My name is Chaplain Ren Anderson. Yes. I have a title. I only use it when I feel absolutely necessary, which is very, very rarely.
Chaplains maintain the spiritual and mental health of their communities under an easily recognizable title acknowledges/accepted by most other faiths. We (usually) have 4 year degrees plus extra training in our respective specialties. (Except for *most* other Heathens/Asatru who have zero actual training and self-declare.)
Within the past month, Chaplain Persephone Hildebrandt, myself, and other interesting individuals had Theistic worship of Eris Discordia officially declared as sympatico, corresponding, and interchangeable to the Heathen worship of Idunna- Therefore merging two large, fairly alienated sister faiths of Heathenry- to help share the workloads of the chaplains of both communities: Namely, working with the exact same Goddesses on behalf of the greater community with a frustrating amount of organization. Discordian chaplains hate organizations- and I am not particularly social. (if you noticed)
Many Discordians originated from Asatru; the constant rejection for the Gods we chose/and who chose us was enough to cause most of us to exodus the public community in droves… (those of us who didn’t create Loki blogs, anyway.)
The other religions- including my small corner of study- only maintain clergy systems either by control or for control- I chose to be clergy because I have remained incredibly angry in several directions at once (much like Eris) for lack of control of how my beliefs and people are misrepresented by media, and most of all, ourselves- and I feel helpful, overall. Chaplaincy is usually one of the more rewarding parts of my existence.
Honestly, we are all supposed to be each, individually, clergy to ourselves and our greater communities. The mindset of compassion and care should be omnipresent and not simply confined to an idea of a “Calling”.
Spiritual callings and development is all inclusive- Tell me your tradition, and it would be my pleasure to give you the title of any number of books from common to obscure that will likely explain things with shared language more profoundly than I ever could.
HOWEVER. I am unable to perform this pleasant task since it is also my responsibility vis-a-vis my own oath to Tyr to make sure I do my best to keep you alive long enough to ask for books again when our economy is not in state of perpetual economic intemperance.
If you want to take care of your chaplains and other helpful-type people: Please Take Care of Each Other
If you currently do not have any real-life connections in the region you reside currently, move. If you have no idea where to go, come to Pennsylvania. I happily speak representing my local faith community in this one aspect in this one aspect. I am every bit as much Pennsylvania Deitsch and of equal standing to any other Braucherei you may already know and have served non-public Heathenry in some capacity or another even when this blog (or its predecessors) have remained dormant for years. (I just don’t leave the house much)
We have farmer’s markets, established multi-faith connections, and an easy commute to several major cities- and for whatever reason, most of our best clergy, like myself, seem to be forever stuck in Pennsylvania in the exact same counties our ancestors decided to bind our bloodlines to for a few hundred years or so.
If nothing else, the Gnostic sorts of Dutchies are pretty consistent.
Luckily for you, I have experienced both- I have been both extraordinarily suicidal (over the course of years, I eventually improved)- and there was one heck of a death around ten years ago, that locally -none of us- Heathen or otherwise, have fully recovered.
I know first hand how absolutely devastating the effects of suicide on our remaining community structure- in all communities, not just religious ones.
Anyway- the most important things to keep in mind:
1, Realize is every state is temporary. Change is inevitable. 2. Change is not necessarily negative. 3. We still have free will and agency (to a self -restrictive point, in some cases) 4. People are more important than projects/work 5. Social Media is the life support of all our failing interpersonal relationships.
What we need to see happen:
1. Complete abolishment of artificial divisions. Mysticism/Mystics have been pent up in their respective boxes of religion/culture for far too long. For example, most of my people don’t travel outside of county for Rumspringa- however, in leaving both state and country I have learned we have far more friends among other religious communities than even our popular leaders are even aware. Good Frith can span hundreds of years. You never know how important you are to peoples outside your own if you never leave.
2. A Restoration of Human Connections: Although difficult during the plague, if you can go to work with a mask- why not spend some time with loving family? (Chosen is fine if you, like me, have limited biological options) There is no guarantee cell phone service and internet will remain uninterrupted. Please save your closest contacts in an old-school notebook with address/phone/ other contact means.
