities, for “they're inseparably bound up in the same sovereign function, without this bond serving to form any kind of theocracy.” (p.104) If the idea of theocracy is rejected, then we may be reassured.
But it remains clear that, for the author, although complementary, spiritual function has to dominate, at least a bit! “Temporal power should not be imposed over spiritual authority, but spiritual authority does not hold absolute primacy either” (p.104) They are not equal. It sounds like spirituality is a kind of frame in which takes place all the rest, temporal power included. But, is spirituality the most encompassing frame ever? Or isn't it the existential category?
What is the place of such a spiritually-based reasoning in a materialist and constructivist society where the temporal is rather the frame and spirituality considered as a later human construction?
In the end, the question can always be reduced to the ontological level: materialistic monism, spiritual monism or dualism?
Is the spiritual essence necessary to ground an ideology, paganism or heathenism?
But, do we need to believe in the existence of a spiritual substance, a res cogitans, in order just to be heathenist, heathen or pagan?
Is it necessary to believe in a spiritual substance in order to be spiritual, or just in order to live?
Some will say yes, others no.
The Abode of the gods and the great beyond: on the imaginal and post mortem states in Celtic tradition – Thierry Jolif
Although Druids taught that the soul was immortal, only limited information on Celtic beliefs about the post mortem state of the soul are available (p.127). We know the Irish had a place called “Síd”. But, the author asks the question how were these beliefs structured, far from “Celto-maniac” groups' ideas.
Jolif discussed the meanings of the words “Síd”: “the other world” and “peace”, helped by a serious author Guyonvarc'h.
The author remarks Sid might refer not only to a place but also a state. Guyonvarc'h's remarks adds the fact it might refer to the inhabitants or emanations of this Great Beyond, the points of passage between this world and ours and the “magic” of this great beyond.
The definitions from the Royal Irish Academy rather points to meanings related to a state of being.
This leads the author to assert that “the other world as a place, was the same thing as peace, as a state of being.” (p.129) Interesting and especially deeper than the usual Jewish-Christian visions of paradise and other worlds. It rather sounds like an analogy or a metaphor.
The belief of immortality of the soul does not come from the Druids themselves, but from Roman historians and commentators, as quoted by Jolif. Caesar, Strabo, Pomponius Mela or Marcus Annaeus Lucanus all attest to the belief of immortality of the soul among Celts. But, and that is not a detail, Caesar and Pomponius Mela points out the social utility of this belief for removing fear of warriors... Although few sources are available, and mostly from strangers, which are not always objective, condescending even, and very often enemies, the idea of belief in another world suggests a manipulation of the spiritual authority on the temporal (warriors') one. This is especially interesting in regards of the De Benoist article.
But, the author is rather interesting in asserting though that of a Celtic esotericism, reserved to warriors, heroes, aristocrats, Druids and not common mortals who weren't initiated. This is however not coming from a specialist of the Celtic worldview but from Frithjof Schuon, whose objectivity might be disputable.
The Druids seemed to have a conception of transmigration, in which, as stated by Lucan, “the same spirit controls the body in another world” although it might have been deceased before.
This is in accordance with both immortality of the soul and the fact the soul still controls a body, for this body is in another world.
The Síd occurs in a function of precise place but also of a precise time, related to the festival of Samhain. But, interestingly, the Síd is not a heaven, nor is it a Great Beyond which is just the reflection of the Other World. The Other World is the divine World which is contiguous to our own, according to Celtic tradition. Sid is closer to the divine, but not actually divine. This Other World shares some similarity with the dream state: very much a different world, with dimensions which cannot be measured in the same way we know, but still a real world, eminently real etc. (p.133)
Irish Celts spoke about various islands representing the Other World – dominated by the god Mananánn, linked to royalty – that are regarded as symbols of higher states of being (personal opinion of the author, based on P. Geay's).
The Síd, finally, is not a uniform world but rather composed of multiple abodes and sundry islands. It's the actual realm of the soul, linked to the feminine aspect of the divine. The king, the warriors and the dream state are clearly evident in the extracts examined. (p.138)
The Síd was an imaginary world, a paradise for warriors and initiated kings having attained “salvation”, the abode of the gods, goddesses and symbols. (p.140)
Salvation from what? There's no problem of hell, or of sin, evoked here, as far as the author writes.
But the author adds Deliverance, not salvation, was the so-called purpose of priestly initiation. Salvation being rather a Christian influence of monk's later depictions of Celtic beliefs.
In the end, it still is difficult to truly grasp how did Celts truly understood and experienced the Síd.
But, it is clearly not because of the author. The explanation is truly interesting and well-written. We see various aspects of the concept and its tenants in Celtic culture.
The problem is rather to be able to depart from our own conceptions and views, to adopt an anthropological perspective, in order to better grasp the complex yet central notion of Síd...
Children of The Sonne – Gordon Kennedy
This article tells us the story of some movements such as Wandervögel, Naturfreunde and Naturmenschen, originating from Germany, linked to Naturopathy and Hermann Hesse, Goethe or Nietzsche.
This article deals with anti-bourgeois movements, reforming the whole modern way of life through raw diets, life in nature, naturism, natural medicine etc. In brief: it praises a radical return to nature. Bill Pester appears to be a mentor of the American Nature Boys. Among his characteristics were long hair and bears, bare feet or sandals, guitars, a love for nature, draft dodging, simple living, and an aversion to rigid political structure. The article suggests it has not been without influence on the hippie movement. But, certainly, this last one mightn't have kept all the original ideas... The complete life reform of people such as Pester wasn't restricted to political opinions or a cliché “cool” hippie attitude, it appears to be much more serious in the article: deep changes in the way of life, in terms of diet, health, clothes etc.
