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Thread: Gender Bias in American Heathenry

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    Question Gender Bias in American Heathenry

    I have noticed for a very long time that most males are into Germanic neopaganism, and most females are into Celtic neopaganism. Why do you suppose there is a gender bias toward one and the other? There may even be a gender role issue here, because males who engage in Celtic neopaganism are more likely to be "metrosexual" (perhaps effeminate tendencies), and females who engage in Germanic neopaganism to be of the valkyrie type (slightly "feminazi"?). I am only referring to my experiences meeting people in person and witnessing people on the Internet, and have heard nobody put forth this point of view before. What is so masculine about Germanic neopaganism, and what is so feminine about Celtic neopaganism?

    My preferred answer is demographics--couplings of Germanic gentlemen and Celtic ladies seem to be pretty common historical occurrences in NW Europe.

    I reiterate this is about American conditions, and those on the Internet from Europe as well...Mediterranean or Slavic neopaganisms tend to be more common in Europe than America, and I know of no gender bias, and which is why I am not addressing them.

    Please do not be quick to judge me over my religious identification. I was raised Protestant and lapsed for a very long time because of various reasons and identified solely with my pre-Christian ancestral faith for a period, if nothing else in particular. I am not prejudiced about Heathenry. My affiliation has varied between the Germanic and Celtic types, but the Wiccan fiasco surely turned me off to the latter. I appreciate the Mediterranean neopagan movement as well, while being an outsider. I myself now simply feel attached sequentially to the faith of my forefathers, whatever they called their religion over the centuries, because it is all worth it to me. I identify with the one I was brought up with simply because it is the most relevant to my personal experiences from birth. If I was born in the Heathen era I would not feel out of place in such a mentality.

    I feel ashamed to have to put this clause here, but I know how crazy some people on the Internet can be in discussing Heathen and Christian with black and white feelings. It has never been this way for me in person to person communications. I am not a zealot one way or the other, and do not fathom how anybody can be in this day and age.

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    I think it maybe that Germanic Gods both male and female have more of a defined role which more often than not with the male being quite martial, the female reproductive.

    Celtic is more mutable, matriarchal (but no less warrior based) and used more in Wicca which can be the starting off point for many. (and we all know what kinds Wicca attracts!)

    I wouldn't say all men who follow a Celtic path are effeminate or metrosexual if you met some of my friends who follow the Welsh pantheon you'd see that!

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    Quote Originally Posted by renownedwolf View Post
    I think it maybe that Germanic Gods both male and female have more of a defined role which more often than not with the male being quite martial, the female reproductive.

    Celtic is more mutable, matriarchal (but no less warrior based) and used more in Wicca which can be the starting off point for many. (and we all know what kinds Wicca attracts!)

    I wouldn't say all men who follow a Celtic path are effeminate or metrosexual if you met some of my friends who follow the Welsh pantheon you'd see that!
    I have not met any Welsh revivalists, but I suppose you refer to Arthurian enthusiasts. Most of the Celtic practices I have not seen that do not follow the Wiccan model, reflect the bardic approach of Merlin over that of Arthur. Perhaps you can provide examples of your Welsh friends' mannerisms or stances regarding various social matters, and their general behaviors. Are they not usually introverts with a persecution complex? I know some Germanic neopagans put on some kind of attitude front like they wish to persecute Christianity themselves. Where is the middle ground? That is one problem perhaps found among all neopagans but the most rational, and my interest in Heathenry is in the latter.

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    They are quite traditional in their values, wives, families, jobs, social lives, cars, laptops etc Definitely not introverted or outcasts, quite the opposite in fact. Just modern people with a different mentality.

    They are outspoken about their beliefs if the subject arises, and it often offends the less educated, but they don't tend to preach and yes like all pagans they generally have a great dislike for the Abrahamic religions. I mean they did steal and destroy their sacred groves! They do have what I would call a warrior mentality, not just physically but mentally, to strive to free their people from the yoke of Christianity.

    Do they feel persecuted? I don't know, I mean nobody is trying to burning them at the stake yet! Would they burn down a church? Probably if they knew they wouldn't get arrested! Merely because that is a symbol of dominance that needs to be met with one of defiance. Would they believe that is fair, I don't think they care much for fairness.

    The Mabinogion is a source for them, as Arthurian legend and the grail (Cauldron of Rebirth) etc are pre-christian tales. Bardic tradition is still quite strong here. We are actually not far from where Myrddyn Wyllt was supposedly born. They are generally great artists, writers and musicians with a strong respect of nature. They are avid historians for the most part knowing more and protecting their heritage much more fiercely than most 'Christians' around where we live.

    But I'm no expert on Celtic things, I don't attend their rituals or anything as it's not my path. These are my impressions of my friends. I'll have a chat with one later and possibly give you a more in depth answer.

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    There certainly still is a strong bardic tradition in the uk.

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    So, nobody you know personally has one foot in both Heathenry and Christianity? You and your friends look at them as mutually exclusive?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnston View Post
    I have noticed for a very long time that most males are into Germanic neopaganism, and most females are into Celtic neopaganism. Why do you suppose there is a gender bias toward one and the other? There may even be a gender role issue here, because males who engage in Celtic neopaganism are more likely to be "metrosexual" (perhaps effeminate tendencies), and females who engage in Germanic neopaganism to be of the valkyrie type (slightly "feminazi"?).
    Neopaganism in general, Celtic or otherwise, has basically become a movement for everyone that can't fit into the mainstream. This includes primarily (but is not limited to) hippie eco-feminist types and the GBLT crowd. So, yes, neopaganism as a whole caters to (hippy) women and fey men.