Further- we need to have a crowdsourced directory of all resources for every city on an easy to navigate website run by willing volunteers. (In the spirit of my forebears: Just copy the resources of other places and improve upon it). There should be at least one person per city who is willing to talk to those lost folk from out of town and in need of support from others who share the same faith background.
The eventual plan is for an Actual AllThing- one event actually open to everyone. How do you know you belong at the Allthing? The answer is Anyone who wants to attend belongs there so long as they maintain honor and good frith while during the event.
I am picturing a several day event with each hour dedicated to a different deities and concepts via discussion, lecture, or ritual/religious services at all hours with the only pause being at mealtimes. You want a God represented- Great! You just volunteered to run an hour of time on their behalf.
The first AllThing will be here, in Pennsylvania. I fully agreed to help run the first one with a multifaith community of genuinely good people. Some of which have multiple accolades degrees and such, others are mostly anonymous underachievers like myself.
I have extensive experience in event coordination- but no love of doing it. I will help create it but I refuse to run or lead it, nor should anyone. The leadership should be based on who wins the popular vote for location per year, and then, only on rules for cleanup and general event planning- not the content of the religious services nor lecture topics. Heathens divide themselves by their talents, skills, and general temperament by the Gods they self proclaim.
Ask devotees of Tyr to run physical security, and you will equally find Lokeans willing to cover you on the cyber security front- Even though not every Tyrsvolk is involved in law enforcement, just as not every Lokean knows computers: Guaranteed, with any socialization whatsoever, they may know someone with those exact competencies within their specific networks.
Of course, this Allthing idea at least a year or three in the making- we need to fully destroy the existing structures to free the crucial personnel required for such a bright and inclusive future.
3. Less reliance on pharmaceuticals: As some of you may have discovered the past two years, we cannot count on regular prescriptions to be filled in a timely manner from our local pharmacies. (The Sufi chaplain currently, inexplicably, redecorating my basement has far more to say about this than I do. I will link to Chaplain Persephone’s blog as soon as we have it live for her. Her experiences on the subject matter at hand is heartbreaking.)
Stop looking down your collective noses at Cannabis as a legitimate medication. It is literally a plant that takes 90 days to grow plus a few extra weeks to cure and can provide medicine for an individual (or entire family with low tolerances) for months. If you need more info I have an entire website compiled on the stuff.
If you need help with your specific condition; I am actually one of the most trusted experts in the medical cannabis industry. (There, something else I don’t trot out much.)
4. Keep your supply chains local- If COVID has taught us as a nation- it has taught us the importance of the farmers we visit locally. From my location I have access to countless farmer’s markets and likely more than a few Co-ops. You should be able to say the same.
5. Protect yourself and your families: Put on your own oxygen mask first. Get yourself a VPN for all online interactions from your home computer/cellphone. Many of you have had to restart all your social media accounts (myself included) and if needed, I can create a short guide for how to do so safely and legally.
If you need extra help- please do not hesitate to apply for government assistance- all of them you can get. Now is not a time for Puritanical American faux-pride in the false concept of self-sufficiency. Send me an email via this blog and I will help you find them if you are in the USA. I have extensive knowledge of how to acquire food stamps, health insurance, cash benefits, pensions, and how to navigate the SSDI system. I will do my best to answer you within 24 hours- and will endeavour to post on ‘The Lokean’ facebook page if my availability changes.
A Little Rant on Chaplaincy in Relation to Braucherei Culture (Feel Free to Ignore: Everyone Else Does)
Some of this needs repeating:
My name is Chaplain Ren Anderson. Yes. I have a title. I only use it when I feel the need, which is very, very rarely. I have collected a few titles, and I use none of them.
Chaplains maintain the spiritual and mental health of their communities under an easily recognizable title acknowledges/accepted by most other faiths. We (usually) have 4 year degrees plus extra training in our respective specialties.
Chaplaincy is the antithesis of Heathen thought- however, it is literally the only way we even have a place at the table with other world religions. Many of us suffer through four years of listening to our ancestral beliefs dismissed as ‘mythology’ or ‘ancient history’ and blindly discount anything not previously researched by a man with tenure whose boredom eventually leads them to correct academic understanding and then translation to other academics why our faith is both real and valid.