This article might explain very well the current return to nature expressed by hippies, neofolk/postindustrial milieu but also the trend in new age thinking or the taste for natural/traditional healing methods. It really is relevant for it points us to the roots of the daily practices of many people which aren't rational nor modern, yet completely integrated in our way of living.
But, if such ideas have subsisted, it is only as degenerated pieces. To what extent are the ideas of this reform (that rather seems to be a “sweet” revolution) not been exploited for mercantile uses in bio foods, for a pseudo-ecological political marketing, or for a charlatan's healing techniques?
Few people would agree to rear their children outside, with raw vegetables, fruits, no meat, no health care but plants, no vaccinations, no medical assistance, etc.
It clearly appears that such a way of life is not only against the modern culture, but also against any kind of progress. It seems to be a primitive way of life (the term primitive has nothing pejorative here!), anterior to “ouranian”, “promethean”, earth dominating religions. There isn't any indication about cattle growing or agriculture: mother earth's gifts, such as fruits or else should be enough. It's a really, really primitive life. It seems even the last primitive communities we can find, such as Pygmies, are hunters, and not vegetarians. That's to say how this life should be hard, demanding. It mightn't be exaggerated to talk about natural selection in such a case.
Anyway, those were the negative aspects. But, I wouldn't be surprised if our concern for the environment, the importance we give to healthy natural food and parallel/traditional healing techniques are the result of these German Naturmenschen and their followers' influence.
Moreover, as G. Kennedy states, media have convinced people that Hopis, Hindus and Tibetans inspired this “hippie” revolution, while this might rather have a German origin (at least according to the author). This isn't a politically correct idea, certainly, and not enough multiculturalist or syncretic to be part of the trend.
But, finally, what matters is the fact there certainly is still much to do in this direction taken by these movements to make our current and future lives healthier.
Iceland's Pagan Renaissance – Christopher McIntosh
It decribes the story from the Thing's annual meeting and the history of Iceland's paganism history to the current pagan Icelandic revival. Beliefs and movements active in this revival are well explained, especially the well-known Ásatrú.
But, what is it that persuades us we could get back to truly pagan traditions? Aren't they still seen and experienced through a Jewish-Christian frame? Isn't it a danger to recreate a Pagan religion system too close to monotheists' systems and values?
Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson's opinion might however convince us Ásatrú won't be a kind of Pagan version of Christianism...
Sweinbjörg Beinteinsson: A personal reminiscence – Jónína K. Berg
Sweingjörg Beintisson was the first chief leader of Icelandic Ásatrú and a poet. This article makes us dive deeper into beliefs and Icelandic pagan folklore. The author leads us through a brief biography of Beintisson, before explaining the creation of Ásatrú.
Let's notice that the creation of this heathen movement hasn't been done without tensions with the Christian church. But, Beintisson and his fellows' attitude remained respectful and clever, for they always tried to avoid extremists, never attacked other religions, never tried to convert others and never tried to tell others that Ásatrú is the only right faith.
Clearly, we notice for several reasons Iceland may be seen as the prototype of the heathen place. Maybe thanks to the Eddas, folkloric traditions, and the island's isolated geographical situation, it has been able to keep a much more entire, coherent and lively pagan culture than in any other European country. Thus, this revival isn't that surprising: it's built upon some stable cultural foundation, as stable as Icelandic lava bedrock...
The Icelandic revival offers us a glance of what could have been or could be a pagan revival in Europa. But, the comparison might stop right here: although European countries (apart from the Baltic ones, see below!) have much more Pagan customs than its inhabitants are aware of, this mightn't be enough to rebuild a Pagan religion, maybe just enough to help inspire a recreation of it. Moreover, such recreation cannot be genuine and can be rather instructive about its (post)modern authors than about the very cultural roots it wished to turn green again.
So, this cultural wealth of Iceland might explain the interest in Ásatrú of people from other countries, divorced from most of their pre-Christian roots. In the end, Ásatrú stands both as an ideal model of what should be a European pagan revival, as a satisfactory alternative filling the European pre-Christian cultural gap.
Beintisson's poems are available in both the Icelandic and English languages. They help us by illustrating Icelandic pagan culture in the revival perspective and realize its simple beauty, such as shown in the poem “Dís”.
Baltic Lithuanian Religion and Romuva – Vilius Rudra Dundzila
This detailed article deals with the evolution of Baltic culture from Old European “earth-focused” to its replacement with an Indo-European “sky-focused” religion.
It's based, as often, on Dumézil's hypotheses. Clearly, the word “hypothesis” is not here just for the sake of a scientific scepticism. Dundzila has the honesty to point out the critiques against Dumézil, which most of the time are completely silenced. The author presents us with a wonderful article, especially its part about Romuva, the Baltic Lithuanian religion, customs, and beliefs. It's serious, detailed, and without ideology: we feel it simply deals with facts. It shows us an outstanding and unsuspected Baltic culture, which has definitely nothing to envy from Iceland's...
After reading the first part of this article about transition between the Old European and Indo-European worlds, a question emerges that seems crucial: to what extent is the Indo-European influence not already the bearer of monotheistic values? We can find many similarities with our own society, and not its brightest aspects. Contrary to some popular claims in the heathen/pagan milieu, is the true source of heathen culture the Indo-European one (bringing the domination of sky deities on earth deities) or the Old European (focused on earth mother goddesses)?
Of course, the fact the tall Indo-European warriors were culturally more evolved in some domains, had a better technology, horse-riding, another social organization etc., may make theem more attractive to our distant contemporary eyes. But, to what extent are the tripartite social organization and this Indo-European enslavement of earth characteristics of our societies? To what extent are these Indo-European values already a source of problems within modernity (not only)?
The point is there seems to be a kind of slow shift from Old European, through Indo-European, and on to Christian culture, expressed in a more and more exploitative relationship towards nature and a more and more institutionalized spirituality, mixed with power, distant from nature.