    I am afraid even in other Reconstructionist circles, this has become the norm. For instance, Greco-Roman reconstructionists know their own history better than anyone; they can recite Plato's dialogues by heart. But given the sexual mores of the Ancient Greeks, they are infested with GLTB types who are looking for a historical precedent for their lifestyles.

    The only polytheist environment I have ever seen that supports heterosexual, meat-eating men is Heathenry, which is why the social mores of Heathenry tend to be a lot more "conservative" than any other polytheist. You're right, there is a gender imbalance. Far too few females. Despite the fact that Germanic types gave their women more rights than any other ancient culture at the time, we still expect women to adhere to certain cultural standards. And we expect them to be wives and mothers. That doesn't appeal to Jane Hippy who wants to lead a child free life while she munches granola and chants over her crystals for the power of Mother Earth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnston View Post
    So, nobody you know personally has one foot in both Heathenry and Christianity? You and your friends look at them as mutually exclusive?
    A lot of christians have a foot in both, especially catholics, and many without realizing it, but I have yet to meet a person who proclaims to be a heathen with a foot in both. I say christians have a foot in both because they stole, and yes it is that they stole, many pagan traditions...Yule (the entire thing, date, bobbing for apples, misletoe, yule log, using pine trees, etc.), Eostre or Ostara (Easter), coloring eggs, the rabbitt, st. Brigid, the trinity, the green man in cathedrals, gargoyles, the pope's head dress (Pharoahs replica), celebrating birthdays, wedding rings,the halo (it was Apollo's), at the very least, the look of the devil, based on Herne, Cernunnos, Pan, etc. I could go on all day, seriously, but everyone knows these things were stolen to help convert former pagans. Like saying, ''no, no, no, you can still have your yearly celebrations, just we are going to change the meaning'' So how you can give your allegiance to a religion that idolizes an arabic man and proclaims him the only God, when you know the stories and myths surrounding this man to be false baffles me. The story of Gilgamesh, which was written well before Jesus seems to have many similarities to the man. (Yep, I said it, MAN) like the resurrection, their are many many stories of a man coming from a virgin, then dying, then being brought back to life that predate Jesus. Why were they so apt to adopt these? Anyway, the contradictions are astonishing if you read the bible with an open mind and not a "faithful" believe all mind.

    Anyway, even today the old religions are being highjacked once again. Heathenry by people who say you can follow the old Germanic path, even if you are Arab or black...which is obviously a perversion, to the feminized Celtic ways which have been highjacked as others have said, by feminist hippies who want men to bow down to the Goddess above all, giving women a sense of power. Heathenry draws the old fashioned type of people. My wife loves being a mother and a wife. Yet she is strong, not subservient to me. She has no problem telling me when I am wrong, telling me what she thinks, and telling me when I need to be more of a man too. The Celtic tradition is what they classify under neopagan, because there is not enough to reconstruct, they have to make it up mostly as they go. Heathenry has a good basis of what the followers believed and the rituals they performed. That's what makes Celtic traditions easier to pervert into what they want it to be while claiming an ancient past. I, being Celto-Germanic struggled with this too, however, in the end, I found the Germanic way the truly ancient way, and the Celtic way, to be highjacked by these neopagans. It is a shame because of their similarities, which I could spend another day talking about, such as Lugh and Odin, etc., etc., etc.

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    I have to say that my ultimate decision in favor of Germanic Heathenry stemmed from ancestral concerns rather than anything else, and the same argument won me to Christianity (and Protestantism in particular, with a significant interest in Wulfilas and Gothic Arianism). Otherwise, I might have been a mindless moral relativist going along with anything. When my ancestors met Christianity it was through peaceful means, and they held the high ground at the time they chose to convert. I like the transition period between the two as meaning most to me, and I really do not see the immediate focus on foreign things as others do with Heathen leanings. Christianity is as varied as paganism itself in its original demographics; Christianity was formed as a synthesis of all the Roman religions, whether Gentile or otherwise, but this thread was not meant to fixate on the non-Gentile aspects of Christianity. I much prefer to continue debating neopagan demographics, if not gender-related (because I believe we have those questions answered) then we can branch off into related discussion about it.
    Last edited by Rodskarl Dubhgall; Saturday, December 10th, 2011 at 07:18 PM. Reason: my specific interests in Christianity

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    Re: Celts
    I have some Celtic ancestry myself, and looked briefly at Celtic Reconstructionism. I read the Welsh and Irish texts, and didn't get much out of either. I also feel there is simply too little surviving of that culture to successfully reconstruct.

    Furthermore, the leading voices of Celtic Reconstructionism I have seen are not people I respect. Most of the people who wrote the CR FAQ are Queer Women Green Party activists. (I can't stress enough that every polytheist faith aside from Heathenry is little more than a club for Queers, hippies, and assorted social misfits).

    Re: Christianity
    I am not Christian myself, but most of my family at least pays lip service to it. I still eat dinner with my relatives at churches when they have a monthly dinner. I'd rather hang around Christians, or at least Lutherans, than most neopagans I know.

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