Then, on the Heathen side- Asatru hate any person who worships any deity that is not the protagonist of a comic book franchise. This also leaves all other indigenous Heathen peoples entirely ignored.
We indigenous Pa German Braucherei have already literally lived lives of “You can be anything you want to be except what you are,” and I remain no exception. You can tell if a Braucher has left their home communities very easily- because they exist outside of those communities, often still using Braucherei nomenclatures, regardless.
But thanks to my wandering, I have discovered we have made plenty of friends in other faiths who love us more than we love ourselves. For every drop of Cherokee blood, there is a drop of our own in every family in Tahlequah. And they remember the Pennsylvania Germans fondly, in particular for saving many of their children from the dreaded “Cherokee Schools”- horrid re-education camps meant to destroy their indiginous ties. Our people often took the children home on holidays and sent them back to their parents several states away at great risk to ourselves, or we adopted the children outright and ended up with oft-ignored segment of Pa Dutch faith known as “Pow Wow”- an amalgamation of both Germanic Heathen with native practices of the tribes we interacted with at the time.
The great thing about knowing how busy other chaplains are right now- is also knowing that the primary scholar on Braucherei is far too busy with his other responsibilities to refute me at this moment.
I have this moment where I can speak the truth without interruption; One set of extremists is deplatformed, the others are in hiding, and everyone of any ethic is too busy helping people to put the energy in trying to campaign against my experiences as per usual.
Then- take a person who enters into clergy programs because she hates all of the above realities- then takes all her degrees, shoves them in a drawer, flips off the man, then writes a whole lot of blog posts for all kinds of communities.
For free. Because I can.
Also, because that is part of the few decent parts of my culture; Pa Germans are absolutely known for being insular, xenophobic, and judgemental with a few kind folks scattered betwixt the hexes and cow shit of our fields. The nice people are more often than not, our Braucherei. We are usually well traveled, friendly, and end up utterly and totally codependent on our faith communities for our sense of self worth and orientation in the world.
We often end up bridging a few. I am proud to have positive relations with so many more people outside of Asatru than I ever did within it- as well as better family connections with distant relatives from Wyomissing verses my actual immediate family.
The unlucky Braucherei born to shunned families-those who live outside of our hometowns, have literally had to reside in other religions for nearly the entirety of our existence of the US for hundreds of years. Whether it be Anabaptist Christianity, Lutheranism, Quakers, Wiccans, or even Asatru itself; we still tend towards either sticking entirely in scared little huddles of close family contacts or literally dissolving ourselves into the greater world. Outside of communities that already know of Brauchers (which is very few)- all you end up with is children being acknowledged as being one by the few non-estranged members of toxic family units and literally no access to training within the culture if your family is determined “verbot”.
Heathenry literally owes several faiths for preserving the Braucherei- and the first apology made should be to kind monotheists.
If we don’t have families- the fact that this very searching in the form of “Rumspringa” exists, as a thing, that is known is so very telling. Those that “leave the community never to return” were abused. This is literally the only practice where the community is aware, in a very loud manner, the less inclined the child is to return, the more indicative it is of poor health of the community as a whole. Braucherei practice is not an initiation one can pay for, it’s a condition present at birth- and every world culture is capable of producing intelligent, sensitive children and nurturing them into productive, if not profound, adults.
Within the past month, Chaplain Persephone Hildebrandt, myself, and other in a small council declared Theistic worship of Eris Discordia officially as sympatico, corresponding, and interchangeable to the Heathen worship of Idunna- Therefore merging two large, fairly alienated sister faiths.
Our Faith Community is deeply unhealthy.
And one faith, correctly, hates the bindings that hold the other sister down.
The reason I bring this all to one, happy conclusion- is that she is also a Braucher- My original birth last name was Hunsberger. I originate from frithless jackasses who sold their spirituality and ethic for material wealth and advancement. After my great-grandma died all spirituality in my family died with her- This left me at loose ends enough to seek Asatru. Then through Asatru, some actual stability via Sufism, (at the time at antithesis by my collegiate system) before ending right back with you. Again. An indigenous person without any of your beloved respect nor regard who is serving the community you fail by your lack of actual clergy within your ranks… as well as complete and total disregard for the majority of the entirety of horribly reconstructionist, colonizing excuse for Asatru Theology.
