Antiracist heathen organizations are incredibly important but they can be difficult to find. Heathenry – following pre-Christian Nordic and Germanic paganism – has long been appropriated by white supremacists. However, I have found heathenry to be a deeply healing faith. Most of the heathen groups that I know are inclusive or universal, meaning that they don’t believe that you need to have Nordic ancestry to practice heathenry.
I know that there is so much beauty within the Nordic faith, and I want others to feel comfortable finding an organization to learn from and learn about. That’s why I’ve created this page.
A brief history:
In the 1800s, a lot of European nations were being refigured and recreated, including Germanic nations. There was a surge in the popularity of folklore and this contributed to ideas of nationalism and xenophobia. In the lead up to World War 2, the Nazi Party used Odin and other Norse/Germanic imagery to recruit the Hitler Youth. They also incorporated runic symbols into their official uniforms and insignia (the SS and the Swastika are both ancient Germanic symbols).
After World War 2, white supremacists in Germany started to organize in prisons under the guise of a religious organization. This eventually turned into the Asatru Folk Assembly, as well as other hate groups like the Wolves of Vinland and Wotan’s Nation.
If you would like to learn more about this history, the second episode of my Heathen’s Journey podcast goes in depth on it. You can read a transcript of that episode here or listen here. A Beautiful Resistance out of the UK published a long essay on the topic: Binding the Wolf.
As an antiracist heathen, I condemn these groups loudly and vociferously. It is incredibly painful to see my holy symbols used as symbols of hatred and violence, banners of white supremacy. I also know so very many heathens who are actively working against these hate groups. I want to highlight some of those organizations and initiatives here, so that those who are interested in heathenry can have a sort of guide for organizations to explore that are safe.
One very important thing we can do as antiracist heathens to fight organizations like the Asatru Folk Assembly is make them irrelevant.
This also includes doing our own prison in-reach, education, and justice work. This is one vital way that we can interrupt the prison-to-white-supremacist-hate-group pipeline. My personal politics are those of prison abolition. The entire prison and policing system is built upon white supremacy, and so it is especially fertile as a recruiting ground for white supremacist groups. I’m working on some things related to this, and will share that information when it’s ready.
So, as you are researching heathen organizations, groups, or teachers to learn from, here are some terms that you might want to know that can help you figure out who is reputable and who isn’t.
Folkish/Völkisch: This is probably the biggest buzzword to understand. This is a distinguishing term used to describe racist heathens who believe that you need to be of Germanic/Nordic descent to practice heathenry. Groups like the Asatru Folk Assembly are
Metagenetics: This is the belief that religious and cultural practices become encoded in DNA and are passed down through generations. If you hear a leader state that they believe in metagenetics, know that it is the word for their philosophy that their practice is closed to people who aren’t of Nordic/Germanic descent.
Because of the problem of racism and heathenry, many Völkisch groups are tracked by anti-hate associations. If you’re in the United States, the Southern Poverty Law Center has a map of hate groups they are watching in each state. You can sort this map by ideology, and they include Neo-Völkisch in their filter.
If you are not sure of whether or not the organization that you’re looking into is white supremacist, ask the leader. If they are antiracist heathens, they should be able to answer unequivocally that they are not white supremacist and that anyone is free to join their group. My rule of thumb is that if a leader is unwilling to unequivocally denounce racism, then I don’t want to learn from them.
So what organizations are available for the antiracist heathen?
When I was first starting on this path, I was looking for groups that had a declaration. There are thankfully plenty of organizations, teachers, and kindreds that you can feel safe and comfortable going to. Below is a list of some of the antiracist heathen groups that I know about. There are so many others that I do not have the space to list – I highly recommend that you check out the organizations that have been added to the Declaration 127 Statement.
If you would like to have your own group added to this list, please reach out via email: email@example.com.
The Troth is an international organization of inclusive heathens. You can access educational materials and join a very active (intimidatingly so) email list if you become a member. Learn more on their website.
The Troth is an organization that focuses on the bringing together a variation of the old Norse ways through groups such as Asatru, Theodism, Urglaawe, Irminism, Odinism, Vanatru, and Anglo-Saxon Heathenry. We bring together an all-inclusive atmosphere that welcomes all that have been called to follow the elder ways of Heathenry. Through The Troth, the Gods and Goddesses of Northern Europe, our ancestors, the landvaettir, and the spirits around us, we welcome all people.
Declaration 127 is basically a rallying point and statement that antiracist heathens can join. It is hosted online by Huginn’s Heathen Hof, which is a sort of collection of heathen blogs and resources. If you’re curious about a particular group in your area, and whether they have joined Declaration 127, you can see if they’re listed on the website.
The goal of Declaration 127 is as stated:
The organizations listed below represent a truly diverse set of voices within modern Heathenry. They represent national organizations, resource centers, local kindreds, as well as a plethora of authors and community leaders from every possible branch of our religion and walk of life. These independent organizations have signed this article due to a single shared interest.
To state their complete denunciation of, and disassociation from, the Asatru Folk Assembly.
Kari Tauring and the Völva Stav Guild
Kari is a personal teacher of mine, and I have learned so much from her. She is a professional völva and practitioner serving the Midwest in general. She offers courses and events online on her own and through Needfire Wellness.
Check out her courses via Needfire:
(PS I’m an affiliate of Needfire Wellness – get 10% off when you sign up with HeathenJourneyPodden)
The Völva Stav Guild is local to Minneapolis-St. Paul, and they host events including the Nordic Women’s Retreat. The Völva Stav Guild works to move the conversation from ideas of “race” to Nordic culture, which is open to everyone. You can learn more about the Guild on their website or at their facebook page.
Golden Gate Kindred
The Golden Gate Kindred is a kindred founded by Ryan Smith, who wrote “The Way of Fire and Ice.” They refer to their practice as the Way of Fire and Ice, in part to differentiate their beliefs from Völkisch heathens. I highly recommend the book “The Way of Fire and Ice” as a good introduction to radical antiracist heathenry. Learn more about the Golden Gate Kindred and follow them here.
Heathens Against Hate
Heathens Against Hate is another group that is working on raising awareness about racism within the heathen community. They don’t appear to be very active, but the hashtag #heathensagainsthate is fairly active on Instagram. Learn more about their work here.
Our mission is to bring the Heathen community together to educate both each other and non-Heathens on the differences between commonly-held beliefs and practices and its extremism.
We promote inclusivity and dialogue that is in league with better communication between individuals, Heathen kindred, and between Heathen and non-Heathen organizations.
Heathens Against Hate stand by the statement that: “We Are Our Deeds”. Thereby advancing inclusive Heathenry through our actions and hard work.
Gullveig’s Hearth Kindred
This is another local Minneapolis-St. Paul antiracist heathen kindred. Sara Axtell is a leader in the community locally, as are all the people forming this kindred.
Gullveig’s Hearth is an inclusive, non-hierarchical kindred located in the Twin Cities metro area, on Dakota treaty lands (1805, 1837, and 1851 treaties). Our primary focus is on healing ourselves, repairing our orlog, and strengthening our communities.
Know of an antiracist heathen organization or resource that isn’t listed above? Reach out! There are so many groups and this list is far from exhaustive. Email me at: siri.vincent.plouff @ gmail.com