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Discrimination Inside Paganism

Updated on September 23, 2017
A member of the Asatru Folk Assembly, a group known for discrimination towards other ethnicites.
A member of the Asatru Folk Assembly, a group known for discrimination towards other ethnicites. | Source

Discrimination in Paganism

If you are part of the Pagan community, you are likely to be well aware of the discrimination we receive from other religions and even our own governments but depending on how new you are to your religion and those you’ve encountered, you may or may not be aware of the discrimination we receive from people within our own religions. For the majority, it’s the same across most Pagan religions but they do at times differ in large ways.

Discrimination in Wicca

Unlike other Pagan religions, Wicca doesn’t deal much with racism as it isn’t attributed or linked to any particular country. However, there are at times people who try to discriminate against other ethnicities within Wicca. One well known case of this was in the comments section of a blog talking about this very issue. Unfortunately, I have been unable to find this blog post again but it is easy to find references to it. The comment was left by a woman named Silvia who said This is a very disappointing article. Other races have their own pagan traditions. Wicca should be reserved for whites. White people have almost no place where they can come together and experience collective pride for their culture and ancestors. Wicca was one of rare exceptions. Now, thanks to Patti, we don’t have even this. I don’t see any point to be Wiccan then.” The main problem with this is that Wicca was never only for Caucasians. I have seen images and references of people of several ethnicities being part of Wicca since it was first created. Plus, Wicca at times takes from and/or modifies magical practices from all over the world.

Sexism is at times a large problem within Wicca. This comes about by the fact that it mainly draws the attention of women. While there are many men who practice Wicca, they are often met with hostility by particular covens. This is quite ironic as Wicca was founded by a man named Gerald Brousseau Gardner. The most well-known cases of discrimination towards men in Wicca come from a woman named Z. Budapest. Budapest runs what she calls “Dianic” covens which are strictly women only. At the beginning, her covens were for lesbian women only as she believed it to be disgraceful for a woman to even be touched by a man. After her coven began to accept straight and bisexual women, transgender women were still left out. It is unclear as to whether or not they include transgender women or not in the present day.

Homophobia and transphobia can also be found inside Wicca. Luckily, these are very rare cases and aren’t linked to many particular covens as it is most often just brought about by individuals. Transphobia is mostly brought about by Z. Budapest and her Dianic covens while homophobia is most often associated with individual Wiccans who are against homosexuality. The homophobic issues are often quickly resolved though.

As Wicca is inclusive of all Gods, Goddesses and religions, there are a few Abrahamic Wiccans. These Wiccans are discriminated against because their holy books, such as the Bible, state that witchcraft is strictly forbidden. These Wiccans usually aren’t terribly effected by it as they see the biblical definition of witchcraft to be devil worship instead of the practice magick.

Z. Budapest who is known to discriminate against men.
Z. Budapest who is known to discriminate against men. | Source

Discrimination in Hellenic Paganism

Racism is a large problem inside Hellenic Polytheism as it is in most if not all religions associated with certain countries. Even though historically, the religion has been practiced by people all over the ancient known world by people of several ethnicities, quite a few people are under the impression that you must be Greek in order to worship the Greek Gods and Goddesses. Not only this, but the religion itself includes important figures from several countries and ethnicities. Hellenic Paganism even includes Gods from other countries, such as Isis. However, this view tends to come from those who practice the religion as a nationalistic belief rather than actual spiritual and religious view point. The idea of only people of Greek heritage being able to worship the Greek Gods doesn’t make any sense from a religious stance as if any sort of God exists and created humanity, then all of humanity are their creation and as such, can and will worship them.