I literally have to re-educate every single person that Asatru “teaches” into trusting their own UPG’s again.
Persephone is a Hildebrandt, from the worst reputation family of Hexen from Lancaster- she tried Asatru, walked right on through and ended up with everyone Asatru rejected: The intelligent, the sensitive, and the damaged in Discordia. The brightest minds and the deepest hearts that the viking larpers rejected.
Pain is a real thing all humans must experience. Rejecting the suffering was not a very nice way to honor the select few Gods you chose to honor. However, did you ever ask yourselves about what is the result of all the Gods you denied honor to, entirely arbitrarily?
I am thrilled to discover that along with you- and unlike you, I have popcorn instead of a box of tissues.
You now two angry, extraordinarily well-educated (Both via Moravian), Braucherei as your chaplains Asatru community. And we are not speaking kindly on your behalf- we preach the total annihilation of your current suffocating structures as the children of Loki you named us to be.
Two things I cannot ever seem to leave are my commitments to my faith and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (although I’ve tried) Thanks to those two things, and those two things alone, does Asatru/Heathenry still even have me as a chaplain…but do you?
It seems like the Gods created their own solution to the problems within our community. It is up to us to apply them.
Every so often my work has gone viral in the past, in honor of my friend Nyx (who is always awake for my calls!), I promised her I would repost this poem just for her.
Here is the OG of both. You could also just go to hailloki.wordpress and type ‘Nyx’ in the search bar. Enjoy.
“Take my hand”-she said She wore a dark blue dress made of night In her hair a crown of stars She stood at the prow of a small boat gently perched upon the shore Her right hand on the pole to steer and her left hand out- to me “Will you take me?” I asked of her “To the other side?” I did not know what was resided there but I was tired of residing here “Do you know who I am?” she asked, I had not a clue but I replied, I put more trust in strangers, then the people I already knew. The night was calmly quiet, Just the sound of her oar upon the tides I did not say a word to her words tend to lend to lies In the boat there was a blanket soft, so dark, and warm. I feared not how I appeared to her wrapped tight, safe, and alone. I did not know the water Whether ocean, lake or stream I did not know the oarswoman Nor awake or in a dream As I closed my eyes upon the gentle waves I felt her hand upon me and felt peace there as I lay
******************************************** (The following is still old content from the old blog because I am le’tired and don’t feel like editing it atm.)
I wrote the above poem over the summer on another blog (which I will delete promptly after this writing) based on a fever dream when I was severely ill. I never really felt “right” writing in the new space and of the four posts I made in that blog, this was only thing worth salvaging or coherent.
At the time of writing, I was recovering from a hospitalization due to complications on account of Lyme’s disease that were nearly fatal to me. I lost my summer to a combination of darkness and sleep; often too weak or in pain to do very much at all. (With the right combinations of medications and time, I am back to normal functioning at this time, thankfully.)
Nótt is a personification of night. In Ancient Roman traditions, she is called Nyx, which is her most common name and is considered a daughter of Chaos (Eris– to Discordians)….apropos in particular to me since my spirituality tends to lead me to Discordianism/Chaos Magic forums in a sort of double-life between Heathenry and Discordianism. There is an extensive mythos to her archetype in countless European cultures. To Latvian/Lithuanians, she is called “Breksta” (Twilight) and to the Persians, “Mah“- of similar description and imagery.
Chaos Tradition (which is likely one of the most recently reconstructed forms of “lost” spirituality) is simply the acceptance that we do not possess the capability of understanding the nature of the universe. In Theistic Discordianism, The practitioner remains fluid; divination is “off the cuff” from surface impressions and prayers are expected to be answered in entirely unexpected ways. Truly, having a degree in Philosophy has convinced me no one can have a monopoly on knowledge when all human knowledge is inevitably flawed in relation to “ultimate reality”.
Many Discordians see that pathway to their desires being a “surprise” with only the final result of intention being what matters. This process lies in accepting the “price” of uncertainty in the process and in some, an avoidance of “formal” ritual- but Discordianism, like its Goddess, is mercurial, capricious, and spontaneous. (and often whimsical, in our fashion) Therefore, what is true for me in navigating Eris is going to, inevitably, be entirely different in UPG than others, as others are from one another.