The “human” - whose Latin etymology recalls a really primitive yet edifying conception of human as part of “humus”, “earth”, “soil”, with common roots to words such as “humility” - seemed to get into some kind of negative “hubris” which allowed him to dominate nature. He considered that nature was created for him, without any other purpose. The sky gods were the rulers, but, in a way, humanity was the center within all other beings, and in sky gods' mind: anthropocentrism.
So, what can heathens hope from Indo-European culture? Its solar cult seems already close to monotheisms and their rejection of the material, earthly, natural world to the benefit of a spiritual, etheral world...
But, speaking about a heathen attitude, isn't the point exactly the return to earth, both figuratively and concretely? But, how to return to earth differently than through a consumerist materialism?
How would it be possible to find, at least, a good balance between both?
This symbolism paradoxically encompasses the dualist problem opposing matter versus spirit, res extensa versus res cogitans, science/technology/nature/power versus spirituality/religion/culture/existential. In our materialistic period, heathenists are focused on spiritual values, but forgetting its cultural as well as concrete roots in matter. Does the solution lie in the denial of matter and earth in benefit to the etheral spiritual world? If not going till a spiritualist monism, could this denial of matter help people to live better than both in traditional world and modern world?
In a way, we could just point the balance between both is demanded by its simple paradox. There's no matter without spirit, for an intentionality is necessary for earth to exist (understood as being, perceived, thought about by an intentionality), as well as there can't be a spirit (no intentional being, human) to think about itself, unless it is based in a material substrate.
This point of view might be too materialist for some, but let's not avoid the fact all the religious, spiritual elements are comprised in an existential domain. This vision tries to convey spirituality and a materialist world view similarly as explained in Pullman's works (cf. below J. Godwin “Esotericism without religion”).
When reading the part dealing especially with Romuva, the Baltic Lithuanian Religion, we realize it's a kind of equivalent of Icelandic Ásatrú. Quickly, the really detailed and interesting article of Dundzila explains the history of this movement, how it developed and its traditions. We just can realize that, although it isn't as popular as Ásatrú, it should also stand as a prototype of the pagan revival. But, again, the same questions: Baltic countries have been really lately christianized and could have kept their own culture. How would a similar revival be possible in other countries deprived of most of their pagan heritage?
This article seems to be one of the most serious in TYR 3, as well as the less ideologically oriented.
Let's get interested deeper in Baltic religion, traditions and beliefs.
We notice that « the Baltic religion placed a great importance on its goddesses, the feminine divine » (p.301). It's interesting, especially when connected to De Benoist's article and when contrasted to this cult of the sun, this emphasis of the male sky gods in other cults, close from monotheisms.
Difficult to find one's way around all these different gods and goddesses...
To the Old European pantheon has been added the Indo-European one, and then their interactions...
It's interesting to note the presence of Laima, an Indo-European goddess with Old European traits, busy with Fate, natural laws with her male counterpart Dievas, the Indo-European skygod, dealing with an absolute conservation of human life, seemingly bearing some « Promethean » values (p.307). To link this with the article of O'Meara, to what extent could we say the first one represents Being and the second Becoming? Status quo and Change?
Zemyna, whose origin is Old European, is the original Earth goddess who is the spouse of Pracemzius (equivlaent of Deivas), or sometimes the spouse of Perkunas.
Such pairs represent the union between the father and the mother, Sky and Earth (p.309).
It's interesting to wonder if such duality was already present in Old European cultures and to what extent.
There's a difference between Old European and Indo-European deities.
Old European divinities belong to the spheres of earth and water and focus on agriculture and life, and Indo-European deities that represent the sky, stress pastoralism and stock breeding. They control and organize, requiring human subordination.
As an example, we can oppose Velnias to Perkunas.
Velnias represents the Old European order. He's the god of the dead, concerned with sexuality, has cloven hoofs and is presented as an ithyphallic beast-man. It appears to be rather close to the representations of the Greek satyrs, fauns, and to the medieval iconography of the Christian devil.
Perkunas represents Indo-European order and, on the contrary, stands for control on sexuality, in order to maintain patrilinear lines of progeny.
Both these gods stand for different cultures and different aspects of human life. A psychoanalyst might just compare them to social/folkloric emanations of both « id » (impulsions, unbridled sexuality, instinctive forces) and « superego » (morals, norms, rules etc.). Who would stand for the « ego »? Maybe simply human beings themselves, for they make the kind of synthesis between both sky and chthonian deities, between « superego » and « id ». But, at the same time, it expresses perfectly how human conscious subjectivity is, universally (?), the theatre of a fight between these two principles, which, therefore, doesn't make it feel very well.
Gods and goddesses are really amazing images with many possible combinations to express, to put in images and words on the human daily living joys and pains, helping in the elaboration, acceptance of some main life's events or changes. It surely brings much meaning to life.
While Velnias has satyr's traits and deals with pastoral activities, Laume has traits of a kind of Lilith, a succubus, a witch (according to later Christian revision) and is the domestic complement to Velnias.
All these gods and goddesses depict a rich pantheon able to depict many aspects of human life. This richness and variety might be the key to understanding polytheism's success: instead of an ambivalent and incoherent sole monotheistic god, each one can serve to help us understand this or that facet of human existence and mind.
It describes human existence in a simple, concrete and instructive way.
We should note that most gods and goddesses share in the duties of the agrarian class. It goes a bit in a different direction from the one of De Benoist in which temporal versus spiritual elements stand for politics, war versus religion, spirituality. Here the people are rather present, but integrated in the gods. The gods and goddesses are much closer to the human way of life and allow easier identification processes from believers. This may allow people to understand better the values and metaphors spread in religious/spiritual teachings, myths, and rituals. But, it also enriches enormously daily living, where people aren't just working to grow vegetables, raise cattle, create fabrics to make clothes, or doing rituals: they re-enact the mythic or godly deeds and are part of an « eternal return » of the past. This gives a meaning to each action, diving deep in the past...
