One of the most difficult challenges for any polytheist who works with the Norse Gods is grappling with the legacy of Nazism. Nazis pervert everything they touch, and their appropriation of Northern European history and Paganism has made the work of reconstructing pre-Christian Northern European religion absurdly difficult, especially for those who feel a strong connection to their roots and come to polytheism with a desire to understand their ancestors.
In this conversation, Lee and Ada discuss their relationships with heritage, the challenges of grappling with complicated and half-forgotten legacies, and the difference between honoring your ancestors and being a fascist.
Lee: So - let’s start this off with a very obvious statement. Raise your hand if you’re not a Nazi.
Ada: [raises hand really high and waves it like Hermione so it can’t be mistaken for a Nazi salute]
Lee: [raises hand] With that settled, this is definitely going to be one of those topics that have people go “oh no! People with an interest in Norse gods at some point in their lives are talking about their ancestors, run away! Run away!” And I want to be very clear that that isn’t the case, here; and not only that, but that as knee-jerk reactions go, right now I don’t think it’s healthy for any of us to assume the worst without a conversation...
Ada: Absolutely. It’s great that people want to be aware that fascism is pernicious. It’s true that a lot of people were tricked into supporting fascism during the early 20th century, and we need to be vigilant to make sure we’re not also tricked, but being over-zealous about policing people makes enemies that shouldn’t be enemies. If you tell people that any interest in Northern European heritage is fascist, people with Northern European ancestry who need a strong sense of connection with their roots are going to hate you. Or they’re going to feel guilty for being born with the heritage they have, and that kind of internalized self-hatred turns into cultural appropriation and all kinds of nasty things.
Keep Reading at Aquarius Moon Journal!