The “path” (to me) as metaphor is a wild river through unknown lands- but the destination is known…. or, conversely, if the path is known, the destination is not….and each path taken in Discordianism/Chaos magics is seldom tread twice.
We understand we cannot have everything, but embrace contradictions, madness, spontaneity, coincidence, and our own form of “grace” which we find in fortuitous synchronicity which guide us. The more “synchronicity” in life; the more “on track” we are with our intentions and works since synchronicity is seen by some of us (myself included) as the reward for good works or as encouragement to pursue the ideas thought at the time of said synchronicity.
My schedule leaves me sometimes in “eternal night” since I tend to fall asleep around 5am and have found myself so accustomed to working 3rd shift from my occupation prior to college, I feel more comfortable in darkness than light….leaving the lights off in my apartment often until my husband returns from work after midnight.
Honestly, light is uncomfortable for me, in the light, I must wear glasses, but by some strange design, my night vision is exceptional except in reading print.
I do not know what the dream meant other than to inspire this poem.
However, as it is now 2/4/2021- I imagine this poem is both for Nox herself as well as those who she rows to the opposing shores safely, whatever the fuck that means.🙃
So, articles are being presently compiled on modern representation of our Gods, and did I ever stumble on the most beautifully poignant music video sung by Annie Lennox
Loki Can look like whatever the fuck he wants, and today, he looks like this- and this is what happens when you decide which Gods are “worthy” of your time.
Loki roasted Kek like the main course at La Marine in Paris. There are fun ways to do everything. Hurt Gods make more followers. Somehow. 🤷🏻♀️
Now…. Lokeans own Asatru. For now, we really don’t want it. We’d prefer something much less toxic, and as soon as we get our shit together, we will make sure to create something obsessively over the top beautiful that we never, ever, want to touch publically ever again.
Lokeans are not leaders. And a daughter of Loki is NOT Loki you idiots- if you were any dumber, we would have to set up fucking grow lights and have goddamn weed plants teach you character development.
Lokeans have the best of everything, most especially awesome fucking dramatic, flouncing, crazy bullshit like this.
Every Lokean is invited to play this video on repeat:
Okay, I don’t say much these days, but I will say this:
I will not be associated with nor suffer fools in any capacity, (nor should anyone.) This is ESPECIALLY within Asatru.
The actions of the larping clowns in DC this past week embarrass us all.
Thankfully, I am technically multifaith in my chaplaincy, and feel comfortable keeping my practice as-is while publically distancing from the term ‘Asatru’.
The irony and schadenfreude is not lost on this Lokean that the same groups who felt strongly that devotees of Loki, God of uncomfortable truths and the brightest Intellect were somehow too chaotic for your organizations.
Time has proven Asatru organizations to be chaotic. Lokeans were NEVER your actual problem.
We remain children of the God of Scapegoats, but this time, clearly. it isn’t the Lokeans to blame for the fall in reputation: it is clearly on the shoulders of the ‘conventional Heathens’.
I fully support full reseparation of European Indiginious belief systems from both Heathenry and Asatru, should anyone other than me feel so inclined. (Urglaawe included. Heck, go back to Braucherei/Hexerei, just for the love of Woden, consider redefinition away from ‘Asatru’.)
it’s something to consider or discard as you like, but I’m putting it out there anyway.
Indiginious-based Aesir/Vanir/Jotunr worship, animism, and unbroken ritualistic honoring of ancestors separates us from Neopagans anyway.
If these F’ers want to dress like idiots and embarrass us all, then I highly advocate the abandonment of reconstructionist Heathenry for our own terms.
Furthermore, if there is an argument that I am advocating a ‘cut and run’ instead of fighting to redefine modern Asatru by ancient ethic, then yes. Yes I am, because sometimes, folks, Loki has the right idea. Some fights are better just abandoned so we can put our energies to more productive uses.