Apart from the Old European and Indo-European, the author notes animistic elements in the Baltic Lithuanian religion. Themes such as metempsychosis, similar to Celtic belief, are also present. We may note the primitive way of thinking might also still be present. Of course, there are Christian add-ons to, and reinterpretations of, this folklore.
But, in this article, you'll find many customs common to European cultures (in general), thus, even customs you practice...
What's amazing with this article is we discover the richness of these cultures, of their symbols. It might recreate a coherence underlying all the remaining pagan traditions. Baltic religion/traditions appear to be surprisingly complex, meaningful and rich, maybe much more so than Ásatrú...
Anyway, this isn't the point. Whatever the beliefs you may or may not have, the symbols present are really humanly enriching, meaningful. Such a way of life comes from a closer relationship to nature, and makes one closer to nature. No need for any discussions about transcendence, afterlife or supernatural beliefs: symbols, analogies, myths, rites etc. They're already so meaningful.
The question however remains: how to apply that to current European cultures and would it solve our existential concerns about lack of meaning of life?
The author analyse in an interesting way symbols and allegories (on mythologem) rather in a perspective of understanding meaning rather than about believing, truly agreeing with an ideology.
Apart from the fact the author admits a certain misogyny in a traditional daina (a daina is a traditional Baltic poetry/music form of the pre-Christian era), he never gives us an opinion, he doesn't link traditions to social or political issues. This article does really well in saying what should be done: exposing simply and rawly the facts we know about Baltic religion, as it was and is practised.
With honesty, there's also a remark about Romuva orientation towards tradition. Romuva significantly differs from neo-Paganism, according to Dundzila. Michael York talked about Romuva as « recopaganism » for it deliberately reconstructed past pagan religion. Thanks to the Lithuanian ethnic culture, there would be no need for creation, re-creation or anachronism.
Interestingly, we see that such a reconstruction is rather successful in Lithuania. There seems to be no need for standardizing Baltic religion or systematizing it. No « romuvism » here.
But, it seems to be indisputable that this might have not been possible without the conservation of culture present in such a society. So, it raises again the question of how would people from other European countries, almost deprived of such heritage could recreate such a religion, or at least, such a culture, a way of life. Taking inspiration from Romuva? Adapting it to other contexts?
The End Times According to the Indo-European world view: Textual Selections From Four Traditions with Commentary - James Reagan
This article presents the conceptions of end times according to several Indo-European cultures.
Thus, it opposes the modern conception of a linear progress with the conception involving a social, natural, spiritual, in brief, cosmic decline. As one idealizes the future, holder of the most fantastic promises, the other is turned towards past and a Golden Age after which only a decadence in all domains may be expected.
We may also make a link with the O'Meara article: the first one would be a culture of « Becoming » while the other would be a culture of « Being ».
But, to what extent is a synthesis needed?
The author doesn't put that into question.
He evokes the Kali Yuga through texts foretelling a moral and social decadence that can only make the reader think of our current society.
But, let's wonder about the origin of these « apocalyptic » dark prophecies.
Are the depictions of Kali Yuga true prophecies? Or are they descriptions inspired from or actually coming from any society who encountered similar problems?
Often, it's difficult to point to problems, or to condemn behaviours we haven't experienced, for they mightn't be conceivable. Apart from those who believe in the authenticity of these prophecies, don't you believe that these societies through these frightening depictions were actually condemning aspects of, or the history, their own civilization?
Freud says the reasons why some taboos, such as murder, is legally condemned in seemingly all cultures and is legally forbidden is simply because it has been occurring in all cultures, in all times.
Why would there be a need to condemn things that don't occur and thus don't cause any problems? It would make no sense. By the same token, we may extend this reasoning to all taboos and problems explained in these old texts.
Which camp choosing between those who think pre-Christian or even pre-modern cultures were brutal barbarians and these who think these cultures were better, more civilized, some kind of peaceful proto-hippies exempted from all vices or “übermenschesque” virtuous fearless warriors?
Choose none of these!
A conception of a civilization process à la Norbert Elias or a decadent, Golden-Age-based one?
None of them!
It's difficult to understand why the so-called cyclical conception of these civilizations are not that cyclical but rather focusing and emphasizing decadence and decline. The decline can however just be part of a cycle, the descent of the curve. In the macro scale of a cosmic (or civilizational) « end of times », the cycle is suggested, a supposed post-civilizational state, which is not emphasized, seemingly less than the new beginning. This new beginning is not developed, it remains mysterious although, because of the cyclical conception, reproducing the same patterns as the cosmogony of the beginnings.
But, to us, what does it represent? A cosmic collapse? The end of the human species? The end of earth and of life on earth? Or the end of a civilization? The end of a society? The end of a culture?
We have many more levels and conceptions of time than these societies, both on objective and subjective levels. Objectively, we have clearer ideas thanks to cosmology, although such scientific elements are not truths but hypothesis, even if they're strongly corroborated.
Subjectively, if we admit Mircea Eliade's views, before monotheisms, traditional societies were in an « eternal return », re-enacting perpetually a mythic past on all levels, in all domains. These cultures were ahistorical: there wasn't a history but the foundational myths, and thus, there wasn't any future. To what extent was this conception still present in Indo-European culture and in Old European culture? When did this reversal of time's arrow occur? In which societies? With the arrival of monotheisms? Could we say, before monotheisms, there would be some axial age ensuring the transition between purely cyclical and future-oriented cultures?
Is this orientation towards future the exclusivity of modernity? Or is modernity the epoch in which this ideal has been realized till a utopian excess, till forgetting past and feeling as independent from history as from cyclicity?