Sexism is a problem both men and women face in the modern practice of Hellenic Paganism. Sexism towards women is mostly due to historical significance towards female roles in religion as there are a few religious events and ceremonies that women weren’t allowed to be part of or even witness among many other issues both new and historical. Sexism towards men mainly comes from modern practitioners of the religion. A very recent case of this has been going around for the past few days. In a popular group, which will not be named, an article was posted about how women on their period were excluded from religious ceremonies. This was an important article to discuss to help avoid discrimination towards women within the religion. A man who has been loyal to the group for years and not only is known for openly supporting equality and women’s rights but also for going out his way to assist anyone within his religious community replied to a comment that claimed that this exclusion is simply men being in control of everything and purposefully excluding women from certain things. In the man’s reply, he agreed with the woman but also tried to add to the conversation (which is part of the groups purpose) by suggesting that it may also have something to do with miasma (a spiritual pollution) as one of the many causes of miasma is coming into contact with bodily fluids. She replied back saying that he isn’t allowed to make any sort of contribution to the conversation simply because he is a man. Being a man who fully supports equality and women’s rights, to be discriminated against by someone he often supports angered him and he mentioned that sort of mentality is exactly why people went from seeing feminism as a great thing to a joke. (This is unfortunately true as feminism has recently been hijacked by fem-nazis who pretend to be feminists and as such, have ruined a great and important movement.) This got him banned from the page with no sort of warning at all. This group is well known for banning anyone who doesn’t fit in with their alt-left ideals regardless of whether or not they cross any sort of line but this particular event showed that they are not only supporting misandry but also reward it as he was essentially banned from a group he was loyal to because he was being discriminated against.

Another large issue inside Hellenic Polytheism is that of homophobia. Like the issue with racism, homophobia is largely due to those who practice the religion due to nationalist reasons. People who refuse to believe the historical truth that homosexuality existed in ancient Greece. Homosexuality is at times an important part of the religion with particular Gods being involved it themselves. But this is mainly Apollon and Antinous.

Apollon with a male lover. Likely Hyacinthus.
Apollon with a male lover. Likely Hyacinthus. | Source

Discrimination in Asatru

Like with Hellenic Paganism, racism inside of Asatru comes from nationalist ideals. The idea that you need to be of particular ancestry in order to worship certain Gods is one that is used often but has no leverage. This has also unfortunately made Asatru seem like heaven to white supremacists. Some pages such as The Asatru Folk Assembly support this mentality but others such as The Asatru Community Inc has done well to stop this. One review on The Asatru Community Inc’s wall says that he watched the page for two months just to see if there were any racists within that page but never came across any which shows that The Asatru Community is doing a great job.

Sexism isn’t something we hear about much within Asatru but when it comes up, it’s due to women being excluded from certain religious events and not being able to hold particular positions within the religion.

Homophobia is also a very large issue faced within Asatru. This mainly comes from the Viking belief that it is disgraceful for a man to be penetrated in a sexual way. However, it also has large influence by individuals political views. There are a few homosexual themes in the Nordic religion but they only just border on homosexuality. One of these includes the time a giant stole Mjolnir from Thor and said that he would give it back if he were to marry Freyja. Thor disguised himself as Freyja and attended the marriage only to retrieve his hammer and kill all those who attended.

This image was posted by Nicole Canfield on her article on Racism and Paganism: Exposing the Racist Sects, Prejudice, and Discrimination in the Pagan Community.
This image was posted by Nicole Canfield on her article on Racism and Paganism: Exposing the Racist Sects, Prejudice, and Discrimination in the Pagan Community. | Source

Discrimination needs to stop

What we discussed only covers a small amount of the overall length of discrimination inside of Paganism and only mentions a few religions. All forms of discrimination only split the religions apart and cause chaos. Discrimination is the main issue Pagans face and it needs to end. We need to put aside our differences and focus on the things that unite us. This is explained in The Asatru Community Inc’s “Shield Wall” which can be found here: http://www.theasatrucommunity.org/shieldwall.

The Othala rune. One of the many pagan symbols white supremacists have used.
The Othala rune. One of the many pagan symbols white supremacists have used. | Source

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