More importantly, ethics demand a removal of barriers to entry into private exploration of our indigenous belief systems for those newer to our Gods who are equally repulsed as the famtrads:
They don’t have to come to our dances, but I encourage indigenous polytheists to at very least share their knowledge. (Look, I’ve done my best with my blog over the years… I am not asking you guys to do anything I haven’t done. Show me up, even… overtake me with writings on the Sami or the Dievturiba, or the Slavic Gods or a thousand words on hexenwulves or granniewitches or whathaveyou.)
Anyway, I don’t usually write lately since the environment is surprisingly volatile to writer types. I refuse to write anything I cannot believe in 100%, but also, I have my own personal peace to consider as well.
For emphasis: I know of no God that approves of either fools nor idiots, and frankly, neither do I and neither should you.
I was asked this question on facebook and realized I could post my reply here as well:
Community to me are everyone who believe in the pre-Abrahamic Gods, (we are loosely grouped by pantheon as pagans; the Norse are who I was raised with, so I relate myself mostly to Asatru:)
The point and value to being Heathen is a great question! That is largely something that an individual decides for themselves and the reasons vary.
For me, the value of being Heathen is knowing that the Gods exist, and continued to exist even through the times where anything but Abrahamic religious practice was forbidden. Threads of ancient traditions and holidays survived through arts and family stories and now that the the suffocating grip of Christianity has released enough that we can celebrate our Gods and our celebrations of the seasons, it is up to us to rediscover and reexaminewhat relationship the Earth, Gods, and humans have with themselves and each other.
Heathenry is a series of perspectives/ways at looking at the world that are unique: namely, in how we interact with nature as well as each other.
Our ethics are largely combined between ideas of honor and justice juxtaposed with a strong reverence towards nature.
We sort ourselves by the Gods/Goddesses we admire the most, or, if we are especially fortunate, are approached by one (or more) as patron deities which then further direct both our decisions as well as what directions we grow further as decent, honorable people.
But, of course, this is simply my opinion. You can believe whatever you like:)
My name is Ren Anderson- and I am referred to as “The Lokean”- thanks to my prior blog HERE at http://www.hailloki.wordpress.com. Oddly enough, I am closer to Tyr and the blog was founded as part of an Oath I made to improve the reputation of Loki to Neo-pagans.
In real life, I am not so limited to just those two: work with and honor several deities from several patheons. At the time of this writing I also have altars to Rán, Hera, Eris, Woten, Freyja, Thor, Frey, and oddly enough, Inari. (My husband has altars to equally as many Gods of his own!)
I am legal, multi faith clergy. I graduated from Moravian College, Cum Laude, with degrees in Religion and Philosophy, and served as the Gythia for one of the oldest kindreds in Pennsylvania for the better part of a decade. I live with my husband, Edward, in a small animal sanctuary we created in Exeter, Pennsylvania consisting of four cats, two dogs, and two very large Flemish rabbits.
I donate my time to the pagan and Discordian communities as a crisis/grief chaplain, health permitting. I am not a big fan of weddings, but I will gladly help you with funerals or lending an ear where I can.
The former blog since evolved into a combination of Heathen UPG and fiction combined with a place to vent my spleen when my CPTSD acted up. I stopped updating sometime last year- I felt I had nothing to contribute. To my surprise, I my old blog gained an increased following despite my lack of updates- so here we are. I am honored that people find value in my work, and I am even more gratified to know that what I write occasionally helps people.
The other hat I wear is as a freelance journalist in the medical cannabis community- thanks to the kindness of the Gods and the Pennsylvania medical cannabis community, I have a successful website at http://www.greenbudgazette.com; there I track medical cannabis laws, regulations, price trends and medical advances pertinent to patients in Pennsylvania who rely on cannabis for relief of a number of medical conditions.
The prior Loki blog seemed to have improved my writing skill enough to be taken seriously as a writer- So, in a sense, my life is a fairly good example of how taking a commitment to our Gods seriously has unexpected, positive returns!
Since my conditions are Migraines, PTSD, and chronic pain- my ability to update regularly is severely curtailed- but I do my best. I find that writing in a non-technical capacity therapeutic- however, I only have a limited window of time every three months between my migraine shot treatments where I am able to concentrate fully on a screen and think clearly enough to write.
I thank you in advance for your patience.
Hopefully, by starting this new journal with clearer intentions will be even more useful going forward.