Beside conception of time, as causes of the Kali Yuga is also suggested the loss of respect for the earth goddess. But, if we look back at some preceding comment we may wonder if this has begun only with modernity.
To what extent does Indo-European culture already contain a « Promethean germ of progressism »? And Old European culture? Isn't progress, after all, an ever-present dimension throughout cultures and ages, as well as change is?
I guess all these periods and cultures aren't that easy to categorize. Categories, although useful, are always artificial and simplistic. There certainly has been a continuous movement of emancipation from cyclicity, at least attempts...
The author criticizes much globalization as a factor of multiculturalism and loss of cultural roots.
We could argue, on the contrary, that the confrontation with other, alien, cultures might bear the promise of better knowing, rediscovering our own cultures and realizing their value... If a culture feels so threatened by globalization, other culture’s existence or the apparent dissolution of cultural identities in some contexts, this weak and frightened culture truly has to wonder if it deserves to survive...
An underlying presupposition to such a pessimistic view is the fact that a culture can be completely destroyed, buried by the dust of time and never come back to daylight. It's underestimating how culture survives without us knowing it in all corners of our lives and overestimating the standardization, minimization forces.
We rather should conceive culture as almost a living entity: it gets forgotten and suddenly, it gets reawakened. It dies, leaving few remnants, and then it gets recreated. You'll say it isn't the same thing for it isn't genuine. Yes, but culture is alive as long as it evolves and changes. The fact primitive people did always try to reproduce myths and the past does not mean these myths and cosmologies didn't evolve.
We rather should conceive things as a more or less harmonious balance between innovation and tradition within culture. There's some kind of balance between conservation of invariants, frames, patterns and recreation of new forms, new combinations of elements... Apart from that, there might even be some recreations according to some kind of archetypes, without any communications. After all, whatever culture we have, we all are humans and share as well psychological, biological, social as well as existential, spiritual or religious common similarities...
But, who can tell for sure which are these constants and stick upon them labels such as « Indo-European » or « Old European »? Don't we risk making some kind of syncretic hotch-potch between different things and standardize them in a convenient « concept », ideology, « -ism » in order to justify some of our political, moral or social stances?
Reality mightn't be as simple as Indo-European vs. Old European. But how not to use categories?
As a proof of the ambiguity of our times and of culture, let's look at heathenism, pagan movements, or all cultural revivals' movements or nationalists. The author does not mention it but these movements, (sub-)cultures are acting against a hypothetical cultural dissolution referring to a past traditional heritage. Aren't they proofs that the modern tendency pointed towards the future has already been reverted? And aren't they proofs that the standardization is already fought against?
We may even realize that this is even not the fruit of a conscious deliberate revolt. People may just have felt the need, feeling a bit lost and have questioned their own identity because of globalization.
We may say this kind of cultural and identity crisis arrived at lower levels in old times...
Why should we fear so much cultural dissolution?
And for our cultures? They will change anyway! Save what you want, but you won't master the global evolution, you won't stop changes, as well as you won't remove constants. Again: Becoming and Being...
And there's another point. This article is based on predictions, prophecies. To what extent aren't they symbolical? Unless one believes this is a true prophecy, an exact prediction of what is occurring or will occur to our societies, we just may think these cultures have experienced such difficulties and rather speak of what oughtn't be done according to their experiences than of what will arrive, of inconceivable prophecies...
To build such depictions of social, moral and natural decadence, we can always hypothesize such civilizations simply experienced it to a certain level.
Thus, the social function of such a prophecy might be quite clear: inducing a social control through fear. There aren't many leading ideologies that haven't used a « great Satan », an enemy.
For instance, it is clear the adult people of any epoch have been feeling concerned about problems of youth's disrespect regarding traditions, elders and adults.
A common academic illustration of that is to project some quotations of Plato or other truly ancient authors and then asking students just when were these quotations written... The similarity between these old quotations and the reflections we hear almost daily are often stunning.
It shows how we aren't far removed from other cultures existentially, although we have evolved much technically and scientifically.
So, maybe such alarming myths of decadence rather reveals what inevitably and continuously (or cyclically at least) occurs than foretell anything else, while promoting social orderliness through fear.
The author follows exactly the same direction of explanation of our (post-)modern problems than do De Benoist or Naylor: the « spiritual decadence » is the cause of the current « chaos » (p. 364-365).
Apart from the fact we could have hoped for a more spectacular apocalyptic chaos with volcanic aesthetics, we may always point how simplistic is this « argumentation ».
The author doesn't link elements in order to make us understand how lack of spirituality would cause us to suffer. Note the former authors do it better.
The whole thought is based on analogies suggesting an underlying belief in these texts as genuine predictions. It isn't bad or false. But, neither it is rational, nor scientifically acceptable.
It may suit the opinions of people already convinced about it or a conformist mind, following a trend. The people who don't believe in theem can't be convinced. It will however suit the pessimistic and masochistic trend.
Besides that, it seems pure naivety to suggest we could grasp either modern or ancient societies' complexity only through analogies of texts... The remark expressed here encompasses the one in De Benoist's article: although analogies are interesting and may suggest some explanations, they shouldn't be mistaken for proofs of causal relations between events. It would be logically sick.
Of course, the modern attitude of believing our (post-)modern societies are incomparably better and more civilized is a product of the same naivety and lack of detachment than believing Old European and Indo-European are necessarily better than the modern ones...
Everything depends on the criteria used, the domains in question, the values, intentions, goals and background of the observer etc.
Historically, we may situate this article in the movement following yet opposing the arrogant modern view of the « primitive » people that the beginning of anthropology used to promote. Here, and in some article within TYR 3, we may actually argue we are in some kind of neo-romantic idealization of primitive and pre-Christian people. According to this view, everything which is not modern / pre-modern seems to be necessarily better, a panacea.
