A Letter to the Editor
I figured I would post a letter I wrote to the editor of Witches&Pagans magazine. As some of you may know, their latest edition was all about Heathen and Northern Traditions, which was overall, very well done. The article in which I was responding to was one by Raven Kaldera entitled “Why I am not Heathen”, which in a nutshell, explained how he came to found Northern Tradition Shamanism. However, I took issue with some of his comments. Civil, but to the point, I think.
Dear Witches & Pagans,
Firstly, I would like to congratulate you on a job well done with issue #24, Heathen and Northern Traditions. It presented a very balanced and well researched collection of articles and interviews, which is a feat with such a complex and deep topic.
That said, when I came to the article by Raven Kaldera in “My Path”, I have to say I was disappointed with a couple of the statements he made:
But in the mainstream of the Heathen community, being a dedicant to Hela was considered in poor taste at best, and, at worst, a sign of outright evil.
One of the many growing differences between Pagan and Heathen culture was that there were “good” gods and “evil” gods, and Hela was definitely on the “evil” side as far as they were concerned.
I understand that everyone that comes into contact with Heathenry has a different experience. As a heathen myself however, I have never known it to have a “Good versus Evil” dichotomy, let alone to have good or evil deities, merely chaos and order. This perception, to me, reeks of monotheistic dogma. Further, any heathen who has done their homework knows that it is inherently impossible for Hel to be considered evil. According to the lore, anyone who dies of sickness, old age etc, goes to Hel’s realm. In fact, Odin’s own son goes to her halls when he is killed by accident. I doubt Odin would let Hel have dominion over our (and his) beloved dead if he thought her evil!
It is unfortunate that Kaldera seems to have met some rather misinformed members of the heathen community. However, it is equally unfortunate that he doesn’t seem to realise the reality of the situation, or if he does, says nothing to suggest so.
What do you all think of this?
Very well-written, as always; fair observations, as well.
I wholeheartedly back your calling Kaldera out on his shit, so this letter is quite gratifying.
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- nonsequently said: i haven’t read the article, but nonetheless your letter seems quite reasonable, intelligent and well-written…someone needs to call raven kaldera out on his consistent misrepresentation of the heathen community.
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