Of course, if we just consider some points, such as ecological issues and relation to nature, this mightn't be disputed.
But, this article deals with « end of times » and the pollution is not talked about in the texts' excerpts, although some may see the depictions of arid soil as a consequence of deforestation.
This article rather deals with social and moral issues. We may say, as Durkheim, that traditional societies – although focused on community, common good and spiritual values, in which individualism didn't exist like today – were paradoxically better for individuals' living conditions. Effectively, they ensured a « solidarité mécanique » whose lack might explain the modern « egoistic suicide » type. Of course, Durkheim is not an author of prime freshness... But, the essential message from such a trend is the assertion that the modern individual would be alienated and vulnerable for he would be out of a community and therefore deprived from a vital social link. Was he right or not about social links and their consequences on modern people? I don't know. Certainly at least a little bit.
Anyway, just sampling, emphasizing or supposing the positive points of traditional societies mightn't be enough to convince readers. We may truly wonder whether it is just an anti-modernist trend leading such opinions as expressed by the author or a revolutionary deeper understanding of our society?
An important limit to point is this one. Isn't it difficult to translate these texts perfectly, knowing they're filled with images, metaphors, symbols etc.? There is no exact translation and nothing obvious. So, add to this the problem of meaning. How to understand these texts outside our (post-)modern Occidental condition? How to understand these writings outside their historical context? Don't we risk distorting them with our own frames, values, wishes or ideologies?
The other danger is to believe in such prophecies as truths. Just swallowing the supposed (and literal?) “decadence-theoretic” meaning of these prophecies might result from an equivalent illusion than the modern belief in a linear progress...
This approach encompasses the post-modern view of religion shared by too many people, especially within monotheisms. Sacred texts would be infallible providers of absolute « truths », as well as would be those who interpret them. The whole truth in a book: it's simple, it's clear, an easiness which people just love. But, it's often a manipulation tool, and at least: literalistic, inexact, caricature-like, marred by our own contextual, social and cultural views. Thus, it is not an absolute Truth, but a subjective, relative « truth ».
Note removing a capital to this word and putting it in brackets is already a sufficient affront to those who claim to behold this “Truth”... But, to others, a “truth” still has a meaning, a value. Fictions have a value: they may enrich our quest for meaning of life.
Anyway, the point is this side of post-modern « religious revival » has something of an esotericism perverted by time, bad translations, reinterpretations, literalist views and ideological interests, finally turning into a superstitious disgusting exoteric amalgam.
The author also evokes Nordic and Irish Celtic prophecies. Their patterns are similar than those of other cultures in question. Could we say, at least, that these cultures may have understood some processes of civilization's deaths or major crises? But, again, to what extent are these processes constants that we could simply copy-paste on our post-modern times?
Does someone want to play with our fears? How could it be useful and necessarily bring more awareness than denial?
In conclusion, we've to ponder all our negative remarks for one reason which is not indulgence. Although we may understand differently these texts and doubt of the spiritual explanation of the author, we've to admit these excerpts question us a lot. We're facing old and ubiquitous existential problems through these « end times » prophecies. The fear of the destruction of our culture, way of life and whole microcosm still are thorny questions, have to be solved, and deserve to be paid attention to. It's a part of us, after all.
But, maybe it's also the main reason why we have to be really careful with this topic...
« Esotericism without religion » by J. Godwin
This article talks about P. Pullman's “Dark Materials”. It deals with the story of a parallel world resembling ours but where history took a different course, says Godwin.
The author notes a peculiarity of this epic literature in the fact there's a divine presence in interaction with humans, a cosmogony, a heroic figure named Lyra.
Criticized by catholic and evangelicals for negatively depicting the Church and priests and would influence youth to turn to atheism. The author effectively criticizes monotheisms, but spiritual references are there. Although without god or anything else than matter, esoteric references are present such as hermeticism, Kabbalah, gnosticism occult science.
Thus, it seems the question is rather reversed: asking oneself “what sort of god [we do] not believe in”.
Pullman's work also has been criticized as being a kind of à la carte Buddhism, says Godwin.
Although there's no structured religious thought, closeness to Buddhism is indisputable according to Godwin. We note a reference to gnosticism which speaks of a female spirit beholder of wisdom (Pistis Sophia): it isn't a god in the same sense but is it that far?
But, Pullman's positions are interesting and original for he claims to be “temperamentally 'agin' the post-modernist position that there is no truth and it depends on where you are and it's all a result of the capitalist, imperialist hegemony of the bourgeois”.
For Godwin, Lyra's world describes a nostalgic vision of how our world could have been if untouched by modernism, infatuation of technology and proletarianization of culture.
The alternative offered by Pullman, according to Godwin's view, is that he offers Imagination instead of Authority: he displaces the sacred within our minds.
Those who value imagination rather than certainties, either religious people or atheist, focus on the story.
Emphasis on imagination used to create an imaginative fictional esoteric-filled world.
In a way, if we look back at Godwin's article title, there's no need of religion to offer post-modern people a spirituality, a meaning. Aesthetic and imagination replace certainties of believers (religious or atheist ones) and offer maybe this third way, between tradition and modernism. As far from the conquering beliefs of self-proclaimed “truth beholder” religions, as from an aggressive atheism fed with scientific dogma and a cold technological product, self-proclaimed « happiness purveyors ».
To me, this truly points that whatever may exist or not in terms of supernatural, religious or scientific “truths”, there's a truly essential existential dimension which allows us to live better: the symbolic digression provided by our own imagination.
Another way to take seriously as well reality, as well as traditions, spiritualities.
I guess Pullman might agree that, in a way, materialism as well as what comes out from our imagination both are as real as each other!
It seems to me it implicitly underlines the importance of a skeptical approach of all “truths” - a truly modern attitude –, and gives a positive value given to one's subjective quest for meaning in life. Maybe it offers both place for “objectivation” – materialist cosmology – as “subjectivation” – subjective re-enchantment of the world through an esoterically-influenced imagination...
It seems to make entwined real and symbolic world, objective and subjective, experimental and experiential, phenomenal and phenomenological etc.
A way to keep the power of tradition for soothing aesthetically our thirsts for meaning (imagination etc.) and to keep the positive modern values such as a sceptical attitude and materialism.
Maybe the best way to correct the lifeless coldness of modernity without regressing to dogmatic religious enslavements, through inspiration with a rich symbolic traditional-inspired fantasy...
Several questions deserve to be asked after the reading of this publication.
Firstly opposition between politics and individual spheres. “myth culture tradition”: we can see them both in terms of individual and political perspectives. Do we need to have certain anti-modernist political stances if we spiritually/individually are pagan/heathen, interested in myth, tradition and culture? Do we need to change the whole world, in a rather imperialist, expansionist view (as what might be criticized in civilization) or rather care for our own microcosm (spiritual, our place, the people close to us etc.)? Should the revolution be focused primarily on Other(s) or on Oneself?
What is to be heathen?
Secondly, on the opposition modern – tradition. Isn't it a main characteristic of the modern world, the freedom of thought and of life that enables us to be really critical against modernity itself, in a full paradox? Isn't the freedom the very condition of negation of freedom? Of course, many criticized civilization before. But, what brought modernity (which exactly enables us to think and act for rejecting modernity)? Tradition?
The opposition between modernity and tradition might be seen as a pessimistic prejudice rather than an after “Golden Age” decadent end. Further it might be seen as a modern construct, thus, incoherent and already problematic in the mouths of those who preach tradition.
This opposition modernity versus tradition, as a construct, is just a model, really not perfect and highly questionable. There might be subtler ways of characterizing societies than distorting them according to these two categories. But, if one has a better one, then I guess many people would be interested...
Third, I've a concern about the demonization of modernity. Although modernity is rejected and almost “evil” according to some authors, isn't the heathenism/traditionist current trend already a kind of big mix containing elements modernity brought: values, technology, modern way of interacting, modern way of social control, modern representation of past? Is everything negative in modernity? Isn't there a danger to « throw away the baby with the bath water » through a « radical traditionalist » « paradigm shift »? To what extent aren't traditions a product of modernity (as a concept)? Or modernity a consequence of tradition (as a massive shift)?
Revolution or reform of modernity through post-modern questioning? Rejection of everything which is modern? Synthesis of tradition and modernity? Getting out from the tradition versus modernity dichotomy? Synthesis of states and changes? Being and becoming?
On Pagan / Heathen People:
TYR 3 shows several opinions between those searching meaning in a religious approach of the meaning of life and those whose imagination and existential elements are enough to re-enchant a modern world considered too cold.
Of course, the dominance here goes to traditionist/traditionalist world views, as promised in the beginning of the book.
But, voluntarily or not, TYR 3 has the advantage of raising important questions, especially in regard to Heathen Harvest's little community: what does it mean to be heathen, and which are heathen roots? Who are heathen / pagan?
Let's first notice how broad is the definition of the word « heathen » and related ones. According to an online dictionary heathen refers as well to the « one who adheres to the religion of a people or nation that does not acknowledge the God of Judaism, Christianity, or Islam, or « such persons considered as a group; the unconverted », as « one who is regarded as irreligious, uncivilized, or unenlightened », or « such persons considered as a group. »
According to another dictionary , it also means « a person who does not believe in an established religion; pagan ». Some synonyms show a certain negative connotation to this word: « (Old-fashioned) pagan, infidel, unbeliever, idolater, idolatress »; (current) « barbarian, savage, philistine, oaf, ignoramus, boor » .
The term pagan is really close to heathen but even encompasses more meanings: « one who is not a Christian, Muslim, or Jew, especially a worshipper of a polytheistic religion », « one who has no religion », « a non-Christian, « hedonist », « a neo-pagan » .
The term heathenry stands for « the old Norse, Germanic, and Anglo-Saxon-Jute religions, taken collectively », or the « modern reconstructions of these faiths, taken collectively ». 
So, who are heathen? Who are pagans? Irreligious? Some kind of atheists? Idolaters? Barbarians? Unconverted? Pantheists? People against monotheisms but spiritual? Romantic materialists close to nature? Traditionists/traditionalists? Weekend's revivalists only seeking for aesthetics?
There seems to be a consensus in the direction of an interest for old pre-Christian European traditions. But, there is not a clear reference to which beliefs are common to « heathen » or « pagan ». Certainly a Jewish-Christian prejudice has been acting here: those who aren't Christian were considered as being without religion, morals or beliefs. Anyway. We can't say clearly if the « heathen » or « pagan » necessarily are believers or not, irreligious, believers in and practicings of old pre-Christian religions. Maybe this category seems to be just a broad and highly heterogeneous hotch-potch for everything which was and still is (to a certain extent) considered blasphemous, « evil », unconventional, by the dominant Jewish-Christian culture. But, the words « heathen » or « pagan » rather refers to people rejecting the Jewish-Christian view and way of life, dogmas, culture (as far as it is possible) and morals. It doesn't require to be a believer in Ásatrú, Romuva, a Celtic revivalist, a traditionalist, a pantheist or a materialist atheist.
The cement between all these different pagan or heathen people are their interest in alternatives to Jewish-Christian culture, their concern for finding solutions to modernity's problems, finding some way of living closer to nature, finding oneself deeper within our pre-Christian cultural roots and, within this frame, searching for answers to existential questions, finding a meaning of life with or without transcendence.
Although focused in a certain traditionist/anti-modernist ideology, the diversity of articles and points of view within TYR 3 exactly expresses how broad and rich are « heathen »/« pagan »cultural alternatives. Therefore, in a way, heathen and pagan groups rather stand for heterogeneous collections of ideologies, philosophies, movements, spiritualities etc. They can't be classified. Such culture stands for a deep, proteiform phenomenon, which makes it difficult to conceptualize.
By the way, should it even be conceptualized? It might kill its very essence!
Paganism and heathenism:
The more we learn about pre-Christian people, the more we're fascinated by what seems to be our own roots. But, at the same time, the more we realize we are far from making them rise again, as they truly used to be. This desire to re-enchant the world often leads to a fairly romantic vision of pre-Christian cultures, such as Dumézil's, according to some critiques. This distortion of reality might be favoured by the mostly very fragmented knowledge we have from these cultures. And fantasies and imagination are always truly efficient in filling in these gaps, thus fulfilling our existential  needs but truly not fitting a factual truth.
But, after all, a factual truth is not interesting in the existential questioning of our current epoch.
In a way, the individual, subjective truth might prevail. Moreover, this leads to admit a relativist point of view in terms of existential elements. It isn't a problem in itself, but if coherence is respected, this doesn't allow assertion of any absolute value or truth, even a pagan one. Anyway.
So, why not assuming this important role of imagination, subjectivity, and the fact we are just recreating “neo-traditions”? The thought for reaching a genuine tradition of course might make shivering many heathen while feeling connected with nature and all the world. But, its danger is that it might get dogmatic and willing for social power, as any other political or religious ideology.
This revival of another world view, closer to nature, closer to the positive elements of our ancestors' life, should neither originate from, nor be controlled by, institutions, powers or dogmas.
It should have its roots in the individual every-day-life phenomenology, in our subjectivities. The creation of this revival and revolution has to be done in a “chthonian” bottom-up direction, not in an “ouranian” top-down direction. There is no need for institutions or authorities that teach us what should be done or not, that control us and that promise us their “Truths”. Priests and warriors? The people, the simple people remain the core, the rest is accessory and should be restricted to the necessary minimum. A heathen world view that would be spread out from political, religious institutions or social movements (self-proclaimed “holders of truth”) would be condemned by heathens/pagans as any other ideological “modernity's failure”. A heathen world view originating from instructed and sincere individuals, from their relationship with nature, their perceptions, feelings rather than a priori conceptual systems, from their way of life, their own thoughts and experiences would be much more powerful. We need to go deep till our “common ground of experience”.
Independence of Pagan and Heathen movements from politics, ideologies or any dogma would be healthier than a hypothetical political hijack by neo-Pagan new rightists, or Evolian / Guénonian supporters. A heathen community should be a popular by-product, a consequence of a wider, deeper social movement – yet neither just a post-modern amusement nor self-soothing identity prosthesis – an emergent movement, rather than the product of smart communication, political or social power whose interests are not those of the people.
In this perspective, Ásatrú and maybe Romuva seem to have followed a path that integrates certain modern values such as individualism, freedom of thought, relativism (they don't proclaim being the holders of an absolute truth) and a certain proximity to a rather naturalist world view such as Pentti Linkola's, Helgi Pjeturs's or Philip Pullman's, not far from a kind of “re-enchanted materialism”.
Such popular and individual foundations mightn't allow a social control through religious or political pretexts.
These're in a reform, not a revolution. This might change the face of our world, drastically modify modernity's heritage, while tradition's one has already been and is perpetually being modified. It seems the point is not making an excessive anti-modernist revolution, whose only effect would be to encourage another excessive counter-revolution. Balance is sought.
A marriage between “neo-modernism” and “neo-tradion” should be done. Neomordernism - because modernism needs at least to be reformed – after this doub-filled period of post-modernity –, apart from the extreme and utopian idea of an anti-modernist revolution would be dominant. Neotradition - because, necessarily, there is no possibility of going back to a genuine tradition, because of the lack of cultural heritage, because of our deeply christianized world view and because of the modern “déniaisement”  of that traditional world view.
But, the loss of primitive naivety doesn't mean we cannot dream, use our imagination.
How to find a balance between a cold modernity and a raw paganism?
How to find a balance between an « aggressive dominator warrior sky god » and a « benevolent maternal chthonian goddess »?
How to find a balance between culture and nature?
How to find a balance between spirit and matter?
TYR 3 leads us to such questionings but, of course, cannot find us a way out of these old problems.
It's certainly a major and serious publication in the world of “heathenism”. But, this “-ism” suffix might already be a problem. Heathen ways of thinking and ways of life should neither be the property, nor be under the monopoly of anyone or any ideology.
TYR 3 isn't the “bible” of heathen people: I think heathens do not have any “bible”. But, for any person interested in “heathenism” / “paganism”, TYR 3 remains a must-have, a “must-be-read”, an inescapable reference. Of course, it doesn't mean one hasn't to look further, elsewhere and beyond this publication's orientations...
...For heathen roots certainly plunge deeper!
 A difference is made between materialism, as being an answer to the ontological question; and consumerist materialism, rather depicting the attitude of ignorance of spiritual, religious, generally existential elements, through a kind of “cult” of material objects' “eternal return” in the “temples” called malls. This conception does not see any opposition between materialism and spirituality, but between consumerist materialism and spirituality.
 The word existential is meant to comprehend all subjective human experiences, in the sense of phenomenological philosophy, including religions and spirituality etc.
 This word means the action of making someone less naïve, often regarding sexuality, but not only.
 The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2003. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
 Collins Essential English Dictionary 2nd Edition 2006 © HarperCollins Publishers 2004, 2006.
 Wiktionary "http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Heathenry"